31 May, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Am being super-efficient this week. Have my TT already written - it was done yesterday. And it's only Wednesday today (almost Thursday). This wasn't done as a result of any forward thinking - I was reading a couple of blogs that were REALLY annoying me - it was the awful music that I couldn't switch off that gave me the inspiration....
Thirteen things about blogs that bug me. And #3 is about unsolicited advice, so my exception to that rule is this: don't do any of these things. Please? Well, it's your blog, do what you will...

1. Music that comes on when you go to a site. And you can’t find where to turn it off. So you’re left listening to something that the blog owner may love, but you find torturous. Worse is when you do turn it off, but go to another link on that blog and it starts again. And even worse is when the music suddenly comes on and scares the crap out of you. I don’t want to have to turn the sound off on my computer, but sometimes it’s all I can think to do to get rid of the noise. Now if they played music I liked…..

2. Bitching. My God, some people can get in all out wars over a person’s point of view. Makes me wonder if blogging turns us from mature, kind, caring, sharing adults into bratty three year olds fighting in a sand pit.

3. Unsolicited advice. If I am told, “you should do this ……,” or “you won’t like that …..,” or “don’t think that, it’s wrong,” then you can bet that I will do just what the advice tells me not to. If someone wants to suggest something to me, suggest it. Don’t tell me how to live/think/feel etc.

4. Maybe this is part of number three – people assuming that they know me better than I know me. I barely know me, so how can you know me so well? Hmmm…what a well structured sentence that last one was.

5. People leaving a link on my Thursday Thirteen but not a comment. Is it so hard? Those of you who do this, you know who you are. And I do too.

6. The word verification when you leave a comment on some blogs. Not only can these be really long, but they’re often in a font that is virtually illegible, so you’re bound to get it wrong because you cant tell if “vv” is two v’s or one w. Why can’t it just be the same basic font all the time?

7. Ads. Okay, some bloggers make money out of their blog through ads. But do they have to have ads that pop up all over the screen all the time?

8. Blogs that take forever to load. I learnt my lesson a few months ago (thank you Blog Olympics Training Camp) – reduce the number of entries on a page and it loads heaps quicker. Heaps quicker… yes, English is my strong suit.

9. Grossness without prior warning. I don’t want to have images of drunken people in all manner of embarrassing positions burning holes into my brain when I least expect it. Let me know there is foulness ahead (and maybe indicate the type and degree of foulness) and let me decide whether to proceed or not through the rest of the post.

10. Stolen images. If you’re gonna pinch a picture off the web and post it, it should be referenced. That way I’ll realise that your photography skills rank down there with mine (poor, but I have a good camera) and the person/site that took the picture gets the credit for it. Fair?

11. To join in with the one above, when I find that someone has stolen something from my blog without letting me know first. Which is kind of flattering in a way. Most people ask or let me know before they paste a post into their site and that’s cool. Let me know and I’ll give you the okay, but don’t steal my words or my images without telling me. This statement makes it look like I’m super-popular and it happens to me all the time. It’s actually only happened a few times that I know of. And these people have not made millions from my genius. But if it ever does, LOOK OUT!!

12. Time wasting. Reading blogs makes time run away from me. And before I know it, I’ve spent an hour sitting in front of the computer. This is especially painful when it’s a gorgeous day outside and I could have spent that time going for a swim. Or, more likely, going to the beach and sitting on my backside and watching people fitter than me go for a swim. But that’s not really an annoying feature of a blog, rather a sign that the blog owner has a fan in me.

13. The fact that the blogs that I love reading all the time just don’t get updated often enough. But maybe that one is my problem.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, please use the auto-link. And comments are always much appreciated. Only if you leave a comment will I visit your Thirteen and leave a comment in return....

28 May, 2006

Essentially English

A friend won two tickets to see a concert put on by the Barrier Reef Orchestra here in Townsville. It was called Essentially English and featured the works of ten English (or almost, hence Essentially English) composers. Since my friends boyfriend "would rather die than listen to that crap," I went along. It was an afternoon of decadence, where we had champagne on arrival (and at the interval, and after the show) and pretended we knew all about the music, touted as "a sparkling afternoon of musical gems from England's finest composers, that will remind you of an English summer." I have to say that Greensleeves sounds so much better performed by an orchestra than it does when played by the Mr Whippy (ice cream) van that prowls the suburban streets in summer luring kids out of their homes to demand overpriced pig fat ice creams (but yes, I did love them once). The orchestra's version was even better than the way it's played during the credits of Lassie. We were allowed (or forced) to participate during one piece - some story about the English and Scottish hating each other so they decide to build a big stone wall and as soon as they're finished the Vikings come along so the English and the Scottish throw all the stones that they had just built the wall with at the Vikings, driving them away, but then they have no stones left so decide it would be easier just to live in peace than rebuild the wall. I think it was called The Stone Wall. Anyway, it was all pretty good. Except one fairly new piece that everyone was raving about and I thought it was awful - it just sounded like every instrument was out of tune and they spent half an hour just warming up. I'd say the name of it, but I can't remember it ... unfortunately. There was also a newborn that didn't much like the atmosphere. And a seven year old thumb-slurper (I have never heard/seen someone suck their thumb so loudly/revoltingly) who kept complaining to her mother that "the songs are taking too long." Those three annoyances aside, it was a great evening. Now I am ready, and almost eager (I did say almost) to start the week.

