Archive for the ‘Argh!’ Category

Marking Time!

May 12, 2009

It’s marking time again! Which means, I am going a little nutters. Here’s the evidence:

And that’s how I’ve been marking my time.

Sad. I know.

How have you been marking time? Any creative pursuits?

Advertisements

Switching Off

February 9, 2008

Right now I am supposed to be writing a seminar presentation on study skills for Year 11 students. I am supposed to present as the hip-young-technoliterate-teacher who, while being techno savvy, spurns all temptations to use the internet, ipods, skype, blogs, mobile phones etc for evil and redeems their use for good. One who masters technology without being mastered by it. One who knows the temptation of technology, her own limitations and successfully resists the urge to be distracted by this new evil lurking amongst us. I’m supposed to speak clearly and coherently and with much conviction so as to benefit our students. I am planning on saying how it is so important that instead of switching off our minds apathetically when know we have to approach study we should switch off that which distracts us…We should shun all that makes our mind wander and begin to embrace the wonder of learning. I am supposed to be writing all this in a convincing speech. But alas, I cannot for I am distracted… by technology of all things. mmedia.jpgGah!!!!If you have any advice as to how I can inspire my potential scholars on how to get ‘switched on,’ I’d appreciate your suggestions. You could help me use this blog for good instead of evil. 😉 How big a distraction is technology for you or your children?How do you master it? 

Like a ‘Sorry’ in the Sky

January 28, 2008

So we’re sitting around the table tonight and discussion turns to the enormous ‘sorry’ that was written across the sky on Australia Day. The ‘sorry’ story made the headlines briefly and was removed abruptly, as if it had just evaporated into thin air. It’s rather symbolic really.

dsc_0268.jpg

 

You see, saying ‘sorry’ has been a matter of contention in Australian culture for quite a few years now.  Many Australians have thought that saying ‘sorry’ to the Aboriginal people would be beneficial, would aid reconciliation. However, some of our population, indeed our last Prime Minister, John Howard, thought that there was no point in saying ‘sorry’. Their argument went along the lines of, “well we didn’t kill your family, steal your children, give you grog or keep you uneducated so why should we apologise for things that the generations/governments before us were responsible for? Why should we say sorry?” In my opinion, we have a lot to say sorry for: invasion, the stolen generations, inequality in health and education, deaths in custody, the introduction of alcohol…and I could go on. These things still affect the Aboriginal people of Australia today, regardless of who instigated them. 

 

Kevin Rudd has stated that he will say ‘sorry’ on the 12th February 2008, so long as there are no legal ramifications – which, by the way, there aren’t. Saying ‘sorry’ has no real consequences. We don’t have to give land back, reunite families, offer equitable access to health or education, or provide rehabilitation. There will be no compensation – which is lucky for how would we ever compensate for these life-shattering losses anyway? –  Isn’t that great. Ha! A sorry without consequence.

 

As my dad said rather facetiously, “We can say sorry and Cathy Freeman can carry the Aboriginal flag if she wants…as long as she carries the one emblazoned with the Union Jack as well. Archie Roach can sing from time to time…we kinda like his tunes – he’s a good Aussie.”

 

Let’s say sorry, what can we lose?

 

Today I’ve been reading Saussure in preparation for teaching this year. You probably know Saussure, he was the French guy who revolutionised the study of linguistics. He was of the view that language was a system that consisted of a signifier (the word or sound) and a sign (the object to which the signifier referred). The signifier never was the sign. For example you don’t get much of a sense of what a dog is by reading or hearing the word ‘dog’ in isolation to the object to which it refers. ‘Dog’ doesn’t tell you anything about what it is to be a dog. In this way language is arbitrary. But Saussure argued that it is this very arbitrariness of language that makes it so important to use language correctly. If I start calling a dog a ‘dooshka’ communication is going to be limited, hindered because you will not know what I am talking about.

 

All this, and the discussion of the significance, or lack thereof, of saying ‘sorry’ has left me with this question: what does ‘sorry’ actually mean? To us? To the Aboriginal people? Because if it means “sorry bad stuff happened to you, but it wasn’t our fault and we’re not doing anything about it,” then I’m mad about that. What kind of sorry is that? What does it signify? What is its sign? And what does it say about our culture when our most potent words are emptied of meaning? I want to know exactly what kind of ‘sorry’ we’re offering before I start applauding politicians on the 12th Feb. How will a ‘sorry’ aid communication between disparate people if we don’t have a clear understanding of what ‘sorry’ means?

 

I know I’m sorry. Sorry I belong to such a racist and discriminatory society that is afraid to speak meaningfully into the hurting lives of its citizens – even if they were only recognised as citizens of their own country in 1967.  Sorry we don’t have a language to express what we mean. Sorry our words are empty. Sorry I fear our ‘sorry’ will evaporate into the ether like the words that appeared in the sky so briefly on Australia Day, or Survival Day – the day we are supposed to celebrate the tenacious endurance of a race that our ancestors tried to erase like an inappropriate news story.

