Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 2

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Thursday December 27, 2007 (idea)

Click on thumbnail to view photo Some quirky thoughts. One can describe one important aspect of the human species with two mundane symbols, a glass and a carafe.

  • A glass has the sole purpose of collecting one's personal nourishment.
  • A carafe on the other hand has the sole purpose of pouring nourishments for others.

Although the purpose of the one is purely selfish and that of the other generous and unselfish, they both are dependant upon one another. Without a glass the carafe has nothing to pour into, and without a carafe there is no point in having a glass. Therefore all of us have been given both a carafe and a glass at our disposal. However many seem to have a glass in their hand pretty well all of the time, while only a few others usually do most of the pouring.

Thinking back about my father he was definitely a strong carafe person, so is my sister Wivica in Germany. My two children, Babette and Jeroen, too are doing their best like myself to be active carafe persons, trying to make a difference.
Strangely enough this common attitude we have in our lives I feel (especially as I am growing older) as one of the dearest and in a sense most intimate bonds between us. It also fills me with great pride and happiness.
One's shared DNA must have something to do with it. But it also reflects the environment one grew up in, and the level and quality of awareness one has of the world and one's position and function within it.

I feel almost embarrassed as I write this "goody goody story", but the sad fact is that it should not be so. Carafe bearers should be the norm in this world, not a minority. We call our species "human" but we are a long way off from becoming generous and "humane".

So what are you ? A carafe person ? Wonderful, I salute you !
Or are you finding yourself rather too often just with that glass in your hand ? Then why not reach inside yourself, take out your carafe and start pouring a bit. You may surprise yourself, as very quickly it will start to feel 10 times better than just holding a glass.

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Friday December 28, 2007 (diary, food)

Click on thumbnail to view photo I met young Mel for the first time about four or five years ago. She works for World Vision, the organisation through which I sponsor four 3rd world children. I was a volunteer assisting her enrolling new sponsor parents at several shopping centers on the Sunshine Coast.
She has lots of energy, is always cheerful and positive no matter what and very determined, traits she also recognised in me, so we got on very well with each other right from the start.
I always got a giggle out of her bossing me around and telling me off frequently. But in the end she made quite a capable volunteer out of me and I kept volunteering for a few years after that.

Since then (it has now become almost a ritual) I take her out for dinner each year around Christmas at the Mooloolaba Surf Club. We always have a large hot and cold seafood basket with oysters, prawns, bugs, calamari, etc. There is also a very special cake, called tiramisu. It is triangular in shape with thin alternating white cream and chocolate layers. We both love it and have it when its on the menu. Tonight that is the case. We carefully wait for a bit to let our main course settle, have another beer, before attacking the cake so that we can fully appreciate this wonderful desert.
Later on a band starts playing, quite good, and we listen until Mel has heard all her favourite songs and I, although by now stone deaf from the noise, must say enjoy it too.

You would not believe it when you see her so young she looks (I could easily be her grand dad), but Mel has two lovely children, both girls. The oldest one, Chez (14) is going to Grade 10 High school in January. Briley, one year younger is in Grade 8. Both girls are doing well. Sometimes they too come to our dinner, but tonight they are with their Dad.
As a single mother, usually juggling two jobs at the same time, life is not easy, and this year through some special circumstances, has been particularly tough for Mel. So we are celebrating the end of it and the beginning to new year and brighter future. With Mel that is always with a smile. I tell you, she is quite something, there are not many with her formidable inner strength and character around.

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Saturday December 29, 2007 (diary)

Click on thumbnail to view photo The sun is shining as I wake up this morning. Great I can do my washing, which has had no chance these last 10 days or so with intermittent showers every day. I work on the computer for a while, then off to Mooloolaba. There are huge car cues everywhere, as is usual over the Christmas holidays, but I get through and find a park.
At the Surf Club I watch the tail end of the Australia - India cricket match on the screen. India put in a brave effort, but were all out, over 300 runs short of beating the Aussies. A convincing win for Australia.

