Sunday, September 30, 2007

Well folks, I've just done my longest scooter-ride yet. From home to Aidan's parents' place and back again, 70km each way. I was a tad nervous before both trips, but once on the scooter I felt pretty relaxed and cool about the whole thing. It was pretty windy and gusty, and it rained a little on the way home, but I think I handled it quite well, it felt good. I now know that my Bella goes up to 90km/hr quite comfortably, although I probably wouldn't want to push her much more than that. Aidan, of course, rode his bushbike and probably averaged 60km/hr, so he should be home soon. Now I'm knackered, I think it's time for a nap!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Supermarkets in Australia have done a wonderful job in promoting the use of re-useable bags instead of plastic. In the express lanes, you don't get a plastic bag at all if you buy three items or less. They have signs up telling you how many plastic bags are used on average each day, and it's a nastily high number. They have Green Bags for sale for only $1 each next to the check-outs. All of this is fantastic.

The next thing to combat is receipts! A receipt is printed automatically for every transaction, no matter how small. And lets face it, how many people think of recycling receipts? A receipt should only be printed if requested. Let it be the customer's onus to ask for one if required, otherwise save the paper!!! Ditto with the bleeding fuel vouchers! I don't want 4 cents a litre off fuel, because I don't drive. Ask before printing that out on more paper which could be saved for something useful! Yesterday I went into Big W and bought 2 DVDs. The receipt for these two (2) items only, is 39 cm long. That's about 15 or 16 inches, I think. It's also 8 cm wide. Three hundred and twelve square centimetres of paper to demonstrate that I purchased two items, and to offer me a discount I won't use.

Shall we, for the moment, assume that most people go to Big W for a few specific things. Nobody does their grocery shopping there, or buys more than about 5 items at once. Lets say 5 items will take up 40 cm in length, 320 square centimetres, that's 64 square cm per item. It can't be just me who finds that excessive!

Big W makes about 3.5 billion dollars in annual profit. Lets forget about overheads for the moment, and work with this figure (but bear in mind their real intake of money and therefore useage of paper will be much larger). Take an average item cost of $50. That comes to seven hundred thousand items sold, at 64 square cm of paper per item. Ten thousand nine hundred and thirty-seven point five square centimetres, or 109.375 square metres, of receipt paper, most of which gets thrown straight into the bin. Don't even get me started on the ink!

So who will join me in my spur-of-the-moment campaign against receipts?! God, how would we even start? Should we write to Big W, Woolworths, Walmart, and so on? Perhaps a letter to the editor of a prominent newspaper. Or will this simple blog piece get the message out there? No matter, my minions, go forth and refuse receipts!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Some stories require more backstory than simple narration. This is one such story.

I grew up in the bush. Really in the bush. The kind of area where you learn about snakebites and changing tyres before you learn about Nintendo 64's - not that we had a Nintendo 64, but a kid down the road a bit did. To get to my primary school, which was also in the bush, my mother would drive me over dirt roads to a nondescript crossroads in the middle of nowhere. From this crossroad, the school bus would pick me up, along with a few other kids from the area, and take us the rest of the way to school. The school itself, when I started, had just three buildings: the permanent classroom, the portable classroom, and the sports supplies shed. It wasn't long before they took the portable away and we had to divide the so-called "big room" into two. We only had 27 pupils, so one class consisted of prep to grade three, whilst the other class was grades four to six. However even that 27 rapidly diminished, and shortly after I moved away from the area the school was closed down. They haven't done anything with the property or buildings yet, it's all still there just like it used to be, and that's where I dragged Aidan on the weekend! I had to see the old place again before they demolish it.

I swear the entire grounds and buildings have shrunk to about half their previous size. The play equipment is all wussie plastic now instead of metal. It's a short walk to the back of the property instead of the long run it used to be. But despite those things, I still feel that the place is exactly like it was. So many memories! I can't believe I'd forgotten all about Trog the Dog - beloning to our prinicpal and becoming something of a school mascot. And the time some of us convinced ourselves that the place nextdoor was haunted, and we spent ages staring at it petrified that something might prove us right! I remember a girl called Amanda hogging the swing all lunchtime, probably because nobody would play with her. I remember us girls being taunted if, when upside down on play equipment, our underwear should accidentally become visible - and our standard response to the boys: "It's only a piece of material!" Oh, how young we all were, and how naive!

