Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Letters to the editor

Dear Karma,

Hi, um yeah, I already totally believe in you. Therefore it was completely unnecessary to flex your fateful muscle by fucking me over today.

okay, yes you're right. Technically I fucked myself over (and not in the good way).


The girl you've met many times before.

Dear Grand Sheikh of Australia (or whatever the fuck you want to call yourself),

You are a goddamn dickhead. I don't like you at all. Not one fucking bit.

Not a piece of meat.

ps: I see you've met my friend Karma.

Dear Real Estate Agent,

When you ring me up on my mobile and say Heyyy is that young M I'm speaking to? like I'm 10 years old it makes me not want to buy a house from you.

An adult.

Dear Brain,

Please do some planning for your classes tomorrow, now! If you do it now you won't have to stress about it on the way to school tomorrow.

Please plan!

Sick of your shit.

Dear L Plate Driver,

Once upon a time I was exactly like you, but let me tell ya - I was scared driving behind you today.


Dear 'look at me, look at me' girl,

It's sexier if you don't try so hard to be "sexy".
You're turning into a cliche!


Dear Axel Whitehead,

What was the point of flashing your penis at the ARIA awards? Is it because you are an Australian Idol reject rather than a real musician? Feel the pressure of real talent nipping at your toes?
You are a bogan.
Put it away, no one wanted to see it anyway.


Dear Credit Card,

Please hold out until the end of the year!


Dear Madonna,

I don't understand what all the fuss is about either.

Never talk about it to Oprah though. See what she did for Tom Cruise? You don't want any of that shit following you around, lady.


Dear Kate Moss,

How can you eat for two, when you can't even eat for one?


Dear Prep Kid,

I'm sorry I didn't believe you that there was such a thing as a cowfish. I just thought you were playing funny buggers with me because you didn't want to make a real sea creature out of clay and because well...you like cows.

I like cows too - they're cute.
But I'm sorry about the cowfish thing. It was a good effort, even though what you made it looks a bit like a sausage.

Art Teacher.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

recipe of me

You know how they say you are what you eat? I figure you are what you read, listen to and watch too. All those incidental seemingly frivolous things that we tend to laugh off are the ones that describe us best. Sometimes when I watch tele or read a book or listen to a song there's a sense of recognition that runs through me that's like me! Pop culture is part of how we identify ourselves. The things we engage in and consume define us probably better than we care to admit.

So without hesitation - here is the rather patchy and in no way even half complete recipe of me.

I am all about making up stupid dances in order to get my mojo back. A la Wet Hot American Summer

(15 humps of the fridge worth)

Sometimes I like a good gossip fest a la "The Telephone Hour" Bye Bye Birdie

(2 phonecalls and a call wait worth)

Although I am scatterbrained, eternally single and basically a nervous wreck you can bet that underneath there is something a little more interesting going on. A la Selina Kyle in Batman Returns

(13 gallons of spilled coffee and a saved by kitty litter worth)

"I don't think you have particularly good manners with ladies" said Pippi. then she lifted him high into the air with her strong arms. She carried him to a nearby birch tree, and hung him across a branch. then she took the next boy and hung him on another branch and then she look the next one and sat him on the high gatepost outside the house, and then she took the next one and threw him right over the fence, leaving him sitting in a bed of flowers in the next-door garden. She put the last of the bullies into a little toy cart that stood on the road. Then Pippi and Tommy and Annika and Willie stood looking at the boys a while, and the bullies were quite speechless with astonishment.

Pippi said, "You are cowards! Five of you go after one boy. That's cowardly. And then you begin to push a little defenceless girl around. Oh, how disgraceful! Nasty!"

I can't stand any kind of bullying behaviour on 'underdogs' - especially from rude boy bullies. I probably will always see myself as your protector (if you're my friend) even if you are older, wiser, stronger, smarter and totally have *my* back.

(13 kicks to mean boys' shins)

I have been known to make a wise crack or two. I'm a bit "quirky". I love my motown - LOVE IT! Sometimes I say ridiculous things. I am passionate when I get riled up and when I'm on fire I can sooooo kick some major arse! a la Murphy Brown. I absolutely idolised this show (and Murph) while growing up!

