Rant and Rave Time

New Idea – the magazine not a new thought

Posted on 9 August 2010. Filed under: Rant and Rave Time | Tags: , |

I happened to pick up a couple of New Idea from 1977 for a Twitter friend, Jen as I know she’s collecting them and I won’t tell you what she does with them, maybe she’ll explain on her own blog or write me another article about the issue. I happened to glance inside and noticed many differences to the current New Idea so I had a squiz at a new one as well and collated the results.

The current is one actually from last year but it’s current enough. The first thing I noticed is that it’s all in colour while the one from 1977 is mostly in black and white with a few ads in colours, I bet those colour ads cost the earth. In 2009 there were nine articles about famous people and each one was fairly lengthy, going into great detail about what they do, why they’re famous and why they’re in this issue while 1977 only had three articles and some of the articles were about multiple people. Each one only had one article on ordinary people and Mere Male was prevalent in both. Four pages of mindgames in 2009 with none in 1977, four pages of recipes in 2009 and only three in 1977, one page of letters in each issue. Two beauty article in 2009 and only one in 1977. 2009 there were two articles about animals and seven miscellaneous articles while in 1977 there was one article about plants, two craft articles, one about medical issues, one fiction story and an eight page liftout about baby care.

I noticed 1977 has a lot more variety and their word count looks to be higher per article than 2009. They have few pictures and lots of words while 2009 has a large picture with most articles. The articles are also far more people friendly and less sensationalist. In 1977 there was an article about a Federal Minister’s wife balancing her budget which was fairly quiet in tone and very much in the times of a woman being in the home looking after the family while 2009 has an article on a family which has 11 kids under the age of seven, it does mention the size of their shopping list, it’s also very much in today’s language I wouldn’t say the language is sensationalist but it isn’t as laid back as the one from 1977.

It’s very interesting to sit down and read the articles about the famous people. Today’s magazines tend to be a little sensationalist and tend to not put in as much detail as they have so many photos.

It’d be very interesting to have an expert take a magazine or two from each decade and make a proper study of them to see how much things have change. I do think some of the articles from 1977 were much better than today.

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The Famous Five Revised

Posted on 30 July 2010. Filed under: Rant and Rave Time | Tags: , , |

It’s been coming up a lot lately for me and I’m really annoyed by the whole idea. They’ve taken childhood classics and revised them to bring them into the modern world. They’ve done this with Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and The Three Investigators and are about to do the same with the Famous Five books.

With the Famous Five books they’re taking out all the old phrases such as, ‘mercy me’ and ‘awful’ swotter’. You can see the article Lashings of editing jolly bad for Blyton books and get more details for yourselves. I don’t understand why everything has to be revised and dumbed down. I think it would be better for the child’s understanding of the world to have them exposed to as much as possible and then explain to them what it used to mean and then relate it to a phrase in today’s language rather than just changing the book. I know they want more money and if they can publish another series of books then that equates to a lot of sales, but my personal belief is that it’s better to publish them as they were. I wouldn’t mind if they proofread them properly and edited out the few typos that are there, though.

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Nothing much to say tonight

Posted on 26 May 2010. Filed under: Rant and Rave Time | Tags: |

I have plenty to write about but I want to apologise for not writing the last couple of nights. I do have a reason, whether it’s good or not is not really for me to judge.

Monday night I was running late with cooking dinner and I was doing my best impression of a professional chef with my lovely sharp, and big, chef’s knife. I was almost finished cutting the vegetables, it was in fact the final cut before starting to cook when my knife took the tip off my finger. I am truly grateful my eldest did her first aid training and wants to be useful as she immediately swung into action and ran off for a bandaid. She’s very sympathetic and applied the bandaid quickly, then went back for more medical tape as it was the very tip of my finger and bandaids don’t stay on that place very well. By the time she’d finished ministering to me I had three layers on my finger. I finished cooking dinner and later on found typing rather challenging due to the increased size of my finger. The letter ‘t’ was especially challenging to type so I put out an apology on Twitter and Facebook and have only been typing small amounts or the most needed things since then. I took the bandaids off today and it’s much easier to type now. I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who expressed concern about my ‘injury’, it was nice to see everyone asking about me. I can reassure you the worst part is my nail and that will grow back very quickly.

I have the next few night’s articles planned out. I will be reviewing a book by Laura Bickle called Embers, posting the weekly Squid Ink cartoon, reviewing a movie and unveiling the first Suz’s Space video. If you want to see me doing what I do best, talking, then stay tuned and I’ll give you a link to it.

