let me linkspam over

I hope we’ve all come to terms with the fact that our government is full of people who would leave us all to rot, individually and collectively: New York Times: It Would Be ‘Unconscionable’ For Europe To Follow Abbott’s ‘Inhumane’ Refugee Policies; at the SMH, where it’s all just gross; Dutton thinks climate change in the Pacific is hilarious (more on that tomorrow); Secret freeze on refugee citizenship processes.

Don’t make friends with salad. Or, for that matter, any other food – on food and morality.  (Disclaimer: Official Potato Moya strongly feels that people should be friends with food if that’s what they want, some of our best friends are food, etc.)

This one goes out to Official Potato and Occasional Official Calligrapher Moya: How the Ballpoint Pen Killed Cursive.

Refugees, the most enterprising migrants in Australia

Unions slam proposal for one-hour shifts ONE HOUR SHIFTS ARE TERRIBLE JUST SAY NO

Training quolls to not eat cane toads by…throwing them sausages laced with cane toads.  #straya

Things and Their Makers: From “European Labour Only” to “Ethical Consumerism” – a great piece at Right Now by Lia Incognita with a very Melbourne focus

On the Other Hand – a rare profile of the Muppeteer who took over the role of Kermit after Jim Henson’s death

An Edwardian admonition against manspreading

Liz is really into this 1955 BBC short doco about cycle touring:

R U OK? No, because turning mental health into a brand triggers my anxiety issues!


So here’s how it works. No Award has mental health issues. We admit that. There have been doctors involved, medication, all sorts of stuff.

An older person in Steph’s life was recently told by their GP they should consider seeing a psychiatrist. They went so ashen, so still. “Will I still be able to work?” They asked. We had to have a whole conversation about how a) there’s nothing wrong with seeing a psychiatrist, and b) their work doesn’t have to know, also.

There’s still a stigma around having a mental illness. And there’s a real danger in assuming that someone who looks sad or who is quiet might be the one who needs to be asked how they’re doing. The insidious thing about depression and suicide is that often the people you don’t suspect are the ones suffering; because depression helps you get very good at putting up a front.

Nevertheless, this is exactly what happens to Liz when she doesn’t take her Lexapro. I have sulked in MANY corners of MANY coffee shops while my brain chemistry does something unpleasant. (Art by Allie Brosh.)

There’s a feeling you get in your gut when someone who doesn’t care about your mental health enough to ask any other day of the year asks, because a campaign told them to, RUOK?

Mate, if I wanted you to know, I wouldn’t want you to ask me today.

Steph is going to quote from an Anonymous Friend of No Award here:

A lot of the people who get behind the day are the exact kind of people who would have ignored me at my worst.

Steph continues, this day is perfect for people who want to ignore the sorts of attention, friendship and actions that would actually help a person who isn’t okay.

It totally supports the Western idea that if you do one good public thing as an individual you’ve discharged your duty.

The branding and corporatisation of diseases is complicated: it’s one thing for there to be Parkinson’s Australia and the Walk in the Park (GET IT); it’s another for Steph’s workplace to have had a casual dress and barbecue day for RUOK Day.

RUOK Day doesn’t promote long term support after today, it doesn’t address societal and cultural causes of depression, and it encourages people with no experience with depression to meddle with sufferers in a way that could actually worsen their lives in all kinds of ways.

This is not to say that no good can come out of it, but, judging by the results of Liz’s informal Twitter poll, positive outcomes from RUOK day come from engagement with wider issues, rather than reducing it to one single question on one single day of the year.

For example, Another Anonymous Friend of No Award said:

At my old work, we had a nice morning tea, and the boss talked generally about mental health issues and contacting Beyond Blue etc.

It was pretty chill, and as far as I can remember, no one actually asked anyone if they were OK. 

Another Anonymous Friend talked about people making her aware for the first time that there is (limited) Medicare coverage for therapy, and that made her feel more supported.

What these experiences have in common is that (a) they involved people going to the trouble of finding better resources than a random acquaintance with a four-letter question, and (b) they didn’t put the onus on people with mental illness to answer a four-letter question.

Because that’s the part that sets Liz’s anxiety off, and judging by the Twitter results, a lot of people feel the same way: living with a mental illness — even a minor anxiety disorder — there is a lot of pressure to be normal.  Whatever normal is, and it’s a concept that can change with the setting.

If I’m having an anxious day, I don’t want to dump all my feelings in a colleague’s lap — and it’s not fair to them to make them deal with that either.  I don’t know what their other problems are!  It’s none of my business!

But I also don’t want to feel the pressure to say, “Yes!  I am okay!  100% okay!  Please hold while I grin nervously and sidle away!”

I don’t want to dump an entire Hyperbole and a Half post in here, but Allie Brosh writes and draws about depression with extraordinary insight, and here she talks about the pressure she felt to comfort people after she had been honest with them about their feelings.  RUOK Day has bunting and cookie cutters.  It doesn’t have strategies for what to do when someone says, “Actually, no, I am not okay.”

It’s all very well meaning but No Award does not endorse this day.

