Transitions – skills, knowledge and software

Making my first “feature” (!) length video.

Here she is. Enjoy. After the panic died down, I did.

Exploring the concept of online dating after 50 was enlightening. It showed that firstly, there’s been plenty of research into online dating, but very little focussed on the challenges and movitations of older people engaging in the practice. What I did find that despite public impressions, it is being rapidly adopted, and is widely accepted by over-50s.

Creating the video was – as expected – the biggest challenge for the unit. Purely due to my inexperience. Our Tiffit challenges gave me a basic tool set. But I still wasn’t prepared for the enormity of the task. Producing a seven-minute video with nothing but an iPhone for shooting footage is for the brave, and possibly experienced.

I’d suspected I was going to experience issues, so I’d planned an escape route, if you will. A second topic researched and ready to go – it’s the one you see above. My initial attempt, around technological relevance in culture really needed “live” footage; even spent half a day at ScienceWorks having quite a bit of fun fiddling with shooting footage. Poor lighting and shaky video meant it was just not usable without advanced editing software. Which, I have to say, iMovie most certainly isn’t.

So, attempt two; less visually appealing than I’d like – that’s that inner perfectionist again – involved a commentary over a mixture of my own photos, infographics and some from others for thematic purposes. Selling soul for tripod-mountable camera!

From having, essentially, worked through the process twice, it would be much more efficient, and less time consuming to produce a video from your own live footage than the route I ended up using. Collecting, collating and recording attribution details for the creative commons content took up more than a day – shooting seven minutes of footage (in one go!) takes… well, seven minutes.

I did learn some really great stuff on the way. Like – in iMovie, the best way to format your credits is by copying them into textEdit to format, then paste back into the effects window. Much pain avoided. And, transitions are fiddly, finiky little creatures. You’ll likely see some examples where I’m still half a second late or early. Where I’d invest more time is audio; getting levels anywhere close to sane is a process not for the faint hearted; worth the time, for your viewer’s sake.

Again, likely because my experience is lacking, the scripting was the most mentally-taxing part of the process. But I suspect I’m only becoming comfortable with the video editing aspect because of the many elements I’m not even aware of yet; let alone mastered. I was learning, and trying new things inside iMovie right up to the minute before I exported the video.

There are limits to the technology I using. Specialist equipment would go a-ways towards increasing my confidence, and skills. But the most important thing, yep, it’s the learning by doing. My challenge to myself – do more, even if it’s unpublished. I’ve enjoyed the process. Onwards!

I did learn a couple of surprising factoids in the process. Abraham Maslow isn’t responsible for the famous pyramid – at least initially. His original text contains a detailed explanation of the structure, but no illustration. Likely because of the cost of incorporating engravings in publications in 1943.

And; while I was exploring the links between Myers-Briggs and the Johari Window I found that most of the people who rate as highly “Unrealistic” on the Myers-Briggs assessment (Nordvik 1996) are also the most likely preference of partner (Scott 2016). So, either the rest of us are delusional; or teachers, lawyers, flight attendants and designers have it right.

607 words

Nordvik, H 1996, ‘Relationships between Holland’s vocational typology, Schein’s career anchors and Myers-Briggs’ types’, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, vol. 69, no. 3, pp. 263–275.

Scott, K 2016, ‘What job is considered the most attractive by a potential partner?’, Employee Benefits, retrieved 10 May 2017,

Broader ALC203 activity

I’ve been continuing to tweet, and blog. And have made myself a presence on some additional social networking sites – updating and filling in details on my LinkedIn account and adding a Tumblr profile for curiosity’s sake.

Probably the biggest change in the last month has been producing my own artwork to identify myself online. Although it’s still a work in progress, I’m happy to say that my creativity has been inspired by the unit; and I’m confident that Week 12 isn’t the last you’ll see of me.

References for video –

Video produced for ALC203, Trimester 1, 2017

References – Academic

Adams, MS, Oye, J & Parker, TS 2003, ‘Sexuality of older adults and the Internet: from sex education to cybersex.’, Sexual & Relationship Therapy, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 405–415.

Alterovitz, S & Mendelsohn, G 2009, ‘Partner Preferences Across the Life Span: Online Dating by Older Adults’, Psychology and Aging, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 513–517.

Cassavetes, N 2004, The Notebook, Warner Bros., retrieved May 13, 2017,

Communication in the Real World: An Introduction to Communication Studies 2016, University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing, Minneapolis, MN, retrieved 10 May 2017,

Coupland, J 2000, ‘Past the “Perfect Kind of Age”: Styling selves and Relationships in Over 50s Dating Advertisements’, Journal of Communication, vol. 50, no. 3, pp. 9–30.

Fileborn, B, Thorpe, R, Hawkes, G, Minichiello, V & Pitts, M 2015, ‘Sex and the older single girl: Experiences of sex and dating in later life’, Journal of Aging Studies, vol. 33, pp. 67–75.

Goode, E 1996, ‘Gender and courtship entitlement: responses to personal ads’, Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, vol. 34, no. 3/4, pp. 141–169.

Hillman, JL 2000, Clinical perspectives on elderly sexuality., Kluwer Academic Publishers, New York.

Hillman, JL 2012, Sexuality and aging: clinical perspectives, Springer, New York.

Luft, J & Ingham, H 1955, ‘The Johari Window, a graphic model for interpersonal relations’, in Western Training Laboratory in Group Development, UCLA Extension Office, Los Angeles.

Malta, S 2007, ‘Love Actually! Older Adults and their Romantic Internet Relationships’, Australian Journal of Emerging Technologies & Society, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 84–102.

Maslow, AH 1943, ‘A theory of human motivation’, Psychological Review, vol. 50, no. 4, pp. 370–396.

McWilliams, S & Barrett, A 2014, ‘Online Dating in Middle and Later Life: Gendered Expectations and Experiences’, Journal of Family Issues, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 411–436.

Miller, RK & Washington, KD 2017, Consumer use of the internet & mobile web 2016-2017 3rd edn, Richard K. Miller & Associates, Loganville, GA.

Nordvik, H 1996, ‘Relationships between Holland’s vocational typology, Schein’s career anchors and Myers-Briggs’ types’, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, vol. 69, no. 3, pp. 263–275.

Ramirez, A, Sumner, EM, Fleuriet, C & Cole, M 2015, ‘When Online Dating Partners Meet Offline: The Effect of Modality Switching on Relational Communication Between Online Daters’, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 99–114.

Wang, C-C & Wang, Y-T 2010, ‘Who is Everyone’s Darling in Cyberspace? The Characteristics of Popular Online Daters’, International Journal of Cyber Society and Education, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 69–98.

Credits – Photographic

Sodret, J (2014), dansen gamionios,

Seneca, T (2005), More Dolls,

diepuppenstubensammierin (2011), caco grandmothers,

Lorena (2010), Perrine Doll, Mireya,

Hopkins, K (2005), Dates,

gatineaujoe (2013), A peel ing,

Sodret, J (2014), Babydoll,

MilanaAliana (2014), Boda Marina i Bernat 4,

Harrsch, M (2004), Henry VIII by Rexard,

Bisson, S (2008), Onions in a port wine reduction,

alaig (2009), She’s a real doll … and so is he,

Manor-Abel, Z (2012), Super Cyclin,

Pati (2008), Couple!,

Hu, K (2010), Project_03,

Wayland, D (2012), Onions,

Milvain, L (2017), Yellow Car, **

toohotty (2008), Gross Couple Dolls,

diepuppenstubensammierin (2011), 1960er Ari Hochzeitspaar, verschiedene Maßstäbe,

Larose, E (2010), I do,

Denness, G (2009), One for the road,

alicemelodolls (2017), A tale as old as time,

All licensed either CC BY-NC 2.0 or cc BY-NC-SA 2.0.
Milvain, L (2017a), Johari Window, retrieved 29 May 2017,

Milvain, L (2017b), Maslow, retrieved 29 May 2017,

Milvain, L (2017c), Online Dating, retrieved 29 May 2017,

Milvain, L (2017d), Characters, retrieved 29 May 2017, **

All licensed CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 and created by the author.

