Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Christmas started on Christmas eve for me. My ex-wife Jenny very kindly invited Anne and me to a slap-up Christmas eve dinner with wonderful turkey and ham. Our son Joe and his girlfriend plus Nanna (Jenny's mother) made up the party.
Then on the day itself there was a big family gathering over brunch consisting of 24 people -- including a military member about to be deployed to the Middle East -- fortunately only to Qatar. But there were only two children present. Very sad.
Then in the evening Anne came over and we watched the Queen's speech, had ham and bagels (strange combination) to eat and finished up listening to Christmas carols.
And I am pretty tired writing this just after 11pm.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Big day today. I went to my son's graduation ceremony for his B.Sc. in mathematics. As UQ is a "sandstone" (big old) university I hoped that the ceremony would be fairly traditional -- and it was: Black academic gowns, trencher caps and silk hoods for all graduands. And they played the last part of the San Saens organ symphony as the graduands filed in. Then came boring speeches of course. And the graduates filed out to the strains of "Gaudeamus".
A non-traditional feature was however that some of the young women graduating showed a rather fetching amount of bosom. Fashion at work. I was a little disappointed that most of the male graduates did not wear ties -- except for the Asians of course. And almost all the young women had long hair! Pleasing.
And there were many Asians there. The Applied Science graduands were almost all Asians. The person announcing the names made a right hash of the Asian names -- including an inability to pronounce "Nguyen" (pronounced "naWIN"). Since Nguyen is as common a name among Viets as "Jones" is among those of British descent, I thought that was rather crass. The university was politically correct enough to include in the ceremony a totally irrelevant speech by some Aboriginal woman about indigenous this and indigenous that but making an actual effort to have foreign names pronounced well on an important occasion was far too hard. The intellectual decline of the universities under Leftist influence gets ever worse.
Then at dinner time we had a family dinner to celebrate the graduation. We went to an Indian restaurant that my son and I both like. And it did us proud with excellent food as usual. There were 16 of us there -- including my son's godfather: Prof. John Henningham. It was a most congenial occasion with much chatting among those present. Henningham (we are old friends so address and refer to one-another by surname only) at one stage asked my son: "And do you share your father's ideology" -- getting a firm "Yes" as the answer.
I of course "shouted" for everyone -- for the very reasonable total of $305.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
The end of year social activities are hotting up. Tonight we had the Xmas concert for our Westside Music Circle. I am pleased to say it included a lot of Bach. The quality of the performances was rather uneven but that it the risk you take with amateur activities.
The star of the evening was undoubtedly a brilliant Russian violinist named Attilla. Yes. I am not making that up. His first name really is Attilla. He actually looks Turkish rather than Russian so I was not surprised to see that he was born one of the Muslim countries of the old USSR. Even so, he clearly has come in contact with Christianity. He quoted John 3:16 with some feeling at one stage. He is quite a character.
His pianist was a very slim and very capable Chinese girl with the surname of Chan. There are a lot of Chans in Australia these days and I would not be surprised if there are more good pianists in Australia named Chan than there are good pianists named Jones. We have certainly had a lot of very capable Chinese pianists play for us at our group.
The supper afterwards was first class as usual and I made something of a glutton of myself as usual.
Anne and I drove to and from the concert in the Humber so that was part of the pleasure of the evening for me too. Cruising along to the quiet rumble of the Humber motor really pleases me for reasons which I cannot completely analyze. That it feels like a trip into the past is certainly one part of it.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
We will be having a dinner at an Indian restaurant for quite a few people on the day of Joe's graduation (12th) but we also had a small dinner tonight just to celebrate the good marks Joe got in the final year of his B.Sc. He got seven 7s -- which is as good as you can get. He did quite a spread of mathematics subjects during his degree but he has now narrowed down his interests to partial differential equations.
The dinner was prepared and hosted by Jenny -- Joe's mother -- and the other people present were Joe, his girlfriend Sam, myself and Anne. Jenny did some very good steak with sauce bearnaise and I contributed a bottle of 2001 Grange.
I gave Joe a copy of the 1250 to 1918 Oxford Book of English Verse as a graduation present. They have obviously reprinted the 1918 edition due to popular demand as there have been two editions subsequent to the 1918 one. I was very pleased to be able to get a new copy of the famous edition -- though I did have to import it from England.