she sells sanctuary

March 30, 2004
Shiver me timbers
Thanks to James for sending me this old snapshot of
Captain Quiggin:

posted by Gianna 12:10 PM

. . .

Arndt misbehavin'
Bettina Arndt reckons single mums would turn down a relationship because they've got it so good on the dole:
"There's no doubt less-educated young men are being left on the shelf. Since almost half of the unpartnered women they meet are likely to be single mothers, these males can't compete with the financial incentives offered by the government to lone mothers who remain single."

Of course, Bettina. I mean, who needs a man when you're in bed with the Government? And I don't know about you, but I always get my calculator out when I'm falling in love.

posted by Gianna 8:45 AM

. . .

March 28, 2004
We took the long way around to the boatshed today and back up the hill to the shops, past all the kids playing footy in the street and the retirees out for their power walks. Walking around this neighbourhood reminds me of why I moved out here; it's like living in a rainforest. Except for the kids playing footy and the retirees, that is.
On every street corner there's a little wooden arrow nailed to a tree, pointing in the direction of the boatshed cafe, painted with the words FROTHY COFFEE. The signs have remained the same since we started coming here in the Seventies, when I guess nobody knew what "cappucino" was, and have always been a source of amusement to us city folk.
Up at the shops, I bought all the ingredients for veal marsala except marsala, and a tub of TimTam icecream (argh!). Outside the general store there a noticeboard with a bunch of handwritten notes on it, advertising bodyboards, boats and rotary hoes for sale, the 'ultimate girls' night out!' (some kind of lingerie-Tupperware party, I take it) and a local sk8ter competition. There's a note written "to the person who ran over the cat in ____ Drive. You could of at least STOPPED to render assistance instead of leaving the cat there to DIE. The kids at the bustop were DEVASTATED. I hope you get bad KARMA." Underneath, someone (the culprit, perhaps?) has scrawled, "Good on the driver!! Cats are wildlife killers!!" And under that, someone else has written, "A life is a life! It's not a cat's fault it is an introduced species. Our cats wear bells anyway!"
My cats haven't caught a bird since we got here. They're generally afraid of them. There's so many it's like living in a giant aviary--a thousand twittering birds. The worst are the butcher birds that come to steal the cat biscuits--they have such a hideous, raucous cry that I wish the cats would catch them.
Everyone we pass on our stroll always stops to exclaim how tiny the baby is and to ask how old he is. He seems huge to me (latest weighing has him at 4.630kg), and it's only really when we're in the company of other, older babies, that I realise how small he really is. Like yesterday, when he shrunk in comparison to a beefy six month old baby and two one year olds.
When we got home I put on my two new CDs--The Salesman and Bernadette by Vic Chestnutt (courtesy
Tim) and my friend Steve's latest album, Stolen Goods (Steve Griffiths, Fork Records, available to order via Red Eye Records); scroll for a small description here). Both full of gorgeous laidback Sunday tunes. While the baby slept I cooked dinner and then tried to paint hippos and giraffes, copied off some cot linen, because I figure his nursery needs something to liven up the walls. I couldn't quite nail them; think I need live models...
Then he got me all choked up when I sat down to gaze at him and rested my hand on his chest and he stirred slightly and gently placed his little hand on top of mine. Awwww...

posted by Gianna 8:46 PM

. . .

Tainted love
What exactly is
her point? That it's hard? That it's harder? (than when?) That it's all women's fault for being too picky? That it's men's fault? That it's nobody's fault? What?

Ah, here's the answer. It's economic, stupid.

posted by Gianna 7:13 PM

. . .