 

On the upside: It will be so nice of us to make Aboriginal people “full participants” of society…after over 200 years of abuse and deprivation!

 

[end rant]

 

I’m still mad.

Thanks if you stayed with me through that. 🙂

 If you’re still game, here’s a question:

What does ‘sorry’ mean and what should ‘sorry’ look and sound like? 

On Order & the Bible

November 2, 2007

I’m feeling kind of ripped off. Yesterday I discovered that the books of my Bible are in the wrong order!!! Can you believe it?!

Our lecture yesterday touched on the order of scripture and noted that while we, as Westerners, tend to approach things quite chronologically, the Hebrew people historically approached things more thematically. The result of which was that the scriptures were reordered to reflect a chronological rather than thematic focus. This, my lecturer argued, has lead to us failing to make connections that the original audience would have made quite logically. It also means we diminish the unity of the scriptures. He gave numerous examples – at which point my head exploded – one of which was that traditionally Chronicles was the last book of the Jewish Scriptures. This is significant because Chronicles begins with a genealogy that is then continued in Matthew and this is only the beginning!!!

Did you know this?

Do you feel as ripped off as me?

This revelation made me wonder about the role of man in recording and passing on God’s word. It’s such an important thing! How could we get it so wrong at times? And then I wondered, if God is in control of this, why did he allow the books of the scriptures to be rearranged? Especially if it means we are missing out, or at least working very hard to get back, significant connections. If the changes happened way back at the completion of the Septuagint Greek Manuscripts, was the reordering part of God’s plan in reaching those outside the Hebrew communities? Those who think chronologically rather than thematically.

What do you think?

Do you feel as ripped off as I do?

Where can I get my hands on a Jewish Bible? I want to read that Bible cover to cover and see what I find.

The original order of the scriptures:

The Torah

1. Genesis [בראשית / B’reshit]
2. Exodus [שמות / Sh’mot]
3. Leviticus [ויקרא / Vayiqra]
4. Numbers [במדבר / B’midbar]
5. Deuteronomy [דברים / D’varim]

The books of Nevi’im

6. Joshua [יהושע / Y’hoshua]
7. Judges [שופטים / Shophtim]
8. Samuel (I & II) [שמואל / Sh’muel]
9. Kings (I & II) [מלכים / M’lakhim]
10. Isaiah [ישעיה / Y’shayahu]
11. Jeremiah [ירמיה / Yir’mi’yahu]
12. Ezekiel [יחזקאל / Y’khezqel]
13. The Twelve Minor Prophets [תרי עשר]

I. Hosea [הושע / Hoshea]
II. Joel [יואל / Yo’el]
III. Amos [עמוס / Amos]
IV. Obadiah [עובדיה / Ovadyah]
V. Jonah [יונה / Yonah]
VI. Micah [מיכה / Mikhah]
VII. Nahum [נחום / Nakhum]
VIII. Habakkuk [חבקוק /Khavaquq]
IX. Zephaniah [צפניה / Ts’phanyah]
X. Haggai [חגי / Khagai]
XI. Zechariah [זכריה / Z’kharyah]
XII. Malachi [מלאכי / Mal’akhi]

The Ketuvim

14. Psalms [תהלים / T’hilim]
15. Proverbs [משלי / Mishlei]
16. Job [איוב / Iyov]
17. Song of Songs [שיר השירים / Shir Hashirim]
18. Ruth [רות / Rut]
19. Lamentations [איכה / Eikhah]
20. Ecclesiastes [קהלת / Qohelet]
21. Esther [אסתר / Est(h)er]
22. Daniel [דניאל / Dani’el]
23. EzraNehemiah [עזרא ונחמיה / Ezra wuNekhem’ya]
24. Chronicles (I & II) [דברי הימים / Divrey Hayamim]

Note the irony?

August 19, 2007

food

noun [mass noun] any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink or that plants absorb in order to maintain life and growth

poison

noun [mass noun] a substance that when introduced into or absorbed by a living organism causes death or injury, especially one that kills by rapid action even in a small quantity.

Despite my current situation, the irony is not lost on me.

“[she] sat with clenched thoughts on a very hard chair”…

August 4, 2007

…were the last words I read in The Book Thief before stirring from my frozen place in the winter sun and walking inside.

The words were like a mirror reflecting exactly how the book was making me feel. I put the book down. I’m not sure that I can read it right now. I’m drawn to the book mainly because of the title. The idea of a young girl being a book thief appeals to the bibliophile in me. However, the narrator is repulsive. Soul stealing is not my cup of tea. When I read, I don’t want to feel like I am sitting on a cold chair with clenched thoughts, no matter how well crafted some of Zusac’s sentences may be. Not today. Sometimes it seems the world is full of death and I need a book to escape it.

