Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Grumble Bum Again

I'm back at work today and have still got the grumps. But at least I am out of the 33+ degree heat.

Why have I got the grumps? Cos I'm feeling ripped off again. It's a whole bunch of things but my work situation pisses me off and I'm just about at the end of my tether. I need a holiday. I plan to take one in March when it is a little cooler and I can enjoy it more. I'd like to go visit my Grandma for her birthday, she will be 80 in March. I don't get to see her as often as I would like to, mostly because the rest of my family sucks. Well, a big proportion of them do.

But let's talk about something that isn't grumpy.

I got a calendar for Christmas that is one of those "New Word a Day" things. You know, where you get a cool word and it's meaning on each page for each day. I think I should set myself a challenge to blog every day, and use that word of the day in the blog! Do you reckon I can do it? I reckon I can have a really good go at it!

Soon I won't have to update two blogs, I will be able to just use this one. Our training programme finishes tomorrow evening and I won't have to do a constant blog for work colleagues to maintain. I think I will bring some of the posts over here cos I really like them. Or I'll just archive it until we need to use it again. If you haven't already looked at the other blog, you'll find it at http://kathx23.blogspot.com

New Years Eve tomorrow night. I'm going to a party at my friend and colleague Robert's house. Will be fun. I have a new outfit to wear. It's all black - I don't normally wear all black, I love colour but this outfit was so pretty I had to have it. I also have a bottle of strawberry champagne to crack at midnight. Yummy!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Summer Sucks

It's hot. I'm grumpy. I don't want to be here or anywhere in Australia right now. I just want to go back to the US and be somewhere cold and comfortable. This time last year I was on the last leg of my trip, just arrived back in Chicago. I had the flu really bad, but it was snowing there and I was with my friends Missy and Danny and their gorgeous three dogs Sasha, Loca and India and I was REALLY happy.

Right now, I just want the heat to go away.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

This Year I Have Learnt

Christmas is almost here. Can you believe it? I am astonished when I realise that it has been a year since I was in America. This time last year I was in New York City, freezing my tail off but loving it. I was just about to go to Michigan to see my cysters Terri and Mandie and their families. It was possibly the most amazing time of my entire life.

So what has happened in my life over the past year? What have I learned about life and myself? Let me see:

  • I can find friends anywhere in the world, simply by being myself.
  • I really did miss the Big Canadian Dude more than words can say.
  • Giving my heart to someone who is only attentive of me when he wants something is a complete waste of my beautiful heart.
  • I really don't like corn syrup in my food.
  • But I love KFC that is fried chicken with mashed potato, green beans and biscuits and gravy.
  • America has bad coffee.
  • Canada has great coffee.
  • Canada has bad donuts
  • America has GREAT donuts.
  • Bullies will never win in the long run.
  • So long as I always act with integrity, no-one can stop me from achieving my goals.
  • I don't have to always be the reliable and responsible one. Sometimes I can just kick back and let other people do the work.
  • A real man knows a woman's worth and is not afraid to acknowledge and appreciate it.
  • Aussie chocolate really does taste better than the American stuff.
  • I can learn anything I want to.
  • I really want to travel more.
  • I need to work less and play more.

I am sure I've learnt a LOT more than these things, but this is a good start.

Let me take this opportunity to wish you all Photobucket

Monday, December 08, 2008

The World's Smartest Mouse

How cool is this little guy huh?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Storms in Brisbane

I just have to share this video, which was posted by one of my colleagues on her 23 Things blog.

This is footage from the big storm last week (16th of November, 2008) here in Brisbane. I didn't really think it was that severe at the time, but then the next day heard about all the damage and then heard that it was the most severe storm Brisbane had seen in decades.

And this video footage confirmed just that!

Pretty intense hey? I just love we Australians though - who else in the world would laugh and call it a "ripper" and stay out on the back deck during that chaos?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oh This is GOLD!

Check out the guy murdering turkeys in the background!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I Am Blogging...

Just on my other blog, because I need it for work purposes. If you want to read it (and be warned, it will have stuff about libraries in it, but there is a bunch of other stuff), go to:


If nothing else, go find the post called "Beached as". I love that video!

Monday, October 06, 2008

More Great SNL Videos

Tina Fey really is brilliant as Sarah Palin. Here's a couple more:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Saturday Night Live

Found a great little video from Saturday Night Live:

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (sp?). Tina Fey is BRILLIANT as Sarah Palin!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Menstruation: According to Disney

I found this through Boing Boing:

I would say it's from the 50's. It has some wise advice, even if it does dance around the subject a bit!

Friday, September 12, 2008


Oh Thank God it's Friday!

It's been a crazy busy week. With this new Web 2.0 training programme at work, which I am the technical support for, I am being run off my feet. The phone never stops ringing, and my email inbox is just chockas, all the time. I answer one, three more come in.

It is good, it means people are taking up the training and that I'm getting my teeth into something that gives me lots of challenges, but Cheese Louise, does it leave me buggered! I am so ready to just crawl into a ball tonight and not surface until Monday morning.

But then, that wouldn't leave me with any social life, and I need a social life. As it is I'm opting to have tonight in, spend tomorrow just chilling and leave socialising for Sunday. I plan to see The Mummy with a friend and probably do lunch.

I do have a lot of things coming up though. The Brisbane City Romp is next weekend and I'm part of a team for that one. Hopefully we'll raise some money for the Burnet Foundation and have a lot of fun doing it.

Then I've got a big weekend the week after that. Friday night is the "Girls Night Out" being held at the old QLD Museum, that should be a big night with friends, and then on the Sunday is the Brissie Cysters meet up. Aye caramba, what have I signed myself up for with all this stuff on? Plus I have various lunches, dinners, catch up coffees and even a breakfast scheduled in over the next fortnight. All on top of the massive workload I have at the moment.

Oh by the way, a couple of weeks ago I saw Hell Boy 2. It's brilliant fun! I'm still saying "Ohhhh crap."

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Everybody's Got to Eat

So it's no secret that I'm a fan of Mythbusters right? Well I'm always tootling around online looking for interesting articles and stuff about Mythbusters and Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman in particular.

Earlier this week I found this video posted on Boing Boing:

It's part of an appearance by Adam at The Last Hope convention, a convention for hackers. Now hackers don't just mean those awful people who maliciously hack into other people's computers. Hackers are people who like to pull stuff apart and see how it works, modify it to do things that it wasn't intended to do in the first place. You know those people who like to pull appliances apart just to see what's inside? That's a hacker. I'm a bit of a hacker myself.

The question of course was would Mythbusters investigate RFID (radio frequency ID) more.

And Adam tells the story of how Texas Instruments and the big credit card companies intimidated the representative from Discovery Channel and Tory Bellici and the story was shelved, it just won't be done on Mythbusters. Quite understandably, Discovery Channel is reliant on commercial corporations for it's revenue, and if they are being threatened legal action and loss of their revenue... they're going to back down.

And then a couple of days later, Boing Boing posted this article from CNET News. In simple words, it's Adam retracting what he said at the Last Hope convention regarding Texas Instruments and the credit card companies.

