Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The National Public Toilet Map

Information on location, opening hours and availability of wheelchair access for more than 14,000 public toilets nationally.

The best thing is, I'm not even making this up!

A project of the national continence management strategy (I didn't even know we had one!)

Suggest a toilet.

Plan your trip around your pit stops.

Or just browse (find the best place to park your, well, you know!)!

On the run (got the runs?) and need to know where the nearest convenience is? You can access the NPTM on your phone!

Really, how thoughtful of our government. I want to know who's being paid the big bucks to come up with this stuff (and where do I sign up?! Sounds like easy money!)

How did I find out about this ultra-useful site? Not whilst browsing for toilet destinations, that's for sure. There were bookmarks. At my local library. And it amused me so much I took one and it now marks my place in Paullina Simons's The Bridge to Holy Cross.

Speaking of my local's just moved from the old courthouse to a newer building that got scrubbed up on main st, right next to the Council. It's a lovely new building - all light, airy, clean and shiny with loads of space, something the courthouse never had, with all those books crammed on shelves lining the walls - but it's not the same. The courthouse had character, and that's something every library should have. It had beanbags, and there were no qualms about lying around on the floor, just reading. Plus it was a charming building. Sure, it was a little bit on the not-quite-big-enough side, but a small price to pay for atmosphere and comfort. I'm a little bit sad, but it is quite an attraction now. Walking in there the other day though (it was the first time I've been able to see since it was opened in the middle of the year) I was the only person there, apart from the librarian. And it felt very - well, awkward. You could hear the lights buzzing and you were very aware of your own presence. Hopefully it will grow into the building, with time, but for now it's just a memory of its former self.


Tuesday, 29 September 2009


If you know me on FB, you will have seen my complete, utter, uncontainable joy: GEELONG WON THE PREMIERSHIP!!!! FOR THE SECOND TIME IN 3 YEARS!!!!!!!!!

Harry Taylor was grade fucking A on Riewoldt - he was bloody brilliant! Kept Riewoldt out of the game. Chapman was his usual excellence, earning him a well-deserved Norm Smith (medal.) Rooke stood up above his usual class, and even Tommohawk shone (for once.) Young 'un Travis Varcoe took a while to find his feet (not to mention his fellow players!) and probably should have been replaced by Matthew Stokes, who was incredible the '07 grand final.

What an absolute nailbiter. It's about as close as it gets for a Grand Final, notwithstanding the Sydney and West Coast games of recent years. Down to the wire. Geelong looked shaky for a while, but like that epic game against Hawthorn, where they won by 1 point with a kick after the siren.

For all their greatness, though, Geelong did get lucky - St Kilda's failure to convert with all their set shots, free kicks and running into goal meant the Cats stayed close. But it was Geelong's rise to the challenge in the final quarter that proved them as the greatest team of all.

I really wanted to find footage of coach Bomber Thompson after the siren goes and he realises they've won. It's classic for a man who is usually so reserved - he looks like a kid locked in a candy store, he's so thrilled.

And guess what: another one of these has come out! But if you don't follow AFL you probably won't get it...

Speaking of Fevola...did anyone see footage of him, aired on various footy shows this week, at the Brownlow Monday before last? He was positively shit-faced and armed with a mike - a dangerous combination, with yet-to-be-seen, undubitibly lethal consequences. Pretty funny though. I really wanna see the stuff they wouldn't show on the Thursday night Grand Final edition of the Footy Show!


Can You Agree to That?

Adrien Brody is super cute, in that awkward, gangly, gawky, big-nosed kind of way. He’s gorgeous (especially topless), and The Darjeeling Limited has only made me love him more:

TDL has got to be one of the funniest movies I’ve watched in a while. It’s witty, it’s heart-warming, it’s refreshing. Not to mention it reinspired my fervent desire to visit India at some stage in the near future.