I hope they find a use for the old place - it's been suggested that it become a meeting place or serve some function within the community, rather than demolishing it. It would be sad to see the old school gone. Particularly as it comprises approximately one-quarter of the buildings within the "township"! (Fire station, community hall, general store/cafe, and school. All the residences are in what you might call the outskirts, eg farms.) So I'm glad I dragged Aidan all the way there, over unsealed roads in our rented car, despite the hassle it was to get there. Just to see the place one last time, to say goodbye.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Does this even require a caption? What on earth is "demonlation"? This is an actual sign which I actually photographed with my actual camera. Tut tut, what is the world coming to?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Has anybody had a look at Blogger Play yet? I'm staring at it now, it's so funky! It scrolls through images currently being uploaded to Blogger by little people like us. It makes me want to upload a picture!

Fun! I'd better not get too distracted or I'll be late for work...

Monday, September 10, 2007

My hair is orange. Oops. I tried to dye it red yesterday, but since I was starting with purple and blonde streaks, it wasn't simple. I had to bleach it first, and it went tiger-stripey (as usual), then dyed it over that which usually works just fine. I think perhaps I've dyed my hair one too many times - it's rarely the same colour for more than a couple of months. So now it's orange. It looks rather weird, but since it looks like I did it deliberately I think I'll leave it for at least a couple of weeks. Orange is one colour my hair has never been, except for those in-between bleaching and re-dyeing moments. I've certainly never been seen in public with orange hair. So this will be something different.

It's strange to see how I've reacted to this and how I've changed. In a previous hair-dyeing incident when an unexpected colour resulted, I was mortified. I cried, and wouldn't leave the house - Aidan had to go and buy me a new dye. However, this time I looked in the mirror and went "That was unexpected... kind of cool, though." I have certainly gained confidence over the last couple of years, and I'm a lot happier in myself. I think there is one major reason for that, and I think you can all guess who it is. (It's Aidan, if you didn't guess.)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

There seem to be babies everywhere right now. Kids, pregnant people, toys, and all things child-related just won't leave me alone! I confess, I'm getting clucky. How do you know when the time is right for children? I look at my life and realise that Aidan and I are unsettled in terms of our jobs/careers, our house (rented), and there's still so much we want to do in the way of travel and stuff. But babies!!! It must be some female hormone thingy saying, "Come on Stace, you're 24 now, start squeezing 'em out!" But another part of me says, "I'm only 24!!! I'm a baby myself!"

For now, I must content myself with looking at other people's babies, and playing with the toys in K-Mart myself. But one day... one day!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I spend an inordinate amount of time contemplating spiders. This is largely because I am terrified of them, and have an unjustified paranoia of coming across one of the larger, hairier varieties of arachnid at any moment. I was not always scared of spiders, and in fact I can very nearly pinpoint the moment at which the fear began to creep insidiously into my life. One day I was carrying eight-leggged hairy things around on sticks to frighten my classmates; the next our emergency teacher told us the story of a lady who was bitten by a particularly nasty breed and whose hand subsequently rotted away. Bingo, there it is, the source of my phobia. Mr Falkner, a primary school replacement teacher. Of course, follow that up with years of hearing that Australia is home to most of the world's deadliest snakes and spiders, and the result was inevitable. I now worry if there will be a spider in the letterbox when I check the mail. If I step into the backyard, the knowledge that it is full of hidden arachnids is in the forefront of my mind. Even the smallest, least offensive spiders are a source of concern to me. The only ones I don't mind are the daddy-long-legs, because I can blow them away or wash them down a plughole. Although I still find it unnerving if they walk straight towards me. Shudder.

So there it is. My confession. What are you afraid of?

Monday, September 03, 2007

I'm sorry I haven't written much, or managed to comment on other blogs, of late. Things just keep happening. You know how it is... you turn on the computer, intending to blog, and instead you end up playing The Curse Of Monkey Island literally all weekend. And then you get up on Monday morning and realise that you can't be late to work because if the other guy gets there first he'll have nothing to do until you print something out for him, etc etc etc... ok, ok, I'll shut up.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Happy birthday Nana!