Saturday, February 21, 2009

Things I've done in the past 6 days

- Wandered around St Kilda, enjoying gelato and the sun



- Set up a UNHCR refugee tent (not single handedly)



- Hung out in the happening town of Dookie



- Hung out in the happening town of Dookie with my mate Frog from Bangladesh



- seen some of the fire affected area in country Victoria



- Had a particularly fun interview

- Scored myself an all expenses paid trip to Geneva in 10 days...you really weren't expecting that were you!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chase me! Catch me!

I'm a bit excited, I'm heading south tomorrow for Victoria. I'll be spending 5 days in Dookie (a town about 200km from Melbourne and hopefully not on fire) on a RedR training course which should be quite fun, and hopefully I'll make some nice new friends. Then it's back down to Melbourne for a few days to catch up with old friends and family (hopefully including a cousin I haven't seen in 17 years!).

I love Melbourne. The coffee tastes better in Melbourne. The clothes fit better in Melbourne. The "kulchar" is more profuse in Melbourne. It'll be nice to get away for a few days and scratch my itchy feet a bit!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Linky Linky

I had a friend once whose nickname was Linky. Anyway, here are some cool things I've stumbled across in my web browsing today...

My Kid Took These photographs taken by a 3 year old

Catherine's Animals portraits of animals against interesting backgrounds (I think my favourite is Owl 1, or maybe the porcupine, or maybe armadillo 1...)

Multicolr Search Lab lets you choose colours from a palette and then will search Flikr for photos that include those colours - a different way to see how colours work (or don't) with each other

Yeondoo Jung an artist turning children's drawings into reality (I'd seen it before, but it's really cool)

and finally

Garfield minus Garfield self explantory really

Hopefully this is the weirdest thing you see today...

Otherwise, what the hell do you get up to???



So I just found another octopus clip. I like in test 1, at around the 1 minute mark, little octo just kind of slumps down the back but he's really thinking "he's gotta come out sooner or later". And then test 2 looks like it could serve as the inspiration to a contemporary piece on "So You Think You Can Dance." Test 3, well that made me a little bit queasy. But then I started thinking about fried calamari covered in rock salt and I cheered up (and yes, I do realise that calamari is squid and not octopus...)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This is how I feel today

You can mute it, it's all about the cute

Friday, February 13, 2009

I was going to watch a lecture on international humanitarian law, but will have a nap instead

And so is the life.

I found what looked to be a productive way for me to spend my time: an online course on international humanitarian law run by the Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research. I was actually looking forward to watching an hour lecture this afternoon, but it turns out neither the video nor audio links work. Bummer. Guess it's nap time then!

S-N-O-R-G-L-E

Well, it's Valentine's Day tomorrow. I have a Valentine, his name is Kingston


Kingsford Goes to the Beach - Click here for the most popular videos

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What do you think of the new colour scheme?

The green just wasn't doing it for me. I like the photo, it's from Karak castle in Jordan. The whole photo actually shows a guy walking on top of the wall above me - I didn't have to have my head covered, I was just trying to get some shade. Emma and I were so used to wearing the orna (scarf) in Bangladesh that it took a few days to get out of the habit of wearing it. This was one of our first days in Jordan.

Another book done and dusted

Kabul Beauty School



by Deborah Rodriguez was a nice read. She's not the best writer in the world, she's a beautician actually, but what she did (and continues to do) for a number of women in Afghanistan is really impressive. By starting a beauty school that not only trained Afghani women to cut hair and do beauty treatments, but also training a number of the graduates to be teachers at the school, she helped create sustainable livelihoods for women in the capital city. Remarkable.

There are days like this

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Carly for painting

The Carly for any Occassion continues to flourish, with me being employed to help Julz with some painting on the weekend. A tip to others considering utilising my services in this area...don't. I'm not so good with a spray gun (I layer it on a bit thick), and am quite suceptible to paint fumes...basically, I'm a crappy quality painter who can't work for very long!! But it sure was fun (I still have the paint in my hair to prove it!)

Might as well face it, I'm addicted to text

Written text that is. I often surprise myself at how quickly I read books - sometimes I'm disappointed that I've devoured a book too quickly...it's a terrible thing. I have a small support group, Vardy also eats books ridiculously quickly. But at least I've been aiming to read books with a bit more substance than the chick lit that's been piling up. So here are some of the better books I've read in the past couple of weeks.

Marching Powder



by Rusty Young. This is the story of Thomas McFadden, an English drug smuggler caught in Bolivia and sent to San Pedro prison in La Paz - Rusty is a young Australian guy who actually lived in the prison with Thomas for a few months to write his story. If I'd had an extra day in La Paz I would've gone into the prison (it's more of a social microcosm than a traditional prison) and experienced this for myself. Thomas's stories are pretty incredible, and it's really hard to believe that such a system truly exists.

The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices



by Xinran, a Chinese radio journalist who recorded some of the many stories she was told by women from all over the country. It was really quite heartbreaking to read some of these stories, and reminded me how lucky I am to have grown up in a politically stable country in relative wealth.

Another Day in Paradise: front line stories from international aid workers



edited by Carol Bergman, the book is divided into three sections; natural disasters, war, and fragile peace. The stories are an interesting mix, some retelling one particular event or day, others describing years of war, and some are better written than others. Most of the stories are from the 90s, so it's interesting to read with the added benefit of hindsight, and also with sadness knowing how some places are still suffering the same problems as 15 years ago. Sobering.

Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide



by Peter Allison. A really funny memoir of the author's years in Africa leading safaris...it really reinforced just how much I want (need?) to get to Africa, and was a welcome respite from the seriousness of the books above.

A Long Way Gone: memoirs of a child soldier



by Ishmael Beah. I remember writing in a post ages ago (maybe in was on my old blog) that I was wanting to read this book. Wow. For those of you who have seen the movie "Blood Diamond" you'll be able to imagine what happens in this book, which recalls Ismael's time as a child soldier during the civil war in Sierra Leone. It was only because of that movie that I could picture what was happening. The recruiting of children into armed service, and the treatment they endure during their time (and after) is just such an alien concept to me. I really struggled to believe that this could, and still does, happen, when I know full well that it does - particularly when Ismael is around the same age as me. So while I was fretting over starting high school, he was holding an AK-47...

Friday, February 6, 2009

See how I rolled

On March 7th, at 3pm on Channel 10 there's going to be a documentary screening about the AYAD program. My friend Pierre was chosen to represent a typical AYAD in Bangladesh (*snort*) and as such, will play a starring role in the doco, along with AYADs from PNG, Vietnam, Indonesia and Samoa. So you'll be able to get a glimpse into what our lives were like in Bangladesh. That being said, Pierre led a different kind of life to me - because he was in the capital city, among other reasons - but still, I'm sure you'll find it interesting.

So lock in the day and time and meet my mate Pierre!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Tale Teller

As I go through more and more of my old stuff, I unearth more and more gems. And today, I'm passing on one of these treats to you. When I was 7 and a half, I entered my story "The two knights and the magic potion" into the Albert Shire (now the Gold Coast city) Library's "Tale Teller's Tournament". Unbelievably, I was robbed of first place by 6 year old Jessica Rosewell, who's story "Gumnut the koala" was deemed better. It wasn't a better story, it only had 49 words (yes, I just counted them!) - I guess she was just a bit cuter than me, maybe she was missing her front teeth or something.

Anyway, I'm not bitter...so here it is

"The Two Knights and the Magic Potion"



A long time ago the King of England sent for his knights Sir Lancelot and Sir Gwain to find a magic potion to make people kinder. And this is where the adventure starts.

The wind was howling, the clouds were grey, would they and their horses Flicka and Lightning be able to get there? It was a long way. Soon they came upon a great forest and were half way. Suddenly, a giant jumped out but Sir Lancelot killed it. "Thank you," said Sir Gwain. They kept on walking for three hours before they found a camp for the night. Very early in the morning they woke up and started riding and soon were out of the forest. But alas, just as they were out of the forest, there was quicksand and Sir Lancelot fell in with Lightning. The horse got out but with sadness Sir Lancelot had passed away!

So Sir Gwain kept riding. He passed a deep ravine, full of strange echoes. Soon he came to the top and there before his eyes was the ruined castle where the magic potion was. He ran as fast as he could. He came up to big iron doors, they were bolted but Sir Gwain swung his sword and ripped the lock. He entered the spooky splace and started walking north and came to a staircase and climbing very carefully, went up. He got to the top and started walking east and went into a door and there was the bottle containing the magic potion. He ran in and grabbed the bottle and ran outside and jumped on his horse and rode away.

Suddenly his enemies jumped out of a bush and took him hostage. Flicka ran away but still watched where the enemies were taking Sir Gwain. They tied him up with rope and went away. Soon Flicka came and chewed the rope and Sir Gwain was free. They caught up with the enemies, Sir Gwain grabbed the potion and rode away as fast as he could. He opened the bottle and it had two uses. It could make people who were dead come alive again, and make people kinder. Sir Gwain rode to the quicksand and poured some of the potion in and Sir Lancelot was brought back to life. He was so happy.

Sir Gwain let Sir Lancelot ride on Flicka because Lightning had run away. Very soon they came to the King's castle and entered. It was just on nightfall. They saw the King and gave him the magic potion. He unscrewed the lid and inside were instructions and ingredient. So the King of England made a lot more and the people of England were very kind.

The End.



Seven and a half years old people, and 450 words!! And I just have to clarify this - Mum just read through it herself and said, "and you did this all by yourself, with no help at all". That's bloody brilliant, even if I do say so myself!! My favourite part is when all Gwain has to say after being saved from a rabid giant is a very polite "thank you".

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Easy like Sunday morning?

Some bright spark (hint: it wasn't me) decided that a Sunday morning stroll down to the beach would be a good idea. I couldn't agree more, it did sound like a lovely way to start the morning. The 7:30am departure time wasn't such a fantastic idea though...

It was a nice (2.82km according to Google Earth) stroll down to the beach, where we happily sat sandwiched under a picnic shelter between a quiet druggie and two middle-aged, new-aged women (talking about some hippy crap). Some nice people have put up their photos in Google Earth which is good, because I didn't take my camera - Currumbin Alley is a nice spot.

Anyways, it was an easy 3.1km stroll home on the boardwalk through the mangroves, after spotting a dolphin lazily gliding very close to the shore in the estuary, and millions of tiny, colourful mud crabs in th mangroves. Definitely a good walk to keep fit (particularly if I include a job up the stairs to the viewing platform), but I think I might try late afternoon strolls rather than early mornings.

Oh yeah, pinch and punch...

In the spirit of the previous post...

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals