Thursday, March 29, 2007

It's time to say goodbye.

Wait!! Don't panic. This is not a siucide letter (intentional misspelling!) or anything similar. It's just a post to say that this is the end.

Of the blog? Yes.

Of petal's online identity? Yes, also.


Because petal has come to some important decisions, one of which is that spending time on forums - or TOO MUCH time on forums - is really time wasted. Well, that's how I feel. Others feel differently, I know. But I have realised that my intellectual energies are best directed in the "real world", as well as writing as my "real self", which is an area I want to pursue in the near future.

Yes, I did say last year that I was writing under my real name. That was a lie - well, a diversion. I was trying to put people who MIGHT have guessed my online identity (or who were chasing for clues) off the track. And while we're on the subject, will I be revealing my real name now?

Mmmmm ... no. And I probably won't at any later stage, either. However, there will be people to whom I'll be posting a private email at some later stage, after the dust has settled - "Hi! It's me!!!" Bruce, check your inbox regularly! And notallright - I'm sure I'll bump into you sooner rather than later anyway. You'd be hard to miss with six aboriginal offspring trailing after you, and we live fairly close to each other.

And MrLefty, of course. He actually knows more about me than he realises. My initiation into the world of blogging was via a search for criticism of Andrew Bolt, as I was getting angrier and angrier at the idiocy he insists on columnising. I came across BoltWatch ... and haven't looked back.

Until now, that is.

This blog was my small attempt at carving my own opinions into the virtual rockface, as well as a diversion from ... other things. In 2004 I was suffering from depression. Quite badly. In fact, it's something I've lived with from the age of around eleven, when I started to experience shocking bullying that lasted five years or more. Of course, there's more to the causes of my depression than just bullying, but it certainly made a considerable contribution. It was around that time that I was acting out my sickness (which is what it was) in harmful (to myself) and destructive ways. I was distracted and acting compulsively. When I found BoltWatch and other blogs, I was able to channel my distraction into something that was at least more constructive.

Since that time I've tried incredibly hard to keep myself increasingly focussed and drag myself out of the depression. I should point out that no drugs or therapy were involved in this "cure" (relatives of mine, also suffering from depression, were not so lucky and it took them years to get off the stuff), but a lot of exercise, meditation, self-reflection and reading. It also helps when you know that the depression is getting closer again - somehow you get over it more quickly. Last year I suffered a very nasty shock in my workplace which ordinarily would have flattened me, but thanks to my nutrition, exercise and self-awareness, I bounced back incredibly quickly. AND got an even better job into the bargain!

I really know that I'm getting there. The advantage of getting older is that you are also getting smarter - sorry to all the young folks out there, but at least you have something to look forward to. And for the record - I'm in my late 30s. I'm continuing to make changes to my life, along with the amazing new job that I have. Some of these changes, if they occur, will be tough but I know they will be worth it. I have started going to the gym again, after 16 years, and I think that has also helped.

Which brings me back to my first point - I'm leaving the world of blogging altogether. It has helped me through a very rough patch but I want to stick with the real world now. I think the same will happen with many of the people who read the same blogs - even MrLefty. His "coming out" late last year was the first step in helping me to come to the decision I have made. I just know that preselection and running for parliament will be the next step for him, and/or a serious writing career.

Thanks to all those people with whom I engaged in lively on-line conversation and discussion, some more than others. Let's hope that maybe we meet again in the real world sometime.

Love, petal

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Great article on school vouchers at Online Opinion.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sorry about the lack of action here of late.

I've actually been busy - doing "real" writing. As my "real" self. My "real" real self.

Some of my work (OK, there's not much of it, yet) has already appeared on line with my real name.

Why not try to find it? Go on!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

By the way, can I make my position known?

  • I am not outrightly opposed to government money reaching private schools. There's no way to stop that happening, anyway.

  • I am opposed to more money than is necessary being unconditionally granted by government to non-government schools, many of whom do not even need the money. I think we can all guess which schools those are.

