Monday, 28 September 2015

Yet Another Public Holiday

A new state-wide public holiday is coming up soon in Victoria, Australia. Unfortunately, its announcement wasn't met with the excitement and undying gratitude of the public that the Government probably expected. Grand Final Friday falls on 2nd October, the Friday before the AFL (Australian Football League) Grand Final. Yes, it's a holiday devoted to sport, and it's not our first one!

Picture source.

Objections to the new holiday came from various sources. Traders were not happy as they would have to pay their staff double-time wages, and business would drop the same way it does for other public holidays. Politicians from opposing parties called it a cynical grab for votes. Even the AFL weren't happy. You see, that day is reserved for the traditional Grand Final Friday parade through the city. Normally, city workers on their lunchbreaks make up a fair proportion of the audience and without them, the Grand Final Friday parade could be a fizzer.

And why am I putting "Grand Final Friday" in capital letters anyway, when it wasn't even a thing until a couple of months ago?!

Many others thought it was all a bit pointless, really. We already have enough holidays devoted to sectarian religions, racist colonialism and flimsy excuses for drinking and gambling. Not everyone likes football. Why add another holiday that will possibly only serve to divide the community?

Picture source.

The only one who seems to be pleased that there's a new public holiday is the downtrodden footy fan on the street. Despite our laidback image, Australia ranks near the bottom of the world when it comes to public holidays, with 9 national holidays per year, and 1 to 2 extra state-wide holidays per state. I'm certainly not saying that we don't need an extra holiday! To date, in the state of Victoria, there's been a big gap between holidays in Winter. Queen's Birthday is at the start of June. Melbourne Cup day, a statewide holiday and the other sport-related holiday that I referred to earlier, is in November. That's five whole months of Winter grind to get through betwen public holidays. It's been a source of public commiseration for years. So a new holiday that breaks the drought is very welcome, but we already have one based around sport -- perhaps we could have thought of something different?

Picture source.

As I mentioned, most of the other states in Australia have 1 or 2 state-wide public holidays a year as well, but none of them are sport-related. The ACT has Family & Community Day. Western Australia has Western Australia Day. Not very original, but at least it's something everyone can relate to. South Australia has Proclamation Day, though it falls the day after Boxing Day so I think they're just trying to get an extra day at Christmas! Northern Territory has Picnic Day. Picnic Day! What a wondrous thing! Not only does it celebrate picnics, but it also celebrates the freeing of indentured labourers. That's a holiday everyone can get behind.

Whether you like football or not, we have a new public holiday. I'm sure everyone will spend it doing things they enjoy, whether sport-related or not, so who am I to complain? All I know is, I have a three-day weekend coming up, it's Spring and life is good.

Picture source.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

101 Things In 1,001 Days

The Spring air must be making me feel enthusiastic, because I decided follow the lead of Kathryn of I Don't Know Much But I'm Learning, and start a 101 Things In 1,001 Days list. Either that, or I'm completely batty. I already have a 1,001 Things To Do Before I Die list, which I downloaded and then modified parts to suit my interests. I've completed a grand total of 381. It sounds like a lot, but the first 50 or so involved things like holding someone's hand and opening a bank account, so they were crossed off automatically! Many of the rest involve travel to various places in the world, so I'll just have to be patient for those. Other items are things I won't be able to do until I'm older, like retiring. At least ... I hope I'll be able to retire one day...

You may notice that I arranged the items on the list by subject in Dewey Decimal order.
I'm such a nerd.

I also already have one of those lists of *0 Things To Do By Age *0 .(Ha, did you think you would find out my age that easily?). I started this one a bit late at age *6 and had to fudge it a little bit because several years later I still haven't done three-quarters of them!

Go overseas again is definitely on the list.

Yet another list of things to do seems a bit rash, but I just can't help myself. I'm a list maker at heart. Having a few lists of different lengths instead of just one massively long one keeps my motivation higher. Plus, a lot of the items were things I was going to do anyway, but now I can have the satisfaction of crossing them off a list! I also cheated just the teensiest bit and backdated it by one day so I could add a new restaurant I'd been to the day before.

I've posted the list here, and there's a link to the page in the tab just underneath the header, so you can check up on my progress at any time.

Maybe I'll finish unpacking all of my books.
I don't have quite this many though!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

How I Kondo-ed My Emails

I accidentally deleted the post I was going to post today, so I wrote this instead!

I'm still reading Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and working through the exercises. In my research, I noticed a couple of tidiers who added their computer and/or electronic life to their list of categories to tidy up. Initially, I didn't think of adding this to my list, but for some strange reason, I suddenly decided to Kondo my email account this weekend.

I wish this was my kitty!


I've had my email account for a long time, over 15 years. In that time, I've received a lot of emails! I thought I had set up a smart system for dealing with them. I have folders for different types of emails and I set up 'rules' for them. For example, all emails from knitting and crochet newsletters that I subscribe to went straight to my 'Crafts' folder. Ditto for recipe newsletters and emails from Etsy. I had folders for storing things like receipt emails from Paypal. Emails I wanted to read or action straight away stayed in the Inbox. I also had various deletion rules set up such as "delete emails from __ after 3 days".

I thought I had it all sorted out. But when I had a really good look at my email account, I realised it was a mess. I had a folder called 'To Read Soon' which had emails from 2007 in it! Some of the folders had over 2,000 emails in them! Despite regular attempts to clear my inbox out, I had trouble keeping it under 500 emails. Some of them were over 5 years old. This system was clearly not working.


