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Aug. 24th, 2010

Jack Amelia

My polling place

Here's who/what people put as #1 at my polling place - Batman Park, Croxton, part of the 'safest' Labor seat in the country. It's reassuring to see the votes for the more extreme/specialised/wacky parties tend to get balanced out by people who feel exactly the opposite.

554 Australian Greens
548 Australian Labor Party
202 Liberal/The Nationals
70 Informal
19 Australian Sex Party
16 Democratic Labor Party (DLP) of Australia
14 Family First
10 Australian Democrats
8 Socialist Alliance
8 Liberal Democrats (LDP)
7 Stephen Mayne et al
5 Socialist Equality Party
4 Shooters and Fishers
4 Christian Democratic Party
3 Ungrouped
2 Senator On-Line
2 The Climate Sceptics
2 Citizens Electoral Council
2 One Nation
1 Independent

And for my parents' polling place in Gippsland - Longford Primary School, Longford. It's where they generally stick the leader of the Nationals. Very surprised the Greens polled twice as highly as Shooters & Fishers!

251 Liberal/The Nationals
174 Australian Labor Party
55 Australian Greens
24 Informal
23 Shooters and Fishers
18 Family First
10 Liberal Democrats (LDP)
9 Democratic Labor Party (DLP) of Australia
6 Australian Sex Party
2 Australian Democrats
2 Building Australia
2 One Nation
2 Christian Democratic Party
2 Carers Alliance
1 Socialist Equality Party
1 Secular Party of Australia

You can find Senate results for your electorate and polling place here, and even download a fun .csv fie to play with!

Jul. 27th, 2010

Jack Amelia

Body Role Models

I haven't read the article* about Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks being called a fabulous physical role model because the concept of individual body shape role models is ludicrous**. She was born (I assume) genetically predetermined to have big boobs and curvy hips. Sure I'd love to look like that, but my body type isn't anything I can change to that extent. A better headline would be "Actress looks sexy; figure still unobtainable for 99% of women."

I can guess that the idea of someone being a "physical role model" is intended to mean that by seeing women with shapes other than the typical fashion model ideal***, pubescent girls will be more accepting of the bodies they grow into rather than starving themselves to be acceptably thin. But really, all that is done by setting up one person as a role model is saying there's now two alternatives for acceptable body shapes.

One night while watching Big Bang Theory I said to T that one thing I like about the show is that some of the female characters don't look like some of the other female characters. The central female character, Penny, seems typically blonde, skinny and busty - especially in the first season**** which is currently screening on Go. The producers certainly toned her down as the show went along to make her look more attainable and 'girl next door'. Season 1 she's got bitch hair and boobs akimbo. But there's an episode some time before Penny and Leonard get together (IIRC) where another blonde woman moves in next door, and in comparison it's obvious that Penny is everyday, cute good-looking while her competitor is more your Amazon model type.

But blondes aside, there's Sara Gilbert (how much do I love having her and Johnny Galecki in the same show?), goths, average-looking scientists with bad dye jobs, big girls, Indian girls, and the desperate male geeks find all of them attractive. Many of the female characters are smart, too. There was a recent season 1 episode where Raj drunkenly pick up a plus size woman and the next morning we see him recoil and try to get away. From what I've seen of the show, this is one early slip-up relying on the universal joke of fat women being an object of derision and comedy. Apart from that, I find BBT a worthy of source of positive physical role models, by simple virtue of showing different female body types and unconventional kinds of attractiveness.

Incidentally one of my favourite one-episode female characters was Sheldon's blind date (video here!), who I've only now discovered was played by Blossom actress Mayim Bialik. A perfect example of taking a female character who in any other show would be an unattractive object of ridicule and showcasing her other, erm, "qualities". Would love to see more of this character!

* I also ignored an article claiming that women's boobs are getting bigger. No, the boob size of the female population at large does not fluctuate according to fashion. Mean average change would come about by smaller, older women dying off while well-nourished youngsters hit puberty. More accurate headline: "Phwoar, schoolgirls eh?" I feel so sleazy writing that.

** Unless it's Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2. What woman doesn't plan to start working out for hours a day if they ever get locked in a mental institution?

*** Honestly, it would be so much easier to draft patterns for women if we all had the same proportions. The dart manipulation I have to do to fit my size 14 bust - 18 waist - 20 hips is ridiculous. No wonder designers hate us - they're too lazy to draft patterns properly.

**** We tape all the different screenings of BBT and watch them in whatever order they're aired. Last month Channel 9 was showing a current season while Go was screening two different older seasons, or perhaps the second season at different points. I don't even know how many seasons there are and don't want to check. Part of the fun of watching the show this way is guessing at what point in time the episode occurs. T says he likes to imagine it's an experimental narrative with a corkscrew timeline. Or Sheldon has perfected time travel.

Jun. 24th, 2010

Jack Amelia

My first reflection this morning

...Upon hearing Gillard was most likely about to be voted PM, was to wonder what she'll do about her house in Altona.

