Category Archives: writing

write on

It suddenly seems like I haven’t written here in a very long time. It’s not that I’m not writing, I’m working through the update of the AkoNet web site and that uses up my writing for the day. There’s only so many words available in any given day – by the time I blow some at work, and then more later working on the site, there’s not many left…

found in the translation II

OK, here it is, for all you seekers of Te Reo wildlife words…

The Māori word for tiger is taikā.

The Māori word for rhinoceros is rinorino.

Just ask, and there it is, nestled snuggly in the marginalia.

Memene (that’s Māori for smile) 🙂

heads up

image from the thinking bl0gger - embarrassingly large number of days ago I awoke to an email from one of my Melbourne writing pals, Snail, who writes the Snail’s Eye View. What is it about Melbourne? It seems to have more writers per capita than any other Australian city. Sorry, I digress… Snail was writing to advise me that I’d received a THINKING BL0GGER award. It’s a web meme called ‘5 BL0GS That Make Me Think‘ and I was one of the writers Snail tagged. Curses! I mean she’d be one I’d tag, and now I’d have to think for myself. It’s taken me a while – there are so many strong contenders (contenters?) and this particular award is about content. And then, there were a couple while I was cogitating who received their awards. Eeek! (Why am I concerned – there’s always room for another writer who provokes thought.)

Without further ado, and in no particular order, here’s the first of my list of thinking writers:

Zimbabwe Situation
If you haven’t been keeping up with the Zimbabwe situation this blog is a great place to start. If you loved the movie ‘Brazil’ and wondered what it’d be like in reality, this site is a great place to start. If you want to read a blog where one day you fall off your chair laughing with disbelief, and the next swing back on your seat with tears running down your cheeks, this blog is a great place to start. Here’s a quick update. It doesn’t matter if I’m wrong, by the time I finish writing it will be happening.

Once upon a time there was a country that was rich by every measure – its people were employed, well educated, and well fed. The land itself is fertile, with mineral wealth, and ample water for all. Unfortunately the people suffered from not being free to determine their own destinies, and so a well educated young man lead his people to overthrow the ruling foreign regime. The man became a hero to his people and when the negotiations were over the people wanted the man to become their leader. He thought about and said, “Ok, sure.”

Time went by and the man who was well educated, and a good leader in time of war, turned out to be very corruptible. He became wealthy. His friends became wealthy. He took threw the farmers off their farms and let anybody who was a friend in, whether they knew how to farm or not. The man soon had more friends than farms so the farms were split into smaller and less economic units. The man held free elections every so often, and his army and youth army did a good job of explaining who the people should vote for. The man’s friends would buy stuff cheap and sell it back to the government at inflated prices and cream millions, if not billions of dollars on the side.

Gradually the economy became bad, then worse, then munted, then just a joke, then fucked, then seriously fucked, and then finally, reached a place on the other side of all that when you realise things are beyond your simple understanding. In fact, beyond your wildest nightmares. Imagine living in a place where the inflation rate runs at 2,000%. Per month. That’s right, 24,000% per annum. What does that mean? From an article published yesterday (June 25), a standard loaf of bread now costs $44,000 and super white bread now costs $59,000. A loaf of bread cost $8,000 in May but has been going up virtually every week this month. A bottle of beer costs $75,000 [US$0.18]. People have given up on wallets, money is carried in suitcases.

The Zimbabwe dollar, which officially trades at $15,000 to the greenback, is reported to have slumped to around $400,000 to the dollar for large transactions on the black market. There are some reports that inflation this year might go to a million percent. Perhaps beyond. This isn’t surreal, it’s the Zimbabwe Situation. Thanks to the editors, Karen and Barbara, it’s part of my daily read. And, if you want to drop a thank you note to the man who’s made it all possible: Robert Mugabe, Number 7 Chancellor Avenue, Harare, Zimbabwe. Thanks Bob, my card is on the way.

postmodern hand lens

pomo-lensI read somewhere that 80% of all scientific research can be done with the naked eye, and of the remaining, 80% of that can be done with a hand lens. This is not a hand lens, nor is it an image of a hand lens, you sneeky Magritte fan you. It’s a picture of my memory stick. You can buy a 1gb memory stick like this for around $NZ30 – yes, I know, you can get them bigger and cheaper – but for the price of a couple of coffees and bit of a snack you can have a portable research tool that a few years ago was unimaginable.

Here’s how to make your pomo hand lens:

First catch a nice fresh memory stick. A 1gb is sufficient, you can get by with smaller, even down to the 250mb size – but why scrimp?

Next, surf off to, and grab the PortableApps Suite. Or, do as I did, get the PortableApps Lite – I’m try to keep my weight down, so less is more. Follow the install instructions and install PortableApps on your memory stick. If there’s a chance you’ll be using your memory stick on some antique (pre-xp) computer, remember to grab the patch. Without the patch the PortableApps won’t work, but the subapplications – Firefox portable is the application I was interested in – work fine.

Make sure you download and install Firefox portable. Check everything is working, don’t be loading the fox off your hard drive and thinking everything is good.

Next go off to and download the latest copy of a tiddlywiki. Make sure you save it to your memory stick.

Next, go to TiddlySnip and install the plugin/extension for Firefox. Do the configuration thing, linking the TiddlySnip to your on-memory stick tiddlywiki.

*Bing!* Job done. TiddlySnip allows you to surf to a web site, select a portion of text, right mouse button and scrapbook that snippet (with the url and references AND tags you select) to your now ever-expanding and ever increasing in value on-memory stick wiki. You go to the library? Do your thing. You go to work? Do your thing. You go anywhere? Do your thing. My memory stick has become more valuable to me now than a diary or a notebook ever was. If I was studying now I’d never spend time trying to find those lost references – in fact, I think I’d be building my thesis pretty much from the get go. Great tools. And all for half a dozen cups of coffee.