Monday, July 31, 2006

you know you got me burning up baby

One of my earliest memories of Madonna was of a 6 year old me running around the playground singing Like A Virgin at the top of my lungs with my best friend Peg. I was one of those painfully shy kids, so I can just imagine what my teachers would have thought about that one. I was infatuated with Madonna. I guess every little girl was. We're talking ratty hair, mesh singlets and black rubber bracelets here. What's not to love?

I have certainly gone through my love and not-love phases with Madonna. But looking back on her career now is amazing. For all the criticism she gets - the religion, the marriages, the sex, the children's book and the constant reinvention - she still comes out on top. Have you seen her now? She is still right on the money. The thing about Madonna that is absolutely refreshing even today is that you get the impression that despite the girly eyelashes she would cut you if got too close. She has all the power, all the time. There aren't many female artists that can truly say that. Take Kylie Minogue (since she blatantly does the rip off Madonna thing) - she's got a shit load of money and runs her own empire but you still get the impression that she's passive. Kylie is the object, there to be looked at like some princess. And there you have Madonna, there to be looked at like some princess but at the same time she directs your gaze. You look where you're told. There's nothing there that isn't completely controlled. Love or hate the machine, it's still schmicko.

I have recounted the story at dx of the first ever album I got (The Beatles Rock and Roll Music Vol2 - which was a horrifying present for someone who had asked for Cindy Lauper!). But the first ever album I bought for myself was Madonna's The First Album. I remember the day well - It would have been my 7th birthday and I'd just got my ears pierced for the first time. With the money left over I wandered on into Brashes and purchased my first album. I was beside myself with excitement about playing it that I could hardly contain my pee. That christmas I had recieved the world's best present: A baby pink Panasonic Radio Cassette player - with white buttons and dials and a white strap that went over your shoulder so you could carry your tunes with you wherever you went. That present was beyond cool - I loved that portable player so much. Can you imagine how beside myself I was at playing The First Album on the best cassette player?

I played The First Album so many times over the next couple of years that it actually broke; the tape snapping and with it tearing my heart strings too. I knew every single word and had concocted dodgy dance moves to every song. I knew this album better than I knew my family. So much so that when I finally purchased the CD only a few years ago I still knew every word to ever song EVEN non-hits like I Know It, Everybody, Think of Me, Physical Attraction - songs I hadn't heard since the tape broke. There aren't many albums I could say that about - I guess you never love like you love when you're young.

Since I had the album Peg and I decided to make up a dance to Lucky Star and perform it at assembly. We practised every lunchtime and recess (and afterschool at eachother's houses) for about a month before deciding we were ready for stardom. Of course the performance was a complete disaster but I had hot pink leggings on and a big white lace bow in my crimped hair and make up on (oo lala), so at least something looked good (err). Despite the disaster Peg and I went on to perform Holiday and Borderline as dances at the school assembly and wanted to do more but strangely the requests kept getting denied. Obviously we still thought we were shit hot though.

My all time favourite song from this album is Burning Up. After I saw the video clip on countdown (well, it was on chanel 2 anyway) all I did was writhe around on the floor like Mads singing my head off into the hairbrush. God love her - and christ help me: Moonwalking down the corridor and rolling around on the floor like some prosessed demon. And so that's the song I leave you with - how could I not?

Burning Up - Madonna

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Sunday, July 30, 2006


Women talk, a lot. We talk about what's on our minds. We talk about what's ailin' us and we discuss how we can solve our problems. When you talk, you come to understand things about eachother and you come to realisations. You may not always agree but there *is* always something you can take away with you. This is why they say the pen is mightier than the sword. Knowledge may not always bring swift change like cutting off a head would but it's always the better option...the more enlightened option. Women should do it more often, this getting together without men thing - I've said it before; it's important. Sometimes you hear women say "other women hate me. I get along with men better". I can only think of one reason why women hate them and that is; said woman flirts with her friends' boyfriends. Stictly a no-go. I feel sorry that these women who jeapordise their friendships with other women by only seeing girls as competition. Sure, all women go through a competetive stage with other women, but not 24/7 - unless you're a freak. My view is that - genuine friendship problems aside - women should generally support eachother cause men, god love 'em, won't do that unless they really love or care about you - and most don't. Also, men tend to complicate things highly. Not because they try to, but because they're just there and when they're there women go ga-ga and stop thinking.

So in a conversation at the bachelorette about how everyone is married now (argh) G said It's hard, this "looking for a man" thing. If you are committed to it, then everything you think and do becomes about that. They're everywhere! You can't even walk down the street without wondering whether he's out there somewhere and whether you look okay. You don't even want to think about it, it just happens - it becomes ingrained in everything you think about , well, something clicked over in my head. I just thought, I don't want to live my life that. So, you know what? I'm not. It gets you nowhere and you miss out on living because all you're doing is waiting and hoping. G is right. Finding someone is like a full time job. You are always on high alert. Not because you want to be. Not becuase you need to be - but it just happens. It's not even a wholey active process in your mind. It's just always a part of who you are. I don't want to be like that. I'm done with it. I feel like I've taken control again. Thank fuck - on with my life.

Anyway we started off with food, a belly dancing lesson (hence middle eastern theme: I can now belly dance folks - it's very cool) and much wine and merriment. By the time we got to the club S was tanked and the daggy dancing came out. I love me some daggy dancing. M (of the E and M fractured friendship ordeal) is also a champion of it so we broke out all the moves (I'm talking about the running man here folks - hardcore dork city!) - including making up specific moves to the lyrics of crappy songs which we all knew the words to (which is always interesting in a retarded fashion). 4 hours later without a break and feet practically bleeding I looked around and realised we'd even set off multiple daggy dancers in other groups to strutt their dorky moves. I mean, when it's 80s and 90s night at the club there is nowhere left to go. I haven't done that in ages - been to a club and just danced for fun. It's part of the reason why I find nightclubs so tedious now and tend to refuse to go more often than not - LOVE the dancing. HATE the boy games. Once you take the boy games out - it's back to the business of being a dork, my speciality, and having fun. It was like remembering the old me. There were many laughs to be had.

So, I stand by my not 'looking' resolution. Sure men are there but that's all they are. There. I'll keep crushing on them and if an opportunity comes my way, I won't say no, I'll keep musing about issues I have with men or women and queries I have too - but I'm done being on guard. This morning I'm still picking heart shaped sequins bits off me, but it's a good place to be. Me.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Fragmented Friday

- another note on the nice guy v prick entry from yesterday. I got this great email from matt who pointed out that if someone calls themselves a nice guy then it usually means they aren't. Real nice guys don't need to or want to define themselves so narrowly (or rather, they don't need to affirm it every time they go out for a drink). I wholeheartedly agree. He pointed me in the direction of a great article that I hope you'll read. It basically sums up my position on the Pick Up Artist who hides behind the cloak of "nice guy". Here's a great quote:

Let me put it this way–you’re not committed to women’s equality if you still think that women are obliged to reward you with a pussy avalanche for lowering yourself to treating them like human beings. And if you walk around with a chip on you shoulder, angry that women don’t immediately take off their pants because you kindly point out that you’re sure that their boyfriends are dickheads, because you know women like jerks, it’s going to show.

And let’s be frank, the niceness of “nice” guys is highly questionable if they feel they are entitled to be buried under a mountain of naked cheerleaders for having what many of us would consider the basic decency of having good politics. If guys with these expectations actually get a girlfriend and then do something nice like buy her a present, what otherworldly favors do they want in return before they get angry? The essence of the “nice” guy’s whine is, “I’m so awesome and the reason women don’t see it is every single woman in the world is a secret masochist.”


there are also some excellent thoughts which expand on this in the comment section. A worthy read! Thanks Matt :)

- Today I saw a (spew) ...financial planner. If you say you work with money and you actually like balancing ..err stuff, then I pretty much know which side of the line you live on (the other side to me). I can't think of anything more boring than "accounts" (except expense accounts) actually. But anyway, if that rocks your socks and wacky ties then so be it. But for me? Nah. Basically, I'm terrible with money - I can save if I put my mind to it, but I guess I don't really live as responsibly as I probably should. I have a credit card - it gets a work out - I couldn't even tell you what I spend money on. I'm not dumb - I know what can make and break ye in this world of capitalist pigs but I just hate trying to make sense of bank statements and working out what the fuck negative gearing means (*remembers old Late Show pun*). So yeah, I'm finally in the market for some bricks and mortar (not the kind from Bunnings Warehouse..the REAL kind that has it's own address) and it's a pretty scary place to be as a single chick on a teacher's salary. I realise I may quite poor for the next 30 odd years and then knowing my luck will probably die the day after I pay the bloody house off. Not that there is a house yet...

