“I always feel like someone is watching me”– Rockwell

I finally decided today that I would read some other people’s blogs and to be honest, I felt like a total stalker. Reading other people’s blogs felt like the cyber equivalent of rifling through the underwear drawer.
So, in honour of that feeling, here is a list of stalker anthems I thought of while prowling through everyone’s intellectual property.

Obsession- Animotion
Can’t Stop Loving You- Phil Colllins
Hard Habit To Break- Chicago
I Will Follow Him- Peggy March
Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing- Aerosmith

And of course, Every Breath You Take- The Police/Sting

Now that you all think I’m just a little bit odd, let’s continue.
For those who haven’t yet, I suggest having  look at Patrick’s blog. It’s fantastic and very inspirational for anyone like me who just hasn’t quite got a handle on the whole blogging thing yet.
Ed has mastered the perfect blend of comedy and content with his insights into unlectures, social media and general ‘other stuff.’
Who needs IMDb when you have David?
Bec’s blog is my favourite because she has found a way to remain true to herself (read ‘stay brutally, hilariously honest’) and write content that’s actually worth reading at the same time. Home improvement is particularly brilliant.

Righto. Now that’s done and you’re all secretly singing “I could stay awake/just to hear you breeeeeathin’ ” it’s probably time for me to go.

Bye Dolls.
xx B–

Shady’s back!…well, Brian’s back.

My, my, my. What a difference a week, some new ideas, the return of a tutor, and a set list of questions makes.

This week’s unlecture finally delivered. While I’m still no expert on Design Fiction or the actor-network theory, I can honestly say at the end of the hour I knew more than I did at the start. No doubt this is largely due to the fact that we managed to remain on-topic for the majority of the unlecture, thus ensuring that the conversation was informative and easy to follow. I particularly enjoyed the discussion about forecasting and using our own incentives and understanding of design fiction to create ideas for the future. Looking forward into the future/great-big-terryfyingly-vague-abyss is not something I am particularly comfortable with and yet the way it was approached in this unlecture made it seem less complicated to me. I find myself looking at things in a similar fashion to Adrian in that I like to look backwards and understand what’s behind me before trying to think of something new. Perhaps that’s about to change…

I also found the banter between Adrian and Brian incredibly valuable as the two perspectives on the same idea helped me to create a context for it in my head. Having a wider understanding of Design Fiction allowed me to consolidate my own understanding as well as encourage me to consider it from new angles.

To earn my full congratulations though, I think Adrian should take a leaf from Google’s e-book and implement a new rule for RMIT: One day per week, instead of doing readings, meeting up with group members, attending early classes and awkwardly waiting outside lecture theatres making small talk with that one person we kind of know from class last semester whose name we’ve forgotten we should just be allowed to create. No rules, no assessment criteria, no due dates. Give us an entire semester to impress you and see what we come up with.

CODE RED is the new black.

As children, though we throw the words around a lot, there are very few things that we really want and only one thing we really need; our parents. We want Daddy to be there to scare away the monsters at night and Mummy to kiss our skinned knees and paper cuts; we want these heroes to be in our lives whenever we need them. The trouble with being the child of a Paramedic is that more often than not, in the most crucial years of our childhood, our parents are too busy being someone else’s hero to come and be ours, to help us.

I’d like to take a moment to clarify that in no way do I resent my father for his career. I am incredibly proud to be his daughter and –if it’s possible- love him more for the work that he does, however I will not deny the impact that shift work had on my family growing up. Like all Paramedics, Dad was forced into nightshifts that, already unpleasant by their very definition, were made worse by the knowledge that he was leaving his wife at home to cook for, clean up after and basically be mum and dad for three young children. Forced overtime caused him to miss helping us with homework, going to the park, tucking us in at night and games of street cricket. He missed Easters, Christmases, birthdays and camping trips all in the name of work but rarely did he complain. Worst of all though, above missing the holidays and the bed-time stories, Dad missed out on so much of the everyday, seemingly insignificant moments that took us from who we were then to whom we are now. We are three independent young adults who grew up while our father was speeding, lights and sirens, in the other direction.

As the youngest of the three children in my family, I hardly noticed this happening around me. I was more concerned with romance between our pet dog and the Labrador next door than the counting the hours my Dad was at home. Don’t get me wrong, this was not being selfish- I was six years old and oblivious to everything. Looking back now though, I know why riding in the back of the ambulance was such a novelty and why seeing Dad in uniform always seemed so cool- it was simply the fact that he was there so rarely that made those moments so special.
In this instance, my family is not unique. We are not the rare exception to an otherwise perfect system. There are thousands of children every day who are missing time with their parents and by the same token, thousands of parents who are missing out on watching their children grow up. Missing first steps, first words, first days of school and football games. They are the parents of children whose defining moments happen in in front of crowds made up of other people’s mums and dads and never their own. It paints a bleak picture and despite the devastation and hurt that Paramedics see in their world every day, I feel confident in saying that missing out on time with their children and spouses causes more lasting pain than any of it. I know this to be true because I have seen it on my father’s face when he looks as us, and hear it in his voice with each apology he should not have had to make for the time he has lost with us.

More and more often as we get older, my siblings and I put on old family videos, look back and play the old “remember when…” Dad is missing in so much of that footage, and sadly shakes his head and apologises, saying “I missed so much when you were growing up.” This is true. But the guilt he carries with him every day should not be his burden- his guilt is a product of the hours of overtime he worked to cover the crews who spent all day and night banked outside hospitals. His guilt comes as a result of his commitment to working for an organisation that is under-resourced and undervalued by the Victorian government.
Over the years, I have watched Dad struggle more and more to live within the sanctions of Ambulance Victoria, trying to juggle his roles as station manager, driving instructor, union activist and mentor (to name a few) and my heart simultaneously breaks and swells with pride to see how hard he has to fight, knowing that there are paramedics all over the state in the same fight. People who are literally giving the service their blood, sweat and tears to the point where days off are spent sleeping or resting acquired aches and pains. Our parents grow old before their time, exhausting both mind and body to compensate for the staff the service does not have, to work through resourcing problems every day that AV and the government say do not exist.

