Monday, January 31, 2005

Rod and Erin on the Move 

Erin and Rod are leaving Swansea tomorrow and travelling on the Spirit of Tasmania to Melbourne tomorrow night. Erin asked me if there's anything she should see in Melbourne and all I could think of was the La Trobe Reading Room at the State Library. And one or two other places. Suggested they go to St Kilda (they'd already sussed that the festival is on) but qualified my recommendation by saying that the beach is pretty crap. Rod's pretty keen to see Bell's Beach, so I hope they stop long enough in Melbourne to catch a tram!
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Friday, January 28, 2005

Going Nowhere On The Mantlepiece 

The British Journal of Medicine recently published a review of artificial vision research. A reader commented on the article and linked to his own dissertation on a related topic at TomNichols.com. Only the Web site wasn't all that clear and before I found the dissertation, I found a pic of the author, his wife and Neil Finn.

So the doctor wasted my time. Hard to get cross really. Crowdies fans are so enthusiastic and nice. And I soon enough found the dissertation, 'Computing With Silicon: Biologically Inspired Circuits For Seeing And Hearing.' Too late to include in my RetGen entry but there you go.

Sometimes I'm enthusiastic and nice.

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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Blogger Meet Up Virgin 

Last Wednesday week I went to the Perth Blogger Meet Up in Freo. On the way there I wondered at first why I would want to meet strangers at a cafe. Then I started to wonder why I blog at all. Agggh, lots of self-doubt for one train ride. Just to add to my misgivings I could hear two men talking politics nearby and one of them was wearing what looked a lot like a scout uniform minus any badges - could they be fellow bloggers?

Once I was at Gino's I couldn't see any sign that there might be bloggers about. Two people at separate tables (one indoors and one al fresco) gave welcoming smiles as I looked about a bit but I couldn't be sure if the smiles meant 'ask if I'm another blogger' or 'you look lost but don't worry - you're in friendly Fremantle.' I wished I'd let someone know that I don't see very well and would be carrying an extended white cane. Instead, I was carrying a folded white cane that only served to remind me that I can't see very well.

So I bought a coffee and tried not to either spill it or shuffle my feet as I headed back outside. Lucky I'm not a spy. Maybe Riz could be a spy because she asked if I was a blogger and found the rest of the blogger group - Mark (friendly inside-cafe guy), Marisa, Robert, Richard, Graeme, Brett from Not The West and Jim (who is yet to start his two blogs but comes to meet ups anyway).

Marisa's summary of the meet up tells of why its worthwhile going along. Only I missed the conversation about porn. And I did hear bits of a conversation about making students blog as part of their assessment and another about the potential benefits to WA tourism of encouraging visitors to blog. Marisa's referred to first-time blogger meet up-ers as blogger meet up virgins. I guess that means it'll only get better...

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Sunday, January 23, 2005

Round And About In Perth 

Back from a quick trip to Perth.

Gill, Caelan, Judith, Dylan and I met at the Western Power Parkland in Kings Park on Wednesday afternoon. Caelan brought along his sword and a shield that looked a lot like an umbrella. Gill drove Martin's station wagon because her Laser is out of action with a cracked head gasket.

On the way home we saw a tank (an army tank, not a rainwater tank, as I thought Gill was pointing out) hurtling down Kings Park Road on its way to the fires. Actually, Gill told me later that we saw four army tanks but somehow I missed seeing three of them. Did sound a bit like four tanks, to be sure. I'm glad I don't live any where that tanks regularly roll down the streets. Even if you think there's just one of them, it's a bit freaky.

Caught the train down to Freo to meet the other bloggers at a Perth blogger meet up. More on that later.

On Thursday I realised I'd forgotten to plan my day and somehow failed to see a film, catch up with Scott, shop for clothes or buy shampoo. I did go to the Alexander Library and grimace over the photocopier for a bit before wandering into the city to buy glass pebbles for Gill's bamboo plant. Told her I thought it'd be too suburban a mission but then I asked at Gone Bazaar in Murray St and, tuh duh, I had a kilo of glass pebbles to carry about. Proving that I am sometimes very useful. We ate pizza for tea out on the concrete slabs behind Gill's house. Broadway Pizza's 'Broadway' pizza was pretty good.

On Friday I dumped my backpack at the Busport and wandered over to the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre, which is much like an airport without people or planes. The only cafe I spotted overlooked the busport. Next time I visit, I might try to snoop about the ballrooms. From the east-facing windows I could look down on the building site for the new Esplanade Station.