- Also, today I woke up with ANOTHER headache. I almost cried but went into work anyway (cause I'm an idiot). I told (whispered actually) the kids that I had a headache and was feeling very, very sick because of it and that my one rule in the AR today was "quiet and listening". All the kids were really nice about it actually. I guess they could tell that I was about to burst into tears. One of the students came up and said "don't worry Miss F. I have a headache too". When I called the roll they all said lovely things like "I'm here and you look lovely today!" or "I'm here and you ALWAYS look pretty". Of course these are outright LIES but teachers need some loving too ya know! By contrast, I was walking to the staffroom looking like death, when I encountered Vice Prin banging on a tin can like it was a bongo drum (yeah, I know - if a girl did that she'd never get a job anywhere - a guy does it and he gets rewarded with a promotion!). I was rubbing my temples VP said "aww what's wrong M?". I've got a headache P "Oh I've got something that will cure that!" *bangs louder on the bongo tins*. I give him the teacher look and he laughs and walks away.

Sometimes kids are way better than adults.

- Artist - Turned Nun- Turned Away From Nundom Cousin (yes, she's my age) is back in town for a little holiday. Despite the general feeling in my head of being stabbed with a thousand blunt needles I was so excited by our little get together. She's been an ex-pat for a year and a half and planning on staying that way for a long, long time. Some people you don't have to see everyday but you meet in a room and it's like you were never apart. Okay, she's family - we share the same fucked up genes- but you can't do that with everyone, ya know?

- S has her bachelorette party tomorrow night. The theme? A small flavour of the Middle East. Yeah, I had a wtf moment about it too. E suggested we put the dot in the middle of our foreheads (not quite middle eastern but yeah. lol). I suggested a full burka (I feel like shit this week anyway - the burka would be so liberating for those "bloaty" days wouldn't it?). L suggested we forget this middle eastern bullshit and just wear normal attire. The Middle East isn't really conjuring up lovely thoughts these days so it should be great on the streets of Melb. I have gone for a pair of nifty earrings and coiny bracelet (yeah, scraping the bottom of the barrel) - but I think everyone is going down that road for this one. The other proviso for the night was "bring something for the bedroom" (my first thought was ear plugs and a feather duster). Honestly, how cliche can that request get? Yes, I'm sure "the bedroom" is 100% raunchy lovin' every single night once you're married! And yeah, let's all bring out the dildos on the hens night, woo - we're so liberated yeah. pft. Yeah, right. I hope I never have such a dumb idea for my hens (ie: when my sperm sample from the sperm bank finally pops the big question). E summed it up best while in the body shop looking for massage oils.

Me: hm, this one smells nice
L: yep, gorgeous - we should get it.
E: so..should we get something like a moisturiser for after the massage?
Me and L: *not saying anything*
E: you know...so you aren't all oily..
Me: um, you don't need anything after the massage. After the massage S will be doing SOMETHING ELSE that doesn't involve moisturiers.
L: hahaha, exactly.
shopgirl: hahahaha
E: haha, oh no! What does S really going to think it's going to be like? *does rodeo riding while swinging cowboy hat in the air motion* "woohoo!! Bring it on"? I'm sorry. I wear my winnie the pooh flannel pajamas and fluffy socks and reading glasses at bedtime(may I add that actually, E is HOT). Let's be a bit practical.

So we settled for the three sides to the story. Life is complex after all.

1. Romantic: candles and massage oils.
2. Kinky: feather tickler, edible undies (I voted for the leather collar but ohhh no, no one went for MY idea!).
3. Practical: iddy-biddy-booklight.
bonus: candy covered g-string for the groom.

Which present turns you on most guys? Yes, exactly I know! THE IDDY BIDDY BOOKLIGHT! If you said anything else you are a goddamn liar!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

prick this!

"We've all gone out with guys like you. Men like you think you were put on this earth to put us back in our place"*

I've been reading this blog out of ny for a while (about a year or so). It's about this 'nice guy' who can't get dates. He's supposedly good looking and moderately successful and all the rest of the garbage that women are supposed to go for. He's also supposedly a funny, lovely guy but he's perplexed at not being able to get dates. He is recently divorced and really wants to get back out there. Why would such a guy as me be dateless? He wonders about himself in a round about way. He constantly talks about wanting to find the right girl. Wanting to be in love again. cue audience: awwwww.

His blog attracts a cult of PUAs (pick up artists- for the uninitiated) who have all sorts of advice for him - the good bad and ugly. There's be confident, get a hobby, get a life, don't be so nice, you're too sweet, insult them (seriously!), bring up other women while you're chatting them up, don't tell them anything about yourself, don't be honest, don't, don't, don't be...you.

Some of the girls who vist his blog agree: yes, don't be nice, be meaner, don't be so avaliable! Some girls don't: be yourself the right girl will come along. Some girls think he's a dick: get a life first you idiot.

His basic mantra is that nice guys don't get the girls and I should know because I'm a nice guy. He argues that women say they want nice guys when they really want pricks. Maybe he should be more of a prick and then he'd get the girl. Einstein stuff. yep. I wish I had a farthing for every time I heard a man blame being nice for not getting the girl.

Here's the home truth. It's not being nice that's letting him down. It's that he's a sap. He would do anything for a lay and girls sense this and back off (obviously he doesn't approach drunk chicks, cause drunk chicks would be so totally into it). Girls get as horny as guys, you know. It's just that sometimes you realise that a guy is a complete dickhead because they couldn't give a shit if it was you or your friend or anyone else and that, Houston is the problem. In my opinion, being nice will not get you a girl but neither will being a prick. It's who you gel with.

Everyone seems to have a different definition of what makes a guy a prick and what constitutes nice. Is a prick inherantly sexier? Is he stronger? better in bed? Or is he an abuser? Will he always cheat on you? Will he treat you like shit? Is a nice guy always the perfect gentleman? Is he a loyal person? Is he commited to you? Or is he unable to make decisions? Is he boring? A nerd? Wear socks and sandles?

There are too many factors to ever get it straight.

I supose how you define a nice guy or a prick will affect whether you label yourself as finding one more attractive than the other. I guess there are people that would say that "nice guy" is the same as a "pushover". I totally dissagree. I can't respect a pushover (they need to be able to lovingly call me on my shit) but I am definitely someone who is attracted to the nice guy instead of a prick.

So I tried to think of a bottom line that would define a nice guy and a prick.

I came up with this: a prick doesn't care. He doesn't care how he treats you. He doesn't care about his family. He thinks of himself first in all situations including situations involving people you love and care about. If he doesn't care then it allows him to treat you badly.

A nice guy will always care...err, even if he's being a total prick ;)

All behaviours stem from that.

So when (certain ny blogger) argues that girls want pricks. I really wonder if that's true. I've heard it many a time being said in casual conversation over a drink. I actually had an argument about it with E one time. We went to see Bridget Jones' Diary when it came out at the movies. We laughed. We cried. We gushed. Okay, we didn't cry or gush, but you get the picture. Afterwards at the coffee shop we discussed the movie. We both loved both male lead characters in the movie but we were talking about who we'd actually like to end up with. E preferred the Daniel Cleaver character (quintessential prick) and I adored the Mark Darcy character (quintessential nice guy). After she mentioned liking the DC character I challenged her immediately.

Me: But he'd treat you like shit! He wouldn't even LOVE you! He can't love! There is no way you would stand for that
E: He's sexier. He's hot.
Me: They're both sexy
E: No, Hugh Grant is sexier!
Me: Are you being serious? You would seriously want DC as your boyfriend?
E: Yep.

You know who E married? L. L is almost a carbon copy of the Mark Darcy character, even down to the job. He's what I would consider a nice guy. Strong, funny, personable, knows what he wants and how to get it, responsible, cares. He's no pushover. Oh no.

I guess E is the perfect example of the girl saying one thing and doing another in the nice guy/prick choosing dichotomy. I sway less in that regard. I will call people on their prick like behaviour straight up - and while there is a myth of the prick having bigger balls, let me tell you, it's a lie - they run. heh. Here's another bottom line: the prick is okay on paper. He's okay if you don't ever want a strong committment (ie: kids, marriage, love). He's good in an open, casual relationship. Are there girls who want this? Yeah, heaps! He probably gets the girl quicker than the nice guy in that sense, because he's so immediate. He's just out there. But the nice guy is what I said to E when she said she loved L:

He's a keeper.

*Kate Langbroek talking to resident "prick" Chris from Big Brother on this morning's nova breakfast show.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

ring ring

I get a call today:

Parent: Hello it's JS (mother of child I taught last year).
Me: Hi there! So nice to hear from you again!
Parent: Thank you! Sorry to take up your lunch break but I had a little problem.Me: That's okay. What can I do for you?
Parent: Well, E isn't at school today and she's really upset that she's going to miss art.
Me: *laughing*.
Parent: *laughing* I know! Anyway, E's really beside herself and wants me to bring her in especially for art today - but she's way too sick. She loves it so much. She really doesn't want to miss out.
Me: I have to let you know J that this has made my day.
Parent: Haha, I'm glad to hear it. I hear that you've making some garden stakes out of clay today and I wanted to know whether she can have a bit of clay to make it when she comes back to school.
Me: Well, sure. But if she's well on Friday she can come in and do the lesson with another grade.
Parent: oh, that's a great idea thank you! That will make her so happy. She loves you and misses you!
Me: Well, I miss her too of course!
Parent: ...thank goodness that worked out. When I told her I'd ring you to see what we could work out she told me "don't tell Miss F that I've been crying all day about it!".
Me: hahaha, oh kids are adorable!
Parent: Wait till you have your own.
Me: hahaha.

