Finding the Impossible

20130905_190506-1I didn’t know the author. I didn’t know the title. I didn’t even know what it was about. All I had was a vague memory of a picture that had an escalator in it and the knowledge that I had loved that book.

It was a children’s book that my grandparents had owned. They had a whole collection of books that they kept for us when we came over, and I remembered the names of almost all of them, except this one.

I was determined to hunt it down, but how do you find something when you have no information? I scoured Google. I even signed up (it cost me $2) to a website on which a team of people will use all their book-knowledge to try to find a book for you based on the most limited information.

The escalator page! The only thing I could vaguely remember.

The escalator page! The only semi-clear thing I could remember.

I kid you not, all I knew was that it was a children’s book that probably pre-dated the eighties, was possibly about going to work, possibly had a train station in it, and had a picture of an escalator in what was possibly a department store. Try typing that into Google!

So, imagine my elation when, after a couple of years, I found the book during a Google search. I recognized the cover immediately and wasted no time in ordering a secondhand copy.

I’m now convinced that I can find anything online!

Do you have any long-lost books that you’ve been trying to find for ages?

I love Social Media… or do I?

Apparently the emotions of love and hate are strongly related. I can see this in action in my feelings towards social media.

It’s tempting to say that I hate social media, but my actions betray me. If I dared blog about disliking it, I would be faced with an onslaught of friends crying ‘fraud!’ In fact the irony is obvious. I’m blogging about it. If I hate it, stop blogging!

ff7e6836af97118327bf303f4de4aba7So, I’ll have to face the truth: I love social media. Not all of it, but there’s no denying that Facebook has become an extension of my right hand or that there is now a filing cabinet on the creative side of my brain labelled ‘WordPress.’

So how can I simultaneously love and hate it? My ponderings have led me to this conclusion: Loving something too much can lead to obsession; as we obsess we hand power to the object of our obsessions. Even Nick Thompson, from Wired magazine said of the iPhone: “There are a lot of people who have a problematic relationship with these devices where the device becomes the master and they become the servant.”[1]

Somehow, by our own doing, this inanimate data, somewhere out in the ether, begins to control us. And so we do what humans have done for centuries with an object of obsession: We hate it. But we can’t destroy it, because it has a hold on us.

Do you ever worry about the hold that social media has on you?


[1] Thompson, Nick; in: Maushart, Susan. The Winter of our Disconnect. Profile Books, London. 2012

Proud Teacher Moments

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I love those moments that make teaching worthwhile. It’s a tough job, but such a rewarding one. You see hundreds of students come and go. You lose track of who graduated when, and what they’re doing now, and for the most part they vanish off into the world somewhere, hopefully slightly better equipped for life because they sat in your classroom. Often, though, you just never know. But then there are the ones who stay in touch; who make you proud. Not because they’ve done anything greater than the ones you never hear from again, but because they come back to tell you. This young man makes me proud. He’s one of SA’s up and coming footballers, he’s dedicated and down to earth, and he’s published a blog on the Port Adelaide Football Club’s website. He told me I taught him everything he knows. I didn’t. But maybe I helped him a bit along the way, and he’s been kind enough to come back and tell me.

Fields and Ocean

Fields and Ocean

I’ve always loved open, secluded fields that overlook the ocean. It’s the convergence of earth and sea, the perfect place to experience both the wildness and beauty of nature. Unfortunately, when you live in the city, they’re quite hard to access, especially if you want to avoid jumping the fence of an unsuspecting farmer (though let’s be honest, a little bit of fence-jumping doesn’t go astray). This spot, however, is one that I found on a recent Easter trip, and has now made it into my ‘Top 5 favourite places in South Australia.’(Or at least it would have, if such a list existed.)
It often amazes me, as I look at the ocean, that such a huge body of water meets the land, overlapping on such a narrow strip of sand, and yet we can trust it to come no further. We build our houses only meters from the sea, which is incomprehensibly vast and deep, with full confidence that it will not overflow. It reminds me of God’s rhetorical question to Job: ‘…who shut in the sea with doors…and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?