katiefoolery: (Sleep now)
A few things occurred to me earlier this morning.

1. LiveJournal is blocked at work.
2. Dreamwidth is not.
3. Dreamwidth allows you to cross-post to LJ.

And thus, a use for my DW account was born! Assuming this works and isn't thwarted in some way by my devious work deviously deviating my devious plan of deviousness.

Other things that likewise occurred to me this morning (listed in random order of importance): IT'S FRIDAY; I don't like it when people just sit there and watch me; semi-colons (when used well) are beautiful things; my hair looks kinda cute; a crumpet with peanut butter truly is the breakfast of champions... or at least, people with good taste and a toaster.

A final thing that occurred to me recently is that I'd like my journal to be neater or more consistent or cohesive or better co-ordinated with its curtains or something. A quick glance over my most recent entries reveals that they've been about vlogging, LorF, vlogging, a bit more LorF and then some extra vlogging added in at no extra cost. Which, I'll grant you, is consistent, if nothing else.

But I'd like to expand it into other concepts such as, oh, I don't know, writing?

(Speaking of which: I've actually been engaging in said activity of stringing words together into sentences! Amazing, but true. At this rate, I'll have achieved at least ten percent of my GYWO target by the end of the year...)

I'm due to write an essay on breaking the rules of grammar for [community profile] getyourwordsout this month, which will inevitably spill over into this journal. So it's entirely possible my next few entries will actually be about this whole writing process.

And breaking the rules thereof.

Which will inevitably involve running with scissors at some point.

However. I'd like to know what my flist would like to see. Would you like a chance to discuss writing in my journal? Would you like me to write informative pieces about it? Would you like to read more rants wherein I am driven to such insanity by writing/writers block/characters misbehaving/things going spectacularly wrong/etc. that I end up typing my entry by bashing my head repeatedly against the keyboard?

And if you read writers' blogs on a regular basis, what are your favourite elements of them? What keeps you reading? (And are there any you'd recommend to me?)

Ah well, the bell has tolled: back to work for me.
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
Indeed I am coming to you in glorious HD this week.  This is in complete defiance of the fact that my camera only records in SD.  However, YouTube insists it's HD, so I guess that's good enough for us.  Although it's entirely up to you whether you choose the HD option or just stick with ordinary plain quality.  I won't be offended either way, I swear.

Something occurred to me over the weekend: there's one particular location that appeals to me above all others.  I've read books purely because they were set in said location.  Can't resist them.  They very rarely live up to my expectations, though, mostly because they're raised so high.  Find out (slightly) more in this week's video:



But what about everyone else?  Is there a setting you can't resist?  A location you've always wanted to work into a story somehow?  I'd love to know all about them.
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
The LorF revolution continues!  I know I already said that in my title, but I felt it bore repeating.  Viva!

It's such a lovely day outside, too; I should probably be out there in the backyard (while we still have it), sitting on the fresh green grass... and writing LorF.

First, however, I will have to dislodge the furry, cat-like thing that has seen fit to plant herself upon my lap.  Oh wait, she's just dislodged herself.  How very considerate of her.

LorF, my friends, continues unabated here.  It's in my every thought and every deed.  I eat, speak and breathe LorF.  And we have Plans.  None will escape said Plans.  So please, don't bother trying - you'll just wear yourself out and the LorF will find you anyway.

LorF even invaded my fivedotnerds video for this week.  Witness it for yourself:



I was wondering, though: would you non-LorFers like to know more about the whole business?  Do you have questions?  Such as, When are you going to shut up about this whole LorF thing?  If you do, please feel free to ask them.

It may turn out that I will have some for you in a few months' time...

OK, this could just be me being ridiculously lazy, but can I just shorten "LorF Revolution" to "LorFolution" and be done with it?
katiefoolery: (Your life or your freedom)
This shall be a week of LorF.  Thus I have decreed and thus it shall be.  This may, in some small degree, be inspired by spending the last two days with LorFers and by reading over the last few episodes I wrote for said project.

Monday, I said last night, you and I are going to sort out some priorities in my life.  Shortly after saying this, I realised I'd be needing focus to join the party at some point, as I'd probably be needing to direct towards some of said priorities in the near future.  And yet, LorF's already a priority, even before I've reached the pivotal point of actually listing some.  Or any.  Why?

