Drag Queens and Teen Boys

My voice has been slowly on the way out all weekend. Last night I said to hubby that it must feel like being in bed with a drag queen and a teenage boy… one second I’m all deep-voiced and husky, the next cracked and classic teen-boy’s-voice-breaking-ish. In a move that shows just how unAustralian this bloke is, he didn’t scream and jump out of bed in a homophobic panic.

Now I’m perfecting my patented Nomesque Sign Language (NSL), because my voice is utterly gone. Maybe it’s divine retribution 😉

OpenOffice Writer Tips and Tricks

Have you ever attempted to write technical documentation in Writer and found yourself smacking your head on your desk in sheer frustration?

Help may be at hand.

This new guide is a work in progress by a tech writer who’s spent many hours banging her head on various objects, wrestling with some of Writer’s more… ummm… esoteric features!

No promises that it’ll fix your life or cause your documentation lifecycle to run as smooth as a baby’s bottom. On the other hand, it might.

Note: This is not intended to be a replacement for the official Writer Guide. It lacks a lot of information, especially about basic features. It’s for people who can figure out most of Writer on their own, but need help here and there.

To download it, just right click on the link below, and save to your hard drive.

OpenOffice.org Writer for Tech Writers

German Streusel Cake

I finally found a recipe that’s near right.

Brigitte’s German Streusel Cake

It’s not perfect, but who is these days?

When Mum sends me the real one, I’ll share it with you. Yummiest cake in the world that isn’t chocolate.

PS. The REAL recipe can now be found at German Streusel Cake Recipe

Caught Between Two Cultures

Sometimes having grown up in a town full of Germans in the middle of the Aussie bush sucks a bit.

Usually it’s related to food.

See, when you grow up in an area with its own traditions, you get a taste for certain traditional foods. Have a desperate craving for some of it? Buy some on ebay, or google the recipe (with the region in the search terms, if need be). If you come across some weird modernised version, you can PFFFFT dismissively and mutter about bastardising fine old traditions.

All the traditions I grew up with were already bastardised. If I ate streusel in Germany, I’d probably spit it out in disgust. Because it’s REAL traditional, not Aussie/German ‘synergy’. Which makes recipes hard to find, at times. I look for ‘streusel’ recipes on Google and don’t know whether to PFFFFT or cry. Those aren’t streusel, dammit! I tried searching on ‘streusel recipe “<my home town>”‘ and Google laughed at me.
On the other hand, I can always call my mother and ask her to email me the recipe. Life aint all bad! Although I still can’t find those half licorice, half mint lollies anywhere.

How to Maximise Your Job Interview Chances

These are some tips that I’ve picked up over years of job interviews… some successful, some not. I hope you find them useful! If you have any additions or criticisms, feel free to leave a comment.

  1. Keep in mind one key point… this is NOT a life and death situation. The worst that can happen is that you won’t be offered the job. 
  2. Dress well, and comfortably. Business shirt and trousers. Nice shoes, polished. Matching socks. Tie (if you’re male). Discreet jewellery, if you’re female. Deodorant (if it’s a spray, apply at least an hour before the interview, those things get suffocating in close quarters). Breath mints.
  3. Leave early, to arrive at least half an hour early. I’m not recommending that you actually turn up half an hour early (although ten minutes is often good). But leaving early allows for most mixups and delays on the way, and should stop you arriving flustered, sweaty and late. Take a book or other entertainment, and if you arrive early, relax somewhere nearby until close to the interview time.
  4. Be confident. You look damn good. You ARE damn good. Straighten your back. Lift your chin. Shoulders back and relaxed. Smile.
  5. Remember that your interviewer is human too. Show some interest in him/her. Ask how their day has been, listen to the answer, commiserate if it’s been cruddy.
  6. Speak slowly. Most of us rush our words when we’re nervous.
  7. Take a few moments to think before answering a question. This can save a lot of blundering around a point you know you had a second ago.
  8. If you get lost in a sentence, stop, apologise, then start the sentence over. Everyone makes mistakes, so there’s no need to let it fluster you. Most interviewers have had interviews themselves, and understand. A simple “I’m sorry, I’ve completely lost what I was talking about!” and a smile will tend to go down well.
  9. Show interest in the position you’re applying for. Where possible and appropriate, ask a couple of questions which will show that you know what you’re talking about, and that will give you an idea of how you’d fit in. For example, I’m a tech writer. I might ask about how big the team is, what authoring software they use, and whether I’d be more involved in simple document fixes or in a planning/mentoring role. Don’t go overboard, though.

Earning ‘Pocket Money’

Money’s a little tight at the moment. Hence, I’m paying more attention to the little money earners that I’ve basically ignored for the last 3 or 4 years. And I thought I’d share them with you, in case others haven’t discovered this way of earning small amounts of money with small amounts of effort.

You’re probably well aware that there are sites out there which pay people money to do surveys, watch ads, etc. Heck, you could well be a member of far more than me! But in case you’re not, here’s a quick rundown of my two favourites (and yes, the links will earn me some once off money if you click on them, AND sign up, AND earn yourself some cash). I don’t want you to get the impression that you can actually earn a living this way… earnings are pretty small. But extra money is nice sometimes 🙂

PureProfile

This is my favourite. They started rather wobbily a few years ago, but now they feature a well designed, simple to use site and a lot of ad sponsors. I don’t have my entire profile filled in, and I probably go and click through offers twice a week… I’d say it’d take three months of that sort of minimal effort to raise $30, deposited into my bank account.

EmailCash

Apparently they’re planning a site redesign soon… hallelujah! This site has been running for years as well, and I’ll give them credit, they’ve been consistent in providing surveys and paid ads for the vast majority of the time. Not as simple to use as PureProfile, but still fairly easy once you learn your way around.

I’m Trying for Saintly…

… but I’m stuck on ‘Her Bark is Worse than Her Bite, But Damn Her Bark’s Bad’ 😀

I was reminded (yet again) of this fact when reading Little Men. In it, the Jo from Little Women that I grew up admiring and identifying is portrayed as… well, saintly. Earthy saintly, but still! In one sense, it’s well done, because kids often do view parental figures in that black and white kinda way. In another, more personal sense, it sucks. Because I grew up assuming I’d grow up to be a bit like Jo too… a published writer with a houseful of kids, most of them other people’s. I doubt that my dream was fashioned from the book (that sounds FAR too sad), but I think my concept of its reality might’ve been.

It occurred to me yet again that it’ll be years or decades till I’m at a point in my spiritual growth where I can consistently show love, patience and empathy to a large crowd of kids. With no public meltdowns. Heck, I can’t even manage it with my own two. And that saddens me. I think I’m more sad for the kids who need love that I can’t give than for me and my dream.

*shrug* I guess at its heart, this is a clear case for letting God guide, rather than plunging in to what I think I should be doing.

Hmmm… maybe this is another example of divine intervention… some of my keyboard is on strike. I can’t dash, or delete, add or equal. I can’t underline, and most of my cutting and pasting is slowed by my left control key being unresponsive. All my letters are still with me, but five and six are gone. Thank God I still have my basic punctuation. If you don’t see me tomorrow, assume that I’m stuck in stream of consciousness hell. Damn, I can’t use dashes!!!!