izmeina: (Default)
So the Fringe Festival is finally over and it is time for this serpent to return to mundane and boring reality. Just as well really. The Fringe was fun while it lasted but it turned out to be a case of total sensory overload. Even though most of the shows I went to were good or great (with the odd rotton egg tossed in) it was still so much stuff to digest.

It’s funny. The Lair and the Garden of Eden have become a haven of retreat after a good 3 weeks of neglect attending to only the basics such as watering and keeping everything alive over summer.
We did get a handful of icky sticky humid days as well as the sizzling 40 somethings but summer this year has been the mildest in decades and we had one day with the second highest rainfall on record.
Everything is booming and blooming instead of sizzled and dead like this time last year.

So back to the Freak Shows. Once again got to see as many as last time but the goal posts have been moved concerning the cheapskate tickets.

No more rocking up at the box office around 5pm looking over the list with the little red dots and conjuring a schedule based on the cheapies for the day.
They introduced a window of 11am to 3pm only which sort of makes sense in that they want to keep the scrooges away from the queue during the busiest times of 5pm onwards.
But they also got rid of the quick glance list. The only way to know the deals of the day was to go to the website and find out there. it's a total nightmare of a thing to use on a mobile phone where it takes 3 or more clicks to actually get the page for a show and constantly sends you off on wild goose chases because you accidently touch the screen while browsing.

But I had gotten wise from last time and knew that the chances of getting a half decent comedy show are inversely proportional to the likelihood of “Best of” appearing in the title or ‘stand-up’ in the description.
Those are usually a collection of odds and ends. Usually creepy fat middle aged white males with a vocabulary that would make Donald Trump look like Shakespeare.
Comedy shows with a theme like “Graeme of Thrones”, “The Walking Dead”, “A Whingeing Pom’s Guide to Australia” or Sami Shah’s “Islamofarcist - putting the HA back in Jihad” were far more likely to be fun. Which they were. Lesson learned for next time.

Fringe of course is famous for the weird and wonderful.
Freak shows, steamy sex scenes and half baked productions are the order of the day.
There is often a trade off between perfection and wild vibes. Shows that are too well produced lose their edge but then stuff that is just tossed together is often pompous and clueless. Pity parties abound in these genres.

Some of these shows start in Oz and never leave these shores while others do the circuit in Edinburgh, Adelaide and San Francisco. Cities full of freaks.

So I got to see 2 Sherlock Holmes shows, 3 card sharks one of whom had the brilliant idea of playing the role of a hard boiled Film Noir detective on a case.
“6 Quick Dick Tricks” was the title and he told the audience that if they were expecting puppetry of the penis, then they had come to the wrong show. Oh they did have that sort of thing last year along with some seriously masochistic circus performers.

Of course Donald Trump and Pauline Hanson were the subjects of quite a few shows this year including one devoted to the pair of them
The Ginger Wave
There was lots of limbo dancing and wall building in this one and there were even Mexicans in the audience. There was even a stash of books that the Donald has supposedly written with titles like "Think Big and Kick Ass" and "God wants you to be rich" which is real (because I have a copy lurking in the Lair) and of course the nasty "Crippled America - how to make America great again"

But the best stuff is invariably the boylesque, burlesque, circus freaks and drag queens.
Or maybe Izzie is just a sick and twisted serpent. We especially love Fakespeare, tales of deals with the devil or kitschy Bible stories


It’s strange how the state government has spent ridiculous amounts of money on white elephant projects to make the city seem more interesting but it is the Fringe World festival which has now been running in its present form for the last 6 years or so that has done far more to make the place fun and fabulous and all on the smell of an oil rag.

So now it’s back to normality and time to start saving up for next year’s festival of freakishness.
izmeina: (Don't panic)
Things are getting a little confusing out there.



"Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is sent deep into the jungle of the United States of America to try and smooth things over with newly elected President Donald Trump and quickly discovers how things get… ‘confused out there’. Huw Parkinson explores this harrowing tale."

Snatched from Ozfille.

Meanwhile on the home front, the serpent is indulging for the last few days of the Freak Show that is the Fringe Festival.

16 shows in 16 days. Such decadence.
izmeina: A cute cartoon critter with a bag and a teapot on his head (jolly swagman)
It has been a very strange start to the year so far. Not least due to a certain serpent’s sad addiction to stalking on Twitter but because a whole bunch of goal posts have been moved in such a very short time.

Radio National have not only nuked most of their music programs but have played around with the schedule so much that it is extremely disorientating. Some programs have had the same slot for centuries and now they are either gone or moved to another time or day.
Looks like the goblins have been out slashing stuff with the razor blades
One listener commented that it’s now
Mornings with Murdoch
PM With Pauline
Dinner with Donald
And Bedtime with Bolt.

Not quite that bad but still a bit disturbing. Andrew Bolt has managed to snaffle several op ed pieces per week in the local rag and he is just a petty vindictive whining tyrant like most of the mob at the Murdoch rag. Janet Albrechtson is another card carrying carper. Which reminds me that the sinister “Dial M For Murdoch” is sitting on the table in the spare bedroom begging to be read as is Andrew Jack’s “Inside Putin’s Russia”. So many books and so little time.
P J O’Rourke seems to be the only right wing commentator who is genuinely humorous and not tainted by the petty resentments of his fellows.
But very unhappy to find that First Dog on the Moon has been sent to the kennel and the jolly Jonathan Greene’s Sunday morning slot has been given to Tom Switzer. Switzer is quite mild and moderate compared to most of the other right of centre Dogs of War but he has a swagger in his voice which is annoying.
I did not realise just how central the radio schedule was to the structure of the serpent day until they moved the goal posts. It’s actually one of the reasons for avoiding mall shopping centres like the plague because they are radio reception Dead Zones.

The bus time tables have also been tweeked and that will also take some getting used to but the big one of the moment is the annual Culture Vulture ritual that is the Fringe Festival where for a full four weeks the whole city is turned into a fabulous freak show.
Almost every day of the week except Sunday (due to lousy bus service) I would slink into the city. Lunch time on days off and around 5pm on working days. I would make a bee line for the box office and the list of Rush Tix on offer for the day and plan the serpent’s invasion of Poland.
The Rush Tix are usually between 30% to 50% off the full price so they presented a good opportunity to try something new and adventurous. So in previous years of the Fringe Festival I would go through the big fat program guide and pick 5 “must see” shows that seemed the most likely to sell out. I’d get those tickets in advance and then just resort to the Rushtix for everything else. So it was a cheap way to be adventurous and try out new things without breaking the bank. There is always the odd bad egg but most shows I picked ranged from good to brilliant.

So Friday 20th was the opening day of the festival and I turned up all excited with the prospect of a cheap and cheerful show or two but needing to be mindful of an early bed time due to another entertaining spectacle scheduled to start at 1am.
But this time was different. Not only was the Cheap list nowhere to be seen at the box office but there was a sign saying that they are now only available between 11am and 3pm each day. I guess they don’t want cheapskates like me lining up for tickets during rush hour which is between 5-7pm.
In fact the list is no longer shown at the box office even between 11-3. They are trying to get people to go online to buy tickets which would be OK if they didn’t have the $2 credit card surcharge.

So it looks like the war chest so strategically saved up for a big fat Fringe Binge is going to remain pretty much untouched this year. So far I’ve got 3 full price shows lined up. One is a play about a drone operator in the US Army which got rave reviews when it debuted last year. There’s a spooky men’s choir and a crazy American theatre troupe big into Fakespeare but they occasionally do the odd Alfred Hitchcock or Sherlock Holmes show. Two of those performers have been there in previous years. Got cheap tix and was so impressed with their shows that I keep coming back for more at recommended retail price.The rest will be random cheap tix. There are quite a few shows channelling the Donald and Pauline Hansen also gets her 15 minutes of fame in The Ginger Wave.

At this rate there doesn’t look like much chance of getting anywhere near the usual 16 to 20 shows. The Golden Age is over but it’s still fun just lurking around all the gorgeous venues soaking up the festive fun.

PS Made this post an almost Trump Free zone. Figured that it makes sense to keep the Snark over at Twitter but there are some gems out there to be saved for another day.
Especially after spending a good 3 hours glued to the inauguration.
izmeina: (Default)
The Fringe festival is finally over. Four weeks of kitsch, circus, cabaret, magic tricks and sideshows freaks all ended and now it’s time to return to the land of boring normality. It’s sort of sad that the magic is now over for another eleven months but quite glad in a way.
The more I think of it, the more the four weeks of fringe binge seems to resemble Nanowrimo. Thirty days of frenzied squiggling take centre stage along with an assortment of write ins and other events so eating, gardening and doing stuff like house work or posting online just get left by the wayside.

This year they really got too big for their boots. There were some 700 shows which meant that the program guide was written in the sorts of font usually reserved for terms and conditions or telephone directories.
Thank God they had decent sized fonts at the website and it’s always possible to enlarge anyway. I could even make a list of favourites which turned out to be bugger all use because the site constantly logged users out for no apparent reason.

So the inner goblin came up with an old fashioned pen and paper wish list and turned up every other day at the box office to see if anything on the list had cheap tickets for that day.
Between previews and Rushtix I ended up paying full price for only 3 of the 22 shows I went to.

There were posters for an assortment of shows plastered all over the city and many of the performers or their minions would lurk around the venues spruiking their shows handing out leaflets or doing the 30 second elevator pitch. This is itself was a wonderful source of entertainment.
Some of the artists resort to extraordinary measures to get noticed such as circus performers juggling chainsaws. If their show hadn’t been on at the public transport unfriendly hours of 10pm, I would have queued up for a ticket. That was in 2014 and the same people came back this year with an 8pm show and it was one of the best acts of the whole four weeks.

There were so many shows this year that a whole bunch of really good ones had low attendances as they simply did not have the resources to promote themselves while others - usually the stand up comedians - got sell out crowds with rather sad and insipid shows. Simply putting “Best of …..” In a title would get it to the top of the lists (always displayed in alphabetical order) and pull in suckers who did not realise that it was more likely to be a collection of left overs rather than the cream of the crop.

It turned out that the cream of the crop were over on Side Show Alley putting on some really seriously sick and twisted stuff and of course the serpent sniffed them out. It did suck having to leave 15 minutes before the end of the show in order to catch the last bus.
These days so much stuff is online anyway but you have to be there to feel the scare and to know that it’s the real deal without the smoke and mirrors.





Then there's a short documentary on Youtube with some of the X rated snippets which they did perform at the show and which are definitely not for the squeamish. There doesn't seem to be any English subtitles but the pictures paint a thousand words.
izmeina: A cute cartoon critter with a bag and a teapot on his head (teapot)
The Fringe festival is finally over. Four weeks of kitsch, circus, cabaret, magic tricks and sideshows freaks all ended and now it’s time to return to the land of boring normality. It’s sort of sad that the magic is now over for another eleven months but quite glad in a way.
The more I think of it, the more the four weeks of fringe binge seems to resemble Nanowrimo. Thirty days of frenzied squiggling take centre stage along with an assortment of write ins and other events so eating, gardening and doing stuff like house work or posting online just get left by the wayside.