March 26, 2004
Handle with care
I was on the phone tonight to my friend J., who is Jewish. She pointed me to
this story today in the International Herald Tribune which gives a pretty good analysis of the motivations and repercussions of Sheikh Yassin's assassination. In my view the assassination was a strategic mistake, no matter how many people Yassin killed. Rather than making Israel appear strong as it withdraws from Gaza, and so deter violence (as Sharon seems to hope), it seems just as likely to incite further hatred and cause more violence. Purely from an anti-Israeli propaganda point of view, you can't really get much more potent than those images of Yassin's bloodied wheelchair. And as the IHT story details, it's all just about spin. That's exactly why that other pre-emptive unilateral strike--America's war on Iraq--was a strategic mistake in the 'war on terror'. Here's how Hamas spun that:
"We are dealing with America as the co-partner with Israel for all the crimes committed by them against our people. So they give them the green light and Sharon will never decide to assassinate Sheikh Ahmed Yassin without taking green light from Bush. Bush, who brought army to attack and to kill also civilian people in Iraq. Bush now is representing the... as he described, a new Crusades."
Mahmoud al Zahhar on dateline

On the same program, Shimon Peres gave us the root-cause argument in a nutshell:
"I believe personally that you cannot stop terror just by killing the terrorist. You have to fight them, clearly. But you also have to tackle the reasons for terror. You have to ask yourself what are the motivations of people who commit suicide and for that reason, we in the Opposition feel that you have to do two things, which are contradictory in a parallel way. One is to fight the terrorist in a determined way. On the other hand is to negotiate with the Palestinians that they themselves will begin to fight terror because terror is their enemy, not only ourselves. The terroristic works are frustrating any agenda that the Palestinians are trying to introduce."

It's the only way forward, no matter how hysterical Tim Blair gets about the simple idea of attempting to "know your enemy".

posted by Gianna 11:30 PM

. . .

Ignorance is not bliss
Talking to J. tonight reminded me of a phone conversation we had after peace activist Rachel Corrie was killed in Palestine last year.
J. said, "Darling, I can't talk now, I've got D. over for dinner."
"That's OK," I said. "I just want to know, in a sentence, what's your view on what happened to Rachel Corrie? Do you think they deliberately ran her down?"
"She sat in front of a bulldozer, Gianna. I mean, I think it's tragic, but of course they didn't target her. She shouldn't have been there. Those bulldozers only target houses where they know Palestinian terrorists are hiding."
I said, dumbly, "But why won't Israel give Gaza back? It's terrible what they do to the Palestinians.
Rachel's emails, they're heartbreaking." I sensed her increasing frustration with me, but went on, "So, what's the Jewish position on Gaza, again?"
"Listen, Gianna, you don't understand. Israel tried to give land back to the Palestinians and they didn't want it, it was all or nothing--"
"What about how Arafat won the--"
"He's the guy who's responsible for every fucking airliner that was hijacked in the Seventies!"
"Well, a few years back he got the Nobel Peace Prize together with Rabin, I think, and someone else."
"He invented terrorism!" Deep sigh. "Look, I'm going to lend you those two books I told you about, so you can try to understand."
"Okay, okay."
"Say hi to D."
"I will, darling."
"Goodnight, sweet."
I never did borrow those books. I wish I had, because the Israel-Palestine conflict isn't going away and it's a root cause of the Islamic terrorism that threatens all of us now.

posted by Gianna 10:52 PM

. . .

March 25, 2004
Once in a blue moon I can receive SBS up here, and last night was one such occasion, so it was great to be able to catch the two fascinating interviews with new Hamas deputy leader Mahmoud Al Zahhar and Israeli Opposition leader Shimon Peres on
dateline. (Note, Dateline has an irritating way of posting transcripts whereby you can't link directly to the stories as they only open in small text boxes off the main site.)

posted by Gianna 6:43 AM

. . .

March 24, 2004
Has anyone ever had to do a DNA test? Harley's father's lawyers are insisting I have one, otherwise Harley won't see a cent of child support, apparently. Strange, since the father has already signed the birth registration papers, and in the past I've sworn an affidavit confirming Harley's parentage, which was used in a court case (not mine). And geez, the father was extremely keen to claim Harley as his child on his website, so being told by the lawyers that he's questioning paternity is a bit rich. I mean, as if I'd lie about who the father was, when it could be proved through DNA anytime. Oh well. It's also a bit strange that m'learned friends are demanding that my DNA be sampled at the same time. Surely we don't need proof that I'm Harley's mum? It's like that Irish joke where the daughter comes home and announces she's pregnant and her father says, "Are you sure it's yours?". And I'm not all that pleased with the idea of my DNA being stored on some database somewhere, where it could potentially be misused, either. Anyway, I hope they can just snip a lock of Harley's hair (god knows he has enough of it!) rather than stick a needle in him.

posted by Gianna 11:32 AM

. . .

