September 21st, 2009


Hottest 100

Thanks to crankynick for the link.

Censorship claim follows JJJ probe

THERE are no women, Bob Dylan appears once and there's no Elvis - and it triggered an investigation by two ABC journos into JJJ's Hottest 100 countdown.
But it has resulted in allegations of censorship and fears of management reprisal.
ABC insiders expected the story by James West and Kate O'Toole to go to air on Monday night on the youth current affairs show The Hack, revealing how their own analysis of voting had created a very different list and questioning whether the voting results had been manipulated to support sales of the CD compilation available in stores.
However, the story was pulled at the last minute, with rumours sweeping the ABC's Ultimo headquarters that management had moved in to censor what had been a damaging piece.
Kate Dundas, the ABC's head of radio, has rejected outright the censorship claims, saying the story was the result of the journalists' incomplete data.
But Ms Dundas has also rejected calls for the full data compiled by the ABC during the voting process to be analysed by an independent body, citing privacy concerns.
The storm erupted several weeks ago when journalists at The Hack noticed that not a single female artist had made the list.
Also missing were songs some members of the team interpreted as being shoe-ins for the list such as the Cold Chisel classic Khe San.
The journalists obtained data from nearly half a million votes cast and after analysing the figures came up with different results to the official poll.
They then handed their figures to a University of NSW statistician whose analysis confirmed their own findings.

Rest of the story, follow the link. The analysis used by the independent statistician did not include up to 50 000 votes. Apparently then, these 50 000 misspelled or entered in by hand votes knocked out all the women.

A Book of Endings Spotting!

One of the most gruelling ways to get reviewed is in the Last Short Story spreadsheet. I know for me as an editor and publisher, I kinda sneak peeks with bated breath - how will our latest work rate? And then I watch as the numbers slowly get filled in, reader by reader. It's pretty sobering to see your work rated that way. I would imagine it's much more squirmy for those writers in the crew. But in this project, your work is getting read and rated in the same breath as the giants of publishing right now. The whole exercise is very grounding :)

If you make it out to the Last Short Story blog, then you know you rated a 4 or more (possible scores are 4, 4.5 or 5 if you make it to the blog. 5s end up on the Years Best lists. 4s mean that the reader liked it enough to be bothered talking about it on the blog :) Um, I invented a 4.85 score this year to differentiate between Ted Chiang and Peter Beagle stories.)

So you know, much glee to see this by cassiphone just up on the blog:

A Book Of Endings, the long-awaited collection of stories by Deborah Biancotti, one of Australia's best writers of short weird fiction (and I do mean weird) from Twelfth Planet Press, is a very tight and beautifully presented book.


Dogs really do eat your homework

Hard to say whether I am angry or not. It was wild and woolly today so I left Benji inside for the day. I left him with snacks and lots of toys and I closed off all the doors except my bedroom and picked everything I thought was remotely destroyable up and out of reach.

I came home - the house was mostly the way I left it. No accidents left anywhere for me to clean up. I was pretty happy. I got to my bedroom - all my pillows had been rearranged to be spread out across my bed and each had a very suspicious dip, as thought someone had taken turns to snooze on em. And then I saw it. The book I am currently reading had been pulled down and the cover eaten.


But the only collateral damage.


On Getting Sorted - things that work for me

This post is as much to archive this for me when I next am wondering how to flick my status from stagnant to productive. It always seems so impossible to get out when I'm stuck in a groove.

Something I have discovered in the last couple of weeks is that I am more productive and excited about doing work/cooking/cleaning/organising/paying bills/whatever if I *feel* ahead of the game. I noticed this twice in very recent days. Last week I worked out I needed to read 9.2 short stories every day for Last Short Story to get it done by Nov 30. So I started reading 10 a day. Except it felt so good to read 10 a day that I was reading 20-30 a day and now I am really knee deep in LSS reading and the whole thing is moving apace after hardly any progress all year. [1]

The second example was just yesterday when I finally bit the bullet and cleaned out my fridge. This task was one I had put off for some time, let us not speak of the details. For complicated reasons, I finally had all the planets aligned yesterday and I tackled the job. Much was turfed. And a big dish washing pile was created. This pile could not be avoided and as I worked through it last night, and on visiting the fridge for milk and cold drinks throughout the evening, I realised how much the not cleaned out fridge was impacting on my desire for cooking and being in the kitchen. As well as how much the job needing to be done was weighing down on my mind. And tonight? Tonight I baked a batch of chocolate chip muffins on a weeknight.

Just the act of getting the one task done has kicked me into getting a couple of other kitchen issues sorted and once I tackle those tomorrow, I think I can see myself getting more enthused about cooking and cooking healthier. I was even thinking about making (and freezing) soup whilst sitting at traffic lights today. Another helpful thing I have noticed is getting the dishes done and the kitchen tidied up at the end of the night. I was never one for doing this as a rule but it seriously does make you feel better to wander into a clean kitchen for a late night cup of tea.

Thinking about this, I realised that very likely the not tidying things up and putting them away when I've finished with them might be adding to the feeling of being behind aka not feeling like I am ahead. And of course, I'm not - I have tidying up tasks ahead of me. Look at the pile of filing, bills to open etc etc. Interestingly too, I would say that the way I think that leaving a project in progress out so that I see it and don't forget it's not finished probably also adds to my constant feeling of being behind. All these things, not helping to give the feeling of being ahead. [2]

So something I am going to be slowly working on, is putting things away, tidying up, and making spaces clear and organised. Even just to see if clean and clear spaces enthuse me and help me go looking for unfinished projects to tackle.

I want to get back into eating mostly unprocessed food. I was really good at it for a while, about 5 years ago. Probably before this last bout of depression, when I had first moved out of home, but also as I was moving into the depression as it was also an OCD reaction thing in response to people close to me getting diagnosed with cancer. It proved to me that I could cut out a bunch of things in my diet and cook varied and diverse meals day after day and enjoy it. I"d like to get that back (sans the depression and OCD). Having a tidy and organised and clean kitchen, I think will help with this.

The other thing that works for me is this game that I invented like when I was 10. It sounds stupid but it always works to get me to do things and feel like I got to relax too. It's my way of balancing work and fun. I used to use it to tidy my room, now my room is my house. Though sometimes I use it at work too :) The game I used to use was this - read a chapter of my book, then pick up the number of items in the room and put away as per the chapter number. Game doesn't work if the book chapters aren't numbered but it has a built in picking up pace as the book gets better cause you have to spend more time tidying up more per break between chapters :P The thing it does work for is it breaks down the job you have to do - so instead of "tidy up counter top" or "do filing" or "get through ironing" it breaks it down into, "find 4 items to put away from the counter top" or "file 5 pieces of paper", "answer 3 emails" or "iron two shirts". And it has this instant feedback loop of things done, in a very concrete way. And I find tidying up mess works better when you remove single items from the mess and put away.

And the thing that absolutely works when tidying up mess is this - concentrate on one space at a time, clear it so that whenever you walk past it, you see one spot that is done and you get the payback of the enjoyment of the completed task. It always pushes me onto get something else done because of the positive feedback.

[1] Yes I can "read" 20 to 30 shorts a day - not all shorts deserve to be read as though your life depended on it, or for sitting an exam later or even to pass the time waiting for a bus. Most shorts published do not deserve to be read to the end or more than skim read to check they were boring and unimaginative alllll the way to the end. Sad but true.

[2] The irony being this would have been one of the items on the ex's list as to why he couldn't live with me anymore - his opening to the discussion of us breaking up.