Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Retirement village residents hear about ParraPals

Residents listening to Margaret
This morning John and I had an opportunity to talk to residents at our retirement village - Constitution Hill - about our computer club.

About 30 people showed up, including some of our friendly neighbours, and about 7-8 residents who are already members of ParraPals.  Some other participants are, or have been members of computer clubs at Blacktown, The Hills or Holroyd.
I suppose the residents were looking at me!

John commenced with a potted history of our club, including the help given by other clubs to get us established in 2007; and talked about how our courses and other activities operate.
I then spoke to the Family History slide show that Deborah had prepared, and handed out material on our courses, the club brochure and the family history hand out.

John then demonstrated Picasa, which is taught at the club in the Managing Digital Photography course and is so useful for scrapbooking, writing life stories or family histories as well as blogs like this!

He was able to straight, crop and correct the colour balance on some photos he took during my presentation.
This photo of the Centre was enhanced with Picasa

Participants appeared to enjoy the demonstration, and some may even join the club.  One lady has an Apple Mac and is coming to our Apple Mac Special Interest Group on Friday.

After the presentation we enjoyed morning tea together.

Thanks especially to Keith South - the Resident Committee Secretary - for arranging the room booking and setting up the chairs with some help from Ken Miles; and to Elaine Muddle, Val Craig, Shirley Edwards and Nancy Harris for their hard work in the kitchen.  These residents are all enthusiastic members of ParraPals.
An example of our wonderful gardens at Constitution Hill
And didn't we have a great day for it - as you can see from our photos above and to the right.

Spring has indeed sprung.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Participating in ABC TV's Q & A

Where is John Lee?
Last night, 11 ParraPals, not afraid of the dark or a late night out, shared a bus with a dozen or so students and teachers from Parramatta Marist High School, for a trip to the ABC's Ultimo studios.  We were on our way to participate in Q & A with Tony Jones.
The topics for last night's show were politics and religion, and the guests were Raymond Gaita, author and philopher; Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby; Kristina Keneally, former NSW Premier and active Catholic; Gerard Henderson, conservative commentator; and Cristina Rad, an athiest blogger.
Guests were asked to email questions before hand for selection to put to the panel.  Only 10 questions were selected, and president John Moxon was lucky (or smart) enough to be selected to ask one.  The questions ranged from the cynical (or cheeky) to the serious, and covered belief; charity and religion; the current responses to asylum seekers and more.

John being checked in by security.
John introduced the topic of euthanasia thus:
There is more to this debate than "I want to decide how and when I die" versus "God should determine when we die", so as a person whose level of disability is often used as a supposedly legitimate and understandable reason to allow someone to be euthanased, I just wonder when we will see a truly comprehensive debate about euthanasia - one that includes a genuine opportunity for people who live quite productively with serious disability to speak out against euthanasia."
On our way to the studios
Ruth, Shirley, Val and Barbara after the show
 Tony Jones appeared to like this question - and indeed told John so afterwards - because he allowed John three opportunities to speak.  Raymond Gaita picked up best on John's arguments - the slippery slope of decision making - and Kristina Keneally, having been a one time Minister for Disability Services and Ageing - was also well aware of the complexities of the issue.  John's argument boiled down to "how do we know how we'll actually feel about ending our lives when something life changing like quadriplegia or dementia actually happens?"  This raises many questions about the use of advanced care directives.
The bus trip home was a great deal noisier than on the journey in.  It certainly was a stimulating evening and it was great to share it with our good friends from ParraPals.
A happy group of young men - all up the back of the bus of course
The young year 11 fellows from Marist High School were very friendly, as you can see from the photo, and many congratulated John on his "performance.  They had been very interested to hear Raymond Gaita's views, since they are studying his books at school.

You will find some more photos below.  You can tell that Margaret was very pleased that John had such a good opportunity to get his point across.  One of our Facebook friends said that he'd never heard Tony Jones going back to a questioner three times.

Back home, it seemed that many of our friends and colleagues had seen the show, and were very pleased with with it.  As one friend said, it was a much better opportunity for a more in depth discussion than Channel 10's Can of Worms, on which John had an opportunity to appear a couple of weeks ago - he wished he hadn't!

Where's Jim?

A bit tricky getting out - but good one ABC, making sure the bus was accessible
A fun night out for Marg & John