Because it's writing.

Because I'm doing this whole GYWO thing and it would be kinda nice if my word count moved to five digits soon.

Because it's awesomely fun.

Because it's a project shared with likewise awesomely fun people.

Because, because, because.

In aid of that, this week's fivedotnerds video will be dedicated to LorF.  But before that, I shall be inflicting upon you some of my favourite recent passages and lines from my own LorF with you here.

For those of you who have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL THIS LORF THING IS, here's a precis of sorts: it's a collaborative writing project, shared by over twenty writers (although based around a core of seven).  We asked the question: if your country was invaded and taken over by a powerful, foreign force, would you choose to live under their rule or to fight for your freedom?  Essentially, life or freedom?  Or, for the sake of laziness, LorF.  We choose a character and write their story.  Sometimes, they cross over.  There's so much information and history and characters and events and locations that we need a wiki to hold it all together.

We have fun.  We blow things up.  We write cliffhangers.  We create irritating mysteries around our characters.  It's incredibly fun.

Unfortunately, things like study and full-time work like to get in the way of it, so it's fallen off a bit lately.  I intend to pick my bit up again.

In aid of this, I read over some of my recent entries last night and just wanted to share some of my favourite pieces with you all.

First we have what I guess I'll the one-liners:
The air was hot; full of smoke and yet empty at the same time.  Oxygen was busily writing notes to the postman and preparing to be absent for a little while.

I find a friend in darkness, says my mind, which is just great. Darkness, I feel like saying. It’s been so long.  What have you been up to?

But I don’t, because I can see how some people might construe that as the early signs of madness.

I love my brain.  I don't know what I'd do if I found out it was lying to me.

“I just suck at lighting fires,” I mutter.

Rowan says nothing to this.  After all, proof of this is sitting behind us, not burning brightly.


So, you're fleeing from a bushfire and you go to someone's aid... you're going to stall by irritating the guy nominally in charge, right?
Rowan’s coughs died to strangled splutters as we reached the body.  It was a man, his clothing covered in a fine dusting of ash.

“Roll him over,” Rowan said.

“What if his back’s broken?” I asked.  “Or his neck?  Shouldn’t we...”

“Shouldn’t we what?” Rowan demanded.  “Call triple 0?  Get the flying doctors in?  Do you think they’d reach us before the front does?”

“Gods you’re tetchy today.”

“Tetchy?  Who are you calling tetchy?”

“And now you’re just stalling for time.”

I shouldn’t do this, but I just can’t help it.  It’s so funny to prod at him this way.  One day he’s going to explode and I’ll either be laughing ’til my sides ache or regretting it dearly.

“Ryn.”

“Yes?”

“Please...  Let’s just roll him over before he dies of frustration.”

And sometimes, you drop massive, great big, neon-arrow-pointing-here hints that are subsequently overlooked completely:
“Why don’t you go to your parents’ place?  I thought you said AIRO told you it was still legally theirs.”

“They did.”  After several months or so, at least.  Never do anything quickly when you can drag it out as long as possible: that’s the AIRO motto.

“So?  I’m sure your parents would appreciate someone looking after it for them.”

“That’s why I came home in the first place,” I said.  The idea of my parents’ home, that they’d worked so hard on, being left vulnerable and open to those grasping bastards... How could I not go back for that?

Wait, that’s not quite right.  For a minute or so, I feel as though I’m sitting right next to a skittish memory that will startle and vanish if I move too quickly.  If I just turn slowly, like this...


I think my favourite episode to date is Don't You Know I Hate Him?.  I pretty much love all of it, but I'm just going to share the intro:
I really hate him.  I hate him more than sleeping in a tent.  I hate him more than eating the icky gristly bits of meat.  I hate him more than anything and the worst bit is that I know exactly why.

Because he reminds me of how lazy I am; how cowardly I can be about stupid things like spiders crawling over me at night or having to find the loo in the pitch-dark; how pampered my life really was before, although I never truly appreciated it.

And he has no right to do that, with his pointy black hair and his good aim with a rifle.  Curse him.

So he can drive the ute really quickly along ridiculously dangerous roads without killing anyone.  So what?  So he can keep his head when everything else is falling apart.  Well, what’s so great about that, Rowan bloody Connell?

“Hey.”