From here I wandered into the funny glass pyramid building on the Esplanade. After visiting the conservatory in Adelaide recently, I finally clicked to what the pyramid might house. And I was right, it's the Allan Green Conservatory. One of the three plaques I saw was unveiled by HRH Princess Alexandra in 1980. Until then I didn't know there was a Princess Alexandra. I kept walking down to the Barrack St Jetty, walked out the Transperth jetty and then caught a CAT bus back to Trinity Arcade. The CAT travelled west along Riverside Drive, under the Narrows, round to Mounts Bay Road and back under the freeway, into the busport and up to the terrace. But it was cooler than walking and I could sit down. I ate lunch at the Grind Espresso Bar and headed back to the Busport for home.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Off To The Beach and With The Birds 

Mum and I drove to Hamelin Bay for a swim on Sunday. Or at least, Mum drove and I swam. We wandered off from the car park into the dunes, following our noses and almost tipping over in the sand. Worth it when we reached the top of the dune closest the beach and looked out at the view of the bay. On the way home, I took a photo of the many-headed grass tree.

Callum, Mum and I visited Eagle's Heritage yesterday. We arrived during a free-flight display and then took the one kilometre walk through the bush to see the birds in their enclosures. Callum was always the first to spot the birds and could tell us whereabouts to look. Sometimes I'd have almost given up, assuming that the light and leaves and feathers combined to make it impossible for me to see the birds. Then suddenly Oh my God, there's an owl right there!. I thought the barn owl was cute, sitting way up the back, and Mum liked the four grass owls, with their bent-in legs. We also saw eagles, hawks, a peregrine falcon and black kites. A southwest carpet python lived in a display hut and Mum spotted the pink flower that she saw growing at Andrew's block. With Gill's help we've decided that it's most likely a Ptilotus manglesii (Pom Pom).

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Friday, January 14, 2005

Foxy Lady (Almost) 

Picked up my reserved copy of Rhubarb from the Augusta Library today. Mum said it looked a bit dark. Before she started reading it. I guess that's one more person with whom I can discuss it.

Also picked up a copy of Australian PC User from the newsagent so that I could install Mozilla Firefox from the attached CD. But instead of installing Firefox, I seem to have installed Mozilla instead. Good job, Dee. On the upside, it appears to have handy navigator tabs at the top and it imported our IE bookmarks. And we can use it instead of Internet Explorer! Well, Dad can if I can convince him that it won't bite. I'll still be using Opera because I so fancy mouse gestures.

I learnt about the CD with Firefox on it while following a discussion on Australian_Writers_Online .

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Thursday, January 13, 2005

Clicks 

Clicked on a blogroll link that led to apophenia the other day. Blogger Danah Boyd is a PhD student looking at social technologies (umm, and stuff) and has some interesting comments on blogging, journaling, instant messaging, culture and other topics I know not much about. So I think I'll keep reading.
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Limited 

I split the last entry into two entries because bungarras and books don't go. In fact, I'm still not sure the bungarra fits but it is kinda cool to see one (provided it doesn't get scared and climb you). I'm trying to keep each entry to one loose topic. And not just to blab on about random events in my day. My name's at the bottom of each page so if anything interesting were to happen to me, probably I wouldn't write about it here. So it's back to parsley.


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Round The House 

My basil's flowering and I've hardly picked any leaves for cooking yet. Ooops. On the upside, the flowers are pretty. I'm going to have to start using all my afro parsley - it's looking really healthy, so I hate to go breaking it off like I don't care. Andrew reckons his bet with Mum was for $20. I've taken a pic of the rescued plant, which we now believe to be dead. But you never know.

Megan, Rori and I went to Margs on Monday and saw a bungarra (racehorse goanna) on Blackwood Ave near the hospital. Our bird cage is looking very specky. The native grasses inside are growing and there are old trees and ponds ready for the birds. I keep asking how it's progressing because I'm interested. I keep getting told that they'll let me know when the birds arrive.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Books, Coffee and Cups of Tea 

On Monday I ordered a copy of Rhubarb by Craig Silvey from the Augusta Library. Rhubarb will be the subject of a statewide project called One Book, as part of the Perth International Arts Festival in February.

On Tuesday I went to my regular book group, where we each had to choose three books from a list of 115 in the hope we'd be sent 10 good reads over 10 months. Bit tricky trying to drink tea, nibble on chocolate shortbread (we always have yummy food), follow conversation and quickly read 115 short synopses. So I didn't. I just read the titles and maybe the occasional synopsis until I felt dizzy enough to pick three.

I picked Alison Lurie's Last Resort (doesn't look like it's my cup of tea now, even if she is a modern day Jane Austen), Midnight All Day by Hanif Kureishi (whose photo at this site reminds me a little bit of the Fonz - fans probably disagree!), and Local Girls by Alice Hoffman. I had to scan the entire BookTalk catalogue to remember my third pick. Bit hard to choose when quite a few books you know everyone's either read or must not want to read (how many West Aussie's haven't read Cloudstreet or Dirt Music?). Then there are the books about war, suicide and families torn apart. Short books are good.

