Category Archives: And then melvan hastily ranted…

“What did I say about singing?” “Can I whistle?” “No.” “Well can I hum?” “All right.”

Name that quote. 😉

So here we are in our hotel room in Cooma, south of Canberra. The weather was wet and cold but it didn’t put us off. My estimate: a few thousand adults & older kids and probably an equal amount of babies & younger children. Not an insignificant amount. People organised buses from Melbourne and other areas.

So the population of Australia is about what, 22 million now? And half of those are women and girls, so 11 million there. And ‘only’ one percent of women birth at home, right? That’s 110,000 women and girls in Australia right now who will want to birth at home in their lifetime. That number is nothing to sneeze at.

And the legislation, if/when it goes through, will NOT stop me birthing at home next time. Yeah there’s a few publicly funded home birth programs, but I wouldn’t qualify for them now because one of my babies died. Never mind that Ian was damaged long before his birth, and in the unlikely event I had another baby with the same issues, there’s nothing the almighty ‘they’ could do about it anyway. One of the doctors who looked after him said even if I’d had an ultrasound, they wouldn’t have picked it up. So for me, there’s no point in going to hospital.

But anyway, I’ve gotten off topic. We have no TV in our hotel room tonight so I don’t know if I’ll see anything about it yet. But there were lots of cameras so hopefully someone will take it all seriously enough.

The obligatory Telstra rant.

10 am Thursday morning, I’m innocently sitting at my computer trying to look at one of my regular web haunts, when I get a ‘cannot connect to server’ message. I tried another site thinking that one was just having trouble, but I got it again. So I went to power cycle the modem, which is usually my first port of call when Darrin isn’t home and the internets are broken. Nothing happened. Checked all the cables, tried again. Still nothing happened. Pick up the telephone receiver…dead silence. Ah. So that’s the problem. Got out our brand spankin’ new laptop and tried to find an unsecure wireless network. Only one wireless network comes up, and it’s a secure one. Drat. Eventually I rang up the Telstra fault report number on my mobile, punched in our phone number, and was told by a computer that a line had been cut somewhere and they expected it to be resolved by 7pm that night. Okay, so one day with no internet is annoying, but not the end of the world. I can cope. I’ll just go do some sewing & gardening, stuff I’d been meaning to do for a while anyway.

7pm comes and goes. Still no dial tone on our phone. So Darrin’s home by now and rings the fault number, and stays on to talk to a real live person. They tell him it’s been pushed back to Friday evening at 7pm. Boo, hiss.

Friday morning, keep checking the phone to see if there’s a dial tone. Nope. Rang it from my mobile a few times and it RINGS. From past experience setting up my phone line when I lived at Campbelltown, this tells me maybe they’ve hooked it up to the wrong house. But anyway. I keep ringing the fault number now & then to see what’s going on, and all they say is ‘service difficulty’ and ‘as soon as practical’ for return of service. That doesn’t fill me with confidence.

So anyway. I was catching up with some friends in North Adelaide, so I thought I’d take the laptop along and see if I could find a wireless network while I was there. Nope. So when I left I started looking again, with the laptop open on the passenger seat. North Adelaide was looking pretty good for wireless networks, even unsecure ones (for instance Internode, our ISP, has several around the city). But I couldn’t connect to any of them. I’m thinking being in the car was interfering with the signal. So anyway, we start driving home. And I decide what the heck, McDonald’s has free wireless, and a playground, and I’m desperate. So we stopped for lunch and Caleb played in the playground while I surfed the net a bit. And then we went home.

And I kept checking the modem/phone/fault number for updates, but nothing changed. And Darrin decided to ring them just as I was going to bed, and talked to a real live person again, and they told him: Monday.

MONDAY?! Could they be any more slack? (Well, yes, it’s Telstra. Slack is their middle name.)

Oh, and also Friday evening, I was trying all night to get into online banking from Darrin’s Blackberry, but it kept telling me the service was too busy and to try again later. Argh.

So Saturday morning I got up, tried the Blackberry again, and still no luck. And then I showered, got dressed, and headed off to the library to use one of their computers. And here’s where it starts to get funny. Not.

I sat down at a booking computer and punched in my card number & PIN. And it told me that bookings aren’t allowed on my account. Huh?! I’ve used computers there before, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t been ‘naughty’ with them, so why the heck is it telling me that? I tried another one. Same message. So I go to the desk and tell the librarian what’s happening, and she checks my card, and tells me there’s a fine on my account that has to be paid before I can use a computer. Great. So I check in my wallet, and as I expected, I don’t have anything even closely resembling two dollars. And I tell the librarian that I need to get into online banking, so I can transfer money into another account, so I can withdraw it and pay the fine. She doesn’t look too happy about it, but gives me a temporary login so I can get in and transfer the money. Yay.

