Saturday, May 31, 2008

Environment Top on Australia's List

Australians believe that the environment is the most important issue facing Australia now and in five years time, according to the results of an ANU Poll.

“When asked in an open-ended question what are the most important problems facing Australia, 19 percent of the survey respondents mentioned the environment, including global warming and sustainability. The environment also tops the list when people are asked the most important issue facing Australia in 5 years’ time.”

“Other issues that are rated as important are the economy, health care, and water management.
“It is clear from these results that the environment has very quickly become a hot issue. As recently as 2004, only 6 percent rated the environment as the most important issue facing the country.

“What is really interesting is that Australians seem to have much greater concern for the environment than the US public, who in a recent poll identified the economy and jobs and the war in Iraq as the biggest problems facing their country. For Americans, the environment did not make the top 5 issues.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Wall

It's been a nice weekend. Friday night we had dinner out at a Chinese restaurant with our friends Kate and Simon who I work with and who recently bought a townhouse on the other side of our suburb. After dinner we saw their new place and taught them to play Euchre. Finally, we've transformed some good friends into some good card-playing friends!

Last night we went to a show at the arts theatre on the ANU campus. I had heard that Saturday was the last night of a theatrical performance of The Wall and as I know Brian is a big Pink Floyd fan, I got us tickets and took us out on a date. A twelve piece band was playing the music and it was really great. The only downside was that the guy sitting next to me was drumming his foot heavily through the entire show AND he felt it his right to be able to belt out the lyrics to "Comfortably Numb" at the top of his lungs! Who thinks that's okay?? And how do they end up sitting next to yours truly??

CSI Lyneham

Disclaimer for Parents:
What you are about to read should not be construed to mean that we live in a dodgy neighborhood.

Last week when Brian went out to feed the worms (okay that sounds funny so I'll remind you that we keep a worm farm in our breezeway for composting kitchen scraps) he noticed a big footprint on the door. When he looked a little closer he noticed tool marks on the frame near the lock and came to the unsettling conclusion that someone had tried to force their way into the side door of the house. Fortunately, they failed.

What's interesting about this story is that after we called the cops to report it and they came to have a look at it once, they decided to send a forensics team back to do a full investigation! I wasn't here at the time, but Brian says that they took a whole series of photographs, dusted for fingerprints and did a gel print of the footprint! They would have done a further investigation of the tool markings as well, but they were on a wooden frame and apparently tool markings are unique, but can only be successfully traced from a metal surface.

So, I continue to feel that we live in a really safe city and proof of that might be that law enforcement has the time to investigate our petty little almost-a-crime scene.

Friday, May 16, 2008

My Love of The West Wing and Other Time-Consuming Activities

It’s Friday again. The weeks are flying by. A few interesting bits and pieces here and there so let’s review.

My contract as a research fellow has ended and I had to move offices for my “new” job at ANUgreen. It’s pretty much the same job as I had before but now I don’t have a private office with views of a courtyard of ginkgo trees with parrots sitting in them. Now I have a desk in a crowded and messy office. The redeeming factor is that my office mates are all terrific people. And we’re moving to a new office in a couple months. I’m still waiting for my new visa to be processed – that’s proved to be a bit of a hassle because my visa was attached to my last job and I’ve had to apply for a new one even though I still work for the same organization.

Brian and I have developed a chronic addiction to the TV series The West Wing. A knitting friend borrowed me the first three seasons on DVD and we had devoured them within a couple weeks. She’s overseas for a couple months so I had to find another friend to borrow me seasons four through seven (that’s all of them). We’ve just started season seven and I think I will actually feel very sad when its all over; sometimes I find myself thinking about the characters during the day….sad I know, but if you’ve watched The West Wing, I think you’ll understand. I feel like I’ve discovered the series too late; all these years of ultra-conservative agendas and I could have been retreating to the Democratic daydream of the Bartlett administration. Oh well, I still like to pretend it’s all true.

I’m taking another semester of African drumming classes and loving it. Last week Brian and I did a drumming and dancing workshop with a master drummer who was visiting Canberra (in case you were having trouble envisioning Brian dancing I should mention that only I did the dance workshop). Lots of fun!

Last night I helped to organize a presentation on campus by Lynette Chiang from Bike Friday. We met Lynette in Oregon at our friend Walter’s graduation party several years ago (he also works for Bike Friday). Funny because when we met her, we were only a couple months away from moving to Australia and she happened to not only be from Australia, but had done her degree at ANU. So she’s back visiting family and friends and giving talks about her world travels and the super cool new addition to the Bike Friday line, the Tikit. Planning a bike ride on Sunday with her and a group of people, but go figure – it hasn’t rained in ages but it’s supposed to this weekend. Back up plan, breakfast out at Tilley’s.