Monday, December 6, 2010

Seeking something

So, on the 26th I took myself off on Holiday. It was fun, I ate lots of food, walked lots of steps and subsequently, bought some amazing shoes! (The shoes I was wearing did not wear out) My Holiday was amazing, I was so relaxed even though we were on the go all day every day for the entire five days.

And then I was home again last Wednesday, at work, nose to the grindstone, and I became aware of something that has been bothering me for a while.

I am not happy.

My Boss growls a lot. I assume this is because he is having money problems, and that me and my coworker nag him about our pays and the fact that we still haven't been paid our super, which is kind of illegal, but I'm playing it close at the moment. I am looking for other stuff. Stuff that makes me happy and is more enjoyable, and is more stable. And is PERMANENT. With Paid Leave. And Superannuation. All those things I used to take for granted in my old jobs.

I need to be happy and to feel safe in my job. I am seeking something that matters.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jennifer Rardin

Jennifer Rardin, author of the Jaz Parks series, died on September 20. :(. I only just found out when I visited her blog to find out if she'd posted anything recently about the next book. Her blog advises that next book and also the final book in the series were completed before she passed away, and will be released later. She was only 45 :/ My thoughts and prayers to her family, who must be going through a very tough time after she died so suddenly.

I love her books. I discovered them last year, and soon bought the whole series. The books are about Jaz Parks, she is assistant to Vayl, a vampire who was born in 1744 who is now an assassin for the CIA. Jaz is an excellent lead. She gets herself into trouble (and often gets herself out of it), and has a lot of witty snappy dialogue. It's a really gritty urban fantasy novel, and if you're looking for a new series that will suck you in, by all means, try it!! I'm always on the look out for excellent female leads, and this series really did tick all the boxes for me.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Othering at the Northam Meeting.

Just wanted to talk about the coverage re the 1500 people expected to be housed in a centre in Northam.

Watching the ABC, who is reporting on the town meeting.

One guy said "But what about when they jump the fence, steal my car, and rush down to Perth to hide amoung Their Kind"

Their kind? What, people? who are legally in this country - or born in this country? I understand you are upset by not being consulted (although if you were, you would probably have said you didn't want these people because they are queue jumpers and criminals), but you aren't by any chance, showcasing your racism, are you? Using othering and dehumanising terms when saying why you don't want something to happen makes me uncomfortable, because like many others, I am sometimes made to feel "other". I'm half Chinese, I don't look the "same". So when you make broad sweeping statements about asylum seekers, it really frustrates me. I have immigrants in my family tree. Mine came here legally, but when you make comments about "their kind", you kind of lump us all together, people who came through the "correct" channels, and those who had to leave immediately, and not wait for a visa. Many people have immigrants in their family. This is because a lot of people in Australia have at some point, come from another country. Or their parents or grand parents or great grandparents have.

I couldn't help but notice that except for one man hiding behind a sign that looked dark skinned, every person I could see in the shot of the crowd looked white. :( What? There aren't any PoC in Northam? Not even any Aboriginals? Or is it they wouldn't be caught dead at such a function so full of hate?

And I thought the response for the South Australian Institute being built for women and children was unpleasant.


Some links about the meeting.

Local Anger Will Not Stop Detention Centre

will try to find more links later. Unfortunately, I read lots of stuff, but often forget to save them :/

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Losing your name?

If there is one thing that I don't think I'll ever understand, its why a woman would change her name when she marries.

I used to say it was a Chinese opinion. The majority of Asian women do not adopt their husbands surname, they keep their name, they don't lose it in a bid to look more like a family, or something like that. Personally, I've always thought that even though I plan to keep my name (basically forever), if I ever marry and have kids, I would still be known to other children as Mrs {insert lastname here}. Because that's what kids do. They assume their friends lastname is the name of the parent.

But I can say that it isn't a Chinese thing. Both my grandmothers, my Ah Poh and my Grandma, both kept their maiden names. I find this a little intriguing; not because my Ah Poh did, but because my Australian Grandmother did. She would have been an anomaly among her generation. If my grandmother were alive today, she would probably be in her late eighties, so for someone born at that time...

One thing my mother has regretted for years, is that when she married my dad, she changed her name. Completely changed it, looking at her on paper or talking to her on the phone, you would never guess she's Chinese. She's talking about changing it to something which is a balance of her old and new names. And in a lot of ways I'm pleased. It will be a little strange for her to have a different name than the one I've known my whole life, but at the same time, it's really quite exciting, because if feels like she is reclaiming something she willingly gave away.

One of my friends got married this year, and I was a little aghast that the first question she was asked, the day after her wedding (on facebook) was "Why haven't you changed your name yet???" And I felt like saying, why would you change your name? If it is so important that everyone have the same last name, why shouldn't the husband change his name?

