Saturday, May 31, 2003

Hey hey, I've just downloaded Opera 7.11. I'm having trouble importing my Opera 5 Hotlinks, although the file is still on my computer (not much use looking at it as text though. I can now use Blogger with Opera but it looks as if I can't make the window where I write each post any bigger than one line in height! Aaaggghhhhh. Maybe if I write my posts from Opera, they won't be so long...
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Whale watch season opened in Augusta yesterday. We went to the opening breakfast at the Augusta Hotel. I especially enjoyed my hash brown. A scientist who works with the whale watch boat talked about his work, as did a woman from the WA Museum. My favourite exhibit at the WA Museum is a huge whale skeleton, taken from a whale discovered washed up in the Vasse River estuary, near my home town of Busselton, in 1898. School children also gave talks on the history of whales and whaling. Flinders Bay is being promoted as 'The Bay of Whales.' We often drive down to the beach to see the whales but Naturaliste Charters conduct tours to see humpback and southern right whales up a little closer.


My computer crashed/froze four times yesterday - each time while I was using Opera. Twice it shut itself down while loading a page in Opera, once it froze completely and the fourth time only Opera froze but I couldn't open IE to do my blog. So I shut it down anyway and went to bed. There's a new version of Opera available so I might download that and see what happens. In the mean time I'll get my blog done without using my favourite browser. My favourite feature of my favourite browser is mouse gestures. The only bummer about mouse gestures is that I forget they don't work in IE and (sigh), I have to look at the screen to go back or forward or to open a new window.


For this reason, I was pretty excited to read 'Gesture Your Mouse Goodbye' (May 28, 2003, Wired News). The advantage of using mouse gestures for someone with tunnel vision, is that I don't have to look at the screen to find where to point and click. The new technology featured in the Wired News article does away with the mouse completely and allows people to open files, zoom in and out, and copy and paste just by gesturing. Good for people with repetitive strain injuries (unless they do an awful lot of copying and pasting). The technology is called MultiTouch Technology and two products that use the technology are now available from the developers, FingerWorks.


I'm guessing that MultiTouch could provide a new way for people with vision problems to interact with their computer without the need to see the mouse pointer. I'm not too sure how accessible the technology is - it would have to work in conjuction with screen readers.


Something I've often wondered is whether we could interact with computers using bigger gestures that require more effort, therefore increasing the amount of exercise I do while I write or surf or update/author sites or whatever. Maybe I don't get out enough. Obviously, you'd have to be able to choose when you require a little more effort to open a file or activate a link - probably not before a quiet read of the evening's news but definitely on a morning when I'm finding it hard to concentrate without hopping up every five minutes to stretch my legs. But maybe that's just me.


With obesity increasing in many developed countries, including Australia, and health problems related to obesity causing more people to be ill, I think that making computer users more active could be of benefit. I'm not suggesting we pedal to keep our computers working - although maybe that's not impossible! With so many people dependent on caffeine to keep them focused on their computer and the small movements of the mouse and eyes that enable them to interact with it - maybe they'd have more energy if they could be free to move about more, to really interact in a much more physical way. Just in an exercise kinda way, not in the kinda way NZers are believed to interact with sheep (not that I believe they do!).


I've mentioned Al Jazeera before in my blog and was interested to read at the Times Online 'Al-Jazeera director general 'sacked'
' (May 27, 2003, by AFP in DOHA).


I spotted the word 'anodyne' today - I do like the sound of the word and thought I'd better make sure I know the meaning. Anodyne was Word of the Day at Dictionary.com on June 28, 2000. That article found me looking up 'surcease', which was Word of the Day at Dictionary.com on March 21, 2000. Somewhere in there I spotted 'bunkum' spelt buncombe but apparently it can be spelt either way. According to Dictionary.com, the meaning comes from,


'... a county of western North Carolina, from a remark made around 1820 by its congressman, who felt obligated to give a dull speech “for Buncombe”.'


I'm reading about blogs and blogging a lot lately. Userland's Dave Winer writes about 'What makes a weblog a weblog?' (May 23, 2003 and in progress) at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. Via Winer's article, I discovered blo.gs, another site that lists recently updated blogs and which also allows you to check on only your favourite blogs for updates. The article included a reference to Meg Hourihan's article 'What We're Doing When We Blog' (June 13, 2002) in the bibliography.


From there I read another Meg Hourihan article at the O'Reilly Network, 'Dial-Up Revelations' (December, 20, 2002). I use a dial up connection. I do wonder what kind of connections and browsers the people who visit my retinitis pigmentosa and retinal degeneration site use. People who write often live outside of Australia and in places that I know little about. I want my site to be accessible both to people with disabilities and to people who might not be using the latest browsers. I'm looking forward to updating the site soon.


I took a look at The Age Online's poll last night. The title of the poll was 'ABC Bias'... which I took to mean that the poll was about whether the ABC is or is not biased. The question was 'Is the government's treatment of the ABC fair?' I haven't been following the story, so I couldn't say... so long as my ABC is funded! I have to assume that the organisation strives to be fair and accurate in its reporting and also reasonably representative in the drama and comedy it produces.