25 May, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #I-Don't-Know

My sister and her kids arrive here in less than a month. I am very excited to have some of my family see where I live. I've been thinking of places to show off to the southerners. So here are thirteen suggestions (by no means definite) things to do when the family arrive. Hope I don't sound like a travel brochure.
  1. Go to the full moon drum circle on The Strand (beachfront) that will occur.... at full moon (22nd of June). I think Michelle will be here then. I hope so. It's so much fun for people of all ages - it attracts a couple of hundred people each time.
  2. Visit my old home - Magnetic Island. The beaches are great; there's wildlife galore, particularly wallabies, koalas and possums (hmmm); and it's just half an hour from the mainland.
  3. Visit ReefHQ - an aquarium with a huge coral reef display, and lots of interactive stuff for the kids.
  4. Billabong Sanctuary - a big animal park where you can cuddle koalas and snakes and watch the big crocs - and all the usual stuff you do at an animal park.
  5. Airlie Beach - gateway to the Whitsundays. A huge man-made lagoon is here, perfect for the kids to swim in (and so much better than the mud flat that is the real beach).
  6. Whitehaven Beach - on Whitsunday Island, not far from Airlie Beach. When you picture the Whitsundays (or any tropical Australian beach), you'll picture Whitehaven. Think a couple walking along a beach on a cigarette ad. That's it.
  7. Paluma. This is the southernmost part of the wet tropics (rainforest). Nice and cool with waterfalls and crystal clear water (one of the creeks is actually called Crystal Creek).
  8. Frosty Mango. On the way to Paluma - an icecreamery with icecreams made from tropical fruits. A MUST.
  9. Atherton tablelands. Dairy farming country surrounded by rainforests. Yungaburra has a great Swiss-Australian (??) restaurant. And in Malanda you can look for tree kangaroos.
  10. The Strand waterpark. A big free park with now swimming pools. Just lots of sprinklers and water falling from a huge bucket... I can't explain it too well, but lots of fun for kids (big and small).
  11. Charters Towers. This is really getting towards the outback. It's mining country and cowboy country. I've only been there a couple of times and am not really sure what there is to do there. The rivers are great to swim in - and because it's inland, there's no crocs (well, no salties at least).
  12. Bowen, Dingo Beach area. Lots of sea turtles around here. And not much else to be quite honest. Though lots of mangoes during mango season. Which is in summer. Shame.
  13. Relaxing at home while the kids watch a DVD and Michelle and I have a few glasses of wine and some good food.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, please use the auto-link. And comments are always much appreciated. Only if you leave a comment will I visit your Thirteen and leave a comment in return....

24 May, 2006

What I've been doing lately

What I've been drinking

What I've been baking (rye bread)

What I've been sewing (the latest work in progress)

18 May, 2006

Thanks to the TT site for the banner.

I don't know what to write thirteen things about. Life here is still mad busy and I never get time to finish anything these days. I guess this could be thirteen things I have to get done before my sister and her family visits towards the end of next month.

  1. ironing - lots of it.
  2. cleaning - more of it.
  3. quilting - need to finish the current quilt.
  4. clean the car - for the first time in a couple of months.
  5. service the car.
  6. book time off from work.
  7. pay the bills - so I have phone and electricity when they're here (and always, I guess).
  8. remove the squashed gecko that is caught in the back door jam.
  9. remove the spider that is living behind the tv.
  10. find some kid-like things to do while they're here.
  11. hope the weather is not too hot (for them) or cold (for me). okay, hoping is not something that I need to do, but I will.
  12. hope the stingers are gone so we can go swimming in the ocean.
  13. hope they love it up here.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, please use the auto-link. And comments are always much appreciated. Only if you leave a comment will I visit your Thirteen and leave a comment in return....
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15 May, 2006

Cyclone Larry update

Whoa! Where have I been? Helping out with the baby. Working far too much. Driving around the north. I even forgot (yes, FORGOT) about the last Thursday Thirteen. Will try to remember the next and make it extra special.

