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Still plodding along…

Apologies for being a bit slack with posts this last week. I’ve been very focused on the iVokh model, plus work, plus sorting out my new email client, plus hardware issues, plus life….

Ahem, enough excuses! On the creative side, this is the most recent concept of the iVokh’s second, mostly hidden arm. First the skeleton:

As you can see, it’s very much like the arm of a bat:

One major difference, though, is that the iVokh hand has a ‘real’ thumb. This is what the hand looks like once it has some skin:

It doesn’t look like much, but it’s a lot better than my first attempt:

According to the Offspring, this one looked more like a duck’s foot than a wing…

When I looked at that first attempt without my rose coloured specs, I realised the Offspring was right. Don’t you hate that? lol I won’t bore you with a blow-by-blow of how hard it was to create the illusion of ‘folds’. Moving on.

I mentioned some time ago that I was having email issues. Well, they all stem from the fact that I refused to give up my personal email address. That email dates back to the time when I hand coded my own website, using a graphical interface that looked great, imho, but wasn’t all that user friendly:

Okay, maybe it didn’t look that great, but it was back in 2002 and clicking on one of those images took you to a new page with info specific to that image – i.e. clicking on the guitar took you to ‘music’ while the newspaper took you to ‘news’. -sigh- The website was a failure, but I’m still proud of what I did.

Anyway, in order to have a website back then, you had to have a ‘domain’. Think of a domain as a digital anchor. Once you have one, you can attach it to a web hosting service. The hosting service provides the actual ‘real estate’ on which you build your website. Once you have a website, you can use it to create email addresses. Remember, this was long before Gmail etc.

Now we get to email clients. An email client is a program [app] that sits on your computer and ‘talks’ to the server where your email lives. Outlook is an email client, and so was Opera Mail. I used Opera Mail for years until it stopped being supported. Then I paid, in advance, for one, long year using Microsoft 365 via Outlook….

-cue happy music-

That year is over, and I am now using Fastmail. 😀 Fastmail is web-based, but when I have the energy, I’ll set it up with Thunderbird [the Firefox email client]. The beauty of using Thunderbird is that it will check Fastmail for me and download any new emails…without me having to log in and out all the time! I know that sounds lazy, but I used to check my emails multiple times a day. With 365 I’d only check once a day because of the hassle. I’m really looking forward to using my email properly again.

And finally, my hardware problems have been sorted too, thanks to the Offspring. I’ll be taking one of the Offspring’s old computers into work to use as my demonstration machine which will free up my laptop for one of the students to use [during class]. -dance-

All’s well that ends well, and I hope your week was as productive as mine. 🙂

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 


Recognize this tree?

No, the title of this post is not a trick question. I saw this amazing tree while out driving, and I’d love to know what it is. Here are the pics I took:

Ground level

Close up

Up and up and up….

Berries?

The colour and shape of the leaves made me think it might be like the magnolia grandiflora we used to have in Dad’s old garden. It was small to medium tree-sized, but I don’t remember it having berries. I also can’t remember ever seeing one so very, very, very big! And those roots! Hard to believe it’s growing near the corner of a busy intersection in one of the more inner suburbs of Melbourne.

If you know what this tree is, please let me know in comments.

Thanks,

Meeks


Call for bloggers

via Call for bloggers

This is a great initiative and the proceeds go to a great cause – no kill animal shelters!


Compassion in practical action

via Compassion in practical action

Please follow the link to the ‘Backpackbed’ site. This amazing invention is true compassion at work.


Stress aaaand…release

With a title like that, I’m sure you’ve all guessed that I’ve been under some pressure lately. Oddly enough, the one person who didn’t know was me. I thought I was having a heart attack or something. Duh. The doctor said most emphatically that there was NOTHING wrong with my heart!

There, that was the good news and the bad news in two short sentences. The lived reality was a little more drawn out though, and probably began on Christmas Eve, 2018, when I started to get muscle spasms in my back. The reason? Trying to mow about an acre of steep land with a battery driven lawnmower and whippersnipper [edge cutter for non-Australians].

I’d been mowing little bits for weeks, so my back was used to the backwards and forwards motion of the lawn mower; it was the side-to-side motion of the whippersnipper that actually did me in. Continuing to do normal ‘stuff’ for a few more days compounded the problem and led to about four weeks of misery. As the muscle is in my middle back, twisting hurt, getting into bed hurt, rolling over in bed hurt, pushing up from bed to go to the loo was agony. All because those damn muscles are used by our arms for just about everything.

