Rachel's Blog

Wed, 27 Sep 2006
A Global Warning

Saw An Inconvenient Truth last night. You should, no, must, see it too. It's currently on general release in Australia, which is rare enough for a documentary, but this one's really important. It's a little flawed, the delivery of information is a bit too rapid at times, but that might have been exaccerbated by the four year old whooping and leaping all over the seats nearby. Fortunately he was escorted out after half an hour or so, but still, I don't recommend that particular seat.

I don't think I learnt anything astonishingly new, but having all the details about global warming, CO2 levels and climate change all together really brought home the immediacy of the problem for me. Not to mention the amazing photographs and footage of melting land ice, vanishing lakes and cracked earth.

The most vital lesson that this film shares is that global warming is not a theory. It is a fact. And in surfing environmental websites this morning I found many examples of articles which dance around the issue and try to dilute its urgency. Global warming is not a slight annoyance, it is a planet-wide disaster that is happening now. If we don't cease our energy-greedy lifestyles, within our lives cities will drown and hundreds of millions of people will be displaced. For starters.

My personal immediate pledge is three-minute showers. Which, my family will verify, is a big deal for me. We're also going to install skylights in the family room to cut down on our energy useage. Oh, and defrost the freezer. Our next car (as a one-car family) will likely be hybrid. All our appliances are chosen on thier energy efficiency and are kept in good repair. We're staring to grown some of our own veggies. What about you?

Thu, 14 Sep 2006
Six Weird Habits

I've been tagged by punkrocker1991. Ouch!
Post six weird habits/things that you do, then tag six other people and list their names.

  1. I go out of my way to buy sugar-free cereal and then every morning I go and sprinkle sugar on it. But really, Weetbix tastes like cooked cardboard. I have to do something.*
  2. I second guess myself. Then third, fourth and fifth guess myself. But then I go and outsmart myself at the last minute. Do'h.**
  3. I get interested in a topic or craft, gather all the important information, study it, try a couple of things and then -ooh! Shiny! New subject.***
  4. Richard is trying to tell me that procrastination is my biggest habit. True, but not particularly weird.****
  5. I hoard everything. You know those homes they ridicule occasionally on current affairs shows that are so filled with garbage that the owners can hardly get in and out? I empathise with those people. At least my junk is clean. And useful!**
  6. I talk to myself all the time. I used to do it out loud, then just moving my lips. Still do that if I'm tired.*****

Consider yourself tagged.

***Lack of commitment

Slayer Trek

Little did Willow realise, that when she cast the spell, a tiny rift would cause it to be flung far through time and space...
Uhura woke refreshed and energised. And surrounded by demons. First to go was Spock. Then the universe. Persuading the Enterprise to run under her own command, she discarded the Prime Directive (and all the others) and took on one planet at a time...

They thought they could use the theme from Chosen in this mini-doco on the remastering of Star Trek: TOS and no one would notice?
(via Whedonesque)

Fri, 08 Sep 2006
Review: The Lives and Loves of Daisy and Violet Hilton - Dean Jensen

Softcover, 400 pages, B&W illustrations
Published by Ten Speed Press, available in October.

Today, Daisy and Violet Hilton are probably best remembered for their brief appearance in Tod Browning's contentious film, Freaks. But in their heyday, the Hilton twins were household names. Genuine conjoined twins, they were born fused at the lower spine in 1908, and lucky not to be handed off to eager experimental surgeons.

Dean Jensen's book is, thankfully, a traditional biography, with the sister's birth on page one and ending with their funeral on the last. Jensen has not tried to be clever, but rather let this unusual story and the numerous strange characters have all the attention.

Adopted, raised and exploited by a pub owner turned raconteur and, later, a Melbourne-born self-taught showman, Daisy and Violet Hilton remain an island of near-calm in the giddy upheaval of their lives. Dragged from their birthplace in Brighton, England, to Germany, then Australia and finally to the United States, where they tried to simultaneously rise above their affliction and take advantage of it. The girls became talented singers, musicians and dancers, with one of their signature pieces being a pas de quatre at the end of the show.

Their lives touched briefly with others who were, or would go on to be, Hollywood or Broadway stars, something which the twins attempted numerous times. The book is peppered with familiar names and locations, such as a lovely snippet on the opening of Luna Park in Melbourne. The girls appeared in the park's Egyptian temple, "Pharoah's Daughter", just after their fifth birthday, only a few months after the park was opened. They went on to tour country Australia where they met Myer Myers, a Clifton Hills born circus-runaway who would gradually become the twin's manager and guardian.

The Lives and Loves... allows room to explore the people who surround Violet and Daisy; the characters of the freak shows and fairs (think Carnivāle) and later the vaudeville circuit, their colleagues on stage, in the orchestras they used, and their business associates.

With black and white publicity photos, film stills and postcards every few pages and quotes from contemporary documents and articles, as well as recent interviews, The Lives and Loves... has clearly been thoroughly researched. It is written in a straightforward, engaging manner, which gives the bizarre characters that populate every page of this book space to shine on their own. And it is not the more physically unusual people that are the most oddly behaved.

Highly Recommended.

Preorder from Ten Speed Press, or Amazon.

Sat, 02 Sep 2006
The fashions of suburban Melbourne are not this interesting.

This is the first time I've ever wanted to talk about clothes on this blog and I've had to create a whole new category. But it was worth it. Via (Inside a Black Apple) I've found Hel-Looks, a tribute to Fruits magazine. The creator photographs street fashions in Helsinki and uploads them together with a tiny interview. It's awesome and addictive. I have spent a large part of today looking at every image, dating back over a year. Here are some of my favourites.

Some of these Helsinkians understandably cite Bjork and Harajuku as their influences. But if you look through a few of the other images you'll see that high street fashions are obvious, even among people who claim to maintain their own style (skinny leg jeans, pointy boots, major labels), but at least an equal number praise Finnish big-hair rock band Hanoi Rocks and old men as style gurus.