Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kids reptile show at Mounties video (for Liverpool Leader)

Below is a link to a video I filmed, presented and produced for the Liverpool Leader.

This was a fantastic experience as it was my first video and the reptile show itself was fun subject matter to work with.

As a first year uni student I am proud of my achievement. :)



Thursday, July 23, 2009

Disney policy: a case of plain ethics?

Walking through her local JB Hi-Fi, Josephine Lewis was puzzled when she could not find a copy of her favourite Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast. It was only after discussion with a staff member that Mrs Lewis discovered the animated film has been off commercial shelves for six years.

From the early 1990s, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment have maintained the practice of releasing its animated features on home video for a finite amount of time before placing them on moratorium. Here, numerous discontinued movies sit in the Disney vault for up to ten years until they are re-released to the general public.

Beauty and the Beast: Special Edition, the most recent Disney release, was available for retail purchase from October 2002 to January 2003. Since then, Disney have postponed sales in the name of re-rendering footage for a digital 3-D release in October 2010.

The knowledge of Disney's policy shocked Mrs Lewis, 39, who was disappointed with the prospect of waiting another sixteen months to own a copy of the film.

"I would prefer to do without 'platinum' and 'diamond' editions with bonus features and 3D versions if it meant I could buy it whenever I wanted,” she said.

The Walt Disney Company have justified their conduct in the name of controlling their market and allowing Disney films to be 'fresh' for new generations of young children. Mrs Lewis believes this will have an aversive effect.
“Kids grow up with these movies, and to disable them from having easy access to the films, which are after all made for them, is a slap in the face,” she said.

Disney films are now prime targets for counterfeit DVD manufacturers since their collectible status has driven up prices for authentic versions of the film. On auction websites such as Ebay and Amazon, prices reach as high as US $130.

A fellow Disney fan, Michelle Miller, 28, condemns the company's practice of artificial scarcity, calling it elitist behaviour.

“Disney hold quite a lot of power in the movie-making and distributing world, and to control supply so greedily is unfair to their loyal supporters,” she said.

“No one wants to be forced to wait seven years or more until they can legally own their favourite film, and neither do they want to spend double or triple the retail price to buy it now; it's disgraceful.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Masterchef Australia eclipses reality ratings with a good cause

3.7 million viewers tuned in to watch the final episode of Masterchef Australia on the weekend. A record breaking figure of almost one in five Australians.

Even towards the end of the Masterchef season, more people switched on their tellies to see Poh, Julie and Chris take it out instead of watching the Blues finally get it over the Marones.

I'd like to stop and question why this program has eclipsed the first season of Idol in 2004 and achieved the highest ratings for any non-sports broadcast since OzTAMs current television ratings system began in 2001.

Masterchef is no Big Brother, it hardly feeds people's voyeuristic fettishes.
Neither does the show engage viewers at a material level- people aren't lassoed into voting to keep their favourite cooks in the competition.
Nasty judges who try to make viewers laugh at contestant's misfortunes were also strategically absent.

Instead, every night families could sit back and watch a safe, 'family' show with everyday, 'real' people (or at least as real as you can get in reality TV).

We were all anxious when Poh sat in the waiting room while the judges tasted her traditional Malaysian dish and we all cried when Julie achieved her wildest dreams and won the inaugural title.

Good things happened to good people, contestants cried tears of joy- not of sorrow or distaste- and the judges garnered viewer's respect as they each proved to be knowledgeable in their field.

On the whole, Masterchef was a well produced program and I think it is healthy to see such good spirited shows flourish while the not so "nice", 'win at all cost' programs may be seeing their last days out front in the rating race.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Paper Plane Champion Flying High Thanks to Red Bull

It wasn't a bird, a plane or even Superman that won Dylan Parker a bronze medal over the weekend, but a humble bullet-shaped paper plane.

Mr Parker outclassed more than 250 paper plane enthusiasts from 83 countries to place third in the long distance category of the Red Bull World Paper Plane Championships, throwing an impressive 40.78 metres.