Adding to this physical misery was the weather. Fire season has been awful this year, and despite the rain during the last couple of days, I’m still not sure it’s over because the ground is bone dry. With so little moisture in the ground, any day with wind becomes a potential bushfire day. Warrandyte has had many small fires, but nothing major, unlike the rest of the state, thank god. So add an almost constant, low grade fear to the backache.

Part of the reason for that fear was that I was due to start my paid job in April. Who would turn on the pumps and protect everything if I was out working?

As things turned out, the start date was delayed until the 3rd of May, which was just as well because April ended up being an awful month. Beloved little friend Buffa died, the offspring had medical issues, lots of driving backwards and forwards, very little sleep, constant anger thanks to the political situation both here and overseas and bang, I had what felt like heart palpitations…for hours.

As I said at the beginning of this post, the doctor said it wasn’t my heart. All the tests proved that it wasn’t my heart, but I wasn’t ready to accept that it was ‘just’ stress and anxiety until yesterday. You see yesterday was the day I taught my first class at the retirement village, and it was wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that I could literally feel the weight of all this combined fear and anxiety falling off my shoulders.

Last night I slept for seven hours straight. Today I feel ready to take on the world again. More importantly, I feel like me again, positive, optimistic, Pollyanna-esque me. 🙂

I don’t like talking about negative things much, especially when they relate to me, but this episode really shocked me as I’d always thought of myself as quite laid back, competent, easy going…

I was wrong, and I suspect I’m not alone, so if your life feels as if everything is becoming too much, please don’t soldier on. Stress creeps up on all of us, no matter how strong we think we are, and stress can cause actual, physical symptoms. Chronic stress can also depress the immune system which can then lead to even more problems.

Please, don’t dismiss the negative things in your life as ‘just’ stress. There’s no such thing. Stress can cause real damage, so be kind to yourself and put some balance back in your life. If you are doing too much, take a good long look at your day, and ask yourself whether all of those tasks are really important, or whether they’re just part of you, wanting to live up to your superwoman image?

The crunch for me came when I realised that I was physically incapable of driving all the way across town and back on just a couple of hours sleep. But I did need to be at that appointment so I threw my very tight budget out the window and took a taxi there and back. Those two trips cost me almost $200, but I ended up napping in the back seat of the taxi instead of at the wheel of my car.

I’d like to be superwoman, but at 66 I’m starting to learn my limits. And I’m so much happier for it.

-big hugs-

Meeks

 


Smorgasbord Easter Parade Blog Party – Part Two – Music, dancing, food, Behatted guests and time to drop you links.

This post made me smile today, and even if you’re not an ABBA fan, I really, really recommend that you watch the flashdance video. As you do, keep an eye out for a very brief shot of someone in the window, looking down.

Click the link below to go to Sally’s post. Enjoy!

via Smorgasbord Easter Parade Blog Party – Part Two – Music, dancing, food, Behatted guests and time to drop you links.


An atheist’s Easter

I’ve mentioned before that I’m an atheist, but I probably didn’t mention that I only became one when I was about seventeen. Until then, I was a Catholic.

I ‘came out’ as an atheist during my matriculation year at school. Back then, matric was year twelve, and your matriculation scores determined which university, and course,  you would be offered. I matriculated at an all-girl, Catholic convent school.

The headmistress of the school was an amazing woman called Sister Philomena. She was not a cuddly nun. She was an academic in a wimple, and once she [and the local priest and representatives from the arch diocese] accepted that my claim was genuine, she did two amazing things. First, she allowed me to stay at school and finish my matric. Second, she allowed me to skip religion classes. This amounted to approximately half an hour of free time every day. I spent that time practising the piano in one of the music rooms. I’ve often wondered whether I would have passed matric piano without all that extra practice time.

The reason I’m boring you all with this ancient history is so you’ll understand that I’m still a committed atheist, but my ethics have their roots in the Catholic concepts of sacrifice, charity, compassion and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Those are the concepts I consciously retained after much questioning. I retained them because they gelled with who I was as a person. I still believe in them, especially the ‘do unto others’ bit.

In my not so humble opinion, compassion and empathy are the two greatest human traits. They are the only traits that make us worthwhile as a species. They are the only traits that balance out the greed and selfishness and outright hatred that always lead us to war.

Yet when I look at the world on this Good Friday, 2019, I see nothing but greed and selfishness and outright hatred in the West. The US, the UK, parts of Europe and Australia are all in the grip of a frenzy of ‘us against them’, and I can’t see a way out because each side is convinced they are right.

