-- 24 November, 2009 --

Italian journal

Italian journal
Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.
I bought this lovely little Fabriano Journal with its delicious multicoloured pages in a moment of unsupervised retailing at Fumicino Airport in Rome. I have finally discovered a use for it.

Please feel free to correct my fourth term Italian.

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-- 24 March, 2009 --


Here is a mosaic of my follwers on Twitter. I didn't realise that I had that much of interest to say ...

Get your twitter mosaic here.

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-- 05 November, 2008 --

I have become a publisher!

It has been a long time since I have made an entry here so I wanted the news to be exciting. I have just published The Poets opus vitae. He doesn't know about it and it will be a little while before it arrives for his reading pleasure but I think he will be pleased. Living in a nursing home isn't how we anticipated that he would be spending his retirement. It was supposed to be all books and poetry and travel. You can never say what the future holds. You can check out his first book of poetry on Lulu. Never know, you might even be moved to buy your own copy. Imagine how that would make him feel!

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-- 22 October, 2007 --

Who am I?

The project this week has been to introduce ourselves to our mentor but only in positive terms. When you have spent your whole life being discouraged from thinking about yourself in this way, it is not an easy task. The most observant will realise that I did this page in my journal upside down.

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-- 19 October, 2007 --

What kind of blogger am I?

What Kind of Blogger Are You?

Hey, look what I got today.

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-- 01 September, 2007 --

Another bit of CyberFun

Being the technonut that I am, I am always up to try something new on the Internet. Blogging, websites, Flickr, Facebook - I have tried it all. My newest distraction on the Internet is MyCyberTwin. All of this week, while I have been stuck at home with a rattly cough which turned out to be pneumonia, I have been distracted by building a little CyberPal to chat with online friends. Every time someone goes and has a chat with my character, I get more information that I can use to adjust the way he reacts to conversation.

I have added a button to the right column of the main page of my blog. If you would like to go and have a chat to Frederick R Bear then click on the button and have some fun. You might even like to have a go at building your own alter-personality and joining in the fun. Enjoy!

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-- 25 August, 2007 --


Originally uploaded by ** Robyn **.
I have to learn to be a Design and Technology teacher because teenage girls know all there is to know about computers, or so they believe, which makes Computing teachers redundant. This is my first step on the reinventing of me - learning to make silver jewellery.

I learnt how to make a ring ... and that I can't cut a straight line with a jeweller's saw. I learnt to solder and file and polish ... and that saw blades break when you least expect them to. I still have to find a silver brooch back for my silver dragonfly.

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-- 04 March, 2007 --

Blog about blogs

I love having this blog where I can share my art and other stuff with anyone who cares to read my ramblings. One of the things that I especially like is that, together with its partner, Postcards, is on my own hosted site. This means I have complete control, within the contraints of the MovableType software, on its look and feel.

Unfortunately, to be able to comment of other people's blogs, it is often necessary to be a subsciber on the bloggings sites that they use. As a result, I have ended up with a number of blogs that I don't use for anything more than a single entry that points visitors to come here. It often strikes me as a bit of a waste. While visiting my empty little home over on Xanga this weekend I was stuck with an idea - always a dangerous thing!

Since I have these unloved little spaces because I want to visit my e-pals, what about using one of them to tell visitors about the blogs that I visit, instead of just having a favourites list somewhere down the side panel over there on the right. I intend to gradually work my way through my favourite reads, talking about what appeals to me on the blogs and, hopefully, encourage others to drop by for a look. How about popping over there and having a look.


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-- 27 February, 2007 --

Fingers crossed ...

... no more spam comments!

A quick cruise around the Movabletype web site came up with a new plug-in for controlling the flow of spam comments. Half an hour spent installing it onto the three blogs that live on this site and I have now been spam comment free for 12 hours.

Anyone who is kind enough to take a moment to leave a comment on one of my entries now has an extra step of entering a word into a box under the comment box. I hope that it doesn't put any of my regular visitors off from having their say.

It is such a relief to open my email box and not to see notification of dozens of comments that need to be deleted! YEAH!


