Thursday, 10 November 2016

Five do go adventuring again

In 2010, publisher Hachette updated the language to make “sensitive text revisions” to Enid Blyton’s 21 ‘Famous Five’ books in an attempt to make them appeal more to modern children. This followed market research that suggested children were no longer engaging with the tales about child detectives, due to their dated language.
Now though, Hachette has decided to abandon the idea because the new revisions were not received well by readers.Changes made included replacing the word “tinker” with “traveller”, “mother and father” with “mum and dad” and “awful swotter” becoming “bookworm” The revisions also made the language more gender-neutral, with the character Anne altered to enjoy teddies instead of dolls.
 “The feedback we have had six years on shows that the love for The Famous Five remains intact, and changing mother to mummy, pullover to jumper, was not required,” McNeil said. “We want Enid Blyton’s legacy to go on. Millions of readers have learned to read with her.”
Tony Summerfield, of the Enid Blyton Society, said it would mostly be adults who cared about the changes. “I think to a child it wouldn’t make any difference what edition they read. The 2010 versions will only be reverting back to the text of the already revised versions from the 1990s – so [they are] not even Blyton’s original texts, although those revisions were just small word changes, not completely rewritten like the 2010 editions. Chances are, a child who picks up the ‘classic’ edition is reading a different version to their parents anyway.”
Despite being criticised as racist and sexist, Blyton remains one of the most popular children’s authors. Hodder sells more than half a million copies of the Famous Five books a year, with Blyton amassing more than 500 million lifetime sales.
So everything is back-to-normal yes?

No way, now there is a series of Famous Five parodies, - the continued adventures of Julian, Dick, George and Anne as adults, along with Timmy the dog in “Five do dry January”, “Five Go Gluten Free”, “Five Go On A Strategy Away Day” and “Five Go Parenting”.
A few details from the “Five Go Gluten Free”, to give you a 'flavour' of what is in store: the gang “are all feeling really rather rum, and it’s been going on for days. Nothing seems to work, and with their doctors mystified, they’re driven to trying out various expedients to cure themselves. Julian goes online to self-diagnose that he’s got pancreatic cancer, bird flu and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Anne decides that the old methods are the best and decides to have herself exorcised – which proves to be an awful lot of bother for everyone, and such a mess. Dick goes to a witch doctor who calls himself a ‘homeopath’ but it’s George who discovers they need to go on an exclusion diet, so they enter a world of hard-to-find, maddeningly expensive specialist foods …”

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Ho ho ho

How do you know when Christmas is approaching -
Is it the store decorations?
Is it the jolly man in the red suit appearing simultaneously in different shopping centres?
Is it the mound of catalogues in the letter-box?

No it's not these, it is the current splurge of best-selling authors producing a new book 'just in time for Christmas gift giving!'

Here is just one day's delivery 
(Sideways for easier spine reading)

You can always rely on Di Morrissey each October/November to write another saga, though this year's "A distant journey" is slimmer than usual. 
And it is only a few weeks since the last James Patterson, but this one, is the 24th 'Alex Cross' and has no joint/ghost writer.
There are other series - another Jack Reacher ("Night School"), Dr Scarpetta ("Chaos"), the final 7th Clifton Chronicle ("This was a man"), a Harry Bosch ("The wrong side of goodbye"), the fourth Jack West Jr adventure ("The four legendary kingdoms"), and the Tempe Brennan is actually a prequel to "Deja dead" (which ruins the numbering of the entire series - thanks for nothing Kathy).
Now to be faced with the resulting hordes of holds for them all.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Monumental weekend

And I do mean 'monumental' as in the dictonary connotation - "historical prominent".
I visited some cemeteries, like the lonely Sailor's Home Cemetery

And some notable headstones - on the left is the single grave beside Simson Street in Brim, and on the right is George Bell in the tiny Lake Coorong Pioneer Cemetery in Hopetoun.

Another lone grave (and lonely too) John Archbold's grave at the top of Lake Albacutya, needed to wade through a wheat crop while scaling the hill to reach the two pines overlooking his memorial.

But it wasn't only about dead people monuments, there were the two Silo Art Trail murals, definitely giant monuments - 

Fintan Magee's at Patche (still not convinced about the dead tree), but it does look impressive on the approach to town from the east and from the north.