Why must all the sacrifices be on one side?

(And then of course in most households the woman does more housework; even if she works long hours she is still expected to do the lions share of the domestic work, including childcare. Is this what we really want?)


A more extensive post on this topic can be found At BitchPHD (by bitchphd). It also discusses fair division of labour in the home and other such issues.

And Here at Hoyden About Town (by bluemilk).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Passing White

I was watching Deadly Deportment on Landline just now. Basically it was about how young Aboriginal women in the area are being taught additional skills in the hope of making them more employable, and giving them the confidence to dress appropriately and do well in whatever job interview they go for. It was a very good program, and it makes me sad that they feel shame over dressing well, and things like that, fearing that they will never be good enough, that they will fail, and it will be worse than never having done anything in the first place.

Some of the women involved (as happens in any mixed group) can "pass" as white. In some ways this is worse than being discriminated against for being different, as many POC experience. The casual racism in Australia is still very rampant and alarming - as anyone who has been asked "What are you?" (not who are you, what) can attest. But it is worse when you can "pass" because, suddenly people are making these horrible comments, not about you, but about people like you, maybe your friends, all because they assume that you are (white) like them. And it takes courage and strength to say to these people, no it's not okay, you can't make those comments about these people, these are my people and you are being rude.

I can't say that I know what it is like to be Aboriginal in this country, for I am not of that descent. But as a half-Chinese person growing up here, living here, it is apparent to me that the discrimination does not go away. When someone makes a rude comment about Chinese people, and then turns to me and says "Oh, not you Julie", or worse, doesn't realise how offensive they have just been, because I don't "count" or "register" to them as Chinese, well, if I don't say anything, then I am shamed. Because I have just passed, and it feels like I have let the side down.

I want to be strong enough to stand up for my beliefs. Always.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Themes of West Side Story

On Thursday night, I left work to go and see West Side Story with my parents and number of their friends.

West Side Story is an excellent musical, the songs were familiar, everyone sang very well, and overall it was enjoyable (although there was a very weird dream sequence with everyone dancing around in white after the intermission which confused a lot of people, myself included.)

But although it was very good (the actors were superb), I still found it a bit problematic and confronting. It's a love story, Romeo and Juliet (if you like) with the background of open racism, killing, police corruption, and (one case of) rape.

I know it is supposed to reflect the time, rampant racism and chauvinism (which of course meant that women of colour got the double whammy) but frankly, if that is what it was like (and I know it wasn't much different here in Australia), I can only be glad I wasn't alive yet. Growing up in the Eighties, in the lingering shadow of the remnants of the White Australia Policy* was uncomfortable. Being called names by the parents of my fellow students, and having said students repeat them is still rather disturbing to me, and so this play was, well quite provocative.

I did enjoy it though, I was surprised by how many of the songs I had heard before. I could almost sing along to most of them.

*Although the policy was fully disbanded in the early 70's, it took a lot longer for the people to follow suit. My Mother, arriving in the country later that decade and being one of two Chinese women in the town she was living in, made her an unusual sight. The other woman was the Doctors wife, and older matronly type that people didn't want to annoy as she ran the reception at his office. People used to come and stare at my mum. People don't like to talk of it, or think of it, but some people do still treat you differently when they talk to you on the phone, and then see you in person and realise you're Chinese (or black, or something other than the fully white person they were expecting after you spoke so beautifully to them on the phone). I've had people recoil when I introduce myself. Not much, because for the most part they can tell I'm Eurasian, but that's it. My Mum still gets it quite regularly. Because obviously a Chinese person must have a Chinese accent. But she doesn't.

Friday, October 15, 2010

never darken my doorstep

I had my name blackened and dragged through the mud by one of those customers today. The kind of person with such an immense sense of entitlement that when other people in Customer Service describe them to you, you honestly think they're joking. She was abusive, she was demanding, she called me names and was so agressive, that I actually refused to talk to her today. My manager said she would talk to her, so I took B at her word; She talked to the customer. I was being "She"'d, I was being "that girl"'d, and I, in the back with my other co-worker K, was really about to go tell the customer off if she used my name like an invective one more time. I have never wanted to smack anyone before. But I honestly did with this woman. Unpleasant is one word.

I suppose the positive of the entire unpleasant experience was, after shouting at my boss after he told her we needed to be paid, she declared that she would never set foot in our shop again. (Also, she did pay. After it was pointed to her that she would not receive her machine back until she paid, and my Boss offered to take her to court over the money.)

I don't think she appreciates how small the Apple repair community in the metro area is. I can think of no more than maybe eight, five of those are warranty centres. So, when she gets herself removed from the other 7... Well. I suppose at that point you have to send your machine away to get repaired. And pay a premium for it.