Can anyone say "balls in a vice"?

Adam has copped a LOT of flak for this whole saga. From people suggesting he was lying or making up the story he told at the convention, to those saying that if the story is true he was stupid to tell it to a room of about 500 people, to people suggesting he sold out by retracting the statements he made at the convention.

Now I personally believe he was telling the truth as he knew it when he told that story. He doesn't have much of a poker face Adam, and there is no artifice or falseness about his manner when he tells the story. He's relaxed, clearly relating an anecdote.

I also believe that he was pressured into retracting the story that he told. Be it from Discovery Channel, Beyond Productions (the company that produces Mythbusters) or even by legal actions from either Texas Instruments or the major credit card companies. But from what I know of Adam Savage, the statement given in the article is NOTHING at all like him, it's formal and clearly a very carefully prepared statement. Something tells me Adam has made the decision very carefully to back right away.

Now seriously, who can blame him? Ok yes, if he is being pressured he is backing down in the face of big business, but like every other one of us, he has to keep his job, has to put food on the table and pay the roof over his head. He has a name he has to keep clear. I also know that he has a wife and young family.

Not to mention that this could also affect his colleagues at Mythbusters, even Beyond Productions. If Discovery Channel has said "Retract that or else", then not only his job could be on the line, but the whole Mythbusters series, which means not only the on screen folks in himself, Jamie Hyneman, Tory Bellici, Kari Byrom and Grant Imehara, but the countless other people who work behind the scenes.

To me, Adam has done the wise and probably honourable thing to just back right away.

But that said... it was probably a very stupid thing for anyone to put pressure on him to change his story. Because it has meant that it's got a lot more people talking about it than if it had just slid by, and a lot more people asking questions about WHY the Mythbusters shouldn't be exposing just how safe and secure RFID technology is.

And as someone at the convention said... there are 5000+ people there who do not have contractual obligations preventing them from investigating the technology right there... and many more who have seen all this on the internet.

Poor Adam, he's probably feeling very much like this all over again:

That's Jamie slapping him, trying to bust the myth that a slap in the face will sober you up. For more laughs, watch this one of Adam trying to sober up by running on a treadmill:

High speed cameras rock! I love that Jamie (on the right, with hand in pocket and stop watch) doesn't move a muscle through all of that.

Oh and if you want to see the whole series from The Last Hope, I've made it into a YouTube Playlist:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Men Make Me Laugh

I've just been thinking about something I observed on the weekend I was down on the Gold Coast. And it's had me giggling a wee bit.

When we first got there on the Saturday, after Janna and I had popped our stuff away in our hotel room and parked the car, we decided to go for a walk down to Cavill Avenue in the thick of Surfers Paradise. We stopped at Baskin and Robbins, as you do, for a Saturday afternoon ice-cream cone.

While we were in there, a couple of the Gold Coast Meter Maids popped in for their Saturday afternoon ice-cream cone, still in their uniforms. Now if you haven't seen their uniforms, check this out:


They don't wear much, do they? And the back view? Let's just say it's rather... cheeky. Do a Google Image search on "Gold Coast Meter Maids" and you'll get the idea.

Anyhoo, the girls got their ice-creams, which took a few minutes for them to get so they were standing at the counter waiting and stuff, and then they went outside and sat at one of the tables to eat them.

And I have not been entertained so much in a very long time as I was just watching the guys reactions to them. Absolutely hilarious.

Inside the shop, one trio of backpacker lads were good fun. Two tried desperately not to look, the third had a broken neck, it just wouldn't swivel away from those two girls. I think the poor boy hadn't seen a girl in a skimpy bikini before.

Then there was the old bloke with his wife. I think it was a long needed tonic for the old coot, but his missus wasn't real happy with his copping a view. She gave him a tug of the arm and dragged him away, dripping ice-cream all the way.

When we got outside, I was perfectly positioned to watch guys reactions as they walked down the corridor next to the shop, got to the edge of the seating area and spotted the girls. So I saw their expressions pre-vision and post-vision.

They would walk down the corridor, with relaxed expressions, minds far away. When they saw these two girls in their little gold bikinis, a range of things would happen. For example:

One guy walking down the hall with his sunglasses on his head, spotted the girls and then as quick as lightning plopped the sunnies down over his eyes. Ummm... you think we didn't notice you going the ogle mate?

Another one sucked his gut in like he'd had a vacuum pump stuck up his bum. Schloop!

Quite common was the "double take and drool" method. Often the mouth would plop open and the saliva glands go into action. I saw that three or four times in the 20 minutes we were sitting there.

Then there was the coupled up guy who would do the double take, have a good look and the girlfriend or wife would give him a slap or demand his attention some other way, but he was still using his peripherals after that, that's for sure.

I also noticed that the whiter the guy, the more sneaky and furtive the looks. Black, Maori or olive skinned guys all just turned and had a calm, interested look. White guys tended to have the thing where the neck doesn't move but the eyes dart off to where they can see. It's kind of creepy really. White guys, take a leaf out of your darker skinned brothers, just be cool, have a look, don't suck your gut in, don't peer out of the corner of your eyes, keep your mouth closed and for God's sake don't put your hand in your pocket. That's just skin-crawlingly creepy.

But my favourite of all was the guy who spotted the girls, turned and nudged his wife as if to say "Huh? Huh?" and panted like a dog on a hot day, while his wife just rolled her eyes and kept walking.

Guys, you're so funny. You think we don't notice?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

At the Movies: Wanted

I decided to take myself off to see a movie today. I really like James McAvoy, so I decided to go and see Wanted, which stars him, Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman.

I really enjoyed it, purely for it's shoot-em-up/stunt-extravaganza fun and for the fact that James McAvoy is a brilliant young actor and Morgan Freeman is a brilliant old actor.

However, Angelina Jolie proved to me that she couldn't act with a gun to her head... she actually had a gun to her head repeatedly in this movie and she definitely can't act. Her role was primarily her swanning around pouting those enormous rubber lips and giving monosyllabic comebacks to any lines said in her direction. She's ALARMINGLY thin in this movie, in fact she looks like a praying mantis with rubber lips. I don't see how she can be considered beautiful at all, she's so thin and "enhanced" with those dry looking lips. In fact when she kisses James McAvoy I kept worrying that he would leave a layer of his skin behind on her dry, dry lips.

One question... in these movies, when folks are getting beat up and wounded, both men and women equal, why do the guys get blood all over them, scars, big gory wounds, bruises etc, but the women get a wee smear of blood on their cheekbone but not a hair out of place or their makeup smudged?

Anyway, it was fun, despite La Jolie and her sour pouting, and as I said, James McAvoy is a masterful young actor with a fantastic presence, and the story has plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested. Go see it if you like lots of action and some brilliant stunts. The one where Fox (Jolie) swings her car around with the door open and Wesley (McAvoy) falls in, is absolutely hilarious.

Here's the trailer...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Gorgeous New Tatts

Ok, I just have to have a brag blog now. On Tuesday I got two new tattoos done. It was 14 years ago I got my first and only one up to this point, which was a FarSide (Gary Larson comic) cow on my back above my left shoulder blade. Now I have two more beauties to add to the collection.

