Monday, August 30, 2004

Thumbing My Nose, Hitching A Lift 

M.P. Dunleavey, an editor and Manhattan native, recalls relatives poking fun at her for being thirty-something and not having a license. "I didn't think it was funny," she said. "There was something gauche about having a car. It was so -- suburban."
'Licensed to Drive? Fuhgeddaboutit!' in The Washington Post, 19 August 2004.

Did my mouth just twitch? Was that a semi-secret half-smile? What could be gauche about hauling a vacuum cleaner into the drive and sucking crumbs from your floor mats? What's suburban about FuelWatch?

I spotted a link to the above article at me, my life + infrastructure.

P.S. Late-eighties model Ford Lasers - with Northam plates - are obviously not suburban. Likewise, black two-door Holden Astras are clearly not gauche, except when you need the back seat.

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Saturday, August 21, 2004

Postcard Imperfect 

Earlier this winter I wandered down to the beachfront at Busselton. Although the day was overcast, the sunlight reflecting off the water inspired me to take a photo or two. I've uploaded one, taken of the beach and the beginning of the jetty, to my blog pics page.
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Thursday, August 19, 2004

Spinning A Line 

Reading live from the third rail, I wondered if there are any Australians blogging about transport and urban spaces. Like Lanes of Melbourne, which I spotted at Aussie Blogs, and which then lead me to urban creature by the same blogger, who is planning to blog over 180 lanes in Melbourne's CBD. Started to wonder what Perth people might blog - railway stations? Rubbish bins? Didn't find any Perth bloggers but I did come across Hecho En Mexico. Here a Melbourne blogger calling himself Agent FareEvader is writing 'Metropolitan Anecdotal Line Guides' so that you can read all about a trip to Alamein or on the Upfield line as experienced by someone else.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Save The Ludlow Tuart Forest! 

Campaign to Save the Ludlow Tuart Forest! One hundred and fifteen hectares of tall tuart forest officially became a mine site at 9am this morning. Protesters are still dwelling in the trees at a camp not far from Capel on what is now signposted as a 'tourist drive' ('Protesters stand tall for the tuarts,' ABC News, 17 August 2004). I travelled this route between Busselton and Bunbury in Western Australia's south west on my way to school, emerging from the tuart woodland to smell the fumes from the mineral sands mines. I saw farmland cleared, yellow sand shifted and (presumably) sifted and then the land returned to farming. That can't possibly happen with a tuart forest. Not in my life time.
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Search And You Will Find 

Ooh la la! A new navigation bar with a search box has replaced the old, unfriendly Google-powered ads atop my blog. I kinda like checking out which ads Google matched with my blog content. The unfriendliness came from the use of tables and the smooshing of links together with only white space to separate them, which Bobby didn't like. A few weeks ago I added a search box to both of my blogs. I chose to go with Google because I knew that if a weblog search was ever integrated into Blogger it was almost certain to be a Google search. I think that makes me almost clever. Just not clever enough to save myself some time. Atomz still provides the search facility on my main site.
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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Reward - For Information About My Missing Web Site 

Apologies for the disappearance of my main Web sites of RP and RD in Australia and Dee's Wonky Window. My ISP is currently having some difficulties with their Web server and I hope my site will be back online soon. Otherwise I'm going to be more cranky than I am right now.

Reasons not to be cranky: Dad's home from hospital (again!). Erin and Rod might be moving to Tassie (or maybe that is a reason to be cranky but it's still positive). Very yummy moist orange-coloured cake served at book group this morning. Hair is clean and curly. Dolphins in the river.

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Sunday, August 08, 2004

Rules And Reading 

I've so far missed all but one of the repeat episodes of The Book Group. In the episode I saw again, Kenny read from Jack Kerouac's Rules of Spontaneous Prose. The rules include "Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better" and "Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning." Three nights in a row I've come to write in my journal and expected to date it the twenty-something of August, so this emblazoning business is probably something I should work on.

Another rule is to "Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition." Any time I try this my pen strokes become deep zigzags in the page.

Soon after reading Kerouac's rules, I read 'Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle' by Elmore Leonard (at his site but copyright The New York Times 2003). One of his suggestions is to:

Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

A rule that came to mind in 1983. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. What the writer is doing, he's writing, perpetrating hooptedoodle, perhaps taking another shot at the weather, or has gone into the character's head, and the reader either knows what the guy's thinking or doesn't care. I'll bet you don't skip dialogue.

People skip bits? I thought that either you read a book, or you read most of a book and didn't have time to read all of it, or you didn't read a book. Somehow, skipping bits never occurred to me.

So for our last book group meeting, I skim read The Pursuit of Happiness. I read the beginning, the end and all of the character and plot developments that I thought would be worthy of discussion. I even skipped dialogue. And it worked.

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Saturday, August 07, 2004

All Over The Place 

Under The Freeway at Flaneur, tells of people using the land beneath a New Orleans highway as recreational space. A local man glues current obituary columns on a freeway support and people stop to chat and have lunch. Somehow the space has retained it's purpose after the freeway was built in the 1960s.

After seriously considering buying the SBS World Guide, I've discovered that it's freely available on line. No more typing the name of a country into Google and having an entry in the CIA World Factbook appear as the first search result. Well, that will still happen, but not to me. I'll go straight to SBS. I've now read all about the smallest countries in Europe - Luxembourg, San Marino, Andorra, Monaco and Liechtenstein, as well as those countries with names unfamiliar to me - Lesotho and Mayotte (in Africa) and Suriname (in South America). Today I read a little about Turkey. I'm all over the place here at Doonbanks on a Saturday.

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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Writing Wrongs 

Recently I joined a Yahoo! Group called Australian-Writers-Online. The group is friendly and supportive and I still haven't introduced myself.

Today someone sent a link to 'Confessions of a slush pile reader' (Salon, 25 February 2002). I can believe that a lot of the manuscripts in the slush pile are similar. I wasn't surprised to read that weirdos send in manuscripts scrawled in pencil. I was surprised to find that the publisher might invent an imaginary editor to deal with the unsolicited work.

Then I visited, a free directory of writers who would like to attract the attention of publishers. I browsed by topic and then clicked on writers' names at random. Most writers provided a self-written outline of their writing interests and experience. Nearly all that I read contained typos. Two included the number of children the writer has and one of these also mentioned the children's ages and writing accomplishments. One woman promoted the poetry she'd written while suffering from depression and anxiety. By this stage I was feeling a little sad. I was starting to understand the need for a non-existent editor - preferably with outstanding people skills.

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Monday, August 02, 2004

Creating A Certain Casual Class 

'Just who works for the new creative class?' asks Anthony O'Donnell writing for The Age (2 August 2004). O'Donnell draws attention from the rise of the 'creative class' to a faster growing 'service class' that support the inner city-dwelling creatives. Victoria St in North and West Melbourne, a street with which I was once very familiar, is given as an example of the changed inner city environment.

The Age today reported
'Casuals unhappy with their lot: study' (2 August 2004).

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