Friday, November 30, 2012

Since when does 58% = 100%?

     Whoops! You're out of space. You are currently using 100% of your 1 GB quota for photos.
     Yet when I open the storage and plan area it shows:
1 GB of Picasa (58% used)

I have no photos stored in Picasa and I wish a well meaning person had never downloaded the program as I've rarely used it.

I've read that if I delete Picasa entirely, every photo I've ever posted in my blogs will also disappear - is this true? 

Any help appreciated.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Kick, kick, kick

I've been peppered with spam lately and today was so bad that I decided to disable anonymous comments.

First however, I went into the comments area to remove the tedious, nasty things, got distracted, and came back to see a screen full of the drivel and clicked to remove the lot of them.

So far, so good. Except, I hadn't gone into the spam folder aaarrrgggghhh so I've just removed all the lovely comments which I really appreciate - they were all from kind, genuine people.

In the past I've scrolled down to check, but after looking through 1000s of the time-wasting, moronic and sometimes downright offensive things I tend not to bother nowadays. I'd never found a genuine comment which had snuck into the spam folder. So I just click and remove in bulk.

Real people make the effort to craft a thoughtful response and pfft, just like that - gone. Grrrrrr.

I don't suppose they're in a bin somewhere that I can retrieve them from?

Sigh. Sometimes crap happens.

Sorry :(


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

on guest posting

I'd doing a happy dance as I've got a guest post appearing today over at The Blogging from A-Z April Challenge .

It's the first time I've presented a guest post. My initial reaction when the  invitation came from Arlee Bird was 'that's nice, but it's not for me', but as happened with The A-Z Challenge, the more I thought about it the more it seemed like a good idea!

Arlee Bird initiated the *A-Z Challenge back in 2010 when he thought it would be fun to invite bloggers to blog thematically, A through to Z for every day in April except Sundays. In 2010 around 100 bloggers joined in, by the following year there were well over 1000, and by 2012 it had become so big that a team of 9 is now dedicated to ensuring everything runs smoothly.

The A-Z Blogging Challenge now has its own blog and has grown from being an event held in April, to being a year long festival including video blogging, guest posts and hints and tips about blogging in general as well as how to enjoy a blog-fest. As the song by Paul Kelly says, From Little Things, Big Things Grow.

However, back to my guest post. My concerns were: What would people be interested in? How long should a guest post be? Which of my assorted interests should I focus on?

It took a while to sift through and discard ideas but I eventually settled on something of middling length, explaining a part of Australia, in words and photos, which isn't on the standard tourist route, with a bit of current history included. It got to the stage where I wanted to include more and more, particularly about Aboriginal Dreamtime stories related to the vast arid spaces and infrequent waterholes, but it simply wasn't possible. Although that's something else I could consider for next year's Challenge!

When I was writing as a guest, I realised that I find it easy to go into "shorthand mode" and forget that not everyone understands the significance of place names and locations. I think I might sometimes leave readers 'hanging' wondering what on earth I'm on about though I've tried to make an effort for than not to happen over at Blogging from A-Z.

Guest posting was a good experience and I'd encourage you to try if you have the opportunity. It nudged me out of my comfort zone and made me look at my blogging in a new way.
Waterholes in the distance!
*There's a bit more history about the A-Z blogging challenge here

For the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge in 2012, I blogged about climate and the environment
in An A-Z of Climate Matters.

For the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge in 2011, I blogged about Workplace Bullying in An A-Z of Workplace Bullying over at traverselife, and also had fun here with alliterative drabbles related to learning difficulties, and the environment.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Dear weather and fishing gods #2

Dear weather and fishing gods,

Thankyou for listening to my request and arranging a perfect spring day for us to go fishing up near Marysville. And while it might seem absurd for someone who doesn't particularly like fish or fishing to choose to spend a day involved with said pass-time, it made sense at the time.

We wanted to do our bit for the region after the devastating Black Saturday bushfires nearly 4 years ago, so why not head up there and fish! The town is still doing it pretty tough, although the tourists have returned bringing lots of vibrant colour and joyous laughter! They were certainly making the most of the cafes, spilling out into the streets, chattering and enjoying the food and wine on a perfect spring afternoon.

However, I hadn't expected to be so deeply affected by the devastation. Blackened tree trunks, gaps where atmospheric old buildings used to be, bright sun where there used to be shade, forlorn  flowers in untended remains of gardens where not so long ago there was a home and family.