And there can never be too many of the Brim silo, especially as I'm still to be there on a sunny afternoon. This was relatively early with the sun behind the silo.

And I had both to myself, no other photographers in sight.

Then there were the small monuments - see if you can spot the brown sign (not the hand-painted sign on the fence)
This as the sign says was the first site of the Tyenna (Tempy East) school, a single room weatherboard building with an open fireplace, situated there from 1923 to 1946.

The guys who erected the sign didn't anticipate the  growth of the old peppercorn tree. 

Little wonder that someone else took it upon themselves to create the hand painted one on the cyclone fence. 

Further west there was this poignant  building - 

The Echunga State School No. 4481 (originally known as Gaalanungah West, alternate named Euchunga and Weeroona). It opened in June 1931 in the rented Echunga Hall (erected for school purposes), a limestone rubble building rendered in concrete. It was situated on the road between Hopetoun and Yaapeet (a road busy with hay carters). The school closed in 1947. Sad when the local people had put so much effort into establishing it.

Another monument to our build/create and abandon/discard, this car rusting away just north of Rainbow.

And finally one of nature's monuments, this is a panoramic shot of Lake Hindmarsh, taken from 'The Cliffs'.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Laugh Out Loud

Don't be too scared to laugh out loud when listening to 'Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians' a young adult novel from Brandon Sanderson.
The plot of the book revolves around the title character and a small group of freedom fighters operating against the cult of evil librarians that secretly rule the world.
The character of the title and the series - Alcatraz Smedry - is a young teen who is always breaking things. After receiving a bag of sand for his thirteenth birthday, he is involved in a strange set of events which begins with a group of librarians stealing his bag of sand, which turns out to have rather unusual properties.
The book starts with Alcatraz setting fire to his foster parents' kitchen. It is revealed that he has been in countless foster homes, always ending up with Alcatraz "destroying" things precious to the people taking care of him. Ms. Fletcher, Alcatraz's personal caseworker, arrives and scolds him for destroying his foster parent's kitchen.
The next day an old man arrives at the house and claims to be his grandfather. Grandfatrher Smedry informs Alcatraz, who struggles with his accident-prone nature, that it is in fact a 'Talent' - he has a special, powerful talent for breaking things. These talents are attributes that we might not normally see as an advantage, such as always arriving late, and tripping and falling in very dramatic ways.
Now suddenly young Alcatraz is fleeing from evil Librarians, releasing dinosaurs to create a diversion in the Fiction section, and learning that clumsiness can be a powerful talent. 
From his new family, he learns the true history - that there is a secret society called the Librarians, whose purpose is to conquer the remaining Free Kingdomers and rule the world. Only a group of strangely-talented allies stand against them.

Almost the entire story takes place at the downtown library, where things aren't always what they seem. And nothing is off-limits, author Brandon Sanderson makes fun of everything. He also does a great job shedding new light on the world we live in, by comparing it to a more advanced society where light bulbs are inferior to open flames (since lights can't set things on fire) and stairs are more advanced than elevators (because you get a work-out climbing them).
Who would have thought that the guy who brought us the gritty 'Reckoners' series could also produce such a riotous story of irreverent humour, and great library-centric jokes and word-plays. Sanderson's first novel for a young adult market recalls the best of 'Artemis Fowl' and 'A Series of Unfortunate Events'.
Our downloadable eAudio copy is narrated by Ramon De Ocampo, and runs for 6 hours 53 minutes.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Wild in the Grampians

Getting out and about on the weekend, saw me checking out this year's wildflowers up close at Heatherlie in the Grampians.
Some Blue Tinsel-lilies
Blunt Everlasting (Argentipallium obtusifolium)
Kennedia prostrata - the Running Postman
Blue pincushion buds
The Pale Sundew

Weather-wise it was a little early for many of the wattles and the heaths, but found a couple
Victoria's Pink Heath
Wax-lip orchid
The white heath

Grampians Guinea-flower (Hibbertia humifusa)
Slender Smoke-bush (Conospermum patens)
Grevillea aquifolium
Beaked Hakea rostrata
Slender Candles (Stackhousia viminea)
Cat's Claws (Grevillea alpina)

Pink Bells (Tetratheca ciliata)

Monday, 10 October 2016

Never say never

Can there be too many photographs of the Stick Shed?

