Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Thursday, August 09, 2012
Friday, August 03, 2012
Monday, April 30, 2012
(Thanks to the organizers and all who participated ... See you next year!)
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
But even if X didn't find a place on treasure maps, it did prove useful - and still does - how could you say 10 in Roman Numerals if X didn't mark the spot?
Thursday, April 26, 2012
If you had one minute to decide what your three wishes will be - what would they be? Start now ... and no being wishy-washy ...
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
Most of us take the sun for granted - even though some of us do take every opportunity to let it seep into our very being. But what would happen if the sun went out? Not exploded as a supernova but just quietly went out. What would you do when, at 10am in the morning, the sunlight just stopped and the world plunged into darkness? How dark is pitch black? And while the lights would come on as though it was night, there wouldn't even be the reflected light of the moon to brighten the night sky! Would mankind be able to adapt? Would the resultant world be a place we would want to live in? And would we ever stop waiting for it to come back on?
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
We don't do enough play these days ... I think some people have completely forgotten how. When we're little folk, our work is play - that's how we learn. We splash around in troughs of water and learn about displacement and that the wetter you get, the more fun it is. We paint all manner of things which aren't necessarily recognizable by anyone but us and we learn that yellow and blue make green and that rainbows have seven main colours - all of them beautiful. We learn to love cardboard boxes and as we get a little older we come to like the toys in those boxes, and we learn to share and we learn how to use our hands and hone our fine motor skills and our eye-hand coordination. And it's all fun. Until one day we forget about having fun and laughing and playing. Someone said recently that they don't call work "work" for nothing, and it's true. It's about productivity and profit (another P word ... oh wait, they both are) and politics (another one!). But why can't it be more about fun and play? Or are we just not playing the right games?
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Whenever I see an onion my thoughts turn to the Toowoomba Range and the truck driver who chose to veer off the road rather than drive over cars to get to the safety ramp. Who knows if he thought he would be able to slow his onion-laden truck before it went over the side of the Range, with him somehow surviving the crash, or if he acted on instinct, and knowing he could not live with the knowledge that he had caused the death of others. Whatever the case, and we can never know, the decision cost him his life. We drove down the Range a couple of days afterwards and there were still onions strewn around the scene. It was a very real reminder.
No doubt lots of people who have heard the story about the "onion man" have forgotten what it means all these years later, and the sacrifice he made. This is why it's good to keep the memory of this act alive, showing how one man can truly make a difference. Onion anyone?
You have to wonder what the world is coming to when there is a news* article saying Australia will be one of the safer places to be if we ever find ourselves in the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse! Or was that "when"? Of course, it's always good to have the opportunity to be prepared - so we can start stockpiling provisions, working out how to turn our homes into zombie-proof fortresses and studying up on how to stop the zombies, despatching them before they make a meal out of our brains. Are there other ways to kill a zombie than with a chainsaw? Will even they work - and, if so, are there ones out there with longer handles?
I'm not sure that that's a world I would want to live in - just like I wouldn't want to live in Midsomer or Cabot Cove where murders are always in the news - and just as well or police and mystery writers would have little to do - except maybe watch televison where a nice juicy murder now suffices as entertainment. Is that it - do we live in a world where, to a certain extent, newsworthy events and entertainment have become somewhat interchangeable? Or is that old news?
* News: information about recent and important events.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Have you noticed that you seldom get missives through the mail anymore? Have those long letters you could languish over, absorbing your correspondent's news, gone the way of the dinosaur? Have they been replaced by an SMS, s Tweet, Facebook post or perhaps a group email? Do you miss them? I raised this issue a couple (few?) years ago on this blog and soon after was surprised by an actual letter in the mail - and even though it was from a friend who I saw regularly to catch up with over a coffee, the letters took on a life of their own. I have moved away since then and even though neither of us is as frequent a correspondent as either we or the other would like, for me it is still a thrill to get or send the letter. When I mention missives to other people, they say they miss them too and one friend has even asked me to write her one of those long letters like I used to (many years ago now ... before life became busier) - and you know what, I'm going to ... and, while I'm at it, I’m going to pen a missive to Deb as well! Anyone else?
