Monday, May 30, 2011

Winter Busyness

Winter indeed. I don't know what the rest of you out there are going through, but we're having an early winter here in Tas, and a cold one. Lots of frosts; clear, cold nights where the temperature drops to freezing. We even had a good dose of Aurora Australis a few nights back, apparently. Unfortunately, with the mountains immediately to our south, I didn't get to see the display. Mind you, I've caught the Southern Lights before, so I can lay claim to having seen the earth's aurora at both ends of the planet.

I've been writing, which is good. A couple of stories, three submissions, one rejection. The other two are on longer deadlines - one is for Ticonderoga's paranormal noir anthology upcoming, and the other for Cosmos. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

And more writing: two novels at once. There's the novelisation of the libretto for Outkast Opera, and another project, which I don't care to discuss. Enough to keep me quite busy, obviously.

Meanwhile, in keeping with Sudden Winter, I have a cold. And apparently, also 'Geographic Tongue'. Which is as weird as it sounds, yes. I thought about trying to take a photo, but between the need for a mirror and a flash (which is always a bad combination) or alternatively, the need to point the camera at my tongue while vaguely hoping for the best, I decided I'd pull a photo off the Net. And here it is. Not my tongue, but more or less what my tongue currently looks like. Ick.

Meanwhile... this year isn't slowing down even a little bit. It just screams past while I'm still trying to catch my breath. Every day, every week, chockfull. Last Friday night, Nat and the boys did their first concert with the Launceston Youth and Community Orchestra. It went rather well, all things considered - all things being a tired and impatient Mau-Mau, sub-zero weather by the time the concert was finished, lengthy pause between practice and play (which we filled with a trip to Dumpling Legend for dinner) and the fact that yes, it was a Friday night concert in Launceston after a long and trying week at school, etc.

I notice they're trying to set up a four-term school year again here in Tas. I guess those summer holidays are just too long for good, industry-standard breaks. Can't have the kids getting used to the idea of freedom, can you? And those awful parents, demanding time off to be with their spawn... how dare they?

I don't think they're planning to add a lot more in the way of school days, mind you. Just redistribute the holidays. Of course, that means an extra start-period every year, in which nothing much gets done. And an extra last-week-of-term each year, in which (yes, again) nothing much gets done. But that's okay, because it will Modernise Tasmania, and Bring Us Into Line With The Mainland.

... you know, I'm kind of tired of prioritising corporate interests over everybody else in society.

Take the current fuss with Cate Blanchett supporting a carbon tax. Madame B has been a card-carrying Green for many a year, and has put her money where her mouth is in terms of lifestyle. She's speaking up in favour of a price on carbon, designed to help raise awareness of CO2 production, and to reduce it by allowing less CO2 intensive alternatives compete with the artificially lowered price of carbon-heavy energy.

And for this Rupert sets the media dogs on her.

Meanwhile, Australia's richest individual -- Gina Rinehart -- jumps on the bandwagon against the infamous Mining Tax, howling that it'll bring roooination to us all. Oddly, Gina's massive fortune comes from... mining. Yes. But does anyone call her out on the patently obvious conflict here?

Well, not in uncle Rupert's newspapers they don't. Nor in TV-land, where the Word of Murdoch is Law.

We can afford a mining tax. In fact, it's arguable we can't afford NOT to have one, because while we're making money from resources now, the day will come when either we run out, or the demand falters -- and if we haven't done the right thing by ourselves as a nation, we're gonna wind up looking a lot like Nauru: an ugly, abandoned chunk of Pacific undesirable. But apparently the possibility that Gina might have to make do with just ONE set of platinum-forged dinnerware is too much.

We can also afford a carbon tax. And again: it's arguable we can't afford NOT to have one. But Cate has no oars in the water here. She's not making money out of anti-CO2 schemes. She states loudly and clearly that what she wants is to be able to look her kids in the eye when they're older, and say that yes, she did her best to preserve a decent world for them.

I guess it's up to you whether or not you accept that. But given that the nastiest of Uncle Rupert's diggers have yet to uncover a money-making link between Cate Blanchett and any "no-CO2" alternatives -- well, if you don't accept Cate's motives, you're going to have to scratch around and devise one of your own. Which ought to be interesting.

Well, hell with it. I'm going to go out and get some exercise. I'm heading down into the berry patch to cut back the old canes. And yes: I'm going to compost them, which will keep the carbon in the soil and do at least a little bit for the atmosphere...