thought fragments

This year has disappeared in a whirlwind of long days and late nights.

It has been a year of plaintive farewells, and cheerful greetings.

I have done so much, and not enough, and there’s still so much to do.

But it’s a humid Summer’s day, and all I want to do is lie on my bed with the aircon on.

Or maybe go out and have a few drinks with friends.

Or listen to classical music while reading a good book.

I want to share the music of Rachmaninoff, but I can’t decide which piece I like most.

Not long ago, ABC Classic played part of his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and I stopped whatever I was doing, and listened until the end.

Earlier this year, I learnt that Rachmaninoff struggled with depression throughout his career. He received harsh criticisms about some of his compositions, which made him question his worth as a composer.

But he sought help, he did better, and now he’s remembered and celebrated as one of Russia’s greatest composers.

I wonder if next year will be “quiet”.

The years seem to alternate between tranquil and turbulent, and there aren’t many ways in which this year could have been more turbulent (although there are still about two and half weeks left, so I wouldn’t be surprised if something happened…)

Or maybe the years don’t alternate, and I just made that up.

Thick, grey clouds have gathered, and there’s a cool breeze blowing now.

Maybe it will storm later.

not the house I was expecting

One Sunday afternoon, when it was scorchingly hot, I went to the study, which is eastward facing, to open the windows up and let some air in. Upon doing so, I discovered a small fly, buzzing around the fly-screen, perhaps trying to figure out a way to get out.

(I remember my mum saying a number of times that day that it was probably cooler outside than it was inside, but I’m sure it was equally humid outside despite the breeze (when there was one). Besides, we always had the option of air-con if it came down to it. (Even in extreme heat, as it was that day, I like to use air-con sparingly because, you know, it uses a lot of electricity, and apparently I care about that kind of thing.))

This particular window, at which I found the fly, has bars on in, so it’s not exactly easy fly-swatting territory. I also didn’t want to use fly spray because, well, that doesn’t always work effectively, and they fly off to die somewhere else, possibly not to be discovered until some days later. Besides, the wind was blowing inward, so that probably would not have worked. (Truth be told, I think I was suffering so much from the heat, I didn’t even think about fly spray at all.)

As luck would have it, though, there were some small plastic cups on a table nearby (not for drinking purposes, but from some craft thing my sister had done and subsequently finished/abandoned). I’m sure the fly was also struggling under some form of heatstroke (I exaggerate here, because I don’t think that I was really that out of it, but I’m sure the heat has affected my memory to some degree) because it didn’t take much time for me to trap it in the cup. Once this was done, I took it outside, to the furthest corner of the backyard, to release it, with the hope that it wouldn’t follow me back inside.

I think I must’ve been wearing something quite lucky that day because when I got to the back of the yard, I happened to notice that there were not one but …several (honestly, who thinks about counting things when all you want to do is get rid of a fly and go back inside and read a book?) – several spiders’ webs in the apple guava tree in the corner.

Perfect, I thought, I’ll release it into one of these spiders’ webs, and then I’ll know it’s not going to follow me back inside.

And it actually was as easy as that: I held the cup up to the nearest web, removed the scrap of paper I was holding over the opening, and the fly flew right into the web and was thus ensnared.

I watched it for a moment, and the first thought that occurred to me was, Perhaps there is a bit of Slytherin in me.

I don’t know why I had this thought – I hadn’t been re-reading or re-watching the Harry Potter series; hadn’t had any recent discussions about it with friends; hadn’t even been thinking about it that day (not that I remember, anyway) – but there it was, that one off-hand thought.

When I was younger, and I did those personality quizzes that told you which House you’d be in if you went to Hogwarts, I usually got, well, pretty much any of the other three (mostly Ravenclaw, if I remember correctly, because I was a bit of a nerd – and arguably still am). I cannot remember ever feeling inclined to select the options that would put me in Slytherin (they were always multiple-choice, and it was always obvious which options leaned toward which House). (Side note: I’m really liking how my spell-checker is fully accepting all of these HP-related words.)