Yesterday we held autidions for the parts for the movie project. There was the usual riff raff of children too embarrassed to get it done properly, and surprisingly some real talent there too. I was so proud of the group for organising the auditions so well. They did it all, including the distribution of script and pep talks to the budding actors. We all sat in the art room with serious hollywood producer type looks on our faces while the readings were going on. The one problem was the lack of talent for the main character. We were only auditioning children in the upper grades but I thought of one child I knew of in a lower class who takes acting lessons outside of school. He was a transfer student a couple of years ago from a Steiner School - so obviously geared towards creativity. Anyway, this kid gets up and I swear to god it was like watching Laurence Olivier in action - there were arm movements and expression, he wasn't even looking down at the script the whole time. Tony awards here we come! He did a cold reading and was awesome. The problem is, there's a bit of prejudice towards him being younger and so the group is unsure. There are so many things at school that we do that is all about giving the underdog a go, but for once I just want to say - let's give the gold star to the best kid eh?!

I await with baited breath for the call-backs tomorrow and the readings we do to test compatibility between actors.

Monday, July 24, 2006

a dream

I had this amazing dream about the angel of death.
I was crying and he came up behind me, wiped the tears away and put his arms around me.
Then he seduced me.
He was a punk rocker with dark greasy hair and blue eyes.
It was an amazing dream.

You can find my musical monday at cbg today.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Me exists

I never thought of putting posters on my walls until I was about 11 or 12 years old. Until then I had one framed picture hanging on my peach coloured plasterboard wall - it was a painting of an angel overlooking a little boy and a little girl playing in a small garden. Above it always hung a dried small olive branch. Roman Catholic: Are you jealous? hmph!

When I got to high school I realised that hey, people actually hung stuff on their walls. I credit the poster revolution that went on in my bedroom in the next few years to my devotion to Smash Hits and TV Hits Magazines. First I tentatively put up posters of New Kids on the Block and Madonna up there but soon I realised that if I had 10 posters up, I might as well have 100 posters up. So that's what I did. I collected together all my copies of Smash Hits, TV Hits, Dolly Magazine and anything else I could find and plastered every bit of avaliable space with a poster. It looked fetching. I didn't discriminate who I put up there btw. There was Kylie hanging alongside Alice Cooper hanging alongside Corey Haim, Motley Crue and Milli Vanilli. I wish I had a photo of it - it looked craptastic. People would come over just to stare at my poster collection like it was an art gallery.

After a year I got sick of it and tore all of them down and switched back to my New Kids on the Block fetish. That lasted until I saw the movie Heathers and all my New Kids on the Block posters were quickly replaced by Christian Slater ones. My obsession was so famed that I had people I hardly knew donating their Christian Slater pictures to me! I picked a new poster to kiss each night before I went to sleep. To quote the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer All I wanted to do is graduate from high school, go to Europe, marry Christian Slater and die. yeah, that about summed it up.

Then I became interested in AFL football. I will call this the dark period of my life. Obviously if you live in Melbourne you have to have to follow an AFL team. It's the rules. My dad went for Fitzroy Lions (who merged with the Brisbane Bears and became the Brisbane Lions), my mum half heartedly followed the Carlton Blues and after a visit to the primary school by the great (if not slightly psychotic) Alan Jeans, bro and I soon became a devout Mighty Hawks supporters. Okay, devout was not the right word, more like I just followed them like any girl follows a footy team (with a yahyahyah whatever philosophy). Then I got hormones and discovered Shane Crawford - who back before he became a dickhead was a rookie for the Hawks. I'm ashamed to admit it but soon I became one of those girls that knew ALL the stats - heights, weights, goals kicked, premierships lost and won, home and away games - everything. I put posters of my beloved Hawks on my wall alongside the Christian Slater ones and prayed to god to let the Hawks win and to let me please, please, please marry Christian Slater when I grew up. Later, after I denounced god; the Hawks have finished in the bottom 8 ever since and Christian Slater has proven himself the world's biggest loser. woo.

When I hit year 11 and Interview with The Vampire came out at the movies I put a big IWTV poster up on my wall and became obessed with vampires (I still have that poster folded up somewhere). To be fair, I actually became obessed with vampires in year 2 at school. I remember the very moment. I came across this book at the library that was all about vampires (it was a picture book) and I don't know what happened, but as I turned each page I realised my destiny was to become the mistress to a vampire. What the hell kind of 7-8 year old thinks up stuff like that? I hope that if I ever have my sperm doner baby she doesn't turn out like that. Anyway, E and I would sit in out shared Lit class quoting Interview with the Vampire all lesson (much to the dismay of Mr M who would have liked it better had we quoted King Lear). Of course, Christian Slater was in the movie so that helped fuel that fetish along further.

After that came the 60s phase. I changed the theme to all B/W Elvis, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, and other assorted icons. I framed a lot of them. I drew some of them also and put those up. I had a little cut out picture of Andy Warhol from a magazine, I put on my mirror. When the Warhol exhibit came out here a year or so ago I was fascinated looking through all his bits and pieces. He was a hoarder - On a level, I can relate.

When I hit uni I didn't have posters on the walls I had photos. Pictures of my friends and family. Funny tongue poking out photos of trips down to the beach and arms around eachother singing type drunken snapshots of half faces.

As you grow up things get more personal, I guess. The precious photos go into frames the people you're mad and and never want to see again get put back into the albums or torn up, like you're trying to erase memories. Things that are meaningful remain.

I have a postcard picture of Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday speeding down A Roman side street on her scooter stuck somewhere on the edge of bookshelf. It's one of my all time favourite scenes in one of my all time favourite movies. I've always identified with wanting to escape and be someone totally new. The postcard came courtesy of friend S during 1998 when she went to Rome for a holiday. She sent it back with a message saying that she knew I would love that photo. I did. I do.

I also have a postcard sized picture of Van Gogh's Almond Blossom - apart from Stary Night, one of my favourite paintings of his. When I went to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam I tried in vain to look for a print to take home but couldn't. I can't find one accessable here either. In any case, until I can afford to get a canvas reproduction of it, the postcard will have to do.

A birthday card (a few years old) with Mae West on the front looking sultry as usual. "I used to be Snow White but I drifted" is the quote on the front. When G handed it to me a couple of years ago she said exclaimed that when she saw it she knew I had to have it. lol. I don't know about that, but it's a little piece of inspiration for me anyway.

Then there is the painting of John Waterhouses The Lady of Shallot, which is also one of my favourite poems (Tennyson). I wouldn't say I'm a Arthurian nut but I love the King Arthur mythology and especially the story of the lady of the lake. Such a sad, sad tale about love and loss.

There are so many more, little memoirs of trips and excursions where I picked up bits and pieces. A tin plaque of an Absynthe Robette poster - a present from Fashion and Artist Cousin. A Venetian mask from an overpriced store in Piazza San Marco that is now hanging on a wall. A card on a bookshelf of John Travolta - not because of him but because of the quote "don't touch the hair". Perfect. A small faerie pendant with an amethyst inside - because it reminds me of a day out with my friend S when I was 15 to a country market where a young man totally surprised me by giving me such a sexy look that I actually realised right then in that moment that I wasn't a kid anymore. A cut out of Audrey from Breakfast and Tiffanys - because I love that movie, A tiny Salvador Dali because I like surrealism, A miniscule Pollock to remind me of a trip to the Tate, A Tori Amos cut out from a mag because she is divine, and not to mention Van Gogh's Bedroom - again one of my favourites. There's A picture from The Beatles' Abbey Road, because they are wonderful and a map of the London underground, because I never thought I would get it, but I did! All these small bits and pieces are scattered everywhere, on the fridge or on a bookshelf or on a wall somewhere.

So many memories wrapped up in stuff. I don't think I'll ever be one of those minimalist girls who have white walls and with nothing on them. I need to be surrounded by vital reminders of who I was and am and want to be. I don't know if that's a weakness of character, and mostly I don't even think about it that way. But once in a while I'll walk past the pendant and smile or dust over the Waterhouse and remind myself to always be true. I don't keep me all inside. Me exists everywhere.

It probably doesn't hang in a gallery anywhere and that's what makes it special. So what's your you-art?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

feeling ill on a Saturday night

We've had our week of rain and mud - where the back legs of your pants get the wet treatment from stomping over puddles in the asphalt. These past few brilliantly sunny days have seen the locals stop mid stride and smile into the sky. Store owners stare wistfully out stocked front windows and people have generally slowed down to look around. The chilly/sunny days are the best kind - without the sweaty humidity of 30+ days and finding your arm stuck ungracefully to your handbag. They give you a taste of spring without the hay fever and a reminder of nostalgic summer days spent playing under the sprinkler without actually needing to do it.

