Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Great Holiday Blog

Work kicked me out of the office at 1pm on Wednesday 24th. I was not complaining, no siree. I was being picked up out the front by my wonderful husband, ready to embark immediately on our six-day trip. It's not often we have more than a day or two off work at the same time, and so we took full advantage of it by making the 9-hour drive home.

We began in the usual way of leaving Canberra - heading north in order to eventually go south. There is no easy drive out of Canberra to the south, so you go up to Yass and turn around, adding almost two hours to the trip (depending on how carefully you observe the speed limits).

We hoped our first coffee stop might be in Holbrook, the "submarine town". Yes, there is a submarine in town. There is some wonderful historical story behind this that I don't know; as far as I'm concerned it's just plain weird in a town that's 400km inland. However, it does make for an interesting drive through the town. Which is what we did, because no coffee shops were open that late on Christmas Eve.

Instead, we kept going. I actually can't recall where we stopped, if anywhere. We contemplated stopping in at the Ettamogah Pub, but decided against it and kept going. Eventually we ended up in Euroa, where my parents reside. There we spent the night, and the first half of the next day, pleasantly relaxing and inhaling cat hair. As much as I love Tiffy, I am somewhat allergic to her! My dad has taken to calling me (affectionately) "Fatty", in reference to my increasingly visible pregnancy - although the first time he said that, I thought he was referring to the cat.

We left after lunch on Christmas day and, skirting the city, headed on down to Rye where Aidan's parents live. It was getting a little chilly (the myth of the sweltering hot Australian Christmas has not really held true for several years now), but we still managed to barbeque our sausages out on the verandah before coming inside to eat. We also found time to drive to a nearby town where liveth a friend of Aidan's from school, who has a one-year-old daughter we'd never met. We finally met little Danielle! She's a cutey, although rather shy.

On Boxing Day was the traditional lunch at Craig and Kim's - Craig is Aidan's cousin, and from there the relationship of each family member to me gets more and more convuluted. I just call the lot of them my cousins, and leave it at that. Santa came for the kiddies (Aidan's dad, dressed up), and for some of the bigger kiddies too.

Now, a little explanation may be required for the next day to make sense. In Australia we have this wonderful sport called cricket. Cricket is a game which, in it's longest form, can be played over five days. Yes, five days for one game. It's called a "test match". Every year, on Boxing Day, the Boxing Day Test begins at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground). Whilst I'm not a huge cricket fan, I do like to keep an eye on scores and suchlike for the Boxing Day Test each year. But I've never been before! So this year, Craig and Aidan and our good friend Andrew went along to Day Two of the Test. Kim packed us lunch (although I think she thought she was packing for nineteen people instead of four), and the four of us enjoyed an excellent day of cricket. We arrived just in time to see the last Australian wicket fall, and by the time we left the South Africans had lost seven wickets and made less than 200 runs. It was looking good for us! I don't know what happened the next day, but somehow we lost. Oh well.

The next three nights were spent in the city proper. We had a hotel room on Flinders Street, and we wandered and explored and reminisced and wished to move back home. We caught up with friends, we bought some maternity wear and baby clothes, and decided we'd be home within twelve months if possible.

On the way home on Tuesday, I couldn't help but think of our dear Canadian friends, and what they would make of some of the names of towns we passed during the drive. Us Aussies think nothing of Baddaginnie, Barnawartha, Tarcutta, and Jugiong. If you don't believe me, Google them! But the thought of Donn and Chris getting drunk and trying to pronounce them made the long trip go much quicker! Not to mention trying to recall each town's odd little fact or historical significance - they've all got a story, and if I knew them all well I'd love to tell them. I'm sure your Google searches will yield some results. I wish I'd had Google in the car, because nine hours is a long time and we were tired when we got here!

And finally, although the tale of the journey has concluded, there is other wonderful news. I had my second ultrasound today, the first time I've been able to see Bean actually looking person-shaped! Aidan was able to drive me there and come in and see everything, and we got quite emotional watching our little baby squirm around. It's a stubborn little thing, it wouldn't move for the ultrasound technician - it kept it's legs curled up so she couldn't measure them, and wouldn't roll over when she wanted it to. In that respect, it takes after both it's parents!! It's so good to know it's really in there and alive and well - although I've started to "show" a little of late, it's still hard to comprehend and believe that I'm actually growing a baby! I'm into the second trimester now, and all is still going well.

I will leave you with that, as I'm sure that's more reading than any person really wants to do on or around New Year. Go and get drunk, everybody! And have a great new year, my love to you all!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

"A study out of the University of New Hampshire shows at least 42 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 have accidentally come across some pornographic images while surfing the Internet over the past year.

Of those, a full 66 percent admit they didn't go looking for the graphic graphics and would have preferred not to see them at all."


That's less than 30% of children who claim to have seen pornographic images without wanting to. (And lets not forget, people lie in surveys and studies, especially if they think they'll get in trouble for saying they went looking for porn!) It is in response to this under-30% of children aged 10-17 that the Australian government will soon be trialling mandatory internet filtering (aka censorship) which will effect all net-enabled citizens. As of 2006, 66% of Australian dwellings had access to the internet. I'm sure it's more than that now. So more than 66% of Australian households will suffer significantly slower internet speeds, and will have safe, legal sites blocked to them by the currently existing inefficient filtering software.

Now, don't get me wrong. A child stumbling across porn accidentally is, I'm sure, a traumatic and disturbing experience for them. It is something to be avoided if possible. However, I do not see it as the job of the government to do that - it is the job of a parent or guardian to educate their children, and wherever possible to oversee and supervise their internet use. It's actually quite difficult to find porn accidentally online. The main way is by doing something else illegal, such as downloading cracks and key generators for programs. Frankly, if a kid is mature enough to be doing that, I would imagine they're also mature enough to either ignore, or cope with, the very softcore porn they're confronted with at the time.

In the interests of research, Aidan and I just typed "porn" into Google. With their "Moderate SafeSearch" on, the results were disappointing - there was nothing, I repeat, absolutely nothing, upsetting. Nothing even remotely pornographic, really. We got more provocative images from searching for "Britney Spears", and that's considered harmless pop culture. After turning their SafeSearch off, it was a different story - but no kid would do that unless they were deliberately going looking for porn (or things they thought they shouldn't be seeing).

So, for the sake of logic, realism, and saving Australian internet from slow speeds and inappropriate blocking, do me a favour and sign this petition:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Eleven weeks and two days.

I've had some dizzy spells and light-headedness in the last few days, so I took a day off work and saw a doctor yesterday. She assured me that it's unlikely to be related to the pregnancy. In fact, she seems to think it's probably a recurrence of my good old labrynthitis. It's been a long time since I've had a decent relapse, so I suppose it's not unexpected that it would come now - when I've had a cold, and my body as a whole is under some stress.

