Paul Geoffrey Neuendorff, 1968-2011

Posted Sunday, 13 February 2011 by Meaghan Douglas
Categories: Cancer, In loving memory

Paul Geoffrey Neuendorff, 25 Nov 1968 to 11 Feb 2011

Beloved husband, brave protector, good and gentle soul. I will love you always.

After 9 months of fighting, cancer beat us in the end. I’ll keep the promises I’ve made you. I’ll make you proud.

All my love,

Megs xxx

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Good reasons to be a bad blogger

Posted Tuesday, 11 May 2010 by Meaghan Douglas
Categories: Writing

Tags: ,

Any sense of shame I might have had about not blogging frequently has been assuaged in recent weeks by the words of bloggers far wiser and more bloggy than I (see here, here and here). The main impediment is that when I have writing time, I prefer to use it on my cerebrescript. Call me selfish. 🙂

When beverages attack

Posted Thursday, 15 April 2010 by Meaghan Douglas
Categories: world gone mad

Tags: , ,

The good people at IGA appear to have Dr Jekyll as head of marketing, at least in the beverage department.

Are you a calm person? Have people told you you're just too mellow, man? Then you need 'Frenzy', the drink for today's modern lifestyle. 'Frenzy'; have one today.

I appreciate there must be an ever-diminishing pool of names available for softdrinks these days, but calling a bottle of carbonated water ‘Frenzy’ seems pretty odd to me. Sure, ‘frenzy’ shares some of the letters found in ‘fizzy’, ‘friendly’ and ‘why?; doesn’t mean I don’t get an instant mental image of the activities this drink might inspire. ‘Frenzy’ is the go-to word when describing the manner in which sharks, piranha, zombies and small children descend on food (usually human flesh, and I’m not excluding the kiddies here). It’s the word you see in headlines when someone does something unspeakable to someone else with a knife. We have shopping frenzies and drug-fuelled frenzies and greed-inspired frenzies.

‘Frenzy’ is not a friendly word.

I’m thinking now of other inappropriate names for foodstuffs. How about ‘Savage’ for the really sharp biscuit that bites back, or ‘Fury’ for the decaffeinated morning brew that fails to soothe?

Sometimes things work out

Posted Monday, 12 April 2010 by Meaghan Douglas
Categories: Writing

Tags: , , ,

We went to the shops yesterday. We had a very specific set of items to hunt down and, despite it being the last Sunday of the school holidays, we still went to a very popular major shopping centre, arriving around lunch time. This would normally result in a frustrating and fruitless drive around the car park looking for somewhere to stow the car. Should we be blessed with a parking spot, it would be outdoors and some distance from the entrance.

Not yesterday.

Yesterday, we found a car park instantly and next to the entrance. We found the items we needed in the shop where we expected to find them. It was all too easy. Where was the aggravation, the run-around? Where, I wondered, was the catch? As we stood in the queue waiting to pay, TB joked that we’d be hit by a meteorite on the way home.

Well, I did bang my knee, but that’s all.

Now, the trials of a shopping trip aren’t exactly the hell-on-earth most humans endure on a daily basis, but I’m a city-born softy who gets cranky when an advertised special on a menu is no longer available (‘Take it off the menu if you’ve sold out! Don’t tempt me with it, then tell me it’s all gone! Gargh!’). TB’s promise of astral comeuppance didn’t flatten my good mood; I was just happy to have things go smoothly, to be reminded that it’s not always a disaster or a pain in the arse.

For one, the cerebrescript and I are together again. Like any relationship resumed after a break, it was a bit shaky at first.  I had a few days of empty panic, then forced myself to just read until I started liking what I saw. Having weathered the insanely busy time at my day job, I’m now able to make a few long weekends like today. Quality time for me and the c/s. It’s even shaping up to be a permanent arrangement. An opportunity to cut back my day job hours has come my way and, I have to say, it’s very exciting. It wasn’t something I thought would come up so soon, but it has and TB is, as usual, completely supportive. It’s time I’ll be devoting to my writing, precious, much sought-after time that lets me set higher but still realistic goals in words written per week.

It’s fantastic.

So, it’s true that, sometimes, things fall into place and they’re not always meteorites come to destroy civilisation as we know it.

All for the art

Posted Thursday, 1 April 2010 by Meaghan Douglas
Categories: holidays, inspiration, self-doubt

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday, TB and I returned home after having driven over 2,500km just to see a couple of paintings. Yes, we drove to Canberra to see the Masterpieces from Paris exhibition, a collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works from the Musée d’Orsay. You can’t spend more than 30 hours in a car, one full day in Canberra and 3 hours in a queue without learning a few things.

