Finished the first book!

Princess Mia (The Princess Diaries, Book 9) The Princess Diaries 9: Princess Mia by Meg Cabot

4 of 5 stars

My then-13ish cousin recommended Meg Cabot‘s The Princess Diaries to me when I was in year 12. My friends Sarah, Laura and I have been sillily addicted because they are cute as heck and Hilarious (with a capital H!).

The 9th instalment was an easy read chosen to help ease me back into the reading groove, and reading about Mia’s neurotic teenage angsts was a nice change from thinking about my own (although I hope my own angsts are slightly more mature).

*My first book completed for the PTO One-Book-A-Week Challenge!

View all my reviews.

TWAT TWAT TWAT TWAT TWAT

I wonder if the title will increase my hit count at all?

Anyhoo, Frank pointed out that Team TWOP were continuing their amusing chat on the WAToday post in regards to “Sooky la la Sattler”.

For those fair readers who don’t have time to read all the comments there, it is with pleasure that I summarize the story thus far…

Yesterday Howard Sattler posted yet another outdated diatribe, this time bemoaning the fact the Government are holding police and nurses at ransom over pay because Carps et al know they won’t strike:

Were they to do the unthinkable, society as we know it would collapse.
Crime would proliferate and hospital patients would die in their thousands.

Leaving aside those amazingly statistically-accurate predictions for now, it was essentially laughable that the post was entitled “Government takes advantage of honest coppers“. (No, I won’t link to it, you poor readers suffer enough reading this blog, I do not wish any further harm upon your intellect.)

A TWOP regular, Sir Skink, as I now like to call him, posted a comment asking Mr Sattler why he only referred to the “honest” boys in blue and failed to mention the ratty ones who stuffed up the Mallard, Mickelburg and such cases and are stuffing up the Rayney investigation (as previously noted on this blog).

Surprisingly, Howard responded:

Skink,

or should I call you skank?

Oh, ouch, what a clever witty comeback. This guy is not to messed with, children. Also, don’t be mean to him on the “honest copper” comment. Because it was all the sub-editor’s fault — Howard Sattler would never have deigned to draft his own title, unlike the rest of us plebs.

The above quote has been taken from memory — specifically, my memory — and it may not be completely accurate, because Skink’s comment and Howard’s response have since been deleted by Roy Fleming, the Managing Editor of WAToday.  Skink reproduces correspondence with Mr Fleming in a comment on TWOP.

I too have had corresponded with Mr Fleming in previous weeks (I wanted to know if they happened to have plans for their site to actually be any good), but sadly, all he did was invite me out to coffee. I wish I was important enough to be banned.

Apparently Sir Skink only ever intends to be “malicious in tone and content”, unlike Howard Sattler, a prominent and respected citizen of this bright State who has never racially vilified indigenous people and breached the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) or anything. Not.

So until he’s sacked, I am just going to keep an eye on the happenings at http://howardsattlerisanidiot.wordpress.com/

the Other Side lives NICE

So someone I know just bought a new Beemer, and they got a one-month gym membership at Next Generation Kings Park in their welcome pack — because BMW sponsors the place, or whatever — and gave me the voucher. Apparently everyone thinks I need to get off my skinny butt once in a while.

Since it’s totally on the way to/from work and stuff, Matt said I should just use it for the month, even if it’s just to see how the Other Side lives.  I went to join up after work last night (the voucher expires on the 30th, and yes, I know I like to leave everything to the last minute) and ooooooooh, it’s so FANCY!!!

Amusingly, this is on their membership info page:

How much is membership to a Next Generation Club?
We like all of our prospective members to come along to the club and see the fantastic facilities available, allow us to meet you in person and give you a chance to experience Next Generation Clubs first-hand before making a decision. In addition, due to the various membership categories that we offer, we feel it best to discuss which category will be best suited to your needs.

Translation: If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

But that shouldn’t be surprising: they are sponsored by BMW… although that doesn’t really seem to be a very effective marketing choice on Auto Classic‘s part — there were more Porches that Beemers in the parking lot.

***

Book Challenge Update: only 59 pages to go before I finish PD9 — sweet.

