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. :)


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. [ 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.


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.

April 2011

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