Sunday, March 30, 2003

Daylight Saving ended last night in those Australian states that save daylight! I've changed the Australian RP chat times accordingly and found a site all about daylight saving, called About Daylight Saving Time - History, rationale, laws & dates.

Went to Dunsborough yesterday (about 90kms north of here, on Geographe Bay) where Mum had an appointment with her eye specialist. Overcast, not much parking and so many roundabouts that we found ourselves driving to Margaret River for lunch, where I bought Placebo's Sleeping With Ghosts CD after hearing English Summer Rain on the radio.

Mum and I walked in the Lions Walk for Sight this morning. Rain and rainclouds made the walk all the more enjoyable - no sun or glare and the bush smelt fresh. At Flinders Bay a shower caught us out but Mum had a good laugh at my umbrella, which Campbell (my nephew) broke only a few days ago.

I think I have a cold... I've been sneezing a lot! Perhaps I shouldn't have been throwing Ripper a tennis ball in my shorts and t-shirt and a light drizzle today. And the Dockers lost to the Adelaide Crows by 56 points! And I have a dentist's appointment tomorrow...

No, I'm not whinging... I have a dog to throw a ball to, a football team to follow and a dentist to look after my teeth. Life is really pretty good. :-)

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Friday, March 28, 2003

Gill e-mailed today - she's returned from trips to Merredin and Wongan Hills and I'd forgotten she was going! But I had thought it'd been a while since we last talked. Two Australians e-mailed after visiting my rd and rp site and an RP friend from sunny Melbourne called too. Walked down to Augusta's fish and chip shop for a fishburger tonight. Washed my hair - oh, so my day wasn't too busy. But my hair does take some work!
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Thursday, March 27, 2003

Another day spent feeling zonked - what's up? Updated Flinders Finale site yesterday. Didn't use the Internet till chat time tonight (v. good). Read part of the West's wraparound on the war today.

Was told to keep a secret twice. Strangely, this wasn't mentioned in my stars - I'm having a three star day.

Whenever I log into I check out one or two of the most recently updated blogs and tonight, from one of those listed, I found a link to Wil Wheaton Dot Net. Wil Wheaton starred in my favourite film as a teenager, Stand By Me. And now I'm not a teenager but a 31 year old woman with fading sight and not enough Internet hours and I check out the blog anyway.

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Chat conversations (or chats, as we like to call them) have obvious limitations - no body language or tone of voice to help interpret meaning, for example. And then there's spelling, acronyms and the limitations of typing while you eat, laugh, drink and otherwise be merry, or try to stay awake/wake up. Hence our discussion of Saddam Hussein suddenly turned to conflict in Sudan (go phonetic, mix up an 'N for Nelly' with an 'M for Mary' and there you are). Which found me searching for information on Sudan and finding information at this site, courtesy the United States Institute of Peace. Oh. Independent, non-profit group, maybe?? I thought hopefully. Here's some information from there About page:

"The mission of the United States Institute of Peace is to strengthen the nation's capabilities to promote the peaceful resolution of international conflicts.

The United States Institute of Peace is an independent, nonpartisan federal institution created and funded by Congress to..."

Regardless, the site did provide useful resources to check out. Frustrating that a search of Google for 'Sudan conflict' ranks a US government site first instead of a site more local to the action. Then again, Google is mostly catering for US citizens so perhaps sites most local to most searchers is appropriate.

Checked out Arabic News but not a great deal of news from Sudan - no news from Djibouti or Oman and that's as much as I checked out. Foreign Correspondent (23/03/03 - ABCTV) showed a report on Al Jazeera TV, which I missed. I've just read a summary of the report, 'Battle Station – Al Jazeera TV', and a search for Al Jazeera English returned the following Sydney Morning Herald article 'Al-Jazeera website attacked'. The url given for the English version of Al-Jazeera's site does not work.

While searching for it using Google, and after wishing for a Babel fish, I came across an Arabic-English Translation Site from Ajeeb. Free registration, so I registered - only to find that to translate Arabic into English I need to pay a subscription fee. Just great. Did learn that after Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail and Yahoo!, the most translated page is that of FIFA. No response from the Arabic Al-Jazeera Web site either.

So much easier for me to read information on the Internet than read the contents of the West's wraparound war coverage - easier to shake the wraparound off and read about what's happening here. Easier not to think about it at all.

At this rate, the extra Internet hours we've arranged aren't going to last long...

