Monday, 30 July 2012

Couple of days update

Hi everyone,

Sorry I‘ve been AWOL for a few days.

It‘s late, and I should write more than I‘m going to. By way of recap -

* I spent the weekend at the parents place. Dad had been waiting to have an extra set of legs to move cattle back from Mt Martha, so I spent a big whack of Sunday chasing cattle through the rain-sodden paddocks there. Anyway, it all got done, and Dad was pleased. Mum and Dad are both doing well.

* I caught up with Dad again this evening for the AGM of a club we‘re in. The AGM gets a bit sadder every year. Average age of members has to be about 70 y.o. and some do seem to have an ever more slender grip on what‘s happening. The guy seated in front of me had his phone ring partway through the AGM and took the freaking call. The fact that he was also wearing the sort of hat last seen adorning General Custer? That just made him look like an even bigger tool.

* The line of research I mentioned last week is taking shape. Watch this space.  In other writing news, I have a draft piece targetted at Catholic Weekly to settle, and a piece perhaps for the Border Mail in mind.

Ok, I guess that‘s enough for now. Sorry this is lacklustre - feeling a little underpowered. More tomorrow.

See you then

Friday, 27 July 2012

Friday, Friday, Gotta get down on Friday...

Hi everyone,

Some of you may know I have a bad habit of sleeping though my alarm clock ... and though the subsequent alarm on my phone.

Today brought the unexpected revelation that I could get to work really early if I obeyed my alarm. That is, I woke up when the alarm sounded at 6am, didn‘t go back to sleep, and as I was awake, decided I may as well go to work. This saw me at work significantly earlier than usual. I know this shouldn‘t be a revelation, but there you have it.

The morning wasn‘t actually as productive as I wanted it to be. I was kind of strughling to focus and feeling a little burnt out. I got done what I wanted to for the day, but that was about it.

I went for lunch at the Colonial Hotel where I caught up with Sophie, an ex housemate who‘s in town for a few daus, which was a fun catch up

Afted work I called the folks and checked that it suited them for me to come down at the weekend. Printed a couple of WW1 records I‘d promised to get for Dad, and came back here via the store for some foodstuffs.  BUCKETING with rain on way back. Made fettucine with tuna, corn spears and cheese sauce for dinner.

Wasn‘t able to skype as Joni had to work. Hopefully will be able to do so at the weekend.

Read article for new research udea which is taking shape. It has promise.  Forgot to say that I saw an article in the American Bar Association Journal this morning re the activities of the ABA Task Force on Foreign Law in State Courts. This is one of my pet interests, so I‘ve today emailed the chairman to find out if I can get involved. Let‘s see!

Hope all your days are good.

See you tomorrow

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Talks too much?

Hi everyone,

Another quietish day. 

I finally finished ploughing through the stress matter I mentioned yesterday.  Talk about intricate. And I think we can do more with it than the last file operator had in mind. Which is good. Gotta build my rep!

Some research over lunch on some primary source materials for the idea from yesterday. A hypothesis is beginning to emerge.

Worked at the office till about 7:30pm and came back here. I pan fried the sandwich that was going to be tomorrow‘s lunch and had it wth baked beans for dinner, and had a few drinks with Stephanie, a housemate from Indonesia who‘d just bought herself a bottle of whisky and didn‘t want to drink alone. I don‘t care for how a couple of the other housemates treat her, like she‘s just the slutty Asian chick, so I try and talk to her like an equal. She‘s a nice kid, and studying nursing.  Actually, it‘s a housemate thing tomorrow too. You remember one of the other h/ms went back to her iwn town a few weeks back? She‘s back in Melbourne for a few days and wanted to catch up, so we‘ll meet up for lunch at the Colonial Hotel. Another nice girl, but troubled. Hope she‘s ok.

Ok, I guess that‘s it for tonight.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

And another idea

Hi everyone,

Blogging from the phone tonight (aircard is in need of financial encouragement).