Received another request for a reciprocal link today - this one from the webmaster of a site about crime. The site gives information about crime and law enforcement and I'm guessing the discussion list on crime writing is the connection between my page of writing links and this site. I have to check it out further - some of the links to sex crime related sites did not quite check out (one lead to a Geocities site supposedly listing the e-mail addresses of Japanese government officials) and I want to make sure the content is genuinely for those people interested in crime and perhaps hoping to write novels about crime. Nothing looks too suss (suspicious/suspect) but I like to be sure.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Discovered a site about the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge, built in 1911 and featured in the BBC series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. I've made a virtual crossing of the bridge courtesy the BBC, after checking it out on their webcam. Middlesbrough is also home to the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum. Middlesbrough is described as industrial, which might explain the colours in this pic, taken by J.R. Webster for a postcard and reproduced on Haydn Rees Jones' North Yorkshire and Teesside page.


Why the sudden interest in bridges? My guestbook was signed by a complete stranger called Cindy and, after clicking on a link labelled 'About Me &...' I was soon surfing a Bravenet photo gallery, checking out the Humber Bridge and a ruined monastery near Whitby on the UK's east coast. Cindy is site manager of the Inspired Webring, which I probably will not join but at least I've seen a little of Yorkshire.


After discovering my interest in amateur photography (not taking the photos, just checking them out), I read an article at the New York Times on photoblogging, called 'Prospecting for Gold Among the Photo Blogs' (May 25, 2003). Just as I was becoming really embarrassed about my blogging of bridges, I read that people visit a photoblog of some guy's meals. I took a photo of my teacup's reflection in my spoon at the Forum Coffee Lounge in Perth recently... maybe I should post that?


Updating my Web site today (almost - still a little to go yet). Received an e-mail from Zeus Publishing, an Australian electronic book and print-on-demand publisher about a reciprocal link. From there I discovered that the State Literature Centre of Western Australia has a site called Writers Writing WA and from there I discovered Readers' World, a West Australian literary magazine.


Also received a request to link to Talking Signs. Talking Signs is a Louisiana, USA, based company that produces technology that will perhaps aid people who can't read print to navigate unfamiliar places. I haven't fully checked out the site yet but I think the technology could be really handy in places that a lot of people visit and that contain a lot of signs. Very difficult to find where you need to go at a railway station, or to know what's what at the zoo, without being able to read print.


Campbell and I played games at ABC Kids yesterday. I can't believe a child yet to turn two can be so excited by computer games - although he wasn't very keen on a game that has Mixy the rabbit hiding and talking. He does like to dress Mixy up. We threw the dog his ball, patted the goat, pushed the washing trolley around and blew leaves off our upturned palms too. Boot, Erin and Campbell played on the trampoline. Erin is home for a week.


Watched the second from last episode of Cold Feet tonight. I wasn't up for it really, knowing that a favourite character would die, but I've followed the show since it first aired here.


Chat friends and I are hoping to catch up in Sydney sometime in spring and one member is considering a trip to the Birdsville Races in Queensland, near the South Australian border.

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Sunday, May 25, 2003

An article in The Australian ('A supporting role,' May 24, 2003) discusses support groups in relation to health, in particular those for rare genetic disorders. The article explains how the Internet can help bring people together to share information, to advocate for research, and to help ease the isolation felt by many people affected by such rare conditions.


The article included links to online support groups including the Tourette Syndrome Association of Victoria. I was already thinking the organisation had a sense of humour, having noticed the promotion for a new publication titled 'Not Just Ticked Off' on their site, and then I saw the animated graphic of Dr Gilles de la Tourette (1857 - 1904). Brilliant.


The Age Online currently has a feature called My Melbourne, for which readers are invited to send in photographs of their city. One that gave me that 'Melbourne' feeling was Spencer Crt, Berwick on a foggy autumn night by Danny Bishop.


Strange to see UK headlines about our Governor-General's shaky position - particularly 'Queen's man in Australia may still quit as rape case is dropped' (Independent, 24 May, 2003). Don't often think of the Governor-General as the Queen's man in Australia but he is.


Another article in the Independent from Australian correspondent Kathy Marks caught my eye today too, 'Australia tests crustacean pain barrier as lobster dockers rebel' (18 May, 2003). At first I was interested in whether lobsters (or crayfish as we call them) experience pain - in this case, when tails are removed to mark lobsters as being caught by members of the public for private consumption. Then I read that in South Australia "lobsters the size of poodles are harvested from teeming waters". We have lobster fisherman living at Doonbanks this season, so I'll have to ask them how big the crays they catch are. 'That's not a lobster...'


Yikes, I've just read about the "giant Tasmanian crayfish, Astacopsis gouldi" that grows to "approximately 4.5 kg in weight and is the world's largest freshwater crayfish" according to a leaflet produced by the Queensland Museum (this page links to lots of pdf leaflets on all sorts of cool animals - snakes, frogs, echidnas and kangaroos, as well as the very uncool cane toad - the information I've quoted is from 'Australian Freshwater Crayfish').


