Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to make a hyperlink signature in Blogger

Non technical, non threatening instructions for making a hyperlink signature. For anyone who found other instructions confusing and took hours trying to work it out. I hope it helps. It'd be kind of nice if you let me know :)

Why do you want a hyperlink signature?

• You've got a blog
• You like to comment on other peoples posts in a caring and sharing way
• You'd like the person for whom you crafted a kindly word to come visit you in return
• You want to make it as easy as possible. You don't want them to have go to your profile page, scroll down, (sometimes it seems like forever) find you have 3 or even 8 blogs, and wonder which one to tackle first.
• The nice person who wants to return the compliment will likely give up in frustration, it's not worth the hassle.
• The nifty signature will take them to the specific blog (or post) you'd like them to visit. Easy peasy.

How to do it:

The letters and symbols below are what the computer needs to navigate to your blog or post, (and you wouldn't believe how hard it was to find a blog title that hadn't been taken!) I've colour coded it for ease, normally it's all in black, and appears more or less in one line, it's only broken up like this because I put it on a ppt slide.

All you do is copy that stuff out - the whole lot up there, exactly the same - including the space after the a - into a Word doco or equivalent.

Next. Where it's red is where you put your blog address (what you originally called your blog - if you can't remember click on the title of your blog and check in the address bar at the top of your page.) But of course you do it in black, not red.

Now choose your signature. Are you going to use your real name, the name of your blog, a nom de plume or what? Type that in where I've used blue. That will become your signature, and is what I should see in the comments section.

That's all! It should work.  (*Grins nervously with fingers crossed)

Feel free to give it a go here. I was nervous the first time I tried it, thinking I'd stuff it up (which I did about 4 million times before I got it right). I won't be critical if you get it wrong...honest!

If my fictitious Ruby really did have a Machinima blog, this is what she'd be working on. I'm envious!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book Review: "An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days".

It was an absolute pleasure to read “An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days” by Susan Wittig Albert.

I felt like a trusted friend who had been invited to share this perceptive, beautifully expressed journal written during 2008 – the year Obama became president of the USA.

The journal is confronting due to the issues Albert is exploring, but unexpectedly it’s not depressing. She shares her growing awareness and concern about recession, climate change, environmental degradation, water misuse and energy depletion. But she also ponders her reactions to these issues, and contemplates how she will respond proactively. Albert is awesomely well read and includes her reading list at the end of each month for anyone wanting to further their own knowledge.

Included are quotes from her readings and press clippings about current political happenings, which gives a sense of immediacy of the unfolding political and environmental landscape. An added bonus is hearing about her life as an author, landowner and wife and the challenges she faces on those fronts as well.  Her writing is accessible and in no way intimidating, she comes across as a very aware woman who is sharing a challenging journey with us.

“An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days” is an excellent commentary on the current state of our world. I was so impressed, I’ve requested my local library to purchase a copy.

*I doubt that I've ever written a book review before, but I found this book to be outstanding, and wanted to share my enthusiasm. My book club mates know I'll be naturally attracted to books that are possibly 'meatier' than others enjoy, but having said that, if you are interested in what's happening with the environment, this is a good place to begin and/or extend your knowledge in a very accessible way.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Who me? Stylish?!

An award for my blog, wheee! Thanks Helen (Straight from Hel). I'm delighted, and will try not to let it go to my head!

It's a relief it's for my blog, not me, but horrors, does that mean that the pressure's on?

Now, let's see .... Oh dear there are rules, I'm not so good with them usually, but we'll see how I go this time.

Hmm: List 7 things about yourself and pass the award on to 7 others. Seems simple enough (now I've worked out how to copy and paste the award!)

*finds pencil, starts chewing it, wanders around the house procrastinating, gets in the washing from the line before the night air begins to settle, has a cup mug of tea, folds washing, pours a beer, thinks about dinner, pours another beer, gets dinner, greets son who has come home to visit...*

Um, maybe this isn't so easy...

finally knuckles down...

1.  My parents built their house; materials were rationed after the war, and it took years for them to finish it. The plans for the house came from USA and it was called a California Bungalow.

2.  I cycled to school on a 'girls bike' which didn't have gears but did have a back pedal brake. I reckon in an emergency I would automatically try to push backwards on the pedals of my current modern bike.

3.  I've trekked close to Kali Patar near the base of Mt Everest. I suffered from altitude sickness, so couldn't get to base camp.

4.  I get vertigo snorkelling in deep water.

5.  I over-think things.

6.  I still love getting the (snail) mail in.

7.  Sometimes I can't spell for nuts.

Now, 7 recipients! Drum roll please ......

1. Brits in the USA - I get a lot of pleasure from David's writing, his preparedness to tackle tough issues, his photos and wicked sense of humour.
2. Boonie's Thailand Photos - Boonie's photos, commentary, wit and wisdom bring lightness into my life.
3. Shaking the Tree - Miss Becky takes beautiful photographs and makes perceptive observations about her photos and life.
4. Life's a Poodle - The creators of this blog are champions for children who learn differently. How stylish is that!
5. The Giraffability of Digressions - The first blog I ever followed. Cruella was introduced to me by the brilliant Australian comedian Adam Hills when he proudly mentioned her in a show as his 'Norwegian stalker'. Thankyou Adam!
6. Coffee Rings Everywhere - stylish photos, brilliant Drabbles. Rayna inspired me to try my hand at Drabbling. It's addictive!
7. Middle Passages - I came across Liza's blog late last year and read it from the beginning. Beautifully crafted insight into the life of someone who was made redundant. Complete with very stylish photos.