I read somewhere that in the next three weeks the Bean will nearly double in size. It's the biggest, quickest growth spurt it will experience! Its fingers and toes are no longer webbed, and nearly all its organs are formed and starting to function. It has fingernails!!! (Juno, anybody?) It really is starting to turn into a person already. It would have started moving, wriggling around in there, a week or two ago, although of course it's too small for me to feel it yet. I am actually starting to show a little, my waistline is getting noticeably larger... well, I notice it, and Aidan does, but probably if you didn't know to look for it you might not realise. (Maybe I've just been eating too much, that is also possible!)

Also, Aidan's parents are visiting us at the moment. With my day off work yesterday, despite my head-spins, I was able to spend most of the day with them and Aidan, which was rather nice. They both appear to be thrilled that they're going to be grandparents.

So, what with one thing and another, I'm beginning to think that somebody has blessed/cursed me recently with an "interesting life"!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I am currently performing the duties of three different jobs at work. I tend to think of these jobs in terms of how many people would be required to do a day's work in a day, and thus my workload is broken up as follows:

EOR's, which requires about a person and a half, or sometimes two people. Which works out well, because Kerry does the bulk of that work, and I'm her extra half.

Examiner certifications, which is about half a person's work.

Processing payments, which varies between half and a full person.

So on any given day, I am required to be at least one and a half people, or up to two and a half people. You may well wonder how I have time to blog from work, as I am currently doing... the answer is, I don't actually have time. But I've worked damn hard and I deserve a few minutes to goof off, right? :)

Friday, December 05, 2008

I've found my newest hero. Ron Williams, of Toowoomba in Queensland, is violently opposing religion in state schools, and I think it's about time somebody did what he is doing. Anything related to religion should be either removed from non-religious schools, or made very clear to the children that it is myth, untrue, just like Santa and the Tooth Fairy. Ron Williams, should you ever come across this blog entry - I admire you, and I hope that your actions will mean that by the time my fetus is going to school, some worthwhile changes will have been made!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Ok, it's ranting time.

Everybody in Australia has, or has a friend who has, a horror story about the telco Telstra. This includes me. I have, no doubt, blogged at least once before about my problems with their broadband arm, Bigpond.

Telstra Bigpond is the biggest ISP in Australia. Whilst they do not have a monopoly, far from it in fact, they would certainly be the first considered ISP in most people's minds when first getting online. They are well-marketed, and their set-up process is easy for any beginner to follow.

Assuming you have no problems with your bundling or billing, and assuming you change nothing such as address or phone number mid-contract, their actual service is fine. I've never experienced a dropout, or significantly slowed speeds, while using the internet with Bigpond.

But the moment you come across a problem, the moment they make just one mistake, it escalates. Their customer service and complaints resolution process is unweildy and ineffective. Their right hand does not know what the left is doing. It is the problem of large companies that they have too many departments, none of whom communicate internaly, and all of which have long wait times to speak to an actual person.

This is what happened to me:

Late last year (ie, over 12 months ago), I received a phonecall from Bigpond offering me a great deal on my broadband and phone, bundled. I liked it, I accepted it. However, a couple of months later (although the service was active) I had not received a bill. They called me to advise that my account was in arrears, and advised me how much I had to pay immediately. The amount was far more than I had expected, given the deal I had agreed to over the phone, but I paid it anyway. I queried why I had not received any bills, and was told that my billing address was incorrect in the system.

Now, read this bit carefully, it's confusing, but very important: The billing address they had in the system was their own back-of-house operations area. My bill was actually supposed to be sent there, to be cancelled and re-issued to me with the correct charges and reflecting the bundling I was supposed to be getting.

Upon realising that this was not happening, and that I simply wasn't being billed, I pressed to get the bundling applied, so that internet and phone were charged as one amount on one bill. When speaking to them about this, it was determined that I had been being charged far too much, and was given a huge credit - actually I'm almost sure the credit was more than I had ever paid them in the first place, meaning that technically I still owed them money. However they apparently overlooked this, so I did too.

Despite this, bills still failed to arrive or be charged correctly. I finally went to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, who gave me the phone number for Telstra's own High Level Complaints. Upon calling this number, I finally reached somebody who appeared to have some control or authority to do what I was asking - which was what they had offered me in the first place. So, about six or seven months into my twelve month contract, things seemed to be fixed up for the first time.

BUT. Yes, there is a but. We went quite a while again without receiving bills. Now, as I'm sure you'll understand, being pregnant and having quite a bit going on right now, I really didn't think of calling them to ask for the bills. It didn't quite register how long it had been between bills. So, when our internet service was cut off yesterday, I had to call them to find out that it was for non-payment of three months worth of bills. Bills which, once again, had been sent to that back-of-house operations area, and not re-issued to me at all.

There wasn't much I could do about it; it had happened, and that was that. I paid the outstanding amount (which actually seemed about right) and called Bigpond back with the receipt number, just as they had asked, expecting to be re-connected almost immediately. However, upon calling them with the number, I was advised it may take up to 48 hours for the service to be re-activated. Possibly sooner, but probably not before Thursday morning. (This was Tuesday afternoon.)

And so, the last thing I asked Bigpond about yesterday was "When does my contract expire?"
I was told, to my very great relief, "You are no longer on a contract, ma'am."
"Does this mean I can cancel at any time with no cancellation fee?"
"Yes, ma'am", says Ryan on the phone.
"Fantastic," says I, "I'll be doing that in the next couple of days!"
He asked why. I told him if he had access to the notes on my file, and a few spare hours, he could certainly figure it out for himself.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Well well well, what a surprise. Australia's biggest outdoor advertising agency has refused to display ads for the Australian Atheist Foundation. Christian organisations get to advertise, why can't the Atheists? Is this not making sense to anybody else? Naturally I'd like to hear the other side of the story: this article is all from the point of view of the Atheists. But the advertising agency has so far been unavailable for comment regarding the refusal. Interesting, ja?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Well, I had my first ultrasound this afternoon! A little earlier than originally scheduled, due to some slight bleeding. But all is fine! I saw the Bean! The Bean is currently an indistinct blob, with a tiny flashing white bit indicating a heartbeat, or so the ultrasound tech said. It was just a flashing white thing to me. She estimated its age at 6 weeks and 6 days, and my due date is 11th July 2009. "No abnormality was demonstrated", which I think in doctor-speak means things are fine.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ok, Jewel has tagged me, and I must put here "15 things I'm not afraid to admit". It could be difficult to come up with 15 things you don't already know, but here goes...

1. I love Meat Loaf. The musician, not the meal. I saw him in concert a few years ago, it was awesome.

2. I have attempted to lick my own elbow.

3. I don't like Dan Brown, for literary reasons.

4. I'm enough of a geek to love text-based online games. No fancy-schmancy visuals for me!

5. I'd much rather read a book than go to a nightclub.

6. I had a crush on David Tennant ten years before anybody else. By the time he was Dr Who, I was over him.

7. I neglect my fingernails terribly. What's a nail file?!

8. I don't care to have matching furniture or a tidy house. I LIVE here, for goodness sake, it's not a show home.

9. I'm clumsy. But I have a medical excuse. Labyrinthitis. Never heard of it?? You're lucky.

10. I don't get the hype about Guitar Hero. It looks lame, and I'm not even slightly tempted to try it.

11. I still wish I could go to Hogwarts. I would totally be in Gryffindor.

12. My idealism constantly battles with my cynicism. Sadly, cynicism usually wins.

13. I have three thick dark hairs growing near my belly button. No matter how many times I pull them out, they always seem to grow back!