Click on 

thumbnail to view photo I get onto the beach and take a few photo shots of the surf. It is nice and sunny, but there is also a stiff breeze and the designated swimming area in front of the Club is closed. But that is not holding back the enthusiasts. You can't possibly let these great surf waves go to waste. A Surf Rescue boat is cruising around them, watching and making sure they are all OK.
Back home we have a quiet evening, a tasty pasta by Babette and some Doc Martin

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Sunday December 30, 2007 (travel, cruise, music, drink)

Amafe, on the Silver Shadow, Apr. 2007 I started drinking Dubonnet ( a French aperitif) on the Cruise ship Silver Shadow. A member of the luxury Silverseas fleet it makes a round the world trip each year (of about 120 days, sailing Westwards).
Shirley, my travel companion from Adelaide and I boarded the ship in Singapore at the end of March and got off 41 days later in Lisbon. A wonderful experience. Once on board we soon got into a comfortable daily routine.

In the early evening we would go up to the Panorama lounge to listen to the resident Silver Shadow Jazz Quintet, headed by Martyn on clarinet and sax. They were great, all musicians from Poland.
All drinks on board were free (or rather included in the Cruise price), so I decided to try something different, why not Dubonnet ? Once this was settled there was no stopping the bar staff. The delightful Amafe (pronounce "Amafay") would be ready with a Dubonnet on the rocks (and a delicious cocktail for Shirley which name I forgot) as soon as we entered the lounge, and she would not let me go for dinner until I had at least two of them under my belt. Frankly, I never objected, seeing her walking so gracefully towards me ("Don Miguel") each evening was a delight in itself. So I kept drinking it throughout our Cruise, very nice.

Cinzano anniversary glass Once back in Darwin I could not find Dubonnet in any of the liquor outlets, but here on the Sunshine Coast they had it in the '1st Choice' Super Store. But after a few visits they too ran out of stock, so I looked around for something similar and tried the Cinzano Rosso (an Italian vermouth). Each bottle came with a free cute glass so I bought two bottles. I quite liked it, either straight on the rocks, or mixed with Schweppes Dry Ginger Ale which I happened to have in the fridge.
The glasses came with a tiny booklet in which I read that Cinzano is celebrating its 250 year anniversary. To mark the occasion they have produced a collection of glasses in three different designs by the young Italian artist Selwyn Sinatori. I therefore rushed back to the store today (unlike the NT, the bottle shops are open on Sundays in Queensland) and bought four more bottles.
I now am the proud owner of the complete Cinzano collection, 6 glasses, two of each design. This allowed me to photograph both sides of each glass simultaneously, and include them in my Blog Gallery. Will this be my signature drink for 2008 ? Well, at least until I have gone through all these bottles on my shelf !

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Monday December 31, 2007 (diary, art)

Last night we watched two movies on TV, both very dramatic real life love stories of the 20th Century.
The first one was a BBC production called Edward & Wallis, King Edward's abdication from the English throne (consequently becoming the Duke of Windsor) and his love and marriage to Wallis Simpson. If the portrayal of the movie is correct he was a strong and enlightened man, way ahead of his time and would have made a wonderful King. I was surprised and pleased to see how much support he had from Winston Churchill, both in private and as a lone defending voice in the British Parliament, lead by the Prime Minister Baldwin, the latter trapped by the conventions and stale opinions of the time. Wallis too was shown to be courageous and positive.

Modigliani's famous model Jeanne Hebuterne The second movie was about the live of Amedeos Modigliani and the relationship with his beloved French model Jeanne Hebuterne. There was some friendship, but also jealousy and fierce clashes with his colleague Pablo Picasso (a genius, but by most accounts an at times very horrible man). A chronic alcoholic Modigliani unfortunately died very young. The devastated Jeanne, by now his wife, soon after followed him by jumping from the window of a high rise apartment.
About 10 years ago, while following some painting classes I drew copies of paintings from famous artists I liked. Here shown is my effort of one of Modigliani's portraits of Jeanne.

Today was again a quiet day, some intermittent rain but quite pleasant temperature. After some last minute shopping the three of us (Babette, Doug and I) sat down and had our usual nibbles, oysters, bugs, prawns, wine. I made a good dent into one of the bottles of Rosso. We watched on TV the weekly highlights program of the English Soccer League, and were about ready for bed after that. However Babette, made us watch DVDs until midnight, determined that for once we see out the last throws of the year. At 12 we opened a bottle of champagne and wished each other "Happy New Year". I was in bed soon after that.

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Copyright © 2007 Michael Furstner