This was also kindled by a recent Bollywood party I went to, complete with professional dancers who tried to teach us uncoordinated Westerners how to shake it, Indian style. India has such a bright, vibrant, rich, amazing culture; the very definition of exotic.

Think of the dancing, the saris, the wedding ceremonies, the singing, the languages (not to mention the religions), the FOOD! Then think of what Australia is. Vast desert plains, sure, and the Aboriginal Dreaming (which in and of itself is inspiring) but we’re culturally bland. What’s our national food? The meat pie. The lamington, maybe. Vegimite. VB. We certainly don’t got any “moves,” except a bit of a sideways shuffle, and our national uniform is hardly anything to be proud of: thongs, a wife beater and board shorts. Our natural icons are amazing, sure – Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, to name a few – but people-wise, we’ve got no Gandhis. We've got Ned bloody Kelly, for goodness sakes (who I should really rag on, because he is my area's one claim to fame) - a bushranger! Why are we so proud of him?!

Maybe it’s because we’ve got no history, we’re just a convict offshoot of Britain.

Or maybe because we’re a bit of everything, a combination of cultures, we’re no one thing.


Tuesday, 15 September 2009

YOUth Decide

Youth Decide '09 is a national youth vote on climate change.

The more greenhouse gases we put into the atmosphere the worse climate change will get.

This December countries will agree on a global limit on greenhouse gases at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Countries will each set targets for how much they will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. Australia will have to decide our target as well.

The targets that are chosen will determine the kind of world we will inherit.

Australia's young people (4.8 million between the age of 12 and 29) can be a voice for their generation: both here in Australia and for those poor countries and communities around the world who will be most affected by climate change.

A united youth voice will help compel the Australian government to lead the way in securing a strong global agreement.

I'm voting online and I'm going to the concert on Wednesday in Fed Square (Cat Empire!!!) but I'm voting for 25-40%. Because although we'd love to avoid many of the consequences likely to result from 10-40% of reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, we've got to be realistic about this. Countries like Germany are well on their way to acheiving 40% by 2020; Australia is not, even below 1990 levels. If we can stablise emissions somewhere around 450 ppm - current levels around approx 385 ppm - hopefully we can avoid more than 2 degrees of global warming, because anything above this is thought to have particularly dangerous implications for the percentage of threatened species/rates of extinction, ability for ecosystems to adapt, increase in extreme weather events and changes in rainfall patterns, not to mention sea levels rising.

YOUth decide!



Monday, 14 September 2009

Poor T Swift


My heart really goes out to her after she was left standing on the stage at the VMAs, holding her award for BEST FEMALE VIDEO for song You Belong With Me when Kanye West crashed the stage, grabbed the mike and proceeded to say Beyonce deserved the award.


The sweetest thing is the look of utter surprise on her face when it is announced that she won, and when she explains how she's always dreamt of this moment: "I always wondered what it would be like to maybe win one of these someday, but never actually thought it would happen."

But West ruined her moment when he jumped on stage at Radio City Music Hall.

"Taylor, I'm really happy for you, and I'm gonna let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time," he said, as a shocked Beyonce looked on and the crowd began to boo West.

Fortunately the night was not over for Swift, who was due to perform after she received the award, but was too crestfallen. Later, Beyonce, ever gracious, sacrificed her own time upon winning Video of the Year to let Taylor finish her speech.

There's a lot of speculation about whether this is a VMA stunt, but I don't think so, because it's very unsportsmanlike and in very bad taste. This is not like Bruno. This is Kanye being rude and uncharitable.

Anyway, T Swift's vid totally deserved to win, it's cute and funny and sincere and utterly charming.

Enjoy (and drool) all over again:

Here she is looking gorgeous, advertising for the VMAs:

I can't believe she's only 19. My age. She's incredible! And so grounded. What an inspiration.


