Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ecological Footprints

Today's class was on ecological footprints, global warming, greenhouse effects and generally sustainability.  I will admit that I am slightly cynical when it comes to the environment debate.  Not that I don't believe that there are areas that need fixing and better management, but that there needs to be a compromise.  I would love to have solar power in my home or a hybrid car but really, there is no incentive to outlay the exorbitant initial funds to gain in the long term.  Society lives in a 'here and now' situation and with the cost of living rising continually the ability to fork out money to change to these 'sustainable' or 'ecological' avenues are not actually a viable possibility for the average person.

I'm more than happy for people to have a differing opinion - I even agree with a lot of them but I do NOT agree, nor condone fanatacism or fundamentalism - in ANY form.  Greenies, Zealots, Political Activists...nope, if you are fundamentalist on any of those I tune out.  There needs to be a compromise between everything.  The government placing higher taxes as a way to decrease our carbon footprint is a joke.  Make sustainable homes a viable option - the rebates were ridiculous as they still didn't encourage people to convert due the overall cost.  Just look at water tanks.  If you submit the paperwork for the rebate by having them connected by a registered plumber there are local laws that will screw you over for water usage!  Hello the water comes from nature - how the hell can you charge for usage & collection when you've done nothing but pay back a measly rebate???

Governments are the problem - here in Australia we are over governed.  There is no need for 3 levels of government - I came to that conclusion when I studied Australian Politics in High School and in University.  Even worse, Victoria is a Nanny State - get some balls people.  It's not that the average person doesn't want to support the ecology and be more sustainable, it's that the reality of daily life works against such a premise beyond basic recycling, lighting & organic seasonal foods - with governments charging more taxes, and privatised companies raising costs on basic amenities.  Support your local Farmer's Markets - buy bulk - go to Aldi...reject the worst grocery retailers: Woolworths & Coles!!

Anyway, enough of my rant....I could go off on more tangents but then I'd just get more frustrated!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


On a recent road trip with my sister and mum, we decided to stop at the town of Berry in New South Wales.  Whilst walking along the street our senses were hit with a lovely smell...and not one that came from a bakery!  Following the smell we entered a small arcade where there was a lovely shop that had quilts and candles.  So impressed by the owner of the shop, his knowledge & interest in our preferences we walked out with 4 candles.  

The candles we ended up getting burn for approx. 100 hours (and that's the medium one!).  The cost was very reasonable considering and even better it doesn't burn with black smoke rising from the flame.  It is an American brand with a soy base.  However, the seller for me was the sound.  Sound?  but isn't is a candle so wouldn't I mean smell????  Nope, I definitely mean sound.  The wick is actually wood and therefore sounds like a mini open fire as it burns...and for some unknown reason this adds to the appeal for me.

So, if any of you are interested I've attached the link to the website.  The candles that I'm talking about are called 'WoodWick'.  Enjoy!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Children's Poetry

I was finally catching up with my website reading and came across this article on the New York Times website:

I have to say that adults (including high brow literary critics) continue to delude themselves when it comes to what children can and can't handle.  The first article discusses the adaptation of Roald Dahl's subversive poems on to the stage and suggests that one shouldn't "take timid preschoolers" in fear of them being scarred or emotionally stunted due to the horrifying picture that Dahl's words create....puhleese!!  It is, I would argue, the fact that there is some horrible outcome or 'revolting' aspect in character and setting that attracts children.  Let's face it, children are horrible.  The more stomach churning or disgusting the topic then the more engaged they are.  They find the humour in the revolting - just like many adults do, so why should we censor their visual stimulation and label them as timid and unable to deal with the 'reality'?  Isn't this what we've done with Disney?  Sure there are aspects of old versions of Disney's work that have some dark imagery, but today it's all fluff and sweetness.  The villains are now humourous and clownish, not foreboding or worrying to the audience...we are all cotton-woolled and kept from the realities of life.

