Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Co-host on 'The View', Elisabeth Hasselbeck, an inspiring Catholic

Today I was watching 'The View' while I ate lunch at home- ah the life of a post-high school and pre-university student! However, I was quite drawn to the show not only because of the pertinent topics of discussion- particularly the legal framework surrounding facebook (quite shocking if you read the fine print!) and Sarah Palin and her daughter's advocacy of abstinence- but because of the great role model one of the co-hosts of the show presented.

As a practicing Catholic, the only voice of moral reason for me out of the four ladies today was Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Honestly, I was expecting all the women to take the unreligious stance that contraception should be the way to go- blah blah blah.... and that was the other three women's tune, however to my surprise Elisabeth Hasselbeck stood up for what seems to be the silenced minority!

She discussed the danger of a lack of education on ALL of the options available to couples, and highlighted that abstinence is not only the only safe way but that it should be viewed by teenagers especially in a different light- that it is cool to say no and not be pressured into having sex out of wed-lock.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck was raised a Catholic and lo and behold it appears she practices and advocates the Church's true doctrine even under the spotlight of media attention and in the face of people who strongly oppose her.

Sadly she was a minority in the debate but she is one strong woman- she was informed, sympathetic and understanding of the other view but at the same time she stood her ground and argued her point with firm confidence and intelligence.

Unfortunately people like Elisabeth Hasselbeck are very rare- and even more rare in higher-profile personalities, but to me, she is a breath of fresh air, and it is heartening to see a beautiful young woman married with kids standing up for the Catholic morals she believes in, in what has become in the 21st Century quite an immoral society (well at least in the eyes of a Catholic)-or rather a society that is prepared to showcase immorality rather than hide it.

Go Elisabeth! I hope she remains uncompromising in her stance and continues to stand up for what she and many others believe is good and true.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Carnelia's 'Flight' a real delight

Finally got my hands on one of my favourite Broadway performers' new CD, Sutton Foster's Wish, and have had the track "Flight" on repeat ever since.

I fell in love with Craig Carnelia's song after first hearing Megan McGinnis and Sutton Foster sing it on YouTube:

Have a listen, it's beautiful.

Monday, February 9, 2009

You can never be too careful

New advancements in technology never fail to amaze and thrill, however, also leave many vulnerable to kniving thieves.

GPS and mobile phones are everyday handy household items. They have become so much the norm that some neglect to think about safety precautions.

Take these two stories as examples:

A person had their car broken into while they were at a football match. Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard.When the victims got home, their house had been ransacked. The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house. The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean up the house.

On another occasion, per say, a lady had her handbag stolen. It contained her cell phone, credit card and wallet. She then called her husband from a pay phone who proceeded to tell her, 'I received your text asking about our pin number and I've replied a little while ago.' The thief had used the stolen cell phone to text 'hubby' in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.

The moral of these two stories are as follows:
*Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list. Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad and Mum.
*When sensitive information is being asked through texts, confirm by calling back.
*When texted by friends or family to meet, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don't reach them, be very careful about going places to meet 'family and friends' who text you.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Public Transport: Friend or Foe?

BUSES running late has become an all too frequent occurrence. One which is not news to any of us, however, one that is always frustrating.

Only a few weeks ago I had an appointment in the Sydney CBD and had appropriately organised a bus that would transport me to the station for a connecting train. That bus arrived 25 minutes late.

As a result, I had to catch a later train and all together was an hour late for my appointment. This, of course, was to the annoyance of those on the receiving end of what appeared to be my tardiness, and yet in actual fact was a reflection of the poor timetabling system of local buses.

My tight schedule for that day was thrown completely out of whack by no fault of my own. I paid for a service that did not deliver.

The frequency of stories such as this that I not only experience but hear of frustrate me further.

What is the point of a timetable if it is inaccurate? How are people expected to organise their day, their own 'timetable', if they are relying on unreliable forces?

It is understandable that there are many factors that contribute to the lateness of buses such as traffic and herds of boarding passengers. It is common knowledge that during peak hour the Hume Highway is in grid lock, but there are writings on network theory and logistics that could be more acutely applied to individual bus networks.

