31 May 2007

Poor Ned, You're Better Off Dead

I loved the Redgum song about Ned Kelly when I was a teenager, Poor Ned. Today I have been immersed in the legend of Ned Kelly.

First stop was to the State Museum in Melbourne to see their Ned Kelly exhibit and to participate in some art activities. The State Library of Victoria has the Jerilderie Letter online. They have the real thing at the library as well as the armour. My students completed an art activity making the armour in a well prepared session. I learnt today the letter was not published until the 60's as it was held by the government. When I say letter I would like to add this was an 8000 word document and was dictated to Joe Byrne (one of the Kelly gang) by Ned Kelly.

From there it was off to the Arts Centre to watch a performance called 'The Legend of Ned Kelly'. This performance was inspired by the Sidney Nolan Paintings and these paintings were featured in the performance. The performance was a mixture of puppetry and video and light. Some of the effects were quite impressive.

It was not mentioned today but I think it is interesting that 'The Story of Ned Kelly' was probably the worlds first full-length feature film. There have been many books and films made about the legend of Ned Kelly, the notorious Australian Bushranger. There was much discussion between teachers and students as to whether he was a hero or a villian. I was interested to note that many students saw him as neither, but rather a victim of circumstance. The Irish in my ancestry makes me want to believe he was a hero, yet I think the students were right.

29 May 2007

The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

Gypsies, the steppes, travel, orphans, witches,dancing, calligraphyThe Witch of Portobello has it all. I looked forward to reading it each night.

When I think back on the books I've read by Paulo Coelho I can never quite put my finger on what part of it impacted on me, yet I always feel a little altered and more alive from having read. I love the International flavour of his books. I find it quite startling sometimes when he writes because many of his central characters are women and the subjects quite feminine, yet he treats them from a male perspective. I enjoy his writing and look forward to the few remaining unread by me.

PS: Kat, text me your address and I will put it in the mail to you. If you are quick, you could be reading it on the weekend!

28 May 2007

Women in Art on YouTube

This clip is amazing. So beautiful. If you go to YouTube, the creator has also made another similar clip on Women in Film. It's mezmerising.

27 May 2007

Signs of Letting Go

So yesterday I read the column about de-cluttering, referred to in my last post. Ruth was pondering parting with the lock of the boyfriends hair and it seemed like it was going to be released the way the article was going.

Tonight I watched episode 13 of season one of The Gilmour Girls(I'm loving this right now and have secured for a winter of watching, season's 2 & 3). It was the episode where they go to The Bangles concert. Ah the memories of walking like an Egyptian!

Anyway Luke gave his exes sparkly jacket to the junk sale and Lorelei bought it, attracted as she was to the sparkles and wore it without realising it belonged to his ex-girlfriend and he reacted and she found out about the ex and demonstrated some interest in him by being obsessively curious about her. Are you following this?

I could relate to the obsessively curious borderline jealous thing. Then she did the totally understanding and mature thing and gave him back the sweater, I so wish I had done something this mature and together once in my life around the jealous issue thing. I know there have been moments when I could have, just the moment always passed before I managed to put it into action.

So Ruth let go, Luke didn't, the signs are there. This weekend I have let go of shabby linen that has been bulking up my storage space. Oh and piles of leftover dry biscuits that were the last ones in the pack and kept getting stuffed into the air tight container. There must have been 20 or so plastic wrappers with one salada in it. They were all stale though, so I'm questioning whether the airtight container, is in fact air tight. Perhaps the container should go too.

26 May 2007

Ruth Ostrow

I rediscovered Ruth today. I am so delighted. She has a blog and I have subscribed to her feed, so I will never miss out again. I can she it's probably been going on for a while, yet I had given up looking for it and only found it today.
Her current article is about decluttering. I am doing a bit of that at present. I have storage space in this house but it's not really well organised. So I am getting right on that at present. I am letting go of piles of stuff. Sometimes very reluctantly but still, I expect I will get better with practise. Each time I make more space I get more ruthless with stuff.
In a bid to reduce paper waste and hopefully save a few trees, many years ago, I stopped buying newspapers. I found most things I love to read were online, but I couldn't find Ruth Ostrow's column on 'The Australian' website. I also occasionally enjoyed Susan Maushart. All in all everything else I loved about buying the weekend Australian was attainable elsewhere so to speak. You can now read the Weekend Australian, but it doesn't seem to be current, perhaps they wait until after the weekend and then publish it. I can wait.
I have been a fan of Mystic Medusa's website for years.

