Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday Fix

It's Friday and time to check-in on the awesome finds discovered during the week.

Hadron Collider Exhibit (Queensland Museum)
Image courtesy of The Day
If you’ve ever read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown or watched The Big Bang Theory you’ve probably heard mention of a small* project called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and a small** theory about the Higgs boson. I say small, I lie.
The Large Hadron Collider is the largest scientific experiment in the world and is the creation of the largest scientific collaboration in the world – aka CERN aka European Organization for Nuclear Research.

The British Science Museum has been touring an exhibition that explores the LHC and CERN through the discovery of the Higgs Boson. Combining theatre, displays, interviews and technology, it’s a really interesting walk through one of the most challenging concepts in physics and the most challenging devices I’ve ever seen.

The LHC is remarkable, not only for the particle physics experiments, but also the mechanical, electrical and computer systems engineering, the sheer scale of its objectives and the diplomatic implications of CERN’s partnership model. With over 30 member countries (full, associate, etc) it’s quite an achievement in the capacity of people to come together for the greater good.

It’s a really well-conceived exhibition and while the narrative skips some details, it’s not enough to go into here.
It’s definitely worth a look if you have any interest at all in science, technology or curation. Don’t be concerned if you don’t get the physics – the staff are there to walk you through it***, and, honestly, it won’t stop you from marvelling at the spectacle of it all.

And look, as a sci-fi fan, there’s a lot to play with there.

*when I say small, I mean very very large
**when I say small, I mean very very significant
***legit, ask me anything

Tropfest blind judging
Image courtesy of the Chaser
In this year’s Tropfest, they announced a greater commitment to supporting female creatives by introducing a blind judging process. For those unfamiliar, that means that all submissions will have identifying features removed from their application. Like the blind orchestral auditions process, it’s designed to remove any potential for unconscious gender bias.
And the results have proven valuable. Whereas in the past few years, women have accounted for less than 20% of finalist, this years’ finalists were at 50%.

I’m a firm believer in blind judging, not only because of gender bias, but because of nepotism and favouritism. Everyone has bias, so removing identifying details goes a long way to actually judging content on its value and not by its creator.

In saying that, the fact that Tropfest have only now introduced blind judging is a crock of shit. While I support them in maintaining this process, I ask them to really reflect on why it took so damn long to introduce it.
It’s an industry-wide issue that has been at the forefront of discussion over the past few years, so fingers-crossed we see some tangible improvement as a result.

Additionally, worth checking out The Chaser’s response to the whole thing. They ain’t wrong.

Hello Please (South Brisbane)

Image courtesy of The Weekend Edition

I've been meaning to try Hello Please for months, and finally had the opportunity on a theatre night with friend Bam-Bam. Totally converted to this fabulous modern Vietnamese restaurant.

Hidden away in Fish Lane, it looks slightly on the ‘are you kidding’ scale, with the kitchen a converted storage container. But the dining part is outdoor tables and beautiful lighting. The only downside is the train line above head but it added some cool atmosphere to what would be just another outdoor space.

My friend and I are rich in food intolerances and their menu catered for everything. We had the shared menu option which was a delightful mix of finger food and mains. Chicken wings, noodles, curry, and veges. It was tasty, fresh and rich in flavours. They also had kava sangria, which sounds terrible but was disgustingly good and I could drink them all day.
The staff were really friendly and attentive despite it being peak hour. I cannot say enough good things about this joint. Honestly, a really lovely experience to kick off our night. Recommend for a Sunday session!

What are you loving this week?

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Birthday musings and end of year thunkings

cause I couldn't not share this
Today is my birthday.
And each birthday I take a moment to reflects on what I've leant that year (yep, it's one of those posts).

That my birthday is also the eve of a new year adds a level of gravitas to the proceeding, while also being a handy marker of time. Some years they are small lessons, with gentle instruction or subtle meaning. Other years, it's a punch in the nuts.

2016 was a punch in the nuts year. After the big year that was 2015, to have another year of big, well, let's just say, I'm looking forward to a year of dull in 2017. If the past two years were a novel, the editor would have told me to cut the number of plot points because damn. Yeah, big. The past few years have been pretty full on, both professionally and personally, but it wasn't all bad. There's been a lot of good this year too. Just big.

So as 2016 comes to a close, and I celebrate another year of existence, here's what I have taken away from the year that was and will take into the year that will be.

    Monday, November 21, 2016

    Aurealis #96

    Over the past two and a half years I've been fortunate to be a book reviewer for Australia's SF literary Aurealis. It's a great gig, allowing me to 1. read, 2. write, 3. publish and 4. work with some awesome editors. Aurealis is filled to the brim with fantastic (and fantastical!) content - editorials, opinion pieces, new fiction, illustrations, and book reviews.

    This year's final edition of Aurealis (#96) is available now for free from Smashwords. Just click on the hyperlink and enter the code LP55Y (not case sensitive).
    Included in this issue is reviewer's picks for the year, that might inspire your Christmas shopping list!!

    Friday, November 18, 2016

    Friday Fix

    It's Friday and time to check-in on the awesome finds discovered during the week.

    The Four Legendary Kingdoms by Matthew Reilly (Pan MacMillan)
    Matthew Reilly has been a big part of the Lindorff library for years. From Ice Station to the more recent The Great Zoo of China, Reilly's books are a fast-paced run at history, mythology, politics, and action, and they are a lot of fun to read. More than that, they were the antidote for a very reluctant reader and a healthy discussion point for a family with very diverse interests. Mixing puzzles with explosions, character with technology, Reilly's books are a shock of adrenaline in words.