She bought it around 1998 for $140,000 so it'd count as a good investment if she sold it. But it's not exactly a property you'd hand to Melbourne's most discreet agent, who would merely whisper the name 'Gillard' as a prospective buyer looked over the indoor swimming pool. And surely a run-of-the-mill suburban agent couldn't help but play up the fact the house is currently owned by the PM in order to push up the price.

She couldn't really rent it out with the plan of moving back in 3/6/9/12 years when her time is up. Can you imagine a former Mr President of the USA retiring to their brick veneer in Altona once their term was up? Even if she's got strong connections to and happy memories of the place, a former PM can't exactly retire to a suburban street in the western suburbs.

She could let friends house-sit, but once again, she couldn't really move back there.

And a Labor PM couldn't possibly leave it vacant but cared for with Melbourne's housing crisis. If she did that I for one wouldn't vote Labor.

T said maybe she could give it to one of her kids. Har-de-har. We then joked about the First Lady being a hair dresser.

I sincerely hope that after the initial "Woo a childless redhaired woman is PM!" dies off (it will, won't it?) that everyone can focus on something other than her (unused) ovaries. Even the 'Prime Minister Julia Gillard' Facebook page that I hastily 'liked' this morning uses a picture of her all done up with a nice blow wave and bit of lippy. Judging by the fact she normally wears as much makeup as I do, she must have been on her way out on her birthday or something.

I found out on Wikipedia that Gillard is the second Australian PM to be born overseas. T has already predicted that the Welsh connection will lead to his parents getting so overwrought that they'll not only make a special trip to visit her birthplace and take photos, but also try to force us go there when next we visit. I've known his parents long enough to agree 100% with this prediction.

Her dad was a miner, which accounts for her being a Labor industrial law leftie.

She helped found a pro-choice fundraising and support network. Which makes her a good egg in my book.

As with all heads of state, I hope she does a stirling job and proves her critics wrong. There's no pleasure in saying "I told you so" as a leader runs the country into the ground.

An update - I found this on The Guardian. I always like to read foreign media's perception of local events.

Gillard said she would stay in a suburb in Melbourne's north, and not move into the prime minister's Canberra residence, The Lodge, until after she had won the next election.

"I'm very happy in my home in Altona (in Melbourne's north) … very happy in my flat in Canberra," she said.

"Indeed, I believe it is appropriate for me to stay there until we have an election and I have fulsomely earned the trust of Australian people to be prime minister."

Mar. 11th, 2010

Ruined Your Life

You think we'd have learned by now

Here come another Beckinsale...

An identical profile to Jack's 12 week scan.

Wave hello!

Teeny tiny toes
Read more...Collapse )

[Edited to replace first batch of photos with ones that have my full name erased]

Jan. 11th, 2010

Jack Amelia

(no subject)

I stopped bidding on this 1983 set of D&D books at $40. They went for $130.

Jan. 8th, 2010

Jack Amelia

A NASA photo of Britain this week

Jan. 1st, 2010

Jack Amelia

Happy New Year


Dec. 24th, 2009

Jack Amelia

A Very Elvish Christmas

Let your imagination run wild.



Nov. 23rd, 2009

Jack Amelia

A forced hand

Last week out landlord arranged to have insulation installed in the ceiling. This evening a tree man phoned up at the real estate agent's request to take a look at some of our trees.

Our two year lease expires in a week.

I'm getting suspicious that all these updates are being done so they can increase the price by the maximum allowable (10%), possibly with the hope we'll move out so they can increase it by 25% to a competitive rate. This has currently got to be the cheapest three bedroom house in Northcote (it was two years ago when we moved in). The other possibility is that they're about to give us notice and put the house on the market.

The idea of moving after becoming so thoroughly settled in this house, street and suburb is despairing. We hoped to live here until we buy a house in 2013, when our First Home Saver Account matures.

On the other hand, we're not going to have access to our house deposit until a month after Jack starts school. We have zero chance of buying a house in Northcote - the only thing I've seen on our imaginary price range is a two bedroom flat in the horrid block on the other side of our back fence. I don't want to start him in school here for a few months and then move him, or enrol him in a far-away suburb we hope to buy in without any certainty.

I'm going to phone the agent tomorrow to ask about signing another two year lease, which was our original plan before these suspicious updates began. Hopefully this will prompt them to reveal the owner's plans. If it's a 10% increase to $330 a week, we'll possibly stay if we can get another two year contract at that rate.

Then again, there's a number of three bedroom houses in Reservoir for only $260 a week. Putting that $70 a week difference into our house deposit account is very tempting. As Reservoir's where we'd possibly be buying a house in three and a bit years anyway we'd have plenty of time to get to know the area, join a new playgroup and make new friends before becoming permanent residents.

And if they're planning to sell then we don't really have a choice.

Nov. 21st, 2009


Baby Steps

Jack's been taking steps for four or five days now. This is his best ever attempt, from earlier today.

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