24 May 2007

Cows With Guns

On YouTube there is this comment for this video

"An epic musical tale about the great cow revolution. A 6 minute claymation by Guru Animations.
If you like this video please visit www.nescafebigbreak.com.au and vote for michael so we can start up an animation studio."

However when I went there, the link said the nescafe big break is over. I found this link though about a Michael Richards who was an animator, so I hope he won. I like the idea.

22 May 2007

Joss Stone CD

I just bought a Joss Stone CD that I have been wanting for ages and I can't play it on my computer in Media Player. I don't have any other CD player! What is the point of buying a CD if you can't play it? Grrrrrrr.

So, even though I have the CD, I still have the pleasure of listening to it, to look forward to.

20 May 2007

Lovely Pressies

I watched my DVD I got for Mothers Day yesterday "The Gilmour Girls", season 1. It was great. That show has some classic dialogue in it. I totally enjoyed it. Unfortunately I had already consumed my delicious chocolates almost as soon as I received them. Never mind!
I went shopping and spent my book voucher as well. Keeping with the chocolate theme I bought the Joanne Harris sequel to 'Chocolat' called 'The Lollipop Shoes' as well as Paulo Coelho's latest 'The Witch of Portobello'.

I love this article by Paulo Coelho. I think it embraces all that I love about his books. I love the lifestyle he lives. I want to give some books away now. My bookcases are bulging. I am going to take some to school to put on our community bookshelf and hunt for other good places to leave them. It will make me feel better about buying so many.

19 May 2007

The Journeys of Socrates

'The Journeys of Socrates' by Dan Millman was a great read. Years ago I read 'The Way of the Peaceful Warrior' and have always remembered it as a great adventure and insight into what is spiritually possible.

This book continued that adventure by going further back into the history of one of the original characters and shedding light on how such a great being came to be. I am glad I read 'The Way of the Peaceful Warrior' first because it made sense to me in this way and allowed the revelations at the end of the book to have more meaning for me. I feel inclined to reread the first book now though, because it has been many years since I first read it.

'The Journey of Socrates' is set in Russia in the middle of the 19th Century. It tells of the hardships endured and the triumphs of his character. I definately recommend it. The author Dan Millman has a website that tells of a movie based on 'The Way of the Peaceful Warrior'. I look forward to seeing that.

17 May 2007

Love is all you need

I read Craig Harper's blog on Sunday night and was touched by one of his readers stories. I have been reading this blog for a while and whilst it's often amusing, I think his latest post, 'Maybe the Beatles Were Right' is the best of his posts I've read. He's so right and perhaps so were the Beatles as well as a lot of others who have mentioned this over time. I have had my own little wake up calls around this topic this last week or so, so I know what I am talking about here.

May is seriously birthday month around here. Tom, Pat, Nicole, my nana were all born in May. I seem to know heaps of people born then also. It's Kat's birthday today. Happy birthday to you...etc.

My parents have headed off in their caravan to join the grey nomads. I'm delighted for them. I will also miss them. I love having them nearby even though I don't see them all the time. It will be great for them to get away and see this great country though.

14 May 2007

Mothers Day

I had a beautiful mothers day for lots of reasons. My kids spoilt me with my favourite things, warm slippers, chocolates, books and DVDs. I love being spoilt. I have always totally enjoyed mothers day and my birthday. I'm definately not one of those 'Don't make a fuss' people. I say bring on the treats.
I had a great surprise at school today also when one of my reluctant readers turned up reading a book. He told me enthusiastically he'd enjoyed reading. That's all it takes to make me smile as a teacher.
All is well in my world.

