Welcome CAE students

8 May, 2008

A big hello to any of my fellow CAE Professional Writing & Editing students who may be visiting this site for the first time.

Take a look around the site – if you like what you see, you can subscribe to receive an email whenever I update my blog by clicking here, or by clicking on the Receive Posts Via Email link on the sidebar.

If you’re technically savvy, you can also choose to receive updates via RSS.

Links to some of my published articles can be found here.

Check out some of my old posts via the Archives section on the sidebar. Or just browse through the Categories.

And don’t forget to leave a comment if you get the chance.

Photo credit: Macwagen

Blogging for One Year

7 April, 2008

Believe it or not, today is the one year anniversary of my first blog post. My, how time flies.

It’s been a year full of new experiences and (In my mind at least) a worthwhile effort all round.

Some interesting stats:

  • 193 posts (including this one)
  • 19,218 page views
  • Best Day Ever: 149 page views (the day Clinton Grybas died and people googled to find out more about it and came across my post that mentioned he had quite a large bald spot – I hope the two weren’t related)
  • Most popular posts:
  • 530 comments – special thanks to Col, Scott, roaf, Linnet, Karen & Brett for visiting often and contributing to the banter.
  • [Edit] Oh yeah, and a special mention to resident heckler Skinful. Of all the people to forget to thank in my original post!

Thanks again to all my readers. Here’s to another 365 days of getting things written.

Photo credit: SantiMB

Back to the Eighties

15 March, 2008


My friend Jarrah has recently launched a new blog, Back to the Eighties.

Jarrah is a great writer with a passion for music. He is the founder and editor of the popular Hard Rock site Saviours of Rock. (I’m not sure what some of his hard rock fans are going to think of him branching out into the domain of 1980s – big hair, new Romantics, Wham, Culture Club etc).

Anyway Jarrah, good luck with your new site.

Movie Review – Blindsight

18 February, 2008


The annals of human history are full of incredible examples of bravery: in the theatre of war; during natural and man-made catastrophes; in the face of personal adversity; even from time to time on our sporting fields.

Some acts of bravery are never known to anyone apart from the participants, while others are celebrated and often retold. Sometimes there are great stories just waiting to be told, and when we hear them we are moved, inspired, and humbled by our trivial day-to-day worries.

Blindsight is a magnificent true story of the power of the human spirit to triumph over adversity. It follows the lives of six blind Tibetan teenagers who attempt to climb the Himilayan peak of Lhakpa-Ri, a 23,000 feet sister of Mount Everest.

The back stories of the participants are incredible – there is Sabriye Tenberken, a blind German social worker who has travelled solo to Tibet to set up a school for the blind; there is Erik Weihenmayer, a blind American adventurer who has climbed Mt Everest; there are a collection of sighted mountaineeting escorts who volunteer to assist the blind climbers with their ascent; and then there are the six Tibetan youths who have effectively been treated as social outcasts for their entire lives.

While the story is inspiring and emotional (there was hardly a dry eye in the house at my screening), director Lucy Walker (Devil’s Playground 2002) has made some interesting choices in the telling of the tale. Much is made of the building conflicts between the two factions of Westerners accompanying the Tibetans on the climb (caring social workers vs. gung ho adventurers), but there is little to show us what the Tibetans themselves are thinking while they are on the mountain. This has the effect of focussing audience attention on the Westerners, rather than the real heroes of the story. There is also surprsingly little in the way of reflective interviews with the Tibetans at the end of the film.

The scenery and cinematography is magnificent, and excellent use is made of graphical devices to demonstrate the route being taken by the climbing party as they ascend the mountain.

The story itself rates 5 stars; unfortunately the telling of it falls a little short of the mark. 3 1/2 stars.

Got me a new camera

13 December, 2007

Canon Digital IXUS 75

Canon Digital IXUS 75.

Bought it duty free ($A315) on my way to see the out-laws in NZ.

No more excuses for putting up crappy photos on my blog. Unless they are party photos, in which case I reserve the right to use alcohol as an excuse…


29 November, 2007

Yesterday I wrote about the sledging I copped about my asinine movie review.

My friend Linnet suggested I should continue with the riposte I started at the end of that post. Here goes:

Dear Anonymous (if that is your real name)

Thank you for your helpful feedback on my review of Into the Wild. Asininity is one of the qualities I aim for with my reviews, so it’s encouraging to know I’m hitting the mark with my valued readers.

Unlike master wordsmiths such as David Stratton and Margaret Pomerantz, I have a day job, and write my movie reviews as a hobby. I pay for the tickets out of my own pocket and try to write up new movies shortly after their release in case they are of use to others thinking of seeing that movie.

Usually I post my reviews on the SBS Movie Show website – generally around 100 people read them over a period of time, so presumably this sort of amateur review is useful to some people. I know I find the reviews of other people useful myself.

Some of my other friends, such as Will and Emma, also write these reviews. I don’t think their reviews are asinine at all, but I’m sure with some expert guidance from yourself, they will be able to write with the required combination of stupidity and obstinacy.

Just so as I can continue to meet your demanding movie-reviewing requirements, it would be of great help if you could send a link to some of your own reviews, just so I can get some pointers and pass these on to my friends.

Thanks again


PS – Go f*ck yourself

Am I asinine?

28 November, 2007


I thought my review of the new movie Into the Wild was pretty good and I was pleased that The Scene saw fit to publish it.

The Scene emailed to let me know my piece was live, so I followed the link (I still get a buzz out of seeing my own byline), only to be confronted by the following anonymous comment:

What an asinine review.

Before I got too upset, the first thing I had to do was find out what ‘asinine’ meant. (Hopefully it didn’t mean ‘someone who doesn’t know the meaning of a lot of words’; otherwise I’d have just proven my critic’s point).

Anyway, I looked it up in my Macquarie Dictionary and found out it means ‘stupid and obstinate’. Some who know me might think those words describe me perfectly, but I was struggling to work out how you could possibly write an obstinate movie review.

So I looked it up on-line and got this: devoid of good sense or judgment; “foolish remarks”; “a foolish decision”.

That makes a lot more sense.

(I was pleased that a few later commentors have flown the flag on my behalf). Check out my review and let me know what you think.

PS – I was going to respond to my critic, but only got as far as:

‘Dear Anonymous (if that is your real name)…’