Wednesday, April 30, 2003
Tuesday, April 29, 2003
My Bio-organics Bilberry and Lutein has been (voluntarily) recalled by Mayne... I can't remember when I bought it and the expiry date has been rubbed off, so it was time to bin it anyway. The two products in the Nature's Own range that we have here haven't been recalled and neither has the Ginkgo Plus by Cenovis and the Sleep-Ezy tablets from Natural Nutrition. Or not that I noticed.
Consumer information is now available at all of the relevant Mayne group Web sites (that includes all of the product sites given above). All of the supplements we have at our place have a connection with Mayne. I can see how compiling this list of products and changing so many different Web sites could take half the day or more.
While there's a variety of brands in the health food shop or chemist, there are fewer companies behind them - although reading the TGA's list of Sponsors that do NOT use Pan Pharmaceuticals Limited as a manufacturer for any of their products shows there to be a lot of organisations selling alternative treatments.
The only other alternative medicine brand name I remember buying is Blackmores. According to their site, none of their products are manufactured by Pan Pharmaceuticals. And, even better, they are promoting a new product with lutein and selenium called Lutein-Vision. The amount of lutein in each capsule is the same as in the Bilberry and Lutein capsules I have now. No claims to help RP of course but they do claim it to offer protection to the macula. So the recalls have perhaps not adversely affected everyone in the business of alternative medicine.
The Age Online reported today that Mayne could lose between $15 and $20 million due to the recall (''Recall to cost Mayne group $20 million' 29/04/03). A third of their nutraceuticals are manufactured by PAN Pharmaceuticals.
Mayne now have information available at their site, however this morning there was still no mention of the recall. Either my browser wouldn't load the latest media releases at Mayne earlier today or they just weren't there. What I did see was Mayne's share price - up in the top right of their main page. That lead me to the Australian Stock Exchange - ASX site, where I found a company announcement from Mayne - 'Response to Pan Pharmaceuticals Ltd situation.' The share price does not appear to be greatly affected after this announcement. ASX code: MAY.
Nature's Own was still inviting people to 'stock up on Nature's Own winter savings' and the other related sites I've mentioned hadn't changed by lunch time either. The Natural Nutrition site enthused that 'Germany puts on a happy face with Hypericum'.
According to this small item, 66 million prescriptions are written in Germany for hypericum (St John's Wort) each year. Hypericum is a herbal treatment for mild to moderate depression that is available without prescription in Australia. The list of Pan Pharmaceuticals Limited manufactured products for immediate recall (listed by AUST R/L number) includes a St Johns Wort product. I wonder how problematic it might be for some people using St John's Wort to stop using it.
The Natural Nutrition site does/did offer information about other ways of naturally treating conditions that either tie in with their products or should be used in conjunction with their products - such as not drinking caffeine of an afternoon if you have trouble sleeping or ensuring adequate exercise if you are stressed.
I can't find any mention of the recall on Pan Pharmaceuticals web site - their last announcement was 'Half-year results to December 2002 - Executive report (26-Feb-2003).' The ASX provides more information about the company, including relevant announcements from other companies. ASX code: PPH.
Checking the containers of supplements today, I did find that one product didn't appear to have an AUST R/L number - Nature's Own MSM - Nutrition for Joint Health, perhaps because it is in a powder form? Or perhaps because it does have a number and I can't find it. Must buy more spinach.
From all this I'm reminded that alternative does not equal natural and that alternative does not mean independent of mainstream business. And that if I want to know more about a company's situation, perhaps I should look for information where the shareholders look, rather than where consumers might expect to find it. And that it pays to shop around!
Quite late in an interiew by Tony Jones with Dr John McEwen, principal medical adviser for the TGA (transcript) it was mentioned that people could identify recalled supplements by matching a number on the product label with the numbers given on the PAN Pharmaceuticals Limited Manufactured Products for Immediate Recall list, as provided by the TGA. Generic names on the list meant that users of suppelements couldn't check for the recall of their brand name supplements, or so it was reported. Millions of Australians unable to match a five number sequence to find out if they should ditch their Vitamin C tablets or skip the garlic tablet and head out for some bruschetta.
My bilberry and lutein is not for recall (although I think it's time to ditch them anyway) and neither are Mum's ginkgo biloba tablets. I like that I can just (vision hassles aside) check the label of these products and find out if they need to be recalled and that when more is known, other information on the labels will help people to easily find out if their bottle of pills needs to be thrown out.
I noticed that the label of my Bilberry and Lutein supplement gives an outdated url for Bullivants Natural Health Products, which now asks that you visit Mayne, a company providing health care in Australia. To find information on Bio-organics, I checked the Mayne A to Z site index, then a link to Vitamins, Minerals and Health Supplements and then to an outside link to Bio-organics.
