Rachel's Blog

Fri, 30 Dec 2005
High temperature, low calorie

In reference to tomorrow's weather forecast; 42 is supposed to be the answer, not the temperature.

Now a meme to inflate the word count:

Four jobs you've had in your life:
1. Proof reader
2. Kitchen hand
3. Video editor
4. Sales consultant

Four movies you could watch over and over:
1. Clueless
2. The Court Jester
3. Back to the Future
4. Beetlejuice

Four places you've lived:
1. Warranwood
2. Malvern
3. Clayton
4. Mulgrave
(I've never lived outside the south/eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria.)

Four TV shows you love to watch:
1. The Muppet Show
2. Spicks and Specks
3. Press Gang
4. Degrassi Junior High

Four places you've been on holiday:
1. Europe
2. Gypsy Point
3. Tasmania
4. Bundaberg (or Bundaburger as Abbey has dubbed it.)

Four websites you visit daily:
1. My Livejournal friends list ("Friends" being people I may know IRL, people I may have passed in a hallway, or entities who may not really exist for all I know)
2. The Age
3. 365 Tomorrows
4. Loobylu

Four of your favorite foods:
1. Dark chocolate
2. Ravioli
3. Sushi
4. Strong mints

Four places you'd rather be:
1. In a bubble bath
2. In bed reading the next Sandman in the pile
3. Europe (it's a big place, but I'm not that fussy.)
4. Somewhere where the temperature was not going to be 42 degrees tomorrow.

Thu, 29 Dec 2005
Post Christmas Exhaustion

Yah, what he said.

It's lucky we like chocolate as we now have a fridge full. Both frog, block and sauce varieties in milk, dark, honeycomb and peppermint. Anyone want to trade for some vegetables? It's just the scurvy I'm afraid of.

And we've still got my side of the family's get together this weekend.

Tue, 20 Dec 2005

We're seeking far off climes for a while. I'll be computer absent as well for the next week. Blogging again for sure by December 30.
In the meantime - although I can't guarantee they won't also go on hiatus - you might want to read
By Ken Levine
MAKE: blog
Jonathan Carroll
and Drawn!

Happy Holidays everyone. Have fun, be safe, wear a silly hat.

Mon, 19 Dec 2005
Wouldn't Be Seen Dead

Red Right Hand has issued a challenge to spec monkeys to post a page of a screenplay to their website. There are words on my hard-drive going to waste, so, I participate. Not that I'm a spec monkey, but I have written a lot of pages of screenplay. Here's one from Wouldn't Be Seen Dead which I wrote circa 2000.

I apologise for the tiny text, but blarg, it's me vs. Juno (the computer) vs. the vagaries of script formatting.

(via Chained to the Keyboard who has posted a page from an Invader Zim spec.)

CNNNN 2005 summary

The Chaser team have summarised the year's major headlines. I wasn't as out of touch with the news as I thought, except of course where it comes to sport.

Thu, 15 Dec 2005
Enid Blyton's Map of North America

A few months ago I bought a book, a secondhand sewing guide, from a delightfully messy bookstore in Box Hill. When I got it home a folded map fell out of it. (Yes, I know this sounds just like an Enid Blyton story.) I glanced at it, absorbed only that it was out of date and of North America, and put it on top of the filing cabinet.
Some weeks later, in a researchy mood, I had a closer look at it.

(click for larger image)

Here's what I learnt:
The Hudsons Bay Company is the oldest corporation in Canada. That's only logical. The first thing I need in a new and unexplored land is a department store.

York Fort was an actual fort built to defend the department store from the French. Unfortunately it sank. So they built another. If only they'd built their fort the way I do - with pillows and blankies - they would never have to worry about it sinking into the permafrost.

Ross, Parry and Franklin were all looking for a Northeast passage through the Arctic between 1818 and 1845 when Franklin took crystal and silverware with his crew instead of food, got icebound for a couple of years and were forced to eat each other. More men died looking for Franklin than were lost to cannibalism*.

East and West Florida - when one Florida just isn't enough.

