Blog #10 Hotel Quarantine DAY FIVE

You’ll never guess where I am!

Oh, right. There you go. Well done, you. But just remember – no one loves a clever dick!

Anyway I’ve been inundated by an avalanche of questions (FACT CHECK REQUIRED) about particular details of LIFE in QUARANTINE so I thought I’d better start answering a few of them before I was completely over-whelmed.

So here goes.

Q1. Hi Michael – love your book The Things That Will Not Stand and I think everyone should read it but I was just wondering if you could explain how the daily meal deliveries work? Reebekkaaah

Sure Reebekkaaah no problems!

It’s like this. Three times a day there is a knock at our door. We have to wait for 10 seconds before opening it because, you know, virus. When we do, the Corridor Kitchen Elves (who we never see) make our food magically appear! See below. When we finish we bundle up our rubbish and place it outside and then the Corridor Cleaning Elves magically whisk it away.

Q2. Hi Michael – love your book The Running Man (even better than Stephen King’s one) and I think everyone should read it, but like all my cool friends I’m dying to know what your ROOM FEATURE OF THE DAY is. Konnaaaar

Hold your breath no longer Konnaaaar because the ROOM FEATURE OF THE DAY for Wed Oct 21st is … the EXTENDO TWO-SIDED FLIPPY MAGNIFYING BATHROOM MIRROR!

(Could only be improved if the magnifying side came with the warning: Things in this mirror may appear more horrifying than they normally do.)

Q3. Hi Michael – love your Ishmael Trilogy and I think everyone should read it but what I was wondering was, have you got any photos of your wife standing out in the ‘fresh air’ deck with her arms in the air for no apparent reason? Soozaanne

Hey, as luck would have it Soozaanne …

Q4. Hi Michael – love your book Just a Dog and I think everyone should read it, but I was wondering if you’ve taken the opportunity to let your creative juices flow while you been in quarantine? Kallum

Great question Kallum! While I’m more known as a writer of YA and Children’s books (available online or at all good bookstores and heaps of really dodgy ones!) it may come as a surprise to some that I am also highly respected for my innovative art installations.

Here’s one I whipped up today.

If I can just explain it briefly for the lay person who knows nothing about ART.

You see what I’ve done is, I’ve taken an actual apple from our lunch package and I’ve written the words The Beatles on it in marker pen as a visual representation of the famous Beatles’ Apple Logo and then (and here’s the genius part) I’ve positioned the real apple ironically on my laptop right in front of a screen featuring images of numerous Beatle Apple Logos.

Of course there’s much more to it than that but I’d obviously be wasting my breath trying to explain it to someone like you Kallum.

Q5. Hi Michael – love your Eric Vale series and Rodney Loses It and I think everyone should read them but I am curious to know how the police are treating you? Jazzzzmun

Glad you asked Jazzzzmun! The BOYS in BLUE along all the Management and all the Staff at the BRISBANE MARRIOTT who have been taking care of us, get TWO THUMBS UP from Adriana and me!

And I think that’s a very good note on which to finish.

I know a lot of people will be bitter and disappointed that I didn’t get around to answering their question but I’m only human.

Plus there are only 24 hours in a day.

Which given our present circumstances Ard and I agree are FAR TOO MANY!

Cheers
Michael

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Blog #9 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY FOUR

Back again.

First up congratulations to anyone who correctly identified the intertextual links to the two films in the previous blog.

Especially ALEX G. who picked “All work and no play makes Ard a dull girl” as being a reference to THE SHINING.

And ANIL T. who identified my comment about the carpet “really tying the room together” as a refence to THE BIG LEBOWSKI.

Sadly because of Covid-19 regulations I am unable to post out the expensive prizes. Don’t worry Alex and Anil. I’m disappointed too.

And now for something we’ve all been waiting for – ROOM FEATURE OF THE DAY!

Yes, it’s the personal, flexible, directional, book-seeking bedside light!

I’ve been in lots of hotels that either don’t have bedside reading lamps or have ones that are so dull they are useless or are only capable of lighting up the page of a book if you lie them on their side in order for the light to escape past the lightshade part which is too thick to actually let any light through it! Don’t get me started. But this little light (which is there in addition to a bedside lamp) is perfect.

Well done personal, flexible, directional, book-seeking bedside light. You are a champion and a well-deserved recipient of my Room Feature of the Day!

NOW TO THE BIG NEWS.