  • I am not opposed to the creation of what are known as "community" schools (and I know that some schools refer to themselves as community schools when in fact the reality is very different), as long as they remain community-oriented in nature and provide a true alternative (in terms of alternative learning environments, special cultural programs and the like) that cannot possibly be recreated in a public school. Often these community schools provide a crucible for public schools to learn from - Fitzroy Community School is a classic example.

  • I am opposed to the "privatisation" of the public system in terms of vouchers, public-private partnerships (which are anything but) and outsourcing to organisations which are beyond public scrutiny.

  • Does that clear things up?
    The public-private education debate appears to have hit a new intensity.

    Are people now feeling the hip-pocket pinch, thanks to higher oil prices and interest rates?

    From Monday's Age.

    Plenty of other articles on this issue in the Age over the past week. What do you think?

    I'll reserve my opinion for the moment.

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    More taxpayer funds spent on fancy private school overheads.

    It is not the job of this site to "name and shame" schools and I'm not about to start now. I don't think it's fair on kids who attend any school to have its name mentioned in a way that might unfairly (and possibly unintentionally) influence people to think the wrong thing about their school and the students and teachers in it. The closest I have come to this is a link to the Daily Flute cartoon about a school in Sydney.

    Therefore, I will just say that I have noticed a private school advertisement in Melbourne's Child announcing the latest gidgit that is supposedly essential for any child's classroom learning:

    The prep classrooms are equipped with technology that makes it possible for every child in the room to hear their teacher "as though she were right behind them", no matter where the teacher is standing in the room. Of course. Why didn't it happen years ago?

    Be aware that this is YOUR MONEY at work. Not for essential capital works, but frilly (and expensive) gadgets that really, if the research is done properly, don't do the job any better than a good teacher, a well-designed classroom and an interesting curriculum.

    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    You may have noticed that Bruce has set up a new blog of which I will also be a contributor. Stay tuned.

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    Sesame Street rulz!

    I have been thinking a lot lately about the role of Children's Television in the public education debate. While I greatly limit the amount of TV my kids watch, I realise that for the vast majority of kids out there, the television (for better or worse) plays an equal or more important role in the development of children's imagination and knowledge.

    That's why keeping kids' TV tightly regulated is so utterly, utterly important. And stupid comments from media commentators (you couldn't call them "journalists") accusing the "thought police" of coming down on kids' TV producers are so utterly, utterly wrong. Neil Mitchell's comment a year or so back on the change in Sesame Street's Cookie Monster, in that he now refers to cookies as "a sometimes food", as being yet another triumph for the "thought police" is so far right you need to get out the telescope to see where it came from.

    Sorry I don't have a link for the article but I'm probably doing you a favour anyway.

    The CTW Producers (who make Sesame St) have always had their audience in mind, and have made some bold decisions that can now be seen as landmarks in children's television. Take the (caution: video link) death of Mr Hooper (the actor playing him really did die suddenly) in 1983 - instead of quietly writing him out of the show, they wrote his death INTO the script. And Big Bird, when asking over and over about why he's gone and what death is, is told gently that "He's dead; he's not coming back; but we're lucky to have known him and we have wonderful memories of him."

    Not "He's gone to heaven" or "He's in a better place, now". Nope - he's dead, Big Bird. And the episode is one of the most moving I've ever seen.

    A couple of years later Big Bird's friend, Mr Snuffleupagus, who previously would disappear just before anyone else (besides BB) came on the scene, suddenly stayed on set and was seen by the other characters who responded happily and told BB that he was "right all the time!" I remember my cousins watching this episode and in spite of being almost out of my teenage years, was close to tears at finally seeing Big Bird proved right.

    And why the sudden change in plot in 1985? Because of the sudden media attention towards child sexual abuse, and the realisation that little kids wanted to be believed by adults, particularly if their story was "difficult to believe". It was another bold move, not motivated by the "thought police" but by the desire to do the right thing.

    Long live Sesame Street. It's one of the things I HAVE let my kids watch.