Unfortunately, I was a little let down. Maybe appearances are deceiving, but I think I live in a nice inner suburban neighbourhood, a mix of older houses and small blocks of flats that is quieter than I would have expected, so that's good. But the parks! The first would have been an entirely unremarkable piece of cleared suburban land by any standards, just a nice place to let a dog run around or for neighbourhood kids to kick around a soccer ball, and with the drought, it looks very dead indeed. To my surprise, despite the fact that Queensland is well known for being hotter and drier, Melbourne appears much more struck by the drought to my eyes. What struck me as bad around UQ is nothing compared to the dying trees and dead grass of this poor little park. So I proceeded onwards to the next park, both wary as it runs beside a highway and optimistic as the map showed a creek and I'm a sucker for just lying back beside a stream on a mild day (anyone who visits the Gold Coast: there is a fantastic little park opposite Robina Primary School, and if you can clamber across to the little spot between the fork of the two streams, you will lose hours of your life just lazing on the grass watching clouds roll by, I assure you). I shouldn't have been optimistic. Perhaps there was a nice stream once, but it seems that the demands of modern highways have led to it being turned into little more than a glorified culvert. The park itself is equally as dead as the previous one and follows the highway - I might walk it sometime though, as it may still be satisfactory on a nice evening.
On a different topic, I am considering doing something radical. I am well known as a statistics generork, the kind of person who will never let a good statistic go unrecorded and unpreserved (why on earth do you think I co-maintain U2-Vertigo-Tour.com?). This, naturally, extends to my iTunes song play counts: I hate it when I accidentally skip away from a track and its play isn't counted. I like my counts to be as accurate as possible. However, now that my entire music collection is at home on my external hard drive (with duplicates of my favourite stuff left on my internal hard drive), I'm seriously thinking of erasing my entire iTunes playcounts, loading the external drive's collection, and starting anew. It might make my current top 25 a bit more interesting too: currently, it is stacked with all but one track from Pure Reason Revolution's The Dark Third and over half of Anathema's Judgement. Do you get the impression that I enjoy those albums? Yeah, I thought so. Well, in any case, I will still have my last.fm charts, which are older and in some ways more definitive, though the fact it counts different songs with the same title together (e.g. studio and live versions if I don't tag the live ones with the date of performance in the title) throws it out, and sometimes the fact it counts songs after only 2 minutes of play means that songs I didn't intend on listening to record far more plays than they should - Time Has Come by Spock's Beard, I'm looking squarely at you for having a great 2:30 intro and then just dying a miserable death. And yes, I think about this all too much. But I still haven't made up my mind what to do yet, whether to just make everything simple and start again, or try to preserve my play counts as religiously as I can while bringing in all the new stuff. Yesterday, I was on the verge of doing it, but this evening I'm thinking I shouldn't - after all, these stats have built up over the course of more than a year and it'd be a shame to lose them just like that.
And moving on to this evening, I did something that made me feel nostalgic: I washed the dishes. Back in New Zealand and for the first couple of years of my time in Australia, we didn't have a dishwasher - my mother stubbornly refused to get one, believing it was a pointless and unnecessary extravagance for overly lazy people, so she did the dishes and when I was little, I enjoyed drying them and playing with the soapy bubbles in the water. However, the place we moved to in 1999 came with a dishwasher and we've lived in places with dishwashers ever since and gotten very used to it. Sure, we've occasionally had stuff to wash by hand, but it's been very rare. However, I don't have a dishwasher down here in Melbourne, and considering how little I use, splurging hundreds of dollars to get one is a gigantic waste of money I don't have in the first place. So I'm back to doing the dishes by hand. It's kind of weird and I'm sure I'll be quite sick of it soon, but this evening, it felt pretty nostalgic. Of course, I should have had this nostalgia sooner, but when Nan was here, she beat me to doing the first set of dishes, and not enough had subsequently accumulated to warrant spending the time on doing a load until this evening.
It's funny, I've been in Melbourne a week today. How time flies. I feel like I've barely been here a day. It's been nice so far despite all the hiccups along the way, and I'm happy to be here.