The Ruminator

Come on up and grab yourself a beer.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

If you don't hear from me for a couple of weeks . . .

One good thing about my mixed racial heritage is that I retain, to a greater or lesser degree, a year-round tan. This tends to create the impression that I spend a healthy amount of time outside in the fresh air, which is not always the case.

The drawback is that when I am sick (as I am now), I'm not really setup to go pale. Instead I tend to turn this strange, unappealing yellow colour, faintly tinged with green. This also makes my freckles stand out in startling contrast to my skin. Add the watery eyes and reddened nose of the flu, and you will understand that I do not look my best right now. People at work keep asking me if I am OK and why I am yellow. So far I have resisted the urge to mess with their heads by bursting into tears and accusing them all of being racists.

Being ill is never much fun, but I am particularly unimpressed with the timing of this bout. On Saturday I am going overseas on a work trip. This is problematic for several reasons. Firstly, being ill when you have no choice but to be at work is just tiring and depressing. Secondly, travelling when you are ill sucks, particularly when you travel by plane and are experiencing sinus problems. There is that lovely sensation as the pressure in your sinuses tries to equalise with the cabin pressure, and you think your face is going to explode. Thirdly, I am going to an Asian country, and having the flu when it is 30 degrees outside always feels like you are being cheated somehow.

All of this pales in comparison with the real problem with travelling to an Asian country right now - SARS. I'm not really concerned about getting it (although the mutated, intestine-eating variety sounds pretty alarming) but I have a vision of myself getting hauled aside at an airport and accused of having it. Of course, if they decided to quarantine me in the swanky hotel in which I am going to stay I suppose I could live with that, but somehow I don't think that is how it works. Actually I am more worried about getting quarantined when I come back home.

So you won't hear from me for a week while I am at this conference, but if my absence stretches longer than that you will know I am trapped in a hospital somewhere, like something from a B-grade horror movie. Bring on the zombies!

Monday, April 21, 2003

Why I want to live in a menage a trois with Ben Harper and Jack Johnson

Back at work again after the Easter break, and in the great holiday tradition I now feel quite ill. Personally I blame Doug and Missjenjen for passing on their mystery illness. Nonetheless it was really great to see them. Even if I did get my arse kicked at Scrabble.

My big event for Easter was going to see Jack Johnson and Ben Harper in Sydney (sigh). To give you the lowlights:

 People who stand and talk loudly and audibly throughout breathtakingly beautiful performances should be taken outside and summarily executed.
 So should people who loudly and continually scream during the encore for the artist to sing a particular piece, when it was actually about the third song performed.
 People who are over 6 feet tall should not stand toward the back of the crowd, directly in front of people who are 5 feet tall. There were a lot of very tall men at that concert. Had they been one meter back their view would have been uninterrupted, and so would mine.
 Staying with an old friend in Sydney and catching up is fantastic, but proceed with caution when friend is minding two cats, particularly if one cat is old, has kidney problems, and decides to sleep on your head.
 Driving out of Sydney from the North Shore can be more of a challenge than you think, particularly when the exits from the Harbour Bridge do not include signs saying useful things such as ‘Freeway Tunnel’, ‘Highway’ or ‘Canberra’. Once you take a wrong turn and find yourself in the CBD it is impossible to get out again. Canberra to Sydney = 3 hours. Sydney to Canberra = 5 hours.

And the highlights:

 Getting into the Hawaiian surfy vibe during Jack Johnson’s set.
 Watching people trying to exercise their inalienable right to get stoned at a Ben Harper concert, when in a well-patrolled non-smoking venue.
 Someone managing to pass Ben Harper a beanie during the concert and having him read out the accompanying note – Dear Ben, my Nanna and I knitted this for you.
 Ben Harper having 10,000 screaming fans in the palm of his hand.
He sang Sexual Healing and 10,000 people simultaneously orgasmed.
He sang Walk Away and 10,000 people wept.
He Sang Power of the Gospel and 10,000 people had an intense religious experience.
He sang I’ll Rise and 10,000 rose and went absolutely fucking nuts.

At that point he could have directed the crowd to storm a fortress and they would have.

Other than that my weekend consisted of sitting around with good friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in a long time, eating Chinese food or chips, and drinking beer. And eating Easter eggs.

OK, so two out of three isn’t bad.