It's sobering to realise that lots of locals are still in dongas (a small relocatable hut often used near mines for temporary accommodation) nearly four years after the town was obliterated. Rebuilding is painfully slow for all sorts of frustrating and convoluted reasons. 

I can't even begin to imagine the terror of having a firestorm reduce your town and region to ash, and it's something I hope never to experience again, even from the sidelines. Can weather gods prevent horrendous weather events occurring? I suspect not.

I've described the weather conditions during the Black Saturday bushfires here

But back to the fishing!

I caught my first fish ever which took both me and the salmon by complete surprise. Foolish, foolish salmon. 

I know it's kind of cheating to throw a baited hook into a well stocked dam and call it fishing, but I felt a sense of achievement mixed with a good dose of stunned disbelief at my success. I'll refrain from referring to myself as a fisherperson, however, as that'd be stretching the truth a bit.

Slimy, icky salmon.
Here's the salmon that insisted on leaping energetically onto the hook I'd halfheartedly dropped into the dam at the Marysville fish farm. The first one got away - truly! It was big and heavy and flapping so vigorously that it snapped the line as I was reeling it in .... it was this big ..................................................... holds hands way apart in true fisherperson style ;-)

The proprietor gutted the fish, and after the long drive home, where they nestled snugly in the compact car frig, I put them in freezer bags and wrapped them in newspaper as per instructions, before making little nests in the freezer. No doubt they're now solid blocks of raw fish. We caught four between us, 3 trout and 1 salmon. This is going to present a bit of a challenge - what to do with them next?

The photo below is of one of the fishing ponds and the dead and blackened eucalypt trunks. Eucalpyts regrow from little nodules under the bark which are called epicormic shoots. You can see these epicormic shoots sprouting from around the trunks of some of the trees as well as revegetated areas at the fish farm.  


Monday, November 12, 2012

Dear weather gods #1

Dear weather gods

Could we possibly have a nice warm day soon.



PS: In case all the energy you're expending on changing our climate has got you confused, I've included a few photos to jog your memory.  We'd like a bit less of this:
Mornington Pier
and a bit more of this:
Frankston Pier
Kananook Creek. Frankston
Southbank Brisbane
Southbank - Brisbane
PPS: It'd be awesome if you could prove the hundreds and hundreds of highly qualified scientists wrong about climate change. Things are a bit tense and fraught at times down here. The fossil fuel industry seems to have got our politicians and decision makers by the balls, and it's not doing the rest of us any good. Could you perhaps have a bit of a chat with some of the other relevant gods about that?


Friday, November 9, 2012

A whiff of death

This looked like a potentially perfect fishing spot -
alpine mountain backdrop, gentle breeze and mild spring weather,
a gurgling river, tumbling happily over a small pebble race.

But something's not quite right.
Muddy eddies of a receding flood have almost,
but not quite,
covered a body ... a dog or sheep perhaps.
Stagnating quietly, putridly, in this picturesque backwater.

Sunlight glistens gold on the rocky bed.
Trout twist and turn,
efficiently avoiding the supposedly tantalising bait.

Determined to make the most of the tranquil setting,
I focus on the graceful old trees lining the river.

Follow, with my eyes, the arching branches
and see high up, tangled with weed and flood debris,
(showing the frightening height and power of last year's flood),
flesh and protruding bones strung up.
Festooning the tree's limbs
like last year's Halloween decorations.

Forgotten, discarded, worthless junk - only lacking the tacky fake plastic colouring.
The foetid flesh has been rubbed clean of fur and drips grotesquely;
distinguishing features long gone.

The excited buzz of blowflies keen to feed on broken flesh
tangled in the fresh spring growth -
evidence that life goes on regardless.

My throat contracts and gag reflex threatens.

In the distance a crow caws lazily.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

A blokey weekend.

A swagger of utes thunder past, kicking up swirls of fine smelly dust.
Rear trays are shrouded in camouflage green canopies concealing -
who knows what?

Too muscular to be contained by any flimsy cabin,
bulging tattooed forearms rest on dusty door-frames,
languidly rise and wave a cheery hello, at odds with their physical menace.

Bringing up the rear of the rumbling group,
his ute surely unroadworthy with rusty holes and massive dints;
is a lone driver - unsmiling - 'don't mess with me, I mean business'.
The open tray contains a single, reinforced steel cage
barely contains two enormous wild-eyed, salivating, hunting dogs.

A moulding stiff legged deer at the side of the road
is evidence of an earlier successful expedition. 
Not all utes survive the hunting trip.