Rachel's Blog

Thu, 27 Apr 2006
Fatal Contagions

From Wired, a look at past scourges of technology and media and the scurrilous effect they have had on susceptible souls.

"The indecent foreign dance called the Waltz was introduced ... at the English Court on Friday last ... It is quite sufficient to cast one's eyes on the voluptuous inter­twining of the limbs, and close com­pressure of the bodies ... to see that it is far indeed removed from the modest reserve which has hitherto been considered distinctive of English females. So long as this obscene display was con­fined to prostitutes and adulteresses, we did not think it deserving of notice; but now that it is ... forced on the respectable classes of society by the evil example of their superiors, we feel it a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so fatal a contagion."
- The Times of London, 1816

(via nulldev)

Wed, 26 Apr 2006
Tag this "zombies", "fitness".

I went to a new fitness class a few days ago called Bodycombat. The aim of the class, I think, is to vent your frustrations onto the piece of air directly in front of your torso while flailing about in the name of cardiopulmonary exercise.

It was slightly terrifying the way the instructor would call out "Chin! Chin! Chest! Groin!" as we went through the sequence of punches. As they say in the brochure, this is not a self-defense course, so I was somewhat disturbed by the emphasis on harming humans. I looked around the class, between painful gasps for air, and wondered how many of the women (it's an all female gym) were deriving anger management from the experience and how many were getting more riled up about the world. Images of road-raging SUV drivers kept flitting through my mind.

I thought I would enjoy the class more. After all, I'm a big fan of action films. I practise vampire-staking moves when I think no one's looking.

But it wasn't until last night as Richard and I watched Resident Evil: Apocalypse (as he said, "A plot worthy of a video game") that it became clear.

I was thinking how hard Milla Jovovich must have worked to get her body to look that tough and lean for the filming (not that she normally looks like a big slob), and it hit me like a rocket launcher. I shouldn't be imagining beating up real people during a Bodycombat class, it's zombies! We should all be preparing for the battle to come. Judgement Day, The Apocalypse, the End of the World. There'll be vampires to fight on every corner and how are you going to be prepared? By taking a self-defense course? No! We need to strike out now at our imaginary foes, Chin! Chin! Chest! Groin!

I'm quite looking forward to this weeks class now.

Tue, 25 Apr 2006
A rose by any other name...

...would perhaps have sold me, but there is no way I'm buying a rose with the name Ian Thorpe. (scroll halfway down) Unless it was an underwater rose.
And if you think that the naming of roses is unimportant, just know that my mum once bought one just because it was called Buffy.

Mon, 24 Apr 2006
Continuum Presents... The Fifth Element

The Future Was Then! Join us at the classic Sun Theatre for a night of style and comfort, fine food and conversation, flying cars and alien opera singers (and all for the price of a movie ticket). Pre-show refreshments will be served and the bar open from 8pm. Everyone is invited to come along and make new friends or revive old aquaintances. The screening commences at nine. Whether you have been to a Continuum event in the past, want an inside scoop on this year's convention, or simply want to get some friends together for a fun night out, this special event should not be missed.

Where: Sun Theatre, 8 Ballarat Street, Yarraville
(adjacent to Yarraville train and bus station, ample parking available behind the cinema)
When: Friday 12 May, refreshments and bar from 8pm, film 9pm
Price: $15/$13 Continuum 4 members (membership available on the night)
RSVP: By Monday May 8th, to continuum_movie_night@yahoo.com.au
Please do RSVP, as we need a rough idea of attendence before the night.

For more information on...
Continuum: http://www.continuum.org.au
Sun Theatre: http://www.suntheatre.com.au

Sun, 23 Apr 2006
I can't hear you, I have a banana in my ear!

J.D. has assembled a looong list of Sesame Street clips available on YouTube about which he says,
I state quite confidently that this is the best entry I've made in five years of weblogging.
I think it's the best thing I've seen in ten years of surfing the Internet. I am wearing a really goofy grin. (Come on monsters, you don't have to cry. We can be happy!)

