Thursday, February 26, 2004

Happy Wonky Blogging Birthday 

Tuh duh! I've now been blogging for a whole year! Not consistently... but consistently enough that my blog is still live... Also had an actual birthday a week or two ago and was the happy recipient of a red sheet set and lots of phone calls. I've started to notice references to my age... including a seal featured on a children's TV show. The seal had retired but was doing well for her age.
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Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Don't Drink The Water 

The first Small World experiment conducted by Columbia University is over and, as a pariticipant, I received an e-mail telling me so. More about the the study can be read at the Small World Project results page or the Small World Project media coverage page. Despite my interest, I haven't had time to check it all out but have read about it in 'Six degrees of separation works online' at ABC Science Online (August 11, 2003). I suspect most of my 'links' to other people didn't work - one friend didn't check his e-mail while another didn't quite understand that the project was not a personal one - I found it difficult to explain or forewarn people that the messages would not be spam or chain mail and that it was a genuine experiment. Then I didn't have time to forward more messages although I wanted to be involved. The researchers discovered that there are usually six degrees of social separation between any two people.

Still at ABC Online, I read 'Six degrees of sexual separation?
' (June 21, 2001 - not as interesting as it sounds) and from there to 'The 16 desires of life' (July 12, 2000), which reports on research carried out at Ohio State University by Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, Steven Reiss.


After conducting studies with more than 6,000 people, Professor Reiss identified the desires as: power, independence, curiosity, acceptance, order, saving, honor, idealism, social contact, family, status, vengeance, romance, eating, physical exercise, and tranquility.


I'm trying to order these desires from most important to least important to me and stupidly wondering if the desire for order should be listed close to the bottom. The desire to eat is making me feel good just at the thought and obviously curiosity is up there. Vengeance, that's got to be low on the list... who has time for vengeance when you could be going for a swim? (Yes, I went for a swim today... at Hamelin Bay - I love salt water!).

If you want to be part of a small, small world experiment... check out the 'new and improved version' of the Small World Project.

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Monday, February 23, 2004

Leaping Lizards, An Extra Day 

Learnt about Tracey from sh1ft.org's A Day In The Life: The Leap Day project at Me, Myself and Infrastructure. The idea is that people do something different from their normal routine, something they wouldn't ordinarily do, on February 29 and record their day with a photo taken each hour. Heidi from Me, Myself and Infrastructure notes that they suggest walking instead of driving, which would mean that she (and me) would perhaps need to drive instead of walk unless she (and also I) heed the 'Safety First!' advice. They also suggest 'say hello to a friendly stranger!' which I may well do because I say hello to many a stranger in one day. Unless I'm not at work... maybe I should stay away from work and remain closed off to all strangers. Or I could get a haircut (although probably not on a Sunday unless I want something really different)... or I could give my Mum some flowers (different but not totally a bad idea). You might like to check out other sh1ft.org projects too.
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Saturday, February 21, 2004

Ogresome 

I could be mistaken but I think I tuned into a preview tape of Shrek 2 showing as a current affairs item on A Current Affair (Win Television, February 20, 2004) last night. Is this something for Media Watch?

'The cinema industry in Australia: Structure and key players, 2003' is available at the Australian Film Commission's site for anybody interested in knowing which companies have interests in exhibiting and distributing films in Australia.

I'm looking forward to Shrek 2... Oooh, and maybe Dirty Dancing 2 too. Nah, not really... Havana Nights (Note: Yikes, music!)? lol... another generation of sisters singing duets into the cutlery while doing the dishes.

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A Chalkless Society (or Chalking One Up - You Choose) 

Col's started to teach real students - in person! Even better, he's blogging the whole experience at Chalk and talk. You know, I was thinking that the 'chalk' reference might actually reflect a fondness for the profession that he's taken a while to take on (despite his training)... Given some of the minor tech hassles he's had, I'm now thinking that perhaps the chalk is just part of a forward-thinking back-up plan... Hopscotch anyone? Good luck, Colin!
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Friday, February 20, 2004

A Drig Bink 

I'm not talking straight the last few days or so... so in the heat I've thought about pouring myself a drig bink and wondered if we have any bread fresh at home... Now that the hot weather and the short power crisis is over I think my speech is back to normal but I'm still wondering about how it is that I love words and yet occasionally can't order them. Then Mum read in The Sunday Times about a right brain/left brain challenge circulating on the Internet (the newspaper quoted a comment that I've since read at Making Light: Trick, February 3, 2004).

The challenge asks you to lift your right foot off of the floor and rotate it clockwise. While still rotating your foot clockwise, raise your right hand and draw a six in the air. I couldn't do this trick with my right hand and right foot, or my left hand and my right foot or my right hand and my left foot or both my left hand and my left foot. Oh hang on, now I can... but not right with right, although not as absolutely as when I tried this initially. I'm guessing with practice I could (it seemed impossible the other day!). I think if I think more of this as an action than an action and me drawing a six, then it works.

