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Final thoughts on Trimester 1

Thank you to everyone for your patience while I dropped off the face of the earth for a few days. There were a number of things I didn’t do over the past few days and I’m just realising what some of them where. I will continue apologising to family and friends in person.

Ok. So Monday I submitted my final assessments for Trimester 1. And I finished classes last Thursday. Between those facts and no exams for my subjects I now have six weeks break and that’s going to give me some time to get on with some other projects, a bit of time for preparation for Trimester 2 and also a bit of reflection. This is the reflection.

It’s been an exciting time. Full time study is roughly nine hours per subject per week with either three or four subjects per trimester. I figured I’d be doing well to cope with three subjects so that’s all I signed up for and I’m ever so glad I chose three and not four. It’s been challenging to fit in all the pre-reading and do the assignments and the classes and all the stuff outside uni and I’m going to bear in mind my family has had some health issues I’ve not mentioned, and not mentioning Passover, birthdays and some more ands which I’m not mentioning as I’ve forgotten. It’s been a very, very big 11 weeks. I can’t tell you how glad I am that it’s all over. I hope I’ve passed as I don’t really want to repeat any of this but it’ll be a few weeks before I find out. While I’m waiting I’ll move on.

Being organised will help

I’ve already started getting organised for Trimester 2 (T2) and 3 (T3). I’ve done a chart so I can write in all my assignments and their due dates, organised by week and with dates. I have compiled a book list for each trimester. I’ve made plans to start by acquiring pdf files of each book. That might mean buying mobi or Kindle versions and converting them but that’s okay and that leads nicely into my next point.


I have issues with my memory. If I read an article and mark it up with what I think I’ll need for my assignment I will forget what I’ve done. I’ve discovered I can mark up pdf documents on both the iPad and the computer. What I will be doing is acquiring pdf files of everything I need to read then marking them up with highlights and notes. These highlights and notes I’ll then type up into a Word document in a grid ensuring I put in the page number. When I do an assignment I’ll then have all of this handy and ready to skim over and choose what I need. I’m sure I’ll need to re-read some stuff but this should make me much more able to do a better and faster job.

I’ll be using Deakin’s file storage called OneDrive. I’ve managed to install and use the app on my iPad so I’ll use this instead of carrying lots of paper or books to class. I’ll be able to call up the file during class and see what I’ve read and what notes I’ve made. I will feel much more prepared.


Deakin provide a large amount of files to be read. It’s all there on the Deakin website so I can download them to OneDrive all at once and file them according to their week’s reading. By using my iPad for all of this it means I should be able to stay up-to-date with my weekly reading and actually have some idea of what’s happening in lectures and tutes.

That’s the theory

So much for the theory. I can’t wait to try it all out in T2. Stand by to find out how it all works.

Almost there…

I promised myself I wasn’t going to write anything more about uni until after the trimester but I’m wanting to have something scheduled so it publishes Monday morning without me having to worry about it, i.e. I’m writing these words on Sunday night.

I’m tired and my brain is full, my teachers have filled it up and there are no more neurons available for anything else but somehow I need to keep going for one more week and get my four assignments in. I have two more days of classes and lots of words still to write. Out of those four assignments I have one due in on Wednesday night and three the following Monday, so 10pm next Monday night I will be officially finished my very first trimester at uni!

I will endeavour to write for Thursday as I’m currently up to the letter X but I make no guarantees. I do promise I’ll be back next week when my brain has had a chance to empty some of this new information or create new connections with neurons. At that point I’ll be able to put some words here to try and make sense of the previous 11 weeks and finalise all my previous scribbles about uni.

Friday Photos

Here I am, doing my civic duty and getting a friend from her physio appointment to her home via the shopping centre when we come across the lovely bookshop. I think I’ve written about them before but possibly before I started doing more than just putting in photos. They have a lovely little shop and I really did consider buying one of these keep cups but managed to hold back as I still have my Nullus Anxietas V keep cup. You can find Bayside Books at 422 Hampton Street, Hampton.

Bayside Books keep mugs

Bayside Books keep mugs

And here’s a photo of the outside. You can’t see the customers but they’re there I photographed very carefully.

Bayside Books

Bayside Books

I don’t know how well this shows up. It looks like a little camera, whether that’s to help with reversing or to photograph whatever is happening behind I don’t know. I’ve carefully blotted out the number plate…this time. I promise I’m not thinking spy stuff but I am reading a book about a spy.



W is for Edel Wignell

Bilby Secrets by Edel Wignell & Mark Jackson

Edel Wignell, her name caught my eye and when I googled her story caught my brain. Read on MacDuff!

Some little facts

Her first name rhymes with medal.

She lived on a sheep farm in northern Victoria when she was little.

She was born in Echuca. It’s a lovely little town, my first memories are of one of the most beautiful trees…but I digress.

She’s bequeathed her writing earnings and copyright to the Australian Society of Authors who have created the Edel Wignell Mentorship for new writers for children.

Wignell has written 100 books for children. Her writing for adults can be found in more than 100 journals!