Walked round to Colour Patch tonight for some pumpkin soup. Used my cane for some of the way home - whenever it hits something I startle, forgetting that carrying it does not mean that my mind can drift off somewhere else.

More information about Sudan can be found at Human Rights Watch at

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Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Ripper likes to catch sticks and tennis balls, so I've been throwing sticks and balls a lot lately. Great sport for someone who can't see - I just throw the ball anywhere I feel like and Ripper brings it back. Sometimes he chooses really small twigs though, and then even when he leaves them at my feet I'm not sure where they are. But yeah, good fun! Rosie, Ripper and I wandered down to the jetty and threw the tennis ball around down there. Rosie just looked on, as did a pelican floating just off the shore. Other pelicans sat on nearby rocks but this one was a bit closer, observing us from the water.

I mentioned recently that a guest spelled out her name to me as 'A N G S T'. Yesterday I had someone spell out their name as 'C O P E'. What's going on? A bit too Angel Baby for me... I'm worried I'll start to look for hidden messages in the surnames of our visitors! Maybe just the ones that are spelt out... and I may have to learn a little German to make much sense of most of them. :-)

I'm concerned that I'm using too much net time, so I didn't log on at all today until just now. Kind of strange to hear Heath Ledger on Andrew Denton's 'Enough Rope' telling the audience that he uses Google to search for lasagne recipes on the Internet. I'm not sure why but suddenly he seemed extra real - I think the studio audience thought so too. Also commented on how it feels to be an Australian when our country is now at war. I haven't mentioned the war at all in my blog but I do hope for peace soon.

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Monday, March 24, 2003

Yikes, after feeling good about downgrading my home ISP account while I live at Doonbanks, I received a message from them today to say that I've run out of hours for the month! Two chat sessions and a week worth of blogs too short! What am I going to do?

Serves me right for spending so much time at FamilySearch looking up names from the family tree researched by my Auntie Pete.

Otherwise, all is pretty much well. Ripper is fitting in but I think Rosie would like a little more attention when I'm throwing sticks to Ripper. Mum and Dad went to Bunbury to buy furniture for the new chalets. I met with the Flinders Finale group at Cosy Corner Cafe this morning and everything is pretty much on track for May 11. I should update our Web site but maybe that'll have to wait or not... Probably I'll pay for more time. And Nicole Kidman won Best Actress at the Academy Awards!

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Saturday, March 22, 2003

Totally forgot to blog last night after chat! Met with my writers' group yesterday and found that most of us have projects to work on. We sat out on the back verandah of a member's home and enjoyed the warm weather.

Looks like we have a new dog - Ripper. And he is a Ripper! Friendly, obedient and not bothered by the goat or Rosie. Dad's taken him down the beach so he can go for a run the last couple of nights. Fun just to throw him a stick or the ball and I'm not so freaked out about the goo.

Today I finally made it into the regular RP chat and caught up with lots of regulars. Not for the first time the subject of 'Black Irish' people arose. I have never heard the term outside of chat, where people refer to having 'Black Irish' in their ancestry. I looked for more information on the Web and it seems the term is not common outside of the US and also has several meanings. Cecil Adams gives a brief outline of where the term 'Black Irish' (as used in the US) comes from in The Straight Dope - who are the 'Black' Irish?. The Black Irish myth by Tom Kunesh is an essay that explores the stories that people from Ireland who have dark features are descended from Spanish men in the Armada who were shipwrecked on the Western coast in 1588. Other sources describe 'Black Irish' as dark haired, blue eyed and fair skinned people. One description claimed that these people have the blood type Rh negative. That's when I thought it was all getting too specific but I searched for information on people who are Rh negative. Rh negative is relatively rare - with the Basque population in Spain/Southern France having the highest percentage of people with this blood type. I was going to summarise what I've read but it's all too much - geography, genetics, linguistics - and not all of it easy to interpret or credible. I now know all about the problems that can occur if an Rh negative mother is pregnant with an Rh positive baby and I have a recipe for Frozen Black Irish. I'll write more if I find more!

We've had eight-year-old Jessica stay tonight and I've discovered a few of the games at ABC Children's TV, including Dress Up Mixy.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Finished the Writing Book. People booked in tonight who thought they were staying at a place called Doom Banks instead of Doonbanks. Dad has his eye on a smart dog that needs a home.
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Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Ate my lunch in the backyard today so that I could soak up the sun. My sleep pattern is out of control again and I thought some sunshine might help. I was wondering why I didn't eat out there more often when the goat poked her head through the fence. I smiled but didn't offer her any food. Then the dog wandered up. I gave her some grated cheese from my sandwich and then a bit more grated cheese. Then I gave her some ham. And then the last piece of sandwich. I hope we all sleep well tonight.