I've so little (or rather, not enough) time on the computer lately that I'm now reading a blog in paperback - Salam Pax's Baghdad Blog, which I bought in the Margaret River newsagency. And which we can read at Where is Raed ?. Reading about power outages and Air CDs while Perth has a power crises and my best friend writes to tell me she has bought an Air CD is a little strange... I think having two state governments to blame for our short power crisis (and the added advantage of having all the harsh lights turned off in Coles - but still music to groove about to - while I shopped) makes all the difference.

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Thursday, February 12, 2004

A Small Win and a Loss 

Tuesday I was on cloud nine because I won something. Nothing big, but the win had a certain serendipity because I'd read about the competition, which required readers of HQ magazine to call in to participate, only minutes before it closed. With no time for procrastination, I called the number and felt that my timing must surely be lucky. This is why I was so pleased to receive my copy of Sniff, Swirl and Slurp by wine taster/writer Max Allen - proof that I can be lucky.

Yesterday I discovered that HQ, the only magazine that I feel meets my needs for an engaging read, will no longer be published.

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Saturday, February 07, 2004

One Word Lost in Translation 

While checking out this week's ResearchBuzz, I learnt about a blog directory called Blogarama, and then while checking out the medicine section of the directory, I visited Stuff and Nonsense, a blog written by a doctor overcoming a chronic illness. In her January 10, 2004 post the doctor mentions a site called One Word, which asks visitors to write for sixty seconds on the word of the day (yesterday's word was 'channel') and submit the resulting piece of writing. I'm not too keen to supply my e-mail address, as is required when you submit, so my minutes-worth of words won't be appearing. But I did like the idea.

Also checked out Added Entries just because and learnt that a translation of Japanese dialogue from the film Lost in Translation is on line at The New York Times ('What else was lost in translation?'). The article translates a scene in which a Japanese director gives his directions to American actor Bob Harris (Bill Murray) through an interpreter. The scene is not subtitled but it is obvious that the interpreter isn't conveying all that the director is saying.

In Australian film Japanese Story, Toni Collette's character is present during a conversation spoken in Japanese. Not being able to see much of the screen and being wrapped up in the experience of Collette's character, who could not understand Japanese, I didn't think to look down to read the subtitles until it was too late. While watching Lost in Translation, I did think to look for subtitles and could understand why none were given. And having read the translation, I think the audience could tell all that needed to be known - that the translation was of no use to the actor and that the directions, if they could be understood, were of little use.

From the The New York Times article:

Ms. Coppola said she purposely gave the director "lame directions," adding, "He wasn't supposed to be the best director."


In the movie, Bob Harris turns to the camera during this scene ands says "For relaxing times, make it Suntory time." I wonder what directions Bill Murray received from Sofia Coppola. He sounds so assured, I wish he'd come round to my house when I'm in a fluster and say, "For relaxing times, make it cheese and tomato sandwich time." And I'd feel like, yeah, that's exactly what I should do, I should have a cheese and tomato sandwich.

And so now I'm wondering if perhaps writing random thoughts into a blog is such a good idea. Masses of people writing about ordinary everyday situations and the obtuse thoughts they have as a result. Then I discovered (also via Added Entries) a British project housed at the University of Sussex called the Mass-Observation Archive. The project involves ordinary people who observe everyday life in Britain. While you have to be in Britain to participate, the current questions are given on the site and appear to be just as relevant to people outside of the UK.





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Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Alexander Poise 

I'm holding my head poised as I lengthen my spine after a weekend workshop on the Alexander technique. The course was held through the University of Western Australia's Extension program. Combined with ten hours on the bus to and from Perth, two half-hour walks to the venue (which I enjoyed) and sleeping on a slightly bent out of shape sofa bed, my body feels both healthy and achey in a way that makes it hard to tell exactly what effect my newly-found poise is having.

The course presenters recommended reading The Alexander Technique: a skill for life by Pedro de Alcantara (you can avoid the Flash splash page at this site by jumping straight to the Resources for Laymen section). More information about the Alexander Technique is also available from the School for F. M. Alexander Studies in North Fitzroy (Melbourne).

Before attending the course, I'd read The Alexander Technique by Judith Leibowitz and Bill Connington. We were warned that some books on the subjects are hastily written by people not fully trained but I'm quite sure that Leibowitz and Connington's book is not one of them. Unfortunately, I couldn't run it past the presenters because the name doesn't exactly stand out from other books on the subject and I couldn't remember the authors' names. I'm looking forward to learning more and feeling a little less tense.

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