14. I hate shoes. Shoe-removal is the first thing I do when I get home.

15. I hate the colour orange.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wow, last night was panic time. The tiniest bit of old blood, and I was certain something was wrong. However, upon calling the healthcare hotline, I was assured this was perfectly normal, and this morning my GP sent me off to the hospital for a "just-in-case" injection of anti-D. Aidan (who was on duty, in uniform, armed, etc) came to collect me from work to take me out to the hospital, and we spent about two and a half hours waiting in the emergency department to get this little jab... admittedly we were hardly a high priority - I wasn't about to die or anything! They were pretty busy, poor things. The medical registrar seemed run off his feet. So anyway, by the time I got back to work, it was lunch time, and then after lunch I finally did some work! And that's my story, wasn't it exciting?!

Friday, November 07, 2008

hehe Thank you all for your comments below. Cazzie, you're slow off the mark ;)

It's nearly six weeks now, my baby is the size of a raisin (they always measure it in foods), and has a heartbeat. How cool is that?! There's a tiny person inside me. In a week or two it'll have its own blood type - that's something I have to watch out for; my blood type is O-, and if baby's blood type is positive, there's a chance my immune system may react against it. However, we'll cross that bridge if and when we come to it.

My writing is also going very well - I have just over 15,000 words now, and I think they're rather good words. Whilst this month is more about quantity than quality, I'd still like to end up with something a little bit good!

I'm catching up with the Canberra writers again tomorrow, even though I can't stay for the write-in as I don't have a laptop. But it's good to get together and kick around ideas and stuff.

Here is a short extract from somewhere in the middle of my "novel":

Her wanderings that morning were aimless, indecisive. She simply felt that any direction was better than none at all. The rain had stopped, but the clouds were low, dark and menacing. She tried to keep moving quickly, but was frequently distracted, and forced off-course. A rat-surrounded corpse would make her hesitate and change direction, or a blocked street might send her retracing her footsteps to find another way around. In one place, an entire section of the street had given way and only a flooded hole lay at her feet. Before long Susan had lost her bearings, her sore muscles and tired mind only adding to her confusion. Only when she stopped for a moment and saw a droplet fall to the ground at my feet did she become aware that she'd been crying.

It was at that moment that she looked up, her eyes seeking further ahead than simply the next laboured step. She had reached the suburbs, where once houses had stood in neat rows, painted cheerful colours, with well-tended gardens. The houses had long-since been burnt; only charred black piles of wreckage remained. But the gardens remained. Overgrown, untended, but there still. Susan wept and silently thanked those with the foresight to grow vegetables, fruit trees, and herbs. The quality was poor; vegetables were choked by weeds, fruit had been feasted on by birds and insects. But it was food, it was fresh, the two runaways could eat.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Five Weeks


    Tired, very tired



    Sore bosoms


Fortunately no morning sickness to speak of, I suppose I should count my blessings!

In non-pregnancy related news: What I Did On My Weekend

The local NaNoWriMo kick-off lunch was held at the Pancake Parlour in Civic, so I went along to that. There's always something weird about a gathering of people who, almost be definition, are anti-social nerds. (Who else would volunteer to write 50,000 words in one month?) But it was a lot of fun, and the ideas being kicked around really helped me with my "novel". So I'm glad I went.

Also, I wrote a lot. I've got just over 8,000 words now, and a public holiday tomorrow on which to do a whole lot more. Hooray!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My wonderful friends.

You have read this blog and been part of my life, and Aidan's, through highs and lows, through engagement and marriage, moving city, changing jobs, almost everything momentous that can happen in a person's life. Now we are honoured that you join us in this next momentous occasion, and I hope to bore you extensively over the coming nine months by writing about almost nothing else. Yes, I'm pregnant. Four weeks and three days pregnant, to be precise (counting like the doctors do, not from the actual conception). Early days, but I couldn't wait to share the news! We had our first visit to the doctor today, she ran me through all the stuff I can't eat anymore, and said a few other things about hospitals and midwives and blood tests, but I was too busy missing salami to pay attention to the fine detail.

I hope to keep you all updated over the coming weeks, and here is a cool little countdown thingie so you know where we're up to!


Now I'm going to go and stare lovingly at some soft cheeses and wines, until this thing pops out and I can eat them again!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ok, the first 2,500-ish words are over at Stace Writes. Enjoy.

Friday, October 24, 2008

In the lead-up to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), my nerves won't settle down. Writing 50,000 words in the space of one month is a mammoth task which I'm not sure I'm up to - especially while working full-time, trying to see my husband every once in a while, and playing computer games. I may have to sacrifice the computer games. And some work. (Not time at work, just doing the actual work. That can wait till December.)

I've actually cheated a little and started writing already. I'm fairly sure most participants will do the same. You see, I had a lot of trouble figuring out what to write about; if I could have figured that out I would have just started on a plot outline now, and not started writing properly until November. However, with no real clue... I just wrote a sentence. And then another one. And another one, and so on. So my novel will go wherever the next sentence takes it, with no plan in my own mind. This novel will surprise its writer at least as much as any reader!

Fortunately it doesn't have to be good, it just has to be 50,000 words. If you're unlucky, I might post it (or some of it) here (or over at Stace Writes, my other long-neglected blog) when it's done. If I ever finish it!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Canberra is covered in white.

No, it's not snowing.

The trees are sending out their seeds in a haze of fluff - it carries beautifully on the wind...

What may appear to be poor quality photography up in the top left is, in fact, seed-fluff. (That's a technical term which I made up.) It gets everywhere. Up noses, down throats, into houses and cars.

I've never seen anything quite like it. Although I've seen some weird things.

What odd natural phenomena have you witnessed lately??

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Somepeople expressed a desire to see me with purple hair again. Sadly it's a little difficult to tell that it's actually purple in this photo, but I can't be bothered taking another one. Just trust me. It's purple.

It's a glorious day in this big country town also known as our capital city. And what does a lazy Stace do with a glorious day? She sits out in the backyard (well, what passes for a backyard when you live in an apartment block; that's half of it in that photo) and reads and eats strawberries!

I forgot to close the screen door, and now there's a fly buzzing around inside... at least it's only one. When this town gets hotter, in mid-summer, the air is like a kind of fly soup.

Canberra really can be lovely sometimes. It's the Spring weather that I like. The Summers are far too hot, and the Winters are far too cold. And it's not just the hot and the cold, it's the type of hot and cold. Sweltering heat that makes you wish you were in Antarctica, and biting cold that makes you wish you were on fire. But today, so far, is just perfect. I'm going to sit out in the yard and read some more, and eat those strawberries!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"Ugh" pretty much sums me up this morning. It's Tuesday morning and I'm back at work after a long weekend... my back and hips are killing me, I'm still about three-quarters asleep, and I just want to go hoooome!!!