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Doctor Who

Posted on 23 May 2010. Filed under: Rant and Rave Time | Tags: , , , |

Doctor Who, is it science fiction, fantasy and does it matter?

I was reading a slightly aged article today written by Sir Terry Pratchett about Doctor Who and why he keeps watching. Doctor Who is one of those love-em or hate-em programmes, I haven’t found anyone who is in-between. The original series until they were revived with Christopher Ecclestone had very dodgy sets and incredibly cheap special effects, one of the episodes had monsters covered with bubble wrap that had been sprayed green, you can’t get much cheaper than that. The science was always there and you knew a lot of it was possible, but in the current series the science is very much out there in the realms of the totally impossible, that assumes that it’s actually based on real science and not just made up.

Pratchett talks about the laws of narrative and that if there’s an axe in the room in an obvious place then it will be used at some point. He also talks about deus ex machina and how the Doctor really has become a god from the machine. Now I’m not entirely happy with that as one of the appeals of Doctor Who is that he was always very much human and he generally pointed out he wasn’t human by mentioning his two hearts. Now, his behaviour is very much alien and very bizarre. He doesn’t listen, at all, in Tom Baker’s day you knew he was listening and then pretending it was his idea, but at least he was listening. Now, these companions are just there to be talked at and that irks me, most especially as I still believe Karen Gillan would make a fantastic Doctor Who, she has so much potential just waiting to be tapped and she’s being kept sitting around with her mouth covered so she can be a sounding board.

I did start off with an actual goal in mind with this article, but that was several hours ago and I’ve managed to watch another episode since then. I’m beginning to not want to watch Doctor Who any more. It’s crossed the border and is mostly in the realms of fantasy, the science is rather scarce, the fantasy is rather dubious and the new Doctor just doesn’t excite me. The writing has ventured beyond the border of fandom and has stopped being the Doctor that I knew and loved, it seems to be more about the special effects and less about the story and the characters. I do understand that the Doctor has always been a little different but I think they’ve taken that interpretation way too far.

Next week I’ll be asking myself if I really want to watch this episode. That’s always a challenge as my computer gives me a decent view of the TV so even if I’m not watching it I’ll still be able to watch it…if you see what I mean. I have three other people in the house who will watch it.

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Where did that come from?

Posted on 19 May 2010. Filed under: Rant and Rave Time | Tags: , |

We’ve been watching a fair bit of TV this last few days. I’ve had a lot of work to do on the website and I work best when I have some music or video to help keep me focussed. I can already hear all those people who shouting at me about how it’s best to work without these distractions. I know all the arguments, I know what the experts say but I’ve always worked better with some background noise. I used to study in front of the TV, in year 12 I put loud music on, when I was doing data entry I used to work with my headphones on one ear while talking to my group and things haven’t changed. I can’t always work with noise as I need to be aware of the other people in the house but today was good as my youngest can also work while the TV is going and mostly shares my interests.

Sunday night was Doctor Who and they used a teleporter to get Amy out of trouble. The word was coined by Charles Fort in 1931 in his book Lo!. I must admit to not having read this book and did have to find this information on Wikipedia. The first time I can remember the concept was in Star Trek and I’m sure I knew what it meant as I don’t think I asked about it; being the youngest of four I only to had to ask to receive an abundance of answers. I haven’t asked any Doctor Who experts, but I’ve been watching it much longer than the experts resident in this house and this is the first time I recall them using a teleporter.

Yesterday we were watching Bewitched. The original series, first screen in 1964 with Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha Stephens and Agnes Moorehead as her mother, Endora. Endora did not get on with her son-in-law, Darrin Stephens, played by Dick York or Dick Sargeant and there were many disputes between them. The one on Monday, Endora put a photo of herself on Darrin’s desk at work. He was infuriated and tried several times to destroy it, he only succeeded in destroying his desk. The bit that struck me was Endora moved within the photo, a technique we saw with great effect many times in the Harry Potter movies. Just like Harry Potter this series was also about witches with some of them married to humans, the main difference is that there is no young boy in danger. I don’t recall a witch school, but it’s highly likely.

What I’m really pointing out with only two examples is the idea that people create something, a idea, a concept and that thought is so powerful that it is used and used and used so many times. I do wonder if the person who decided to use that concept in Harry Potter had actually seen the episode of Bewitched or if they had thought of it themselves.

