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2nd March 2008 - THE MOMENT WE'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR!
Well, I have. I thought for a while there that I'd end up wearing a banana hat1, but now I am safe2; as you can see my website is finally up! I spent a while checking things and fixing links, and I'm still improving the front page and ironing out creases, but I am happy with most of it. You might also spot some spaces where I need to add photos. I'll be adding more to my website from now on, hopefully some banners and more information on the "About Me" page. I was even thinking of a forum, but that will be for another day.
3rd March 2008 - Doctor Doctor
My right arm hurts a little, but it's all for a good cause. I've been to the travel nurse for the last set of jabs today. It all went fine; I had the nurse I met on the first trip and I was given a Typhoid jab as well as the third jabs for Rabies and Hepatitis A and B. There were some other jabs on the list but I've had them already, and the nurse dealt very well when I rained questions down on her. She was also impressed by my powers of organisation!
As for Malaria, I am going to get some stuff to help protect me from it, because it was advised that I get some. The nurse had suggested which one I should go for, because there are several. You have to start taking it before you go, and for a while after you come back for you to be properly protected. I'm definitely doing that - I'm not risking Malaria cropping up because it can be deadly!
I may have to pay for my doctor to sign a form to send to Frontier, but if it does cost money, it won't be coming out of the raised trip funds.
In other news, my boyfriend has been given TLC today; it's my day off, but he is now ill in bed! Oh dear. SOS has also received a donation from me because they have been so great sending me orangutan information for my up-and-coming society. Can you spot me on the list (you should make the list longer!)?
6th March 2008 - Ouch and Yay!
Here's a quick update. It's one of those weeks where time is flying past in fast forward, whilst you're working hard at the rate of a normal time zone, wondering where the hours have gone.
Orangutan Appeal UK has now received £10 worth of donations too because I have received their helpful pack of information. The post office was terrible at taking care of it, because it came in a plastic bag with an apology and the envelope looking as if it had been ripped open by a three year old. I don't know what monsters they have lurking in the post van, but at least the information inside was unharmed. Thank you Orangutan Appeal UK!
My right arm has now gone sore, red and itchy from one of the jabs. It was a booster and I seem to remember years ago it doing the same thing when I had a jab, so it was probably the same one. No major damage though; I'm still alive!
I've been busy trying to get my website looking as nice in darn Internet Explorer 6, as it does everywhere else. It's not even the latest version but some people do still have it. IE6 seems to hate varying opacity, and containers1. There's my warning to budding website developers everywhere!
Now to end on some fun news - I am going to the Discworld Convention with my boyfriend as a huge birthday treat! I should get to see Terry Pratchett and I'm hoping that the Orangutan Foundation will be there, and do a talk like I heard they did last time. There tends to be all sorts of events, including auctions for charities!
Back to making IE6 feel happy...
7th March 2008 - Fun day and happy nightzzzzzzzz...
My day started off fun, as I snuck off before work to the Farmer's Market to see TOC Aromatherapy's stall. One of the great things about their stall is that every time it is different; they do seasonal specials, so you never know what soapy surprises will pop up next! This month they must have been reading my mind; I was hoping for a tropical, fruity style soap for one of my next competitions but didn't think they did one. They didn't - this month they had three! Mango, coconut and watermelon - yummy... one of them will most likely become a fruity prize.
Three potential soapy contestants; 1 (juicy watermelon - you can even see some seeds!), 2 (scrummy mango), and 3
(creeeeamy coconut). Who will end up as a prize?
By the time I had spent a few hours at work, the day was still fun. Time passed quickly and all the staff had a Friday breakfast morning, where we chatted and filled ourselves with breakfast goodies. I've also been allowed half a day off on the day of my doctor's appointment, so it's not a problem having it during a working day. My work seems understanding about things like doctor's and nurse's appointments, which is nice to know.
Midday came and the day was still looking good - I found this "Born to be Wild" website here! It's all about a campaign by a non-profit company called Nature Alert. You can read about them, orangutans, rainforests and a rehabilitation centre there. I discovered it in the strangest way - I was searching for if orangutans ate watermelon1. I wrote to a very nice person there to ask to be emailed news, and ended up asking for special postcards to send to influential people. Funnily enough I found that I had already got the exact cards via Orangutan Appeal UK, but if I need any more all I need to do is ask one or the other!
Now night-time has arrived, and the evening has been filled with battling IE62, asking about paypal as a money-collecting option, and preparing ideas and letters for our society with Chris. Good day and goodnight!