Furthermore, surely there is some extent to which traffic and boarding delays can be 'timetabled in'. For example, if buses tend to run late as the day wears on, the end of one cycle and the beginning of another could be separated by a few minutes which act as a time buffer.

Surely it is time for the lateness and unpredictability of buses to stop? Time to begin setting standards that are regular and reliable.

We pay our fares, we pay our taxes, we deserve nothing less than an efficient bus service.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Is reading a hobby?

Over the last week or so, I have dedicated a number of hours to my most recent 'hobby'- reading.

Coming from a 17 year old who prides herself on her love of English at school, it certainly sounds strange to announce this is a new venture. Having said that, I like to believe it's better late than never.

Prompted by a conversation over lunch with my brother, I realised I did indeed need to pull my stockings up and do some serious reading.

An hour later, having searched through 'Top 100 Booklists' (and cheating somewhat by looking up plot summaries), I had formulated quite a long list filled with classics in a variety of genres.

Driven by a new wave of determination, I quickly finished reading The Picture of Dorian Gray (which I had ever so slowly dragged myself through since November) and read Anne Bronte's Agnes Grey in four days!

I repeat- four days! A record (apart from the sheer un-Maryann-liness when I read the first three books of Limony Snickets in one sitting- not that they are particularly long...)

I was quite proud of myself, and I found I enjoyed the past-time significantly more than when I forced myself to finish Dorian Gray.

My principal objectives in the matter:
A) learning how to read quicker by the time University starts,
B) expanding my knowledge and understanding of the art of storytelling via reading fiction (which will be of good use when I set my sights to become a film and theatre Arts Reviewer),
and finally(and ironically the least influential factor-and yet one I hope to speedily achieve) C) to come to enjoy reading (rather than constantly substituting the experience of reading a book for watching a film- and later having nothing to comment upon or discuss in light of comparisons).

I must admit, in my brief review, I did not enjoy Oscar Wilde's 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'.

I wrote this in my visual bookshelf on Facebook:
Not at all up my alley. As much as it is fine to understand some of the circumstances of that time period, after reading three pages consisting of lists of all the jewels worn by royalty scattered throughout the world, I knew it was most certainly not for me. With that being said, many of Oscar Wilde's 'one liners' that evaluate the human condition are worth contemplation.

Of course I could rattle on about styalistic features, audience, context and so on, however I will explain my main thoughts. For someone like myself who read the book(on reccomendation from a friend) for pure enjoyment, it tickled absolutely none of my fancies- I did not sympathise with ANY of the characters, at many stages it lacked being driven by plot and rather seemed as if Oscar Wilde had ripped a few pages out of his 'my thoughts on this rotten life' and stickey taped it into the 'story'. The story, although having a moral, seemed very vain(masked by the appearance of being quite deep)- but perhaps it was 'too deep' for my liking.
The only element I did enjoy whilst reading the book were the brilliant one-liners that provided very quaint and witty ways to explain an interesting element of the human condition.
In summary, I would not reccomend the book to many, only those who enjoy reading about someone who thinks an aweful lot and yet masks his thoughts within a foppish world.

On a lighter note, I enjoyed 'Agnes Grey' enough to convince me to read all the Bronte, Austen and Gaskell classics which I previously snubbed for BBC Period Drama adaptations.

My facebook review was short and sweet:
Nothing like her sister's Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre, but adequate.

That is precicely my overall impression of the book- adequate. Qutie dull (no surprise considering the protaganist was exceedingly dull), however the novel contained enough sustaining characters and action to make the book a gentle and enjoyable read. It was by no means thrilling and enrapturing(to the extent where you simply cannot put the book down), however, the low-profile life of a governess and her inner turmoil whilst displaying a steely exterior to her michevious pupils is admirable. I could certainly see thematic and styalistic elements that make Anne Bronte unique to her sisters (being well-accustomed to 'The Tennant at Wildfell Hall'), and she is a good writer, but there was no harrowing imagery or moving symbolism(for the more visual) or intriguing plot-lines and envelloping characters(for people like myself) that made the book stand out.
Again, I would not recommend the book to anyone, unless they enjoy reading about dull characters who never grow balls and spend most of their life around condescending people, yet have high morals and principals which are only vehicle for the protaganist's unhappiness.

With all that said, I am looking forward to reading 'A Brave New World' within the next few days.