So then I walked down to the ATM, got the money, went into the shops, got some meat for tea, and went back to the library. Paid my fine, sat down at a booking computer, and it told me the next available computer would be 45 minutes away. And have I mentioned that Darrin needed the car that afternoon to go orienteering? Yeah, so that wasn’t gonna work. So I went around to one of the quick use computers, 15 minute sessions, and used that one. Logged back in when time was up, went for another 15 minutes. About 4 minutes from the end of that session, Darrin sends me a text to ask what we’re doing for lunch and that he WAS planning to leave in 40 minutes. Oops.

So I went to a takeaway shop & grabbed a couple schnitzel packs. Came home, had lunch, Darrin sat down at his computer and said “Do you want the good news or the bad news?” I gave him a funny look. He said “The good news is our internet’s back. The bad news is our internet’s back so we can sit around wasting time.”

And there was much rejoicing (yay).

We’re not gonna take this lying down.

I know you’re all probably wondering when we’ll blog about our experience with Ian and what exactly happened, and we’ll get to that, but for now I need to let you know what’s happening in another arena.

See the countdown on the right side of the page? That’s no joke. From July next year, Australian independent midwives will face a $30,000 fine for attending a birthing woman at home. The proposed legislation states that all midwives have to have personal indemnity insurance, but it won’t be offered to independent midwives. This includes Lisa, my midwife and friend, who has seen me through two pregnancies and births, and stuck around when we got the shock of our lives, even though she’s had all the training and been a registered midwife for the last 20 years. So basically anyone who gets pregnant after September this year has one less option when deciding where and how to have their babies.

Why? In a nutshell, because those in government just don’t care. So home birthers across Australia are out to show them just how much WE care about the issue, show them how many people this legislation is going to impact.

This is more than just a home birth issue. This is a basic human rights issue. Nobody else has the right to tell me where I can or can’t give birth, and with whom. Whether you agree with home birth or not isn’t the issue here. If women can choose a hospital birth with an elective caesarean, or an epidural, or an induction, then why single out a natural, drug-free home birth, which has hugely better outcomes for both women and their babies?

So on Monday the 7th of September at 11:30 am, there’s a rally happening on the steps of Parliament House in Canberra. I’m going one way or another. Are you?

Save Birth Choices

I’ve been working on this one for a while, in my head at least.

{mosimage}And I’m probably gonna annoy some people with it, but what the hey. This is the space for MY opinions – if you don’t like ’em, don’t read ’em.

There’s much debate about the current health care system in certain parts of the world. Namely, there are many politicians and lay people in the US who want to have a nationalized health care system. And there’s a lot of people who definitely DON’T want that. And now, having lived in both types of system, I can see points on both sides.

I don’t use the system here that much myself (I’ve seen a GP a whole 6 times in the last 5 years, and really most of those appointments I didn’t need in the first place), but I’ve got some thoughts on how to make any health care system better. The answer isn’t to make everything private, or make everything public, like many people seem to think it is. No, the solution rests squarely on the shoulders of the consumers and practitioners who actually use the system. We can make any health care system we’re currently in work better by doing one simple thing.


Too many people today go to a doctor when they have a cold, to get a prescription for antibiotics. But antibiotics only kill bacteria, not cold VIRUSES. And any first year medical student knows this, but of course they like to play God and be able to write down that they did something for the problem. You’re better off taking a high dose of vitamin C (till you start getting the runs – that’s how you find out you’ve had enough) than going on antibiotics. All the antibiotics will do is put some money in a big pharmaceutical company’s coffers and strip your gut of all its bacteria, good AND bad kinds alike.

Too many women assume that hospital is the only place you can give birth, and the stories of quick babies in the media, where baby comes out before mum gets to the hospital, are portrayed as ‘horror stories.’ I just don’t understand how it’s horrific to have your baby come out the way nature intended, with no instruments, no drugs, on their own terms. Intervention, in most cases (except when medically indicated) only causes more problems, leading to more interventions. The solution? Educate yourself about birth. Even if you’re not planning a home birth or freebirth, read up on what to do if the baby arrives before you have a ‘professional’ there to assist you. It is ALWAYS a possibility. And open your mind to the possibility of home birth, do some SERIOUS research about it, and you’ll find that home birth is as safe as OR SAFER THAN giving birth in a hospital (except in extreme life-threatening circumstances).

