Monday, February 28, 2005

Mrs Kafoopsy 

Reading Added Entries yesterday, I noticed a reference to the Wikipedia article on Placeholder Names. Place holder names are words like 'doohickey' and 'whatsisname.'

My Grandad used to refer to a lady whose name he couldn't remember as "Mrs Kafoopsy" and I noticed that it wasn't mentioned in the article. According to the Language Talkback Words Discussed and Homework Page, "Mrs Kafoops" is an Australian expression. I found another reference to "Mrs Kafoops" in the episode guide for "Little Voices" - episodes 107/108 of A Country Practice.

If for some reason you want more information about A Country Practice than you dreamed was on the Internet, it's time to visit the Wandin Valley Bush Nursing Hospital.

So having confirmed that Mrs Kafoops wasn't one of those expressions used only in my family, I added it to the Wikipedia article on placeholder names.

I'm a bit shy about editing articles but it's kinda fun to add a little of what you know and to tweak them. This is only my second edit, having created a Wikipedia account a few weeks ago when I slightly changed the Wikipedia article on RP.

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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Sight Unseen 

Ooops, wasted all my blog time writing to the RPList about Blindside Reviews. Blindside Reviews offers film reviews by Jay Forry who as the site title suggests is blind. Forry has regular radio spots and the reviews also appear in US newspapers. Here's a slightly changed version of what I wrote.

Written at the bottom of each of Forry's review is:

Although I am blind, I can appreciate a good movie as well as sighted individuals.
I rely more on a good story line than special effects.


Perhaps he means that he can derive as much pleasure from some films as can fully-sighted moviegoers. Some people do not imagine that blind people have any interest in film or TV and Forry's reviews might change that perception.

According to the 'bio' page on Forry's Web site, he is usually accompanied by his wife or son when seeing a film, which would help him follow the storyline if his wife and son are good at describing the action. He also says that he reviews films based on plot and storyline. While some movies rely less on plot than effects, this approach to reviewing assumes that a well-crafted plot is revealed only through dialogue and sound effects, rather than through any visual cues.

Personally, I find that action movies are difficult to follow and so is 'Australia's Funniest Home Video Show' but that doesn't mean that every film or TV show that I can't follow isn't worth watching.

Forry's blindness is also the source for much of the humour in his reviews and it is his unique perspective that most likely appeals to his readers and listeners. From my point of view, some of the references to blindness are inconsistent. For example, this extract from a review of 'The Wedding Date':

"Nothing makes sense in this movie and at barely an hour and a half it didn't make sense for me to drive to the theater, order popcorn, a drink, and try to find a seat; all of which are hard for a blind guy to do by himself."

He can't order popcorn but he could drive to the cinema? It's hard to find a seat but not to follow the film? Except for this film, which he claims does not make sense. Okay, so maybe the reviews are all written or presented tongue in cheek and his listeners / readers understand and get a good laugh.

In a review of "The Aviator" Forry describes the film as a "spectacular drama" and comments on its "fabulous costumes", which indicates that the reviews are either not entirely his own opinion or he is not entirely blind. According to his bio, he lost his sight at 28 due to diabetes. I'm not concerned that he may have some useful vision and is referring to himself as blind but I am curious to know for myself which is the case.

For anyone who is interested in film reviews by someone who has a vision impairment and writes specifically for others with vision impairments and their friends or family, Forry's site provides a link to 'BlindSpot: Movie Reviews for Visually Impaired People'. The site doesn't look to have been updated recently but it may be helpful if you're looking to hire a video or DVD.

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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Different Drums 

If you ever need a song written you might check out Songs To Wear Pants To. Marie from in Shaw requested a song about her local subway system and "If the Metro doesn't go there, it doesn't exist" is the result. I read about the song in 'Move over Fugazi' at DCSOB.

And continuing the music theme, I read 'Music from the 'outsiders'' (NewsDay, 25 February 2005) today. It came to my attention because one of the outsider musicians has RP and the article popped up in my Google News Alert. Joe Buser, the guy who has RP, is a 63-year-old hip hop artist from Long Island who wants to be a one-hit wonder. I'll continue to keep my eye out for news of a cure.