Taking the PTO Book Challenge

One of my fave blogs to read when I am procrastinating is called Put Things Off.  It’s written by a funny Pommy chap called Nick (but all people from England are funny, aren’t they?) and it’s fabulous because it’s called “Put Things Off” but it’s really about productivity — and I enjoy the irony and also that I can justify not doing work because I’m actually learning something.  Plus the blog’s mascot is a fricking cute kitten with a ball of wool, and I fricking love kittens.

As previously mentioned, I am totally struggling with the book-reading thing at the moment, but even though I joined Goodreads and stuff a while ago (there’s a link on the right there if you care to have a look), I have just not been able to get on track with plowing though my Books To Read Pile. Actually, now I have two piles, neatly separated in to Fiction and Non-Fiction (although I’m sure you will all be glad to know that unlike the Fiction and Non-Fiction shevles in my book case, the piles are not alphabetized. Sheesh, I’m not THAT much of a geek). But now that I’m looking at my To Read list on Goodreads, I see that none of these books are even in my To Read Pile, so this is troubling.PTO Book Challenge

However, PTO Nick has set up a reading challenge, and while I’m not game enough to take up the City to Surf challenge with Jules and everyone, because hello, I don’t do exercise, unless it involves shopping, this challenge looks like it will suit my not-so-active lifestyle much better.

I would really like to be able to get though my To Read Pile(s) because I have actually set myself a little rule that I am not allowed to buy any more books until I read the ones I already have. Granted, I won’t (and have not) let that rule get in the way of exercising ye olde Marstercard Debit, as demonstrated by my excursion to Borders at lunch today which resulted in the purchase of two shiny new magazines. But still. There are some books I wanted to buy, too. So I was good.

There are no pressing commitments this week so I plan to actually get right on top of this challenge by at least finishing Princess Diaries #9, which I have STILL not read even though I bought it two days after we got back from holidays.

Oh no wait. Get Smart comes out tomorrow and there’s that End Of Financial Year do on Friday. Gah, that means I need to finish PD9 tonight. Better snap to it!!!!!!!!

a night at the theatre

I have decided that once I am all grown-up and fabulous, I am going to be a fabulous patron of the thee-ette-ture. You have to pretend that you’re hearing me say that in a fabulous posh accent.

Plays are simply fabulous and I really do believe they are unbelievably under-rated.

I went to a play last night with my lovely friend C (who I have just decided I am going to call C in true Gossip Girl style because she is just too fabulous to be referred to by a whole name, just as Madonna, Prince and Beyoncé are too fabulous to be referred to by a first name and a last name) and we had a marvelous time.

The production was The Female of the Species by Joanna Murray-Smith and it was put on by the Black Swan Theatre Company at the Playhouse.

I absolutely love the Playhouse — our high school musicals were put on there and I have spent many a night backstage rigging up microphones and running around with props and stage-managing schtuff.  (I consider myself to be an ugly duckling and I stand by that, rather the fact that I am not talented on the stage, as my excuse for never actually performing.)  So in addition to the intimacy of the place as a small-er venue, there’s lots of nostalgia there for me, too.

While I did drama at school all the way from 8 to 12, I don’t recall ever seeing a decent theatre production while I was at uni. That is a horrible realisation for me. I suppose part of it was due to the fact I was broke, broke, flat-broke though most all of uni, but it’s horrible because I just LOVE plays, and how every facet of them just adds to their aforesaid fabulousness.

I have said fabulous a lot in this post, haven’t I? Too bad if it’s ticking you off; it’s my word of the day.

As a super geek, I did super well in my TEE Drama Studies exam because there was more marks involved in the theory side than the performance side.

The theory aspect of plays — text and context and all that palaver — is possibly just as meaty as it is for book-form literature, but I just adore the way all the non-verbal, visual, aural and production aspects of theatre can tie in to create just this amazing diorama of cultural-studies goodness.

Take Oh! What a Lovely War for instance, which is quite possibly my favourite production — ouuuuf, it makes me shudder to think about the way it portrays the absurdities and waste and horridness of war. The irony is just emphasized on so many levels — the script, the songs, the visual projections, the pierott costumes!! Fabulous!!!

