Cloud Goes Up, Cloud Goes Down

Hello work week! Well if you're tired of processing data (that's me!), or memorising the periodic table for your science exam, or whatever it is that you're meant to be doing, here's another bloated, multi-subject post to sink your teeth into. (NOTE: actually sinking your teeth into your monitor is not recommended; it will leave unsightly bite marks in the plastic, and may chip your teeth).

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Well I had a rather culturally improving weekend; on Saturday, as I often do, taking myself off to the Newcastle art gallery to see a new exhibition I'd been looking forward to, Margaret Olley's Newcastle. Olley, considered to be Australia's greatest living painter, painted many landscapes of Newcastle in the 1960s and 70s, and the exhibiton is really worth getting along to, especially to observe the astonishing changes to the city skyline between then and now.

There was an even greater treat at the gallery though -
Francsico Goya's Proverbs; his last, unfinished series of etchings. Well, they were breathtakingly wonderful. A series of proverbs for which Goya had each created a whimsical etching, blending naturalism and fantasy. There was so much detail in each picture, I could have examined them for hours. Unfortunately, I only had limited time on Saturday, but I will be going back - the exhibit is free, and runs until January - and I heartily recommend to any of you that you do the same if you in any way get the chance!

Thus inspired, I headed down to
Eckersley's to get some art suppiles. I've started a new visual journal (just because I have no artistic talent whatsoever, is no reason for me not to enjoy doing it). I think I understand why I abandoned my old journal, which I haven't updated at all this year; as an A4 book, it was too intimidating. Filling up each page seemed like too daunting a task. But I did love doing it, and I've always kept a private diary and I really missed it. So for this journal I bought an A5 hardcovered sketchbook. I figured I'd be more likely to start creating pages if I knew that I had a good chance of finishing them. And sure enough, over the weekend I did create several layouts. I'm still finding my feet, but once I've created a few things I'm really happy with, I'll scan and post them here...

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You know I love to share tales of the human stupidity I witness on a depressingly regular basis. Here's another.
A few doors down from my house, there was a video shop which recently and suddenly closed down. Now, it's obvious to any half-awake person that the shop has closed. You can see through the windows, that the shelves are empty and the lights are off; there was a large fluro "OPEN" sign near the front door that is now extinguished, there's a heavy bolt on the front doors, and in the door is a large handwritten "CLOSED" sign.
Well, what you'd expect is that customers arriving at the building would see all this, think "Oh, it's closed down" and walk away. But no.
I've seen people walk up to the shop, passing the windows, with the aforementioned empty shelves, and reach the front door. Despite the sign and the bolt, they usually approach the doors several times, as if the automatic mechanism wasn't working; then they try to shake the bolt; then usually stand there for a good few mintues, as if expecting that at any mintue, the staff will arrive, open up, fill up the shelves and it will be business as usual.
I saw one couple - who looked like sensible people, the kind with professional jobs -stand outside the front doors (after the standard lock-shaking) for fully ten minutes, before walking about 20 metres away...then the walked back, to give those doors just one more try.
I really have to be grateful for the amusement I've had lately, just staring out the window and observing these imbeciles.

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Well, it's the Australian Idol Final tonight. I know, I can hardly stand the excitement either.
Although it's hardly an original observation, this season of Idol hasn't exactly set the world on fire. Ratings are way down, hardly anyone is voting (there was a big to-do a few weeks ago, when the bottom two contestants were only seperated by - gasp! - only 27 votes. Actually, I've since heard that in reality, there were barely a few thousand votes overall). It isn't just the music industry insiders who are dumping on Idol; a columist in the Weekender noted that she hasn't watched much Idol this season - "And in past years, just the sound of the title music was enough to get my heart racing."
The problem is, the idea of having multiple seasons of Idol is based on a flawed premise. Although with, say, Big Brother, you can always find another twenty or so morons who are willing to "sell their soul to Channel 10" to quote
Skye, subsequent series of Idol are predicated on the suppositon that somehow, somewhere, there are 30+ talented singers, capable of having healthy recording career, who for some reason were completely overlooked in the auditions for previous seasons. This clearly doesn't hold up; and apart from the people who turned 16 in the current year, making them eligible to audition, at some stage the talent pool in the country has to be exhausted.
At any rate, whoever wins tonight...is probably going to wish they hadn't. Consider the past history of winners vs runners up in terms of career success. I can imagine Kate and Emily standing on stage tonight, waiting for the big announcement, staring at each other and thinking, "Let it be her, not me!!!"
But I'm only imagining that. As you can probably guess, tonight I'll be watching something else.

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