It‘s been an interesting day. For my sins I overslept and was barely on time for work. Still, I got there and that‘s the thing. Most (about 6 hours) of the say was spent wading through a weekly payments stress claim. The worker is genuinely messed up, but from their past history, working with the defendant was just about the least traumatic experience they ever had.

I got out at lunch time and went to the discount bookshop over the road. I broke my bookatorium and decided I‘d earned a new book. It came to a photo finish between a book on the solving of Poincare‘s conjecture and Union 1812 (history of the early American republic). In the end I went with Union 1812. Which reminds me: I have the glimmering of an idea for a historical article. No details yet, but the target journal would be the William & Mary Quarterly. Details as it develops.

Back at the Casa by 8:00pm. Dinner was fettucine hamburgers (2 hamburgers made of toast and cheap burger patties, with sliced pumpkin, carrots and onions, then covered over with fettucine dressed with olive oil and black pepper). If you guessed the guiding theme of dinner was “clear the odds and ends out of the fridge“, you guessed right. Still, it would make a good theme for an episode of Iron Chef. I can kind of imagine Chairman Kaga saying “tonight‘s theme ingredient is: odds and ends from the fridge because I couldn‘t be stuffed driving to Safeways“ [gasps from the crowd, giggling from Keiko, excited commentary from Fukui and Ota].

After the I-coodabeen-an-Iron-Chef dinner I came back up here. Had a couple of glasses of wine and read for a while. Then shave, shower and now, blogging.

So I guess that‘s it for the day. Hope all your days are good too!

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A night

Hi everyone,

How are things? It‘s been an anticlimactic day. For the first time since I became a defence lawyer I got to go to court this morning and seek a dismissal of the plaintiff‘s claim (unfavourable Medical Panel opinion). File work the balance of the day. Left the office about 8:30pm. Didn‘t feel like dealing with housemate stuff so got sandwich fixings on way back here and ate in my room while listening to Star Stuff. Drafted up a brief essay for the Catholic Weekly, if they can be interested.

Sorry this entry is so blah. Just tired and looking forward to sleep.

Hope all is well with you.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, 23 July 2012

... with history at the end.

Hi everyone,

How are things? Blogging from the phone (again) tonight. Hope you liked the big photographical post from earlier today.

Productive day. Most of my targets met, but still somehow unsatisfying. I don‘t know why. Just tired I guess.

Back at the Casa by 7:30pm. Reheated the remains of last night‘s dinner and consumed with a cup of green tea (makes the digestive system more efficient).

After dinner I rattled off another short piece in response to a book review in the Baton Rouge Advocate. Will see if Joni wants to veto it. It touches a few possibly thorny issues in recent American history, and I don‘t want to make her life awkward. It might be better to wait till a chance presents to send it to a journal in California or the Pacific northwest.

These articles must sound pretty stupid. One publication, after all, does not a career make. But bear with me, please. I know that I‘m a second rate lawyer. I‘ve always known that, and I hate my self for it.  But I was born to write history, and this is the only way of starting that journey that‘s presenting itself.

Ok, time to sleep.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

It was a Cemetery Saturday

Hi everyone,

This was the post I wasn't able to put up on Saturday evening.  Hopefully it'll work now!


* * * * * *

Hi everyone,

I'm starting this entry before Joni and the girls come online.  It's Saturday evening, and this will be the skype we would have done yesterday but for Joni needing to work yesterday.

It's been a day of observing the guides to life recommended by this guy -

Specifically, that scene in "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" where he goes through the library on a motorcycle, taking time to remind a student that to be an archaeologist, one really needs to get out of the library.  Anyway, I was out of ideas for my next historical article and so I decided to go look at the Melbourne General Cemetery and see if that handed me any inspiration.  The plan I had was as vague as this: I'd heard that a veteran of the American Civil War is buried there, so without knowing so much as what name to look for, I decided to wander round looking for it until I found it, or gave up, or found something of comparable potential interest.

I should say that, despite the subjects of most of historical writing I've been doing lately, I'm not particularly fixated on military history.  My focus at University was actually on cultural and religious history and that remains my core interest.  But as I'm trying to write things that newspapers hither and yon (chiefly yon) might want to print, it makes sense to write things the punters might read.  And the fact of the matter is a lot of folks do seem to be interested in the history of conflicts past.