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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Pack Up Your Troubles 

In primary school we learnt 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary' and sang it at the permanent care ward of our local hospital. At Villa Cafe today (which is open for an hour on Tuesday mornings and an hour and a half on Thursday arvos at my Nanna's nursing home), a man in a black shirt and sneakers played music on an organ - including 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary.' Almost a generation of oldies since my primary school days and this song is still popular. One lady clapped her hands and others started to sing along. I started to wonder when the music will need to change for the next generation (actually, not a fun thought) and what they'll choose. Then I thought - maybe if generations of children learn 'It's A Long Way To Tipperary' (and it looks as if they are) so that they can entertain people in nursing homes, maybe it'll be one of the few songs we'll all have in common. Fifty years from now somebody might be singing it to me and I'll be able to sing along! Obviously I won't be reminiscing about the first World War. I do hope I'll be somewhere that serves cappucino and fresh lamingtons, if not happily living at home.
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Bloviation 

My word for the day is 'bloviation' after reading it in 'Frank Rich: The White House Stages Its 'Daily Show'' (The New York Times, 20 February 2005). Actually, if you're looking for it, 'bloviation' appears on page 2 and if you're interested in journalism there are better reasons to read it.

Incidentally, the piece referred to 'newsmen' - a word that thankfully isn't used here in Australia or I'd be tearing my hair out every time I read or heard it. Instead, I'm wishing my net connection was faster so that I could view some of 'The Daily Show' clips.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Orange On Black 

I'm practising typing without looking. I'm hoping to inconvenience myself out of transposing letters and generally making mistakes that I feel compelled to fix immediately. Immediately, like before I've finished a whole word or sentence or train of thought. Now I can open/uncover my eyes and edit when I've finished. But not immediately, because my eyes take a while to adjust to the light coming from the screen and everything looks a little hazy. I use NoteTab a lot for writing and I have that set to display orange text on a black background. mIRC's colours are now set to 'Monochrome State' with normal text in orange (essentially what everyone else types into the conversation) and I much prefer the new look. My main problem is reading messages I'm writing in Eudora. As far as I can tell there's no way to change the way Eudora displays colours. Maybe it's time to look into a different e-mail client. And text-to-speech. Soon, very soon.
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Saturday, February 19, 2005

Uncle Ginger Fletcher Has His Say 

I'm not usually one to follow memes but I thought this book meme, which I read about in 'Fifth what? at me, my life + infrastructure was easy and fun. The rules are -


  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 123.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
  5. Don't search around and look for the "coolest" book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.


There aren't any books in the study (urgh, how embarrassing) unless you expect me to remove my flat screen monitor from the four-inch thick dictionary that supports it. Yes, this arrangement is very frustrating when I'm not connected to the Internet and can't find another dictionary. Instead, I decided to go for the book closest to my bed (where I do keep books).

And the book at the top of the pile closest to my bed was -
The Secret Railway by Elisabeth Beresford.
And the fifth sentence on page 123 is -
You'd fine flower-beds then.

Does this speak to you? Tell you anything about me(me)?

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Friday, February 18, 2005

All That Glitters 

Erin's job searches in the paper have so far revealed that we could buy residential blocks in Coolgardie for $3 500. If you happen to be thinking of buying land in Western Australia's goldfields, check out LandCorp. We'll keep reading the classifieds.
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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Pink Champagne 

Celebrated this week with pink champagne and ice cream cake, lunch in Margaret River and a swim at Hamelin Bay. Not Valentines Day - I have more important occasions to celebrate in February. I did, however, wear make up (finally cut/wrenched the wrapper off the Body Shop mascara I bought in Spring) and wore my new black skirt bought recently from the Margaret River Hemp Co. Rori smiled at me lots too - baby nieces are such a pleasure!
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Monday, February 14, 2005

Track 29 

Erin picked up a book by Charlotte Hughes, the author who co-writes the Full series with Janet Evanovich, for 50c recently. I've had my head stuck in it since yesterday afternoon. Obviously I'm a bit of a sucker for those comic adventure romances. The book, A New Attitude is set in South Carolina and so now I have 'Chattanooga Choo Choo' ('Dinner in the diner / Nothing could be finer / Than to have your ham an' eggs in Carolina') playing in my head as well. Looking at a map of the US, I'm guessing the choo choo didn't actually go through South Carolina. But close enough from here. Very wintry day here in Augusta. Not much going on...
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Sunday, February 13, 2005

Five On The Go 

A friend of mine who is into numerology reckons that her new house is a three house. Our house is a five house and according to my friend, that means that people come and go all the time. We don't have many visitors but we do have people coming and going a fair bit. The latest arrival is Erin, who'll be staying with us before heading back to Geraldton. Rod left today and will be off to the Abrolhos Islands soon to work on a pearl farm.
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Saturday, February 12, 2005