(1000 decibels of "Why Do Fools Fall In Love")

I've lost count of how many times I've read it. Basically she's the black sheep of the family who basically learns to depend on herself. I totally identify with Jane Eyre for so many different reasons (or maybe I just identify with the mad woman in the attic - depends on the day I suppose).

(3 encounters with a mean old family member)

Like Janeane's character in The Truth About Cats and Dogs I have my insecurities too - on radio she can be more herself than what she can in real life - similarly am probably better in blogland than in real life!

(18 times shy worth)

"Why does Marcia get everything?" Yes, why does she?! a la Jan Brady The Brady Bunch

(3 cups of Marcia, Marcia, Marcia)

I won't hear one bad word against The Golden Girls - it is the absolute shit! I love it! I have had many a conversation with the buds as to who is who on this show. When we proclaimed M as Blanche (because of her vast "experience") she got very offended and wouldn't speak to the rest of us for days. E and I had an argument about which one of us was Dorothy once. I insisted that I was, because of the whole sarcastic teacher thing, but she insisted that she was much more bitter and twisted than I could ever be and that I was the apparently the funny old glue that holds everyone together - Sophia. I still think I'm the bitter and twisted Dorothy - plus see that look she's giving the camera? I can totally do that look and do bring it often! That's what is known as 'the teacher look'.
(5 heaped cups of sassy pants)

I don't want to go on any manhunts with the other girls. I just want to do fun stuff. Is that so hard to understand? a la Gidget.

(1 rather wistful sigh and a crush on the big kahuna worth)

You know the best thing about aeroplanes? Apart from the peanuts in the little silver bags, I mean. It's looking out of the windows at the clouds, and thinking, maybe I could go walking in there. Maybe it's a special place where everything's okay. Sometimes I do go walking in the clouds. But it's just cold and wet and empty, but when you look out of a plane it's a special world...

When you say words a lot they don't mean anything. Or maybe they don't mean anything anyway, and we just think they do.

I have my weird insular moments that no one else in the whole world understands a la Delirium in The Sandman.

(3 fishes full)

Music freak who makes obsessive lists - a la Rob Gordon High Fidelity

(10 lists written messily and dated)

In school M and I would rather embarrassingly sing showtunes all through class and give impromptu performances (obviously I wasn't one of the popular girls) a la Connie and Carla

(76 trombones full)

Totally living in my head with the world's wildest imagination a la Zoe in Cherish. When I saw this movie for the first time I just thought that's me ...right down to the daggy music tastes and singing into the hair dryer while wearing roller skates.

(18 lollypops sucked)

All bravado - no sense. Will only 'quit it' when someone stronger than me puts their foot down. A la Calamity Jane.

(45 pistol shots into the air)

Bookworm, eternal librarian, dreamy, ridiculously idealistic, argumentative, funny dance moves, can't sing for shit but will try anyway - a la Jo Stockton in Funny Face.

(35 meetings with strange men in Paris worth)

Messy handbag - check
Dandruff art - check.
Wearing a fuck load of black - check.
anti-social - sometimes.
Cereal/chip and sugar sandwiches - check.
wacko dancing - check.
A la Allison Reynolds in The Breakfast Club
(1 growl and a strange sound worth)

Underneath I'm a total geek and goody goody. I get into trouble without meaning to. I'm terribly idealistic. I want a break from my old life. I totally blame Phil for alerting me to this one about fifty billion years ago in some entry of mine where he made a comment about my wacko ideas reminding him of Linsday - but yes, I agree. So for all those things I'm Lindsay Weir, from Freaks and Geeks.

(a joint, inhaled but immediately regretted worth).

Purely for the fig tree metaphor. If there is one thing that could typify my rather flawed approach to things it's the fig tree metaphor in The Bell Jar. Not knowing which one to pick and so they all turn rotten, shrivel and die. How cheery!

(28 figs - sliced)

Maybe I'm a little bit Peppermint Patty every now and again with my frankness, but let's be honest she's waaay too sporty to be me - I'm a little more Marcie from Peanuts: I'm crap at sports. I can be a little naive sometimes and need a bit of protecting. I'll totally help you with your homework if I think you're a true friend and I have a secret crush on Charlie Brown.

