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Showing posts from February, 2011


Too Little, too Late

- In memory of Romain Here I am joking around about death and funerals and have just heard that one of my cousins killed himself recently. I do apologise for being insensitive. I am sorry too, that I didn’t visit this branch of the family while I was in Europe, not that it would necessarily have helped.  As a family we tend to focus on our achievements and what is going well. We don’t talk about problems and we do that as a society as well.  Then there’s a house in my street, which I pass a couple of times a week. It intrigued me a bit because of the mural outside and I wondered what the person was like who lived inside. Usually though, when I pass I am on my way somewhere else.  This week I finally got up the courage to ask about the grape vines that grow outside. I have been wanting to preserve some vine leaves for Dolmadi, but wasn’t sure if these were ornamental grapes or real ones. Maybe it doesn’t matter. There was no answer when I knocked on the door, only a notice from the co

The Robots are already here

They are already replacing the checkout girls. What will I do for social contact once Self -Service is the only option? I already use Netbank for my banking and don’t chat with the tellers any more. In Japan, robots are performing weddings. They also have a robotic catwalk model. Mind you, I noticed during my funeral research, that one of the real estate agents here is also licenced as a funeral celebrant. I’m not sure I like that. I can imagine him signing up grieving relatives at the same time. I think I would rather have a robot. I am all for robots doing all the dirty work, but as we make ourselves redundant, robots should be made to pay enormous Income Tax. After all, they work 24 hours per day and need no sick leave or holidays, other than a little lubricant and maintenance occasionally. It would not only make them marginally less attractive in lieu of human labour, and their products less competetive, but it would enable us to buy what they make. They certainly wouldn't

Twenty reasons why I should have married my GPS

This is a marvellous gadget. My family bought me one after I got lost a few times while visiting them in their various places of abode.  You soon grow very used to this little travelling companion when you aren't fumbling under the dash for it and I just love the way it lets me go boldly forth in unknown cities and eight -lane intersections. Here are some of my reasons for preferring it to a husband. I must confess I haven't yet had the time to discover all its capabilities. A GPS:   Never comments on your driving ability or the way you reverse park. It always takes you where and when you want to go and never keeps you waiting or stands you up It a lmost always gets you where you are going and usually much faster than if you were using a Melways or even Google. Have you ever tried reading those instructions while driving through town? It knows exactly where you stand without having to ask and only rarely leads you astray It willingly takes orders


I was just going to write an Ode to my GPS, but I do have some reservations. Don’t get me wrong. I am not a Luddite. I have even just changed the Sim card in my phone without calling my children, but I do have niggling doubts about total reliance on same.  Not only does technology change very quickly, but what if someone moves our satellites slightly to the left, blocks the signal or they get hit by a comet or there is the tiniest cosmic hiccough? Or our batteries go flat? I had reason to ponder this only the other night.  Having just scanned a lot of the documents I thought I might want to keep, I found myself unable to access any files for twenty four hours because of a minor electrical fault in the house. What happens when I can’t afford the power bill, or the internet connection, or I lose the whole computer? And I did wonder how many electricians I'd be able to ring before my mobile died, because I wouldn't have been able to recharge it. Although I now have back -up fo

Apologies to my International Readers and Students of Angleski, Let's hear from you!

I know this has been pretty boring for you, but this is the sort of stuff I write at home. I should have been down at the docks taking photos of the Wooden Boat Festival for which Hobart is famous, or maybe the Taste of Tasmania, another big Festival the week before, or just maybe I should have three blogs - one for international, one for national and one for local. Then again, it could be three different blogs - one for travel, one for inner journeys and random thoughts and one for book reviews. I am also thinking of letting it go public, instead of it being a private blog, as it has been. Members of the Japanese Fashion Club at the Market last Saturday Nice thought! So what do you think? It's about time I heard something from you. I am not even sure if the comments thing at the bottom of the blog works so give it a go because this is turning into such a one sided conversation. What did you like? What didn't you like? I'll try not to be too miffed. And wh

Dying is not an Option!

"Afterlife" real estate is expensive   I have just looked into the high cost of dying, even when you are not being scammed by undertakers.   (This site also mentions other scams including the lottery scam I almost fell for the other day). According to Working Carers a burial plot can set you back anywhere from $1,000 to $13,000,  grave digging $500, a basic pine coffin $ 2000, a headstone $1000 to $3,000 plus not less than $3,000 for the undertaker’s services, so I simply can’t afford to die any time soon.   Nor is cremation the clean green way to go I thought it was, since it is very polluting and produces lots of greenhouse gases. As  Brownedoc s at Wordpress reports:  "I n the UK, 16% of the mercury emissions and around 11% of dioxin emissions are the result of cremation. You could drive the distance of the moon and back 163,273 times on the energy from all cremations in one year from the countries, China, Japan, India, U.K, Canada, U.S.A, Australia and New Z

Why it's very important to discuss your wishes with your family....

