Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Disability Studies Lecture 

Helen Meekosha, Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of New South Wales spoke tonight on 'Communicating the relevance of disability studies in a new millennium.' The WA Disability Collective organised the night, hosted by UWA's Institute of Advanced Studies. I thought about summarising the talk but then I re-read the abstract and - you'll get the idea:

The late 20th century saw the study of disability move beyond the problematic allocation of the body to the pre-social realm and disability scholars argued that disability is a social condition generated by the same types of power relations that give social meaning
to race, gender and sexuality. Disability has variously been described as a relationship of oppression, a human rights issue, a discourse of liberation, a new social movement, an identity and an emerging culture.

The politics of knowledge creation has become a critical dimension of disability activism, yet higher education remains overwhelmingly silent on disability, apart from within medical and rehabilitation discourses.

To this end, critical disability studies has begun to make significant inroads into the unstated assumptions of normalcy that underpin enlightenment thinking, as well as challenging postmodern discourse.

This paper introduces some of these interventions, and argues, that higher education in Australia must move beyond its limited scope, to incorporate disability as part of a complex perception of difference within and between societies.

Note: My paragraph breaks might not be true to the original, bit hard to tell.

Universities in Australia offer courses related to disability and health, or disability and rehabilitation. Few courses are offered that look critically at disability and how people with disabilities are often excluded from mainstream society, rather than embraced as a normal part of it. Someone suggested that what unites people with disabilities, despite all of the differences between groups and individuals, is exclusion.

I'm sorry that more people didn't show up. Most of the attendees came from academic backgrounds or worked with disability organisations. I think I might have been the only person from the 'disability public' who didn't have an academic interest. (This could explain how I got caught talking to a friend about Woody from Jordan's Crossing's dimples at dinner afterwards. Blind chick conversation, you know - it all started with tandem cycling and the relative weight of front riders... Good bruschetta but.)

I did hear more about the draft UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, which I'd received via e-mail but hadn't read, so I wasn't a dead loss.

And I've blogged all about it, so maybe somewhere someone will think about studying disability, rather than studying how to make people who have disabilities as 'fit' and 'normal' as possible.

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Negative Body Shapes 

She said mental and physical health issues relating to negative body shapes were already common among young people.

'Idol jock's jelly belly barb' (The Daily Telegraph, 18 September 2006)

'She' is Victoria's Youth Affairs Minister Jacinta Allan and maybe they've paraphrased her very quickly. I'm trying to imagine a negative body shape - held up towards the light or gone, baby, gone. Like pop singers.

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Monday, September 25, 2006


I'm trying to set up a Web site, one with a domain name - can't work out if I register the domain name first and then get hosting or the other way around, let alone who to have host my site and with whom to register a domain. I want it done by... let's see, by 1pm Wednesday.

At 1pm Wednesday my parents, sister and niece are coming to whisk me off down south to see my grandparents and then on to Esperance for another sister's wedding. Yay! A Wedding! Before they arrive I need to buy a) some Draino and b) a wedding present.

So far I've spent most of my shopping time looking for a dress to wear. Thursday I popped out for bread and milk and came back with the most expensive pair of bras I've ever bought (at half price!). I'm hoping a dress I already have will be fine. If only the bras matched.

At the beach today (after doing my handwashing, thank you) a woman whose first language wasn't English asked me how to spell 'octopus.' I need eight tentacles at the moment, and maybe eight spider eyes too.

Update: I didn't buy Drano (or Draino) but Actizyme pellets instead. They're supposed to 'help the environment.' They cost $16.99. I caught Rod Quantock say something on Denton tonight about being able to afford your principals. Yeah, hello.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Meet Up and Perth Blog Plans 

Slow start to Perth Blogger Meetup last night, not that me having a drink by myself on the balcony isn't way cool.