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Kids, speech and learning

Posted on 13 May 2010. Filed under: Rant and Rave Time | Tags: , , |

This is not a high-browed discussion on kids and how they learn to speak and how they learn grammar, it’s just going to be an observation. I was having lunch with some friends yesterday, the hostess’ two kids were there and the two-year-old was enamoured with me, she just couldn’t get enough of being around me, sitting on my lap and generally smiling up at me. The three-year-old brought over a game and was playing it with us.

It was a matching game so I’ll get you to imagine the scene. Two mums sitting on the couch (neither of us were the mum of these children), in between us is the matching game and standing on the floor (or inhabiting my lap) were the two kids. The three-year-old was definitely in charge of the game and he understood about taking turns and would instruct everyone when it was their turn. I was quite amused to note he couldn’t always get it right but they both had fun and he was so good and trying to get everything right. He occasionally helped us with our turns and we would then ‘win’. It was fascinating to be a part of this interaction. He was particularly solicitous of his younger sister and helped her quite a lot which meant she ‘won’ a lot more than the rest of us.

The fascinating bit about this scene was when she ‘won’. She got quite excited and told everyone she had ‘winned’. I was interested by this past tense of the word ‘won’. At some stage she’s understood the concept of past tense and has figured out that you need to put the letters ‘ed’ on the end to make it past. This is a very clever thing for her to do, it’s quite high in the thinking process and I do know there’s some fairly technical language to describe this but I don’t actually know it. It is highly possible she learnt this from her brother, but he’s not that much older than she is so you’ve got the same process happening in his brain at whatever age he figured this out. Absolutely fascinating.

The only problem with putting ‘ed’ on the end of win, is that there is always some exception to the rule and in this the word does not become ‘winned’. Understanding this concept takes far more time for them to unravel as it’s at a higher level of learning.

At this point I’d be thanking the ladies I had lunch with yesterday and crediting them and the children with giving me this thought, but I haven’t asked their permission so I can’t name them. If they read this they’re at liberty to ‘out’ themselves and their businesses.

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Miscellaneous musings

Posted on 4 May 2010. Filed under: Rant and Rave Time | Tags: , , , |

Facebook

I’ve been really struggling to get motivated to do anything tonight. Not terribly good as I have three articles to write. I’ll write something here and hopefully be more motivated tomorrow to get the other two out of the way. I’m just a bit cheesed off as I’ve been following a course of how to get the most out of Facebook. So I’ve been following everything fairly closely, creating a Fan Page, using plenty of swear words and writing some nice html for the Welcome Page until last night when the Welcome Page disappeared. It still hasn’t returned but something I’ve deleted twice has so I’m just going to wait it out for a few days before diving back in again. While I’m waiting I’ll continue with the word games on the discussion board, anyone is welcome to join in.

Varuna

I’d heard of Varuna – Sydney Writers’ Festival Blue Mountains Program and would dearly love to go but I think it’s for serious writers and I don’t consider myself a serious writer, certainly not in the realms of people like Trudi Canavan or Donna Hanson so the best I can do is to get the word out and hope that others get the chance to go. It sounds seriously wonderful. Anyway, the dates are:

Sunday May 16 – Special Children’s Program
Monday May 17 & Tuesday May 18 – Main Program

Australian Publishers Association election result

Small(er) publishers to the fore: a surprise Australian Publishers Association election result. Previously only people from large publishing companies were elected to the presidency of the Australian Publishers Association but this year Stephen May, a psychologist and the founder of Brisbane-based Australian Academic Press ran against Gabrielle Coyne, the CEO of Penguin Australia, and won. It’s a very interesting move and I do wonder how it will affect publishing in Australia. I’m not going to speculate on this, just like I’m not going to speculate on Gabrielle Coyne’s feelings at having lost. It’s going to be one of those ‘watch this space’ times, though.

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Faking Nice in the Blogosphere

Posted on 30 April 2010. Filed under: Rant and Rave Time | Tags: |

I was directed to a couple of articles by PublishersWkly on Twitter. Very interesting articles and I feel it important enough to share them with you and give you my thoughts. The first article is Faking Nice in the Blogosphere: Women and Book Reviews by Sarah McCarry, I felt this was a fairly straightforward rant and led quite nicely into the second article, Faking It by Liz B. Liz takes McCarry’s article to pieces and examines it in detail, making us understand that this isn’t a ‘girls club’ and we, as book bloggers, don’t have to say a book is good just because the author is female and that we shouldn’t take their race or colour into account when writing a review. Liz is fairly scathing about McCarry’s article and has linked to other articles on the same topic.

