The Gold Coast – Some Pics

We’re almost a week into our trip now. Our first stop was the Central Coast for my Sister’s Wedding which went quite well. I got to spend some time with the nephews and that was wonderful. Then we drove off to the Gold Coast for two nights at the Marriott Surfers Paradise. The hotel has a lagoon pool with approximately 400 tropical fish. You may snorkel without the worry of evil jellyfish like they have in North Queensland..

I will like to write a proper review of the Marriott, but for now you can just enjoy some lovely pictures. ;)

Coffee in the Elandra Retreat Club


Fish in the Lagoon Pool

fishfish3More when I have more time to compose! ;)

Australia, travel

Fires and Floods

Obviously Australia is a little challenged weatherwise at the moment. I’m sure you’re all aware of the horrible fires in Victoria where the death toll is predicted to reach 200. The Other Half has a sister within flying ember distance of the big fires, so we’ve been worried but we finally got in touch tonight and she’s ok. It has been horrible watching the news and hearing what has happened to people. It also has me thinking about our personal fire plan – and if you live in Australia I hope it has you thinking about that too.

Up the top end of the country – where we are travelling to in exactly 10 days time – there are floods. And also Dengue Fever, which is something horrible you get from mosquitos. And just in case you didn’t know, mosquitos ADORE me. They’ll travel out of their way to bite me. So this = me covered in insect repelling goodness.

Sephy told me to make sure to get one with DEET in it. Note to Sephy – all those ones smell somewhat like a chemical warfare potpourri. With a squeeze of lemon! So I will smell bad, in case you all happen to be there and meet me or anything. Also, Cairns has no food in the supermarkets. Cindy from Artistsblog is up there, and has been writing some very interesting posts like this one.

So the whole fire thing and travelling to somewhere there is a nasty mosquito thing that could possibly dead me and floods and possibly not brilliant roads has me thinking some pretty weird thoughts. Would it be bad to say that if something happened to me tomorrow and I died, I’d be thinking that I had a pretty decent life? That is if I were able to think, of course. ;)

Because I have. As I sit here now, I’ve had 10 wonderful years with a man I truly adore and who makes me laugh all the time. I’ve lived in a couple of places that have made me vastly happy. I’ve been blessed with a fantastic family who have only made me want to banghead very occasionally. I have a wonderful online family – the mudflats, and aussie bloggers – who have made me laugh, cry, and every emotion in between. I’ve been the President. Not of anything especially important, but of something I cared about and believed in.

The only things that would upset me would be leaving people I love behind and the concern of who would take care of my pets, and a concern over would they do it the way I feel it should be done as far as keeping them inside.

I think that since I have taken up kayaking and the exercise thing, some kind of bizarre inner peace and general contentment has settled in. It is hard to explain. I’m not sure I want to try and explain it.

Anyway, I will be blogging more than usual while away, we have organised wireless for the laptop and I can even do it while we’re driving, how cool is that? It’s an easier way for people to keep up with what I’m up to, etc. ;)

First we go to my sister’s wedding on the Central Coast of NSW. I bought a dress, and I have shoes! w00t! I might even post a photo of such – with the face blurred for obvious reasons. ;)

We’re going to the Marriott on the Gold Coast for 2 nights, the one with the lagoon pool and actual real live fish in there. I’ve got swimming goggles which are prescription so I can see the fish. We got nose plugs today so we will still be able to use the snorkels – I actually think this will work better than using the masks.

We’ll be staying overnight in Rockhampton, 2 nights in Airlie Beach, 3 nights in Cairns, 1 night in Mackay, 2 nights in Maroochydore, a night in Port Macquarie and then back home. We’re heading up the Pacific Highway and then onto the Bruce Highway I think it is – if there is anything must see that you know about, leave me a comment. Especially butterfly houses, because we love that kind of thing. The furthest I have been before is Brisbane (World Expo 88 – how many other people went too?) – we do plan a stop at Australia Zoo while in Maroochydore.

I’ve almost got all the ironing done for the trip already and we’re still 10 days away from leaving. I have begun to collect items to pack on the dining table. ;) I plan to be organised this time.