    The Four Legendary Kingdoms is Reilly's latest release, book four of the Jack West Jr series. Kidnapped and forced to participate in the very secret Great Games, West finds himself at the centre of an international and intergalactic conspiracy to save the world and learn all the things (that will make much more sense when you read it!!).

    I'm a big fan of this series for the simple, and yes ridiculous, reason that the heroes are an Australian soldier and an Egyptian girl. The beauty of Reilly's characters and stories is that while they are chocka block full of guns and bad guys and explosions it's the characters that keep you hooked, and for the most part the day is saved, not through brawn, but through brains. These are complex and interesting people in complicated and unreal circumstances, and while a large portion of their story involves running and fighting, it also involves problem-solving, bravery and loyalty.

    The Four Legendary Kingdoms may be the slower of the series, but launches a brand new intrigue for Huntsman and his team. A good Christmas read.

    I'll be in conversation with Matthew Reilly as part of the Lord Mayor's Writers in Residence program at Brisbane City Hall, Wednesday 23 November. It's free to attend, but bookings are a must! Click here for more.

    Movie Accent Expert Breaks Down 32 Actors' Accents (Wired)
    Philip Seymour Hoffman as Capote
    gets a big thumbs up.
    You may have gathered that I like movies. Stories, really. I like learning new stuff and seeing how other people live, and a big part of the authenticity of film is the actor's portrayal. Accents are just one component of the role and can honestly make or break a portrayal, particularly make or break that suspension of disbelief. Take Sean Connery for example. I do not watch any of his films for an authentic experience of life as a Russian, primarily because I can not for one second buy his accent (amongst other things).

    This great clip from dialect coach Erik Singer analyses the accents of some big films and big Hollywood names. It's really interesting to discover the level of detail he can discern, and he's able to articulate how it works or doesn't work. And it's funny. Worth a watch.

    What are you loving this week?

    Sunday, November 6, 2016

    Lady Parts Episode 2.03: The Girl on The Train

    A trailer has the capacity to make or break a film. A good trailer entices, it draws you in and makes you want to know more. All trailers are designed to speak to a target market, so are designed around specific emotions and themes.
    Ghostbusters is a really interesting example. Already controversial in its conception (holy shit, female Ghostbusters?! Are you mad?! #childhoodruined) the trailer had a lot of work to do. It needed to appeal to a new audience, an old audience, and a skeptical audience - a tricky balance of nostalgia, action, and comedy.

    Friday, November 4, 2016

    Friday Fix

    It's Friday and time to check-in on the awesome finds discovered during the week.

    The Bachelorette Finale (Network Ten)
    True love?
    Georgia Love and Lee Elliott
    The Bachelorette Finale was on last week, with the lovely Georgia Love choosing Lee Elliott over Matty J in a shocking twist.
    While the finale offered very little but indignation and rage from viewers, it's the commentary that I've been reading this week that I most enjoy. This years' The Bachelorette was decried as a misjustice, viewers questioning the Bachelorette's choice and parallels drawn between this series and the most recent season of The Bachelor, that somehow the hero had chosen the wrong partner. It's an interesting accusation, and the level of outrage really shows that the producers and team of the respective shows are failing the narrative. We should be rooting for the couple, not raging at their preferences. But it does suggest how seemingly unaware the audience still is that the production team are responsible for the fairytale, that what you see, is not the climax of a lovestory, but a heavily edited story with villains, heroes, sidekicks, and, in the past two series particularly, twists. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but a 'love story' should not be generating outright indignation. We should see the ending coming, we should be nodding our heads and wiping away tears because they are just so right for each other and isn't this beautiful? Not decrying the 'hero's choice. It should be a tight competition, both contenders equal in affection and the central question be 'who will she choose', not a bait and switch, that leaves the audience asking 'why?' Dating shows like The Bachelorette sell a myth, but should never sell an outright lie. No-one watches a reality dating show for a bait and switch. Tara Watson beautifully articulates the breakdown in audience trust and questions whether the series needs a reboot over at The Vine.
    I whole-heartedly recommend watching UnReal, the hard-rocking drama based on a dating reality show to gain a little trashy insight into the production of a love story.

    She Bangs Coffee (Albion)
    Caught up with longtime friend for coffee and newborn hangs, and was introduced to She Bangs Coffee at Albion. Home of the all-day breakfast, She Bangs also has a monstrous range of juices and fresh treats. I had a beetroot combo and dear lordy, it was tasty. A non-coffee drinker, I was very impressed with their range of non-caffeinated offerings. I'm incredibly partial to the industrial aesthetic and retro artwork. It's incredibly chilled environment with a huge open dining and counter space, and would be a fantastic space for a party or launch of any kind. Recommend!

    Making (or more specifically, colouring)
    Johanna Basfords's Secret Garden (Laurence King Publishing)

    Work in progress
    This week, I finally cracked an adult colouring book and while I scoffed and mocked the concept, I've surprisingly come to love the idea. There's something intoxicating about the process, about the focus on a singular task, of the creative endeavour. Coming up with colour arrangements and playing with textures have been surprisingly zen. It's really easy to lose yourself in the act.
    Johanna Basford's illustrations are simple in form, but beautifully interwoven to create layered images. Her website is home to a fabulous little gallery where community members can upload their finished pieces, and her blog has tutorials to inspire and educate. Easily my new favourite hobby.

    What are you loving this week?

    Tuesday, November 1, 2016

    Disney Feminist Series

    Disney films feature strongly in my memories of childhood. I can't remember how it started, but the Disney stories, and particularly the soundtracks, are central to my childhood engagement with story. Fantasia's dark themes, and graphics, terrified me, The Little Mermaid was my life on screen (minus the boy obsession and swimming prowess), and The Lion King soundtrack sits in poll position as my favourite movie score of all time.