In addition to this, there is a disturbing increase in the number of suicides in this industry. These people who, every day, worked tirelessly to save the lives of others no longer felt they could continue with their own. What message does that send their families? Are we not enough to fight for? Going from seeing a loved one in the fleeting hours between school pick-up and a six p.m nightshift to never seeing them again is a pain that no child should ever know but sadly, more and more are faced with it.
As a Paramedic with more than thirty years on the job, Dad has lost too many colleagues and too many friends. His own stresses and struggles caused by the corruption of AV are worsened every time he learns of the loss of another paramedic. Every child fears losing their parents but for me, and for my brother and sister, the possibility is made so much more real by the toxic environment in which our Dad works each day.

I am not naïve enough to think that the issues within Ambulance Victoria can be fixed overnight. I also know that nightshift and overtime are inevitable, however there is still an obvious solution; increase government funding to Ambulance Victoria, in a tied grant ensuring the money goes towards more staff and resources rather than the pockets of the AV CEO and his managers who are inhibiting CODE RED efforts, rather than supporting their staff and colleagues.
A real investment in Ambulance Victoria would allow paramedics more time with their families – time in which the only coloured lights are on stage at the school musical and the only sirens are those for half-time at the footy. Time to just sit with their children and watch the world go by, not their lives.

Dad and I at the CODE RED rally today (12/8/13)

Design Fiction.

Sci-Fi Writer Bruce Sterling Explains the Intriguing New Concept of Design Fiction… But does he, though? ‘Explains’ is perhaps a bit of a stretch. ‘Discusses’ is probably a better word.

Another week, another reading that went straight over my head (that’s not really hard though, I’m 5’3”; everything goes over my head).  I still don’t understand  what Sterling meant by ”suspend disbelief about change.” How that phrase was followed by the statement ”It’s the best explanation we’ve come up with” is beyond me. That’s not an explanation, it’s the sort of vaguely impressing sounding statement a politician would put in a fortune cookie.
I also find it somewhat confusing that Sterling is a science fiction writer and yet he chose to discuss sci-fi films as his example. Why not discuss book, Doll? That’s what you’re good at. The diegetic elements of any film are crucial in developing and presenting plot/emotion/character etc, not just sci-fi films. Actually, not just films at all- radio plays and stage plays rely on their diegesis to engage audiences as well. Therefore, Design Fiction is not an ”intriguing” or ”new” concept.

Maybe I’ve just completely missed the point. Again. Either way, that’s all I have to say on the subject.

Catch you next time 🙂

xx. B-

Late to the party.

Hey Hey,


In typical Blaire Gillies fashion, I’ve been avoiding this for weeks but, like getting braces and bangs, I’ve decided that it’s better do do it late than not do it at all. The last thing I want is to leave it until my first mid-life crisis and not submit anything for Networked Media until I’m forty- that’s just a little bit more depressing than it is funny.

Anyway, how about I say something relevant. The unlectures. There is potential for a structure like this to be successful, I just don’t think we’re there yet. My main suggestion would be simply to go into each unlecture with a topic list to direct the subject of questions being asked. I’m not good at vague. It makes me edgy and uncomfortable and I think that I would be more inclined to participate and submit questions if I were given a more specific directive.

I am entirely in support of the ‘No Laptop’ rule. While I have never personally used a laptop in a lecture,  I frequently find myself distracted by reading what the people sitting in front of me are doing on the weekend, or noticing which scary photos of their duck-faced friends are being liked instead of reading lecture slides.

I’m still not overly fond of this blogging thing, so that’s all you get for now. Plus my washing is done and I could really do with a cup of tea.
Goodnight folks. x

‘Espoused?’- I’m sorry, what?

I know it makes me a bad student, but there is no way I was going to finish reading a five billion page reading about ‘Theories of Action’, especially without a dictionary in my hand. Espoused? What? (Noun: adopt/support a cause or belief.)

From what I read (roughly two-thirds-ish) the content of the Chris Argyris was worth reading, but I definitely think that something that intense would have been better suited to a later date when we have some kind of basis of understanding. Or perhaps everyone else understood that and were riveted from start to finish and I’m the only pleb in the course.
Perhaps I am, and for now that’s okay. But just to be clear, here’s what I managed to absorb from the reading:

Single Loop Learning is learning within the proverbial box. The Governing Variables are the limits that contain out understanding and processing abilities.

Double Loop Learning is to think and learn ‘Outside the Box.’ In this model, learning occurs through the challenge and the process of thinking outside the limits rather than actually achieving a desired outcome.

I’m going to read this article again, then come back and write a proper analysis of it when I understand what it means. A sort of anaysis 2.0, if you will. For now, it’s coffee time.

Blog Posts: Essays for the 21st century.

I have never had a blog. The idea of posting something in a public online forum that will last forever and ever makes my skin crawl. I feel vulnerable. I like the security of privacy settings and friend requests.

This task brings many fears to light for me and thought I am now on edge, I know that in many ways I will become grateful for it. Whether I end up working in the media industry is irrelevant at this point; essentially this task is going to teach me to be proud of the work I do and confidence in what I write.

So Adrian, please accept my thanks in advance for pushing me outside my limits. For now, I’m not overly find of you for making me do this, but I’ll be better for it in the long run.