My Friday was gloriously spent sketching gum trees with the kids. They stretch upwards forever, these things - with their grey branches finished off with olive green leaves that look like giant pom poms from a distance. I salute the star shaped rays of sunlight peeking through the leaves with a hand to forehead sheltering the eye and muse over their slightly bent and twisted sihouettes. Pardon me, but there is something magnificently amusing about the sudden outcry of "oh crap, where's the eraser?" interrupting the gentle rustling of wind over the extensive grounds. But maybe that's just me.

Today, another sunny one - making itself known through the blinds this morning, and me stretching under the covers before settling back down to sleep. Feeling very ill and so a day under the doona sipping tea is the medication. Later, disturbing a thoughtful moment the phone makes its familiar rattling noise against the clock radio and I pick it up to read the message. EM is in the head hospital again, "feeling quite solitary". I pull the covers up and roll over again. August is going to be a prickly one, I can feel it approaching like a shadow without a human anchor.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

eat the cookie

If there's one thing I hate more than going to bed with a headache it's waking up with one the next morning too. Advil is not the breakfast of champions it seems. I'm not very functional with a headache. Some people seem to get by with a bit of asprin and a bit of heave ho, but me? no. I tend to get the variety of headaches where seeing is difficult and throwing up is a good option. Not exactly fun in the art room where noxious fumes are an everyday occurance and even worse, the grade 5/6s have started getting BO - but they don't yet know about DEO. Kids pretty much stink at the best of times but a room full of BO produced by 100 odd pre-pubescent children is KILLER on someone who already feels like throwing up.

I spent most of the day looking green and rubbing my temples.

Apart from that I've been trying to think of ways I can maximise space in the art room. We are CRAMPED in like sardines at the moment. There is little room to put my reams of paper and there is nowhere to store the children's work throughout the week. Every bit of avaliable space has already been used up with other stuff and I am starting to go stir crazy because of it. I want to start some clay work with grade 1s and 2s but of course there is nowhere to lay 120 odd pieces of clay so that they can dry properly. Usually I'm not really one for a neat and tidy existance. I tend to thrive more in an organised chaos - but in this sitation where there are thousands of bits and pieces everywhere I feel that something has got to give. I'm just not very good at figuring out storage solutions. After all, if I'm finished with something I just tend to put it down somewhere (anywhere) and just deal with it later. That can't happen in the art room. Anyway, the whole thing is sending me lala. Already I have tried moving the large metal cabinets (by I I actually mean the vice prin who almost pulled a muscle doing it). oops. But still, it hasn't done a lot of good.

The artist has finally finished doing the murals (2 months behind schedual). It'll be weird having my art room back all for me. Hopefully the work will look good once it's up and in the garden. My (well, the kids') raku tiles came back from being fired. I am so happy with them. They look darling! I can't believe what a good job the kids did with them. The lady who fired them was gushing about how good they were and wanted to know how on earth I got the children to do such intricate work. With headache pounding and about to throw up, that just made my day. I don't think I've been more happy all year. I've been so worried about them; sore back, sore hands, not knowing what to do. Maybe I'm pretty good at this arty stuff. I'm such a sucker for "good girl" type statements.

I just had a search result for "cry little sister + but what do the lyrics mean?". rofl. That is gold, Jerry gold!

There ya go Phil

(grade 3 and 4)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


How can it only be Tuesday? It feels like it's at least a Wednesday in August 2008 - I've had enough, bring on the weekend.

I've spent the last week trying to order art room stools. Who knew it would be so hard? I thought it would seriously take me 15 minutes. Ring up, have a chat, order them in and then sit back with a dry martini in one hand and patting myself on the back with the other. But nooo, of course I've had to measure table heights, get children of various sizes and shapes in to test heights of chairs, measure the existing stools, mull over how many I should order and of what size, wait for the rep to come in with samples, pick out colours, have endless chats with the company manager on the phone and then finally after a week of ridiculous work in my lunch breaks and afterschool I go to the office to fax the order through and they've packed up and gone home! Typical.

I told one of the classes about the new stools and they all started cheering and clapping. Gee, they must really be sick of sitting on splinters. I never realised they were that bad though. Then I told them that we were doing some box construction (making things using boxes) and you'd think I'd told them that Justin Timberlake was coming to visit. They were all clapping and carrying on. Maybe they were just in a cheering mood, who knows? I'm excited about the stools though. That's how sad my life is guys.

The art room at the moment is an absolute pig sty. I can hardly stand being in there. Somehow I just haven't been on top of it. I'm so tired at the end of the day that I've just been shuffling around impotently and then finally leaving it and going home. A bunch of time has also been spent taking a bunch of raku gold tiles out to the sticks to be fired. I am spending an absolute fortune on petrol these days! I'm just getting so frustrated with all the travel and lifting, organising, planning and other craziness that I need to do to keep this art program going. ohhh, I've just made myself break up in a cold sweat thinking about all the things I have yet to do. I am running on empty and I can't believe that the term has only just started. I wish I had my own personal midget to give me neck rubs and clean everything up at the end of the day. He doesn't have to be a midget actually. It could be a normal sized person. In fact a midget probably couldn't even reach my shoulders. Better make it a tall man. One who likes cleaning, and thinks I'm their queen. Is that really too much to ask?

People have been coming into the art room and stealing some of my resources. They gave me a few weeks grace at the beginning of the year before they came in for the kill but now it happens a lot. I know from the last art teacher that this is normal behaviour. I know from my own evil stealing of art room materials over the years that it's pretty normal. But, I'm still pissed. I've already got the maintenence guy to bolt the three store cupboards and I'm going to order another with a lock and I'm already thinking of stealworthy things I can put in there. If someone asks me personally then I have no problem lending out things but if they take it without asking then I want to kick them in the shins. I have decided that if by some twist of fate I become leader of the world that I would actually be a dictator. I always thought I would be a benevolent leader cuddling kittens and saving the whales or something but that's a load of shit. I'm actually Mussolini cleverly disguised in a flippy skirt and toting a pink handbag.

The conversation in the staff room today was about how everyone feels genuinely down lately. The prep teacher said that when she gets in the car in the morning she prays that it doesn't start so she has an excuse not to come in. The 3/4 teacher said that he prays for a virus so he can have a few sick days. Then one by one everyone started admitting that they have these secret little fantasies of being ill or incapacitated just so they can miss a few days of work. I am amazed. I thought I was the only one who actually wished bad things would happen to them just so they have a legit excuse to take a break. People are always going on about how many holidays that teachers have like we have no excuse to be tired or run down or stressed (ever), but at the same time our day to day working conditions are HELL (but with lots of sweet art work). I don't think people understand that we can't even go to the toilet when we need to. I can't tell you how many days I've gone all day busting without a toilet break. Sometimes you get to the end of the day and think - enough. Just enough.

Guys, I am so exhausted and emotional. How am I going to survive this term?

Monday, July 17, 2006

embarrassing musical monday

I think we've already established that under the highly polished exterior of this journal *cough* I'm a big old dork. I think it's pretty safe to say that the longer you've read me, the dorkier you know me to be. It takes a while for it to shine though. Okay, it takes about 5 minutes. Sure, I've had my skirt fall down in Bunnings, enjoy reality television (all television), partake in donut eating, had a mega crush on David Lee Roth in the 80s, am a klutz and have perpetual foot in mouth disorder. But generally these things go almost unnoticed if I'm sitting very still and have duct tape secured over my mouth. However if you found me in this position there is still one area where my rather embarrassing dorkiness will shine through.

Technology is a bitch.

And so I'll save you the trouble of checking and I'm going to go ahead and give you the list of the most embarrassing songs on my ipod that yes, would die of shame if anyone found out about them. Thank god I only actually know one of you. phew.

If you Like Pina Colada - Jimmy Buffett.
It's sort of ironic..okay it's not

Cry Little Sister (theme from the Lost Boys) - Gerard McMann
Basically if your name is Gerard there is no hope for you in the rock world (was Jerry Garcia a Gerard? If so then my theory still counts because he was foremost a HIPPY and that cancels everything else out). I blame the movie The Lost Boys and my love of vampires.

Supermodel - Ru Paul
I love Ru Paul, he's better than Miss J from America's Next Top Model. And yet, I am so ashamed

Devil Woman - Cliff Richard
embarrassing ...and yet still somehow better than the pina colada song!

Carribean Queen - Billy Ocean
she's simply...awesome! ooooooooooOOOh

I've never been to Me - Charlene
it reminds me of the frilly girl with the big hat in the flake commercial. mmmm..flake

Gotta Pull Myself Together - The Nolans
quite possibly the most shameworthy song on my list. I have no words. I would apologise but I'm actually going to sit here a moment and sing along with it okay?