(5 polished pairs of glasses worth)

If you want an instruction manual to me (unlikely) read - Quirkyalone by Sasha Cagen. I identified immediately.

(6 tales of romantic idealism worth)

Hal Hartley's Trust is one of my all time favourite movies. So yes, Maria - but only after she puts on the uncool dress, trades the contacts in for glasses, starts asking many questions and turns into a total librarian. Need to be saved? Maybe.

(5 exploding grenades worth)

pfeeeeee, of course! I hear you think. But yes - yes I read it, cried, got angry, got really sad and then got even angrier. I identify with much of it and at the same time not all of it speaks to me. A great book for a femmo.

(5 feminists wearing pink shoes worth)

This album doesn't so much remind me of me - but instead is just a part of me.

(3 rounds of rolling around on the floor worth)

Like Karen Carpenter I hang out with my bro a lot. We get along rather famously these days. Sometimes we're a team...other times I want to punch his lights out. <3

(2 quaaludes and an hour on the treadmill worth)

Eclectic, a bit weird, sometimes unexpected, soulful, has it's poignant moments and lots of silly ones, sometimes incredibly sexy, or forward, or confronting - a little tongue in cheek. This album is sooo me.

(having a go at using these broken wings to learn to fly, worth)

Mystery, intrigue, hidden secrets, lots of people admitting to being a lush a la Hollywood Babylon (aka: one of my most favourite books, ever).

I don't know how I could forget to include her - this little icon of mine. As a kid I was absolutely obsessed with Alice and her trips down the rabbit hole. I used to go looking for rabbit holes that I could dissapear into (hello Freud!). So, for the dumb thoughts, weird dreams, conversations with strange animals, naivety and general 'I've had enough and now I'm going to make you all pay' attitude a la Alice. I still identify with her even though I'm all grown up. And even though I'm all grown up if I come across an edition of Alice that I don't own I'll buy it ;)

I can identify with the feeling of always playing second fiddle, the insecurities, the constant wonderings about people - and there always happens to be an evil Mrs Danvers around, unfortunately. a la Rebecca

And last but not least (cause otherwise I'll keep finding more and more things to add to the list) - and just because I love this song to bits. A nod to motown, which always gives me a little buck up when I need it.
Reach Out (I'll be there) - The Four Tops

(played loud and danced to rather embarrassingly until caught by the cute but little bit crazy painter guy, a la Murphy Brown)

Mix until smooth.
Bake in a moderate oven.
Serve hot with a side of crazy cake.

ps: what the hell is going on with blogger lately? Am I going to be forced to relocate to wordpress or diaryland? ugh.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


What's with this daylight savings malarkey? Where the hell did that hour go? I want my hour of sleep back. How can you save daylight anyway? I know there are logical answers to these questions but I really don't care. All I know it that it's an hour later than it should be, which means that I'm an hour closer to going back to work on Monday. Boo hiss.

Monday will be interesting because I may be confronted by prin about my proposal for a media centre in the art room. HAHAHA you dumb bitch - wake up and smell the coffee - you work in a government school. No media centre for you! I hear you think, but hey, a girl's gotta try eh? I spent 7 hours on Friday writing the budget for all my art expenses for next year. It doesn't quite add up that if I was writing a budget for 7 hours, then who was teaching the kids? The answer to that is - shamefully- I don't know. I sort of ignored them all day long (well as much as you can with a bunch of kids who need you all the time). I had to - it was due that afternoon and I hadn't even started! Of course, I should have done it before Friday, but if I wasn't to procrastination like that girl from high school was to anal sex (err...it sort of makes sense) then I wouldn't have had to spend all of Friday doing it. But noooo, I left it all to do on Friday never thinking it would take me more than a couple of solid hours. WRONG!