However, having had that gripe, it was a nice weekend. We went geocaching on Sunday morning, found 4 in one morning, which we were quite pleased about. We did our first multi-cache, too. That's when the original co-ordinates given aren't actually the location of the cache, but a location with a hint to the cache site. Or, as in this case, a hint to the site of another hint which finally led to the actual cache. Lots of fun! And I saw a snake.

Other than that we didn't do much. The weather had closed in again, and was rather anti-outdoorsy stuff. Rain and wind and thunder. Nice weather for staying in and playing computer games, so that's what we did for most of yesterday.

And I've dyed my hair purple again.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

As promised, some photos of our Sydney Trip!

The outside of Star City, the casino in Sydney. What can I say? It's a casino. My experience of casinos is limited, not being much of a gambler, but I hear Star City is pretty good as they go... Apart from the really tacky fake rocks and waterfall just inside.

The grand and graceful Sydney Town Hall at the fall of dusk. As you can see, we had beautiful weather while we were there.

This, I photographed for Aidan's sort-of-cousin Steven. He's a big fan of Hummers, and we figured he'd be a bigger fan for a bigger car. Isn't it cool, though??

Aidan putting a geocache back where we found it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ok, I haven’t blogged in a while. Again. There are several reasons for this. Donnnnnnnn, firstly, was correct: I have indeed been traipsing. Geocaching is teh uber fun, and takes up most of the daylight hours that I’m not working. Yes, I’m working. My temp assignment has been sort of extended – I’m still at the same company, in a different area of the business, until at least the first week of November. Yay!

Also, Aidan and I spent last weekend in Sydney! Neither of us had been there in years, and never together, so we spent a very nice weekend wandering the city (being in a city again, yay!!!!), geocaching, and generally having a good time. I’m blogging from work right now, so I don’t have photos, but I’ll put ‘em up later if I remember. It was wonderful to be out of Canberra, to be together, to be away from distractions like books and computers, and just “BE”, you know? We really haven’t been able to do that in a long time.

For anybody in Sydney reading this, I do apologise we didn't inform you and try to catch up, but we really just wanted some "couple-time", so maybe next time :)

Aidan has this weekend off too, so we're thinking of going away again, or at least spending as much time as possible out of the house and together. Fancy that - time together! It's something of a rarity these days.

So anyway, I'm at work now. Almost everybody is in a meeting, but the few temps don't go to meetings, so it's really quiet in here right now. The guy who's meant to be training me isn't here today, and wasn't yesterday either, so I really don't know what I'm meant to be doing... I've taken a few guesses, and done some stuff, but for all I know I'll have to undo it when he gets back!

And that's the news. All the news that's new and approved!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weeeeeeeee I had my first successful geocaching expedition today! Up Red Hill, found two of them, what fun!! Plus a good excuse to get out in the fresh air :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ok, update time again.

I have a temp job right now, data entry, which I'm scheduled to be doing till Friday but I think I'll have the work finished by Wednesday... I hope they find something else for me to do, else I'll miss out on two day's pay! Anyway, it's tedious of course (data entry always is), but I'm glad to be employed.

I've finally bought a GPS unit for geocaching. I went exploring with it today, I found the site of a cache but couldn't actually find the cache itself. FAIL! Oh well, next time :) It was fun, anyway, a good walk.

I've been feeling a lot happier. I think I may have been suffering from good old SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder. You know, some of these acronyms, I swear somebody comes up with the letters first, and then figures out words for them to stand for.

My mum has decided to run in the elections for local council this year, down in Euroa. That is totally awesome. I'm fairly confident she'll be elected; she's pretty well known and respected; and she's nearly a local, having lived there for 30 years now. (It's a country thing.)

And, in a nutshell, that's my life right now.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I got a job! Sort of :) A temp job, a week's worth of data entry. Yay!!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Dear Diary... Update...

I have job interviews this afternoon and tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's interview, I think I would very much like that job - it's as a receptionist for a recruitment agency, with a view to later becoming a recruitment consultant.

I have stopped eating gluten again. GF (gluten free) food is hard to find, not as nice, and expensive. But it does make me stop feeling ill every day. The illness has been a more-or-less constant feature of my life for the last... I dunno, 6 or 8 years? So much so that I rarely think to mention it or complain about it. But it had gotten quite bad of late, so bye-bye gluten. I'm lucky enough to know the cause, since my dad is also gluten-intolerant and I know from previous experience that going GF makes me feel loads better.

I've been feeling a bit happier in general recently... I think it's a combination of a few things. The weather is getting nicer, it's hard to be depressed when it's sunny and warm (comparitively warm, not actually warm). Also I know I have only 4 days to go in this miserable job. I'm no longer feeling constantly ill thanks to gluten. And I'm looking forward to hearing from CIT to find out whether I got into this course.

And that's about it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Well, I quit my job on Friday. I gave two weeks notice, so I finish up here on September 5th. Lovely! I'm fed up with taking the same phone messages 6 times over the space of 3 weeks because she's unable to resolve issues immediately. I'm also fed up with being paid late, lied to, kept uninformed, and fed up with the complete lack of organisation or effeciency around here. I'm gone. The boss doesn't need me - she doesn't need an office administrator, she needs a co-manager. She's never here, she's unreliable, she doesn't get things done. She needs somebody to be here and do things. And NO, I wouldn't do that if she asked me to. I am a rat, deserting this sinking ship! (Yeah, we're so broke she can't afford to pay our couriers so now nothing is getting sent to our customers... and she couldn't afford to pay me until a week and a half late... the list goes on...)

So now I need to find alternative employment. This is a bitch of a city for getting jobs, for me. Most jobs advertised are one of three things: IT, retail, or government. I'm not qualified for IT, I don't really want to do retail unless I can't avoid it, and government jobs are all fancy-pants stuff like project management or policy making. You need degrees and contacts and smarminess to get jobs like that, even if you wanted them.

So, whilst I am applying for office admin/PA/EA roles, I'm also mulling over business ideas. Gothic clothing? Sci-fi bookshop? Gluten free frozen meals? I'm also hoping to get into the Diploma of Technical Music at CIT at some point, so should I already be thinking about co-ordinating working hours with school, and find a casual or part-time job? That can probably wait.

My future is once again a blank page, waiting to be written on...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Well, I've been in denial for a little while now, but I can't close my eyes to the truth anymore: I'm gaining weight. I think I'm now about the heaviest I've ever been in my life, at a whopping 64 kilograms. That's 141 pounds. When I walk, I can actually feel my tummy jiggling. My face looks chubby. My thighs aren't nice. Fortunately my fingers are so far ok - I can still get my wedding ring on and off. I've never had to worry about my weight before... I've always been naturally pretty slim.

I think there are a couple of things contributing to this new phenomenom... firstly, as you may have gathered, I haven't been the happiest Stace in the world since moving to Canberra. Depression does tend to lead to more eating/snacking, and for me it also leads to apathy and lethargy. There's also the weather. Oh god, the weather. How do you go for a morning or evening run/walk/ride/crawl, when the mornings and evenings are icy cold?! It's discouraging, to say the least...