Total Eclipse of the Heart - Bonnie Tyler
I used to pump it on the "good stereo" and sing it to myself as a child and then twirl around until I threw up - that is not a lie btw. I seriously did that ALL the time. I mean I didn't throw up every time..but pretty close

Could it be Magic? - Take That (also have the Barry Manilow version)

What's New Pussycat? - Tom Jones.
come on, you love it too! maybe not.

You can Call me Al - Paul Simon
a few too many shrooms me thinks

Edge of Seventeen - Stevie Nick
I never actually realised this was dorky and embarrassing until that scene in "School of Rock" where the Joan Cusack gets all excited by it being on the juke box. I just sat there and thought "oh my god, you - my deluded girl are a dork!" It was a realisation. Yep.

Copacobana - Barry Manilow
"His name was Rico. He wore a diamond." 'Nuff said.

I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Proclaimers
Probably the most fucked up song ever written and yay, it's on my ipod!!

I'm Your Man - Wham
yeah, I was suckered in my the rather poetic "if you're gonna do it, do it right, right, do it with me" bit

Islands in the Stream - Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers
I fucking love this song. You leave it alone!

Far from Over - Frank Stalone.
yes.. Frank STALONE! Yes, it's from the movie Staying Alive, the sequel to "Saturday Night Fever" Yes, I learnt the dance. Anything else you want to know? argh!

Ca Plane Pour Moi - Plastic Bertrand
even after learning French I still couldn't understand the damn song and yet still find it strangely alluring. wooOOO OOO OOO

Feliz Navidad - Bony M
If you hate this song you have NO HEART!!!!! (also you may be in danger of having better taste than me)

Love Will Keep Us Together - Captain and Tennille
I'm going to go out on a limb here - I'm not actually all that embarrassed by this one, so there!

Touch me (I want your Body) - Samantha Fox
oh christ, how the hell did that get in there? okay I downloaded it and put it in!

It's Raining Men - Geri Halliwell
I'm soooo glad I don't know you guys. hahaha

Calendar Girl - Ricky Nelson
There is no excuse. I can't even say I was drugged and had impaired judgement or that someone made me put it on while they held a gun to my head. Nope, it was all me.

Xanadu/Magic - Olivia Newton John
have evaluated my feelings on this and now realised that ...am not even ashamed actually.

Bad Blood - Neil Sedaka and Elton John.
hahahahahahaha oh...god.

Please Release Me - Englebert Humperdink
Please release this song from my ipod!

I was Made for Dancing - Leif Garrett
Have you seen that movie "Spirit of 76"? Well, if you *get* that movie then you *get* the inclusion of crap 70s songs on my ipod

Christmas Happy - John Farnham
...I know all the words.

Good Morning Starshine - Oliver James
Obviously a WTF? moment in the music industry

Boom Boom (let's go back to my room) - Paul Lekakis
you know how sometimes you upload a whole "various artists" CD on to itunes and the crap songs somehow get through and then for better or worse you decide not to delete the crap song? yeah.

She's like the Wind - Patrick Swayze
"she leads me to moonlight only to burn me with the sun". Yes, girls are soooo calculating and dangerous Patrick. Beware those freaky flying women.

Afternoon Delight - Starlight Vocal Band
apparently slightly off key singing is my bag baby

Sould Kinda Feeling - Dynamic Hepnotics
the bad music fairies put it there, I swear!!

Cold Hearted Snake - Paula Abdul
ooo oooo remember when Keanu Reeves was in that video clip? Yeah, this wasn't it.

Angel of the Morning - Juice Newton
b..b.but, I *like* it.

Lambada - Kaoma
Not only the forbidden dance, but also the forbidden song

Love's Theme - The Love Unlimited Orchestra
...I know it's highly trashy but I love that wucca wucca sound.

Send me and Angel - Real Life
more like real embarrassing.

Shake - Andrew Ridgley
better known as the "other" guy from Wham. Better known as a song in my "other" genre

Macarthur Park - Donna Summer
I just don't understand why someone would leave a perfectly good cake in the rain. Are they completely nuts? It's a cake! C.A.K.E. cake! I fear many, many hallucinogenic drugs were consumed in the making of this song. The disco beat adds a whoooole other crappy dimension to this song and yet excuse me while I go listen to it in it's entirety.

Unskinny Bop - Poison
"Like gasoline you wanna pump me" hahahahhaha

She's a Bop Girl - Pat Wilson
Last year a fellow teacher at school was desperately looking for this song. She was told to ask me, for sure I'd have it. Yeah, I had it - I made her a mix cd of highly embarrassing songs. She loved it.

Macho Man - The Village People
so. much. retarded. love. for this song.

Bye Bye Baby - Bay City Rollers
Somehow the 70s churned out the best AND the worst in music and I have both on my ipod. Wow.

yeah, it's not all Amon Tobin and Portishead.
okay, sure I also have the whole of the Calamity Jane, Cabaret, Hall and Oates, Pajama Game, Pirates of Penzance, ELO, Bon Jovi and other assorted goddies inclding the whole Carpenters back catalogue and Brady Bunch songs (oh yes) but I'm not actually embarrassed by them. So you can only imaginge the rest eh?

you know how your mum says that you should always go out wearing a clean pair of undies in case you get run over by a bus? And that it's a common belief that you should have a "trusted friend" to take care of all the porn on your hard drive and eliminate the sex toys from your place if you should suddenly come to a gruesome end? Well I need someone to come over and wipe my ipod clean should I ever choke on a donut and die or something.

(to read my *real* MM post scroll down)


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Song of my heart's composing

I grew up as part of a blue collar family in a middle class neighbourhood. I had an argument once about my calling it that with my friend S. She said that I could not call myself blue collar when I was middle class and enjoyed the same middle class things that she did. I said that if she was middle class then I couldn't call myself thus. My parents did not have the education that S's enjoyed and so while her parents had white collar jobs, mine had blue collar jobs. Therefore I considered myself blue collar in a middle class neighbourhood. So, I may have had friends that went away for the weekend (beach houses in Torquay, oo lala) but alas we did not. My parents worked on the weekends as well, and when they didn't there was always a lot to do around the house. I remember the weekends of my childhood never being particularly restful times (it's probably why I'm so protective of my weekends now). There was always such a flurry of people coming and going and gardens to be tended to, vegies to be picked, food to be carefully made, people to entertain. When my parents had a spare moment they just wanted to relax. That's not to say we didn't go out and do things because we did - but it was just such a treat to do so.

So looking back, due to lack of something better to do most of the Sunday afternoons of my childhood were spent consuming a heavy diet of old Hollywood studio movies under the expect guidance of Bill Collins* (who presented the "Golden Age/Years of Hollywood" on Sunday afternoons on the tele). Mostly he played movies that came in a series - actors that worked together often or movies that followed some sort of common theme. There was Shirley Temple, Abbott and Costello, The Rat Pack, The Three Stoogees, Andy Hardy, Rogers and Astaire, Audrey Hepburn, Micky and Judy, Laurel and Hardy, Sandra Dee, Doris Day and Rock Hudson and of course Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Of course there were others as well, the real classics and I devoured them all like a sponge. Although the golden years are typically pre-50s Bill played movies well into the 60s - it was all good; some of my favourite movies came after technicolour. Bill talked of these stars so lovingly and always providing such a rich introduction that I too fell in love with them. This is probably where I'd credit my rather obsessive love of all things celluloid today. I knew all the old screwball classics and other assorted black and white movies by the time I got to high school.

My dad particularly enjoyed the old movies too - he was a big fan of Westerns, War movies, noir and Lewis and Martin. I loved Lewis and Martin too. Of course, while everyone swooned over Dino I was completely besotted by the utterly clumsy but blessed with a heart of gold; Lewis. In my eyes, Dean Martin's character always had it too easy with the ladies and was too smarmy about it. He'd swan in and the girls would faint around him, while Jerry Lewis' character was always in the background stepping on rakes and having them hit him in the nose or something. Bloody hell he made me laugh. I'm not really into slapstick but I'm sure if I watched those kinds of movies now I'd still be holding my sides together. When dad was home we'd watch the movies together. He'd take his place, lounging on the couch and I'd crawl up to squeeze myself into the space behind the bend of his knees and rest my head on the side of his hip. Besides hiding in the closet that was honestly my favourite spot in the world. A pretty nice place to watch Sunday afternoons go by really. When the commercials came on I'd run out to go to the toilet and when I'd come back bro would have taken my spot and I'd have to threaten him to get him out. When the TV would black out (as it often tended to do ...at the most crucial moment) either my brother or I were summonded up to give it a hard kick or slap or something to get it working again.

Stars back then were all-rounders. They could sing, dance and act - and so a great many movies were musicals or had big band musical numbers in them. Bill Collins replayed the classics so often on the tele that I took it upon myself to learn a great many of the dances and songs (and lines). I just fell head over heals for the romance, glamour and fairytale endings. This era of Hollywood movies came before the gritty reality portrayed in the movies of post-studio breakdown. Movies of the "golden era" were purely about escapism, glamourising the mundane, creating a world that wasn't about the depression or the war and allowing people to dream. I couldn't agree with the philosophy more than if they were handing out free donuts with it, (mm donuts). I loved the movies that had a bit of song and dance in them, still do - I guess because I have a bit of song and dance in me too.