Having won the qualifying rounds at his Canberra university and the nationals in Sydney, as part of the winning team, he travelled to compete in an all expenses paid trip to Salzberg, Austria.

Although Mr Parker’s throw wasn't enough to beat Croatia's Jovica Kozilca, who defended his title by throwing a mighty 54.43 metres, Parker thoroughly enjoyed what has been a highlight of his year so far.

“It was quite a big thing over there- they had television cameras, scoreboards, the music going- it was just extraordinary to see so many people dedicate their lives to paper planes,” he said.

In preparation for the event, Parker underwent hours of gym work, strength training, and threw a lot of paper planes.

“The Guiness World Record holder for hang-time, Ken Blackburn, trained for nine months in the gym and on the field before he tried to set his world record, so if he was anything to go by, we had to put in the effort,” he said.

Mr Parker discovered his competitive design by accident when preparing for the nationals, and despite the 18 reams of paper he and his team mate went through in preparation for the finals, nothing could beat his chance discovery.

“Everyone makes planes when they're a kid and has a plane that they remember, I designed mine by accident; I did a few folds and it turned out to be the one I used in the championships,” he said.

By the end of the year, he and his teammate, James Norton, could see their own names in the Guiness Book of World Records. Their sights are set on beating Blackburn's time.

“We are getting close to the Guiness World Record; at the moment we are throwing around 58 meters and the record for the long distance category is 63,” he said.

“James Norton is only two or three seconds away from Blackburn's 27.6 seconds so we are working on that and will hopefully get both world records for Australia.”

In the future, Parker hopes to approach paper planes a different way and publish a book.

“I'm doing demonstrations at schools at the moment and really enjoying that, so it will be interesting to see just how far I can take paper plane throwing in the future,” he said.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Blacklist to Create Blackmarket for Fish Hobbyists

Strolling into an aquarium filled with colourful exotic fish on a lazy Sunday morning is a common childhood memory, and yet soon the quiet bubbling of a fish tank in the living-room corner will be no more.

That is if pending government legislation succeeds in banning the sale and collection of selected ornamental fish species deemed pests, not pets, in the coming weeks.

The dumping of ornamental fish into natural waterways has posed a significant threat to native wildlife for some time.

In 2006, the National Resource Management Ministerial Council endorsed a national strategy that sought to resolve this ongoing concern by creating a national ‘noxious’ list.

On this list, compiled by the Ornamental Fish Management Implementation Group (OFMIG), any species proven to be of ‘high risk’ to Australia’s biodiversity will be made illegal to keep or sell.

In their November report, OFMIG concluded that the 780 revised additions to the national noxious list are unlikely to be of direct importance to the trade and hobby sectors.

Hobbyist societies and pet industry representatives are not of the same opinion, and many have lashed out at government departments, burying ministers with objections to the proposed legislation.

No one has felt the impact so acutely as hobbyist and retailer Norm Halliwell who, over the past 25 years, has been a fierce representative of the aquarium industry and in constant dialogue with both state and federal agencies.

The Riverside Aquariums owner was present at OFMIG stakeholder workshops held earlier this year and feels fish hobbyists’ pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

“Pending legislation is set to make honest men criminals overnight and decimate the $350 million a year industry,” he said.

“If the government get their way and make it illegal to sell or even keep certain species, the fish hobby would cease to exist; no one could continue to breed and sell species because there will be none left to trade.”

Fellow hobbyist and retailer Anthony Ramsey is of a similar opinion. Mr Ramsey believes fish species should only be put on the noxious list if they are scientifically proven to be harmful.

“It would be sad and disappointing to see our bread and butter species taken away by silly hypothetical declarations made by bureaucratic departments,” he said.

“Species at risk hold both intrinsic and monetary value; they are at the heart of hobbyist’s collections but are also the economic mainstay of many aquarium retailers who have tens of thousands of dollars worth of fish in their collections- all of which could be wiped out overnight.”