I should also add that there was a fairly deliberate decision about going to the Cemetery.  When I was going through a rough time earlier this year, I decided to get my head as far away from matters macabre as I could.  So, I boxed up and put away the books I have on the death penalty and the like, and made a point of not passing through or by the cemetery on my various walks.  Going there today was a fairly strong decision.

Melbourne General Cemetery is one of the oldest still-functioning bits of the city.  It's been accepting burials since the 1850s, which in terms of operational life would put it up there with the Queen Victoria Market and the Duke of Wellington Hotel.  As cemeteries go it's a bit of a shambles.  Most of the pathways among the graves are broken up and uneven, and many of the trees are overgrown.  And a lot of the graves have fallen into serious disrepair.  On the other hand, the shambles has it's upside.  Because it's so crowded, the denominational boundaries seem to be pretty porous: you see Jews rubbing headstones with Presbyterians, Catholics jostling for space with Anglicans, and Adventists quietly sleeping alonside Greek Orthodox.

The headstones were, as always, an interesting look into the mentalities of the past.  Sometimes they were quietly heartbreaking (a 14 y.o. boy who died of injuries in an accident in the government printing office before World War One, or a husband who drowned when the barque Ann was involved in a collision off the coast of New South Wales, or a young nurse, Charlotte Smith, who had come out from England and died at the Melbourne Hospital, with not family here to bury her.).

Some were historically surprising, like the grave of a veteran of some of the worst fighting of the Napoleonic Wars

Sometimes they hinted at things that clearly meant something at the time, but that have long since faded from memory (for example, so-and-so dying in "the Sunshine disaster").

There were also a few things I wasn't expecting, like the monument to Jewish servicemen giving the dates by both Christian and Jewish reckoning.

And now and again, one that was inappropriately comical (a fellow said to have drowned when his boat sprang a leak in Hobson's Bay - sorry, no photo).

I stopped trekking around the cemetery and had my sandwiches and kept walking.  I was pretty close to giving in when I came upon this marker -

Yep, the grave I'd been looking for!  I was pretty pleased, and took pictures and transcribed the marker.  It then occurred to me that I could value-add any writing I might do about it by finding out something about this fellow's life here.  I got a tram down to the State Library and began to explore their genealogical centre.  I'd never used it before, but they had an astonishing amount of material on microfilm.  Within a few hours, I'd found out where this fellow lived and what his job was, I'd established that at some stage he was naturalised as a British subject, and found out the names of his parents.  He appears to have had a son.  The son doesn't show up in the First World War nominal rolls, which was a shame as any service records would have told us much about his parents.  I couldn't find his naturalization certificate, although it's difficult to find them without knowing when he was natutralised (it'd involve going through a couple of thousand certificates one by one).  One thing I was surprised by when I was looking at naturalization certificates was that, for what's supposed to be a legendarily racist period in Australia's history, there were dozens of certificates of naturalization granted to people with Chinese names who signed their names with Chinese characters.  I genuinely didn't expect to see that.  There'd be a good MA thesis in that for someone!

6:00pm rolled around and the Library closed.  I came back here and went and got some groceries, then came back and cooked dinner.  I came up here then, read a little, and then skyped with Joni and the girls.  It was a difficult skype.  The connection was awful and the pictures at both ends kept dropping out.  Still, it's a long way better than nothing.  Grace was her usual extroverted self.  Her favourite toy is a little pony, and she's learned to sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".  And she loves calling me Dad, which of course I can't hear her say enough, even when she's saying "silly Dad" and "bye bye Dad".  That's pretty awesome.  And Rachel is still very much the quiet achiever.  She glanced at the screen now and again, but mostly she was playing with what looked like two forks in a way that suggested she saw a way of nutting out string theory with them.  I'm certain that when she gets her first cell phone, she'll be the only girl in her class to have NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory on speed dial ("Yeah, this neutron emission drive I read about in the paper?  I think you're doing it wrong").

