Aug. 11th, 2008

tania: (Blackadder - Blackadder: Scheming)
Our plans to check out the Doulos on the weekend fell through, as we were all buggered by Sunday night, BUT the rest of the weekend was amazing!

On Saturday we went through the Coopers Plains stormwater drain system again, this time with Rose ([livejournal.com profile] rosequoll). Joe got some photos, which hopefully we'll see on Facebook before too long, and Rose made a new friend in the form of a very large skink that we rescued on the way out. Joe has now broken Ruby's record for farthest distance travelled, which resulted in him scrambling on hands and knees down a very small, tight tunnel while Rose and I waited at the junction between that and the tunnel we'd just arrived through. We weren't game to go any further; the one we'd arrived through was bad enough - sort of crawling on hands and feet (walking on all fours like a baby who is beyond crawling but not up to walking yet) the whole way. I ached for the rest of the weekend!

We found atmospheric shafts of light, gross clusters of roaches, grafitti dating back to 1979, a circular hidey-hole accessed by a crawlspace where we took a long break and talked in the dark, and one rather large Huntsman spider. We were underground for over two and a half hours.

After that we bid Rose farewell and took off to Joe's parents place, where we observed a routine bush-burn get out of hand a few kilometers away and turn into a short-lived but scary-looking bushfire.

That evening, Joe and I got into his dad's arc welding gear (with permission) and Joe taught me how to weld. For more info on arc welding, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arc_welding

Apparently I picked it up pretty well, and my last practice-weld of the day was A+! Welding piqued my interest like nothing much has since I first put on a pair of rollerskates at age ten, or realised I could draw at age twelve, so I think I'll be revisiting that. The feeling it gave me was as welcome as a sorely-missed old friend: a kind of excited, stubborn determination, a thirst for more information, more practice, and patience for the learning process - I'm happy to start small at times like this, whereas I tend to be more impatient when learning something that doesn't interest me as much.

I remember this feeling clearly from the first time I skated, when I thought to myself, "I want to do this more. Lots more. And I want to be GREAT at it." From that point on I skated twice a week, every week - Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings - and after a year and a half I got good enough to get an invite into the competitive figure skating group, but turned it down because all the leaping and twirling wasn't anywhere near as fun as just skating super-fast. I kept that habit up for years and I'm still a good skater to date.

Same thing happened with drawing when I did a poster of a snow leopard in grade seven, and my teacher asked me if I'd ever taken drawing lessons. I told her I hadn't, and she told me I should. I never did get those lessons, but I drew so much and read so much about how to draw from that point on that I developed the skills without them.

There's been a lot of things since that I fancy I'd LIKE to do - learn an instrument, for example - but nothing has grabbed me this way since the above two examples. It's not a fancy, it's more of a pride thing... I've found something which I absolutely must get good at, Upon My Honor. I can't explain it any better than that. This one may pass the first time I badly burn (or electrocute) myself, but I damaged myself in a whole slew of ways learning to skate and it never put me off.

So I've been bitten by a new bug, and it's name is welding. Weird, I know. I just really like the stubborn strength and weight of the metal, and the welding itself is a skill that seems to require grunt and determination but also a delicate touch... finally, a real-media art option that actually appeals to me! And just think of the amazing things I could make, all with materials I can get from Reverse Garbage, or as factory offcuts!

Unlike rollerskating and drawing, though, this skill requires some serious equipment, so I'm not so sure this will go anywhere, and I don't want to outlay a lot of money for a hobby which I might not want to pursue when I get to know it better. We'll see...

After we came out of the shed, ashes were falling from the sky like snowflakes, but the bushfire was out.

We stayed the night, and the next day we piled ourselves and the dogs into Joe's mum's car, and she took us to the dog beach on the Gold Coast (where we drove right past Sea World, where Hammond and Adders were celebrating their anniversary) and had a picnic lunch sitting out on the pier where they've been filming scenes for an upcoming Nicholas Cage movie.

We got home late Sunday afternoon and had some home-based funtimes (use your imagination), and thus was completed another awesome weekend. Aside from a bit of fuel, it cost us exactly NADA!

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Tania Walker

August 2008

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