what is up

Well, it’s been about two months since I wrote anything here, and it’s been quite a whirlwind two months. And now I find myself in the middle of a chilly winter, which has just become gloomy and rainy. It was nice and pleasant with the blue skies and mild days — I’d hoped the sunshine would stick around longer. At least the tomato plants will like this rain.

Just thought I’d do a random catch-up post in the stream-of-consciousness style because I can’t be bothered planning and structuring this neatly.

I’m still reading Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, which I must’ve started about four months ago. The whole thing seems very melodramatic and exaggerated, and I’m not sure if it’s just the edition/translation that I’ve got. Also not sure if it’s affecting my muse. Often a good book will inspire me to write, and I will often subconsciously write in a similar style as the book, or subtly incorporate elements from it, like using a word or sentence structure for which the author seems to have a penchant. 

Not to say that Crime and Punishment is not a good book, but it hasn’t exactly stirred that in me. I think it’s more that it’s so melodramatic, and so very different to what I’m used to reading and writing. Perhaps my mind needs more time to process and appreciate it. Perhaps that’s why it’s taking so long to get through (that, and because I don’t seem to giving myself much time for reading).

Also possible that my muse has gone into hibernation, not necessarily from lack of stimulation, but just because it seems like a good thing to do right now. I’m actually surprised at how rarely I’ve snoozed my alarm more than once (as in I always snooze it when it first goes off, to allow myself a chance to come to terms with being awake, and find the energy to get out of bed; whether or not I snooze it a second time depends on if I accidentally fall asleep and must restart the waking up process). Most work days, I’m actually out of bed before the alarm goes off a second time. Most non-work days, I try to not have an alarm. Those mornings are splendid.

Yesterday I went to buy myself a coffee from the cafe near work, because it was EOFY (end of financial year), and I was expecting a long day because of stocktake. The cafe owner was by himself behind the counter, taking orders and making the coffees. Usually there are two other staff behind the counter, and he is just floating around wherever he’s needed. He seemed a bit stressed but generally doing ok. We briefly shared condolences over staff absences in the time it took for the EFTPOS transaction to go through. You know, flu season, and other things.

But understaffing isn’t something I’m unfamiliar with. I actually didn’t do that much overtime this week, despite having three people away on different days (sometimes on the same days), and not being able to get help from other departments because they had their own absences to deal with. (Ours is a small team of about nine people, so having two people away is a big deal.)

The other night when I was driving home from work, the radio played a piano concerto by Dora Bright. As an introduction to the piece, the presenter told us a bit about how the composer grew up in a family of creators — her father made cutlery and hardware, and her mother was a playwright — and this helped shape her approach to creating music and her compositional style. I thought it was interesting how one’s profession can be presumed to be influenced by the careers of one’s parents. Possibly it is connected, but it could also be coincidence and other factors at play. Anyway, I don’t know enough about Dora Bright to say either way. 

Speaking of ABC Classic, they recently had their annual Classic 100 countdown, and this year’s theme was soundtracks for movies, TV and video games. No surprise that Star Wars took out top spot, followed by Lord of the Rings. Could’ve gone either way though. Both are absolutely monumental,  and I actually voted for both of them.

The opening theme from The Simpsons was also listed as a candidate you could vote for (so I did). It’s maybe not as epic as Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, but it’s so distinct and actually when you listen to it without the animated figures rushing about, it’s quite a brilliant piece of music. The energy and whimsy is so prominent, and suited to the show itself. Still, it was a bit weird listening to it on ABC Classic, which more commonly plays music from the likes of Beethoven, Mozart and Bach (but I guess even they wrote a few whimsical pieces in their time).

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