Now, be aware that these two photos were taken right as each tattoo was finished, so they're a little swollen and bloody. But you have to do that, because after swollen and bloody, they go to crusty and scabby for about two weeks. Then they settle down to the beautiful artworks that they are.

This first one is on my left foot:


And this one is on the inside of my right forearm:


I just love my new ink!

Interesting Web2.0 Tools and Links

Well as promised, here are some of the interesting links I have found in my time tinkering with Web2.0 technologies. Please, if you know some other groovy ones, leave them in the comments.


http://technorati.com – technology blogs and articles.
http://measuremap.com/ - collect stats on your blog

RSS Feed Sites

http://www.feedmarker.com (could also be considered social bookmarking)
www.digg.com – a blog/news feed tool



Review sites




Social Networking

www.chatsum.com – chat with people looking at the same website as you!
www.yub.com – social online shopping!
www.ning.com – create your own social networks

Social Bookmarking


Podcasts and Vodcasts

www.youtube.com - videos
www.abc.net.au – podcasts and vodcasts
www.apple.com/itunes - podcasts and vodcasts
http://www.clipshack.com – videos
www.truveo.com – vodcasts
www.gcast.com – make your own podcasts
www.vimeo.com – social vodcasting
www.odeo.com – make your own podcasts

Image Hosting


Social Cataloguing and Databases

www.shelfari.com - books
www.librarything.com - books
www.playlist.com - music
www.goodreads.com - books
www.mercora.com – music
www.squidoo.com – build a social website on whatever you desire!
www.zazzle.com – social design – design t-shirts, badges, postcards and share them.
www.cafepress.com – social design
www.simplyhired.com – jobsearch socially!
www.last.fm - music

Second Life and Avatar Sites


Miscellaneous Sites

www.shozu.com (hook open source sites like YouTube, Flickr, Facebook etc to your mobile phone)
www.lexxe.com – natural language search engine
http://www.goowy.com – widgets and webtops
http://www.clipfire.com – product searches
www.quimble.com – for creating online polls
www.vizu.com – online polls
www.rollyo.com – create your own search engine
www.alexa.com – watch the internet, tailor your site lists to see traffic, get feeds.
http://www.allmydata.com/ - online storage and backup
http://yeli.us/Flash/Fire.html - Billy Joel Flash presentation
www.congoo.com – news portal
www.pageflakes.com – create a homepage of all your services on one.
www.trumba.com – online calendar publishing
www.eskobo.com – homepage service
www.tinfinger.com – search engine for famous people
www.favoor.com – startpage
www.lulu.com – publishing
www.meebo.com – instant messaging widgets
www.yedda.com – info and lots of it! Search engine, networking, blogs…
www.calendarhub.com – online calendars and organisers.
www.suprglu.com – homepage service
www.riya.com – search engine based on colour recognition.
www.writeboard.com – collaborative writing
www.shoutwire.com -

Digital Fun at Mt Ommaney Library

Ok, I know I promised to get this up and on my blog over the weekend, but it's been a little busy and I'm in serious holiday mode, two weeks annual leave will do that to you. Not to mention that I was quite busy on Tuesday being tattooed, but that's a subject for another blog, which I may or may not also pop up tonight.

Anyhoo, on Saturday, I had the priviledge of being part of the Mt Ommaney Library Digital Media event organised by Geoff Shera. And a smashing job Geoff did of organising it too. Geoff asked me to give a presentation on Web2.0 technology, and also to be on hand for the whole event. It's been a long time since I enjoyed a day's work as much as I did on Saturday.

Most of the attendees and other presenters asked for a centralised location for all of the links and info presented at the event, and I figured here was the easiest place to do that. So, without further ado, here are all of the links from the other presenters. I will share mine in a separate blog, as I have a BIG document of them.

Peter Cox

superuse.org - where recycling meets design

cheap movie production – cellphone clips nokia are the biggest camera maker in the world….


‘Cellph Portraits’ Gallery
don’t bring a camera bring a phone

cctv filmmaking
FACELESS by MANU LUKSH (cctv footage reclaimed by law)
now, you don’t even need a camera to make a movie


In a society under the reformed 'Real-Time' Calendar, without history
nor future, everybody is faceless. A woman panics when she wakes up
one day with a face. With the help of the Spectral Children she slowly
finds out more about the lost power and history of the human face and
begins the search for its future.


FLIPBOOK at Benettonplay.com / Animation for free

SAND ART Ferenc Cako

the stick figure has a come a long way
xiao xiao

and more stick stuff

Yugo Nakamura = master of web/interaction
no resources really / thought and commitment to craft
yugop design museum yugo


and now …. yourself as the work??

Michael Bouwmann

A Brief History of Facebook

MySpace According to Wikipedia

Thomas' MySpace Editor

Titanium Beau - artist on MySpace

Spoonbill - MySpace Page

MySpace Profile Support

Debra Beattie

ABC Online Specials

The Sketch Book Dot Com

Australian Network for Art and Technology

Capture Wales

LiveWirez - Griffith University

Screen Australia Digital Learning

The Wrong Crowd - an online documentary

Stephen Grace

www.imdb.com.au - Internet Movie Database
www.imcdb.com.au - Internet Movie Cars Database

Now I've just realised I'm missing some of the links, so I'll be back later with an edit after I've annoyed Geoff enough to send them to me!

If you do pop in to read this blog, please leave me a comment so I know I've got an audience!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

You May Not Know...

My friend Terri posted a blog recently on MySpace that was a clever little idea. Just to list some things that you may not know about yourself. So I'm picking it up and here's a few things you may not know about me...

1. When I was 21 years old, I started a radio station with my friend Marty, who was also 21. One day he came into the music shop that I owned at the time, and said "If you were really, really rich, what would you do?" and I said "I'd start a radio station." He was stunned because that's the same thing he wanted to do. So we started poking our noses around and getting information, and decided that since we weren't really, really rich, how about we start a community radio station. And that's how BeauFM in Beaudesert was born. It was hard work for two young people in a country town to get anyone to take them seriously, but we plugged away at it and eventually the ball started rolling, folks started helping and it all happened. BeauFM is still running today. (Oh God, I just looked at the website they have now http://beaufmnew.beaufm.org.au/ - it's SCARY!! Maybe I shouldn't tell people I'm connected with them!)

2. My first memory is of shoes. They were mine, they were shiny mary-jane style with the lacy socks, and I had my feet up on the window of my Grandparent's car. And I've never looked back when it comes to shoes, I can't get enough of 'em!

3. I nearly got married when I was very young. The young man and I kept it a very big secret at the time, because we were JUST of age, but it was our plan at the time. I'm so glad I didn't. He was a lovely guy, but messed up. And I'd have missed a lot of experiences I've had since if that had been my life.

4. I am tetrachromatic. I can see more colours than most people. It's the opposite of colour blindness. Things often don't match in colour to my eyes, that do to other people's eyes!

