Weekly Wrap 134: Christmas contrasts and introspection

The perfect user interface: click to embiggenThe week of Monday 24 to Sunday 30 December 2012 was an exercise in contrasts. There were plenty of reminders that, as has been the case for many years, my pattern of work and not-work periods is out of whack with the bulk of society.

Monday was Christmas Eve. Most people in regular jobs had an easy day, if they hadn’t already clocked off the previous Friday afternoon. I, however, was awake and working ridiculously early to complete the three media item you see listed below.

I finished by lunchtime, though, so I made my way from my Hurstville apartment-sitting to the Sydney CBD for lunch and drinks with a friend.

I didn’t work on Christmas Day. I’m not a complete idiot. But with family distant both physically and emotionally, there was no Christmas party. Instead, I spent some quality time with someone who has yet to be formally introduced to this narrative.

The rest of the week was a random montage of catch-up bookkeeping, long overdue errands, intermittent bursts of sleep and the occasional meal or two, some of which may have involved wine, all set against a background of quiet introspection. None of it involved any traditional Australian summer holiday activities, for which I am deeply grateful.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 169, “Uncovering the smartphone: a year 10 perspective”. A rather different podcast to end the year, namely a look at what happened when the Year 10 students at North Sydney Girls High School spent six weeks away from normal classes to work on projects of their choice that were somehow related to the smartphone.

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None. Australia is currently closed.

The Week Ahead

I expect that Monday and Tuesday, being New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day respectively, will be taken up with the traditional activities of those days. Or at least my variations thereupon. No. Mind your own business.

Wednesday through Friday I’ll continue my planning for 2013. You saw the first instalment of that earlier today, Doing the business on Stilgherrian’s journalism, but it’s not just about my work. There’s also questions about what the magazines call “work-life balance” before flogging the book for $24.95, questions of diet and exercise and how I structure my day. Even the question of where I live.

I’ll post more about that as it happens. For now, I’ll just say that I’ve recognised so many things that could be changed that it’ll be daunting.

[Photo: The perfect user interface, photographed on near Town Hall station, Sydney, on 28 December 2012. It’s always important to focus on your core message.]

50 to 50 #6: Myponga Primary School

[This post is part of the series 50 to 50, fifty posts in the lead-up to my 50th birthday next weekend. Originally intended to be one per day, with the final one on the birthday itself, it’s been disrupted by my work schedule. There will still be fifty posts, eventually, just not one per day.]

One day in early 1966, when I was still five years old, I caught the school bus from the front gate of our dairy farm near Mount Compass and enrolled myself at Myponga Primary School.

Yes, I enrolled myself. My parents were too busy running the farm that day. I can just remember being taken to the principal’s office to answer the questions he needed to complete the enrolment form. Name, date of birth, address, telephone number, parents’ names and so on. I daresay my parents had phoned in advance with most of that stuff, but at the time I felt so very grown up and clever.

I knew my alphabet and could count and do basic arithmetic before I went to school. These days there are kindergartens and pre-schools in the cities and towns, and plenty of kids’ TV programs wherever you live. But who taught me back then? I’m guessing my grandmother — my mother’s mother — who lived with us on the farm. Alas, I have almost no memory of her.

School bored me. All these kids seemed so stupid! They had to be taught their letters and numbers and I already knew all that. Apparently I was disruptive in class. Who knew?

The photo [embiggen] is actually from 1969, when I was in Grade 5 and nine years old. Which kid is me? I’ll tell you at the bottom of this post.

The guy on the top row, sixth from the left with a cheesy grin, is Mark Lorenzetti. Our families were friends. Mark was the same age as me, his youngest brother the same age as mine, and he had a brother in the middle. Like us, they had a dairy farm, though theirs had plenty of irrigated land and was clearly far more productive through those droughts of the 1960s. I reckon our dogs were smarter than theirs though.

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