At Poodles by McLeod, I discovered that "Toy poodles are 6 to 10 pounds, tiny toys are 4 to 6 pounds, and teacup poodles are 2 to 4 lbs at maturity" according to poodle breeder Belinda McLeod.


Lucky I learnt about AllTheWeb's measurement converter yesterday. Six to ten pounds converts as 2.7kg - 4.536kg. I'm not sure if I'm more amazed at the size of some lobsters or that people breed poodles the size of teacups...

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Saturday, May 24, 2003

I've just read an article at the UK's Independent news site called 'Now I see life in a different way' (19 May, 2003) by Alison Whelan. The writer was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa more than ten years ago, in her mid-twenties, and gives a very personal account of how she has dealt with RP so far.


Reading the article I'm realising how much the RPList community shapes how I think about dealing with it. Canes - good. Driving - bad. Humour - good. Whinging - bad. Holding hands for guidance - bit clumsy. Sighted guide technique/cane/dog - a sign of healthy acceptance. To read an article by someone not flamed into shape by the list makes me feel about my ribs where the writer might be vulnerable to sharp pointy instruments wielded by indignant fellow RPers. Lines like 'RP is my dirty little secret.' Lol.


I love it, I like people saying how it is for them without regard to how they 'should' be approaching the condition - and the article was positive. My own experience of RP is very different - quite apart from the Louis Vuitton sunvisor Whelan says she wears (for a while I wore an awful Billabong straw hat that someone suggested might be good for when I'm gardening), my pattern of visual field loss is different - smaller patch of vision in front but enough peripheral vision to keep me from tripping over stuff (or maybe I've developed the best scanning technique yet). And that's what's great about reading other people's stories - so very different and yet there are the roll-your-eyes-and-laugh similarities (such as gesturing enthusiastically and whacking someone you don't see) that make it known that I'm not dreaming this disease. (or disorder... or condition...)


Also found at the Independent 'Agony aunts could face prosecution over advice on sex' (23 May, 2003). The wording of a Bill currently under consideration in the UK, which aims to protect children from sexual assault, might inadvertently make it illegal to educate and inform children about sexual matters. No Dolly Doctor! Or whatever the UK equivalent might be...


Sometimes I enter a url into my browser, knowing that it's wrong but not wanting to bother with looking at my bookmarks (why use my patchy vision when I could use my patchy memory?), and then get it wrong. Tonight I found myself at a restaurant called The Iron Monkey (see yesterday's blog to see where I was hoping to find myself). I quickly backtracked and then thought... I wonder where in the world that restaurant is?. So then I'm reading about the
Honey Candied Grapes and Pear Sorbet (Served with Citrus Confit & Bleu Cheese) for $8.00 and the Chocolate Sin (Chocolate Satin Sheets Layered with Chocolate/Nutmeg Mousse and Raspberries Served with Chilled Chocolate Sake) for $10.00 (USD) I could try if ever I'm in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA.


Tara Calishain mentioned in the latest ResearchBuzz that AllTheWeb has a new feature allowing you to convert measurements. So, for example, if someone complains that it's pretty cold... say, 37 degrees... and your wondering if maybe they live in one of Western Australia's deserts and they're driving home just how much heat they can handle, you can a) remember that some people work in Fahrenheit (like nearly everyone in the US) and then b) type into the AllTheWeb search box: convert:37*F . Then you'll know exactly what that person's definition of a pretty cold is (2.777778 degrees Celsius in this case). More about the feature can be found at: AllTheWeb's Conversion Calculator page.


Usually I use Notetab's converter, if I have it open, or maybe, if I can be bothered with bookmarks, the Celsius Fahrenheit Converter at, let's see... Kasaci's Place. Wow, never visited the rest of the site before... the owner is Turkish by the looks and I might pop back to check it out later!


I was hoping to link to the Tuesday, May 20, 2003 entry at Alex The Girl but I can't seem to find a separate url for it... I guess if you happen to read this and you read it kinda soonish, then you'll see it there anyway. The piece is all about people needing to be heard and hearing them. I guess bloggers know a bit about that.

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Thursday, May 22, 2003

At last a blog that makes me laugh... IronMonkey.


More on Google - said to have scrapped IndyMedia articles from appearing in its news search. More on Google and Indymedia in 'De-googled?' at the Daily Outrage.


Submitted my site to Popdex today.


Read a book, chatted to tourists and that's about it today... becoming quiet here.

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If it's not Blogger or Blogspot, it's my computer freezing...


In yesterday's lost blog...
Mum and Dad's house is taking shape, with the decking and windows giving them every chance to take in the view of the river... I wandered through our local par 3 golf course, which is set amongst tall trees and bushland, and along to our local library... I borrowed Crush by Brenda Walker and Keeping Up with Magda by Isla Dewar... and I blogged newspaper articles and sites that I'm now too annoyed to find again right now. I've since read Crush, which was set here in Western Australia and which I enjoyed. I wanted a better ending for one of the characters, very easy to spend some time with them.