So he can sneak up on me and scare the living daylights out of me.  Is that anything to be proud of?  “Argh!”

“What are you doing out here, Ryn?”

“Sulking.”

“Oh good.  For a minute there, I was worried you were doing something un-productive.”

The re-reading was very handy, because it reminded me of three interesting things:
  1. Rowan plays the piano.  Who knew?  Well, apparently I used to.

  2. I have a red herring and I like it.

  3. It's only when Ryn cries "I can't!" that Andy recognises her voice.  I have no idea why this is the case, but I think I'd like to work it out.

Of course, there are one or two other things planned for the week, but provided there is LorF in it, it shall be good.

If you're not a LorF reader and you'd like to be, please talk to us about it.  We need to make sure you're real before we subject you to our horrendous intiation ceremony.  You know the saying: What happens in LorF club...
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
It's writing week!  Yes,you had no idea this was the case, did you?  It's all true, though.  It's writing week and we are discussing firsts.  All of your firsts, from your first first to your last first.  To date.

I must admit, I'm a huge fan of writing week.  It's not surprising, really.  After all, it means I get to ramble on about writing and I may have mentioned once or twice how much I like doing this.  The only problem with rambling on about writing is that I'm excessively capable at it.  This makes it very difficult to fit my thoughts into the space of four minutes, but I managed somehow.  And as a bonus (coming, as they do, at no extra cost), I even included sun-flare and video saved at the wrong resolution!  It's not my fault; it played in perfect widescreen on my computer.  How was I to know YouTube wouldn't approve?  The good news is that I have learnt how to appease said website and my next video will be absolutely perfect, resolution-wise.  As opposed to this week's squishedness and last week's tininess.

So I believe a small, anticipatory yay is in order: YAY.

But to return to the firsts.  This week, we fivedotnerds are discussing our writing firsts.  When did you write your first story?  What was your first publication?  And so on.  I decided to talk about some slightly different firsts in my video, as you will see for yourselves. :D



And as a bonus, LJ-only feature, I'll list another couple of firsts here.

The first character to take over a story without permission was Chaque.  She was meant to be a nothing character with a couple of backstory-advancing lines.  Then she "dropped a reluctant curtsey" and suddenly she had a personality, attitude... and an overwhelming desire to steal the story.  Which she did.  Quite successfully.  She's single-minded, slightly psychotic and has a tendency to burn things... and I love her.

Although, it's a little worrying to have her in my head sometimes.  You never know what may inexplicably go up in smoke when you're not looking.

The first time I ever won a prize in a writing competition was when I was in year eleven.  It was third prize and it was worth thirty dollars and I can't even tell you how excited I was when I opened the envelope with the certificate and prize inside.

The first character to wake me up at unwelcome times of the night with story ideas that MUST BE WRITTEN DOWN NOW was Jane.  That girl had serious issues with letting me sleep at times.  Lucky for her it's impossible to dislike her... even when you're crawling out of bed at 2am to type up notes so she'll shut up and LET ME SLEEP, dammit.

What are your writing firsts?  What are the most significant things that have happened to you as a writer?  Tell me all about it.  :)
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
Well, not really.  But I do like those odes, especially if they can be completely silly.  Thus, this week's video was a lot of fun for me, as I was finally able to compose and perform my ode.  A good time was had by all!

...Except the subject of the ode itself.  Watch to find out why! :D



One of the best things about setting this challenge was the way so many people responded with odes of their own.  That was fantastic. :)  This means you will all need to be watching out for more challenges like this in the future... and it's your own fault!
katiefoolery: (Glum)
There appears to be balance in all things. For every kitten, there are no fewer than one hundred, hideous spiders, at least one of which will be lurking under your pillow. For every beautiful sunrise, there's a rainstorm just as you step off the bus.

Mine go a little like this...

We're paying a little less rent lately. Which is good... except that the reason behind it is that the landlord is trying to sell. So yes, a year after having to move because our previous landlord sold, we're now looking at having to find a new place for exactly the same reason. I'm beginning to feel a little cursed.