I also have been fake tanning. This is not out of any desire to look pretty or because I am wearing a dress, but because I got very badly burnt on my hands a few weeks ago while wearing a rash vest – so my arms were completely covered – and I look a bit like I dipped my hands in brown ink or something. So I am just trying to even it out so people stop looking at me with the “OMFG WTF HAPPEN TO YOU” look on their face.

In fact one guy in a surf shop actually asked me what happened, this was right after it happened. I was in there looking for longer shorts that had SPF protection in them. I told him what happened, which went something like “Well, I bought some new sunscreen because I didn’t like the one we had, and it was sucky and didn’t work even though I reapplied it more often than it told me to reapply it, and therefore I got extremely crispy even though I am totally anti sunburn”.

Well, this has been a bizarre post. But that’s what’s going on here at the moment. ;)

Australia, fears, travel

Snoskred Answers Some Questions.

There’s been a recent rash of question asking and answering around the blogosphere. I put up my hand to be interviewed by Emily, and I got these questions. I changed the order around a bit, sorry Emily! ;)

1) How did you meet the Other Half?

Online, oddly enough. This was many years ago in the beginning of the internet. I got into online gaming – playing Quake. I went to a network game party one night. For those who don’t know network gaming requires you to take your computer along and they all get plugged into each other and then you play games against each other.

Back in those days the internet was too slow to play games over it, like people do these days. And there was my other half, who I knew virtually right away was my other half, strangely enough.

2) You read a lot of blogs regularly. How do you choose which ones to read, which ones to comment on, which ones to link to, etc.?

I read probably 95% of blog posts which arrive in my reader.

I would link to every blog post I read, if it was humanly possible. Sephy will tell you, I’m forever pasting links to blog posts to him in Skype. I have to make do with linking to every blog that I read in the sidebar, and then I have to be very picky about the posts I choose for the weekly wrap up, otherwise there would be 500 links and none would get clicked on.

So the bottom line for me with those weekly wrap up posts is – a post has to stand out, touch me in a major way, make me think, make me want to share it with other people, make me go “Oh, what a great idea” or “I’m going to do that” or “That’s brilliant!”.

Commenting is difficult these days. I don’t have as much time as I used to for it and I hate that, because I want to comment on probably 95% of the posts in my reader.

3) I (and I bet a lot of your readers) know nothing about NSW. What are five things someone who has never visited would be surprised to know about your home?

a. New South Wales = NSW

b. The capital of New South Wales is Sydney, which might be the most famous city in Australia, however it is not the *capital* city of Australia. The capital city of Australia is Canberra – which is completely surrounded by New South Wales. Nobody knows why or how this odd arrangement came to be. Well probably some people do but I’m not one of them.

c. I live on the South Coast of New South Wales. There is also a North Coast. All of these coasts are located on the East Coast of Australia. Yes, it is quite confusing!

d. New South Wales is home to the Funnel Web spider, which mostly lives within a 20km radius of Sydney itself. These spiders are able to stay alive underwater for up to 30 hours by trapping air under their hairs, or something. So I was told, but it was on a documentary tv channel so I am assuming it is true.

e. You can probably tell, I don’t know much about NSW. ;) That is because I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia. That’s about a 15-17 hour drive from here.

4) For those of us unfamiliar with Scambaiting, can you tell us how it works? And how are you able to get compensated for all your scambaiting efforts?

Scambaiting is really pretty simple. You email a scammer (from a safe email address like gmail which does not show your location to the scammer) pretending to be a real victim. You play along with their scam, pretending you are going to do what they want you to do.

You ask a lot of questions, you make a lot of promises, you let them begin to dream of the money you’re supposedly going to pay them. If you have the means you use Skype to receive calls from them, which costs them time and money. I don’t talk to them on the phone much anymore but they call me constantly.

When they’re hooked on the dream, you keep stringing them along as long as you can. I’ve known scammers who have been strung along for well over 12 months. You’re always just about to pay them the money – but there’s an emergency, there’s a problem, there’s another question they need to answer.

I like to make them fall in love with my characters – usually using photographs of models like Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks. As those characters I pretend to be a virginal, extremely rich, naive girl who is looking for her perfect man. My character might be a model just starting out, she might be a singer, she might be a minor celebrity, or she might have family money. The scammers think everyone in the USA is a millionaire, so they believe it.

