Lazy Luddite Log



I recently partook in an Internet meme and anyone participating in such things is expected by the meme to propagate them. In my case however I will simply discuss it. The meme instructs its participants as follows:

If you had me alone, locked up in your house for twenty-four hours and I had to do whatever you wanted me to, what would you have me do?

The aspect of the described scenario involving compulsion disturbs me a bit. But - hey - it is just for fun right? And with that in mind I responded to the meme posted by a few friends on LiveJournal. And the thing I found interesting was that it forced me to contemplate how I may interact with friends one-on-one.

Now for many in society one-on-one is the normal way in which friendships are conducted. But for me I still move in groups that facilitate friendships in the short-term but - I suspect - can inhibit them in the long-term. I have commented on the phenomena of friendship groups before. A few times now in my life I have become almost infatuated with groups as distinct from the persons in those groups. But I think feelings of attachment to groups will only serve one so well so far.

I participated in the recent Canberra Intervarsity Choral Fiesta (CIV) which was a wonderful showcase of the diverse talents of IVers (whether they sing or play instruments or play-act or compere or make merchandise or just organize everything). One of the regular events at IVs is an evening of watching what are effectively the home movies of past IVs. We looked at footage from the last time Canberra hosted IV back in 2003 and what struck me was both continuity and change. As a legal fiction IV was the same thing. As a cultural construct it was similar. But as a unique set of faces it was very different.

Groups change - markedly - over the course of several years. It is fantastic to have the opportunity to make new friends. But it is also worthwhile to preserve friendships over time. And if friends move on from a particular scene then that necessitates finding ways of staying in contact once the convenient setting is removed. Which takes me back to that meme.

Over time the ways in which I reckon the closeness of friendships has changed. As a very young adult (undergraduate age) the end-all-and-be-all for me was the rambling conversation. Since then I have recognized other ways of relating that are of value to me. Sometimes it is shared experiences whether challenging or fun. Sometimes it is incidents of reciprocal kindness. Sometimes it is just some difficult-to-define affinity that transcends personal differences. I suppose over time a degree of all these things is important to preserving friendships. O and food and drink... and comfy living rooms... and music... and story-telling. And refreshing walks if only the meme would allow one to go outside.

Update: This refers in part to CIV and I have indexed my seven IVs as of 2013 in this post.

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Twenty Ten

It has been a while since I blogged on anything personal. Having returned from a Festive Season visit to Melbourne seems a good time to address that.


In some ways things went too well for me on moving to Canberra. I fell into work within a week of moving here in April which was surprising but also made me too confident of my luck. Since that temp role ended in July things have been more patchy. I get good feedback for my resume and interview performance but I am also reliably informed that things are sluggish just now (even if Australia has technically deflected a recession). This is even the case of the relatively plentiful area of clerical work that I focus on. I have to keep all these external factors in mind lest I fall back into old ways of regarding competency. I anticipate it is just a matter of time.

All sorts of things change with time and affect one another. I have had my job-seeking challenges. Petra has had study-related challenges. And both of us are thinking that we may cope better with all these things if only we had more space than a four-room bungalow allows. Still for now that is our circumstances and we are too busy to contemplate any changes till the dust has settled on the coming Canberra Intervarsity Choral Festival (CIV). Petra is convening that event while I am a hanger-on who is free of rehearsal and performance commitments to do odd-jobs for her. Seeing interstate friends in my adoptive hometown will be nice.


Things can be a bit sleepy in Canberra which is why I visited Melbourne recently. I spent time with both family and friends in a number of different settings from the suburbs to the Mornington Peninsula. I was a bit apprehensive of changes I would face as a non-local. There is only so much that remote forms of information (Internet) can tell one and only so far that the ability to ‘fill in the gaps’ can go. There is nothing like face-to-face chats to provide a gossip booster-shot for the isolated friend.

Across the two or three groups I move in I did find changes to relations and perspectives and life circumstances. I was reminded how fragile our ability as humans to live happily with one another can be. I shall have to remember that the next time I feel like castigating politicians for coming back from an international meeting with nothing much to show for themselves!

However I also rediscovered how fascinating and invigorating and important others are and how – in the absence of any supernatural say-so – seeking to understand others is a purpose for me (something worth me taking home with me).

Also I cannot forget fun. I had fun seeing Avatar at the Valhalla and Sherlock Holmes in Rosebud. I got very relaxed in hot springs and refreshed in bayside waters. I had some fascinating religious and political discussions with friends of different persuasions. I got fed some fantastic food. Too those who actively facilitated these things I am grateful. I am energized for what is to come.

Back Here

The national capital is also a rural township and I have become too much of a home-body in it. One mistake I have made is to hold off on making non-work commitments till I have work itself. Fun and fulfilling things still happen but in a haphazard way. I wish for a bit more of the routine I once had. One thing I can try is to revive the civic life that I let go of once the Australian Democrats became a micro-party. I have recently volunteered at a few Amnesty International stalls. We shall see how that and other things go. I have a few options to explore but just have to make them happen. We shall see what 2010 brings.