I Love Studying

July 27, 2004 by  
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Today was the first day of second semester. Before going to university I applied online for a program change which normally would take over two weeks. It was approved by mid-afternoon thankfully, so I don’t have to spend the next two weeks attending lectures and tutorials for six subjects wondering which direction I’ll be going.

That’s going to add an extra 18 months of study onto the year I did have left. Vous etes completement fou?! Are you completely mad? Perhaps, especially given the fact I really, really….really, don’t like studying. But the education is much more important than the desire to just get the minimum over with and get back out in the workforce. And if I’m serious about learning French I need to do it sooner rather than later…

Other aspects included in the decision, but it’s late. Tomorrow I have an interview, and hopefully by the afternoon I’ll be employed part-time so I can keep saving the cash needed to make it to the US in December.

News in Brief

July 25, 2004 by  
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Forgot I was going to throw in some news links – no time for anything other than the link.

Mostar Bridge Reopens, Decade After War Destruction – in Bosnia

Downer threatens Timor oil talks: report

Sudan Arabs Attack U.S. Stand on Darfur ‘Genocide’

The Future is a Scary Place

July 25, 2004 by  
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I made it back to Brisbane. The way my car was running yesterday, I’m not entirely sure how I made it, and that wonder continues, since now my car won’t start. Thankfully it’s decided not to start while safely parked at my house, not on a hill between Brisbane and Sydney somewhere.

But I didn’t come here to tell you that. I kept a small notepad with me in the car, jotting things down that came to mind, since often things come to mind and I think, “That’s kind of interesting”, and promptly forget it.

So, musings in transit…

Actually, some of these were before leaving Sydney. Like this one. One thing I like about a city, as opposed to the country, is that I feel ‘alive’, if that’s an accurate description. I noticed this while I was driving in Sydney. Constantly looking at the lights, watching the traffic, the pedestrians. Everything so close and cramped together that I couldn’t help but notice it. I had to keep my eyes open and be on my toes. So, I feel alive when I drive. That brought in a whole other thought process that doesn’t merit an essay being written about it here, which basically questioned whether, or why, I needed to be ‘doing’ something to ‘feel alive’. Anyway.

And then on the drive to Brisbane.

Life through polarised sunglasses is a little different. I kept taking pictures with my digital camera as I was driving because I liked what I saw, forgetting that what I saw through my polarised lenses was not what my camera was recording. So I stopped and just enjoyed the view.

It’s so much easier to say ‘mileage’ than ‘fuel consumption’. And kilometreage just doesn’t work. Kind of on that wavelength, I got a text from a friend telling me not to forget to Stop, Revive and Survive. I thought, I’ll stop for fuel, and that may revive me, but surviving will have to be left in God’s hands I guess. I stopped to refuel once. I had to make one more stop to relive myself because I simply couldn’t hang on for the last 45 minutes to Brisbane. Now that was pertinent information!

I want the muppets theme on my phone.

I watched Supersize Me while in Sydney, so was wondering about getting diabetes and the effect high sugar levels have on a person, particularly since I had a whole packet of ripe raspberries (130 grams of red chewy pieces of sugar), pringles (200g), and a 600ml coke on the drive. I kept each container to record how much of the ‘bad stuff’ I consumed. It’s interesting, in every case, you’re given a quantity per serving, and a quantity per 100 g/ml, but never a quantity as a whole. Alright, so after working it out:

  • Energy 7454 kJ (Coke 1080;Raspberries 1794; Pringles 4580)
  • Carbohydrates 261 g (Coke 63.6; Raspberries 101.4; Pringles 96)
  • Sugar 126.96 g (Coke 63.6; Raspberries 58.76; Pringles 4.6)
  • Fat 74 g (all found in Pringles, of which 26g is Saturated Fat, yum).

Apart from the stinging eyes, the slight illness and the definite lightheadedness later in the evening where I actually thought I may be about to faint (which has never happened), it wasn’t so bad.