5. I wanted to be a librarian when I was a little girl. Then I wanted to be a lot of other things for many years, but here I am back in libraries. And I have no intention of leaving it.

6. The worst pain I have ever been in was shingles. It was worse than being tattooed, breaking small bones (I've not broken any big ones), chronic ear infections, having my nose pierced, toothache... anything else I have experienced. It was AGONY!

7. If I was really, really rich nowdays, I would buy a BMW motorbike and travel the world on it.

Did you learn something new about me? Leave a comment and tell me, or tell me something I may not know about you!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Am I The Last to Discover These Guys?

Seriously, has the whole world heard of Naturally 7 except me?

Someone sent me this video on Facebook the other day, and I can't stop playing it.

They're amazing and that main singer has got an amazing voice. I just had a look on YouTube and here's a slick video clip for it, which is almost as good as the version on the train, but I like the rawness of the train one.

I have to find me some CD's of these guys. I need this song if nothing else on my iPod!

Not to mention that they're HOT!!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I found one of my old photo albums in my clean up of the spare room. This is all the stuff from when I was a baby, through Primary School. I was so cute! I can't believe I always thought I was an ugly kid. Mind you, I was always told I was homely. "Lucky you were born with brains girl, cos you ain't much to look at." But I was cute! All shiny dark hair and cheekbones. Oh to look like that again!

These are great old photos, so I thought I'd share 'em with you, my lovely friends!


Aww look, it's me riding a bicycle. Either that or being tormented by my Uncle Greg, who would have been about 16 or 17 at the time. Would be early 1973. Uncle Greg hasn't changed much.


Here I am at 15 months. Would be about January 1974. Don't you love the tint to these photos. Apparently the fuzzy rug I was sitting on was bright blue! For the Aussies reading this, this is a Pixie photo. Yes, they were around then!


I think I was about six. Would explain the missing teeth. But I was SOOOOO cute! I had to play that organ on the right for hours and hours and hours to practice. I hated it and much preferred the piano. Or better still, I wanted to learn to play the violin, saxaphone, cello, anything!! Good to see we lashed out on the EXPENSIVE brand of ironing aid there on the left. (For non Aussies, the blue and white label is for one of the first ever generic brands available in Australia and it was really cheap and nasty.)


I think I would have been about 8 here, or at least that's what I could work out by looking at a photo of me and my brother taken in the same costume. My brother looks about 5 or 6, so that would make me 8. This was for a school costume party. The hibiscus came from a MASSIVE hibiscus tree out the front of our house that we used to play underneath, and later when they built the high school, the kids wagging school would sit under it and smoke. Looks like we had a video player (tapes on top of the telly) and it was a Beta. I still have it, and yes, it still works. To think a DVD player lasts me about a year now before it packs in, and I've got a Beta video player that is at least 27 years old and it still works.

Incidentally, that TV used to go weird in the colour, and we used to thump it to make it go right.


Poor Santa, he just wasn't as stylish as me in my red and white. I loved that outfit at the time. Would be Christmas '83.


If I remember correctly, this was a costume day at school for Book Week. I was Pippi Longstocking. Our faithful poo brown Datsun 180B there behind me.


This is around my 12th birthday. I'd not long convinced a young apprentice hairdresser friend to cut all my hair off, and my mother wasn't happy. That water was FUCKING FREEZING!


Proof that I've been hanging around in libraries all my life. I would have been 12 in this photo, just about to finish Primary School. The girl on the left was named Kelly, and she had webbed toes. And weird parents that were some strange religion. But her father did introduce me to my first curry, and I have much to thank him for that. It was so hot, I nearly died, but he started a love affair with curry that has lasted me all these years. The dog's name was Bear, and he belonged to the teacher-librarian. As you can see, he was very well acquainted with me, as I was ALWAYS in the library.


And here I am on graduation day of Primary School. Look at the legs!! God I wish my legs were still that long and brown and slender. I had a hella figure at 12. Pity from that point on it was all downhill!

Hope you enjoyed my little stroll down memory lane here. I know I have!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Girl Clumsy Rocks the Shoes

A friend and fellow blogger has just posted this video on her blog:

You know why I love this movie. The shoes right? Though the killer ones don't do anything for me. It's the red ones I love.

Enjoy, and if you'd like to read more of Girl Clumsy's blog, click here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Today I was asked why I'm so fascinated by the American Civil War. I'm not entirely sure of why it fascinates me so much. Perhaps it's because it was the first war that was documented so thoroughly, particularly as photography was really coming into use by that time. Maybe it's because I feel a deep connection with the USA, always have, and it's an event in American history that really shaped the country and it's people. And also I think it's a war that wasn't fought by two very different peoples, it's a war that was fought by the same people against each other. Brothers, fathers, sons, cousins, friends, colleagues... all fought each other on opposing sides because they made the choice to follow what they believed in.

I have another friend who suggested that perhaps I have been reincarnated from that time. She thinks that perhaps I was a Southerner, as I'm so sympathetic to the South (while also understanding that they had some major injustices going on down there) and have a deep admiration of General Robert E Lee.

Mostly I think it's painted heavily as a "good vs bad" scenario, but it's not really that clear cut. Yes, one side had slavery and the other didn't, but there were many on the North who had no issue at all with slavery themselves, and the majority of those that fought for the South were not slaveholders, and were not fighting for the right to hold slaves, but to protect their homes, and the right to secede from the Union. Slavery was an issue of course, but it wasn't the only issue.

Abraham Lincoln himself said:

"If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that."

Ultimately of course the right thing won through, which was the emancipation of slaves, but the reasons behind it are far more complex than are often portrayed. And it's that complexity that fascinates me.

The photography of the time is nothing short of incredible. For the first time in history, photography was readily available (though still cumbersome with huge cameras and glass plate negatives that had to be lugged around everywhere, and long exposure times which meant subjects had to stand still for long periods to get clear photos.) But the photos produced during this time were MAGNIFICENT. Huge glass plate negatives gave resolution so sharp and amazing that the photographs of today pale in comparison, even with all our technology and colour over black and white.

If you want to see some examples of the cream of the crop of Civil War photographs, I can highly recommend the Shorpy photo blog, who has a fantastic collection of Civil War photographs in high resolution. Click here to go directly to the Civil War collection.

Also on Shorpy today, someone posted this video montage photographs of the dead at Petersburg, Virginia in 1865. I will warn you that these photographs are graphic and are of dead bodies, so if you're of a sensitive nature, you may not want to watch them. I personally find nothing offensive about them at all, I find them incredibly poignant. In fact, be warned that a lot of the photographs on Shorpy.com are equally graphic, and of high resolution.

If anyone else is interested in the American Civil War, do drop me a line and let me know. I'd be interested to hear other people's opinions and thoughts on that particular period in American history.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

See this Movie. Seriously.

I saw this movie a year ago. It's amazing. It's Australian, beautifully filmed, a fantastic cast, a wonderful story.

And William McInnes is GORGEOUS.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Is "Nice" So Bad?

I had a conversation with a friend about a week ago about "nice people". In particular, how "nice guys don't get the girls." Now this fascinated me, because I consider this friend a nice guy.