The Brown Couch now has a blog - rave on, Col'!

I'm trying to finish reading Kate Grenville's Writing Book before my next writer's group meeting - by when I should really return it to the person who kindly lent it to me. I started doing the given exercises but became a bit sidetracked. Now I'm wanting to read all the short stories and novels from which the examples have been excerpted. I'm not so excited that I'm likely to rush out and buy the book (although the woman who lent it to me said it would be the only thing she'd take in a fire apart from her dog) but I'm finding it helpful if only in giving me a few clues. I kind of like finding clues and inspiration bit by bit.

St Patrick's Day yesterday (the seventeenth, which is the day given below as just more of the eighteenth because I wrote about it after midnight - damn limitations of the 24 hour day and my stuffed up circadian rhythm). Anyway, I wore my green ribbon on my jeans and when it became cold today pulled them on with ribbon still attached. I think I could stand to wear a few more ribbons but I'm not sure I'd look too much like the stylish 30 something I might have once hoped to become. Actually, I've never imagined being this old, which might explain a whole lot.

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Messed around trying to get a letter to fit a letterhead today - I can never remember which way to place the piece of paper with the letterhead into the printer. That's not all I did though.

I'm trying to learn a little more about celestial navigation. Not for me - I think I'm lucky to have maybe seen the Southern Cross out of the corner of my eye the other night and was able to navigate my way into the house by way of the light on our front porch. More for the interest of people who want to know a little more about how explorers such as Matthew Flinders followed their progress at sea. One enthusiastic navigator designed a CD Sextant - a DIY sextant to be constructed using a CD, CD case, mirrors, glue and a few lego bricks. Wow. The CD Sextant was found via a cool site devoted to Celestial Navigation. The webmistress devotes a page to Dante. I was reading a little more of the Divine Comedy yesterday, so it was strange to be looking for Flinders-related stuff tonight and come across this reference. I like the celestial navigation site because it celebrates both art and science.

Guiding Lights - navigation tools was designed by a West Australian primary school group in 1998. The site won an award and looks to be full of information about navigation. Coming to the site several years later, the opening line of the navigational tools page surprised me:

"Navigation is the science of working out the position of a ship, aircraft, or guided missile, and charting a course for guiding the craft safely from one point to another."

The site aims to explore ways of avoiding shipwrecks and the subsequent loss of life, cargo and boats.

One chat friend has a cold and after a fun chat with the other good friend from chat I was dumped big time. Somewhere in there we discussed vitamins and I looked for the research news that prompted Mum to buy a B12 supplement. Research Ties Vitamin B12 And Folate Deficiencies With Alzheimer's Disease from Science Daily appears to have all the info. I'm forgetful enough now! :-)

Andrew arrived in Geraldton and was making his way to the wharf when a car tooted him - Erin! How did she find him so soon? My Tassie sister and family are on holiday for a few days in St Helens. I hope they're having fun!

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Sunday, March 16, 2003

My entry disappeared! Why does this happen to me?

I can't be bothered writing it all again! Aaaarrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

Okay. So I walked along the foreshore from the Ellis St Jetty today. Found the pelicans perched on rocks, just before that part of the walkway that's covered in water when the tide's in. Then a dog came bounding along and happily chased them off. Started chatting to the dog owner and found that she knows my sister Shan and that her dog is the brother of Shannon's dog Angus. Called in and saw the friend who began our writer's group on the way home and she cut a lovely bunch of roses from her garden to take with me.

Starting to get ready for the Lions Walk for Sight - all funds raised go to the Lions Save Sight Fund, which helps to fund the Lions Eye Institute in Perth. Not only that, but walkers get a free sausage sizzle at the finish! Can't beat that.

Andrew left for Geraldton today. His Kingswood looked very clean and shiny. All packed up with his stuff and a few things we packed for Erin.

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My brother Andrew and his caravan arrived home today. Andrew's work takes him to Greenough, where my sister Erin lives, and he'll be heading up there tomorrow. Erin lives in Greenough but studies in Geraldton, just a little further up the coast. Lamb stew for tea - very tasty!

