Monday, January 29, 2007

No Choice But New 

I'm down with the New Blogger now. Nice font with which to compose (so much easier to read, what is this?) and, hey hey, a way to label/categorise my posts! I love categorising posts, although if GirlFriand's an indication, I like labelling a little too much. If only could plan what I wanted to write about and therefore slot each little post into a pre-defined category. Life would be very compartmentalised indeed and maybe I could have adventures and be boring in ways that fit. I so don't fit sometimes.

P.S. Ooops, forgot to use those labels!

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Such A Little Splash 

Kinda warm here in Perth, and from a mostly cloudless sky came a few drops of rain as I stood at the lights near Cottesloe Central to cross. How can the sun bite and the air bake and drops of water fall from nowhere?

Yesterday I went into the city to check out the Biruk festival, where I ate pancakes, and then I headed to Gill's place. Gill, Martin, Caelan, Gill's Dad and I drove to Park St, off Mounts Bay Rd, and walked along the Crawley foreshore to watch the Skyshow. Caelan carried a flag and I listened to Australian hits drift from the boats close to shore. I've heard them so often I feel nothing. Sounds of Then - and Then Again and Again.

The show started a little before we reached our spot on the city side of the Narrows. We breathed in particles carried by the strong Easterly. A fire caught on two of the fireworks barges and I could see the black cloud against the light-polluted sky. The show finished as scheduled but the fireworks continued - like a little fireworks display just for the one from Augusta who finds the bigger the explosion the less whelmed she is.

You call that a fireworks display?

Yeah, we're on fire!

Cyclists rang bells, people called out 'Aussie Aussie Aussie', and a siren sounded when an ambulance passed us as we walked home.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

What's That? A Dinosaur? 

Yesterday, as well as cleaning out my fridge, I swept up the sand and leaves on the slabs out the front of my flat. I took out a grey plastic shopping bag to contain them but needed to use a bigger bag because there was an awful lot of leaves and sand and twigs. I shoved the grey plastic bag in my back pocket, and later when I changed to go to the beach, I took it out and left it somewhere.

Cut to dinnertime, post-beach, and I'm in my bathroom. There's something sitting on the chest-high chest of drawers in there, near my shampoo and toothbrushes. It's grey - and maybe furry - like a big pile of lint taken from the filter of a clothes dryer.

Gawdie. What is it? Grey undies? I don't have any grey undies. Is that a loop? A twist of lace? Maybe they're some other colour undies and I just can't tell in this light.

I move in closer, but not too close. What if it's alive?! Or mould-y.

Maybe it's a dinosaur, left here by Caelan this arvo? If it is a dinosaur, that'd be good. Maybe I should ring Gill? And say there's something in my bathroom and I don't know what it is.

No, there has to be an explanation and I hope it's not that it's a rodent. I flick water at it. No movement, that's a good sign.

I move in and out and around and freak out and calm down and wonder if I should take a photo because it is kinda trippy...

Then I'm walking to grab something from the kitchen with which to prod it, and when I come back in I realise it's the grey plastic bag from my pocket and I - tentatively - pick it up and then scrunch it.

Ahhh.

And I hope you don't think I shouldn't be out on the streets. If I was totally blind I'd've found it with my hands, and if I was fully sighted I would have gone, oh, there's that plastic bag and picked it up and put it away. But instead I've had this whole other perspective on a plastic bag on a Sunday afternoon.

I have no time for telly.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

E-mail Newsletters - PDF or HTML? 

Okay, so I don't normally ask questions of my readers but I'm a bit stuck. If I wanted to create an e-mail newsletter, would it be best to convert a Word/Publisher/whatever document to PDF and insert it into an e-mail, or would it be best to write the e-mail in HTML (maybe using FrontPage) and send it out like that? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each method? What about other methods? Accessibility, usability, compatibility, ease-of-composition are what I'd like to consider. Any suggestions? Help most appreciated!
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Apricots and Wine 

I feel like a school kid who's missed a few days and doesn't know if everything will be different when she gets back. Will I still have any blog friends? Maybe I've missed something? A good reason not to wag.*

Good reasons to wag:


  • Heading South at Luna with Judith and Juliette

  • Coffee at the Boatshed Cafe on the South Perth foreshore with Gill, Caelan and Judith

  • Dinner at Maharaja in Nedlands with L & R, visiting from Melbourne

  • Pole dancing at shemoves

  • Perth Weblogger Meetup - where I caught up with Richard (now testing and revealing a little more about Scouta), Bronwen (from Perth's news organisation for citizen journalists, PerthNorg), TP, Skribe and JOOB, and blogger meetup first-timer Ben (and his whizzbang camera!). Ooh, I've just noticed that Ben's business card (hey, if writers exchange them at libraries, bloggers/photographers can do it at pubs) reads 'the quest for the unseen' - sounds like a quest I'm on pretty much all the time.