United States of AWESOME

America. was. AMAZING. I cannot stress that enough. It exceeded all my expectations - of course, I had high hopes that it would be an epic trip in every way, but it was just incredible. Even though there were 58 of us (which made for some interesting trips on public transport), we all got to know each other and I've made some great friends who I hope to keep for a really long time. I'm super grateful that several of them are in all of my classes, we all went to a movie at the Melbourne International Film Festival, a bunch of us went out for Hot Pot a few weeks ago, we've had a reunion, we're arranging laser tag (or something of the sort) and a couple of us are going out for dinner again this week.

Boston was lovely and gorgeous and I adored it. It rained the whole week we were there, but no biggie - it'd been raining the whole month of June. We visited Harvard and Salem and on our free day, some of us were lucky enough to get tickets to Fenway Park!!! Which was, like, WOW. Definitely one of the highlights. Another was meeting my great Aunt (actually my grandmother's cousin). More on all that later. But I loved Boston. I could picture myself living there or studying there.

New York was full on and fabulous. There were fireworks on Fourth of July, fantastic shopping, 5th Avenue, Gossip Girl spotting, gospel, and non-stop fun times. NYC is what we affectionately refer to as "the city we didn't sleep in."

Washington DC was suits and crappy metro and manicured lawns. Georgetown was my favourite part of DC, absolutely beautiful. DC is very nice, peaceable and calm (esp compared to the hubub of NYC), all libraries and art galleries (free!) and parks and coffee shops; my kind of city (except Boston stole my heart.)

Photos and anecdotes to come! Hopefully over the break; I get two weeks off over September, but I'm going to Canberra (you laugh - it's for the National Student Leadership Forum) and then SYDNEY to visit Gemini! Happiness and much goofiness will ensue.


Sunday, 13 September 2009

All You Need is HP

Y'all know that my quest in life is conquer a challenging meme; well, Sharan provided me with just the fodder. Excellent. Let's get started shall we? I may throw the word EPIC around a lot, but this really is the definition of it, tag form:


1. When did you discover Harry Potter?

Must have been before 1999/the turn of the millenium. My American cousins gave us the first two in paperback with their recommendations, and after that we were hooked - we bought all the rest as soon as they came out, so they're all in hardcover. My dad read them to my brother, right up until and including the fourth book, often adlibbing names, much to his (and my) amusement.

2. How many times have you read the books?

Goodness only knows. I have re-read all of them several times, forwards, backwards, out of order.


3. Which Hogwarts house would you like to be in?

Ravenclaw! Sounds like my kind of house; “wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure,” and all that. Gryffindor sounds pretty exciting and open-minded though…Don’t we all fancy we could be Gryffindors? Hufflepuff also sounds fun, comfortable, amusing and optimistic, like they don’t take themselves too seriously, I wouldn’t mind being in that house…they get a bit of raw deal for being dopey.

4. Which house would you be put in?

Ravenclaw, because I’m a smartie pants like that.

5. Which character would you most like to pound on?

As opposed to jump their bones? Ha ha. You mean punch, right? Lucius Malfoy.

6. Which character would you most like to be friends with?

Hermione! She's smart and opinionated and she doesn't care what you think.

7. Which Hogwarts subject would be your favorite?

Charms. What an awesome subject.

8. Which teacher would be your favorite?

Ha ha, see above – Flitwick! Or maybe McGonagall.

9. Who would you most like to slip a love potion?

Ha ha. Umm…Cedric Diggory sounds like a bit of all right. You know...if he hadn't died.


10. Which book would you most like to borrow from the Hogwarts library?

Omigosh! HowEVER shall I choose? I think I'd have to go with Sharanya and say Hogwarts: A History. I'd also love to read The Tales of Beedle the Bard and Twelve Fail-Safe Ways to Charm Witches, except, you know, for wizards. Or Quidditch Through the Ages, The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts, and Great Wizards of the Twentieth Century (not to mention Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century.)

11. Which potion would you most like to brew?

Oooh, Liquid Luck!

12. Which charm would you most like to perform?

I’ve always wanted to be able to accio things. Or the Disillusionment one would be handy. The Cheering Charm would be fun. No no no…the Patronus Charm! Or a Flying charm. But Patronus, because that’s what brooms are for!