Today I received a query from someone about the possible effects of a particular prescription drug on RD. While searching for more information (I become very curious) I found Mental Health Medicines (the drug I was searching for can be used to treat various conditions, usually hypertension), which lists pharmaceuticals commonly prescribed to treat mental ill health. The site is sponsored by two pharmaceutical companies (the sponsorship is neither hidden nor in-your-face) and I thought it useful.


I checked my RD webfeed today too, looking for research updates on retinal degeneration (courtesy Moreover). The feed lists news articles containing relevant words, such as retina or macular, that hopefully won't return heaps of irrelevant articles. Often the articles aren't spot on but sometimes they're fun anyway.


Today I noticed one called 'feeling really crazy'.... definitely the most interesting headline. The article was not only irrelevant but it wasn't an article, it was a post to a messageboard hosted by WebMD. Like many of the less relevant articles, it mentioned a detached retina - however, in this case the detached retina didn't belong to a professional sportsperson but to a doctor treating the depressed author. The message writer was suicidal. WebMD is often the source of articles about eye health but I'm wondering how a messageboard post, which included personal and sensitive information to a public but specific group, is listed in a newsfeed?


Somewhere in all the RP/medication surfing I came across The Absurdity of Vivisection. The site uses 'vivisection' to mean all forms of experimentation on live animals. Staying involved in groups concerned with retinal degeneration, I read quite a few articles about research into treatments or cures that could save or restore sight. Much of this research involves animal experimentation, not just on mice and rats but also on larger animals such as dogs and pigs. Animals are bred to have the same or similar genetic disorders as the humans waiting for news of a treatment.


While I am hoping for a treatment, if not for myself but for future generations with RD, I am not certain that it is right to experiment on animals, or that it is always the right choice. What price might I be willing to pay to restore or save my own sight? Researchers might be cold and unfeeling, as suggested at this site, or they might be caring, feeling individuals who see a way to reduce human suffering (not that I, personally, am suffering terribly) by experimenting on animals. Obviously different people have varying motives for the work they choose to take on. I'm not saying that I am for or against animal experimentation but simply that the use of animals in experiments is something that concerns me.


And outside of laboratories, a 'WA pair jailed for neglecting dog' (ABC Online, May 21, 2003).


A while back I wrote about Googlewashing, a theory that a newly coined term could be washed of its new meaning when a writer with a site that ranks higher at Google re-defines it (I read about this at The Register). More on that at 'The blog clog myth' in the Guardian (May 19, 2003). The article offers an explanation for why sites will receive a high ranking. I don't think that this discounts the possibility of Googlewashing... if someone is more cluey about how to increase their site's ranking and wants to change the spin on a term, then it would be possible.


'BBC correspondent defends Lynch documentary' is an interview between the BBC documentary maker and a CNN anchor.


I'm starting to grow weary (already!) of reading blogger's opinions and arguments about the news, as well as the news itself - the slant placed on news articles and blogs sends my mind listing off to one side (or another) to compensate...


Wow, no time to write about a meeting of all the locals with vision impairments today at Colourpatch... I was the youngest person by decades but everyone was friendly. If you're hoping to avoid failing eyesight in the future (you were planning to read a little in your old age, weren't you? Maybe play golf, watch telly?), I recommend eating more vegies, avoiding cigarette smoke and doing whatever it takes to avoid diabetes. And I'll try to take on my own recommendations.

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Monday, May 19, 2003

Mum and I went for a Sunday drive to visit my Nanna today. On the way we called into Witchcliffe for a lunch of pumpkin soup. We missed the turn to the nursing home and drove down to the beach instead (just for a bit - we weren't expected!). Lots of seaweed but the water was calm and warm - if not for the cool air and lack of bathers I think we would have gone for a swim. We then visited Nanna and the three of us walked to the gazebo by the beach.


A cow was giving birth in a paddock between Cowaramup and Margaret River today too. We saw at least five cars pulled over while people waited in the hope of seeing a newborn calf. We drove down to Gracetown and Cowaramup Bay too.


As we chatted in the car today, Mum said to me after one wacky discussion that she didn't think I would be writing about it in my blog... I also decided not to mention the wackiest moment of my day, even though I'll laugh about it with friends and family in the next few days, because it wasn't something to go on record - so it was kinda interesting to see an article about blogging and personal privacy in 'Dating a Blogger, Reading All About It' (New York Times). Blogging about dates isn't a problem I have right now, so I guess I'll stick to stories of bovine births and seaweed.


Enough to make me scream and yell internally: 'Auction of baby forces Italy to ban organ sales' (Telegraph article at The Age Online, May 19, 2003).


After chatting yesterday about the possible effects of climate change on tuart trees and then walking along the diminishing beach at Abbey today, I read about the possible effects of global warming and climate change on humans in 'Feeling the Heat' at ABC Online.