This year they really got too big for their boots. There were some 700 shows which meant that the program guide was written in the sorts of font usually reserved for terms and conditions or telephone directories.
Thank God they had decent sized fonts at the website and it’s always possible to enlarge anyway. I could even make a list of favourites which turned out to be bugger all use because the site constantly logged users out for no apparent reason.

So the inner goblin came up with an old fashioned pen and paper wish list and turned up every other day at the box office to see if anything on the list had cheap tickets for that day.
Between previews and Rushtix I ended up paying full price for only 3 of the 22 shows I went to.

There were posters for an assortment of shows plastered all over the city and many of the performers or their minions would lurk around the venues spruiking their shows handing out leaflets or doing the 30 second elevator pitch. This is itself was a wonderful source of entertainment.
Some of the artists resort to extraordinary measures to get noticed such as circus performers juggling chainsaws. If their show hadn’t been on at the public transport unfriendly hours of 10pm, I would have queued up for a ticket. That was in 2014 and the same people came back this year with an 8pm show and it was one of the best acts of the whole four weeks.

There were so many shows this year that a whole bunch of really good ones had low attendances as they simply did not have the resources to promote themselves while others - usually the stand up comedians - got sell out crowds with rather sad and insipid shows. Simply putting “Best of …..” In a title would get it to the top of the lists (always displayed in alphabetical order) and pull in suckers who did not realise that it was more likely to be a collection of left overs rather than the cream of the crop.

It turned out that the cream of the crop were over on Side Show Alley putting on some really seriously sick and twisted stuff and of course the serpent sniffed them out. It did suck having to leave 15 minutes before the end of the show in order to catch the last bus.
These days so much stuff is online anyway but you have to be there to feel the scare and to know that it’s the real deal without the smoke and mirrors.





Then there's a short documentary on Youtube with some of the X rated snippets which they did perform at the show and which are definitely not for the squeamish. There doesn't seem to be any English subtitles but the pictures paint a thousand words.
izmeina: (Default)
Izzie has been pretty much absent in Cyberia lately. There are simply too many temptations of late in the other world especially since the Freak Show (also known as Fringe World) came to town.
The days of pigging out on 2 or 3 shows in one evening are well and truly over. Not due to lack of choice. There's more than 700 shows to choose from which means almost guaranteed Fear of Missing Out.
But the days of $5 cheap tix are well and truly over. Most of the last minute cheap tickets are now between 10 and 15 - mostly at the $15 end and all with the newly introduced $1 booking fee.

But today's outlay of 16 silver sickles was worth every single solitary cent and if there wasn't so many shows to choose from, it would be well worth going back for a second gawk at the ghastliness.

No grand gorgeous bright shiny Spiegeltent for the League of Side Show Superstars - just a simple no frills canvas contraption.
The show started with 2 very pretty frilly show girls wearing red and pink circus gear all glittering with sequins. Each held a rose stem between her teeth and stood stock still without flinching as the pair of macho blokes let loose with the stock whips with all sorts of cracking and lashing going on. The whip masters sliced the roses from the stems and left no other trace of their deadly weapons.

When one of the circus girls proceeded to squeeze herself through 2 stringless tennis racquets, i could not help but think that this is one of the items in the "La Soiree" show up the road which charges $70 for a seat.
But all that was totally tame.

The MC and his assistant set up a dingo trap and demonstrated its lethal force by using a can of beer to trigger it. The top popped off and the can was well and truly squished. They then reset the infernal device and he triggered it again but using his arm. He wandered around the stage to thunderous applause with this thing hanging off his elbow with barely a wince and not a trace of blood. Certainly not for the squeamish.

The acts got more gross and more outrageous and as they had the most basic of stages surrounded on 3 sides by the audience, there just seemed to be no obvious way that they could be faking it.
Not the man using using his bare hand to hammer a nail through a piece of wood nor with the help of a hook hanging from the most sensitive part of his male anatomy to hoist up a very heavy bowling ball and certainly not Ruby Rubberlegs twisting and folding herself up to fit in a rather small see through box on the stage.

It all made trapeze swinging, fire eating and hula hooping look positively boring.

It's almost like it's pointless seeing any more shows since nothing can remotely compare for sheer craziness and disgusting grossness on steroids and now an insatiable curiosity to wonder how on earth it is humanly possible to perform such perverted and painful looking stunts without any apparent sign of injury and not a drop of blood to be seen.

But that hasn't stopped the serpent from signing up for The Coin Operated Girl especially at the preview price of a measly $10




izmeina: (Crazy Cats)
Izzie has been pretty much absent in Cyberia lately. There are simply too many temptations of late in the other world especially since the Freak Show (also known as Fringe World) came to town.
The days of pigging out on 2 or 3 shows in one evening are well and truly over. Not due to lack of choice. There's more than 700 shows to choose from which means almost guaranteed Fear of Missing Out.
But the days of $5 cheap tix are well and truly over. Most of the last minute cheap tickets are now between 10 and 15 - mostly at the $15 end and all with the newly introduced $1 booking fee.

But today's outlay of 16 silver sickles was worth every single solitary cent and if there wasn't so many shows to choose from, it would be well worth going back for a second gawk at the ghastliness.

No grand gorgeous bright shiny Spiegeltent for the League of Side Show Superstars - just a simple no frills canvas contraption.
The show started with 2 very pretty frilly show girls wearing red and pink circus gear all glittering with sequins. Each held a rose stem between her teeth and stood stock still without flinching as the pair of macho blokes let loose with the stock whips with all sorts of cracking and lashing going on. The whip masters sliced the roses from the stems and left no other trace of their deadly weapons.

When one of the circus girls proceeded to squeeze herself through 2 stringless tennis racquets, i could not help but think that this is one of the items in the "La Soiree" show up the road which charges $70 for a seat.
But all that was totally tame.