If arbitrary decisions are made and enforcement procedures continue to be lax, Mr Ramsey believes legislation will only drive the trade to an underground market.

“Just like when the government banned alcohol, fish keeping is no different: the new bans will change people being able to walk into retailers and buy fish, instead they will be walking through back doors and into people's garages,” he said.

“Endangered species such as eels and piranhas are already being traded on open public forums like petlink.com.au, these laws will only drive more of the legitimate economy into a black market.”

The Department of Primary Industries declined to comment about the proposed extension of the national noxious list, stating the government will be available for public comment within the next few weeks once legislation has gone through the parliamentary process.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rural Communities Given a Sporting Chance

PERTH GLORY captain Tanya Oxtoby is set to help aspiring young soccer fans kick their own goals this month as part of Football Federation Australia's new Indigenous Football Development Program.

Throughout May, seven sports mentors will team up with Ms Oxtoby to visit rural communities such as Launceston, Shepparton, Alice Springs, Port Augusta, Dubbo and Townsville to give children an opportunity to develop their football skills.

Ms Oxtoby is thrilled to showcase the positive benefits football can bring to young people and hopes to inspire fellow Indigenous players to work towards their dreams.
“The FFA program is not only aimed at promoting the sport, but also getting numbers of Indigenous people playing football throughout Australia a lot higher- not only from the grass roots level but all the way up into the elite levels,” she said.
“We want to develop really good players and get them into A-league and W-League clubs.”

The first visit in May will encourage participation by children and educate the community about football. The second meeting later in June will help form a Perth team to participate in the annual Indigenous Football Festival held in Townsville in July.
“This will give people in communities who wouldn't usually have had the platform to go to Townsville, the chance to meet new friends, try new things and express themselves.”

Ms Oxtoby has come a long way from playing in her local soccer team coached by her father when she was eight, and hopes communities won't let the small percentages of professional Indigenous football players scare off the young hopefuls.
“The pathways are now so much more open than when I was starting off in my career,” she said.
“Players should use their heritage and remoteness as motivating factors, if you want it bad enough, chase after that dream because you never know what will happen.”

Other mentors participating in the development program include A-League players Travis Dodd from Adelaide United and Fred Agius from North Queensland Fury, former Socceroo Alistair Edwards, and football analyst Andy Harper.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


It has been so long since my last update, mainly because I have now started uni and need to keep a distinction average (NOTE: it's a requirement for me to keep my scholarship, and is proving more challenging than I originally imagined). I am also doing a play (Julie in Louis Nowra's Cosi) with a local theatre company.

The articles I just posted in a "mass post" are a combination of work I did at the Liverpool Leader (some things for their youth blog) and some little uni assignments.

At the moment I am enjoying getting into the whole 'journo thing'- ie. actually interviewing people and creating 'news' in a more professional sense.

I have just started co-hosting a radio sports show, Koori Radio sport. Koori Radio is Sydney's Indigenous Radio station, and although I am not Indigenous they have welcomed me into their community very warmly. It is proving challenging (as is waking up early to be in the city by 9am for a 10am-12noon time slot); radio and sports are two elements that don't come naturally, but my wonderful co-host Dan is a great support. :)

There is still hope that I will post reasonably regularly but sporadic clumps of posts are more probable.

Right now I want a part time job, in the media industry would be a triple treat, but regular and set hours would do wonders for my sanity in the time being!

No Single Solution to Energy Problem

WIDESPREAD blackouts across Adelaide, Victoria and Sydney over the past months have intensified debate over the best solution to Australia's energy supply problem.

Despite EnergyAustralia's confidence that demands for electricity can now be met with ample supply, claims that interruptions were merely highly unusual faults have come into question.

“As air-conditioners are replaced with heaters, households and businesses want the guarantee of a steady electricity supply for winter,” Energy Matters marketing manager, Andrew Scarlett said.

Michael Kilgariff, director of energy policy for Energy Networks Association, thinks EnergyAustralia's $1.13 billion capital works program bid to upgrade electricity networks in response to the Sydney blackouts is not the solution.