Along the lines of Donald Trump trying to trademark “You’re Fired”, or people trying to trademark other common language words, I was forced to wonder about Billabong. As I was driving I went by a place called Billabong and thought, if that’s an Aboriginal word, what more right do they have to trademark it than words in other languages, like English. As I write this I realise this makes no sense, because the issue is the words use in communication, not using it to name a product… So I’ll walk away.

I fell in love with the girl in my rearview mirror. Not really, but she was pretty and it sounded appropriate for a country music song.

The Sikh temple in Woolgoola sits right next to the hightway and certainly catches the eye. There is also a large Indian restaurant/tourist attraction. The story behind Woolgoola sounds interesting…

If you’ve read all the way through to here, congratulations, this was longer than I thought it would be. As for the title, “The Future is a Scary Place”, something else came to mind to do with university. I thought I had decided to just finish out journalism at the middle of next year so I could start working. Without particular advice from anybody, I wrote down, “don’t take the easy road. journalism isn’t everything. more skills”. Basically, I’ve decided to do a dual degree, because I feel it’s more important to have the French language skills, and the education, than it is to simply be done with it and out there. This wasn’t easy, because I really do NOT want to study 18 months longer than necessary. I haven’t officially done it yet, but that’s the decision.

Till next time.

On the Road Again

July 23, 2004 by  
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On the road again, I can’t wait to get on the road again.

Brisbane here I come. 82 Corolla and Pacific Highway, let’s be friends, yes?

I embark

It’s all Greek to me

July 19, 2004 by  
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This funky computer is giving me Greek font at certain times and places.  Why, I don’t know.  Like this, for instance.  I’m typing, but reading greek, so please excuse any spelling mistakes.  I just came across this gain and though some people may be interested in doing it for a but of fun (sasting time).
It’s a Spelling Test.

Finally, I can see in English through ‘Edit HTML’…

Anyway, so there’s that spelling test. Apparently I also managed to unintentionally piss off several people at a very large newspaper… Take note fellow student journalists, don’t ‘quote’ someone if that’s not what they actually said you didn’t actually hear them say that, or you don’t know for certain those were the words spoken.

Last Day

July 16, 2004 by  
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I thought I was here for another week, but it turns out this is my last day here in ‘N’.  The only loss is the week’s pay, but for me that is fairly substantial.

I’m heading down to Sydney on Sunday to spend a few days there, and will probably be back in Brisbane Thursday night.
I had an epiphany the other day, but I can’t remember it.
I would also say more about my time here in ‘N’, but at this stage that would take more introspection, reflection and general thought than I care to exercise at this particular time of a Friday afternoon.  Perhaps tomorrow or next week.

Good luck to the Wallabies in the Bledisloe Cup.  I think they’ll actually have a very good chance if Chris Whitaker starts for the injured Gregan.  Gregan may be a good captain, but Whitaker is the better scrum-half, by a mile.  Anyone who saw the difference he made coming on against South Africa in last year’s Tri-Nations would know that.  The speed of his pass out of the rucks and mauls changed the whole momentum of the Australian backline, and literally, you could see the difference.  It may not have been noticeable on TV, but watching from the stands, that pass was burning.  For the positive impact Whitaker can have on the game, the sooner Gregan retires the better.  Just looked it up online, and it looks like Whitaker is the man.  It’s good to see Chris Latham getting a starting spot as well, just too bad it has to be at the expense of Joe Roff.   At least Jones had the sense to put Matt Burke on the bench, but I can’t believe he still makes the squad.  He’s over the hill, and seeing him continually start ahead of Latham in last year’s World Cup infuriated me no end.
Alright, I have nothing more to say.  Adios.


July 15, 2004 by  
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Human Rights Watch report says Foreigners Face Slavery-Like Life in Saudi

The British High Commissioner in Nairobi, Edward Clay, said Kenya’s government is arrogant, greedy and instead of fighting corruption “eats like a glutton”. He also said, “they can hardly expect us not to care when their gluttony causes them to vomit all over our shoes.” Not sure exactly what that means, but Clay told Reuters: “You’ve seen the article. I don’t think I have anything to add to it really.”

