January 20th, 2017
|03:33 pm - Season 1, Episode 3 – To Loose the Fateful Lightning|
Season 1, Episode 3 – To Loose the Fateful Lightning
Originally aired 16 October 2000
Dylan is manipulated into unlocking powerful weapons stores when the Andromeda discovers a Commonwealth space station populated by children who believe that he is the legendary "High Guard" who has come to bring peace by destroying their enemies.
This is the episode where Dylan confronts what the world has become and how hard it will be to work towards his vision. I find the choice to have him interacting with children an interesting one. A more simplistic approach would have been to have had cynical, war weary adults and some children hinting at the possibility of change over time.
So, Dylan does some learning in this episode and we also get some background on Harper’s traumatic childhood.
I read Harper as the entry character of the show, the one whom we are meant to identify with. He dresses like Xander from Buffy or Wash from Firefly, and he is ‘less attractive’ than the actors playing Tyr and Hunt. In that special Hollywood way where less attractive means amazingly attractive but in a baggy shirt and not as tall as the other two. Also, of course, we all like to think we are clever, so his genius is a way of flattering the audience.
January 16th, 2017
Yesterday we went to an indoor playground but had to leave early because two boys kept following my kids around and pushing them.
The boys were bullies who did not stop even after I spoke to them in front of their fathers (who did not reinforce me but sat in complete silence).
But what is so much worse is those boys were swimming around in rape culture. They called the girls a series of very odd names which I suspect were all the bad names they knew – 'sexy girl', 'penis' and 'poobomb'.
I feel so sad that the girls have encountered this, especially as all the techniques I had to teach them proved not to work. There’s no point in confronting them, just move to another part of the play ground. Avoid them. Speak to authority figures. Talk to a trusted adult.
I feel so much worse when I think that it will only get worse for them as they get older. All the creepy groping on public transport and being followed down the street, etc, etc.
Ray of sunshine: After we left one of the staff ran out and gave us free passes to come back because she said she could see we were being harassed by those naughty boys. She said she had also spoken to them about pushing and also abusing the toys by disassembling them but they had ignored her. Their parents = total fails but at least we got backdoor support from the staff.
January 15th, 2017
|05:41 pm - Horatio Alger Jr, Ragged Dick, 1868|
I’ve elected to read Horatio Alger Jr on the grounds of his enormous popularity at the turn of the nineteenth century. Some very clever and diligent researchers have taken the circulation records (1891-1902, with a gap 1892-4) from the Muncie Indiana Public Library and cross referenced them to the census. They can actually analyse who was borrowing what!
It turns out that a lot of people were reading Alger. He was the single most circulated author - Horatio Alger, Jr. (9,230), Harry Castlemon (7,339), Oliver Optic (5,208), Martha Finley (4,609), Edward S. Ellis (3,004), Edward R. Roe (2,991), Louisa May Alcott (2,976), F. Marion Crawford (2,120), Rosa N. Carey (1,992), and Eugenie John (1,823). The list is dominated by juvenile fiction writers I have never read.
By way of contrast, Mark Twain barely registered with 877 circulations, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn which was borrowed 149 times. The three most often borrowed Alger books eclipsed Twain’s total circulation – The Young Adventurer (422), The Telegraph Boy (364), The Young Circus Rider(359).
I read Ragged Dick (circulated 308 times). This was Alger’s big break, first serialised in a newspaper in 1867 and then, due to its success, printed in 1868. While the story would be described as ‘rags to riches’, it is really more rags to middle-class security. The protagonist, Ragged Dick, uses his quick wits to move from boot black to clerk, gaining an education through night school, Sunday school and perseverance.
As to the literary merits of the book, I will defer to Carl B. Roden, assistant librarian to Chicago Public Library in 1880, who described them in as fast food:
That is the substance of the indictment which librarians bring against the widely known and ravenously devoured writings of the redoubtable Oliver Optic, of Horatio Alger, of the Elsie [Dinsmore] books [written by Martha Finley] and all of that ilk; their transparent tawdriness and falsity of plot; their cheap and paltry “written down” style; their general tone and aspect of insubstantiality; like a stick of chewing gum, tickling the palate for the moment with their fleeting flavor, only to turn into a nubbin of sticky nothingness in the end, to be cast out and forgotten.
I think this is a fair call. No one would read Alger for his style. But clearly there is a satisfaction to reading his plots, essentially the same one written again and again, of upward mobility.