Visited Technorati tonight but I'm too tired to read more! I'm slowly learning more about the blogosphere and blogging. Keep thinking I need to re-design my pages but then figure that I like reading goldenrod text on a black background... and I'll change the other content soon enough.

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Sunday, May 18, 2003

Ripper is not only sneaking into the store room for more tennis balls but today he ripped open a new bag of balls. Instead of dropping one ball in the office ready to play, sometimes he drops two and waits.


Gill called and I chatted to her and a sleepy Caelan. Chatted about lots of stuff, including the need for ongoing funding for government conservation projects. CALM's NatureBase will give you an idea of all that's here to conserve in Western Australia, including 12 500 kinds of vascular plant - 60% of which are native only to Western Australia.


Finally decided to use Cascading Style Sheets in one of my Web projects. Everytime I look at my copy of HTML for the World Wide Web (by Elizabeth Castro), I worry that my pages won't work for somebody using Netscape 3 or that I might feel lost without the security of a table-based layout. Yeah, I can still use tables... Kinda frustrating and fun to learn new ways of doing things. I'm hoping that a Web Page Reconstruction with CSS tutorial from Digital Web will help.


I don't have a graphics program so sometimes I look for graphics on the Web that might be fun to use. Today I re-visited The Free Graphics Store, where a long time ago I found the cloud background for my RP and RD site. Ahh, it's served me well...


Also, after a long, long time, I've decided to do the Windows Update thing as prompted.


Performed by Dionne Warwick on Parkinson tonight (ABCTV), words and music by Burt Bacharach and Hal David...
'What the world needs now is love, sweet love'


Yeah, a quiet day...

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Friday, May 16, 2003

Funny how people filter information about themselves into their blogs through quizzes from Quizilla or the Friday Five. Yeah, I took a quiz but I won't be revealing such personal information as which quiz I chose to take.


I did read a little more about Jayson Blair and the New York Times, starting with (I think) 'Editor of Times Tells Staff He Accepts Blame for Fraud' (New York Times, May 15, 2003). Romenesko gives heaps of references. What a nightmare... how messed up must Blair's brain have become? Did he want out of the career into which people are now saying he was fast-tracked? Did a fib or two go unnoticed and he figured that, actually, it didn't really matter what he wrote so long as it was published? Was he under too much pressure or was the pressure not enough? Did he need an added high gained from writing fiction published as fact? Was he just kinda wondering if anyone cared enough about the quality and accuracy of his work to pick him up on it... was he, with increasing anger or nihilism, wondering when his writing would matter more than the paper's policies on diversity? Maybe he didn't care. I'd really like to know but I bet Blair doesn't know the answers himself.


Checked out Blogdex to see what others are blogging. Interesting blogged bits included the BBC's report 'Saving Private Lynch story 'flawed'' (May 15, 2003).


I'm totally into the ads appearing at the top of my blog, courtesy Blogspot and Google. Ads for writing sites, language translators, vitamin suppliers (all topics related to blog entries) and then, most 'wow' of all, an ad promoting stays in Margs (that's not the site in the ad but that's where to go if you are genuinely keen to visit!) have appeared. Only glitch I can see is that I live close enough to Margs not to need accommodation there and I'm also likely to be the only person regularly reading my blog (except for maybe friends/family, who are welcome to stay here any time they're down south!). But it is kinda fun to see my life and writing reflected in advertising... Did I mention I'm thinking of starting a diet in the hope of losing weight, or perhaps shopping around for cheap CDs and, I don't know, antique guns?


ResearchBuzz, my favourite e-zine, referred to Cool Graphics Treasure Chest, a page of links to graphics resources that weeds out only those resources that don't come with a confusion of popups and reciprocal advertising blather.


Just read the terms and condition of use for The Chaser News (ripped off, I was hoping to have someone to sue for wasting my remaining vision) and I've decided it's best not to agree to them.


Writer's group was cancelled because of a very sick cat. Calling round to cancel, I learnt about an Exiting Opportunity for Regional Writers (or maybe an exciting opportunity - unless your short story should be accepted and you receive $750 from ABC Radio's Regional Production Fund, allowing you to leave regional Australia. Just kidding!).


So yeah, I should be writing a short story and not mucking about here.


Wow, it's after 10pm WST and The Age gives over 100 links to articles about SARS on it's main page. Articles listed dated back to March 23, 2003 with 'World alert over 'killer flu' threat'. Okay, I've reloaded the page and we're down to one SARS item now!


My word for the day... 'tony' - an adjective meaning "marked by an aristocratic or high-toned manner or style" (according to Merriam Webster). Never before have I seen the word in a sentence but 'toniest' was written in an article I glanced over tonight. A Google search shows it to be in common use, at least in the US.