When they have fallen in love, I like to take their heart and crush it into tiny little pieces, like they do to their victims. The girl might find out he is a scammer. She might find a man closer to home. She might be on her way to meeting them at the airport in their country and the plane somehow falls out of the sky. I make newspaper clippings (it’s easy and simple to do) which support the story. If my character dies, it turns out my character has left them money – and they have to jump through hoops to get it, fill in forms, take photographs, etc.

There is no compensation for it, sadly. It is like any hobby, you have to put a little money into it. I pay 30 euros a year for my Skype In number, I pay around $80AUD a year for my post office box. Both of those cause a lot of anger and frustration to the scammers, so to me it is worth it. ;)

5) How did you get into scambaiting?

A scammer was silly enough to send me an email asking to borrow my bank account, I googled and found one of the scambaiting websites and began to bait them. Soon after I started I found my “first husband” and within a month I was “engaged” to six scammers. It was sometimes difficult to keep the stories straight, and tell them apart when they called. Strangely, none of these relationships worked out!

Thanks for asking me the questions. If anyone wants to be interviewed by me, just leave a comment and ye shall receive 5 questions of various goodness. ;)

Emily is hosting the Hump Day Hmmm this week as well – the topic is – something you experienced that affected and affects you. Feel free to join in the Hump Days, they are an excellent way to blog, I find.

About Snoskred, Australia, scambaiting, The Other Half

Facibus from On Blogging Australia – Out Of His Niche!

Country life is a wonderful thing. The following post from Andrew Boyd – known as Facibus on the net – stunned me with the similarity to the place I have moved to. It shouldn’t be so surprising because Robertson is only a half hour drive from where I now live. I have been there many times when we’ve had a day out driving.

In 2003 I moved to Robertson in the Southern Highlands of NSW to live with my then-fiance. At the time it was a sleepy village of 1,000 souls, mostly harmless. After living in the dry areas around Canberra the lush green grass and remnant temperate rainforest plants made it seem like the garden of Eden – that and being in love.

I found the locals fairly evenly divided between newcomers and those who had grown up in the area. The “weekenders” or “yuppies” as they were known locally were usually refugees of the urban hell of Sydney – much beloved of the real estate agents and members of the Robertson Business Association (in itself, sometimes known as The Mafia).

A village also fairly evenly divided in their future vision of the place – some saw Robertson as the new Berrima (as opposed to New Berrima itself, a fairly working-class hamlet between Moss Vale and Berrima much noted for it’s roving dog population and dead car bodies). The Mafia saw a thriving quaint tourist trap, swarming with well-heeled Sydneysiders ever-ready with their wallets. A lot of other people just wanted the tourists to f*ck off and leave them alone – they had come to Robertson to get away from that kind of thing, or had grown up in a place that they wanted to never change. For myself, I was happy if I could park my car in the main street on the weekend to go and buy milk, and good luck to those that made their living off passing fools.

A note here on the Famous Robertson Pie Shop – the locals knew (and still do, so far as I know) that the best pies are down in the village itself, in the bakery – and to say “I know Robertson, I’ve been to the Pie Shop” is equivalent to saying “I am a proud member of the Young Liberals” to those in the know. I’ve eaten at the Pie Shop myself, some days they had nice chips – but the pies were nothing to brag about, and not a patch on those at the Gunnadoo Bakery in Bungendore. But I digress.

When I first moved to Robertson, like all good small country towns, there was a Chinese restaurant in the Bowling Club. Albert’s was run by, well, Albert. A great bloke who had been there for years and made the best Lemon Chicken I’d had in my life. He was part of the villiage, part of the charm. I literally wept when some short-sighted people ran Albert out of town by refusing to renew his lease. Bastards.

The only other restaurants in town at the time were:
– Chats, a burger and chips sort of place (excellent chips) at the motel
– The coffee place at the Old Cheese Factory
– The bistro at the pub
– Last but not least, Pizzas in the Mist – God bless them, excellent wood-fired pizza and fairly adventurous (their Peking Duck Pizza was my favourite, and I can still smell it as I write this years later).

We later got another three cafes, Albert’s became the Bowlo Bistro, the Old River Grillhouse opened (and while the service was surly, the steaks were excellent), and the pub food got better quickly with a change in management.