Our landlord has appeared to be reasonably easy-going and hasn't created any troubles for us, or delayed repairs (unlike previous landlords). Which is good... except he's an idiot. He's trying to sell the house with no backyard and no garage, since that space is going to be taken over by a new, double-storey townhouse, construction of which will start very soon. And when I say no backyard, I mean no backyard; the back of the house will be practically against the fence of the subdivided property. Plus, the new owners will be living next door to a construction site for the next few months. Who wouldn't want that?

The balance thing works the other way, though. For instance, I have no time for anything lately. Which is bad... except that it means I'm doing so much new stuff and learning new things and getting to know new people.

Or take the fact that I had to stuff around with a dodgy video camera and return it in exchange for a different. Which is bad (well, it's more irritating, really)... except I now have a video camera that works and that actually shoots in proper widescreen.

And then there's stuff that's just plain old straight-out good: the fact that I'll be on holidays in just over a week; the fact that I'm going to be spending a weekend with friends I haven't seen for ages in... just over a week, too; the fact that I'll be visiting the parents and consuming eggs of chocolate the week after.

So, take heart, my lovely flisters: for every piano that falls on your head, there'll be a compensating random singing montage as you walk down the street.
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
Oh yes, it's finally Friday.  Friday, after a blah-tastic week. 

Unfortunately, it's only Friday morning, so I still need to go through the entire day before I can throw myself down on the couch and just sleep for the entire weekend.  Or something.

Before I wander off to work in an endless parade of enthusiasm and excitement, please have my vlog for this week:



And yes, that question does apply to my flist too: What are the five things you'd do if you became a famous author?

Next week: some actual entries!
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
There are two main problems with the Samsung MX-20.  Firstly, it claims to film in genuine 16:9 widescreen; secondly, it declares itself to be YouTube friendly.  It is neither.  It is so, so neither.  It's so neither that it almost makes me laugh out of slightly-crazed frustration.

It does film in 16:9 widescreen.  Unfortunately, it doesn't export in said aspect ratio.  In fact, this is a common problem with the camera, as I found out much later.

I wasn't even game to introduce it to YouTube.

Actually, there are three problems with the Samsung MX-20 and the third would be the TYPO ON THE BOX.  Hassle is not spelt "hassel".  No, really it's not.

I was going to purchase the Canon mini-DV cam, but the Samsung was sitting there, all red and shiny and designed to record on memory cards, rather than mini-DV tape...  And then I got around $50 off, due to its being on special and being the display stock (and the last one in red).  So even though I had intended to buy the Canon - on my dad's expert advice, no less - I went ahead and followed the shiny.

And tonight, it's going back to the store, to be replaced for the Canon.

So while I thought I was going to shoot this week's vlog on my shiny new camera, I ended up with my webcam again.  And all of the footage I took over the weekend?  In useless, squished-up 4:3 instead of widescreen.  GAH.  I wanted my writing week video to be extra special, dammit.

Anyway, here it is for you all.  Writing week: Why do we write?  Watch the video to find out!



Incidentally, why do you write?
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
There may be some sort of destiny thing involved when it comes to this vlogging business.  But that's not for now; that's for later.  And possibly for later in video format.

For now, I'm going to complain about the way I have to sacrifice so much footage on the altar of the four minute rule.  We decided the videos should be no longer than four minutes waaaaaay back, a fact I subsequently forgot in my second video, which went for almost six mintues, and which resulted in my being punished.  Four minutes is an abundance of time, really it is.  And yet it's not enough.

It turns out I ramble on quite a lot for someone who believes she doesn't talk very much.  Apparently that not-talking thing goes right out of the window when I sit in front of a camera.  Which is strange, because I was very keen on the not-talking thing when I first sat in front of a camera.  Feeling like an idiot.  Staring at the camera in defiant silence.  And then talking too quietly for human ears to catch a single word of what I said.

No longer, it seems.  Right now, it feels as though I had to discard about twenty minutes of footage in order to come up with a four minute video.  And it's not easy to do.  I want to put it all in.  For a while there, I was tempted to risk another punishment and just make this latest video as long as I wanted it to be.  But no.

It's fun, though.  It's so much fun.  Yes, it took over half an hour to film.  Yes, at one point my stupid HP touchpad didn't quite register when I hit the "end record" button, resulting in two lost takes before I realised what was going on.  And yes, it did take almost two hours to edit.  But damn, it's worth it.  I love the process so much.

