south for the winter

Alright, here we go… I’ve decided to start my series of holiday-related posts with what was probably the highlight of the trip: Launceston. (Keeping in mind that I’m probably not going to write a post about my cousin’s wedding, since this is not really the sort of place I’d write about it if I did.)

For those of you unfamiliar with Australian geography, Launceston is a town (or small city?) in the state of Tasmania, which is that island at the bottom of Australia, just south of Victoria (which is where Melbourne is). Being the southernmost state, I suppose it is the coldest, and, apart from seeing my friend who lives there, I was probably looking forward to that the most. Well, that, and exploring a place completely new to me.

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an open door

Back in September last year, I wrote that, hypothetically, given a year left to live, I would like to share my blog more. I must admit that, since then, I haven’t shared it to any great extent, but at least I’ve shared it more than I used to (which was practically not at all).

It’s kind of hard, though, going from pretending like my blog doesn’t exist, and not really having a solid answer for those times when people ask me what on earth I do with my spare time, to actually telling people I have a blog. I find that, of the few times I have shared this part of me with friends, that I tend to try to slip it casually into the conversation. It’s almost as if I’m hoping people won’t give it a second thought, but secretly I’m relishing the fact that people I know in real life have any sort of interest in the random things that I’m writing here.  Continue reading

the life and death of ants

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. This is something that has played on my conscience a bit over the years.

Many years ago, when I was a kid (or maybe I was a teenager…? I can’t remember exactly when this happened, to be honest), I was out in the backyard not really doing anything. The drought and consequent water restrictions meant that there were usually a number of buckets of water in the backyard (from laundry, washing dishes, cleaning vegetables, etc), waiting to be utilised, as appropriate, on the garden.

It wasn’t uncommon for me to have a look in these buckets when I passed by because I’d sometimes find ladybugs in them, floating in the water, and I’d rescue them. Being the kind soul that I am, I liked rescuing these poor, helpless bugs.

But there was a dark side.

On the particular day in question, I believe I found a bucket with ants in the water (my memory is a bit fuzzy on this particular detail, but the rest of the story doesn’t quite make sense if the ants aren’t in the water).

I rescued one of these ants with a small stick I found nearby. I remember looking at the ant on the stick, noting that it was still alive, and then plunging the stick back into the water. In my young mind, I was conducting a science experiment – something along the lines of “can ants swim?” – and I suppose the findings are kind of interesting.

So, imagine, if you will, an ant clinging to the end of a stick, which has just now been submerged in a bucket of water. If you were the ant, you’d probably just let go of the stick and float up to the surface, right? Take the most direct route? But the ant did not do that; it stayed on the stick and started climbing along it, up to the surface.

As it got closer to the surface, I submerged the stick further, or I turned the whole thing around, and made it start its climb all over again. But, still, it wouldn’t let go. Of course, eventually, it drowned.

Ok, so I don’t like ants at all, but I don’t think that I did this weird little experiment with malicious intent. My observations from that day have given me a lot to ponder about over the years. In fact, I can’t believe that it’s taken me this long to finally write a post about it (although I do keep getting the feeling like I’ve already written a post on this… But I couldn’t find anything when I did a search of my blog before, so I’m just gonna run with it.)

Something that I think about now and then is whether it is “ok” to kill insects/bugs like ants, flies, spiders, etc. Well, I’m not vegetarian, so I’m not against killing animals as a general thing, but we should avoid pointless killing, or inhumane killing. And the reason this memory resurfaces now and then is because that ant would have died slowly and maybe also painfully. I assume it would’ve been quite distressed too. If it was a mouse or another pest, I wouldn’t even think of drowning it, so is it “ok” that I drowned this ant?

Sometimes this leads into thoughts about whether or not ants have feelings – did the ant feel hard done by? Did it feel sad that it was dying prematurely before it could fulfil its duty to the colony? Did it wonder if other ants would notice that it was gone? Did anyone notice that this ant was gone?

Well, no, probably not.

But does that make it ok?

And isn’t it interesting that it just would not let go of the stick? Maybe it didn’t know that it could float; or maybe it was afraid of letting go of the only solid thing it had, and drifting around, unanchored, in the water…?

light-headed and foolish … and I don’t think I can blame the heat

Things I have done so far this afternoon:

  • Finished reading ‘Atonement’ by Ian McEwan (dedicated post on this to come in the next few days – just need to let everything sink in first)
  • Re-watched the movie ‘Atonement’ (I watched it when it originally came out, which was a very long time ago, so I thought it’d be good to re-watch it, especially since I just finished the novel)
  • Sat around staring into space completely gobsmacked by the enormity of the story that is ‘Atonement’
  • Walked around the house, uncharacteristically relishing this heat just because there seems to be something poetic about it – the heat itself, that is (it’s above 30C today even though it’s only early October; not humid, though, thankfully)
  • Ate a Snickers ice-cream thing, which was essentially a Snickers bar with ice-cream instead of nougat. (It was delicious!)
  • Asked myself many, many times if I should go for a run, or allow myself a rest day so that I can run further tomorrow.
  • Switched on my laptop to retrieve files to transfer to “new” computer (post on this also likely to follow some time in the near future)
  • Contemplated what is to become of my old laptop (I’ve had it for almost eight years)
  • Actually apologised to my laptop because I’m not sure I will have further use for it (well, not very often, anyway), and promised it that I would write a post in its honour.
  • Considered writing a post about something worthwhile (e.g. ‘Atonement’, the footy finals, the dry heat, my old laptop, etc) and then decided I wasn’t up to the task because my mind is still lost in the world of ‘Atonement’
  • …and then wrote this instead.

the scarf enigma

I was going to write this particular post earlier (as in, in the middle of winter) but kept forgetting or having other things to post instead. But now, since I have come to a week where I don’t really feel like writing about anything (just don’t have that spark, you know?), I thought this was a good chance to post this before winter is officially over.

It being winter is not actually that relevant to this post, but I’m reminded of this story when I see people wearing scarves, particularly small silk scarves.

I actually heard this story all the way back in grade 7 (which was still primary school back then), and it was told to my class by a substitute teacher. The thing that puzzles me (and perhaps the reason why the story has stuck with me for so long) is that there didn’t seem to be any point whatsoever in her telling us this story.

I’m feeling a bit tired/sleepy (I’ve been up since 5am, but somewhat awake even before that) so I’m just going to give you the abridged version (not that I can remember exactly how she told it, anyway). I’m actually quite interested in knowing if anyone else knows this story too, and if there actually is a point to it…

Just a quick warning: it’s not a very pleasant story, so don’t read it if you don’t like unpleasant stories. Also, if you really like scarves, you might want to preserve your good opinion of them by not reading this story.

There was once a woman who always wore a scarf, 24/7. She was pretty normal otherwise. She married a man who accepted her scarf-wearing. In all the time that he knew her, he never once saw her without a scarf around her neck. As the years went by, and they grew old together, he didn’t question her. However, one day, when she was on her deathbed, he asked her to tell him why she always wore a scarf – he had to know before she died.

She relented, but rather than tell him, she decided to show him. She promptly took off the scarf she was wearing … and her head fell off.

That’s seriously the entire story. Even as a kid, being told this story, I questioned it. Why on earth would she tell us that story??

cum laude

Ok, so… umm… I don’t usually do “blog award” stuff but since I’ve now received a nomination for “The Beautiful Blogger Award” after having not-too-long-ago received a nomination for “The Versatile Blogger Award”, I thought that maybe I should actually kind of participate in some respect… I actually received both nominations from the creative genius behind “Finding my Opti in this mist”, so I suppose I’m doing something right, right? (To Wide-eyed, sorry about all these ping-backs (not really sorry) but it’s how I’m showing my gratitude. Thanks for thinking of my blog in relation to these awards!)

Conveniently, both awards basically just require that I thank the person who nominated me, list seven random facts about myself, and then nominate some other people. That last step seems kind of optional from what I’ve seen on other sites, so I’m just going to kind of nominate people. By this I mean that I’m going to use my “posts I like” widget (AKA the “What I’ve been reading” list on the side of my blog) as my nominations list. They each link to the respective posts, so it still counts, right?

Also conveniently, this list features exactly seven blogs (at the time of writing this, they are all different, too!) and that’s the number of blogs I’m meant to nominate for the Beautiful Blogger Award (?). Well, one was seven, the other was 15 or something. I don’t know if I actually read 15 different blogs… I probably do but, you know, who’s counting… The other great thing is that, since this list is updated whenever I “like” another post, the nominees will constantly change. One blog could even be nominated seven times if they are just that amazing!

Anyway… with those two things out of the way, I’m just going to give you seven random facts about me, and leave it at that:

  1. I have lived in the same house my entire life (obviously, this excludes places I’ve stayed at while on holidays, sleepovers, etc)
  2. I once founded a Secret Society but then I didn’t really do anything with it, so it sort of faded away (or perhaps that’s just what I want you to think…)
  3. I own way too many books relative to the space I have and the speed at which I read
  4. For some reason, I have a vivid memory of a toy bat (like a fruit bat or something) that I had when I was in grade 2 or 3, which I lost one day, and was really upset about it.
  5. If I’m eating out, and the restaurant has a dish with scallops or lamb, I’ll almost always order that/those dishes. (I’m thankful for the friends who know this and can order for me if I’m running late.)
  6. My most favourite movie ever is “The Lion King”.
  7. I once knitted a scarf for a friend, but that was a long time ago and I can never remember how to “cast on” (is that the right term for the initial part?)

Bonus fact: writing that list was harder than I anticipated. I was trying to make each fact about something different, and also something I probably haven’t mentioned on this blog before.