That was the first real budget I'd done. By real, I mean cared about. I hate budgets. I hate balancing numbers. I hate filling out forms. I hate being prescriptive. I just want them to give me my damn money and leave it to me to sort it out. The best projects I do with the kids are the ones I suddenly think of in the shower before my day starts! That means a lot of last minute scrounging for materials. What I want is a pool of money there that is entrusted to me so that I can access it for whatever the hell last minute hair brained scheme I've got on my mind! Is that so much to ask? I'm not going to go spend it on a jacuzzi for the art room or anything! I'm not going to hire a cabana boy to give me shoulder massages while I teach the kids! I know what I need...just that I don't quite know exactly how I'll need it! I know that prin not only expects but demands that the school looks schmicko in terms of the art work - but that only comes from buying the GOOD STUFF and the good stuff costs money.

Anyway, I wrote the budget in terms of stuff I'll need (I went through and itemised everything - it was HELL). I did it like that so that they couldn't say no to the money I'll need without knowing that they were depriving me of something essential. I hope they say yes - I wasn't being frivolous at all. Everything I put down on the list was something I need or I die. If I don't get the money I want there really will be something that has to go missing from the program next year. This makes me sad.

Apart from the nitty gritty, as I mentioned, I wrote a proposal for a media centre in the art room. It includes computer art, animation, digital photography, screen printing, film making, claymation etc and all the equipment and software that goes with it (generally speaking). We are talking mega bucks over a few years here. Prin was so happy with our film project and I mentioned the media centre to her while she was high on euphoria from that premiere night and she was very interested. Vice Prin said he would back me up because he is very much into technology and media. I know we are just a primary school but if private schools are doing this kind of stuff and we want to keep up with them then we need to more forward too - plus kids love that kind of stuff. Art is one of the ways that the school can gain favourable exposure if done right. Eventually I'd like a dark room for film photography as well - but I remember someone pricing it a few years ago and the costs were phenomenal. Still, why not ask? At least it's being proactive. Currently we don't have any provisions for digital art in the art room - it would be nice to get something going. Pipe dream? Probably.

In other news, I found a place I actually like and doesn't need any renovations. The agent (who one his own personalised flier said he "lives, sleeps and breathes real estate" hahah what a dick) said that they are not accepting any offers before hand. I don't want to go to auction. Surely there is another way. He can't be the absolute final word on this. Can he?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

anal queen

My single friend L is still very much into the party scene and clubbing, actually I know a few singles my age who are still out there actively looking for a guy. Personally I can't stand the "got to get out there and get myself a man" mentality. I find it shallow, obsessive and just a tad worrying. I mean don't you have any other interests or loves? Don't you like yourself at least a little? Sure, I may end up alone and eating cat food for dinner but at least I'm not someone I'd hate to spend time around. Even though I love my friends I can't stand to be around them when they are on the "manhunt". I would rather do much more casual stuff - eat food, drink wine, watch a movie, see a band, piss fart around in my pjs and eventually get into a fight with myself. It's like I've already settled down...only I've gone and done it with myself.

There are only three times when I am irritated by my singledom.
1) Events such as weddings, valentines day and parties where I am forced to endure the pain alone.
3) Money matters - such as buying a house. I never thought about my singledom as a negative thing in terms of getting on with my life until I started looking for a house. I've realised that everything costs more for single people and is way harder for me. I have no sympathy for couples trying to meet mortgages anymore. Nope. They can take their townhouses, stubby holders and aprons with boobs on them and fuck right off with their complaining. Two wages - none of which is a teacher salary? You are in PARADISE! Being single and actually wanting to have a house AND a life is a pipe dream.

Apart from that - I'm peaches. err.. No, really I am. I don't want to be on the prowl and I am sort of creeped out by people who are. Having said that though, last night when I met up with some girls for drinks it was a fun time even though they are all on the prowl. I realised that for once the marrieds were in the minority. And suddenly those questions that every single person hates like so what's happening on the guy scene? Anyone nice? Are you with anyone? were suddenly turned around and it was more like sooooo when are you having babies huh?. HAHA, I admit, it was fun seeing someone else squirm around the tough questions for once. But the point was that most of us were single in the group and I looked around and I can't think why.

Take B, for instance - she is down from BrisVegas where she insists there are NO SINGLE MEN and that there are 14000 more women than men in that city because all the good ones end up going to Sydney and Melbourne for jobs. I still don't get it. B literally looks like a cross between Naomi Watts and Scarlett Johansson (not kidding). She is hot and lovely. Yes, okay - she's absolutely obsessed with finding a guy and when she's with someone things get a bit weird. But she's at that stage where she can't even meet someone for something semi-casual.