(via Daddytypes)

Wed, 19 Apr 2006
Speeches: Doctorow, Sterling, Williams

Audio files are available from the ABC for the GoH speeches given at Conjure, the 45th Australian National Science Fiction Convention, held in Brisbane from April 14-17, 2006:

Cory Doctorow

Bruce Sterling

Sean Williams

Queensbane and Conjure

Got back from Conjure yesterday with my brain functioning at the level of "stuff!" "cool!" "sleep!" and "where do we keep the coffee?" It's slightly better now. It was a great con. Loads of people with ideas, cool people, weird people and at least a couple of guys who are all three.

As for the individual panels, I focussed on the science and tech ones, rather than the fannish and fantasy side. I'm still processing a bunch of ideas, so ask me about them sometime if you're interested.

The Masquerade was suitably dorky, the bar tab was a pleasant surprise, the Ditmars needed dancing boys (congrats to the nominees and winners anyway), and it all ran super smoothly. I had a great time, thanks to Kate Eltham and the whole Conjure team.

Gary Kemble at the ABC has blogged a lot of the con at Articulate.

Brislandia is a nice enough city. I'd visit again. Good food, crap beverages. Mostly I saw the inside of a couple of hotels, but Southbank and the Roma St Parklands are green and happy places.

(I'm not usually an autograph hound, but I couldn't resist asking Cory to sign my laptop.)

Tue, 11 Apr 2006
Not at home.

Off to Brisbane/Conjure for the next week. I will attempt to stay in touch email and blog-wise, but if I fail I promise I'm not being intentionally rude. Not this time anyway.

Grasshopperism

Just yesterday I was discussing my world-class procrastination skills with Richard, and today I discovered an article with a goodly collection of whys and wherefores (and whynots and useful tools).

The simple cure? Do everything opposite. Tell yourself: this isn't so hard, it won't take long, and I am sure that I know how to do it, or that I can learn while I'm doing it. And no one else really cares because they are all so busy with their own problems

I think I'd better print some of these out in a large font and stick them all over the house.

(via Rebecca's Pocket)

Sun, 09 Apr 2006
Coolest Wedding Ever

When a wedding has both The Ghost making a speech and Jon von Goes as celebrant, you know you must be at the coolest wedding Melbourne has ever seen. Congratulations Roxy and Nick, it was a fantastic night. Loads of love and best of luck for the future.

Seeing as I am already married, should I die before JVG does, I would like to request his services as celebrant at my funeral. I won't be able to hear them, being dead 'n' all, but I'd like to know you were having a good time.

Meme: Wikipedia + Birth date

Go to Wikipedia and look up your birth day (excluding the year). List three neat events, two births and one death in your journal, including the year.

Events:
1919 - Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith launch United Artists. Which led to James Bond movies, Rockys I-V and Bowling for Columbine.
1922 - DeWitt and Lila Wallace publish the first issue of Reader's Digest. I hope they're sorry.
1924 - The Royal Greenwich Observatory begin broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal or the "BBC pips".
Also - Apollo 14 lands on the moon, Chaplin releases the last silent film, Modern Times and The Battle of Khe Sahn gives Jimmy Barnes something to sing about.

Births:
1908 - Daisy and Violet Hilton, British conjoined twin actresses. Appeared as themselves in Tod Browning's cult-horror film Freaks.
1940 - H.R. Giger, Swiss artist. Best known for his Oscar-winning design of the film Alien
Also born on Feb 5 - Jennifer Jason Leigh; Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark; William S. Burroughs and Bobby "My Prerogative" Brown.

Death:
1578 - Giambattista Moroni, Italian painter. Had the misfortune of being an Italian painter at the same time as Michelangelo.

Thu, 06 Apr 2006
Nightwatch

It's half-past one am. I'm on Abbey watch as she's been sick every twenty minutes for the last four hours. Can't listen to music or podcasts - have to keep ears open for telltale coughing. Brain doesn't function well at this time. I'm afraid I'm going to end up bidding for crazy things on ebay or submit a mountainous order to Amazon.