Monthly Archives: March 2011

Today I stood up to bullies

Today I stood up to bullies. While waiting for the school door to open this morning, four Year 7 boys were rough-housing; dragging each other around, pulling on each others’ backpacks, pushing each other and what not. I watched as a younger girl was almost knocked over incidentally, as they blocked the path, and my five year old daughter said (twice): "They shouldn’t be doing that, should they Mummy." Then one boy took another’s hat and threw it over a small fence into a bush. The second boy walked around the fence to rescue his hat, but in the meantime, the first boy jumped the fence, grabbed the hat (out of sight of second boy) and jumped back over to his mates. Second boy gets to bush, can’t find his hat, and now I’d had enough. I walked up to the boys, took the hat (which first boy had put over the top of his own, on his head), and said, "Do you know that what you’re doing is bullying?" I handed the hat back to its owner and turned back to the other boys. First boy said, "We were all just mucking around," and I replied, "What you are doing is bullying. And you are setting a bad example for the little ones." And then I walked away. 

  Some rights reserved for photo, under Creative Commons by Working Word

My five year old daughter’s face was wreathed in smiles as she said, "That was great Mummy!" She was proud of me for doing the right thing and not letting rough play from bigger boys hurt others or intimidate me. But did I wait too long? Should I have stepped in before the hat throwing incident, which singled out one boy? Was it only the perception of one boy being singled out that made me take a stand, or should I have spoken to them sooner, when their roughness was a danger to those around them?

I don’t know, but I do know I’ve just shown my five year old (and my eight year old, who was too cool to say anything but I know was watching what I did) that it’s not okay to stand by and let bad things happen to other people. When we stand by and do nothing while others are bullied, we are tacitly participating in the bullying. And that’s as bad as doing the bullying ourselves. Sometimes worse, because we have the power to help, simply by standing up. 

I’m not  a child. I’m not in Year 7. I’m an adult, a parent, and a teacher (which means I’m used to stepping in and encouraging other people’s children to follow rules and do the right thing). Does this make it easier for me to stand up to bullies? Maybe in this instance. There were certainly other adults in the crowd today who simply ignored the behaviour of the Year 7 boys, and many other children. Maybe they wrote it off as "boys being boys". And maybe it was, until that point where one boy took the other boy’s hat. Then it became something else, if it wasn’t already.

I think that more of us, no matter what our age, need to stand up and call people out on their behaviour when it has a negative impact on others, and set the example to our kids, as I did today, that when you stand up, you are doing the right thing. 

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On regionalised media in a global world

Thanks to the tyranny of distance, Australians of the past were used to getting things well after the rest of the world. We really didn’t know any differently, so it didn’t matter, in years gone by, that our television was months behind it’s US release, or our books came out two years later, or fashions, music and film were far behind their original releases. But this thing called the world wide web now means we KNOW when new shows, films, music and so on is released. We are well aware of the first release date of new books from our favourite authors, and we get the buzz on the next hot thing AS IT HAPPENS. 

I believe firmly in creators receiving income for their work, and I’m more than happy to pay for film, tv, music and books, so I can ensure the continued existence of the creations I love. But right now, it’s becoming very clear to me exactly WHY people pirate, illegally download and torrent these things. Why SHOULD I have to wait for a film, a television series, a new song or a new book for weeks or even MONTHS after it’s release for it to be locally available? If someone can explain to me exactly WHY I have to be dependent upon unreliable distribution via television networks, or hyper expensive distribution of local ebooks retailers, or delayed release of television shows on iTunes in my region, when the web makes access to these things instantaneous, I’d like to hear about it.

Surely the paying market for these things would increase significantly if we were given global opportunity to purchase at reasonable prices upon release? The illegal market would significantly decrease, because legal access for all would be immediate, meaning we could acquire the media we wanted through legitimate channels. Am I being naive? We who are lucky enough to live in a first world country live in a connected world (and yes, I’m well aware this is a first world problem and thus not important in the grand scheme of things) and it seems ridiculous to continue the regionalisation of media in this global world. What barriers are there to global release of media, and how can we cross them?