“The blackouts reflect the energy sectors need to upgrade aging infrastructure rather than build more coal-fired power stations,” Mr Kilgariff said.

“To meet long-term challenges, the most innovative technologies must be utilised, away from traditional investment in poles, pipes and wires.”

The Rudd Government's Energy Efficient Homes package provides one form of stimulus for households and businesses to take a pro-active approach towards energy conservation.

Matthew Wright, director of Eureka Insulation, said insulation is one of the most cost effective ways to reduce unnecessary energy wastage and improve energy efficiency.

“Insulation is a win-win solution; individuals save on energy bills while easing pressures on the electricity grid,” Mr Wright said.

Associate Professor Richard de Dear, from the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney, believes there is more work to be done.

“Insulation rebates are a sensible demand-side policy, however, it remains to be seen whether it will dampen peak electricity demand on a scale that would avert power blackouts,” Dr de Dear said.

Individuals and communities are sporadically employing innovative technologies that harness renewable energy.

In 2007, Townsville began a $30 million investment project in solar systems to become the first 'solar city'.

Mr Scarlett sees these instances as stories of hope but said the federal government needs to apply ideas such as 'solar city' to a nation-wide policy framework.

“With Australia's abundance of roof space and sun, it is ludicrous not to utilise zero emission technologies such as solar and wind power,” he said.

“In the large scheme of things, with common consensus in scientific opinion that climate change is a problem in need of addressing, the government doesn't have time to not make it right.”

Just add Colin Firth

The Sydney University Darcy Society had the chance to re-acquaint themselves with Mr Darcy himself at last Tuesday's Easy Virtue movie screening.

Members of the society met at Dendy Newtown after their day at university to enjoy 'cheap Tuesday', free lollies, Colin Firth and the company of like minded period-drama loving folk.

Easy Virtue is the first period drama to hit cinemas this year, following the release of Brideshead Revisited and The Duchess in 2008.

President of the society, Claudette Palomares, believes the film was an ideal first event.
“It is a period drama that seems to be targeted for younger audiences despite its Noel Coward origins,” Ms Palomares said.
“The soundtrack contained some surprising contemporary touches such as period specific arrangements of 'Sex Bomb' and 'Car Wash' and I think most of us found these sly contemporary touches pretty entertaining.”

The film lacked the classic romantic idealism as epitomised in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice to enter the Darcy Society pantheon, however members agreed that it was refreshing to see their leading man on the silver screen.

Although the screening was an enjoyable affair Ms Palomares said in hindsight she would have arranged post-screening activities.
“The problem with film screenings was that you only have a little time to socialise before the movie starts and then when it finishes, everyone seemed to go separate ways,” she said.
“It probably wasn't the ideal first event but it is an easy way to encourage people to participate.”

The Darcy Society have many other events promising their trademark jam and scones planned for upcoming weeks.

The first of which will be held on Tuesday, March 31st, from 1-2pm where the first episode of Elizabeth Gaskell's classic North and South will be screened in the Education Seminar Room 323, Education Building.
“I've introduced a lot of people to period dramas through movie nights and it really is the best way to watch these type of films- with friends,” Ms Palomares said.

For more information on the Darcy Society and it's events, join the Darcy Society facebook group.

Go on, get active

WHY rest on your laurels in the knowledge that you are a sensible citizen of Liverpool when there are so many ways to get involved in the community?

Just because you don't cause the locals any strife doesn't mean your work is done.

Each of us have a responsibility to contribute back to the community that provided a vehicle for the development of our own skills. So many opportunities are waiting for us to snatch up!

From 2006 to 2008 I was in the Liverpool City Youth Council and they were the two most rewarding years of my life as a Liverpoolian.

I co-hosted a monthly radio show RADAR at 2GLF 89.3, kick-started a quarterly e-magazine for youth and made important media contacts which are now helpful as I complete my degree in journalism.

