Saturday, May 29, 2004

Be With You Directly 

There's a recommendation to the Freelance Writing Organization Int'l's writing database in the latest Tudogs newsletter. Unfortunately, I've wasted most of my afternoon signing up to view the database. Difficult to find the database amongst the requests for donations.

Site summaries of relevant writing resources are included in the database, which can be searched or browsed. Chortle: the UK comedy guide, for example, is listed in the comedy section and gives links to comedy-related news items and reviews of touring comedians.

Statistics accompanying the site listings suggest that not many people visit the database. Forums on the site haven't received new posts since February. Maybe members would be more inclined to donate or volunteer if the site was easier to navigate or had more of a community feel to it. Maybe I'll feel different once my newsletters arrive. At least my Gmail account is getting some traffic.

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Thursday, May 27, 2004

Gruffness 

Reading the discussion after the 'Living With Asperger's' article, I came across a comment about trolling. A troll is someone who starts a spurious thread on a newsgroup, messageboard or e-mail discussion list just to see if people will run with it.

Only in the last year have I learnt about trolling. A frustrated new member of a discussion list passed along an article. I don't think anyone on this particular list is deliberately trolling. I've always assumed that list-noise comes from people who make a genuine mistake, or are not reading or following threads with total comprehension. With others I've thought it was their personality or unique style of communication. If a post doesn't read as rational then I figure the poster is having a hard time dealing with personal issues. But the description did fit to some extent. And only the other day I was trying to recall the term. So while it was in my head I did a little research.

First I read 'The Subtle Art of Trolling' at URBAN 75. I didn't even know what a Kill File is. You can see how I might potentially let others waste my time. The URBAN 75 article led me to 'The Anti-Troll FAQ' by Dave Fawthrop and to Trolling Lore at Fravia's web-searching lore site.

Fravia recommended The Art of Controversy by Arthur Schopenhauer. If you're using a screen reader, don't be surprised to hear German as well as English. The English translation and the original German are both given here. BrainyEncyclopedia gives a short biography of Arthur Schopenhauer that mentions his belief that women are supposed to obey. So the guy knew what he was talking about, in terms of controversy.

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A Curious Way To React 

After reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, I was curious enough to read Living with Asperger's Syndrome at Kuro5hin. The novel's narrator, Christopher Boone,has behaviour and abilities that are similar to those shown by a person who might have Asperger's Syndrome.

While I found the article interesting, the discussion following it was strange to say the least. Many contributors questioned the existence of the condition and others claimed that the author had not given enough information about how difficult it can be to deal with Asperger's Syndrome.

After reading a little more, I realised that much of this was a reaction to people who self-diagnose. People who attribute any perceived social differences to a medical condition. Suddenly I felt like I needed more information from the author. When was he diagnosed, what other symptoms has he experienced, how has Asperger's really made life difficult? But I didn't question the existence of Asperger's Syndrome.

Few people want to argue their limitations or share their most embarrassing or difficult moments. While I would consider discussing RP to help others with the condition or to raise awareness, I wouldn't be revealing much to strangers for their entertainment.

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Sunday, May 23, 2004

Sunday Drive To Margs 

We drove to Margaret River today along Caves Rd and through the Boranup karri forest. We detoured down to the rivermouth at Prevelly and watched the waves and surfers and a dalmatian dog with very black spots. In town we stopped at the river and walked across the footbridge towards the old Group Settlement museum. Pancakes with maple syrup and cream at Landa's and a quick trip into Coles before we came home.
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Friday, May 21, 2004

A Message To My Blog 

Thank you to Blogger for the new-look
dashboard. At last a dashboard that I can safely operate. And it's all
mine. Today I'm sending this message to my blog via e-mail. Tuh duh. Bet
you couldn't tell.



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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Salam Pax appeared on enough rope with Andrew Denton last night. If you're curious and missed the show, there is a transcriptof the Andrew Denton interview with Salam Pax available. A moderated chat forum was also held this morning. Not all questions were answered but chatters were enthusiastic and supportive.

Salam's Baghdad Blog is not currently being updated. Both River's Baghdad Burning and Healing Iraq were mentioned by Salam as other Iraqi blogs to watch. Good to see Salam is alive and well.

Reading about who's blogging in Iraq naturally lead me to wonder who's blogging in Western Australia. Australian Weblogs - Aussie Blogs lead me to Weblogger Meetup - Bloggers in Perth, Australia and later to Perth Blogs. So on a quiet May afternoon I've read Not The West (the natural result of blogging + a one-daily-newspaper-town), Twisted Hamster (where I had a few laughs), and Freaky Chick. Plus a few I didn't have time to blog.

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Sunday, May 16, 2004

Growing Up 

Caelan is way into pirates now that he's five. I thought he'd had a little too much rum as we crossed a street on the weekend. Then I looked down to see he was using his telescope with the eye not covered by a patch. Gill and I filled twenty bags with Freddos and other chockies for Caelan's party. I'm so old I didn't even feel like pinching one for myself.

I've just finished reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. The novel is narrated by a teenage boy who is brilliant at maths but can't read people's facial expressions. I'm worried I liked his prime-numbered chapters a little too much.

On Tuesday I attended a book group. I'm now reading a trilogy of books collectively called My Story by Dave Pelzer. The books are about Pelzer's life. Reading about one particular incident of child abuse I had to stop. I didn't want to pass out.

I've also caught up with Col's Chalkintalk blog. I'm now seeing my academic performance from the eyes of a teacher. Hello. I didn't even ask questions about marks or bother with excuses. I do remember a lecture on the circulatory system that didn't get the blood pumping. Not even enough to keep most heads off the desks. And I remember us practising exaggerated pronunciations of "Weber" but I can't remember Weber's Law (see Weber-Fechner Law at Wikipedia if you're curious).

A few days ago an eighteen-year-old Sydneysider called Benjamin Solah wrote to let me know about his Writing Corner. Benjamin gives, shall we say, a taste of more to come with one untitled short story about a guy who ducks into Maccas for the only reason that I ever do - to use the toilet - and still gets a raw deal. Not a lot of writing here yet but I've listed the site on my writing links page.

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Thursday, May 06, 2004

Changing Landscapes 

In Busselton today I wandered down to the Vasse River and checked out the shore realignment and re-vegetation work, let someone cut my hair (thanks!), visited Nanna and bought Erin an iron for her new home. Gill was wondering today if the animated landscape at the top of the Greenough Shire Library page inadvertantly included snow but I think it's surf and clouds and the sudden cut from paddocks to seaside cliff and then to a stone house that gives that impression. Catching the early bus tomorrow to visit Gill and Caelan and I'm looking forward to a weekend away.
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Sunday, May 02, 2004

On The Road To Somewhere 

Just realised I'm writing a lot of resumes, none of them mine. Somewhere in there I visited Amazon's So you'd like to become a humanistic geographer! Hey, why not.
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