Sunday, October 24, 2010

exciting things are happening

What's been happening? I already told you - exciting things. There have been some non-exciting things too. I'm not going to the IAA conference in Tasmania next month (no leave, no cash). In fact the no cash thing is pretty much the most unexciting thing in my life, making the very act of eating a financial decision - can I afford to eat that? The answer, usually, is probably not.

But why so cash-strapped BHG? Glad you asked. It has to do with - exciting things!

Exciting Thing Number One
And expensive thing number one. Flights booked.

After boring everyone with my plans to spend my fortieth in Greece next year, I've put my money where my boring is and booked. Actually I booked for three. The other two will come back to me, but not for a while, so Exciting Thing Number One has made me very very poor. But excited

Of course, I have also booked rooms and bought guide books, so the guide orgy has begun. Bus schedules, hotel prices, museum opening hours, I can quote you the lot!

Exciting Thing Number Two
Ethics granted.

Mercy lordy, this has been a hard and bloody slog. Hundreds of pages of forms, and other forms, and extra questions and comments called for. I understand that ethics are important, but it's like a job application - the same questions asked a thousand times in a different format. My university also also famous for, amongst other things, producing the most god-awful, unusable, badly formatted forms known to god. This particular one is a the pinnacle of bad design unfortunately.

But, it's over now and the permission seeking stage has begun!

Exciting Thing Number Three
It's a little bit sunny. I don't like really sunny, but this is OK. I still need a jacket on inside, but the laundry's dry, the cats and warm and snuggly and ready to have their tummies kissed, and outdoor eating is upon us.

So, I feel it's time to mark Exciting Thing Number One with a Greek lunch. Which means a couple of hours away from the methodology chapter to write out the invites. Like I said, exciting things.

Exciting Thing Number Four
My mummy comes home next weekend.

Over and out.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I dream of themes

It is well documented that I am lazy. Bone lazy. Actually, that's not technically true. More, that I like to do what I like to do. mmmmm.... what do I like to do?:
  • sleep
  • eat dumplings
  • scour for old Blur videos
  • write
And write this sort of stuff, truth be known. Not writing theses, trying to make a lot out of not very much at all. And recently it's turned me into a bit of a social networker (in an attempt to write what I want and not what I should. There's this blog. And a couple of others. And facebook. And more recently Twitter. I've bagged twitter very much for a very long time, but now it turns out I quite like it. I have no followers except for Dr Space Junk - so go and find me and follow me now. oooooooo.... how I long for approval.

And all of this tweeting, and blogging and stuff has drawn my attention to one thing - I'm not writing the stuff I like to write and writing the thesis is actually distracting me for the stuff I really like to do, and that's Interpretation.

And how did I get on this roller-coaster of unemployability** I hear you ask... well, here's the story.

One day, dunno about four years ago, I was at my desk as a state government employed events manager. It was OK, the events weren't big and I got to hob-knob it with those in the art world from time-to-time. But in government you have to do PD (professional development) with clockwork like precision. And one eventually runs out of things in which to develop oneself. So I googled 'events professional development', and up popped a little university run events course. Not that I though that much about it, it was just another tick in a bureaucratic box for me, so I rang to enquire.

Now, I ended up talking not to the events guy (now known as Brown Steve), instead I got JJ. JJ could sell ice to the penguins. I rang up to enquire about 3 days of PD, and by the end of the call I was enrolled in a Masters degree. No - really. She's that good. I tell this story sometimes as part of my introduction during workshops and people think I'm making it up. But part of this degree was another 3-day workshop on Interpretation, which I had never heard about and if you'd asked me I would have thought it was something about languages.

Hooked. Instantly hooked.

I was like someone had turned a light on inside me, and I saw the world in a whole new way.

And so I am here, writing the thesis, and really wishing I was writing interpretation. And recently I've been tweeting about interp, and reading interp blogs, and posting things about interp (like the dollar bill post below) and just dying to write something creative.


And this is another little tit-bit that I got from IBD (and which you can also see on the Kulula airlines website).

As IBD point out, this is hardly the height of sophistication, but by-golly-by-jim, it caught my eye and made me giggle (and now I'm writing about it, so it must have worked). Maybe it's the references to Dead Poet's Society – which is actually a reference to Walt Whitman – or maybe it's because I have always had an affinity to airlines because of my beloved Uncle John.

Speaking of Uncle John, I get to see him in Greece next year. For my fortieth birthday party. For which I am on the verge of booking flights.

I'm sure there's a theme in there somewhere, dying to get out.

** like degrees in Classics and Archaeology in the 1990s didn't make me unemployable enough!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

more bang for your buck

A recent post on Interpretation By Design talks about a contest recently held (it closed yesterday) to redesign American paper money. The contest itself was run by designers, not by the US Government, so the winner is not actually going to end up on currency.

Both IBD and the Dollar ReDe$ing Project tackle an interesting problem, faced by interpreters all the time - how to make something complex, with multiple layers into something easily understood by all (although comments on the contest's page are slightly less than enthusiastic). What I think it's about is asking Americans who they think they are? Currency is intensely important for this, when the Romans conquered a new land one of the first things they did was mint new coins, in local denominations but with the Emperor's face on it. This is an amazing piece of propaganda, most of us handle currency everyday in a very matter of fact manner. Once we're comfortable and familiar with our notes and coins we become comfortable and familiar with their images. And all of a sudden half of our grain is going to Rome as tax and we don't think that's so strange. This was one of my big beefs with the Euro - taking away countries' sense of identities and cultural, historical and ethnic differences. Bad thing. The again, many would say the same thing about the EU in general, and its endless regulations, particularly cheese producers.

I can't see how changing the pictures can help the economy, as claimed by the organisers, but it's an interesting exercise how a nation sees its-self, well at least how a nation's designers see themselves. This is one of my favourites. Brings a whole new meaning to 'I Love Lucy'.