The MC and his assistant set up a dingo trap and demonstrated its lethal force by using a can of beer to trigger it. The top popped off and the can was well and truly squished. They then reset the infernal device and he triggered it again but using his arm. He wandered around the stage to thunderous applause with this thing hanging off his elbow with barely a wince and not a trace of blood. Certainly not for the squeamish.

The acts got more gross and more outrageous and as they had the most basic of stages surrounded on 3 sides by the audience, there just seemed to be no obvious way that they could be faking it.
Not the man using using his bare hand to hammer a nail through a piece of wood nor with the help of a hook hanging from the most sensitive part of his male anatomy to hoist up a very heavy bowling ball and certainly not Ruby Rubberlegs twisting and folding herself up to fit in a rather small see through box on the stage.

It all made trapeze swinging, fire eating and hula hooping look positively boring.

It's almost like it's pointless seeing any more shows since nothing can remotely compare for sheer craziness and disgusting grossness on steroids and now an insatiable curiosity to wonder how on earth it is humanly possible to perform such perverted and painful looking stunts without any apparent sign of injury and not a drop of blood to be seen.

But that hasn't stopped the serpent from signing up for The Coin Operated Girl especially at the preview price of a measly $10




izmeina: (Default)
It is that time of year. In the spookiest of parks where the Cthulhu trees grow, circus tents are popping up like mushrooms and a mysterious labyrinth extols all who dare enter its tangled verdant shrubbier to “Get Lost”
There is a very real enormous bunya nut tree without the giant seed pods that have been known to seriously maim or even kill those who encounter them but the rest of the maze is made of plastic plants and shrubbery. With a decadent entry fee of $15 and no early bird discounts, I guess I will just have to die wondering about what really lurks within those plastic walls.

It is the time that the freaks and wierdos come out of their broom closets and take over the town. It’s the most fabulous time of the year. Much more fun than Christmas and a whole lot freakier.

It is the only thing that makes the sizzling stinking hot summer here bearable.

Fun and Frazzle )
izmeina: spooky shadowy squid (cthulhu)
It is that time of year. In the spookiest of parks where the Cthulhu trees grow, circus tents are popping up like mushrooms and a mysterious labyrinth extols all who dare enter its tangled verdant shrubbier to “Get Lost”
There is a very real enormous bunya nut tree without the giant seed pods that have been known to seriously maim or even kill those who encounter them but the rest of the maze is made of plastic plants and shrubbery. With a decadent entry fee of $15 and no early bird discounts, I guess I will just have to die wondering about what really lurks within those plastic walls.

It is the time that the freaks and wierdos come out of their broom closets and take over the town. It’s the most fabulous time of the year. Much more fun than Christmas and a whole lot freakier.

It is the only thing that makes the sizzling stinking hot summer here bearable.

Fun and Frazzle )
izmeina: (Default)
Today was the last day of the International Arts Festival. For five weeks the city has been like a hive buzzing with all sorts of artistic activities. There's been circuses, cabarets, freak shows, fireworks, dance, music and all sorts of strange theatrics.

Way back in the middle of January I took a detour to see the Cthulhu trees of Russell Square get their tentacles tamed and transformed into The Pleasure Garden

There were rickety bockety circus tents and ramshackle caravans and assorted buildings popping up everywhere and looking most magical and mysterious indeed.
There was a sense of expectation in the air, a sense of wonderful things to come.

Fringe Binge )
izmeina: A cute cartoon critter with a bag and a teapot on his head (jolly swagman)
Today was the last day of the International Arts Festival. For five weeks the city has been like a hive buzzing with all sorts of artistic activities. There's been circuses, cabarets, freak shows, fireworks, dance, music and all sorts of strange theatrics.

Way back in the middle of January I took a detour to see the Cthulhu trees of Russell Square get their tentacles tamed and transformed into The Pleasure Garden

There were rickety bockety circus tents and ramshackle caravans and assorted buildings popping up everywhere and looking most magical and mysterious indeed.
There was a sense of expectation in the air, a sense of wonderful things to come.

Fringe Binge )
izmeina: (Default)
It’s been a very freaky three weeks. The Izzie must be a glutton for punishment. In the midst of a serious Fringe Binge also juggling the video lectures, readings and home work assignment for not one but four online courses with another starting next week!
The Edx course starting next week “Effective thinking through mathematics” was supposed to have started in early January so that seriously stuffed up the serpent plans. But having read their book “The 5 elements of effective thinking” and found it interesting and inspiring, the serpent is determined to pursue this puzzling path at whatever price. Which in fact is FREE

A similar class has just started again over at Coursera. Done it several times already but signed up again for the sake of curiosity and nostalgia. It is also fascinating to watch the evolution of online education - MOOCs in particular. Here’s thinking that within a few years as the pressure for return on investment from the vulture capitalists increases, these few years will be fondly regarded as the Golden Age where priceless learning could be obtained for no cost but time

Another of these courses has a bunch of fabulous books on the reading list. This week’s subject is "Alice in Wonderland" and "Alice through the Looking Glass"
Having already got one of these as an ebook on the tablet and both of them in Martin Gardner’s very erudite “The Annotated Alice”, reading them should not have been a problem

But the Annotated Alice is as fat as any Bible and just as big and heavy. Not the sort of thing you would pop in a back pack for a bit of reading at the bus stop. And this ancient serpent still struggles with the new ebook things. Worked out how to do bookmarks but anything other than reading one page after another seems quite tricky to master

So resorted to the local library and snaffled a pocket sized paperback dead tree copy with illustrations by Marvin Peake which are really spooky and gorgeous
Having searched in vain for Humpty Dumpty and the Red Queen who keeps running to stand still in the ebook, was relieved to discover them all alive and well in the Looking Glass

So spent a good few hours today reading that story and was delighted to find the Jabberwocky, the walrus and all sorts of strange creatures within. Had not realized that “believing six impossible things before breakfast’ was from that book along with a whole bunch of other ideas and phrases that have become part of everyday speech

But the really freaky thing is that on several visits to the Fringe Pleasure Garden the loudspeakers were playing the gorgeous and ever so creepy song “White Rabbit”. Grace Slick has sold her soul since then but it's still a brilliant blood curdling spine tingling song

Had no idea just how much this book influenced the sixties drug culture. Of course just about everyone is going to take that angle for the assignments or the ever so predictable and boring Freudian sex angle. A certain Cat found another sick and twisted take on these tales but Izzie ain’t going there either.

