Friday, 31 October 2008

Communication Breakdown!! Woe Is Me!!

Alas my metal companion is ailing. Caliginosity has fallen upon this Sydney blogger.

I awoke this morning, fed the cats, turned on the TV and turned on my other favourite machine to hear a very strange noise. Beep, beep, beep, beep.....what ails you my friend I asked?

By the third try of turning it on and off, panic started to set heart was pounding. What have I done to deserve this (the song kept running through my mind).

OK reality check Peggy, let's settle down and find a solution.

I called my computer guy who thought there might be some dust in the RAM and wanted me to take off the cover and clean it. I can do that I said, and hung up. You know that housework I haven't been attending to, well looks like the dust crept into the computer as it had filled up all the other places.

Unfortunately cleaning the RAM did not fix the problem, so I will be having a forced break from blogging - an addict's worse nightmare!

So if you don't hear from me for a short while be happy in the knowledge I will have a clean house, be catching up on my reading and missing you all a great deal.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Dead Silence: When Part Of Our Language Dies.

SOS. We all know what it signifies. Trouble. Big Trouble.
At the literal level, when we try to unpack the acronym, we get Save Our Souls or Sick Of School or Same Old Song or Sounds Of Silence. Believe me, a shortage of "S" words, there isn't, as I posted just recently.

Generally, though, SOS is one of those acronyms, such as Qantas, that operates as a single unit, so no one feels the need to unpack the initials. Convenience like this usually wins in the end.

In the saving process, the one who saves is always considered worthy. Capsizing boats. Nosediving planes. But also beached whales, endangered species, heritage homes and coral reefs.

Now a new contender asking to be saved has arrived. ITS WORDS!! OLD WORDS...VERY OLD WORDS...Words on the point of oblivion. I have just finished reading an article that Collins Dictionary has launched a Save The Last Word Project for 24 near-extinct words that need public support if they're to hold onto their place on the page.

For a word, axing is the final stage of a long road called dying. First it gets marked as archaic which indicates hospice status. Then teams of lexicographers, like palliative care professionals, convene and consider. They look for evidence of the word's use and, now that we live in an electronic world, that's almost as easy to do as to say. While no one dresses in black or gets out the hymn books, the axing decision is not made lightly!

To pre-empt the death knell, Collins has enlisted the power of celebrity to help save words on the endangered list. Some well-knowns from the media, TV and politics are each adopting an endangered word.

Some examples:
Skirr: the sound made by a bird's wings in flight
Fubsy: short and stout; squat
Niddering: cowardly
Caliginosity: dimness; darkness
Fatidical: prophetic
Periapt: a charm or amulet

During the monitoring period (now until February next year)adopters are to champion their word by introducing it into as many public language opportunitis as they can.

On the Day of Reckoning, the decision to axe or not to axe will be made by Collins on the basis of how well the word has moved beyond its nominal champion's lexicon to a wider natural usage across a range of users and media.

It gives new meaning to "die hard"!!!

This is one of many photos I took at 'Sculpture by the Sea' yesterday.....I thought it was very appropriate to be included in this post.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Not of our Choosing

I have been thinking a good deal about choice lately, how important it is to recognise what choices we are making with regard to our ethics and our behaviour because, as those choices accumulate, they shape the person we become.

But there are other ways in which the notion of choice is much less clear-cut. Politicians and others talk a great deal, for example, about choice in education and medical care, as though choice were an equal-access opportunity. Questions of choice become more complicated still in situations that are not dependent on wealth or health but on quirks of fate or luck.

Losing a job you like because the company collapses; not having the marriage or career you expected; not having the child you've longed for since you were a child yourself; buying a house in the wrong suburb at the wrong time; having a major crisis of faith; losing a beloved person far too early; experiencing betrayal: the list can be endless - and endlessly unfair!

There is no worst here. When is come to suffering, comparisons are totally useless. Each serious loss, disappointment or sorrow is felt acutely. Knowing that others may have worse sorrows brings little or no comfort.

It is impossible to offer a simple formula for these situations, yet I am confident that talking about what we are feeling is almost always much better than avoiding it. Burying a sorrow in a mountain of work or at the bottom of a glass is tempting, but it gives the wound no chance to heal. It also means there is no chance to gain a little insight and compassion, or to receive the kindness that others can give you.

It takes courage to speak frankly about our toughest griefs. It takes more courage still to accept the comfort of others, especially when that's often clumsy and inadequate. Yet, the truth is we human beings are social creatures, and while talking about our sorrows cannot change them, it re-establishes a crucial sense of connection and almost always brings glimpses of relief.

Some people benefit from confiding in the people closest to them, others from talking to a professional, while many others find that their greatest support comes from listening as well as talking to people in the same situation as themselves.

Soul baring of this kind is not the same as friendly chats. It requires facing raw truths and building some acceptance, at least of what cannot be changed. Sometimes a different idea of 'choice' may emerge and even unexpected sets of possibilities.

But first there needs to be honest grieving for the old reality or lost dreams. Recovery from any kind of serious setback is usually patchy. Patience as well as time is needed. Yet even the toughest of situations can yield up moments of kindness and relief if we let them. It's kindness that can sustain and restore trust: not trust that life will be as we once hoped, but trust that life is nevertheless worth living - and that our own crumpled version of it remains precious and unique.

I write this piece acknowledging that I have been 'to hell and back' and now immensely enjoy the road I am travelling along with an inner peace and appreciation and love for all the people who helped me along the way.

Our Journey Begins

Sometimes Darkness Engulfs Us

There Is Always Light At The End Of The Tunnel

I took these photos while barging in Eastern France in June 2008; three glorious weeks, one of the most relaxing holidays I have ever experienced.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

When God Paints

I was sent this email today, it said the photos had not been enhanced, but even if they have, there is no denying the beauty of nature.

The first photo had this title:
The Day the Paint Box fell from Heaven'. (This is a real place outside Bakersfield , California )

We live in an awesome world.
Make it an awesome day.
Peace To All and May God Bless You
Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Luggage Lunacy

As a few of you know I usually travel overseas once a year. Living in Australia so far away from just about everywhere, I feel the call to explore, discover, learn about other places/people in our beautiful world.

BUT before I can leave my destination airport there is a ritual to go through which I would like to share with you all.....a detail of modern life that never fails to amaze and mostly amuse me, it the way normal-looking people behave around airport baggage carousels.

We all get off the plane, traipse along endless dreary corridors and queue through Passport Control without incident, but then the weary but still basically civilised crowd hits the luggage-collection area and is transformed into a crazy, wild-eyed mob! Men in executive suits and women in smart-casual clothes suddenly become raving lunatics.

The first sign of this lemming-like fever is the sprint to be as close as possible to the point where the bags appear from the great hidden beyond that is the airport baggage handling area. I always deliberately stand on the far side to try to avoid the really mad people. Having established a comfy spot where I can see what's coming, but where there is no one with an overly aggressive demeanour too close, I settle in for the wait.

But no matter how unappealing my spot in the hierarchy of prime carousel-watching real estate, after about 15 minutes, when I am feeling a certain claim over my territory, someone will come and stand right in front of me, leaning in over the conveyor belt, so it's suddenly impossible to see anything, let alone grab my bag should it ever appear.

I try to rise above it by attempting to understand the behaviour I see around me. I can appreciate that, at the end of a long journey, everyone just wants to get the hell out of there - and then there is the issue of the taxi queue. But, really, is it going to make that much of a difference to the big picture of your journey if you have to wait two more minutes to grab your bag?

Rational thought doesn't seem to come into it. There is a kind of demented group obsession to see the bag. Then get the bag. Woe betide you if you're in the way when Mrs Grabby has spotted her case coming along. She'd club you to death to get at it!

There seems to be a great fear of not getting the bag off the carousel immediately. What do they think will happen if they can't get to it the first time and it goes back through the rubber curtain? Have they confused the moving luggage carousel with the set-up at a crematorium? Do they think their bag will be taken straight into an incinerator? Surely they have seen the strange purple suitcase that goes round and round in every luggage-collection hall on earth? Wait five flipping minutes and your bag will come round again like a tired slice of mackerael in a conveyor-belt sushi joint.

The philosophical me asks could we please rise up and end this collective luggage lunacy? All together now: ohmmmmmmmmm.....

Post Script
Now I was not going to mention philosophy in this post as Roban (Flygirl) commented I was too philosophical for her at this point in time (I totally agree I go overboard sometimes) and Annemarie (McMGrad89) asked does my brain hurt......yes when I don't get enough sleep........BUT I had to slip it in didn't I!!!!

I took this photo while barging in France in June this year......just look how orderly these cows lined up to have their photos taken....we can learn alot from them.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Answers, Questions and maybe WISDOM!

My philosophy class resumed last week for another term, so I am feeling in a very philosophical will pass, but I will take advantage of it while I am here....or should that be whilst I am here?

ONE of the greatest gifts one generation can give to another is the knowledge gained from experience!

Wisdom is a rare commodity. There are a lot of very brilliant people, bright people, clever people, NOT so many people who are wise.

Wisdom isn't an answer, wisdom IS a question! I went to see a shrink once, I was bothered by things in my childhood and my youth.......And I was so disappointed that the shrink didn't have a big bag of answers! I came to be very grateful for it later, that what they have is a big bag of questions. We have the answers....And that is when I found that the answer is invariably in the question. We carry our own question around with us.......are you still with me!

I grew up feeling unloved - all around me were seemingly happy, blissful people and my question was WHY don't I feel like everyone else.

There is no answer. It's like your Mother saying "where have you been till this time of night". The question was in the answer. She didn't want you to tell her. The question WAS the answer......And thats where wisdom is: in the constant questioning of where you are......And when you stop wanting to know, you're dead......You're walking, but you're dead.

What do I live by? - one of the things I try to do is not to believe in too much.

What do I know that's absolutely, incontrovertibly true? - All I can say is that everything changes. Thats all I know with any degree of certainty! It's all going to change and flowing within change keeps us flexible.......And helps to develop a sense of humour about everything!

Gee I am glad I got that off my chest!!

In 2007 3 friends and myself travelled to the Northern Territory in Australia and visited Kings Canyon, I took dozens of photos but this one gave me a feeling of wonderment.

Please Don't Ask Me for More Detail!

SHOCK headline this week: six out of 10 of us don't understand carbon trading. Well, let me be the first to admit it: most of us don't know anything. We are children wandering around in an adult world. Really, you'd be shocked by what your fellow citizens don't know.

I'll go first. Then it can be your turn. I don't understand carbon trading. I'm fuzzy on the history of the conflict in the Middle East. And I have no ready explanation for the success of the band Coldplay.

I am also unable to pronounce the name of the new Russian president, am uncertain how to convert metres into feet.....some things, perhaps, are just beyond human comprehension.

Antigua - you might be interested - is a country in Africa, or quite possibly an island in the Mediterranean. The Battle of Pozieres was a very important battle during World War I or maybe World War II......(If you are having a dinner party at home play for time, try to distract them, say you are going to the loo and then look it up on Wikipedia.)

What's interesting is we are all staggered by each other's ignorance.

I love the way we're all so confident of our knowledge - right up until someone asks for a little detail.

I think back to my years of schooling and try to list all the facts of which I remain certain. It all comes down to this: Hitler was a vegetarian, an oxbow lake is something to do with a river. I'm also pretty sure that the way it gets colder as you go up a mountain is called the adiabatic lapse rate. I learnt this is year 9 and have been waiting for the chance to drop it into a conversation ever since.

Some knowledge seems to stick in my mind. Elvis Presley's stillborn twin brother was called Jesse. And Pete Best was the original drummer of the Beatles. These things - once learnt - can never be forgotten.

Yet other knowledge seems to visit briefly and then leave. For several weeks now I've been listening to a series of CD's by Bruce Lipton on the Biology of Belief - how our beliefs shape our health and destiny. I understand completely what the author is on about. I am with him sentence by sentence, right up until the moment I turn off the CD. I then find - one second later! - that I can remember nothing at all. Asked to repeat a single insight from the CD, I would babble like a baby.

And so I make an effort - reading The Herald, watching the news, listening to the PM program on the radio - and still the questions crowd in. So what exactly was the nature of the Palestinian nation before the formation of Israel? Why were negotiations with the IRA suddenly successful?

Should we feel embarrassment about these gaps in our knowledge? I take comfort from the way the experts themselves seem to know nothing. Consider the sharemarket and how all the commentators are so skilled at explaining, with absolute certainty, the inevitability of every move - but only after it has happened. In terms of prediction, their record is worse than that achieved by a deranged man with a sharemarket table and a pin.

So there you have it, is this phenomenon happening to anyone else out there!

Here is a photo I took in Kenya in 2006......they say elephants never forget!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


I was astounded to read that half the world's population suffers from poverty.

Where does one begin to write about a subject that has already had millions of words written, spoken, sung about it. I know in order for change to happen discussion, planning etc have to be entered into BUT we have 'talked the talk', NOW we need to 'walk the walk'. My philosophy is "Actions Speak Louder Than Words" you will be happy to know you will not be subjected to another monologue about poverty on this blog.

The facts are we know POVERTY exists and we ALL can help make a difference.............How You Ask???

An organisation called KIVA , a non-profit, was formed 3 years ago and is one of the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending websites. Ordinary people like ourselves can help those less fortunate by lending as little as $25 to a specific low-income entrepreneur in the developing world.

You choose who to lend to - whether a baker in Afghanistan, a goat herder in Uganda, a farmer in Peru, a restaurateur in Cambodia, or a tailor in Iraq - and as they repay their loan, you get your money back. It’s a powerful and sustainable way to empower someone right now to lift themselves out of poverty.

I travelled to Rwanda in 2006 with a friend and wrote about it in my blog just recently. What I didn't relate in that story was that we observed the work first hand of KIVA in that country, producing self sufficient people who otherwise would have been begging on the street.

One final word on this important 'Blog Action Day 2008 - Poverty' is I have made up an acronym for POVERTY. I'd be interested to see what other acronyms other bloggers can come up with.

Please join me in supporting KIVA which in turn helps 'makes poverty history'!


I would like to thank AVT Coach who gave me the 'heads up' about Blog Action Day (October 15th). I love how the blog community shares information, and now realise blogging can play a huge part in exercising change for many causes. I feel very proud to be connected with this day and if only one person makes a $25 loan to help someone who is struggling with poverty then this post was well worth it.

I took this photo in Nyanza, Rwanda in November 2006, it shows how your money can be used to help set up a business and in turn feed and clothe several families.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

What Does the Future Hold

WE STAND at the petrol bowser, slumped but attentive, watching the screen count upwards. The number is awesome, in the sense of inspiring awe. Shock and awe. How can it be that high? How can they make counting machines that move that fast?

You expect people to shout out, to curse, yet there's a strange quiet on the petrol station forecourt. We're like penitents in some strange religious service. We pay up and limp off like beaten dogs.

People say the car will soon disappear - priced out of the reach of all but the rich. Yet it's tough work imagining life without the car. Around here, it's a part of life; a strange tumour wrapped around our essential organs.

For the past five decades, the car has been the ultimate symbol of escape - the tool that unshackled us from our parents. It has been the ticket to freedom. The badge of adulthood.

There are so many things we'll lose, once the car disappears. Like the peculiar smell of stale milk and squashed lollies that built up around a child's car seat.
Or the best route from Sydney to Brisbane. Or - in the dying days of petrol - how to get an extra kilometre to the litre by coasting down the hills, or removing your roof racks, or filling up on cold mornings when the petrol was less likely to vapourise before it went into the tank.

"Oh yeah, mate, I'd save 5, maybe 6, cents a week, just by filling up at the right time, in terms of the diurnal temperature range."

The family holiday will be the most obvious casualty of life without the car. A whole culture will be wiped out - the long trips up the coast, the Boxing Day traffic jams, the way all the parents were driven insane somewhere around Macksville by the 44th repeat of the Wiggles CD.

Perhaps people will keep the old traditions alive, much like enthusiasts recreate medieval battles. Unable to leave home due to high fuel costs, families will just re-enact the traditional holiday - the kids forced to sit on the lounge-room couch for six hours at a stretch, chanting "Are we there yet?" while the father threatens to "Stop this car this bloody minute unless everyone shuts up and lets me drive."

Dad will be saying this, of course, sitting on a kitchen chair, placed just in front of the couch, his hands on an imaginary steering wheel. The mother will sit next to him, pointing out the speed limit. Occasionally they'll throw a packet of chips into the back, keeping the kids quiet for another stretch of pretend highway.

Once the car is consigned to the dustbin of history, there will be a wave of nostalgia. Maybe Old Sydney Town can reopen as the Petroleum Museum and Display Village. Just need to work out how people will get there.

It will be a great place, all the same. We'll have a fake drive-in, people squeezed together in stationary cars and the sound coming through those little speakers hung from the window. The cars would be immoveable - long ago emptied of petrol - so you'd miss the pleasure of driving off with the speaker still attached.

And then there'll be the pop music hall of fame, with the Ted Mulry Gang singing Jump In My Car, and Aretha Franklin belting out Freeway Of Love.

People will nod, tap their feet in time and remember the good old days. Sure, what happened was inevitable; in the end the private car had to go. But then they'd shake their heads and lament the new generation of singers, no longer able to sing about that glorious and destructive beast, the private automobile.

Somehow that new track, Jump On My Bus, isn't nearly as funky.

This is me in 1974 in my Sprite at the family home in Chatswood, Sydney.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Acronyms - WHAT THE!!!!

Acronyms are everywhere and have us scratching our heads and running to google.

A brief history of acronyms courtesy of Wikipedia:

'In the English language, the widespread use of acronyms and initialisms is a relatively new linguistic phenomenon, becoming increasingly evident since the mid-20th century. As literacy rates rose, and as advances in science and technology brought with them more complicated terms and concepts, the practice of abbreviating terms became increasingly convenient. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) records the first printed use of the word initialism as occurring in 1899, but it did not come into general use until 1965, well after acronym had become common'.

There is no escape from them - newspapers, blogs, businesses - and most of them have several meanings.

Let me give you a sample list (these all have more than 4 meanings but I had to stop somewhere) and you will see what I mean.

RAK could mean:
Random Act of Kindness.
Right Above Knee (amputation)
Raising Arizona Kids (magazine)
Remote Access Key

DNF could mean:
Data Not Found
Did Not Finish (racing)
Do Not Forget
Do Not Forward

BTW could mean:
By The Way
Between The Words
Born To Win
Before The War

SWAK could mean:
Sealed With A Kiss
Sewer Workers Are King (Honeymooners TV Show)
Spinners & Weavers Association of Korea
Shallow Water Active Kit

BMV could mean:
Be My Valentine
Below Market Value
Bedside Medication Verification
Bele Minden Vackot (Hungarian punk band)

SMS could mean:
Stupid Man Syndrome
Slow Moving Software
Simple Message Service
Special Mint Set (numismatics/coin collecting)

LOL could mean:
Laugh(ing) Out Loud
Lord Oh Lord
Log On Later
Lots Of Love

PTO could mean:
Please Turn Over
Ping Time Out
Poetry Today Online
Prison Talk Online

FBI could mean:
Federal Bureau of Investigation (US government)
Full Blooded Indian
Firm Believer in Islam
Famous But Incompetent (common slang used by militia groups)

SOS could mean:
Some One Special (chat)
Shoot on Site
Save Our Souls
Strawberry on Shortcake

OMG could mean:
Overly Managed Garden
Oh My God (chat)
Online Music Group
One Man Gang

PMS could mean:
Pardon My Stupidity
Practically My Sister
Pack My Suitcase
Power Money Sex

FFT could mean:
Food For Thought
Full Functional Test
For Further Transfer
File Format Table

Finally AVT could mean:
Adult Vocational Training
Automatic Video Tracker
Applied Vehicle Technology
Architecture Verification Test

The list is now you see why I haven't a clue sometimes what people are taking about!

I have put the acronym finder in favourites so I can keep up with the conversation, although with so many different meanings who knows whether I will be any wiser!

PS - (PostScript, Porn Star, Please Sir, Please Stay)
This post came about when Annemarie wrote RAK in one of her posts and I didn't have a clue what she was talking about.
Also I realised I did not know the meaning of AVT Coach who I follow every day, so I had to go and look that up as well.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Have some fun with the Tarot Cards

While I am working on another blog post (have to do a bit of research) I thought I would post this fun one about Tarot Cards.

It has been doing the rounds of the blogging community and I found this over at Caroline - The Zen in You about What Tarot Card are you?

This is me, let me know what you are!

You are The High Priestess

Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.

The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.