Friday, April 13, 2012
L is for Love, or perhaps it's for Loss, because that is what invariably results from Love. What is it "they" say? "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all". I tend not to agree with them. Or perhaps I do. I am of two (at least) minds about this one - partly, I think, because my visual memory is not good - and certainly my powers of description (what did/do they look like?) are worse. When it comes time to recalling a loved one - even if we are parted only for a day - I can get the sense of them and vaguely try to describe them to myself - but it's definitely wanting. Photographs help but not enough. And when there are images - they are often ones I would rather not have. Although, writing that, I realise that the image I have of my father, after his death, at the viewing where he is in one of his favourite Thai shirts, and with the Superman tee placed in the coffin with him - even though it is a hard image, it is one I do hold on to because this is when I knew that he was finally "free" from the brain tumour that had stolen his life slowly over the more than two years between diagnosis and last breath. Of course, I can think of other instances of him if I look at photographs, or try to imagine him in a remembered setting, but I cannot recall the rich vibrance of the man he was. Hopefully other people are able to conjure up their loved ones better. But does that make it easier? Or harder? I truly am at a loss to know.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Karen: the language (spoken in the Thailand and Burmese Borderlands); the people (making up 7% of the total Burmese population); the first name (and surname) - as entered in a Google ”vanity search”! The only thing wrong with egosurfing (as looking for yourself on the web is also known) is that you do run the risk of finding out that your namesakes have more interesting lives than you do! But that doesn't stop people opening up a search engine and typing in their name - in fact, nearly half US adult internet users have done it - and at least one Australian (that would be me!). My favourite other me is an egg-blowing, shooting, wheelchair-bound person of mixed origin (Hawaiian/Japanese/Cherokee). I’m definitely intrigued by the me who is into artificial intelligence; and now not totally sure about the GP who seems wonderful (according to the reviews) but has a billing department which isn't. Alas, you do need some patience to find me - I’m so far down in the Google search results that I found my attention wandering off and I’m now thinking of doing that myself ...
Is there a natural justice in the world? A sense of fairness that pervades the universe as we know it? One where we can be assured things will work out in the end? I’d like to believe that as the alternative (one of them anyway) is a random kind of universe where anything can happen - and we chalk the results up to fate or, if preferred, destiny. It's interesting that the autocorrect on my computer replaced "fate” with ”care”. Are they the same thing? Do we shape our own fate based on what and who we are and what care we put into our lives - and how much we care about others ... and how fair we are in our dealings with them? Would it then be enough if we were just just? As in ... ”just” as in ”absolutely”, ”exactly as this moment”, ”free from favouritism or self-interest or bias or deception”, or, from its origin - ”righteous in the eyes of God, upright and impartial”. Could that be it then? Could natural justice be the effects of a person's actions that determine his/her destiny in this lifetime - rather than in their next incarnation because that would then be Karma ... and therefore a topic for another day!
Monday, April 09, 2012
Sunday, April 08, 2012
There are some blogs which are harder to write than others - not because the subject matter is hard but because it is hard to decide on the subject matter. I hunted through the dictionary looking for an H word to be the focus for today's blog, took heart from asking other people what they thought a good H word would be (Hiatus Hernia anyone?) and finally picked something - and then realised that that topic wasn't working for me. Then someone suggested Hard. And it is - I had thought about writing about heart, and home, and heroes, and Homer (who was our wonderful cat who we named after Homer . . . Simpson the first time we saw him eat! ) and hope and happiness and Harold Holt and Houdoni and habits and hackers and Hell and hagiography and hair and halitosis and hallucinations and Harry Potter and horcruxes and horror and hotels (as in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) and ... the list goes on. In retrospect, I realize that by settling on one, I had just settled - and I need to do more than than when deciding what to blog about - otherwise it ceases to be something I really want to do and, instead, just becomes ... hard!
Saturday, April 07, 2012
”Good.” How many times a day do we say ”good” without really having given much (or any) thought to what other word might be better. I often replace "good" with "excellent" but only if it's warranted. Come to think of it, it may not be that we don't consider other words, but that we don't consider the answers enough - possibly because we don't think that folk who ask questions where our best response is ”good” are interested in a "real" answer, as in: How are you today? Good. As opposed to - ”Don't ask, I have a horrible night, my partner just left me, I’m having trouble with the bank, and if I have to listen to one more session about being a team player I am going to lose it”. How was dinner? Mmmmm ... good - not to be confused with sublime, excellent, amazing, or, at the other end of the spectrum, words fail me. Which is where ”good” probably is (good), in light of Mr Rabbit’s advice to Thumper: if you can't say anything nice, don't say nothing at all. Good.
Friday, April 06, 2012
Friday - the last day of the working week. Never was it is as welcome as the very first week I worked and even though it is a few years back now, I can remember the absolute elation I felt walking home from the train station through Tempe Park knowing there would be no work tomorrow! It was like being let out for the school holidays - and even though it was only two days stretching before me this time, rather than weeks, it was glorious! I've only had that feeling once since and it wasn't at a particularly onerous job, at the end of a long week, or for any special reason - except that it was Friday and not in that TGIF way - although goodness knows there have been enough of those over the years! I'm not sure if it would be a good thing or a bad thing if it happened at the end of every week - there's certainly nothing wrong with looking forward to weekends but you'd have to hate being it a job where that was the only highlight ie not being there!
Thursday, April 05, 2012
Extenuate: (often as extenuating adj.) lessen the seeming seriousness of (guilt or an offence) by reference to some mitigating factor.
It's a bit like that story about the man who kills his mother and his father and then pleads for clemency because he is now an orphan! The sentencing hearing of Sydney man Neal Richardson (convicted of murdering his lover before using a power saw to dismember her body) has heard that he suffers from traumatic recollections.
''He's off drugs now. He's sitting in jail with his life ahead of him,'' his barrister told the court, adding there was evidence Richardson felt ''contrition'' and ''remorse''.
After her death (which Richardson claimed happened when Ms Grant hit her head on a coffee table when they fell during an argument) at the house they shared in Malabar (a Sydney suburb), and believing that the police would think he had killed her (as she had been slated to give evidence against him on an assault charge) he disposed of her body on a NSW rural property.
Justice Lucy McCallum adjourned the matter for sentencing on May 11.
Wednesday, April 04, 2012
[The devil is in the detail: isn't it amazing that we have a language in which a demon can be either a "cruel wicked and inhuman person", "an evil supernatural being" or "someone extremely diligent or skillful"? Me, I'm going with the Ancient Greek origin - δαίμων (god, goddess, divine power).] (Thanks WordNet.)
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Most of us take conversation and social interaction for granted. We fall into an easy interchange with others - passing the time of day, talking about the weather, avoiding taboo subjects like politics - and don't give it a second thought. For others it's a much more difficult proposition. They lack the basic skills of and for social interaction and find it difficult to acquire them - and it isn't easy - and harder still to find places and opportunities to practice. Lean forward and smile - try to connect with people - show them you care - these are the stepping stones to acquiring social skills: not really like ... but not totally unlike ... fake it till you make it. Now that's something to talk about.
To be honest, change isn't one of my favourite things ... unless it's coins, in which case it's welcome in bucket-loads. Real Change though, well, that's an entirely different matter. I am resistant to change. I realise this is perverse, given the only thing constant is change because change doesn't. But what's the alternative? A world without change? A world where we didn't need to adapt to new circumstances and conditions? A world where we can rely on everything being the same from day to day? Day in ... day out? That already sounds like a less interesting place especially if the lack of change extended to subjects, gears, tunes, clothes, lanes, jobs. Hmmm, could be time for a change ... of heart!