So remember, fairy tales are not a Disney interpretation, hell they're not even the Grimms!  They are dark, violent and didn't always have a HEA.  Just look at Charles Perrault's Little Red Riding Hood - she's eaten by the wolf in the end!!  There is NO saviour, and the villain is really quite Machiavellian.  For all those adults that want to dummify children and not give them the credit of adapting - censorship has been taken too far - GROW UP!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Gendering Clothes

Just a quick add on post...I was trawling one of my favourite blogs "Doc in Boots" and came across her link to the Smithsonian.  There is an interesting article about the gendering of children's clothes and the history behind it.  I loved the thought of all those macho men having to come to terms with the reality that if they had been born prior to 1940 there was a very good likelihood that they would spend the first 6 years of their life in a white dress and then more than likely take up the colour pink as part of their clothing repertoire!  The link is below - enjoy it, I did!


Today I did a poll on movies run by Empire Magazine.  I don't often do these, but to be honest my head was cotton-wool stuffed and I needed something fairly random and stupid to stop me from groaning 'woe is me'.  So, I did the damn poll.  Out of 500 selected movies I had seen 366...not that they were great movies, because I'm telling you, most of them listed could have been stuck in a garbage compactor and left on until it had well and truly killed any possibility of resurrection!  I know that movies, like anything creative, are a personal choice.  This isn't the point I'm trying to was the damn poll!  Who the hell decides these things?  Honestly, want to get me off side then do something as stupid as a poll.  Particularly for something that is based within the creative arts movement.  It's like the wankers out there that say that something is shit when they've never read, seen, visited or experienced said thing they're putting down! GRRR

So, I just can't stand them, and even worse I know how annoyed I get so why when I'm sick would I put myself through such a thing?  So saying, I'd love to know what your opinion is...poll anyone?  LOL.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Teaching & Surviving...

Teaching rounds. Hmmm.  Well, the first two weeks are over and now it's back to 'student' mode. The kids are all cleared out from the school grounds and now it gives the parents at home a chance to realise why they should appreciate teachers just that bit (or a helluva lot) more.  My impression of teaching can be summed up in one word with lots of adjectives tacked on...challenging.  I've come down with a cold that really should have made itself scarce within a few days...however, as I've been advised by my practicum mentor in my first couple of years in teaching I will catch everything & it will take longer to get rid of anything!  Yippee...uh, yup. 

Well, I was just wondering, what do you do to survive the days, weeks, years?  I always aim for positivity. I think that there should always be aims...not that I ever expect to reach them all, but then the aims should never be unrealistic either.  So, my aims are immediate, short term, long term & yes, sometimes wishful.  One of my goals is to get more done & be organised...not going so well at the moment but then Rome wasn't built in a day, or so the saying goes!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ruminations of a Ratbag: Autumn Afternoons

Ruminations of a Ratbag: Autumn Afternoons

Autumn Afternoons

As I write this latest instalment the sky is overcast, the air is fresh & the air around me is awash with the scents of cloves and oranges from the candle burning on the shelf.  I love Autumn.  Mind you I really can love any season depending where I'm enjoying it from.  Winter is great when you're home, snuggled on the sofa with the open fire crackling & the rain squalling outside.  Summer's lovely with the sun in the crisp blue skies & the sound of cicadas serenading you.  Spring is brilliant in its rainbow of colours and scents that assault the senses...yet, still for me it's Autumn.  You can have lovely crisp cool days with the sun shining and blues skies or the wind cutting through a hillside and the leaves all golden, reds & browns skipping down the sidewalks.

Most of all I love the food.  I'm a comfort food type of girl. What's your favourite season/food?  I love the puddings, stews and generally the warming hot chocolates - sometimes with chilli, sometimes with cinnamon...mmmm.  

So, today's just a brief rumination...more so I was wondering what you like to do on these days were it not for the immediacy of life intruding?  I would happily not get out of pj's, curl up with a good book, or two, or three...a great pot of tea, the cat on my lap & become a living humanoid sloth.  This is surprisingly not too far from a possibility!

So, for those of you who have managed to enjoy an Autumn day which involved doing very little but was sublimely satisfying...I tip my cup of tea in your direction.