It was exactly 5 years ago that Izzie first had froggie lodgers in the house. One of them was mad about those books and used to say that Lewis Carroll was a fuddy duddy old conservative and hated all the new fangled maths. He wrote the Alice stories to take the piss out of such crazy illogical ideas and would likely be turning in his grave if he had known that his book would turn out to be their Bible. And Poe’s Law hadn’t even been invented yet
In a stroke of good luck there’s a few posts in the latest iteration of the Introduction to Mathematical Thinking about this very topic

So with the help of Martin Gardner and Keith Devlin, it should be possible to present a reasonable amount of evidence to convince a jury of five members. But the tricky bit is being rationed to a mere 320 words to state the case

In the sci fi and fantasy course the assignments are peer assessed and grammar Nazis are given the green light. One of them was exceedingly upset by a lack of dots at the end of many sentences (usually the last one in a paragraph)
Had the same comment in another course. It’s funny. Had never even noticed this little idiosyncrasy until it was pointed out. Still not quite sure why it would push anyone’s buttons. Unlike absent or misplaced commas it is unlikely to change the possible meaning of a sentence

But the Grimm’s fairy tales was just a warm up. The Izzie is going to get seriously esoteric in the next installments which include the Alice tales and Dracula
An essay length of maximum 320 words is pure evil genius. No room for waffling bullshit. Every single word has got to work to earn its place in the tale
And the Cat has set the bar exceedingly high.
izmeina: (Crazy Cats)
It’s been a very freaky three weeks. The Izzie must be a glutton for punishment. In the midst of a serious Fringe Binge also juggling the video lectures, readings and home work assignment for not one but four online courses with another starting next week!
The Edx course starting next week “Effective thinking through mathematics” was supposed to have started in early January so that seriously stuffed up the serpent plans. But having read their book “The 5 elements of effective thinking” and found it interesting and inspiring, the serpent is determined to pursue this puzzling path at whatever price. Which in fact is FREE

A similar class has just started again over at Coursera. Done it several times already but signed up again for the sake of curiosity and nostalgia. It is also fascinating to watch the evolution of online education - MOOCs in particular. Here’s thinking that within a few years as the pressure for return on investment from the vulture capitalists increases, these few years will be fondly regarded as the Golden Age where priceless learning could be obtained for no cost but time

Another of these courses has a bunch of fabulous books on the reading list. This week’s subject is "Alice in Wonderland" and "Alice through the Looking Glass"
Having already got one of these as an ebook on the tablet and both of them in Martin Gardner’s very erudite “The Annotated Alice”, reading them should not have been a problem

But the Annotated Alice is as fat as any Bible and just as big and heavy. Not the sort of thing you would pop in a back pack for a bit of reading at the bus stop. And this ancient serpent still struggles with the new ebook things. Worked out how to do bookmarks but anything other than reading one page after another seems quite tricky to master

So resorted to the local library and snaffled a pocket sized paperback dead tree copy with illustrations by Marvin Peake which are really spooky and gorgeous
Having searched in vain for Humpty Dumpty and the Red Queen who keeps running to stand still in the ebook, was relieved to discover them all alive and well in the Looking Glass

So spent a good few hours today reading that story and was delighted to find the Jabberwocky, the walrus and all sorts of strange creatures within. Had not realized that “believing six impossible things before breakfast’ was from that book along with a whole bunch of other ideas and phrases that have become part of everyday speech

But the really freaky thing is that on several visits to the Fringe Pleasure Garden the loudspeakers were playing the gorgeous and ever so creepy song “White Rabbit”. Grace Slick has sold her soul since then but it's still a brilliant blood curdling spine tingling song

Had no idea just how much this book influenced the sixties drug culture. Of course just about everyone is going to take that angle for the assignments or the ever so predictable and boring Freudian sex angle. A certain Cat found another sick and twisted take on these tales but Izzie ain’t going there either.

It was exactly 5 years ago that Izzie first had froggie lodgers in the house. One of them was mad about those books and used to say that Lewis Carroll was a fuddy duddy old conservative and hated all the new fangled maths. He wrote the Alice stories to take the piss out of such crazy illogical ideas and would likely be turning in his grave if he had known that his book would turn out to be their Bible. And Poe’s Law hadn’t even been invented yet
In a stroke of good luck there’s a few posts in the latest iteration of the Introduction to Mathematical Thinking about this very topic

So with the help of Martin Gardner and Keith Devlin, it should be possible to present a reasonable amount of evidence to convince a jury of five members. But the tricky bit is being rationed to a mere 320 words to state the case

In the sci fi and fantasy course the assignments are peer assessed and grammar Nazis are given the green light. One of them was exceedingly upset by a lack of dots at the end of many sentences (usually the last one in a paragraph)
Had the same comment in another course. It’s funny. Had never even noticed this little idiosyncrasy until it was pointed out. Still not quite sure why it would push anyone’s buttons. Unlike absent or misplaced commas it is unlikely to change the possible meaning of a sentence

But the Grimm’s fairy tales was just a warm up. The Izzie is going to get seriously esoteric in the next installments which include the Alice tales and Dracula
An essay length of maximum 320 words is pure evil genius. No room for waffling bullshit. Every single word has got to work to earn its place in the tale
And the Cat has set the bar exceedingly high.