Now for the big stuff

Wignell has been in pain for 30 years and while she’s done as much as she can she’s decided she’d like to be able to end her own life when she chooses. Just like Terry Pratchett she’s a full advocate of dying with dignity and as this is a topic dear to my heart I looked no further for an author to write about today.

So, here she is on the ABC website in July last year. Eloquent and covering the pain well, she looks like she could be the poster girl for any dying with dignity campaign. If you read the article you’ll notice the last paragraph talks about the End of Life Choices inquiry, it’s due to report this month and with a little googling I found it has until the 31st May. They’ll have to get their skates on, and I’m sure Wignell will be watching with great interest. The government then have six months to respond.

Slight update on Uni

With my last class being Thursday next week and five assignments due in between now and Monday week I sort of have a few things to do. If need be I will ditch all social media for the duration and that includes my blog. I’ll catch up on any Author by Alphabet I’ve missed in June, bearing in mind I’ve only four more letters to go.

Of those five assignments I have started them all. The one due in next Monday is actually complete, I’d just like to go through that one more time. It’s the written submission for the presentation I had to give and I’ve got my results for the presentation and that’s somewhere around a Distinction. But having thought about it while writing this paragraph I think I’ll just send it in and have it out of my mind. Something I did two weeks ago but last week I discovered I’d uploaded it to the wrong area, meaning it won’t count. I’m off to do that now so I can concentrate on the other four assignments.

You remember that assignment I mentioned? The one on the book Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad? I have my mark back and while I passed I wasn’t a spectacular mark but 59% is a pass and if I can keep that up then I won’t need to redo the subject. Some of the comments made me realise what I need to do to bring my mark up. My tutor mentioned the accent I’d used and if that I hadn’t justified that in my critical essay. That’s a mea culpa moment, and when I review all the resources I used I find there is no justification for it. I’d suggest either I find more resources so I can quote them and back up my use of accent or drop the accent entirely.

And that 1,500 words with the prompt Memory as Seed? I got 75%. I’m so excited I haven’t been able to do more than look at the mark. I figure that’s a good mark for me as a first year and gives me ample room for improvement.

The Phoenix Tree – Jon Cleary

The Phoenix Tree by Jon Cleary

The Phoenix Tree by Jon Cleary

I’ve been wanting to read Jon Cleary for many years so it was with great satisfaction I took this book off my shelf the other day and started reading it. I thought he wrote spy or thriller or some other type of book I like reading and felt the satisfaction deepening as I read…until.

The plot

Set in Japan at the end of WWII, we see the journey of three spies. Two are Japanese/American with one identifying as Japanese and the other as American, and one female spy who is of mixed heritage but neither Japanese nor American.

We see the war mostly from the Japanese point of view. We see regular bombs raining down and one of the spies becoming a hero, helps us to understand how heroes are made. We also see the bombing of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki through Japanese eyes rather than Western, although we don’t see much of it, just how it affects them.

The good

Well written. Believable plot. Liked the characters. Loved the way Cleary skipped over some of the really boring parts of the protagonist’s journey.

The bad

Romance! I’m sure you know I’m not a big fan and it can be a reading killer for me.

While I liked his characters, I didn’t find them appealing enough to make me want to continue reading.

Despite both of these I made it through. I wanted to see how Cleary treated both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I wasn’t entirely convinced he understood Japanese culture thoroughly enough to be writing about it. I do actually have some reasoning for this. Some of his dialogue felt very Western to me, as did some of his references to Japanese hierarchy. Some of his dialogue was meant to sound Western as two of the spies had spent quite some time in America.

Some of it I’ve been able to research and find he’s spot on, some concepts such as giri (or burden of obligation) seems to be far stronger than anything we have in the West and is a big part of the book.

On the other hand it might be my understanding that’s at fault. I’d be interested in hearing from someone who actually knows the culture and has read the book.

The bit I didn’t understand is how come these female characters looked after themselves before the male spies came but all of a sudden need looking after. Don’t men think about this kind of thing? And it was a female who had a gun.


I’ve mentioned Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

We see fairly graphic images of the regular bombing by Americans in Japan.

Friday Photos

A few gems for you today. Earlier this week I talked about Prahran Market and their chocolate festival. Here’s a final photo I took there, the Potato Man who is fourth generation Prahran Market has this wonderful potato as well many different types for buying.

Hippo potato

Hippo potato

Would you believe this lovely typo is on their Facebook page?



I wonder if the recipe is improved with ‘spring opinion’ as opposed to ‘spring onion’. This is a perfect reason why you should never use spell check, the word itself is spelled correctly so it’d pass spell check but it’s the wrong word.

So while I’m talking about spell check. I’m reading a number of fairly new authors at the moment. They’re not published by traditional or large publishers and therefore do not have the support system they need. There are many typos and each one of them would have passed spell check as it’s a real word, it just happens to be the wrong word for the sentence. There are many different ways of proofreading your own writing but if you can afford a really good proofreader it will make such a difference to the final product.