Seeing my little family this evening really was what the doctor ordered.  Walking through the cemetery today had kind of made me feel a long way from my family, and the miles were hanging heavy on my mind, so seeing them was just what I needed.

Not sure what tomorrow will be.  The office I guess.  We'll see.  Anyway, it's 12:45am now, so it's bedtime.  Hope all your days are going well too.

Be happy.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday without photos

Hi everyone,

So I‘m still having trouble uploading yesterday‘s post, so this is coming to you live from my phone.

It‘s been a quiet Sunday. Breakfast here, and watching the French news on SBS. I went in to the office despite having some doubt it was a good idea. Not because I‘m feeling exactly worn out, but that my head felt “full“. As if every idea I‘ve had in the last few weeks was in there at once and none of them had any room to move around. Anyway, I didn‘t push it and got a good couple of productive hours work out. And while I was on a break, I found a ‘history-worthy‘ article on the website of the Baton Rouge Advocate.

I went to a packed 6pm Mass at St Francis‘. It was an interesting homily, on the response of compassion and how that even should be given, if we can, to those who commit great crimes and wreck their own humanity (and, one might add, disfigure the image of God stamped on them). This lead me to a more troubling line of thinking along the lines of: should we, then, view as saints those who so destroy their own souls, who take on that burden, for the good of their nation or the church or both (e.g. Francisco Franco, Phillipe Petain, maybe even Pontius Pilate and Judas Iscariot). I didn‘t find this a satisfactory answer, so I think my reasoning has gone astray somewhere.

St Francis‘ has a beautiful Marian shrine to the side of the church, so I lit three candles there for Joni and Grace and Rachel and said a few HMs for them. I hope they‘re doing ok, especially Rachel. Dad always makes a point of asking after her when he calls, which really means a lot to me.

Back here after Mass. Dinner of fettucine with peas, tuna, carrots and onions, and a long yarn to Sanjay the housemate. Read a bit and finished a long Hayden White essay I‘ve been wading through. And now blogging.

Ok, I guess that‘s it. Hope all your days are good too!

Be happy.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

An excuse

Hi everyone,

This is an apology post. I‘ve prepared a great, drought-breaking blogpost, but blogger‘s playing up and won‘t upload anything with pictures. Gripe. Will try again tomorrow, but, yeah, it‘s on it‘s way.

Hope all your days are going well,

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 19 July 2012


Hi everyone,

You guessed it: coming to you live from the number 96 tram this evening. It‘s about 7:15pm and I‘m doing this now in case I slack off later.

It‘s been an uneventful day. In the morning I actioned the work from yesterday‘s case review. The rest of the day (which was most of it) was spent getting on top if a file in preparation for a review of strategy with The Client next week.

It was a difficult day to work. Despite having had a good dinner and a very good sleep last night, I was struggling to focus and willing the clock to go faster. When I say a good sleep, we‘re talking about 7 hours. Usually all I want or need is 4-5 a night. I got done what I needed to, but it was a day that felt dreadfully long!

This evening will be double-quiet. Tonight I can‘t face an evening with the housemates (The Guy Who Talks Really Loudly, The Angry New Zealander, Two Terribly Serious Indian Guys), so I‘ve swung by the supermarket and grabbed some ham, some tomatoes and some rolls, so I‘ll lurk in my room and have sandwiches rather than cooking. Maybe some writing and an early night.

Ok, it‘s near my stop. Hope your days are all good!

See you tomorrow

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


Hi everyone,

I‘m typing this on the tram tonight, rather than waiting till I‘m back at the casa. I dunno what‘s happened to my blogging mojo lately. Just tired maybe.

It‘s been a full day. I had a breakfast CLE seminar this morning. Well, it was a seminar. Since it started at 8am I‘d kind of assumed breakfast was part of the deal, which it wasn‘t.