Freaked Out

Feb. 1st, 2014 11:55 pm
izmeina: (Default)
So much wickedly wonderful weirdness in Izzieland of late. It's very rare for a certain serpent to be slinking about the city on a Friday or Saturday night. But then it's not any old weekend that we have Fringe World

The place is buzzing with life and most of it of the jolly quirky variety rather than the usual assortment of gutless punching drunk and disorderly mob on the rampage
It's wonderful to see so many ladies wandering around in corsets, fish net stockings and very crazy hats, hunch back zombie clowns doing impromptu performances in the gardens and lots of the performers meandering around in costume

A gorgeous old park with a dozen or so Cthulhu trees has been converted into a sea of tents and marquees and an assortment of very peculiar rickety bockety buildings. They have made the place even more magical than it already was. Even the old gazebo has been spruced up with the addition of an enormous glitter ball. They must do discos there after dark

But things have changed since last year. Gone are the days of turning up at 2pm hoping to get half price tickets. Most ticket sales are now online. The cheapies are available from 11am online and by the time you get to the box office in person the best stuff is already gone. It was possible to turn up in the afternoon and get cheap tickets for good shows for the first couple of days. But slowly the city folks have woken up to the big fat party in their midst and they want in on the action


But best of all is the weather. It seems that usual stinking forties we get in February have all gone over to Adelaide and Melbourne

Did have to do a mad dash last night in order to catch the last bus at 11.20. Made it with only five minutes to spare. Got to thinking how a really good show can be totally tainted by the mad ten minute dash at the end of it. Then got hassled by a happy clapper on the bus who was seeking converts for the Lord. Sussed out that he was a literal believer in the 6 day creation, Adam's rib etc etc.
But maybe the Good Lord did have a purpose in having us cross paths. The conversation served as a sort of circuit breaker to forget about the hassle of bus hopping

It turns out that there is some one doing a show about being from a Christian evangelical family.
May as well just quote the blurb
Chris Wainhouse is the Anti-Chris. The polar opposite of what his family expected. But when you come from a fundamentalist Christian household that believe in a literal interpretation of the bible, becoming the black sheep of the family can be as easy as not wanting to be one of the sheep. Prepare to have your mind fried as Chris take you on a Supernatural Evangelistic Expialidocious journey from the 6000 year old planet he grew up on to the 4.5 billion year old planet he now calls home.

After last night's encounter will most definitely be adding that one to the 'must see' list and with a bit of luck might get another one of those wonderful $5 tickets to see it

Freaked Out

Feb. 1st, 2014 11:55 pm
izmeina: creepy spooky old house infested with crawling critters (Haunted house)
So much wickedly wonderful weirdness in Izzieland of late. It's very rare for a certain serpent to be slinking about the city on a Friday or Saturday night. But then it's not any old weekend that we have Fringe World

The place is buzzing with life and most of it of the jolly quirky variety rather than the usual assortment of gutless punching drunk and disorderly mob on the rampage
It's wonderful to see so many ladies wandering around in corsets, fish net stockings and very crazy hats, hunch back zombie clowns doing impromptu performances in the gardens and lots of the performers meandering around in costume

A gorgeous old park with a dozen or so Cthulhu trees has been converted into a sea of tents and marquees and an assortment of very peculiar rickety bockety buildings. They have made the place even more magical than it already was. Even the old gazebo has been spruced up with the addition of an enormous glitter ball. They must do discos there after dark

But things have changed since last year. Gone are the days of turning up at 2pm hoping to get half price tickets. Most ticket sales are now online. The cheapies are available from 11am online and by the time you get to the box office in person the best stuff is already gone. It was possible to turn up in the afternoon and get cheap tickets for good shows for the first couple of days. But slowly the city folks have woken up to the big fat party in their midst and they want in on the action


But best of all is the weather. It seems that usual stinking forties we get in February have all gone over to Adelaide and Melbourne

Did have to do a mad dash last night in order to catch the last bus at 11.20. Made it with only five minutes to spare. Got to thinking how a really good show can be totally tainted by the mad ten minute dash at the end of it. Then got hassled by a happy clapper on the bus who was seeking converts for the Lord. Sussed out that he was a literal believer in the 6 day creation, Adam's rib etc etc.
But maybe the Good Lord did have a purpose in having us cross paths. The conversation served as a sort of circuit breaker to forget about the hassle of bus hopping

It turns out that there is some one doing a show about being from a Christian evangelical family.
May as well just quote the blurb
Chris Wainhouse is the Anti-Chris. The polar opposite of what his family expected. But when you come from a fundamentalist Christian household that believe in a literal interpretation of the bible, becoming the black sheep of the family can be as easy as not wanting to be one of the sheep. Prepare to have your mind fried as Chris take you on a Supernatural Evangelistic Expialidocious journey from the 6000 year old planet he grew up on to the 4.5 billion year old planet he now calls home.