And I still want to get better.  To that end, I'm issuing a challenge to my lovely flist: find something you don't like in this latest video and tell me about it.  Deadly serious.  No compliments.  No positives.  Just the thing (or things!) you didn't like.  (There are at least two things I already want to change.)  You can even comment anonymously if you prefer.



As for the challenge in the video itself, that's open to my flist too.  Bonus points if you do it in video format! :D
katiefoolery: (Running... as you do)
Things that vaguely freak me out that never used to before: getting dressed for work.

Let me take you back a bit, first.  Back to a time where I was blessedly unfreaked about the business of dressing for work.  Back to a time where I may not have been too fussed about what I looked like, provided all the necessary parts of me were covered and I was vaguely aware of the current fashions.  (Please note that "being vaguely aware" does not translate to "actually wore them".)

Back in that time, I looked like the person under the cut here: )

This is mostly because I was that person.  I was that person on the first day of 2007, spending some awesome time with awesome friends.  And then I saw this photo (and others like it) and decided I needed to change.

Suddenly, I had a whole bunch of less-awesome friends.  Hello, eating sensibly.  Hello, getting more exercise.  Hello, self-discipline.  We didn't get along so well at first, but gradually, we worked out our differences to the point where phrases like "well-oiled team" started to apply.

And now I look like the person under the cut here: )

(I honestly think it's best if no-one asks why people keep taking photos of me from behind.  I'm not sure I actually want to know the answer to that one.  Seriously, here's another one taken at a point roughly in between the two above.)

But to return to my original point: the freaked-outedness.  At one point, before I met my new friends, a staff member mistook me for a student on free-dress day.  Most people figured I should be flattered, attributing this mistake to an apparent youthfulness of appearance.  I, on the other hand, suddenly had to face the following fear: It was entirely possible I dressed like a student.

From that day on, I have made damn sure I do not dress like a student.  I guess it's made me more comfortable about clothes and having fun with them.  And getting fit has done a fair bit for my body confidence.  Strangely. :P

But still.

I've only been back at work for just over four weeks, and I can't count how many times people have complimented me on what I'm wearing.  Last Friday, I fielded a comment on my dress roughly every ten minutes (or so it seemed) from staff and students alike.

At the end of the first week, a teacher mentioned I had some nice clothes, and then said something that seriously made my blood run cold:
I've been watching what you're wearing all week.
Uh, ack?

And yesterday?  I was talking to a staff assistant who said:
Your clothes were the talk of [insert name for end-of-week drinks here] last Friday.
Uh, what?

Also last Friday:
We're all talking about you in the staffroom - about all the clothes you're wearing lately.
And please to be cuing a small, mid-level panic on my part.

You know when you think people aren't paying that much attention to what you're wearing?  YOU'RE WRONG.  They're watching your every move.  They're watching what you wear and THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT IT.

And that's why I'm now facing the wardrobe doors with trepidation every morning.

The comments haven't all been terrifying, though.  My favourite so far this year came yesterday morning, when a student came to the door of the workroom with a request to look at my shoes.

So my year is proceeding in a slightly different fashion from the one before it.  How about everyone else?  Have you been surprised?  Complimented out of the blue?  Share! :)
katiefoolery: (The open road awaits)
Polls are fun, right?  All those options you get to tick and... well, that's about it really.  But still - 'tis fun.

Today's poll is about blogging, vlogging and what everyone prefers.  I seriously want to start incorporating more vlogs into my actual LJ, but I don't want to do it in a way which will irritate or alienate my lovely flist.  So here's your chance to have a say on the whole subject.

[Poll #1357809]

Do you have any other answers to questions I neglected to ask?  Any other comments?  Please share them by commenting to this entry.  I'd love to hear everyone's feedback on this subject.
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
Because I needed a new addiction. I needed something to distract me from writing. I needed another obsession.

Personally, I blame [livejournal.com profile] surferartchick. After all, she was the one who said, "Hey, Katie, come vlog with us! It'll be fun! You don't really need your soul, do you? No? That's handy."

I'm paraphrasing a little, but I'm pretty sure that's what she said.

Once upon a time, I thought YouTube was for AMVs and for watching subbed anime that you couldn't get anywhere else. Sometimes, on special occasions, it was for looking at old ads with friends and laughing at them. Laughing at the ads, that is, not my friends.

