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The 100 Things Meme

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii - yes, if changing flights at the airport counts
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland.
8. Climbed a mountain. - sortof; the last 200 metres or so
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumping
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.

20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted 
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris 
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling

52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre

55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favourite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person - only if seeing it from a jet counts
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day
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Five years ago. Ten weeks ago

I was in Lorne, on Victoria's Great Ocean Road, on 12 October, 2002, the first time terrorists struck Bali. Woke up the next morning to the news; had the TV on while getting ready to check-out. That afternoon we listened to ABC Radio 774's coverage on the drive home. At the time I'd been to Bali twice, the most recent visit just the previous July.

We spent part of the fifth anniversary of the bombing listening to ABC Radio 774's commemorative broadcast while driving to Lorne. This isn't a co-incidence. A film society my parents belong to hosts a film weekend in Lorne every October and my parents always invite us (my sisters and I and our families) to join them. A weekend on the beach, exploring the Otway Ranges, a film or two, and some fine meals.

This year's weekend was very different to each of the previous Lorne weekends, and for good reason. My mother passed away on 23 September, after a long battle with lymphoma. Her absence also intensified the link I have with Lorne and Bali as both were among her most favourite places in the world. None of us were at the cinema at the time, but at one session the film society's president announced that they'd dedicated the weekend to my mother, which was both really nice and emphasised the differentness of the weekend.

Since mum's death we've been occupied with sorting through her things. I've been trying to find the appropriate word to describe one of her traits but can't locate the one that fits my need. Mum kept everything but a lot of what she kept wasn't part of a collection. But she wasn't a hoarder, since there was system to what she kept. As I'm like mum when it comes to keeping paper (just ask Wendy and our sons) I've taken on the role of going through her files and book shelves. Working though the newspaper and magazine clippings, receipts, brochures, instructions booklets, etc, I've now have another a defence against the wife and kids: at least I do a periodical cull.

It's proving to be an interesting experience. The downside is the repetitive strain from turning so many pages, the raising of the dust of disintegrating newspaper clippings and that so much of the stuff hadn't been needed for years. The upside is coming across the occasional treasure and the on-going connection with mum's interests. There was a stack of newspaper restaurant reviews and as I went through them I 'knew' that most of the reviewed places don't exist anymore and a lot would never have been visited by my parents. But then I'd come across a review of what become a regular family haunt and it was a delight to read the item that prompted that first visit.

One of the items I came across was a magazine ad for a range of slippers that my mother would never have worn. This one stopped me in my tracks, as for the first time I couldn’t see why mum would have kept it. I put it aside and kept working. Eventually I spotted what it was that took her archival interest, and went around to the others and asked them if they could see why mum had kept the ad. None could make the connection and inspired by the hard work they’d been doing just sighed or rolled their eyes at the task mum had left us. I pointed to the front room and said “It was photographed in that room.” It’s an important item, in that it helped them see something of what inspired mum.

I’ve enjoyed sorting through travel documents and pamphlets, checking out the places my parents have been to. Bali figured prominently in the stash, as she’d visited the island many times since her first visit in 1976. It took her 25 years (I held out for the longest before travelling there) but eventually she managed to convince all of us about the charms of the island.

Most of the items I tossed out, but not before noticing that once upon a time (1989) the Indonesian departure tax was 9,900 rp (just less than 10% of what it was in 2005) and that one Aussie dollar would get you 1,350 rp (compared to ~7,350 in 2005). An item I’m keeping is the guide book (Indonesia Do-It-Yourself 1976 – 1977 by Frank Palmos & Pat Price) mum took on her first Bali trip. Its Bali section occupies only about 15% of the pages, but they are full of mum’s additions and notes. Back then she liked the food at Murmi’s but not at Poppies, and was impressed by the artwork of Antonio Blanco, Han Snell and Gusti Lempad. A bemo (bus) ride from Denpasar to Ubud cost 125 rp; these days would there be enough 25 rp coins to not shortchange all those on a single trip? (My sons have souvenired every 25 rp coin we’ve come across. Two coins in four trips.)

Going though the sorting process has been a conversation with mum. The only problem is that it’s a one-way flow. Something happens which I know that she’d like to have known about, but the opportunity doesn’t exist. So far the biggest news we could have told her is that two years after it closed its doors our long-time family-favourite Chinese restaurant has re-opened. It’s been two, long years, as we’ve tried (and failed) to find that a replacement. But now we have to look no more. It’s back. The same management, the same venue, a slight change of name, a different chef and a very similar menu. We heard the news just eight days after mum died, by which time it had been open for a fortnight. So mum could have known the big news, though there was no way she would have made it there for a meal. But I know she would have been so pleased that it had re-opened and would have loved the image of a future which involves her family regularly getting together over a great meal at that restaurant. I’m happy with that image.



In response to my previous post athenais asked "How did you end up in Tehran?"