Next Tuesday we have writers group, where we sometimes discuss books that only one of us has read but where someone is guaranteed to introduces the best tangential piece of information one could hope to accidentally learn over coffee at Colourpatch.

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Friday, January 07, 2005

Mixing It Up 

Mum's acquired Nanna's mixer in the hope of making Andrew a chocolate cake. If Andrew gets the dying plant from the front verandah to grow, then Mum'll owe him $50 and then maybe he'll get a chocolate cake. But probably not the $50 and not today because she's helping with Rori. We liked the dial settings on the Mixmaster, so today while everyone's out I've taken a photo or two of Nanna's Sunbeam Mixmaster for your viewing pleasure.
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Thursday, January 06, 2005

Drive To Deepdene 

The Hilux just about shook itself to bits today as Andrew and I left the beach at Deepdene and headed back along the sand track to the Cosy Corner road. Driving to the beach, we could see the low cliffs above the creek and I spotted a picnic table to the right of the track in the bush. We walked along the beach to where the creek enters the ocean in winter and walked back up the bed to see if there was any water. There were two small pools with little fish in them. Over the noise of the ocean we could hear the crayboats coming in for the day, heading along the coast and around to Hamelin Bay. We saw the many-headed grass tree at Hamelin Bay that Mum reckons I should blog. I took a pic or two but the light wasn't great so I'll wait until I get a better shot.
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Hello Perth Bloggers, Goodbye Aussie Blogs 

I joined the Perth Bloggers Meetup Group last month but neglected to give my blog address. Somewhere in my brain a little voice said, gee, that's a bit forward and self-promotion-y, isn't it? and that must have been the only little voice in my head because then I thought, yeah, just write something. So today I received a reminder about the next meetup and decided maybe I could RSVP with a maybe, and perhaps take such a risk as to give other bloggers my blog address. Then I visited Craftapalooza and Richard Giles blog, the blogs of the only other people to RSVP so far. At Craftapalooza I learnt about Perth Blognites. At Richard Giles blog, I learnt that Aussie Blogs has closed. Bugger.

Richard's other site, Gadget Lounge, is nominated for Best Australian Tech Blog in the 2005 Australian Blog Awards.

Note: This entry was updated on 10 January 2005 because I inadvertently linked to http://www.richardgiles.net/ and called it Gadget Lounge. Different site, same guy. Oops. Gadget Lounge is at http://www.gadgetlounge.net/ . Both are interesting! The links are hopefully accurate now.

I think I should reconsider re-re-naming my own blog Inattentive.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Reasons To Stay Home On New Years Eve 

The latest 'Losing sight... still looking' column in The Guardian (1 January 2005) made me laugh by letting me know just how ridiculously weird a New Years Eve with RP might be without being a total disaster. My New Years Eve was spent in Augusta this year - finally I did something different and it involved staying at home. Next year'll be different!
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Monday, January 03, 2005

Keeping Out Of Trouble 

Lots of cops in town today. Lots of Gypsy Jokers getting fish and chips for lunch.
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Call Me First 

Yellowarrow.org provides sticky arrows (of the yellow variety) with individual codes printed on them so that people can use them to point out places of interest in their local environment. When someone finds the sticker, they can call a mobile number and receive a text message giving the sticker-leaver's comments about the site.

I read about this at me, my life + infrastructure today after Heidi left a sticker in Minneapolis. I thought maybe the project would be restricted to the US but it's global, with Amsterdam, Bremen, Helsinki, Florence and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico being recipients of yellow stickers. The only Australian city to be stuck is (surprise) Melbourne. I don't suppose many stickers will be left in the country, although a yellow sticker on a strainer post or some driftwood might be cool. Bit tricky finding a spot for the sticker in shifting natural environments. Is leaving sticker vandalism? Or only if your associated text message reads: I woz ere 05.

You can also buy t-shirts with personal codes so that people might call up and receive a text message about you. The message can be updated daily. Why can't people just ask and save themselves the cost of an international text message? Unless people learnt to call the number on your t-shirt before approaching and determine if you are available for a chat...

Deanne's a little preoccupied today and you won't get much sense out of her.
Or maybe -
Don't be put off by the fact Dee hasn't acknowledged you. She can't see you well enough to know you've looked her way. Chat away, she's sure to chat back..

If I had a mobile phone, this could be fun...

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Carpet Snakes and Floral Puzzles 

Driving back from Skippy Rock the other day, Andrew spotted a large snake with a distinctive pattern, much like he might have drawn a snake as a kid. We now think it was a Southwestern Carpet Snake (Morelias s. imbricata).

I'm checking out CALM's FloraBase to see if I can find out the name of Mum's Jalbarragup flower. No luck so far. Gill (who's good with identifying native flora) doesn't have the Internet at home and won't be back at work till next week. My over-the-phone description wasn't enough to identify the plant. I hope it's not a weed.

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