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Tansy Rayner Roberts

If I Reach Out With My Fingertips, I Can Touch the Holidays.

August 28th, 2012 at 13:01

I can tell it’s nearly the end of Term 2 because we’ve been hit by illness after illness, mostly surrounding the kids, though of course the parents tend to get smacked with versions of the same illnesses, usually just as they are most exhausted from running around after cranky/vomity/coughing children.

For example, I didn’t get the high temperature spikes or achiness of Raeli’s flu, but I did manage to get an inner ear infection that defied antibiotics and happily snapped, crackle and popped in accompaniment to my daily life for more than a month.

It’s the end of the school soccer season too, and much though I like to see my sporty daughter learning teamwork and running around enjoying herself, I have NOTICED how often a snow-chilled wind is laid on especially for the after school practice, and as for getting up for 9am muddy games every Saturday morning… well. I’m glad she enjoys it. I am. But I am ready for it to be done.

Also, school. School holidays have been a source of stress for me in the past – stress and unwork – but in my current lifestyle, with a bouncy three-year-old at home to entertain, having the cheerful and responsible seven-year-old join us for two weeks sounds like bliss. BLISS.

I forgot to mention that I made a guest appearance on Panel2Panel last week, one of my favourite podcasts. It’s like if I was able to spend a whole Galactic Suburbia episode talking about feminist issues and comics without having to worry that Alisa might over-roll her eyes, leading to a knitting injury. Grant sadly could not make it, but Kitty and I talked happily about all kinds of comics issues for more than an hour, including her review of Power Girl and mine of the new Wolverine & the X-Men. We’ve both come so far since the Swancon panel we shared a year and a half ago!

Our special subject was the narrative fallout that came from youthificating (it’s a word!) superheroes, and how the trend of taking experience, powers and years away from comic characters tended to be more marked (and dramatic) when applied to women. Yes, it’s the rant I’ve been building up to since they de-aged and demoted Wonder Woman in the mid-80′s. DC just keep giving me more material. And while we’re at it, where are Sue Storm’s grey temples?

Also this week, Flipside Publishing released the speculative fiction collection How to Traverse Terra Incognita by Filipino author Dean Francis Alfar. I was honoured at being asked to read the booka and provide a blurb for it, and as you can see, I’m in some pretty fine company.

My big experiment this week is signing up to subscribe to BBC iPlayer through the iPad. It’s less than ten dollars a month, but I had been hesitating over whether I wanted to do it. Our recent acquisition of Apple TV (allowing us to play anything on a screen in the house on the TV) made that decision easier, so we’re trying it out.

So far it comes with many region-related disappointments, notably the lack of recent sports coverage (Arrrrsenal…), the lack of EastEnders (OK that one was probably for the best), and biggest of all, the lack of upcoming Doctor Who episodes. In Australia at least, the iPlayer does not give us instant access to current programmes in the way that it does for its British citizens. Which is, while understandable from a rights-sold point of view, a bit pants.

I would have happily paid more for an opportunity to view the new Doctor Who legally as soon as it’s released in the UK, rather than having to wait six days for a Saturday TV release here on the ABC. (Are you listening, Auntie? I’d have paid YOU if you could supply this, too) Apart from anything else, as parents we do rather like to watch the show ahead of our daughters to check whether it’s likely to give them nightmares, and thus to have a large pillowcase available to chuck over their heads at the relevant moment.

[EDIT: the ABC are awesomecakes! Apparently they are doing exactly this, making new Doctor Who available on iView within hours of the UK broadcast. NATIONAL BROADCASTER I LOVE YOU! We've come such a long way since the Christmas specials airing in April...]

On the other hand, iPlayer does give me access to a pretty massive archive of material, for the price of 2 DVD rentals, and I don’t see myself giving up the subscription until I’ve combed the period drama section backwards and forwards, rewatched every episode of This Life, and introduced Raeli to a bunch of old British comedy that I was never going to get around to buying on DVD.

Also if Jem discovers the existence of the entire season of Charlie and Lolas that she’s never seen, I may never be allowed to quit.

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2 Responses to “If I Reach Out With My Fingertips, I Can Touch the Holidays.”

  1. Marina Says:

    I hear you on the school holidays! Everyone gets tired, run-down and grumpy as the end of term approaches, even parents (especially parents?). I love not having to leap out of bed at 6:30 to make lunches, not having to spend all afternoon running to after-school activities. I look forward to sleep-ins and time spent hanging out together.

    Of course, by the time the holidays are nearly over, I’m looking forward to getting back into routines and having some child-free time too!

  2. Ju Says:

    I really really love ‘Charlie and Lola’ :)

    I am also *really* excited about the Doctor Who news!

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