Rachel's Blog

Mon, 29 May 2006
Review: X-Men: The Last Stand

When you see X-Men 3 (you can't fool me, I know you're going to) make sure you sit all the way through the end credits. Yes, all the way past the Panavision logo. Something I do compulsively; often it pays off.

That's pretty much it for a review. It's pretty things-go-boom eye-candy. Same complaint as with the first two - not enough Rogue, and this time not enough Kitty Pryde. Could be that I've seen a lot of Buffy recently and so expect the girls to do the hard work, but I do find their stories more interesting. There's a huge story to be told with the Mystique character in the background of this film. Spinoff anyone?

Max and Danny

In a continuing attempt to become familiar with Justine Clarke's entire oeuvre*, I recently watched Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and last night, Danny Deckchair. Max is a superior film (only just), but Danny has more Playschool presenters. (Three to two.)

*Except Home and Away. I'm not watching that.

Fri, 26 May 2006
Plan your friends; Plan your CD collection.

With today's ease of access to Everything it's often difficult to know where to begin. Fortunately there has been a recent spate of "What to" books. As in What to Read, What to Watch, What to Listen To and even What to Visit. Once you have consumed these texts you will then be a well-rounded human being able to engage in all manner of conversations with friends and strangers alike.

Today Craig Mathieson adds a material edge to the trend with his article of 100 albums you should own to impress your friends. You don't even have to know why they're important albums, or even what they sound like.

If you were to go out of your way to own all of these CDs I think you would be regarded as a less of a rock 'n' roll hipster and more of an out 'n' out schizophrenic. Not that music lovers wouldn't own both AC/DC and Dusty Springfield or that Simon and Garfunkle never share shelf space with Nirvana, but you've gotta wonder how often.

There is a nod to reason in the last sentence.

But you've just got to enjoy music. You can't plan your CD selection.

But if you can't plan a CD collection, what's this list for? Don't you want your friends to like you for what you own? I won't pretend to understand if you get your kicks collecting Eurovision Song Contest albums, but I will say




(Four. We own four of the CDs on the list. So unhip our legs threaten to fall off. And just wait for the comment that reveals the eclectic nature of our collective unhipness.)

Tue, 23 May 2006
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

Can anyone say writer's studio? Daniels Wood Land build custom crooked treehouses on giant hollowed out logs. And they ship world wide. Tempting, but just a leetle un-economical.

Actually I really want one of their Pirate ship/Addams family house constructions, but I couldn't choose just one picture.

(via Boing Boing)

Sat, 20 May 2006
Melbourne Zombie Shuffle

Well over one hundred zombies took to the streets today for no particular reason. Setting off from the Carlton Gardens, they quickly took over the Antipodes Festival ("Mmm, Greek brraaaaainnns"), posed dead brides in front of the Bridal Expo at the Town Hall, shuffled quickly past the unfortunate simile of the Falun Gong protest against the alleged harvesting of live organs, and scared schoolkids at Flinders Street stations ("One of them tried to eat me!!" said a terrified teen).

Quickly revealed were the high numbers of cameras held by onlookers, that zombies' money is as good as anyone else's in the eyes of hawkers, most people who enquired needed a reason for the zombies' presence ("But what's it for?") and the elderly are not the most easily shocked.

Presented here is the smallest, least threatening zombie in attendance. Lurch this way for more photos.

Sun, 14 May 2006
Myth of the mundane.
[Howard]'s so pragmatic and mundane it makes him rather difficult to mythologise.

I suppose some vague comfort can be drawn here; once he's gone no one will remember him.

Sat, 13 May 2006
'Ware the Neil Gaiman Kudos Horizon

In an attempt to discover the dreamiest hunk in science fiction Chris Lawson has drawn our attentions to the dangers of the scruffy-adorablility and unchecked-fame combination: The Neil Gaiman Kudos Horizon.

Gaiman is the black hole of praise. Every prize, award, compliment, and disinhibited gothgirl cheerleader that strays within a hundred metres of him is sucked inexorably inwards, and the more that gets sucked in, the larger his kudos horizon grows. Some scientists are predicting that his kudos horizon will engulf the Earth in the next five years, and at that point he will win everything. Because space and time break down near the Gaiman singularity, when this happens there will be no point in running contests. He will win them all. Even Olympic gold medals. And silver. And bronze. In the same event. So no Neil Gaiman.

I would have voted for you, Chris, but someone had already added Russell's name to the ballot and... well... he's got red hair.

Fri, 12 May 2006
102 Movies.

Never mind that daft 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die caper. (Makes a good doorstop.) Here's just 102 Movies you should see before you have a conversation about movies.
Crap. I've only seen 44. I've gotta stop watching junk.
(via Rebecca's Pocket)

Thu, 11 May 2006
Flexible work hours for parents.
The ability to work hours that allow them to still care for their own children is the single most important factor in women's participation in the paid workforce.

Can't do anything but agree with this.
Cathy Sherry in The Age.

This meme is brought to you by the letter P and the number 10.

So Anthony gave me the letter P with which to choose ten words and then explain what they mean to me. The first thing I did was list 72 P words. Problem. Puzzlement. Purging.

So here are ten P careers that I have really and truly considered or attempted during my life.

