Another year goes by, Allira

It’s another year since your too early birth, already gone from me, already lost. Your younger sister and brother visited your grave recently. Your sister said “I stayed with my big sister for a whole”, and it took me a moment she didn’t mean hers – and yours, and yours – big sisters that are well and alive and marvelously, magically with us, but you, you my wee one, who would be 13, looking at 14, all teenage drama and angst and joy. I looked at your little sister, and wondered would you have been fair like her and two of your older sisters, or dark like your brother and another older sister? And it was, as always, the bitter and the sweet. I miss you so very much. I read today there is no grief like a stillborn loss. I think any pregnancy loss is raw anguish, just worse the further along you get. It’s a hurt you never recover from, no matter how many children you have, as no child is a substitute for another. So another year goes by, my little one, and I miss you still.

I found this, and it made me smile, and once, when holding your sweet so tiny body, smiling again seemed impossible. I never knew who you were, but I know you would have been as magic and wonderful as the others, your siblings. And that’s enough. We shared hopes, and dreams, you and I, as all mothers do for their babies. I sang to you, and loved you. So, despite never knowing you living outside of my body, I knew you before, and that is a knowledge that I treasured.

“Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well.”

There are some childhood disappointments you never forget.

It is that clear in my mind, how excited I was for a dose of Star Wars after the breathtaking first movie. Oh, I had such a crush on Harrison Ford. And confusingly, on Carrie Fisher. Life is complex, and I knew it already. I was a scifi nerdette, a proto geek girl, into Asimov and Heinlein and Clarke and Pournelle and Herbert…(and I knew L Ron Hubbardstank as a writer of scifi, and that is all I knew of him).

The Star Wars Holiday Special

The Star Wars Holiday Special (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The season of the coming of the Star Wars Holiday Special saw my brother and I on a hot evening in front of the tv eagerly waiting for the ads to STOOOPPPPP – you know how time dilates when you are waiting for something? Of course, we had fewer ads then, but in my memory they were a huge wall of irritation to be endured, it was coming, finally! We had all seen the ads, I knew my friends would be also huddled around their TV sets. Christmas in Australia is HOT, and air conditioning was not yet commonly built in, so we had fans and huge evaporative air conditioners that sprayed noise and water, so the volume needed to be up, and you needed to be at the carefully calculated distance for cool not soggy.

The music came up, the titles…and the confusion started early. Was this a Donny and Marie show we had stumbled into? The comforting sickly cheese of a Brady Bunch special variety hour? What was WRONG? Harrison Ford looked beyond embarrassed, he, too, was enduring the experience, and no doubt thinking his career was ending before his eyes. Carrie Fisher seemed bright and happy (so innocent of the chemicals she was requiring to do this was I). Mark Hamill seemed to have shrugged and decided to do his professional best, oh bless his intentions. And we all, a collective stirring of child consciousness, we all learned the first lesson of Lucas, the first bitter foretaste that he could and would betray us, he would lead us to Jar Jar Binks one day. A first glimpse of the mortality of our innocence was felt that day.

So I cannot recommend watching this for the cheese value – this is beyond cheese and is simply moldy, fermented to the point of something beyond distaste. The RiffTrax guys have a commentary track that tries to make it bearable, but simply lends itself to a shared misery that we all tried to alleviate, like sifting through the wreckage to find any surviving shards of your life after a disaster.

In short, it SUCKED. And when the next two movies came out, we were relieved. Indiana Jones makes us smile again. But we were not shocked by the awfulness of the history of Darth Vader, of Jar Jar and ‘mitochlorians’ and oh the horrors to come..

So here is a review of the Star Wars Holiday Special. Happy Life Day (gag).

“…And Introducing Chewbacca’s Family!” Case File #30: The Star Wars Holiday Special | TV | My World Of Flops | The A.V. Club.

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Diminshed memories

Let’s Talk About Kasandra Perkins for a Change.
The man who abused her and killed her was a sports star, so she gets to be a bit player in her own death – a mere cipher to discuss him. It is not the same as he put her through – but it certainly is analogous. She deserves a voice in this story, as it is hers too. She suffered. Her baby is motherless, fatherless, and this is the legacy she has too. Her father is ‘mistaken’, a ‘victim of sports pressure’. There is even suggestions, hints, if not outright statements that somehow she is culpable.

She was only culpable for believing they could work it out. That the Counselling was helping. That he meant his promises of change. She wanted to believe it for her daughter. From the depths of her frequently cited (by those who bothered to seek) compassionate, warm, sympathetic heart, she wanted to believe for him, too. There is the same blinding heroism of the star athlete that has led to her diminishment in the story told, who knows what role that held in her optimism? He was such a ‘good guy’….

Too many abusers are seen that way. Too many victims are not believed because ‘he couldn’t be like that’. She must be mistaken, exaggerating, she must have earnt or deserved it. As if anyone deserves it. And it is worse for men – who can also be abused. More often (but not only) emotionally rather than physically abused, they are even more supposed to ‘man up’. As if a man could be broken by words. Huh. Anyone can be. Words can erode your sense of self, of worth. You become ‘lucky they will put up with you’, somehow deserving all the abusers because of your own faults. You become pathetically grateful for any small kindness. And it can all be masked behind makeup or smiles. People can never suspect.

I know all too well. I, like many others, have scars inside that won’t heal, and I am lucky, I escaped. With enough left to recover somewhat, become seemingly strong. I was lucky in my friends and family, they came put to save and support me. I will regret all my life the scars I thought I had protected my children from, that I thought I had hidden away from them. But children are wounded themselves, of not abided directly, from seeing some one they love suffer, and how confusing to have it be at the hands of the other person they love and trust.