So, I think I need to take action. I'm going to begin a bit of a diet - not a fad diet or something fashionable, I just mean I'm really going to pay attention to what I'm eating and when I'm eating it, and be sensible about it. I'm going to put the M&M's I'm eating in the bin. I'm also going to get Aidan to set up his bike with the thingie so you can ride it inside like an exercise bike. I'm going to be an indoor cyclist! I'm going to get back into the daily situps which I stopped doing six months ago. When the weather starts to warm up, I'm going to at least consider walking to work a couple of times a week - it'd be a good 45 minutes or an hour each way, I'm guessing.

Now that's all in writing, you can all encourage me, and mock me if I don't keep to my promises.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I am feeling a very great need to vent about my boss. Are you ready? Go!

She lies, both directly and by omission, to myself and to customers. She also expects me to lie to customers, or, as she put it, "Be careful what you say". This, incidentally, was in response to me telling a customer the truth about the status and location of her own item. I think this customer had every right to know that something valuable belonging to her was no longer in our care.

She never keeps me informed. I hear from our solicitor of changes to scheduling, or that she won't be at work today, and generally I hear too late to be of any use. Last week I was under the impression she was attending appointments interstate, as I had arranged for her previously. I was told, by the solicitor, hours after the appointments, that she was ill and had stayed home. So I had to call the other party and apologise, and make both myself and the company look bad. And today, again, our solicitor has informed me (at 10.30, after I've been here since 9am) that she has appointments and won't be in the office today at all.

She repeatedly fails to pay me on time. Her absence today will mean she won't process my pay as she's supposed to, so it will be at least one day late - probably several days, knowing her memory.

Her responses to queries are incomplete or irrelevant. As she's been out of the office so much lately, my correspondence with her has predominantly been via email. Her answers to my emails frequently do not answer the question I asked, or imply that there was no need to ask it. I would not be emailing her if she'd left the information for me as she claimed she had.

She appears to forget that I am now her only staff member left in this office. One guy got fired a while back, the other is in hospital. So, if somebody calls trying to contact her, I'm the only one to take that phone call. I need to know when she'll be available, I need to know how to contact her; there is nobody else to assist me or deal with urgent queries. I continually have to tell people "She's not in the office, can I take a message and have her call you? Oh, I don't know when!"

Is that enough? As much as I like her as a person, and have some great conversations with her, and get along with her very well on a personal level... she's a bloody awful manager!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Yay, I got tagged!! Thanks Elizabeth!

1. What is his name? Aidan, but surely you know that if you've spent any time reading this blog!

2. Who eats more? Ummmm he eats bigger meals, but I snack more (but I'm trying to cut down!)

3. Who said, “I love you” first? Me, kind of... I wrote it. With my finger. On his back.

5. Who drives most when you are out together? I can't drive. So, him.

6. Who is more sensitive? Tough call. I show it more.

7. Who does the laundry? Mostly me, which is fair enough since he works more.

8. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? We seem to switch sides every time we move house...

9. Who pays the bills? Both of us. I mean, it's our money, but I physically do the paying.

10. Who cooks more? Hm. Probably him...

11. Who is more stubborn? Him.

12. Who is the first to admit they are wrong? I have no idea, I don't know that it comes up too often.

13. Who has more siblings? Me, with a grand total of one.

14. Who wears the pants in the relationship? I think we're fairly equal.

15. What do you like to do together? Cook. It's fun when we're together.

16. Who eats more sweets? Me. Trying not to!

17. Guilty Pleasures? I don't feel guilty about anything. Ha!

18. How did you meet? Mutual friend. Party. Alcohol. You get the idea.

19. Who asked whom out first? Well, he gave me his number, and I called it. I guess you could say it was a collaborative effort.

20. Who kissed who first? You know, I don't quite remember. I think possibly I kissed him.

21. Who proposed? He did, but I more or less dragged it out of him!

22. His best features and qualities? Best? There is no worst, so it's all best!

23. Tag some people... I don't know any bloggers with partners who would actually do this... Sorry!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Warning: Christians may be offended by this post. Do not read if you are sensitive about faith. If you read it anyway and get pissed off at me, don't say I didn't warn you.

I enjoy a good, logical debate. I particularly enjoy debating about religion, mostly because it's hard to find somebody who will talk about it openly. But there is one thing that I don't like about debating with Christians. (This is a generalisation, and obviously doesn't apply to every Christian.) They never seem to fully comprehend that they're talking to somebody who does not believe in God, and does not regard the Bible as an adequate source or proof of anything. They use God as his own justification, arguing in circles without saying anything real. They quote the bible to give reasons for their faith. That's like quoting Star Wars to prove that Luke Skywalker exists and has Jedi powers. "The force is strong with this one" and "God loves you" are on equal footing with me. Give me something real.

You see, it's like this: I reckon Jesus of Nazarath probably did exist. Although I'm pretty certain his mum wasn't a virgin in any literal sense. Jesus sounds like a pretty decent guy on the whole, but he obviously stirred up enough trouble to get himself crucified. As did thousands of others in that time and place. In his case, it was probably because he had a mental illness or smoked too much weed and thought he spoke to God. I envisage Jesus as like the leader of a band of hippies (aka apostles), all so doped up they believe everything he says he sees. Then the Romans catch up with him, do the deed on the cross, and suddenly the hippies are missing their visionary leader. Given the human penchant for dramatisation, they begin to tell their friends, relatives, anybody who'll listen, about this awesome dude, totally rad, but the bastards killed him, right?! An outrage, man, it totally sucks. Gradually over time, with hundreds or thousands of re-tellings of the story, people forget the hippies and the pot smoking, and only remember the bits that make them feel good about the shitty life they're leading: heaven, god's love, etc. It'll all be better after we're dead, I'll never have to push out another screaming brat again, or work until my fingers bleed just to feed my family, or see my youngest child freeze to death for lack of a blanket. That sounds great! Sure, I'll believe in a God that'll do that for me, when all I have to do is... what?! No sex outside of marriage?! Oh, fine, I guess it's worth it... Be nice to my neighbour? Sure, in this day and age I'm probably going to need his help, best to keep him on side... and so on. A few more rules thrown in to make living in that time and place a bit easier, and we've turned the whole she-bang into a religion. Several religions, actually. With all the different interpretations and denominations out there, who's to say my flippant little effort isn't just as valid?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oh. My. God. I can't believe what I just read. Somebody please tell me this news article isn't true. Dude sets up tent near dead tree. Branch falls, causes him severe injuries, his family sue Parks Victoria and win! $6 million. Wow. There is truly no longer such a thing as personal responsibility. If that happened to a friend or relative of mine, I can honestly say I would regard it as a tragic accident. Nobody's fault, except maybe the guy who set up camp too close to a dead tree. It wouldn't even cross my mind to sue somebody! Is it just me who finds that ludicrous? Yes, it's an awful thing to have happened. Yes, I feel sorry for the guy and for his family. But it was an accident!!! Gah!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Friday in Canberra dawned cold, wet, and miserable just like the days before. Work was endured, and the ride home was freezing. The car was loaded up, my brother collected, and to the sunshine we headed!