What does all this mean? Probably that I should be eating more spinach and buying a fresher supply of lutein, and maybe that I should spend less time at my computer. And that a lot of money is made selling complementary medicines that most people can safely discontinue using at a moment's notice. And that according to Four Corners tonight ('Hazards of the happy pill'), even more money is made selling mainstream medicines that not everyone can use or discontinue using without the possibility of some disturbing side effects.
Sunday, April 27, 2003
Hopefully our Flinders Finale event will soon be listed at My South West and South West Life after I filled out their on line forms (only interrupted once by the dog, once by Mum and snack food and once by someone paying by EFTPOS and needing me to disconnect).
Read in The West today that Leonie Stevens has written a novel for young adults called The Marowack Two. I enjoyed Stevens' novel Big Man's Barbie and so found an article at The Age Online ('Take Two' 23/02/03) about the author and the book. The article listed some of her influences, including the Regency romance writer, Georgette Heyer.
Heyer wrote earlier last century but her novels were set in the early 19th century (when Jane Austen and Matthew Flinders were doing there thing - not together, mind you - and dying early). The Heyer site referenced a listserv community's compilation of cant and slang used in her writing. One word that jumped out was 'Lawks.' I remember it from the line 'Lawks a lordy my bottom's on fire' from The Young Ones. I thought that maybe it was said by Rick but checking The Young Ones transcripts I found it was Bambi who said it in the Bambi episode (when the Young Ones appear on University Challenge):
Bambi:...Who said, "Lawks a lordy, my bottom's on fire"?
[Kendal Mintcake buzzes in]
Kendal Mintcake: Lenin!
Bambi: Yes, I can accept that, although the exact answer is Joan of Arc.
Might have spent a bit too long reading the transcripts. Saves me joining a laughter club though. I might stick to unscheduled, sometimes solitary, laughter when it's least appropriate.
Thursday, April 24, 2003
Wednesday, April 23, 2003
For a long time I've been planning to organise a Web site for people who don't drive - the Non-Drivers' Transit Lounge - but despite lots of mucking about I've never quite gathered all the information and designed the pages and uploaded them, although there are bits and pieces about. Today I started mucking about with the idea again and created graphical headers for the site (a timewasting move unless I'm ready to have it happening soon, I know). Checked out CoolText.com but as always the styles didn't quite suit my needs. Then I found that there is a Free Text Graphics Creator, that uses Xara Online's Xara3D5 to create header graphics.
Searching for info about non-drivers, I discovered a blog about catching pt and related stuff called, The Bus Stop: Kansas City transit + other tangents. That lead me to the same blogger's hiptop nonbusstop - cool photos and newsy entries mostly written while at bus stops or in transit.
Also visited The Navigators site that gives background information about the Flinders and Baudin expeditions featured in the TV series. Learnt that the Xenophon (the original name of Flinders' boat Investigator) was named after a wandering Greek hero who was a writer, soldier, and student of Socrates. Also found myself at the South Australian Museum site reading about the Wardandi language group in N.B. Tindale's Aboriginal Tribes of Australia (1974). Oooh, the SA Museum are screening Leunig's animations - I've missed most of these because we're not at our usual address and we can't watch SBS. Not that I'm going to be in South Australia anytime soon!
Oh, and Gill sent me some info about Conserving Our Tuarts. Tuart trees are only found in the coastal strip from Jurien Bay down to Busselton on the southern west coast of Western Australia. Every day I travelled through the Ludlow tuart forest (or woodland as Conservation and Land Managment call it) on my way to high school.
My sleep is, as always, out of whack. Today Tonight (now yesterday but still tonight) featured research news from Flinders University in South Australia that has found blue LED glasses to successfully re-adjust people's circadian rhythm. That'd be lovely - except that blue light is thought to be damaging to the retinas of people with RP (for example, read about the work of Professor Dr Charlotte Remé, Laboratory of Retinal Cell Biology Eye Clinic, University Hospital Zurich).
Some people who have RP wear red/orange tinted glasses to cut out blue light and reduce glare. I prefer regular sunglasses because they cut out most of the annoying light (not always but mostly) and I like to see natural colours My sunnies now help me to see colours because they prevent my surroundings from being blanched in the sunlight.
There's an article about the blue LED glasses 'Insomnia sufferers begin to see the light' (Flinders Journal: August 19 - September 1, 2002) but mostly the article outlines a treatment involving being woken up all night. Aack, and I thought giving up coffee was a challenge. The reseacher's name is Professor Leon Lack... for lack of sleep or lack of wakefulness or both? Glad to hear that there is perhaps an answer for others out their with weird sleep patterns.