March 23, 2004
Over before it even began
For a while there it looked as if Jeff Kennett might become the
Peter Andre of politics, but he's now ruled out a comeback, apparently. Mystified as to what he meant by an 'announcement of "federal" importance' though.

posted by Gianna 8:18 AM

. . .

Of all the blogs in all the world, you had to walk into mine
Something got
lost in translation over at Languagehat.

posted by Gianna 4:59 AM

. . .

The unforgiven
I like to read about other people's families.
The Scribbler, for example, has just written a lovely piece about his dad. I'd like to write something about my dad, too, even though I think he occasionally reads my blog. We've only just come to a kind of truce after not speaking for some time over the summer. This happens periodically in my relationship with my father; when I was 18 he didn't speak to me for a year because he didn't approve of my junkie lover--but what father would? It's funny, though; it only recently emerged that he's still angry at me over those events more than a decade ago. I'm not someone who can hold a grudge for longer than a couple of days, so it always amazes me when others can.
My mother comes by about every second day. She rides her bike, or my father gives her a lift. He'll drop her off and stand by the car, so I have to bring the baby out to see him. He says he won't come into the house until I apologise. He's still smarting over some things that were said over the summer. In fact we both said things, but my mother admonishes me, "You're the younger one, so it's you who should apologise." He thinks I'm an ungrateful child; I guess he never read this.
For Harley's sake, the other week I attempted an apology. But my father deemed my apology to be only half-hearted and so is holding out for a more convincing one. In the meantime, he won't come in the house, but when pressed, he'll join us on the deck. Last Sunday my mother brought around a chocolate pecan pie and some leaf tea and a glass teapot--she doesn't care for teabags. She spread out a white tablecloth on the deck and we sat there with the rain cascading down all around us, eating cake. I made the classic 'proud mother' mistake of waking Harley when they arrived, even though he'd only just fallen asleep, in order to let them have some quality time with him awake. He'd been awake for most of the morning but had fallen into a deep sleep about a minute before they arrived, so I woke him and gave him a bath and dressed him in the faded purple jumpsuit that my mother had bought him at the op-shop. After all the excitement of seeing his Oma and Opa he was overstimulated and wouldn't settle again for hours. You learn these things the hard way.
My dad shies away from holding the baby and he winces and grimaces when I do, as if I'm going to drop him. "Luis," my mother rolls her eyes. "You don't have to worry. Mothers have an instinct about their babies." It makes me wonder what he was like when we were small; I know he was wonderful when we were children, but perhaps he was afraid to hold us when we were babies, too.

posted by Gianna 4:05 AM

. . .

March 21, 2004
Soldiering on
So anyway, what I wanted to add about
Christopher Pearson's piece yesterday is that, like the Howard Government, he wants us to believe that Australians are terrorist targets solely because of 'who we are, not what we do'. But what I don't understand is how we can divorce one from the other. Surely the idea of 'who we are' is affected by 'what we do'. I mean, if terrorists just want to kill us because we are a secular democracy, then why aren't they targetting, say, Sweden?
On the refusal of the Howard Government to admit that the war in Iraq made us more of a target, as though they can't comprehend the concept of 'more', Pearson just dismisses the concept of 'increased risk' by talking about 'the madness of the Islamo-fascist project' where 'relative vulnerability becomes more a matter of terrorist opportunities than notional orders of provocation'.
However Pearson ends his column by quoting the 'leading expert on Al Qaeda', Rohan Gunaratna, who said,
"Australia has no option but to work with the US in the fight against terror because it has long been regarded by Islamic fundamentalists as a crusader country."

And Pearson concurs that "our antagonists imagine us as a crusader state". Well, if we are perceived as such, doesn't it have to have something to do with our actions, rather than just the fact that we are a secular democracy?

posted by Gianna 5:40 AM

. . .

Rudely cut off
I hadn't finished blogging last night when the line dropped out, and I didn't want to risk waking the baby with that hideous dialup noise. Just wondering, can anyone tell me if there is any way of dialing up silently? Cheers.

posted by Gianna 5:35 AM

. . .