Also worth noting is the large tract of Unexplored Territory in the middle of Russian America. In 1867 Alaska was sold to the US for $7.2 million dollars. Not only did this result in a move of the International Date Line, but also a switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. The poor Alaskans not only had to suffer two Fridays in a row but lost a fortnight. Sadly for the Russians it turned out that hiding within the Unexplored Territory was the Klondike Gold Rush.

Lower and Upper Canada - see above re: Florida.

The 49th Parallel border between the United States and British Territory (not yet Canada) on this map dates from 1818 when it ran from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains. Lake of the Woods? I told you this was an Enid Blyton story.

It wasn't until 1846 that the border at the 49th parallel was extended to the sea by the Treaty of Oregon, or Treaty with Great Britain, in Regard to Limits Westward of the Rocky Mountains. This was despite the Democratic Party trying to name rock bands 150 years ahead of time with the slogan Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!

*Alleged cannibalism.

All this time I had assumed it was a print I was working from, after all who would tear a map out of a book and then use it as a bookmark? On searching for information on the engraver, J. Dower of Pentonville, London, all I came up with were eBay auctions, but one of those lead me to the very friendly folk at the Melbourne business, Classical Images.

Here's how to detect an original map from a print or forgery.

A couple of emails later had my precious, precious map dated to the 1840s and valued at between $150 and $200.

I'm just glad I hadn't blu-tacked it to the wall.

Wed, 14 Dec 2005
Mushroom View

The next time you're slicing a mushroom, trying cutting it perpendicular to the stalk instead of across the cap.

Mon, 12 Dec 2005
Report Card: Abigail, aged 2 years, 23 days

Arithmetic: Can count to twelve. Eleven is often omitted. Can identify numbers three (3) and seven (7).
Spelling: Accurately spells B-I-N-G-O. Familiar with the alphabet - A B C D L M O P W X Y Z (zed, not zee).
Fine motor skills: Can accurately peel mushrooms. Will learn in time that life is too short to stuff them.
Gross motor skills: Insists on falling on deceptively flat and unimpeded floors.
Reading: Can read familiar books word perfectly. "Once upon a time there was a witch called Meg..."
Science: Shows a keen interest in wildlife both large (dinosaurs) and small (insects). Scale (big and little), temperature (hot and cold) and "Ewww! Sticky!" are also familiar concepts.
Social skills: Has an active interest in the welfare of her peers, "Baby's sad!" and impeccable etiquette; "How's your day?" "Thank you for cooking dinner," and "Hoooowwww do you do?"
Other: Most things are a "Good idea!" except when "Abbey's grumpy!" in which case "Cake? Please?"

Wed, 07 Dec 2005
LLB - Australia's drink of choice

A comment floated up from the vast oceans of the Internet today inquiring after a recipe for Lemon, Lime and Bitters. Beats me where that came from, but your wish is my command. (Sheesh, one drunken post and now I have a reputation.)
After battling heroically through the Angostura Bitters website, (Warnings - Flash, window sizing, new windows at every link and cheery cheery muzak) I have found the definitive recipe.

Lemon Lime & Bitters
Rim the inside of a glass with 5-6 dashes of Angostura® aromatic bitters
Add ice and swirl until the glass is evenly coated with Angostura® aromatic bitters
Fill glass with lemonade or Sprite and a shot (15 ml) of lime cordial or fresh lime juice. For a low-cal version fill glass with soda
Garnish with a slice of lemon or lime

But that's not all. Apparently this is Australia's drink of choice, a national beverage if you will, and we all guzzle it down at "the traditional nineteenth hole" of the golf course. Because we're sports mad. Mad! (The AIS defines "all" as 3.4% of the population.)

The tradition has been handed down through the generations, after a round of golf, when you are hot and thirsty the first thing you ask for is an Angostura lemon, lime & bitters.

Here I was thinking it was entirely another sort of bitters that was most popular in Australia.

Tue, 06 Dec 2005
Today! It's today!

According to this entry (and why would I lie about such a thing?) I have been blogging for three years today. Go me!