Updated the Flinders Finale 2003 site tonight - we've decided to ask Doopa Dog, Golden West Network's children's character along. Also added a free Site Meter. The site wouldn't receive enough visitors to warrant a paid statistics service but I hope this one gives us accurate results. Although, when adjusted the time zone information at Site Meter I noticed that it gave West Australian time as UTC +7. World Time Servers confirmed that WST is UTC/GMT +8. So will I bother to write to them and let them know the time is out? Will that be a bit of a pain in the bum for them to fix or might they want to know? Maybe I'll sleep on it.
Finished Lambs of God by Marelle Day and I'm now reading The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. I have a new bookmark too - in fact, a small bundle of bookmarks - from the Association for the Blind WA via a local man who is also losing his sight. The bookmarks have the alphabet in Braille on them, so I guess I can learn to read in Braille while I'm still able to enjoy reading in print.
A few years ago I would have wondered endlessly about the irony. How do I feel about this - isn't it a bit weird? Yes. What does it mean? Nothing. La la la. But now I find myself thinking oh yeah, cool... maybe I'll give some of these to people at writers' group... maybe Gill would like one too?
Maybe I'll be a well-adjusted adult for at least some of the time after all.
Sunday, April 20, 2003
Freo beat the Kangaroos today with our highest ever score - 25.17 (167) to 19.8 (122).
Walked round to Colour Patch for fish and chips by the foreshore. Mum and I met Shannon, Matt and Campbell there and then Mum and I had a hot chocolate on the front verandah of the shop. Erin and Rod are here for Easter too and Megan called to say Hi.
Read a little of Easter - It's Origins and Meanings at Religious Tolerance.org. While I was taught about the holiday's origins and how they conveniently tied into the Christian theme of new life, I didn't know that Jesus is not the only person who has had his death and resurrection celebrated at this time.
Very sleepy today...
Paddywagons are cruising our main street too, the lights flashing when they pull over two of the few cars we see. Bikies are staying at a nearby farm and 'the cops are everywhere' Mum warns (and is warned). We see the ambulance too, no sirens or lights, keeping within the 50km/h limit.
News is inconsistent but today, not far from here, a woman died after a king wave washed her and others - still missing - from their fishing spot. I was thinking about this when I heard a commentator on the telly say that it's tragic, a tragedy, that a footballer would miss a year due to knee injury.
Saturday, April 19, 2003
Along with Michael Franti and Spearhead on ... the Fat, I caught The Blind Boys of Alabama singing 'Amazing Grace' to the music of The Animals' 'House of the Rising Sun.' The Blind Boys are gospel musicians and the band formed in 1939 at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind. They play at the Prince of Wales in St Kilda tomorrow/tonight and at the East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival in Byron Bay on Sunday. Wouldn't mind being in either St Kilda or Byron Bay this weekend... but here is just fine.
Wondering who this St Kilda was... I knew the place wasn't named for a saint but couldn't remember the story. St Kilda, Victoria (part of the Australian Places project - most of the Australian places appear to be in Victoria!) gives the background on the naming of the Melbourne suburb. The place was named after a yacht called the Lady of St Kilda which was named after the islands of St Kilda in the Outer Hebrides. There isn't a saint called Kilda - the island's name is most likely a corruption of an Old Norse word 'skildir' meaning 'shield'.
Somehow we found ourselves in chat on Holy Thursday discussing whether or not one of Jesus disciples cut off a man's ear, which Jesus then healed. I remembered the story from school but when challenged I couldn't be certain I'd remembered correctly... could I have imagined Jesus sticking someone's ear back on? Mostly what we couldn't believe was how the conversation had veered and that we now wanted to know the full story. For future reference, Luke 22
50 And one of them struck the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear.
51 But Jesus said in reply, "Stop, no more of this!" Then he touched the servant's ear and healed him
I think I might have been tempted to fight them off (or run away). Power to the peaceful...
Maybe tomorrow I'll see if what I remember of the Pagan origins of Easter isn't too off kilter. Not that European seasonal celebrations are all that relevant to those of us in the Southern hemisphere. More relevant to people living in the south west of WA might be the corroboree to be held Saturday and Sunday nights at the Wardan Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Yallingup this weekend.
Thursday, April 17, 2003
Watched a segment on Getaway tonight - David Reyne cruised Sunset Boulevard and the place looked, well, cruisy. Only a few weeks ago I dreamt I was in California but I wasn't there to sightsee and I was so desperate to take a look around.