The Female of the Species was just as clever. No songs or slide-shows, mind you, but oh — the wit! And what fabulous performances! We were cheap lucky enough to to to a preview, so there was just so much energy with the freshness, which I reckon really added to it.

Opening night is tonight, it runs til 6 July, and I reckon all and sundry should go! (Tickets through BOCS — look how easy I’ve made it for you!)

I suppose one of the reasons I loved it so much is because it was about the whole debate about womens’ purpose in life and the development of the entire concept of feminism as it has evolved and affected society over the decades. Highly near and dear to my and C’s hearts. Fabulous.

That was my second visit to the theatre in as many months and I have officially decided that theatre is going to be my Thing. Everyone needs a Thing — some people might have a sport or drinking a bottle-cap collection or a cult or a crafty-type hobby… I’m going to go to lots of plays!

Fabulous 😉

why I need Flock like a hole in the head

So the other day I tumblred about Flock, this fancy-schmancy Firefox-based browser which makes Web 2.0ing even awesomer.

Sounds, sweet, right?

I remembered I needed to (yesh, needed to) (yes, I meant, ‘yesh’ — isn’t it a great word? I heart it) check this Flock thing out when I was reading about Steven Colbert’s fabulous five-word Webbys acceptance speech and they mentioned Flock’s, too:

No sh**, we beat Facebook?

How can you not love that?

I downloaded it last night and had a play around. I added my Fb profile, my Twitter account, my Digg account, my Flickr profile… The thought of having all those babies linked up and rightthere seemed like the best. Thing. Ever. Add Gmail, add my RSS feeds, then flick and swish and I’m Flocked!

Right?

Wrong.

The more I worked on setting it up, the less interested I got. Maybe it was being all slow and stuff because I was using my mobem (mobile as modem, geddit? I’m awesome. Someone’s probably already said it, whatever, I can’t be arsed googling it), but Gmail would not load (still won’t, btw) and the thought of going through to add my Google Reader feeds, which have been neglected for ages and are all spiderwebbing all over the shop, highly bored me.

Guess what? I don’t think I am as addicted to Web 2.0 as I thought.

Sure, I try to post here as often as possible, but that’s mainly ’cause I like writing stuff, I check my Fb regularly, but that’s ’cause I fricking love Facebook, but aside from checking my Reader occasionally and scanning Twitter and Gmail via iGoogle throughout the day, plus a ThisNext update once a week or so… that’s about it.

Is that a lot? Probably. And in any event… I do not have time for much else.

I am so over Plurk, cause it takes way too much time to interact with people (two of whom I know, and have also not posted since they signed up) and you know what? Eff Karma, I don’t care if it goes down if you don’t plurk, I don’t have time for that crap, I’m way to freaking busy in the real world.

And the thought of being online with Fb/Flicker/Twitter/Digg/whatever blaring me in the face at every moment? Blergk.

I’m trying to streamline my life and sure, I’m not going to be a Zen Habits master any time soon, but whatevs. I’ve started doing my own version of PTO’s Inbox Heaven, I’m happy with Facebook to keep in touch with my friends, Twitter to follow cool interweb people I admire, my Tumblr to add fun pics and links and schtuff to if I happen to have the time to find them, and that’s enough for me, I reckon.

That is, of course, until the next shiny new thing comes along…

Stay tuned, chickens.

Update:

I hereby assert my rights to intellectual property ownership of the term mobem, i.e. a mobile phone being used as a modem, subject to the following conditions — I allow people to copy and distribute and use the term provided they give me credit, don’t change it and don’t make any money out of it. Thanks Grendel 😉

Creative Commons License
mobem” by Sunili Govinnage is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Australia License. Based on a work at sunili.wordpress.com.

 

Update to update:

Damn, apparently I can’t CC a word. This is what happens when I choose to to hippy law units (eg Indigenous Law) instead of commercially ones (ie Intellectual Property). Does anyone know how to apply for a trademark? 😛

stop the traffick

Matt and I visited Cambodia early this year. We were there just a week, and we wish we had more time to get to know the people there a bit better. Visiting the ancient temples in Angkor was an amazing experience (hello, Angelina had been there!), but what impacted us the most on that part of our trip was the people there. Or, more accurately, the striking determination of people who were recovering from fresh wounds of the Khmer Rouge period and still dealing with getting their families and their country back on its feet… but still manage to smile and get on with it.

