Faulty Friends

30 06 2010

Everyone has faults and sometimes the faults are bad… sometimes you can do something about it, you can analyse yourself and see if you’re going wrong somewhere. When it’s a friend or relative, you can have a little talk about it or drop the odd hint, and sometimes about all you can do is hope the light globe comes on at some point.

I have a lovely friend who’s kind and affectionate, helpful… so far, so good.
But turned out to be a hard-core Republican, Thought Obama was the worst news ever, in fact in a conversation tonight, she called him a “devil” and because she’s also a truther, bought up a conspiracy about someone who knew “the truth” and “had evidence” that he was actually born in Kenya, but vanished under mysterious circumstances.

Apparently Obama is also somehow to blame for the oil spill too.

She’s also very much in favour of Sarah Palin.

However it’s interesting to note that she doesn’t believe Bush had the twin towers destroyed, why not? believe one conspiracy, believe them all, it’s only fair… Elvis is probably still alive somewhere too, maybe he’s living with Michael Jackson in a flying saucer?

All of this irks me terribly, but what can I do about it, believe me, I have tried, but you cannot argue with conspiracy nuts, so now, when the talk begins to swerve in that direction, like a semi heading for a cliff, I bail out, log out and leave… otherwise I start getting a bit hot under the collar and may end up saying things I regret.

That is a strange thing the Americans have, that their president must be born in the US, why?

Yes it’s in the constitution, but doesn’t it reek of racism?

It’s very odd in these more enlightened times to require that someone must be born in ones own country.

Right now, in Australia, We have a woman who’s just become Prime Minister of our Country, She’s from Wales, and is a red-head… I’ll leave it to you to decide which is worse.

She’s also an Atheist, which gets top marks in my opinion, I mean how on earth can a country claim to be the top of the class in science when their leader still believes in invisible friends in the sky… I think the car sticker I saw said it best… “We have the fossils, We win”.

I don’t care if our next leader is male, female or trans-gendered, is purple with orange spots, or has three nipples and eight toes, if they do their job as promised and tick all the right boxes then who cares where they came from?

If a leader does something terrible then the public certainly has a right to complain, but harping on about a birth certificate is just “a little bit bullshit”

Wolfie!

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I can’t believe it’s not reality

28 06 2010

Today, during my regular twittering, I read a post from someone who I thought, understood the internet.

He said something about the internet not being reality.

The fact that this particular piece of tripe is still around really amazes me, but that it was said by someone who I thought, “got the internet” astounds me.

Right now the internet is alight with anger and frustration that Julia left Conroy in charge of the internet, which is something akin to leaving an ape in charge of landing a plane.

But apparently this “echo chamber” called twitter can’t do anything about it, oh really? I don’t believe that.

Try tweeting that your Boss is a slave driver, your girl is a slut, your boyfriend can’t get it up, your wife’s arse is the size of England… and I’m certain that when the right or wrong pair of eyes see what you wrote, that your reality will definitely change.

The internet breaks news stories regularly, and certainly faster than television or radio could ever hope to do. Granted, you have to pick and choose and think a bit, but nothing gets the news to others as fast as twitter can.

The internet is probably a big reason why President Obama is in power in the US,
and why several couples I know are now married, and why I have more friends than I’ve ever had before… no, not practically unknown friends, but genuine friends who I know extremely well, and do all the usual things that good friends do.

When I portray myself as Wolfie, you’re getting the real deal. Wolfie is me, he’s not just a “brand” that you see online, Wolfie is the shape of who I am on the inside. Remove the Wolfie and what you’re left with is a Stepford Wife with male parts.

Yes I joke a lot, but I hope you can tell when I’m being serious, and that you know which issues are important to me.

Since I’ve been online, I began to use the internet in the late 90’s, I have tried to encourage people to use it, because I see a benefit in having all this wonderful connections, this is a two-way conversation and I prefer this over watching TV which I have all but abandoned because I feel that I’ve had my fill and it doesn’t really serve me anymore.