I caught up with Bret and Simone, met Chris/Grum (who says he has copies of every e-mail he has ever sent - like 14 years worth of sent messages) and AB from The Daily Magnet (who'd just come from a media-type talk on blogging), and chatted to Andrew from Interlogue (who knows an awful lot about politics, even Thai politics, and geography - did you know that Perth is shaped like a K? I bet it's a Special K and you can decide why.)

We discussed: Metroblogs (this one from Melbourne); the idea of having a blog covering Perth blog news; having another Perth Blog Awards Nite; why likeminded Perth people find it so hard to leave their homes and meet up; crashing other meet up groups (bloggers should do that, we blog); ASIO files (every blogger should have one); emos; Second Life (I said Bret was there!); and local media.

So, if you weren't there, see if you can make it next time!

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Good Deeds and Disclaimers 

In the middle of Gill's move, I waited for a bus on Hospital Ave and wondered at what life might be like should I be able to drive. A bus I didn't need pulled up and a woman alighting asked the driver if he knew where to find E Block. He didn't know, but told her to ask 'one of these people.' Suddenly I was more than a woman, I was people. And I stepped up to the challenge.

I knew the nearest entrance to be G Block and that friendly people with computers worked there. When we explained the situation, the woman behind the counter ordered the lady a chariot to take her on her way. I left the lady to wait but I'm disappointed I didn't get to see the chariot.

On Saturday (after buying a skirt for $50, marked down from $195 - yay me!), I got caught in the rain near a bus shelter just one stop away from my place. A 000 (out of service) bus pulled over and the driver took me that one stop, which was very much appreciated. Unless bus drivers aren't allowed to do that, in which case, I made this up.

Yesterday I walked down to the beach and passed a dog near a different bus stop. Just a little dog, with a tag but no leash or an owner. The dog didn't get skittish and so I picked him up and read his tag. He started to shake as we crossed the road and I explained that perhaps he could have picked a better-equipped human to help him home. Once he found a paw-hold in the front of my jeans, he settled down. At a local motel, I popped my head in to ask for their street number. I didn't step inside, so while I stood there with Small Dog in my arms the electronic door started to slide shut. I shifted, it opened and I worked out where we needed to go. Then I had to negotiate the footpath outside a local pub. Small Dog stayed calm despite the blokey noise, and we found his house okay.

We climbed the steps up to the house with confidence (I'm much better at up). I gave Small Dog to his owner (we'd travelled a full block out of our way to bring him back to within 80 metres, if we're lucky, of where he lives). I handed him back to his owner. Then I turned round and inched my way back down the steps, holding the handrails and willing myself a little depth perception. I thought about taking out my cane but, you know, that would have been a little freaky for the dog owner.

I think I'm an animal person now, except I forgot to see if Small Dog's tag gave his name. I hope he didn't enjoy his chaperoned adventure too much but I think we had a good time.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Eventually It'll Happen 

how to be creative by Hugh McLeod at Gaping Void (22 August 2006). I haven't closed the tab containing this article in Opera (and therefore reloaded it about ten million times, or at least every time I've opened that browser), just so that I remembered to blog it. Today's the day.

There are cartoons.

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

For Those About To Rock? 

For the benefit of the blind please leave radio on

One of the ironies of having RP is that I'm more inclined (and at the same time, disinclined) to take photos when I do see something odd or interesting. The irony's more acute when I'm at events related to blindness, like at Swish last Saturday afternoon where I read this sign in the laneway.

Feel free to leave your radio on.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Chicken With That 

After all that dancing, standing by wet streets and with no taxis to hail, I convinced Gill that I needed a kebab. A vegetarian kebab and some chips. We ordered but the guy didn't give us a ticket and he didn't ask for a name. While we waited we heard another customer ask about salt. The man behind the counter explained that if there wasn't any in front, it must have been stolen.


Yes, they do that sometimes, people [gesture] steal it.

What about serviettes? Or have people stolen those too?