We also do not endorse advertisements … shaming you for exacerbating someone’s mental illness by not calling them? Is that what it’s doing? Come on, Virgin.

Media that No Award looks forward to consuming

We’re restricting this post to upcoming releases, because if we covered all the media we have in our wishlists, Netflix lists and so forth (people who bought all three German St Clare’s DVDs: me), we’d be here all day.

In chronological order with a caveat that release dates may change!

1 September

The Handbook: surviving and living with climate change

Steph is already breaking the rule but only because it just came out last week.

22 September

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

This is already out in other markets, and the buzz is strong!

The Muppets, (US)ABC, Channel 7 in Australia, no airdate here

23 September

Avatar: The Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow (Part 1) by Gene Luen Yang

My OTP might look at each other!  (They broke up, like, three books ago.  Stop judging me.)

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

I’m clearly going to get a lot of use out of my new Canadian Kindle account.  Someone should give me a large sum of money so that I can open a bookstore and import Canadian YA to sell alongside Australian books.

6 October

Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie


18 October

Spear, Adelaide Film Festival, no general Aus release date

This has got to get a general release eventually, right?  RIGHT?

21 October

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I die in this book.  Also some other stuff happens, probably.  I’ve seen an ARC, it’s pretty big.

26 October

Supergirl, CBS, no Australian network yet

The pilot was charming, and we are in favour of family-friendly entertainment about girls being superheroes.  Also, No Award ships Kara/James Olsen.

27 October

Avatar: The Last Airbender – Legends


A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston

The premise wouldn’t normally grab me, but I loved The Story of Owen and Prairie Fire enough that I’ll give anything Johnston writes a burl.

Sometime in November

If You Are the One / 非诚勿扰 Australian special

1 November

Illustrated cover for The Sea is OursThe Sea is Ours: Tales from Steampunk South-East Asia

19 November

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (part 2)

(Steph will recuse herself here, she has Feelings about this franchise, both Casting Feelings and Archery Feelings.)

14 December

The Expanse, Syfy, doesn’t seem to have an Australian network yet

I quite liked the first book, and I’ve been meaning to read the next two.  I’m mostly just happy to have some space ships on my screen.

17 December

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I saw The Phantom Menace on opening day, and it marked the very first time she walked out of the cinema, went home and started writing about a movie being Problematic, although I didn’t know that word then, so I just said “majorly racist”.



24 January 

The X-Files, FOX, doesn’t seem to have an Australian network yet

I’m slogging through season 9.  It’s a struggle, but I’m determined to finish the damn series.  The reboot cannot possibly be as bad as this … can it?

5 April

The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks

What’s it about? I have no idea!  But I love Hicks’s art, I’ve been seeing snippets on her Twitter for ages, and it’s blurbed by Bryan Konietzko.  That’s enough to make me curious, despite the cynical marketing ploy of putting the Avatar: the Last Airbender font on the cover.

Illustrated cover: a cheerleader in mid-air, her shoe pointed at the sky, waiting hands below.

16 March

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E. K. Johnston

July 2016

Bell Shakespeare – Othello

A good portion of the No Award staff writers are planning to see this one!


The_Three-Body_Problem_(film)_posterThe Three-Body Problem

Did you think we wouldn’t be seeing this? The only thing holding us back will be the inevitable delay between the Chinese release in July, and whenever the Australian distributor deigns to bring it here.

(Stephanie, of course, is not limited by puny things like “needing subtitles”.  Note to self: learn Mandarin asap.)

Some time in 2016

Cleverman, the ABC

Indigenous Australian dystopian SF on Our ABC.  We have high hopes for this!  (Of course, we also had high hopes for Serangoon Road, and look how that worked out.)

Icon by Genevieve Valentine

The sequel to Persona, YA about politics and beauty pageants and spies.

The Federal Election, all the networks

Election routine: vote, eat democracy sausage, watch results come in, drink.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend

No one knows anything about this, but it has Michelle Yeoh in it, so we’ll be there with bells on.

hello and welcome to spring (not spring)

Here we are, solidly a “week” into “Spring.” In Melbourne, this means there’s nothing different to last month; it’s max 13C, there’s winds and rain, and this afternoon the possibility of hail.

So now seems like a good reminder: Spring is an artificial concept imported and imposed upon the Australian landscape when those invaders should have been chatting to the Traditional Owners about the six (or seven, or two) seasons. (It goes without saying that it’s all about imperialism and racism that we don’t talk about this stuff even now, but comment if you wanna chat about it)

Being from Perth, Steph is about to focus on the six seasons of the Nyoongar people, with brief diversions into Wirrudjeri (Eastern) seasons.

