Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Video on Youtube

Boy, did I have fun and games loading my first video on Youtube! I decided to read from To Kill A Mockingbird - that wonderful scene where Scout has her first day at school with this pretty young thing just starting out in teaching. I soon found that the two minutes allowed for a Banned Book Week Virtual Readout didn't give me much time to read that scene, so I cut it down to a little snippet which I recorded on Photo Booth. I then followed the instructions and proudly uploaded it as instructed on the Youtube upload page. Er ... yes. It stopped after 40 seconds of the two minutes and when I went to check out the video the synch was appalling. My voice was reading normal speed but the image was rushing along at about a million miles an hour. At this stage I haven't a clue how to delete it, but will do so when I can. Anyway, I then discovered that the .mov format doesn't work well with Youtube. The page suggested that I re-do it as a Quicktime file through iMovie. I did so - and found that I could export directly to Youtube. I followed the link and there I was, large as life and twice as ugly, reading from a banned/challenged book I adore. So here's the link to the complete one and once it's up on the dedicated Banned Books Week channel, you can watch it with all the others. Have a look at it and a chuckle and then how about doing your own? Mary of Bookhounds tells me this could be an annual event. Wonderful!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Nigerian Scam emails

Don't you love them? I actually collect them at one of my email addresses, with the intention of publishing them on a special blog, eventually, so everyone can have a laugh. You know - the ones that tell you that there's millions of dollars stashed away in a bank account because the owner was killed in a plane crash (although I've been enjoying a couple from daughters of former dictators/kings/whatever) and they are desperate to get it out of the country and can they have your details and they will let you in on it for anything from 30% to 50% of the takings? And the spelling of this supposed bank director is always atrocious, of course. I've never been able to work out how anyone could be taken in by this rubbish. I mean, they say you can't fool an honest person and certainly, anyone who thinks they're going to get lots of free cash for perpetrating a scam overseas is not very honest, but also, why would they think that this email has been sent to them personally by a total stranger instead of to millions of people? Phishing is worse. It's easy to be fooled into thinking your bank is asking you for information unless, a. you know that banks just don't do that by email or, b. you get an official-looking email from the ANZ bank when you don't actually HAVE an account with the ANZ. And then there are the supposed emails from, say Yahoo, threatening to cut off your account if you don't reply within 24 hours. I always say, "Go ahead, make my day", but I bet there are plenty who don't. If it's from Yahoo or Hotmail and my account is Yahoo or Hotmail, why is it in the spam folder anyway? But again, it's easy to be fooled here. No, I just love the Nigerian scam ones, they're my all-time favourite and I only just got my first one in Gmail, right under the fake Rolex ads, the penis enlargers and the ones about Russian women who are desperate to make your acquaintance. I need the laugh.

Banned Books Week!

I have on my computer desktop a folder labelled "Banned Books Week". Some time ago I thought I might try a class activity centred around it. I never got around to it but once more it is Banned Books Week, as I was reminded by taking a look at Mary's Bookhounds. My class is on term break, but I believe there are things you can do yourself. One of them is to read from a banned or frequently challenged book and upload it to a special Youtube channel. I'm going to have a go at this, perhaps tomorrow when I can haul out some of my favourite banned/frequently-challenged books - and heavens, it's amazing what's on the list! I'm spoiled for choice. So let's all do it! Fish out the web cam and the favourite banned book and start reading NOW! Or go to an Internet cafe and use their web cam? Let's show we support such books as Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Catcher In The Rye, To Kill A Mockingbird, Phillip Pullman's Northern Lights/The Golden Compass and hundreds of others! The Banned Books Week web site has links to the ALA web site which has lists of banned classics and frequently challenged books for the last ten years. The Banned Books Week web site has instructions for how to upload your virtual readout video. If anyone reading this does it, please get in touch and I'll put in a link both to your site and your virtual readout. Go on, don't be shy! I know a lot more people read this web site than comment, so how about coming out and making yourself known? I will announce when I've done my virtual readout and pop in a link. By the way, do go take a look at Bookhounds. It's an excellent blog and updates more often than I do.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

More SheKilda

First posted on The Great Raven: On October 8th I will be doing two panels at SheKilda, the second women's crime convention to be held in Melbourne. My co-panellists will be Goldie Alexander, who has written far more books than I have, for younger kids, and the wonderful Catherine Jinks, author of a wide variety of YA novels in a huge variety of genres - SF, fantasy, mystery, ghost stories, historical fiction (the fabulous Pagan series set during the Crusades) - you name it, if it's a YA genre she's probably written about it. The convention itself should be terrific, if it's anything like the last one. People would yell out, "SheKilda!" and others would respond "No she didn't!" There were some great guest speakers and there was even a panel on fan fiction, with Kerry Greenwood admitting she wrote the stuff just for herself, very steamy, while Jenny Pausacker was happy to admit that she, too, wrote fan fiction and published it on-line. Also steamy. ;-) I met a lot of people I knew, because SF and crime fandom overlap. The con committee are all SF fans as well as crime writers/readers. I remember the time we all went off to see the Star Trek movie in Gold Class and afterwards walked around Borders putting our books facing outwards. Well, the others did - and they had to do mine as well, I was too embarrassed! (Hides face while Cecilia Dart-Thornton finds a copy of Crime Time and faces it outwards...). Come along if you can. It will be a great weekend. Check it out on the web site - SheKilda Again - and there's a single day pass if that's all you want to attend. The program is up so you can decide what you want to see. Come and hear me? :-)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11 - I remember

I posted this and saw that it's still September 10 on the side of the world where Blogger is located, but here in Australia it's September 11.

As it's the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I thought I'd just reminisce a little. I was working at the senior campus of my current school at the time. The students were asked not to have a go at their Muslim classmates, of whom we have plenty at Sunshine College. None of them did, although one young Muslim student was laughing his head off and celebrating - only one, but he was enough for me. He had a lot of respect and liking for me, knowing that whatever my background, I was not his enemy. I had told him that if I could leave the Middle East war at home, so could he. I let him know that his behaviour was unacceptable - and so did the Principal, when she heard.

We had a student whose brother was living in the US and working in the World Trade Center, but because there were so many phone calls being made, her family had to wait all night to find out what had happened to him. In the end, he was fine - he had apparently been late for work that day because he was sleeping off a hangover! That was one lucky hangover.

There were, as I recall, a lot of people writing letters to the newspaper saying, "Oh, well, I don't condone it, but we have to understand why it happens."

Sorry. As far as I'm concerned, to say that is to condone it. Besides, the young men who committed that massacre - let's call it what it was - were not poor refugees, they were from wealthy families. What's to understand?

Religion - all religion - has a lot to answer for. And I say this as someone who quite likes my own religion.

Welcome, Paul!

Hi Paul,

Welcome to my first blog! It's my general blog, though - I tend to put stuff here that's been on Livejournal (or vice versa!). The blog on which I put most of my literary stuff is The Great Raven, which has built up over the years into a fair review blog for YA and spec fic books.

But hang around here as well; I will shortly be posting my thoughts on how the Literature Circles worked out. On Friday we filmed some of the kids having discussions - well, one of my students did, anyway; he was more familiar with the camera than I am and asked questions of each group to get discussion started, very competently.