Although I do laugh at them... and they laugh at me in turn.

But no - YouTube is actually a place full of interesting, fun-type people who make videos and vlogs and are intoxicatingly entertaining at times. It's a bit like LJ, except you get to hear and see people instead of getting to know them through their written words. And I'm not saying I prefer one over the other, but the whole vlog thing is still a novelty to me. It's shiny and I love it.

And it's infecting me. Lately, when I'm contemplating ideas for future LJ posts, a little voice at the back of my mind will be gleefully pointing out what good vlogs these ideas would make. And I'm a sucker for it, because I love mixing media. So don't be surprised if some of my posts in the future are actually videos.

Hey, is it horribly obvious and unsubtle segue time? You know what, I believe it is. Here we go...

Speaking of videos, here's my fivedotnerds video for this week:



This one includes a bonus short (short short) film at the end, which involves me acting like unto an idiot, supported in my efforts by my cat, who was seriously trying to steal the entire show. You know you want to see me acting like an idiot. Everyone needs a good laugh every now and then. :D
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
I am sunburnt in interesting ways. Not for me the effortless tan. Oh no. And for some reason, I can't even manage an all-over burn.

No.

Instead, I have funny burnt patches and equally funny unburnt patches. And I was wearing sunscreen, too, so I'm not entirely sure how this burning occurred. Nevertheless, it did and I'm vaguely irritated by it. Not to worry, though; it will all have faded back to my standard scary white by next week.

Today was the day of the swimming carnival at my work and I was one of the photographers. It was quite a fun day, really. And usually the photographer manages to escape most of the photos, but people kept taking my camera away and turning it directly on me. Ack.

Still, I'm sure I looked fetching in my bright red singlet top, not-quite-matching skirt, Coke cap and red cape.

Yes, red cape.

Well hey - I'm in red house, so I might as well support it by dressing strangely. In public. Even my sunburn ensured I was completely co-ordinated with my red outfit. And a bonus, I have sunburn on my feet that follows the pattern of my cute red shoes.

Before I go to find some more aloe vera, I shall leave you all with my fivedotnerds video for this week. Enjoy!

katiefoolery: (Touch me)
I think I'm in love with my computer. Is that wrong? I mean, sure, I've been quite fond of computers in the past, despite their tendency to be incredibly irritating and/or stop working entirely. And I do like my netbook quite a lot, mostly due to its smallness, cuteness and general state of shininess.

But I think I've fallen in love with my notebook.

Maybe it's because I've always had a desktop computer as my main machine. It's rather difficult to fall in love with one of those: they're giant, they get in the way and they're damned noisy. Whereas, there's my HP, with its pretteh swirly cover, its shiny screen, its generously-sized keyboard and its relative lack of noise. Not to mention its remote control. I won't go in to how excited I was to discover the remote lets me control whatever music programme I happen to be using at the time, not just Windows Media Centre.

And I subsequently won't go in to the fact that I was excited about this despite being fully aware of the fact that I usually won't need to use said remote, because I'll be sitting right in front of my computer while I'm playing music on it.

But you never know. Maybe, one day, I'll need to use that remote and it will be so convenient when that day arrives. Provided I've remembered to keep the remote with me, rather than leaving it slotted in its housing in the computer.

EVEN SO.

I'm not alone in this laptop-love, though, am I? There must be other people out there who adore their computers and fret about them if they ever have to be sent away. Yes? Yes? Tell me yes.


P.S. I wrote more words! And I have many more stuck in my head which shall be extracted tonight, assuming I don't get distracted by the shininess that is my computer. :D

Frinesday

Feb. 13th, 2009 07:34 am
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
I got up early on Thursday morning to post my vlog, after staying up far too late the night before, editing the thing. Did you know Windows Movie Maker really doesn’t like it when you add narration to a movie? Up until the point you do that, it behaves just fine. Once you begin narrating things, it sulks.

And crashes.

Surely my voice isn’t that bad? You know, Movie Maker isn’t exactly doing great things for my confidence here...

So, I could tell you a great big long sob story about how I got up early just to upload this video, only to have YouTube jerk me around and refuse to process it for ten hours. Oh, the angst. Basically, I could have slept in instead, since I ended up having to re-upload the cursed thing when I got home after work.

Stupid best-laid plans...