1. They do in fact, in the rehabilitation centre at least, as well as a tonne of other fruits.
2. IE6 fans if they even exist, will notice that it now displays images without surrounding them with a horrid grey background. See my 6th March entry if this is all foreign to you.
8th March 2008 - Confinement!
This weekend I've experienced just a tiny part of how a confined animal must feel, when I decided to stay in most of the two days inside working on more emails, letters and forms. At least I've got a lot done and Iíve only gone partly crazy.
I've responded to the SOS's urgent action alert1, and filled in the rest of the doctor's form for my appointment along with some other bits. More emails have been winging their way to orangutan charities, and my boyfriend and I have been sorting out more society ideas. I think I am going to double check with Frontier and the travel clinic, because the malaria prophylaxis ("anti-malarial drugs") that I have been advised by the nurse to take, are the same ones that are not recommended by Frontier. Malaria being the life-threatening nasty that it is, it's important that I understand why Frontier doesn't recommend it! Frontier will get a few more questions that I'd like to ask tomorrow too2.
The Fenwick store now has a letter that I'm going to hand over in the next day or two about donating a prize. I saw a potentially cool prize in their shop but I was told I had to write a letter3 to them first. Let's see how it goes!
Last but not least, my friend JC has been helping me promote my site. If you're a newcomer to here, then hello!
1. Then responded again because for some reason my address didn't get included in the emails.
2. Nothing bad, I've just come up with extra questions!
3. It's sitting on my desk in a dolphin envelope, because I didn't have an orangutan one.
10th March 2008 - Ook, ook, Orangutan Foundation!
I don't know what I've come closer to today; death by cold or death by tray-bakes. Even though the heating was on, the house has been so cold that it's actually been uncomfortable being in my room, even with my polar fleece on - I felt as if my fingers were freezing up! Good job I've been at work most of the day, so have not frozen, however I'm glad I walked home the steep and long route with Chris because we had a Bake-off tray-bake competition at work. I'm no cook so I decided to duck out but the other guys; I don't know if it's a hobby for some of them or what but there were some mighty fine tray-bakes1! Brownies and flapjacks abound... the worst thing was I didn't bring lunch, so I wondered if I could survive until dinner on tray-bakes. It worked, but was not a good idea. Do not try this at home! I think some well-needed fruit saved me2; else the thought of having to buy a more expensive sandwich would have been my downfall. I even took smaller-than-cut tray-bake pieces, but there were so many entries3... never again!
After surviving the tray-bakes, I had an email from the lovely Orangutan Foundation saying that they would like to send some nice bits and pieces for the society Chris and I would like to set up at uni. Excellent!
I also rang the friendly people at Frontier to ask my questions which have more or less been sorted, or will be sorted very soon. Unfortunately though it looks like I'm not going to be able to pay via the website again - oh well! I've also noticed that a form has been updated so I need to check things tomorrow before going to the doctor.
Hopefully soon I will be getting in contact with people who have been on the trip before so I know what to expect on it. Frontier don't give out personal details without asking the person first which is great, just as it should be, so I'll just be waiting to see if people want to chat with me!
One more thing - I have been given more information on university societies, and am also allowed to set up a stall at uni after I finish my current job, to help raise awareness and trip funds. Yay! When we get our society set up, hopefully with careful planning and a bit of luck we should be able to create a larger orangutan awareness event. I was thinking the best time for that might be after my trip near the beginning of the next University year, which will give lots of time to plan and promote the perfect event. BOS's Extinction is Forever day3 would have been a nice day for it except nobody will be at uni, so I'm hoping to do something for that some other way anyway.
1. Including the entry that people joked about whether it contained Colgate or Macleans - all hail minty choccy freshness!
2. All hail baby orange and a pear!
3. At the time I had thought it only right to sample all of the entries as to ensure fair judgement.
4. on the 8th August 2008
11th March 2008 - All Clear!
I've realised I have a most excellent doctor1 today, when I went to get his signature for my trip form. He was very nice and I am pleased to announce I'm in good health and nothing health-wise will stop me from going on the trip! He even gave me a little asthma check-up too, and I now have more inhalers so I wonít run out during the trip2. Tis only slight asthma, and if it's controlled it shouldn't stop an asthmatic doing anything they normally should be able to do. I did try to get a discount on the signing cost but I was told it was discounted already. Still, it's me paying for the signature, not the trip funds.
I'm currently waiting for information from Frontier on as to why they did not recommend the anti-malaria drugs I was prescribed by the nurse, but they did say yesterday that they aren't there to replace the nurse and the reason shouldn't be serious - in the end the nurse's recommendation should be the one to go with. Also even though they updated the medical form, the old one I got signed is still valid.