Furthermore, by submerging myself in community life and organising events I met many diverse and friendly people I will never forget. Volunteer work is a double blessing- you not only help others but you also feel valued and productive in the process.

In Liverpool, us youth have the potential to really stand up and make a difference.
As cliche as it sounds, it only only takes one spark to light a fire. Your idea to run a monthly youth sports event, host an annual music competition or even develop something completely original could quite literally become a legacy in Liverpool.

Just think of Liverpool Idol- artists have found ways to get a leg up in the music industry while at the same time making their local community proud.

Funding is not necessarily a setback as there are plenty of government and business initiatives which can help get the ball rolling.

In the 21st Century, youth are empowered and we are being listened to.

Keep on the look out for opportunities in local papers, the council website or even billet boards.

Better still, seek out opportunities yourself and see just how fulfilling it is to play an active role in society.

Home-grown performers to light up the Powerhouse stage?

WHEN the Casula Powerhouse re-opened it's doors last April I was thrilled.

Mostly because of the wonderful can of worms a fully-equipped, state of the art 326 seat theatre unhatched for the young and old alike.

Just think of the endless possibilities it presented for theatre-goers: live theatre, musical theatre!

Since April I have seen many shows at the Casula Powerhouse, Helpman Award winner Keating! was certainly a stand out.

However, while it is inspiring to see the Casula Powerhouse nurturing one-off performances of touring musical theatre productions, I'd like to witness some of our own creations.

There is a myriad of talented singers, dancers and actors in Liverpool who would jump at the opportunity to perform in a local production.

The buck doesn't stop there either.

In a musical there is a role for everyone: those who love to paint and design could artistically decorate the set while those who love to perform could light up the stage. Costume, prop and set designers are required. Stage managers, musicians, directors, music directors and choreographers give a piece of theatre life.

Putting on a musical would be a culturally enriching and community building undertaking.
It would also provide a creative and cathartic outlet for the youth to make friends, have barrels of fun and develop their skills.

We have the facility, now let's make the Casula Powerhouse's mission of helping to grow the creative industry in South West Sydney an even greater reality.

Let's take the next step and develop a musical theatre society.

Rare breast cancer serious and aggressive

INFLAMMATORY breast cancer (IBC) is a rare but aggressive form of breast cancer which accounts for about one percent of all breast cancer patients in Liverpool.

Director of radiation oncology at the Liverpool Cancer Therapy Centre, Professor Geoff Delaney, treats three to four patients a year.

“It is a particularly serious type of cancer and because it is rare, it's not always the first thing a patient or GP thinks about," he said.

“IBC can present in different ways to more common forms of breast cancer and is often mistaken to be an infection and treated with anti-biotics."

Inflammatory breast cancer spreads along and blocks the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast and can be difficult to diagnose because there is usually no lump.

Signs of inflammatory breast cancer may include inflamed, swollen and tender breasts where the skin can appear dimpled or pitted, like an orange peel.

If diagnosed, all three types of cancer treatment is needed.

“Anyone with an inflamed looking red-hot breast should see their GP urgently," Professor Geoff Delaney said.

“The earlier the diagnosis, the more likely treatment is successful."

For more information visit:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Co-host on 'The View', Elisabeth Hasselbeck, an inspiring Catholic

Today I was watching 'The View' while I ate lunch at home- ah the life of a post-high school and pre-university student! However, I was quite drawn to the show not only because of the pertinent topics of discussion- particularly the legal framework surrounding facebook (quite shocking if you read the fine print!) and Sarah Palin and her daughter's advocacy of abstinence- but because of the great role model one of the co-hosts of the show presented.

As a practicing Catholic, the only voice of moral reason for me out of the four ladies today was Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Honestly, I was expecting all the women to take the unreligious stance that contraception should be the way to go- blah blah blah.... and that was the other three women's tune, however to my surprise Elisabeth Hasselbeck stood up for what seems to be the silenced minority!

