Archive for August 2010
I’ve been a mite disconnected this weekend and I’ve decided to celebrate the small things just to make me feel better. I did have a gastro virus on Saturday so I do admit I didn’t get a lot done and just having a shower that day was enough but I did manage to finish my business reading and that was cause for celebration. I can now move onto the next area of the business and also get back to my novels, so last night I did just that and managed to get to the halfway point of Jewels and Ashes by Arnold Zable.
This is definitely cause for celebration as I’m finding his work very hard going. It’s a great book and I’ll spend a bit more time talking about it as soon as I finish it and I’ll also explain why I’m finding it challenging reading.
Today is planning day. From Thursday I’ll be at AussieCon4 and so will be non-contactable except by phone, it will be a few days away from the computer unless I can find the time/energy to catch up at night. I have to plan the next week and make sure there is enough food in the house for other people to cook as well as making sure the business is going to run smoothly without me. I also have to find someone to take my duty at the op shop and ensure I have enough food to keep me going for the week. The food thing is not easy as I have multiple allergies and intolerances so I have to take in enough food for the day and can only occasionally buy something from their foodstands.
So, it’s going to be an interesting week and I’m just celebrating the fact that I’ve written this blog. Still feeling grotty from Saturday, I suspect I did too much yesterday.
The English language is a really silly language, it is a hotch-podge of so many different languages and has rules that get broken and then we get to say something incredibly stupid such as “it’s the exception that proves the rule”. It has evolved and changed so much over time and with the advent of the internet, mobile phones, forums and Twitter is continuing to evolve. Some people manage to make the change and some don’t, I’m finding some of the changes very challenging.
There are some words which have changed their meaning over time and I still haven’t managed to make the shift. Let’s take the word ‘gay’ for example. It’s original meaning was cheerful, happy or merry and I was content with that I could cope with it, unfortunately for me at some point in the 1970s the meaning shifted to become homosexual. I have no problems with the people, it’s just the word I have trouble with as for me it still means cheerful so it takes some moments while I sort through all of this before I figure out that’s not what they’re talking about. I’m not going to examine how that happened and why this particular word was chosen as that’s a job for a linguist and while I agree it’s a fascinating job it’s not one I happen to have the training for.
The bit that I’m having the most trouble with is some of the emoticons and the acronyms. Acronyms aren’t so bad as I have teenagers who happily translate for me and I can generally remember the meaning even if I can’t remember the exact words, but emoticons are like a totally different language for me and I just can’t read them. I’ve struggled with emoticons, my teenagers have helped with this but I just can’t read them, I believe they’re meant to look like facial expressions. I think this is just due to my inability to make the change when words shift in meaning rather than anything else. It could have something to do with my inability to learn other languages. I like to say I can speak two languages: English and Australian but neither of them very well.
What I’m trying to say is that if you’re talking to me on forums, Twitter or sms be aware I may be not able to read the emoticons and I figure if I can’t read them I won’t write them so you’ll only get deadpan messages from me. There may be humour there but you’ll have to be old fashioned and figure it out from context rather than having emoticons to give you the clue.
Moby Dick is one of the books that everyone should read and I’m only mildly embarrassed to say that I haven’t. I did pick it up a few months ago and stymied myself by insisting I read the introduction. One day I’ll get back to it and I’ll ignore the introduction and get straight into the book.
This book is about a dog, then again it’s about a star, maybe it’s about a dog. I do love this book, the star is sent to earth and finds himself reborn as a dog.
The Zoi has been lost on Earth and Sirius has to find it, the problem is that he’s been reborn into a puppy and has lost any memory he had. Sol visits and starts the ball rolling but only Sirius can actually find the Zoi and Sirius needs to make his way back to his own place. This is a lovely adventure story told from two points of view: that of Kathleen, Sirius’ owner and that of Sirius, a dog.
It highlights different relationships. First there is Irish Kathleen who’s father is in prison and is staying with the Duffield’s until he gets out. Then we have Basil and Robin, children of Mr and Mrs (commonly called Duffie) Duffield. We see the differing ways they behave towards Kathleen and we find out that part of Basil’s behaviour is because he doesn’t like the Irish. Mr Duffield is very self-centred and doesn’t notice what’s happening until it affects him and Duffie is even more self-centred and manages to get Kathleen to do all the housework all the while telling her how lazy she is.
Diana Wynne Jones is a very talented writer and I find myself caught up in her books time and time again. This review took me far too long to write as I opened the book to check up some facts and read half of it before managing to stop.
This is a great book for tweens.
Yes, I know I should be reading and producing a Teaser Tuesday quote for you but that’s been challenging these last couple of weeks. I’m in the middle of reading some business resources and have been struggling to change mindsets to be able to read a novel so I’m still in the middle of the Arnold Zable novel I quoted from two weeks ago. I’ve also been fairly busy doing other things so haven’t had the time to set aside to just read which is very sad but it’s one of those things. I’m on the second last of the business resources so hope to finish them in the next few (unspecified number of) days and then I’ll return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
In the meantime I have questions for you. What are you reading and why? If you’re not reading what is stopping from doing so?