** Note: these entries, by the author, do not appear in the YouTube credits list as “Your description is too long”.


Semicolon addiction: It *can* happen to you

Image by: Lara Milvain cc by-2.0

I have an apology to make. I’ve been harbouring an atrocious secret. I’m addicted to semicolons. I’m not sure where it started. Maybe it was born of a sense of superiority. Maybe as a cure for grammatical homogeneity. Possibly I was just showing off. In the beginning at least. But it’s spiraled into something of catastrophic proportion.

According to the Oxford English dictionary, I have it all wrong, or at the very least, I have it way too often. I use my beloved semicolon with horrendous, eye-jarring frequency. It’s meant to be a shy creature, the debutante of the grammatical world. Seen once a season, and admired from afar. I’ve dragged it out so often it’s lost all its mystique. I’ve turned it into the syntactical equivalent of a hooker.

Common wisdom says the first step to resolving any problem is acknowledging it, so in the interests of moving forward: Dear reader, I apologise deeply for my long term, wanton, almost brazen over- and incorrect use of the semicolon.

I came across my, er, “issue” while re-reading some of my earlier posts and frankly, I was mortified at the frequency of my semicolon abuse. I’ve used them where I should’ve used a comma. I’ve used them where I could’ve used a dash. I’ve used them instead of full stops. Oh wait … legit usages, mostly. But … it’s possible I may have found one which would’ve been better replaced by a model railway and an ice cream sandwich.

One random study I found on the internet suggests I’d be better aiming for around three every 1000 words if I aspire to replicate classical English literature. My previous blog: 705 words, 10 semi’s. I’ve got some work to do. (Also: Must. Resist. Semi. Truck. Pun.)

So, how should I be using them? My newly-adopted friend Oxford’s online dictionary tells me:

The main task of the semicolon is to mark a break that is stronger than a comma but not as final as a full stop. Oxford 2017.

Easy! I can do this. I’m sure. Maybe. Well, it’s worth a try. Separation will be difficult, but with support I’ll make it.

Image by : JWilde. Modified by cc by-sa 4.0
How many cats and how many keyboards does it take to create a 700-word blog post with 10 semicolons? Image by : By JWilde. Modified by cc by-sa 4.0

Oxford’s been kind enough to spell out for me how I *should* be using this marvelously quirky-looking member of my punctuation toolkit:

It’s used between two main clauses that balance each other and are too closely linked to be made into separate sentences. Oxford 2017.

It goes on to provide me with solid examples. In the past I’ve been guilty of using “it”, the errant semicolon, in conspicuously prominent positions. I don’t think I’ve gone as far as doing something; like that, which is just outright incorrect – or as I prefer to think of it: A “typo”.

More examples, and even a possibly not-100%-legit PhD in semicolon usage, are offered over at Write With Jean. She explains semi’s are easy – there’s only two circumstances to use them. The first: Grab two closely related sentences, bang ’em next to each other, replace the full stop with the semi and de-capitalise the first word of the second sentence. To work up an example based on Jean’s:

The egg was cooked. I grabbed it out of the water.


The egg was cooked; I grabbed it out of the water.

And that’s the super-advanced example, where I can’t de-capitalise the “I”. Both are technically correct uses of the English language’s weird but lovely grammatical structure. Using the semi simply adds a little distinction to the prose. Makes it flow. Adds character. Makes a sentence a college graduate.

The second use, according to Jean, is a descriptive list containing commas. Rather than:

  1. A book, 300 pages.
  2. A chair, single-seated.
  3. Eight forks, silver-plated.


A book, 300 pages, a chair, single-seated, and eight forks, silver plated.


A book, 300 pages; a chair, single-seated; and eight forks, silver-plated.

Grammarly – an organisation which handles miscreant grammatacists such as myself with a calm, quiet aplomb and a bit of a ribbing – has even put together this 2-minute refresher on the semi for me.

They add a third usage – winkies. The cuter brother of the smilie.

Braised wonto…oh nevermind. Image by: J. Hendron cc by-nc 2.0

With the help of Grammarly, Oxford and Jean, I may be on my way to a cure for the common semicolon. And I’ve done my internal grammar police duty for the week. What’s that over there? Yeah, that’s my smugness strutting past in its shiny boots, skinny jeans and beard. Hipster-level smug. Go girl. (Hrmm, about that beard…)

Next on the chopping block: “wanton, almost brazen”, “conspicuously prominent” … Why use one word Lara, when eight or nine would do.