Impressions of the National Capital - Wet

1. When travelling by road from Brisbane to Canberra or vice versa, the longer way is both quicker and more beautiful. According to various maps, the shortest distance is via our National Highway, route 1. Pros: you’re probably less likely to be involved in a head-on collision; the speed limits are higher; the route is shorter. Cons: you may still be at higher risk of having a collision due to the higher number of vehicles sharing the road with you; the 110 speed limit is all very well when you’re stuck in a traffic jam on the outskirts of Sydney; you don’t see so much (unless motorway walls are your thing). The inland route via the Newell Highway may be longer, with a lower average speed limit but it’s a lot quicker, quieter and more interesting (you can see the landscape, wildlife – you know, stuff other than concrete walls and traffic).

2. Canberra isn’t used to being popular. We could not get a car park at any major venue, or even nearby. We ended up taking a taxi from our hotel to the Gallery. Given Canberra is a pretty flat town, we could have walked, but our capital was experiencing unusually torrential rain that day. We could see it was heavier than Canberra was used to – gutters overflowed, gardens dissolved and chaos ensued – but when one local described it as being akin to the monsoon rains seen in Darwin, we had to smile. We weren’t standing in ankle deep water for a start.

We did walk back to our hotel in the afternoon along streets lined with very un-Australian trees. It’s all very romantic to shuffle through drifts of fallen maple and oak leaves, but not so fun when you’re stumbling over vast quantities of uncollected acorns. I commented that Canberra was in need of a good squirrel analog; TB suggested a city employee armed with a broom might be a better long-term solution. Meh.

3. Australians like art. We stood in a queue for 3 hours; others who arrived later in the day waited longer. We did see some people arrive, see the queue and decide van Gogh et al were not worth waiting for. Can’t say if they’re right or wrong; we’d already driven all the way to Canberra and bought our tickets beforehand, so we’d committed ourselves to seeing the damn paintings no matter what, but if we’d strolled up on the day thinking we’d pop in to see a Monet or two, then realised we’d have to stand in line for hours first, we might have opted out.

Note: you can still just pop in and see a Monet or two without waiting and without having to pay; the gallery has a small collection of Impressionist and Post-impressionist works that includes one of Monet’s waterlilly series and one of his Haystacks.

4. A painting can thrill me. The exhibition had over 100 works on display of which only three captivated me. The first was a Monet (surprise, surprise), and I wanted to sit and look at it for hours but couldn’t due to the procession of people queueing past it. The second caught my eye across a crowded room, made me gasp and gave me goosebumps (I kid you not). van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone is a glorious painting made dull by every photo and print ever made of it; had we decided the drive to Canberra wasn’t worth it, I would never have seen how amazing the work really is. The last also thrilled, but not just for the execution of the painting itself. Every self-portrait van Gogh made has a quality to it that makes you stare, and the one owned by the Musée d’Orsay is no exception. It’s the face of a man looking for answers, a man wondering if he’s incapable of contentment, if life is hard or if he just makes it hard on himself.

Left: Monet’s Houses of Parliament, London, Sun Covered by Clouds, c. 1904; Centre: van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone (September 1888); Right: van Gogh, self-portrait, 1887.

5. Emus may be seen in pairs at this time of year. They also eat ants.

6. Junk food is exciting at first, but soon has less attraction than a simple cup of tea.

Now I’m tired, I have aches and pains, and I have a sore throat and a sniffle, but I have seen inspiration as well emus running wild in the rain.

My new word’s first milestone

Posted Thursday, 25 March 2010 by Meaghan Douglas
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

You can now Google ‘cerebrescript’. All hits lead to this blog of course.
For now…

Curses

Posted Tuesday, 23 March 2010 by Meaghan Douglas
Categories: friends, not writing (boo!)

Tags: , , ,

So, today was the first day when, at last, I could return to my cerebrescript (oh, yes – I’m holding on to this one) and it seems I’ll have to wait a little longer. I went into my office, plugged in the Mac, hit the power button and listened to the glorious sound of powering up, soon followed by the catastrophic sound of spontaneous powering down. There was no dramatic bang, no sizzling pop or stink of frying circuitry, no plume of smoke, just silence. I performed CPR on the power button; no response.
Yes, my Mac has died.
I actually feel quite sad. Apple-haters will say I’m a victim of brain-washing, a devotee of the Apple iCult (hi, my name’s Meaghan and I love my iPhone), but my Mac really was more of a friend than any of the PCs I’ve owned. We have three PCs in the house now, plus I use one at work, and they’re fine. They’re just not…people.
I’ve always felt my iMac was pleased to see me. This morning, I hugged it and begged it to spring back to life, that I hadn’t meant to abandon it for so long or leave it to die of terminal neglect (Get it? ‘Terminal’ neglect!). Oh, how can I joke at a time like this?
😦