Thursday, September 29, 2005

Water by the Streets 

While I walked about in Albany, I noticed that instead of having shallow gutters feeding into storm water drains, the gutters are deeper and travel under cross streets through pipes. One of them surprised me when I jaywalked in a quiet part of town.

Water tumbling in gutter, light pole and an upturned umbrella

Here's a photo of the water rushing under Vancouver Street, flowers growing above the pipe entrance, and my umbrella.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Today I spotted a list of Google Adwords below an article about macular degeneration. Readers hungry for commercial content could click on a word or phrase and see a small list of ads related to the subject.

One of the phrases listed: Immaculate Degeneration.

I've laughed with a friend about people referring to 'immaculate degeneration' - people who genuinely believe this to be the name of the eye condition. Both immaculate and macula have the same Latin root - macula meaning stained or spotted. The macula appears as a spot on the retina (Note: a very useful spot - look after it!). I understand why people might feel that MD is like an immaculate conception. They've done nothing to bring it on.

I typed 'immaculate degeneration' into Google, expecting it to ask 'Did you mean macular degeneration?

No suggestions appeared but sponsored links to and Vision-Nutrition did. If the search results don't help, the sponsored links provide some clues.

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Monday, September 26, 2005

Google Alerts Bring Me Good News 

My Google Alerts kept coming while I wandered about in Albany. I've now updated RetGen with news for people who have retinal degeneration.

The most interesting report came from the Kellogg Eye Center - University of Michigan, where they've developed a chip, a sequencing array, that can screen for the genetic cause of a patient's recessive form of RP. I have recessive RP and I'm very curious to know what caused it. I'd prefer to know the cure but I'm still curious to know what's going on.

RP is not one disease but a group of diseases with similar characteristics. The chip can't screen for all types and causes of RP but I'm excited about the possibilities. I wonder how soon this type of testing will be available here in WA? I already have a sample of my blood stored with the Inherited Retinal Diseases Register at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. How soon before I have a clue?

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Free to Warble 

The Opera browser is now free without ads. I've downloaded version 8.5 and for a while imagined the red and blue flashing lights that featured in the most commonly rendered ads to still be flashing. I'm very glad they've disappeared, no doubt cruising off to an emergency that doesn't involve me. I feel like a legitimate user now. So clean!

Contrary to what some people believe, Opera works with most Web sites. I rarely visit a site and find otherwise. Tabbed windows combined with mouse gestures (open a new tabbed window with one click and swish of the mouse) easily make up for any time lost when occasionally opening a more popular browser for sites of specific-browser design.

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Reflecting at Stinky's 

Scraped into the sand in block latters:

is reflecting

Loz chose Foul Bay (known to locals as Stinky's) for his or her reflection on Wednesday. If I had a stick and a handy beach maybe I wouldn't need to blog.

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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Sunscreen and Cheap Umbrellas 

Albany's weather is a little like Melbourne weather. I bought sunscreen yesterday and a cheap umbrella today. I caught one of Love's buses out to Middleton Beach via Emu Point yesterday and walked the five and a half ks back to town while the sun shone. Today while it rained I sat inside and listened to the writers. Albany weather knows what it's doing. The locals are friendly too and the writers festival is small enough that people have the time and inclination to chat. I'll blog more later. Despite all the writerly advice, my blogging voice must be off singing with the whales.
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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Karaoke Jazz and Drilling 

Jazz played quietly during my dentist visit. I desperately focused on warm days in Carnarvon by the fascine and the red dirt delta when the drilling drowned out the jazz. I thought of the Indian Ocean and the blow hole, and opened my eyes to see a tiny fleck of bone fragment (or was it water?) shoot by. A surreal but successful appointment.

I'm in Albany now. Staying above the kind of regional pub that has karaoke on Thursday nights. I have my pass to the writers festival and tickets to see both Tim Winton and John Marsden at the Albany Town Hall. The roundabouts and zebra crossings in York St are tricky but the local drivers are courteous. Lucky because I can't see more than the occasional hand wave. Tomorrow I'll sightsee - the harbour and Mt Clarence are too big to miss.

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Monday, September 12, 2005

Sprung Up 

I'm off to Perth for a few days, and then on to Albany for the weekend. Earlier this year I decided that if I holidayed anywhere it wouldn't be to attend a conference related to RP or blindness. Instead, I hoped to visit Melbourne for the writers festival.

Thanks to my dental work (which, yay yay, is the reason I'm going to Perth this week) I couldn't go over east. (Note to non-West Aussies: 'over east' is anywhere not in WA but still in Australia, with the possible exception of the Northern Territory). Then I read that Blind Citizens Australia is holding it's national convention in Perth, celebrating 30 years of the organisation's history. I haven't attended a BCA convention before and I know that it's expensive for many people to travel to WA to attend. So I figured now is the time for me to go and show my support. That's happening at the end of this month. So far my plan to holiday for non-vision related fun looked severely unstuck.