Reported on July 13 that US troops “closing on Karadzic” (ex-Bosnian Serb leader wanted in the Hague for genocide, crimes against humanity and violation of the laws of wars). Heard it before, but they always seem to ‘slip away’. A good reason may be that Nato has not acted on intelligence provided to them. Why, you may ask? Good question. Maybe he hasn’t got away this time though…Tabloid claims Karadzic arrested, also on July 13, although not verified yet.


July 14, 2004 by  
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Advertising, advertising… I get to one of these ‘stories’, to be told, “Sorry, I meant to call you guys this morning, but I’ve been so busy. I’ve decided I don’t want to do it.”

“Don’t want to do…what?” I ask.

“Yeah, I don’t really think we need to advertise right now. Sorry.”

“I’m not with advertising,” I reply tersely.

“Oh. So…what are you here for?” he asks.

“I’m supposed to get a picture of you over a radiator and do a short piece on how your body shop now does radiator work as well,” I say, realising now how ridiculous a premise this is for a news story, and becoming angry at the thought of doing the work of advertising again.

“Yeah, well, we probably don’t need the advertising.”

Alright mate, you’re either smart enough to realise that without the accompanying paid ad you probably won’t get the story in, or too stupid to agree to let me take a photo and do a story, basically free advertising without the ad, but I’m not wasting any more of my bloody time here.

It was all I could do not to peel out of there.

It Pours

July 14, 2004 by  
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And all of a sudden, I have three stories to do for tomorrow, plus the ‘Women in Business’ feature. It’s good to be busy.

Weekend Update

July 13, 2004 by  
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I’m posting now because, again, I have nothing to do. I have an interview scheduled for 4pm, but have been looking for something to write for about an hour now. So short of news, I’ll write here.

The paper is doing a ‘Women in Business’ feature this week. I’ve been out taking some photos and editing some copy. It’s all advertising, so I have been a little unhappy about being involved, but I guess advertising is what every paper lives on, and when I’ve got no other work to do, there’s no reason not to be involved with the ‘dirty’ money. That’s a bit harsh, but I really don’t like it.

I played Aussie Rules on the weekend which was a lot of fun, although I was a bit dirty about only getting on midway through the third quarter. Fair enough, I’ve never played Aussie Rules before, but I did well enough to get the ‘Coaches Award’. It’s nothing special; I think it’s akin to an encouragement award, but does involve a free lunch at a cafe in town, so you can’t go wrong there. And my hamstring didn’t snap, probably thanks to coming on late in the game. :)

Last night I had the best meal in my life. It’s a big call, and I thought long and hard about it, but I believe it’s accurate. Treena is a legend. She’s a chef, and I’m living at her house while here in ‘N’. I’m not much of a cook, and all I can describe it as is fettucini with a sauce comprising sour cream, mushrooms, dried tomato (of some description), bacon, mozarella cheese, and other things I can’t remember and probably wouldn’t know anyway. Absolutely exquisite. And there are leftovers, which I will be eating tonight.

Looking back, Friday was not a good day, with six posts here a sure sign I didn’t have enough work to do. When I was here for six weeks earlier in the year it was suggested I do a feature on myself and what I think of ‘N’, or an opinion piece, something. I didn’t get around to it, but with no other news to write about, I think I will begin working on that.

A Giant Named Rumbelec

July 12, 2004 by  
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I just remembered this has been saved as a draft for the last two months and since I don’t have time to write anything else I will just post it. Yes, I’m inflicting on you another story written by me in second grade. It’s lazy, pre-cooked blogging, but I can’t be bothered right now. It’s time to go home. Enjoy.