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Monday, May 12, 2003

Urk, my connection has been unreliable the last few days. In that time, I've travelled to Perth for an orthodontist appointment and, to my surprise, come home wearing braces on my top teeth. I'm not complaining... the sooner they are on, the sooner they are off and my health insurance covered more than a third of the total cost (hooray - finally all those years of disappointing rebates on the purchase of prescription eyewear are forgiven until I next remember the percentage of my total income debited directly from my account fortnightly by my health insurance fund.) So... no carbonated drinks (I'm hoping that doesn't include beer) and carrots for a year and soup, rice, pasta and ice cream for the next few days until my teeth adjust to the tension.


Watched another great episode of enough rope on Monday - Rebecca Gibney talking about her experiences in a family deeply affected by domestic violence, a virus expert, and a fascinating letter from a former Japanese guard to an Australian former WWII prisoner-of-war (or his brother, I perhaps missed the connection with the writer), which was brought to the show by a member of the audience. Evidence from a very different source (for Australians at least) that war finds people in circumstances beyond their choosing and that good and considerate people exist in such circumstances. Also featured were two furniture removalists talking about their work. The audience laughed when the domestic violence was mentioned by the removalists as an obvious problem they had to negotiate as part of their jobs - I think because most people (at least those in Denton's audience) don't associate shifting house with violent outbursts or break ups. Only now do I see how the interview with the removalists re-confirmed the need for more community awareness of domestic violence as discussed with Rebecca Gibney.


Yeah, I love watching Australian TV even if I do feel like a 10 year old when I can't resist watching the Logies. My choice of best dress was that worn by Dannii Minogue during the medley with Sophie Monk and Rebecca Cartwright!


After my obviously unhealthy interest in Australian TV (will I be able to tear myself away from Ben's affair with Felicity Falcon-Price on Blue Heelers to watch the second part of the documentary Hollywood Inc at 8.30pm?) I saw a promo for TV Freak on the ABC and thought I'd check it out. Somehow, without knowing the answers, I scored five out of five in the Freak E-card quiz. I love that I can watch short video clips at the ABC's site - in this case, Iggy Pop singing 'I'm Bored' on a 1979 episode of Countdown.


The TV Freaks site is a few days behind in it's weekly recommendations (unless there was nothing freaky to watch the last few days... very possible). The current feature is about places to spot celebrities who are no longer in the spotlight - for example actors working in bars. Is it really that surprising that actors who have appeared in commercials or who are currently not working as actors have other jobs? Even less surprising is the revelation that a winner of Meet the Folks is working in a Melbourne bar - unless he won a holiday at the Hotel California, a weekend away is unlikely to see him off for life. Maybe people really do watch too much telly and are surprised that real people who live in our own communities are the same people we see on the screen. I can understand my two-year-old nephew being surprised to see Doopa Dog at a community event and I can understand being flustered when we see someone we recognise from TV but don't know personally... and I did click on all the illegible names on the Flash map to see what information might be given... but I'm wondering why, why is it a surprise and of interest?


I'm also intrigued by the story of Jayson Blair, a New York Times reporter who plagiarised and lied in stories written for that paper. An article about the deception can be read at the Age Online ('New York Times describes deception by ex-staffer
,' May 12 2003). 'Times Reporter Who Resigned Leaves Long Trail of Deception' is the New York Times response to the affair (registration is required). I am yet to read the full article. Jack Shafer at Slate Magazine argues that Blair is solely responsible for the deception, without examining how a situation such as this might develop, in 'The Jayson Blair Project: How did he bamboozle the New York Times?' (May 8, 2003). Al Giordano calls Blair creative and intelligent in 'Jayson Blair Cracked The Code: The Young Plagiarizer Beat the New York Times at its Own Game' from the Narco News (May 12, 2003). Some interesting ideas in this article about the readership and market of the New York Times and what readers expect to read - suggesting that Blair simply tapped into what the paper is likely to publish without regard to whether readers might expect accurate and fair representation of current stories. I'm thinking that all reporters write stories that they hope are likely to be published and will fit with the style of the publication, usually without deceiving their employer or their readers. So far I haven't found any answers as to why the situation eventuated but I'll read a little more later.


The West Magazine included a reference to Name Nerds - another place for me to search for character names!

We celebrated our Flinders Finale on Sunday. The event coincided with Mother's Day but fortunately people made the effort to attend. I enjoyed most of the talks, although somehow I was asked to use the video camera to record some of them. I still need to learn how to politely point out that I have a vision impairment and that while I can see the image in the viewer, I can't always see what's directly in front of me and that if I place the recorder down for five seconds I'm likely to spend thirty seconds just trying to work out where exactly the viewer is when I pick it up again. Hopefully, any really bad camera work is not my problem. The yacht club presented mums with a posy on the day and both the Lions breakfasts and the Friends of the Hospitals mariner's lunches went down well...


And, now that Wednesday is well over, I did watch Blue Heelers...

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Saturday, May 10, 2003

Ahhh, so tempting to surf people's blogs but my eyes aren't holding up tonight...


A friend wrote with lots of news (including a planned trip west) and mentioned that her brother is moving to Bahrain for work... hence my visit to: Bahrain Tourism to read all about the place.