This is actually a fairly important issue. It’s a bit like the ‘boys club’ where the boys get together, have good times and nothing is said to the wives about what they’ve done. It’s been done throughout the centuries in so many different cultures and in so many different ways and you’d really need an historian to do the topic justice. I don’t do that sort of thing. I try to tell it as I see it. I don’t make excuses for race, colour, creed or sex. I don’t care if they black, white or pink with purple spots, male, female or a mixture of both, if I think they’ve created a bad book then I’ll say that. If I think their book is the best in the world then I’ll say that too. I do try not to say anything derogatory about the author even if I know them as I’m focussing on the book and not the author. I’m rather upset that I’ve been lumped into a category of book bloggers who say nice things about a book for the sole reason that it was written by a women. I know some women writers who really shouldn’t give up their day jobs, I just haven’t reviewed their books on here yet. I felt quite liberated by Liz’s article and also as if she’s been reading my blog and giving me support. I’m prepared to bet she’s never heard of me, but that’s just how I feel.

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An honour or a slur

Posted on 29 April 2010. Filed under: Rant and Rave Time | Tags: , , |

I was talking to Arnold Zable the other week and happened to tell him I hadn’t seen his books in op shops or secondhand bookshops too often. I’ve seen so many other authors but not his. A couple of authors I’ve seen come up so many times are Dan Brown and Robert Ludlum. Ludlum writes a quite nice thriller but very formulaic while Brown has interesting ideas but his books are not terribly good. I’ve read quite a number of Ludlum’s and have only recently disposed of my collection so I feel I can actually talk intelligently about them, but I’ve only read one by Brown and that’s The Da Vinci Code. I was not impressed by this book, I felt it had so many holes and the writing was just okay, if I’d been at home I wouldn’t have bothered finishing it. Now, what I’m wondering is if it’s an honour or a slur on their writing if you see a secondhand book on sale somewhere. I’m guessing the more copies you see the more likely it is to be a slur. Ludlum and Brown probably generate a huge number of copies of their books and it makes it so easy to get new ones so people probably just dispose of them willy nilly. Authors like Zable, on the other hand, generate far fewer copies of their books and as their writing is so much better then I’d suggest you’d be much less likely to find the books being sold secondhand as people would be more likely to keep them to read again.

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This is not a post

Posted on 28 April 2010. Filed under: Rant and Rave Time, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

I’m taking an idea from my friend, Lee at Quit Your Day Job. He did a post that wasn’t a post and so am I.

I’ve had a grotty week. Anzac Day was fine, but it took Monday out of my week and Monday is generally a good day for getting things done, Tuesday morning I developed a migraine and as at the time of writing it’s still with me. I’ve kept going through the pain and discomfort as it’s not a terribly bad one as migraines go, but it’s made my thinking a bit fuzzy and I’m hoping I’ve made good decisions during this time. I do have to take stock with this as it could be a revisitation of the migraines I had when the kids were young, they were hormone based and lasted three whole weeks, the pain did improve a little each day but it still lasted for three weeks. There are other things that could be causing them and I’m going to take the easy option for the next few nights and wear my mouthguard. If you get lots of migraines then I suggest you give Dr James Boyd a visit and read up about bruxism and why it can cause migraines. My two possible main causes could be bruxism and that’s fixed by wearing the mouthguard for a few nights or hormones and that could be fixed by adjusting my diet for several weeks. I do not like adjusting my diet as it involves getting rid of all the yummy things such as coffee, tea, chocolate as well as several other foods; this explains why I’ll try the mouthguard first.

I’m going to make myself a light box. Today was the first day I had a chance of taking photos as the light was about right and the rain held off and both of these events coincided with me actually remembering to take photos. I took photos of three boxes mostly full with science fiction and fantasy. It was a wonderful time as these are my favourite genres and it’s been a while since I got these books so I’d quite forgotten which books were there. I knew about the Edgar Rice Burroughs, but had quite forgotten about Clifford Simak, Larry Niven, Orson Scott Card and other great authors so it was quite an adventure to work my way through the books exclaiming over my favourites. It’s going to be much easier to plan my week if I have a light box and it will ensure I won’t be at the vagaries of the weather. I read some instructions written by another Melburnian blogger, Darren Rowse, and somewhere on his website I read how to make a lightbox. It’s a good thing I remember the details as I can’t find the article any more. I’ve got my box and I now just need some light, white fabric or tissue paper and the rest is easy. Hopefully it will make my books look that much better.

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