Most of the music in these kinds of old movies was big band or jazz. I became a huge fan of both kinds of music and still am - not just for the movies either. Sometimes I go for weeks at a time listening to nothing else. I'm in one of those moods at the moment.

Last week I saw Kevin Spacey's movie Beyond the Sea. A Bobby Darin memoir - not quite a biography but not quite all real either. I've always thought he has such a great voice - and demonstrated this especially when he sang the classic band music: Sunday in New York, Beyond the Sea, Charade, Mack the Knife - rather than the teen boppy music (Dream Lover). Spacey was pretty bloody good (though, isn't he always?), especially considering he sang all the songs as well (excellent, really). Bodsworth as Sandra Dee was quite good as well (in some scenes looking scarily like her).

So my rather a bit too early Musical Monday (since it's still well and truly Sunday) Charade by Bobby Darin plays tribute to a few noteworthy items.

1) The great voice and big band performance of Charade by Bobby Darin
2) The undeniable mastery of music and lyrics by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer
3) The movie "Charade" from which the song (but not this version) came - and especially Grant and Hepburn who are pretty much flawless in everything they do.
4) Some sort of stiff drink - this song calls for it. Go get one.

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*Aussies, who was the *other* guy who also did this at the same time on one of the other channels? He had greying hair (Ian someone?).


Thursday, July 13, 2006

take the long way home

I've been taking the long route home. These are the outskirts of Melbourne, usually where the trendies draw the line at settling down. No further. Five minutes one way and you're spotting hippies behind 100 year old trees. 20 minutes the other and you're in the thick of the concrete jungle.

I take the hippy route home.
It's completely out of the way.

Increasingly I'm finding myself in need of what is known as down time, me time, de-stress time. I can't think of any other way of doing it that isn't going to drive me crazy. I used to draw, not that comic book girl stuff but really draw. There is something therapeutic about letting the pencil just roam across the page until it becomes something worth keeping. But I threw a lot of that art away because it simply wasn't good enough or rather I wasn't good enough. And then I got scared about drawing, so I stopped. I used to dance...same story - substitute the appropriate words and you'll get the same picture. Writing? Same again. I need something accessable now, something that isn't going to challenge everything I have already beaten myself around the shoulders about, so I do the only thing I can think of that is just there and so effective. I take the long route home, over the winding feathered roads that cut through the green belt.

I enjoy the road twisting under my swift wheels like a squiggly line. It goes one way and then suddenly another. The locals speed along like old pros, tailgating the sightseers and so called Sunday drivers. But to me it's like putting on my old worn pajamas. In my mind I travel back to my teaching rounds where I taught at a school just up the top of the hill - where a kookaburra sang a song each morning and the children believed in fairies and had horses for pets instead of chihuahuas. It was enchanting. Maybe I'm not such a city girl after all, still maybe a little green around the cockles. I hope. One can only hope that they are more than they seem.

So despite being a newcomer to these parts, I'm really an old pro too - I know it well. I enjoyed the car trip home back then too. 20 minutes with music on is half an album and a sore throat. 20 mintues with the radio off is good hard think about things. I take the turns with ease and marvel at the small group of rosellas perched high on a tree branch above the cars. I hum along with the noise of the engine, everything always looks so green and new and ..fresh. Even the little stores with their distinct 'quaint' feel seem fresh - though I know they've been there probably longer than I have been here, on this planet. But the illusion of freshness inside a cocoon of delightful antiquity is what draws me back. It's the curly ribbons for roads instead of straight lines and traffic lights that keeps me driving until I've fought through the fog to come out the other side blinking into the glare.

And that's an issue too. Sometimes you come out the other side and it's all okay again, but you still have no idea what to do.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

dumb little meme

1. FIRST NAME: Marianne

2.WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Nah, mum just liked the name apparently. Dad just went along with it like all good husbands would when faced with a woman who has just gone through 36 hours of labour.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? This weekend. It was a bit of a crying over spilt milk scenario.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? My handwriting changes with practically every sentence I write. In that case, ...I like one of those personalities.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? I have no idea what lunch meat is? Can't you have any meat at any time? Why limit the meat? Are we being punished? Meat is good. Refuse to eat pork though. ewwwww pork.

6.KIDS? yeah 421 of them..oh you mean actually for me? More than 1 - less than the amount needed to upgrade to a SUV.


8. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? I have both an online and offline journal. Aren't I a geek?

9. DO YOU USE SARCASM? nah, wadda ya reckon?


11. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? I'm not the kind of person that can make a decision like that without actually being there. Maybe.

12. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? I was going to say coco pops but really I'm almost 30. You can't be almost 30 and like coco pops..so I'll say sultana bran or sustain but we'll all secretly know that it's coco pops and never mention it in public again, okay?

13. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? jesus christ no. I practically kick them off as I step inside the door. When I was in school I'd actually kick them off so they flew down the corridor and hit the wall at the other end like I was bowling with my feet.

14. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I pretty much think I can take anyone. I'll wrestle you and play real dirty. oh yes. But when it comes down to the punch I'm a weak arse who will say mercy within 5 seconds.

15. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? choc mint, chocolate, lemon gelati.

16. WEAR HATS? I like hats, but I get frustrated with them. They're always THERE. So no, never - but I like the idea of hats. Hate trucker hats with a passion though.

17. RED OR PINK? That's a horrible question. Aesthetically - red. Wearability and everyday comfort of looking at - pink.

18. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOU? How long do you have? I guess the worst thing is either my inability to make decisions without going throught the eenie meenie route or my fear of getting out of the old comfort zone.


20. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? everyone must do this or I will hunt you down. Okay, I don't care if you ignore my little desperate plea for you to partake in this dumb little meme, you mean bastards.

21. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? I think we've already established how I've kicked my shoes off as soon as I walked in the door and actually...I'm not wearing any pants. I seriously just took them off (am still wearing undies though! don't worry)

22. LAST THING YOU ATE? ...chocolate. God I am so ashamed.

23. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? gentle whir of the heater. I love that sound.

24. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? What a dumb question (not the the rest have been stellar quality or anything) but um are we talking a basic 12 pack or a delux artist pack with metallic colours included? Oh I suppose purple - colour of sexual frustration, a mix of two primary colours (am not merely one dimensional - am a mix of the fundamentals), can't use me to colour in EVERYTHING but I sure come in handy when you want to colour the petals of a flower in or a nice purple woolly jumper. I am a bit special..but probably more in a special ed kind of way actually. I put a little too much thought into such a dumb question didn't I?

25. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SMELL? (teen spirit hahahahaha) err...coffee.

26. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? This woman about picking up the tiles from being fired at the kiln (none exploded. yay!).



29. FAVORITE DRINK? I tend to mix it up quite a bit. I probably won't like it if it's bitter though - give me sweet but none of that lolly water (bacadi breezer) thanks. That shit is for girls.

30. FAVORITE SPORT? um, this question just amuses me. I have no favourite sport.

31. HAIR COLOR? sort of a honey colour I guess.

32. EYE COLOR? brown mostly.

33. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? noooo, I hardly have time to get in the shower in the morning without being late. Imagine putting the contacts in too? pft. Besides I only need glasses if I want to see the road or the big screen or kids doing shifty things on the other side of the room. Apart from that I don't need them at all.

34. FAVORITE FOOD? Does chocolate count as food? Quite honestly, this is probably very boring of me but I *love* me a good Sunday roast beef with all the roasted vegies all cooked in their own juices. yum.

35. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDING? twisted endings that are sort of happy.

36. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? "Beyond the Sea" (Kevin Spacey, Kate Bodsworth as Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee - oh how I loved all those old time movies and music from that era).

37. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? brown t-shirt (pajama) it says "Me Alone" on it. How apt.

38. SUMMER OR WINTER? winter! Christ, I want to murder people who walk around wishing summer would hurry up and come. Bloody hell - it isn't that cold, it's not like we're living under a sheet of ice. Get over it! Winter is lovely with it's grey days and little hopeful beams of sun every now and again - we only get it once a year. I love those sunny winter days, the rainy winter days, the cold and windy winter days - especially when you're inside with a good book under the covers and listening to the wind billow through the trees. Summer it's just the same old bullshit everyday. yawn.

39. HUGS OR KISSES? As if I'd give up one for the other!

40. FAVORITE DESSERT? chocolate mud or pav. ooo I love a good pav.



43. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? oh god, this is so embarrassing - but remember my mind is mush... The new Janet Evanovich book. Please don't judge me.

44. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I don't even have a mouse - but anyway, I'm aesthetically opposed to them. Someone needs to invent nicer looking ones that don't have cartoon chararcters on them.

45. WHO HAS HAD THE MOST INFLUENCE ON YOUR LIFE? family - for better or worse..

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

why can't they be like we were?

