a little east of reality

Saturday, May 31, 2008

zonta birthing kits

I spent most of today helping at a Zonta project. Fund-raising is done during the year to buy the components for birthing kits (with the help of a dollar-for-dollar AusAID grant) and then once a year there's a big assembly day. This morning we set up the hall and organised all the components (cut the Chux wipes, folded the plastic, counted it all into lots so that each table had enough of each thing for 240 complete kits). In the afternoon more people arrived and we assembled all 3000 birthing kits. We actually finished in half the allotted time, so next year the goal will be 5000.

A little background info:

Of the hundreds of thousands of women who die each year in childbirth, 99% are from developing countries. For each woman who dies this way, another 30 women incur injuries and infections - many of which are painful, disabling, embarrassing and lifelong. Providing clean birthing conditions significantly improves the survival rate.

The idea is provide the basic items needed to prevent infection to mother and baby:

1 square metre of thick plastic to provide a clean birth site
1 pair of gloves to prevent the birth attendant transmitting germs to mother and baby
1 sterile razor to cut the umbilical cord
2 sterile umbilical cord clamps (one for the mother, one for the baby)
3 pieces of clean gauze to wipe birth canal secretions from the baby's eyes (decreases the incidence of future eye infections)
1 piece of soap
1 clean cloth
All contained in a small press seal plastic bag.

I really enjoyed being involved in the project. It's such a direct and practical way to help. This year the birthing kits we made will be sent to women in Uganda (last year it was Papua New Guinea).

Labels: , ,

Friday, May 30, 2008

Indy 4 ##SPOILERS###

Impressions after seeing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull:

Indy was older, but he still had it. Not quite like John McClane still had it in Die Hard 4.0, but the old Indy charm was there. And the physique apparently: Harrison Ford has kept himself in such good shape over the years that when he put on the same wardrobe from 19 years earlier, they didn't need to make any alterations. Not bad, Mr Ford.

I liked how they made Mutt (I thought he said his name was Mud and was waiting for the inevitable pun) a greaser. Actually the whole story moving into the 50s was fun. I'd heard they were going to start the fourth movie where the third left off and to not acknowledge the passing of time would have been so lame. But they didn't go there. Ford is 19 years older and so is Indy. Incidentally, it's kind of cute that Mutt chose that canine name for himself. After all, 'Indiana' was actually the name of the Jones family's dog.

Last but not least, our Cate was fantastic as Russian agent Irina Spalko. All that was missing was the leather teddy and riding crop, but that's just the rating, I guess. :)

Unbelieveable (literally):

1. Even if Indy had survived that trip in the fridge, he would have been battered and broken.
2. The waterfalls? No way anyone would have survived that.
3. The ants dragging that guy into their nest whole was also a bit of a stretch, but I didn't care because that was hilarious.

Favourite lines:

Marion: I'm sure I wasn't the only one to go on with my life. There must have been plenty of women for you over the years.
Indy: There were a few. But they all had the same problem.
Marion: Yeah, what's that?
Indy: They weren't you, Honey.

Aww. Sweet.

Mutt (after first really seeing the action Indy is capable of): You're a Professor?

Favourite trivia:

The girl who punches Mutt in the diner scene is Sasha Spielberg, daughter of Steven.

Something I did not know going in:

The skulls are a real phenomenon. Crystal skulls have actually been found in Central and South America. Obviously the explanation for them in the movie is fiction, but interesting to know that crystal skulls of unusual manufacture do exist. I shouldn't be so surprised I guess ~ the other three movies have all featured legendary objects said to be real: The Ark of the Covenant from Jewish lore, the Sankara stones from Hindu lore and the Holy Grail from Christian lore.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

i know, i know, it could be true...

but this story about Lindsay Lohan has me wondering if Lindsay is looking to be the subject of an episode of this TV show.

The story is that Linds has hooked up with her friend DJ Samantha Ronson (who definitely is gay), is now wearing a big ring, referring to herself as Lindsay Ronson and telling friends she is engaged and wants to have a partnership ceremony with Ronson at Dollywood in July.

This sounds like just the kind of prank Ashton Kulcher has been playing on the paparazzi recently.

I guess we'll find out one day. Not that I give two hoots who Lindsay is hooking up with, but I do think the concept behind Pop Fiction is a nice twist on an old theme (Punk'd) and who can deny the paparazzi deserve everything they get?

And speaking of Pop Fiction, I was thinking that an interesting potential use for the show is to cover up a real celebrity scandal by pretending it was just a Pop Fiction prank.

It could happen.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

anthology update: a haiku

shuffled into play
dealt, considered, they end up
on the discard pile

Yes, sad but true, none of my three submissions for the anthology made the short list. I had a little hope when I arrived for the meeting tonight, because they were all in the top half of the ranking, but with only around 30 out of 233 going to make it in, it was always a long shot.

Blah blah, there's always next year blah, blah.

Labels: ,

Monday, May 26, 2008

heart grown fonder yet?

I've certainly been absent long enough.

Blogging all the reasons would kind of miss the point of not having time to blog, so here's a quick post.

On my highly recommended list right now: Iron Man

There’s a reason this superhero comic book adaptation is up to 93 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s not (in my opinion) because it’s giving us something we haven’t seen before. Rather it’s giving us all the elements of a great superhero action flick, in just the right balance. I loved Transformers ~ so much so I wanted to see it twice on the big screen because those massive robots seemed to deserve that much space ~ but there’s no denying that it was all about the special effects and not much else. Iron Man has the special effects, but it also has strong characters, great casting, a witty and unpredictable script and a topical story that creates a meaningful internal conflict for the protagonist.

Speaking of which, did I mention it also has Robert Downey Jr looking sexier than most 42-year-olds can manage, in spite of looking every bit of his 42 years. When you’ve got it, you’ve got it. And he does. His perfect sense of comedic timing doesn't hurt either. Tony Stark is charismatic and every inch the man used to saying something and have it happen, or making it happen himself. I loved the way his mind was always totally engaged in whatever it was he was doing at that moment. I also liked that, in spite of a generally devil-may-care attitude, when an action plan he totally believed in turned out to have flaws he hadn't seen, he immediately admitted this and acted on his new understanding. There was a very real integrity underneath the banter. We got to glimpse the spots where he was vulnerable, but he never wallowed in it or used his emotional (or any other) challenges as an excuse to be weak when he needed to be strong.

Great movie. See it.

Labels: ,