You remind me of Lowercase Ezh-hachek. You’re a real special character.
My favourite teacher from high school, John Campbell, died suddenly at the age of 62 two weeks ago. He had become a friend, as well as a mentor and a father figure, and at his funeral I saw how many young people felt the same about him. He was an English and modern history teacher, and an incredible one at that. He imbued every lesson he taught with a healthy cynicism, a wicked sense of humour and a love of learning. That sounds poxy about a “love of learning”, but it wasn’t at all – it was a real love of the process of acquiring knowledge and then holding it up to the light, shaking it around and questioning it. Seeing if a theory held up to scrutiny.
I wrote a tribute to him here and I’m still coming to grips with his loss. I hadn’t seen him for a year and I kick myself for that. Time spent with him always felt valuable, inspiring – you’d be zinging off one another talking about everything from current affairs to the mundanities of life with kids. I will never have another conversation with him and that makes me incredibly sad. I have had a few in my head with him already.
I would describe John Campbell as an enthusiast, and having been raised by two eccentric enthusiasts I think being an enthusiast is my favourite character trait in a human. Never too cool for school when it comes to appreciating a new discovery or a new connection. Encouraging other people in their passions, even if that ends up being something like collecting breadtags.
At his wake, another ex-Manly High teacher was talking about him, and he said that John had told him that his number one priority was to encourage kids to be passionate about something. He certainly did that time and time again for hundreds of kids. What an incredible man. We are all the richer for having known him, but that doesn’t make it any easier that he’s gone. He should be enjoying his hard-earned retirement – playing golf and visiting all the places in Europe he taught us all about.
I will never forget him.
P.S. This is the 100th post on FFF! HIGH FIVES all round!!
Nobody likes battery hens. I meant that no one likes the cruelty of it, but let’s be honest, battery hens are pretty unlovable. Not like these cute fluffy heritage breeds:
Due to zeitgeisty forces that dictate my every move, thought and sympathy, I have been planning a home flock for when we get back to Australia. This is awesome in so many obvious ways: fresh eggs, pets, new poo scraping duties etc. But less obviously, it’s awesome because it puts me in touch with another of those niche Internet communities I mentioned on my fermentation post. Once again I’ve uncovered an intersection of Portlandia-style neurotics and members of ultra-conservative religious cults. Maybe hipsters are in fact covert members of an ultra-conservative religious cult, aiming to take over the world. Or cult members are actually hipsters in disguise. Either way I win, and not just because I like wearing headscarves.
I’ve really struggled with this week’s topic, because every time I try to think of what to write about, I get this song stuck in my head:
In my head, the word “battery” stands in for “ratties”. I can tell you that in my head there are many words that stand in for “ratties”. When I make some food I’m thinking snack-snack-snack-snack-snack-snackies, when I see a run-over rat on the road, I’m thinking flat-flat-flat-flat-flat-flatty. And on it goes.
I have been struggling with another battery-related song. This one is actually battery-powered.
Our neighbours have bought one of those child-sized cars for their kid to drive around in. As the car whirrs about on the street, it also plays two songs over and over again, both sung in a child’s voice which is – FACT – one of the most annoying sounds in the world.
The two songs are Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and the alphabet. With the alphabet song, it’s the version we all know and love, right up until L-M-N-O-P, at which point, all the subsequent letters ARE SUNG OUT OF ORDER.
I would like to smash that car to pieces with a baseball bat-bat-bat-bat-bat-batty.
I went around and counted everything in the house that uses a battery and got to 52. Excessive.
Everything from our digital kitchen scales to the car, to torches and phones. We no longer have a TV or a VCR, so that accounts for not having the feeling of constantly having a missing remote, or inexplicably needing to press buttons on three separate remotes just to watch TV. Leo’s toys make up about a third of the battery-powered devices. I don’t think we’ve ever bought him a toy that requires batteries but other people seem compelled to. They even have battery operated books now. Hell in a basket ladies. That’s where we’re headed…
Speaking of energy consumption. We got our first power bill since the solar panels a while back, and it was about $30 for the quarter. Down from $200 and something (including full green energy). And it’s been a crap rainy summer, so that bodes well for them.
Short post is nice for a change, eh. I usually go on and on.
Recently I had a disagreement with my parents that took me back to the day when I was still living at home and the parents and kid roles were nicely divided (I did a lot of mouthing off and being up myself claiming I knew everything then and my parents telling me to shove it). Anyway, the football match between Portugal and Poland was about to start in the newly built National Stadium in Warsaw (built for UEFA Euro 2012 purposes). Whiskeys in hand, my parents were positioned on their recliner chairs in front of their a wee-bit-too-massive TV. The argument went like this:
I said (whilst crocheting a scarf, having just put two kids to bed): why are you even watching this? Poland will lose. They’re pathetic. They always lose. They’re not even a real team. Look they’re so shit that half the seats in the bleachers are empty. They’re crap. They’ve been crap ever since I got back to this country. You’re just wasting your evening. There will be no surprises. It will be a crap match…yadda yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah, I know everything, listen to me, do as I say, yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah…..
Dad: what are you talking about? There are no definites in sport. You know that. Of course there is a chance that they will win.
Me: No there isn’t. They’re crap. They will lose you will see. They don’t even train enough. Plus their coach is rubbish. Just because there are some decent individual players on the field doesn’t mean that they’re a decent team. C’mon it’s the Polish national team for frigg’s sake! They lose to Israel! They’re embarrassing. They’re hopeless. They’re the reason I stopped watching football. Let’s concentrate on other good athletes like Radwanska and Justyna Kowalczyk (world class cross country skier) and yadda yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah, I know everything, listen to me, do as I say, yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah…..
Mum: Why are you being so pessimistic? We want to support the team. You never know, they might give it their all, it might be a good match.
Me: What are you talking about mum?? You don’t even know what offside is! Why are you even watching this match?! yadda yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah, I know everything, listen to me, do as I say, yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah…..
Dad: God you’re so aggressive. Do you realise when you carry on like that nobody in their right mind actually wants to be listening to you. Can you finally learn how to talk like a normal person, in a calm way, without being such an annoying know-it-all?
Me: Humph. This is such crap (pick up my crochet needle and storm off to the bedroom where I watch downloaded episodes of Parks and Recreation, thinking God he’s right. I don’t even want to be listening to myself. Need to get back to Krakow. Must stop being a sixteen year old).
I was such a shit to live with at times, back in the day. I swear I’ve changed. A bit.
Portugal v Poland (0:0)
Oh dear. I am going to Cambodia tomorrow, and need to be at the airport at 6:30am. There really is no room for procrastination here.
If you think my posts are usually a bit on the stream-of-consciousness side, this should be a real treat.
Ok…. disagreements. Did I have any disagreements today? Yes. But pretty darned petty. Oh well that’s what you get when you don’t plan your posts even a little bit.
The first disagreement was with my friend. I was meeting her for coffee and an hour early (because it’s on my way home). I waited for about an hour and a half, then got up to go to my appointment. Then I saw her sitting outside, talking to my other friend. None of them had spotted me inside. I said, “didn’t you think to come inside and see if I was there?”, she said, “yes I did, and you weren’t there.” I said, “yes, I was there.”
HOLD ON, I THINK WE HAVE THE MATERIAL FOR A BLOCKBUSTER KOREAN DRAMA, RIGHT THERE!
The second was when I was reading the children’s bedtime stories, and a mosquito was trying to bite me, and Richard was not trying to kill the mosquito, certainly not with any vim. I said, “Get up!”, but with swearing. Tiny Anika said, “why you angy Mama?” and then hopped about pretending to kill mosquitos for me.
I’ll never do it again.