Kids say the weirdest shit. One of them put their hand up in class the other day and just blurted out "if 5 babies hadn't died in my mother's tummy I'd be one of 12". Dude, what the fuck? What the hell was I suppose to say to that? It bummed the class the fuck out, let me tell you that much. Yeah let's get back to learning about mosaics kids..yea...woo.. ... ..

Yesterday while on yard duty one of my treasures from last year showed me how he could cross his eyes: "now there are two of you. Two heads, four arms, four eyes and two vaginas" ...SAY WHAT? ummmm...

The kids have been learning about Ancient Rome in our Italian classes at school. Today we had a day to celebrate all that which all culminated in an all in wheelie bin chariot race. I love primary schools. Despite the feeling of banging one's head against wall that teachers experience on a daily basis, sometimes you get to partake in the most awesome things. Seriously what did you do at work today? I got to watch kids push eachother out the way as they dragged giant decorated wheelie bins around the outside of a sea of orange witches hats (a makeshift velodrome) while wearing crappy spaghetti collander centurian outfits. It was a laugh a minute.

Monday, July 10, 2006

give me a reason to love you

I wanted to move away from the last few posts focusing on gender politics - but then Musical Monday came along and I remembered my old friend, music - and how even when you feel like there is no hope and that fewer than the people you can count on your fingers actually understand you there is usually a song out there that will do the job of a thousand friends to make you feel not quite so alone.

I discovered Portishead's debut album Dummy when I was still in high school (yeah, it's that old). Glory Box and Sour Times were all over the radio and I loved them, but actually it was the song Roads that made me fork out money for it. This album is one of my all time favourites in my whole collection. Every song is beautiful. I always rate an album by whether you can listen to it from start to finish without feeling the need to press the skip button on every listen. This is one of those rare gems.

The song Glory Box from the album Dummy is the song I've picked for my MM today. It typifies everything I've been thinking for the past week or so - just like it did when I heard it over 10 years ago.

I won't apologise for being political or confrontational about gender politics but I can't say I'm wholey thrilled if you think I'm completely beyond repair and freakish either. I guess it comes down to what I was saying about that whole "speaking up thing" and damning what people think. Sometimes I think that I was always destined to be a little behind the 8-ball when it came to my understandings of men. And in fact perhaps the opposite is actually true. There is a little too much understanding going on and well, ignorance really must be the easier road to take at times! I think maybe I wasn't given the best introduction or something - sometimes it's hard to let go of wrong doings (cbg) especially when it's constantly in your face all the time anyway.

But in any case I hope you enjoy the music and the message and don't think I've eaten too much of the crazy cake. Beth Gibbons truly has one of the most magical voices in music and this song is one of those pieces of music that is absolutely timeless, poignant and beautiful. So, if nothing else - take that.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

the crux

I've been thinking about the BB thing and have come up with why I'm concerned by it. It's not about how Big Brother handled it or about whether the label of sexual assault fits or not. It's the question in my head: Why do men think it's okay to demean women sexually? Why does society support it? I've been around for a while. This situation was not created by Big Brother. Men do this kind of shit all the time under the guise of "boys will be boys" (you would be extremely hard pressed to find a woman who hadn't gone through some sort of incident that involved men behaving innapropriately. God knows I have walked down the street in broad daylight just minding my own business and been groped or slapped or had sexually explicit things said to me by men I've never even met - that's just the icing on the cake. I dress like a school teacher by the way, in case that's what you were thinking - and the fact I had to justify that sort of pisses me off. I don't know any women who hasn't had something along the lines of this happen. Sure it's not a bloody turkey slapping but the attitude of the situation is the same) and women either support it by "playing along" and saying ohh that kind of thing happens all the time, there's nothing you can do about it, or labelled as hysterical feminists if they say anything against it. I am not talking about acts of explicit crime at the moment but I just want to know why young men think it's okay to sexually demean women!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Three things..

1) I was listening to the radio the other day when Hughsey and Kate were talking about men and relationships and the Hughsey (male) came out with a pearler.

There are two types of men in the world. There's the type of man that when he meets the gorgeous girl of his dreams (who is actually into him!) he thanks Allah, God and his lucky stars and gets onto building a relationship out of this godsend. Then there's the other type of guy, that when faced with the same situation will begin to think he's gods gift and dump the girl soon after relations and move towards greener pastures. The idea being; If I'm hot enough to get that girl then I'm hot enough to get a better girl. The goal being: staying on a roll.

Could this be true?

I asked L about it and she laughed and said just TRY to find one that isn't the second kind. And then I realised that she actually had evidence to back her up! :( christ.

2) E amused us by explaining how she was going to put her male friend P on a personal rel. site here. Now, while I am not good friends with P, I have met him a couple of times and shared pleasantries. He seems like a really nice guy. SEEMS. What he doesn't know is that I know all about what he's really like (E is part of the boys club at her work and she passes the invaluable info down to all us girls). He is the type of guy that when his designated long time f.buddy rings him up to tell him that she really needs someone to talk to..her mum just got diagnosed with cancer and he is the closest person she feels to - P tells her that he isn't her friend and that maybe it would be better if they stopped seeing eachother altogether - buhbye. That's one of the nicer things he's done to women. Real nice guy. YOU WOULDN'T KNOW by talking at him - he's lovely! And this is my problem.

Anyway, so E is setting him up with an ad to rope the ladies in. L and I are absolutely aghast that some unsuspecting woman is going to crawl into his lair and be compeltely damaged by his arseholishness and we are thinking of ways to sabotage him. Isn't it time a register was started containing known arseholes so that all single women could just look up their potential beau and see if they were blacklisted? It would save so much trouble. What ever happened to just being a good person these days anyway?

3) I've been wanting to write about the Camilla incident on Big Brother. I've written the entry about 3 times but it's not right somehow. The whole thing makes me sad - not because of the incident per se but because of how people are talking about Camilla now. When will people learn that just because someone has a lively sexual past it doesn't make them more deserving of sexual assault/harrassment? I know the label isn't right for the boys in the context of this "incident" (and I'm not saying that it is right) but what happened, happened for a various number of reasons - some of which to do with Camilla being willing (though may I make it perfectly clear that while she may have had an inkling that they were up to no good, she did not actually consent to it) and some of which to do with her being targeted because she was disliked by her housemates but desperately wanting to be liked. She craved approval from Ash and John and that's why she got into bed with them! Meanwhile they invited her in only to degrade her.

I can't imagine the boys even attempting to draw any of the other girls into the "turkey slapping" business. And that's the problem I have with the incident. It wasn't about sex, it was about politics of gender relations and ultimately it is Camilla who will suffer from it. The boys have already been given this big pardon from Gretel, chanel 10, big brother and pretty much everyone else. Camilla is stuck in a house where she is unable to talk to her housemates about the incident or to anyone. She is very well aware that saying anything will label her as an outcast and trouble maker anyway. She is being scrutinized by everyone around her and she can't even have her say. Meanwhile the pot is being stirred.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

the machine

We push our children too hard, I think. Teachers push too hard and parents push too hard. The climate of our society means that everything we do, think, are is geared towards maximum output with minimum resources - this is for everyone not just parents and children. We are constantly encourged to do as much as we can or else something bad will happen - life will pass us by. Let me tell you something, life doesn't pass anyone by. Everyone gets one life and everyone lives it, whether it be 2 minutes long or 101 years long. The life happens regardless. Life happens! We're pushed at work to achieve impossible standards. We're pushed to look good. We're pushed to travel, or invest, or save, or buy/buy/buy, or find the perfect partner and to lead exciting lives. Parents are expected to have complete social lives like they did before they were parents (pfeeeeeeee!) and children are expected to be the absolute best at everything they do - piano lessons, karate lessons, Footy lessons, Drama lessons, Callisthenics, Gymnastics, Dance, Sculpture, Scouts, orchestra, tutoring etc. It's any wonder we are burnt out before we begin. We live 5 lives in one.

I worry about this. I spend a lot of time at work, feeling pressured by the amount I have to do. And I spend a lot of time outside work feeling pressured about what I'm going to do at work. You finish one thing but the inbox is never empty. There is always a pile. What ever happened to the 8 hours work, 8 hours rest, 8 hours play idea? I rarely spend 8 hours a day at work. More like 9 or 10 (sometimes 11 - waaayyy over 12 when it's interview time or report time). I sleep for about 6-7 hours a night. But play doesn't happen. That so-called designated play time encompasses, showers, food, homework, meetings, running errands etc And so really...there is very little play. You get nothing. We're being smokescreened. Do you ever feel like there aren't enough hours in the day? It's because really, there aren't! Keeping up to date with "living in a society where everyone expects far too much" is a full time job. I often feel like I need to take a step outside of myself and to just breathe. I feel very lucky to get school holidays. I am being 100% honest with you when I say that I think I would have a nervous breakdown without them. I think there are a lot of teachers (most probably) who would feel the same way.