I don't get it. She is a walking wet dream. So, are men dumb or does she send out some sort of "I want to settle down NOW" vibe that they pick up on and run? Incidentally - why are men afraid of settling down so much?

But listening to her stories about life in BrisVegas (place of no single men) was hilarious.

Meanwhile, the conversation took a turn for the worse when we started discussing an old high school friend of ours who saved herself until she was married. I was all like hey, that's totally cool - good on her if that's what she wants to do and the guy must be a real good one if he's going to wait etc. Until that was, when I found out that she was giving BJs and having anal sex all throughout high school. I'm sorry - if you are an anal queen, you cannot specify yourself as virgin. Or can you? What do you think?

*EDIT: I have gotten more visits from people looking for "anal sex" and "anal virgins" than I have real readers today! I feel so proud.*

Friday, October 27, 2006

PD woes

Today (by that I actually mean yesterday - since I haven't been to bed yet it's hard to tell) was a godsend. Thursdays are without doubt my least favourite day of the week. Sure, it's not a patch on waking up thinking it's Saturday, going back to sleep and then waking up 15 minutes later realising it's only bloody Tuesday. But on Thursdays I teach the 5s and 6s. It's taken me a while to warm to them (I have been a junior teacher until now) but I like them now. That is, I like them except for the grade from hell, who I hate (and hate me). At least it's all mutual.

When I started art teaching VicePrin took me aside and said that I will finally see that each grade's personality is a direct reflection of their classroom teacher. I don't know about that. I've had some retarded grades in my time (and yes, okay, granted I *am* retarded), but I've also had a couple of quiet as mice, absolutely gorgeous grades too. I don't really believe in the theory that the grade is a direct reflection of the teacher in all cases, but in some cases this is true. Being the art teacher I get to see the progression of the grades' personality throughout the year. If a grade goes from naughty to nice in the space of 6 months then you know that the teacher has been working on interpersonal skills.

There is a particular teacher at the school who has a heart of gold. She's absolutely gorgeous. She inherited a grade that could have gone wrong. The elements of horror were there from the beginning. But now, they are lovely. The senior grades are like puppy dogs with paws too big for their bodies and so they keep tripping over themselves and not really knowing what to do. They need to be trained. This class has children taller than me (I'm about 5ft4 - I thought that was tallish for a chick?) and they don't intimidate me at all. Nice kids - and it's due to the teacher. I know - they didn't start out like that. The grade from hell though, did not start out as hell. They were always going to be bouncing off the walls because quirky kids do that but now they are loud, obnoxious little bastards. Guess what? So is their teacher.

Anyway, the point is: On Thursday I didn't have to teach the class from hell! I got to attend the PD from hell instead where I finally got to learn about the new curriculum document for art. Usually when art teachers get together it's a nice time. I like art teachers - they are usually relaxed kind of people who live outside the box. Hell, we spend all day inhaling paint fumes, I guess that's why, but art teachers are good people. That was what I thought anyway, until the PD where I realised that art teachers are a bunch of flakey freaks.

You know, all I wanted to do was go in and learn about how to assess and report on students under this new curriculum document. All I found out was that noone agrees with the document and that everyone is bogged down in policy and politics. Gee, that's a surprise - we're teachers of course we're bogged down in the crap. We live in the crap - but let's move beyond that and err, do some fucking learning. I have the same idea about the document coming out of that PD than I did going in - nada. At one point someone said, 'I tend to think if they've had a go then that's good enough for me' and I internally started rolling my eyes. If a kid comes to me with a bunch of unfinished rubbish in art class they get the look and a swift return to their seat for a reapplication of their 'skills'. I'm never especially mean about it but I know the difference between a kid who tried his best and it still looks shite and a kid who is an artist but couldn't be fucked doing a good job. The former gets much praise, the later gets a kick up the arse. I thought this was common practise. Apparently not.

