Friday, August 20, 2010

Obsession Confession...

Today is the day,
I confess an obsession
My books are my love.

If there is one thing I cannot survive without it is books. Well that and chocolate. But even chocolate comes secondary to my books.

I don't know when the obsession started but as far back as I remember I have been reading. By the time I got to primary school I was reading Baby Sitters Little Sister books by myself. Before that I was reading Golden Books and any other books that caught my interest of the multitude we had at home. Yet despite this I have no memory of my parents reading books to me. So I am not sure if it was a case of when I was very young they did read to me and I don't remember it or if I just had a irrepressible curiosity about what was in the books at home and so taught myself to read. If that is the case then curiosity sure as hell didn't kill this cat! In fact this cat thrived on the thrills of the story.

I often got in trouble at school for reading in class. Maths and Science classes in particular. It was not uncommon for me to have a book on my lap under the desk and for me to be reading it. I had one English teacher who despite the fact that I only ever wrote on about 3 pages of my english book and rarely if ever paid attention was quite happy for me to essentially read my way through the classes. She even encouraged me to keep a list of the books I read which, though incomplete, and definitely not including all the books I had read as I may have forgotten some names, covered over 300 books.

The school librarians knew me by name. They would ask me for book recommendations if they were wanting to read something or would pay attention if I told them about a new book that I had read. I often was the first person to read some of the new books the library got because they wanted to know what I thought. I also got asked to recommend books for other students to read sometimes if a student was looking for something to read.

My friends congratulate me when I walk past a bookstore without going into it. The congratulations are even bigger when I do walk in but come out with nothing. Thats not to say they don't love books... they just aren't as obsessed like me. That's not to say I have no self control. I do really. I have been eyeing off a copy of Jane Eyre in Borders bookstore for the past year and a half trying to justify buying it when I already have 3 other copies. It's just so pretty though nice and clothbound hardcover.

I spent a year in Europe a few years ago now. The first thing I did was suss out and join the local library. I then located the bookstores in the nearby city. Followed soon after by the library in the city. I took advantage of the libraries as often as possible. I knew that if I went crazy buying books I would have no way to get them home really. I considered it restrained that I only bought about 25-30 books that year...

When I got back to Australia after that year I got a job and just happened to be working up the road from a discount book store. That was perilous too. I spent many a lunch hour in there browsing the books. I dread to think how many books I actually bought during lunch hours there. And even now that bookstore is still perilous for me. I recently impulse bought about 15 books there in a single weekend.

And my parents have (almost) always supported this obsession. Most birthdays and christmas' have included at least one book... often more. My dad will call me if he sees a book he thinks I will be interested in and asks me if I want it.

My parents rarely begrudged me a book if I really, really wanted it. Nor any of my siblings. They encouraged us to read as much as they encouraged the use of the local and school libraries. Hence we often struggled to find somewhere to put the books at home. It wasn't long before I was resorting to boxes for my books. And even then I didn't have enough of those. Stacks of books built up on available surfaces including the floor.

When I moved out of home a few years ago I had probably more books than clothes. And I only took the books that weren't on the bookshelves or that I absolutely wouldn't leave behind. I now have 2 bookshelves in my room and not enough room for all my books. 

As it is the obsession thrives. It's an addiction I am not ashamed of. It's an educational addiction. It's an entertaining addiction. It is a lasting addiction.

~~Random Logic~~

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Thanks to the inspiration for this post- The one known as Little Miss Poppit

Those that know me know I am quite a clutz at times. My brothers claim I can't walk through the house without knocking something over. I maintain that is just because they have no sense of balance when creating their precarious piles of junk. That said it is true, I am a clutz. I manage to hurt myself at least once a day without any effort on my behalf. Whether it is a knee hit or elbow hit on a desk, hand on a wall as I am walking down a hall or walking INTO a doorframe(and this happens alot!), I am bound to hurt myself in some manner.

I lived in the same house for 18 years and by the time I moved out I was STILL walking into doorframes! You'd think I would have learned the spatial dimensions of my own home within an 18 year span but somehow I didnt. And it never fails at work that you will hear a *BANG* then cursing as my knee once again hits the set of drawers under the desk. This was particularly common at my last job where I worked at the front counter and there were metal bits sticking from the bottom of the counter so that you could adjust the level the keyboard sat at. Needless to say being a short person and needing the height of the chair to be on a proper level with the screen my knees were constantly hitting those as I swiveled in the chair. It was also quite common for me to collect myself on the filing draws underneath the counter. Without fail AT LEAST 3 times a day. As I said clutziness just comes naturally to me.

So I wonder if I will ever reach a stage in life where I will be able to live without hurting myself on everyday objects that surround me. Is this a common occurance for everyone or am I just remarkably uncoordinated(I'd hope not. I wasn't too bad at playing netball or martial arts and they requires some level of hand-eye coordination!) In the meantime I shall go on with my existance running into doorframes and hurting myself on every desk I come across.