My father and I were on our way to Israel, and had to change flights in Tehran. Rather than just spending however-many hours in transit at the airport, we decided to spend a week in the country itself. Three days/nights in Tehran, two in Shiraz and two in Isfahan. It was December 1976. I was 16 and it was the first stop on my first overseas trip.

Thirty years later I don't have many distinct memories. Tehran I remember as a grimy big city that was trying to look like it wasn't middle-eastern. I really liked Shiraz, which I remember as having older, more interesting architecture and more city pride. I wasn't able to get much out of Isfahan as I came down with a dose of travellers-tummy and spent most of the time in bed. I also remember that I liked the Shirizians far nicer than the Tehranese. The former were generally far more welcoming and happy to chat. I remember that seemingly everyone there were advising us to visit Persepolis (the ruins of what was once a capital of the Persian Empire, located about a 45 minute drive from Shiraz.) When we said we'd been there – it was the first thing we did after checking into our hotel - they were eager to know what we thought of it, etc. By contrast everyone in Tehran just wanted to get the transaction over as soon as possible.

I also remember that we couldn't go anywhere without tripping over a photo of the Shah. I wasn't sure how to interpret this. It was certainly a new experience, since Aussies don't revere their Head of State to anything like that. A couple of years later the Shah was deposed.

For internal travel we flew with Iran Air, and on the first flight I remember feeling that something was not right. However I couldn't put my finger on just what. Then my father was looking at the what-to-do-in-an-emergency card, and I saw 'TAA' printed across the top, and realised that what was wrong was that there were kangaroos all around me. TAA was Trans Australia Airways (later to change its name to Australia Airlines and later again taken over by Qantas.) Turned out that a large part of Iran Air's fleet had been bought off TAA. In the air we were back home, on the ground it was foreign country.

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Riding the Met

When writing my GUFF platform, back in 1986, I mentioned that I like "making good use of metropolitan transit systems as a way of discovering cities."

In my time I have been on these Metro systems:
Got at!

From what I can tell the website defines a Metro as having an underground rail line somewhere in its train system. Of the Metro systems not acknowledged by I've travelled on that of my home city - Melbourne. And I've travelled on city public transport systems that don't (or didn't when I was there) have an underground rail line. Seattle, Den Haag, Geneve, Zurich, and Nice come to mind.

Meanwhile, of those mentioned on the website, I'm not sure sure that I have been on both of Metros in New York and Hong Kong; I may have travelled on only one of the systems in each of those cities. And I'm not sure that I've travelled on the rail lines of Tehran and Toulouse; I've certainly been on buses in those cities and the buses may be part of the Metro system, for all I know.

Oh, and I've been on Kuta's 'Transport Mister' service.


Where in the world

I'm not a seasoned traveller but here's a map of countries I've visited:

create your own visited countries map

The world is an evolving place. This map provides a 2007 picture of my travels, whereas the map my mind holds of those trips is different. I've never been to Egypt or the Palestinian Authority or China or Germany, but I've been to what is now part of those lands. Israel before any of the peace deals, West Germany before the Wall came down, and Hong Kong before the lease the British had ran out.

Convergence 2

This is copied from a Trufen mailing list post. Names have been changed to LJ handles or first names.

fringefaan wrote "Well, let's hear your conreport then! Have you met guff_grrrl?"

At the convention Perry noted that in a couple of months it'll be twenty years since we all travelled over to the UK for Conspiracy '87. My report of that trip still isn't finished. So, [info]fringefaan, are you able to wait 20 or 30 years till I tell you about Convergence 2?


Oh well. Here goes:

It was held here in Melbourne, which is both good and bad. Good because it makes it easy for me at actually attend a convention; bad because I can commute to the con and this means I miss out on that 100% con experience.

I didn't attend on Friday because of a family dinner and could only travel to the con after completing my usual Saturday morning duties. By then the convention was in full swing. The first person I saw upon arriving was Committee Chair [info]rosiemitchell, who was looking quite relaxed. This was a good sign.

After getting an idea of the convention facilities I checked the program and saw that the Fannish Auction was going to end. I was pleased about this because a) I didn't want to spend much money and b) I knew that a lot of the people I wanted to catch up with would be at the auction. Went in, took up a seat in the last row, and when the auction was over I did a quick round of multiple conversations of the "Hi. How are you? I've been good" variety.

And [info]fringefaan, even though I'm sure she was in room I didn't meet the [info]guff_grrrl. At least not then. Our meeting had to wait a few hours, after the GUFF Panel. This was fine event in which [info]guff_grrrl told us about her trip so far and the role of jam in modern fan-fundery, and [info]dalmeny told us about her and [info]dmw's 2005 trip through slides and commentary. As soon as the program item was over I introduced myself to [info]guff_grrrl and almost immediately excused myself as I had to leave the convention, travel to the other end of the city, meet up with my sons and watch our team in that evenings football match. Well, to tell the truth 'had' is not the appropriate word, as I have a tendency to allow attending football matches to take precedence over attending science fiction conventions (a point she-[info]fishlifter reminded me of, since I once caused two program items to be swapped around when I noted that a program I was down as moderating was scheduled against a football match I wanted to attend.)

