Monday, March 31, 2003

puggle (baby platypus) update: there were TWO of them. the second one was hiding.
I came into work today to an email from a journo at another publication praising my front page yarn on wireless Internet.

in honor of the self-satisfied feeling that created in me - even though I had to come in early last week and bust my gut to get it done, still knowing it wasn't entirely what I wanted to do - I dug up this, from a book I found in the Ballarat Mechanics' Institute Library when I was 18 or 19. The book is titled Adventures in Journalism

"The adventure of journalism which has been mine - as editor, reporter and war correspondent - is never a life of easy toil and seldom one of rich rewards. I would not recommend it to youth as a primrose path, nor to any one who wishes to play for safety in possession of an assured income, regular hours, and a happy home life.
It is of uncertain tenure, because no man may hold on to his job if he weakens under the nervous strain, or quarrels on a point of honour with the proprietor who pays him or with the editor who sets his task. Even the most successful journalist - if he is on the writing side of a newspaper - can rarely bank on past achievements, however long and brilliant, but must for ever jerk his brain and keep his curiosity untired.
As nobody, according to the proverb, has ever seen a dead donkey, so nobody has ever seen a retired reporter living on the proceeds of his past toil, like business men in other adventures of life. He must go on writing and recording, getting news until the pen drops from his hand, or the little bell tinkles for the last time on his typewriter, and his head falls over an unfinished sentence. ... Well, I hope that will happen to me, but some people look forward to an easier old age.
I have known the humiliation of journalism, its insecurity, its never-ending tax upon the mind and heart, its squalor, its fever, its soul-destroying machinery for..."

and that's just the first page!

Sunday, March 30, 2003

it's official.
wanting to go to IKEA is not as daggy as we think.
not if LoobyLu is going.
everyone I know is feeling the inevitable pull of the homewares maze. soon, soon.

oh, and I've dropped out of uni. will think about that later. but it had to happen. that sort of thing shouldn't be a drudge, and that's how it was shaping up.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

goshdarn doesn't it show when one slacks off posting and there's not much happening around here?

look, to me it's all truly fascinating. shopping for lights, booking tradespeople for the house and my pub, keeping up with the war, etc, etc. trying to keep up with exercise (a bit), friends (not very successfully) family (must ring my Mum). oh, and there's work

but I just don't feel compelled to blog it all right now.

War boy
Think your job is challenging? Maybe even dangerous? Log on to Kevin Sites' blog to realise just how mundane and sheltered your life really is.
Sites is a CNN correspondent in Iraq. Not near Iraq - actually in Iraq, in the city of Kalar, as of late last week.
While working his way through the north of the country with fellow correspondents, he finds time to email and phone in the occasional blog entry detailing his adventures. He even sends in photographs of the locals - some were still managing to smile for the camera last week - and if you have the right software you can listen to his phoned-in posts.
Luckily for Sites, he happens to have an Irish passport as well as a United States one. He also manages to stay calm in the face of threatening local chefs, rooster sacrifices to "christen" his car (probably not the word the locals use for the ritual) and aggressive attempts at story-spinning by army press officers.
His previous journeys through wartime Afghanistan are included, bearing the somewhat gung-ho title of "War Boy Journals Part III".
A typical quote: "The shock waves of the explosions are dulled as they cross the valley toward us. But they are still persuasive. Their concussions a silencing voice, ripe with anger, full of vengeance. We watch from a forward front line position. There are dozens of other journalists here. It is a theatre of war and war as theatre."
Anticipating the war, he wrote: "What will happen, where should we go? Race west toward the oil fields of Kirkuk," Sites writes.
And if all of CNN's coverage goes blank one day, Sites will know why. He says the buzz among the media on the ground is that the US intends to use an electromagnetic pulse weapon to disable all electronic gear in the war zone, including satellite transmitters and mobile phones.
"We could end up covering this war with wind-up film cameras." Sites writes.
Although the blog is still there, CNN has told Sites to suspend his blog. The reasons are unclear but Sites has complied.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

this may be a dumb question (one is very, very tired today), but what happens if a missile hits a chemical weapons factory?


Saturday, March 22, 2003

cnn seems to have told Kevin Sites, CNN correspondent and real warblogger, to shut up.
notwithstanding his Ernest Hemingway complex, this is a bad thing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Written by "an environmental scientist of the disorganised type ... overwhelmed by the quantity of sites of relevance to my interest in safety of radioactive waste", the Radwaste blog is devoted to all things that glow in the dark.
This site can get quite mindbending, such as when it gives a supposedly simple explanation of how a particle accelerator can be used to clean up radioactive waste: "An accelerator is used to fire neutrons into some fissile material (which may be stuff otherwise regarded as 'radioactive waste'). The amount of energy put into the system (to produce neutrons rather inefficiently in the accelerator) is less than the energy out (on account of the fissions that occur in the waste fuel). That is, more neutrons are produced in the fissile material than are fired into it, and more energy comes out due to the fission processes."
And it can be a little disconcerting to see the prospect of a missile strike on an outback Australian waste storage plant cheerfully discussed in terms of the possible size of the crater.
Writer Geoff Williams ranges widely in his search for radioactivity-related data; he blogs a study on the health of British veterans exposed to nuclear tests (not that different to those not exposed, apparently), and notes that the United States Government is encouraging drug companies to research pills that can minimise the effects of exposure to a so-called "dirty" nuclear bomb (as opposed to the clean kind, one supposes).
In light of current events, Radwaste's long pieces on the safe levels of exposure to radiation, the differences between voluntary and involuntary exposure, and how to balance the risks of radiation exposure against, say, chemical exposure, make fascinating reading.
Williams also pulls in copy from news services on fun items, such as radioactive materials missing in Georgia, formerly part of the Soviet Union.
There is a disclaimer, though: "Radwaste knows absolutely nothing about absolutely anything, and everything written here is absolute piffle".
Somehow, we rather think he does know a thing or two.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

I don't want this to turn into a warblog, but can I just point out that this Newsweek article about Bush v. the World doesn't even mention Australia as a supporter of the Iraq action?

It - makes - NO - difference - if - we're - there - or -not.

is. that. clear?
getting very, very tired of newspaper front pages showing British and American soldiers outside Iraq. the Australian media have been given bugger-all access to the Australian troops. I don't know if they've given up chasing the local soldiers (I doubt it), if they are making do with what they can get, or if they're deliberately interviewing Brits to highlight the lack of Australians to talk to. there are, what, two thousand? more? of them there. and we should be seeing them.
not that I link to all things platypus. but you can't go past a raging platypus.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

procrastinatoin as a work technique: instead of just picking up the phone and calling people involved in wireless broadband, I've been reading articles about it, picking up random press releases and mentioning it to people whom I'm discussing quite unrelated things with.
and guess what? it's working just fine. a picture of what is going on and what I need to put in the piece is emerging. not that there won't be actual interviews to do at some stage.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

why haven't I been posting?
uni Monday (headache)
yoga Tuesday
acupuncture Wednesday
Swim Thursday
actually see husband, Friday.
Drive to Ballarat, see rellos, Saturday.
more rellos and home, Sunday.

meanwhile working, arranging renovation, walking dog, doing washing. etc. especially etc.
sometime around 1930, my great-uncle participated in a rollerskate race from the city of Melbourne, to the newly opened rollerskating rink located on the corner of Acland and Barkly Sts, St Kilda. He was captain of a rollerhockey team or similar. the rink "in the Village Belle" was where the large, nasty new Safeway sits. Before that, I know from a man I met when I worked on the St Kilda paper, the site was a formal garden around a large Victorian mansion.
my great-uncle is now 90. he lives just outside a tiny town an hours' drive from Melbourne, with two old but still fiercely barking dogs, at which he bellows loudly. he had a stroke a while back, but continues to live on an acre of land, stoking the fire and lurching around. he's the last of my mother's mother's generation.the thing about him, like my grandmother who died four years ago just short of her own 90th birthday, is that despite the odd slip of the tongue and memory, you can look into his clear blue-grey eyes and see it's all still in there; all 90 years of it. and there is no shillyshallying or false politeness or special treatment for the old; he's Alan. that's all you need to know.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

blogon from last week:

Blood on the tracks
Rebecca Blood is a blogger from a time before there were blogs.
Her archives start in December 1999. She wrote one of the first meta-blogging essays, musing on what it was all about, and has recently published a book on the subject. Blood's hit-rate numbers thousands of readers daily and she is generally considered an elder stateswoman of the blogging community.
Blood's day job is slightly obscure to the casual reader; how she finds time for anything but trawling the web and maintaining her smooth-running site is an equal mystery.
She is currently (and understandably) fixated on the war issue but in general she takes her own advice on how to blog: she considers anything out there that she's interested in to be fair game, adding her opinions in a voice developed over several years of online writing.
Sometimes it seems like she is already ruling the world: "When unsafe conditions are found, I want a follow-up inspection in a week. And if the conditions haven't been corrected, I want the inspectors to be required to shut down the factory, meat-handling plant, or whatever the facility until the required conditions have been met."
At other times Blood tackles inner-city lifestyles, the retreat or otherwise of the Sahara Desert, and wireless networks in Wales.
What she does not offer is trivial quizzes or descriptions of the state of her bathroom; this is serious blogging.
Having surfed around for a while, Blood has a highly refined list of must-read blogs that would serve as a primer for any new blogger. In her chosen categories of "gothica", domestic issues, film, books, "gaia" and exotica, she also offers a thoroughly road-tested selection of links.
From time to time Blood segues into full-blown opinion-style essays; titles included under the "other words" link are Breast Feeding in a Capitalist Society and Fighting the Merchants of Cool.
thinking of someone I used to know who should have changed his life but didn't; the only way to change your life is to change the way you live your life.