a little east of reality

Thursday, February 28, 2008

some people should just be eliminated

...or at the very least not allowed to breed.

Sylvia Gough, a college student in Canada, went out one weekend while her roommates were having a party. She came home to discover that some of her roommates' friends had decided that a fun party activity would be to put her three-month-old kitten through a washing machine cycle. Unsurpringly, the little orange and white tabby died.

Seriously, who gets their fun that way? Is a party not a party until you've traumatised a small animal? Bastards.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

for jojo

Oh ho! What a gaff!

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

a familiar addiction

Dedicated to all those who understand how

"definitely getting an early night"


"is that daylight?"

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

prod me a little, okay?

Knowing my luck the discovery that something was amiss would happen halfway through my cremation. :)
An 81-year old man in the small Chilean village of Angol shocked his grieving relatives by waking up in his coffin at his own wake, according to local media.

When Feliberto Carrasco's family members discovered his body limp and cold, they were convinced that the octogenarian's hour had come, so they immediately called a funeral home, not a doctor.

Carrasco was dressed in his finest suit for the wake, and his relatives gathered to bid him a final farewell.

"I couldn't believe it. I thought I must be mistaken, and I shut my eyes," Carrasco's nephew Pedro told the daily Ultimas Noticias. "When I opened them again, my uncle was looking at me. I started to cry and ran to get something to open up the coffin to get him out."

The man who "rose from the dead" said he was not in any pain, and only asked for a glass of water.
Yeah. I think I'd be asking for a glass of water...and maybe a small canister of oxygen and some digging tools to carry around with me in case it ever happened again.

Stories like this always make me wonder what happened with the whole 'funeral director preparing the body' thing, but maybe that doesn't apply in small Chilean villages. Either way, I'm thinking some heavy duty double-checking is going to occur the next time this man is considered dead.

Corny puns in the comments are encouraged.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

misheard lyrics

Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz apparently penned the following lyrics to express his frustration with blind followers of the Emo trend trying to 'out-Emo' each other:

I am an arms dealer.
Fitting you with weapons in the form of words
And don't really care, which side wins
As long as the room keeps singing
That's just the business I'm in

This ain't a scene, it's a god damn arms race
This ain't a scene, it's a god damn arms race
This ain't a scene, it's a god damn arms race
I'm not a shoulder to cry on, but I digress
Now that actually makes a little sense. Unlike the lyrics I've been mistakenly singing along to:
This ain't a city, it's a god damn horse race.
Which really didn't make any sense at all. 'Rat race' might have been okay, but 'horse race'? Hmmm.

Anyone else been singing the wrong words?

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

good art?

I was interested to read JB's post on recently seeing Van Gogh's art. It made me think about how I interact with art and how long it's been since I took the time to go to the art gallery or view an exhibition of new artists. I need to change that.

Anyway, here's the comment I posted. By the time I finished, it felt like a blog post:

I often get those Walkman-style guides to the art when I see an exhibition. They give real insight into the piece, the artist and what they tried to convey, and sometimes the reasons that piece of art is considered significant or 'good art'. I don't always agree with their conclusions, but sometimes I've genuinely learned to appreciate the painting or artist.

For me personally, good art (or the art I respond to most on an visual or emotional level) is all about the way they use light.

My favourite painting is a small Rembrandt called 'Strawberries'. I had seen a postcard of the painting and liked it, but when I actually saw it at an exhibition I found myself standing in front of it for about fifteen minutes. Though definitely painted and not looking photographically real, it looked like you could have just plucked the strawberries from the painting and eaten them and they would have tasted wonderful. It was like actual strawberries would have looked at the painting and recognised it as how they might look if they went to heaven. That probably sounds a bit silly, but that simple painting of strawberries really captivated me. I wish I could have posted a picture of it, but I can't seem to find it on the web. If I can find my postcard version I'll scan it.

I guess there's some merit in considering what makes good art, but in the end art is always a personal experience, and if we love, or understand, or are moved by, some piece of art considered unworthy by experts, who cares?

What does 'good art' mean to you?

