Finally I can reveal that we are expecting a baby! Very exciting. Life will change.
.: Dog Dreams
The face of a dog haunted my thoughts today. I dreamed of him last night. It was Fluffy, a dog that once lived, almost a decade ago now, at my in-laws, a shih-tzu cross that was found wandering around their post office. They brought him home, called him Benji. To me he was Fluffy, with his thick white coat.
Fluffy was a good natured dog, but he had a couple of problems. He couldn't control his bowels when he got excited. In the car, in the bath he'd pop out some brown stuff. It stuck to his coat and we would have to cut the smelly matted hair off. He also developed a skin problem, probably an allergy to something in the yard, which lead to his skin turning red and much of his hair falling out. The vet's cortisone injections helped, but he needed better care.
One day, while B and I were away on holidays, he escaped from the yard (not for the first time) and was taken to the pound. The family decided that they couldn't look after him any longer. I hope he found a good home and someone to love him, but I fear that, with his poor condition. he may have been put to sleep. I only hope that the pound was true to it's "no killing" policy.
Last night in my dream I was playing with our dog Kita. There was a line of soft toys in the room with a dog sitting there staring at me. I looked again and it was Fluffy. As I saw him I realised that he had been there for at least three days straight and I had just ignored him, spending all my time with Kita. I hadn't fed or played with Fluffy in all that time. He didn't bark, didn't cry, just stared with at me wanting love. I felt so horribly guilty. Then the alarm woke me up. but I couldn't get his face out of my mind.
After almost 33 years I have finally completed* my first model railway layout. It's an N-scale layout based upon a mountain village in the Japanese Alps. It was inspired by a rail journey between Nagoya and Toyama via Takayama through gorgeous mountain scenery, from along the Hida river, past cherry blossoms and up into the snow of the mountains.
I was given a train set for my first birthday, a high quality Märklin set that I still own. I was too young for it, of course. Since then I've set up various layouts, but none has been of a permanent nature.
On our third trip to Japan I purchased some relatively cheap N-scale trains as a souvenir. On subsequent visits I built up the collection further. I bought scenery, buildings, started painting some, made a tiny toy layout to test out some ideas and lay a large elevated track loop around my desk at home for the shinkansen and Narita Express sets. But a proper layout just wasn't progressing.
Then I watched Spirited Away again, and realising that I couldn't visit Japan in the near future, was motivated to put one of my planned layouts together so that I could bring a little piece of Japan to me.
.: Tibet Anger
I'm very angry and severely disappointed at the actions and words of the Chinese in Australia and the rest of the world who wish to crush those who criticise China. It's not that I hate China, because I don't, nor that I think that Tibet should be independent, because that is a complex issue with no simple solution. What I dislike so much is their hypocrisy, their unthinking acceptance of whatever they are told and their racist attitudes. In many ways they remind me a lot of those stupid, racist rioters at Cronulla. They deign to believe they speak for all those of Chinese ancestry and it's their way or the highway.
There is an unwritten law in Australia, in most western countries, that these pro-Chinese have broken. It is this: you may campaign publicly for greater rights, no matter how silly the cause, but not to restrict rights. The reason is because the street marches to restrict people's rights smells of fascism. That is better left for talkback radio. (Of course there are many decisions made by our government to restrict rights, just look at the criminal and security laws).
The pro-China groups do not speak for all Chinese. Chinese people, especially those outside of China, have many beliefs and opinions. I could use my wife as an example. I have often heard China state that Western countries have no right to interfere in their domestic politics, but they seem to have no problem interfering with groups such as the pro-Tibet lobby and the annoying Falun Gong in other countries.
Looks like we won't be going to Europe via Korea in September/October. Another trip cancelled/delayed. Another time this year? I wonder.
After watching Spirited Away I'm in the mood for Japanese. I cooked teriyaki fish and vegetables with a sesame sauce tonight, from one of the cookbooks we brought home from Japan. On the weekend I did some more work on my Japanese model railway layout. But it is not enough.
Yesterday, instead of my usual two train commute to work I ended up catching four. One to Central, then another to North Strathfield, then all stations to Eastwood and finally a single hop to Epping. Why? Because a bus had run driverless off the road and down the embankment just beyond Epping station. See the mobile phone photo on the right.
A messy start to an otherwise good day that saw me gain satisfaction from programming and cooking Japanese food. It's a cuisine that feels healthy to eat and tastes good too.
I see Drupal are holding an Asia Pacific Conference in conjunction with CeBIT. Not certain if I'll go or not. We have a big stand at CeBIT, but I'm seriously thinking of dropping Drupal for my own CMS. Not sure if the latest versions are supported on this webhost, though I haven't bothered looking yet.
Can't wait for the Easter break. Exhausted for no good reason this week.
I have been neglecting this blog of late, spending far more time updating my travelling allrite blog instead. So I'm about 2 months late in welcoming Terry Dowling to this blog. My excuse is that I only checked the user list tonight!
I have mentioned Terry before on this blog. He is my favourite author, a writer of such vivid imagery that you would swear that you are living in the pages of his books.
Funnily enough, yesterday I was composing a letter to Mr Dowling in my head, commenting on the ending to Rynemonn: Leopard Dreaming, the final book in his Tom Tyson sequence. I shan't spoil it for those who have not read it, but it is a powerful ending, a good ending, yet possibly unsatisfying for those who like "and they lived happily ever after." After so many years and so many mysteries perhaps it would have been wrong to tie everything up too neatly, to leave nothing unsaid and unexplained. And of course there is sadness at the end of such a long adventure.
So thanks Terry for registering with this site! If only my writing here was worthy!