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-- 25 February, 2007 --

Spammer mayhem!

Although my Movabletype spam filters are working well to keep the amount of spam that actually appears on my blog to a minimum, I still have to deal with all of the rubbish that ends up in the unpublished basket. The weekends seem to be the worst. I can get as many as 300 spam messages a day on Saturday and Sunday along with the dozens a day through the rest of the week.

My usual approach, after deleting all the spammy notices from my email inbox and sending a personal thank you to the occasional genuine comment, is to head off to my Comments control page and set the filter to 'Unpublished'. The spam filter sets comments it recognises as spam to 'Unpublished'.

The listing is set to display 125 entries at a time, which makes 'Select All' deleting a quick method of getting rid of the spam.

Until today, this didn't cause any problems ... and then I got careless ...

This morning, my email inbox was just chockers with notifications of comments so I began, what I thought, was the routine. 'Select All' - 'Delete' and off went the first 125 spam comments to the big bit bucket in the sky. The redrawn screen showed yet more unpublished comments so off I went again ... 'Select All' - 'Delete'. The screen redraw and ... up to the top of the list came a 'Published' comment. They weren't supposed to be visible!

I had forgotten to filter the list to only show 'Unpublished'.

Along with the grotty little spam comments, off to comment heaven went nice words from my dear e-friends.

I can only say that I am really lucky that I didn't have the list displaying 'All Comments' as I did a couple of months ago or I would have lost them all.



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-- 06 December, 2006 --

Again ...

I am suspending comments. The spam is getting the best of me.

Please keep visiting but, if you feel moved to so 'Hello', you will have to email me at rlsmith at until I try turning them back on again.

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-- 18 November, 2006 --

Why Oh Why ...

... do people send spam comments to blogs? They never stay there if they are on newish entires and, if they are attached to very old entries, no-one ever reads them. All that they do is cause ENORMOUS inconvenience for the blogger. They all have to be found and deleted and, in the case of MovableTypers, you get an email to announce the arrival of each comment, which has to be sorted from the real ones and also deleted.

Over the last few weeks I have been getting as many as 30 an hour and I am going slowly out of my tiny little mind. I turned comments off for a few days in the hope that they would leave me alone but when I turned them back on again the comments kept coming. Now I have decided to leave them off for a bit longer to see what happens. It surely takes all the fun out of blogging because I REALLY love getting comments from all of the lovely people who read my blathering and are so kind about my spodges.

Soooo ... please keep visiting but, if you feel moved to so 'Hello', you will have to email me at rlsmith at until I try turning them back on again.

Posted by robynls at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)

-- 07 May, 2006 --

Where on Earth?

On the 14 April, I added a ClustrMap to this blog so that I could see where my visitors are from. It is down there at the bottom of the right column with my visit counter and a deliberately blurry picture of me, in case you haven't scrolled down there for a while. I had a vague idea of who was visiting from the comments that people have kindly taken the time to leave but the counter shows that there are lots more visitors who read and move on without leaving a record of their passing.

It has been exciting to see that there are so many more people in the US who pass through than I was aware of. I have some dear friends in the UK, some of whom I have had the pleasure of meeting in person but the map shows more there as well. I can now see where Chennai really is and am ashamed that I never bothered to look it up on a map before. I can see where my Australian friends are located now.

What does surprise me, though, are the really unusual and unexpected places that are popping up with little red dots. There are currently two showing in Japan, two in Russia and one in Mexico. There is one in what looks like Romania and one in Sudan. I can see one in Bangladesh and a small number in various countries around the Mediterranean and in South-East Asia.

I have just upgraded my ClustrMap subscription to a level where soon I will be able to expand the maps to continent level so that I can see more closely were my visitors live. It is so exciting to think that I am communicating in some small way with so many diverse people. It would be lovely if visitors from some of these interesting and unusual places would leave a comment so that I can get to know them as well as I do those who are regulars but just to know they have passed through is a buzz.

'Thank you' to everyone who makes the effort to visit. We are making the world smaller and doing a tiny little bit toward peace by getting to know one another a little better. Please drop by again.