A Giant named Rumbelec
Once there was a giant name Rumbelec. Rumbelec was always mean to the other giants. He would hurt a little giant boy. He would eat cows. (not giant cows) He would break little kids crayons, he would tease them too, but worst of all he would step on peoples houses when they weren’t home. No other giants liked Rumbelec, his wife didn’t like him either. Then one day a giant said to another giant, “Lets make an army and kill Rumbelec.” The other one said, “No we shouldn’t kill Rumbelec because the police will put us in jail!” No, they won’t!” said the other one. “Okay.” said the other one. “You make your own army.” The giant said, “Okay, see you tomorrow.” The next day he saw the giant with a great big army! He ran and told the police. The police went on their Police Dragons as fast as they could. They caught up with the army and arrested them. The other giant was happy he wasn’t in the army. Then there wasn’t any other giants to make friends with. Only Rumbelec so he made friends with Rumbelec. Rumbelec tried to make him do bad things. Then, he told Rumbelec, “If you don’t stop being bad the police might put you in jail.” Rumbelec believed him and was never bad again.
The End

This one has no date, but it’s almost certainly post-G2 (grade 2). Not such a great one, although breaking kid’s crayons was particularly dastardly of old Rumbelec. Police dragons were a nice touch, and who would have thought, a giant who stopped being bad because he feared the consequences. Bad guy, politics, action, friendship, morals and rehabilitation into society. The story’s got it all…

You’re a Winner!

July 9, 2004 by  
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If you’ve just visited this blog, and the number on the counter at left reads ‘total 500’, congratulations, you are the 500th visitor to this site!!! (since that counter started)

[cue alarm bells, confetti, streamers and juggling midgets on unicycles]

Feel special? Enjoy it while it lasts, because that feeling is all you’re going to get. There is no prize.

Yes, well, I expected you would leave if there was nothing in it for you… And stay out! Or come back.

Journal Africa

July 9, 2004 by  
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Is Africa too dangerous for journalists?

There was a BBC Africa Live debate on Wednesday 7 July. It was asked, “If you’re a journalist in Africa, what do you make of your job? Are you taking your life in your hands?

As a member of the public, do you think reporters truly reflect what you see happening around you?”

Moderated responses/comments are shown. Again, for those not wanting to trawl through everything, just scroll down and see highlighted comments on the right when following that link.

One that just caught my eye, as it was short and summed up what many of them seem to say: For Western journalists, there’s never accurate reporting on Africa because of their ignorance. African journalists are mostly biased (because of political affiliations, or pressure/hardship)
Atsbeha Yimam, USA

Fascist France?

July 9, 2004 by  
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France stands firm on scarf ban
‘France’s education minister has vowed that a ban on Islamic headscarves in state schools will be enforced when the new term starts in September.’
‘He urged leaders of Muslim groups not to inflame and politicise the issue.’
Right, right… sorry, wait. What did the ban on headscarves do, if not inflame and politicise a non-issue? And you could be forgiven for forgetting the ban is also apparently on things like crosses on a necklace and jewish hat…things. Yes, I’m educated and knowledgeable. Anyway, but no, the discussion is about head scarves only.

France ‘forming ethnic ghettoes’. Not intentionally, as policy, but it’s happening. And they are ‘populated by poor, young French of north African immigrant backgrounds’.

Anyone interested in more of ‘enlightened France’, should read a bit more of No Pasaran!. Pro-US bias, but good analysis of what is actually said and done in French media, politics and everyday life. If you can get through some of the most recent very long posts, there are short, easy reading ones for those with slight attention spans or little interest. I particularly like ‘French Defence Surrender Minister’ (Ministresse Française de la Défense Capitulation), and their description of the French daily Le Monde Al Jazeera on the Seine (Le Monde Al Jazira sur Seine)

Poor Ali – Just Wanted to Go Home

July 9, 2004 by  
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Cpl Wassef Ali Hassoun is in trouble.

This is the American soldier who recently was kidnapped and reportedly beheaded by one of the many militant groups in Iraq. Now there are doubt about the circumstances surrounding his kidnapping, why he was freed, and how he suddenly popped up in Lebanon.

Fluent in Arabic, English and French… surely better career opportunities than the US Marines awaited someone with those skills. And the marines have started a criminal investigation, only saying his absence from duty is an issue. Well…yes, if you’ve been kidnapped, surely your absence from duty is not something you have much control over. Do they court-martial returned POWs for being AWOL? Obviously the marines aren’t convinced the whole kidnapping wasn’t staged.

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