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Visiting the Grandparents

A long week drew to a close. I practiced my talk a few more times, and wrote out a script. This will be a major theme for me for the next 2 weeks. I also proof-read Viyada's planned rheology prac for the undergrad labs. Its a good prac, but there is no way known that it will fit into 1 hour.

On the train on the way home, I sat next to Kylie, and she filled me in on more of her life, which I've missed while I was in Brisbane. I'm not going to repeat any of it. Its her story and she's planning on writing a book on it.

I got home and there was a message from Rebecca asking me to tape the news, and I soon got a weird phonecall from one of her workmates. It made sense in hindsight, but it turns out there's been some threats against her workplace, and they have had to recall their two biggest brands from Sydney.

When Rebecca came home, we did Kiddush, had dinner, and watched Coupling. At some point, George Farquhar came round and we told him how VCAT went. We thanked him for his help and he thanked us for ours.

I packed my clothes and etc. for my upcoming trip and went to bed. Vayehi Erev Vayehi Boker.

Today, we got up, packed the car and went to the synagogue. I quite enjoyed the service. The organ player wasn't there and the congregation was in full voice. I find those services quite good. I see the major purpose for going to services the sense of community. God is wonderful and doesn't need to be told so by mere mortals, so, for mine, the main reason for having religious services is because it strengthens the community.

We also got to catch up with friends of ours, David and Goldele (if you are reading, hi!), who we met through the synagogue (see the paragraph above). We went out for lunch, and ended up joining some older members of the community (see the paragraph above).

Rebecca and I then went and visited all our Melbourne based grandparents (her maternalx2, her paternal and my paternalx2). This took the entire afternoon, and was quite interesting. Her grandparents don't often tell us stories about life when they were our age (they tend to talk a lot more about current events in the family's life, which is also interesting), but we can usually get some quite interesting stories from my Nana and Pa about what their life was like when they were first married and in other times. All sets also talk current events of one form or another.

After we left Nana and Pa's place, we went to Mum and Dad's place. I trimmed my beard (if you don't know me, this is noteworthy!) and we went to visit some family friends, the Goldbergs for dinner and to watch the game. The game wasn't so good - Melbourne got blown out of the water after half time. But at least I got to yell at the white maggots, which I quite enjoy.

Besides the result, it was quite an enjoyable evening.

Now for a book review. I've been thinking of doing Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. I've had two ideas. The first thought I had was this:

Come and listen to a story about a man named Joad A poor farmer, barely kept his family fed, Then one day he was shootin at some food, And up through the ground came a bubblin' crude.
Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.
Well the first thing you know ol' Joad's a millionaire, Kinfolk said Joad move away from there Said Californy is the place you ought to be So they loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly.
Hills, that is. Swimmin pools, movie stars.

The other thought I had was this: Tom Joad was a bright undergraduate in America's dustbowl. As the story begins, he is just returning from a year out in industry. When he is freed from his industry position, he is given a pamphlet advertising a position as a postgraduate student, saying how there are many positions available and great work and friendly supervisors and plenty of opportunity.

So Tom Joad begins filling out applications. While applying for places, he finds himself surrounded by lots of other people wanting to be post graduates. They help each other fill out their applications, and, eventually, they are offered a place at a university in California.

There, he finds that the new postgrads are treated with absolute contempt by the staff. He also finds that, suddenly, there are lots of postgrads applying for work with a small number of professors. He picks up research work where-ever he can, but the professors ask all postgrads to work 15 hour days for barely enough money to live off, and sometimes not even. Eventually, to try to survive, he makes up some data so that he can have a week of working just 12 hour days. He has to leave his research group, because if he is caught they will all be disgraced and have to leave the university. This is where the story leaves Tom, but if it did follow him, it would show him getting a job in industry for a few years before becoming a management consultant.

I don't know that I can keep using the management consultant=death metaphor. If there are any management consultants reading, you might want to substitute a different profession as the pick-on job.


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