I am grateful for all those I engage with online daily, I would name names here, but I’m sure to forget someone. I want to know what makes you tick, your interests, your worries, the news that you heard, your funny thoughts, moments of enlightenment.

I want to know about your cat, and the film you saw, or how your podcast went,
and all the little uncategorised bits and pieces.

The internet is real because of you, I know that on the other side of the screen, there is a living breathing person with feelings, and I know that you realise that I’m real too, and I thank you for that.

Wolfie!





On cancer and on surviving

27 06 2010

When I found out I had cancer, I was told about what I needed to do in order to stay alive… I was frightened by the idea of the operation, possibly more than the disease… and the rest of the treatment. But I had seen how losing Dad had affected Mum, so I chose to fight.

I survived and the prize was of not letting Mum see her child die, that’s the big one, that’s why I fought.

But I had no idea that she would pass away too, not long after I got better… although I had noticed, she had lost her appetite, she was getting thinner, and losing the energy that she once had. Mum was stubborn and wouldn’t see the doctor.

I think she was happy to go, all her life she’d carried the burden of the ones she loved passing away, Her boyfriend whom she’d wed after the war, didn’t return. I look at a picture of them, and they’re so happy, and my heart aches for them.

There’s a part of me that aches over the fact that if it had not been for a stupid war, then my mother would have been happier, I would sacrifice my existence for that if I could.

I remember phonecalls at St leonards from relatives telling Mum that another of her five brothers had passed away, and watching her in tears, but being far too young to understand the depth of emotion involved and therefore unable to bring her any real comfort at the time.

I understand the torment of it now, Each day when I wake up, I am without them, and it tears at me. Each night I dream about them and wake to find it was just a dream.

I reluctantly wake up and bury myself in the internet, hoping for something wonderous to happen, which of course it doesn’t… but it keeps me distracted for a few hours from the idea that while I am alive, the ones I love, are not.

When Mum and Dad were here, they’d walk together, They’d hold hands like two young lovers… My Dad, for all his faults, loved my Mother more and more each year. People would remark on watching them together, holding hands.
It was partly due to Mum being so poorly co-ordinated, You could take your eyes off Mum for a moment and find her with a skinned knee on the ground… She tumbled down an escalator once, dad had no idea till he glanced down and saw her there.

I too would walk with her, holding her hands, which were often fairly cold, guarding her, protecting her, making sure she didn’t fall.

Always proud of her, she loved me and did everything she could for me, and I loved her.

I’m writing this with tears streaming down my face, various memories of trips to the countryside, with Benny, our Malamute beside me, or Dads final hours when he told me that he was proud of me, seconds after I told him he wasn’t when he asked me “Am I going to die?”.

The days now stream into one, without any meaning, I was granted a ticket out of here which I should have taken, I regret that. I have over stayed my time, although I have gained some friendship which I don’t regret at all, and the love and loyalty of Katie.

I am a guard dog with nothing to guard, I have gone past my use-by date, and remain alive only because I am too scared to die. there is only and endless stream of days to look forward to, I am weighted down by pains that I can barely carry and feel so utterly tormented by life. There is nobody here… I hope that it’s just a terrible nightmare which at some point will end.

Have I been in a car accident, am I in a coma, will I wake up in 1975 and everything will be ok, will I hold her hand again, will my heart stop bleeding, will this agony I feel inside ever end?

The only thing I’d regret, is missing Katie, if I had passed on, as she needed me and so did Vicky, but otherwise I don’t know what to do about this redundant life.

I hope that someday soon, a doctor will discover that I have something that will take my life if left to do so, I will not be seeking treatment this time around.

Wolfie!





That Horrible Grass

27 06 2010

I’ve never been a grass fan, my imagination concocted a vision of a cottage garden with tall herbs like lemon balm, Eau de Cologne, pineapple sage, and lavender… and through the cobblestone path you’d find pennyroyal, corsican mint, babys tears, and other low herbs winding through the cracks… none of my dream garden features grass, which I see as being pretty useless.