Fixing my grammar, one easy-to-spot problem at a time. It’s good to have goals, yeah?

More info:

Oxford Online Dictionaries
Write with Jean
And I love the guys and gals over at Grammarly’s Twitter account

“Do not ever let anyone tell you this didn’t happen”

It’s funny, a few weeks back a member of our cohort asked if anyone had some links they used to gather inspiration for writing. I answered quickly; nup – I just jot things down as I go, and use those. Maybe a sketchy memory of a dream, maybe something I’ve seen that day that’s inspired me.

And that’s about where my inspiration dried up. On the spot. It was like sharing that “secret” drained all my ideas. Until the weekend. Our media class had a field trip to Melbourne’s Jewish Holocaust Center. I’ve spent the last two days reeling through the lower end of my emotional repertoire.

It’s hard to fathom, even after 75 years’ analysis, what actually happened in Europe during the second world war. War itself is baffling enough to my generation; I was born at the tail end of Vietnam, and haven’t ever faced conscription, let alone actual participation. A skirmish here, another there; and two in the same place 10 years apart is the closest we’ve come in my lifetime. But nothing on the scale that ended oh-so-close to three quarters of a century ago.

I was lucky enough, though, to be “old” enough to have the chance to speak with my grandfather, CD Crellin, about his experiences in WWII. It was a blustery afternoon, and we stood at a large picture window in my family’s farmhouse lounge and nattered. Well, he nattered, I listened. He talked in hushed tones; as if speaking quietly of events somehow made them less fearsome. I was a writer – well, journalist – back then; and I kick myself to this day that I didn’t take down what he’d told me. Like Grandad, it’s lost to the foibles of time.

All I can gather now is a dry collection of his service records via (online) sources such as the Australian War Memorial and our National Archives. It’s a poor substitute, but in my youth I neglected to record his thoughts, so it will have to do.

One of our experiences during the weekend’s JHC visit was viewing a video our lecturer had made a few years ago with Phillip Maisel OAM, a nonagenarian who has taken the time, care and foresight to record thousands of survivor testimonies for the center.

Mr Maisel has gone to extraordinary lengths to record the memories of witnesses to that tragedy, to help ensure its events are never forgotten. It would be wonderful to think that maybe also one day some sense could be made of the massacre via these personal remembrances; but how can you make sense of the insane?

We were privileged, and I mean that sincerely, to have the opportunity to hear holocaust survivor Charles German speak. He didn’t “have a script”; and spoke from his heart. His tale of meeting, by chance and years later, two other child survivors of the same camp and their method of assessing their own truths – “if two of us have the same memory, we believe it to be true” is scientific enough for me. I’ve built my own childhood memories in a similar fashion; recounting stories with friends and family, finding similarities and amassing a fuller picture of our shared experiences.

What struck me hardest in Mr German’s address was the subtle, but enormous anger that crept into his voice when he spoke of holocaust denial. “Do not ever let anyone tell you this did not happen.” Delivered with quiet, but thorough disdain. A delivery only the truthful and the righteous could sustain. I agree with my classmates who have since written, questioning how there could be any doubt over the veracity of the holocaust and its tragic outcome for so many minority groups in Europe, not just Jewry. That it happened is bad enough; to pretend it didn’t is as horrific as the events themselves.

It’s almost too late now to gather much more first-hand evidence of WWII. The very youngest at its outbreak are now entering their eighth and ninth decades. We are out of time. Speak with these people; learn what they saw, feel what they felt. And record it – somehow – for following generations. It’s our way forward.

And: “Do not ever let anyone tell you this did not happen.”


More info:

Jewish Holocaust Center, Melbourne
Australian War Memorial records search
National Archives of Australia service records search

p.s. This is a wall of text by design. I do not own copyright to any images of the holocaust, and to use ‘found’ images which may or may not be authentic I believe risks disrespecting the happenings in Europe 75+ years ago.

A search using the twitter hashtag #ALC203 will return images taken during our visit on 30 April 2017 by others. I couldn’t stop shaking long enough to focus a camera.