You really won’t believe what happened today. Seriously. You won’t. When you read this you’ll say, “Michael that’s absolute rubbish! You’re either starting to hallucinate or now you’re just making stuff up to fill up your blog.

Well all I can say is that sometimes fiction is stranger than truth!

Here’s what happened. While Adriana was in the shower I noticed these suspicious items spread out on our couch.

Of course I know what they are now – dress-making patterns. Obviously.

But then I quite understandably assumed that Ard had somehow got her hands on detailed plans of the hotel air conditioning duct system and she was planning to escape from quarantine via those ducts, Tom Cruise Mission Impossible-style!

It placed me in a very tricky position.

But as a good citizen, in order to protect the health of my fellow Queenslanders, I thought it best to report my wife immediately to Hotel Security.

And well, long story short, she was arrested (mid-shower), questioned for two hours by Australian Federal Police, eventually found innocent, given a warning and released back into my custody.

So all’s well that ends well!

And as I said to Ard, sometime – maybe ten or fifteen years in the future – she’ll look back and laugh about it all.

So not a good day for Ard but at least I had a lovely relaxing quiet couple of hours to myself, so I guess every cloud really does have a silver lining.

That’s it for today.

I’ll leave you with tonight’s STORY BRIDGE colour which is PURPLE!


Cheers
Michael

PS: And today’s meals for the foodies:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Blog #8 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY THREE

Yes it’s hard to believe but it’s already GROUNDHOG DAY THREE here in the 5 Star High Security Marriott. Honestly it seems like yesterday that I was moaning and whining about it “only being DAY TWO“!

Anyway I’ve got loads to report so I’d better get a move on.

For those of you who bought a ticket in the What Colour Will the Bridge Be Tonight? Sweep, the answer was RED! (Although Ard said it was PINK. And there’s a chance that it might have been MAROON.)

TRIVIA TIME! Can anyone name a song that references the Brisbane STORY BRIDGE?

BZZZZZ! Time’s up. Congratulations if you said Johnny Chester: Glory, Glory (I’ll be back to see the Story Bridge), and my sincere condolences to you for being old enough to remember.

Here’s the chorus:

Glory, glory I’ll be back to see the Story Bridge
And spend my time just lazing in the sun
Amen, amen I’ll be coming back again
Just as soon as jobs I have to do are done.

You can listen to the song in all its glory (see what I did there?) HERE.

Are there any other Story Bridge tunes? If so let me know.

Now, back to more serious matters.

I must say that they are really looking out for our welfare as we hunker down here at the Marriott. We’ve already had three phone calls – one from a lovely RED CROSS lady, one from the DEPT of JUSTICE and one from QLD HEALTH – all checking on how we are coping and our mental and physical state.

I’m pleased to say that my wife and I are both going well. Today for example, I managed to do some important editing of something I’m working on.

And even Ard at one stage was bashing out something rather energetically on the laptop.

So all good here!

In another exciting development I have decided to incorporate a new segment into this quarantine blog entitled – ROOM FEATURE OF THE DAY!

Yes that’s right, each day – either for good or bad – I will highlight some aspect of our hotel accommodation for special attention. I know, right. I can only imagine how excited you all must be feeling!

So without further ado the ROOM FEATURE OF THE DAY for Monday Oct 19th is (drum roll please): THE CARPET!

Now for some this might come across less as a floor covering and more as a cry for help, but I believe it really ties the room together.

Well that’s it. Nothing much else of any interest has happened here.

Unless of course you count the ghostly apparition that visited the room late last night and which I managed to catch on camera just before it flashed across the room, burnt a hole in the exterior wall and disappeared into the ether.

Cheers
Michael

PS: BROWNIE POINTS to the first reader who correctly identifies the two films subtly alluded to in this blog (apart from Groundhog Day).

PPS: Feel free to send a message, question, observation, cheerio, tribute, confirmation of your undying love etc in the COMMENT section below.

PPPS: And if anyone is interested in our daily meals:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 8 Comments

Blog #7 Hotel Quarantine DAY TWO

Still here.

Nothing much has changed.

Although last night the story Bridge was lit up in Lions’ colours.

It didn’t seem to help.

This morning we rang up and asked for our first ‘fresh air’ break.

Not long after a police officer called at the room and accompanied us in the lift to the balcony pool area of the hotel. There’s room there to walk around a bit while wearing masks and social distancing from other quarantinees.

It was great to get out for about 20 minutes on a gorgeous day in beautiful Brissie.