We have just arrived home from a rather glorious weekend in Merimbula. It was the first time in quite a while that all six of us have managed to be in the same place at the same time: My parents, Aidan and I, my brother Brad, and his girlfriend Kim.

The occasion: My father's 60th birthday celebration!

This is the view from our upper balcony, at the rather glorious unit my parents rented. The house was superb: large, well designed, beautifully furnished... the kind of place you could never actually live in, for fear of making it messy. And the view out over the lake... well, see for yourself!

We had brunch on Saturday morning at a cafe by the lake. Several children were frolicking and generally being loud, and we just kept waiting for one of them to fall in... seems like this child's mother had the same thought! (Yes, I blacked out her face, she doesn't actually look like that!)

This is one of the two or three magpies that my parents kept feeding on the balcony. They would actually take food from the hand - the magpies, not my parents. Cheeky little buggers!

Later on Saturday we went to an arcade called "Top Fun", for no known reason, and played mini golf! I tried to convince dad that it was his idea by saying, "Dad, there's mini golf. How do I make you think you thought of it?", to which he replied, "What a good idea I've just had!" And it was, indeed, top fun. Dad won, mum lost, the rest of us were somewhere in between... I believe all us girls were last: I was fifth, Kim was fourth. The boys beat us all hands down!

This, of course, is dad. I still think he looks about 45 or 50, I have trouble realising he's 60 now! He says that next year he'll be turning 59.

So now we're home, and wishing we could have stayed. The drive back was somewhat symbolic of our attitude towards our home: the closer we got, the worse the weather became. It started raining as soon as we hit the west side of Brown Mountain, and continued, and continued, and continued. It's still drizzling here at home, about four hours later. I just hope it clears up by the morning, so I don't get wet as I ride to work!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Religion really is the big taboo. We're not allowed to insult other people's faiths, or show disrespect towards them for their beliefs. Why not? This makes no allowance for those of us who do not believe in a god - I am continually insulted by people trying to make me believe in one.
We were accosted the other day by a lovely Italian man who, I think, was in Canberra for World Youth Day-associated activities. I held my tongue and smiled at him for the sake of my friends, but if I'd been alone I would have told him I was a Satanist and walked away. What right does he have to show disrespect to my own choices by trying to convince me that his option is somehow better?
I would never stop somebody in the street and try to tell them that my belief system will enrich their life. How rude! I simply do not understand why it is acceptable for convential religions to do that, but not for the rest of us. Can you imagine how insulted and shocked a Catholic would be if I stopped him in the street and said, "Satanism is the best way to live"?
It's a double-standard which must be abolished; religion should be subject to the same openness and debate that everything else is. There's no particular reason to protect it from question or doubt; only convention and a fear of upsetting people. Well, I'm already upset, and I question these old conventions!
When something has been done a certain way for hundreds of years, they call it tradition. I call it time to contemporise!

Monday, July 14, 2008

I don't get to say this very often, so I'm going to relish it: I had a really good weekend! Andrew and Chantell came to visit, and we played boardgames and went up the Telstra Tower and generally hung out and had a good time. We also caught up with Pete, who is a good friend of Chantell's from way back who now also lives in Canberra. So thanks for coming up, guys, I know it's a long trip (particularly for Andrew), but I hope it was worth it!

Friday, July 11, 2008

My last couple of posts have been a little negative, a little unhappy. But things are on the up and up. Especially as, this afternoon, Andrew and Chantell are coming to visit for the weekend!! Yay! I miss those guys. It should be a fun weekend!

Also Canberra's weather has improved slightly. I mean, it's still freezing cold (it's nearly midday and the temperature hasn't risen above 6 degrees) but at least the sun is shining so it looks nice! Sitting in the office with both heaters going, I can almost convince myself it's summer. Almost. As long as I don't think about the dire warnings from locals that it'll get a heck of a lot colder before it gets warmer!

On that note, it's lunch time. I already had a hot dog, but it was so nice I'm going to get another.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

You might want to look at the pretty pictures below before continuing to read this Gripe Post.

I read in the news today that police are using information from criminals' GPS units to place them at crime scenes at certain times. Wonderful! Very helpful for the crime-fighters. But people are concerned about privacy: Will the police now start using information stored in GPS units to nab people for minor crimes like speeding?! Oh noes!!!

This really bugs me. People get all upset about things like being nabbed for speeding "unfairly", or too many speed and red-light cameras... FOR GOD'S SAKE, DON'T BREAK THE LAW AND YOU'LL HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT!!! Speeding laws and red lights exist for everybody's safety. There is no such thing as "too many speed cameras" or "too high fines" or "oh no I'm going to be found out via GPS info instead of being seen directly!" Breaking a law is breaking a law, and you're risking your own life and everybody else's by doing so. I'm all in favour of free-thinking, questioning authority, and acting on your own best judgement. But surely your own best judgement should always be not to endanger anybody else? Not to mention, knowing of the existance of cameras, avoiding a fine? Fines and imprisonment exist as a deterrent and a punishment for law-breakers. It shouldn't matter how you get caught. Just don't speed. Am I the only person who sees this?
Here are some pretty pictures, which I didn't take, for you to enjoy.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

To my dear Mr Anonymous who seems to have something against me,

I don't know who you are, or what you think I've done to you, but lets get a couple of things cleared up.

Firstly, the deleted comments on the post below.
Comment 1 - your first post, deleted by me in the interests of maintaining harmony and discouraging random anonymous weirdos.
Comment 2 - I deleted my own comment replying to you, before deciding to delete yours.
Comment 3 - Lletna deleted and re-posted because she missed a few words, as per her existing comment.

Secondly, the matter of my "fans". No, I don't have fans. I don't want fans. Fans would be, by definition, fanatic, and that would piss me off even more than you do. I know who my friends are, and I go for quality over quantity. You don't have any quality, as clearly demonstrated by your cowardly anonymity.

I don't mind people disagreeing with me or disliking me. You have that right. But doing so anonymously on my blog is the virtual equivalent of cutting letters out of newspapers to make notes and shoving them under my door. Do the right thing and send me a nice letter through the post with your name and address like a normal person.

Yours sincerely,


Monday, July 07, 2008

What a complete non-surprise. I still haven't been paid for the week before last. This is exactly what I want out of a job, and I love getting up early in the cold of this god-forsaken city to go to work for somebody who can't remember or can't afford to pay me. Would it be really petty to call my boss and say I'm not coming in until I've been paid for the last two weeks? I need a new job. I do like my current job, and I like my boss as a person. But I simply don't trust her as a manager! Does anybody have any jobs going?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Each morning before work, I have this little routine that I go through. I come here, FunnyOldWorld, and check for any new comments and follow links to other blogs to comment on. Then, most mornings, I also check my Facebook profile to see if anybody loves me. I have come to think of this routine as Funnybooking. It's a little bit German: taking two words and cramming them together to make one word describing the combination of the original two things! But I realise it's also human nature. Language is dynamic, we create new words all the time. People under the age of 15 may find it hard to believe that "internet" is quite a new word. Most people probably don't know that "ether" was a word which, a few hundred years ago, described the invisible medium through which light, heat, and electromagnetic waves were believed to travel. Of course, that theory was debunked, but today we have ethernet cables through which information is believed to travel!