  • Work

  • The beach (can't list reasons to wag without including the beach, right?



And today? I cleaned out my fridge. Threw heaps of stuff out, ate squashy apricots, and drank small amount of what was left in a bottle of white wine. I hope I'm back blogging more regularly soon!

If you're not Australian, it might be helpful to know that to wag is to play truant!

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Gardens, Music and Melburnians in Perth 

View over rail to shrubs, dark branch and water

I arrived earlier in West Perth on Tuesday than I expected (yay for an A train at Claremont) so I went for a walk in Harold Boas Gardens on Wellington St.

On Sunday I went to Hyde Park with Judith and Dylan to hear the Chameleon Brass Band (who are at myspace now). I think I like it best when the band plays and marches at the same time. Thanks to Simone - at EnjoyPerth - for tipping me off! The Town of Vincent have more events planned for their Summer Concert Series, and the next one at East Perth, on 21 January, will include screenings of films set locally.

On Monday I met other Melbourne friends at the Hyatt Regency. I've never wandered in here before and circled the building so that I entered through the back entrance, walked around the bar (complete with grand piano) and surprised myself when I exited the main entrance and a concierge asked if I'd like a taxi. Then we went to Saowanee's Place for dinner. I've saved one of my two complimentary tamarind-flavoured sweets because I liked the first one - like a round lemon drop, and with a soft, tamarind-flavoured centre.

What did I do Saturday? Can't remember. But I know I went to work on Tuesday and today, which is great, and I know I have to get to bed so I don't conk out tomorrow!

Hope you're having a good one.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Relative Freedom 

We went shopping today - in the car! I thought this'd be all cool and convenient. I thought I'd revisit my locale in a new and cruisy way.

There's free two-hour parking right across the road from Bunnings, so when we didn't find a park at the shop it didn't worry us for long. We drove the wrong way through the store car park, and I thought 'whoops, that's a bit funny.' When we waited for a break in traffic and Caelan told us how frustrated he was, I realised it's a while since I sat in traffic - and reminded myself of all the time I spend sitting at stations.

When we headed home, I missed the walk.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Feel This Wire 

I'm not sure how embarrassed I should feel about not being able to fit my own smoke detector. Do I give up too easily? I thought I might activate the alarm and not be able to find the place to switch it off.

The written instructions focussed mainly on safety and correct positioning whereas the information on where to find everything was diagrammatic. Reading diagrams feels a bit like having someone wave them in front of me and snatch them away again. Too much of this and I start to get tired and mistrustful.

I called upon my friends and they came to my rescue. There's no pretence at being able to see what I can't anymore. Martin goes 'see that?' and I say 'No, not really' and then he gives me verbal directions so that I can find my way around my own smoke detector/fuse box/circuit breaker. That way, he doesn't have to come back!

I now know what the back of the ceramic fuse is like, that the 8 amp fuse wire is thinner than the 15 amp. I know that there's a depression about the size of the end of my broom handle in the smoke detector, which I can push to set the test button off, and another depression with more openings where the sound is emitted, and that I can push to turn the alarm off. From this distance (me sitting on my office chair, the detector on the ceiling above) I can see these places okay.

So now I'm set. I feel like inviting people round - Yeah, come round, I have a smoke detector now.

Is it really two and a half years since I was made aware of the fire extinguisher under my desk?

J pointed out the external fire extinguishers today too.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Chair, Oh Yeah 

I have double-sided tape now, for my smoke detector, not to stop my boobs from falling out of anything I might be wearing. I paid six dollars something for 4.5 metres of it. What will I do with the other 4.3 metres? I'm going to store it away and feel very practical if ever someone's here and asks if I have double-sided tape.

While I was in Bunnings (here we go) I noticed camping chairs priced at eight dollars something each. I need a chair to sit in while we bat at cricket, instead of sitting on concrete slabs, dirt, leaves, grass or someone else's camping chair. I checked the sign about three times to make sure it really said eight dollars something - I can easily miss a digit here or there - how can a chair cost a couple of dollars more than tape?

Can't quite believe I have a camping chair. A camping chair says 'sedentary' and 'settled' - even 'self-satisfied' - to me. I hope I don't find myself crouching amongst the leaves too much anymore but I hope I don't stay sitting still for too long either.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Good Grief, Good Neighbours, On New Years Day 

My friends left around 3.30am last night - Gill, Martin and a sleeping Caelan. My dishes were done and I had a little potato salad in the fridge.