* In case you want to know more about who was reading Alger in turn of the century heartland America, there were 1,361 patrons. 45% were blue collar and 55% white collar readers. 27% were female, which would tie into other evidence of his popularity with girls such as a 1899 survey of Californian students. The 665 girls who responded listed Louisa May Alcott as their most often read author, followed by Sophie May, Martha Finley, and Horatio Alger.
January 14th, 2017
|12:23 pm - 1.2 An Affirming Flame|
Season 1, Episode 2 – An Affirming Flame
Originally aired 9 October 2000
Dylan must protect the Andromeda from the mercenary crew as it is tugged away from the black hole's time-distorting gravity, while Beka and her friends on the Eureka Maru discover they may be fighting for the wrong person.
This episode pretty deftly brings all the main characters together on board the Andromeda. Hunt’s motivations for wanting them are clear – he’s just lost everything and is in massive denial. In order to try to rebuild the Commonwealth, he needs some crew and he must be clinging to the only people he’s met so far.
Trance sees it as an adventure – and, knowing her character arc as I rewatch, I assume she angled for the job with Beka in order to get to this point. Harper points out the luxuries on board the Andromeda and is also, as he says, ‘in love’ with the ship. Beka’s less sure of it, but willing to go along as long as she retains the Maru. Tyr’s motivations are, I think, deliberately not fully addressed in his dialogue with Hunt. It seems plausible that he would want to upgrade from working as a mercenary and the ship certainly offers opportunities he would not otherwise have.
Neatly plotted, all ready to go into the main plot arc in the next episode.
January 13th, 2017
|08:09 pm - 3D modelling|
A question for minds with a better grasp of 3D rotation of objects than mine.
Would a couch that is 90cm deep fit and 97 cm high and 155 cm long fit through a 70cm wide door? It seems like it wouldn't but I note our old couch is 80cm deep so it must be possible to do a bit of wiggling. Yet not too much because of the stairwell. But I don't remember bringing it over the back fence which used to be an option but no longer is because of the shed.
January 9th, 2017
|05:34 pm - Training|
We went to the maritime museum in Fremantle on the weekend.
Plus – The girls were very interested and well behaved (though strangely louder than every other child there – I can always tell where my kids are just by cocking an ear to the loudest noise around). We went to the park and had lunch and they played while I read *Treasure Island*.
Minus – Ruby still struggles with walking so far, about two and half kilometres altogether I’d say. She was flagging by the end. And I found carrying all our food and water troublesome, since we can’t eat at cafes. Perhaps a backpack in future.
|05:29 pm - daily life (alas)|
When I arrived at work it was to discover that there was a massive leak in the adjoining office. We’re lucky it’s not us, as the meaning of ‘massive’ is that water leaked all weekend through the roof, through the third floor, through the second floor and onto the ground floor. I don’t know what the ground floor looks like but the second floor had about three inches of water on it when I arrived, plus water flowing down the walls. I expect that an awful lot of electrical equipment is toast. I hope they backed up.
I had a splitting headache all day, as we operated to the sound of industrial vacuum cleaners extracting the most foul brown water from the carpets next door. How I hope they replace those carpets rather than leave them there to inevitably moulder.
January 7th, 2017
|02:41 pm - Andromeda rewatch 1.1.|
Season 1, Episode 1 – Under the Light
Originally aired 2 October 2000
Captain Dylan Hunt is betrayed by his 1st officer when the Nietzschean prides betray the Systems Commonwealth. Stranded in his ship, the Andromeda Ascendant, near the event horizon of a black hole, Dylan is frozen in time for 300 years, until a mercenary salvage crew tries to claim the ancient ship for themselves.
I think this is an admirable pilot, with its preliminary sleight of hand. There’s the quote implying that the Commonwealth has fallen, and then we’re seeing a sleek starship, very familiar, very Star Ship Enterprise. It looks like an emergency! But no! It was only a drill!
Lots of characters introduced in not much time. What a shame the insectoid navigator doesn’t survive. I’d love to have seen more of the non-humanoid races.
Hunt is introduced with Gaheris. More sleight of hand there, I think, as they are talking about Hunt’s relationship with Sarah but what you see is his relationship with Gaheris.
And then betrayal! Hunt has a very bad day, beginning with a Nietzchian invasion, being betrayed by his best friend, killing his best friend, crouching over his body and…. waking up three hundred years later to find that every person he loves is dead and the institutions he has served have fallen.
What I like most about the pilot is the difference in aesthetics between the Andromeda Ascendant and the Maru, with all it implies about the different worlds they come from. The Andromeda is big, clean, sleek, futuristic, and crewed by people with standardised uniforms and haircuts. The Maru is small, grubby, and the engineering and interior fixtures seem cobbled together and lived in. It is the difference between the Enterprise and Firefly’s Serenity.
