Monday, 6 July 2009

What I Did Last Summer

You might have noticed a certain silence around these parts, a silence punctuated only by my deep disgust at certain northern hemispehereans who think that 32 degrees on the ol' Celsiometer deserves a spot on the front page of the national newspapers. (As some wise philosopher has opined, this is perhaps no more disgustworthy than the channel 7 weatherboy who puts on a ski-suit and tells us to dust down the snowplough and affix the medicinal liquors to the necks of the St Bernards for an overnight low of 11 degrees. To such opinations, I say, "Pass me my vegan eggnog, Smithers," and, "They just don't make St Bernards the way they used to".)

So what have I been doing with myself?, well may you ask. Firstly, I went to this ripper of a symposium where people talked about mimetic representations of the temporal affect of memory (Bart: Is that a real thing? Lisa: Yes.), and ate muffins. And this person was there, and this person, and this person, and amazingly, despite the presence of some of my all-time antipodean academic superheroes, I managed not to gush. And then I marked a buncha essays that reached up to my armpit. And while I was doing that I read Annabel Crabb's Quarterly Essay on Malcolm Turnbull, and consequently was glistening with freshly applied Turnbulliana just in time for his recent acts of political autocannibalism. Meanwhile my Pa had that hip replacement surgery, which went swimmingly, as far as the hip was concerned, but plunged his kidneys and his heart into conniptions of such conniptedness that he is still in hospital eating jelly almost two weeks later. This was pretty scary for a day or seven, particularly as these parental brushes with mortality remind a person that her parents rate extremely highly on the most beloved people in the universe scale. Then there was this three-day quasi-compulsory-but-actually-not workshop on How To Be A Better Lecturer. The answer - you never would have guessed this - is to think about how students learn best. Personally, I've always thought that shifting into a Cornish pirate voice every seven minutes should suffice. Dad, at this point, is still alive and bantering at full pelt with anyone who's up to it. I pick up the essay I haven't touched since February, the one that's due at the end of the month, on cyborgs and slavery, and start googling "automaton"+"spartacus", which turns out to be a disappointingly fruitless research tactic. It rains a bit; Melbourne's water storage is up to 26.3% of capacity. I see Disgrace, which thank-heavens uses John Malkovich rather than Ralph Fiennes as David Lurie, but nearly vomit when a chuckle runs through the audience as Lurie's putting the moves on Melanie. (The capacity to elicit that chuckle - the "this is a romantic comedy, isn't it? and that reluctant girl will actually fall for him?" chuckle - was one of the best things about this film, which of course is not a romantic comedy, but grim and harrowing, as the chucklers must have found out to their horror.) And here I am, disgorged by the past fortnight, with a Beatrice on my lap and a Harriet near my feet, and great pools of unplumbed internet for me to continue to ignore as I get on with this next bit, of life.

7 comments:

Mitzi G Burger said...

For slavery and robotism, you could look up that old chestnut, the Golem - Czech Jewish folkloric tale of the clay man whose programming involves a specially written Hebrew word as the microchip prototype.

Ampersand Duck said...

So where are the photos of Beatrice and Harriet on your lap and near your feet? A busy life is all very well, missy, but we. want. more. cats. Preferably with pirate captions.

Ampersand Duck said...

And speaking of robotic golems, there's always Marge Piercy with her 'Body of Glass' novel, the one that goes all futuristic with golems (published in the US as 'He, She and It')

Anonymous said...

And after that, Terry Pratchett's take on the golem, "Feet of Clay" is bound to fire a few synapses and stimulate the creative urges.

(I really ought to get a more creative nom-de-plume than "Anonymous". And what kind of verification word is "droolede"?)

TimT said...

It's the one you've got, and you'll take it and like it, Anonymous. Beggars can't be choosers, as mum says.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Anonymous Bosch?

Thanks for all your Golem tips, team. I think I've got my central texts sorted, just faffing about amassing more data as a way of avoiding sorting my notes into paragraphs.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Cats now on blog, Duck. No pirate captions. Sorry.