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-- 20 April, 2006 --

Fives meme

I've been tagged by Anastasia

Five minutes to yourself: how would you spend them, ideally?
Drawing or watching TV

Five bucks to spend right now; how would you spend it?
I would spend it on a mug-sized mocha and probably get change.

Five items in your house you could part with, right now, that you hadn't thought of already?
1. All of the clothes in my wardrobe that no longer fit me - which is most of them
2. The pile of computing magazines that are so far out of date even the silverfish don't want them
3. All of the recipe books in my kitchen that I thought I would use but never did.
4. The thousands of bits of paper that I keep because I think they are important
5. All of the ancient makeup in the bathroom draws - I don't wear makeup.

Five items you absolutely, positively could never part with in your house?
1. My husband - The Poet.
2. My sons - well, only one of them is at home but I wouldn't part with either of them
3. My kitten, Meg, despite all of her naughtiness
4. My television set with its digital connection.
5. Any of the thousands of books laying about my house.

Five words you love?
1. Peace
2. Bless
3. Thanks
4. Mum
5. Love

I am supposed to tag others to play. Do you want to do it?

Posted by robynls at 10:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

-- 04 June, 2005 --

The Interview Game

The Interview Game is making the rounds of the blogging world. The rules are at the end of this message (first in gets the hand-off). Detlef from detlef jumpertz | spin asked me these questions:

Q1: If you could own any painting in the world which one would you choose? Please explain the reasons why.

One of my favourite activities when I travel, whether I am in some far away place or just on an overnighter to Melbourne, is to visit art galleries. A trip to the Art Gallery of NSW is about my favourite Sunday thing to do in Sydney. Seeing the paintings 'in the flesh' makes looking at them in a glossy book of prints seem an utter waste of time. It just doesn't compare.

The Poet and I have visited lots of galleries on our travels including some of the world's best - The National Gallery in London, The Tate, The V&A, The Louvre, The Muse d'Orse (name dropper, ain't I - VBG). Out of all of the awesome paintings that we have seen, the one that I stood in front of and lusted for the most was Vincent's The Potatoe Eaters.

My reasons? It is difficult to know why you love a particular painting. The well known quip 'I don't know much about art but I know what I like' is very true, but since I have to give reasons then the first would be that Vincent is one of my favourite artists - he 'speaks' to me. I would have this particular example of his body of work because of its depth. His palette is typical of the Dutch period in which it was painted but, despite the dark colours, there is light in the canvas. He has painted these people with so much compassion that it breaks my heart.

I could look at this canvas for ever and still not see all that it has to tell me.

Q2: If you could be an animal, any animal, which one would you choose and why?

The animal the spring immediately to mind is a domestic cat. Of course it would depend on the slave that I chose - cats choose their slaves, humans don't own cats. I would want one who knew their place and attended to my every need before I had even thought of it. I would require a regular supply of fresh fish - none of that canned rubbish - and a bowl of constantly fresh water. My slave should be aware that the best seat in the house is mine and ensure that it is available at all times. I would require regular displays of affection but on my terms only and to be left alone when that is how I wish to be. The slave should be on hand to change the litter in the tray following each use. He/she should never even suggest that I leave the comfort of my home for the wilds of the garden - unless, of course, that is where I should wish to be at that time and should be there to open the door when I demand entry.

Now where is that fairy godmother? I think I have just described my ideal life!

Q3: As I know you are more widely travelled than I, tell me the greatest moment you've had while travelling and by that I mean a moment that has left you totally gobsmacked?

Easy question! The most "Oh! My God!" breathless moment in all of our travels was seeing the dome of St Paul's as we flew into London for the very first time.

As a family historian, I have studied English history since I was a little girl and dreamed about going there for years. I missed my chance as a young woman, when most Aussies do the big 'return to the mother-country' thing. I was afraid of leaving the life that I was beginning to establish. I was in my very late 40s before I finally got up the courage to face the long plane trip and then only on the urgings of The Poet.

