Caterpillar Contemplations

"What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly." Lao Tzu

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Rocking the curls

Being afflicted / blessed with curly hair, I have searched for several years to find a hairdresser who has the Midas touch for curly hair. Everyday – they air dry and go “sproing”. And I found him!  Like some quaint little parable … years of searching, epic journey (etc etc) … I discover him almost in my backyard.   I think it would be cruel to keep him all to myself, besides – I like to promote people who I think are truly awesome and he definitely fits into that category.
His name is Mirsad
You’ll find him at The Cutters Chair on Victoria St, Ballarat.  YES – it IS worthwhile making the trip to see him, besides you can have lunch / dinner with me.  Fantastic combo.
Number is: 5332 6638

I was similarly impressed with the cut he gave Div (curls) and my son (straight hair).  Unfortunately the photos don’t do it justice.

My son’s styling haircut

My curls


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Ethics and Choice

I think we’re often bewildered by choice. We’re overwhelmed with information and often we process so much on a superficial need-to-know basis that we overlook important factors in the decision making process.

Well at least I know I do.

I became aware of ‘choice’ during my period of time working for Gene Ethics and with the wonderful influence of my friend Celia.  When I started to become aware of all the things that were genetically modified and legally allowed to be in our foods … it changed the way I shopped.  And, as way leads on to way, I found a little green book at the sustainability festival in Melbourne.  This little green book was an ethical consumer guide and it radically changed the way I expressed my consumer power.

Why does consumer power work where a petition wouldn’t?  It affects the pockets.  If enough people DON’T buy a product – the unethical corporation producing that product loses money.  Money speaks very loudly.  Why are so many people up in arms about the Carbon Tax?  Well it certainly isn’t because they feel we’re not doing enough to save our environment – it’s because of their pockets.

But it is a minefield, because it would be simple enough to say “avoid X” because they kill dolphins.  However X also owns products Y and Z but they don’t display this fact except for some small writing on the back – and I know that at the end of a long day / week / month – checking every item to see who produces it can be both time consuming and draining.

Hence why – like in any major project – I believe in starting small.  I already have a list of products I DON’T buy.  If I want oats, for example, I’ll choose to purchase them from a company that doesn’t ship baby formula to 3rd world countries without adequate clean drinking water.*

So … please … when  you start making wise choices. When  you start investing your money where your beliefs are, don’t allow yourself to be drowned in the vastness of unknowing – just start at one point, make one change – then move onto the next.  And seriously – if it means NOT having your favourite chocolate bar and that stresses you out – then take a moment to put it in perspective: my son earns pocket money for feeding the cats and other simple household tasks; other children are forced into slave labour to pick cocoa under inhumane conditions where they are not adequately fed, let alone allowed to taste chocolate.

But what is my little chocolate bar going to do?  It’s only $2.00.  Yes.  But your $2.00 and your neighbours $2.00 because you talked about it over the fence while hanging out the washing and their child’s $2.00 because they talked about it at the dinner table and the child’s friend’s $2.00 … you see what I’m getting at.  Besides, when you do the research and make the switch to a better, more ethical company – not only are you stopping the baddies but you’re helping the goodies.

Please – put your ethics into action.  Help me spread the word.  Help me to choose better. Share with me stories about companies who do the wrong thing so I can voice my choice and not support their practices (please email them to me, don’t add them to the comments).  Because I know I have a LONG way to go.  I buy organic milk because of the extra hormones and antibiotics in standard milk** but I also shop at Coles and Woolworths which have countless strikes against their name.

A good place to start is to get informed and a good place to start that is at the Ethical Consumer Guide.

* Obviously there is a whole lot more to that little story.
** Due to mistreatment of cows (yeah they may not be a cute and cuddly puppy but they still deserve good treatment).  Over production of milk leads to ulcers and sores on the udders.  These ulcers and sores spill puss and blood into the milk which then gets zapped to kill off everything so it’s safe to drink.  Farmers treat these cows with antibiotics which also goes into the milk.

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We’re the top!

There is something cheap and nasty about mankind’s need to assert itself on wildlife that step out of line.

We’re the top of the food chain and the -shark/bear/lion/dingo/crocodile- should remember it’s place. We’re the top! We’re the top! We’re the top! *stamping feet*
It’s ghastly that our ignorance, lack of responsibility and inflated, self-important, nothing-can-touch-me attitude leads to the death of innocent creatures because they had the audacity to bite us. They have the audacity to respond to their instinctual nature to kill and consume. They should know that’s not the way it’s done. Surely if they want to quench their carnal desires they should take up duck shooting or perhaps tear down a forest to have their own gas producing cattle farms. Just so long as they don’t bite us or our unprotected, unwatched children. We’re the top of the food chain, we shouldn’t have to be held accountable for our own stupidity – that’s a quirk of being at the top isn’t it?
Dingoes attack toddler – an unwatched toddler mind you and who is to blame? The dingoes of course. But hey, we can’t possibly be expected to know that dingoes attack – aren’t they lovely furry creatures? They’re like those sharks, those lovely grey fishies with big teeth that swim in the sea – they’re nice too aren’t they? Well most of them. It’s only the deranged ones that attack humans, I mean, it makes sense that they get put down – how else do we send a message to all the other nice sharkies?


Lake Wendouree

As a long-standing -although not consistent- resident of Ballarat, I believe it is within my rights to get a little vocal on local issues. So to start my blog, I’m going to begin with a point of contention that has certainly been a hot topic in this household. *drum roll* The refilling of Lake Wendouree.

When I say hot, I don’t mean that we argue about it, in fact -for once- I think most members are in agreement. Don’t fill the god-damn lake, I mean swamp.
How irritating for fellow Ballaratians to have to put up with local celebrities strutting their stuff saying “the heart and soul” of Ballarat is being sucked dry. That “we are the laughing stock” of the state.

I’m not sure how many other Ballarat residents have been cruising around Victoria, but I know that in my travels, from Gippsland to the Hamilton, from Portland to Wangaratta, I haven’t come across a soul who has laughed in my face about our dry lake. The common response would be, “ah, not much rain eh? Same’ere.”

Given we’re the driest continent in the world, it doesn’t come as a surprise that we would have a drought every so often. It’s either droughts or floods, take your pick!

Besides, Ballarat has bigger fish to fry! I’d like, said local celebrity, to take a walk around Ballarat one day – or night and embrace the low socio-economic climate we’ve got going on. I’d like them to pop into our police station and ask if we’ve got enough police to cover break-ins, street violence, domestic violence and drug abuse. I’d like them to ask the midwives and nursing staff at the local hospitals if filling the lake really trumps putting some more staff on.

Pump the lake? Lets pump the community! Lets find some jobs! Lets open some more restaurants and retail, lets show Victoria that Ballarat actually has something worth selling. No one comes to Ballarat for our LAKE. Who are they kidding? Soverign Hill brings in more customers than Lake Wendouree.

Councillors, residents, countrymen – why not look into more economically viable, ecologically sustainable (have you seen the size of this MAN-made lake) and long term solutions for solving our dried up ‘heart and soul’?

It’s oft been said that the social divide between the haves and have nots is very clear in Ballarat. And after this ridiculous water debate, this ignorant tax sucking campaign, I can see why.

Who benefits the most from the lake being full?
Lets just say, I can’t afford a boat, let alone a canoe. But possibly an inflatable dinghy – on layby.

Lake Wendouree: Brumby
Lake Wendouree: Steve
Call in the scientists