12 May 2007

The Red Shoe by Ursula Dubosarsky and other Red Shoes

I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Red Shoe'. The book contains some imaginative historical insight into the times and Ursula Dubosarsky has written 'How I came to write 'The Red Shoe'' explaining this. It was a beautifully written story containing many touching moments. I explained to my students it dealt with dark subjects from the vague experience and sensations of a child, who described things she couldn't understand without judgement and with a innocent perception.

It has been shortlisted for the CBCA Awards in the 'Books for Mature Readers' category. Interestingly the other book I have read also has the same colour in it's title. They were both so great, I don't know how they will choose.

There is something wild about the image of red shoes. The Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale The Red Shoes about the girl who can't stop dancing was one of my favourites. I also love the Kate Bush song and album by the same name.

Picture with permission from Lucinda Surber, check out the blog Red Stuff for more cool photos of red things.

10 May 2007

Great Wall of China Exhibition

This week I went on a school excursion to the Great Wall of China Exhibition at the Melbourne Museum. It was spectacular. I loved learning more about the wall, which as I've previously said, I'd love to walk one day. There were some spectacular exhibits and after teaching year 7's about Imperial China for the past 4 years it was exciting for me to see my first 'real' terracotta warrior and various other artefacts that we'd discussed in the classroom.
There were stunning photographs and the exhibition was well put together.
The bus trip was noisy and the students on the way there and back were incredibly loud. At the museum however, and importantly, they were well behaved and participated well in their learning experience. I was tired though!

Crackpots Unite

Today I received one of those email stories and I loved it. It went well with Tuesday's excursion. It came with a disclaimer that the person wasn't sure if it was really a Chinese story or a woman for that matter, which also made me smile. I felt a bit like that leaky container today :

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived
only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman
bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course,
the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made
to do.
After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to
the woman one day by the stream.
"I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."
The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?"
"That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day
while we walk back, you water them."
"For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."
Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You just have to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them. So, to all of my crackpot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

06 May 2007

The Flu Vaccine

Each year at our school we are offered the flu vaccine and each year I reject it. My thinking is that the flu is not deadly, if I get it, I will survive. It's not that I am against vaccination. I have been vaccinated against a lot of things that I genuinely don't want, such as Hep B and polio and other childhood things, probably including tetanus. I don't like needles (who does?).

I have been sick for the past few days with a cold that could possibly be the flu. I have had an aching body, runny nose etc and just haven't felt too steady. I have taken some bed rest and the occasional paracetamol (which I normally rarely take) and I am beginning to feel much better. In fact I'm confident I will return to work tomorrow and all will be well.

Lot's of people have asked me why I didn't get the flu vaccine. I am not really old, the flu is not going to kill me. I have seen people get the flu vaccine and still get the flu, sometimes shortly after the vaccine. I just don't beleive in it. I have no medical knowledge or qualification to say this, but I just don't believe in it.

On the Australian Government health site about the flu vaccine, it says

"Most healthy adults recover from influenza within a few days but some people, especially those aged 65 and over, and those with certain chronic illnesses like heart or lung disease, can develop complications. These can include pneumonia or heart failure, which can be fatal. "

I am not over 65 and I don't have those mentioned diseases. So there you go!

02 May 2007

Stalker by Hazel Edwards

I was amazed to read on the blurb of this book that Hazel Edwards has written 131 books. That is a lot of books. I am sure I have probably read some of them, I just don't remember them. Hazel's Wikipedia entry says she has written 161. That is very productive. She also attended Traralgon High School for a part of her education according to Wikipedia.

Stalker was a light read. It gives an insight into the way radio works. It's about a young volunteer radio announcer who receives a lot of unwelcome attention that ends in a conviction for the stalker. It's an interesting topic in view of the information many put on the Internet now. How easy would it be for someone to collect enough information about a person to intimidate them?

I recently showed an Internet safety video to my students. The year 7's took it more to heart than the year 9's, who seemed to think they knew all there was to know about this sort of thing.

I saw 'Everyone Knows Your Name' on YouTube today. Whilst I don't want people to live in fear of the Internet, I guess it's important for all of us to think before we post, for lots of reasons. A good reminder.

01 May 2007

Ooooh, My daughters home

I was just about to write a post, but my daughter has just surprised me by coming home tonight. Woot!

I'll blog tomorrow night!