Post seminar (also post black coffee and a muffin on the way back to the office) I ploughed through a file in preparation for an internal review this afternoon. I was done in plenty of time, but the review was troubling. The same problems that I had at the last job are already coming out here - too slow, too obtuse, too thick-as-a-brick to spot the REAL issues, which I thought I‘d done.

Better enjoy the pay while it lasts.  I have a bad feeling my luck‘s going to crap out sooner or later.

Dinner tonight will be an experiment involving burgers, pumpkin, carrots, onions and pasta. Something simple and not over spiced this time (hence, not smothering them tonight). I suspect it‘ll be a bit of a melange; we‘ll see.

Hope all your days are going well.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Morning update

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the lack of a post last night. I was going to write, but then I got bogged down in ironing my shirts and talking to one housemate and getting into a text exchange with an ex-housemate as well. I got close to 1am awful quickly.

Yesterday was productive at the office, and I‘m getting habituated to being there early which I think is better than staying late.

The history project goes on. I keep my eyes out for anything that I can write on and seek to be published on. If you see anything you think might grab me, let me know.

Sorry, that‘s all I have. I really can‘t think of anything more to say by way of update.

See you shortly.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Back in the Blogosphere

Hi everyone, 

Sorry I've been absent from the blogosphere for almost a week.  I dunno, I guess you'd call it blogger's block.  Not actually writer's block: I've done another history column I'm trying to interest someone in and I've been getting the hang of twitter.  But when it came to blogging, I've honestly just looked at my laptop in the evening and thought "I just can't get my thoughts in order to blog".  So, nonetheless, here I am again!

It's been a quiet weekend.  I spent yesterday at the State Library again, on more research for a theory that came into my head after reading one of Hayden White's essays a little while back.  I'm wondering if one might create an anti-history.  That is, one that can extract meaning using a strictly alinear approach.  Still working on it but it may have merit.  The idea is this: history is written with one event causing another event later in time.  But can one conceivably have the chain of events work in reverse, so that a later event actually causes an earlier event?  It sounds absurd, but classical physics says it can theoretically happen, and given that most forms of history represent one or more levels of complexity imposed on culturally-reflective narrative systems, identifying "reverse causation" might be a merely a case of altering our world view sufficiently.

Yes, I know what you're thinking: this guy has way too much time on his hands.  But really: my wife and girls are overseas, and I've paired all my odd socks,  What else is there to do but try and win a Nobel prize?

Today I did laundry in the morning and some more reading and then went to the office.  Not my most productive day, but I'm OK with that as it was a big week, and at least it's a couple of hours work I don't need to try and do during the week.  I was running late, so I went to Mass at the Cathedral.  Back here for dinner.  Ironed a shirt and now blogging too.

Sorry this isn't more exciting.  Hopefully tomorrow throws up something blogworthy!

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

ABC of Me

Hi everyone,

Today's been fairly uneventful, so rather than waffle about what file I was wading through and what I had for lunch, I'm stealing an idea from my friend Heather over at Chasing Butterflies and doing ABCs of me.  Enjoy!

A. Age: 34

B. Bed size: Presently single.  See my bio for the reasons why.

C. Chore you dislike: Laundry [I live in a share house with a pay-washer, so you have to (a) fight for access to the machine and (b) save up dollar coins in order to be able to use the damn thing]

D. Dogs: No.  I want a basset hound.  All the iconic looks of a beagle, but with little bitty legs!

E. Essential start to your day: Coffee (cliché I know)

F. Favorite colors: Blue and white

G. Gold or silver: I need more context.

H. Height: 5'10"

I. Instruments you play(ed): None at all.  Attempts by my sisters to teach me the piano usually lasted about three minutes.