My Singaporean friend travelling in Italy asked an Italian friend to translate the few words of Italian I pieced together in an e-mail. Her friend was puzzled as to why anyone would spend five years learning Italian at high school. The first good reason to pop into my head was 'food.' Before I was aware of the good food reason (although obviously pizza was a bit of a clue to a 13 year old looking for subject options) I was keen to learn a language and Italian is relatively easy. I do wish I could've visited Italy earlier in my life to hear, speak and read the language outside of a classroom but that doesn't take away from the experience of learning and enjoying the language and it does add to my occasional reading of the Divine Comedy. Oh yeah, and it sure beat learning to type!


Onwards to Braille! :-) Remembering that Braille is a different way to read English, rather than a new language...


Better go... our Flinders Finale is tomorrow!

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Friday, May 09, 2003

Ouch, my right eye is strained... I definitely need one of those eye tracking devices... one that warns me when I'm about to hurt my eye.


A Singaporean friend is travelling in Italy and sending newsy messages about her adventures... I replied to a recent message using a little of my high school Italian.. although I did check that it made sense using Alta Vista's Babel Translator.


The subject of visual hallucinations was again raised on RPList and I finally discovered more information about Charles Bonnet, for whom Charles Bonnet Syndrome is named and who was a sixteenth century Swiss natural scientist and philosopher with both a hearing impairment and a degenerative eye condition.


People are complaining on the list about a few almost off topic posts after a recent 'Thought Provoker' about blind people carrying concealed weapons (say, for when their possession of a gun could save the day in a hostage situation involving foreign terrorists). Hilarious. Where's Ranger when you need him?


Ahhh... seems Ranger, Morelli and Ms Plum will be back July 7 in To The Nines - see http://www.evanovich.com/.

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Campbell, Shan and Matt are off crabbing. Campbell and I visited the ABC Kids web site and played Dress Up Mixy before I loaded Bananas In Pyjamas' Animal Sounds Game. Campbell was off with Shan to the boat ramp by then, so I tried Animal Sounds anyway just to see if it'd be worth playing later. Bit hard! Similar to Merriam-Websters Word Game Flip Flop, except that instead of matching hidden words with their hidden synonmyms/antonyms, you match a hidden animal and it's sound with another hidden picture/sound of the same animal. For future reference, when playing word games from M-W's archive, the type of game is denoted by a letter in the same calendar box as the date!


Campbell can say 'flower' now! He likes flowers... Most taken with our newly mown back lawn too - it was getting long and between his visit this morning (when he fell out of a washing basket in a trolley almost head first into the long, soft grass) and this afternoon it's been cut.

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The Book Group is back on the ABC tonight. Lol. It's just occurred to me that Lachlan could be played by an actor other than the guy who played his twin brother Barnie - wasn't Barnie kind of short... and who'd know under all that hair?


While I'm talking telly (and I often am), Gill stayed up to watch Six Feet Under on Channel Nine in Perth. Glad that it started on time but we were surprised that two episodes aired. The West didn't mention the second episode in its weekend magazine TV guide but it was mentioned in Monday's TV guide. As Six Feet Under screens at 10.45pm, the additional episode meant staying up until 12.45am. Having watched the second series I chose to go to bed. More frustrating is that following the second episode it was announced that it was the final in the series but I know that it wasn't... unless an awful lot happened in that final fifteen minutes! Nah, I've checked the episode guides and there are three more episodes in series two - maybe they'll screen three episodes next week? :-) Who knows. I do hope that WIN TV screens the third series.


Read Notes and illustrations on Regency clothing styles
(with 1895 Charles E. Brock illustrations for Pride and Prejudice)
- and a bit more, maybe a little piece from Pride and Prejudice in which Elizabeth is dancing with Darcy, etc - while looking for more information about the clothes worn during Matthew Flinders time (known to quite a few people as the Regency period). Also found A Regency Repository and Jessamyn's Regency Costume Companion.


'Keeping an eye on the wandering eyes of web surfers' (The Age Online, May 6) had me wondering what it might be like to track the eye movements of someone with RP while he or she is using the Web... in comparison to viewers with normal visual fields. Might be a bit unnerving to know how many more eye movements are made to navigate a site (just as German research has shown that it takes more movements of the eye to navigate an unfamiliar building). Now I'm wondering where I look first on a page... I think I look for a header/title, and then straight for the article/content. The research is being carried out at the The Access Testing Centre in Sydney.


Read that 'Weight loses Church movie role' (BBC) - Charlotte Church did not audition for a Hollywood movie of Phantom of the Opera because to do so she was expected to lose weight.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Celebrated Caelan's 4th birthday a little early on the weekend. I'll miss out on the chocolate cake with green icing and crunchy lollies on top but had a great time visiting! Cruised up to Kings Park on Sunday and picnicked at the new Western Power Parklands with hundreds of other people - last day of the school holidays!


Caught up with a friend for coffee (or tea, in my case) in the city and then with others for a really yummy Thai combination at the food court in James St - not often I feel I can take a forkful from anywhere on my plate of food hall dinner and it'll taste good.