She discussed the danger of a lack of education on ALL of the options available to couples, and highlighted that abstinence is not only the only safe way but that it should be viewed by teenagers especially in a different light- that it is cool to say no and not be pressured into having sex out of wed-lock.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck was raised a Catholic and lo and behold it appears she practices and advocates the Church's true doctrine even under the spotlight of media attention and in the face of people who strongly oppose her.

Sadly she was a minority in the debate but she is one strong woman- she was informed, sympathetic and understanding of the other view but at the same time she stood her ground and argued her point with firm confidence and intelligence.

Unfortunately people like Elisabeth Hasselbeck are very rare- and even more rare in higher-profile personalities, but to me, she is a breath of fresh air, and it is heartening to see a beautiful young woman married with kids standing up for the Catholic morals she believes in, in what has become in the 21st Century quite an immoral society (well at least in the eyes of a Catholic)-or rather a society that is prepared to showcase immorality rather than hide it.

Go Elisabeth! I hope she remains uncompromising in her stance and continues to stand up for what she and many others believe is good and true.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Carnelia's 'Flight' a real delight

Finally got my hands on one of my favourite Broadway performers' new CD, Sutton Foster's Wish, and have had the track "Flight" on repeat ever since.

I fell in love with Craig Carnelia's song after first hearing Megan McGinnis and Sutton Foster sing it on YouTube:

Have a listen, it's beautiful.

Monday, February 9, 2009

You can never be too careful

New advancements in technology never fail to amaze and thrill, however, also leave many vulnerable to kniving thieves.

GPS and mobile phones are everyday handy household items. They have become so much the norm that some neglect to think about safety precautions.

Take these two stories as examples:

A person had their car broken into while they were at a football match. Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard.When the victims got home, their house had been ransacked. The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house. The thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean up the house.

On another occasion, per say, a lady had her handbag stolen. It contained her cell phone, credit card and wallet. She then called her husband from a pay phone who proceeded to tell her, 'I received your text asking about our pin number and I've replied a little while ago.' The thief had used the stolen cell phone to text 'hubby' in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.

The moral of these two stories are as follows:
*Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list. Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad and Mum.
*When sensitive information is being asked through texts, confirm by calling back.
*When texted by friends or family to meet, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don't reach them, be very careful about going places to meet 'family and friends' who text you.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Public Transport: Friend or Foe?

BUSES running late has become an all too frequent occurrence. One which is not news to any of us, however, one that is always frustrating.

Only a few weeks ago I had an appointment in the Sydney CBD and had appropriately organised a bus that would transport me to the station for a connecting train. That bus arrived 25 minutes late.

As a result, I had to catch a later train and all together was an hour late for my appointment. This, of course, was to the annoyance of those on the receiving end of what appeared to be my tardiness, and yet in actual fact was a reflection of the poor timetabling system of local buses.

My tight schedule for that day was thrown completely out of whack by no fault of my own. I paid for a service that did not deliver.

The frequency of stories such as this that I not only experience but hear of frustrate me further.

What is the point of a timetable if it is inaccurate? How are people expected to organise their day, their own 'timetable', if they are relying on unreliable forces?

It is understandable that there are many factors that contribute to the lateness of buses such as traffic and herds of boarding passengers. It is common knowledge that during peak hour the Hume Highway is in grid lock, but there are writings on network theory and logistics that could be more acutely applied to individual bus networks.

Furthermore, surely there is some extent to which traffic and boarding delays can be 'timetabled in'. For example, if buses tend to run late as the day wears on, the end of one cycle and the beginning of another could be separated by a few minutes which act as a time buffer.

Surely it is time for the lateness and unpredictability of buses to stop? Time to begin setting standards that are regular and reliable.

We pay our fares, we pay our taxes, we deserve nothing less than an efficient bus service.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Is reading a hobby?

Over the last week or so, I have dedicated a number of hours to my most recent 'hobby'- reading.

Coming from a 17 year old who prides herself on her love of English at school, it certainly sounds strange to announce this is a new venture. Having said that, I like to believe it's better late than never.