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Saturday, March 15, 2003

Finally watched Something About Mary tonight. I'm terrible at recognising most actresses but I can always pick Cameron Diaz if I l look away and listen for Princess Fiona from Shrek.

No entry for yesterday because my ISP was having trouble connecting to Web sites. Today I visited Behind the Name, which gives the etymology and history of given names.

Discovered a note in one of the padded plastic envelopes that bring my Blind Citizens Australia cassettes that asked permission for a monitor from the Disability Services Commission to call and ask questions about the services provided by BCA in Western Australia. Called BCA WA and it seems I'm not too late to return the form. I listened to some of the cassette and some of a different cassette from the same branch, looked around for more cassettes (they breed, at least they do if you can still read print and don't use them immediately before returning them - promptly), and then marched into town to drop them off at the Post Office. Bought some nail clippers (again... why don't nail clippers breed?), broccoli and some olives before arriving home to find two more cassettes in padded plastic envelopes next to my bed.

I was getting antsy about not having listened to them - I wanted to get them back but I wanted to at least have a quick listen first. But who has time to sit and listen? I nearly always have to be moving while I listen to music and I can't concentrate on spoken words while I do almost anything else. Along with my antsiness over the unheard tapes (and missing nail clippers) I was noticing the makings of a bad RP week. A bad RP day/week/whatever is when you notice that your sight (due to Retinitis Pigmentosa) and/or brain and/or luck is failing you in little ways that you hope don't become bigger. My day was spelt out to me when a Swiss camper gave me her name - A N G S T. Is that... it? I asked. Asked a different guest from Switzerland if he'd like to 'Pee in your [Oh God that's really back-to-front and embarrassing]... Key in your PIN number.' Damn unintentional Spoonerisms. You're probably getting an understanding for how ones brain can contribute to a 'bad RP day'. Anyway, so eventually, I sat down and listened to the first half of one of the tapes.

And I'm glad I did. Firstly, cos the old movie-like theme music is cool. Secondly, it was a relief to go with the flow and listen to the tape. I sit and read all the time and complain about sore eyes - why is that more valid than sitting and listening to information/entertainment on tape? Thirdly, I listened to interviews with a woman with RP recently awarded the Order of Australia and a man who was lead to his car by his guide dog (while his wife locked the house) in the smoke, heat and noise of the Canberra fires. Only later did the
couple realise how they had relied on the dog, who was evidently terrified and - because of the rush - not in harness, to guide him safely.

So, once again, just as I was feeling a growing panic about how I might cope with less vision, I found something to encourage me.

So what happened yesterday? Campbell did a little more vacuuming. Mum and Dad picked out bathroom fixtures for their re-modelled home. Mum called into see Nanna, who says she is liking her new home at Villa Maria (a nursing home), and Dad called in to see Nanna and Pop. I stayed here and chatted to tourists.

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Thursday, March 13, 2003

Two more e-mail requests today - one for information on the history of Retinitis Pigmentosa and the other on how to find a publisher and an agent for your writing. Search me... or rather, ask me, and I'll spend hours looking for stuff on the net that I don't really need to know. :-)

Okay, so I was genuinely curious about who first discovered RP. I learnt that a Dutch physiologist called Franciscus (or Franz) Cornelius Donders gave RP its name in 1855 (some sources said 1857). Retinitis Pigmentosa is actually a misnomer because '-itis' refers to an inflammation and there is no inflammation of the retina in RP. Scientists may have initially thought that the dark pigment seen at the back of the eye in people with RP indicated an inflammation. The name stuck and I kind of like it - my retina might not be inflamed but it's not exactly happy about the situation either. :-) And it's kinda got a cool rhythm to it too... I'll have to think up a rhyme (I checked at Rhymezone to see if they could spit one out for me but (not surprisingly, although I'm still a bit disappointed) they couldn't come up with anything - pigmentosa wasn't even in their dictionary. 'Retinitis Pigmentosa/She came from Tulsa, Oklahoma.' Lol, how's that?

Anyway, that brings us to why I have no idea how someone might get themselves a literary agent. Lucky I'm curious. The Book Doctor, a Perth-based business, has a huge list of resources that includes links to Australian agents. The Australian Writer's Market Place, a companion site to the handy dandy book, also had some useful information. I'm sure local writers centres could also help and a lot of those are listed on my own site (writing).