~~Random Logic~~

Monday, August 16, 2010


So I'm not the best of cooks in the world... In fact I am quite a numpty when it comes to some aspects of cooking. But I am not a bad cook when I know what the hell I'm doing or have someone to help.

As evidenced by the fact that I make an awesome pavlova, a spag. bol. that rates higher than my dads in my younger brothers opinion and the fact that I can in fact make a decent potato bake and don't do too badly at making Anzac Biscuits either.

That said after two years of a food tech.(cooking for those who call it by another name) class in highschool you would think that my repertoire would contain more than approximately 5 dishes.

I have always had ambitions of expanding my cooking since highschool. They have never gotten me very far. I bought a recipe book full of pasta recipes... I haven't used it yet. I recently bought a Finnish cookbook when I went into the city one day. Wasn't expecting to find anything like that in Sydney so I was pleasantly suprised. All the recipes I have been trying to find an absolute of with measurements I understand in one place. No longer do i have to trawl the depths of the internet trying to find something that I understand. But the best part of these recipes is that I have used them!

Yes I have cooked food from scratch that required more than 3 ingredients! It's a shocker I know!

I called up my aunt a few weeks ago and she offered for me to come over and do some cooking with her. She was interested in the recipes and I was happy to accept. It's hard to find Finnish food here in Australia(read: impossible except for the occasional chocolate) and there is alot of it that I miss. So on Sunday I went over to my aunts place and cooked and baked.

We made Lihapiirakka(meat pasties), Karjalanpiirakka(Karelian Pasties- basically a rice pudding and a rye crust/pastry), and a semolina and lingonberry dessert porridge. Oh how I have missed these things.

My aunt did most of the dough making for the Lihapiirakka. There was alot of it. The recipe approximated there would be 8. We doubled the quantities and got about 40 I would say. I now have a stash of them in my freezer. They turned out fantastically as well!

As for the Karjalanpiirakka. I made the dough for that. Again we made more than it said we would. I think it said about 6 and we probably got about 15-20. They were a hit too! Turned out perfect. And rather easy to make I thought despite what I had been told by others about them being difficult to make. I think they just find it easier to buy them from the shop and heat them in the microwave or oven. Alot cheaper and less time consuming that way I'm sure! I also have a stash of these in my freezer now though.

And the semolina porridge. Well that was easy. I think I may be making this more often myself if I can find the berries for it. It's easy and yummy and makes a great breakfast or dessert. Took about 20 minutes to make if that as well so very quick to make too!

So now I can add another three recipes to my repertoire. One day there will be more. I may never be a gourmet cook but I shall at least be able to feed myself hot meals and make enough different dishes that I don't eat the same thing every second day.

~~Random Logic~~

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Creationism v Evolution

The one thing that has really and truly been going around in my mind the past few days is the question of creation v evolution. Did we evolve or were we created. In this case were we created by God? 

The reason this started bouncing around my head was due to a thread on a forum I am on and an article that was posted about students in Queensland, Australia being taught as fact by people who are not in fact teachers but rather volunteers that dinosaurs and humans roamed the earth together and that the cold hard palaeontological data and archaeological data we have to prove that this isn't the case is wrong because the great flood skewed it...

Here is the article for anyone curious to read it.

Now I find this rather appalling. I have no problem with students being taught about religion if they go to a state school. I believe that if they are it should be optional. I believe if a parent wants the child taught the beliefs of a certain faith in these sessions that they be given the option to learn about a single faith if they wish but again that should not be compulsory. 

I do believe that, if possible, all students- whether Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist, Sikh or any of the other multitude of religious beliefs  should learn something about the other religions around them no matter their school situation state or private. Not to try and convert them; but to help them understand the beliefs of their fellow man or woman because too often hatred and persecution is bred in misunderstanding and too often that misunderstanding is founded in religious difference.

I myself am a believer in evolution. I am also catholic(I went to Catholic schools for 13 years and did all the religion classes as required and studied the bible so i have learnt creation though I don't believe it). For some that may seem to be contradictory but to me I don't see it as such. To me evolution does not nullify my belief in God. I may not believe everything that is written in the bible. I may not believe in Genesis but I do believe that a higher power exists to guide my actions. In my interpretation he, she or it didn't create the world in seven days and I don't believe we are all descended from Adam and Eve but I don't believe that it is necessary to believe these things to believe in God.

Now I have no hard proof in God nor do i have intangible evidence beyond what I know as basic biology and fossil evidence for the fact that dinosaurs roamed the earth before humans. And apes and humans share too many genetic similarities for there to not have been a common ancestor at some point. If we can prove that land animals evolved from amphibious animals and aquatic life then why can we not believe in evolution of humans. We are after all though highly evolved, simply animals.