No wonder we have no idea how to assess and report on kids. We're not all on the same page. With maths, there are a bunch of tests and you can do that will give you a general idea of what kids can and can't do. Art is a little more subjective - it's not so prescriptive. Even if we are teaching skills - there's that whole element of what is art anyway? I spend much of my lessons going on about how certain artists were never considered artists until late into their career, or after they died or how that point is still being debated now. I do that to demonstrate to those children who say that "I'm a bad artist" or who are told that their work sucks that art is subjective and that a lot of artists went about their lives being the only one to believe they were worth anything. Believing in yourself is a good thing, after all. Meanwhile, art or not, we turn around and give them a mark based on their apparent skills. Anyway, I'm still not really sure on the new document. I guess I need to find a better PD.

The PD was not why my day was a godsend though.
My day was a godsend because A (who I took along to the PD with me) and I got to sit down for lunch at Tiamo on Lygon, with real food and real wine and actually have a whole hour to EAT IT. We were in heaven. That's when I realised that this is how normal people operate. Real lunch, with real food and alcohol and not having to worry about the bell (expense account?). Job descriptions aside. If you get to do this even once a week or so I hope you appreciate it. It definitely beats a soggy vegemite sanga and a mouldy piece of fruit that you eat while running from the photocopier to yard duty, pulling on your construction worker's vest.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

imagine that your little girl just got raped.

When I heard about the Rape DVD I was horrified. When I read about what actually happened I cried my eyes out. There is never an excuse - underage or not. I don't actually share the 'lock 'em up and throw away the key' attiude that some people have for these kinds of offences. Everyone knows hardcore rapists are back out on the street within a year on good behaviour anyway. My punishment would be much, much harsher. The kind of retribution I would applaud when it comes to dealing with these kinds of men, goes waaay outside the dealings of the "law" (which let's face it is a JOKE). I do not think that the law is in any way adequate in dealing with crimes of sexual assault. I don't even think we're half way to treating victims like 'humans' when it comes to rape trials. I know you have to hear both sides of the story but if you think you can't defend the indefensible then when it comes to rape trials you're wrong. Truth of the matter though, I doubt there is any punishment that would ever fit the crime.

That is speaking generally - but basically what happened in this particular situation was this: After agreeing to meet someone off MSN a young girl with 'mild developmental delay' was set upon by a gang of boys who sexually assulted her, urinated on her, set her on fire, filmed it all and distributed the DVD. It was also shown on YouTube complete with lines like "What the f---, she's the ugliest thing I have ever seen."

I know some girls are absolute bitches. I know that there are girls who will kill, lie, cheat, steal, and abuse men. But this kind of shit described above sounds all too common to me on the part of actions from men on women. Tell me you haven't heard of another case like this one before? It's a dime a dozen and it's crap. Rape is a gendered crime - apart from the excpetions to the rule rape is a crime that happens to women perpetrated by men. I honestly don't want to hear about the arguments where women 'make shit up'. This is not what I'm talking about. I mean the real deal. How did we get to the stage where men think it's okay to do this? They thought it would be a good time to target a girl and sexually assault her. I can't imagine anyone not be horrified by this, but still it happened. It happens everyday. It's happening right now, somewhere. Why?

This makes me both sad and angry. We basically live in a culture that supports this kind of action. I'm not saying anyone condones it - I'm saying that the culture is RIPE for it. A DVD was made and it was distributed. I mean fuck.

Are we raising boys wrong?
How did it get to this stage?

Someone explain it to me because:

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flowers and tumbleweeds

Weirdest Aries forecast ever:

They know where you live. They have your phone number. Or, if they haven't, they will track you down - even if they have to put a tracer on the cornflakes in your shopping trolley. Sooner or later they are going to find you and, when they do, they are going to bore you to tears. The yawn-makers have singled you out for special attention. Their great desire is to bend your ear and warp your mind with a tirade of tedium. Is there no escape? Well, you could try earplugs. Focus on the bright, not the boring.