Besides that it’s been a jam-packed day.

I watched the Wallabies give the All Blacks someone to run over the top of.

I did some reading.

I ate everything that has so far appeared at the door.

I trimmed my beard.

AND I was responsible for making one cup of tea and two cups of coffee (so far).

Meanwhile basically all Adrie’s managed to do as far as I can see, is complete some sort of yoga routine and to make this dress for our grand-daughter.

Someone really needs to get their (her) act together!

Ok I’d better sign off now. I have to start to think about getting ready to begin waiting for our dinner to arrive. Then there’s the eating, and you know, it never ends!

Might just have a quiet evening in tonight to recuperate …

Cheers
Michael

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Blog #6 2020: Hotel Quarantine DAY ONE.

For the past 5 weeks my wife and I have been staying with our clever, gorgeous and hilarious one-year-old grand daughter and her proud parents down in Melbourne as Melburnians and Victorians in general have been continuing to heroically battle to bring the Covid-19 virus under control. (see photo below)

Covid-19 virus enlarged 10,000 times

But yesterday we flew back to Brisbane where we must now spend the next 2 weeks in hotel quarantine (guarded by Qld police, Federal police and the army) before being allowed to go to our home.

So this is DAY ONE of our 14 days locked down in a hotel room. Or it might be DAY TWO if we can count yesterday afternoon when we arrived as DAY ONE which I’m not sure we can, so as you can see we’re only in DAY ONE (or DAY TWO depending when you start the counting) and already I’ve started to lose some touch with reality and the passage of time!

Having said all that, if you are going to spend 14 days locked in a hotel room, the 5 star Brisbane Marriott Hotel in Queen Street is an excellent one to do it in.

We have a lovely spacious room here and the management is very obliging. (Of course, how lovely and spacious the room appears after seeing nothing but it for 14 days is yet to be discovered.)

Our room also has a beautiful view of the Brisbane River and the Story Bridge which as you can see by the shots below, is ever-changing. (Although perhaps not always changing the way one might hope.)

Also the meals (which mysteriously appear outside our door three times a day) have been very tasty and generous so far. See below. In fact if this keeps up for 14 days and we fail to develop some kind of Olympic style athlete fitness regime, they might need to widen the door or use a crane to extract us out of here!

Anyway in order to counteract all this possible over-eating and sedentary lifestyle, both my wife and I have planned a range of activities to keep ourselves busy and our minds and bodies active.

She’s doing lots of yoga, crosswords, sudoku and novel reading, plus she’s had her sewing machine delivered so she can complete a number of major sewing projects.

And I’m watching TV and seeing how long I can grow my hair and beard.

Somebody stop me!

Well that’s about all I’ve got time to blog about for now because I’ve got to … um …

Anyway until DAY TWO (or possibly DAY THREE depending on … well see above …) here’s some random photos of things that I think might have happened since the last time I blogged.

Cheers

Michael

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Blog #5 2020: In which I do a quick catch-up.

Well, as usual the days, weeks and months have somehow slipped away from me since my last blog in early May.

Covid-19 lock-down restrictions have eased quite a lot here in Queensland for which we are very grateful, but elsewhere in Australia, and particularly Victoria, things aren’t going quite so well.

In the meantime, here’s what’s been happening in our neck of the woods …

1. School visits have begun to slowly resume. Recently I’ve enjoyed speaking to students face to face at Sheldon College, Ipswich Girls Grammar and Brisbane Bayside State College (displays below). (Oh and I’ve also started-up a side-business as a contract killer.)

2. I’ve managed to do some (but not enough) reading. I really need to cut back on Netflix and Stan!

3. I’ve also sent a few more messages out via mikemail*.

*mikemail where new and old technologies combine for very average results!

4. And I made a number of book and author videos for different people.

5. I was also very pleased to see that the ranks of PEG-PEOPLE continues to expand rapidly thanks to the talented Year 8s at Woodcroft College.

Top effort Woodcroftians!

If any other schools have created PEG-PEOPLE please send photos.

6. And with some of the Covid-19 restrictions lifted my wife and I have tried to get out and about more both for our own sanity and also to inject a bit of money into struggling businesses in South-East Queensland. How lucky are we to live in such a beautiful part of Australia?

7. Finally I’m sorry to say that I’ve been doing little or no writing. Hopefully this will change in the very near future.

So until the next blog, stay safe and positive everyone and do whatever you can to help keep everyone safe around you.