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Friday, February 15, 2008

a conversation i had on valentine's day

chosha: Doing anything special for Valentine's Day?
cute IT guy: [not answering the question but instead stepping onto his soapbox] Ugh, I'm not spending $50 on flowers just because it's Valentine's Day.
chosha: [shrug] Oo-kay.
cITg: I bought my girlfriend strawberry milk for Valentine's Day.
chosha: Strawberry milk? [Thinking: what, first thing you happened to spot at the gas station?]
cITg: She really likes strawberry milk, so I got her a 3 litre container of milk and a tin of Strawberry Quik.
chosha: [who appreciates creativity over cost] Actually, that's really sweet...

Nice one, cute IT guy!

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

~~~ (^_~) ~~~

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

today we finally say sorry

Whoever said ‘love means never having to say you’re sorry’ really didn’t understand people very well. Relationships are destroyed by people who can’t, or won’t, say sorry when they should.

In the wider world it’s even more complicated. Sometimes we even need to say sorry for things we didn’t personally do. There are several aspects to this kind of apology. Partly it expresses sorrow for suffering – we’re sorry that happened, we’re sorry you were hurt by it. Partly it’s about calling to account past perpetrators in the only way possible. We’re sorry they did that and we as their modern equivalent will represent them in this apology. Partly it’s an acknowledgment that wrongs were committed at all and a declaration that we do not condone those wrongs. All of those aspects were addressed today when the current Australian government apologised to the Aboriginal peoples of Australia.

All Australians know that the land in which we live was taken from people who lived here first. It's a historical characteristic shared by most developed nations. I think this is seen by many as having happened so long ago that it’s not relevant. However, not only do the consequences of that history still affect indigenous Australians today, but white Australia’s crimes against its Aboriginal peoples are also a lot more recent than that. Today’s apology specifically acknowledges the suffering of the ‘Stolen Generations’. These were part-indigenous children (in some cases children who simply looked part-indigenous) who were taken from their families under an assimilation policy that started in the early 1900s and was still official practice as late as the early 1970s. Some kids were fostered into white families, most went to group homes until they were old enough to be sent out as domestics or farmhands, with any money they earned being sent to the home. This FAQ from the Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission website is brilliant and explains the facts of the policy and practices, and also the surrounding issues.

In the years after the policy was abandoned, many Aboriginal families were frustrated at the lack of support from official sources to find and be reunited with their family members. Part of the problem was that much of the Australian population was unaware of what had happened to these families. A lot was denied and information hidden. In 1995 an official government enquiry into the stolen generation was launched. This enquiry took hundreds of submissions, including 535 group or individual submissions from Aboriginal Australians. The official report Bringing Them Home was tabled in parliament in 1997.

The personal accounts in the report (only a few given in that link) are heartbreaking. These quotes, from an account told by a woman named Millicent, are representative of what many children experienced:
They told me that my family didn't care or want me and I had to forget them. They said it was very degrading to belong to an Aboriginal family and that I should be ashamed of myself, I was inferior to whitefellas. They tried to make us act like white kids but at the same time we had to give up our seat for a whitefella because an Aboriginal never sits down when a white person is present…

The first time I was sent to the farm for only a few weeks and then back to school. In the next holidays I had to go back. This time it was a terrifying experience, the man of the house used to come into my room at night and force me to have sex. I tried to fight him off but he was too strong.

When I returned to the home I was feeling so used and unwanted. I went to the Matron and told her what happened. She washed my mouth out with soap and boxed my ears and told me that awful things would happen to me if I told any of the other kids. I was so scared and wanted to die. When the next school holidays came I begged not to be sent to that farm again. But they would not listen and said I had to.
The next time Millicent was sent to that farm she fell pregnant. After being beaten and blamed, she had the baby, only to have her daughter taken from her just as she had been taken from her mother. When she tried to find her later she was refused the information and was later told her baby had died. She only found out this was a lie when her daughter managed to locate her in 1996.

Over and over the same themes appear: children taken from their families with no warning and often no explanation, cruel living conditions, physical and sexual abuse, their heritage either hidden or used to make them feel inferior, paternalistic decisions made for them without their consent, constant racial discrimination, enforced religion, no contact with their families, no access to their culture or native languages, no access to their own information, no personal power whatsoever.

Everyone agreed that the findings of the enquiry (which the previous government had commissioned) were appalling, but the Howard government refused to make any kind of apology to indigenous Australians. Paramount in its reasoning was the argument that saying sorry would lead to compensation claims, something they refused to consider. Today, just over a decade later, PM Kevin Rudd made good on last year's campaign promise to say sorry. February 13th was declared 'Sorry Day' and the following apology was tabled in parliament:
Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history. We reflect on their past mistreatment. We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations - this blemished chapter in our nation's history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia's history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future. We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians. We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry. To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry. And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.

For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great
continent can now be written. We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.

A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again. A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity. A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed. A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.

A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.
I'm so glad this finally happened. Reading the personal accounts today I realised that my knowledge of the stolen generations was pretty superficial. There are a lot of people alive now, some of them only in their 30s who were directly affected by that policy. Nothing can erase history, but I really hope this official acknowledgment of the experiences of indigenous Australians can be the start of a healing process for them.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

ah romance...

I'm feeling rather smiley tonight, just because I heard some happy news that is so very old I can't believe I didn't already know it. I was trawling through my blogroll and reached the known universe and suddenly I am seeing the word honeymoon being bandied about. Lo and behold, Jamie has gone and gotten himself engaged. It happened while I was overseas and oblivious to all things bloggy.

Deborah is a lovely, lovely woman who (and I hope it doesn't annoy her for me to say it, but then she probably never reads this blog, so whatever) often reminds me of Sandra Bullock - not exactly the same but similar and just as beautiful. But actually I don't think Jamie's lucky to have her because she's beautiful. I think he's lucky to have her because she understands him and really cares about him and just takes life as it comes. I think she's lucky to have him because he appreciates her and is honest with her but always loyal. I also think they both have enough life experience to know that things won't be perfect, and to not need that to be truly happy, because they know what they want and have a few dreams and like supporting each other in all those various endeavours. And they both know that the best of life is found in the people that you meet.

So yeah, happy day.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

a silly band name meme

Courtesy of sleepless.

Here's how it works:

The first random article on wikipedia.org is your band name.
The last part of the last quote here is your album title.
The third picture here is your album cover art.

I'm shocked it came out so well, but it's definitely luck. I tried the three links again this morning just before posting this and none of them were nearly as cool. :)

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

romney withdrew? o_O?

After reading this speech, all I can say is 'happy day, all is well'. I haven't read crap like that in a long time.

I do wonder a little if his decision has less to do with 'keeping the Republican party united' and more to do with having to finally admit he lied about the whole 'me and my daddy marched with Martin Luther King' thing. His father didn't march (though he was strongly supportive on civil rights) and even if he had marched on the day he was supposed to have in Mitt's retelling, Mitt was overseas as the time and could not have marched with him or seen him march, two things claimed at different times. The resultant backpeddling was awkward and embarrassing to watch.

Anyway, keep bringing it on, Obama. I'm starting to see some real differences between him and Hillary. Of course my lack of vote makes it all a bit moot, but whatever.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

wonderful dancer

The Australian version of So You Think You Can Dance? started here last week, but I've only just caught up with the first episode, which covered the Perth and Brisbane auditions. The guy featured in this video is, in my opinion, the best dancer we saw in the whole show. The problem is that the minimum age allowed for the show is 18, and Caleb is only 15. Watching him dance, I was absolutely gutted to think that he can't apply for the show for another three years. Going by the looks on the faces of the judges I think they were thinking exactly the same thing. The gasps from the other dancers when he said his age, however, might have been gasps of relief that they don't have to compete against this guy. :) Anyway, here's the video, so see for yourself.

There's another dancer I'm watching for. I must dig out an old program and get his name. I saw him last in a stage production of High School Musical and when the whole cast danced at the end he stood out from the other dancers - not in terms of the routine, because that would have been poor dancing form - but certainly in skill: his extensions and the way he was perfectly centred when he spun. I know he planned to audition for this show, but the Sydney auditions are in the next show, which I haven't seen yet. Update later!

It was only tonight that I suddenly realised that if the show is based in Sydney, I should be able to try for tickets. Definitely have to check that out.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