J. Job title: Lawyer (and wannabe historian!)

K. Kids: Beautiful little twin daughters called Grace and Rachel.

L. Live: Melbourne, Australia (key cultural feature: if you live here for a while and watch how people dress, you discover that there are 50 different shades of black.  Seriously, wearing black is a real Melbourne thing)

M. Mom’s name: Judith

N. Nicknames: Tucky ... Steve ... That idiot over there ...

O. Overnight hospital stays: Overnight with my wife at the hospital a number of times when our girls were born

P. Pet peeves: People saying "I've got the flu" when all they've got is a freaking cold!

Q. Quote from a movie: "Round up the usual suspects"

R. Righty or lefty: Context?   Handedness? Politics?  First leg of trousers in the morning?

S. Siblings: Three sisters

T. Time you wake up: Later than I should do.

U. Underwear: Boxer shorts.  I'm of the firm view that life is about knowing how to be relaxed.

V. Vegetables you don’t like: Weirdly, I can't think of any I don't like.  Although that may be because it's getting on for dinner time.

W. What makes you run late: See answer to T.

X. X-rays you’ve had: Largely dental.  Although I had a brain scan about 10 years ago.  It was able to establish the presence but not activity thereof.  Although the discovery of a brain inside my head might go some way to proving Ludwig Boltzmann's theory about entropy (if you don't get the reference, google the phrase "Boltzmann brain".  Seriously, do it – it's a pretty cool concept!).

Y. Yummy food you make: Smothered hamburgers

Z. Zoo animal you like: Elephants!  They look majestic, and you look at their heads and think: they never forget.  Just before you think, what the Hell do they have to remember?  When the gas bill is due?  Where they parked the car?

Monday, 9 July 2012

A morning post

Hi everyone,

Today‘s off to a flying start. Overslept somewhat, and then found myself stranded on a tram-free Nicholson Street. After 25 minutes or so, four trams arrived in convoy.  Sigh. I‘m late for work now, admittedly mostly by my own laziness. Gripe. Annoyed with myself.

Well, never mind. It‘s near my stop, and I‘m getting a good feeling about the day. I guess from this point it gas to get better!

See you this evening.

Hi everyone,

It's been an interesting day.

OK, interesting is probably overselling it.  I didn't sleep so well last night for some reason, waking up at 2:30am and 4:00am, but I still managed to be on my feet in good time this morning and was at work at a decent hour.  I spent the morning ploughing through a Supreme Court damages matter and was about two-thirds of the way through when I ducked out to meet with Daryl T and another gentleman about some legal issues for the family that I need to email my sisters about (I just realised I forgot to call my little sister and bring her up to speed; bugger).

I had lunch at my desk and then went into a case review with my boss re a serious injury file and acquitted myself tolerably well despite being honourably wrong in the conclusion I'd reached.  The balance of the afternoon was spent actioning the work from the review, until it got to 7:00pm and I decided to exercise moderation and call it a day.  I came back here and made up dinner and then came up here.

I'm getting a little disconcerted by the secretary I've been allocated.  It was made clear to me by my boss, with whom I share her, that she's a secretary, rather than an assistant.  That is, she can type, file, prepare documents, etc etc.  But she won't do a great deal on her own initiative and (his words) shouldn't be asked to do a lot that needs independent thought.  Watching her getting flustered today when she couldn't find a file, I'm coming to understand what he meant.  This could be a problem.  Patchy secretarial support was one of the things that helped drive me out of the job before this.  well, that as well as mind numbing work, lousy pay, a career dead end and an IT system designed by this guy -

Still, she seems like a nice lady, and sometimes it's just a question of finding out how to get the best out of someone.  So we'll see.

OK, I need to catch up on some sleep.  Time for a shave, a shower, and bed.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Hi everyone,

Somewhat quick post tonight.  Sorry - I got bogged down in writing the article I was researching for yesterday.

It's been a day in moderation I guess you'd say.  I did some laundry in the morning here and then headed in to the office to get some work done about 10:30am.  I worked reasonably effectively and didn't take too many breaks, so it was productive.  For the first time it occurred to me that from my window in can see, in effect, straight back up the Yarra Valley, and that made me think of Joni and the times we took the girls up there early in 2011.  Why can't we make time stand still?  Why???

I was going to put a few photos of such a trip up at this stage, but Blogger is being unhelpful and won't load them.  Sorry!