My dad is a whizz at making up words. One I will never forget is "skillydappling". This described our labrador in the act of running through a puddle flicking up droplets with her paws and nose.

Then we have our good friend Donn, or HomoEscapeons, who has made an artform out of adapting words to his unique purposes and thought processes. ZimBOBway is a recent example from his blog.

Whilst these two examples are unlikely ever to make it into any official dictionary, they are wonderfully demonstrative of the inventiveness and adaptability of the human brain.

Some examples that did make it into a dictionary (of sorts) are those by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd. As they state in their introduction to The Meaning Of Liff: "
In Life, there are many hundreds of common experiences, feelings, situations and even objects which we all know and recognize, but for which no words exist. On the other hand, the world is littererd with thousands of spare words which spend their time doing nothing but loafing about on signposts pointing at places. Our job, as wee see it, is to get these words down off the signposts and into the mouths of babes and sucklings and so on, where they can start earning their keep in everyday conversation and make a more positive contribution to society."

We have mother's day, father's day, Christmas, Easter, World Youth Day, and countless other celebrations of mundane things and people. I hereby create Word Day. Today, Wednesday 2nd July, is a day for the creation of new words and the celebration of old ones. I want comments: What are your favourite words? Have you made up any new ones? These can be in any language (even Tolkein's Elvish if you like!), from any time or place, especially the ones within your head. Bring it on!

Friday, June 27, 2008

We're happy little Vegemites
As bright as bright can be!
We all enjoy our Vegemite
For breakfast lunch and tea!
Our mummy says we're growing stronger every single week
Because we love our Vegemite
We all adore our Vegemite
It puts a rose in every cheek!

Vegemite appears to be a typically Australian oddity. No other nation quite grasps our fascination with the spread, replacing it with poor substitutes such as Marmite. Perhaps you need to grow up with Vegemite to truly appreciate just how good the scrapings of the bottom of a vat of beer can taste.

It was invented, or discovered if you prefer, way back in 1922 by a young chemist with the impressive name of Dr Cyril P Callister, who was hired by the Fred Walker Food Company (which became Kraft Foods Limited in 1950) to make a spread out of brewers yeast. They wanted a convenient source of Vitamin B, and this seemed to be the answer.

So he developed this spread, and released it labelled "Pure Vegetable Extract". He then launched a competition so that the public could name the spread properly. In a remarkable twist of fate, or perhaps by some darker means, Fred Walker's daughter, out of all the hundreds of entries, won by naming it Vegemite.

The spread's popularity was not immediate. Marmite dominated the market, and people seemed reluctant at first to try the new option. But Vegemite was helped along by another invite to the public, this time to come up with a jingle which is now passed into each Australian fetus via the umbilical cord so that all babies are born knowing and singing the song transcribed above. Vegemite was also given a massive boost by being approved by the British Medical Association as a great source of Vitamin B.

During World War II, domestic supplies of Vegemite were severely restricted due to the demand from the armed forces. We shipped that stuff out to "our boys" like it was going out of fashion. But it wasn't. Demand for the stuff increased hugely over those years, and domestic sales soared after the war, partly thanks to the endorsment of various health professionals, and our own post-war baby boom.

Today, Vegemite's recipe is more or less unchanged and over 22 million jars are sold each year. Now that was a spread worth inventing.

All this because I wanted Vegemite on toast for breakfast this morning. Naturally, being good little Australians (and happy little Vegemites), we do have Vegemite in the house at almost all times. But we didn't have any bread.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I'm back, in all my multi-coloured glory. I don't know why I haven't blogged lately, perhaps because not much has really happened. I didn't get offered that job I mentioned in my last post, which spared me the awkwardness of refusing. However I did have another job interview yesterday afternoon, and I'm rather optimistic about this one. My current contract ends this Thursday, but neither my boss nor myself has really mentioned it... she seems to blithly assume I will remain here for at least a little longer, but I'm not so sure. The way she can't seem to afford to pay me is a bit of a turn-off. Either way, we'd better get this sorted out soon; we only have two days left! It's quite funny the way she's been correcting my minor errors over the last couple of days, exactly as if I'll need to remember the right way to do things beyond this week.

It'll be good to get full-time permanent work again; we'll really be able to start saving up to travel and stuff again. Stagnation isn't good for the soul. We've more or less made a committment to be overseas again in 18 months or two years at the outside.

Anyway, we found out today that our car has been fixed. Yay! It'll be nice to have our own car again; I always fail to recognise the current hire-car as ours, and I think we have visitors every time Aidan's home.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I didn't hear about that job yet. I doubt I'll be offered it, and I don't think I'll take it if they do offer it to me. It's not enough money, and I don't want to have to learn to drive.

It occurs to me that the ending of a particularly good book, movie, or television series, can be a very sad moment. I find that, particularly after reading a good book or series of books, I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do next. Suddenly a world I have immersed myself in has no more to offer me; the adventures are over, the characters have done all their author intended, and back into reality I am abruptly thrown.

I have just spent the last six hours with my eyes glued to youtube, unlikely as that may seem, having re-discovered an old favourite. Back in the 90's, BBC did a series called "Takin' Over The Asylum" - one series, no repeats, never heard anything more about it. But it was that rare thing: wonderful. Funny, sad, touching, bittersweet. Characters you couldn't not love, a story that couldn't fail to rivet you, and an ending that leaves you wanting more in the best possible way. Click here, and keep going through the whole six episodes, and if you don't at least nearly cry at least once, and at least nearly piss yourself laughing at least once, you're inhuman. Also, David Tennant in the role of Campbell is really hot.

And now it's over, again, and I'm lost, again. What do I do now? No mere RPG can stir up those emotions. No other story, written or acted, will make me feel quite the same way. Real life is just no substitute.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Well, I had my job interview this afternoon. I think it went quite well, although the fact that I don't have a car and can't drive will go against me. The job itself is as a "Senior Receptionist", which pretty much means "general dogsbody". That's the kind of job I like: endless variety, multi-tasking, and a complete lack of boredom. I hope to find out if I have the job by tomorrow afternoon.

Thanks to those who gave their good wishes by commenting on my previous post :)

In other news, our car is at the mechanics. They haven't had time to look at it yet, so we still don't know for certain what's wrong or how much it will cost to un-wrong.

In other other news... actually I don't think I have any. We're probably going to go and see Prince Caspian tonight. The Narnia books were among my favourite as a child; anything that could transport me to other realms than this sad reality was always a favourite. That still applies, really. Fantasy, sci-fi, even classics set in an age so different from my own time. So hopefully the movie will carry me away as easily as did the books.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I have a job interview tomorrow!

Monday, June 09, 2008

63 Random Questions I Stole From "A Bit Of Fluff"

1. The phone rings; who do you want it to be? Nobody really. I don't like phones too much. If it has to be somebody, it can be Aidan. If it's the home phone, I know it's my mother-in-law, because she's the only person who has that number.

