Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rabbit-Proof Fence

Rabbit-Proof Fence is the true story of Molly Craig, who, in 1931, at 14, was taken from her mother in Jigalong, a depot on one of the fences that were being constructed across the continent in an attempt to keep marauding rabbits from destroying the western farmlands. Along with her half-sister Daisy, 8, and cousin Gracie Fields, she was taken to the Moore River Native Settlement in Western Australia.
[. . .] The film would show the terrified children sprinting across stony wasteland in a futile attempt to escape the police, distraught mothers wailing in the dust, and an aged granny battering her head with a stone in impotent frustration. It would show the girls in a cage as they are transported by train to their new home and a culture of flogging and solitary confinement for those who failed to appreciate what the white man was doing for them. (Source)
I just finished watching Rabbit-Proof Fence, which was recommended by my Linguistics/Second Language Acquisition professor. She wanted us to look at a) the many ways in which a second language is definitely not taught properly, and b) the ways in which language can be legislated. While I was taking notes on these things, I also spent a large portion of the movie wrestling with whether to feel horrified or uplifted.

On the one hand, it's beyond disturbing that the officials tearing families apart apparently thought they were doing "the right thing". Kenneth Branagh in particular does a brilliant job making me want to shake some sense into him as he questions, "should the coloreds be encouraged to go back to the black, or should they be advanced to white status?" The voiceover at the end is also enough to make one weep.

On the other hand, I believe that the underlying message in the film is also one of endurance and family. The three girls (Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury, and Laura Monaghan) beautifully portray the trio who undertake an incredible trek, in an attempt to reunite with their mother. And, as we find out later, one of them actually makes the journey twice in her life.

I highly recommend this movie if you haven't seen it; I'm also adding both of the related books by Doris Pilkington (Molly's daughter) to my reading list.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Birthday Gift!

So, I don't hit my quarter-century until this summer. However, some industrious friends have already purchased my gifts (take notes, people)!

M & S returned from an antiquing trip with copies of The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Adventures of Gerard for me.

I'm jazzed because:

a) I've been meaning to branch out into more non-Holmes ACD works, because he's a good writer all around (I loved his Tales of Unease).

b) One can never own too many copies of Hound of the Baskervilles.

c) Both books are old enough to list the author as a mere "Arthur Conan Doyle" because the printing predates ACD's knighthood.

d) Old books smell wonderful.

e) The books are in rough condition, so said friends are going to have the binding redone for me.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


This morning was the pro-education rally at the Capitol, organized by savetxschools.org. It was a great experience - not as big as the March for Women's Rights I attended in DC, but definitely the largest rally I've been a part of since. With all the bad (and worse) news lately about budget and staff cuts in Austin and the rest of the state, I felt truly gratified to see how many people bussed in from around Texas to gather. Even better, the folks over at SXSW publicized the event, and I know at least a few people in town for live music also came out to the rally.

Also, the Austin-American Statesman has a lovely photo gallery up; here are a few of my own additions:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Austin's The Best

I've seen more plays in the last year and a half than in the last decade - and Austin theatre is still surprising me.

Here are the three most recent, since they're on my mind. These are all still running, by the way, so if you live in Austin go see them already:

Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, from the Palindrome Theatre Company. As a future English teacher I'm always interested in the not-often-done performances, and I'd never seen any Ibsen performances that weren't A Doll's House. (not that I have anything against A Doll's House, but a woman longs for a little variety). It was fairly impressively done, and I thought most of the actors put on a great performance. Kate Eminger also kindly answered a few of my questions afterward. I got into a debate about the scenery, which I found appropriately evocative of The Addams Family, and Ryan found somewhat distracting - if any of you see it, I'd love your opinion.

Alvida & The Airship Pirates: A Steampunk Adventure! from Weird City Theatre. Ok, so I love steampunk, and the music was from one of my favorite groups - Abney Park. My friend Ryan had me sold at steampunk, but he completely sealed the deal with "and John Carroll wrote and directed." We went last night, and I had a lot of fun. The set is nicely done, (most) of the costumes were quite good, and nearly all the writing was very funny. The fight scenes were a bit clunky, but overall it was enjoyable and the actors (who did a great job) seemed to be having as much fun as the audience.

This afternoon Ryan and I are off to see You Wouldn't Know Him, He Lives in Texas / You Wouldn't Know Her, She Lives in London from The Hidden Room. I'm excited about this one, since the format is quite a change:

From London's Look Left Look Right and Austin, Texas' The Hidden Room: You Wouldn't Know Him, He Lives in Texas / You Wouldn't Know Her, She Lives in London links US and UK actors and audiences live via Skype. Become the friends and family of the show's London/Texas lovers, and help decide if distance really does matter in this interactive, site-specific, partially improvised, original collaboration. (source)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Destroy! Destroy!

It's officially March - which means the weather has finally stopped randomly reverting to "dead of winter", like it does once a week in February around here.

I'm no longer in the hibernation mindset, and I'm very slowly dragging myself into Spring Cleaning mode. I started with the paper clutter this year; cleaning would be progressing much more smoothly if I hadn't ...well... skipped it entirely for the last five years. The stack of random paper junk I pulled off my bookshelf, out of my desk, and from my scattered files is just plain scary, especially considering how much of it should probably be shredded.

Shredding papers by hand is just no fun, and there's not a whole lot to do with the paper when you're done, except recycling. Paper that's been shredded with a machine, on the other hand, actually makes great packing material when shipping out anything that needs to be padded.

I've been hearing good buzz about the Fellowes P-12C Cross-Cut Shredder, and I'm thinking of investing in one. Even though I try to do much of my banking and bill-paying electronically, there are always documents that need to be destroyed when I'm through with them. The back student loan statements for the last couple years, for example, or the statements my credit card company keeps spending, despite the fact that I track my account online.

The Fellowes P-12C shredder has good reviews online, which is part of the reason I'm considering it. I've dealt with a couple of cheapo shredders at various jobs before, so I like to know that I'm purchasing a paper shredder that won't burn out on me after the first dozen sheets of paper:

(All opinions mine, and thanks to the ladies at the One2One network for this blogging opportunity!)