March 20, 2004
Peed my lips
Think this is In
bad taste?
"CITING public concern, Virgin Atlantic has scrapped plans to install urinals in the shape of a woman's lips at the airline's clubhouse at New York's John F. Kennedy airport."

They could've come up with something worse, but we won't go there (this being a family blog now 'n all).

posted by Gianna 8:27 PM

. . .

Silly me
In today’s Australian, Christopher Pearson
“…the task of government will be to engage [Australians] as conscious, civilian participants in a life or death struggle that will undoubtedly reach these shores one way or another,”

then in the same paragraph goes on to say:
“…the lessons of Bali have not been learned and the land of the long weekend lives on in the infantilised minds of many.”

So the Government should treat Australians as ‘conscious, civilian participants’, but Pearson can keep describing us as ‘infantilised’. Got it.

posted by Gianna 8:21 PM

. . .

March 19, 2004
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood
Checking my letterbox this afternoon I found a gift from my neighbour
Debbie, she of the devoutly Christian family of nine. There was a handmade card with 'Babies are God's gifts' written on the front and a copy of Above Rubies magazine:
"Above Rubies is a magazine to encourage women in their high calling as wives, mothers and homemakers. Its purpose is to uphold and strengthen family life and to raise the standard of God's truth in the nation."

The stories are quite interesting--organic babyfood, homeschooling tips, inspirational anecdotes, that kind of thing--even if every second word seems to be "God". Do you think she's on a mission to save me? At least now I know why the lawnmowing is so cheap: it's either pay or pray. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not poking fun at her. I'm secretly impressed by the religious, because they have so much certainty about everything. Hell, I wish I could be a believer, but unfortunately I can't seem to suspend disbelief.

posted by Gianna 3:12 PM

. . .

Where do we go from here?
Tim does the hard work, we just link to it--here's this week's Blogjam.
As far as hot blogtopics go, I'm trying to keep up with all the Madrid debates but I have to admit I find the whole thing pretty confusing. I wish we could just start over and find a practical way to deal with terrorism instead of wasting a lot of time and energy with all this namecalling and fingerpointing at each other in the West. It just doesn't feel like we're getting anywhere in this supposed "war on terror". It feels hopeless. I don't feel as if there is any kind of intelligent strategy to destroy terrorism from the bottom up--ie. from where ordinary Islamic people are seduced and brainwashed into supporting fundamentalism. Catching the megalomaniacs de jour in the leadership positions of the various Islamic terrorist organisations is important, sure, but it isn't enough if we aren't doing something about the reasons why fundamentalism is able to be so effectively marketed by them. When I say "we", I mean us and "them"--the world's moderate Islamic majority. If it's going to work it needs to be a joint venture.

update: This is a start: "Al-Qaeda a bunch of crazies: Mufti" .

posted by Gianna 6:34 AM

. . .

March 17, 2004
Referrer madness
Thought I'd do a regular post linking to any new referrers I get, or new commenters who have blogs. Of course, you can already access them through my site stats or through the comments box, this just makes it easier for me to visit them in future, especially if I want to add them to the blogroll (although I don't get around to updating my template very often). Anyway, please meet
zucchinis in bikinis, lunacy101, The China Letter, soul pacific, bowled over, Powerup, kitschenette, any resemblance and amnesty for Claire--some of whom you may already know.
And hey, lookee here, stradbroke isle has been blogging again, if sporadically. Here's a link to David's latest post, about Hawaii: Forlorn in the USA (love the headline). One for my brother who lives there--in case he reads me, which I suspect he doesn't.

posted by Gianna 1:07 PM

. . .

Palm reading
My local neighborhood newsletter, Voice of the Palms (no link; it probably only has a print run of a couple of hundred), carries a news item about a recent visit to our area by Carmen Lawrence:
"...Before her speech and questions, Carmen Lawrence visited each table and talked with just about everyone there. She shares Mark Latham's belief that politicians must listen at least as much as they talk. At the end of the evening, she was farewelled with a standing ovation. This was at 11pm. How many politicians would you farewell like that after 4 hours of them?"

Bodes well.

posted by Gianna 11:37 AM

. . .