Cheers
Michael

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog #4 2020: In which I give you my lockdown lowdown.

‘What have you been doing to occupy yourself during the lockdown?’ I hear you ask from an acceptable distance.

Well, simple answer, ‘Not much.’

But perhaps the devil is in the detail as they say.

1. So first up you’ll be happy to know that I’ve been keeping my social-distance from people. You’ll be especially happy I’m sure if you were one of those people.

2. I revamped our bird box to discourage Indian Mynahs from bullying their way in and I’ve returned it to the backyard. I expect a flock of pale-headed rosellas to be fighting over it any minute now. Position! Position! Position!

3. I discovered that everything looks much better if you spray it with chrome paint. You should see my face. I’m absolutely glowing!

4. I sent a few messages out to various people. (Although they tell me there’s this thing called email now that everyone reckons will be big.)

5. Over on my Facebook page (Michael Gerard Bauer Author – feel free to LIKE it!) I’ve been working my way through Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel and posting daily quotes and photos. Is one of the signs of boredom/insanity that you start re-reading your own books?

6. I’ve been walking most days but I’ve been getting the terrible feeling that I’m being watched. It’s almost more than I can bear! (But just look how trim my wife and I are now.)

7. I cut opened an avocado and it was so perfect and aesthetically pleasing that naturally I got very excited and took a photo of it and posted it on every form of social media I could think of. Toast + butter + vegemite + avocado = Food of the Gods. You can thank me later.

8. And of course like most other people I’ve been taking photographs of myself in the bathroom where the sunlight filters through the blinds and falls in bright stripes across my face. I was quite pleased with the result. And I’m hoping my eyesight will eventually return.

So yeah, nothing to be worried about here. Thanks again for asking. I think I’m coping pretty well. Apparently the lockdown is getting to some people …

Cheers
Michael

PS: And in WRITING NEWS I actually finished writing something (more about this hopefully in future blogs) AND I got my first look at the beautiful cover of the CHINESE language edition of THE RUNNING MAN which will be available there soon courtesy of GUOMAI CULTURE & MEDIA.

I have such fond memories of my trip to China in 2015 visiting three schools which I wrote about in Blog 87 and Blog 88.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Blog #3 2020: In which I hunker down at a Safe Distance.

Well, my aim at the start of this year was to do AT LEAST a blog a month, so because this is just my third blog, I’m assuming/pretending that it must still be March – hey otherwise I’d be pathetically behind already and that just doesn’t sound like me, right?

Of course the world has changed dramatically since my last post.

Luckily my wife and I got in a couple of trips to Melbourne to see our daughter, son-in-law and our new beautiful granddaughter before all the chaos began.

During our vists to Victoria we went to …

The Australian Open …

The National Gallery of Victoria …

The Melbourne Aquarium …

and Hall’s Gap …

I also managed to get in a few school author visits in February (Hi to everyone at Sherwood Primary School, The Gap High School, Marist Ashgrove and Brisbane State High) before everything went virus-shaped.

Then of course SOCIAL DISTANCING became a thing …

… and finally it was LOCKDOWN and STAY AT HOME time.

So since then I’ve read a few good books …

… and been working my way through an extensive house tidying/organising list.

In WRITING NEWS – I haven’t been doing much writing at all really but I do have a YA novel and a couple of picture book projects that I need to get back to soon.

In the meantime I was really pleased to see the complete ISHMAEL TRILOGY become available in German language audio form thanks to the wonderful Horcompany …

… and to receive some Turkish editions of RODNEY LOSES IT!

I also made an embarassing video as part of the online announcement of the 2020 CBCA SHORTLISTS. You can see it HERE – if you dare.

Finally I was saddened to hear of the death of legendary Australian poet BRUCE DAWE. I had the pleasure and honour of meeting him once.

As an English teacher I loved using his poems in class and in my first novel THE RUNNING MAN there is a reference to his brilliant and powerful poem HOMECOMING which is about bodies being sent back home from the Vietnam war.

telegrams tremble like leaves from a wintering tree
and the spider grief swings in his bitter geometry
– they’re bringing them home, now, too late, too early.

Homecoming – Bruce Dawe

Stay home (as much as humanly possible). Stay safe.

Cheers
Michael

PS: Don’t be like Rodney …

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog #2 2020: In which we have absolutely the right kind of visitor.