I just talked to my daughter about it, and this is what she sent me. If you can't read it. Just double click on it. I just realised I couldn't!

Intimations of Mortality

Old Cemetery at Ross, Tasmania Just when you come to terms with the idea that you might not live forever, there is the horrible prospect that you might. Life expectancy keeps rising, yet the quality of life does not necessarily improve. No, I am not planning to do myself in just yet, but there’s a big debate going on in Tasmania about Voluntary Euthanasia and another nationally about how we are going to pay for all those aging baby boomers when they all need care and are no longer tolerated at home. The favoured model looks like being a sort of reverse mortgage on the family home. This is a bit depressing since having spent the first two thirds of your life acquiring it, it seems that you only get to keep it for such a short time. While my children have offered me accommodation so far, there’s every chance they’ll change their mind as I get older, crankier and more difficult to manage, so I am having a big think about how I want things done, while I am still capable, and I have t

Square Eyes

Miracles do happen! A new TV appeared on my doorstep on Friday just in time for the Friday night murder mystery. The courier couldn't tell me the source, so it took a little while to find out that my darling daughter had organised this. I like to think it was because she was worried about me falling off the balcony while trying to watch the neighbour's (not the neighbours, but the neighbour's television, though it's hard to say which would be the more entertaining), but most likely it was to stop me from complaining. It is truly amazing. It is not one of the house -sized ones, but has an excellent picture and about fourteen channels that I have never seen before. Unfortunately, the programs aren't any better - mostly reruns and sport - but this is probably a good thing, or I wouldn't be sitting here now. By the way, I think I have found the answer to writer's block which I have been whingeing about as well. It's no use sitting in front of a blank scr

Giggle your Way to Health and Happiness

If you go down to the park today, you're sure of a big surprise.... I was down in St. David’s Park this morning just for a bit of a laugh. That’s right, a formal laugh with the Hobart Laughter Club.  Not a big crowd today -only six of us whereas there are normally about 13 or 14, but the sun was shining and it was great day for making  an idiot of oneself.  Annette, second from right in the picture, was today's cheerleader.  If it seems a bit contrived having to get together expressly for the purpose of having a laugh, then let me tell you the strange looks you get aren’t half as strange as the ones you get if you laugh out loud in public by yourself. So here were making weird noises and practising different kinds of laughter for no apparent reason. There were belly laughs, the Bailey’s Irish cream laugh, Simon Says laughs, snide laughs, an angry laugh and one or two others which I have already forgotten. No jokes needed - just getting those laughter muscles working and g

Here's Your St. Valentine's Card

Meish has kindly given permission to use this on my blog. Click on her name for other wonderfully cynical thoughts and yes, I am using a mass -produced sentiment produced by someone else, but it did rather tickle my funny bone and that's very important these days. I'm not even that against a bit of commercialism or even that the card is mass -produced and I also like celebrating the passing of the seasons and marking out special days that break up the routine and allow people to drop their masks (or put them on) for a short time, otherwise life gets pretty boring. What does bother me is when these rituals themselves become routine or fraught with expectations and obligations. Valentine's Day has its origin in pre Christian times in the ancient Roman Festival of Lupercalia. Unmarried girls/ women put their names into a drum to be drawn by young men who then remained their partner until the following year's draw. Sounds like a great idea to me. We should bring it

The X Files - a meeting with Ghosts and Old Friends

Talk about having one’s life pass before one’s eyes. I am going through the wreckage of my life so far. I  already parted company with most of the hardware – kids’ bikes, the bassinette, unfinished hobbies and several generations of dead computers – remember the 311?, even the spinning wheel - before I moved house, but I am now being confronted by about 30 years’ worth of old lecture notes, recipes, craft ideas that I never managed to find time for etc. etc. which have just returned from storage to haunt me. That’s where all this nostalgia is coming from in case you were wondering! It’s not cool to admit to having been a hippie these days, especially when you look at old photos or movies of people in flares, body suits and crazy hair, but I’ll have more to say on that later, when I finish this job, the other one and the house maintenance. But I digress, yet again Technically, if I wanted to, I could spend the whole of the next decade sifting through the last thirty years or so, b

Priority Customer

It’s 5.30 a.m. Ever since I gave the garbage men those shortbreads at Christmas I am their Number One customer and they always start their round here on Wednesday mornings. This is not necessarily a good thing as they bang and bump and grind their way to my door in the wee hours of the morning, but at least I get my bin emptied, which didn't happen when I first got home and I am glad that I am a high priority for someone as the Age of Invisibility dawns for me. This was certainly not the case when I went to look at televisions this week. The little old one I borrowed from my son, quite literally went up in smoke while I was watching a murder mystery on Friday night. The smell was terrible and I was a bit afraid that it might explode so I carefully took it outside and in the morning I had to go and ask the neighbours Who Dunnit. If I had known they were watching the same program I suppose I could have sat on my balcony with binoculars and watched the rest from there. Then again, i