Normally I would be upset by this kind of thing, as it was uncalled for and rude and really offensive, but to be honest, this woman (and her husband!) is her own worst enemy, and I wish her upon herself.

And may I never set eyes upon her again.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I hate to talk of this

I had an unpleasant encounter this morning at work.

An ex-coworker (and believe me, if he hadn't been an ex-coworker then, he would be now) came in and said something really really rude and threatening to me for me to pass on to another female coworker.

And I just. I don't escalate confrontations. I don't believe in doing that, but if he had been one iota less whatever he was, I would have told him how unacceptable his language and behaviour towards me was.

But I didn't say anything because he was right in my face, and I was really not okay with that.

And now I have a headache and feel really small.

ETA: He called and apologised. Which makes it better but still not okay.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I don't generally like

I don't generally like swearing. People tend to use the f-word, and various other swear words at the drop of hat, sometimes literally. I can count the number of times I have used "the usual" swear words on two hands with fingers left over.

But even though I dislike swearing, that doesn't mean that when something terrible happens, or someone is really really wrong, I don't want (or have) words to use.

Some words came from (the Harry Potter) fandom. Words such as T00b, or my favourite, ass-hat. Calling someone an ass-hat, or telling them they are t00berific can be satisfying, although since I started at my current job more than a year ago, another word has been introduced to me.

I learned it from my co-worker K, who when really frustrated with something or someone, and at work will say "You PEANUT!". Peanut, is an excellent thing to shout at someone. It's a non-offensive word that never the less conveys your feelings about them at that particular moment.

Although I still wouldn't use it on customers whilst in hearing distance :P Not even if they well and truly deserved it.

And when I am really annoyed, and want to vent steam, I have a phrase that my mother uses :D I won't try to write it, as I'll spell it wrong. But it is really really effective. <3

I am on a horse (Moo!) cow.

Most awesome muppet parody ever.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Do you know what this weekend is?

It is (a) frustration weekend. It is a weekend where I will have to drive slowly down two of the main roads that lead to my house, because drunk people will randomly stagger (or run) across the road. Where I will be cut off by buses (and trailers, and god knows what else), and the speed limit will drop down from 70/80 to 20/30kmh. Causing a half hour car ride to turn into a possibly hour long trip.

This is the festival known as Spring in the Valley. Normally, it brings 60,000 visitors to "The Swan Valley" of which I am a resident. However, organisers in their wisdom decided for 2010 to make it a month long event. No consultation of residents, nothing.

Excellent for the local economy, very difficult for the people who have to live here.

So after this weekend, there will be next weekend. And the weekend after. And...

Is it November yet?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Link Roundup

What an exhausting week! And there was only four days of it. This is what I've been reading recently. Because I've been reading this in downtime at work, it's just ABC at present - I've also been reading and commenting over at Hoyden About Town.

Several pieces at The Drum;

Clementine Ford writes stop blaming feminists for the world's problems in response to an article by Virgina Haussegger. Also, most of the issues outlined in Virgina Haussegger's article are in fact human rights issues, not just issues for feminists, or women.

Katrina Fox wrote an excellent post about the disturbing culture of rape being a women issue. As opposed to being the issue of men, it always seems to fall to women to be "safe"; to not get drunk in public, to never be overly promiscuous as it may invite unwanted attention, to always make sure they have a responsible friend to look after them in the event that they do "make themselves vulnerable".

And finally, Melinda Tankard Reist writes "Sexism is Alive and Well in Australia". It includes several links that made me rather cross, (including) did anyone else hear about the Gold Coast Turf Club plan to run women as "fillies and mares" on a race track later this year, in bikinis and runners? Talk about a set back for everyone - including the peanuts who came up with this idea. It is a very good article, even if the content involved is of the very angry-making kind.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Internet is A Public Place

I'm not sure I approve of facebook. Yeah, I use it (for games!), but there is only one photo of me (and one of my poor short necked giraffe, and an avatar from one of my games), and my personal details are limited.

But I go onto other people's fb pages, and there are so many photos - of them, their kids, where they work, what school they went to, their birthday... It is really worrying that people don't see anything wrong with this.

A lot of people forget that the internet is essentially a public place. It's like inviting people in to your house, into your family.

Many people on the internet don't want to be your friend. Some of them may want to hurt you. To take your identity and commit identity fraud. To contact your children and/or to do a whole raft of dangerous and disturbing things.

So we need to stay alert. No one wants to give you that copy of Adobe CS5 for free - That's a $3000+ piece of software. If they tell you they want to give you one over torrent, it might be a copy... but it will almost certainly have some nasty additions on top of the regular stuff. It sounds pretty terrible, but part of being internet savvy is being suspicious. We've all heard of people meeting someone they met on the internet, and they don't look a thing like their photo. But things can be so much worse.