heath: the verdict

So the toxicology report from the New York coroner is in and it says that Heath Ledger's death was accidental resulting from misuse of a cocktail of pain killers, anxiety medication and sleeping pills. Apparently all the drugs were legal and prescribed, but not safe to be mixed together.
When you have insomnia, you're never really asleep... and you're never really awake.
And the medications in question? Oxycodone (Oxycontin) and hydrocodone (Vicodon) are pain killers. Diazepam and Alprazolam are sedatives used to treat anxiety and panic attacks. Temazopam is a sleeping pill and Doxylamine is an antihistamine which can be used as a short term treatment for sleeplessness.

I have to admit that I will always wonder if it was really the Joker that killed him in the end. He played the character sinister and dark, with what's been described as an "anarchic interpretation". When first preparing for the role, he apparently found it difficult to create a voice that was not simply an imitation of Jack Nicholson's take on the role, so he moved into a hotel room alone for a month to work on the character and perfect not only his voice, but his posture, his physicality and the psychology behind the character. He even started keeping a diary of the Joker's thoughts and feelings.

He wanted the Joker scary and from what I've seen in the trailer, a scary-assed Joker is what the movie got. What Heath got was anxiety and messed up sleep patterns. He had started on a new film, but the problems endured.
With insomnia, nothing is real. Everything is far away. Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy.
Add pneumonia to that and it's pretty easy to think, 'I still feel like hell. Maybe I'll just take a couple of these as well. Wait, did I have the Vicodon already? because I still ache.' I'm kind of glad it wasn't deliberate or a stupid heroin overdose or something like that, but it's also sad to think it was something as lame as mixing up prescriptions that took him away. I think it's going to be a little weird to see The Dark Knight with all this behind it. The Joker seems even more sinister to me now.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

wage restraint...from pollies?

Wow, this really might be a new government after all...

Interviewed by ABC Radio about what she would want to do if the independent Remuneration Tribunal recommended paid increases for federal politicians in spite of the current inflation concerns casting a shadow over Australian families, Deputy PM Julia Gillard said she'd be happy to knock back a pay rise. She said she agreed with the PM's sentiment that wage restraint had to be shared by all Australians.

No promises yet, but Kevin Rudd has said, "I have a really open mind on that. It depends how this year starts to unfold but restraint is restraint and we'll have something further to say about that."

High five, Rudd government! Liking you more and more.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

nice one, kevin!

Kevin Rudd (our Prime Minister) has decided to hold a super talkfest to find answers to what he describes as the 10 critical problems facing the nation:
  1. the economy
  2. economic infrastructure
  3. sustainability
  4. rural industry
  5. health
  6. social inclusion
  7. indigenous people and services
  8. the arts
  9. governance, and
  10. national security
One thousand of our best and brightest will be invited to Parliament House for a weekend in late April, with no businesses, unions or lobby groups represented. Rudd described the summit as a chance to "shake the tree" and see what suggestions fall to the ground. Cute.

I do think it's a bit of a wank to have 'the arts' in there. That's an industry that is quite capable of coming up with its own ideas, given a little funding. I'd much rather have seen him include education. We only have six states and two territories - it can't be that hard to plan for standardised education across the nation. And they could have tried to fix some of the damage that the Howard government inflicted on schools and universities. I'm hoping that 'sustainability' includes the water shortage. People might slot that in as a 'rural' problem, but there are a few capital cities under water restrictions that would beg to differ.

One aspect of the plan that I really like is that the focus in on long-term plans. So often governments only look as far ahead as the next election, and issues that require long-term solutions get left on the back-burner. Let's hope the Rudd government doesn't lose sight of that goal down the track. I think the public can support long-term goals where no solution will be evident until after the next election. It all depends on how it's explained to them.

Each area will be tackled by a group of 100 delegates. The delegates will be chosen by a summit steering committee of 10 people co-chaired by Mr Rudd and Melbourne University vice-chancellor Glyn Davis. I'm not sure how he got the job, as I've never heard his name come up before, but I'm curious to see who ends up with an invite.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

q4: study the following photographs carefully. compare and contrast.

I was planning to post a series of pictures about food consumption across the globe that I received by email this morning.

But yankee girl has already done it.

And a word from our sponsor:
Have a second glance over them and think about who is using (and disposing of) the most unnecessary packaging. Remember, in the catchphrase 'reduce, reuse, recycle' the words are given in order of effectiveness in helping the environment. A lot of that packaging can be recycled, but the best move is to reduce the amount we use in the first place. That not only reduces the amount of rubbish we produce or recycling that needs to be processed; it also reduces the resources used to make the packaging in the first place.

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