Friday, May 28, 2004

Cold as Ice

It was a chilly night last night in Canberra. Our house has ducted gas heating, which is fantastic, but we don't leave it on overnight, so the temperature has usually dropped quite a bit by the morning. And despite the wool underlay on my bed (a necessary investment that I made about 2 weeks ago), and my feline hot water bottle, I woke up FREEZING this morning - my breath was fogging up INSIDE the house!

And when I ventured outside at around 7.30 to head to work, my car was covered in a fine white layer of frost, for the first time ever. The wipers did nothing to get rid of it, so I had to go back inside and get a bucket of lukewarm water to throw over the windscreen. As I was driving to work, the temperature gauge thingy in my car was reading -1.5 degrees. But the sun was blazing away - such a strange contrast, to have blue skies and bright sunshine, but freezing cold temperatures!

Thank God it's Friday - I'm looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow and reading some more of Dan Brown's "Angels and Demons" - it's nearly as good as "The Da Vinci Code", which I couldn't put down! A good, fast-paced, interesting read. Although both books raise some interesting theories/issues about Christianity, and particularly the Catholic church.

Oh, and happy birthday wishes to Joanne!

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Electric Blue

What Color is Your Brain?

brought to you by Quizilla *has* always been my favourite colour...I have way too many blue clothes!

What colour are you?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

More than Words

Argh, I am so addicted to attention span at work today has been completely shot coz I keep checking it to see if I can find any new words - so be warned of the addictiveness before you check it out!

On the same topic, ie words, I'm gonna have a bit of a rant about one of my pet hates...As someone who deals in words and subtleties of meaning for a living, I am terribly pedantic about their use. There are 3 things that drive me insane when I see them in professional or public writing:

1) Bad spelling. Actually, this annoys me in any writing at all - dammit, people whose first language is English should know how to spell! I'm not talking about knowing how to spell the ridiculous words that noone ever uses (like some of those that the kids in Spellbound had to spell - some of them were corkers!), and I'm not talking about typos or slang. What gets me is when people get the common, every day words that you see ALL THE TIME wrong.
2) Poor grammar and punctuation. There is nothing more irritating than seeing a sign at the supermarket that says "Trolley's". It makes me itch to get out the liquid paper and get rid of that bloody errant apostrophe! (If you are similarly irritated,check out the Self-Appointed Grammar Police page here - unfortunately it hasn't been updated for a while)
3) Convoluted language. This is more of a problem in legal writing than in other fields - lawyers seem to feel that if they make a passage of writing completely incomprehensible to everyone else, they are all the more intelligent for having written it.

This rant was brought on by a particular senior lawyer whose submissions I recently reviewed and suggested some "plain English" amendments to, in an attempt to make them vaguely readable and 3 pages shorter...not only did he not *use* any of my suggestions, he didn't even acknowledge that I had given them - argh, so frustrating! Ah, what can a lowly worker bee do.

Enough ranting, back to Babble...

Monday, May 10, 2004

Sick to the Stomach

By now, everyone has heard of the torture and humiliation that Iraqi prisoners underwent at the hands of American soldiers. I guess you're all as horrified as I am by the cruelty and inhumanity of their acts. It makes me sick to think that people are capable of treating other human beings like this.

Here is an extract from The New Yorker - you should read Hersh's article.

Here is the full report of Maj. Gen. Taguba on the alleged abuse of prisoners by members of the 800th Military Police Brigade at Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad.

I remember reading a few years ago about the My Lai massacre - which was perpetrated during the Vietnam War (the story was broken by the same Seymour Hersh whose article on Abu Ghraib appears in The New Yorker) - and thinking that such a tragedy couldn't happen in this modern era. Surely lessons had been learned, and military culture had changed with the times, and the military system had become much more transparent - but I guess that was pretty naive thinking.

What is wrong with people, and with the military system, that things like this can happen, and people can treat others with such contempt and senseless cruelty?? Could this just have easily happened if the prison had been under Australian control rather than American?? How can Western society possibly judge other "rogue" nations when our "civilised" Western society acts like this??

Friday, May 07, 2004

I Will Survive

Continuing on yesterday's theme of stories of a slightly gory nature, I came across an incredible news article this morning about a construction worker in LA who survived SIX nails being driven into his skull by an automatic nail-gun - pretty amazing stuff!!

Thursday, May 06, 2004

(What's the Story) Morning Glory

I spent a bit of time this morning surfing the Snopes website, after a colleague sent me yet another hoax/urban legend email (I can't believe how many people still forward these kinds of emails on without checking first!!). It's a great website if you're looking to waste a bit of time - there are lots of interesting stories compiled there. Each tale is identified as true, false, ambiguous or of indeterminate origin.

Some of the true stories are just incredible - a few that I found interesting (a couple of them quite grisly) are:

- Two men each lost an arm in a grisly tug-of-war contest
- A lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a skyscraper crashed through a pane and plunged to his death
- A cuckolded husband presented his wife with the head of her lover
- Tounge of frog
- Photos show a domestic cat sporting a "lion cut."

And have a look at the What's New page for some recent stories.