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Q is for Tarella Quin Daskein

Thanks to some friends I’ve now got an author for Q.

Tarella Quin Daskein often published under her maiden name of Tarella Quin. You might know of her good friend and illustrator, Ida Rentoul Outhwaite.

Quin wrote many fairy stories. They number amongst the best in Australian literature at the time. Her works were carefully detailed and innovative but she didn’t pull her punches and children actually died in her works, unlike nowadays where there is generally a happily ever after.

She has an entry in The Bibliography of Australian Literature showing her works and a four line biography and also in the International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature, although I haven’t been able to view this entry.

Growing up on sheep and dairy farms in both NSW and Victoria would have fueled her stories, most especially the romance novels about outback life.

I had some issues finding information about her. She was born in 1877 in Wilcannia and died in 1934. I do wonder if she’s one of those writers whose books need resurrecting and reading in detail.

Enter title here

Don’t make the same mistake as I did today. Check your calendar the night before so you know where, when and who you’re seeing. Thank goodness my appointment messaged me half an hour before to confirm. Not so good was that I had a 20 minute drive and I hadn’t had a shower yet. I was only 10 minutes late. But the problems that caused as I went from one appointment to another and then continued on and on until finally getting onto the computer after 5pm. My apologies for posting this late, all I can say is mea culpa.

Combined with the slow and intermittent internet we’ve started having this week it means I’m even more behind on uploading. I’ve just tried again and it spent 10 minutes uploading one photo only to tell me it was too big, it wasn’t even that big. Now I’ve finished complaining I’m going to scribble a few words about something dear to my heart.

Actually, it’s a person and an idea all in one. You know I have an all abiding passion for cosplay even though I do little of it myself. So, one day I’m happily wasting time on the Facebook page of the Melbourne Cosplay Community when I see a post by a guy talking about a new type of cosplay. It’s meta-cosplay as he dressed himself up with reels of thread, needles, safety pins and a number of other useful items before going to the next convention and providing assistance for people whose costumes were falling apart.

Captain Patch-It has since been to many conventions, has Patcheteers around the world and they even manage to have an area allocated to them at the conventions.

He was very busy at Oz Comic Con in Melbourne, even taking a bit of time to do a little talk about how to make repairs on the run with few materials. It’s an awesome thing to have this happen. With the cushion he demonstrated an invisible stitch.

Oz Comic Con and Instagram

I had excellent intentions of sending lots of images to Instagram and Twitter while at Oz Comic Con. Great intentions which didn’t pan out. I’ve spent the past week, in between getting other things done, trying to find some nice and quick method of posting to both without getting anywhere. It seems Instagram is only for the phone, for quick photos and not for publishing loads of photos from the computer. I’ve found a work around but it’s driving me bananas, or as Nanny Ogg might say bananananananas! In order to save my sanity you’ll only get the odd photo on Instagram, everything else will be on Twitter which should also also link to Facebook, but who knows what will really happen.

Just to give you a teaser and show you some of the sights of the fair here are two photos.

Andrew Constant from Gestalt Publishing

Isobelle Carmody

But for a change of pace I’ll talk a bit about how things work at OzComicCon.

It’s a relatively modest $52.50 (online sales, it’s more expensive to buy them at the door) for a weekend pass (less for children or daily pass), unless you want to pay an arm and a leg or even two arms and two legs to queue jump/get better seats/see special guests at dinner. For that money you get entry to talk to authors and artists, see the queues for photographs and autographs of special guests, buy all the stuff at the booths including comics, books, clothing and cosplay ‘stuff’ and attend as many talks as you wish.


Panel with Isobelle Carmody, Marianne de Pierres and C. S. Pacat

There are several stages where you can view the talks/panels. This photo was taken in Stage 3 which probably fits 50 odd people. They used mics and a sound system which sometimes worked and with the black panels on the side we could easily filter out the noise from the rest of crowd. Filtering out the sounds of people talking in the ‘room’ was a little more challenging and I contented myself with glaring at this person a few times, she didn’t get the message. Stages 1 and 2 were much, much larger with much better AV capability, they were also real rooms as opposed to rooms which were just blocked off from the main room.