I mentioned that Chats was at the motel. In a village of 1,000 people, there were lots of “Thes” – The Traffic Light, The Cemetary, The Oval, The footpath, The Pub, The motel, The Hardware (store), The Supermarket. The only things that came in multiples were real estate agencies and antique shops.

The people were generally great – except for the aforementioned bastards, they know who they were. Behind the scenes there was a fair bit of quiet desperation going on – jobs not easy to get unless you brought work with you, and money was tight for a lot of people. Lots of gossip about – we won’t go there today. Some great characters, and you just knew that every time the police were called to the hotel that it was out-of-towners that were to blame.

The relationship with my then-fiance broke down last year – and my relationship with Robertson changed with it. We’ve since sold the house there and divided the proceedings, each going their separate way. I miss the mist and the call of the bower bird, the constant year-round green-ness, the friends I made there, the slow pace of life. I miss some of the people – if you’re passing through, and stop at the petrol station (not the tractor shop), remember me to Steve, and to the supermarket, to Neil and Heather, and to the Community Technology Centre, to Melissa.

My life has since moved on – I’m back consulting based out of Canberra again, and while I enjoy it, I sometimes long for the view from the Cemetary, the chips from Chats, the pies from the bakery, and the smell of the pizza oven starting up in the afternoons. I went back there with my new lady earlier this year to show her what I missed about the place, and the people who were worth talking to were still worth talking to and were nice to her. Them I miss.

Facibus is the nom-de-net of Andrew Boyd, consultant Information Architect and food-fan. Facibus means “we make” in Latin, and is one half of an obscure motto. You can find him at several blogs in the blog-o-sphere, including On Blogging Australia. Thank you for writing this wonderful post, I appreciate it!

I have not yet been to the Robertson Pie Shop and after reading that am somewhat glad. ;) The slow pace of life is exactly what I am appreciating here in our new village. People say hello. On the surface it seems nice but I am sure beneath it there lurks a few bastards. I am yet to get involved in the community but once we’re all settled in there will be no stopping me. ;)

Australia, country life, Get Out Of Your Niche

Innocent Until Proven Guilty?

When you read a book, you remember things from it. I carry authors with me but the strongest one, the loudest one, the author voice that speaks most often in my head is the voice of Lindy Chamberlain. Her book – Through My Eyes – is one of my most prized books. It’s actually starting to fall apart because over the last 10 years I have read it so often, especially as I was climbing out of that nasty hole known as depression. Lindy may not know this, but I consider her a great friend of mine. ;) In the way that many of my blog friends have become great friends of mine even though I have never met them.


For those of you unfamiliar with Lindy Chamberlain, her daughter Azaria was taken by a dingo at the big red rock known as Uluru these days, formerly known as Ayers Rock. Lindy was later jailed for killing Azaria in one of the worst abuses of our legal system ever seen here in Australia. You can read more on Lindy’s website but if you want the real full story, you’ll need to read the book, which you can also buy on the website – Lindy will sign it, too. I really need to grab a new copy myself. You may have seen the movie Evil Angels based on her story with Meryl Streep as Lindy.

I hear so many people say “I’m not a good writer” and I am always shocked to hear it. I don’t think there is such a thing as a good writer. I think writing is about communicating, expressing your thoughts and ideas, letting people inside yourself by writing what is in your head. Either I get what you’re saying, or I don’t. That’s not due to the quality of the writing. Sometimes people I connect most of the time write something I can’t connect with. That’s not because they’re a bad writer, that’s because I don’t understand it. As Chani said to me in her comment on my post from yesterday “Sorry to be so disconnected. I simply don’t understand”.

So how can any of us understand what Lindy went through? To have your baby stolen from you and killed, to go through two inquests and a trial, to be sent to jail when you are pregnant with your next child and have that child taken from you while you stay in jail for something you’re innocent of.. these are not everyday experiences. However we all experience loss and grief, we’ve all been accused of something we didn’t do at some point in our lives – I think that’s true. Most of us were not arrested and sent to jail, for many of us it might have been something that happened in a moment, at school, at work, a misunderstanding. On top of all this, Lindy brings such a strong and clear voice to the telling of her story.