Fenwick now have a letter from me, and I discovered a lovely little note pad whilst searching for plastic pockets in my university shop. It's small, light, recycled, worth 90p and helps to save rhinos! There are some rhinos in Sumatra as well as in a few other places, but they are badly endangered too. This note pad will aptly go on my conservation trip to help me record my experiences.
13th March 2008 - Oh no, not again!
It's been like a mini battle of good and bad these past few days - not necessarily good and evil, just good stuff and bad stuff. For one these past couple of days it's felt like a low feeling has been following me around, like some kind of strange creature attached to me by a lead1.
I've also had a few turn downs by companies lately - polite turn downs, but turn downs never make you feel good. One of them was Innocent Drinks. Unfortunately they can't help me out with a fund-raising prize, or with making an orangutan awareness smoothie of the month either. I think they got confused and thought I meant support a particular charity with the smoothie of the month, although I just meant raise awareness for orangutans in general. Never mind, the answer would probably be the same - can't win 'em all. I was wondering whether I could find another way to make an orangutan awareness drink, and fund-raise with it on a stall if my uni society got to have an orangutan awareness day. I definitely know enough orangutan foods that humans also enjoy to make things interesting. It could even be just a fun session in the society meets.
Talking of orangutan foods, the post office almost deserve being hit on the head with an inflatable banana. My parcel from the Orangutan Foundation has been ruined in transit! The same thing happened as when I received my Orangutan Appeal UK parcel, only this time it was in an even worse state; most things had not made the journey. The jiffy bag that held what was left2 had torn not just in one place but in two, and it was wrapped up in the increasingly familiar ďOur Sincere ApologiesĒ plastic bag.
The Orangutan Foundation are very kindly sending out another parcel but I'm going to have a word with the post office, especially since it cost over £8 for it so be sent in the first place - not one leaflet survived! I've given the charity a £10 thanks donation, but with luck when the post office I might be able to get the postage cost back for them too.
14th March 2008 - First cheque via post, thank you Mary Hicks!
I'm at some of my friends' house tonight so I shall only be brief, but I have another mark in orangutan conservation history to write about...
One of my house-mates gave me something that had come through the post, late last night. It was my first donation sent by post, and what a donation to start off with; a wonderful lady called Mary Hicks has sent a huge amount - £100! Thank you so much Mary Hicks! We have now sprinted well past the second milestone and because Mary was so generous, we are almost at the third one - Hip hip Hooraaaaaaay!
The Orangutan Foundation are kindly sending another parcel because of the last one getting ruined before arriving1. I've also sent an email about getting a stall at university after I finish work to raise awareness of both our uni society and my conservation project. In the battle between good (stuff) and bad (stuff), good stuff is now swiftly winning.
Of course you'll only know this on Sunday or Monday when I get home and upload this. It'll be worth the wait, even though you don't even know what you're waiting for...
17th March 2008 - Split news.
I don't tend to include much of my life outside of my orangutan conservation in this diary, but my current experiences outside of it have been so drastically different to my conservation efforts that Iíve decided to split my diary entry.
Outside my conservation life Ė MING! MING! MING! Excellent!
My friends and I played live to a crowd at Wembley Stadium yesterday. I was on drums and got the usual comments of girls being rare in this kind of thing. It was for the Rockband computer game competition at the play.com event. I'm proud to announce that we rocked our way through the rounds to the Sunday 1pm finals, where we competed head-on and won! Yee!
Our band is called Ming Level 5, colourfully created way before the event by my friends. It's linked to their personal scoring of the hygiene and cleanliness in student accommodation - level 0 excellent, 5 is about average, and 10 is terrible.
I was actually very nervous about the competition, because the first time I tried the drums I didnít do very well. I saw the game and wanted to have a go to see what it was like, so had a play when a different band needed a temporary drummer on a warm-up song. I put the drummer level on easy and it was still hard. I'd wanted to play in my friends' band but thought I'd mess it up for everyone else, so was thinking about another friend taking my place, heck, I didn't even know most of the songs from reading their names! My band encouraged me and convinced me to play with them; they had faith in me, and we did it. I have the best friends in the World...
I actually found that the first song I tried was more difficult on drums - the difficulty curve was not really a curve. The song we chose was a lot more fun and once I got more into the swing of things everything was great!
It's been so wonderful to see my friends again because we don't get to see each other very much. I would love to meet up more often if we could.
My conservation life - What progress?