13. Who would you most like to jinx and with what?

UMBRIDGE. Fo shizzle. With what? Hmmm…Bat Bogey hex sounds like fun!

14. Which Unforgivable curse would you use if you had to?

If I really really had to? I’d really rather not…I don’t know if I’d have the anger you need. I suppose Imperio seems the least cruel, but this is only relative, and there's a certain threshold of evil that these curses all clearly surpass...

15. On whom?

Fenrir? He awful. Oh no, wait - Bellatrix. She's horrible. But that makes me as bad as her.

16. Which shop in Diagon Alley do you want to visit the most?

The Weasleys’ store! It looks AMAZING (esp in the 6th film.)


17. Would you play Quidditch?

’Course! If I could…(I’m not very co-ordinated, ha ha)

18. Which position?

Oooh, I’d LOVE to be a Seeker. But probably not due to aforementioned lack of skillz – maybe Chaser?

19. Which team would you support?

Quidditch team? The two Aussie teams: the Thundelarra Thunderers and the Woollongong Warriors, of course!

20. If you had to kill one Weasley, who would it be?

Percy, of course! Ha ha. Joking. I don’t want to kill any Weasleys!

21. Animagi or Metamorphmagi?

Tough. Probably Metamorphmagi. Imagine the fun you could have playing with your appearance!

22. What would your animagus be?

I'm tempted to say cat, like McGoogly, but I'd rather be something that flies. If we were going with my personality, it would be a kookaburra, because I laugh so much. Probably an owl, because they're wise and majestic.

23. What do you think your patronus would be?

A kangaroo. Duh. Ha ha. A swan? Something fun like a dingo border collie. Or a beagle!

25. What happy memory would you use to summon it?

Oh god, I have so many – however would I choose ONE? I guess most recently it would be of my last night in America with the Dream Team.

26. What would a Bogart turn into for you?

Excellent question. No doubt something like Hermione's - Prof McG telling her she'd failed all her exams.

27. Which magical career would you pursue?

I wouldn't mind working within the Ministry. The Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee sounds like fun! A bit like PR. I could imagine working with The Department of International Magical Cooperation. Or as a journalist/photographer for the Daily Prophet! What fun!


28. Which chamber would you most like to enter in the Department of Mysteries?

The Time Room or the Planet Room.

29. What wizarding sweet most tempts you?

Chocolate frogs or sugar quills. Or fizzing wizzbees. I could die in Honeydukes.

30. Would you consider joining the Death Eaters?

God no! They’re disgusting, prejudiced, narrow-minded and cruel, a magical version of the KKK, hoods and all.

31. Would you consider joining the Order of the Phoenix?

I would LOVE to. It would be an honour.

32. Would you consider joining Dumbledore's Army?

Yes! Power to the students! I’d be worried about breaking the rules, but for a good cause…


33. Would you consider joining SPEW?

Yes. I think if House-elves want to work - which is probably a mentality - they should do it free like Dobby. There's nothing wrong with wanting to serve others, and house-elves at Hogwarts have it pretty good. But there's nothing right about "owning" house-elves like the Malfoy family.

34. What wizarding event would you most like to attend?

The Yule Ball! Oh, no, HALLOWEEN!

35. Which room in Hogwarts would you most like to visit?

Room of requirement! And the Prefect's Bathroom, it sounds awesome. Not to mention Gryffindor Common Room.

36. Is Snape evil?

Well I wouldn't say he's good. I don't know if he's evil - that implies something inherently, well, bad about him, but he definitely has flexible morals.


37. Can you know...HIS name out loud?

Yes. Voldemort. I can understand the reluctance, but "fear of the name increases fear of the thing" and all that.

38. Which current Hogwarts student could you see becoming the future Minister for Magic?


39. Werewolves or Vampires?

Well if all werewolves are like Remus Lupin…

40. Wizard's chess or exploding snaps?

Wizard’s chess! I suck, but it sounds super exciting. Plus, who needs explosions?

