(This is a mirror site of my webpage karenjcarlisle.com)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Goodbye Aunty?

originally posted at: http://karencarlisle.purplefiles.net/2015/07/29/goodbye-aunty/

Last week the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company - known as  Aunty to many of us) announced they were closing their bricks and mortar stores in favour of an online store. Their reasoning? Not making money. ABC's managing director Mark Scott was quoted: "Customers are now getting that content through digital downloads and so all our advice is that the shops are now not making money," (ABC news)
Well I don't download shows and I have a wall of shelving to prove I do buy from the stores. Many of my friends do. Every time I go in my local store, they are jam-packed with buying customers. Are we nobodies? Economically it may make sense but as Public Relations, it sucks.
The death knell likely first sounded when our current government back-flipped on yet another promise: no cuts to the ABC or SBS - makers of some excellent quality Australian television and radio, with independant, non-commercial broadcasting.
Currently our ABC produces drama like Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (based on a series by Australian novelist, Kerry Greenwood), series showcasing Australian comedians, such as Adam Hills and Wil Anderson (just to name a few), documentaries and in-depth investigative news programs, and lifestyle programs - Gardening Australia promoted organic gardening years before it became popular.  And let's not forget ABC 3, a dedicated children's programming channel - all free to air!
Our productive ol' Aunty.
ABC owns the rights to Bananas in Pajamas which has made them a tidy sum. It brought Playschool, Wiggles and Peppa Pig and Doctor Who to our screens - all great money spinners (for the bean counters).
Our clever and entertaining ol' Aunty.
As a child, I lived in the country - our only television access was the ABC. I saw man land on the moon and was introduced to Doctor Who - both courtesy of Aunty. She has always been there - loyal to the Australian public. She provides jobs for entertainers, actors, writers, newsreaders, production team and, until now, retail staff. I am proud to spend my 14 cents per day (on 2014 figures)  to keep her creating, broadcasting and employing.
Our loyal ol' Aunty.
I love my local ABC. Every time I hit the shopping centre, I head for the ABC shop - my oasis in the mass of shoppers and a sure way of calming my anxiety. I love to spend time browsing the books, checking out the new toys, getting to know the merchandise and connect with the people who work there. The staff are a joy - friendly, helpful and willing to engage in conversation. One staff member has been there for so long, he knows me by sight and has already looked up the latest DVD release dates of my favourite shows before I reach the counter and ready for a chat. They are fantastic PR for the ABC, providing the personal interaction that has helped the ABC feel like part of the family. I will miss them.
Our friendly ol' Aunty.
Call me a cynic, but I do wonder if this is yet another part of our (insert your own appropriate adjective here) Leader's plan to pick apart our independant national broadcaster, punishing them for not cowtowing to the current powers that be. If funding is cut, then jobs have to go. Stores have to be shut. I think the government knew exactly what is was doing.
Take the personal interaction away and replace it with impersonal online stores and you rip Aunty out of the family and make her a faceless money machine. It's a perfect recipe to engineer the public's opinion so, when the PTB play their endgame, to rid themselves of their meddlesome broadcaster, we will just roll over and accept it.
abc loyalty cardI have one of the original ABC loyalty cards with the slogan: Loyalty should be rewarded. Yes, it should. But not with funding cuts and job losses. Make your voice be heard. It's our ABC.
Dear Australians,
We may not have much option on the closure of the ABC stores but we can have a say about the government's policy backflip on ABC funding. Write to your local member. Sign those petitions. Support our ABC. Say no to ABC cuts.
Save our Aunty.
A loving and loyal niece.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Revenge of the Inner Editor