Well, it’s Monday after election day and we still don’t know who is going to run this lovely country of ours. There’s all sorts of speculation and I’m having none of it here, I did mention yesterday I’m not politically minded and I have no intention of making any changes in that direction. Should there be another election and should I have acquitted myself well enough at the polling booth to be offered another job, then I plan to be available for more work. The one thing I missed on Saturday was a cake stall or a sausage sizzle, the building is owned by the Monash Council and so there is no one organisation that would be able to take on the task of organising some fund raising.
The aftermath for me is rather different than for a politically minded person. I went to bed on Saturday night shortly after getting home from the polling booth with a few minutes glance at the results showing on the TV and I woke up on Sunday morning feeling much better than expected so we took our free ticket (won in a competition run by Silk Interiors) to the Home and Garden Expo at Jeff’s ego, bought another ticket and had a great time wandering the stalls there. We have a few things that need doing to this house and it was great to have a chance to wander and compare.
By the time we finally got home I was totally exhausted. I had spent 15 hours working on Saturday and then a few hours wandering around Jeff’s ego looking at stalls and talking to stall holders. I was so tired I was walking into walls and dropping things. I’d like you to tell me why I then stayed up until 11:30pm pretending to work and also doing some ironing. I’m not quite sure why I stayed up so late and it was certainly a stupid thing to do bearing in mind I had to be up at 6:30 this morning as someone needed to get up and go to university.
What I’m doing this morning instead of going to the gym is to get some books up on the website, pack up the sales and just generally do some tidying. My body couldn’t cope with a session at the gym today and while I regret not going I think I’ve made the right decision.
Normally I wouldn’t write about an election as I’m not politically minded, this time there is a difference and I’m going to spend a few words talking about it.
This year I was encouraged to apply to be an election official, I was nervous about it but I filled in the application form and was duly offered a position in the Hughesdale polling booth. It was my first time and I was given a position as a regular issuing officer. I was asked to be there at 7:15am, not normally a good time for me on the weekend but I was there. We were warned this was a busy booth and it fulfilled these expectations. Basically from the time we opened the doors at exactly 8am to roughly about 3pm the queue didn’t stop, I never managed to see more than the first two or three people as it went round a corner at that point. Those first five hours went very quickly and the next three hours dragged so much as the queue dropped substantially. The people at the Absent Voting table were flat out the whole time and I want to send great kudos to them for doing a fabulous job, I did have to do the training for their position and it’s far more challenging than just a regular issuing officer. My Officer in Charge and her Second in Charge were fabulous people who somehow managed to make sure everyone got their appropriate breaks, they gave me a break just in time in the morning and that meant I was able to keep going the entire day.
When we finished at 6pm there were three people standing at the Absent Voting table and they were told they could still vote as they had got inside before the doors closed, they cheered. I saw just about the whole gamut of people there and it was fabulous. All the voters I saw were incredibly nice, even the ones I couldn’t find on the voting register. There were problems with some people as they had somehow been dropped from the voting register but they were still very patient with me, despite being annoyed.
One problem I noticed (and I wasn’t the only person with that problem) was that the print is so small and I looked at so many names that it started to blur as I got further into the day. It was mostly in the last three hours after I’d seen a few hundred people that I found this problem.
Once 6pm came around we were able to start counting. After tidying up we were able to break open the seals and start counting. We started with the House of Representatives, smoothing them out and sorting them. In my booth it was very clear early on who was going to win but we still had to complete the counting of every single vote and account for each one. The Senate was far more challenging as the papers were just so big, something I’m sure you noticed. When we had some papers unfolded some of us started sorting into various categories such as the largest parties, those who had voted below the line and those that were fairly obviously informal. The informal votes were all checked a couple of times to ensure they’d been allocated correctly and there was some discussion on some of them. There were a handful of easy ones that had nothing marked on them.
The day finally finished at 10:30pm at which point I rang home to ask to be picked up. It was a long, but very satisfying day. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day and hope I did a good enough job to be asked back for another election.
Hippopotabus by Doug McLeod
This is the first in a series of ‘books that mean a lot to me’, they might be from my childhood or from my adulthood (assuming there is such a word).
Here’s the video I made with some help from my friend, Norlin. She’s the one behind the camera and that’s a der moment as you can’t see behind the camera.
I love this book, it’s a fabulous little book written by a 14 year old in 1976 in Melbourne. It was given to me by the author’s sister shortly after it was published and I was very impressed to know the sister of a published author. It’s quite a fun little book and yes, you did see the title correctly. It’s full of poems and lovely little drawings.
I’ve managed to keep this book all these years and have even read it to my kids, I hope they didn’t think it was torture. Doing a bit of research about Doug I found he’s been a writer with some of my favourite programmes including the Comedy Company and Kath and Kim.
You can read lots more about the author Doug’s website. Or a little bit about him on IMDB, this website is not Doug’s Hippopotabus but someone else’s and just for fun I’m also including a link Doug on The National Library website
This Squid Ink was designed especially for my moving and I didn’t get around to using it. Today is the last chance as after this I have to declare I’ve moved so here it is…let’s hear it for Squid Ink