I’m differentiating authors and artists from special guests. Isobelle Carmody, despite the number of books she’s written and the fact that she’s got a really good name in the business is an author and had a regular booth like anyone else. You could go and talk to her, buy her books and get her autograph on them for no extra charge, I even saw her smile a lot. The special guests command much more, they have minders who get them to and from their talks, to and from their autograph or photograph sessions and basically look after them. They are people such as John Barrowman who played Captain Jack from Doctor Who and Torchwood.

Autographs and Photos

You will pay for these two features with special guests whereas authors and artists give them away for free. I didn’t take note of the prices of autographs but here are some photos showing prices of photos.

Group Photos

Group Photos

Individual Photos

Individual Photos

The interesting thing about both Marianne de Pierres and Isobelle Carmody is they assumed I’d want selfies with them when I asked for photos for my blog and many of these lovely authors and artists were quite happy to pose for selfies with fans.

I leave it to you to decide which you’d like to do. Pay heaps of money for a photo of you with a special guest or pay nothing for a selfie with an author or artist.

These big events recognise families sometimes need a bit of down time. And this is where the Family Activity Room comes into its own. It’s a bit hard to spot with this massive sign above my head.

Family Activity Room

Family Activity Room

In there you’ll find all sorts of things. Little tables and chairs with activities such as colouring in and a rather large chess board, because who doesn’t think chess is better when played with pieces that come halfway up my body…okay, maybe only a third.



There’s also a scribble wall in the middle where you can scribble whatever you wish.

Scribble wall

Scribble wall

Some people have such talent!

And then there’s the cosplay. But I’ll have a look at that another day. I think this is long enough today.

Friday Photos at OzComicCon

My software began working again today but I’m still going to leave Friday Photos. For this last official day of Friday Photos I’m giving you some shots from Oz Comic Con but I’ll put all the rest on Instagram for you, loading them a few at a time to tease and tantalise and make me feel as if I’m still at Oz Comic Con.

Ander Louis

Ander Louis

Ander Louis is a lovely man, always patient with me despite me not being able to pronounce his name.


Avatar: The Last Airbender

I don’t watch Avatar religiously but instead I catch up on the odd episode when someone else in the house is watching it. I was quite taken with this cosplay.

Beards and Beads

Beards and Beads

I have forgotten what this person is meant to be, maybe you know and can fill me in on the details. I did love how she took the time to create some props out of Hama Beads.

Jacinta Maree

Jacinta Maree

The talented Jacinta Maree. I didn’t manage to interview her on camera but she writes young adult paranormal romance and won the 2014 Horror of the Year.

Vampire in bathroom

Vampire in bathroom

The things you find in the bathroom. I came across this young lady putting on her nails and teeth. Once they were on they looked as if they had grown like that.

Z is for Fay Zwicky

Picnic by Fay Zwicky

Poetry is an interesting creation. It’s something I have issues with but also great admiration for anyone who can write it. Fay Zwicky has spent more than 60 years writing poetry and in 2005 the committee of the Patrick White Award decided her efforts had not been recognised appropriately. When they rang Zwicky thought it was a hoax, she doesn’t expect recognition.

One of her most famous works is called Kaddish. It was written as an elegy for her father who drowned without having had Kaddish recited for him. The Kaddish (prayer, not poem) is a very beautiful prayer which is recited when someone dies and then at various points in the mourning process. It’s not Hebrew but Aramaic and rather than talking about the deceased it actually talks about the living, I’m not sure why it generally has me in tears. One day I’ll find Zwicky’s poem and read that to see if it has the same effect on me there.

As Zwicky is fourth generation Australian and born in Melbourne I’m prepared to bet she knows my family. Having said that she has lived in Perth for many years and I’m sure would be absolutely horrified to find I’ve used her in this series. She seems to be a quiet lady who just ‘gets things done’ and doesn’t expect anything else.

She’s been writing during an interesting phase in Australian Jewish writing and has made some pertinent observations about the ways Jewish female writers are marginalised in Australian literature in her book The Lyre in the Pawnshop. I would have linked to that for you to look at but I can’t find it available for sale as a new book.

I’d like to meet her.

Videos from OzComicCon

People were very patient with me at OzComicCon. I have 10 interviews for you to enjoy. You’ll notice the slight amusement at the end when I unveiled my signature question. Despite my low technology everything came out fairly well.