While I was looking for all this, I discovered Banned Books On Line, presented by the On Line Books Page. Wow. Mentioned a book called 'E for Ecstasy' as being banned in Australia and then went on to link to the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification's Classification Database. Using the database, you can look up any title and find its classification. If you want to search for material that might be classified R or considered adult, you'll need to do an advanced search and check a box to let you include those publications/games/films. The books listed at Banned Books On Line, as the named suggests, are available on line. Don't get too excited - much of the banned material is stuff you may have already read (or avoided reading) in high school - including Hamlet and Macbeth.

I've often imagined people on the Classification Board lying on velvet lounges watching films in quiet theatrettes, or trying to hurriedly squish in a read between their other obligations (or maybe they'd have a plush couch to do that on too). Reading their FAQ (no, it doesn't describe their surroundings) I realise they also have to play computer games.. "All material submitted for classification is viewed, read or played by members of the Classification Board." Wow, what if they're no good and they don't make it through to the next violent level? Does one board member play while the others offer suggestions, drink cans of cool drink or eat chips? All too exhausting for a becoming-blind chick to contemplate. But maybe if I win Lotto I'll fit my swish home out with a deep red, soft sounding theatrette.

Did I do anything at all today? I wrote two overdue e-mails to good friends who are hopefully patient. And I had a yummy dinner of garlic prawns down at Colour Patch with Mum. Watched bits of a movie called The Hunter, starring Steve McQueen About a bounty hunter - good film to watch interrupted. And Doonbanks' on site accommodation is all booked and people are continually ringing up about Easter, so I've been chatting to tourists and answering the phone!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Really zonked today - couldn't seem to work out where I was on the booking sheets. As a result, I am finally writing my Weblog a little earlier in the day (which pretty much means I'm not writing it early tomorrow morning!) so that I'll be unzonked by tomorrow.

My sister and nephew came around today and Campbell went straight for the vacuum cleaner. I moved it to the carpet, plugged it in and away he went! Later he hit a tennis ball around with a walking stick that someone left here. Very happy and enthusiastic about it all, as if ball games are it.

Popped into the bank today - lined up for ages and then was told I could have used a 'fast deposit' envelope and avoided the queue. Never mind, I preferred to see the cheque securely deposited into my account. Called into a local cafe and had a delicious hot chocolate with marshmallows and shared a piece of apple pie with Mum too.

Dad and the builders are working on the renovations to Mum and Dad's house. The side verandah is now gone, as is the concrete floor of the front verandah. Lots of discoveries as they work - some frightening, some that will make the job easier.

Someone (no name given!) wrote to me today about Braille double 12 dominoes. I've only ever seen double 6 dominoes but now I know you can have double 9, double 12 and double 15. I still don't know where to find double twelve sets in Braille - if you happen to read my as yet unpromoted blog and you know where a girl (or guy) could find such a thing, please let me know! I do know that double 9 sets in Braille and jumbo double 12 sets are available... If only I played dominoes.

The Age's Odd Spot featured news that a British psychologist is warning that crashes in Thomas the Tank Engine could cause child viewers to be scared of train travel. One article about the issue is 'Thomas the Tank Engine's crashes could scare kids off trains' (from March 11). I'm a big public transport fan so I hope kids aren't discouraged from catching trains. I suspect most fans will have noticed that not too many trains are powered by steam anymore, or talk to each other - and so might (reluctantly perhaps) accept that they also don't have adventures or crash a lot. My only concern is that kids might want to become steam engines when they grow up. Or fat controllers!

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Weather's normal again! My best friend e-mailed from her new account at work after, I don't know, ages without a private e-mail address. Chatted for ages at my regular IRC meeting. Saw my sister and nephew (the ones that live locally, not the Tassie sister and nephew!) and shared a few smarties and game of tennis with my nephew. He is 21 months, so about the only person I know with similar tennis playing abilities. He mostly enjoyed clashing rackets together. 'Fish' is one of the words he can say (or 'ish' for fish) so I might see if I can find One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish for him. Yikes, can't even type that without thinking 'blue flish'. lol
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Sunday, March 09, 2003

Uh oh, accidentally clicked the Blogger graphical link instead of post and publish. Another sign I leave this too late. Weather's cooler, at least near the coast. Drove to Colour Patch in the rain with Mum and Dad for dinner. Scotch fillet with pepper sauce, potatoes (yummy) and salad.

