The Workshop Helping More Girls Make Video Games

Girls Make Games started in San Jose, California and quickly expanded into a series of international summer camps, workshops and game jams designed to encourage girls to explore the world of video games. But why is there a need for special camps just for girls? Why can’t they just go to the same ones as the boys? CEO and Founder of Learn District and Girls Make Games, Laila Shabir shed some light at the Sydney camp earlier this month.

2014 – The Year of Rae vs the Selfie

I have a little thing I do to keep myself in check. When I find myself judging other women for choices they make in their lives, I try walking a mile in their shoes to better understand their motivations.

Once upon a time I used to think that women who entered beauty pageants were vain, shallow and conceited. I realised I was making a sweeping generalisation. So I entered one.

Miss Whitsundays(That’s me on the far left – an average of 10 years older and 6 inches shorter than the other contestants)

What happened was I ended up gaining a bunch of confidence, had lots of fun, and made some great new friends.  The other women were in this competition for fun, prizes, to help launch a modelling career or simply because they were dared to by their friends. It was an experience I’ll never forget, and taught me a valuable lesson about judging people by my own pre-conceived notions of why they do what they do.

In 2013 I took my first selfie. I know that seems a little late to the party, considering it was also the year selfie was added to the dictionary, but I didn’t want people to think of me the way I thought about other people that took constant photos of themselves. Yes, there I was judging others again. Seeing daily updates of people’s faces in a scungy bathroom mirror had me questioning why they do this. Is it for attention? Validation? Are they hooked on how many “likes” they get? Does that give them the confidence boost they need to get them through the day? Or do they simply believe they are shit-hot and want to world to know it?

In 2014, I am about to find out. Rather than spamming my usual social networks with my mug in various states of attractiveness, I have started an instagram account called “@raevstheselfie” where I will upload one selfie a day, for an entire year, accompanied by the greatest number of hashtags possible. I am hoping by the time 2015 rolls around I will learn a few things – about others, but mostly about myself.

Let the narcissism begin.

“The Chuck In” screening at Flickerfest

The Chuck In
First screened at Sydney Film Festival, then at ImagiNATIVE Film Festival in Toronto, The Chuck In has been added to the program of Australian short films screening at Flickerfest International Film Festival in January 2014 at Bondi Beach. Flickerfest is Australia’s only Academy® accredited short film festival – the winner will be eligible for Oscar nomination.

Produced by Ryan Griffen and Brown Cab Productions, and Directed by Jon Bell, in The Chuck In I play the dual role of “Dream Girl” and French backpacker Genevieve – yes, I speak French in this film!

If you’ll be in Sydney on January 16th and would like to see this beautifully funny short, you can buy tickets here.

Dear Diary…Gerald

Dear Diary,

This is my third day in this house and I’m finding myself flying around more and more to keep myself from sinking into a depression. The mess those squatters left for me has driven me crazy, and the rats…they’re everywhere.

Today I woke up at 6:30am after an intense dream involving, unsurprisingly, rubbish.  There was also a computer, and a polar bear for some reason. I’ve never seen a polar bear in real life. I might book a trip up north one of these days.

I sat down to a lazy breakfast of juice (considering I keep burning the waffles I figured this was a safe bet) and took out yet more rubbish. Three days in and there’s still piles of stuff everywhere – the front yard looks like something from that TV show “Hoarders”. I jumped in a shower, mopped the bathroom floor (I really must get that fixed) and give Deirdre a call. She was one of the first people to come over when I first moved in, and offered to give me a hand to clean up. It’d be nice if we could hang out more.

After staring out the window and yelling at the rain for half an hour I figured it was time to get a job. I love helping people, so the medical field seemed like a reasonable choice. The only position available was for an organ donor. $22 per hour is not too bad. Act now, think later – I took the job. Then I sat there for an hour, wondering what I’d done. Hopefully I get promoted quickly – before I lose something vital.

I recycled the old paper out the front then flew around a bit to cheer myself up. It won’t be too bad. I’ve got a high pain tolerance. Things will be just fine, I’m sure of it. I decided to call my new boss, Lorna, for a chat. we spoke about work, computers…and rubbish. I flew around a bit more. I know I’m becoming dependent on that for my happiness but what’s a fairy to do?

I gave Suzie a call – I hadn’t spoken to her since meeting her that first day. We had a quick conversation about nachos, then I wandered into the lounge room to watch some TV – forgetting about the rats and rubbish in there. I can’t stop freaking out over this stuff. It stinks, it’s gross, and I just want it gone already. Damn squatters. I shooed the rats, cleaned up some of the mess and sat down to watch an action flick. I’m halfway through but couldn’t stop thinking about my new job. I really want to enter the medical profession, but do I really have to donate my organs? I called Lorna again. We ended up talking about my house. And rubbish.

I needed to get out of the house so I flew to the park nearby for a game of chess.  Jennifer Burb joined me for a match – we made some small talk about ladybugs, and how much she hates chicken drumsticks – then things got rather competitive. My logic skills were increasing by the minute, and I couldn’t stop playing. Tasha Dahl and Ava Kelly formed a cheer squad table-side. Come 2:30am Tasha went home. At 6:15am Jennifer finally passed out. I headed home – I haven’t chucked an all-nighter like that ever.