Someone I know recently had a scare. Their pre-teen, who is old enough to know better, met someone in a chatroom and told them everything. Where he lived, who lived with him, full name, about his family, everything. The person he told it to turned out to be an adult. But the worst thing is, the kid still has no idea why what he did was wrong. He was arranging to meet this man when his parents found out.

I was 12 the year we got the internet. I used chatrooms, but I was a wary child. The second anyone started saying anything appropriate, I blocked/reported them. This was after all, a children's chat room. People didn't know much about the dangers back then, posting full personal details online. But even then, I wasn't one of them. You have to be a conscious user of the internet. You can't just wander around without paying attention to what your doing, who you're talking to, what you're giving away.

I suppose my point is simple - would you tell someone you met down the shops/pub what you're telling the faceless sympathetic ear on the internet? If the answer is no, you probably shouldn't be telling them either.

(This is a bit disjointed. I wrote half of it earlier, so I may rework it tomorrow.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I am not your

I am not your Lovey, your Darling, your Sweetheart. It's especially inappropriate for you to call me such things in front of your wife and child, and I didn't appreciate it.

When you come into my shop - the one I'm assistant-manager of, attempt to muscle in on my personal space, call me pet names the whole time, and ooze creepiness in my general direction, I will be crossing my arms, failing to smile, and standing as far away from you as possible.

And yes, my female co-worker noted your disturbing behaviour. I only wish I'd managed to tell you how unacceptable it was. Blah. Oh well, next time I will do so. Because I work there, and you have no right to make me feel uncomfortable in my own workplace, and I honestly felt harassed.

(ps. Gentle Old man who sometimes come into the shop calls me a pet name? It's okay. He's of a different generation, and I don't get "the vibe" off him. He talks to all "young" people the same way. Man who is approximately ten years older than me does it? creepy x 10.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dear Kim Hames, Health Minister

Dear Kim Hames, Health Minister.

Wednesday was an appalling display of disorginisation. So many ambulances left outside, patients waiting to be admitted, putting lives at risk.

What was your solution? To add extra beds to Joondalup and Rockingham, and to force people with private health insurance, and the elderly to private hospitals.

I have private health cover. I can afford a private hospital if I need one, choose my own surgeon and get my surgery within a reasonable time. But what about the people that scrimp and save for their health cover, but can't afford everything else? What about them, Mr Hames?

Some people who are very wealthy, neglect to take out private health insurance. They go to public hospitals on the tax payers dime because of course, that is how they are wealthy. Not having to pay for things like this. Why aren't you insisting they take out Private Health cover, Mr Hames?

Also, may I remind you that your government has been in power for years now. It is your Government that said they would honor the commitment to build the Fiona Stanley Health Campus. It is kind of late to be laying the blame at the door of the previous goverment - the one who lost power two years ago in 2008. Please just get on with it.



Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dear 4WD Drivers

Dear 4WD Driver.

What is wrong with you? This morning I was driving along, minding my own business, when you suddenly stopped in the middle of the road, and decided to reverse parallel park into the parking spot I was stopped next to. This may surprise you, but you are a VERY BIG VEHICLE, trying to fit into a very tiny spot, and my car was in the way. Of course, I freaked out when you almost crunched my car. I like my car. And my health. So you acting in a way that theoretically endangered both was definitely a concern to me.

Please be more aware of your surroundings. You'll inspire less road rage that way.



Open Letter to Oprah re her visit to Australia.

Dear Oprah.

All week I have been hearing about your Visit To Australia.

Well, your visit to Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, anyway. I understand why you aren't coming to Western Australia, which is of course one of the three other states (including Tasmania and South Australia) you aren't visiting. I mean, Perth is after all the most remote capital city in the world (and imo the prettiest, and probably the cleanest but anyway), but why aren't you going to Tasmania? It's not that far by plane from Victoria, and is supposed to be incredibly beautiful.

I was kind of bothered when I heard a soundbyte on the radio that you wanted to stay at a Real Aussie Family's house. It may surprise you, but "real" Aussies are in fact everywhere. Probably even in Chicago. Also, what constitutes a "real" aussie?

One other thing. You are (one of) the richest women in the world. And yet you can't even pay for your own trip?

I think I actually like you less now.



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I think my brain just dissolved.

I'm at work. There are no customers. There is no work. There is barely any staff.

And I have another four hours left.

Fun, huh? :P

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Election is Over

As of yesterday, and Julia Gillard is our Prime Minister. Yay!