The vibe I got from him, was that most people seem to equate "nice" or "good" with predictable, traditional, even boring. That people who weren't nice were more spontaneous and interesting. I'm quite sure that I don't agree with that theory. I'm thinking about the nice people I know in my life, and none of them are boring. None of them are what I would consider predictable.

I think I'm nice, and yet I doubt very much that I am predictable or staid in any way. I think I am very spontaneous. I'm not ashamed of the fact that I am nice. I am proud that I care about other people and how they feel, and that I get joy from making other people feel good. I like BEING good, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I always behave myself!

I'm thinking about the nice guys I know. The friend I had the conversation with... I believe he's a nice guy. He's not boring or predictable. My friend Dave... one of the nicest people on the planet, such a good soul that you just can't believe that any one person can have such a good heart... nope, he's not predictable. Another guy friend I have that strikes me as particularly lovely of heart... nope not in any way boring. In fact, I find all three of these guys fascinating company, funny, challenging of intellect, spontaneous. But also nice, good men. And none of 'em seem to have any problem with the ladies either, for that matter.

When did nice and good become such dirty words? When did the fun go out of being nice or good? When did being a nice person or a good person mean that you can never have any naughtiness in your life? That you become predictable or dull? Was it always perceived to be predictable and dull to be nice?

Now as for women not being attracted to nice men, I personally am HIGHLY attracted to nice men. Nothing sexier than a man who cares. About more than himself. Who cares about his family, his friends, the world, the environment, animals... anything! I personally find the whole bad boy "I don't give a shit about anything but myself." really unattractive, and yes... boring! I think someone who isn't nice, who is self centred is more predictable than someone who is nice. It bores me shitless frankly some guy that goes on and on about himself, and is so arrogant that he swaggers around as if he owns the world.

Am I in the minority? I am not entirely sure about women, but I do notice that there are a LOT of guys out there who will put up with some bitch who treats them like dirt and walks all over them, simply because she's supposed to be "interesting" in her attitude. But do women really prefer bad boys?

A female friend recently suggested that I did really love bad boys, because I have a bit of a thing for Wolverine. And Sawyer from Lost. But I thought about it, and realised that the thing I find attractive about them is that despite the fact they want the whole world to THINK they are bad guys, they're actually quite good men at their core. Wolverine fights on the side of good, not evil, and he loves and protects other people. Sawyer from Lost is a man who has done all kinds of bad things, but his natural instinct when it comes to the crunch is to protect and help people. It is more often than not him that comes to someone's rescue, not Jack, who is supposed to be the good guy.

I just know, give me a man who "gives a shit" about things in life over some self centred, arrogant arse anyday. Nice/good men are sexy. And that doesn't mean they're sloppy and simpering, it just means they can see the difference between what is right and what is wrong and always treat themselves and others with RESPECT. There is nothing sexier than a man who says things like "I thought you might like it if... (Could be anything...) I gave you a call, I washed your car, I made some time for you, I helped the kids school, I rang my mother... anything that shows that they care about people other than themselves, and that they had the thought of what might make me feel good. Mmmm.... now that's SEXY.

And correspondingly, I take great joy in doing something for the people I care about that makes them feel good. Not because it puts me in their good books, but because it gives me satisfaction to know that they walk a little taller or have a smile on their face. Where are the men that find that attractive in a woman?

How do you feel about "nice people". Do you think you are nice? Do you find niceness attractive or do you prefer bad boys/girls? Do you think if someone is nice, that they can't be spontaneous, or they must always "behave themselves"? I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on the nice/good thing.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Unread Books Meme

The 106 books most often marked as “unread” by LibraryThing’s users. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicise the ones you started but didn’t finish and colour the ones read for school.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel T
he Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
A Tale of Two Cities
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
A Canterbury Tale
Tess of the D’urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The PrinceThe Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In the Neighbourhood

Had a bit of shocking news today. I got a phone call this afternoon from my tenancy manager letting me know that there was a possibility that the building would be all cordonned off when I got home from work tonight. One of my neighbours was found dead in his flat today. Seems he had been there dead for awhile.

I personally hadn't seen him for a bit over a week. I usually only see him on the weekends anyway, because both of us work long hours. But he was a nice bloke, he'd always call out hello and we'd have a bit of chat on weekends if we were both around at the same time.

I'm told he was only 55. They think it was something wrong with his liver - he'd been on a fishing trip a couple of weeks ago and had been vomiting a bit of blood, but he hadn't thought it was that bad. Particularly as he had had a few drinks, thought he'd over-indulged a bit.

It seems another neighbour mentioned to the tenancy manager today that he hadn't seen him around for quite a few days, and his mail hadn't been collected since last week and his car still had a fishing rod sticking out of it. I'd noticed the mail too, but figured he was away still. I feel kind of bad that I didn't take more notice, that I didn't question things sooner. So the tenancy manager went and got the keys, let himself in, and found Norm. Not a pleasant thing to have to do on your work day hey?

Originally, the police thought it looked suspicious, but they've now ruled it natural causes. I hope he didn't suffer.

They're not sure how long he was there for, at least 3 or 4 days, maybe more. Poor bugger, he was a good neighbour, an honest, hard working bloke who never bothered anyone and was always friendly and polite. I'm sorry he's died at only 55 and that he should go in such a manner. Again, I hope he didn't suffer at all, that it wasn't a painful, lonely death.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Awww... How Cute!

Take a look at what I just found while cleaning up my spare room...


Yes, that's me on the right. Aged two. I actually remember that t-shirt, I really liked it.

The little boy on the left is my cousin (couple of times removed or something, in my family they're all just cousins) Rodney, who is six months younger than me.

I am so glad that his hat is dorkier than mine.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


You all just have to watch this:

Every now and then I see something that moves me so much in it's beauty that I am reminded what an amazing world we live in. And the above video is one of those things. That ballerina! The grace, the elegance, the balance... the stuff on pointe up on the guy's shoulders or head!

How beautiful is she, and this whole piece for that matter?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Things I Have Learnt...

I'm following Kaytie's shining example and doing a blog about things I have learnt about myself.

Though I haven't just learnt these in the past week or so, I've actually had a little bit longer that I've been really learning about myself, and a whole lifetime I've learnt about other things. Maybe 18 months, two years of self learning?

So let's see, what have I learnt?

1. I am not worthless.

2. I really don't like cucumber.

3. I am stronger than I always thought I was.

4. Dogs and children respond to calm.

5. What people I don't like or respect think about me, doesn't matter.

6. New York City is much friendlier than it is given credit.

7. Oranges make me fart.

8. I really do hate hot weather.

9. When you truly fall in love, you know it. There is no doubt.

10. Sometimes, chocolate IS the answer.

11. I know myself better than anyone else does.

12. Gutting pumpkins makes me retch. As does pumpkin ice-cream.

13. There is nothing sexier than respect.

14. When you press the close door button on an elevator made in the last 15 years, it doesn't do anything. The door just closes when it wants to!