Tricky and out of touch
I'm having so many problems with the internet again lately, it's not funny. I can't get into hardly anyone's sites--it keeps telling me "the connection with the server was reset". And when I do manage to logon somewhere, I am booted off after a minute or so. I had this problem around Christmas but then it kind of fixed itself before I got around to switching service providers (I assume it's a service provider issue). This time, I don't know...Optus, you are officially on notice. Hell, I can't even read the news. Just when I feel like blogging again, too.
Well, while I'm here I may as well give you the weekly Harley update. He's three weeks old now, and has finally got the hang of feeding without causing me to grit my teeth. Unfortunately, he's also got the hang of inexplicable daily crying sessions, but the books assure me this is normal once they hit three weeks or so. And oh, joy, it's supposed to last til about three months... Still, we've now invested in one of those amazing pouch thingys-whoever invented them deserves a medal. Puts him to sleep almost immediately and has the added benefit of allowing me to catch up on housework. The hard part is unattaching him (or stopping moving) without waking him up, so I often resort to doing laps of the dining table while reading a book. I'm sure the cats think I've gone nuts.

update: The connection seems to be working's now given me almost half an hour online without cutting me off...amazing.

posted by Gianna 6:51 AM

. . .

March 15, 2004
Sex, drugs and Rock'n'roll
He's managing to stay Stone cold sober these days, but poor old Ron Wood has been told if he doesn't give up smoking within a year,
he'll cark it. So he's set himself a quit date of 17 March. Wish him luck: cigarettes are harder to quit than heroin, as they say. Personally I doubt I would have managed to quit if I hadn't got pregnant. The morning sickness turned me off them almost overnight--they suddenly acquired the distinct flavour of rotting fish.
Just rereading that story, I'm quite curious how our Rolling Stone gathered Kate Moss as an "old mate"? Oh, right: "I've got a wonderful dedicated wife. But I still have a look, you know. You must never stop looking--and I have a flirt." Ah, so maybe that's it.

posted by Gianna 3:56 PM

. . .

If and when
If it turns out that Al Qaeda were responsible and that Spain was targetted because of its membership of the Coalition of the Willing, then you have to assume the timing--just before the Spanish election--was indeed relevant and intended to punish and destablise the incumbent as much as possible. Setting off the bombs just days before the election meant that people would be voting while still angry and emotional. Anyway, if this really is part of Al Qaeda's
new campaign of retribution for America's war on Iraq, then Spain was only first because its election came first, and Australia and the US are looking particularly vulnerable in the days and weeks before our respective elections later this year.

posted by Gianna 6:57 AM

. . .

Known unknowns
Donald Rumsfeld
honestly doesn't know if Osama bin Laden is dead or alive, or where he is, or when they'll catch him, but one thing he's certain about is that:
"...we've put a lot of pressure on the al-Qaeda network around the world. And we believe we're safer and more secure because we have put pressure on that network...And they [US trained local forces] are working their way around in that country [Afghanistan] to see that the Taliban and the al-Qaeda don't have an opportunity to regroup and try to cause additional terrorist acts."

Looks like they were able to regroup just fine in Madrid.

posted by Gianna 6:30 AM

. . .

March 13, 2004
Just a silly phase?
five stages of blogging according to Crooked Timber. But I think they've left out Desperation, characterised by the frantic and usually futile search for potentially bloggable news items on the net. This stage is typically experienced after an episode of Panic, when you realise you've been talking about yourself way too much lately and your blog is in danger of disappearing into your navel. Desperation and Panic are often followed by the stage of Disillusionment, when you find out that you've got nothing to say about anything today and, anyway, everyone else is saying it better.

posted by Gianna 3:41 PM

. . .

March 12, 2004
Hooptedoodle and the Wholesale Safety Pun Factory
"Damn!" I exclaim angrily. I was just about to open with the weather again, and then perhaps describe a few more wacky neighbours, when suddenly I discover that I routinely break all
Elmore Leonard's rules, and all hell breaks loose. "Thanks a lot, Scribbler," I groan sarcastically. "But hey, I love your James Joyce anecdote!"

posted by Gianna 6:59 PM

. . .