Prompted by a conversation over lunch with my brother, I realised I did indeed need to pull my stockings up and do some serious reading.

An hour later, having searched through 'Top 100 Booklists' (and cheating somewhat by looking up plot summaries), I had formulated quite a long list filled with classics in a variety of genres.

Driven by a new wave of determination, I quickly finished reading The Picture of Dorian Gray (which I had ever so slowly dragged myself through since November) and read Anne Bronte's Agnes Grey in four days!

I repeat- four days! A record (apart from the sheer un-Maryann-liness when I read the first three books of Limony Snickets in one sitting- not that they are particularly long...)

I was quite proud of myself, and I found I enjoyed the past-time significantly more than when I forced myself to finish Dorian Gray.

My principal objectives in the matter:
A) learning how to read quicker by the time University starts,
B) expanding my knowledge and understanding of the art of storytelling via reading fiction (which will be of good use when I set my sights to become a film and theatre Arts Reviewer),
and finally(and ironically the least influential factor-and yet one I hope to speedily achieve) C) to come to enjoy reading (rather than constantly substituting the experience of reading a book for watching a film- and later having nothing to comment upon or discuss in light of comparisons).

I must admit, in my brief review, I did not enjoy Oscar Wilde's 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'.

I wrote this in my visual bookshelf on Facebook:
Not at all up my alley. As much as it is fine to understand some of the circumstances of that time period, after reading three pages consisting of lists of all the jewels worn by royalty scattered throughout the world, I knew it was most certainly not for me. With that being said, many of Oscar Wilde's 'one liners' that evaluate the human condition are worth contemplation.

Of course I could rattle on about styalistic features, audience, context and so on, however I will explain my main thoughts. For someone like myself who read the book(on reccomendation from a friend) for pure enjoyment, it tickled absolutely none of my fancies- I did not sympathise with ANY of the characters, at many stages it lacked being driven by plot and rather seemed as if Oscar Wilde had ripped a few pages out of his 'my thoughts on this rotten life' and stickey taped it into the 'story'. The story, although having a moral, seemed very vain(masked by the appearance of being quite deep)- but perhaps it was 'too deep' for my liking.
The only element I did enjoy whilst reading the book were the brilliant one-liners that provided very quaint and witty ways to explain an interesting element of the human condition.
In summary, I would not reccomend the book to many, only those who enjoy reading about someone who thinks an aweful lot and yet masks his thoughts within a foppish world.

On a lighter note, I enjoyed 'Agnes Grey' enough to convince me to read all the Bronte, Austen and Gaskell classics which I previously snubbed for BBC Period Drama adaptations.

My facebook review was short and sweet:
Nothing like her sister's Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre, but adequate.

That is precicely my overall impression of the book- adequate. Qutie dull (no surprise considering the protaganist was exceedingly dull), however the novel contained enough sustaining characters and action to make the book a gentle and enjoyable read. It was by no means thrilling and enrapturing(to the extent where you simply cannot put the book down), however, the low-profile life of a governess and her inner turmoil whilst displaying a steely exterior to her michevious pupils is admirable. I could certainly see thematic and styalistic elements that make Anne Bronte unique to her sisters (being well-accustomed to 'The Tennant at Wildfell Hall'), and she is a good writer, but there was no harrowing imagery or moving symbolism(for the more visual) or intriguing plot-lines and envelloping characters(for people like myself) that made the book stand out.
Again, I would not recommend the book to anyone, unless they enjoy reading about dull characters who never grow balls and spend most of their life around condescending people, yet have high morals and principals which are only vehicle for the protaganist's unhappiness.

With all that said, I am looking forward to reading 'A Brave New World' within the next few days.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

In Character

Whilst watching Broadway.com's 'Ask a Star' (having waited almost two weeks for an over-due Sutton Foster video-which was well worth the wait), I happened upon Sierra Boggess performing 'Part of your world' as Ariel in The Little Mermaid and found myself a little inspired by her performance.