Last week my brother rang me and told me that my ex-husband’s brother in law had died. Of AIDS. AIDS?! When I found out I sat with “clenched thoughts” wondering why I felt nothing. My heart was hard. Maybe because he was related to my ex. Maybe because I hated that it meant he had cheated on his wife. Maybe because it fitted with the selfish and indulgent lifestyle he lived. Maybe because I am bitter and unforgiving. Maybe because I secretly thought he deserved it. For whatever reason, I felt nothing except horror at my cold unfeeling heart.

Until a student walked into my class joking about people dying of AIDS. Then, I felt. Then, I almost lost it. My cold heart fumed with a red hot anger at the callous manner in which this student who was completely oblivious to the horrors of AIDS was joking in such a light hearted manner. He was obviously completely unaware of the devastation that a wife would feel at discovering that her husband has AIDS… that in all likelihood she now has AIDS. He had no idea of the emaciation a once robust – some would say overly robust – man would undergo, the destruction a family would experience, the shame, the pain, the isolation. I was so mad. But my anger was misdirected. The student shouldn’t have to know about such terrors. I’m glad he doesn’t.

Now I’m angry at this man – my ex-husband’s brother in law. I’m angry, sad, and guilty. How is it that as someone dies, as an ex-sister in-law grieves and perhaps dies, I feel relief and think”Thank God it was not me!”? ‘Cause it could have been. My ex – with all his philandering – could have given me a death sentence. He could have. “Thank God it wasn’t me!” These things are not supposed to come so close. And so I sit with clenched thoughts on a very hard chair.

I wish…

April 22, 2007

back2school_min.jpg

…I could look that happy about going back to school. And to think I have to wait two days till my next holiday!  Bah!

Telstra offers more than you bargain for…

April 19, 2007

…but I don’t think I like it.

SO yesterday I answered a “No Caller ID” call on my mobile phone and was greeted by a salesman for Telstra. This is not unusual, various phone companies are always calling trying to entice me to upgrade my phone, choose a better plan or change service providers. I don’t usually mind these calls because, let’s face it, I want to get the cheapest phone deal I can. So, as Mr Telstra Representative talked me through the deals I listened, compared plans and bargained.

The first offer I received was to swap service providers, commit to a $49.00/ month plan and receive unlimited calls to any number between 8pm and 7am daily as well as obtaining a pink phone – why doesn’t anyone tell those mobile phone dealers that pink phones are not necessarily a draw card! Just cause I’m a girl and speak sweetly does not mean I want a pink phone! Ever! No matter how good a deal you offer! Needless to say, more negotiating was required.

After 11 minutes I had negotiated a new phone, two months free service, unlimited 15c sms’, 50x 20c-for-the-first-10-minutes calls to any number/month, all on a $49.00 plan with a two year contract. Now, I thought this not a particularly good deal since the call rate and flagfall was still more than that which I am currently paying and the phone was inferior to that which I already had. So then this lovely sales rep offered me 6 months free service as well as what we had already negotiated so that I could keep my phone or put that money towards purchasing a new phone as my current one would not work on their network.

He sounded a little desperate to make a sale, reminded me of the 10 day cooling off period and said perhaps he should just send a phone out. Anyway, I still wasn’t convinced that Telstra could actually better the deal I already had and was about to wind up the conversation when Telstra rep guy changes tack and says:

“How old are you?”

[silence] Then I think, Oh, he probably just has to ask for legal reasons so that he can sell me a phone.

“You are over 18 aren’t you?”

“Yes, I’m over 18”

“Are you 21?”

“I’m older than 21”

“No! Really, you sound so young!”

Now I’m used to the buttering up factor that is sometimes encountered when people are trying to sell me things so I let it slide.

“Well, I am older than 21.”

“You must be 25…?”

Okay, think I, this is so going beyond buttery…”No.”

“So, where do you live?”

[uncomfortable silence]

“I mean, so we can post this phone out to you. Are you in Sydney?”

Somehow I still think he’s trying to sell me a phone and stupid, stupidly answer,”Oh, yes, [I state the suburb]”

“Oh wow! I live right near you. I live in [states neighbouring suburb]. I probably know you! What’s your name?”

At this point I’m wary but still thinking this could be a new sales tactic and am wondering how this is going to convince me to buy a phone because I am sure that I don’t know this guy but Mr Telstra Man is becoming creepy and I’m thinking I need to get out of this conversation quickly…

“[states name – stupidly! and says] I’m sure you don’t know me and I really have to go. Sorry, I don’t think you can offer me a better deal than what I already have.”

“Okay then. Well, ah…I might just keep your number anyway and ah…”

Might just… no way! When did this become part of the deal? The pink phone was a way better offer! I mutter something about being uninterested until Telstra reduce their call costs and hang up.

Who does that? Apparently Mr Telstra does.