I am hopeful for the way things are going to go. It's kind of exciting that it is a minority government, because hopefully it will mean more voices for more people, so those of us who aren't in the inner city suburbs or in the eastern states will get more from our Government. Infrastructure is not a huge priority over here (for the Federal Government), and doesn't seem to be a big priority for State Government either. The roads near us have been being slowly improving (very slowly) for the past three years. But we still need more. We need public transport. Even the public transport currently available in our area is ridiculous. We are waiting for a new hospital in my electorate (we were promised) and several years later are still waiting. We aren't getting our local train line, because one of the first things our Liberal State Government did was cut funding and plans to build it.

I'm going to write to my Local MP about these things. I have no idea if it'll make any difference, but if I don't do it, I can't complain, because I haven't tried.

That's why when my coworker told me he had put in a blank ballot paper, I told him he would have no recourse to complain about the Government. Because he had no place in the process of electing them.

ps. we now return you to your regular viewing.


This Stats thing for Blogspot is a bit weird. I mean, I can see where people are reading from, what computer and what web browser. Which is a bit... yeah.

And the reverse is true, so if someone somehow finds me because I've been reading their blog... Welcome! :D :D

Sunday, August 22, 2010

An addition to Captain Pla-Knit

For the past few weeks since I noticed the striped stockings on the little girl statue near work, I was thinking it might be nice to go put a scarf on the Mum's neck. As you can see, someone beat me to it last week :D <3

Friday, August 20, 2010


And he's changed his mind so many times! Yes, we want an ETS... NO we don't.
Yes Work Choices was an excellent thing... NO it's dead and buried.

If we get Tony Abbott as PM, I think it will be really scary.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On Saturday we get to vote.

The Election is on Saturday. I recommend reading this Infograph to dispel misinformation. Read it all the way through.

I got the latest information from my local federal government representative today (Liberal). I read it, the messages sounded good, it was filled with smiling people who looked happy.

One problem; I read it, I looked at all the pictures and... there was not one person who looked like me. Everyone was white. There were no aboriginals (or people with dark skin), there were no asians. There weren't even any eurasians (and of course there are lots of us). But of course there weren't! I can't explain the lack of indigenous Australians (other than an over-sight), but of course they can't have asians, they've been harping on about "keeping out the boats" for months! Guess what the faces of the "boat people" look like?

To be honest, it doesn't make me feel comfortable at all when I hear any of the political parties trying to get people on-side by bagging boat people. Because when I was a child in the 80's, and people were more overt with their racism, I used to get told to "go home". Which is a bit difficult as Australia has always been home to me. What with being born here and everything.

Way to make a girl feel alienated in her own country.

Make your vote count on Saturday.

The results of Bullying.

Earlier this month a boy took a loaded gun to school (in Esperence) in response to being bullied. He was suspended, arrested, and police initially refused to release him on bail. He's being prosecuted, it's possible that he won't be allowed to return to school (which he might not want to do either), and it also will probably make it harder for him to change schools.

He was wrong, violence is never the answer, and this shouldn't have happened, but;

Here's a question; Why aren't we hearing about what is happening to the kids who bullied him so badly that he felt the need to bring a weapon to school to defend himself?

A lot of children are bullied, some quite severely. And speaking from experience, often the response of authority figures (including teachers) is quite often very lacking. Personally, after three years of being bullied by a boy from my Primary School, when he tried it in High School, he got whacked with Here Be Dragons (roughly a thousand pages). It was a paperback though. I'm not cruel, I didn't use the hardcover. When I took my issues (in Primary School) to my teacher, I got no help. When I went to his teacher, I was told she would turn a blind eye if I chose to retaliate.

The really annoying thing is, had I gone to our Principal, when it first started in year 5, it would have been sorted. Or if I'd told my Mum (my Mum is very awesome), I know she would have done everything to help me. But for reasons unknown, I didn't, and just took it until explosion point (I'm a bottler, I know I'm a bottler. But as I've got older, I know it's important to say what I really mean. I've learned how to say this in a tactful way, for work, but still, you need to stand up for yourself in a positive way.)

I suppose my point is; to kids who are bullied: Go talk to an authority figure you trust, who can stand up for you and be your advocate. Kids are incredibly cruel; whether because you have red hair, you happen to be a minority in your school (like I was), or just because. And to adults: It is not cool to turn a blind eye to a child who is being bullied. Kids who are bullied can turn into bullies themselves, can do things like the above story, or they could you know get help from you and sort their problems out.

Bullying is wrong.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I'm really tired of

I'm really tired of people who come into the shop, and feel the need to ask me "Where are you from";

And I say "Australia".

Then they say "No where are you really from?" (Like I just lied to them)

And I raise an eyebrow and say "I'm from Australia".

And then the smart ones apologise as they realise how rude the question was. The dumb ones keep asking.

The really rude ones say "What are you?"

I'm not a what, I'm a who, and I already told you my name.

I think I'm kind of tired of this. I never got these questions when I was in Administration.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Further to last driving post.