Anyway, here’s my vlog for this week. I hope you all enjoy it, or let it make you think, or otherwise derive something from it. I’m always open to constructive criticism, too.



Oh, still on the constructive criticism thing: if you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see us do or cover as a channel, please shout out! At the moment, we’re trying to work out exactly what we’d like to do with this channel, so more suggestions are entirely welcome.

And talking about bushfire appeals (which I now am), don't forget to shop at Coles today! And if you're feeling like some new clothes, go to Jeanswest tomorrow, as they're donating all profits from sales on Saturday to a bushfire appeal. If anyone knows of any other places doing this, please comment.

And finally, I hope you all stay safe and have a lovely, lazy weekend. :)

Aftermath

Feb. 11th, 2009 07:40 am
katiefoolery: (Olivier is peerless)
So now we deal with the aftermath, I guess.  We look after the thousands of homeless; we hold out hopes for those still missing; we console those who lost loved ones, family, friends, pets, livelihoods and houses.

And we completely fail to take in the magnitude of this disaster.  It is a disaster - officially, Australia's worst natural disaster in the history of European settlement.  One hundred and seventy-three people are dead.  Many more are missing.  Almost one thousand properties are completely destroyed and it's estimated that over five thousand people are homeless and living in emergency relief centres - in schools and town halls, where they share their space with people in the same situation and where the air is filled with grief and hope and desperation.

In my safe little place, I find myself grateful for everything.  Last night, after I went for a run, I was grateful for the fact that I had a shower, shampoo, soap... that I had a house in which to keep all of these things.  I'm grateful for feeling cold.  I'm grateful that I've been able to brush my teeth every day and wear a different set of clothes.

And I keep relating it to me, which is probably the most selfish thing of all.  But I can't help it.  When my home town came on the news, the reporter said something like "And the worst hit area was Steels Creek Road".  Well, guess which road I used to live on? It’s a long a beautiful road, leading from the edge of town right into genuine bush – isolation and towering gums, a road with crumbling edges, where trees crowd up against you as you travel along it. I was the first stop on the bus route and I spent six years watching the trees go past on the hour-long trip to school. It’s surely blackened and ruined now.

Almost lifeless.

The Age printed a map this morning, which I scanned.  It shows the areas burnt out by the fire (and the number of people killed, which is still hard to take in).  There's another of those handy arrows, pointing pretty much directly at the place where you could expect to find the house in which I grew up.  I hope it's just the land that's been burnt there.  I hope the house is still standing and that the people who live there now are OK.

Copyright 2009 The Age


The Age has a section dedicated to the bushfires here, but here are a few articles that are significant for me: Skyline Road’s Panorama of Obliteration (Skyline Road runs parallel with the road I used to live on); Bushfire Recovery (photos of the aftermath, many from the road I lived on); I Now Understand the word “Firestorm" (quite a moving survivor’s story; a little graphic, though – be warned).

And I also have a little gallery of pictures – some taken from The Age website and some from a family friend who still lives in Yarra Glen. I want to know if my ugly old town’s OK. I want to know that people still have homes there – that they’re going to stay, no matter what. I want to know if there’s hope amidst the misery of the aftermath.

Then I have to ask, What can you do for people who’ve lost everything? I guess the answer to that is: everything. That’s pretty much what you need if you have no house, no clothes, no nothing. The Red Cross is running an appeal and are asking people to be patient when it comes to donating blood. They can only deal with so many people at once. The Salvation Army is also taking donations for the victims.

And people are finding their own ways to contribute. [livejournal.com profile] mawaridi, for instance, is donating all proceeds from her Etsy store to the appeal.

As for me, I still haven’t worked out what I want to do. All I know is that I want to do something. Sure, I’ll be going through my house this weekend and donating every single thing I don’t really need. I’m going to try to get over my squeamishness and donate blood. And I’d give money, but it doesn’t seem like enough. Although money’s very helpful, obviously, I just want to give something more.

I want to do something more.
katiefoolery: (My country)
There’s something completely surreal about sitting in your safe home in suburbia, marvelling at a day of coldness and rain after a day of record heat the day before... and all the while, knowing that fires are raging barely fifty kilometres away from you.

Fires you can’t see.

Fires you can’t smell.