Or something like that. We tried to contain our laughter and kept talking. Some of Gill's friends came in and we chatted to them. Another customer asked when his order would be ready, sat down and tapped his fingers on a chair.

The counter guy didn't call out the orders very loudly, as if it might be rude to yell. Much more civilised to address the punters at a conversational level. We stood close, I grabbed my vegeo kebab and our chips when announced, and we sat down.

Unwrap, unwrap. Wrong end? Fold, unwrap. Munch.

Gill, can you see in my kebab? Is that chicken?

Yeah, looks like chicken.

Thought so. Lucky I'm not vegetarian.

I think the vegetarian kebab came with two fried eggs.

Probably for the best I ended up with chicken because two eggs might not have been too good. While I ate, I overhead another customer ask about her missing meal.

You should call out louder. You should have a ticketing system.

Kinda funny how people are, even at 2am, after a show.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Herd 

The Herd played at the Rosemount Hotel on Saturday night, so Gillian and I went along. The support band came from Cowaramup and I think they called themselves Cow Town. Their lyrics probably appealed to younger, male members of the audience but by the end of their set I was dancing.

During both performances, I found it difficult to hear the vocals. Unexpected, given the emphasis on storytelling. If you didn't already know the stories, you missed out. The singing and choruses could be heard, including Jane Tyrell's vocals on 'Under Pressure.' Her singing often set the mood for a song and perhaps that counts more than words. I'm surprised how much I get into singing along to 'Reckless' even though I've never forgotten the night before ever.

The Herd mostly performed songs from their current and upcoming releases. I've bounced around the house to The Sun Never Sets often enough, so it felt good to dance along with lots of other people!

In the end, the dancing won out.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Take Your Boots Off 

Gill's shifting house this week and so I've spent the last couple of days moving stuff (I don't know what it is, it's not mine, can't see) and cleaning. Rain fell as we started to cart stuff in from the red Vee Dub Golf and the only good place to put this stuff was the walk-in wardrobe, where the removalists didn't need to walk. The only problem with that was me worrying about tracking dirt on the carpet with my Blundstone boots.

Gill and Martin didn't seemed too concerned but I get guilty walking on bedroom carpet in anything but socks. I don't even hear Mum's voice in my head, I just feel the guilt with every exaggerated 'light' step. I clench up waiting for someone to pop up out of nowhere and yell Who made this mess? Dee, do you have $%^# all over your boots?

Lucky they're elasticised.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Book Group Rave 

CW blogged on reading groups today and my comment became Too Long.

As CW points out, it's not just the commitment to reading and discussing a book that can make you weigh up whether it's worth it. The social setting, especially when groups usually meet in members' homes, can make it feel like too much hassle. I think this is what made me most nervous when I joined a book group down south.

Our town, population 1000 if it's lucky, supported two book groups. The 'serious' night time group required members buy the books, with each member buying one month's read for everybody. Our group hired books from BookTalk and contributed $60 to the kitty ($6/month). That's a little more than city groups might pay because we had to cover postage. Any left over went towards our Christmas lunch.

Our group was a 'ladies' group. I was the youngest lady, and the only one not to have married or have children. I often felt awkward: bumbling around unfamiliar homes (which often had spectacular views and yummy food, by the way!); needing to organise a lift to half of the meetings because I don't drive; and almost-but-not-quite representing the generation of most members' children. I persisted because I didn't want a little awkwardness to be the reason I stopped going. I needed to get out.

I think most members enjoyed getting out too, away from husbands and families, to be frank and open and to share their own stories, and to form friendships. The group wasn't (and no doubt still isn't) just about the books. Members lives changed dramatically in the two years I belonged and the monthly meetings remained a constant, even if people couldn't always turn up.

Reading books I hadn't chosen gave me some freedom. There was no expectation that I would or should enjoy it, or even get something out of it. Unlike at school or uni, there was no pressure to remember details or to figure out what someone else thought the writer was trying to say.