I also like most of the costuming. Beka, Harper and Trance wear different varieties of casual but functional clothing. Rev Ben’s costuming annoys me because it is so cheesy and always slightly out of focus, like they were too embarrassed to film it close up in case you see how fake the fur is. And Gerontex’s costuming annoys me in that is should be flashy and showy but also more expensive than the Maru crew’s clothes, whereas it is made out of some terribly cheap synthetic material that makes him look broke when he had enough thrones to set up an expensive deal. A minor quibble about a peripheral character.
They again introduce the new characters smoothly, with what they are looking for highlighting their characters – the ship for Beka, grace for Rev Ben, physical gratification for Harper and happiness for Trance.
And then conflict, conflict, conflict, culminating in the most dramatic entrance ever by Tyr.
I understand if no one else is interested, but I’m so excited by rewatching that I will keep track of my thoughts!
January 5th, 2017
|05:59 pm - Reflections|
I no longer have pre-primary kids. I now have big, school age kids – Ruby is going into Grade one.
Time to stop and reflect that life is much easier. Things that I no longer have to do – for instance, going out is so much easier. They walk to the car and get in – Pearl does up her seatbelt. Ruby’s hands are not strong enough to buckle herself in but she can unbuckle the belt and also open the door from the outside though not the inside.
Time was when Pearl’s anxiety meant she could not be left in the car so every trip to the petrol station involved unstrapping them, taking them in, shepherding them back and then restrapping them. Time was when her anxiety was so intense that if I walked around the back of the car rather than the front of it where she could see me, she would freak out.
Things are certainly improving greatly and my life is much easier in many ways. Although, conversely, this just frees up time for paid work. But at least that means more money.
I have always felt that having children is a bit like being hit viciously and repeatedly in the face. This is not going to convince the childless that it is great having kids, but to me this is how it feels:
Here is your baby, she is lovely. BLAM – she can’t breathe. Now you can hug her. THWACK – she chokes on the milk, she has no suck reflex. Finally out of hospital? Then WHACK! It’s time to notice she is super floppy and take her around a series of doctors who will pooh-pooh your concerns as those of an over-anxious first time mother until BLAM! They decide it is serious and suggest it might be cerebral palsy.
WHACK! Your child fails to thrive. The doctor describes her legs as wasted. PUNCH, PUNCH, PUNCH. No one can diagnose her problems. Got that under control? Hours of physio! Because she can’t balance properly, she can’t be toilet trained! PUNCH! Your child is ‘odd’ and not doing well at school.
Parenthood is a long series of happy moments interspersed with being BEATEN at random, unanticipated moments.
I read a thoughtpiece once where a woman said that parenting was like slogging through a leech infested jungle in the rain and every now and then you come into a clearing where the sun shines down and you see butterflies. Then back to the jungle.
For me, there is a lot more of the happy periods but they are certainly interspersed with being punched in the face.
|05:49 pm - More about Ethel Turner|
Both Ethel Turner and Louise Mack, another prominent colonial writer, began their publishing careers at Sydney Girls’ High School by establishing their own magazines. Mack edited the school magazine the Gazette, and purportedly rejected several of Turner’s submissions. In response, 17-year-old Turner began her own rival magazine, the Iris, of which she was “editress” with a supporting staff of 10 friends. The magazine included puzzles, riddles, competitions, letters to the editor and notes on tennis matches, as well as Turner’s budding fiction, poetry and essay writing.
Turner claimed that her subsequent lack of success when she attempted to publish her writing with a “real paper” spurred her once again to found her own magazine, but this time with the aid of her sister, Lilian. The Parthenon was first published in January 1889.
The monthly issues ranged from 24 to 32 pages in length. Ethel and Lilian were not only the magazine’s editors, but wrote most of its content under various pseudonyms: Lilian often wrote as “Talking Oak” and Ethel as “Princess Ida”, her name inspired by a Tennyson poem. The magazine sold approximately 1500 copies per month from a print run of 2000, and continued for a little over three years (39 issues), despite the lengthy distraction of a libel case sparked by a children’s word puzzle competition that was launched against Gordon and Gotch.
The healthy subscription numbers and the regular advertising that the Turner sisters
sought out via a canvasser from the likes of National Mutual insurance, Fry’s Cocoa and W.H. Paling’s pianos meant that the magazine was a viable concern from which the editors often drew an income.