I went to the ballet today.
My mum and I subscribe to the Australian Ballet and go five times or so a year. Kind of a gals day out thing, she comes down from the country we have lunch, eat cake and watch the dancing. It used to be me, mum and my sil until my brother decided to get a job in another state. Now it's me, mum and gwen, one of mum's friends.
Between the three of us there is much in-depth artistic appreciation, particularly of the cute male dancers ; ) (come back Angel, come back) and giggling at the commentary provided by various oldies who sit behind us at the matinee which generally covers topics such as "this ballet is too long", "what ralph said to mavis's george at bowls", "things were better in our day" and on one particularly classic occasion "you can see her stockings" in scandalised tones (not sure how long it'd been since that guy had been to the ballet).
Today we saw Gathering a program of two works developed jointly with the Bangarra Dance Theatre. The Australian Ballet is a fantastic company and I've seen them perform works choreographed by Bangarra's choreographer before but to see the two companies together, combining the traditions of classical ballet and aboriginal dance was fascinating. There's a completely different physicality to the two but a lot in common. And the abilities of the dancers are amazing. Some of the things they can do with their bodies are just wrong : ) Believe me, I do pilates and ballet dancers do pilates and I can see glimpses of pilates moves in certain things but they do for hours things that make us mere mortals groan and collapse if we have to do 'em for a few seconds.
My muse loves the ballet. Even in some of the traditional, older ballets which we've seen before and which, to be honest, can sometimes be high on the prancing and low on the story, there's always at least one moment where some simple combination of steps or the lift of an arm or the tilt of a head says something that catches your heart. Those are the moments I go for, apart from the general love of dance, the ones that seem to speak directly to the storyteller in me and say something important about emotion or life. The ones that make the girls sigh in satisfaction.
The other thing I love is the use of colours and design. Theatrical design intrigues me. I'd love to have that kind of brain that could say hmmm, if I drape this fabric and light this pale blue and have a shadow here, suddenly a whole scene is evoked. A lesson for writers in setting with touches. Setting is not my forte. I love writers who can do it beautifully like Barbara Samuel but I also don't notice if there's not much setting at all if the characters grab me. Still I'd love to learn that trick of bringing something to life with a line.
So that was most of my day. Up early to do the usual weekend chores, then lunch (with a special guest appearance from my uncle over from Tasmania for the Comm Games) , then the ballet. Then I came home and decided to finally set up my digital TV properly.
A bit of background here. My TV was old and I was thinking it was going to die sometime this year in the back of my mind. My folks bought a pretty big digital TV sometime last year and it worked well. Then Mum decided it was too deep and looked messy (I don't know why, strange are the ways of mothers). So when I went home for Christmas, they'd acquired a new flatscreen TV which is even bigger than their old one, but thinner so Mum is happy. To cut a long story short, they made me a deal I couldn't refuse on their old TV, despite the fact it's really too big for my lounge room (Mum insists it looks better at my place). So shortly after Christmas I had a new TV, along with the set top box you need to get digital TV here. Only problem was they didn't remember the set top box remote and technology being technology, you can't install the set top box without the remote (great design idea - not).
So the virgo twin and I set up the TV non digitally after a bit of cursing on my part. Of course after I'd called her to say "come help" she arrived and two seconds later I realised what I'd hooked up wrong and hey presto it all worked. Maybe she moonlights as a TV technician. The set top box remote was duly delivered a couple of weeks later but I never quite got round to hooking it up. Hello, my name is Mel and I'm a procrastinator... well, actually it was more the thought of more technology hassles. I can follow an instruction book as well as the next person (hey, I can even put Ikea furniture together) but the instruction books for tvs, vcrs and dvds always seem to leave out some basic bit of info.
But tonight was the night. I thought "this looks pretty easy", so I changed the batteries in the remote and set to unhooking the old set up and reconnecting stuff via the set top box. Nothing but a big blank blue screen.
I jiggled cables, rechecked diagrams and nothing. Cue grumbling.
I rechecked the connections at the back of the TV. Ah. Wrong SCART port thingy used. So I switched it over. Still the big blank blue screen of "ha ha you suck at technology you pathetic mortal".
Cue virgo stubborness. More jiggling. More in vain button pressing.
Grumbling increases to muttered cursing.
Pause to feed the cats who are doing some grumbling of their own about service levels around here.
Go back to jiggling cables. Aha. There's a tiny weeny switch on the bottom of the SCART connector where you would notice it only if you're:
a) insanely flukey enough to find it by sheer dumb luck; or
b) the type of person who thoroughly inspects all the pieces before assembly - I'm a virgo but I'm not that anal, again great design idea - NOT.
Flick switch. Now we have black screen of death "bad signal". But the menu is working so I manage to reset the darn thing and five minutes later it's all tuned in (that bit of the design works fine, so I guess one out of three is better than none).
Digital TV we have lift off. Tthough seriously, it's not much to get excited about - yes the picture is clearer - but given there's maybe 2 or 3 extra channels on the free to air stuff that's about it as far as benefits go until the analogue signal is shut off sometime next decade). Or until I get rich enough to succumb to Hugh's blandishments to get Foxtel.
As an added bonus the DVD still works.
Feeling clever, I turn my attention to the VCR, always a fun thing to play with and retune. Only to find the cable is not long enough to reach from the VCR to the set top box on top of the TV. Sigh. One trip to KMart or somewhere coming up tomorrow for a longer cable.
To sum up, no writing done, ballet two thumbs up, technology two steps forward, one point five and bit back. Typical.