Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lisa Shanahan — nice to meet you!

On Friday 28 I visited The King School in Parramatta to sit on a panel for the NSW ASLA Conference. I have said it before and will again — librarians rock. They are passionate about books — not URLs or gigabytes or thumb drives — but honest to goodness, feel them in your hands, smell the pages books. I finally got to meet author Lisa Shanahan who is a thoughtful, passionate, warm person based in Sydney. We were able to spend a little time talking covers and it was interesting to see the difference between her Australian and American versions of the same book — My Big Birkett. You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but it sure can make the difference between picking up a book and bypassing it in a bookstore. So many good books are left on the shelf as shoppers pass over them for something flashier, more beautiful, more sophisticated. Sometimes it's worth while dipping into the book or at least taking time to read the blurb. Don't we all deserve that much of a chance?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Gosh, this is jolly outrageous! Famous 5 are on the case.

Enid Blyton's stories have long outlived their creator and generations of readers who enjoyed the tales where kids were the main protagonists and ginger beer and cream buns were all the go in the picnic basket. Now, it seems, Disney has created a modern version with descendants of the original famous five. Instead of reaching for their ball of string and battery torches they are more likely to be checking out their iPods and laptops. Forget pirates and smugglers. Todays five are dealing with a DVD pirate factory.
I am wondering what other people think of such classic titles being 'reborn' like this. (Not forgetting Thomas the Tank Engine, Blinky Bill, Spot etc.)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

the 23rd century is here

On the news tonight was a guy who had inserted a microchip into his arm to gain instant access into his house sans keys — look Mum no hands. Which brings to mind the story of Logan's Run, written by William Nolan and George Clayton Johnson and released on the big screen in 1976. The tagline to the film was 'welcome to the 23rd century', but it seems microchip man has moved the plot forward a little. The characters in Logan's Run had their own kind of microchip system — a palm flower, or cystal embedded in their palm — that let officials know when residents turned 21. (Unfortunately there was no room in this futuristic world for anyone over 21, if you get my drift.)
Hope microchip man hasn't given anyone any ideas.
The book spawned a film, TV series, comic strip, a soundtrack, alternative reality game and aborted attempts at a film remake.
I was trying to think of other stories that had the whole microchip in the body thing going, but couldn't think of any. Can anyone help me out?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

ET — just needed a mobile

This weekend was the regular trying to keep track of where everyone needed to be which relied on people answering their mobiles. Is there anything more annoying than getting a message bank when you need to find someone ASAP?
Sunday was spent learning 30 muscles from the human body and the body systems (ie digestive, endocrine, lymphatic etc.). No, not studying medicine but helping with Year 10 Phys Ed. Of course the TV was on at the same time — and ET's body was having his own system checked out by the nasty 'government' doctors before he managed to escape and return home. All ET wanted to do was Phone Home. Things would have been much simpler if he could have texted to say 'time to come get me Mum' but I suspect the Mother Ship might have missed the call anyway.
These were the missed your call excuses used this weekend:
— Sorry, my battery's flat.
— Couldn't hear you because the music was too loud.
— Oh, I wondered who that message was from.
— I texted you back — didn't you get it?
I wonder what the real story was?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

kids' nation

Did anyone see the finale of kids' nation last night? I missed it which was mildly annoying as I'd seen a preview that suggested sabotage in the final days of Bonanza. For those without the inclination to watch reality TV, this was basically Lord of the Flies (author, William Golding) on TV with cameras and adults behind the scenes. The premise was 'Let's see what kids will do when left to their own devices', though there was a structure to their society which was missing in the Lord of the Flies version. As with other reality shows, there were challenges and rewards. However, the goal in this show seemed to be cooperation among the contestants for the good of the town. What an uplifting idea...