July is  Camp NaNoWriMo. Time to kick my butt in gear and get some writing done. I had  a simple task: transcribe handwritten first draft notes, of The Department of Curiosities, from my notebook to Scrivener in preparation for rewrites and edits.
DOCNaNoWriMo14My goal? Twenty thousand words. Not a monthly record (that was 33,792 words in April last year) but more than my average of 15000 words. The more words down, the closer I am to the scheduled end of the year book launch. I grabbed my notebook and started typing. This should be easy.
Or so I thought.
One thing I learned with Doctor Jack and Other Tales was to expect the unexpected.  Well, I got them - in spades.
First, the unexpected:
Day 1-7: A cracked tooth and an emergency visit to the maxillio-facial surgeon for tooth extraction which got infected resulting in two weeks of painkillers and antibiotics. Two weeks of blurgh. Seven days lost. 
Day 7-10: The antibiotics finally started to kick in. I felt human again. I showed some promise, though I was still muddle-headed. At least I was mainly transcribing. My cabin buddy inspired me to get cracking.
Day 11-14: It was slow going. The challenge was to rid my headspace of Doctor Jack and reacquaint myself with a different set of heroes and villains. It had been six months since penning the almost complete manuscript for The Department of Curiosities. I had forgotten where my characters had been left hanging (literally, by the way). Eventually, I got a handle on their adventures and we were having a ball.
Then the self-inflicted:
Day 15-21 : My Inner Editor invited itself to the party. I managed one day of shuffling, rewriting and nitpicking over small details before I got discouraged. Then Procrastination gatecrashed. These annoying Unexpecteds do tend to travel in packs. Curse their seductive ways!
Maybe a little research would prove productive?
Day 21: I finally got the courage to check my Camp NaNo project stats. Oh dear. Ten days and no progress. That was it! My Inner Editor had to go. I fortified myself with endless cups of tea and extra dark chocolate. I was determined to kick IE in the butt. Ten days lost.
Day 22-25:  ... despite a  minor bout of vertigo... resulting in cracking my head on an errant tree branch and minor concussion. Three more days lost.
This had an unexpected consequence - it shocked my muse into productivity. It may have been the delerium deluding me but, hey, I was on a roll. I really didn't give a hoot when my Inner Editor nudged me - and it has several times in the past few days. I had managed to transcribe almost three chapters in four days. I now have several notes to tackle continuity, some minor plot changes and ditched a ream of repeats. Best of all I have more than doubled my word count.
Today I sit at 16129 words - almost five chapters -  just over the required word count to keep me on track to my goal. My head is starting to clear. My hope is it all makes sense when I go back for the next round of rewrites.
CampNaNoJuly2015blog post 150726
A writer's life is fraught with many obstacles. Some are self-inflicted, some beyond our control. The biggest hurdle is to tackle the dreaded Inner Editor and kick its ass.
This month I may have lost twenty days but I have gained five chapters.
That is my revenge.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Photo Wednesday - Cos Bits Photoshoot #1

There is a new haberdashery store in Adelaide. Cos Bits caters for costumers (and non-costumers). It is hidden away in a paved city lane - quiet but well known to locals - right next to The Pancake Kitchen; you cross the lane, walk through the yellow door and climb the stairs to find yourself above The Penang Restaurant.
I was asked to do a photo shoot on opening day. I also took the opportunity - a recky for possible sites for future shoots planned for The Department of Curiosities. The building dates from the late nineteenth century. Beyond the store are hidden staircases and rooms seemingly untouched since the 1880s. Lots of potential. (Happy dance.)
Back to the store...
Cos Bits supplies buttons, beads, braid and much more - "specialising in fancy sewing and costuming supplies to suit every whimsy - fine supplies for the wickedly creative"
You can find them on Facebook - watch out for more of my photos there. Also check out their FB banner - one of the photos taken on the day.
CB_beadskeins_copyright_KarenCarlisle_2015 CB_bookboxes_copyright_KarenCarlisle_2015 CB_Bricabrac_copyright_KarenCarlisle_2015 CB_Justine9845_copyright_KarenCarlisle_2015 CB_coffeebreak_copyright_KarenCarlisle_2015  CB_clock_copyright_KarenCarlisle_2015CB_yarn_copyright_KarenCarlisle_2015All photos (c) 2015 Karen Carlisle.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Devil Farts in my Face - Yet Again.

 Welcome to Wednesday. Hump Day. It's time for me to review what I have accomplished so far this week, formulating my plan of attack for the next few days and trying not to succumb to the niggling wave of dread lurking in the corner.
I am so far behind!
I have been struggling (with the help of my Dearheart) to set up my new computer with my favourite programs and transfer my existing files. It is now day three. All hope has has not yet been abandoned... yet. But the frustration is certainly becoming entrenched.
Many of you will know my love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with computer technology. Maybe I am getting old? Maybe it is my inner control freak? I hate being told what to do by computers. Skynet can get stuffed!
It all began, months ago, when my trusty Toshiba fell (got knocked) to the floor. She has been brave, limping toward the day of reckoning. The first symptoms were internet drop out. We thought it was the router box - but two faulty router boxes?
Then she decided to drop widgets off Wordpress. Updates for plug-ins failed, forcing me to manually share my posts to other social media.  Then my website provider decided to join in the fun.
When an obliging computer sale surfaced, I purchased a new Toshiba (my previous one lasted almost ten years - but she had taken a swan dive.)
Since then I have been hampered by one hurdle after another. First there was the mandatory backup onto external drive. I waited twenty four hours. It didn't like some of my saved file names. While we attempted direct file transfer, I was yet again effectively banished from my computer. Another twenty four hours. I am currently typing on my old computer, while my nice new, sleek Toshiba chugs away beside me - 67% complete on transferring the files successfully downloaded to my external hard drive.
She is slow; her keys are sticking. I am struggling to type in my blog post (which I hand wrote while waiting for the computer to wake up).
File transfer: 68% complete. I am behind. Way behind.  I have some hard decisions to make if I am going to get The Department of Curiosities out by the end of the year...

