Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Got any good sarsaparilla?

Sometimes (most of the time) sitting down at 8:30pm after dinner to work on the PhD is like pulling teeth. Not my teeth - somebody else's. But somebody unrestrained by leather straps or high-dose chemicals. Somebody who can have a real swing at you if you loosen that headlock.
All you come out with at the end of the nightly ordeal is a few teeth and sore eyes.

I did actually have a meeting with both supervisors last week and, unlike the black days of The Proposal, neither of them used the phrase "read the riot act". They liked some bits I'd written. They gave me the "Keep it up, sonny" usually reserved for the newest coal miner who learned how to heft a pick in a tight space.

Unfortunately, I'm back at the beginning. And all my enthusiasm got me a deadline. Not some vague "let's meet when you've got something to say" type deal. June 2nd. 2pm. Have something readable. I feel as though I should be muttering this into a shallow dish of whisky while some slab-faced bartender pretends to listen. That would be pretty darn sweet. The Great American ideal of alcoholism is an alarmingly attractive one. Ask any non-American bloke who's ever read a detective novel or heard of Moe's Tavern.

Problem is that my head is cold. And I've got a great idea for a new book growing like a face-hugger implant and the only time I'll ever get to start squeezing out the ideas is between now and when I'm genuinely overcome by the need watch the latest Boondocks.

Wish me luck.

I hope you all enjoyed the photos.


  1. Good luck. But remember - a deadline is always essential because it MAKES you write. Use the advice I told the ten year olds: VOMIT it out. Get it up and onto the page. Then you've got something there to look at, to play with, to mold.

    Deadlines are good; they strike fear and the absolutely necessity to produce in the hearts of all of us. Some of our best writing comes from that sweaty, palpitating hell-hole that others like to call 'the last minute'.

  2. I know, and you're right. The deadline for this meeting (actually, to produce a complete version of what I produced a third of at the meeting) was originally "before Xmas".

    And thank you for not making that extremely tedious "whooshing noise as they go by" joke about deadlines.

    I'll thank any future commenters to steer clear of that one. It's not even a dad joke.

  3. I don't believe I've ever faced a deadline in my life. Aaahh, lucky me....
    Kath's advice is good, so get busy vomiting.
    I loved the photos, your family is adorable.


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32