15. When you realise that you are amazing, amazing people come into your life.

16. Cupcakes make my soul happy, particularly if they are pink. I don't even need to eat them.

17. Dignity and grace are not about being serious and "mature". They are about conducting yourself in a way that makes YOU proud, and that feels right to you. You can be as goofy and as silly as you like, but still have dignity and grace.

18. Men that can dance, are hot.

19. I am a "touch whore" or texture junkie.

20. Michael Jackson is really, really weird.

21. It really is wise to have private health insurance.

22. Boys DO make passes at girls who wear glasses.

23. American plumbing is freaky weird.

24. Never get on a crowded train at night when you REALLY need to pee.

25. My head often doesn't give me correct information, but my heart ALWAYS does.

26. Lavendar gives me a headache.

27. I can't live without lip balm or gloss.

28. I don't have to always be bubbly or funny. I can be sad if I need to. Or thoughtful. Or even angry.

29. There is no such thing as "a little bit racist". Even quiet or subtle racism must be spoken out against. And I can do so with respect and dignity.

30. You are never too old for glitter.

So how's that for starters?

I've learned lots of other things, but those 30 are things that pop into my mind just now.

What have you learned?

Singing for his Supper

Isn't he beautiful? It's a butcher bird, sitting on my clothes line, going through his repertoire. You can hear me whistling every now and again trying to encourage him to sing some more. He was really going through every sound he knew, and was quite content to whistle for me.

Sadly though, I can't feed him or his friends. Butcher birds are called exactly that because they eat meat and will butcher other smaller birds for food. And as I, and one of my neighbours have pet birds, we have to discourage the butcher birds from our area, as they will actually eat a budgie, canary, lovebird or other small bird right through the bars of a cage. I have to keep my little guy (a very, very old lovebird called Harry) inside unless I sit with him, because if the butcher birds don't get him, the noisy miners (mickey birds) will.

But I did enjoy this guy's song.


Had a great time last night at dinner with the Brissie Cysters. We went to Kapsalis Greek/Mediterranean restaurant at South Bank. I can highly recommend Kapsalis, not only is the food divine, the atmosphere is fun, relaxed and friendly, the serves are HUGE, prices reasonable and the service is very good.

So we met up early, had lots of fun talking and catching up and meeting the lovely Carly, who is new to the Brissie Cysterhood. Later in the night, Kapsalis put on a bit of a show for the diners. Greek music with dancing waiters who were great fun to watch:

And then they had a belly dancer come out to put on a bit of a show. She wasn't the best belly dancer, a bit scrawny and not all that flexible with the belly/butt stuff. But it was a bit of fun watching her get guys up from tables and make them dance... seriously, why are so many men absolutely hopeless when it comes to finding rhythm and moving with it? But our belly dancer came over to our table and let me take a photo...


They ended the night with lots of music and dancing for the diners, but by this stage there were LOTS of drunk people!

Certainly great entertainment for the Brissie Cysters.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

American Friends

It's funny the view that a lot of people seem to have of American folks. I've found myself having to really re-educate people since I came back from the US, on what American people are really like. Almost every time I talk about my holiday, either people are surprised at how warm, giving, intelligent and open I found everyone on my trip, or they make some kind of quasi-joking comment about how American people are stupid, narrow minded, rude, crass, pushy etc, which I then have to correct.

I guess a lot of people's perspective of the American people comes from television and movies, their Government (which truly does suck - sorry my American friends!) or that very narrow band of the population that travels outside of America. And it's a sad reality that travel outside of the United States is limited to a very small percentage of the American people.

Would you believe that I found American people far more friendly and warm than I often find people here at home in Australia? That could be because I was a visiting Australian, a bit of a novelty to most folks over there though, but I didn't feel so. I just felt that people were very friendly and warm, certainly most welcoming - I can't tell you how many homes I was made feel very welcome at, especially at Christmas time, which was a great honour for me - and while I do believe the American people don't have the luxury of the broad range of world news as easily at their fingertips as we do, (American news is atrocious - hardly mentions anything outside of the US, even when HUGE events happen!) when information is made available to them, they are a curious and interested. American people often get accused of being ignorant, but I personally believe that it is more a problem of insulated, rather than ignorance. The information just isn't there as readily available as it is here in Australia.

In fact, there was only one place that I found people rude. And strangely enough, this was the same place that those very people suggested that I may be uncouth for using a knife and fork "British style" (I can't find photos of the difference!) yet not once in the time I stayed with them, did I hear the words Please or Thank-You, and one night at a restaurant they were so embarrassingly rude and childish that I slipped the waitress $20 as we left and a profuse apology, and she replied "Oh, you were LOVELY!" I was mortified at their behaviour. And that was only one incident of several.

Everywhere else, even New York City, I found people to have beautiful manners, genuinely friendly, open and honest, fascinated with new information, generous and welcoming and hilariously funny.

It was delicious, and I made friends that I will have for the rest of my life.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Cleansing Tears

"Tears are the words the heart cannot express."

Isn't that pretty? I can't find the source of the quote, but it was mentioned on a web forum that I belong to this week, and it has completely resonated with me.

I think too many people are ashamed of crying. They feel that it's a sign of weakness, or emotional imbalance. Yes, it can be if one cries too often or in the wrong place and time, but mostly it's our way of expressing things that we're unable to express in words alone.

Plus I am now a firm believer in that any emotion, forced down, denied or bottled up is only going to hang around FAR longer than it would if you just let it slide by, let it wash through. Holding back is only going to make the emotion worse.

I can cry at the drop of a hat. I cry at toilet paper ads with puppies in them. Once when I was teasing a friend for crying at his wedding, he retorted "What are you talking about? You cried in Toy Story." Yes, I did.

I find when I'm a little buzz-headed, stressed or anxious, a good cry is cathartic. My personal favourite is to put on a good movie that gets the tears flowing and let it all out. The Colour Purple is my weep inducing movie of choice, but there are others. Sometimes a good book can do that too. Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveller's Wife made me cry so hard I got a migraine and vomited. It devastated me. Beautiful book.

But having a cry because you are sad or hurt or grieving is ok too. I had a good cry yesterday, all over a dear friend who for a bloke, handle's a woman's tears very well. He's a master tear mopper. I felt so much better for being able to express my hurt and frustration in such an honest manner with him too. He knew that just listening, then a hug and a kiss would make me feel a million times better.

I think tears are very important to us. Not just women either, it's sad that men are so often taught that they are weak or un-masculine if they shed tears, or even let anyone see them shed tears. I can tell you now, the quickest way for me to turn to mush over a man is for him to trust me enough to cry in front of me!

So next time you feel the need to cry, express those words from the heart. It will do you good!

Monday, March 31, 2008

I'm Amazed!

I've just seen this video...

I'm absolutely gobsmacked. I defy anyone to watch this video and not be amazed, and not believe the intelligence of these magnificent animals. I'm incredulous!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Just been thinking about life and relationships of late. Mostly because of a few conversations I have had recently, things have been ticking over in my head.