At 5.20-ish am, I woke to hear a ghastly bubbling noise. My bedside lamp was having a melt down. I opened my eyes to see the touch lamp light once on its own and die. And the smell...

I hopped up but I couldn't prioritise - turn off the power at the outlet - go find something plastic to do it? - open up my doors - uh, find more clothes to wear.

In my panic, I wondered if I could find anything that didn't need ironing in my washing basket. Semi-nakedness okay - creases not okay. I grabbed a light t-shirt Mum's sent over recently and stood outside my front door. Then I went back in with the t-shirt lifted over my mouth to save me breathing more of the burnt plastic.

I used a plastic egg slice to turn off the power point, although my alarm clock - attached to the same adapter - still gave the time. I took the smelly lamp out the glass door of my bedroom and sat it on the concrete slabs. It reeked of the sickly smell and I hoped it was the only source. I couldn't concentrate because I didn't want to breathe too deep.

I wandered about in the car park, up onto the main road to find the source of sprinkler noise, wandered back to my other front door, and came in to find my flat hot and perhaps a little hazy. Panic!

My neighbour sleeps with her door open and Radio National tuned in but I couldn't rouse her. I ran to the caretaker's flat, and decided if it wasn't an emergency, I'd be embarrassed - and if it was, then I should probably wake my other neighbour first.

I wondered at what stage you start hauling your belongings outside. I couldn't think of anything I should be sure to take - my teddy bear of 34 years popped into my head, easily accessible, and the shimmery mauve-with-blue-straps top I bought Friday at a bargain price and which I haven't felt publicly special in yet. That's all.

Am I this disconnected, I thought, that in a potential emergency I don't know my own stuff? Or is it just that in an emergency my number one priority is me.

J next door sleeps with his door open too and he came straight out, in colourful boxer shorts, and exclaimed that he's usually hard to wake. He investigated as I apologised and as I noticed that I was shaking and hadn't pulled my doona over. My sheets looked very purple.

J talked about fluctuations in the electricity supply, the old outlets near my bed, the old-style fuses that take a while before they burn out, the power boards I should get from Tandy or Dick Smith, and the need to protect my computer. My computer's plugged into an industrial RCD. I'm clueless about how this might protect my computer but perhaps it'll protect me if I drill a hole into a power lead with the monitor.

When he spotted my smoke detector on a book case, I had to admit that the battery sat next to it, not in it, waiting for when I buy double-sided tape and stick it somewhere appropriate. The instructions indicate there isn't anywhere appropriate in my flat and my property agent doesn't want it fixed to the walls or ceilings. J offered a few suggestions. Placement of my smoke detector is now officially out of the 'too hard' basket.

All I could think about was getting away from the smell. I couldn't wrap my head around J's talk of safety fuses. I thanked him and said not to worry about the safety fuse thingos unless he thought about it after more sleep. Before I had time to move from my door he returned with his spares and fitted them.

I packed my backpack (mobile, sun screen, hat, book) and at 6.30am I left to give my flat and I a chance to air. My plan involved walking, eating, chilling out and not falling asleep in a park. The thought of HJs for breakfast on the first day of the New Year made me think for a moment that 2007 wouldn't be off to a good start.

Then I thought that if starting the New Year with breakfast and a place to live isn't a good start then I'm stupider than someone who buys a smoke detector and doesn't insert the battery. I thought about people who lose everything in fires, and people forced from their homes because their homes are no longer safe places to be. I thought about people who's year starts without someone they loved, someone they'd loved and lost.

As I walked, I exchanged smiles and nods with people out cycling or walking. On New Year's Morning I was mistaken for someone who belongs to the elite group of early risers who look after themselves all year round.

Everywhere stank. Lemon-scented plants I couldn't identify, ozone from the buzzing overhead powerlines, early morning smells I don't know about. I heard a radio inside a supermarket and the buzz of a worker trimming a public garden. People waited at the station as if a train was on its way. The machine told me they'd be waiting '51' minutes. HJs wasn't open and a guy stood while a woman sat at the bus stop for a 103 due in an hour.

An hour after I left I arrived home to less smell.

I rolled my bed over to the open, security-screened door. I heard birds, listened to the trees moving and felt the breeze. I thought I could almost imagine myself someplace else, like a rainforest or a farm down south, in an idyllic future - with birds and trees and breezes.

Yes, and then it occurred to me - why can't that somewhere be here, and now.

So it is.

Happy New Year!

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