41. Would you rather lose all the bones in your arm or be attacked by brains?

Neither! I’ve never broken a bone…probably the former.

42. Would you go to a Deathday party?

Yep. It would be pretty incredible.

43. Can you speak Parseltongue?

No. That would weird me out.

44. Bellatrix or Narcissa?

You want me to pick the lesser of two evils here? At least Narcissa's not quite so obsessed with the Dark Lord. She wants what's best for Draco. She at least seems more humane than Bellatrix.

45. Which Marauder is your favorite?

Remus Lupin. He sounds like the cutest when he was young. Bookish is totally my type. Sirius sounds HOT though. Or maybe I read too much fanfic…


46. Have you ever been to a midnight launch party?

Sigh. No. But there’s still two films to go!

47. Have you ever dressed up like a wizard for a book or movie release?

YES! My school had a book-themed dress up day, and I was Professor McGonagall. My mum made a cloak – black, with a hood, lined with gold ribbon – which says ‘HOGWARTS’ on the back in stars. It is the coolest thing. I also wore it to a film release (can’t remember which one.)

48. Have you ever dressed up like a wizard for Halloween?

Le sigh. Negativo, as there is sadly no Halloween as such in Oz.

49. Have you ever dressed up like a wizard for a regular week day?


50. What Harry Potter paraphernalia do you possess?

What don’t I have? Ha ha. I may have gone through a bit of a phrase around 2002…let’s see, I have Hedwig, HP and the Philosopher’s Stone trivia board game, Gryffindor dressing gown (still wear it), Harry Potter mobile (a combination of gifts from the parentals and my own buying)…I think that about covers it. Oh, and my brother and I each have some kind of HP card game. My brother has an HP gameboy (so much fun!) and my aunt used to buy us Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans.

51. Do you reference Harry Potter in daily life?

Hell yeah!

52. 12 Grimmauld Place or 4 Privet Drive?

Grimmauld Place.

53. Would you rather be a Weasley, a Malfoy or a Potter?

Oooh, I don’t know. Obviously not a Malfoy, but a Weasley sounds like fun! How about Mrs Potter?


54. What magical animal would you most like for a pet?

I wouldn't mind a cat, but not Crookshanks. Or an owl, they sound super useful and smart.

55. What form of magical transportation would you prefer?


56. Have you ever created fanart?

No. But I read fanfic.

57. How many fansites do you visit, and how often?

In my heyday…ha ha. Not all that many;, ultimate icons...

58. Have you ever worked for one?

Nope. I don’t write it, I just read it.


59. Is meeting JK Rowling on your life list of things to do?

No (because it’s so unlikely) but I SAW HER. I was at the FOURTH HARRY POTTER BOOK LAUNCH IN LONDON. SHE WAS THERE. (Aside: I was also on TV – Sixty Minutes – back in Oz because of the event.) So, you know, my life is fairly complete; I've seen JKR in person AND I've been on TV!

60. Which magical item would you most like to possess?

A wand? A broomstick? OMIGOD! Invisibility Cloak!! Or an Extendable Ear (TM). Or Moody's magical eye. But mostly the Cloak. Coolest thing ever.

61. What Horcrux would you most like as a souvenir?

Harry! Ha ha ha ha ha. The Diadem.

62. Would you die for someone to give them the lasting protection of your love?

I’d like to think I would. But it's a pretty big ask.

63. Would you like to preserve yourself in a diary for future generations to release?

Not to release no, but I’d like to be able to keep a diary and preserve my awesomeness!

64. Squibs or muggle-borns?

What, who would I rather sleep with? So confused about this question…are we comparing wizards? That’s unfair…

65. Purebloods or Halfbloods?

I'm going to answer this with an icon:


66. Would you survive Azkaban?

It would hard to maintain hope in a place like that. I'd like to think that if I ended up there I'd be innocent rather than guilty and like Sirius, hang on to it.