So, it’s hard, and it hurts, but you can escape and rebuild. We do need better protection for men and women facing the most dangerous of abusers, the crazy violent stalkers. And we need to remember the victims matter.

Her friends called her Kasi.

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A woman gets pregnant, we all get to judge?

We have a ridiculous set of rules, no, IMPOSSIBLE set of rules for women to follow. Of you are single and facing  pregnancy – slut (if due to rape, was it rape rape?). If married, oh what a blessing. Unless too soon after marriage. Or you have x other children, x being the number some person thinks is enough. Or if you have all of one gender, you must be trying for a $other_gender. Or if you are an obviously happily married young woman who has been with her partner a good many years, is financially secure, has travelled, and obviously likes children – but you happen to be Royal – sorry, you are merely ‘doing your duty’, being ‘used as a brood mare’. As if women cannot choose. As if feminism wasn’t about choice. And women can be the worst judges…

Poor Duchess, is in love and decides to see how that goes by making a commitment – she is ‘Waity Katey’. She is happy being a housewife – she is being a ‘burden’. In fact, any woman who revels in home and hearth, in family raising (a very full time job), is criticized and made to feel she is by doing enough. Working mothers are selfish and ruining their children (note working dads never are).  I want the same choices for my son as for my four daughters – do what best makes you happy, and give back to your society. Do that by raising happy children, or by high flying career, or both. Be a volunteer, be an artist, just be yourself, be honest and kind and true to yourself. That is what Feminism is truly about!

For King and Country: the duty to conceive – The Drum Opinion

Some people may say this is just marketing…

But who cares? This boy ends 2 years saving every last dollar he manages to earn, (kudos to his parents for that btw, good life lessons there), only to find the dream model of Lego is now a collectors edition well put of his league. At first Lego says how sorry it is that it is out of production – then, in time for his birthday, it arrives. Good marketing or kindness or both? Again, who gives a pair of fetid dingoes kidneys – watch the video, see his smile, and I have to think that somewhere at Legoville, they have not forgotten how to be a child, or how it feels to dream…



Now that’s customer service! Lego tracks down rare train set for Asperger’s boy

What is left after?

What happens to survivors of tragedies? I was the only one seriously injured in my accident – what about the other people, I have often wondered. The man who admitted the momentary distraction arguing with his teenager that caused it. The other woman, innocently driving and having my car flung into hers. All three cars written off – shock, fear, change, repercussion. The stone is flung and you cannot resume your previous course, the ripples from this heavy stone are too big. So what about epic tragedies of death and survival in furiously forbidding circumstances? The guilt of being one of the few, the relief, the memories…

Here is the story of a survivor and what it meant to him, as told through the eyes of his daughter.

Carol Shaben: What’s a life worth? | Life and style | The Guardian.

As Clive James faces death, I face losing one of the most formative heroes of my life

Clive James is dying. my heart is full of sorrow.

this man is such a formative influence on me. his books (i adore his poetry), his writing, and his broadcasting (my ‘gateway’ to his work) are a huge part of my life. i listen to his reading of his own (audio based) books (again, the poetry rocks), and read his essays, collected criticisms, stories and poems literally weekly. i just got his collected postcards dvd set. magic. I’ve been hunting out of print books second hand on amazon, just obtaining what i think is an under rated mater work – fame in the 20th century. i wish i could find the dvd.

i – WE – owe thanks to a fellow Aussie, a world citizen, and a master of communication in so many forms of media. what he did was bring a different culture to many of us when it was thought culture belonged to other people. he instilled (long with Dorothy  L Sayers) my longing to go to university – and stay there. and here i am, teaching at my beloved Flinders University.

(yes, my sentences aren’t capitalised. i am incredibly lazy on here, as i have to be so careful at work. mea maxima culpa. and this is about Clive, so stop it.)


Clive James wistfully faces death, admitting he may not see Sydney again | Culture | The Guardian.

What is happening for me atm?

As of yesterday:

1) doing PhD over next few years
2) frantically coding for May release for the Serval Project
3) now working for the next two years at Flinders University as an academic – a lecturer in two Comp Sci/Eng topics
4) after two years, if all going well with PhD, get employed by uni as perm staff
5) continue with the growing excitement of Serval
6) one last trip to IEEE as handover- but continuing research on IEEE network issues
7) we have a sleepover party* for ms 10 tonight, so caused epic spring clean, very little of which i can do with disability


*5 ten years olds – meep!

Stand back – Serval does science!

Besides being my amazing co-founder and brains trust inspiration at The Serval Project,

An illustration of a character from a story; a...

Dr Paul Gardner-Stephen does a regular science spot on local radio. This episode involved an experiment that he roped my bloke, aka our Hardware and Systems guru, Lyn Stephens, into assisting with. Here is the video – you get to hear Dr Paul, and see my bloke in his breakout role as mad scientist assistance Igor clone:)

Sonya’s imploding 44-gallon drum – ABC Adelaide – Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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Happy Birthday to the amazing Marie Curie

Many of you may have noticed that today’s Google Doodle honors famed physicist and chemist Marie Curie, in celebration of her birthday. But this year also marks the centennial of her second Nobel Prize. (It bears mentioning that Curie was not only the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, she is also the only woman to win in two fields, and the only person ever to win in multiple sciences.)

via An insightful look at the life and work of Marie Curie.