Rachel's Blog

Tue, 18 Jul 2006
DVD induced angst

I've been busy recently, but I didn't realise how stressed I was with all the running around until I went to hire DVDs this morning. In collecting my seven for $5.95 deal I managed to pick up four John-Hughes-or-similar movies without even trying. I have identified my comfort films.
Now do I sit down with Eric Stoltz, Matthew Broderick, John Cusack or Michael J. Fox? Just what I needed - another decision to stress over.

Happy Birthday Play School!

There's a bear in there
And a chair as well.
There are people with games
And stories to tell.
Open wide, come inside,
It's Play School!

The first episode of Play School aired 40 years ago today on Australian television. Noni Hazlehurst and Rhys Muldoon share some behind the scenes stories, while Graeme Blundell tries to explain why it works and remains appealing to adults as well as kids.

For me it legitimises dancing in the lounge room and singing out loud. One Grey Elephant has always been a favourite, and of the newer tunes I quite like

Riding in a hel-i-copter
The rotor blades go
Wocka Wocka Wocka!

Sat, 15 Jul 2006
The Tomorrow That Never Was

Phrase of the day: Raygun Gothic.

Fri, 14 Jul 2006
Me Interviewee.

I am going to be interviewed about Continuum by John Weeks on Spectrum FM Radio at 11.30am Saturday morning. Exciting! That's 3MDR 97.1FM.

Wed, 12 Jul 2006
Update: IT Girls

The Australian Computer Society has withdrawn its sponsorship of a calendar featuring female IT professionals posing as "glamorous" characters from the movies.

[I]t is untenable for us to be portrayed as supporting a publication with a naked woman on the cover, in the name of improving the image of women in IT."

Even though they're primarily complaining about the choice of cover shot, it's a start.

Previous ranting.

Mon, 10 Jul 2006
Seems to go nowhere

I'm standing in line at a fast food joint. There are two people ahead of me and about six behind. All in one long line at the one cashier. Very slow moving. Staff in the kitchen are pointedly not helping pack orders and the manager's back is visible in the tiny office. Her shoulders are giving the "paperwork is what I'm doing now, don't bother me" message.

It's pretty quiet. No one is talking. There's the occasional murmur from the girl at the drive through window. I have no idea that there's even music playing until Tainted Love comes on.

The guy behind me starts singing. The guy behind him starts singing. I start singing. By the end of the first chorus nearly all of us are singing along quietly. And we all know all the words.

True story.

IT Girls

A new girlie calendar is about to be launched which features women who work in the IT industry posing as various screen sirens. Much as I applaud the suggested purpose here of encouraging more women into the IT field, this has to be the most arse-about way of doing it.

If you're holding back from a career in IT because you don't think there'll be opportunity to wear form fitting garments, then I suppose you'll be relived by what these images suggest. People don't buy calendars because they identify with the subjects. Witness nudie calendars in mechanics' workshops. Calendars are bought and used because people aspire to have the subjects. (Oh, please! Someone has to create a calendar of cute IT guys stroking mice in suggestive ways!) So unless there is a shortage of lesbians in IT that I'm unaware of, so far this looks ridiculous.

This calendar is not about saying that these women have brains, which they surely do, but are still primarily women. The way they are portrayed has nothing to do with their own power (with perhaps the exception of the two dressed up as Thelma and Louise - which is kind of a weird choice if you think about it) and everything to do with appealing to men. There are no images here of women using technology, because that would clearly be a turn off for people considering a career in computing.

It is male IT workers who will buy this calendar in enthusiastic support of its aims and then stick it onto their cubicle wall, full of self-righteousness. But really they're just secretly happy to have the chance to (re)introduce titillating calendars into the workplace. Because once the calendar is on the wall, all it's doing is objectifying women. It doesn't matter how talented you are in mathematics or logical thinking, nor your superior people skills, all that matters is that your have the right kind of red-lipped pout.

My suggestion for conquering the stated "geeky technologist" image of IT workers is to start handing out DVDs of The IT Crowd, because then everyone will learn that they're not to be feared, they're just a bunch of loveable old duffers.

(via The Age)

Fri, 07 Jul 2006
Civilisation go boom

Today was not a good day for me and technology to work together. By blogging this I am of course asking for trouble. Blew electricity first thing this morning by demanding light and heat simultaneously. After that was rectified, the central heating decided not to, so I waved a frozen chicken fillet at it (as the closest thing I had to a sacrifice) only to have the HTPC have an allergic reaction to being shut down.

To celebrate the day's end and survival of all, I watched The Mosquito Coast, which also illustrates what can happen when one relies on large, complex technologies. But it is a very good film. Creepy, though, that Helen Mirren's character is only known as "Mother".

Thu, 06 Jul 2006
SilverCrow Creations

SilverCrow Creations is packed with small weird stuff. Mexican, French, vintage, plastic, paper, charms, toys, rabbits... I keep going back for another look. Jesus Packing Tape, for what else would you pack your Jesus with? Happiness Erasers, for those overly joyous occasions and a coconut carved into an anatomically correct heart.
What more could you want?

(thanks, Narelle!)

Sat, 01 Jul 2006
Don't F*ck With Love

A Cautionary Tale in Three Fantastical Dimensions. 1.5 minutes.
(via Black Apple)