Read in Matthew Flinders' Journal on the Investigator [1803 May [Friday] - 13th. Investigator from Timor] [Saturday] -14th. off C. Leuwen and towards Port Jackson that on the day he sighted Cape Leeuwin for the second time he also saw a whale and "Many pintados and albatrosses about." I know not much about birds but read a little more on Birds of the Southern Ocean.
Also read a draft letter to Mr Hugh Bell - surgeon of H.M. sloop Investigator - from Matthew Flinders today. Amusing that two people might choose to write snippy letters to one another when sailing off the southern coast of Australia before European settlement of the nearest land. Not so strange now that I've read about a burial at sea and subsequent selling off of a man's effects that occurred while this series of letters was written (from 27 May 1803). Tetchiness now understandable.
Rain early this evening, still air and an almost full moon made for a good walk. Mum and I saw whiting swimming in the shallows off the jetty here at Doonbanks and the jetty was almost musical as we walked to the end - must have been the timbre...
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Busselton is always changing and today I noticed that the building I know of as 'the convent' - where the Sisters of St Joseph who worked at St Joseph's School when I was at school - now houses the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the site has no reference to Australia but there is an Australian LDS Shop). Turning off Prince St into the new shopping centre reminded me still of visits to the dentist at Busselton Primary School - recently shifted to accommodate growth to the east of Busselton and the buildings demolished to make way for the supermarket and chain stores. St Joe's was re-located in the late eighties, replaced also by a shopping centre. I had lunch today in what remains of the small church where I had science and art lessons.
Read more Poems by Dylan Thomas.
Looking for another of Marelle Day's Claudia Valentine books at the secondhand bookshop in Margaret River today, I found and bought 'Lambs of God' by the same author. Didn't have much time... love bookshops, which is why I didn't have any bathers until today... so much easier to shop for books!
Caught up with Gill the last few days - she has a new dryer (! - this is exciting, I'd want one if I didn't live here and had kids and worked and it was wintertime!) - and we planned to catch up in a few weekends time. Also read about what's happening 'round the Brown Couch tonight and wished I'd caught up with it all a little sooner. Theories on cricket score formats and mateship and all. Until now I've been satisfied with contemplating the seagulls and the surfaces when watching the cricket. And maybe I still am. :-)
Confused myself the other night thinking about my ancestors... if I have genes from Mum and Dad, and they have genes from Nanna and Grandad and Nanna and Pop respectively, and so on and so on, that means I can only trace back about eight generations (say about 200 years) before we're looking at a generation containing 128 ancestors who contributed to me being me. Anyone in that generation would have contributed 1/128th... which is more than most, I suppose.
While you're pondering that, you might like to know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints offer FamilySearch to people researching their family history.
Erin and I drove to the Margaret River Chocolate Company today to buy a small thank you prezzie. We drove down to Gracetown and then the rivermouth and where trucks were still hauling away equipment after the Salomon Margaret River Masters. We saw deers and later a newborn calf and its mother in a paddock. Erin turned around so I could take a look.
Spent last night looking up my great grandmother's family in the 1901 Census for England and Wales. My great great grandmother (from a different line) was Welsh and she and her husband married in Swansea, Glamorganshire. My sister and family now live in Swansea, Tasmania. More about Swansea, Wales can be found at Swansea History Web. Cardiff Council (see Cardiff >>> A Brief History) has this to say about the origins of the name 'Swansea':
"King Swein Forkbeard of Denmark left a permanent "I was here" at the city of Swein’s Eye – that’s Swansea to you and me."
You can listen to Dylan Thomas read 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night' at Reflections - Leon Malinofsky.
Friday, April 11, 2003
Today a woman needed to shift her campervan forward a smidge and took out her site's power supply while taking in the limb of a pine tree through a window. Lots more glass there. Wind, rain and a thunder storm didn't brighten the day, particularly as our house is being renovated and has a huge tarp (almost) protecting those bits of the house that don't need renovating instead of a roof.
On the upside, Shan (my sister) made some yummy bruschetta with fresh basil and lots of garlic, as well as a chocolate slice. And I have a heater at my feet...
"But the joys of love are fleeting/
For Pierrot and Columbine." >>>
"Bismillah! No, we will not let you go/
(Let him go!) Bismillah! We will not let you go/
(Let him go!) Bismillah! We will not let you go." >>>
Also noticed that 'The Carnival Is Over' and 'Throw Your Arms Around Me' by Hunters and Collectors share a line, 'We may never meet again.'