I'd never have chosen to read a book that almost caused me to pass out, especially an autobiography, but in doing so I faced a horrible reality - one that I think was worth knowing.

At the first book group I attended, we'd read Kim Scott's Benang: from the heart. Only myself and one other member finished it. I'm the only one who felt like she benefitted. I felt like I knew more about Western Australia when I finished and I even bought the book.

I could identify with the characters in Zadie Smith's The Autograph Man, just because they're of my fame-obsessed generation, while some other members found them 'repulsive.'

Not everyone read each book with as much or as little attention each time. At one discussion, I found myself explaining that two of the characters weren't real, in the end. I really liked that book but other people read many more books than me that month, had other stuff to think about, didn't find it interesting or easy enough to get into, and didn't notice the details. But it didn't matter because that's how we got to know more about each other, and people in general. I learned what writing and subjects caused people to want to throw books away, or to fall asleep.

I also learnt more about myself. I tested how far I could get discussing a book without having read it. I learnt I can read differently. I learnt how much I was willing to share about my life, and those of my friends, when it seemed relevant (usually I chose not share too much) and I wondered at other people's experiences.

Discussing a book is a little like blogging. The book is not the beginning and the end, the book starts people talking. I think a book group is about the group as much as the book. I'm not sure the experience would be the same online.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006


Tuh duh! After much fiddling, I have backlinks here and at RetGen. Now if anyone writes a post on their own blog about a post on my blog (Eg: Deanne over at Temporal Island blogged about walking to the shops. I disagree. Here's why...) then you can click on 'links to this post' and see who's gone to the trouble.

'Backlinks' to my posts are searched for by Google's Blog Search every time a visitor clicks the 'links to this post' link below the posts.

I saw the 'show/hide backlinks' option when I looked at my comments settings for Temporal Island recently. I decided not to follow through because I needed to mess with my designed-by-Dee and out-dated template. Why do I feel like I started blogging unfashionably early (but not so early I'm cool) whenever Blogger introduce a new feature? They say they love it when we tweak their code but it must be a pain in the rear.

Today I noticed the option again while looking at RetGen's settings. Predictably, it couldn't update my template automatically (because the template is old and somewhat, but not utterly, re-jigged). However, along with the bad news appeared some code and instructions (no genie), which I followed.

But they didn't work! When I clicked on 'links to this post', I received an error message saying Not found. Yes, I'd updated both blogs before I realised, I'm a dork.

If you have this problem yourself, the instructions and code for Backlinks tags at Blogger Help are correct. They do differ slightly from those I first copied from within Blogger's Dashboard and pasted into my templates.

Lucky I'm persistent. In no way am I a geek who gets excited when stuff finally works!

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Wildlife Warrior 

Steve Irwin died today, caught by the barb of a stingray. I can't imagine him resting in peace, so I hope he finds something to do, wherever he is. I hope he's inspired other Australians to care more for the environment too.
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On The Buses 

In the last little while I've heard bus drivers call passengers 'darlin'' and 'love', and call each other 'gorgeous' and 'handsome.' Keeps everyone smiling.

On a bus the other day, a woman passenger sat behind the driver and spoke loudly about her life and the footy. She wanted to know why Subi wasn't decked out in West Coast and Freo colours, and that John Howard talks as if everyone's in a couple. She didn't think that was fair, because not everyone's in a couple. The driver said:

Put an ad in the paper.

Lol, now I know why passengers aren't supposed to talk to the drivers.

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Erotica, Poetry and Publishing 

Got your attention? Great! But I'm not writing erotica or poetry or erotic poetry (There once was a svelte bloke from Perth? Who.. damn, only girth and mirth rhyme with Perth, and they're not sounding too erotic... ooh, Who went to the Forth of Firth, He let down his pants, did a bit of a dance, and was back in West Oz 'fore the birth? Scoundrel. That's not erotic. Or poetic. Because I'm not a poet.

