Friday, August 18, 2017

#ShortBusFlashBlog : Small Town. Big Secret. Sporting Reason.

Map of Wimmera. The pin points at Wimmera Lakes Caravan Park. The green would be forests/conservation reserves; the blue part includes lakes. Source: Apple Maps/screenshot by me [Adelaide Dupont].

Welcome again to the #ShortBusFlashBlog edition for August/September 2017.

I write at Halfway up Rysy Peak. Some of you may have seen me at NOS Magazine writing comments to the Atypical streaming series.

Some of you might have met me at Ellen Seidman's Love that Max.

I'd like you to look at this map and to think about it.

The three big towns on this map are Horsham Rural City; Stawell and Ararat.

Even though Wimmera involves Ben and Fab as protagonists, it does not begin with them.

Throughout my literary career I have rarely underestimated the power of a good prologue, and the Wimmera prologue certainly is all that.

"Dad told them never to cross the highway," it begins. And indeed crossing the Henty or the Western Highway gives many people a good fright.

It doesn't Jed or Danny. They are yabbying in a dam like the ones in this map.

J and D end up finding something in the lake - like in so many stories of this type.

And I'd like you to think about the distance involved. The locations in this map are four and five hours away from Melbourne, to the west and to the north.

Fab is trying to make a future in either Stawell or Ararat so that's where - and why - those two towns are there.

Ben remembers a school camp at the Grampians National Park and he ended up going somewhere much more boring.

And the Wimmera newcomer knows Ben's parents and tries to inveigle himself.

At first Ben is resistant, like so many country boys of 10 and 11 years old might be. He is told, though, to be polite to adults, and he sometimes desires to have conversations with them.

Fab from the start is suspicious. He thinks Ronnie is a secret agent, and he is probably not far wrong.

As I said - the book is set in the 1980s - 1989 to be exact.

It seems five years behind the City in some respects especially when it comes to education and law enforcement. This will become important later on.

Brandi is using his background strategically here as we will see in pages 39 and 40.

Young Fab is being bullied and his great friend Ben is sympathetic and heroic.

We see the difference between The Karate Kid and Monkey Magic - the former is shaping Fab's response to a bully after the holidays.

And what was the element of surprise on the bottom of page 39?

When I read it I wanted to say, "It's their/our Wimmera too!"

There was a short queue at the bubble-taps - a few nervous preps and one of the retarded kids, the Down syndrome one. There were two retarded kids at school. They both came every second day on the vegie bus from the Special School.

And later on: The Down syndrome kid suddenly started crying for no reason, which made one of the preps start too.

In regional Victoria especially "vegie" is used where many Americans would say #shortbus. The other time I would read it a lot would be in reference to veggie maths.

And the travel in the bus from the Special School would be quite a distance - two and three hours each way. No wonder you would cry - at the injustice and the torture of it all.

And there is a lot of etiquette these boys enforce about the bubblers which are the drink fountains in USian English.

I am glad Ben felt like hugging Fab at the end of page 40. This results in a lot and I like the peer-to-peer affection; the intimacy between two best friends.

I wonder if there was a similar alliance.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

#ShortBusFlashBlog: Hola! Gracias! Dios mios!

Hello everyone.

Those of you who read Halfway up Rysy Peak and do not know Spanish - the headline means "Hello! Thank you! [oh] My God!"

Doing a free write on Barcelona.

That city had a van run through a major throughfare - Los Ramblos. The big place was the Catalonian Road.

13 people were killed - some 80 people were injured. It was 50 confirmed when I learnt about it an hour ago.

For some months Barcelona was not exactly welcoming to tourists and rentiers. A section of its people failed to be the accessible and inclusive city they knew they could be.

So quite naturally - advantage was taken; terror may have been executed. Some people inspired by Daesh have "taken responsibility"

Twenty-five years ago the Olympics were held here in 1992. Amigos Para Siempre as Sarah Brightman and Jose Carreras would sing. That song is a reflection of the friendship we need to show.

And then of course I go and think: what if a #shortbus - as a #tourbus or a #caravan or #recreationalvehicle - could be used as an article, an instrument, of terror?

Of course many people consider already access vehicles and emergency vehicles as torture and terror or may have had experiences there which closely correspond. These may have been crimes against humanity.