After last night's encounter will most definitely be adding that one to the 'must see' list and with a bit of luck might get another one of those wonderful $5 tickets to see it
izmeina: (Default)
What a difference a day makes. The weather has gone from sizzling steamy 37 something down to a gorgeous pleasant and breezy 27 today. The old grey cells even got a bit twinkly as they recovered from the soul sapping miserable heat

The main serpent gossip is that the annual festival of freakiness that is Fringe World just started on Friday
It’s a four week feast of circus, cabaret, burlesque, comedy and assorted drama. It’s sort of like Halloween on steroids

And unlike the official city Arts Festival with all the capital letters and posh mining magnate sponsors, these folks not only keep the shows cheap but have lots of tickets on the day for half price or less. Needless to say there's more than a few shows that take the total piss out of some of these same mining magnates

Of course it’s not all sparkles and sequins and silver linings. There is one big fat grey cloud and this is the monumental stuff up that is the city centre road works and the public transport system
Gone is last year’s option of leaving a show at 11pm and having less than a ten minute walk to the bus station. Said station is being demolished some time this week and its replacement is a good twenty five minutes walk away in a creepy desolate part of town

So it looks like the serpent will have to slink back to the bus by 9.30 at the latest and then spend the rest of the evening catching up on various online course readings and assignments

Got two courses running at the moment and by mid February will have added Michael Starbird’s “Effective Thinking Through Mathematics” and “Fantasy and Science Fiction” which apparently has a massive pile of stuff to read.

So with the feast of art, books, cabaret and freak shows, there should be no excuse whatsoever for lack of serpent ideas for things to squiggle

Seen two shows so far and they were both very good.
One zany creation called “Hamlet and Juliet” had the mad (or not so mad) great Dane all set out to revenge his father. But that plan goes out the window when he meets a gorgeous girl who is a guest at his mother’s wedding. And the rest is a riot of twisted Shakespearean snippets, sleazy innuendo and all sorts of geekish allusions to scenes from assorted movies

Best of all was the decision to book for their other show which is a parody of Alfred Hitchcock movies and to take a chance on getting the mixed up lovers as a last minute ticket. Turns out the strategy to lure customers in is to have the long weekend sprinkled with lots of $5 specials. This show happened to be one of them.

Still slowly sifting through the big fat catalogue making a list and checking it twice. There’s just too much to choose.

So between visiting shows and catching up on Coursera readings and assignments, it’s likely the Izzie will not be lurking much in online journal land over the next three weeks
izmeina: a wicked witch on her broomstick by moonlight (Halloween)
What a difference a day makes. The weather has gone from sizzling steamy 37 something down to a gorgeous pleasant and breezy 27 today. The old grey cells even got a bit twinkly as they recovered from the soul sapping miserable heat

The main serpent gossip is that the annual festival of freakiness that is Fringe World just started on Friday
It’s a four week feast of circus, cabaret, burlesque, comedy and assorted drama. It’s sort of like Halloween on steroids

And unlike the official city Arts Festival with all the capital letters and posh mining magnate sponsors, these folks not only keep the shows cheap but have lots of tickets on the day for half price or less. Needless to say there's more than a few shows that take the total piss out of some of these same mining magnates

Of course it’s not all sparkles and sequins and silver linings. There is one big fat grey cloud and this is the monumental stuff up that is the city centre road works and the public transport system
Gone is last year’s option of leaving a show at 11pm and having less than a ten minute walk to the bus station. Said station is being demolished some time this week and its replacement is a good twenty five minutes walk away in a creepy desolate part of town

So it looks like the serpent will have to slink back to the bus by 9.30 at the latest and then spend the rest of the evening catching up on various online course readings and assignments

Got two courses running at the moment and by mid February will have added Michael Starbird’s “Effective Thinking Through Mathematics” and “Fantasy and Science Fiction” which apparently has a massive pile of stuff to read.

So with the feast of art, books, cabaret and freak shows, there should be no excuse whatsoever for lack of serpent ideas for things to squiggle

Seen two shows so far and they were both very good.
One zany creation called “Hamlet and Juliet” had the mad (or not so mad) great Dane all set out to revenge his father. But that plan goes out the window when he meets a gorgeous girl who is a guest at his mother’s wedding. And the rest is a riot of twisted Shakespearean snippets, sleazy innuendo and all sorts of geekish allusions to scenes from assorted movies

Best of all was the decision to book for their other show which is a parody of Alfred Hitchcock movies and to take a chance on getting the mixed up lovers as a last minute ticket. Turns out the strategy to lure customers in is to have the long weekend sprinkled with lots of $5 specials. This show happened to be one of them.

Still slowly sifting through the big fat catalogue making a list and checking it twice. There’s just too much to choose.

So between visiting shows and catching up on Coursera readings and assignments, it’s likely the Izzie will not be lurking much in online journal land over the next three weeks
izmeina: (Default)
The serpent slowly slinks back to mundane muggle reality after a four week feast of freakishness. Totally pigged out on a Fringe Binge over the last few weeks. As most of the shows happened to be scheduled during the times normally dedicated to squiggling, slinking or doing Coursera homework, all those things have been sadly neglected of late. Now it is finally time to catch up and as a seriously introverted serpent to finally muse and ponder over all the recent adventures.

As if the Fringe Binge wasn’t sufficient to feast upon there was also an arts festival. This included a concert by one of my favourite singers ever as well as a wickedly wonderful writer’s festival last weekend. The Michael Leunig talk was sold out and this duck loving serpent missed seeing her idol in real life. Radio interviews are not quite the same. But did get to see the wicked and very twisted Margaret Atwood and China Mieville. Having the pair of them together in one room taking the piss out of the pompous presenter and just about everything else under the sun was a most amusing experience. Here’s hoping that Auntie ABC will broadcast their feast of snark some time soon

There was even a pitch fest where aspiring writers could book a spot and get their three minutes of fame persuading a big wig from the University of WA press to publish their precious manuscript. Presenters were bookings only but anyone from the public could sit in on the action. It was not quite the same standard as the Nanowrimo Pitchapalooza but it was interesting to see a real live Book Hunter in action


And it was simply not possible to go past the tent offering ‘A glass of wine and a good book”. They were only itsy bitsy samples but with six stalls most with 6 different wines for tasting it was not too difficult to snaffle a glass or two between them all

