Those of you who read my blog regularly will have noticed a recurring theme running through my semi-regular rants. At least every second entry (I think) I make some passing comment about being discontent with my situation, geographically speaking that is. If you're in Adelaide reading this, don't take it personally. It's not you're fault you live in a city that I can't stand, and I don't hold it against you. Be that as it may, I think it's fair to say that I have made no secret of the fact that I don't really like being stranded here. My original intention was to simply find work, gather some funds together and get out again as soon as possible. However the finding work part hasn't proved as simple as I would have liked. With that in mind, some of you by now have received covert messages from me hinting that I'm looking for work in Darwin. The time has come to go public with it. I'm over being patient and waiting it out here. I'm busting out!

And now for the unexpected plot twist. I've applied for a job in Sydney. A NSW company is employing linguists to work on language related issues for software designers. If I get it, I'll be working on transcription techniques for improving the interface between computers and people who speak languages which don't use our Roman alphabet. Basically, it's as if the job was custom designed for me, except they put it in Sydney instead of Darwin by accident. I have a phone interview lined up for Tuesday morning, so if you were planning on surprising me with a job offer in Darwin, you have about four days to do it. Otherwise…

Far from home


Garry with 2 Rs

I went to a concert with my dad last night, which is almost funny in itself. Mum bought tickets to this concert ages ago, but found out later it clashed with a retreat she was helping run up in the hills this week. So I got to sub in, which was awesome for me because the concert happened to be the music of Queen, as performed by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

It was a bit of a fancy show, not to mention 12 degrees outside, so I had my nice trousers and jacket on, feeling very … hmmm. Dad suggested we should get some dinner on Hindley Street before the show. I assumed we'd grab something in a café or something. But no, we ended up in McDonalds. Dad secretly loves junk food, but can only get it when Mum's not around to tell him off.

So there I was, all dressed up like a southerner, sitting with my father in McDonalds surrounded by a horde of 14 year old emos with a ticket in my pocket to hear the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra play Queen's greatest hits. I had to laugh at myself. Aussie culture for the win.

The concert, by the way, was awesome. There were seven vocalists, drums, keys, bass guitar and, obviously, a fairly mad lead guitarist, all backed up by a full symphony orchestra. "Bohemian Rhapsody" has never sounded bigger, and "The Show Must Go On" with a full strings section was amazing. You haven't lived 'til you've watched a classical conductor conduct a big rock finish. I was still singing my favourite Queen song on the way out of the theatre:

"Save me, save me, save me.
I can't face this life alone.
Save me, save me, save me.
I'm naked and I'm…"

Far from home


Garry with 2 Rs

P.S. I feel I should point out that that is actually my favourite Queen song; I didn't just say that because it fit my little blog signature. That was just a happy coincidence.

My love affair with the city of Darwin (that's a weird metaphor, but I'm gonna stick with it) took another hit today. I faced the long march through town to the state government services office to renew my driver's licence. After so many years of strategically getting it renewed while I was at home, I am now stuck with a South Australian licence. As Darth Vader put it in Episode 3:


I am genuinely upset about this. That piece of plastic was about the last piece of Darwin I had left. To distract myself I took myself to the movies (at first I was reluctant to go with myself. I have my reputation to consider, and people might start to talk. But after I flashed myself that trademark roguish smile, how could I refuse?) and saw Mr Bean's holiday. To tell you the truth, I went along fully expecting it to be crap, but I was pleasantly surprised. Obviously no movie length production is going to be a shade of the old Mr Bean TV shows. You couldn't get away with just being dumb for an hour and a half (Although Jim Carrey has made quite a career out of it).

No, you need some sort of plot, which really wasn't what the Mr Bean of old was a about. Nonetheless, despite having a plot the movie worked quite well (what?). It was more like strange situations which were amusing in themselves, made funnier by Rowan Atkinsons' amazing physicalisation. Old school Bean was just normal situations with an idiot walking around in them, being weird. It worked because, and only because Atkinson is such an amazing performer.

And the point of this brief film review? I don't know.

Far from home (and feeling it)


Garry with 2 Rs

I've been thinking about death a bit lately. This is partially due to the recent passing of my grandmother, but also due to some well orchestrated coincidences in my day to day living.

The week leading up to my grandmother's funeral was a really strange cultural experience for me. I was gathered with my mother's side of the family in Tasmania, observing the varying ways people had of dealing with their grief. My mother's side are diverse lot with very strong personalities and varying attitudes to things like ceremony, religion and what should and shouldn't happen at a funeral. It was interesting seeing how the louder, seemingly irrepressible members of the family all coped with what was obviously a painful process.

As for me, my reaction was possibly the strangest of all. When I learned last year that my 81 year old grandmother had secondary cancer of the pancreas, I began the process of grieving for her. I knew that the advancement of the cancer and her age and general health meant it would not be a long time frame, and simply prayed that it would not be a painful decline. I also realised that 80 years is a good life for a child of the depression with diabetes. She was at peace with herself and with the Lord, so in a way her death was simply a natural end to a beautifully lived life. All these conclusions I arrived at some time in December. So when her time came in May, not only did I feel at peace with it, but having gone through a lot of the grieving processes earlier, I felt sort of… nothing. I don't mean that to sound harsh (I know it probably does) but I just mean that there was nothing unnatural or mournful about the experience. Sure there was sadness in the loss of a loved one, but as I said, I had dealt with that long before we arrived in Tasmania.

Nanna had left a request for her grandsons to be pall-bearers at her funeral, so the six of us (well, 5 grandsons and a great grandson) bore the coffin out of the church. So there was me with 4 strong men and an energetic teenager all of whom were obviously fighting back tears carrying a coffin through a church packed (and I mean packed) with people of all ages trying to sing "To God be the Glory" around their handkerchiefs. There was so much crying going on, and yet sadness was the last thing on my mind. I felt like I was from another planet. Or like I was watching a documentary on a ceremony from some exotic culture that I didn't understand. It was one of the strangest experiences of my life.

On a more cheerful note, my small (well, intermediate sized) group had a discussion on Heaven this week. We listened to a chapter about some kids in China who had some visions back in the 30s about life in Heaven. I'm usually sceptical about things like that (I'm usually sceptical in general) but whether their experiences were genuine or not, the ideas in the book and the scriptures they were based on got me thinking. I like to keep my head in this world as much as possible. An eternal perspective is important, but I usually don't like trying to imagine life in Heaven because I have trouble imagining an existence outside of time and space. Stupid limited brain! But the descriptions these kids gave of their visions of Heaven, real or not, got me excited about a world where my stupid brain, not to mention my stupid body, stops being limited and can experience and enjoy the glory of God the way it is supposed to be experienced and enjoyed. Forever.

And then tonight I was listening to an oldish Newsboys song called "Forever Man". I started thinking about the idea of living forever and accidentally blew my own mind. That always happens when I start thinking about these things too hard. So instead, I started blogging… and there you go. Now you too can go blow your own mind.

Far from home


Garry with 2 Rs

I generally avoid going to Koorong Christian media stores because I just end up getting up getting enflamed with righteous fury (make that obsessed with self-righteous annoyance, but who's counting?) at the gross display of semi-religious commercialism on display, all claiming to be a resource centre for believers. Anything you can stick a fish on (it used to be WWJD) you can buy in Koorong. Don't get me wrong. They have some very useful materials in there. But they also have a whole heap of crap. My sister once found a "what would Jesus eat?" diet book. No, that's not one of my carefully crafted snide comments. That actually happened.

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