It's not feminism; it's capitalism

I've spent the last couple of hours reading threads that largely spawned from this article, America's Stay-at-Home Feminists.
After a couple of hours reading and drinking, I'm now too drunk to even finish the damn article, suffice to say that when the arguments are all about marrying younger or poorer in order to boost your chances at staying in a high powered job once the kids come along, or planning a tertiary education with an eye on career goals (instead of a liberal-arts degree), it's not feminism; it's capitalism.
Sure, housework sucks and men who don't do their share, or more than their share, or all of it, or whatever, whether they have kids, a wife, a partner, or still live in the basement of their parent's homes, suck too. But earning $100K a year is not going to fix that one bit.
The author interviewed, for reasons lost on me, only high profiled women whose marriages were announced in The New York Times. She seems to have missed the point around about here:
[W]hen they quit, they were already alienated from their work or at least not committed to a life of work. One, a female MBA, said she could never figure out why the men at her workplace, which fired her, were so excited about making deals. "It's only money," she mused.
I think, and I'm drawing on my own circle of data friends here, that had she interviewed more widely she might have discovered a disillusionment with the grossly inflexible capitalist system of umpty hours work a week. Women are just way smarter than men at figuring these things out.

Steve Pavlina - Personal Development

I'm going to put this link out there without much comment as a resource I have found useful recently - Steve Pavlina's Personal Development for Smart People. I realise it's deeply uncool to actively think about one's goals and values, but this guy does it with wit, charm and mountains of common sense. If you're thinking about thinking about things, there's probably something in there for you.

Sun, 04 Dec 2005
Wolf Creek

If you are not put off by horrible, horrible violence in films, and want to see a well told story set in Australia that does not involve any character who could remotely be described as quirky, then I recommend Wolf Creek.

Edit to add: I just discovered that John Jarratt was also in my other favourite Australian horror film (not counting Houseboat Horror), Next of Kin.

Your Favourite Film.

It's not the top film that makes my jaw gape in horror - that's annoying, but predictable - it's that Ferris Bueller's Day Off (77) was beaten by Dirty Dancing (70). Australia, I am appalled at the movies you favour. (If you think I'm overreacting compare the IMDB rankings of those two films.)
More evidence -
Highest Ranking Australian film on the List: The Castle (24)
Position of the Film I voted for: Thirty-six (The Third Man)
Most Recently Released Film to Gain an Unfair Organised Fan Voting Advantage (Justified): Serenity (36)
Postition Reached by the Only Film on the List I've Never Heard Of: Thirty-five (Local Hero)
Number of Muppet Movies on the List: zero.

Sat, 03 Dec 2005
The Darkest Chambers of Horror

I need to know how Kasey Chambers found her way into our mp3 collection. Who among you will confess to this dastardly and nauseating crime? Please tell me she is not spontaneously downloading; the work of some devil's apprentice or wayward angel. We all know she's not pretty enough.

Thu, 01 Dec 2005
Get the Wiggle out of here.

The Wiggles were last night named Australian exporter of the year. They accumulate about $40 million a year from tours, DVD and CD sales, and product licenses. It's a fair effort, but I won't be impressed until they export all the coloured skivvies, underage dancing troupe, dog, octopus and dinosaur costumes, and the stupid pointy fingers. Capt Feathersword can stay though. Argghh!

Thu, 01 Dec 2005
A Study in Emerald, The Poster

If you're still looking around for an end-of-year-spectacular-event gift for li'l ol' me, then this wouldn't be off the mark at all. In fact you'd pretty much hit a bullseye with this poster of Neil Gaiman's story, A Study in Emerald.

It'd look great on the back of the bathroom door, just about where my defunct Astor calendar still resides.

And now I will stop blogging today. Any minute. Here I go...

Ltd Release Mirrormask

Sony Pictures sent me a letter today wherein they hope I can make it to the release of Mirrormask they're doing at The George cinemas. In Sydney. I have found through other sources that it is also being released on December eighth at Cinema Nova. Which is about a thousand kilometres closer to my current location. Unfortunately that's probably about it for this McKean/Gaiman masterpiece in Australia.
I previously wrote about Sony's Mirrormask plans here.

Fake Memory Meme

Fun meme doing the rounds...
If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, (even if we don't speak often) please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL memory of you and I.

See that? Both completely made up AND fictional. No cheating and just picking one.

Aeon Flux: History Revealed

Mike Russell has revealed, in this stylish and funny comic, the not-so-secret history of Aeon Flux for all you Charlize Theron fans who're might be saying "It's about what, now?" (via Drawn)