However, I am a Webmistress type, and I have added a few more links to my writing links page. Firstly, I've included a link to Astrid Cooper's Realms Beyond. Astrid does write erotica, as well as speculative romantic fiction, and is based in South Australia.

I've added links to Australian publishers of children's books Black Dog Books and BlueCatBooks. BlueCatBooks is a small outfit based in Melbourne. I learnt about them through company director Leone Peguero at EditZone. Legacy Books is another small publisher, specialising in self-help, educational, and personal and organisational history books. Legacy don't pay advances and writers receive royalties on books sold after the first 50 are bought. The company also offers services to writers who want to self-publish.

On-line bookshops that sell self-published titles are opening up and I've listed two of them. Queensland's Earth Dog Books specialises in how-to books, as well as spoken word and music CDs/DVDs, while Perth-based Vanity Press distribute books that don't get a look-in at traditional book stores.

And the poetry? It's National Poetry Week and the WA Spring Poetry Festival is on now.

If you know of any other links for the writing links page, let me know. Any minute now I'll have a domain name and permanent home for this stuff. Recommendations for hosting is welcome too!

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Gaol Time 

On Friday I went to the Coastal Business Centre in Freo. The centre's in a wing of the former Fremantle Prison. I could see the high limestone wall, with a sentry box above, as I walked up Knutsford St. I thought, Where will I find a door to get in?

I'm told the wing's more colourful than it was but I couldn't get over the scale of it and didn't pick up on the colour. There are comfy chairs, projector screens, and carpet in the cells. Yes, in the cells, where small businesses can rent cheap office space. People tell you in which cell to find them.

I couldn't help but walk straighter and taller on my way out. I've read about actors who find a prop or a behaviour that makes it easier to get into a role. Setting must do the same. Whoever built the prison knew this - prisoner or prison guard, you'd know your role.

I spoke to a woman who had visited the prison when she worked in welfare. The prisoners still used buckets instead of toilets then. We wondered if some people just aren't sensitive to the ex-gaol vibes. The central location would be a good incentive to get over it.

Later the woman left to chat to a pet psychic about a business idea. That's Fremantle for you. Go Freo!

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Blog Day Night 

Ooops, like last year I've left finding five new blogs to read till International Blog Day is almost over.

Thanks heaps to Sirexkat from Librarians Matter (and Freo) for including Temporal Island in her 5 Blogs for International Blog Day at Libraries Interact.

Okay, so now to find five blogs...

  1. Don't Tell the Donor is all about fundraising for non-profits. I'm a terrible fundraiser, I have next-to-no ideas and I don't like to ask people for money or misrepresent an organisation, even if I know they do a good job. Found this via a post by Seth Godin.

  2. A Bex and A Good Lie Down Found this blog by typing 'Pedestrian' into Google Blog Search. A post titled Pedestrian mentioned the 103 bus.

  3. Scribe's Writing Desk Karen Lee Field writes fantasy chapter books for children. Discovered her blog by clicking on the 'writing' tag at AussieBlogs.

  4. Jitesh's journal Typed 'Brisbane' into Technorati and found Shadako (or Jitesh, I don't know! Short entries... by an almost-21-year-old).

  5. On the Broad Gauge HDZ blogs from Perth 'with a transport bent.' Discovered by going to blog on my blogroll (Urban Creature) and clicking on a blog in Aaron's blogroll.

Ooh, tried to visit Daypop and Blogdex (how long has it been?) and they're not there! Gary Price from ResourceShelf has A Brief Tribute.

CW lists five blogs for blog day at Ruminations and includes the Blog Day rules. Apprently I need to contact the blog owners and say Hi. I'll have to do that tomorrow!

CW also mentioned that she's still reading her picks from last year. Blog Day Listless is my Blog Day post from last year. I'll check them all out again soon. I still read Ponderance because I've since subscribed and because Tama's a local (and I like reading about that stuff). Using a feed reader's made a big difference to my blog reading.

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