For almost the entire duration of the song (the ending after the climax as the exception), she seemed completely in character, and for me, brought something more human to the renowned Disney character.

The Little Mermaid is by no means a favourite musical of mine- and 'Part of Your World' is an over-baked song. However, I couldn't help but favourite the video for the base fact that Sierra Boggess gave a wonderful performance. She of course sang and acted well, but she also gave just that extra element of herself to the character that was touching and inspiring.
It appears she does it night after night (which of course is expected-but not always the case).

(It's always nice when you come across something like this. Something small, but a video, recording or interview/quote that you can learn from and keep filed away in your memory to be drawn upon in the future.)

Thank goodness for youtube.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Finding a friend in Fanfiction

"When you're weary, feeling small...
And friends just can't be found
Like a bridge over troubled water"
Fanfiction will ease your mind!

Fanfiction, a site filled with stories, poetry and other creative styles, is a wonderful companion and time filler. I know fanfiction got me through long study periods during the HSC. I'd read a fanfiction chapter, summarise a textbook chapter, and so on.

Until the last few weeks, I had happily and thoroughly explored the Phantom of the Opera sequels, re-writes, prequels, alternate universes, the list goes on. However, I now feel the need to write my own. No one has yet to address an issue following a scene that never sat well with me(in the film particularly), and so I answered my own need by crafting a response.

I am a Phantom of the Opera fanatic, and for my Extension 2 English course, I wrote a lengthy critical response addressing and analysing the transformations of The Phantom of the Opera through time and text(through the phsychological theory of the looking-glass self.) It was entitled: Transformations of a Phantom - holding up a mirror to society.

I do not consider myself a 'creative' writer by any stretch of the imagination, however there is a certain freedom in such an unrestricted medium, and I am enjoying the challenge.

My story: Stranger than you dreamt it
My Profile: MaryannfromAus

Hence, when one cannot be bothered to do anything, or simply needs to take their mind off a task, fanfiction is a great friend to have. If you have a favourite book, movie, comic, fairy-tale, or writer that never completely hit the nail on the head, gave you the ending you wanted, or crafted characters you would love to continue reading about, there will be a story for you. (Keep in mind you may have to sift through quite a bit of garbage).

It is only an internet connection and a few clicks away.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ode to the Internet: Hopelessly Devoted to You

The Internet is full of charm, but also sings a siren song.

Move over TV, we now have yet another form of advanced technology to capture first spot for absolute time waster and number one procrastination tool.

It's a lure we love to hate and hate to love: the Internet.

A reoccurring part of my life now consists of checking my email before and/or after work. That 'catching up' method of communication usually occupies a good half hour. However, due to the wonders of the Internet, one link leads to another link which leads to a quick Wikipedia search, leading to another Wikipedia link, to a related search link, a source link, and so the cycle continues until you glance at the clock and you are either late for work or it is hours past your bedtime.

As much as I'd like to believe time passes quicker while on the Internet, it is a cheap cop-out disguising the real problem at hand- how to avoid wasting time that could be better spent elsewhere.

To me, the biggest time-wasters are community boards and social utilities like Facebook. A quick “hello” to catch up on Facebook can lead to a detailed chat about where you are going next holidays, or what you are having for breakfast- since you have talked the whole night away with your six conversations running at once. All the while you are also playing CafĂ© World, checkers with your mate from America, uploading photos from the birthday party last weekend, and joining the “I am Going to Marry One of the Men in Jane Austen's Novels” group.

As much as the Internet is an invaluable source of information, and serves as an extensive vehicle for intellectual development, to those lacking some self-control, it is a nasty distraction to making real progress in your life.

Even writing this blog took me a good part of the morning because it sat stationary while I read the amusing posts of university students on the www.boredofstudies.org student community board. One of the topics: “Which uni has most Asians: UNSW or USYD?”, among with “Which faculty do you think is most attractive [at the University of Sydney]?” Intellectual discussion, indeed.

Yes, in sickness and in health, we are hopelessly devoted to the Internet.