Play School presenter - You know me. I would be as good as Jay or Justine. Making things with cardboard and sticky tape, making farm noises, dancing like a fool, all of this I can do. I settle by providing exclusive performances for Abbey.

Pharmacologist - the fact that creativity and flexibility are not allowed when prescribing drugs is probably a good thing, but is too restrictive for me.

Precision Driver - I've wanted to do this since I was a teeny tiny thing and first saw the Holden Precision Driving Team at the Royal Melbourne Show. I comfort myself by concentrating on being a reliably good driver.

Perfumier - I like the idea of this more than the reality. The Myer perfume counter nearly always gives me a headache. BTW, if you haven't read Perfume by Patrick Suskind, you should.

Pet Doctor - (I know, but it doesn't start with a P, 'kay?) I would have been good at veterinary school, except that I really don't like dogs. Can't explain it. Even the dogs I do like (Hi Benson!, Hi Justine!) I can only stand in very small doses.

Paleontologist - Dinosaurs! Mystery! Death! Digging. Outdoors. In the rain. Forget it.

Politician - Ha! Ha! Ha! hahahahahahaha!
No, I really do consider this every few years, but then I take note of who I'd have to work with.

Prima Ballerina - not through want of trying, only through want of a natural turnout and excess height.

Pianist - failed through lack of another P word: practice.

Prophet - very keen on this until, after years of waiting I have recieved no distinct impressions of the future. Bit of a hindrance that.

Also, police officer, painter, plant nurseryman, potter, private investigator, porcelain dollmaker, but not poet, prize fighter, precision marksman or plumber.

Leave a comment and I'll throw a letter your way.

Wed, 10 May 2006
Evolution of Dance

A six minute history of popular dance since Elvis. The choreography is amazing, but the best part is that the performer can actually move. It's like watching all the school dances I ever went to compressed into one interpretive piece.
(via Boing Boing et al)

Gone to print.
Tue, 09 May 2006
Review: I Like to Sing - Justine Clarke
I Like to Sing! CD cover

Justine Clarke's I Like to Sing! passes the crucial test for an album for children. It can be put on repeat for days and days and nearby adults will not want to screw small toys into their ears to drown out the noise.

The music is complex, layered and fun. Writer Peter Dasent (Play School pianist) has used samba rhythms, circus music, jazz beats and a wealth of musical tricks to give each track it's own personality and story. The lyrics and themes have also been carefully written, being relevant to preschoolers, yet surreal and silly.

In the same way that Play School addresses each individual child, Clarkes' singing does the same. While taking on the role of a cheeky kid, she is singing to her best friend and expects them to join in. It's difficult not to.

Cook was in the kitchen, tapping both his feet
Banging on the pots and pans, chicken heard the beat
Stood up in the skillet and began to kick his legs
That chicken was as naked as when it was an egg
It was the dancing chicken, dancing chicken!

No costumes, no merchandising, no choreography, no dance troupe, yet excellent for car trips. If you don't think the W*ggles need any more encouragement, yet your youngest friends aren't quite ready for Rammstein, I recommend it.

In this interview with Preschool Entertainment Clarke discusses the background of the album and promises a tour.

Fri, 05 May 2006
Star Wars in glorious Dolby 2.0 stereo

Lucasfilm will release the original theatrical versions of Star Wars IV-VI on DVD for a limited time later this year.

Unfortunately each 2-disc set will also include the corresponding 2004 remastered version.
(via cassiphone)

Wed, 03 May 2006
3D Sendak Monsters

A sneak peek at an upcoming pop-up book by Maurice Sendak featuring 1930s-style monsters.

While you wait for that you'll want a copy of Haunted House by Jan Pienkowski.

(via Coode Street)

Spicks and Specks: A Haunting

Ever get the feeling that the entire world is a joke at your expense? If not the entire world then how about just a part of it? It might be a suburb. A particular day of the week. Perhaps a bakery is making a mockery of you.

For me it is the ABC music quiz show Spicks and Specks. Don't get me wrong, I love this show, I like the host, Adam Hills, and team captains Alan Brough and Myf (Myf!) Warhurst. I like that sometimes I know the answers and sometimes I don't. I like that it's silly, but knowledgeable. But the whole program just seems a little odd. Like a glitch in the space-time continuum.

It started with the segment Substitute. A team member must sing a song to their teammates but substitute the lyrics from a supplied text. Presumably the text is the daggiest or most unlikely book the producers could find in the ABC library. Workshop manuals for old cars have featured, as have dog grooming guides and the Holy Bible (daggy or unlikely - you decide). The first time I recognised I had read the book they were all chuckling over (I believe it was by designer Kaffe Fassett) I laughed it off. By the third or fourth time I was checking behind the couch for ABC employees ransacking my bookshelves. I read a lot, but honestly, not all of it is that bad.

In episode eight one of the guests was a comedian I knew from uni. He came to my 21st birthday party. Tonight, episode twelve featured harpist, Megan Reeve who, being local, was in our council-assigned Mums' Group with her daughter. I'm terrifed who will guest next week. Will it be that P.E. teacher who never really believed I couldn't swim. (I can't.) My piano teacher? School band conductor? Physiotherapist?

Perhaps they'll print out from the Internet an entry from someone's blog to be used in Substitute and it will be this one.