Excitingly, as of Saturday, I am no longer a P Plate Driver! Yaaaaaay!

That is all.

ps. I firmly believe that now I no longer have the dreaded P's on my car, people will cease to try and kill themselves with (on) my car. Will advise if this is true after some testing. :P

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Captain Pla-knit (he's our hero)

This afternoon, as I was walking back from doing the banking for work, I noticed something odd about one of the statues outside Dome Cafe.

The statues are of a little girl and her mum, presumably about to cross the road.

But what is that colour?

little girl statue waiting with mum to cross road. wearing knitted stockings

Someone has kitted the girl statue out with some brightly knitted stockings!
bright stockings

Oh, a card.

captain pla-knit calling card

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Just one thing

Yesterday, when Tony Abbott was talking about cutting Billions from the Budget, I said he'd stop spending on; Infrastructure, Education and Health (not in that order).

And today we hear that the coalition wants to Axe the National Broadband Network Plan (Infrastructure), Cut More Infrastructure (frustratingly including all of the things we really wanted in WA), although admittedly, everyone is trying to win us over on Education. But you'll have to do more than that to win the votes, people. (Also, this statement 'Education spokesman Christopher Pyne said Labor's scheme had "obvious flaws".
"I have four (children), I have three that play the violin, two that do the piano and two with special needs," he said.
"You know that as a parent that you need help for a range of expenses."
What about the kids who can't afford violin, piano or oh, a laptop, you peanut and don't have the same facilities at home as their wealthier peers.)

Although regarding the Education pledges, it's like, W00T Congratulations, you say you'll cut all this spending, reduce our debt only to... increase our debt by making unrealistic pledges! Yay!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Some advice regarding computer accidents (especially if it's a laptop)

If you spill liquid of any description on your computer, DO turn it off immediately, and go see a computer minded person ASAP. DON'T keep using it until it turns itself off.

If your pet gnaws a hole in your power adapter (or you've mishandled it, and managed to break open the casing or something), and said adapter starts arcing, DON'T continue to use this power adapter, and DO take it in to get looked at. Failing to do so may cause your hard drive to fail when an electrical surge travels up the charger and straight into the main logic board (and through that into the rest of your metal insides of your computer).

And finally, DO keep a backup of your data. You never know when the worst is going to happen and your computer is stolen/the hard drive dies/or any number of other things happen that cause you to lose use of your Hard Drive. But DON'T Keep your backup in the same place as your computer. Because if someone has stolen your computer/your laptop has been a victim of a lightning strike/Some disgruntled person decides to throw your laptop into the river, you don't want your only backup to have gone with it.

PS. With exception of the laptop into river, all of the above has happened to people who came into work in the past week.

PPS. Also don't use FileVault on your HDD. It will protect your data from everyone, even at the expense of the data - ie, even from you, should you need to get your data recovered.

PPPS. Take care of your stuff.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I like to watch home improvement shows

Shows like Better Homes and Gardens, Gardening Australia, The Garden Gurus; I like to see their houses, into their gardens. I think it's a great place for ideas on what to do around the house and yard. But there is one thing that really bugs me, and even more so when I see it replicated in an acquaintances garden or house, and I don't feel comfortable pointing it out.

I am talking about the honking great Buddha head on your wall/table/in the middle of your courtyard/that your fountain is spouting out of.

My sister calls this cultural appropriation. Okay, so, you're not buddhist, this isn't your way of life, but all the same you feel you have the right to pick and choose from something you find "exotic" and "unusual";
Firstly, it's disrespectful on two levels;
One, You've got Buddha as an incomplete entity, in your garden, when you've got no reason for him to be there, other than you thought it looked cool. And it must be okay because you saw it on TV/in a magazine/in the paper.

Secondly, how offended would you be if someone from another culture (and religion) took a Jesus statue and turned it into a fountain, and then suddenly everyone had them in their garden? Probably you'd feel kind of icky, and feel that it was wrong.

Forget "on two levels" doing this is just plain disrespectful.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hugo and Death

When I was a kid, I played a lot of DOS games. In some ways, some of those games were (and are) much more entertaining that some of our current games. Games like Commander Keen, Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure, Secret Agent, Loom, The Kings Quest series, etc. (some of these games I now play on my macbook using an emulator *heart*)

But there is one game that I loved to play but never finished. A number of titles that included Hugo's House of Horrors. Basically, you played as Hugo, the title character, and sometimes as Penelope (his wife/girlfriend/sister/friend?) his female companion. Some thing would happen, the aforementioned haunted house, crashlanding in a jungle... something. And then you would have to try and solve the mystery. It was text driven, and sometimes you had to be very specific in your wording like "pick up the matches. light the matchstick" Many hours of fun(??)