Visited Karrakatta to do a little family history research and to visit. The roses are blooming and the gardens and paths make some parts of the cemetery feel welcoming.


So keen was I not to waste money on books that I only succumbed to stepping into Dymocks for a look and only found three books I might like to read and then only bought one. So much for searching Elizabeth's for second-hand books. Next visit! While browsing the children's section for Leonie Stevens' The Marawack Two I found Maureen McCarthy's When You Wake and Find Me Gone (McCarthy wrote Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude Get A Life and Chain of Hearts).


Surprised to find Chain of Hearts in the children's section because at least three adult members of our family read it after I bought it off the shelves in River Tales in Margs. There are even Teachers' Notes for Chain of Hearts! The notes do mention that the book will appeal to women generally. Not sure why fiction that I'm finding in the children's section are so appealing. I had to read Nick Earls' Making Laws for Clouds after reading a short story featuring the characters in the first Girl's Night In.


I can't recommend other stories in that particular collection, however proceeds go to War Child, which:


"... stands on the twin beliefs: that we’re not free to ignore an innocent victim’s plea for help and that children are the seed-corn of society, its future hope."


Glad they explained what they meant by 'seed-corn.' Found that information on their Projects page, which lists heaps of past and current work, including a Diabetic Programme in Bosnia (just as a random example).


Popped into David Jones on Monday and my eye was caught by a dress on a mannequin (the front mannequin in a single file line of four mannequins wearing similar outfits) placed at the bottom of some steps leading up to women's fashion. I was walking down the steps and past the mannequins - I'm not even sure how I could have spotted the dress, given that I didn't notice a frying pan full of socks at my bedroom door last week. So I examined the outfits (including olive fish nets) and wandered into the 'street fashion' section. Laughed at the idea of the clothes being worn on the bus and in the actual street and then I found the dress.


All $851 of it. Versace.


My Internet connection isn't whizz bang enough for me to even view/hear their site in all it's splendour - and the non-Flash version, 56k-connection-or-less version is mostly pictures. I lifted the dress by the hanger to check it out - not surprisingly it was attached to the rack by a cord. More browsing and I'd found a t-shirt for under $400 and a pair of stripey jeans in the prettiest pastels - reminded me of the dresses in Singin' in the Rain. But I'm not sure what it was about the dress that drew me in - it did look like a dress you'd wear to hang out in town - nothing about it suggested that it'd make me look fab. Maybe it looked different. Very content to enjoy looking and have Versace and David Jones brighten my day.


Mum tells me that my nephew Callum's favourite sandwich is tomato and strawberry. And I thought it was unusual for a four year old to have '50 Ways to Leave Your Lover' as his favourite song. Just drop off the key Lee, and get yourself free...

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Friday, May 02, 2003

Wow, cool reading other people's blogs but I feel a bit like I'm cheating people by reading about their lives just the once and then moving on. Never knowing their name or where they're from, just that they hate school or they're losing weight or the work for the Scottish public service or whatever.


Visited my Nanna and Pop today, where Mum and I enjoyed lunch and sweets and I checked out their new home for the first time. Lots of rose bushes! Dropped in our ballot papers to the shire offices in Margaret River on our way to Busselton and did a little grocery shopping in Margs on our way home - I bought spinach leaves forgetting that I won't be home all weekend to eat them! However, I also bought a bottle of Blackmores Lutein-Vision in Busselton so maybe I'll be preserving my eye sight very soon (kinda forgot to take one tonight after tea). Remembered too late that because the school holidays finish this weekend that South West Coach Lines will be busy tomorrow. Missed out on a ticket to Perth for tomorrow morning but will hopefully catch a late afternoon/evening service that will have me in Perth by 9.20pm. All the more time to do the washing I didn't do today! Catching up with people might be tricky - Sunday afternoon seems to be convenient for everyone but I'm not sure it'd be convenient for everyone to meet, lol.


Watched a doco on Melbourne's Federation Square tonight. I visited Federation Square only a few weeks after it opened - I really wanted to get a feel for it, to use it, but couldn't kinda find a place to do it. Very glad that a friend invited me along to some short film screenings by graduates of the Victorian College of the Arts while I was visiting Melbourne and I was able to feel like I'd enjoyed myself and made use of the new buildings. I was concerned that there might be invisible steps to fall down but the place was easy to walk. The documentary included comments from a businessman who was to operate a pub in the square and who wanted perforated metal removed from the premises because they served no purpose and obstructed the view of St Kilda Rd. The camera shot showed the view through the holes in the metal of traffic on the street and I think I'd have a drink their just for the effect. Architect vs Client - Inside the Square includes video of the businessman, one of the architects and an architectural writer commenting and also the camera shot (which doesn't look as speccy, possibly because I can see more of the shot at once). The metal looks like the metal that some public seating is made from - so you might feel like you are looking through a material that an awful lot of people have sat on. But I still like the effect... I'll have to check it out for real next visit!

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