Monthly Archive: June 2007

Getting Physical With Bush (CBS News)

I think if W could do a greater amount of his policy statements, speeches, and general communication with the public in this conversational style, his popularity rating would be a lot higher than it is.

Politics aside, views on the war in Iraq aside, you have to admit that he comes across a tremendous amount better in this one-on-one situation. He seems strong, intelligent, and even, dare I say it? Well-spoken.

What a delicious light read!

While I’m waiting for Out Stealing Horses (Which I finally seem to have succeeded in ordering from Norway), I am indulging myself in this really fun book by Fiona Neill. This is really a Bridget Jones’s Diary for thirty-something mothers! Lucy Sweeney, former television news producer, now full-time mother of three boys, gets herself into all sorts of scrapes and blunders that really hit home. While trying to keep up with Alpha Mum and Yummy Mummy #1 in her son’s class, she manages to get caught driving to school on Walk-Your-Child-to-School day (GASP!!) …
Lucy’s world is one where getting the children to school on time all with the essential nut-free lunches is a major achievement. She is lovely, endearing, and wonderfully human in her attempts to control the chaos that three boys in the house invariably bring with them.
And best of all, her mini-disasters and small but poignant triumphs make it easier to be so much more forgiving of yourself as a mother! It’s fine not to be perfect – and maybe, just maybe, my household isn’t quite as close to the edge of chaos as Lucy’s!!
Highly recommended for a quick light read that will make you feel like Super Mum!

Forbidden Fruit

If you live in Australia, particularly Victoria or South Australia, you would have to have been particularly oblivious to the world around you not to have heard about the two most recent bikie-gang related shootings, one of which was fatal. While the one in Melbourne earlier this week seems to have been of a more personal nature than the one in Adelaide a few weeks earlier, that is not stopping the politicians from jumping on the populist band-wagon and demanding that we simply eradicate bikie gangs (think Hell’s Angels and such). These shootings both seem to have particularly upset the public because they took place in very public areas that are generally considered very safe. Perhaps if you live in another corner of the world, while the shootings would of course be upsetting, they might not be as scandalous and note-worthy. The violence of guns is invading Australia’s living-room so to speak.
Both Mike Rann, the South Australian premier, and Stephen Pallaras, QC, the Adelaide Director of Public Prosecutions have called for laws outlawing bikie-gangs following these incidents. Rann goes so far as to liken the members of these gangs to terrorists.
This brief summary of the situation in Australia sets the scene for me driving along yesterday lunch time listening to the ABC‘s The World Today. I actually really enjoy driving around doing errands around lunchtime because it’s a very good news program.
And yesterday, as I’m going over my grocery shopping list in my head, my ears pricked up when the presenter was interviewing Dr. Arthur Veno about bikie gangs in relation to the alleged shooter in the Melbourne incident. He’s an expert, because he’s written 2 books (including The Brotherhoods: Inside the Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs ) on the illegal activities of bikie gangs. Now what struck me was the following exchange, which you can read the transcript of yourself by clicking on it:

ALISON CALDWELL [journalist]: Concerned about increased criminal activity and violence among outlawed motorcycle gangs, many are now calling for new laws to deal with the problem.

Dr Arthur Veno isn’t one of them.

ARTHUR VENO: Absolutely not. C90, C95 in Canada, the RICO Act in America, the Scandinavian countries have all tried similar kinds of legislation. It has not worked one iota. It simply draws the club’s underground, in a lot of cases weeds out the more moderate elements of the club, and the clubs do then become even more violent.

Wow! this made me sit up and pay attention, because it confirms something I believe in very strongly in yet ANOTHER context:

Prohibition does not work!

This applies to the War on Drugs as well. The best arguments for this can be found in Law Enforcement Against Prohibition’s video where U.S. law enforcement officers (past and present) present a very strong case for legalization of drugs. One of the speakers, Peter Christ, is quick to point out that this is “not to be construed as a solution to the drug problem” but as a solution to the crime and cost associated with that problem.
Another speaker in the video, Chief Jerry Cameron, says, “What kills me is we don’t learn from history.” And how right he is! Think of the form of prohibition that most people think of when they hear the term: the prohibition of alcohol in America – look how successful that was!
And the history lesson can go back even further than that. As my good friend Mary pointed out, prohibition was a failure from the very start. Even God was unsuccessful at prohibition – witness Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit.

Teenage Affluenza

Normally, I don’t respond well to aid-agency cries for help — I am very jaded after nearly 4 decades of watching the cries for help, sending money, applauding Band Aid, wondering what happened to Band Aid, etc.

But this video is exceptionally well made and the message surely can’t be bad either.

My 10 and 8 year old both understood the irony and enjoyed it as well.


I have been playing the Horde for over a year and a half. After levelling 2 characters to 60 pre-BC expansion (Burning Crusade), I swore off Alliance FOREVER, and joined the Horde. Face it the races are far far cooler on the Horde, and there’s something appealing about being evil in a world full of smiling do-good humans and disgustingly cute gnomes.