I’ve never been sure whether the idea of having a motor mower is because a man needs a tool to keep the lawn low, or because he fancies his manly new toy.

Over all this time, couldn’t we have simply bred a low growing grass?
We’ve bred other things, surely it’s not that difficult.

Years ago, we had a holiday house in Hervey Road, St. Leonards, Victoria… It was close to the ocean and the soil was not the best for growing anything unless you worked very hard at it. Some trees did grow well, We had two very tall lilly pillys with purple berries which fed the possums who’s nest was at the top… I climbed the tree once and put my
hand in and felt the very soft fur of the babies in there.

We also had the largest poplar in the area, and a local fisherman used to use it as a marker while out at sea… although the tree was very tall it has to be said that we were on a hill too, which made it appear much larger than it actually was.

Dad planted Buffalo grass, which spread nicely and was generally well behaved, and each weekend when we drove there, he’d mow the lawn around the very large area, it appeared larger, compared with the garden at home.

I’m not sure why we called it a holiday home as my parents seemed to do a lot of work while they were there. Mum still did the same stuff that she did at home, and Dad would get suck into mowing and painting. I was about five when we got the place, we’d had another earlier, which was made of brick and had a large fireplace, but I remember very little about it.

I called it “the bees house” after two incidents where a fire was lit in the fireplace and killed two bee hives… all the bees fell out all over our livingroom. I’m not sure why we moved to the new place, thought the bee problem was something that had turned Mum off the place. The name stuck, and everyone referred to it as the bees house after that.

We spent weekends and holidays there, I always had mixed feelings about the place. Mum liked it because the house had better modern conveniences than our home… but it lacked things that I enjoyed and TV reception was a bit iffy there. Channel 0 (now 10) would frustrate Dad who would wriggle the rabbit ears of the portable TV to try and get Hawaii 5-0.

I had a pet bluetongue lizard who lived there, the yard was all fenced in solidly by hardy plank, and there was no way out, so we thought. And Bluey lived quite happy in the garden, coming out when someone called, usually with a banana or something else he or she would like, we were never sure if bluey was male or female.

You know, the outside walls of the house were always dirty, and we didn’t know why till someone pointed out that the spiders which lived in the eaves and which made webbed tunnels were responsible, the walls were dotted with spider manure.

Moths were pretty bad there too, although we enjoyed the wildlife… There were many frogs there, big golden christmas beetles at christmas and once we even had a bandicoot pay us a visit, it burrowed for grubs under the grass… dad didn’t mind and would even leave some food out for it. We did get the odd tiger snake now and then too.

I suppose it’s ok to ramble on in a blog, this way I have no editor apart from myself… but the subject is the grass.

So, Dad was looking at grass at the park near our home, and although he could see the horrible stuff climbed fiercely up fences and crawled over and covered everything, for a period, he believed it was Buffalo grass, and began bringing bits home to grow here.

Mum realised what it was, and would pull it immediately, and chastise my Father for his attempt at planting the rotten stuff “That’s not Buffalo, it’s that bloody awful COOCH! It’ll go everywhere!” But Dad wouldn’t listen, although given the facts, Mum pointed out the grass in the lane, waving a finger at it, growling at my Dad. Once he believed he was right, he’d march stubbornly onwards with his plan.

It came to no good.

Dad grew terribly sick from prostate cancer, Mum and I did our best for him, We took care of him at home and at Hospital. It hit him quickly and eventually took his life, it was a dreadful time which took it’s toll, on my dear Father and Mum and I… who were completely thrashed by the events leading up to his death, and beyond it.

While this happened, cooch grass that Mum failed to spot had grown and spread, much like Dads cancer had, through the garden, and had begun to invade garden beds and even pots, it’s horrible roots grew under the path and came out on the other side and took over everything.

Another thing happened too, a young apricot tree began to die, and Mum thought it had been poisoned for a while, but when I eventually cut it down, I noticed the wire around the trunk and I remembered.