In Europe over the past 18 months we have had to think a lot about this.

And how vulnerable people are able to travel in the ways which suit them and benefit locally, globally and regionally.

It is also the time when lots of people - English and Welsh in particular - are receiving the results for their examinations and assessments and planning for the new year.

Malala is going to Oxford, for instance. She is 20 years old and has studied in Birmingham for the past few years. You can find out more about her education in He Named Me Malala.

A few of my relatives have been on a George Orwell kick - Homage to Catalonia is always welcome. You can read about the socialism and anarchism which was big in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War.

Now I will tell you what I am reading or have read a few weeks ago.

It is a crime novel by Mark Brandi about Wimmera. It concerns two eleven-year-olds in this region of Western Victoria. The book is set in the 1980s - 1989 for choice. Chapter 5 pages 39 and 40 is what we will talk about. It's these paragraphs which are widows and orphans that you may or may not notice if you are reading fast. And I was reading slowly. It is published by a French conglomerate - Hachette - who used to publish Enid Blyton books and who merged with several England-based publishers.

[Willow Farm, incidentally. I am thinking of Penny, the youngest girl, and the way she would not wait for adults to say "We'll see". Of course I never wanted to be that adult and I wanted children to see what they see and I see and we will meet together].

Another crime novel I have read recently which involves an I/DD character is The good daughter by Karin Slaughter. That character is Kelly and she went into a school to shoot the daughter of her teacher and another teacher at her school.

There is a crescent moon in the sky. Waning or waxing?

I have just read the Criminal justice response - it took me two days this week to do this from Monday to Thursday. This is part of the Royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse. I will use it as I talk about Ben and Fab and what applied to them back then. Both as victims and as offenders.

Delay is very important. So many reactions percolate and don't last until about 7 to 20 years later. Especially in this field, especially around here. We will talk about Ronnie and we will explore the lakes and maybe even do a bin night at Horsham Rural City - the councils weren't amalgamated until 15 December 1994. I do know the town/council of 1989 - and some of the places around it like Stawell and Ararat which are mentioned in the book.

And when Fab goes to the city and works in a supermarket. Afrikia is a really awesome character who I wish to talk about in the #shortbusflashblog.

Mark Brandi worked for the Department of Justice in Victoria as a project officer and policy advisor. He with his colleagues would probably have a role especially if the policies and projects were made in the early 2010s - this Royal commission has been going on from 2012 to the present.

Chapter Nine in the Criminal Justice Response is about juvenile offenders. And the chapter after that is about Policy Responses.

Another Victoria Police connection: Susan McLean who is a cyber-safety expert was visiting Barcelona and Los Ramblos with her husband. She did say she was "ex-law enforcement" so I had little difficulty identifying her as that Susan McLean.

And again - Hola! Gracias! Dios mios! Amigos para siempre!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

As requested on Quora: elaborating a letter to impress a famous person

Our Quora person chose their verbs well.

"Elaborate" in particular gets into the search engines.

And "to impress" a famous person - don't we all want to do that?

Here is what I wrote, based on what I remembered in this wonderful book by Ann M Martin called Stage Fright which is about Sara and her attempts to reach famous people.

Read Adelaide Dupont's answer to How can I elaborate a letter to impress a famous person? on Quora

Someone else who is good at writing letters would be Jill Brenner and her entertaining letters to the stamp company. These are what we would call more functional letters.

A lot of English language learners do try to elaborate or embellish as is frequently used as a term of art.

Other people who wrote in are Colleen McLaffarty

Steven Silz-Carson

and Mirasol May Manriza.

I think that is an effective spread of backgrounds.

What other letter writers said: they seemed to have a healthy suspicion of elaboration.

Friday, July 01, 2016

#majellaproject #campnanowrimo schedule and days

Monthly Calendar for July 2016: iCal
1-30 July 2016: three sessions of the Majella Project

Monthly Calendar for July 2016: iCal
10-31 July 2016: 1100; 1700; 2100 sessions of the Majella Project

At the moment I am very excited about the CampNaNoWriMo write in which is at 6pm Pacific Standard Time [the home of the Office of Letters and Light where NaNoWriMo is based].

On the first day of #campnanowrimo I wrote 2898 words of The Majella Project.