So, I leveled my very cool undead priest to 60 (she’s pictured left – notice she can’t see very well), and was busy doing some raiding with HER, when I decided FAR too many people knew me on my current server, and I needed to move! So, I switched servers, and started afresh – Leveled a mage to 60, and then the previously noted expansion came out, and I decided I had to start all over again – this time with a Blood Elf of course – since I’ve been dying to finally look good since switching to Horde. This mage made it to 70 before I decided it was time to stop using magic, and start using some daggers: and this gets us to my latest incarnation, my Blood Elf rogue (had to look good again, you know!).

Now, I’ve reached a situation where I’m too well known on horde again – something I might get into another time. My rogue is 55, and I’m dying to take her to Outland, but sometimes I would LOVE to log on anonymously – no 15 barrages of ‘hey’s’ that I feel obligated to answer so people don’t think I’m rude! Does this mean I (GASP!) make myself an alliance character????? A cute cuddly but devastatingly damaging warlock gnome perhaps? Or is that just too cliche??

I guess the question is leave THIS

For this??

What I want to read next!

I cannot wait to read this novel, although I want to read it in Norwegian, which means I have to get a Norwegian online store to send it to me here in Australia, not always an easy task! Never mind – I have an email request in for customer service from, who claim on their website anyway that you can register as a customer from overseas, so hopefully that is the case. The book is getting nothing but rave reviews such as this one -and has even won the Independent Foreign fiction prize. To tell you the truth I haven’t read a good Norwegian novel in a long time – probably the last one I read and really enjoyed was Gunnar Staalesen‘s trilogy – starting with 1900 (a murder mystery set in Bergen). It’s highly recommendable, but I’m frankly not sure if it’s been translated into English or not. Anyway, the Petterson’s book looks wonderful, and if I get my hands on it, I’ll keep you posted.

Gold Farming …

I have to admit … when I first started playing WoW a couple of years ago, I bought gold. I bought it because getting enough to buy my first ever epic was just too insanely unreachable. Now, several characters later, I can survive without buying gold, because my higher level characters sponsor any new lower level character that I level up. Therefore the pressing financial need is not there anymore.

Today, I just read this article on the Chinese Gold Farmer from the New York times, and watched the accompanying video footage of a typical gold-farming office. The conditions are pretty abysmal to say the least, and I think they would probably stop a lot of ethically minded people from buying gold ever again – until maybe the day when they want to buy that epic flying mount that costs 5000 whopping gold … MTV actually covered an upcoming documentary on this about 6 months ago, in this clip. I’m pretty sure I saw some of the exact footage from the MTV clip in the New York times clip.

It makes for interesting reading anyway, and gave me some food for thought …

And believe it or not, what does your average 25 cents an hour, 12 hour a day, 7 day a week farmer do in his time off??? Visit his local internet gaming cafe for some fun of course!!!!

Buying my new Gaming Mouse – only gaming mother of two??

So, recently, I went into a well-known electrical retailer here in Australia to get myself the Logitech G5 gaming mouse. It was quite the experience! Now, I am a shopper that usually does all her research BEFORE entering the store. I know what I want, head straight for it, and to the checkout counter. I normally can’t ABIDE sales people, especially if I feel that I probably know more about the product than the salesperson does. And I usually don’t trust their motives.

So, when I entered the store, I headed straight for the mouse & keyboard section … on the way, a salesperson stopped me. I told him I wanted the G5. His response?

“Have you considered getting him the G7?”

Note the HIM!

I said, “Actually, it’s for me.”
“Really, are you sure you need a gaming mouse?”
“Um, yes.”
“What game do you use it for?” He seemed to be getting more incredulous by the moment.
“World of Warcraft …”
“Really?!?” His eyes now drifted towards my ring finger. “And you’re MARRIED!”.

I quickly finished the transaction, getting more and more annoyed with the pimply sales clerk who seemed to find it absolutely unbelievable that anyone over the age of 21 and female to boot would be a gamer. What astonished me even more was that he kept trying to find out if I really NEEDED all the features of the G5 and selling me an INFERIOR mouse. Like he couldn’t really believe that I was actually serious about which mouse I wanted.

Pretty amazing stuff really.

Current Book

I’m on a real reading binge at the moment — it seems to go in waves. I think I’ve read 3 books in the last week. The current one is Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. I feel really very slow in reading this book – I mean it’s been out for years now, and getting absolutely astonishing reviews such as this one. And the thing is, that normally I’m a real sucker for a bunch of quotes from good reviews on a dust-jacket sleeve, or on the cover. Lately, however, I have been a little weary of books that – let’s see, how to put this delicately? – are from war-torn areas, or developing world authors, because it seems to me that a lot of the time the reviewers are so blinded by political correctness that they forget to actually review the work itself. Perhaps this is wrong of me, but anyway …. I finally decided to give the book a chance. At the moment, I am halfway through, and I haven’t regretted a single moment of it. Hosseini’s style is absolutely wonderful … and the brutal honesty of the narrator is excruciatingly good. It is especially his honesty in depicting his own character that is heartbreaking. I cannot wait to see how it plays out. Perhaps what I am finding the most refreshing about it is that the story is not directly about the war and about displacement, although those both figure prominently in the story, but about a personal story, and a personal journey. Bravo!

BGT FINAL -Paul Potts high quality video/sound

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only Blogger commenting about this video. Paul’s voice is absolutely amazing … It’s nice to see someone who seems to be a genuinely modest man get the recognition he deserves.

It’s also great to see that Simon is honest not only in his criticism but in his praise as well.