What made me think of Lindy today was a post I read about Madeleine McCann’s disappearance. I’m sure many of you have heard of that event. What I’m seeing happen to those people rings a familiar bell having read Lindy’s story – but on the other hand the press are being downright polite to those people compared to how the press skewered Lindy. Those people left their child in a ground floor unit which was unlocked and they went quite a distance away. Lindy was within hearing distance of the tent where she’d momentarily left her baby intending to return to go to sleep.

So what is going on with the media? As Juliet says – “There is much disquiet and puzzlement at the UK media’s kid-glove approach towards the McCanns”. I haven’t seen any of the media because I live in Australia but the UK tabloids are known to be some of the loudest in the world. If they’re not asking the same kinds of questions Juliet is asking in her post, is something wrong? Are strange things afoot?

Aussies reading this will probably agree with me when I say Lindy Chamberlain is a major part of history in this country. If you ask people what they think about her, you’ll get a mixed bag of opinions. Some people still think she is guilty of murdering her baby. They don’t know the facts, and they seem to have missed entirely that the Chamberlains were exonerated (found not guilty) by a Royal Commission. Knowing the facts as I do it is difficult to believe they were ever found guilty. If you are Australian and you do not own a copy of this book, you should grab a copy and get educated on the truths instead of the myths.

Tourism was such a major industry for the Northern Territory and the people in charge wanted the *dingo* found innocent because they wanted people to feel safe camping at Ayers Rock, a major tourist drawcard. Australia is not a safe place. Those of us who live here know some of the risks but even we do not know everything. We know about the venomous snakes. We know about the spiders. We know about some of the dangers lurking in our oceans. We have to be responsible about these things, so tourists can make the right decisions, so tourists can be aware of the dangers.

Some years later a 9 year old boy was killed by two dingoes on Fraser Island. Three years later a dingo was found stalking a baby in the hotel room of some tourists. The problem is made worse by the fact that tourists feed the animals.

There’s another situation happening in Queensland now, with the Irikanji jellyfish. Here’s a little background on the situation from the 7:30 report. Tourism is a huge industry there so would you want to tell people there is a possibility of deadly jellyfish in the water? It’s irresponsible not to tell people. There have already been deaths. Money needs to be put towards research and anti venom.

I’m not one to judge – as I’ve said before I leave that to Judge Judy. As far as the McCann’s are concerned, I have absolutely no idea what happened to their child. I personally would never have left children alone in an unlocked hotel room. I don’t wish to judge them on the fact that they did so. I do think questions have to be asked, especially in light of this supposed “pact”some people have made with the McCann’s . I am surprised that they aren’t being shredded by the media and I find that very unusual. It leaves me wondering, is there more to this story than meets the eye? Are we all so blind now – the mere mention of pedophiles and people shut up and stop asking important questions?


Our Humans went out today..

Hi, this is the Big Kitty typing. The Little Kitty has the attention span of a goldfish and is too busy stealing my Tuna and the warmest spot next to the heater so don’t expect her to be posting anytime soon. The Humans are busy looking at this funny website they found – Daisy the Curly Cat. I laughed at that funny cat too, but I was inspired to say something myself! Here’s what I look like, in case you forgot. If you Humans reading this want a bigger view you can click your mouse on the photo. I like mouses, too.


I have to tell you something. Our Humans are going out more and more, and leaving us at home without the heating on. Ever since they got that new car they take off for hours at a time. When they found out we could turn the airconditioner on from the remote control with our paws they hid the remote in a drawer. Now we’re having to find warm places to curl up instead of hanging out on our cat towers, which is where we really want to be..


People say we’re spoilt kitties to have so many cat towers – these are only two of them. We have more in other rooms. Today when they got home I found these photos from when they were out and I thought I would post them so you can see what kind of fun those Humans are having while they leave us kitties alone.. cold.. with no laps to sit on.


What side of the road are you supposed to drive on in Australia? Or doesn’t it matter, can you just drive in the middle? I think that is really dangerous and my Humans should keep away from cars like that, right? Do you agree?