2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart? I generally use a basket. Last time I used a trolley, I left it in a place I knew the trolley pick-up guys visited regularly.

3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener? Neither. I'm not very sociable as a general rule, but when I am with friends (ie, those I like and trust very much), I'm both.

4. Do you take compliments well? I'm getting better... but no.

5. Do you play Sudoku? Nah, I'm more of a words person than a number person. I do cryptic crosswords.

6. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, would you survive? I really doubt it, not for any length of time. I know enough to stay in one place. I'd probably be ok if I had my mobile phone, and if it had reception.

7. Do you like to ride horses? I used to, quite a lot. I haven't ridden in about ten years though.

8. Did you ever go to camp as a kid? Yeah, every year my school had camps. The best was to Central Australia – lots of hiking and climbing and stuff.

9. What was your favorite game as a kid? I was a solitary child in the bush, I played make-believe all by myself! I played every part in every story I could think of!

10. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew he/she was married, would you go for it? No way.

11. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you? Love should transcend religious beliefs. But I couldn't tolerate somebody trying to change my mind. (Intelligent debate is great, "I'm right because my bible says so" is not.)

12. Do any songs make you cry? Sometimes... it depends when I hear it.

13. Are you continuing your education? Sadly, no. There are a lot of things I want to know more about, there is so much to know and I know so little of it. I hope to study again at some point, when I figure out which topic I want to know about the most!

14. Do you know how to shoot a gun? No, but I could probably figure it out if I really had to.

15. If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you grabbed? I don't really have that many possessions that I value overly much. Probably just my mobile phone, so I could let everybody know my house burnt down.

16. How often do you read books? Very often, I love reading. Although I often have trouble deciding what to read, or re-read, so I might just save myself the trouble and not read instead.

17. Do you think more about the past, present or future? Probably the present. I have a terrible memory, and I have trouble putting faith in any imaginings of the future.

18. What is your favorite children's book? The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster. Full of puns and plays on words, which I love!

19. What color are your eyes? Blue-grey. More grey when I wear my contact lenses.

20. How tall are you? I dunno, about 165cm I guess.

21. Where is your dream house located? I don't have a dream house, or a location for one. There are too many wonderful places in the world to choose one, and far too many that I haven't been to yet.

22. Do you have a secret fetish? If I did, would I tell?! But I don't.

23. Have you tried sushi? Yes, it's quite nice, but not a favourite.

24. Have you ever taken pictures in a photo booth? Yes. Once. Wouldn't bother again.

25. When was the last time you were at Olive Garden? Is this some American thing? I don't know what Olive Garden is.

26. When was the last time you were at Church? I have never been to a church service. I went to a wedding in a church once, about 5 years ago.

27. Where was the furthest place you traveled today? Into the city and back, about a
14km round trip. On foot.

28. What was your favorite job? I'm not sure... all my jobs have been menial. Probably my current one or the one immediately before it; both office admin jobs.

29. Do you like mustard? Yuck yuck yuck!

30. Do you prefer to sleep or eat? I tend to eat out of boredom. But I guess I actually prefer sleep. Or rather, being in bed. Often with a book.

31. Do you look like your mom or dad? I looked a LOT like my mum when I was younger. Now I think I'm more of a hybrid, kind of both but neither. I have my dad's forehead.

32. How long does it take you in the shower. Depends how keen I am to get out and go to work!

33. Can you do splits? Nope. No way. Never have.

34. What movie do you want to see right now? The new Indiana Jones, and/or Prince Caspian.

35. If you could fast forward your life, would you? No, I think I'd miss all the good bits. I wouldn't even want to miss the bad bits; after all, how do you know what's good if you've got nothing bad to compare it to?

36. What did you do for New Year's? I don't remember. That's not because I got drunk; I'm almost certain I didn't. I probably blogged it, so just find that entry!

37. Do you think The Grudge was scary? The what? If that's a movie, I haven't seen it.

38. Could you relate to a character in Mean Girls? Thankfully, no. They were all equally horrid. Although I suppose the main character sort of slightly redeemed herself at the end.

39. Do you own a camera phone? Yes, it comes in handy sometimes. Every now and then I see something that nobody would believe if I didn't have photographic evidence!

40. Do you have an "ex box" with pics and letters from past lovers? No. I do have a box full of “memories”, which may or may not contain some “ex-related” stuff, but I certainly don't keep things specifically because they're ex-related.

41. Was your mom a cheerleader? Ha. Ha. Ha. No. She did sort of attempt to become a model at one point in her youth.

42. What's the last letter of your middle name? E.

43. Do you like your middle name? I guess it's ok. It's a derivative of my mum's first name. I don't really use or think about my middle name very much. (Although I do tease Aidan sometimes because he forgets how to spell it!)

44. How many hours of sleep do you get a night? It varies insanely. Just depends what I'm doing before and after sleep, as to how long I stay up and what time I wake up.

45. Do you like care bears? I barely remember them.

46. What do you buy at the movies? Popcorn! I often don't get a drink because then I'll need to pee halfway through the movie, but if I do it'll be a small soft-drink.

47. Do you know how to play poker? No. I quite like watching people play, and laughing at how serious they are.

48. Do you wear your seat belt? Only in the car. My scooter has no seatbelt.

49. What do you wear to sleep? Jim-jams that look rather like a clown costume.

50. Anything big ever happen in your hometown? Bushfires are regular... also the yearly “Wool Week” - wool is the main industry in the area, so there's a festival for it, although I think that's dying out now.

51. How many meals do you eat a day? Depends how hungry I am.

52. Is your tongue pierced? No, I would never get my tongue pierced. Just thinking of the risks of facial paralysis and loss of taste... no way.

53. Do you like funny or serious people better? Probably funny people. Serious people sometimes make me nervous, but funny people are easy – I just laugh!

54. Ever been to L.A.? Nope, I don't really want to either. Maybe just for a day.

55. Did you eat a cookie today? No... but I did eat fast food for the first time in AGES.

56. Do you steal or pay for your music downloads? Depends... if I'm at home, and think of a song I want, I'll download it. But if I'm in a music store and see a CD I want, I'll buy it.

57. Do you hate chocolate? I hate liking it!

58. What do you and your parents fight about the most? I've only ever seen my parents fight once, and although the memory sticks out like a sore thumb, it's the aftermath I remember and not the cause. (Don't worry, everything worked out ok and they celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary tomorrow.)

59. Are you a gullible person? I don't think so... but if I was, I might not know.

60. Do you need a boyfriend/girlfriend to be happy? Nah. I mean, being married is fantastic and I wouldn't NOT be married for anything. But I was happy when I was single too.

61. If you could have any job what would it be? How can I get paid a lot to do very little?

62. Are you easy to get along with? I'm not sure... I often struggle with small-talk, so strangers may find me difficult or odd. To my friends/intimates, though, I think I'm good. I hope so anyway!

63. What is your favourite time of day? Nighttime. I've always preferred staying up so late I go to bed when others wake up!