Thursday, 30 April 2015

Z is for Zilch...Zero...Zippity-doo-dah

A selfie taken by Mr 17 in Trafalgar Square, London.
Dear Letter Zed
Here I am, at the end of the blogging challenge and faced with your svelte slinky shape what can I come up with. Zilch. Zero. Nada. 

When I first made my list of things I planned to write about, Zelda Fitzgerald was to be the inspiration. But she got lost somewhere along the way. She and all the other planned topics. All my high-brow educated-reader-me topics came crashing down to earth under the amorphous jelly-like mass of my tendency to leave everything creative till the eleventh hour then just give in to whatever wafts through my less than well organised brain. Well, that and my second-guessing and anxiety about what I had on the list. I'm shit at lists. I really am. I write them. And then I either lose them or ignore them.

I thought about Zebra... but the wildebeest got in first and stole their thunder.
Then I played with the notion of Zig and Zag, but that was going to degenerate into an angry rant about a pair of clowns (not figurative clowns, actual painted-face silly-hat clowns whose motto was 'Nooooooo trouble' ). It would have ended up with me hating on them because one turned out to be a contemptible  decidedly unfunny deviate who reinforced everything nasty anyone ever thought about clowns... shudder. 

And I toyed with the notion of Zealots, but that kind of brought me back to grammar. Which in turn led me to want to share this with you.
One of my absolute favourite cartoons:
Copyright The Rut, July 15, 2008 
So here I am, at the end of the challenge with nothing to say except HuZZah... (See what I did there!? I could have made a corny gag about going to catch some ZZzzzzz's but I resisted the impulse... almost...)
Anyway, huZZah for letter Zed being the end.

Song of the Day: Because nobody who knows me well can believe I got through 26 daily songs without one from the grand-poobah of all Australian singer-songwriters, Paul Kelly. But OMG which one to choose? His songs are my soundtrack. I cannot count how many times I've seen PK with his various bands perform since that first time in 1979... but it's never enough. I went to his A-Z collection to try to choose a song and got even more confused. Too many. So I'm just going to go start with a fave ballad ( recorded live recently) and then go back to my pub-music days (and his) for a toe-tapper...

They Thought I was Asleep

Leaps and Bounds ... for the uninitiated, this is an Aussie classic about my home town Melbourne ( the skyline and roadways have changed just a tad since this was filmed nearly 30 years ago) ...Oh, and if you don't like the songs, it's safest not to mention it. I will hold it against you. I can be a total bitch like that.


Question of the Day: What now??



Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Y is for You... Yes... You...

Dear You
My actual finger finger pointing at actual you through virtual space
I need You to know how grateful I am that You stop by to have a look at what I have to say, and how much difference You, oh-great-and-wonderful-readers-of-my-blog make to my life. Truly ruly.
For many years, I made my scrunchy-nosed as-if face and a noise a bit like pffffftt at the mere notion of having a blog. Keep a journal, I said. Nobody cares what you think or do, I reasoned. Get a real life and don't bore others and clog up cyberspace with your stupid thoughts and feelings, I bossily advised myself. 

My attitude to blogging was a bit like this:

Or this:
© 2009 The New Yorker – All rights reserved.
But in November last year, that all changed. Yes, predictably, by the time blogging had become totally-last-century, I managed to wise up to its virtues. I'd like to call it the wisdom of aging, but that'd be a complete lie. I was just plain dumb-ass slow to catch on. 

And I'd like to pretend that over the years I'd become so happily addicted to reading scads of hilarious and informative and engaging blogs that I finally decided to bite the bullet and have a crack at joining their ranks, but that'd be another lie. I hadn't read any blogs until I started trying to create one.  Yep. Dumb-ass.

After I did the 30-day challenge last November, I wrote about how and why and what I felt about being a beginner blogger in a post I called The Blog of Eternal Stench. Well, here I am almost at the end of April, and another month-long blogfest challenge, and although I haven't travelled very far down the road to achieving the blogosphere's definition of success —  I still only have the number of followers you could count on one hand— I have leapt ahead in my understanding of how much it means to me that there is a space for me to write into.

Having even a tiny audience is a joy. I'm not trying to run a business or sell my books or promote myself through my blog. I'm just loving have a space into which I can throw my voice so that somebody hears it. Written expression is integral to me being me. I need to carefully arrange specific words in particular order to make sense of things. To connect with the world. To prove that I exist.

So when you pop over to to The Rock for a visit, I know I'm real. And when you leave me a message, I  do a little mental happy-dance. People. Contact. Yippee.
Thanks to You.
Wendy of The Rock

Song of the Day: Getting a bit schmultzy here with You are so Beautiful, Ray Charles and Joe Cocker live in 1983

Question of the Day: What is blogging to you?

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

X is for Xerox machine — a farewell letter.

 Cute huh!?— Widely available Internet butt photocopy pic.
Dear Xerox machine
I hear on the grapevine that you're being retired,replaced with a newer model. Sux to be you. But I just need to check in with you on a couple of matters before you go.