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
Janet from chat mentioned QDB - Quote Data Base, a site that lists amusing quotes from IRC sessions. I sneaked looks at the amusing quotes during our own chat session tonight and funny as most of the excerpts are, everytime I guiltily caught up with our own conversation it was someplace more weird. Probably because we don't talk about our computers as much as other people do. I hate chatting about computers... woohoo, a machine that allows us to talk to people all over the world and what do people talk about? The machine...
Monday, April 07, 2003
"I realize that from the cradle up I have been like the rest of the race - never quite sane in the night."
Wow, I searched for the Mark Twain quote using Google and thought I'd reference the page on which I found the quote. I always (well, I hope I do) check the source of the pages I reference - who authored the site or which organisation claims to host a site. Discovered that the page listing the Mark Twain quotes was compiled by someone into corporal punishment. At first I was thinking, yikes, this person wants children to be smacked in a big way at home ... something I'm not too keen on... or at school... something I'm really not keen on. Then I realised that the writer was more interested in spanking adults for pleasure. The FAQ makes me think Owwwww. And I initially ruled out visiting 'Mark Twain and Telepathy' (actually kinda interesting!). The quote (without other Twain quotes specifically about being bad) and more about Twain can be found at Mark Twain's Autobiography Chapter 17b.
Via a blog called Too Beautiful (and perhaps via one of the blogs listed there... I kinda got lost) I read an article about an 'Anti-war slogan coined, repurposed and Googlewashed... in 42 days' at The Register. The article claims that neologisms can be washed of their new meaning and given a different, newer meaning by people whose Web sites rank better at Google.
"If we're not lucky, we will be uploading our websites to Google's servers by then [several years time] , much like the bloggers do at blogger.com (which was bought by Google in 2003). It would mean the end of the web as we know it."
That changes the way I look at blogging... I thought it was all about me but it seems I'm giving myself to Google. I've started to feel that perhaps I am relying on one search engine too much. I can search Google directly from Opera, which is really, really convenient. Last year I found that Alta Vista Australia was a better bet for local searches but since then Google Australia started. So in the interests of more varied search results, I'll be looking to search more widely.
Not much other news today - weather changed to windy and then rainy, so it's been an indoor kinda Sunday.
Sunday, April 06, 2003
A friend visited during the week and gave me a copy of 'Conscious Seeing: Transforming your life through your eyes' by Roberto Kaplan. Occasionally I receive suggestions on how I might improve my vision and I am grateful that people want to help. Some suggestions are a little wacky (learning to breath, for example...!) but I never discount an idea outright - I don't know exactly what causes my photoreceptors (the cells that sense light in the retina) to malfunction, so I can't possibly know what might save them. Only today a subscriber to RPList queried the use of hypnotherapy as a treatment. So far, people are receptive - if the treatment can't do any harm and the patient is able and happy to pay the costs (within reason) then no one would tell them not to give it a go. While I do provide information about alternative therapies to people who enquire via e-mail, I don't link to sites promoting therapies or research that are not currently accepted by mainstream medical practitioners or scientists. Scientists do not have all the answers - when it comes to RP, no answers that will prevent or successfully treat the condition - but as a lay person the professional judgment of members of the scientific community are (I hope) the best I have to go on when choosing which sources of information to recommend to people seeking to learn more about RP.
Mum and Dad drove to Collie today to help celebrate my Auntie Wendy (my great aunt!) and Uncle Alan's 50th wedding anniversary. They both enjoyed catching up with the family and meeting younger relatives for the first time. Meanwhile, another aunt, this time on Mum's side of the family called to let us know that my Nanna's eternity ring (which we feared lost) is safe. Just so I know, I checked out Mum's rings tonight - her engagement ring and her eternity ring. I even tried them on and now I understand why people wear them! I don't wear much jewellery and I've never worn a ring, so it was strange to slip them on and see my fingers in a different, diamond encrusted, light. Why don't people marry anymore? If I was in love and committed to someone, I think a ring would be one way to show and remember it.
Called Gill today - Caelan hasn't been well for the last week but was feeling better today. Might talk a bit tomorrow or next weekend... seems it's been ages!
Tuesday, April 01, 2003
Every once in a while we hear the sound of paws on the lino and a wet thud from Ripper dropping his tennis ball in the hope someone will want to throw it. We went down to the jetty tonight to throw it around but sometimes it's just not good timing! Nearly finished writing about the public transport visual diary I kept as a subject in a PhD student's research. I thought it'd be quick just to jot down a few notes on each pic - forgetting that their are 22 pics... Mum's had her flu injection.
All Saints fans will be teary tonight - Mitch died! They somehow spoil each 'special' episode with ridiculous shorts for the next week's episode. Next week there's scandal at the funeral! lol