Thursday, September 21, 2006

Reader, I married him.

The Co-Pilot and I were married today on the beach at Mission Beach in Far North Queensland.

We thought it would be romantic to run away to paradise and be married, so we did. We only told the kids about it on Monday. They were ringbearers and bubble blowers throughout the ceremony.

We made the usual vows and exchanged rings and then had a sand ceremony where we poured sand representing us individually into a container representing our marriage. If you are friends or family, we'll email you or send you a postcard with the address of our family blog so you can check out more photos.

It may take a while as I'm going to stop blogging on my wedding night right now.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How do you fit 730 library people in one room?

The Click06 Conference has begun in Perth at the Convention Centrer and continues until Friday. This is the is the Biennial Conference of the Australian Library and Information Association.

If you are in Perth and see a stranger who looks a little bit more interested, clever and organised than the average citizen, and also looks a little dazed and lost - pop up to them and help them out because they are probably a librarian with information overload.

To keep up with what is happening at the conference, while I'm out of the state on holidays, I'm reading these blogs:

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Steve Irwin, visiting his zoo, and Wikipedia.

I'm using a borrowed computer. Every time I try to upload images for this post, it refuses. I've added some images as separate posts before this one, straight from Flickr. When I'm back on home turf I'll weld it all together.

We visited the Australian Zoo the day after Steve Irwin's death. If we hadn't been holidaying from interstate, I would have left it a couple of weeks. There were a few wreaths and many media outside, but only zoo-goers were admitted, so there were no cameras or roving and raving reporters inside. The general mood at the zoo was a bit subdued, but respectful and celebratory. Numbers were a little lower than usual.

At 11:30, during the main show in the "Crocoseum" arena, many of the staff were watching in the stalls and we all stood for a minute's silence to remember Steve. The commentator said that going on with the show was the hardest thing he'd ever done. There was a huge screen above the auditorium and when Steve Irwin's face came on talking about his love for the animals, Mr3 yelled out in joy "There's Steve Irwin!". I had to explain very quickly that the footage was taken earlier and Steve Irwin had actually died.

The guy operating the bouncy castle said that the day before, staff had initially worked out something was wrong from the behaviour of the senior staff. Staff were informed, and then they watched as zoo-goers received text messages with the news from friends outside.

The most remarkable thing about the zoo was the permeation of Steve's attitudes to animals and people. Staff were friendly and forthcoming. They wandered around carrying baby alligators, snakes, cockatoos and approaching us so we could touch the animals. The philosophy is that once we’ve touched them, we’ll care enough to save them. From the videos, it looks like Steve got a lot closer to the crocs than the other trainers did.

In the enclosures, trainers played (even frollicked!) with the animals - even the tigers where a bloke in khaki had a giant cat toy on a rope, running in front of the tigers, playing tug of war and throwing the toy into the swimming pool so the tiger leaped from the shore to retrieve it. There were two other trainers in the enclosure monitoring the cats. There seemed to be a lot of affection between animals and trainers, including a giant tortoise who was a big sook when it had its shell and head rubbed.

When we left at the end of the day, the front of the zoo had many, many more bunches of flowers. There was much artwork obviously done by schoolkids during the day. A row of khaki shirts was hanging at the front, with people writing condolences on them. Police had set up an electronic sign either side of the entries warning of “changed traffic conditions ahead”.

Steve Irwin did great things to help people understand animals, but he probably didn't expect to help me understand more about how Wikipedia works. I've been watching as the Wikipedia entry has grown, and watching the debates about the content. I found out about the different types of locks that can be on a page and that the style manual says that if an article is about an Australian, then Australian English should be used. Here is the Wikipedia article on Steve Irwin, and here is the the discussion page. Very interesting to see the discussion that took place just as the news was breaking on this archived discussion page.

Like Reg Bolton, Steve Irwin was an example of how extreme enthusiasm, and engagement with other people and what you do well, can ripple out and transform hundreds of lives. Their methodolgy may not have been perfect, but they both died doing what they loved and leaving people determined to carry on their legacies.


Originally uploaded by sirexkat.


Originally uploaded by sirexkat.


Originally uploaded by sirexkat.


Originally uploaded by sirexkat.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Oh Crikey!

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm on holidays in Queensland. We're currently on the Sunshine Coast staying in a caravan park that we selected because it is just 20 minutes away from the Australia Zoo .

I have plenty of blog posts half written, but haven't been blogging because the only net access I have is a $2 per quarter hour kiosk. Today I'm breaking my resolve.

Mr8 was complaining in the car on the way home from visiting the Co-Pilot's aunt that he didn't get to swim today like I'd promised. After wandering in a hedge maze, walking through the rainforest and visiting a quaint mountainside village , we just didn't have time to fit it in.

"I know", said I, switching on the radio, "I'm really sorry. I did promise it, but we just didn't have time to fit it in. I do promise that we'll spend all day at the Australia Zoo tomorrow".

Cue radio news. Cue story about how Steve Irwin
died this morning while filming underwater in Port Douglas. Cue strange out of body experience as the announcer described how Steve was pierced through the heart by a stingray.

Our camera is full of pictures of the kids with stingrays that we saw yesterday at Underwater World, so the kids well and truly know what they look like. They actually seem to be handling the news better than we are.

My quandry is whether we still go to the zoo tomorrow as planned. As far as I can see at the website, they will still be open. I imagine that it will be full of cameras and reporters, and the atmosphere will be very strained. We are only here until Wednesday when we leave so we can spend Mr3's fourth birthday at Wiggles World on Thursday. The TV here has been showing updates every hour or so as the night goes on.

When we planned the holiday, we sat the kids down and explained to Mr8 (who wanted to go to the Crocodile Hunter's Zoo) that the Croc Hunter probably wouldn't be there. We explained to Mr3 that the Wiggles definitely wouldn't be at Wiggles World. Turns out I was celebrate the 1st anniversary of Wiggles World, the Wiggles WILL be there on the 15th. We are planning to go, but haven't told Mr3 yet.

After the events of today, I think we might keep that under our hats a bit longer.