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Full Steam Ahead

It's all go, go, go. I have a few tantalising possibilities dangling in front of me right now - all writing or photography related. I plan to grab them and see what eventuates. I will let you all know if they pan out. Either way, I have some hard work ahead of me to prepare - just in case.
While I wait for decisions to be made, I am continuing with transcription of five handwritten chapters and finishing off the last few first draft chapters of The Department of Curiosities but, alas, my Inner Editor has decided to plague me. Is it in retribution for two weeks of procrastination?
I am having daily battles, trying to put down that first draft so I can attempt a proper rewrite once the full story is complete (and I have a more accurate picture of the characters and plot line intrigues) without constant interruptions from the persistent little so and so.
Looking back and reading some of the words, written almost a year ago, is a a tad scary. I had forgotten some of the twists and plot points. Did I really write that? And why? Maybe if I just tinkered with this... and with that?
Argh, the Inner Editor strikes again!
But I have a cunning plan to banish it until I finish this first draft. I'm in for a few busy months. Wish me luck.
DOC 150610  transcribing copyright_2015_KarenCarlisle

Monday, July 6, 2015

Redbubble sale

Want a tshirt? Or cushions? Or Calender? Or poster prints?
Redbubble is celebrate independents with 20% off sitewide. Use coupon code BEYOU
For a limited time: Visit my Redbubble Store

Sunday, July 5, 2015

777 WIP Challenge

There is a blog challenge presented to me via The Steampunk Empire. One of our denizens, David Lee Summers, threw open the challenge to play the 777 game. In this game, we go to page seven of a work in progress, scroll down seven lines and post the next seven sentences.
Here is my offering, from my work-in-progress,The Department of Curiosities. Just a few more chapters to go on the first draft.
To Tillie's annoyance, she found herself reminiscing about a pair of fine green eyes.
"Which would you prefer, Miss?" Grace's voice pulled Tillie back to the task at hand.
An assortment of silk, cotton and linen dresses had been laid out on the feather coverlet, all in the latest fashions. From the second box, assorted linens and unmentionables were unpacked from amongst the layers of soft tissue paper. There was a pair of collapsible bustles, ideal for transport, with ample room for her concealed pockets and holster. Two new pairs of leather boots stood proudly at the foot of the bed.
The original challenge asked to tag seven people to take up the challenge. David left the challenge open ended. Most other writers I know have already been tagged, so I am tagging Lynne Lumsden Green, of Cogpunk Steamscribe, and leaving it open for anyone else who would like to play. Just nominate yourself in the comments, with a link to your blog so we can check it out!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Steed, You're Needed.

I suppose I have to admit I am reaching that time of life. I am not getting any younger. Recently I have said goodbye to: Sir Terry Pratchett - wordsmith and purveyor of wonders, creator of worlds to enjoy and inspired me to question the state of things - Sir Christopher Lee - actor, author, adventurer and musician who lived life to the full - and Leonard Nimoy - who lived long and prospered. Just over a year ago comedian, Rik Mayall, died having survived a horrendous quad bike accident over ten years earlier. Just to mention a few.
These are just some of the people entertained and inspired me through my childhood, adolescence and adulthood. I know it is to be expected. No one lives forever (not even The Doctor). They are aging, as am I. Many of them are older than me, some are my peers. It is the way of things.
Now it is time to bid farewell to Patrick McNee - my dear Mr Steed. Patrick McNee was an actor. I remember him best as Steed,  from the classic UK series The Avengers of the 1960s and 1970s. I loved this show. I loved Steed.
steed and Peel my 33rd birthdayHe was a gentleman, an adventurer and hero. He had class, always dressed immaculately, complete with bowler and umbrella. Most of all, he treated his female companions as equal partners. I wanted to be Mrs Peel, almost as much as I wanted to be The Doctor's companion.
The leading ladies were not sidekicks; they were strong, intelligent women, as confident in their fashion as in their abilities. Patrick Macnee often credited the success of The Avengers to the strong partnership between Steed and Mrs Peel - where the woman was not subserviant but an equal.  (If only this had continued in television shows... )
Thank you  Patrick McNee.
Vale Mr Steed.
(photo: Me and my Dearheart on my 33rd birthday party)