* I deleted all of the rules -- all 150 of them! That way, all of the emails come straight to my inbox -- there's nowhere for them to hide. I can decide then and there if I want to read them or not. There were a lot of rules pertaining to newsletters I don't subscribe to anymore, so it was good to clear those out as well. Also, I don't get to check my email that often anymore, so I might have been missing out on some that are set to be deleted after 3 days.

* I deleted a lot of old emails. That newsletter about Virtual Libraries from 10 years ago? I'm not sure that's going to be so relevant anymore. I deleted those without even looking at them. The 100 unread emails I still had from Etsy Success which I subscribed to when I had my Etsy shop? The one which I closed down in 2008? All gone.

* I deleted any paypal receipt emails or purchase confirmations that were more than a year old. I then combined this folder with the one where I keep my website signup confirmations and other similar useful emails. I might need to go through this folder manually so that I don't accidentally delete anything important.

* I unsubscribed to a lot of other newsletters that I'm not interested in anymore, either. I unsubscribed to Fine Cooking newsletter because, even though I like collecting recipes, I have a backlog of over 2,000 emails from them, and that's enough recipes for anyone! I'm still thinking about whether to delete many of the older ones without looking at them.

* I amalgamated some of the folders and renamed them to make things more streamlined and less ambiguous. For example, instead of 'Crafts', I have 'Craft Courses' and 'Art Courses'. Now that the craft emails are coming directly to my inbox, I'll either read or delete them straight away. If they relate to an e-course I've signed up to, then I'll move them to the folder. Hopefully this will make me think about which emails to save instead of automatically saving all of them.

I deleted nearly 3,000 emails this weekend, but I still have a long way to go.


* Just like Marie Kondo's rule that your house tidy-up must be finished within 6 months, I want to have my email tidied within that time also. I will spend half an hour a week tidying my email account until it's in tip-top shape!

* If there are still any unread newsletters after 6 months, well, they just weren't meant to be read. If I find that old newsletters are sitting in my inbox or other folders unread, I will delete them and consider unsubscribing.

* I guess "Inbox Zero" is the ultimate, but I'm a bit too daunted to make that one of my goals at this stage!

All photos today are from Pinterest.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Chanrio >> Sanrio Character Creator!

I'm home sick from work today, but I thought I'd share this Chanrio Creator that I've been having fun with this week.
Note: I was not able to use the site with Firefox, but had success with Chrome.

The most important instructions are in English as well as Japanese, and I had no trouble figuring it out, but if you need extra help there's a tutorial here.

With my first Chanrio I went the Kawaii route, then tried Mori with my second one:

As you can see, there weren't too many Mori options -- my look is still more Kawaii than Mori! Kawaii was my first love though, and I've been pondering lately how the two could be combined. It's a slight shame that there's no option for red hair, otherwise they'd look more like me, but if you're a kimono fan, there are many to choose from -- you'll be in heaven!

In other news, my Marie Kondo book arrived yesterday and I've started reading it. She's a very interesting person!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

My August

August was a month of two halves for me. As I mentioned last month, I had the first two weeks off for a 'staycation' or as I preferred to call it, a 'home-iday'. Far from the excited frenzy of crafting and home renovations that I pictured in my fevered brain, I actually spent most of it sitting around playing computer games. Week 1 was to be our relaxing week, and Week 2 our going-out week, but I developed a bad cold at the start of Week 2 and spent most of it sleeping and playing more computer games. Almost everything that I did, I've already posted about! So this month's update might be a little sparse.

What I've been growing ...
Remember last year when I grew sweet potato cuttings? This is my harvest. I left it too late to dig them up and most of them were rotten. Oops. I'll try to be more prompt next year.

What I've been seeing ...
I took Husband to the Melbourne Sea Life Aquarium, as he'd never been there before and my last visit was many years ago. The fish and other marine creatures were truly beautiful. The photos don't do justice to them at all.

There was a particularly fun new room where you can colour an outline on a piece of paper, scan it in, and it will appear on the giant projector screen. There were 8 different types of sea life to choose from, and on the screen they behave just like the real animals. My fish swam back and forth in a school with the other children's fish, whereas Husband's jellyfish blobbed along the bottom.

What I've been playing ...
I started playing a new ipod game called Dragon Vale. It's a cute little game where you have a theme park which doubles as a dragon breeding facility. The aim is to breed adorable little dragons together to create new hybrids and collect all the different varieties. Husband has been playing it for a while, and I've been bombarding him with questions about it: "Is it worthwhile having lots of decorations?" "Should I buy the Colosseum or save up for a larger breeding cave?"

What else I've been doing ...
A relatively new tradition where I list all the other stuff I did last month, relevant or not...

made congee for the first time ~ discovered Celebrity Chef China ~ got halfway through organising my makeups ~ did parts 2 and 3 of the art journalling course ~ went to the art gallery ~ did my first painting on canvas ~ made puffy crackers ~ found a floating island in The Blockheads ~ walked to the duck pond again ~ made roast potatoes ~ went to a board game day where I played many new games and a 9-year-old taught me how to make Rainbow Loom bracelets on my fingers ~ found a Gem Tree in The Blockheads ~ pruned the roses ~ made a Shaun the Sheep costume ~ made a decision to look after my health better ~ refreshed my favourites list on Etsy ~ bought a vintage haori on Etsy ~ walked an extremely long way to get to lunch with a friend ~ went to 2 birthday parties ~ wrote several blog posts ~ read a paper on the records continuum ~ bought a new plant friend ~ fertilised the fruit trees and roses ~ baked scones which came out more like rock cakes ~ picked oranges from my tree ~ baked cupcakes for Cupcake Day