Back to the forum which sparked these thoughts off for a moment though. Now on this forum there are a large amount of Christian people. Some are very out there and loud and proud with their faith and others are more reserved. There are also the requisite atheists, agnostics, and others with their various faiths. The thread that was started has sparked a furious, although civil debate on creation v evolution. 

The first responses were pretty much a case of I believe evolution isn't real. I can't prove it but I believe in the bible so evolution has to be false. As I got further into the topic it very much became a case of those with their first religious beliefs saying evolution hasn't been proved absolutely it's just a theory therefore it must be wrong. This has then been refuted those who believed in evolution saying that just because something is just a scientific theory doesn't mean it isn't true- we have the theory of gravity and no one disputes that. We have DNA evidence. We have fossil records. These prove evolution as fact.

And as I read on through the thread and the posts are getting longer and more articulate I begin to wonder more and more. What makes people believe as they do? What makes them defend creation as true or evolution as true? Are they afraid to be wrong? I find that to me it's all to often those who have the strongest faith who seem incredibly naive. Or maybe not naive but blind to the world around them. They seem happy to be lost in beliefs founded 2000+ years ago and ignore what science puts before them without question. 

I'm not saying that religion is without merit. It gives people a purpose. It gives people values and morals to believe in. But I believe that we need to be more open. Religion needs to be able to update it's beliefs. If you are saying we can't prove evolution because we weren't there then how can you prove the bible as true and as an absolute historical document when you weren't there when it was written? When in fact most of it was written at the very least hundreds of years after the events which it records, by people who weren't there?

So what are your thoughts on this? What do you believe in? Why do you believe what you do? What do you think should be taught in schools? Should evolution and creation be taught side by side or not at all?

- Random Logic =)

Monday, August 2, 2010


Sometimes people have moments where they are inspired. Whether it's inspired to complete a massive task such as a marathon or simply inspired to write.

I am one of those people that is inspired on occasion to the task of writing. Sometimes I can pin point what it is that inspired me. I may read a poem and decide yes! Write a poem! And then sit down and crank out a poem or 5 in an hour on an hour all often unrelated. On other occasions it may just be an urge to write and so I open up a new word document and sit there and stare at the screen until something comes.

My most recent inspiration though now a few months old, came when I was watching the brilliant Australian film Beneath Hill 60. This film is undoubtedly one of the best Australian films I have seen in a long time. In a nation where many of our films are rather less than impressive and scream "LOW BUDGET" it can often be easy to just dismiss a new film as nothing special without seeing it. But it is this film which has affected me most of any film I have seen in a long time. So much to the point that I came home from watching it, sat down, turned on my computer and simply wrote. There were two scenes in particular which affected me and what I put here today is my perspective of the first of those scenes.

A bit of background for the person who hasn't seen the film and knows nothing about it:

The movie is set in WWI. In France as well as Ypres, Belgium and some scenes are set in Queensland, Australia.

It follows the First Australian Tunnelling Division and is adapted from the diaries of Captain Oliver Woodward who was a mining engineer before he enlisted for the war. He was in charge of a group of Australian soldiers who all had mining experience and their job was to tunnel under the enemy trenches and set charges etc. as well as to avoid the Germans who were also tunnelling and frequently breaking through into each others tunnels. They had listening posts where they used stethescopes and primitive microphones to listen to each other tunnelling and try to work out what the other side were doing.

The film focuses on the events at Ypres, Belgium and Messines Ridge where they mined to a depth of 90 foot underground and set mines beneath Hill 60 as it was known and the German trenches. They eventually set them off in 1917 killing 10,000 German soldiers with what was one of the largest if not the largest non-nuclear explosion until the Atomic Bomb. It was reportedly able to be felt/heard in London and also possibly even in Dublin.

This scene is set in a tunnel under enemy lines. The Germans have just blasted through into a diversionary tunnel and this Aussie soldier is caught in the blast.

I have written this from the point of view of the soldier.


I open my eyes slowly. All I can hear is the ringing in my ears. All I can feel is the pain of being thrown by the explosion and half buried.

I fumble for my matches to light the candle I never let go.

Sulphur strikes and burns.

I light the candle.

The flame flares bright and quickly fades.

I am light headed.

The flame dies and I am left in the dark. 

All I can see is my darling Elsa knitting away.
I promised her I would bring our son back. I promised her he would be safe with me. He is alive. I have kept that promise. But I can never keep this one.

Darling Elsa be strong. I will see you in heaven one day.

Walt son, stay safe. Stay strong. Make it home to your mother. Look after her for me. You're a man now. I kept you safe. Keep her safe for me.

Keep her safe...


Hope you enjoyed.

First Timer

So it is with the persuasion of a friend that I created this blog. Not really my thing generally but I thought why not. Maybe if I have this I might feel more inclined to write things more often. At the very least it will (hopefully) give some small measure of entertainment to the undoubted few that will ever read it.

In the meantime I'm going to sleep...  1am is not the hour for blogging whilst sick.