Blubbers in arms
You're never too young to
join the Army:
"AMERICAN soldiers in Iraq will this month be armed with a stun gun that uses a baby's high-pitched scream to bring enemies to their knees. The Secret Scream gun fires sonic "bolts" as far as 300m at up to 145 decibels, with results ranging from excruciating agony to permanent deafness -- or even death after a prolonged burst."

Apparently soiled nappies are also being considered for use as biological weapons.

posted by Gianna 8:02 AM

. . .

Johnny's cash
Gee, it's amazing the amount of
spare change you can find stuffed between the couch cushions when you're tidying up for an upcoming election.

posted by Gianna 7:18 AM

. . .

March 11, 2004
The latest nudes
I think is trying to convert me with their latest offering--she's gorgeous, eh?--but I haven't given up on meeting my dream man just yet. I must be a sucker for punishment., on the other hand, seems to have been reading my blog, because they've emailed me details of a guy who says that at his place, 'clothes are optional'. Which reminds me of one of the few things I've missed about Sydney so far--life drawing class. That, and the hundreds of options for takeaway on King Street. Sigh.

posted by Gianna 10:23 AM

. . .

March 10, 2004
An unguarded moment
Lord, how embarrassing. I just answered the door in my bra to find the teenage son of a neighbour standing there. Jesiah is one of Debbie's
seven children, and they're devout Christians--I hope I haven't now corrupted him. He's come by to mow my lawns for five dollars. Debbie wanted him to do it for just two dollars, but I felt like I was taking advantage, so I managed to negotiate her up slightly. (I should send him round to Kirribilli House, where John Howard spends about $210,000 a year of taxpayers' money to get his lawns done.)
I've now met most of the neighbours in my street, either bumping into them while out with the stroller, or through them dropping around to introduce themselves. When I was heavily pregnant and grumpy during the heatwave, I didn't appreciate the intrusions, but since being virtually housebound with a newborn, I've come to enjoy the endless cuppas and offers of help and advice. Which explains me groggily opening the door wearing only a bra and jeans--I've been getting regular visits from the local womenfolk, who aren't shy about giving me hands-on advice on nursing Harley: "So, if you just take your breast in this hand, like so..." (Now if I could just get the menfolk to do the same...haha.) Even Frances from next door has inveigled her way into my affections lately, popping in with homemade caramel slice and showing me the quilt she's making for Harley, and when it rained for a few days recently, carting off my wet nappies to dry them in her dryer. Yesterday, her husband Bill, who's a Justice of the Peace, helped me out with witnessing a statutory declaration, and popping it on their fax for me, thereby saving me a trip into town. In return I have made myself available to Frances for long chats, filling her in on the saga involving a certain unmentionable person. She's a sweet thing, really. Bless them all.

posted by Gianna 1:00 PM

. . .

March 09, 2004
Weighing in again
Harley's infant nurse, Jenni, was passing through the area just now and dropped in and weighed him again, and he's put on about 50gm a day since her last visit (he'd put on half a kilo when she weighed him after 10 days). She says he's really thriving. Ah, just what we absolute beginners like to hear! What's more, it's getting much less painful to feed him by the day--less like piranhas, more like your average nipple clamps (I imagine, not being an expert on S&M).
So anyway, back to regular blogging soon. That's if Harley gives me a break today. It's so hot again that he's been pretty unsettled through the daytime, but he's still doing the long sleeps at night, so I can't complain. And it's the perfect time for a Lefty blogger to coast a little--the Liberals are imploding just fine without any help from me.

posted by Gianna 11:15 AM

. . .

March 04, 2004
A stroke of luck
Malcolm is out mowing his lawn again this morning, as me and Harley take our new three-wheeler stroller up to the shops for a test drive. Malcolm waves when he sees us, stops his mower and takes off his earmuffs.
"I looked for you at the hospital," he grins. "But you'd already gone."
"Oh--I'm a paediatric nurse at the hospital. Didn't I tell you? In the Children's ward, right next to Maternity. My wife reminded me to look out for you, but by the time I did, you'd left."
"Ohhh, right! Yeah, I was only in there a couple of days," I nod, amazed. Builder, electrician, truck driver--sure. But a paediatric nurse? Never would've picked it a million years. Just goes to show my latent prejudices.
"So if you have any questions at all, you just come right over. Anytime, OK?" Malcolm says.
Right across the road from an expert on babies! How's that for good luck?

posted by Gianna 4:00 PM

. . .