Months before Dad got sick, an episode of Burkes Backyard, a gardening show, aired. and it’s host suggested that if a fruit tree is not fruiting, you can temporarily frighten the tree into fruiting by tying wire tightly around it’s trunk, the tree will think it’s dying and respond by producing fruit. However, the segment warned that you must also remove the wire, or the tree will actually die… Dad had not told us he’d done this, and we had no idea.

I don’t recommend this technique to anyone, as the wire is too easy to forget about… you’re more likely to end up with a dead tree than loads of fruit, so forget about it.

Years earlier, I had grown sunflowers and other herbs in my garden, which I loved, but now I’d need a flame thrower to fight the cursed weed that took over.

Of all the plants which need to go on the noxious weeds list, it should certainly be cooch grass, it’s possibly the worst weed I have personally come to know and I need serious help to get rid of it… Of course it’s spread to the neighbours houses too and if defeated in our yard, would merely return from next door.

In an episode of Doctor Who, The doctor took his friend to see a future vision of Earth, which had lush green lawns, of a low grass that never needed mowing, and smelled sweetly of green apples. Does this lovely vision have to be mere fantasy? could we grow something as sensible as this and put an end to the weekend routine of mowing the lawn? or is the urge to push a big, noisy, smokey engine around too powerful to overcome.

I am not the lawn mowing type, and hope that someone does, at some future point, create a grass, that, if we must have, behaves itself and smells light and fragrant when brushed against.

One last thing, Not long ago, A twitter friend found her home in Ireland on Googles Street View, and it occured to me that I could do the same with our Holiday home, When I found it, I felt a little bit sad as it looked neglected and alone, where once it was always neat and tidy.

A lot like my home now, which is falling apart, as I am with it.

Wolfie!





Win a Premium Avatar Competition

26 06 2010

Details:

What:

The ABC Island Community “Win A Premium Avatar Competition begins tonight.

The prize is a $2000L Werewolf, which will be given to the person who
figures out and sends me a password which can be discovered via a
series of clues, You will require some technical, internet
and trivia skill in order to find the password.

Time:

Midnight, Melbourne Australia
(7am Secondlife Time (San Francisco)

Where:

Secondlife, at ABC Island (The Aussie one, not the Japanese one)
“Australian Broadcasting Corporation” – No we’re not scared of Furries, The ABC had a kids show in the 70’s called Aunty Jack, which was a Man dressed as a Woman with a handlebar Moustache and she (he?) wore a boxing glove on one hand.

His (Her?) catchphrase was “I’ll rip yer bloody arms orf”… So why should we be scared of mere furries?

If you’ve never visited the island before, use the teleport link below,
When you arrive at Broadcast Tower, turn left and and you will see the “Win A Premium Avatar” Poster, there’s a box there which mentions teleportation, walk to the box, right-click it and choose “Avatar”, this will take you to the contest location.

How:

I will give you your instructions myself, however, Details of HOW to find the password will not be revealed till just before play begins.

Who:

The competition is run by Myself, Wolfie Rankin, as an ABC Island Community event.

Winning:

Whoever finds the password must IM me via Secondlife immediately,
all IMs come to me via e-mail, so if I’m not online, I will still
see who came first.

Notification of success will be returned to the player via IM and
also via Group Notice (a secondlife thing)

Players should join the “ABC Friends” group.

The winner must join http://xstreetsl.com so that I can deliver their
prize, this is the only way to do it. You must also be online at the
same time as me so that I can send you the prize. If a prize is not
claimed within a month then the second person who sent the correct
answer to me will claim the prize.

More:

The Competition is not open to any ABC Island Staff, meaning Volunteers
or ABC Employees.

If, while you’re there, you will find a video playing, an ABC produced
doco on Secondlife. It’s interesting but can be annoying because it’s
hard to turn off.

I suggest going to Preferences in the “Me” pulldown menu at the top left
of your screen, choose “sound and media” and untick “allow media to autoplay”.

