Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Champagne Getaway Car 

My friends left yesterday in a champagne stationwagon - a car variously described as brown, gold, silver, grey, and bronze.

When I asked them what colour it is, Martin said champagne. Gill added that another friend of hers described it as white.

So their car is champagne like my eyes are hazel.

If I ever need a getaway car, I'll know whose to use.

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Plant Walk 

Took Gill walking along the old railway reserve and through the bush to Flat Rock today. I'd hoped that she might be able to identify some of the plants I see. Usually all I spot on my walks are grass trees, banksia, native buttercups and my flowering white prickly plants (a grevillea). On my last walk I spotted a single fluffy white wattle blossom and today I spotted many more.

Every five steps or so Gill stopped to point out a plant - stylidiums (trigger plants), chorizemas, hoveas and others we still need to identify. All flowering and I just hadn't noticed. Often I need to feel a plant to work out exactly where the fruit or seed pods are, or to understand how the leaves are shaped and arranged. Great to have somone come along and point out plants I'd otherwise miss.

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Saturday, July 23, 2005


Gill and family are visiting and they've come bearing gifts. A mushroom brush (for when I start growing the mushrooms in a box we bought from Bunnings) and replacement choc-coated aniseed rings. I can't even leave chocolate behind anymore. Gill's shopping companion on the mushroom brush trip declared that he does not believe in kitchen utensils that have only one purpose, in this case, to brush dirt from mushrooms. I like the way the mushroom brush has a cool, slighly concave top, just like a mushroom, but I'm a bit concerned that it looks a little shabby, like a mushroom. I think I could very well need a mushroom brush brush.
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Friday, July 22, 2005


Erin and Rod saw a moonbow this morning. A moonbow, as they learnt at work in the vineyard, is very rare and much like a rainbow. The difference is that a moonbow is produced by moonlight. The low intensity of the light makes the moonbow appear white, although it can have faint colour. Erin's moonbow was white and stretched from the river and over East Augusta before descending back into the river.
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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A Baleful 

Twice in two days have strawbale houses come up in conversation. Two different conversations with two different people. If only I was about to build a house.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Sweeping The Clouds Away 

Despite my rant about trying to read grey text on white backgrounds, I had a good day today!

We met for writer's group at Colour Patch and I shared my two rejection letters from two Twisted. Why? Because the second rejection letter was more encouraging than the first, which could mean that either a) they decided to be more encouraging when rejecting the second batch of scripts, or b) my second script is of better quality than my first script. Naturally, I'm going with option b) because at least I can think my scriptwriting improved between writing my first script (submission one) and my second ever script (submission two). Maybe I'll even write a third. At the very least, it was a lot of fun and just a little surprising.

Meanwhile, The Age reported on the recent Continuum 3 convention held in Melbourne and quoted EditZone founder Davina McLeod in 'Stranger than sci-fi' (19 July 2005). Ooh, just noticed the article's written by Helen Razer - almost missed that because (you guessed it) the byline is in grey.

And despite my whinging, looks to be otherwise recommended.

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Black and White and Read All Over 

What's black and white and read all over? A newspaper. What's grey on white and driving me nuts? Every second Web page I visit.

Why are designers creating sites that display the main content in grey text on a white background? Recently visited examples include The Australian Women's Weekly and Even the print version of AWW's Web pages print in teeny-tiny, grey text. So subtle it sucks.

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Monday, July 18, 2005

Animal, Mineral or Vegetable? 

Played three games of twenty questions at today. The game is accessible, online, available in eight languages and is an experiment in Artificial Intelligence. I thought of a zebra, a tea cup and a dishwasher and the computer won each time, even after asking some strange animal questions (is it synthetic?). Thanks to E-Access Bulletin for the tip off.
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Get Your Australian Women's Weekly and A Pair of Scissors 

Noticed today that the Australian Women's Weekly Short Story Competition will be launched next month in Byron Bay. Entries are due in early 2006 but if you want to enter, you must have the entry form published in next month's issue.
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Wilde and Wiki 

After watching A Good Woman, I searched for some of the Oscar Wilde quotes spoken in the film. If the Oscar Wilde - Wikiquote contributors are correct, some of those used in A Good Woman are actually taken from sources other than Mrs Windermere's Fan - the play on which the film is based.
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Sunday, July 17, 2005

Making Web Design Accessible 

What's the easiest way for someone using a screen reader to build a Web page? I've entered search terms like 'accessible HTML editors' or 'blind Web designers' into a search engine but all of the results are about how to design accessible Web pages rather than which Web design software is accessible. Which HTML editors are most accessible? Which blogging or free Web site services are accessible?

I recently suggested an enquirer contact the Sonokids Foundation about their webtool Max, which gives children and adults who are blind or vision impaired a way to build accessible Web pages.

Somehow I've found myself explaining to this same enquirer, via e-mail, how to write a Web page in HTML. I'd have much preferred to recommend an accessible HTML editor. NoteTab has a blind user mode but this particular blind user is having difficulties with it. Suggestions welcome!

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Four Forks for Seven People 

But at least there's food on the table. The Borrowers must have our forks, I think they've replaced them with serrated bread and butter knives, which is useful.

We're reading Zadie Smith's Autograph Man for book group. Best bit of fun gossip heard at yesterday's meeting: somebody accidentally drove their 4WD down the long, paved steps outside the new Augusta supermarket. Enjoyed yummy scones and lemon friands too. From the last novel, Ian McEwan's Atonement, I learnt the word Splanchnology (definition at

I went swimming again on Monday. I didn't expect to be going and I thought Already? But I went on Friday! Then it occurred to me that for exercise to be regular, it has to be - regular. And you wouldn't believe it but I actually did my laps in faster time (not very fast, just not as slowly), didn't need to rest as much between each lap (yes, I'm that bad) and didn't swallow as much water. So the regular thing works.

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Monday, July 11, 2005

One Of Six And More 

The Guardian's Hannah Pool tells of her journey to meet her Eritrean family in 'The family I never knew I had' (The Guardian, 9 July 2005). I'm very glad to have read it.
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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Up With It Again 

After scratching my head about the weird layout issue, which only seemed to affect my front page and not my archive pages, I worked out that it was Blogger that made changes and not me. I discovered a new option in the formatting section of my dashboard and voila! It's fixed! Then I searched (again) for news of layout hassles in Blogger and found 'A Layout Solution' at Blogger Buzz. Apparently this solution might affect image layout in posts. My prickly plant (in the previous entry) is still in it's proper pozzie so we'll see how it goes.
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Swimming, Stars and Sunlight 

The cold and sunny weather has me out walking nearby bush tracks. No snakes! I've taken a picture of a prickly plant that's flowering now. Plant in bush with fluffy grouped flowers and prickly leaves

I've also started to swim. I'm a panicky swimmer so winter's a good time for me to swallow water and crash into the ropes without too many people noticing. So far I've gone twice to Margaret River pool and the pool at Beatty Park in North Perth.

I also walked out to the Astor on Beaufort St to see A Good Woman while I was in the city and heard astrobiologist Paul Davies talk at UWA.

Today I unsubscribed from Everywoman Chatterbox because I don't have time to read it and because the section I most enjoy is 'In the planets with Sudhir.'

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