Together, we have now been there 4 times. The flight that we have regularly taken arrives in London around 6am and, since we go in the English winter time, it is still dark as the plane approaches Heathrow. On the first of these trips, the plane's flight path followed the Thames from the coast. As we crossed The City, I looked down and there was St Paul's, still floodlit in the early morning gloom. It glowed and was simply beautiful. There is no other word to describe it. I knew that I was finally there.

Q4: What was/is your favourite TV show of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and the new millenium and the reasons why these shows hold sway?

This is one of those slightly cheating questions that is lots of questions in one!

I am an absolute television addict. I have it on even if I am not watching it attentively, just to have the noise in the background. Probably because of that, I find it difficult to make a choice, as I have watched so many programs and enjoyed lots of them.

In the 60's I was at school. Mum was at work and we were told not to watch the TV until she came home, but we still did. I can remember sitting of an afternoon watching Lost in Space. I was a bit of a science fiction buff so the idea of a family getting into a space caravan and having high adventures in outer space appealed to me. I don't think that I was even aware of the sad special effects.

In the 70's I still liked science fiction but of a slightly different nature. Altered human beings was the go. I wonder if this was a wish to alter myself? Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic Woman, and their parody The Greatest American Hero (I can still hear the theme music).

During the 80's I discovered The Bill and would sit up late at night to watch reruns of the programs that I had missed earlier in the evening because of having to attend to the needs of small children. This was the beginning of my insatiable need for cop shows that still runs today, along with The Bill.

The 90's was the era of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I liked the earlier ones best as I thought that under all of the slash and burn vampire stuff, they really did have some sort of theme about the traumas faced by teenagers. The later ones were just slash and burn.

Currently I am still entranced with crime shows and tend to watch whatever is available - Law and Order, CSI, A Touch of Frost, Inspector Linley. Of all of them I think that my current favourite is Wire in The Blood as I find Robson Green appealing. I enjoy detective novels and I think that this is just spilling over into my TV watching.

Q5: If you could invite 12 living people to a dinner party (evenly split 6/6 on gender lines) who would they be? and no more than two sentences on why they were selected [there is a sting in the tail the people must be ones that I am likely to have heard of, or am familiar with - it helps that I'm widely read].

To be perfectly honest, I hate entertaining. I am a reclusive who likes nothing more than to get home of an afternoon and shut the door to keep the rest of the world out my house. I don't like parties, dinner or otherwise and find making small talk a real physical effort. I will, however, give this one a go.

6 men, let's see!

  1. Nelson Mandella - just to say well done and to thank him for his sacrifices
  2. Robson Green - see the TV question above. Actors in real life are usually a let down but I would want to find out anyway.
  3. Charle de Lint - he is my current favourite author. I would like to hear about his writing process.
  4. Les Murray - this one is for The Poet. He keep a book of Les' poetry by the bed where most people keep a Bible.
  5. John Olsen - I want an artist at my party. I want to tell him how much I hated his Archibald prize winning painting and tell him to stick to landscapes.
  6. Jimoen - after all of the serious chat, I would want a little bit of light relief and I think the Jimoen is the funniest man alive.

Now the ladies -

  1. Kathy Freeman - in my dim distant past, I was a reasonable middle distance runner. Kathy has achieved everything that I didn't and I want to hear about it.
  2. Lynda La Plante - see my TV addiction to crime fiction. I want to hear about HER writing process.
  3. Jill Jones - it is so hard to find a living Australian female poet to add to my guest list. I heard Jill at a poetry reading at UTS last year and thought she was great.
  4. Aung San Suu Kyi - why doesn't Australia produce politicians with such passion and conviction? She thinks only of her country and her cause, with no thought for her own gain.
  5. Sandra Bates - she is the artistic director of the Ensemble Theatre in Sydney. We have permanent front row seats to their season and I want to hear about how they select and produce their plays.
  6. Wendy Harmer - Jimoen would need company among all of these terribly serious people. Wendy is the best Australian comedienne going so between them they would make us laugh 'til we cried.

The Official Interview Game Rules

  1. If you want to participate, leave a comment saying "interview me."
  2. I will respond by asking you five questions - each person's will be different.
  3. You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions.
  4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
  5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

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