I wrapped up the work I wanted to do by 5:30 and went to evening Mass at St Francis'.  I toyed with the idea of going to the Cathedral, but I was more in the mood St Francis' plaster and timber-lined intimacy than the Cathedral's stony grandeur.  It was a VERY full service - literally packed - and I was trying to remember if I'd forgotten a day of obligation!

After Mass I came back here, made dinner and ironed my shirts for the week.  I wrote the first draft
of the article aforesaid, and now, blogging before bed.  It's been too cold this week to go running (especially after the knee issues last Saturday).  God, I hope this week is a bit warmer so I can get back on the wagon (or, rather, the Nikes).

Hope things are good with all of you too.

See you tomorrow

Saturday, 7 July 2012

... until you can hear the voices of the past.

Hi everyone,

This is just a quick little “I‘m not dead“ to say sorry about the erratic posting lately. It‘s been an intense week for a heap of reasons, and there‘s been a certain amount on my mind. Although it‘s at these times you find friends indeed, so all things considered I still feel like a pretty lucky man.

Anyway, today I did indeed spend at the State Library researching for a short article I‘ll try to draft tomorrow, re the British occupation of Maine in the War of 1812. I was doing the historian‘s thing if reading till you can hear the voices of the past, and afterwards took my personal crowd of generals and admirals, writers and politicians to Starbucks to try and synthesize it all into something intelligent. I managed to winnow out a few bad ideas and think I see what I need to say. So, yay Starbucks!

I made a simple dinner of buttered noodles, reheated chicken soup and green tea and then came up here. Some reading and TV. I washed mt bedsheets today, so bed feels extra good!

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Never say “I‘ll forgive but I won‘t forget“. Forgiving without forgetting is a fraud. You haven‘t forgiven. You‘ve just given yourself an excuse to hang on to a grudge.

In case you were wondering about the carpet burns...

Here they are:

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Hi everyone,

I know this makes me a royally gutless wonder, but I really need a hug.

I‘ve had to do something that hurt like Hell to make someone happy.  I don‘t want to share the details. All I‘ll say is that it feels like I had a look at Ithaca -  enough for it to sting really hard to find myself adrift again.

It‘s going to be a long afternoon. All I want to do is put my head on my desk and be unconscious for a bit.

Will Ferrell and Carpet Burns

Hi everyone,

I blame Will Ferrell for my failure to be productive this evening.

I'll come to that in a minute.

Today's been a full day.  The morning and afternoon were spent on two files that are coming up for reviews in the next week or two.  Lunch I met with a financial planner from the bank.  I was going to send Joni a summary of the information I gained but I left the paperwork at the office, so I'll do that tomorrow.  Suffice to say it was a font of useful information.

By 6:30pm my brain had run out of absorptive capacity and came back here.  I had dinner reasonably early (for me) and then came back up here by about 9pm.  I  had big plans.  I had a shave and a shower early, and then I was going to do some research and draft up a couple of short essays.  So the ablutive part of the plan went off without a hitch.

Did I then set down to activities historical?  No.

Did I channel surf for a few seconds and get stuck on "Step Brothers"?  Yes.

Did I laugh hysterically at the Judd Apatow job interview scene?  Yes.

Did I laugh hysterically at the Judd Apatow job interview scene while I had a mouthful of water which I partially inhaled causing me to spend what felt like a really long time writhing on the floor gasping for air like a landed fish?  Yes.

Do I now have carpet burns on my forehead as a result of the foregoing?  Yes.

If anyone knows how the Hell I'll explain carpet burns on my forehead at work tomorrow, please let me know.

And now it's 11:30pm.  I've failed to do anything of value with the evening, and I'm going to bed with a ton of disinfectant and moisturizer on my forehead.  I'm not sure how I should feel about today, but pride isn't registering!

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Being a twit...

Hi everyone,

Here I am again, blogging from the laptop before turning in.

It's been a productive day.  I was out of bed later than I'd intended this morning, which meant that this morning I got to work before 9am, but unshaven and unshowered, which I view as a less than optimal state of affairs. My skin is never satisfied.  If I shave, it spends the day irritated, if it isn't either (a) scaly or (b) bleeding.  And if I don't, it spends the day itchy and flaking.  Awesome or what?