There seems to be a perception out there that being in a relationship is the completion of one's journey in life. That's not to say it's seen as the END of one's life, but as the zenith, the pinnacle that all need to achieve to become complete. I constantly hear people say "Only one thing would make my life better... to meet The One." Or "Having someone by my side would make life complete for me."

It's got me thinking. Is that what life is really about? Just being paired up and then it's all groovy? Do people really think that just because they've found a partner, their life will suddenly get all easy and they won't have any times where they struggle, or where things could be better? Does that mean because I am single right now, that I am somehow deficient in some way?

I don't think so. I think there is only one thing that can make my life better. Me. Just like the only thing that can make your life better is YOU. My life isn't completed by having a partner. It's lovely, it's something I do want, but not to complete my life. It's there to compliment my life. Life certainly won't stop having it's "shitola" moments, where it's difficult or confusing or frightening, if I have a partner.

Which brings me to the thought that there are whole swathes of people out there that are either putting their lives on hold until they find a partner, or they're not appreciating the fabbo things about the life they are having as a single person. They're always focused on what they don't have, rather than what actually IS in their lives. I'm guilty of going through those phases too, but I've learnt over the past... well God knows how many years, that focusing on what IS, right here and now is far healthier and more satisfying than constantly lamenting, even in a jocular or wistful way, on any perceived lack in my life.

Now don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't want a relationship. I do, very much so. I not only think it would be a lovely thing to share my life with someone, but I do believe that I have a LOT to bring to another person as part of a relationship. I want a family. I want romance (I am a hopeless romantic!) I want that intimate companionship. I want sex! Ok, I know, TMI there people huh?

But that said, I don't think those things are going to complete my life in any way. They'll certainly be rather delicious add-ons, but life is still rich and full and amazing without them. And in the areas that it could use some improvement, well that's my responsibility, not anyone else's. Besides, what an awful lot of pressure to put on another person! I certainly wouldn't want to be responsible for the completion, the pinnacle, the zenith of anyone else's life! I want to be a complimentary feature of their lives. An enhancement feature perhaps.

Life is what you make it people. Not what other people bring to it.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Online at Work?

Found this cartoon in The Courier Mail today. It's just perfect for the stuff I'm working on at the moment. Some may call it Web2.0, I personally just consider it how we use the internet today, being content creators and editors as well as content consumers, but I'm getting involved in how we can move into the online world as a Library Service. How we are relevant to our customers that use the internet to communicate, study, socialise, express themselves, research, plan, and generally just compliment their lives. We are exploring as an organisation how we can have a presence in that online world, and how we can use those things as tools to work more efficiently ourselves, not to mention keeping up with our industry.

Now of course, the biggest problem in our organisation is that most of the websites that one would use to explore these things, the most POPULAR websites... are all banned to staff. So no YouTube, no Facebook, no MySpace, no downloading podcasts or vodcasts, no social sites, no multimedia... it's all blocked. This is because there is a perception by those that make the decisions on things that:

a) Staff will waste valuable work time "playing".
b) Staff will "say something" in a public forum that will damage the organisation/leak confidential information.
c) There is no way to "control" intellectual property that is created on work time, which therefore "belongs" to the organisation.

Now the truth is, those staff that are going to waste time playing are already doing it. They're reading the paper all day. Ringing their spouses/families/friends two dozen times a day. Hanging out in the kitchen chatting to anyone who comes into their zone all day. They're fudging their timesheets to show that they've worked more hours than they have. They're chucking sickies when they're not sick. They're rorting the leave system so they get more time off than anyone else. Adding access to the internet stuff that is currently blocked is not going to make more people waste time at work, it's just going to give those that already do it another method to do so. And the answer isn't blocking the internet for all staff, it's management knowing those staff that do waste time, and keeping an eye on them, and ACTING when they observe it happening.

As for staff leaking information or speaking unfavourably about the organisation online? You think they aren't doing that already? You think they're not the same ones who write letters to editors under false names? You think they're not already blogging all their bitching and griping from their home computers? You think they're not bitching and griping in any other method they can find to all and sundry? Sorry, but that's already happening too, and adding full internet access at work is not going to make it any bigger a problem. What's needed there is a clear, decisive code of conduct agreement that covers all media.

And then there is the intellectual property issue. The organisation believes that anything created on work time belongs to the organisation, not the employee. Perhaps it does. But why can't that be shared? I mean this blog belongs to me. My thoughts and writing, if copied by someone else... well, they're a bit boring if they rip my stuff off but what does it hurt if they do? Eventually if anything big comes of it, it will be found out. Same goes for any ideas or work I come up with while I'm on the clock at work. If I present someone else's ideas as my own, it will be found out. And who's to say that the organisation won't actually BENEFIT from sharing ideas and concepts? Who's to say others won't build on those ideas, that they won't put their support and enthusiasm behind them? Who says that we won't get ideas from other organisations or sources that will enhance ours?

I think we need to change our attitudes towards the use of the internet as a work tool, and also change our attitudes towards the use of networking and social sites on work time. We need to understand that networking and socialising are not trivial activities. That for many people, those are the ways that they expand their knowledge and efficiency. And that with some trust and some clear guidelines, creativity can be an amazing thing.

Here's some food for thought for you...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spreading the Hate

In my email recently, I got one of those forwards from a relative, you know the type "Forward this thing so that the whole world knows about it and we can stop the atrocity." I also had someone send me a YouTube clip of a supposed comedian puppeteer, who's character is a suicide bomber, but it's just racism against Muslims. Ok now I know the power of email and the internet, and yes I can understand people forwarding on stuff in the hope that others will speak out against something they feel strongly against.

But do they actually read it, read every line, and think about what they're sending before they hit that forward button?

The one I got was thinly veiled as "save the children" but what it really was, was a hate mail against Muslim people. It referred to Islam as a "backward religion" and inferred that this kind of practice (punishing a child who has stolen something with brutality) is the law amongst all Muslim people.

Now I'm no expert in Islam, but I am somewhat interested in comparitive religion, and do read a LOT, being a librarian and all. So I know, that like any other faith, Islam has it's fundamentalist extremists who hide behind the Koran to commit the atrocities that they do. As does Christianity - look at the nutters that planned to picket Heath Ledger's funeral (and do picket funerals of servicemen and women killed in Iraq etc) because he once played a gay man.

Or those that shoot doctors and nurses working in a family planning clinic for distributing condoms and birth control pills. Now I've read the Bible (being a good Christian girl myself) and nowhere does it say "Thou shalt not kill, except if someone is providing contraceptives, then shoot away folks."

But generally speaking, all of the major religions actually do have the same rules and regulations. Whether they be commandments or whatever, they're all the usual stuff of don't kill, steal, shag someone else's spouse, honour your family, love thy neighbour etc.

But why do so many so-called good Christian people assume that if someone doesn't belong to the same faith as us, that they must be some extremist nutcase out to slaughter anyone who doesn't follow their faith? Or that they're out to convert and control us all into their faith? Now I don't know about you, but I don't feel the need to convert anyone else to Christianity with me.
My real problem actually lies with how people just spread these messages of hate, under the guise of being a good Christian. Doesn't Christianity teach us to "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?" So why would you spread ill informed messages of hate around via email?