The competition is subject to change at any time, which may also
include cancellation.

The prize is for 1 (one) “1st Act” Werewolf, of any colour, style or sex as chosen by the (one) winner, which will be sent to the (one) winner (SL account) via xstreetsl.com (only)

The competition will close in One Month, though I feel the prize will
be claimed sooner than that.

We’d also love a photo of you in your new avatar, so please come back
and show it off.

This competition is not endorsed by ABC itself, so the ABC cannot be held liable for any problems which may arise.

The ABC does not endorse the prize and is not partaking in any advertising of the said product.

For further details, contact myself, Wolfie Rankin, within Secondlife or via twitter
@Wolfie_Rankin.

Links:

Direct teleport link to ABC Island.

Win a Premium Avatar Competition Video

XStreet SL Marketplace

And here’s a link for Aunty Jack, incase you didn’t believe me.

Wolfie!





Gay and Lesbian awareness week

19 06 2010

It’s hardly a secret that I’m happy with Gay and Lesbian people, they don’t worry me in the slightest and I’ve usually found them to be great people and highly imaginitive, which I really like.

But another reason I like them is that I believe they could save the planet, yes really.

In the 70’s when we decided to change our Anthem from God save the Queen, to Advance Australia Fair, Some people, Mostly Women, noticed that one line was a little offensive… “Australia’s Son’s let us rejoice for We are young and free”, a lovely thought, but it left out a whole section of the community, our Women folk, who absolutely deserve a mention. Eventually heads were clunked together and things were thought and said, and the line was corrected to “Australians ALL let us rejoice”, Well done!

But there’s another line that bothers me greatly, and I refuse to sing it.

“We’ve boundless plains to share”.

Now upon reading that, you could rightly assume I am racist, but settle down and I’ll explain.

The wording came from a time when we thought the planet was an endless place, from which we could also consume without end, and it’s not, the World is a finite resource… and even that word “resource” chokes in my throat as it reeks of consuming the planet because it’s ours, when it isn’t ours, it doesn’t belong to us or “future generations” (that awful cliche, of pretend people who will all be nature loving creatures, somehow magically unlike ourselves). The planet belongs to nobody, and certainly no set of human beings anywhere, and we’re running out of room fast.

I fear for the Australia I know and love, my worst fear is driving from Melbourne to Brisbane and seeing nothing but houses, and no countryside or natural places at all.

Environmentalists who fight and have fought for the preservation of our beautiful land, will be sad to see the land once more being taken away, as step by step, more land is used for people. farms turned into housing estates, forests in turn becoming farms until all land is completely used up.

There will come a point soon when forests can not exist, and nobody will protect them or care too as Future Generations eat up every scrap of land they can get, it will be a time of massive extiction of animals and plants.

There are those who believe that a compact flourescent globe will save us, but it’s a con of epic proportions, If you’re running a 40watt globe, and switch to CF, Yes you save power… but not if your towns population grows, either by people moving there or simply being born, these people will use up any savings you thought you’d made, and will use even more.

I don’t want this to seem like I hate people, I think you all understand that this is not the case, But I love the Aussie bush and am sad to see less and less of it each year.

Advocates of “populate or perish” say that we need more people, why?
So that they can look after an older generation? How many of us are already looking after an older generation?
And what about when they age too, which they will, if allowed to, what then? do we breed even more?

They tell us that if India or Tokyo can do it, then so can we… but in all honesty, who wants to be packed in tight like
India or Tokyo?

I think the only real solution to the worlds environental problems is to be gay, and yes, people are gay from birth, but I’ve also seen it as a lifestyle choice, and it works as well as any other relationship. It can be easier, you can spend more time doing what you love and you can save the money which would have been spent on children, on yourself.

And the lower population will be better and healthier for the planet.

Wolfie!