Ander Louis

C.S. Pacat

Troy Barnes

Craig Bruyn

Marianne de Pierres

Nath Stones

Melanie Tomlin

Isobelle Carmody

Doug Holgate

Michel Mulipola

Oz Comic Con 2016 summary

Here’s a quick summary of my thoughts about Oz Comic Con and what I plan to do over the next few articles before I run out of material. I’ll also finish Authors by Alphabet.

I spent the weekend wandering around talking to all the authors and as many of the artists as I could. I took a lot of photos and some video interviews. I’ve made contact with a number of people with a view to interviewing them via email in the future. The videos will be on Youtube and I’ll link them here when that happens. The photos will be on Twitter and Instagram with a few words but I’ll put some of them here with an expansion of my thoughts.

The first thing you do is buy your ticket online. This year the queue to buy tickets wasn’t too big and the queue to get your wristbands with online tickets was enormous but I still recommend buying online. When we got there around 10:30am on the Saturday there were probably 100 people waiting just to get their wristbands.

Lots and lots of volunteers, they tended to be in multiples which would have been most necessary. With so many people you’d often have multiple people needing help at any one point. Just look for someone with a green tshirt and the words Oz Comic Con.

It was a tremendous weekend, I had a ball. The key to the weekend is in the name, the word ‘Comic’ should let you know that the bulk of the weekend will be about comics with enough other stuff to make everyone happy. There were three book type people who write books with words rather than illustrations and then many other people who write or illustrate graphic novels, comics or help with this kind of endeavour. There were four stages where you could view or participate in talks to learn more about the writing/drawing/creating/publishing of the books or learn more about the special guests or learn more about the art of cosplay and how to create or repair your costumes.

I only did a few panels and entirely missed the big special guests, there’s a story with one of the queues which I’ll write about before I finish today. There were many booths selling all sorts of goodies to do with cosplay or fan club booths trying to raise awareness and get more people (and also sell stuff). There were even some food places as well as the cafe provided by the convention centre.

You could buy autographs or photos with the special guests but this was rather expensive and as I don’t collect either of these I didn’t do more than look at the very extensive queues and photograph the price lists.

Some of the guests were Australian, such as the people from the Red Billabong movie while others were brought in from overseas such as John Barrowman.

Before I finish for today, here’s the story of the queue.

It was John Barrowman’s talk. I’m not a fan of meeting big luminaries, my mouth tends to open, my brain empties of all thought and such rubbish dribbles from my mouth you’d think I had no brains ever, so I tend to approach the smaller names where I’m a little more comfortable. As I have a smaller readership I didn’t think I’d get anywhere near Barrowman so I contented myself with an attempt to queue up for his talk. It was in the biggest room, of course. People must have been queuing for 10 or 15 minutes before I got there as it was already very big.

In order to get to the room they called Stage 1 you had to leave the main hall, go through the wide corridor to the broad breezeway and into the spacious foyer to queue up. I got into the breezeway before I realised the queue I’d been passing was actually queuing for a reason. I asked someone if this was the Barrowman queue and with an affirmative response I did the right thing and found the end. It had already grown another few metres in those couple of minutes. It went all the way through the foyer, through the breezeway and most of the way back to the wall of the main hall. When I got there I was only about two metres from the wall. I did try to take a couple of photos to show you the queue but I’m too short and they just show a mass of people.

The queue was so large that I only got halfway through the breezeway before we were told the room was full. If the queue was only one person wide then we would have all made it in but it was actually four or five people wide. It was an amazing queue!

Oz Comic Con!!!!

Not enough exclamation marks for my liking today. Looking at me I’m sure I look cool, calm and collected but this weekend is Oz Comic Con and I’m going, not only that but they’ve been kind enough to give me media accreditation.

So, just because I can and because I have permission and all that kind of stuff I’m putting in their logo!

It’s going to be all sorts of fun and games this weekend. The guest list includes a number of writerly type people and I promise not to haunt them too much but I will be looking at them critically with a ‘you’re a writer, drop at their feet and bow’ type of eye.

