Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The joys of dog ownership

I walked to the station today and came across a woman who was enjoying a walk with her Great Dane.

The dog needed to stop and defecate.  It produced a vast quantity of diarrhoea.

The owner (or could have been a dog walker as I was walking past some very expensive houses) started fiddling with a bag that presumable contained equipment for dealing with dog poo.

I walked past and didn’t look back, but I did wonder how one cleans up a mess like that.  And I doubted she was adequately equipped.

So what do you think?  Did she just leave it?

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

July’s charity

Every childhood dream begins with a vision. At Eye Care For Kids, we make sure the vision can happen.

A non-profit organization, Eye Care for Kids has provided humanitarian aid to more than 20,000 children since 2001. Our program helps visually impaired kids from poor and low-income families get the treatment they so desperately need.

We treat kids in need across the state of Utah, including rural areas and Native American reservations. Here at Eye Care For Kids we see up to 200 children every week.

Our goal is to help restore every child’s vision. Help us make it more than just a vision – help us make it a reality.

“Our Vision… is their Vision.”

Just click on the badge to the left of the Gaping Void cartoon to find out more.


I’m all for a bit of office banter.  I have to be really given that I’m often the person responsible for starting and perpetuating it.  But even I think there are times when it’s inappropriate.

I went to a Union meeting today. 

Yes I am in the Union and no that doesn’t mean I’m a steel toe cap wearing lesbian who’ll be burning my scab colleagues on a picket line.  I happen to think Unions are a good thing; they provide a voice for the workforce who otherwise could go unheard.  I’m also a woman working in a very male dominated environment and Union membership just makes me feel a little more secure.

The purpose of the meeting today was to try and encourage “the management” of whom I laughingly call myself a member, to say yes to the Union representing them.  At the moment the Union represents hourly paid and salaried staff below management grades.  Our lack of representation means that instead of changes to our terms and conditions being negotiated, they’re just communicated via e-mail and it’s a done deal with no opportunity for recourse, other than the obvious move – resignation.

There were probably 250 people in the room which I thought was a good turnout.  It was standing room only and although the meeting started well I thought that most of the main points had been made early on and there then followed much reprising of those earlier points.  It got to a time where I thought the meeting would end without us having reached the point of a vote so I stuck my hand in the air waiting for my turn to voice an opinion.

I was ignored for a very long time but eventually our man on site did spot me and he waited patiently for the Regional Union Representative to draw breath.  We waited, and waited.  Finally I had my chance and said “In the interest of time, can I suggest we have a vote.”

The Union rep responded “You remind me of my wife, nagging me to shut up and get on with things.” (or words to that effect) and then he said, addressing the audience, “I don’t want to keep the lady waiting.” (or similar) and we proceeded to vote.

Up to my interjection, all the people speaking had been men, and all of the contributions had been business-like and focussed on the issue at hand.  My point, equally, was professional and timely.

Was I right to feel just a tad patronised and belittled by this Union man’s response to me?

If it had been within a small group I probably wouldn’t have noticed, but in front of 250 it just seemed wrong.

Am I being too politically correct?  Should I just “get over it”?

Friday, 3 July 2009

Kids eh…

We took Hannah to the Junior School today to meet her new teacher.  Ethan came along too.

We met not only Hannah’s teacher we met her new Head Teacher too.  He’d given a presentation to all of the parents outlining expectations of children and parents etc.

This next bit you need to know for context.  The Junior School Head is a slim male.  The Infant School Head is a larger, shorter lady.  Ethan and Hannah are both currently attending the Infant School.

When we got back home I was chatting to Dave about the afternoon and Ethan was half listening.  I said “I thought the Head was….” and Ethan finished with “…fat!”

I was actually talking about the Junior Head and went on to use words like “switched on, engaged, interested” but Ethan’s word was funnier.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Using a camera

We went to watch the school concert today, along with half of Brentwood.

Hundreds were crowded into a small school hall to watch some 230 infant school pupils performing.

Naturally the room was full of cameras and video cameras and the woman in front of us was one of those with a camera.

It was difficult to see the “action” and many people were using digital cameras on an upwardly extended arm to capture the action.

The lady in front of us was vertically challenged and tried to use the raised digital camera technique.  The only problem was that she had a tall chap sitting in front of her.

Every time she clicked the shutter the camera focused on the item just in front of the lens.  She must have ended up with 15 pictures of a brightly lit man’s head.  The head was so close to the camera flash that it reflected loads of light, fooling the camera into believing the shot was exposed, meaning that the rest of the shot (containing children) was too dimly lit.

I wanted to take the camera from her and explain the problem, because she just wasn’t learning.