We’ll start with a reminder that seasonal calendars don’t match up with the Gregorian calendar, because the Gregorian calendar is an artificial concept imported and imposed upon the Australian landscape, along with the completely illogical European seasons. And of course there are different seasons across the whole continent, but Steph is only talking to the ones she knows. Okay, good. Now:

Perth. The South-West, a huge chunk of the continent. The Nyoongar seasonal calendar is six seasons long, yes, perfect. They don’t match up with the Gregorian calendar, but approximately:

a circular seasonal map; in the centre is an image of australia, the next level is 'spring, summer, winter, autumn', the next level is birak, bunuru,djeran, makuru,djiba,kambarang

Continue reading “hello and welcome to spring (not spring)”

On the road to the holy links

Keen to nominate in 2016’s Hugo Awards when the time comes, but don’t know where to start?  Renay is maintaining a GoogleDoc (with submission form) for eligible works.

If you’re in Australia, you should also keep an eye on the 2016 Ditmar eligibility list.  The categories don’t entirely overlap with the Hugos, but it makes a handy source of reading suggestions.

Diversity Panels I’d Like To See – Want something a bit more substantial (and less well-trod) than “_____ in SF”?  Check these out!

Is Critical Analysis Foreign to Chinese Students‘, an academic article, is basic but interesting.

This review of Round the Twist speaks to Steph’s very soul: Have You Ever Felt Like This: Going Round the Twist again

Watching Round the Twist is sprawling in a soggy chloriney cossie in front of the telly, fighting with my brother, eating spag bol, riding bikes, throwing a tantrum when Mum donated my pink Barbie convertible to kids in need. There’s no other show that takes me back to who I was as a kid and lets me identify the parts of me that have remained intact, and reliving it really has been the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. Because it taught me that if ladies can be clowns and penises can be propellers and Daddos can be actors, I can really be anything I want to be, and that’s just as important for me to hear now as it was when I was six.

A cabbage tragedy.

The evolution of female pen-names from Currer Bell to J.K. Rowling

In the lead up to Fringe, a Melbourne artist is putting up Unwelcome mats in front of government buildings.

Tansy Rayner Roberts discusses To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, one of Liz’s all-time favourite novels.

Google street view for cats.

There is an Indigenous Dance Movie!

Rebel Sport Seeks Asylum From Claims It Ripped Off Refugee Video To Flog Stuff On Father’s Day

Taylor Swift made a colonialist music video, right before joining Nicki Minaj on an actually-African-inspired-with-actually-black-people performance at the VMAs.  Awks.

Tony Abbott had an interview with Alan Jones and this is just the machine transcript but

the Nazis did terrible evil but they had the sufficient sense of shame to try to hide it

?? !! ? (also abortions are like Nazis)

On turning slacktivists into activists.

Yesterday was Indigenous Literacy Day, but Indigenous literacy is important all year. No Award highly recommends supporting the Indigenous Literacy Foundation all the days of the year.

Having a yarn(bomb)

No Award says no to yarn bombing.  It’s a waste of yarn, potentially damaging to trees (we keep hearing different things on this, so it may depend on the tree), interferes with things that live in trees, renders mobility and accessibility aids useless or difficult to use, and if it’s not hideously ugly to start with, it will be by the time the yarn goes mouldy.

Literally the only yarnbomb I’ve ever seen that I didn’t detest was small and subtle — tiny red crocheted flowers loosely tied around the branches of a naked tree in winter.

“But it’s so clever and subversive!”

No, it’s just a mould that accompanies gentrification.  It’s about as subversive as Banksy or Julian Assange.  Yarnbombing is to underground art as manic pixie dream girls are to well-written female characters.

Luckily, the argument that yarnbombing is in any way underground, clever or subversive has just gone out the window.

A guy in a hi-vis vest attaches some yarn to a trailing at a tram stop.
Thanks to Official Photographer Zoe for catching this!

Is that a guy in a hi-vis vest applying machine-made crochet* to a tram stop?

I was going to put on my Intrepid Journalist hat and investigate the tram stops in person on my lunch break, before conducting an in-depth interview with a sweet potato with cheese bacon and onion for Liz’s Lunch Magazine.  But I had a lot of errands to run, so I just stayed at my desk and used Twitter.

Twitter exchange between Liz and Yarra Trams, confirming that it is real yarnbombing.

Corporate fake yarnbombing.  Stop the bus tram, everyone go home, it’s over.  We’re done.

* We assume it’s machine-crochet.  Though Official Potato Moya notes, “the idea of Yarra Trams having, like, a back room full of bearded hipsters knitting quietly away at their yarnbombing, being paid in lattes, that’s kind of delightful”.

In conclusion, use your knitting powers for good instead of gross wet wool evil and find out which charities accept donations of blankets.

museum shops of the world: NGV

Stephanie attended NGVI and NGVA on the weekend, in the company of Friend of No Award Zoe, Official Potato Moya and Friend of No Award Ashleigh.

Exhibits acasting a puppet shadowttended: Bunyips and Dragons (Australian Children’s Picture Books, NGVA, do it, so good. So worth it); something with mobiles that are cymbals; Transmission (NGVI, a trap);  Gods, Heroes and Clowns, Monsters of SEAz (DO IT, OMG).

The NGV bookshop receives many points (added potatoes) for the excellent array of children’s books at both NGVI and NGVA, with many Australian (including Indigenous Australian) books at NGVA and many books about introducing kiddies to ~art~ of many styles.

Continue reading “museum shops of the world: NGV”