Transposing A Problem 

My typing speed's improving thanks to the Mavis Beacon program but I keep transposing letters. Most of the keys on my key proficiency chart are marked as being only adequately known because of transposition. I'm worse now than when I started. The program allows you to do exercises that will work wrong-row errors, symbol keys, number keys and recovering after mistakes (the only way I improve on this is by a) not making mistakes, and b) general practice). My searches so far have produced suggestions for quick commands that untranspose the letters and for spell checking programs. But I don't want to fix the problem after it's occured... I don't want it to happen at all. Sometimes my typing's really speedy and accurate and the next day I'm a complete flop. My adjusted words per minute speed one day recently was 66, then the next day it was 46. So it's not bad but it'd be a lot better if I didn't have to press delete so often! Especially as I can't see very well. Obviously I'll always have to proofread but I shouldn't have to then fix up so many mistakes.
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Friday, February 11, 2005

Flat Rock an Aboriginal Heritage Site 

The Department of Indigenous Affairs maintains the Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register. Flat Rock, which is a short walk north of here, is listed as a heritage site. The electronic register can be searched by local government area, land claim area or mining tenure. I learnt about the register at writer's group a few weeks (or months) back and have only just checked it out.
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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

A Little Bit Of Country 

You know you live in the country when:


  • Your dentist appointment is re-scheduled due to a bull sale.
  • The driver of the vehicle you're travelling in exhibits exasperation at another vehicle being parked in front of the bowser she hoped to use, even though there is another available.
  • When the same driver says 'someone's in the spot I wanted' when there are other parking spots also available, even closer to where you're going.
  • You see an alpaca and a goose at book group (where you learn more about the bull sale).


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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Saving Augusta's Natural Assets 

I'm hoping to write to the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, the Hon. Alannah MacTiernan, before February 28 and tell her why I think the land north of Donovan St should not be zoned for future development. From the AMRSC - Draft District Town Planning Scheme No 1 - Consultation Paper:

Of special note in this regard, is the requirement made by the Minister that land north of Donovan Street in Augusta, presently in a Future Development Zone in Council's existing Town Planning Scheme No 19 - Augusta, be inserted back into DDTPS 1. It was Council?s view, heightened by opinions expressed by the local community, that this land should not be developed because of its special characteristics and sensitivities. Council had, therefore, shown the land to be included within a Public Recreation Reserve but the Minister has insisted that the land be zoned for Future Development.


Hopefully I'll take a pic or two on my next walk through and around this land to illustrate my thinking.

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Friday, February 04, 2005

Blog On 

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism aired on the ABC last Tuesday. During the end credits, alternatives to the passive acceptance of network news and current affairs are mentioned, including community broadcasting.

Yay for community broadcasting, thought I. And then I thought about blogging and its role in helping people to share their own news and opinions. Which reminded me of the Committee to Protect Bloggers, which is campaigning for the release of imprisoned Iranian bloggers. I came across their blog only recently thanks to the Blogger dashboard.

The site is a reminder that not all bloggers are free to share their views. For those of us who can, it's only fair that we appreciate our freedom and continue.

If you're in Melbourne and you write or blog, you might like to check out the St Kilda Writers Festival.There'll be a session on blogging at the St Kilda Town Hall at 10.30am Sunday.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Smells Like... 

Visited the second-hand book shop in Margaret River today and came away with The Secret Railway by Elisabeth Beresford (who wrote the Wombles books) for Caelan, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis for me (I'm reading the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia, The Magician's Nephew, at the moment), and The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion (who is wearing mega-sunglasses in the photo on the inside cover - scary).

Meanwhile, I'm yet to read Rhubarb for the Perth Writers Festival One Book event. One of the main characters is blind (I didn't know this before deciding to read the book) and there'll be blind walking tours of Fremantle over two weekends in February. I'd like to go but I think others will feel my interest is morbid. The event blurb says "Experience Freo as you never have before in this comical wander through Rhubarb's Freo of the senses." Or maybe it's superstition that makes it seem like a bad idea, thinking that the God or Goddess of dodgy vision will assume I don't appreciate the sight I have left. If I have fun without it, maybe I don't need it? Hah, a lot the G/GODV knows then.

Urgh, just to add to what might be seen as a preoccupation with blindness at the minute, I came across a copy of Stephen Kuusisto's Planet of the Blind at Pulp Fiction in Floreat recently. And it'd be a shame to miss seeing Ray just because of wanting to appear stable.

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