I think the biggest problem lies in the fact that so many folks actually don't think of people who are different to them as being just that... people. They see the veil, or the colour of the skin, the clothes that are different, the surface stuff and they don't realise that generally speaking, all people, no matter what their race or religion or background, want the same things in life. Ask any everyday person, regardless of their race and religion, what they want from life. You can pretty much safely say the answer will be along the lines of a healthy body, a happy family, a roof over their heads, food in the belly and to be safe to live their lives peacefully. They're not going to say "Oh I'd like to blow up everyone who isn't the same religion as me, that's what I really want."

Yes, there will always be fundamentalist extemists who use religion to gain power, control, wealth or simply because they're insane and can't see that what they're doing actually goes against any true faith. So how about we help do something to prevent THAT, rather than sending around hate campaigns? Or how about we help those that have been victims of such atrocities, which often are people of the same faith as the extremists. How about helping some refugees from Muslim countries? They are usually forced to flee their homes because they don't believe the extremists that are in power.

Or if you really have a problem with people who have a different faith to you, how about leading by example? Live your life as you would wish others to live theirs, regardless of their religion. Behave with dignity and respect. Think about what you are saying when you make that comment about a "towel head" or a comment about another faith. Read that email and think about whether or not it's truth (maybe even do some research online) before you hit the forward button.

Spreading hate of any kind isn't going to make the situation any better. It's just going to perpetuate the problem. Plus it's not good karma!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Does This Bother Anyone Else?

Is anyone else bothered by the whole Wayne Carey saga? For those of you outside of Australia, Wayne Carey is an Australian Rules Football player who has a long history of womanising (he had an affair with a teammate's wife, the same teammate who was supposed to be his best friend), had a history of abuse and infidelity with his wife, and now is in the news for violence towards his current girlfriend, including allegedly glassing her in the face in Florida. He has admitted to a drug problem (cocaine at least) and has been arrested more than once for violent outbursts.

Now the hoo-ha is all over the papers because the major media are paying this cretin money for his "story". One of the major women's magazines here has paid him a huge sum of money, reportedly $180,000, his girlfriend too for their story. His girlfriend has come out and said that he's "not abusive" and that their relationship troubles are "her fault". Sounds like the victim of domestic violence to me, don't you think?

Now Andrew Denton is having him on Enough Rope (Australian interview show) to tell his story too. That REALLY bothers me, because Andrew Denton is known for being a sensitive, thoughtful interviewer, and why he would have this cretin on his show really boggles my brain.

There are massive advertising campaigns in Australia directing both men and women to speak out AGAINST domestic violence, but now major media players are paying a man who is famous for abusing his partners to give his story. How is this giving a positive message to the victims/survivors of domestic violence, when this man is being rewarded for his disgusting behaviour? How is this telling the perpetrators of domestic abuse of any kind that their behaviour is not acceptible?

As the child of a domestic abuse situation, it makes me sick. My father is completely unable to admit the fact that he was abusive towards his wife and children. Because there was always someone to make an excuse for him. If not himself, then someone else around him. Oh he was a Vietnam veteran. He suffered depression. He was an alcoholic. He hated his job. He was unhappy. He came from an abusive family himself. And the list goes on.

But the truth is, so long as anyone makes excuses for these pigs and their behaviour, they're going to continue it, and other men are going to decide it's acceptible for them to behave in this manner too. There are many, many good men out there who have just as many hardships in their lives that DON'T choose to inflict this abuse on their families and partners. And more than anything, we need to appreciate these good men, and they need to speak out against domestic violence as much as they can so that the other scum know that it's not acceptible and that there IS NO EXCUSE.

And we need to speak out with our money and choices too. Don't buy those magazines that pay these cretins for their stories. Don't watch the interviews on television. And when people start to talk about it, say out loud "He's disgusting and there is no excuse for domestic violence, EVER."

Until we do just that, often and loud, these poor excuses for men are going to continue terrorising the people they are supposed to love.

Being a man does not mean showing no emotion but anger. Being a man does not mean expressing yourself with your fists, or your foul words, or by controlling your partner and family emotionally, sexually, financially, socially or physically.

Being a man means showing that you love your family and partner. Being a man means expressing yourself in a respectful manner. Being a man means accepting responsibility for your actions. Being a man means admitting you are wrong sometimes.

If you know someone who is a good man, tell him so. Let's encourage these guys!

For help in Australia with domestic violence, go to: http://www.australiasaysno.gov.au/

Monday, March 17, 2008

Reminiscing - Illinois

I've been uploading videos to YouTube tonight. The stuff I took on my trip to the US/Canada. It's got me reminiscing so much!

Here's the first one I've uploaded...

One of the places I miss more than anything is Illinois. Simply because some of the dearest, most beautiful people I've ever had the fortune to come into my life are there. And I'm missing them terribly. Danny and Melissa that I stayed with. Stephanie and her adorable son Bobby. Danny and Melissa's three dogs, Sasha, India and Loca (alias poo-breath butthead - below).

I totally connected with the Illinois crew I spent time with. I felt more at home there than any other place on my trip, and that's really saying something because I felt quite at home at a lot of places. So much that when I was upset... I just wanted to go back to IL. When I got sick at the end of my trip and was having so much trouble organising transport... I wanted to go back to IL. And it's lucky I did because I got REALLY sick and Melissa and Danny just took such good care of me.

I don't miss tacos though. Danny eats almost nothing else. Tacos and other things drowning in chilli. I used to like both tacos and chilli before I spent time in Aurora IL! Danny, is that a Gar fish?

I wish I could just jet over there any time I liked. It was just Bobby's birthday and I would have given anything to have been able to take him to Cold Stone and buy him an ice-cream, and spend some time just goofing off with him. He's such a great kid.

I miss the way Stephanie would make me laugh so hard I would almost pee. I miss her crazy laugh. I miss how cute she is. Melissa too for that matter, they're both two of the most disgustingly cute sisters I've ever met.

I miss Danny and Melissa's dogs SOOOO much! Occasionally I find myself opening my own front door and calling them. I miss the way Sasha would do her little reverse park thing between my feet. I miss how she'd hop up on my lap and eventually I'd find myself sitting in some weird position to accommodate Her Highness (left). I don't miss Loca's breath, but I do miss scratching her butt with my boots, and how she would put her chin on my lap and just look up at me in adoration. I miss how India would just quietly come and sit beside me for a pat. (below)

I miss Melissa's biscuits in egg gravy. I miss Danny's fried cheerios. I miss Panera in Oswego where I could actually find decent coffee in the US, and they have a fantastic mushroom bisque soup served in a bread bowl. I miss Grandma's Table, where the food is simple and wholesome and bloody delicious! I miss Krispy Kreme in Naperville. I miss Culvers, for the butter burgers.

I hope one day they can all come and visit me here in Brisbane too. Because I can't imagine never seeing them again in my life. They mean so much to me!

Oh, and today is not only St Patrick's Day, but it's also my friend Megan's birthday...