Spring opinion

Spring opinion

V is for Valerie Volk

Passion Play: The Oberammergau tales by Valerie Volk

I’ve found some absolutely fascinating people for today but I’ve gone with Volk for the useless reason that she was born near where I live and she was born in the same suburb as Sandy Stone, Barry Humphries fictional character. But also because of the book of Volk’s I’ve linked to and I’ll come to that.

She has multiple degrees that make my mouth water including a Masters in Creative Writing and a PhD in Gifted Education. Volk is also living in Adelaide, the number of authors I know in that little place is growing exponentially…I suggest if you want to author you should move to Adelaide, there’s something in the water.

She’s travelled on the Trans-Siberian Railway twice and ridden a camel in Mongolia. Such an amazing life. What really brought her to my attention is the book, I’ve linked to it so you can buy and read should you choose.

I first learned of the passion play in Oberammergau in the Chalet School books. It’s a play that has been performed every tenth year since 1634 and while it’s been criticised as being anti-semitic that doesn’t detract from the enormity of the event. Here’s a link to more details. Volk’s book seems to be a mixture of Oberammergau and Canterbury Tales.

I promise I’m not mentioning how she writes for the Lutheran Church, that’d be telling.

Mother’s Day

Today’s Mother’s Day thoughts are brought to you by Chocolate, chocolate and yet more chocolate! My poor waistline, but my taste buds enjoyed it tremendously!

I was dragged kicking and screaming to Prahran Market on Saturday, kicking and screaming I tell you. Don’t believe me? Funnily enough neither does the family, I can’t think why.

Scares chocolate

Scares chocolate

The Prahran Market is an icon, as it should be as it’s been trading for a very long time. It was iconic when I first remember it in the 1970s and no wonder as it was already over 100 years old. It always had the best produce and doughnuts at 20c each. It still has the best produce but it doesn’t have doughnuts at this price any more. I’d say my love for doughnuts stems from this time. I have many fond memories of shopping there in the late 1980s as I worked in Pran Central just across the road and would pop over every Friday to fill up my trolley.

Cacao pod

Cacao pod

Last Saturday they had a chocolate festival. There were stall holders galore giving taste tests and endeavouring to sell their wares. Bearing in mind my recent diet and my ever expanding waistline I tried to be circumspect. Every little thing I tried was just absolutely fantastic!

I’ve discovered my next drink of the year, not chocolate but cold press coffee. It was the best coffee I’ve tasted and I’ll be buying a small amount next time I find it. I need to see if it was the coffee or the fact that I’d overdosed on chocolate…I think it’s the coffee as I really was circumspect, truly.

A shop nearby was giving away cakes. As you wandered past from the station to the market they thrust a voucher into your hands, and somehow the voucher came my way, something to do with Mother’s Day I was told. I was expecting a small cake which we’d share and it’d be finished, I wasn’t expecting a large cake. When I checked their website I found they were giving away 500 cakes that day! We just finished it last night, I suspect I’ll have to intensify my diet just to deal with the calories.

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Which brings me to a question: which is larger, calories or kilojoules? Answers can be written on the back of an envelope and posted to wherever you feel like as there’s no prize today.

I’ll just waddle away for some exercise, maybe I should walk to the physio today. But I’ll leave you with one last picture for today. The deli is awesome and contains a turkish delight shop. I just obeyed instructions and took a photo, the fact that I’m putting on weight just looking at this photo is the reason you’re getting no more words today.

Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight

Tales of the Greek Heroes – Roger Lancelyn Green

Tales of the Greek Heroes by Roger Lancelyn Green

Tales of the Greek Heroes by Roger Lancelyn Green

I picked this up at a fete the other week. They were just packing up and books were $5 a bag so we filled a bag. I put in this, several other books and Twilight as I thought I needed it for uni, last night I find I might not be studying it so it now sits on my shelf languishing. This book, on the other hand I was drawn towards a few days ago and so I read it at pace.

It’s basically what the title says. It’s a nice little book of Greek Heroes and Gods, lots of Heracles with a little about Jason and Medea, some Zeus and other Gods.

Aimed more at the younger age group I found it a very easy read. Some of the more gory bits have been omitted but what I liked about it is how it’s reasonably well strung together, there’s a good narrative and the author tells us this was the first time this has been done in English. First published in 1958 it has a companion book which I’m picturing below just because I found it on my computer.

Tale of Troy Roger Lancelyn Green

One thing that struck me was pronunciation. I know, that comes totally out of left field, but it did for me too. I looked at various names and just wondered if I was pronouncing them correctly. As it turns out I’m not, I asked my hairdresser and she corrected my pronunciation of Prometheus but we ran out of time for any more. I will find out more one day…

I’ve linked to a newer copy of Tales of the Greek Heroes in the photo for you. It doesn’t have my nice front cover but being new the back cover is still attached, unlike mine. I didn’t check but it might also contain The Tale of Troy.

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I want to thank the Koolin people for their thousands of years of guardianship and caretaking of the area where I live.