The Murtoa Stick Shed was open to the public over the long weekend, as part of Murtoa's annual Big Weekend, and though Sunday was threatening rain, the dull overcast day provided better lighting of the interior of the shed, as there was less contrast between the outside and inside, even with the north-western corner blown in.
(The corner suffered minor damage in a wind storm and is yet to be properly repaired by Heritage Victoria with funds already committed).
The passageway along the north wall

Bottom of the conveyor & access doors

The conveyor & conveyor belt

The conveyor along the length of the shed

The shed lit by the hole in the north-west corner

Sunday, 2 October 2016

The wonderful Ingpen

Robert Ingpen received a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia book of the year awards.
Want to see a selection of Robert’s work?
Step into a magical world with this book of wonderful images, that have made Robert Ingpen a worldwide household name for children's illustration. Here you will find his own autobiographical tales, illustrator's notes, original sketches and illustrations from his award-winning publications. Robert leads us on his journeys into the wondrous landscapes of the classics he has so famously illustrated (Peter Pan’s Neverland, Otter’s Riverbank, The Wizard’s Oz, and Alice's Wonderland). 

Or step into the magical landscapes of his own imagination and the more real but no less magical scenery of his own beloved Australia, which reveals the places, stories and people that inspired him along the way (notably The Coorong, and Robe in South Australia). 

Robert, his wife Angela and their young family spent their summer holidays at Robe in the 1960s and 70s, where Robert drew and painted the old buildings of the town and surrounding farm buildings. Then came Colin Thiele's  "Storm Boy" and changed Robert's life as a childrens' book illustrator.
Storm Boy's humpy, on the Coorong
The Poppykettle

 Robert's astonishing creative vision has breathed life into more than one hundred books and delighted countless children around the world throughout his remarkable career as an illustrator. He was the man who gave us the Poppykettle and the Hairy Pervians, and retelling of many classic stories.

Peter Pan

Michael Morpurgo states that 'Ingpen's drawings are utterly compelling. Every brush-stroke of his beautifully conceived illustrations is a tribute to what is going on in the story’.

 “Wonderlands” is a book filled with original sketches and illustrations, and is a fitting celebration of Robert Ingpen's work as a master illustrator and storyteller. 
And a worthy recipient of the CBCA lifetime achievement award.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

I Will

To my family I leave all my passwords…

It was one aspect of my life or death - that I had not considered - that family would need to access different password accounts at a time I was unable to tell them or tell them where to look.

Without being morbid, there are any number of accounts from your banking to social media that are password protected.

Have a look at what you have created, that your family will want admission to 

  • where are your digital photos? on your flickr or Instagram account?
  • how have you recorded your family tree? is it stored on a program like 'Ancestry'?
  • is your pc/portable hard drive/cloud storage/memory stick passworded?
  • who knows the combination to your bicycle lock?
There's still time for a codicil, must work on a list today!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

The end of Things

Finally Mobile Thing 23 - 'Digital storytelling'
And it involves a couple of Discoveries, that I discovered some time ago, so it is good to re-discover them again.
The first is ABC Open, we did quite a bit of work with ABC Open when we had a local producer, but since Larissa left the district, not a lot has happened. But here are a few of projects we did.
A post titled 'The island of No. 2577', 'Coming to a town near you' and 'Treasure hunt for the 21st century'.

The other discovery was the Slideshare site, set up to "share what you know and love through presentations, infographics, documents and more". For this I compiled a couple of slide-shows.

Scary to think that was 7 years ago. And even scarier is how long ago it was that I created my Animoto videos - one was 9 years ago.

Water music

Then of course there are the millions of 'stories' on YouTube, that cover the whole gambit of themes and stories (one of the best would of course be the one on 'Wimmera in photos')

Following the 'Thinking Points', is the question - when considering archiving local history stories digitally, what is more important? to select your storyteller based on the interesting, informative stories they have to tell, or to utilise people with backgrounds and experience in film and digital technologies?
Really it is discovering what is of greater importance to get the story across with an authentic, but maybe untutored voice, or professionally produced that people will actually watch/listen to. I've seen some hopelessly amateur 'cringe-worthy' videos that would have benefited from some assistance. And some 'commercial' videos that were so full of gimmicky art techniques that you missed the message. In the end it is whatever gets the story told accurately with pathos.
So end'th the 23 Mobile Things story.