The next day [info]guff_grrrl, he-[info]fishlifter, she-[info]fishlifter and I went out to lunch, for a Sunday yum cha. [info]guff_grrrl said it is her first yum cha she'd had in many, many, many years, because, she told me, she lives in some culinary backwater called England. In her talk the previous day [info]guff_grrrl had mentioned something called The Trouser Press Incident, which caused knowing fans in the room to guffawe. These days I'm largely a fafiate and therefore I'm not one of the knowing fans, so I asked the Brits to tell me about the Incident. Three British fans means three different variations. Okay, okay I tell a lie, but [info]guff_grrrl, he-[info]fishlifter and she-[info]fishlifter do a well co-ordinated group telling of the Incident. I'm grateful for GUFF for setting in motion a sequence of events that had [info]guff_grrrl mention the Incident in such a way that had me wanting to know more; of such things are British and Australian fandoms brought closer together.

Even if [info]guff_grrrl wasn't there GUFF would have featured heavily in my Convergence 2 experience. There was a great meal part co-ordinated by Justin (1984 GUFF-Laureate), many chats with Roman (1990), Eric & Jean (2001) and [info]dmw & [info]dalmeny (2005). [info]dmw mentioned that if KRin was at the con every living Aussie GUFF winner would have been there. I'm grateful for Roman and Eric pointing out features of iPods that my sons have never bothered to tell me. I currently have vague thoughts of getting one of the things and figured that I want an 8gig one. Eric and Roman asked me a few questions on how I'd be using an iPod and proceeded to showed me how a 2gig one would do me fine. A ten minute conversation that will save me more than $100.

I also need to thank Julian for telling me that I shouldn't be sitting there talking to Perry but be in that room, attending  that program item. It was a screening of Outland, a Ditmar nominated short film, followed by a Q&A with two of the film's top level crew. I missed the first couple of minutes, but I'm glad for Julian's advice. It's about a gay who's having problems coming Out as a sf fan to his potential new boyfriend. Well scripted and tightly edited, watching it was time well spent.

The Fan Guest of Honour was Cath and listening to her speech was also time well spent. In her best end-of-semester teacher sore-throat Cath gave a terrific speech, full of memories of the old days and good anecdotes. I particularly appreciate the convention committee asking Cath to be a GoH because I've previously never known the story of how she discovered fandom.

At the business meeting[info]dmw won the bid to hold the 2009 Natcon. This will be the first Adelaide Natcon since the one that shouldn't have been held in Adelaide (1985). [info]dmw winning the bid immediately caused problems for he-[info]fishlifter and she-[info]fishlifter since travelling Down Under in 2009 suddenly became an attractive idea, and they've already been figuring on a 2010 trip (should Australian get the 2010 Worldcon). Later on she-[info]fishlifter told me that if Rob's Corflu bid gets up that'll make things easier, since it'll mean one less North American trip in the next few years. Australia not winning the 2010 Worldcon would also solve things for them, but I figure that since they were at the Business Meeting if they didn't vote against the Adelaide bid they have no-one else to blame but themselves.

And if they do attend Adelaide I might have to go, too. You see he-[info]fishlifter and she-[info]fishlifter have been at every Australian convention I've attended in the past decade and vice-versa, and I have to do my best to keep these important fannish traditions. On the other hand I have another, longer fannish tradition to maintain, since I've never actually attended an Aussie Natcon outside Melbourne. What to do?

What else happened at the convention? Well, Ditmars were presented, but I don't know to whom. The awards ceremony was the evening that I went to the football, and I now realise that I never actually asked about the winners. I think the Australian Science Fiction Bullsheet won (I guess) Best Fanzine. As I said Outland had been nominated for a Ditmar, and if it didn't win it better have been beaten something Really Good.

The weekend's football results afforded me the opportunity to point out to [info]smofbabe  that my team is now above her's. Since my team had finished last in the past two seasons and hers had played in the finals this was a new experience in our on-going, shared football experience.

And perhaps the biggest thing to happen over the weekend is that I've been Live-Journaled. I was talking to Ju (who was at the con because of NAFF) and [info]mortonhall (who co-founded NAFF) and they're telling me that there's a Live Journal for Australian Fan Funds, so I should friend it ... and I interrupted with "Friend?"

And Ju and [info]mortonhall looked at me, wanting to know what I was asking. And I said that I've hardly ever looked at a Live Journal and they looked at me like I look really, really good for someone who died in 19something, and they said and I said and they said and when I said something like "you mean I have to have my own LJ to contribute to the Australian Fan Funds LJ?" they knew they were getting somewhere.

So the next morning I set up my own Live Journal and pottering around the website prompted a list of questions, which I was able to fire at Ju and [info]mortonhall (and later on, [info]dmw). I have the LJ only so I can contribute to [info]aust_sf_fan_fun but I'm told that such intentions are Famous Last Words. Perhaps I should prove they are FLWs by posting this conreport to my LJ. But first I have to work out how to replace everyone's names with their LJ names....