Hot blogs
I'm sure all my readers are
Surfdom readers as well, so you'll probably have seen the announcement over there, but in case you haven't heard, Tim Dunlop has joined forces with the Herald's Margo Kingston to publish a regular piece over at Webdiary focussing on what's getting people hot and bothered around the blogosphere so keep an eye out for that.

posted by Gianna 3:22 PM

. . .

March 03, 2004
Allah, the world's a stage
It's no surprise that the Islamic world is
outraged by the production of an Arabic version of Big Brother--after all, enough Westerners were outraged by the local show and the televised antics of the yoof of today. What's surprising is that anyone has dared to appear on this show in a Muslim country at all.
For me, the cross cultural angle is the true evolution of reality TV. Forget the ever tackier resort/reno shows--I want to see what 'reality' (yes, even when highly staged) is like in other countries. Can you imagine how fascinating it would be to watch this Arabic version of the show? Don't you just want to be a fly on the wall as they all sit around and interact? What would they talk about? And assuming they'd have to wear chadors, how would you tell the female contestants apart?
I've often wondered why the international versions of the franchise aren't screened in different countries. Presumably the distributors' rationale is that we won't want to watch, say, the Dutch contestants, because we don't relate to their lives, or even just because we'd need subtitles. But personally, I'd love it, and the more different the culture, the more interesting it would be. Of course, a daily show could be too much, but a condensed version could work, I reckon. Then again, maybe it's just me with my particular interest in social and personality psychology!

posted by Gianna 4:19 AM

. . .

Me ne quitte pas
I know I'm not supposed to have time to blog, and at first I didn't see how I possibly could, what with the washing machine permanently running and the piranhas constantly attacking me and the visitors and phone calls and emails to answer (sorry if I haven't answered you yet). I guess I'm lucky that, so far, Harley is a really peaceful baby who settles easily into long sleeps after feeding. I suppose where I blog, others might watch daytime (or nighttime) TV. And hey, you can type with one hand! Cool. Anyway, it looks as if the deflating lady hasn't sung just yet, so it's back to bad puns and whingeing about John Howard (though I expect posts to be fewer than in my previous life).

posted by Gianna 4:00 AM

. . .

March 01, 2004
Ah, he's sleeping.....Quickly then....Words pretty much fail me...but I thought I'd check in and say hello before I forget how to blog altogether. Thanks for all your well wishes--it's truly the most incredible thing I've ever experienced and I'm totally in love with the bub, whose name, incidentally, is Harley (which I've since found out is Teutonic for 'deer hunter' or 'archer', and Old English for 'from the rabbit pasture').
He arrived after a short (5 1/2 hours) labour that was incredibly intense. I won't go into the gory details lest I put any aspiring parents off the task (suffice to say nothing you read and nothing anyone tells you can prepare you for it--and I remain of the view that human reproduction has some serious design flaws). For those curious about the drugs--I had gas and pethidine but left it too late to ask for an epidural. The gas worked for a few hours, then I begged for pethidine, which was completely hopeless during contractions, though it did get me nicely high between them (I said some pretty strange things to my mum, apparently). I did whimper pathetically for an epidural towards the end, but the anaesthetist was in surgery elsewhere and by the time he arrived an hour or so later, the obstetrician said the baby was only minutes away, and so he was.
Harley's the cutest darn thing I've ever seen and I've been on a massive high ever since and am absolutely loving the whole thing. Yup, all the cliches are true. What's more, he's been sleeping for four-hour chunks during the night, which is great, so I'm not too sleep deprived (yet). And geez, it's nice not to be pregnant anymore! But I need to get the hang of this breastfeeding caper--at present, it still feels like little piranhas attaching themselves to me twenty times a day...Anyway, as you all predicted, there's little time to do anything except look after him at this point, so I probably won't be back into blogging for some time yet.
Well, see you some time down the track, I hope.

posted by Gianna 12:24 PM

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