Third point: prevention. Stop eating crap! And I’m pointing the finger at myself here as well. We have a 24/7 shop across the road from us that sells chocolate, chips, soft drinks, ice cream…you name it, if it’s sugared, they’ve got it. And ever since we moved here 28 months ago, it’s been far too easy to go over there and grab whatever it is we’re craving. So I know first hand how hard it is in our society to cut out the junk food. But it’s gotta be done if you want to prevent yourself getting sick. And who among us likes being sick, except hypochondriacs and those with Munchausen syndrome? Do you know that most of our chronic ailments these days can be prevented? Diabetes, cancer, arthritis – all of these respond well to a fresh food diet. Meat & eggs, fruit & vegetables, nuts & seeds, dairy if you’re not lactose intolerant, and the occasional whole grain.

So there you go. Three ways to make any health care system better. But of course it’s never gonna happen, because it won’t make anyone any money.
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eBay is getting stupider and stupider.

{mosimage}So I sold something on eBay today for the first time in I can’t even remember how long. My item sold just hours after I listed it with the “Buy it now” option. So yeah, I’m pretty happy about that. And she paid right away, so that was good. So I went to leave feedback for her, and there was this popup message in the page saying that buyers can no longer leave neutral or negative feedback. Come again?

They claim it’s to encourage honesty from buyers, because SOME buyers were concerned that if they were honest, the seller would leave them negative feedback. Well come on, what about the seller’s right to be honest? What if the buyer really sucked, was rude about everything, or never paid, or never contacted them, or something like that?

Now don’t get me wrong. I was going to leave positive feedback for my buyer anyway. And I’m normally a firm believer in the old saying “the customer is always right.” But this is going WAY too far.

I have a better idea. Why don’t they just ask both parties for their honest feedback, and not make any of it public till they’ve both given it? Secret ballot type thing. But oh no, they can’t do that. That would actually make sense. And they’re not after sense, they’re after dollars. Ha ha ha ha…please don’t shoot me. But yeah, you can’t trust a company when it does things like that, and say you can only use OUR system of payment (or tries to and gets kicked back by the ACCC) when all along you’ve had a choice of several options.

So I think this will be my last eBay transaction.
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I am declaring war! I can see that got your attention.

{mosimage}And what am I declaring war on? Crappy shopping trolleys.

It happens every time I go out shopping with Caleb at Parabanks and try to find a trolley. All I ask for is one trolley with a child seat AND a working non-Velcro seatbelt, but do you think I can find one? Of course not. And why? Because the Woolworths & Big W there can’t seem to bring themselves to replace their crappy worn out trolleys with new ones.

Funny, I don’t have that problem when I go to Hollywood, or Golden Grove, or pretty much anywhere else. At least some people understand the importance of having restraints for little ones who like to climb out of their seats when they get sick of them.
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Yeah, it’s yet another rant. Suffer.

{mosimage}You know, I’m getting sick to death of going into cool-sounding websites and finding out they need Flash to show you anything. EARTH TO EVERYONE: Flash is bloated crap. Accept it and use something else in your website. It’s really not that hard, and it’ll make it a heck of a lot easier for everyone to view your site, whether they do or don’t currently use flash.

Note to Opie (and others like him): Your site is fine. I can still READ your site. The Flash on your site isn’t an essential part of the page, it’s just a decoration (as far as I can tell anyway). It’s when things like government websites use a Flash application to display a clickable map, when it’s much more effective (and probably looks about the same) doing it without.

See, I don’t actually have Flash installed in my browser. The Flash plugin for FreeBSD doesn’t exactly work reliably. So we don’t bother. So all I see when I load a Flash page is a grey box. This means no YouTube (which is pretty much a wasteland anyway, so I don’t mind that) and no e-card sites, among other more important things, like certain government websites.

Okay, now that I’ve got that out of my system, I’m off to the toilet and then back to bed.
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Pet Peeve of the day, part 2

{mosimage}So we went out to tea tonight at Genghis Khan, like we do just about every Tuesday evening. Only tonight there was some kids’ party there. All these pre-teens in the restaurant for (I assume) a birthday party or something. And you know how when you’re in 7th grade (or grade 7, or year 7, or whatever you call it in your country), everyone wants to stand in line next to their friends? And so they’ll say “Come stand with me” even though they’re NOT at the end of the line, and they’re being incredibly rude expecting the people behind them won’t mind if one more person gets in front of them?

Urgh. I never liked it in 7th grade, and I don’t like it now either. And I’m not gonna put up with it. So when two girls (who were only about 12 or 13 but trying to look like they were 25) got their bowls all ready and decided they’d just stand at the front of the line because OF COURSE they’re more worthy of eating than the rest of us, and tried to hand off their bowls to the cook JUST AHEAD OF ME, I pushed mine out and got it cooked first. And then the manager (who was also cooking because it was pretty busy) said something to them and they went not quite to the back of the line, but back to where they should’ve been. So there.

And some people might say, cut them some slack, they’re just kids. Ahem. They’re certainly old enough to understand that it’s probably not a good idea to do things to other people that you wouldn’t like done to you, so tell me again why I should cut them some slack?
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