Mucked about with my Web site today... none of it uploaded yet but I'm getting there (where exactly, I don't know). Did a bloginality test today - a very quick personality test that found me to be a four letter acronym. Same as last time!

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Western Australia is hot. The lowest expected maximum for tomorrow is for Eucla on the border at 24C (75.2F), and Augusta is expecting a max. of 33C (91.4F, according to the conversion utility in Notetab. The 30C (86F) we experienced today isn't too comfortable but not as hot as most places in WA. Possibility of thunderstorms tomorrow, so that might break the heat. Maybe I should stop whinging and go for a swim! Helped clean the ute today so that I could hose myself down... I should really get to the beach. The weather observations/forecasts are from the Bureau of Meteorology's Western Australian Weather and Flood Information.

Took some snaps of the new chalets here at Doonbanks. Still a slight shadow under the verandah's even in the morning - the chalet's face east, overlooking the inlet. Will keep trying to catch them in the best light.

Attempted to write today but distracted myself by looking up potential character names. The WA Ministry of Justice provides a list of the top 50 baby names 2002. The New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages gives the most popular baby names for 1997 and 1897. The number one girls name and number one boys name for that year are the given names of two children, a brother and sister, that I know. Spooky...

Watched Parkinson tonight - Robin Williams and Stephen Fry were his guests. Okay, I nearly always watch Parkie, probably not something one wants to admit to doing on a Saturday night but there's not a lot to do here! Parkinson doesn't appear to have a Web site (probably doesn't need one, really) but I did find the BBC's Writersroom, which includes the BBC's Writers' Guidelines. So if you've a few more ideas than me, that'd be the place to go!

Learnt that a friend of mine has withdrawn her child from her local kindy after a month of attendance. The vibe wasn't good - less encouraging and more authoritarian. Seems the kids are told how to draw their own paintings - as in, the banana should be yellow, or the house should have another window. According to the management, parents are product-oriented and judge their children's progress on the amount and quality of 'work' completed and brought home. So too, are taxpayers, who want to see results! Well-adjusted, enthusiastic children aren't what taxpayers want but more artwork to stick to the fridges of the nation is a priority? How stifled would you feel, wet brush in hand as you're given directions, not on how to clean the brush or to avoid dripping on your smock but on exactly what to paint? And then there's the naughty chair, I guess that's for when you shove your wet brush up the teacher's nose and tell her (or him) you're never coming back. :-)

Yes, I get a little worked up about these things and I know that some parents (not to mention taxpayers, of course) might prefer the kindy's approach. But hey, it's my blog, and you can't tell me what to write...

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Friday, March 07, 2003

The Post and Rail has suspended operations for the time being and my recent reporting is not required. Oh dear. I've enjoyed getting out and chatting to people and writing about what's happening. The experience was positive and has given me a little more direction. I'm glad that the editor gave me the opportunity to report from our town.

A package arrived from Tassie today - a prezzie and card from my sister Megan. We thought the package was lost in transit when the post office told us a mail truck with deliveries from Tasmania was involved in a road accident. Didn't want to be too concerned about the parcel when we knew that people were hurt in the accident. Nevertheless, the parcel arrived and I now have a cute little ceramic container with painted flowers on that will hold a few precious items. Well, it will as soon as I have a few more precious items - perhaps if I bought fewer books, I could collect a few.

ResearchBuzz arrived in my In Box today with a few cool sites to check out. I love ResearchBuzz, it always has a happy vibe. A review of an Etymology Dictionary caught my interest today. Most strange was a list, compiled by the site owner, of search terms people had entered into search engines to bring them to the site. While I can imagine that people might enter some wacky combinations, it was often hard to draw a connection between the terms entered and the site. How many people enter a search term and then visit whichever sites are listed by the search engine, regardless of their relevance?

Tara Calishain from Researchbuzz's visit to the site found that 'access' originally meant 'an attack of fever'. Internet access is a bit like that. I found that 'futon' entered the English language from the Japanese in 1972, the year I was born. 'Vision' came about c1300 to mean 'something seen in the imagination or in the supernatural' and although it's origins are in words about seeing, was not used to mean 'sense of sight' until 1491. Yes, even though I mistake etymology for the study of insects sometimes, I was hooked.

Learnt more about The World's Greatest Shave for a Cure today, which sees lots of people, including the guy who sent me the info, shaving or colouring their hair in return for donations to the Leukaemia Foundation.