courtesy of cainer.com

Looks like they got me sooner than later mate. It's called the weekly staff meeting. Oi vey. I tend to do that thing where I look straight at prin and just nod, as if I'm listening. It's an important skill to have as a teacher, believe me. In teaching, one is bombarded with more information in one hour than a normal person could handle in a day. We're talking New York Stock Exchange type stuff. You learn to nod and just tune out (you didn't hear it from me) in order to get a bit of peace. Anyway, today I was caught out when prin asked me a direct question and I just looked straight at her and nodded - like I do every week. Meanwhile everything went silent except for the crickets singing in the background as everyone waited for what was supposed to be my response. It was only after the tumbleweed had rolled past that I realised that I had fucked up by "pretending to listen" when evidentally it was my turn to actually answer a question for once. Err...um....yeah? Not good. I did it twice actually. What is going on in the world? Usually they leave the art teacher alone with her obviously frazzled art teacher like thoughts.

Project paint the art room real is on in full swing. I have had many people walk past, do a double take and come in and compliment the changes. It's becoming real. Now if only I wasn't talking about art room, eh?

Of course since I'm spending a lot of time avoiding the abstract by painting real things I've found msyelf with nose in the paint tin lately. Today I got home at the end of the day with a huge white streak of paint in my hair! How could anyone not have told me? I looked like a mad scientist. Some days I come home looking composed and normal, other days I'm looking into the rearview mirror at a girl with art teacher written all over her face.

Except for the nice little flowers stolen from the school gardens by little hands, there is no glamour in this job.
Though, now that I think about it - I like flowers.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

brush, brush, brush, brush, brush, brush

Sometimes when you look at an abstract you see whatever you want to see. Everyone finds something different to admire and become lost in. Everyone thinks the artwork speaks only to them. Turn it any which way and it still works. Listen and it will whisper sweet nothings to you and only you. I'm sick of looking at the abstracts - they're okay once in a while, but they'll lead you to distraction if that's all you ever look at. Give me back the Van Goghs and the Sidney Nolans. Let me get lost inside a Matisse for hours, still emerging with my thoughts intact. I don't want those meandering Arshile Gorky paintings in my head no more.

So, I've attempted to avoid being distracted by abstracts, by diving into something so real I can touch.
I've painted the cupboards a deep green that you can't find in the shops - I mixed it myself.
I've painted all the steel cabinets a bloodied crimson.
Sometimes you just need blocks of colour that you can name. Green, red, yellow, brown, white. Here are my bloodied crimson cabinets - and why yes, there they are as clear as day - eveyone else can see them too.
They make the room look amazing - these nameable, touchable (and even smellable) objects. So real you can touch them...
I'm finally making the art room mine.

Now that I've done that - I need another menial task.
One that allows less thought and more action.
I'm tired of the abstract.
I want something real.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

this old house

Since I've started looking for a house, I've been extremely interested in how other people go about the same venture. The truth is, everyone looks for different things in a house. The further I go into everyone elses house stories the more I have come to the conclusion that finding a house is like looking for a mate. Everyone approaches it differently, everyone looks for something important to them. Some people will choose to live in places that others refuse to even look at. Some people choose looks only. Some have the decision made for them. People go for funtional, livable, trendy, status, emotional and just plain wrong.

L, for instance, doesn't want to settle down. She wants the freedom that renting can bring - she likes the idea of packing up and moving on when things get stale. E saved and saved for the world's largest deposit and then when she got married she balanced the fact that both her hubby and her were able to pay it off - very smart. #2 and D are very casual about it all. They can't afford their dream suburb so they are looking for something in the vicinity. They aren't looking for a lifetime they are looking for the short term and will upgrade to something better later. E2 made a rash decision and needed some bailing out but in the end that paid off. M went straight with her gut and got a great deal.

#1 never bought, her husband did. She let him do all the hard yards and since then has worked with him to do it up beautifully. G has gone the rental route simply to get away from where she was living before. Mich made a calculated, clever decision devoid of any emotion whatsoever. Both B and F moved RIGHT away from city to find something that was affordable and family oriented. And last but not least, S and N are looking for somewhere close to all family ties and close to their own cultural sensibilities.

Every time I talk to someone about it they give me this advice: don't get emotional or you will lose out. Don't go to auction if you can help it because the competition from others will make the price hike up and you'll be buying something that simply isn't worth it. Could this count for relationships too? Fellow blogger Nick mused that perhaps it was better to approach all relationships in a business like manner in order to avoid all future mishaps and heartbreakages in an entry of his a while ago.