See the video





Connected Lucid Dreaming

17 06 2010

One of the things that we don’t like about computers, is that most of the time it means that we have to sit at a desk and use rather clunky hardware to get things done. Lately there’s been moves against this, Laptops are much smaller, and the rise of the tablet computer is definitely making things a lot more comfortable (but not much good if you’re into hardcore 3D gaming or video editing).

What we need is to get rid of several things, namely the keyboard, mouse, monitor and speakers… which sounds insane, but these are the things that lock us down, and keep us tied to a desk.

I have, as many others have, dreamt of either having a screen built into glasses, or of having a holographic screen… but perhaps we’re making hard work for ourselves, what if we could make it so that we believed there was a screen in front of us, which worked just the way it’s intended to, but doesn’t actually… as far as anyone else is concerned, exist?

At night, we go to bed and dream, things seem real enough to us at the time, even if vague and confusing… if you’ve ever tried to phone someone in a dream, you’d know that there’s almost always something wrong with the phone, it never looks right, and you’re never sure why.

When we dream, we’re experiencing what we might call, a virtual world… which are things that we have today on our computers, whether it’s World of Warcraft, Secondlife, Blue Mars or something similar. but instead of being tied to a computer, in the dream we are free to walk, run, eat, fly or whatever we like.

My hope is that at some point in the future, that things will work like this.

You’re in Australia and have a meeting with friends from New York, Stokholm and Tokyo in an hour.

You have a nice relaxing shower and then hop into bed about thirty minutes beforehand, and you put a small, flat device, that looks something like a bandaid on your forehead… this may be connected to a computer somewhere in the home by wireless, or maybe not.

You go to sleep, and when you wake in the dream, instead of something random that your mind has conjured up, you see a lovely big park with huge trees. It’s a warm day, with a gentle sea breeze. there are people sitting in groups in the park, some look like businessmen and women, but others have gone for wildly different looks.

You look up to see a blue dragon fly overhead, relax… this is quite normal, he’s just off to visit friends on a small island that you can see on the horizon as you gaze over the bay.

Someone calls your name, you turn to look and it’s Michael from Tokyo, He’s sitting with a group of others… Dan from New York Waves, and you wave back and start walking towards them.

Out of nowhere Benny from Stokholm appears and greets you, and you walk to the others together.

Carmel from Queensland unexpectedly drops in, she’s had a few ideas and wants to see what everyone else thinks.

You take your places on your chairs and begin talking.

Carmel pulls out a large box of chocolate biscuits and offers them around… When you’re awake, you’re on a diet, but here you can have as much as you like and you’ll never get fat, but be aware that dream food is still not real food and you have to awaken to fill your very real body. It’s odd but most people these days, especially those who dream-work a lot, tend to be fairly thin… those who do it too much are sometimes painfully thin.

None of you have any devices, but when you wish to display a picture of an idea, a screen pops up in mid air, which feels physical and can be handed around, it saves a lot of time explaining when you can instantly snap a picture of your thoughts… of course you
could also just rez the idea, a sportscar perhaps? then and there… you’ve already built it in your mind, there’s no need to work for hours in CAD, it’s there, and if bits are not quite right, then the computer will check your data and fix something that might be wrong.
the model is as liquid as your thoughts, and can be changed and updated instantly.

As you all discuss your ideas, the computer takes everything down… video, voice, notes that you might write, so that you can remember them all later.

Later on, you wake up.

You want to make your shared dream more solid, so you set about compiling your thoughts and those of your friends.

Due to the technology at the time, you see a screen floating in front of you, much like the one in your dream, it’s not holographic, it doesn’t exist. To a person who talks to invisible people in the street, those people are real. your thoughts have been modified so that you see a screen with all the proper data you need… you do your e-mails and instant messaging on it, and then it vanishes when you no longer need it.

At the moment we can do a few of these things with Secondlife, People do meet there and exchange ideas for education, business or simply to have a sense of companionship with like-minded friends. but we’re at the frontier stage of virtual worlds and I feel they have a long way to go. If we can harness the power of the mind, especially in the dream world, and interface with it, we’ll really have something very special.

Wolfie!