Anyway, the other thing about this game was the fact that I always got to a point where everything I did lead to the death of the character I was playing. I'd walk through a field and get killed by bees. Accidentally run afoul of cannibalistic natives and end up in the stew pot, get killed by ghosts throwing knives, something. Or I'd manage to start a step too early, and then not manage to finish the game. :/

As an adult, I've come to the conclusion that the game was basically unplayable. But it still niggles that I couldn't win it. Ever.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Media Barrage Surrounding the Prime Minister

This is a few days late ;) But I feel the need to comment.

So yeah, Julia Gillard is our new Prime Minister. :)

Although I'm not entirely happy with the way things played out, I am also not pleased (at all) by the guy that randomly called work yesterday and tried to engage me in a conversation about how pissed off he was that a WOMAN is leading the country. Yeah, dude get over yourself. Although I'm not happy with the way it went down, I AM happy with the result. I think Prime Minister Gillard will be awesome.

Steph @ 天高皇企鹅远 put together a post (with awesome pictures) that says it much better than I can.

Also, Dear West Australian (and other Media Sources). WTF is wrong with you? The anti-woman and anti-ALP sentiment that you now post in your "Agenda Letters" are frankly alarming (the poster that likened women to white-ants in all male institutions being a prime example); the fact that you no doubt played a role in the lack of confidence in Mr Rudd, yet now pretend to be shocked despite weeks and weeks of claiming Kevin Rudd would lose an election called tomorrow is really really frustrating.

Also, please stop being a hotbed of chauvinistic sentiment. It does not make me want to read your paper.

This Mysoginistic society really worries me at the best of times, right now I am CONCERNED.

But still I'm really hopeful for the future, and that my country doesn't work against itself.


On Wednesday, I got lost in Target.

Oh, not lost lost. I could still find my way out. I just couldn't find anything I needed. Sometime in the past week, they reorganised almost their entire shop. Hot Options and the Dvd Section were still where they were last week, but everything else had been rearranged.

It's really strange how we get used to things. It actually really bothered me that I couldn't go in, buy my thing and get out. I almost just turned around and went to Big W instead.

And I didn't end up going to Big W, but neither did I find what I was looking for. By the time I found the right section, they'd sold out :/

re I Have A Date With Spring (musical)

Earlier this year (13-March-2010) my Mum and I attended His Majesty's Theater in Perth to see the Dama Orchestra's production of I Have A Date With Spring. It is a musical almost entirely in Cantonese; from the program "Set in the 1960's - 1980's, I HAVE A DATE WITH SPRING followed the dreams, hopes loves, trials and tribulations of four aspiring singers - Butterfly Yiu, Lulu, Nancy and Feng Ping -Whose lives became increasingly entangled while doing their singing stints at the well-known Lai Fa Palace nightclub. They became the dearest of friends. However, they had to part ways eventually, but planned to meet up for a reunion concert at the club before the building was pulled down.

Butterfly Yiu, who went on the become a celebrated singer, agreed to return to her home town, after having been away for many years, to perform at the charity convert. And everyone associated with the Lai Fa Palace did return for the reunion. Many had returned to settle unfinished business while some, like Yiu, had to come to terms with the ghosts of their pasts."

I was going to write a proper review, but to be honest, it's been a while since I saw it. My Cantonese is limited at best, and the English (and Mandarin) subtitles were placed discreetly to one side (Probably this wasn't a problem for most people attending, because the audience was about 90% Chinese, but I did see one reviewer complain about the sub titles.), but regardless of this, I understood enough that I really enjoyed this. The singers were excellent, and I learned some things I hadn't known before, like about the riots in the late 60's in KL.

I'm told some of the translations were off, like the comment "I was once a little chick, but now I am a Big Chicken!" was translated as "Once a chick now I am Rooster"

It was a little bit cheesy, in the way of all musicals, but it was very easy to get into, and the singing was excellent. The set was cleverly arranged, and the clothes were all believable.

If you ever see this playing near you, I would recommend you go see it.

PS; we were seated next to Possibly Best Behaved Children in the world. Aside from rustling their bag of peanuts a couple of times, they were perfect theatre goers. And they were roughly 3 and 5!

Monday, June 14, 2010

47 Days and Counting

I am a P Plate driver. Thankfully only two more months to go, come August and I will no longer have the green P's on my windscreens. I will be indistinguishable from every other driver on the road.

Now, I have noticed that everything targeted at P Plate drivers says we are inexperienced, we are (sometimes) unsafe, and some of us feel invincible. The onus is on us, that we aren't good drivers.

Whilst I (mostly) don't disagree with the above comment (in a general sense), I would like to introduce the idea of;

Other drivers don't help our driving.