Maybe you can change sides as long as there’s nobody on the other side, I don’t know. This driving stuff looks confusing. I don’t like cars. I don’t like those cat carrier things the Humans always put us in when it’s time to go in the car either. Why can’t we just roam around the car and find a nice warm spot to sit?


My Humans are smart. It looks like they pulled over in order to get away from the scary drive all over the road Holden car. My Dad Human has a joke about Holdens – they’re just holden together. But I seem to remember he drove one once. That was a long time ago.


My Mom Human likes cows. I remember when they took us to see the EVIL Human with the BIG NEEDLE and we drove past some cows, and she was yelling “Hi Cows! Hi Cows!” at them. The Dad Human tells me she does this anytime she sees cows. I told him I know where the earplugs are and maybe he should use those in order to concentrate on the road better. But look at the view these cows have from their field? I don’t have much of a view here. This house only has one level so I can’t sit in an upstairs window and survey my kingdom.


Wow, it looks like those Humans were going fast!


The Humans keep the car in the Garage. I like the Garage. It’s the only room in the house we’re not allowed to go into but I can’t understand why. Whenever I get in there they say GET OUT to me. I like to hide in between the boxes so they can’t pick me up and carry me out. These cars look like that car they keep in the Garage, and look, they have that XR5 Turbo thing written on them too, just like that one in the garage but I don’t think these are theirs even though it is hard to tell what color the car is when it is inside. Is it possible that three of the five XR5 Turbos within a 50km radius were all parked in the same car park today?


Wow, look at that! Why can’t the Humans get a house with that kind of view where I could look out and dream of catching fish out of the water with my claws all day, and lazily watch the Humans on the beach with one half closed eye?


I’m not a beach cat. I don’t like sand in my paws. But if you could make me a special pair of kitty socks that keep the sand out, I’d like to roam around this beach and put my paw prints everywhere.


Do cats have to be on a leash at the beach? I don’t do leashes. Those are for dogs. Intelligent animals who can bury their doings don’t need to be on a leash, but I wouldn’t want any dogs to chase me. That silly dog next door, he barks all the time at nothing. He just stares off into space saying woof, woof woof, woof and disturbs my napping. I have to go sit on the windowsill and look down at him all superior like.


When the Humans got home, they put all this stuff on the pool table so we could sniff it and check it out. I think they should give the money cards to us. Clearly they can’t be trusted. They go out for a drive and bring home a new car, and then they go out in the new car and bring home.. stuff.


What is this stuff useful for? It’s not tuna, cat towers, toys for us to play with or kitty safe milk. We don’t need it! The Humans tried to get us Kitties to stand on those scales but we refused to put all four paws on at once. We don’t want them to take our Tuna away. Even though that Little Kitty could be considered plump, I keep telling the Humans she is just fluffy. Bye for now from the Big Kitty!

Australia, beach walk, kitties, photo blog country NSW, photos

Photo Blog – Currarong and Huskisson

Tomorrow it will be two weeks that we’ve had the new car. I still have not posted a photo of it, I’m sure some of you noticed. As usual, I won’t be lying to you – the truth is I feel a little uncomfortable about doing that since we found out it’s a bit of a rare vehicle around these parts. I didn’t post a photo of my Dad’s car because you could spot it a mile off – we did yesterday when out driving and he went the other way – and there’s less than 500 of them in Australia. So at this stage I’ve decided not to put photos of it on the blog. Yes, it is killing me. Yes, I want to share it with ya’all. Yes, I have photos right here ready to post. No, I just can’t do it. I may get over it soon, but until then if anyone would like a pic, shoot me an email.

What I can do is let you know – the novelty has not worn off. The Other Half has had 5 days off since we got the car. We’ve clocked up 1274kms as of putting her in the garage tonight. Yesterday evening we went for a little drive ending with a beach walk at Currarong at sunset. Today we drove down to Batemans Bay and dropped in to Huskisson on the way home. Just because we could. ;) So here’s some pics from our outings. Click on any for a larger image Below – The beach at Currarong





Below – the bridge across Batemans Bay.


Below – Looking out across Batemans Bay. It was a lovely calm day and the water was like glass, beautiful.


Below – Looking out to Point Perpendicular from Huskisson.


Below – Looking back towards Huskisson. I have seen dolphins swimming in this inlet before, they often go quite a way up the river.