But, of course, in life, there are rarely absolutes when it comes to things like personality categories, especially as determined by poorly designed quizzes. I must say, though, that I released the fly into the web as a matter of ensuring it would not bother me again, not because I wanted to be mean to the fly. (I also kind of wanted to see what the spider would do with the fly, but it just completely ignored it. How rude!)

tomorrow, I don’t know

I’ve taken a liking to the song “Reality” by Lost Frequencies (ft Janieck Devy). Last night I listened to it on loop for an entire hour, up until I went to bed. Even so, it’s not surprising to me that when I woke up this morning, and as I went about my day, I seemed to have every other song playing in my head apart from “Reality”.

It’s kind of weird how the mind works like that. It’s just like those days when I might listen to a song – maybe only half of it – and then this will be followed by countless other, better songs …And yet, the next morning, it’ll be that half-listened-to song that will be in my head.

Sometimes I won’t have heard a song for what seems like years and years, but one day it’ll just spontaneously appear from the depths of my memory, like a jack-in-the-box that’s finally been wound enough.

“Reality” played a lot on the radio and TV while I was in Rocky (I watched a lot of Channel V and Max while I was there). Perhaps I’ll always associate that song with Rocky, or at least with my memory of that time in Rocky. Perhaps not. At least it kind of captures the uncertainty and just “going with the flow”.

I think it’s a great chilled out summer song. I was a little bit afraid that I’d get sick of listening to it if I had it on repeat for an entire hour, but I could probably listen to it all day and still like it. And I would probably still not have it stuck in my head the next day.

Such is life.

wasting time

It’s been a whirlwind last couple of days. I flew up north to help with cover at our group’s pharmacy up there while HR recruits a new pharmacist. I was there for maybe a grand total of 31-32 hours (just one night) but, gee, it was pretty intense.

And now I’m just exhausted.

Strangely enough, I did some laundry and cleaning this morning, and I’m probably less tired, but still sleepy. I kind of just want to lie down and not move for the rest of the day.

It doesn’t help that it’s super hot today – around 36 degrees Celsius. I’m just going to stay in my room and enjoy the aircon.

And the laptop has made a triumphant return! I am back on my laptop for the first time in over a month because, as much as I would like to lie here doing nothing, I’d feel bad, so I’ve brought my laptop in. Still going to be wasting time, but I’ll be getting something done – like this post!

Isn’t it terrible that we have to feel guilty about doing nothing. I mean, sure, if you’re at work, or there are jobs people are expecting you to get done, then doing nothing is probably not the best plan; but if it’s the week-end and you need a rest and there’s nothing that desperately needs doing, then surely you can be allowed to laze around doing nothing…?

Well, I suppose it’s this whole notion of opportunity cost (one of my favourite / most remembered economic principles). It’s that voice in my head that says, “Yes, you can sit here and do nothing – you’ve probably earnt a break – but think of all the other things you could be doing!”

But it’s ridiculous to be expected to be constantly making the most of every minute.

Hmm… I feel like if I keep going with this post, it’s going to quickly devolve into a weird internal argument, so I’m getting out while I can. Good-bye!

someone new

This has been a bit of a weird day in which I didn’t really feel like doing anything at all. What I ended up doing, mostly, apart from eating, was reading journal articles and getting CPD points, which isn’t something I usually do on days when I’m lacking general motivation (it’s not even something I tend to do on days when I do have motivation).

I did some leisurely reading too, though. Just started One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (by Ken Kesey). It’s one that I’ve wanted to read for so long, so I’m glad I’m finally getting around to it.

I’m going to blame this general lack of motivation on the beginning of summer. Yes, it’s that time of the year again… That time when the temperature is regularly above 30 (talking Celsius here – I wish it was Fahrenheit), the humidity becomes stifling, and every second thought has something to do with rain or cool breezes or air con.

I could also just be tired because I went out last night to see Hozier at River Stage. It’s quite a nice venue (my first time seeing a concert there). The forecast kept saying there’d be storms or at least some rain, but luckily it held off the whole night – pretty much until I got home. All the lightning seemed to be happening out west, which meant there was this lovely light display in the sky just above and around the stage. It was pretty cool.

The concert itself was pretty good too. Admittedly, I’m not as familiar with Hozier’s music as I am with The Script or Maroon 5, so I wasn’t as psyched up this time, but I was quite pleased overall. The support/opening act, Rhodes, was also pretty impressive. He’s possibly the best support act I’ve seen out of all the concerts I’ve been to.