On one of the nights, we had dinner at the home of the guide took us through Phnom Penh’s infamous S 21 prison, which is now converted into the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. His wife cooked us the most amazing meal (plus we tried fried tarantulas), and he told us his family’s story. His parents died in the KR years. More shockingly — he’d been in the work camps himself.

This guy doesn’t have much, but we were amazed by what he gave back to his local community. He taught himself English while driving a tuk-tuk around the city, and now hires a local teacher to teach neighbourhood kids in the space underneath his humble stilt home. Before the meal, we had the chance to practice English conversation and play games with the kids, and it was a highlight of my entire trip.

Laine, a lovely lassie I know though Young Labor (WA), gave up lawyering and moved to Cambodia last year to work for an NGO called Healthcare Centre for Children. Yeah. I know. Inspiring.

The HCC’s current project is called stop.traffick — a campaign which aims to deal with the massive problem of human trafficking in Cambodia with a very proactive yet grass roots approach:

Essentially, the objective of the project is “to tangibly improve the lives of former-slaves in Cambodia by creating sustainable income generating opportunities, contemporaneously raising awareness of the human trafficking endemic globally”.

HCC will do this by empowering and skilling former-slaves to become economically self-sufficient and act as global change-makers advocating against human trafficking and fighting injustice by launching stop.traffick product range.

I did my Arts (Politics) honours on the impact that small income-generating programs can have on the lives of really poor communities in Sri Lanka. Trafficking isn’t as big a problem over there, so I didn’t deal with that aspect of the HCC’s campaign, but I know for sure that this project has lots of potential in terms of economic empowerment.

The high incidence of trafficking in Cambodia does nothing to support its people’s struggle to heal their country’s wounds, and I believe that the HCC’s innovative approach is a fantastic proposal aimed at reducing and preventing the abuse and exploitation that results from the horrible and selfish trade in humanity.

I saw some of the worst aspects of that trade on the streets of Phnom Penh and Siam Reap. Some people may only be trying to earn a living, but small children should not be selling trinkets (or themselves) to tourists — they should be in school. The training programs offered by this project are a valuable means of supporting survivors of trafficking to get their lives back on track in a country that is so heartbreakingly beautiful.

While Laine’s project focuses on the issue of trafficking on a more local scale, there’s a global campaign called STOP THE TRAFFIC that aims to unlock freedom and prevent fellow human beings from being treated as commodities to be bought, sold, and enslaved. There’s a Facebook app which I encourage all of you to join — or sign the declaration online. The STT blog includes news about the campaign, too.

STOP THE TRAFFIK

It would be awesome to see the power of the interwebs make a real impact with this big project, and I hope some of you might even consider joining me in offering Laine whatever assistance we can provide for her’s.

Why Sunili Can’t Read Good No More

One of the many traits (most pretty much all of them bad) I have inherited from my Father is a love of books. I adore them, and the ability to lose myself in a story that an incredibly talented author has created. One of the bestest things I love about reading is that, unlike movies or TV, I have a bit of leeway to imagine stuff on my own too.  I like imagining things.

I have been trying to read for pleasure since I graduated last year, but I have been struggling.

Despite the fact I now have the money to buy books and the time to read them, I have been unable to read properly. I try to read, but I don’t get very far. It weirds me out or something, so I stop.

As a result, the Pile of Books I Want to Read on my bed-side table has been getting higher and higher and it makes me sad, because I really want to read these books (I also have a compulsive book-buying habit, also inherited from Father, but that’s beside the point).

I just read a blog post that made me understand why this is happening. It was totally a *light bulb* moment.

Turns out that I picked up a horrible aversion reading in university.

I went to law school. In law school, law students are subjected to the horrible torture of reading law stuff. Which, as I am sure all law students know, is evil.

We did a unit that involved “Plain English Writing”, sure, but everything else we read was not plain. Or English. It was Evilese.