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Aurealis Awards ceremony information

The Aurealis Awards presented by HarperVoyager

Aurealis Awards Ceremony
The Aurealis Awards for speculative fiction published in 2010 will be bestowed at a gala ceremony on the evening of Saturday the 21st of May. Details are provided below.

Venue
:
The Independent Theatre
269 Miller Street, North Sydney, Sydney, NSW
http://www.theindependent.org.au

Time
:
6:30–7:30 PM
 HarperVoyager cocktail party
7:30–9:15 PM
 Aurealis Awards ceremony
9:15–10:00 PM
 Post-ceremony celebration
After 10:00 PM
 After party at a venue to be announced at the ceremony

Dress
:
Formal / cocktail

Purchasing Tickets
Tickets to the ceremony can be purchased online at http://www.trybooking.com/8675
To purchase a ticket, navigate to this site and follow the simple instructions. You will need a credit card to pay.
Tickets are open to the public, although the maximum seating capacity of the theatre is 300 guests. As interest in the ceremony has been strong, we recommend purchasing a ticket well before the event. The entry price includes drinks and refreshments.

Ticket prices:
 Tickets purchased on or before 16 April 2011 – $29 per person.
 Tickets purchased after 16 April and before 14 May 2011 – $33 per person.
 Tickets purchased on, or after, 14 May 2011 – $36 per person.
 Tickets will be sold at the door for $36 per person but as the theatre’s capacity is limited, seats cannot be guaranteed.

The following individuals are entitled to receive free entry to the ceremony:
 Authors who are shortlisted for an Aurealis Award for fiction published in 2010;
 Aurealis Awards judges who reviewed fiction published in 2010; and
 Presenters at the Aurealis Awards ceremony.

To collect your free ticket, please contact aurealis.tickets@gmail.com before Friday 13 May 2011. Please note that free tickets will not granted after this date or at the door.

Accommodation options…

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Lovely weekend

I’m at the end of a lovely four day weekend. A couple of slow days that involved reading lots of books and not a lot else, quite a lot done for After the Rain including finalising the cover and contents and contracts sent (and contracts over coffee with the Battersbys!). A lovely trip up to Perth to meet up with the incredibly awesome Margo Lanagan with Alisa, a super productive day today involving many emails and actual phone calls (although I did apologise for a meeting today as I was really not up for it), and a nice dinner with the family. I’m typing this on the new iPad, accidentally purchased because the trip to see Madam Margo took me past the Apple store! I swear I didn’t know it was there but once I was in I was unable to maintain my resistance to purchase one, despite having held off this long! I had thought it would be a good way to get used to it, let the kids use it and I’d upgrade for me with either 2.0 or 3.0 at some point, but not sure now. I love my laptop and at home will do online stuff with that, and out and about, iPhone is far handier. The kids love it (read, are arguing over it!) and the main purpose I envisaged, reading comics, is indeed lovely. But let’s be realistic – how many comics am I really going to read this year, just because I can?? Not many I’m afraid. So while it is fun, and a nice “toy”, at this point I’m thinking it’s more for the kids than me.

Back to work tomorrow and full steam ahead on Swancon and the new professional journal I’m editing. Bring it on.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

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Family stuff

It’s been an interesting couple of days. I got a letter on Monday telling me off for not having done Master One’s immunisations. Immunisations? thinks I. Not due until 18 months! Um, no. Twelve months. Oops. So yesterday I got him an appointment and he got his needles. Poor bugger – three jabs, ouchies. He’s also got the bloody cough back (doc yesterday said his chest was clear, so it’s just a little cold) and had a run in with conjunctivitis on the weekend (treated quickly!). We knock ‘em round these bubs!

Then today, we’re back at the doctor’s again, this time for Master Eight who was knocked over playing handball at school (non-contact sport, what?) and banged his head. He was pretty out of it so the school called me. No blood though! Doctor diagnosed a very mild concussion and prescribed panadol and a sleep. Worked like a charm and though he still has a sore head, he’s fine now. He doesn’t remember what happened, which bothers him, and I was interested to realise he didn’t remember some of the conversation we had driving to the doctor. Hopefully he’s back to normal tomorrow. 

Miss Five is all good :) 

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