Wednesday, July 24, 2013

IOC, Your Cowardice Is Showing

In news today, the Australian media is speculating as to whether gay Australian Olympians could be arrested at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, because of Putin's extraordinary anti-gay laws. But of course, it's not just gay people who can be detained for up to fourteen days under these laws, it's anyone who might be suspected as being pro-gay. I'm not sure what pro-gay means, but I have a feeling anyone reading this post is guilty of it. And anyone writing it. 

* crosses Russia off list of places to travel* 

Australian Olympic Committee spokesman Mike Tancred said this: "Under the IOC charter, discrimination of any kind is strictly forbidden. I am sure the IOC values will prevail."

Really, Mike? Really? 

Well, that's reassuring. Everyone happy to go now?

You see, I like the ideals of the Olympics. All about striving for the best, and what humanity can do blah blah blah, but it’s hard to take the IOC seriously when, really, you know they’re just a bunch of old men who travel the world for free, and get wined and dined and seduced by countries who, for some reason, think that spending a gazillion dollars on a sporting event is a good idea.

But overlooking blatant abuses of human rights? That’s a whole other level.

You can promote yourself as non-political all you like, except for two things. Firstly, IOC, didn't you boycott South Africa during the apartheid era for shit like this? 

And secondly, turning a blind eye to human rights abuses isn’t being non-political. It’s being an accomplice.

For those of us who don’t want to play that game, there is always Amnesty International

Friday, July 19, 2013

Me, JA Rock, and the Culture Wars

Australian English is my default setting. 

It's kind of like UK English, but a bit more laid back. A bit rougher around the edges. A bit "she'll be right." 

My publishers so far have been in the US, and that's where I run into problems. And it's not always the obvious stuff that trips me up. The theaters and the colors and the centers. I've even been able to use the word "mom" without laughing recently, and believe me, that's progress. 

It's the trickier things. Did you know that in America, people don't go forwards or backwards or towards? No, they go forward, and backward and toward. Crazy stuff. 

Oh, American English, why are you so different? We both come from the same parent, right? We both come from UK English, except Australian English is like the kid who turned out okay, and American English is like the one who smokes cigarettes, drops out of school, and rides a motorbike. Which is not as cool as it thinks, given that it should have grown up by now. 

I am getting better at using American English. "Realize" will always be my bugbear though. Or, if you like, my drop bear

But I'm pleased to announce that JA Rock and I have finally managed to stop sniping at each other over our different types of English, and moved on to the bigger cultural misunderstandings. 

Here are some comments from our current WIP. All sparked by the moment where our Aussie character is having difficulty coming to terms with his move to America. Which gave JA and I the chance to recycle all of our old arguments about flat white coffees (they are a thing), driving on the wrong side of the road, and whether it's "math" or "maths". It's "maths", BTW. The line from the WIP is: Seriously, how this country had won a world war was beyond Mark.

And here are the comments:

LH: It was because you turned up late both times and everyone else was already tired!

JA: We thought everyone else was just joking when they said they needed help. Like when you see your friend out in the ocean flailing and shouting, and you're just like, "Oh, Dave. What a card." And then you realize that he's caught in the undertow.

LH: And then it happened again and America was all like, "Jesus, Dave, stay out of the fucking water, all right?"

JA: "Seriously! Dave, we won't always be around to bail you out."

LH: "Dave? Where's Dave? Has anyone seen Dave? Oh...oh my god, he's in the ocean again!"

JA: "No, stay back, Don't go in after him. He's never gonna learn for himself if we keep rescuing his ass every time it starts drowning."

So there you have it, guys. A brief history of the major military conflicts of the twentieth century, as interpreted by us.

And possibly a very scary insight into how both our minds work.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Holiday Success

I am home. 

My feet hurt. 

I have consumed more cider in the past week than is medically recommended.

Also, wine. 

I saw penguins. And meerkats. AND A LION! 

I now want penguins. And meerkats. And a lion. 

My dog is snoring on my floor. My cats are refusing to speak to me. 

So, you're back. I loathe you. Now feed me. 

My dining room table is full of stuff I've unpacked from my suitcase, but not got any further. 

Did I really need to buy that many books? Yes. 

Did I really need to buy that many random things? Apparently. 

I am back to the day job tomorrow. 

I am also back to writing and editing. Yay! 

Holiday: success! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Melbourne is so pretty. Even in winter. It's cold, but no too cold. The only penguins I've seen were behind glass at the aquarium, not swimming up the Yarra, so it's not too bad. Mind you, I'm from the tropics, so I start to panic if I have to put socks on. 

And now I'm up to the part of the holiday I've (not so secretly) been looking forward to. My family, Travel Group One, had headed home because of work and school and suchlike, and I have two days before my mad drunken friends, Travel Group Two, arrive. 

So it's time to buy some nice wine, put on some music, and get some writing done. 

And, oh yeah, that novel set in Melbourne in the 1920s...that plot bunny is back, and it's refusing to be ignored. 

Source: Travel Victoria
Because hot boys. Because of the fashion. Because Melbourne Gaol. Because The Windsor Hotel. Because Chinatown. Because opium dens and the White Australia policy and racism. Because I haven't written anything with a clash of cultures before. Because historical.

But mostly the hot boys.