To be honest, I don’t see how I, personally, can compromise on the issues I believe in when the ‘other side’ is doing such awful things. I won’t name them, not today, but I will ask people on both the Left and the Right to stop for a moment and ask – is this how compassionate people behave? Is this how people who believe in a Christian god treat their fellow man?

I’ve never forgotten the parables I learned in school, and here is the one that I live by:

The Good Samaritan

‘”Love your neighbor as yourself” was part of the Old Testament law (Leviticus 19:18). But the Jewish teachers had often interpreted “neighbor” to include only people of their own nationality and religion. The expert in the law was looking to Jesus for justification for that interpretation, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In response, Jesus told His famous Parable of the Good Samaritan.’

https://www.christianbiblereference.org/jparable.htm

To the Jews, Samaritans were ‘the Other’. The lesson here was, and is, that we are all neighbours, and we all deserve to be helped. It is also a plea for compassion. Sadly compassion is in very short supply at this moment in time. Hypocrisy, however, is everywhere.

Part of the reason I became an atheist was because my youthful self rebelled against the hypocrisy I saw all around me. So called ‘good’ Catholics who went to church every Sunday, said their prayers and left a donation for the ‘poor’ and then went away convinced they had done their bit. Worse, they were convinced that they were so good, they were justified in lying and cheating all week.

Those people did not live their beliefs, they only paid lip service to them. They were also the first to speak out against any ‘other’ who was different. They did not do unto others as they would have wanted to be treated themselves.

Why? Because they were the righteous. They were the saved. They were entitled….

Now, fifty years on, I see the same sense of entitlement in many who consider themselves to be ‘good’ Christians.

This is not a post against religion. It is a post for the principles that religions are meant to be based on.

This Easter, we all need to ask ourselves if we are doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. If the answer is no, let’s do better.

Meeks

 

 


Indie Book Month — Promote Your Books

I met a lot of my closest online friends via books. I’ve also read a lot of wonderful books through my friends. Here’s hoping that Charles French’s generous initiative helps us all find new books, and new friends. 🙂

 

via Indie Book Month — Promote Your Books


Devil in the Wind – Black Saturday

I’m not a poetry person, at least not normally, but I’m sitting here crying as I read this poem by Frank Prem. It’s about the Black Saturday fires that claimed 173 lives here in Victoria. 

I was at home in Warrandyte that day. I’d sent the Offspring away, but I was at home with Dad and the animals because Dad had mild dementia and…I don’t think any of us really believed. I listened to 774 radio all day and some horrific reports were being phoned in, but we had the best roof sprinklers money could buy, and fire-resistant shutters. I was sure we’d be fine. And we didn’t really believe. 

The next day, the reports started coming in and finally, we believed. That’s the background. Here is the poem that’s brought me to tears.

evidence to the commission of enquiry: all in the ark for a while

well

you have to go back

to the chaos of that time

back to february

 

as the day got on

we realised we were in strife

because the thing was bigger and hotter

and faster and more unpredictable

 

it was more everything really

 

and we’d started to get word of huge losses

in other places around and about

people

property

animals

whole towns

 

so we were head-down-and-bum-up

and worried

about what was going to happen next

 

anyway

out of the smoke came a sort of convoy

led by a horse whose halter was held

by a woman driving a ute

 

in the back of the ute

a dog was running around

like a mad thing

 

after that came another car

with a float and two more horses

 

next was a vehicle that a police fellow

was driving

 

he’d been up in a chopper

trying to winch people out

but the wind got too big

so he dropped down and helped

by driving the car

with whoever he could get into it

 

then there were a couple of deer

that jumped out of the bush

when the cavalcade went past a clearing

 

and a pair of koalas

 

and three kangaroos

 

and some lizards

 

all running as part of the convoy

 

they scattered pretty quick

when the procession of them

emerged from the smoke

and the flames

but it was all in together

for a while

 

It was ‘all in together’ for a while after Black Saturday too. We grieved, and donated food, and money, and hay because the animals were starving, and because we were alive and so many were not.

The love has disappeared now, but for a while we had it and I thank Frank Prem for helping me remember. Parts of this post will become my review on Amazon because this is my memory of the devil-wind.

 


1193 words!

I’ve had a brilliant day and just wanted to share. According to StoryBox, I ended the day up by 1193 words, but as deleted words are subtracted from the running total, I figure I’m probably closer to 1500 new words. Good words. Action words. lol

I recognized some time ago that Kaati was more of an ‘action’ character than the Blue so it behooved me to let it do warrior-type stuff, or at least, action-hero type stuff. And I have. Such fun. 🙂

In case you’re wondering, this is my all-time action hero:

 

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 


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