Evilese, aka Legalese (but that term is just way too nice for what is a horrible curse upon humanity), is rife with the use of NOMINALISATION, which Roguish Tei describes as

the removal of a subject from a sentence. Instead of ’she took’, the nominalization is ‘the taking’. Instead of ‘he broke’, the nominalization is ‘the breaking’. Nominalization is the horror that is verbs masquerading as subjects.

My *light bulb* moment was when I went “OMFG! That’s what law stuff is!!!”

Only I didn’t realise that’s what law stuff is because our education system is effed and I only learned about the existence of verbs and subjects and all that jazz when I was learning French, which was about three years ago.  Only they didn’t go so far as to explain Nominalization, plus I gave up after learning how to order 4 slices of ham anyway. 

So I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the evil law stuff I was reading.

After 6 years (we have a different higher-education structure in Australia, I have two degrees, it’s ok, I’m not a total dummy who spent 6 years in law school) of reading NOTHING MUCH ELSE BUT NOMINALIZATION I started to hate reading.

Reading gave me headaches. It gave me fine-lines and wrinkles that I totally should not have yet. Because I wasn’t just reading — I was trying really hard to figure out what this strange text in a language that is really hard to figure out was trying to say. Because I had to figure it out or else I would fail. And I’m a Type-A Perfectionist Nutjob, and I don’t like failing. So I kept trying harder and harder until I blew up and melted like the Wicked Witch of the West (well, at least, something very similar).

So now I hate reading.

That sucks.

And I’m still working in a job where I have to read legal shite for 8-10 hours a day. So I need to find another profession.

Because I like books more. Way more than law shite.

WA Today

Fairfax hits with a powerful left-hook … Ding? Dong? Teh West is down for the count?

If only they’d listened to Kerry. If only, if only.

PerthNow is so lame; I’ve got high hopes for this baby.

PS: I wonder if they’re looking for writers??

read more | digg story

Update: well, like all parents (it seems), I am totally disappointed. It wasn’t a left hook. It was one of those crap slaps from the Mark Darcy v Daniel Cleaver fight in Bridget Jones’ Diary. Le sigh.

Please feel free to join the bitching re TWAToday at TWOP.

Update #2: didn’t even realise this was happening since I never read Teh West, ever, but they’re doing Perth’s Hottest Singles or something and the LOVELY Ian Repper is on the list! If anyone wants this Sweet, Sexy, Smart Sagitarius’ number, let me know 😉

Update #3: Hey wow. Look at what I said about crap online “news” reporting BACK IN 2004 (found it while I was doing a category-cleanup). Huh. How dumb is Fairfax? I wasn’t actually suggesting it to anyone. Sheesh.

ironically

SO a couple of weeks ago I had a bunch of blood-tests, some for routine check-ups, others for the fact I’m always tired and needed to have my iron levels checked blah-di-blah, but I also had this new fadangled test for coeliac disease.

I’ve been kinda busy (and so had the doctor’s office when I ran up to get my results) so I didn’t actually get a hold of them til today, after my highly enjoyable (NOT) weekend of floppy-gluten-free-dud-croissant-making.

As it turns out, I do NOT have coeliac disease, as previously thought following a blood-test from two years ago.

I may be slightly gluten-intolerant, which is apparently different, but this means that I am allowed to eat gluteny things occasionally as long as I don’t over-do it on the Big Macs and Domino’s and KFC in consecutive meals.

Which I also probably shouldn’t do since I have elevated triglycerides (slightly uh-oh since I’m a twentysomething, and all). That’s the only available option for me to cut my reading on those, because I can’t exactly lose any more weight or drink any less alcohol, can I? 😛

But yes, this is all rather le sigh considering the croissant escapade and the fact I have finally found a gluten-free muesli I like after nearly two years of experimenting with the whole eating-really-expensive-shredded-cardboard thing AND have become addicted to Tiger Tiger‘s delectable non-glutenous brownies.

But I suppose those are all good things.

And it means I can enjoy $9.95 pizza or pasta at The Moon before The Thrills @ Amps tonight.

SWEET!