My conservation progress on the other hand has sunk into a hole. Fenwick aren't going to donate a prize for my trip fund-raising or to help my list of orangutan charities for the same reason as Innocent Drinks, and so far I have had no money for my current fund-raising competition1. If you enter at the moment, you'll have a good chance of winning.
I've also found out that I can have a stall at uni to sell things, advertise the uni society and collect prize entries and donations, but it won't be free like the offer around Christmas. I don't know what to do, because it would be a gamble whether I would break even with the cost of the stall, never mind get my money back, because it would be my money I'd use to buy a stall. The cost of the stall is £30 plus VAT and I don't even have a wide variety of things to sell. It's a conundrum because of the risk involved and the fact that I might be better just abandoning the stall idea and finding a different way to raise funds.
At least I've done some walking with a friend today, and collected the form for that poor, ripped Orangutan Foundation parcel in the process.
18th March 2008 - Woot wooooooot...
I'm watching my conservation progress clawing its way determinedly out of its hole. It's standing on top of a mini staircase of Orangutan Foundation leaflets that came in the post, being urged on by the thoughts of orangutan posters and BOS who want to send some bits and pieces. The whisper of a donated mosquito net whistles in the wind. Progress smiles as it dons a hat collected at play.com Live; the perfect headgear to become covered in DEET on a rainforest trip.
19th March 2008 - Mini updatezzzzzzzz
Gorgeous Orangutan Foundation posters, yay! The plan is to keep some for the society, and try to give the rest to my local school/s at home to raise awareness, because there are plenty for all.
Home MEP replies so far to my biofuel email = 4/6... increasing all the time.
25th March 2008 - BOS makes me happy
I'm feeling a bit down today. For one, I've found out that I canít really do anything at all on a stall at my university's students union, without having to pay £30 + VAT, even if it's just raising awareness of my up-and-coming university society1.
For a person in my situation, it feels like a very difficult position to be in. Maybe my website looks fancy enough to be a business's2?... but I am not a business - neither am I rich. One day after university I would like my own business, but it feels bad to be in limbo. For now I'm just a student who can make websites and create ideas, but who doesn't have a business, business-sized money or production line to feel like she can do much. If you have your own business that can create items where some profit goes towards your conservation trip, then great. If you are a student and just want to raise money for charity now and again, then that's probably a lot easier too. Beware however if you are a student who wants to raise funds to go out and help - it is even harder and possibly riskier money-wise than you'd originally think.
I've also had drawbacks with other fund-raising plans that I was setting up. There seems to be a lot of sharp things on the path to my fund-raising target at the moment, and I keep on stepping on them.
... Enough of the depression, at least some things have been going my way; BOS have sent me a nice parcel of orangutan-related bits and bobs for my society and orangutan awareness. The post office hasn't managed to destroy this one - it got here in excellent condition. BOS have received £10 worth of rambutans in their Rambutans for Orangutans Appeal as thanks!
Chris has also been helping me to create a forum, so be expecting to have fun on that some time sooonish. It'll go up on my front page when it's ready.
27th March 2008 - Let's chat!
Today is the mini opening of my JW Universe forum. I say mini, because there aren't enough hours in the day for me to make an image link on my front page1. Still, I've added a link on my news post and eventually it will get the attention it truly deserves. It's a nice forum - needs a bit of a jumble around and a new look, but it's homely enough for now. It even has a few little orangutan avatars for you to choose from to make everything feel more snuggly. Go and have a look!
BOS have made me feel even better today, by adding a link to here on their website. It's very nice of them to do such a thing. I'd like to make them (and hopefully the other orangutan charities) some money via some of my artwork, when I get time to makes some. Cooeee all you nice people from the BOS website!
30th March 2008 - Time to party
Yesterday I had my first competition entry, rather appropriately at a friend's party. Today I have had some more entries and donations... at a Middlesbrough Lush party! I had a great time; at the Lush party we had nibbles and a late Easter treasure hunt. If you count the entries we have gone over the £300 mark, but I'm not counting them yet until the competition ends, so I know what is happening with post and packaging.
At the moment I am practicing my touch typing in the dark. Several kind people helped me out with carbon footprint-reducing donations last night during the Earth Hour Lights Out event, but I only managed to do part of it since I was on my way to a party a third of the way through. Walking outside felt like a bit of a cheat for counting it since I'd turn the lights off anyway, so I'm restarting the hour now along with Chris. The only light/s that might possibly be on would be from our other housemate, but they took part in the Earth Hour yesterday whilst we were out. Taking into account the time we managed lights out at home last night, and keeping most lights off now, I'd say by the time I've had an hour without my light on, Chris and I will have accomplished the equivalent of lights out for a least an hour (most likely actually more).