Below – Looking towards Myola and Callala Beach from Huskisson and you can see the now empty swimming pool which is filled with sea water in summer.


Below – looking down to the beach below the point where I have been standing taking these photos.


Below – The dolphin and whale watching boat heads out, looking for the whales. We’d seen a pod of dolphins out in the bay while we were taking these shots. We’ve been out on this boat before and it is a brilliant day out, most of the time Jervis Bay is just as calm as you see in these photos.


The red stuff you can see washed up on the shore in some of the pics is actually red algae, which isn’t too pretty nor does it smell great but it is totally normal at this time of year. In the summer, the beaches will be pure white.

Australia, beach walk, photo blog country NSW

Offensive words and the Aussie way.

Aussies reading this, I need your input and comments. ;) Recently during my blogging chicks commenting challenge, I found myself breaking my own commenting rules. Specifically – “If you’re seeing red, get out of there fast – and as politely – as possible”.

A very judgmental blogger had stated that they would not read a blog if it contained swear words, and stated that they felt anyone using swear words basically was a bad writer incapable of expressing themselves in any other way. Them’s fighting words to an Australian – at least they were to me.

Living here in Australia I hear swear words all the time, it’s a fact of life. There is not one single word that shocks or offends me. Not even the C word. In fact I know people who use that as a term of affection. If one was offended by these words, you would probably find life quite difficult here in this country – Aussie readers, do you agree?

At the same time I have recently changed the way I do things here at the blog with regard to swear words. I put a * in them. This is something I do for the readers, not for me. That is because I do understand that some people are offended by these words.

So over the past few days while I have been cleaning my bookshelves (a job I finally finished) what this blogger said has been bugging me. I’m not going to link to the blog because I do not feel she deserves the traffic.

To write off everything a person says because of the occasional swear word? Isn’t that akin to writing off everything a person says because they are {insert one of the following – black, white, yellow, pink, gay, lesbian, heterosexual, republican, democrat, right wing, left wing, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, is my point made or should I continue?}. So I am a “swearer”. So I am going to hell. Or something. That doesn’t mean I am somehow “lesser” or my words have any less meaning.

I won’t lie to you guys (and Christian readers, please do not be offended by this, read the whole thing before you get upset) – I have struggled with this commenting challenge. First of all, it’s the blogging *chicks* and I’ve had some really terrible experiences with women during my life time. So the reality is, women scare me. Mostly. :) And I say that being female myself.

The other thing I have struggled with – many of the blogs belong to people who are Christian. I have always been somewhat scared of the apparently very religious after some bad experiences with the religious in my teenage years. The Christians I have known have never acted like true Christians – they preach, but do not *practice*.

I used to be Baptist. I used to go to church. The trouble was, the church I went to was more like a social group with cliques and some of the people were extremely nasty. It put me off church and Christians so much that I’ve never gone back. Since then I have often felt people who believe in God are as alien to me as people who believe UFO’s are coming to the earth to collect them.

I respect the right of everyone to worship whoever they choose, don’t get me wrong, but I do find it difficult when people are very judgmental and impose their religious views on others, especially in the areas of topics like a politics, sexuality, a womans right to choose, and the worst of all in my opinion, the religion where parents refuse to let their very ill children have blood transfusions which would save their lives. It’s an alien concept to me that you could care more about a religion than your flesh and blood child who is dying in front of your eyes.

I had a moment of panic at the start of this challenge when I opened up the first 10 blogs and the majority of them were Christians. But I’ve stuck with the challenge because I have found points of commonality with the people – even with the Christian people, several of whom I have now added to my google reader. Had you asked me at the start of this challenge would I be able to find Christians worth adding to my google reader, the answer would have been NO. Probably with a swear word in front of NO, too. :)

There’s blogs on the Australian Blogs Community that I struggle with because they have a very different point of view on some topics to what I do. I’m still willing to hear what they have to say. I listen to people who consider themselves left wing and right wing. I am incredibly tolerant in so many areas. Even I am surprised by how tolerant I am, from time to time.

What I have trouble tolerating are people whose minds are closed – who won’t listen to others and who will never change their opinion even when evidence suggests they should. This is why I have trouble with people who identify themselves as “right wing” or “left wing” when it comes to politics, because they seem to blindly support one side or the other. I’m a person who supports the side that is *right* and that means I can swing from one wing to the other in a heartbeat.