67. Would you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?

I don’t know…it’s the kind of thing I’d like to do. I’m always up for challenging myself (it’s a new thing I’m trying.) I’d put myself in on the off chance that I get nominated.

68. If there were a prophesy made about you, would you want to hear it?

Oh God. Sharan and I have had this discussion about wanting to know if we were going to die…and I said I wouldn’t want to, because it’s easier to hope if you don’t know. As far as I’m concerned. And I wouldn’t want that to influence my future. It would kill me, not knowing, because I’m insatiably curious, but really, did it do Harry much good? No. Also, chances are it would become self-fulfiling, and I wouldn't want it to colour my future. I like the idea of my future being full of possibilities - that's what keeps my hope alive.

69. Do you believe in divination?


70. Can you see thestrals?

No. (And it would so weird me out to ride one, but it would be the coolest thing ever!)


71. What would the Mirror of Erised show you?

Oh gosh. What do I most desire? More than anything? Probably someone who loves me.

72. Would you kill a unicorn to prolong your life?

No. Couldn’t do it. Wouldn’t want to.

73. Would you have made Dumbledore keep drinking?

I wouldn’t have liked it…but yes, probably.


74. Would you make an Unbreakable Vow?

Wow, that’s, like, a HUGE promise. Like, YOUR LIFE promise. Well, duh, but that's a BIG promise to make. I don't like making promises I can't keep, even if they're not Unbreakable.So the answer is: unlikely and only in extreme circumstances.

75. Who with and for what?

Probably only family and maybe a handful, if that, of really really really good friends. People I know I can trust. People I care about. And only something within my control and ability. Something...quantifiable, if you will.

76. Giants or Mountain Trolls?

Neither? Giants sound kind of lovely though, especially if they're like Grawp. And they seem almost reasonable, if you remember when Hagrid and Madame Maxine went to talk to them on the Continent before the War.

77. What magical plant would you like in your garden?

Mistletoe? (I read a great fanfic where the mistletoe had teeth, a voice and a lot of aggression; it was hilarious) Or, um, gillyweed! I’d love to try that at least once. Imagine being able to breathe underwater! Puffapods sound sweet. I've always been fascinated by the sounds of the Giant Venemous Venus Fly-Trap.


78. What's your favorite quote?

Ahh, way too many, so I'm going to share them all, for your merriment and amusement:

Hermione: Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doens't mean we all have.

(probably my absolute favourite quote)


(next favourite)

Hermione: "Devil's Snare, Devil's Snare... What did Professor Sprout say? It likes the dark and the damp-"
Harry: "So light a fire!"
Hermione: "Yes - of course - but there's no wood!"

Harry: "Lucky you pay attention in Herbology, Hermione"

Ron: "Yeah, and lucky Harry doesn't lose his head in a crisis - "there's no wood", honestly."


Draco Malfoy: "Azkaban - the wizard's prison, Goyle. Honestly, if you were any slower, you'd be going backwards."


Dumbledore: “And now, Harry, let us chase that flighty temptress adventure."


Fred and George: “You haven't got a letter on yours…I suppose she thinks you don't forget your name. But we're not stupid — we know we're called Gred and Forge.” (those two crack me up)


Harry Potter: "There's no need to call me sir Professor."


The Dursleys:

"Why were you lurking under our window?"
"Yes -- yes, good point, Petunia! What were you doing under our windows, boy?"
"Listening to the news," said Harry in a resigned voice.
His aunt and uncle exchanged looks of outrage.
"Listening to the news! Again?"
"Well, it changes every day, you see," said Harry.


Harry: "But why's she got to go to the library?"
Ron: "Because that's what Hermione does. When in doubt, go to the library."

I tag anyone who wants to, but I think Emma should do it, because she's one of the biggest HP fans I know.



Friday, 11 September 2009

Friday Fantasia

It's a beautiful story what can be told without words.