Yesterday I decided to take a trip up to Innisfail. Cyclone Larry hit several weeks ago now, so I'm not sure if it was catastrophe or recovery I was seeing. I didn't take any pictures of people's homes (I figured they had been through enough and didn't need their personal tragedy plastered across the internet - even if it was on my little blog), though I did notice two that had no roof and no walls. With cars in the driveway as though people were actually living there. There were still tarps on many roofs, though many more had been repaired. This was obvious by the fact that the old, decrepit Queenslanders often had shiny new tin roofs (no, this is not the land of tile or Colorbond roofing). I didn't get many pictures of the rainforest either, though the recovery looks to be happening pretty quickly. Many road signs were twisted pieces of metal on the side of the road, or they just didn't exist anymore. And one thing that I didn't expect were signs all over the place warning drivers to slow down because homeless and disoriented cassowaries had been sighted in the area. Though I didn't see any. Dammit.

Possibly the best thing to happen to a McDonalds sign?

Innisfail hotel.

This tree, in an Innisfail park, would have spread at least 20 metres from the trunk. Now it is just branches with a bit of regrowth. At least it's recovering....

Banana casualties. This picture doesn't show it, but at the base are countless small, unripe bananas, rotting.

Twisted metal on the roof of a huge shed.

I don't think this place was cleaned up yet. Or, if it was, I'd hate to see it just after the cyclone hit.

More snapped branches.

A survivor.

07 May, 2006

And the dramas don't end yet...

Baby has overcome his traumatic birth, his blood sugar problems and his jaundice. He went home today. But has to return to hospital on Tuesday to be fitted with a brace for at least six weeks to correct hip dysplasia. His mum said she thought he may have this problem, as she had it in a milder form (it can be hereditary) and she heard/felt his hip clicking in utero. It can be corrected, and they're grateful for all they have, but no parent needs one thing after another like this. On the positive side, mum and dad have said they are doing really well so far and are enjoying their first night together as a family.

05 May, 2006

The new baby

Thankyou to everyone for all the good wishes about the new baby. Things didn't really go according to mum's birth plan (which said that in the most extreme case she'd take the gas). She ended up labouring for 22 hours, had every drug offered and ended up having a caesarean. The most effective pain relief was the bath with a high(ish) pressure shower nozzle on her back and stomach. This was more effective than even the epidural, which didn't work. I repeat, she had a c-section and the epidural didn't work. So delivering baby hurt. A lot. My heart goes out to her for all she went through, and all she wanted. But when it was discovered that he was 4.6kg (10lb 3oz) and 51cm long, with a HUGE head, everyone soon figured that this child was never going to enter the world the conventional way.

Many big babies have problems maintaining their blood sugar levels and this little (big) guy is no exception. He's been on a glucose drip since a few hours after birth and, all going well, he'll be off that by tomorrow night. This picture may look nasty, but it's just the canula on his tiny hand. He looks like a mutant in the special care unit because all his room mates are at least half his size. Though this doesn't mean their lungs don't work just as well....

04 May, 2006

Thirteen things we should say around the office... and thirteen things we do say instead. Warning: contains swearing.

Try saying: I think you could use more training
Instead of: You don't know what the fuck you're doing

Try saying: She's an agressive go-getter
Instead of: She's a fucking bitch.

Try saying: Perhaps I can work late
Instead of: And when the fuck do you expect me to do this?

Try saying: I'm certain that isn't feasible
Instead of: No fucking way

Try saying: Really?
Instead of: You've got to be shitting me!

Try saying: Perhaps you should check with.....
Instead of: Tell someone who gives a shit

Try saying: I wasn't involved in the project
Instead of: It's not my fucking problem

Try saying: I'm not sure this can be implemented
Instead of: This shit won't work

Try saying: I'll try to schedule that
Instead of: Why the fuck didn't you tell me sooner?

Try saying: He's not familiar with the issues
Instead of: He's got his head up his ass

Try saying: I love a challenge
Instead of: This fucking job sucks

Try saying: You want me to take care of that?
Instead of: Who the fuck died and made you boss?

Try saying: I'm a bit overloaded at the moment
Instead of: Fuck it, I'm on salary.

Oh, and following on from the last TT, my friend had a baby boy yesterday by c-section, after a 22 hour labour. He was 52cm long and 4.6kg (10lb 3oz). Ouch!!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, please use the auto-link. And comments are always much appreciated. Only if you leave a comment will I visit your Thirteen and leave a comment in return....