My blog has 5 hits for the F word on Technorati. Google comes up with 23 but it counts several of these more than once. If that negates everything else I have ever said here on the blog for some people, then so be it. ;)

As I go back through my posts I will be editing swear words to have * in them. I apologize to any readers who may have been offended by my using these words in the past, and I do intend to use * in them in the future. It’s not because of that very judgmental blogger, it’s because I do respect and care for my readers and I do not want to impose my swearing on them. I know not all of them come from a place where the F word is as common as hello.

Sephy posted on this topic today also, these two posts tie in quite well together.

I meant to write about interpretation today but it didn’t happen. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get my act together on that one.

Australia, commenting on blogs, feed readers, mistakes I made, women


There’s not long to go till Christmas now, and the population appears to be growing. There’s been an explosion of interstate number plates

– Victorians

EEK! no offence to the Vics reading this, I know there’s a few of you, but damn many of your fellow Victorians have absolutely no idea how to drive! The worst ones are the ones with numberplates that say “On the move” because you can bet, they won’t be. Moving, that is. Or, they’ll be trying to move into your car with their car. One almost merged into us today. I usually let out a scream of terror and say “Look, a Victorian, keep off ooooooo” when I see a VIC numberplate.. and the other half knows this means stay well away from that car. ;) I had not seen one for about 8 months. What an idyllic time that was. I forgot how terrifying they were.

– Canberrans

OMG run and hide. Those people live in a state where they have high speed limits all over the place. These people want to get where they are going fast, and they want you out of the way, and they’re happy to run you off the road if possible.

– Queenslanders

SCARY! one drove into our estate today, it was almost enough to make me go looking for the boxes and get packing. You just never know what those people are thinking, but you often suspect they have a hidden stash of guns around somewhere.

– South Australians

RUN AWAY! Hey, I used to live there, I’m happy to say those people have no idea how to merge. And you need to merge a lot here in NSW. NSW people can merge at 80kms an hour. South Australians can’t do it unless the road is clear of other vehicles. That’s not merging, people. That’s something entirely different.

The worst invasion of all is the City People

If this were being made into a movie, they would call it “Invasion of people with carrots wedged firmly in their rear passage” and it would actually be a comedy. The other half and I sat at the petrol (for you Americans, I mean Gas) station for about 20 minutes today laughing at the sitcom unfolding before our eyes.

First, this chick who was probably 50-60 was with another chick of the same vintage. They were in a Subaru Forrester (there’s your first clue right there, a 4wd for people who have no clue!) and they were clearly suffering from the heat – it hit 27 degrees here today whoa evil I was here on a day when it was 45 degrees C, and we went bushwalking, you city people are WEAK!, but they also needed to discuss majorly important issues as one of them pumped petrol all over the side of her car, and herself.

One chick went in to pay, and the other chick picked up the windscreen washer out of the bucket next to the pump, put it aside, and proceeded to tip buggy dirty water all over the side of her car to wash the petrol off. She did not notice the watering can (full of *clean* water and there for the purpose of washing petrol off your car) sitting right next to the windscreen washer bucket.

They had a Sydney City Petersham Subaru numberplate identifier, but I knew they were from the city long before I noticed that, because they were walking around like they’d just been cavity searched, by a guard with really huge hands.

Next, the guy in the car next to us filled up his boat tank with petrol, but forgot to put the lid on before he put it in the car. Petrol went everywhere. That’s a nightmare waiting to happen right there.

Then a guy in a Jeep Cherokee pulled up so far from the petrol bowser pump thing that you could have parked two cars in between the car and the hose thing. He then tried to make the hose reach his petrol tank, which was on the *other* side of the car. He realised it would not work, and then tried to get closer to the pump. It took a good 5 minutes of moving the car around somewhat aimlessly before he managed it.

Shopping is a nightmare, you can’t get a park. Lunchtime is pure evil, because everyone wants to go to little cafes and eat. The shops are open to midnight here, so my strategy for the next two weeks is, if we need anything, we’re going after 8pm.. :)

Australia, city people, country life