Started with the prompt I never thought I was so good at and filled in doctoring for the main character/protagonist Majella.

Sister Majella has been in a great many projects ever since she was a child and teenager in Albania.

A few years ago she started working for Doctors without Borders in Juba, South Sudan.

Her medical specialism is paediatric medicine.

I set three alerts to make me write: one for an hour before and the other for 15 minutes before the writing time.

Two other people in the cabin spoke up as well.

Now I must try to feed my mouse with BlueTooth ... the battery is so very very low.

Right now Majella is on a cruise in the Comoros. And I am thinking of her going to Swaziland too.

Respect and best wishes ...

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Technical Work and #CampNaNoWriMo cabinmates

Rainforest Reload: four trees with orange trunks; one with a semiblue/semiwhite trunk

Hello again! This is the third post I've written this year. 
As an IT person once said to me, "Isn't it great when you have your own Mac at home?"
The technical difficulties first: on the 20th and 21st June I could not comment on other Blogger/Google blogs because there was a pull-down menu with an empty profile.
When I clicked on the pull-down profile I did not see my name or account. I could still get into Halfway up Rysy Peak and still write in and on my GooglePlus account, so where that applied, that is what I did.
A technical opportunity was the chance to try out the new StumbleUpon interface.
[I can still pull away from it if I want/have to through the Beta settings]
  • Grids and lists are now standard for the profile pages
  • The "Add this page" is now on the right - click on the button and paste the link in the dialogue box
  • The toolbar is fresh and clean
  • We can see now how many likes we have exactly [this for me is 85,500+]
  • The lists are now in alphabetical order when things are first being sorted
  • When adding to lists, they are still in chronological order
International Studies drawing. A butterfly; a hill; a pyramid and a Peruvian and lots of musical notes and staves

I personally created a new list - my first in the new system.
It was Small Beginnings - the series where Sophie Masson is interviewing writers.
Looking for a great new way to embed it:
  • There is a "Report Bugs" feature in the profile menu.
  • Notifications are neater and tidier - in the last release they were a bell symbol
  • The "Contact Other Stumblers" interface is different
  • The followers and following are now in alphabetical order rather than in chronological or frequency order
  • In the grids there are now 10 pages/links in each row

Monday, June 20, 2016

Passion for unicorns? Latin can propel your obsession forward

First link is a set of flashcards to get you comfortable and competent. Quizlet does a great job - you can make your own cards.

I'll talk first about -sess

as it came up on Google Plus and

Someone's friend has an inordinate passion for unicorns.

The word many people use to describe this inordinate passion is obsess.

In this case sess is a suffix on words you might see such as assess.

This website - tells me that sess is part of a set of Latin roots which mean sitting.

So you sit with your unicorn obsession.


These words and concepts are not easily learnt phonetically - at least for me.

Even now when I break out a syllable or two ... and it can be very stressful.

Would I say OBsess or obSESS? Or is the SE in the middle and do I say THAT?


Perhaps the word the person might have been trying to get was abscess.


Another way I remember how to write obsession is that it has session as its chief. Ob provides emphasis as obvious or obdurate might do.

The way I understood the ob is that an obsession takes you away or into the activity or the behaviour.

Or the thought. An obsession is a set of ideas more than it is one thought - even a thousand thoughts.

Thank you Annabelle Greig and

PS: I noticed one of my favourite words assiduous [written like deciduous] is one of the first on the list.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

"Without people; nothing is possible - without institutions nothing is enduring": Jean Monnet

When I was reading the Pacific Standard's interview with Ralph Nader - the US consumer advocate - near the end there was this Jean Monnet quote which it is good to remember.

I made two graphics.

Calligraphic representation of Jean Monnet's quote "Without PEOPLE nothing is POSSIBLE" plus significant dates 1888 and 1952.
"Without people nothing is possible" - Jean Monnet
1888 is when he was born
1952 is when the European Coal and Steel Commission started his work.

Calligraphic representation [medium size] of the second half of the Jean Monnet quote: "Without institutions nothing is enduring". Graphic by Adelaide Dupont 9 June 2016.
"Without institutions nothing is enduring"
Jean Monnet
The "without" is bordered with a hexagon
The "institutions" and "enduring" are written in upper-case
"Nothing" and "is" have two separate borders in the same colour