Monday, April 02, 2012
They don't do ballads like they used to - not just the poems, but the songs as well. Music today is not about the words - let's face it, it's pretty hard to work out what they are - it's about the beat, and lots of it! Once upon a time, it used to be about harmony and melody. It used to be that you could put together a mix tape to share with your special someone to let them know how you felt - and the songs, filled with lots of E-flats and even more of the love tone, would spread the warm fuzzy feelings which symbolised how deep was your love. Now it's more likely to be head-banging rhythms and high-volume which is perfectly acceptable for dancing, especially as a precursor to mating, but it's not necessarily something which when next you hear it will brighten your smile and make your heart sing. Ah, Ballads ... (with apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning) how do I love thee? Let me count the ways ...
It would be interesting to know how many blogs are alive and well out there on the internet and how many have slipped into disrepair through neglect or folk simply not having enough time to keep them current. Everyone (or is this a generalisation?) starts a blog with good intentions although no doubt for vastly different reasons. I'm not sure if blogging is about vanity or about people trying to find their voice - and then trying to have it heard ... although for some it may be enough that they have made the effort at all. These are probably not the folk who sign up to track their blog's statistics. Or is that something we all do - looking to see the number of hits on our sites, where they've come from and how folk have visited our blog instead of one of the other millions of blogs out there. Chance? Fate? Blog-hopping?
Sunday, April 01, 2012
Thursday, March 08, 2012
There was an interesting article by Andrew Jacobs in today's Sydney Morning Herald about the Chinese push to re-instill comrades with a sense of selflessness and industry by urging people to "Learn from Lei Feng" - a young man who was killed when a colleague reversed a vehicle into a telephone pole, sending it crashing down on him. Lei Feng was promoted to the status of National Hero by the Communist Party propaganda machine: Lei Feng, industrious, generous and irresistibly impish, China's most endearing soldier, the sort of fellow who would darn his comrades' socks and skip a meal so others might eat.
As Jabos writes: "In urging people to 'Learn from Lei Feng' a year after his death, then-leader Mao Zedong sought to imbue China's youth with a passion for self-sacrifice and patriotism — and perhaps distract them from the hunger pangs of famine that followed his disastrous effort to rapidly industrialize in the Great Leap Forward."
While these propaganda methods may have worked well "back then", today the Internet allows a forum for people to question the push - which they are doing although some of the comments are being deleted by censors.
Jacobs reports - and this was the interesting part which added to the suggestion that "government-sponsored role models strained credulity": previous party icons include Shi Chuanxiang, a happy-go-lucky "night soil" collector; Wang Yiqing, an electronics worker who assembled 5 million radio parts without a single mistake, and - wait for it - Iron Man Wang, who dog-paddled in a vat of cement when there was no machine to mix it!
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Just when you thought you had seen everything - here's something else to whet your appetite for theatre. Remember Carrie, Stephen King's story of a young, increasingly troubled teenager who is teased until she turns nasty, well, you can now see the Musical of the same name - until 22 April since it has extended its season. The following is an excerpt from The StephenKing.com Newsletter:
The newly reworked and fully re-imagined production of Carrie, produced by award-winning off-Broadway theater company MCC Theater at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, recently announced an extended run through April 22. The musical's original creators, composer Michael Gore, lyricist Dean Pitchford, and book writer Lawrence D. Cohen (who wrote the screenplay for the 1976 DePalma film version) have completely revised the their 1988 musical under the direction of Stafford Arima. Stars Broadway stalwart and Tony Award nominee Marin Mazzie as Margaret White, and a young actress named Molly Ranson who, by all accounts, is giving a star-making performance.
Going through my wallet this afternoon (you do have to do it sometimes!), I came across a discount fuel voucher from one of the supermarkets. I checked the date and found it had expired - although it was fairly hard to read because the ink was fading fast on the thermal paper. Is this an additional service they offer that maybe didn't work as well as it might have? Self-fading fuel dockets ... they fade totally when they are out of date.
Friday, January 13, 2012
It depends on what you see as a positive - the headline on to day's Gold Coast Bulletin was: Vampire Killer Living on Coast. If you were afraid of these undead creatures of the night (unless you subscribe to the Twilight model) you might be pleased this was the case and you would see a "good news story". The intention though was not this. It is to let folk know that a woman who stabbed a man to death and then drank his blood has been released from prison and is now living amongst us. Is this a case of clarity sacrificed for brevity?