Also read today that people are returning rocks and soil stolen from Uluru (Ayers Rock) after experiencing bad luck ('Rock theft brings bad luck
' from The Age, March 7). I wonder how long before the rocks affect one's life? And I wonder if people who ride bicycles or tee off when atop the rock experience similar bad luck? Only seems fair. Yes, I can imagine that people might want to take a little of their Uluru experience home. Spread the spirit a little further.

My own trip to Uluru lasted less than a day. Cloud cover meant the rock did not change colour and I did not make the climb. I took dodgy photos along with the other backpackers on my Greyhound tour and the travellers from the many other coaches and cars in the viewing area. Hard to feel anything when you're on a schedule and people are quaffing drinks from placcy cups on trestle tables, as if they're at a sausage sizzle in an art gallery. Having been once makes visiting again feel more possible. I know the scale of the rock and I visited when the weather had been unusually wet, so the plant life was more obvious. Maybe I'll go again sometime and see the colours. Feel something more.

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Thursday, March 06, 2003

Due to a glitch last night... tonight's entry is for Thursday 6 March and the previous entry, although published on 6 March, was for Wednesday, 5 March.

Spoke to two of the artists who exhibited at Hot and Flowing, the exhibition we checked out in Witchcliffe on the weekend, for the paper. Also called the bowling club for a little more information about their corporate bowls competition. I have a picture of teams playing last week and asked the person most prominent in the photo for his full name and team name... he's not sure of the team name but they're definitely from the local bakery (told you I could find my way there!) and they're either the Cream Puffs or the Doughnuts!

Attended a community meeting tonight about future town centre planning. Not too many people interested in what happens if the numbers are an indication, although two other organisations held meetings at the same time, which in a small town can bring numbers down. The meeting was informal and well-run - no one waffled on and we first met in smaller groups to work out what we felt important. As well as attending to offer my input (I looked to be the youngest participant and I'm 31), I will write about some of the outcomes and concerns in the paper.

The meeting meant that I missed my usual chat session but I probably need a break.

Visited BBCi's Ouch! just now... lots of opinion pieces and news for people with disabilities - including a piece about eye check ups, 'The Visually Impaired Girl and the Hospital'. Seems I'm not the only person who finds that people who should know better are capable of ignoring the information they have about a person's sight when faced with the person who 'doesn't look blind'. Guess it goes to show how much most people rely on their sight to understand (or misunderstand) the world around them. Lol, and now I've gone off on my own rant.

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Erin should be home in Geraldton now - Mum drove her to Perth and so was away most of the day.

The group planning the program for the Flinders Finale met today at the Cosy Corner Cafe.

After reading Dorothy Porter's verse novel 'Wild Surmise' a few weeks ago I found myself looking for Dante's 'Divina Commedia' on line. In my high school Italian class I learnt that Dante Alighieri was a famous Italian poet after whom an examination was named. My teacher wasn't too impressed that some of us hadn't heard of him but I don't remember learning anything more. Dante Alighieri on the Web and Digital Dante are useful sites to visit if you want to read Dante's work. Actually, mostly Dante on the Web will give you all the information and links you might need but who can resist a site called 'Digital Dante'?

Also read about new technology that will make electronic travel aids more useful to people who are blind or vision impaired. An article was posted to RPList that had me reading 'Space technology to help the blind', a European Space Agency article. Strange to think that instead of using a cane to find a fire hydrant or a wall, you could have your electronic travel aid tell you that it's nearby - that you could wander into the local bakery and have your whereabouts confirmed by a signal from space! But will the space signal tell me if all the vegetarian pasties have sold and there's only a bacon and cheese sausage roll left in the warmer? Okay, so I can find my local bakery... but I can see situations, in unfamiliar places, when having a way of knowing where I am without needing to see a street directory or signs would be really handy. I do wonder if technology like this could make you feel less in touch. Having less vision already makes me feel less connected to the world and having the experience of being in my immediate surroundings communicated to me via satellite could make a walk in the city a little less than real. Lol, and how will the aid know where other people are? Testing began in Spain last month and I hope the aids prove useful.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2003

The Flinders Finale 2003 committee met today to plan for our May celebrations of Matthew Flinders' second visit to the oceans off Cape Leeuwin. We have now confirmed that two botanical artists will be attending, one of which will talk about the work of Ferdinand Bauer (article from Australian Plants online). The local art club will also open there rooms on the day (located at our venue, a local hall) for demonstrations and sale of work, so it's all coming together.