Firstly, what happens in the photo-copying room stays in the photocopying room...OK?? You've heard a lot of dirt about pretty much everyone in the office over the years, especially that knob in accounts who keeps trying to crack-on to Siobhan. What a dick. And I know you've stood quietly by as I obsessed about more than one love interest. I've even cried about a couple. Thanks for not passing judgement.Please understand that I'd just dissolve into a pathetic embarrassed puddle if anyone found out. You DO get that, don't you??

 I also suspect you've witnessed a few games of tonsil hockey in your time. Am I right? Maybe even stood by as a few couples got past first base. Well, you're not going to pass-on any of that stuff in your exit interview are you? Or tell the new machine? I, for one, would be forever grateful if you'd keep it all to yourself. I kinda like this job, even if you have heard me refer to my boss as a fussy old cow ... and worse... Much worse
Ewwwwwww... Borrowed from Pikdit images from reddit.
Secondly, I want to give you a heads-up that Gerry from the sales department is planning a celebration in the staff lounge this Friday because Stephanie has been promoted. You know what happened last time Gerry was in charge of Friday drinks. Ewwww! So be prepared. Maybe it'd be a good idea to blow a circuit or something.

Anyway, thank you for all the support you've given me. Good luck in the future and I hope you don't get melted down.
 Your colleague,
  Sally from the Print Room

Song of the Day: Queen, Fat Bottomed Girls (1978)

Question of the Day: Got any stories that only the Xerox machine knows?

Monday, 27 April 2015

W is for Wildebeest — an illustrated letter

That black line in the middle-ground... Not trees... Wildebeest

Zebra accompany the wildebeest on their migration

Dear Wildebeest
I've always thought you were kind of weird looking, and to be honest, having met you in person, I still do, but I have to thank you for your gift to me, a profound experience. You may not be pretty, but you are amazing and I will forever think of you with fondness and awe.

Observing the part of your astounding migration cycle where you traverse the Masai Mara and the Serengeti was one of the most exciting and humbling events in my small life. We humans tend to be such vainglorious creatures. You... you are truly glorious. You embody the connectedness of Life, the interdependence of land, beast and vegetation—put it this way, you make me want to bust out my own off-key version of The Circle of Life

And there they were... thousands of them...
We'd been in Kenya five days and seen skeletons, proof that you'd been through the area ahead of us and that some of you had not survived but I guess you were just building the suspense, tantalising me for the big reveal, because the way we met will forever be right up there in my top 10 memories.

I'd never been in a hot air balloon before, so that in itself was pretty sensational. Just floating above the Mara at dawn would have been enough for me, but then the captain of the balloon got a radio message, turned us in a different direction and announced, "OK people, it's your lucky day." And there you were. Thousands of you. Streaming in a river over the landscape with your friends the zebra. Breathtaking.

For the next two weeks, wherever we drove, for hundreds of miles, you were with us, dotting the lines of our vision. Endlessly restless. I watched as you responded to the scent of predators, crocodiles hidden in the mud, lions almost invisible through the grasses. From my perch atop a 4-wheel drive, I cheered you on silently as you huddled nervously together along the river bank then surged as a single thrashing beast to the other side. I was so engrossed I didn't take a photo — I couldn't bear to take my eyes off you.

Collective gasp as flamingo take flight in the pink of dawn

You were with me that chilling morning at the bottom of the Ngorongoro Crater when I saw a lake pink with flamingos and watched a lion, exhausted and muddy having just taken down a buffalo, defend it from a mob of thieving hyena. You with your oddly sloping back and serious grey-bearded face.

My dear Wildebeest, you are my David Attenborough. You led me through the wildlife documentary world of Kenya and Tanzania to the base of Kilimanjaro. Because of you, I have watched baboons play, seen a lioness defend her young, come to appreciate the diversity and beauty of birds, been raced by a crazy warthog and awoken by elephants eating our thatched roof. I have witnessed the mating dance of an ostrich and been both fascinated and repulsed by vultures cleaning a carcass. You took me on a journey like none other, via dusty villages where tiny children herded animals, past young Masai warriors, and along roads where the air was filled with Sunday song as locals celebrated their faith in churches without walls.

Wildebeest of Africa I love you, and am forever in your gratitude.
I had permission to take this beautiful shot.
As ever,

 A tiny lilac-breasted roller with an elephant backdrop

Being this handsome gets boring

Yep... A tree-climbing lion

 Mmmmm ...sun! (I call the little guy on the right Dopey because he reminds me of the Disney dwarf.)
A sunset shuffle

She had to fold herself up to get down and eat acacia pods

I could go on forever but will stop here. All of these photographs were taken by me with my trusty Nikon Coolpix P510. They have not been photoshopped.

Song of the Day:  The Gnu Song (written by Flanders and Swann) as performed in Episode 519 of The Muppet Show.


Question of the Day: Have you had a life-changing experience with animals? 

  These photos all belong to me. Please do not steal them. 

If you'd like to see some more, there are a few here.