The day itself was productive.  I've got my first (as in, my own first) serious injury file up and running, and got another couple of files underway.  I even did something I've never done before and went out at 12 noon to get coffee with a friend who might be a potential client.  This is unusual for me: I've always been terrified at both my previous jobs to leave my desk except to go to the toilet or the coffee machine, unless it's outside hours or lunch hour.  What is this?  Have I suddenly discovered I have a spine?  A sense of independence?  A pair?  When did I suddenly become a normal human being?  God be praised for normalcy!!!

I left the office a bit later than usual (about 7:30ish) as I was doing some admin work as well as teeing up a publication issue and rattling off a quick column for a paper in Iowa which I think has merit (the column, not the paper; I have no opinion about the paper itself!).  Tried smothering sausages for dinner with potato, onion and zucchini.  The vegetables went OK but it didn't do much for the sausages, save that they were very juicy (although I suspect that was mostly molten fat).  Watched some of Simon Schama on the Power of Art.  Had a shower, a shave, and now blogging and bed.  Sorry my life's not more exciting!

Oh yeah - and I finally bit the bullet and joined the twitter age.  If you want to follow me, I'm @sdtuc2 .

I guess that's all.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Hi everyone,

Here I am again, blogging from my laptop in the evening.

Sorry I've been e-communicado for a few days.  I was away for the weekend.

Saturday I woke up at 6am and went running.  It was bitterly cold - maybe about 5 degrees tops - and I really couldn't get my legs to loosen up and settle into a proper stride.  I was especially aware of this when I got back from the run with a distinctly 'pulled' feeling in the side of my left knee, which didn't want to bend very much.  Ouch!

I had breakfast and then drove down to the parents' place, as I'd promised I to come down.  Dad was still away - somewhere on the road between there and Shepparton - when I got there, and her arrived an hour or two after I did.  He's been frantically moving cattle off the home place, as it's been raining damn near continuously for the last couple of months and the cattle are churning it into a sea of mud.  Otherwise he and mum are doing well.  Oddly, because the cattle are largely gone from the place, and because the ground is really too wet to move machinery around on, there wasn't really a great deal of work actually to do.

I slept well on Saturday night, partly because of a late night on Friday and because it's just so silent down there at night.  When I'm down there at night, I kind of understand Goya's Giant in a way I don't when I'm in the city - the sense of something vast and timeless being there, but that can only be seen perhaps at night.

Melbourne?  Well, Melbourne is light and movement and ephemera - Mondrian's Broadway Boogie-Woogie -

Sunday morning Dad left for Shepparton with the last load of cows and calves - he said it's probably the first time in 70 years there hasn't been a cow or calf on the home place.  I was going to have lunch with Mum and then come back to town in the afternoon.  About 1pm, though, Dad rang to say he was on his way back - he'd made record time to the property at Shepparton and had unloaded the cattle and rather than hang about over night for no reason, he was coming back, so I stayed for dinner.  I spent a fair bit of time outside, getting fresh air into my lungs and giving the dog a run, and also tried to think of another short newspaper historical column to try and flog.  Dad got back about 5pm and I left about 9pm.

Today at work was heavily taken up with about 4 files that needed close analysis.  One of the highlights came at lunch when I was able to log on to the York Daily Record from Pennsylvania and forward on to a bundle of people a little piece that paper had been happy to publish.  I was pretty pleased!  In the evening I went and got groceries and had a chat to my sister Jennie on the phone - she and JP and flying to the US on Wednesday for a wedding in San Francisco and will duck over to La to see Joni and the girls.  That really means a lot to me, I have to say: they have the whole of North America to choose from, but they wanted more than anything else to see my little family.  I'm pretty stoked about that!

Dinner was frozen lasagna which I heated up and then served over fresh tomatoes and lettuce, which turned out pretty good despite taking all of 8 minutes to prepare.  Watched Big Bang Theory and now, blogging and bed.

Hope all your days are peaceful and happy too.

See you tomorrow.