Finished one of the articles for the Post and Rail... a short piece about our local Clean Up Australia Day efforts and worked at Doonbanks. Still a lot of people staying in Augusta.

Watched All Saints tonight... Mitch has a brain tumour and Charlotte put her dog down after it bit a child - all so sad! lol I can see there are going to be a few teary episodes to go yet.

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Not much to report today. Ohhhh, just remembered I have a meeting tomorrow morning... I need a better time to write about my day. Erin used the camera to take few pics of Boot skating. More conversations on the cane and mobility in chat, can't remember what else, oh and glare and the psychological effects of RP. Wow, lots in there.
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Monday, March 03, 2003

Tried to be extroverted, adventurous or assertive today... bit difficult in the morning... lol...

Mum, Erin and I drove to Witchcliffe to see an exhibition of slumped glass and textiles at the community hall. My photos are okay - I think the pieces on display made my job much easier! We also took a look in a supporting gallery across the road before having a cup of tea and a friand with tangy berries on top at the Witchy corner store. We weren't sure what to expect but we were all glad we went along. Witchcliffe is a very small town on the main highway, just south of Margaret River, but there was plenty to see today.

On the way home we took photos of rubbish left after the Clean Up Australia Day effort at Kudardup, which included a dinghy with a hole in the bottom. We spotted a local woman collecting rubbish outside her farm on the highway and stopped to take her photo too.

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Sunday, March 02, 2003

My youngest sister Erin and the elder of my two younger brothers, Andrew are home for the long weekend (Labour Day in Western Australia). Doonbanks is full - I'm not sure that we even have room for another tenter. Quite windy... hope it drops off soon...

Read an article at the Age Online about a new scanning technique developed in Australia that can map the surface of the brain ('Australian technique used to map the brain'). The part of the brain dealing with visual perception was mapped in six Australian subjects. The hope that the technique will give clues as to why some people are more creative or are good with, ummm, words or whatever. Can you really tell a brain from it's surface? The research will be published next week in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Age article on the brain mapping technique disappeared into the archives... (I found it again via Google)... and hoping to find a similar report at ABC Online I did find a report on how 'Acting chirpy makes you happy...'. Not quite what I was looking for but I discovered that researchers from North Carolina believe that by acting extroverted, adventurous or assertive, you can feel more happy. So if you look for happiness from within, rather than waiting for happiness to come to you, you'll be feeling a lot better. So, tomorrow, I shall be more extroverted... probably not so adventurous (okay, I'll give it a go) and make an attempt to be assertive. How's that? I'll let you know if I feel a bit happier! I wonder what my brain looks like when it's happy? :-)

Better go.. it's already tomorrow.

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Saturday, March 01, 2003

Not much work happening today... and not much access to the computer until this evening. Soooo... in the interests of researching children's books for the day when I might write one, I read Judy Blume's Double Fudge.

Superfudge was a favourite when I was Peter Hatcher's age, which makes me kinda wonder how it is that Peter is now only twelve and imagines he might be a Web designer when he grows up. Surely he must be a thirtysomething who only ever dreamt that there might be the Web at 12? Or something. Could it be that you aren't expected to learn of his adventures once you've moved onto high school? Well, yeah, probably.

I definitely lost interest in Trixie Belden once I ran out of new books after Christmas of '83... and as a result I may never read the final - let's see - five books? Oh wow, just reading that Random House own the rights and will be re-publishing the first four books in June of this year! Lol, so I'm still a little enthused about my favourite youthful sleuth. Anyway, Trixie first came about in 1948 and she solved her last mystery in 1986, all still while at high school. Nearly choked when I discovered how old the series was... I wonder if Trixie is having as much trouble with computers as she did with algebra?

More importantly, will hot-tempered Jim Frayne and the dark, leather-jacket-wearing Dan Mangan compare favourably with Joe Morelli and Ranger of the Stephanie Plum series? Okay, so some girls don't grow up... they move from stories about teenage detectives with uncontrollable hair and the knack for bumping into baddies to stories of thirty year old bounty hunters with uncontrollable hair and, yep, more baddies. I wonder if Janet Evanovich read Trixie Belden novels as a kid?

I might have to compare and contrast the series later... :-)

Reading Double Fudge reminded me of an article by Judy Blume (an intro to a book called Places I Never Meant to Be) on censorship. What can I say? I'm grateful that I was able to read her books...



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