If you haven’t already guessed, “Someone New” is my favourite Hozier song. Also really like “Work Song” (which, despite the name, doesn’t seem to have anything to do with actual work). There are others I quite like but I really cannot remember their names right now.

Hmm… Maybe I’d benefit from an early bedtime tonight. Then again, maybe I could just put on some music and not worry about bedtime. It is the week-end, after all…


Where I am, today is the last day of summer, although, tecnically, “summer” tends to extend several weeks (if not a month or two) beyond it’s school-book defined limits (traditionally, summer is only meant to be from the start of December to the end of February).

I’m definitely not a fan of heat and humidity, so it’s actually my least favourite season. I like winter because it’s cold, and I like autumn because it leads to winter. But, because I always try to be positive (the operative word here being “try”), I thought I’d make a list of things that I actually like about summertime. I wonder if I can get up to ten…

  1. There are more daylight hours. This is kind of part of the problem of why it’s so hot, but having more daylight means that when I leave work after 6pm, it’s not pitch dark already. Seasonal affective disorder is a real thing, people!
  2. School and uni students are on holidays for most of summer, which means less people on trains/buses, which means I can commute in peace without thinking angry thoughts about the school kids who take up half the seats.
  3. Every day is a good day to have ice-cream (granted, any day of the year is also a good day for ice-cream)
  4. Summer storms actually have a bit of a nostalgic quality about them – you know, when they’re not being desctructive and all…
  5. I can take cold showers every day. This is mostly important to me because I’m weirdly environmentally conscious, and have a thing about energy conservation. Basically, I’ll think of these three months when I haven’t used any water heating as being a small saving for the environment.
  6. Summer makes me really appreciate the freezing cold aircon at work. On good days, I will be so cold leaving work that I will have only just defrosted by the time I get home (and take a cold shower).
  7. Mangoes are in season. They are delicious. I don’t think I need to elaborate.

I’m actually really struggling to think of more reasons now. I just keep thinking of reasons why I don’t like summer. Then I did a search of my blog to see if I’d written stuff about summer before, and it turns out that I did a similar post (although not as elaborate or list-y) at about this time last year. It seems like I’ve always had a bit of trouble coming to terms with this dislike of summer… but no matter how hard I try, I just cannot make myself like it more.

Perhaps instead of trying to cover up the dislikes with likes, I should just come out and vent away all my frustrations with summer:

  1. Of course, problem number one is that it’s too hot and too humid.
  2. In winter, if it’s too cold, I can just wear more layers or grab an extra blanket, but in summer you have no choice but to have the air conditioner running 99% of the time (may or may not be an exaggeration), or otherwise risk melting and evaporating away (assuming the humidity will permit you to evaporate). This is related to my slightly obsessive must-try-to-be-environmentally-friendly mentality.
  3. There are more mosquitos. I don’t know where mozzies go in the colder months (are their natural lifespans long enough to justify hibernation?) but when it’s summer, they are everywhere.
  4. There’s no AFL or NRL – only cricket. At risk of sounding a bit “un-Australian”, I really don’t understand cricket; I have exactly zero interest in cricket. Ok, maybe, like, 0.01 interest.
  5. The sun rises earlier and disturbs my week-end sleep-ins by shining brightly through my curtains. To be fair, this is partly my fault for not closing the curtains properly, but that is probably because I’m too busy trying to fall asleep in a puddle of my own sweat. I’m just kidding – I’d probably have the aircon on.
  6. The UV danger rating is always “extreme”, which means I’m thoroughly discouraged from going outside anywhere between about 8am and 6pm. We’re always being reminded of the high risk, and hence the high rates of melanoma in our sunny state, so I think it’s no wonder that I’m so afraid of sunlight.
  7. Storms can take out powerlines and be generally quite destructive. And no powerlines means no power, which means no aircon and no refrigeration.

Actually, even with this list, I’m struggling to get to ten. Maybe summer’s not that bad after all… or maybe the intensity of the items on the second list is greater than that of the items of the first list, which means overall I still don’t particularly like summer.

I’m kind of predicting that I’ll have this same dilemma next year…