Most of the fun ended last Sunday. Paid a nostalgic last visit to the urban orchard and the adorably gorgeous freaky Spiegeltent. Now the whole area around the museum, art gallery and state library looks like the spooky wasteland that it usually is for the other eleven months of the year

It was with more than a sense of relief returning to the usual habits of pottering around Dursleyville in the daytime, slinking back to the Lair for twilight to water the weeds and do other garden stuff before finally creeping upstairs to slink about in Cyberia.
The weather is slowly becoming more civilized but is still too pickly to do any proper planting. Will be waiting for the first rains of ‘autumn’ before finally risking any precious seeds

Soon it will be time to start plotting and planning for Camp Nano. With 18 shows visited in the last four weeks there should be no excuse for lack of inspiration. A bunch of Zombie Drag Queens dressed in budgie smugglers running away to the circus could be a good start

Now we got one week left of another freak show. The state election is on Saturday and it's going to be so much fun doing a bit of polling station hopping
izmeina: (Default)
The serpent slowly slinks back to mundane muggle reality after a four week feast of freakishness. Totally pigged out on a Fringe Binge over the last few weeks. As most of the shows happened to be scheduled during the times normally dedicated to squiggling, slinking or doing Coursera homework, all those things have been sadly neglected of late. Now it is finally time to catch up and as a seriously introverted serpent to finally muse and ponder over all the recent adventures.

As if the Fringe Binge wasn’t sufficient to feast upon there was also an arts festival. This included a concert by one of my favourite singers ever as well as a wickedly wonderful writer’s festival last weekend. The Michael Leunig talk was sold out and this duck loving serpent missed seeing her idol in real life. Radio interviews are not quite the same. But did get to see the wicked and very twisted Margaret Atwood and China Mieville. Having the pair of them together in one room taking the piss out of the pompous presenter and just about everything else under the sun was a most amusing experience. Here’s hoping that Auntie ABC will broadcast their feast of snark some time soon

There was even a pitch fest where aspiring writers could book a spot and get their three minutes of fame persuading a big wig from the University of WA press to publish their precious manuscript. Presenters were bookings only but anyone from the public could sit in on the action. It was not quite the same standard as the Nanowrimo Pitchapalooza but it was interesting to see a real live Book Hunter in action


And it was simply not possible to go past the tent offering ‘A glass of wine and a good book”. They were only itsy bitsy samples but with six stalls most with 6 different wines for tasting it was not too difficult to snaffle a glass or two between them all

Most of the fun ended last Sunday. Paid a nostalgic last visit to the urban orchard and the adorably gorgeous freaky Spiegeltent. Now the whole area around the museum, art gallery and state library looks like the spooky wasteland that it usually is for the other eleven months of the year

It was with more than a sense of relief returning to the usual habits of pottering around Dursleyville in the daytime, slinking back to the Lair for twilight to water the weeds and do other garden stuff before finally creeping upstairs to slink about in Cyberia.
The weather is slowly becoming more civilized but is still too pickly to do any proper planting. Will be waiting for the first rains of ‘autumn’ before finally risking any precious seeds

Soon it will be time to start plotting and planning for Camp Nano. With 18 shows visited in the last four weeks there should be no excuse for lack of inspiration. A bunch of Zombie Drag Queens dressed in budgie smugglers running away to the circus could be a good start

Now we got one week left of another freak show. The state election is on Saturday and it's going to be so much fun doing a bit of polling station hopping
izmeina: (Default)
This silly serpent has been slacking off from the usual slinking and squiggling in Cyberia. It’s festival time in downtown Dursleyville and time to pig out on the annual four week of fun and freakishness

It’s a bummer that some of the saucier cabaret shows don’t start until 11pm. The serpent entertainment budget most definitely does not extend to taxis. But there was one mob doing a show this week and their Mistress of Ceremonies proclaimed that they are most definitely not used to performing at the baby bed time hour of 7.30pm.
The show could best be described as a cross between Priscilla Queen of the Desert and The Full Monty with Unga Bungas.
Coming all the way from Ipswich Centrelink, these naughty boys performing circus tricks started doing little shows years ago. They tried to get arts funding and were knocked back. And then the star of the show - a strutting preening Samoan Drag Queen said that the arty crowd told him that having more ‘ethnic minority’ members in their group would greatly increase their chances. So it’s off to Centrelink in search for ‘Unga Bungas’ as that is their natural habitat.
After parading this latest ‘native’ on the stage and warning the audience not to look him in the eye or you might get eaten and all sorts of exceedingly non PC comments, the fabulous feathery MC then proclaims. “Oh we didn’t really get him from Centrelink. Actually he is my brother.”

They had a typical strong man with the fake leopard skin and the obligatory moustache along with a little wimp looking rather like Vladimir Putin who spent most of his time gobbling spoonfuls of sludge from an enormous plastic jar containing those magical vitamin muscle powders so beloved of dodgy health food shops.

It was a fantastic and fabulous show and the wonderful venue just added to the attraction. The Mistress of Ceremonies was impressed and wondered how many other city councils out there have had the inspired idea of buying a Spiegeltent.
Was lucky to have gone to that show for the preview. Word soon got around and those pretty boys and their circus act soon sold out. Now there’s not a hope in hell of getting any tickets let alone half price ones.

It turns out that even some of the real female performers also like to dress up as drag queens. And when that’s boring they pop on fishy little tails and swim in a mermaid tank splashing water over those passing by

But the true test of total freakishness will be on Monday. Only the craziest of fringe dwellers would ever dream of putting on a show featuring a German comedian. Well after the recent few years of being invaded by English chefs, it looks like anything is possible

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