I had a quick drink of juice and climbed into bed at 8am. Luckily I don’t have to start work for another couple of days. I wonder what life in Dragon Valley will have in store for me.

Gerald Burlingame

I'm so sick of this rubbish


Dear Diary….Mary

Dear Diary,

Last night I had the stangest dream – chicken drumsticks, giant foam fingers, sportsballs and gardening? Yeah, okay then, weirdo brain.

So don’t judge me but I ate ice cream for breakfast. Out of the tub. Hey, at least I sat at the table! I stared out the window thinking about ghosts. I wonder how long before I’ll see one at this place? I only moved in yesterday, I give it a week LOL!

I checked the taps in the kitchen work for the 3rd time since I arrived. I hope I can shake that compulsion one day :/ I threw out my ice cream tub then climbed onto the couch for a nice lazy day in front on the TV, watching the sportsball game until lunch time, thinking about how much I’d love a boat. I don’t think the $577 in my account is going to be enough, somehow 😛

I was already sitting on the stupid toilet when I remembered I broke it yesterday. I really have to get someone in to fix it, I don’t think I’ve gagged so much in my life as I did cleaning that mess up. I checked the bathroom taps (I know, I know), jumped in a hot shower and practiced my sportsball war-cries – it was only an hour before my first day at work (I’m a “Rabid Fan” – my job description includes “Running, jumping and occasionally climbing tress” – for real) but I still had some time to fit in some more sportsball on the TV before the carpool arrived.

It was “business as usual” for my first day. I was tempted to slack off but I should probably make a good impression. Everyone asked me to stay back and clean the stadium after work, so I didn’t finish until 11pm! Everyone was super happy with me though so that kind of made it worth it.

I got home and looked at my messy bed, wishing I’d made it in the morning. Climbing into a neatly made bed is the best. Leisure day tomorrow! I might head into town, meet some neighbours. Or just watch some more TV 😛

Goodnight xx

Mary Jackson

I HAVE to make sure these sink taps work.

Dear Diary….Louis

Dear Diary,

Did I ever tell you my mother named me after a character from Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary”? The one who buries his son in cursed ground to bring him back from the dead? I don’t see my mother anymore, but can always feel her watching me. Even when I sleep.

Today  I moved into my new home in Dragon Valley. New town, new life – or at least that’s what’s they say. I would have loved to use this as an opportunity to turn my back on a life of crime, but the urge was too strong. I didn’t even get through the front door before I was thinking about my next gig.  As if on cue, the paperboy rocked up on my front doorstep. We engaged in a quick conversation about shooting stars before the little brat threw a water bomb at me. I didn’t really mind. The kid’s got spunk, I like that. He left and I checked the paper.

A local crime syndicate was advertising a position vacant for a decoy. How they can get away with advertising in such a public way I have no idea – the corruption must be rife in this place. I took the gig. $17 an hour but beggars can’t be choosers – I don’t even have furniture. I chatted on the phone with my new boss, Robin, about work, money, diamonds and roses. We seem to be getting along quite well. Over the next few hours I called him, oh, four more times? Not sure if that’s normal here but I’m a “do whatever I feel like” kinda guy.

I ventured inside for the first time, heading straight for the loo. I paced backwards and forwards in the bathroom before calling Robin again. We have a half hour chat about boxing but no amount of talking is going to get me promoted – not at this stage. I’ll have to start from the bottom here, and I really should focus on getting fitter so I don’t get stuck doing the little jobs for too long.  I jumped in a cab to the gym. I’m not even thinking about getting a car yet.

There was a kid at the door with purple hair (I forget her name) complaining about being hungry.  I’m not sure what she expected me to do about this so I ignored her and headed for the treadmill. I’m feeling kinda rusty, and luckily no-one was in the room when I fell flat on my face – the first time. Doreen Delaney got the chance to witness my 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th faceplants as she sprinted along beside me, her age belying her athleticism. That woman can run.

I was surprised to feel myself getting fitter as I ran. The clumsiness is something I definitely need to work on though –  I fell over 4 more times before I made my way to have a shower. Two hour workout. Not bad. But boy, was I ripe – If I didn’t know better I’d swear there was a trail of green stench wafting behind me.  I soaped myself up, thinking about how hungry I was. I hadn’t eaten all day.

I hailed a cab for home, hungry and tired – when I remembered I didn’t have a bed. In classic “Louis-the-Pennypincher” style, I got a cheap one. It didn’t come in grey, so green will have to do. I’m actually not too happy about that. I might have to upgrade once the money starts coming in.

I heated myself up a can of soup and ate it sitting on the toilet. It was – surprisingly – quite tasty. I used the bathroom sink to wash my plate, stripped down to my singlet and undies, and climbed into bed.

I dreamt about diamonds and disco balls.

Louis Creed

Louis Creed's first day in Dragon Valley