That was harder than I thought, all the blogs I read are stylish, and I found I wanted to share with everyone... ah well, next time!

*I'm going to digress now. Has any one else ever gone into a slightly negative state when something positive like this happens? I've been known to react with "oh they were just being nice, I'm not doing anything as good as ... (insert title of blog you think is really cool here)"? I found the same thing happened when The Burrow included some of my drabbles in their Valentine Calendar. I thought "it's only because no one else entered the competition". My mother would have said it's false pride, but I'm not so sure, I genuinely find it hard to assess what I'm doing. I often ask: Am I articulating clearly, is it garbled, am I being too long winded, how can I improve, things like that....See 5 above: I over-think things!


Friday, March 18, 2011

3 simple things to remember when the world seems to be falling apart

Friends and family are looking around and counting themselves fortunate that they haven’t been personally affected by the desperate and dramatic events absorbing our attention hour by hour in Japan.

Capture from TV. Qld Jan 2011
They feel lucky to have avoided (more by sheer luck than good management) being involved in some of the recent distressing scenes of natural devastation.

The dreadful floods in Queensland followed by those in Victoria, fire, more floods around the country, cyclones, all happening one on top of the other. Then the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand so closely followed by the one in Japan.

Many onlookers feel almost as if they are under siege, there’s a sense of fragility and insecurity in what had seemed a relatively stable world. There’s a feeling of being tired and drained, of feeling insignificant. As well there’s often a sense of frustration at being unable to help, there’s a need to “do something”.

Screen capture from TV. Qld Jan 2011
For those who have spare cash, it’s sometimes easy to give money, to say: “I’ve helped”. For many though, this either isn’t possible, or it’s not enough to soothe the uncomfortable feeling of life being much less secure than before.

At times like this, it’s important to safeguard our emotional and physical health, to check in regularly to see how we’re coping. Unfortunately it’s too easy to find reasons not to do what will benefit us.
We know that eating well is important, as is getting adequate sleep and exercise.

Izzy the Guide Dog puppy
waiting patiently for a walk
It’s extremely easy to get sidetracked from looking after ourselves when under stress. We hit the comfort foods, guzzle too much alcohol, and because of that, our sleep is more broken and we feel less inclined to exercise. We don't think as clearly because of all this and some decisions are not as good as they could be. The result: a vicious cycle that adds physical discomfort to the already wobbly emotional state.

There’s one other thing, often overlooked, that can be immensely supportive in times when we feel fragile, and that is sharing the feeling of vulnerability. It can be immensely reassuring to feel that you are not alone, reaching out, expressing (no matter how imperfectly), feeling part of the whole. Just to say, “Yes I feel crappy too”. It’s comforting to know that others are struggling as well. On line or real life friends, it doesn’t matter where you meet, but it is important to share even when you are unable to "do".

So, if nothing else, remember these three things:

1.  Look after your mind
2.  Take care of your mates (and let them take care of you too)
3.  Keep moving

The three M’s 
Mind, Mates & Movement.


The trio of support for a healthy life.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

A conversation about climate?

...“She’s studying environmental issues this semester. It could be pretty depressing: peak oil, land degradation and water misuse.”
Erosion on a foot track near Levanto Italy 2010
It was like opening the lid of an old well-used cauldron that had been filled with unhealthy disbelief and scepticism.
The main ingredients were mockery and criticism.
“There is no proof of mankind’s effect on climate change”
“The scientists are deluded”
“Don’t know what they’re talking about” came the thoughtless, derailing monologue.

Wisely there was no personal ridicule, but the disappointing attitude of self-righteousness and arrogance was frustrating.

All expressed vehemently without understanding or acknowledging my concern for my daughter’s psychological well-being.

After rain, the shaley track is treacherous.
Stone steps have been washed away leaving exposed
tree roots and slippery, sticky mud.

A drabble is a story told in 100 words, no more, no less.

(I find the difficulty with conversations that have been derailed like this, is my disinclination to share as I had planned even when eventually invited to do so. I tend to be left feeling that I have simply served as a ... I'm not sure what - polite sponge perhaps - whatever it is, I want to learn how to be a bit more assertive to prevent it happening again. I realised later that I hadn't even mentioned the words 'climate change' knowing how negatively it would be received...hrmph)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Career teachers, schools and students

I’m sad (there’s an understatement!) when working with a young person who has accepted the criticism from influential adults that they’re a failure, when at 20 years old they don’t know what they want to do for the rest of their life! I’m angry to discover their school careers teachers were untrained, disinterested, had been co-opted into the role as a temporary measure because no one else was available.

Change is happening at a frenetic pace. We don’t know what jobs will be created in the next 5 years. Students who are unsure are not ‘failures', simply reflecting our world.


A Drabble is a story told in 100 words. No more, no less.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Did you jump, or were you pushed? 4 important things to remember for your next interview.

It's a horrible experience either being laid off, or leaving a job under a cloud whether of your own making, or just some rotten circumstances.

It's perfectly reasonable to be a bit anxious about how you'll manage the inevitable questions at your next interview. Basically your approach will cover these 4 important points:

1.   Be as honest and direct as possible.

2.   Keep your explanation brief.

3.   Move on to the next question after having finished your answer on a positive note.

4.   Lastly, take responsibility and don't blame others. You could mention what positive things you've learnt    from the experience.

Career-Intelligence has further helpful ideas on how to approach your next interview after having been made redundant.