Then in Saturday's West I read about the Sprung Writers Festival on in Albany this coming weekend. Tim Winton, Nick Earls and Kim Scott (who wrote Benang: from the heart, my first book group read) are three of the guests. Tim Winton rarely makes appearances so this is a good opportunity to hear him speak. Albany's on the south coast, with views over Princess Royal Harbour, and I haven't visited since I was a teenager.

So now I have a plan.

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Like Blog Frightening 

We chatted about how a blog might increase a writer's profile yesterday at EditZone. Most of the reasons for blogging centred around having fun and enjoying the experience, whether you blog primarily for yourself or for lots of unknown readers.

I think blogging solely to raise a profile could be more hassle than it's worth. One chatter noted that a less-than-rivetting blog could turn people off your other work or writing (yikes, if only there was other writing).

This lead to me to mention blogfright. I'm big on blogfright. I worry about what to include, who I can name, my purpose in blogging, and thoughts of occasional readers - what will people think?

If you want to know more about blogfright - reasons to be scared and ways to get over it - here's an article at Jarrett House North on Blog Fright (21 February 2005).

I've added a link to EditZone in my sidebar too. If you're keen to share ideas on writing and editing, please check it out. The group is based at Vicnet's My Connected Community (MC2) and meets for regular real time chats, discussions with writing professionals, and for creative exercises.

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Ideas Not Included 

'Writing Articles for Publicity' by Cheryl Wright gives links to Web sites that offer free content to e-zines and Web site maintainers. People seeking publicity for their own Web projects submit articles for free. If an article is used then their bio and Web address gains more exposure.

Looking at some of the articles on offer, I'm not sure that I'd spend too much time trawling sites like (where one of the most popular articles is 'Mole Traps: can you use them?') and Ezine Articles where one recent new article, amongst many, is called 'Orienting Ourselves with Pantothenic Acid.'

Cheryl's shares the basic steps to writing a quick article, reminding people to stick to one subject. I could probably stand to remember that when writing blog entries. And her article about writing articles to create publicity proved her point. The article appeared at Risk Free Money and the owner made an Automatic Article Generator based on it.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Colour and Smiles 

Megan, Cal, Rori and I drove to Nannup today. We bought lunch and ate it near a playground before returning to the main street for ice cream. I ate a scoop of sticky date pudding. How much better can you get than ice cream with cake in it?

Orange and red tulips in a streetside flower box

Here's a photo of a box of tulips growing in Nannup's main street. Rori liked these the best. She couldn't care less about the red tulips but these are the bees' knees. Or very close to the bees' knees, which is why I had to watch where she grabbed.

I discovered that I much prefer taking snaps of plants to people. Every time I see a bright box of flowers I stop and exclaim, look closer and move away, tip my head sideways. How is it that they're just growing here, where I am? For everyone to just, enjoy?

People, on the other hand, do not stay still and smiling while I try to find their heads. I wish people were easier to see. I have that urge to capture smiles and looks but I can't afford to waste them on my camera.

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Thursday, September 08, 2005


According to GWN News, I don't have the flu - or even a cold. I have some kind of respiratory infection. I'd know more but I forgot to stay tuned and heard the story secondhand from Mum. So maybe it's not a respiratory infection and I can stop coughing.
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Shifted Stack 

Since I wrote Blog Day Listless on 12 August, Georgina Hibberd has moved her blog Stack. Georgina also contributes to the blog Templatedata, which concentrates on the Web and universities, particularly The University of Sydney.
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Monday, September 05, 2005

White Elephant Happiness 

Every guest at the wedding I attended yesterday received a tiny incense holder in the shape of an elephant, along with some incense and a little candle. The souvenir is a Thai wedding tradition. Guests are asked to light the incense and bring happiness to their homes. I think I'll light it tomorrow.
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Friday, September 02, 2005

Suggestions Welcome 

I'm ready to go to the city for my friends' wedding. I have shoes with heels, a dress that fits and shiny new hosiery. What more could I want apart from a way to carry my backpack on the train without causing alarm?
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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Musically Challenged 

My sister went to the local music shop today to buy three CDs - The Traveling Wilburys Volume 1, a Creedence double CD and the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing. That's two potential Father's Day prezzies and one for us to dag about to on the way home.

From previous enquiries, I knew that The Traveling Wilburys is no longer available in the shops. The reason given involved record companies and a deceased member's estate. Megan asked again and we heard the same story.

Then she asked about Creedence. They told us you can't buy any Creedence CDs in the shops at the moment because they're changing record labels.

Dirty Dancing? Like the Creedence catalogue, it hasn't been available in the shops for six months. A re-mastered version with more tracks (possibly those from the second soundtrack album?) will be released soon.

No worries, we said, and just for once I left a music shop without any music.

Update: The music shop called today (02/09/05) to say that they may be able to source some of the CDs. Our challenging music requests might be met after all.

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