It’s always lovely when writer friends are in town and drop in for a visit and it’s especially lovely when that visitor is the inaugural Australian Children’s Laureate (2012-13) BOORI MONTY PRYOR.

Besides being an award-winning author (PM’s Award 2011 for Shake a Leg), story-teller, actor, sportsman, model, film-maker, musician, DJ, basketball player/coach, public speaker, educator, Australian of the Year Nominee (2020), Master’s Games silver medallist and passionate promoter of Aboriginal culture, Boori hasn’t done much with his life is one of the most generous and beautiful people you could hope to meet.

In 2018, ABC iView released “Wrong Kind of Black” a drama series narrated by Boori and based on his life. In October 2019, it was nominated for an International Emmy.

If you haven’t seen WRONG KIND OF BLACK, you really should. I highly recommend it. It is brilliant. Go HERE.

Clarence Ryan is great as Borri Pryor in WRONG KIND OF BLACK.

While he was at our place Boori made this short video where he forced me to perform an outrageous act of self-promotion.

Finally, all my books keep mysteriously disappearing off library shelves so if you happen to see this man, contact Crime Stoppers on …

Cheers
Michael

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog #1 2020: In which I pave the 2020 road with a few good intentions.

Well it’s 2020 and I can’t believe most of January is gone already. Could everyone just slow down a bit till I catch my breath!

I did a quick check and saw that in 2019 I only managed 7 blogs in total. 7! That’s pretty dismal even by my appallingly low standards. This year my goal is AT LEAST a blog a month. Ideally I’d like to get to 20. Yes I’m aiming for the stars and hoping to hit the moon! (More likely I’ll just skewer some poor unfortunately soul who happens to be passing by.)

I’ve also set myself another reading challenge. Last year my target was a very modest 30 books. But I know you’ll be impressed to hear that I actually managed an even more modest 20 books. (Perhaps I should stop sounding out all the letters when I read?)

Anyway as a quick recap, here’s what I read in 2019.

And my favourite? Markus Zusak’s Bridge of Clay.

This year I’m doing a 20 for 2020 reading challenge which I’ll hopefully smash. I’m also making it my Year of Indigenous Reading so I’m aiming for at least half the books I read to be either written by Indigenous writers or to be about Indigenous history and/or culture.

I’ve already made a start. My first book for 2020 was Bruce Pascoe’s remarkable Dark Emu. What a great way to kick off my reading year. Every Australian should read this book. It’s so brilliant to hear that the ABC will be doing a TV series based on it.

As for my writing goals for 2020, they include finishing off the manuscript for the serious YA novel that was the basis of my Queensland Writers Fellowship (still a way to go) as well as completing a new picture book text. If I can do those two things I’ll be more than happy.

My first ever writing award was in 2003. I won a micro short story competition as part of that year’s Brisbane Writers Festival. My most recent prize was the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for YA fiction for THE THINGS THAT WILL NOT STAND. I’ve just had the certificate framed and added to my wall of ‘How the hell did that happen?’

Of course I can’t talk about the new year without mentioning the horrendous bushfires that have engulfed and destroyed large areas of Australia in the past months resulting in a devasting loss of property, lives, natural habitat and wildlife. When they speak of animal losses in the billions it is heart-breaking and overwhelming.

We all – Australia and the world – have to do so much better in taking care of our planet and counter-acting Climate Change.

So it is a strange and somewhat bitter irony that one of the great moments of joy I’ve had this year was when I spotted a wild koala in a reserve of native busland that is part of my regular walk.

I was born and I’ve lived in this area of Brisbane most of my life and I never in my wildest dreams imagined there were koalas anywhere near here. Apparently there’s a small group.

I can’t tell you how happy I was the day I spotted this little guy so close to where I live.

Of course the greatest joy of 2020 is that for the first time in our lives, my wife and I get to start a year as doting grandparents!

Our first grandchild was born towards the end of last year in September and I’m sure you will be shocked and surprised to hear that she is smartest and most beautiful little girl in the entire world. (It’s true. You can fact-check it if you like.)

That’s it. My blogging for 2020 is off and running.

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas filled with family and friends and that 2020 pans out just as you would want it to.

Cheers
Michael

PS: If there’s anything in particular anyone would like me to blog about – eg books I’ve written, reading, writing in general, being an author, influences, why my modelling career never took off etc etc – or if you have a question you’d like me to answer, please post in the comments. Love to hear from you and it could help me achieve my 2020 blogging goal.

I NEED YOU!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments