Wednesday, January 31, 2007

It has been a busy time! This morning has been hectic. I think I am now finally getting things under control. I am starting to understand my job (after doing it for 6 weeks). Sampling is still a pain in the nether regions, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. A little. My boss and his boss both seem to think I'm doing quite well. That's always comforting.
I notice my good friend Andrew has joined the world of blogging. His new blog is now linked from here, if you would care to take a look to your right.
By the way, I was right about my book - I already got bored with writing it, although I might perservere on a much slower basis. I got up to Chapter 3. That beats most of my writing efforts.
Why can't people understand, I've got a short attention span!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What makes a killer?

Close examination of serial killers reveals many similarities in their lives, personalities, and attributes. To what extent is their predilection to violence genetic, and to what extent influenced by their circumstances? In other words: nature or nurture?
A checklist to identify a potential serial killer might include: suffering abuse from a parent; an alcoholic parent; an underprivileged childhood; witnessing abuse of or by a parent. However none of these things, or even all of them combined, inevitably create a serial killer.
It is generally accepted that a susceptibility to alcoholism is genetic. However alcoholism itself is not. Same with violent tendencies. If a parent is abusive, it is likely the child will grow up with violent tendencies. But why? Because of genetic programming, or because abuse becomes normality to them through experience?
Either way, it is a very large jump from abuse to killing somebody. What causes somebody make that jump?
There is a disease called Munchausen's Syndrome, and Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy. The syndrome starts when somebody seeks attention and sympathy by faking or exaggerating symptoms of an illness. It sometimes, but not always, moves on to the "Proxy" stage: when somebody causes illness or injury to a third party (usually a child in their care). Sometimes they "save" their victim, bringing praise upon themselves. Sometimes the victim dies, resulting in sympathy and more attention for the perpetrator. Beverley Allitt is a prime example of this type of killer: she started by wearing false casts on her arm and complaining of back pains, then moved on to cutting herself with broken glass, and finally ended up as a nurse killing her child patients.
My take on this syndrome, particularly in Allitt's case, is a lack of attention. Allitt was one of four children, and was an overweight adolescent. Under certain circumstances, getting attention in any way possible can become a driving force. But don't take this to mean that I'm blaming her parents, society, or anybody other than herself. There was obviously something very broken inside her that caused her to take the conditions dished out to her and warp them into a drive to kill children.
A disease such as that is only one explanation for why somebody kills. Many serial killers are acting out bizaare fantasies or trying to kill an aspect of themselves or somebody they think has wronged them. Men who kill prostitutes may be impotent. Men who kill blonde women may have been scorned by a blonde woman in early adolescence. Men who kill gay men may be repressing their own homosexual urges. Who knows?
That's what makes the whole area such a fascinating study. Nobody knows!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Some countries celebrate the day they won their independance. Some celebrate the day they won (and lost) their civil war. Some celebrate the date a nasty traitor was executed. Australia's independance was achieved quietly and calmly on January 1st 1901 and is rather overshadowed by New Years celebrations. We've never had a civil war, unless you count the mindless slaughter of thousands of Aboriginals, and we're not too proud of that these days. As for executions, our best is Ned Kelly and nobody could tell you the date he was hanged. So instead, we celebrate the date that our illustrious founder (at least, he claims he found us, but the Dutch were here first) first sailed to our shores. On January 26th many many years ago (I confess I've forgotten the year), Captain James Cook arrived here. He jumped ashore, killed some blacks, and claimed the land for England under the law of Terra Nullius. Terra Nullius is a funny old law which states that any uninhabited, unowned land can be claimed. He conveniently forgot that Aboriginals are humans and that they most certainly did inhabit this great land of ours. Oops! Not to worry. Before long, our esteemed island was converted into a prison camp anyway. Transportation for seven years was a common sentence for crimes of great magnitude - stealing some food to survive, for instance. Most of the transportees never went home. Land was plentiful and cheap here (they were giving it away at one point), and anyone prepared to work hard could make it big! And they did.
I've now become far too lazy to continue with this history lesson. Suffice to say, our so-called national day is a farce, but I still intend to get drunk and watch fireworks and have a barbeque.

The Pickton case has re-kindled my old interest in serial killers. I’ve pulled out my “Women Who Kill” book again, by Carol Anne Davis. I just finished reading again about Myra Hindley and Ian Brady. Myra has always stuck me as an intriguing character. Close to her mother, loved children, was crazy about her dogs... but assisted Ian in abducting and killing five kids. She was so obsessed with Ian, wanting only to please him and gain his approval, that nothing else seemed to matter. I don’t know whether to admire or be repulsed by a love that strong. She was evidently a little warped in her expression of it. I suppose she didn’t have great role models: her father beat her and her mother, and she lived with her grandmother from the age of four onwards.

Most people don’t really think about how their parents influence their behaviour in terms of relationships and perceptions of normality. I thought it was perfectly normal for a couple to be married for over 30 years, be on an equal footing, and kiss in front of their children. That’s what I saw from my parents as I grew up. I guess Myra thought it was normal for a woman to be completely subservient to her man, worship him, and acquiesce to his will at all times.

Now I know that it’s normal for my husband to be wrapped around my little finger...!!!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wish I was a truckie, truckie truckie truckie. Wish I was a truckie truuuck. (Thank you, Kylie Minogue.) If I were a truckie I’d be likely to pick up somebody like Aileen Wournos and get myself murdered. Or pick up a prostitute and be suspected of her murder. Truckies seem to have an inordinate amount of involvement in crimes, if only as initial suspects. Funny how few of them turn out to be criminals.

Despite initially tossing around the idea of truck drivers, Vancouver’s latest serial killer turned out to be a pig farmer. Or should I still say “alleged” serial killer. Robert Pickton’s pig farm has apparently been the final resting place for about 30 prostitutes who had been working the so-called “Low Track”. His trial has recently started, with a plea of not-guilty to the initial charges of six murders. He stands accused of a total of 26 murders, but is not to be tried on all at once. Too much for the jury to handle, apparently.

I have read from several sources that if Pickton is convicted of at least 14 murders he will become Canada’s worst serial killer after Marc Lepine. However I am unsure as to the validity of that information, as Lepine was in fact a spree or mass killer as opposed to a serial killer. He gunned down 14 people in Montreal in 1989 and then killed himself.

This will be an interesting case to watch unfold...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I’m writing a book. I’ll probably get bored and give up halfway through. In the meantime it’s being published in installments at

Enjoy! Or not.

Monday, January 22, 2007

It rained for most of the weekend.

This may seem a topic unworthy of a blog post, but when you realise how long we’ve been in drought you’ll understand why I mention the rain.

Australia has now been in drought for about ten years. I kid you not. To see the pavements shining, to need an umbrella, to be dripping wet just from stepping outside – these were sensations I barely remembered! The weekend was marvellous. All day Saturday, all Saturday night, then again on Sunday afternoon – rain! I really felt like I lived in Melbourne, instead of the Sahara.

When Melbourne decides to be itself, it’s time for indoor pursuits. So we went to the Old Melbourne Gaol. (Archaic spelling is deliberate, that’s how they still write it!) I expected it to feel creepy, particularly at the scaffold... but no. Nothing. Perhaps the endless parade of tourists has scared away all the ghosts, instead of the other way around. There’s nothing like putting on a dramatisation to kill atmosphere.

Friday, January 19, 2007

This workplace is food mad. Every Monday morning we take turns to bring in some snack food. Every Friday morning we got toasted sandwiches from a cafe down the road. Every time it’s somebody’s birthday we have party pies and sausage rolls. And sometimes somebody will bring food Just Because. Today, Belinda has brought Rocky Road which she made herself last night, and it is soooooo good. But today was sandwich day too! So much fat! But so tasty. No lunch for Stace today!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Terry Pratchett has a lot to answer for.

This morning I was seriously entertaining the thought of barricading off Swanston St (one of Melbourne’s main shopping strips) and starting my own republic there. It would be fun! We could have a campfire, and sing inspirational and rebellious songs... Peace, love, justice, and being Back in Black.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Within an hour of my arrival at work, all my allotted tasks are complete. I had hoped that this department would challenge me and keep me occupied, but thus far my hopes are disappointed. I can only imagine that customers continue to send emails to my absent manager, and that upon his return we will face a backlog of unknown but doubtless immense proportions. In the meantime I can only go back to assisting those who were my colleagues, although that department is also far from busy.

It is times like this I begin to daydream. How nice would a better paying job be, to enable more travel and adventures! This job has so many negatives I wonder why I am still here. It is too far from home, my hours are exhaustingly long, and my pay is well below average for this job type.

Dissatisfaction is rife within my heart. I am corporatised, conformed, cloned, cornered. I wear nice clothes and uncomfortable shoes. I have removed most of my piercings, and have refrained from getting a tattoo. I want to go wild! I want to spike my hair instead of brushing it, and shop at Victorian Gothic instead of Target. I want to be me.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Intrigue and drama. Suspense and excitement. Wonder and awe. All of these are excellent words which do not describe my precise situation right now. More appropriate words to my mood, would include tired, bored, and slightly ill. I would, of course, be slightly less ill if I had eaten a single item of healthy food on the weekend. I would also be less tired if we didn’t have friends over for a movie marathon and Trivial Pursuit. I’d be less bored if I had any work to do.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I am the last person to complain about being ticked off for something I’ve done wrong. I can take criticism (on a professional level, I’m not so great at personal stuff!!!) when I have done something wrong. I can also accept criticism aimed at the company for which I work, when it comes from a customer who sees me as a representative of that company, regardless of who’s mistake it actually was. But when a colleague calls me and gives me grief about somebody else’s mistake, when he knows very well who’s mistake it was, that is just not on. This is a member of our management team who knows very well who’s who and who did what. What was I supposed to say to him? I ended up apologising! For somebody else’s screw-up, about which I knew nothing prior to this phone call, to somebody I am not answerable to anyway! I am pretty pee’d off, I can tell you. I’ll stop ranting now, I’ve probably over-reacted anyway. Bah!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Well, real life has resumed. At least half the staff here are back at work, I’m doing my real job instead of trying to be three people at once, and I’m at work alone for the last half hour of the day. Perfect Normality.

How did I enjoy my weekend, let me count the ways... Saturday night was the birthday party of Aidan’s cousin, which was a great deal of fun. They’re a really nice family, we always have a ball with them. A few drinks, a water fight with their young daughter (my flowergirl), and adventures with the mini-skateboard we got for the birthday boy.

It’s amazing how the sincere words of a child can touch one – she hugged me and told me that I’d make a great mum one day. If anybody would know it would be a child. It’s something that I have worried about. I’ve never had much to do with children and frequently feel uncomfortable with them. So to hear, from a child, that I’d make a great mum was rather a revelation to me and touched me deeply.

Moving right along to Sunday... ahhh Sunday. One of those inexplicably wonderful happy days. Nothing of significance really happened. It was just one of those days. It’s probably something to do with being newlywed!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Thoughts are strange. I don't mean anything thought in particular, I meanthoughts as a "thing". What is a thought? It's nothing solid, nothingvisible, it has no smell. They're intangible and inexplicable, yet we havethem all the time! Electrical impulses, whizzing and buzzing, long phrasesinvolving the word nueron... that doesn't explain much. Why and how do wethink? And why, if it's a biological thing and all humans are human, areall our thoughts different? Where's the evolutionary benefit in having anopinion or thinking differently from a peer? What benefit or detrimentdoes a thought bring to an individual? Perhaps we only think we'rethinking. I doubt that I am doubting! I love a good paradox. At least, Ithink I do. I think I think I do... and so on. Why does my brainunderstand cryptic crosswords, when other people struggle? Why do numbersand scientific terminology pass me by when other people comprehend them soeasily? How does my brain look at a phrase like "Way of living involvingsilly feet" and figure out it means "Lifestyle"? The human head must be aremarkable place, yet we all just wander around taking them for granted.After all, everybody's got one and it can't be that special if everyone'sgot one!You only have to look at learning processes and memory to be astounded. Achild learns to walk and talk and eat, learns the words to a nurseryrhyme, learns that fire is hot and ice is cold. All of these things formhabits, impulses, reactions, memories, a myriad of vague concepts andactions which somehow translate into an adult's knowledge of the world.For instance, a child may touch a hot pan and get burnt. The child recoilsautomatically (even more astonishing, he didn't even have to learn to pullhis hand back, it just happens), and he is in pain. He knows then that hotthings burn and hurt, and knows to avoid such things in future. Thus, asan adult he uses oven-mitts. He probably never even consciously remembersthe first time he got burnt, he just knows what would happen.Songs always intrigue me... take a set of words, say them to somebody oneor two times, and they'll no doubt forget most of the words. But stringthose words together into a tune, set it to music, and it sticks in thehead! It's as though the brain recognises and remembers the PATTERN ratherthan trying to remember the WORDS. It knows what comes next.A person should try never to lose certain qualities of childhood. Thesense of wonder and awe should be retained, the curiousity should neverfade. Looking at the world through the eyes of a child but with theunderstanding of an adult is a wonderful experience. It is for me, but foryou it just means that you've read a long blog filled with unansweredquestions.