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Why teach? February 28, 2007

Posted by Amanda in politics.

Education is one of those issues that is always on the public agenda. Teachers are constantly criticised for their methods and expected to take on more of the tasks of raising the citizens of the future. Despite the criticisms, most teachers work hard to provide a good education for their students. And yet, is there a job that is more undervalued?

Teachers have never been particularly well paid. Graduates get above the average for a graduate employee across the fields, but the relative salary quickly drops down the list and after ten years,  if a teacher wants to stay in the classroom, there are no more pay rises. However, the situation in Queensland non government schools is especially bad.

Chris has just been offered a job as a teacher in a Queensland Catholic school.  According to my readings of the award, if he were to take this job, his salary would be $9000 less per annum than if he worked in a state school and at least $13000 less than if we had stayed in New South Wales.

I think this is appalling. No wonder most education graduates get out of teaching as soon as they can. The salary combined with the everyday difficulties of classroom management means that there is no incentive to make a career in teaching.

Perhaps when all the baby boomer teachers retire and there are 50 kids in a class, someone will wake up and pay teachers what they are worth. Until then, education graduates will continue to seek employment elsewhere.


How to get the guy. February 27, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Media.
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As I am an student/unemployed person at the moment, I have the ‘opportunity’ to watch daytime television. Of course, the menu consists of a diet of self-help and soap with episodes of The Bill and Law and Order thrown in.

The last week or so, I have been watching an American ABC program called “How to Get the Guy”. It sounds dreadful, but the title doesn’t do it justice. The program has two relationship ‘experts’ instructing four ‘unlucky in love’ women on dating techniques. It still sounds terrible but actually it is really engaging.  The experts are likeable and give quite sensible advice most of the time. The women are equally entertaining but I think it is the production values that make it really watchable. It uses great graphics and scenes (the whole thing is set in San Francisco). It also has a great soundtrack of 70’s tunes that fit the kitchy vibe of the program. The narration follows the stories of the four women as they learn how to choose better dates and be better dates.

The subject is not particularly noble, but the slick look of the show pulled me in and kept me there, so I suppose that is all you can ask from a piece of daytime fluff.

Secret lives of dresses February 23, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Blogs, Fashion.
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Ok this probably isn’t one for the boys, but if you like bitter-sweet tales from the wardrobe go here.

Hyperlocal journalism February 23, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Media.
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Phil Gomes, biker and blogger extraordinaire, alerted me to his new interest in online wordsmithery- hyperlocal journalism. My take is that this type of reporting gets down to the real nitty-gritty of what is going on in a community, or maybe even just a street.

When studying journalism (which I am about to start again by the way), one of the key news values that we were taught was proximity. People are more interested in stories about the places or subjects closest to them. It makes sense really, as we all want to be in touch with what is going on around us.

Suburban newspapers have until recently been the most ‘local’ that journalism gets. Online hyperlocal journalism opens up this field to anyone and makes participating in the media process accessible.

I think that this can only be a positive thing- the more that we are involved in selecting and making the news, the more it will be demystified.

Today Tonight in trouble again February 22, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Media.
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Today Tonight  is back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons again with this story about the TT reporter supplying the chains for the “Elderly woman chained to nursing home bed” piece.

Where did the journalist possibly get the idea that this was a good thing to do? The reporter seems to have a specialty in stories about people that are locked up, as can be seen from this Media Watch segment from 2004 where he was asked by the courts to stay away from another ‘imprisoned’ victim. Maybe he learned his lesson and decided that he would make the story a bit more interesting this time.

It is no wonder that journalists in this country have a bad name when this is what passes for journalism in the minds of so many people. TT and ACA are the only so-called ‘current affairs’ programs that most Australians watch. Combine this with falling newspaper circulation and the dominance of News Limited in that market and most people see more bad journalism than good.

But the lowest common denominator keeps falling and the ratings are still up, so it looks like the diet of finance, fats, freaks and frauds will be the staple for the forseeable future.

Major Michael Mori February 20, 2007

Posted by Amanda in politics.
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How great is Major Michael Mori? It was perfectly possible that the military lawyer appointed by the US to defend David Hicks could have done his job without being as sincerely committed to the case as Major Mori appears to be.

I have just finished watching Insight on SBS and it has confirmed again that this officer of the US Marine Corps is doing his job commendably, perhaps in the face of opposition from those with whom he works. One can’t imagine that it would be easy to be going against your country and your employer in defending an alleged terrorist.

The Insight program was well worth watching and can be seen online from tomorrow at the link above. Philip Ruddock’s justifications for why David Hicks has not been brought home were not at all credible.

My prediction is that David Hicks will be back in Australia 6-8 weeks before the Federal Election.

The Book List February 20, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Books, Personal.
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Thanks to Sonia for this- an internet survey I am interested in doing and the results of!

Here’s the drill… Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicise the ones you want to read, cross out the ones you won’t touch with a 10 foot pole, put a cross (+) in front of the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk (*) the ones you’ve never heard of. I’ve left unformatted the books to which I feel perfectly indifferent.

You will notice that I have a bent towards classic literature and a loathing of fantasy! I could have added categories for those that I have started and never finished and those that I read when I was a teenager and would never touch now, and those that I read while travelling because I was desperate.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. +Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. +To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. +Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. +Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. *Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. *A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. + Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. *Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. *The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. +The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. *Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. +1984 (Orwell)
35. *The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. * The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. *The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. *The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. +Bible
46. +Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. +The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. *The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. *Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. * The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. + The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. +Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. +War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. *Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. +One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. +Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. +The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. +Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. * The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. * A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. * The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. * Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. + Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. + Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. * Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. *The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. * Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. *In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. * The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. *The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)



Toni Collette and me February 20, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Personal.

Toni Collette

When people meet me, they often say I look like Toni Collette. I have never been able to see it, until I saw this picture!

Gig photos February 18, 2007

Posted by Amanda in Music, Personal.
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In case you are wondering about the photos on my Flickr strip at the moment, this weekend we have been to see the bands of some friends of ours here.

Friday night was Jimmy Styles and the Easy Company at Maggie Blacks on Park Road.

Saturday night was Grand Atlantic at the Zoo.

Two good nights had by all.

The Election and David Hicks February 18, 2007

Posted by Amanda in politics.
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So now the government says that David Hicks could be home by Christmas. Would that be the same Christmas that will be just after the Federal Election?

Of course a government that has refused to do anything to expedite the trial of David Hicks, let alone demand that he be sent back to Australia, would not now be putting pressure on the US government to get it all over with before the Australian election. That would never happen.

Send a message to the voters of Bennelong: http://www.getup.org.au/postcard-guantanamo.asp