But the constant pushing starts at a young age. Us teachers look at a 5 year old sometimes and don't see a child who is developmentally 5 years old. We look at them and think "what more can they do?" "what more can they demonstrate?" "How can I get them to work harder?". We also ask "how can I achieve the best out of my grade?" and "How can I cater for different abilities within my classroom?" but bottom line - it's results that count. A lot of our worth as teachers as seen by others in society is not nurturing a love for learning (unfortunately, because that's exactly why we go into it!). But you ask any parent or principal what they see when they look at a teacher or a school and it's the numbers on the page. If your grade of 5 year olds is reading at a higher level than another grade of 5 year olds at another school then the principal gets a kudos from the government. The parents start to be impressed. Other teachers wonder how you did it. We, as a society, are results driven. We as a society give worth to those who achieve results that can be written down on paper. Is it just so we can crack it out at dinner parties and smugly say see? look how smart they are?. We don't ever value kindness or humanitarianism in the same way. That gets a nice little pat on the back. Oh well done you *are* a special person. No wonder the kids are feeling the pinch.

Today, we had a PD where the guy got up and made a simple comment about how we're trying to get our children to work with big numbers in maths because it's so impressive, but sometimes these kids don't understand the basics. The point is to get them to understand first and then move on - not to just keep pushing. He said something like by the middle of grade 2 children might be starting to look at numbers in the hundreds - if they are ready. I could hear the wheels turning in the heads of my former peers. No way, that's too low - my kids are better than that! I can do better than that. My results will be better than that. My class will beat the standards. The truth of the matter is that there are some children in every grade who will be a cut above the rest. They will be able to work easily 2 years ahead of their level. There will be some who will work 2 years behind. Most will be average. Such is the way the bell curve works. We talk a lot about catering for different abilities within the classroom but I think there's a dirty secret in teaching and that is that we are pushing for all children to go harder, do better, be stronger - or else they'll never do well. We feel it from the government, from parents, from the media and from ourselves. Like our personal worth as professionals is measured by the results we get on paper.

It's not just us. It's parents too. You send home a book that they have been tried and tested for - it's the perfect level for them to read without having a mental breakdown. You send it home and the next day the child will walk up sheepishly and say Mum says this is too easy and she wants level 14 like Joshua is reading. You need to send home level 14. So you arrange a meeting with the parent and you explain exactly why and how this child is actually taking home the perfect level for their reading ability and the parent will just point blank look at you with hatred (like you are actively trying to keep their child from succeeding!) and then go out to the readers and take the level they want anyway! Why? They want their child to read as well as someone else, even if their child is developmentally not ready for to do so. Never mind the poor child who has no comprehension and is struggling. So what you end up doing is planning all this extra homework for the child to do every night so that they read better. The message is clear: You are not good enough. Work harder or you will never amount to anything. The kid is five fucking years old. Let them run and play, please!

Sometimes I look around at what we're fostering and I get sad. Then I look around at what we as adults have become. We are little more than machines. You know what I want to do when I get to the weekend? Sleep! That's it. Give me a pillow and I'm quite content. I'm just happy to breathe for a bit.

Monday, July 03, 2006


Quite a few years ago now when I was still in uni and looking for new ways to distract old thoughts. I came across a little thing called the world wide web and discovered the art of chatting. Ahh, what fun I had inventing new little personas and teasing the unsuspecting. But these were the days before anyone cared about ID logging and all that security hooha and so it was just easier to be a bit naughty sometimes - never with any malice, of course. My favourite site to chat at was this little black hole in cyberspace where a select bunch of nine inch nails fans would meet to discuss the state of the world (or the state of their boots, either..both). It wasn't java or irc or any of that. It was one of those sites that refreshed every 20 seconds. I loved it becuase you never had to log in. I loved it because people got heated up about things. If you had a rant, you were guarranteed supporters and opposers. Noone was afraid to say what they really thought. Good, because those passive types that have a lot to say but are too afraid to say them infuriate me. No user ID logging meant that anyone could come along and steal your username (and they often did) but still, the whole place was just ..interesting and feisty. The main site had a few other chat rooms branching off from it that noone ever used. I used to go into one of them and just write little stories on the screen mostly for my own amusement. Unbeknown to me however, there was someone watching and reading and wondering. P.

P was great. A muso from Sydney with dreadlocks and a decidely humanitarian view of the world. It took me about 2 minutes to develop the world's biggest crush on him. Do you develop crushes on cyber people too? I had it bad for P. He was one of those sweet, sweet guys that cared about a lot of things. That kind of thing is attractive when it's directed the right way (outwards) - which it was. I am a real sucker for kindness - probably because I never had much of that growing up.. We often talked about politics or philosophy or other funny little thoughts we had that noone else seemed to care about. We were both huge fans of the site disinfo.com back when it was still good and we both had email addresses there before they started charging people for them. It was so good finally finding someone who enjoyed throwing ideas around just to pass a few hours.

After a while this little room started to get popular and even though P and I did stake a claim to it with our funny little conversations that bored everyone else - we were always met with a variety of internet chatters who wanted to pass the time as well. Due to neither of us liking to stick to one username (or any username actually) it got so, that we were able to recognise eachother just by the pattern of speech. Ahh, M it's you isn't it? Finally! :) - A nice way to be greeted, really.

P played me some of his music and when I said I liked it very much he directed me towards an artist called Amon Tobin. Brazillian born Amon Tobin plays a luscious mix of jazz and electronica (jazz fusion) - with just the right amount of samba thrown into the mix. Instrumental. Usually there are strange sounds sampled into his music as well - street sounds and the like. It was exactly the right kind of music I had been looking for without even knowing it.

After a couple of years the chatroom crashed and I lost contact with P. Sometimes people come into your life for just a split second but leave you something that lasts forever. I really believe that everyone you come across has something important to share or teach you. And so from P, I present Amon Tobin's Nova - moody and Jazzy. Which is really like listening to the rain patter on the roof while you take a warm bath at midnight (just to paint a picture).

Nova - Amon Tobin

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(the recording may be very choppy - let it load first - castpost has been undergoing redevelopments and so posts may be affected).

I also highly recommend the songs Squarepusher, Easy Muffin, Four Ton Mantis, Switch and Sordid the styles of these songs are more in keeping with the Amon Tobin feel than Nova is and all absolutely amazing.

Naughty Vixen - 86
Normal girl - 45

oh woe for normal girl. If there is little hope for you on the internet, there is surely no hope in the real world. Men prefer the NV! Go invest in fishnets and cheap pvc boots.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

give me peace of mind and trust

There is a strange stillness in the cold air. A blue tinge in the night sky. A quiet hush accentuated by the occassional swish of car tyres on wet bitumen. Lights blink over the railway and the Eureka Tower dwarfs the Arts Centre Spiral. This is the view of Melbourne walking over the MCG footbridge to the Rod Laver Arena.

A lyric from Coldplay's Politik that says open up your eyes is what I wrap around me tonight. It is also the view I take of Melbourne generally; a place that is not always polished, nor glamorous, or sophisticated. Open up your eyes is finding beauty in the imperfections - once you see it, you begin to forget about all that silver platter bullshit. Leave it for the birds! The beauty is in the amused roll of the eyes between umbrella-less pedestrians when the skies suddenly open up without warning. It's discovering a new cafe in a dingy alleyway. It's chuckling at Jeff Kennett's yellow "penis" sculpture as you drive along the tullamarine freeway. It's finally understanding that Federation Square isn't an eyesore, it's an intricate labyrinth. Beauty in all things, especially if you have to work for it. The fun is under the covers, not in bragging about the Egyptian cotton.

I try to utlise the concept when I look at anything and everything; sculpture, music, love, art, people; Open up your eyes is not about Melbourne at all. It's about life; which has never been a straight forward path or a route clearly defined by the stars, no matter how hard we kid ourselves that it is. We get caught up in the superficial fog pretty easily. I guess in order to open up your eyes you just have to be open up your mind to the little moments of clarity within the fog. Little sparkles of beauty in a sea of ugliness where the rushed, working, living, breathing shell of you meets head on with the you that exists as a greater part of the collective consciousness, the earth, the universe (insert your own) in a sudden cosmic a ha moment.

But this is not about climbing to the top of the mountain. It's not about getting a child to like reading (finally). It's not about helping the blind to see. That kind of work reminds you of how important and funamental you are to the world and the people around you. It is an achievement. The sparkle, however is a little tap on the shoulder and a whisper in the ear that says open your eyes and look around you, things are beautiful. It's a reminder.

The moments come whenever - it's nothing, a completely frivolous but individually satisfying instant that grabs your heart when you least expect it. You might, for instance be at a concert and the band start singing a famous line when suddenly these gigantic yellow balloons float from the roof and waft down onto the elated crowd below - who all begin tapping them across to eachother in an interconnected game of beach ball. Tap, tap, tap - and then without warning the balls begin bursting and millions of pieces of golden glitter shower down on the assembly who are smiling, laughing and shrieking with delighted glee. You watch the golden squares catch the light and reflect it in flashes of colour back towards you and this is when you realise the sublime moment for what it is.

Life is delightfully surprising.

Thanks for reminding me. I needed that.

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