General site news and happenings

This portion of the site is my outlet for general opinionated ranting about any and all topics that are slightly related to my life, general parenting or in fact anything I find interesting.

ABC's Hoot and Hootabelle

Courtesy of someone (or rather, their toddler) on Facebook in dire need of a Hoot the owl colouring in picture, I decided to step in and draw one in Inkscape. And since drawing this picture, the ABC have added Hootabelle so here she is too.

Image of Hootabelle  Image of Hoot

Cute, aren't they?

There's a black and white PDF of Hoot and Hootabelle you can download if you too have a kiddlywink that neeeeeeds a picture of Hoot or Hootabelle too.

The next question is, do I email that in to the ABC2 Giggle Gallery and get my own little Giggle Certificate? Or, being over 30 and all, am I too old for that?

Words with "ough" in them

The English language is a crazy thing, isn't it? I got this one in an email today and thought it was interesting, given this site has a children's dictionary and all:

The letter combination "ough" can be pronounced in nine different ways. The following sentence contains them all:

"A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed."

More on naming babies

I was reading a blog over on and came across an interesting snippet on baby names in Germany:

The myth of "When naming your child, go for as original as possible"

The traditional upper class in Germany tends to give their children traditional names, while the lower classes go for original or modern names. Studies have shown that teachers are more likely to trust children with traditional names than original ones.

This holds true in many other countries too. The lower classes (in America, black and Hispanic people are far more likely to have a 'unique' name than white) are far more likely to choose original, unique and misspelt names.

The new pajamas

It's getting colder now, so we bought nice new full length fuzzy pajamas for the toddler. They are the sort that are in one piece, with long sleeves and long legs with feet and press studs down the front. Her old pajamas are a singlet style one piece with press studs at the crotch. Both purchased for the same reason - so she can't take them off at night. Impenetrable pajamas has saved us a lot of mess in the bed since we bought them.

Anyway, we decided it was cold enough for her to wear her new pajamas after her bath instead of the old summer ones. Cassie had other ideas.

"No! Not my jamas! *grabs her old pajamas* is Cassie's jamas! *tries to rip off her new pajamas as I'm putting them on* No! Hurts! My feets gone!"

... and many more tears and complaining. So I finally get her new pajamas on with much kicking and screaming, and she continues to complain they hurt and that her feet are gone.

The housing bubble

In case noone has noticed, house prices in Australia in the last decade have got themselves into a major bubble. With lots of other countries like America, Iceland and the United Kingdom having already had a smaller bubble that has popped, where does this leave Australia?

Either we are different to the rest of the world and our property prices will continue to rise much faster than wages, or we're just collectively more insane than other countries and are letting our bubble get to record-breaking heights.

There's only really two ways out of a bubble. One: it pops. And a lot of people are left with negative equity, bad debts, and a feeling of having lost a lot of paper wealth. Two: prices simply stop going up, and they slowly return to normal levels by being eroded by inflation. This way stops people from thinking houses are the next big place to throw caution to the winds and indulge in some major speculation, and they return to being simply a place to live.

Listing a book collection

Something I should have done years ago - catalogued Aisha's book collection on the internet to stop people (well, one person) buying her duplicate books.

I've made an account on Librarything and just started entering a couple of her books. I got to 98 and stopped. I'm easily going to pass 200 and have to give them $25.

It's probably going to take the best part of the weekend to enter all of them, especially as she has so many books that are now well below her as well as the ones at her current reading level. Her books are taking over the house, slowly ... silently ... indidiously ... a creeping growth of books, mysteriously multiplying whenever I'm not looking.

Flickr and creative commons

So a few weeks ago I started doing a Children's Photographic Dicionary. I decided to get the bulk of the photos from Flickr, as Flickr lets you search by license. I've been searching Flickr for images specifically licensed as "Creative Commons-licensed content for commercial use, adaptation, modification or building upon". Maybe 99% of the images are from Flickr and the balance have been sourced from other websites that allow the use of their photos.

Because I have been searching in bulk I haven't been explicitly asking the owner of every single photo if I can use their photo for the dictionary. I've been assuming the commercial license and a simple link back for attribution is enough, since you have to go out of your way to specify that someone can use your image for commercial reasons - the default Flickr license is all rights reserved. I've been notifiying a subset of the photo owners, and others have noticed their photo is being used from the attribution link.