For example, I am driving down the highway, stop at a red light, and happen to take off faster than the car next to me when the light turns green (because they were distracted, or fixing their lippy, or telling the kids off, or on the phone)

I am driving at the speed limit, everything should be fine?

Instead, veins of rage seem to go through the brain of the driver I just passed.
Like they're going "HOW DARE THIS P PLATER OVERTAKE ME????" So they will speed up, sometimes to insane speeds, and overtake on the left (which is illegal here), only to turn two hundred metres down the road. Because they couldn't stand that me in my little red underpowered car and my P Plates beat them.

This happens a lot. And some people are like, "But Julie, these people do this to everyone! It's not just to P Platers!" But we do cop a lot of flack about our driving, and at least for a number of us, it's not true. I don't deny that I don't have the same driving experience as someone who has been driving ten or twenty years (but also, I don't have the outdated driving knowledge and bad habits that someone who has been driving that long may have).

People just seem to feel this strange need to overtake a P Plater, shout abuse at a P Plater who has accidentally stalled their car at the traffic lights, and be excellent examples of road rage. And I know I am in the minority, a twenty-something P Plater. But whilst I can ignore these twits who make my driving experience really annoying, would someone who is in their teens react the same way?

So the perpetuation of road rage continues.

47 Days and Counting.

PS: If anyone reads this :P and had a different experience as a Provisional Driver, please let me know.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

regarding Ableism

ableism |ˈābəˌlizəm| (also ablism)
discrimination in favor of able-bodied people.

It's assuming that because I am fully able bodied, can see and hear and everything else without needing aid, that every one else can do the same. Which of course is patently false.

A week or two ago I had an interesting conversation about Ableism with a customer.

Said customer is on a disability pension, but because he is not obviously disabled, it is assumed by many people that he is not. But mainly the conversation turned out to be about ableism in our community.

This is only something that occurred to me recently; when I was fourteen, I ripped ligaments in my ankle and had to use crutches for six weeks. Because my school was full of stairs and had no lifts whatsoever (not even in the new building), I had to leave my last class early, along with a friend, so that I could make it up and down the stairs and across campus to the bus stop in order to get home (without tripping over the hundreds of other students rushing to get home). I've only just realised recently that this is why we never had students in wheelchairs, or permanently on crutches at our school. They would never have been able to get anywhere. And a disturbing amount of schools in Perth (and probably Australia-wide) are built in the same fashion, multi-storey, lots of stairs.

At work, we have a single sloped step, people with prams or in wheelchairs can easily get up it and into the shop, the ailes are wide and probably half the stock is accessible from a height of 1 metre or so. (our shop isn't kind to short people, I have to get the steps if I want to access stock on the top shelves)

Next door is another computer shop, they have three steps to get in. In fact the other computer shop down the street also has steps. I'm kind of wondering how many customers they lose because of their locations?

How often do we hear people complaining about how all the "good" parking spots are reserved for people with ACROD stickers or parents with prams? Never mind the accessibility nightmare people must face every time they go to a new location to shop or visit.

This has been somewhat of a stream of consciousness thing. It's something I've been thinking about for a while, and probably not worded as well as I might have hoped just after I had this conversation with this customer (it was a very long conversation).

This doesn't even begin to scratch the surface with regards to Ableism, but I am glad that I said it and hope that it mostly makes sense.

Please find below some links I have found regarding Ableism.

At Bad Cripple: Ableism and Water Shed Experience

At Disabled Feminists Evelyn-Evelyn Ableism-Ableism

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Being Correct (And the importance of front page stories being true)

People in Western Australia yesterday awoke to the front page story;

"Rudd to Face WA poll wipe-out" on the front of the West Australian.

Rudd to Face WA poll wipe-out

The Article went on to state that Westpoll had conducted a survey of the Brand Electorate mid-week, and their results indicate that the vast majority of people in that area were unhappy with the proposed mining tax and handling of asylum seekers.

Further reading indicated that only 406 people responded to the survey.

The Australian Electoral Commission indicates that "Brand covers an area of approximately 411 sq km from Rowley Road in the north to the northern suburbs of the City of Mandurah in the south, and also includes Garden Island. The main localities are the Town of Kwinana and the City of Rockingham. "

Now, although I have been unable to find out exactly how many people live in the Brand Electorate, in the Cities of Mandurah, Rockingham and Town of Kwinana, there are approximately 176,000 people (data gained from local gov websites).

Even assuming that only half of these are people of voting age , you still have 88,000 residents.

406/88000=0.0046 ... 0.46% of people responded to their survey.

And keep in mind that there are approximately 2.26 Million people living in WA at this time.

So in fact, the article told us precisely nothing about the chances of Mr Rudd gaining a favourable vote from the people of Western Australia in the next election, because the sample size of their survey was too small, and probably not conducted over a large enough time frame.