I will bring my usual photos of stalls and books throughout the weekend on Instagram and then later on Twitter, Facebook and then a round up with various photos and squees here on the blog for the next week or two until I run out. So, watch out for the hashtag #OzComicCon

One of my good readers here sent me some notes as to the writerly type of presentations happening over the weekend and I’ll endeavour to get to some of those and report back on how they went.

I know John Barrowman will be there but as I’m only small fry I really don’t expect to even see him except from a distance. Bearing in mind my propensity to lose my mind, and become a dribbling mess whenever I come across a luminary, I suspect that if I did actually meet him my mouth would open, my mind would disappear and all sorts of rubbish would come out.

I will finish my Author by Alphabet at the same time as I really don’t like leaving a series in the middle.

Y is for Beth Yahp

eat first, talk later by Beth Yahp

Yahp has the sort of writing experience I’m jealous of. She lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Sydney, if she were in lecturing at Deakin in Burwood then she’d end up being one of my lecturers. I find that a bizarre thing that I’m writing about people who could potentially be teaching me.

Anyway, enough about me. Yahp is pretty amazing. Having migrated to Australia at some stage she’s gone on to do fabulous stuff. She took her parents on a trip following their honeymoon trail and got lots of information about her family as they travelled. She then published this in the book pictured (yes, I’ve linked to it so you can buy it and make me smidgeons of money). Just have a look at the image for a moment. I love the montage of sepia photos of her parents, of the city overlaid by the bright red hibiscus flower.

One thing I admire about Yahp is a club she started in Sydney. Called the Memoir Club they get together to talk about writing memoirs. Founded in March 2013 so it’s currently three, they meet in Randwick on the last Tuesday of every month.

One thing I found in going back to the beginning of her blog is that she was a writer/tutor on some writing workshops in Nepal. It seems you could travel to Nepal to view the country and also be taught writing by Yahp. Wow! What a trip that would be.

Film: Money Monster

Trigger warnings

Before I go any further. There’s violence in this film.

Yes, a film review because I know so much about movies that I can review them…sarcasm mode completely kicked in…but onto the movie! I’ll lose the sarcasm mode while I scribble some words that could possibly be construed as praise.

All hail Jodie Foster!

I can’t recall when I first remember seeing Foster, I know I saw her as a child actor and she was definitely a familiar face in Silence of the Lambs, I suspect this was her first ‘grown up’ movie I’d seen her in and the only one I haven’t liked has been Contact but that might have something to do with how it was adapted from the book. With this movie she’s moving into a totally different era of her career and I think it’s going to be really, really good.

What the movie is about

Financial TV host Lee Gates (George Clooney) and his producer Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor (Jack O’Connell playing Kyle Budwell) takes over their studio.

Yes, a totally extreme situation. Budwell walks in with two boxes, puts them down on the set during filming, puts Gates at gunpoint and makes him put on a suicide vest. He insists the cameras remain on at all times so that everything is broadcast worldwide.

What the movie is really about

The world of finance and how some people wheel and deal without thought to the consequences for small investors. Their only thought is for their financial reward.


Just one. We’re treated to the idea that Gates is a bimbo but with the ability to perform well on camera. That he doesn’t actually think about consequences of what he’s doing until he’s forced to because he has both a gun and a suicide vest. But even then, Patty is the one pulling the strings and keeping him focussed and in line.

This is illustrated in a cute way when a producer gets hold of a tube of a viagra type cream which is supposed to work really well. Gates asks him why he hasn’t tried it yet and makes him do so. When the producer rings him back with confirmation that it works he’s told to put it away and get back to work. Yes, that goes really well. Gates hasn’t thought through the consequences of the cream. It’s a nice example of how empty headed he really is. There are many examples throughout the film of how Patty is really in charge and he’s just the show man.


He opens his show with a song and dance. He’s wearing a lovely, gold, sparkly top hat which would make a wonderful cosplay item for Moist von Lipwig from Making Money by Terry Pratchett.

There you go, how to get a reference to Pratchett into an article about a totally unrelated movie. But I really want that hat.

Plot holes and stuff

Yes, there are some but I’m not going to reference them here. I will quote the last line of the movie as it’s very funny.

Patty Fenn: [final line] So what the hell kind of show are we going to do next week?

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I want to thank the Koolin people for their thousands of years of guardianship and caretaking of the area where I live.