Archive for May, 2007

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Seven Random Facts

29 May 2007

I’ve been tagged by Kate to produce seven random facts about myself.  I’m supposed to then tag 7 other bloggers but all those I read appear to have already been tagged so I’m afraid I can’t continue the chain (never much liked chain letters anyway). 

But here they are, in no particular order:

1.     From the age of 6 to 20, I played the trombone in brass bands, orchestras and a jazz band.

2.     I have the Aboriginal (Walpiri) name of Nakamara, having lived and married in a remote Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory.

3.     At 11, I won an inter-school swimming competition because I was good at English.  I came 3rd but the first 2 hadn’t known what was meant in the rules by “placing both hands simultaneously” on the side of the pool when turning, and were disqualified.  I never was much of a swimmer.

4.     Between the ages of 11-18, I went to 5 schools (my parents moved a lot!).

5.     I once stood for election as an Independent in local elections in England to campaign against the incompetency and corruption of the incumbent.  I came 2nd but managed to stir things up a bit.

6.     At the age of 26 (and single), I lived for a year in a town of 28 single women and 800 single men.

7.     I’d known David for 23 years before I married him.  (We both married other people in the meantime).

So there they are.   7 things you didn’t know,  and perhaps don’t really want to know,  about me.

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Choices! What Choices?

20 May 2007

Last year the Government threw out most of the benefits that Australian workers had achieved over the years and replaced them with a “free for all” named “Work Choices”.  Very few working conditions now remain on the statute books and it’s up to the employee to negotiate her own.  Which is fine if you have experience, qualifications, a track record.  But not so good if you’re 18 years old, and begging to be given your first job.  The Work Choices available to the young and the unskilled consist of:

1.   Do I take the job at the pay and conditions offered, or

2.   Do I look for another job?

The reason given for any legislation that diminishes the benefits and pay of employees is “competition”.  We cannot be paid high wages and compete with international markets where the staff is paid a small fraction of the Australian national wage.

Why does this thinking only apply to one section of the workforce though?  I’ve never seen it suggested that the senior executive of an Australian company should be paid at the level of his Malaysian counterpart in order to foster competition.

And I’ve no idea how much the head of a Vietnamese or Indonesian bank earns but I bet my entire year’s income that it’s a lot less then the THIRTY THREE POINT FOUR NINE MILLIONS DOLLARS (Yes – $33.49 million) that Allan Moss earned last year at the Macquarie Bank in Sydney.   

 His Work Choices have also probably been reduced to two:

1.   Shall I work this year, or

2.   Shall I not bother? 

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I’m So Good

15 May 2007

I’ve been into three yarn shops in the last three weeks and have bought NO YARN!

Like most avid knitters, I have a big enough stash to be able to open a small yarn shop of my own but I’m trying very hard not to add to it. A group of us meet at Rubi and Lana’s, a wonderful shop in Gordon (North Sydney) which is a terrific temptation but still no yarn (although I have to admit that I succumbed to a pair of Lantern Moon needles). 

Today I went to Lincraft to buy some buttons and normally this wouldn’t be a shop that lures me into large purchases, but they certainly seem to have improved over the last couple of months.  They now stock quite a lot of good quality wool and I saw Cleckheaton’s Vintage Hues for the first time – but I didn’t buy any.

However, there appears to be a downside to Lincraft’s improved stock.  In March I bought some Patons Shadow Tweed and I think I paid $7.55 for it.  Today it is selling at $9.95.  A 31% increase!  I thought they were trying to lure knitters back to them after ignoring us for so long.  So what on earth are they playing at? 

If this is the sort of price increase they’re introducing across their range, at least it solves the problem of my ever-increasing stash.  I didn’t buy anything.

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It’s English, But Not As We Know It.

14 May 2007

I love the English language, particularly the way that it has such nuances that a non-English speaker with a very good command of our language can sometimes get it terribly wrong.  With very funny consequences.

We have all come across those signs that often appear in hotels, where every word is correct English but the meaning gets lost somewhere.  My favourite is “The water in this establishment has been personally passed by the Manager”.

I was once told by an Italian that sharks do appear in Italian waters sometimes but “they are very casual”.  Wonderful images of Hawaiian shirts and sunglasses.

Then I feel guilty laughing, as this level of English is far higher than anything I can manage in any language other than my own.

However, I don’t apologise for finding the following absolutely hilarious.  It comes from an Austrian company which was offering its wine list to a beer and wine importer I was working for.  The descriptions of these wines were wonderful and I present some of them to you, typed EXACTLY as in the letter.

“ripened in oak – caks which impart a special aroma to the wine, amasing well matured, soft note of pepper”

“light – reeby with a pab – violet edge, with a tied – up cherry – fruit, for the palate it’s a soft and classical fruit.  Fresh and dry faded away.”

“light, reductif colour, perfume of green apples, phantastic sourness.”

Cheers!   

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A Month in Blog Land

8 May 2007

I’ve been reflecting on my first month of blogging and I think I can say that I’ve enjoyed it.  I picked a dreadful month to start – loads of work and a 4 day Easter trip to Broken Hill (a 13+ hour drive each way) – so didn’t leave myself much time to blog, let alone to knit.

I’d like to have put up lots of photos but that’s more time-consuming than just writing and I’m not exactly a whiz with a camera or photo software.  I promise to put in more effort when I’ve a little more spare time (and a few items actually sewn up, with buttons).

I’ve really enjoyed getting on my soapbox about things and words that annoy me – it’s very therapeutic.  I’ve always been rather self-opinionated and love a good rant so this is a wonderful excuse.

I still find it extraordinary that people I don’t know read my blog and am fascinated by those who find it, accidentally, via Google.  A lot of very disappointed knitters ended up with me when they were actually looking for dishcloth patterns, or instructions on making pompoms.

I got off to a great start, thanks to all my knitting friends who ‘advertised’ my presence on their own blogs.  People I didn’t know wrote to me.  And it’s said that strangers are just people you haven’t met yet.  I got some particularly touching feedback on the story about my father’s scarf and David Reidy kindly asked me to repeat it on his Sticks & String podcast.

So thank you all for your support and comments.  Thank you for welcoming me to your world.  

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Hobson’s Choice?

2 May 2007

You all know what I think of the use of the word “lifestyle”.   Well, today I came across this item on a menu:

Lifestyle Choice Chicken” . . .  I kid you not!

Now, I didn’t know this chicken and have no idea what lifestyle choices it was able to make but as it ended up in the oven of a Sydney restaurant, I think I’m safe in assuming very few.

Unless of course they’re claiming it committed suicide.