Fires that are destroying the town you grew up in. Fires that are killing people in that town and others nearby. Fires that are ravaging houses along the road on which you lived for most of your life.

I don’t know if the house I grew up in is even there any more. It hasn’t been my house for a while, ever since my parents sold and moved to Beechworth almost six years ago, but it was still there. Now it might not be. Now, it might just be a pile of smouldering wreckage in a landscape of devastation.

One hundred and eight people have died at the time of my writing this. People from the area I grew up in. The odds of my not knowing at least one of them are very slim.

People are still missing and unaccounted-for; I can only imagine the death toll will keep rising for some time yet.

There was a little town we used to visit when I was younger. It was gorgeous – so beautiful in Autumn when all the Autumn leaves fell on the leafy main street. Surrounded by bushland – cool in the Summer heat; shady and restful.

It doesn’t exist any more. It does not. Exist.

An entire town, gone just like that. Houses. Shops. Trees.

People.

Fire descended on towns like freight trains, like the fury of hell. “It rained fire" was how one survivor described it. Wind, heat, and flames. Flames that ran parallel to the ground, reaching out and devouring and never, ever stopping.

So you’re fire ready? You have your plan to escape?

Fire doesn’t care. It’s going to sweep down on you and it’s going to destroy everything. It’s the most horrific, unstoppable force of destruction you could ever possibly imagine.

For some perspective... )

An appeal has been launched for donations through the Red Cross. The response from banks and business has been pretty much instantanenous, which is made even more remarkable by the current climate of economic uncertainty. It’s a little difficult to care too much about that when one hundred and eight people have died and thousands of people have been rendered homeless.

And yet, I’m here with my intact house and my cold weather and my lawn still damp from the rain earlier this morning. With my possessions. With the people I care about. With my cat.

I’ve never been more grateful for them all.
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
Yes, it's that time again when I force you all to watch as I make an idiot out of myself on the internets. Huzzah! And I make even more of an idiot of myself this time, because this is my punishment video. Said punishment was dictated by [livejournal.com profile] theemdash, [livejournal.com profile] sopdetly and [livejournal.com profile] katilara for the very modest crime of going over the four minute time limit by the tiniest little bit.

One minute and forty-six seconds is the tiniest little bit in my book.

Also, I thought it was more of a guideline than a rule, but there you go. We are not pirates, we are fivedotnerds.

My punishment consisted of three parts: firstly, I had to spend the main part of my vlog facing in the wrong direction; secondly, I was required to provide a dramatic re-enactment of my national anthem; and finally, I was to finish off by providing everyone with pictures of Australian animals.

It was kinda fun, actually. Don't tell anyone. :D And here it is...



I wasn't the only one being punished, though - [livejournal.com profile] surferartchick suffered as well. Watch as she proves to us that she's not a couch here.

I'm still after questions about writing, too. Anything from how to decide how long your paragraphs should be to how to format dialogue. Anything. I have all this knowledge in my head and I figure it's time I started sharing it before my brain explodes or something.
katiefoolery: (Grimmy has no words)
Is it just me, or is this week going incredibly slooooooooowly?

I still can't believe that yesterday was only Tuesday. It feels like I've done at least six days' worth of work already, so why is it still only Wednesday? Surely it should be some time next week by now.

Also, I just wrote "work of work", instead of "worth of work". Work is working over my work!

And on top of this slowness, I have a complete inability to work (gah, that word again!) out which day it is. I thought Monday was Tuesday. And I thought the fourth was Thursday, when it's actually today. I have no idea how I'm managing to stay organised throughout all of this... but I am! For instance, I already have my vlog recorded, edited and ready to go.

Before I go (back to work), I have a question. Well, it's more of a request for help, really. One of the problems with my writing at the moment is that a major character in my story remains nameless. It's... a slight difficulty. So I was hoping my lovely flist might be able to help me out with some suggestions. He's an old-ish, Winston Churchill-ish type figure and he needs a name. If you could tell me what sort of names you think would fit that type of character, you will earn my eternal gratitude. And I might even eat some double-coat tim tams in your honour.

:D

Additionally, I'd love to know how other writers come up with names for their characters. Do they just come to you, or do you have tips for working out the perfect name?

As for me, I have to return to my long, sloooow week... but I'll be seeing you all tomorrow for Thursnesday and my vlog.

April 2011

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