And what of me? I, for instance can't decide what I really want. I know that when I find something worth my time it will be because it feels right. But whether that's an apartment, unit or house I don't yet know. I'm pretty easy in that way. Sure, there are some areas I don't want to live in, because they're dangerous or because they'll take me too far away from everyone in my life - but I'm not really a snob when it comes to suburbs. It's okay if it looks a little rough around the edges, as long as I can see the goodness inside. Suburb wise, I want to fit into the surroundings and be blissfully happy there - I don't want to be hurt, you know? Ultimately and most importantly, I just want to be swept off my feet by something that I fall in love with - that's very emotional - I cannot be without my dumb feelings. But I try not to make dumb decisions - so there are certain provisos I follow when searching for a house that I suppose now that I think of it, also count in other areas of my life.

And I might as knock two birds over with one stone and do my musical monday post right here and now.

Two words: Erykah Badu. I'm not a big fan of RnB but a few years ago when I came across her song On and On along with the video clip on rage, I was mesmerised. If you want a beautiful summer song to chill to while you sip your cold drink and watch the afternoon go by, go find it now. I promise you won't be dissapointed! But that isn't the song I've picked today. Oh no - *this* song Tyrone has to be heard to be believed. It's clever, funny, soulful, beautiful and groovy. It's a live recording and the audience reaction says it all. I think most women have come across a man like this at some point or another but it's nice to hear that Ms Badu handles him with all the class and charm that is expected of a lady such as her. Listen, go on! (There are a couple of choice words in there so, you know...whatever).

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Can't think of a title

I feel like I'm slipping into the mean reds lately. I don't quite know what it is that is causing it, maybe it's purely hormonal - maybe not. Sometimes being a girl is pretty confusing. One second you're in complete control of all your faculties, the next you're crying because True Colours by Cindy Lauper comes on the radio.

Or, maybe it's just because I found a house I really love (it's a shit heap, but sort of perfect) but can't afford to buy it (and do it up) - so the fact of not being able to afford it resulted in me feeling like I am crap because I don't have a job that pays me a decent wage, and that lead to: maybe I'm a shit teacher anyway and it's got nothing to do with the wage and instead more to do with being a singleton. So then it turned into gee, why don't I have a husband and 2.3 children and a fucking SUV anyway? What's wrong with me? I am obviously completely retarded. Though, truth be told I would probably disown myself if I ever caught myself even CONSIDERING buying a SUV. And, let's face it I don't even know if I want a husband - they seem like a lot of trouble and hard to house train.
...or maybe it's just PMS. Don't ask me, I just live in this body.

Anyway, since I've been spending so much of my time devoted to house hunting or school or being everyone elses friend I thought it was high time that I told everyone to fuck off (including myself) and not do any of that for a while, and instead devote myself to craptastic 80s movies because they put me in my happy place. The whole idea started when bro who as some sort of retail exec (codename: pleb) for a DVD company, informed me that The Henderson Kids (crappy, badly acted 80s TV series staring a bunch of people who aren't famous except for Kylie Minogue - but that I remember with such retarded love) was coming out on DVD soon. Anyway, I was pretty excited to hear about that. I've been asking bro to hassle the companies to get them to release it for years (yep, I have no life and yes, he refused on the grounds that he thinks I'm certifiable). But, anyway while I wait for Hendo to be released I'm going to start myself off on the 80s bandwagon with the trio - 16 candles, Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club (have been listening to PIP, TBC and Valley Girl soundtracks all week in the car). Any other suggestions?

Dinner the other night with E and L turned interesting when E started discussing how her lesbian sister lures women into bed. She (lez) openly talks about how she uses tactics to manipulate women into sleeping with her - little games, comments etc that she knows will work on unsuspecting ladies. Isn't this how guys go about getting their rocks off? I don't know why I was so affronted by E's sis doing this - God knows girls can be as manipulative and feral as guys - but it still made me feel funny. Maybe I thought girls were better than that. I must be some kind of naive. Anyway, the point is that conversation has made me go completely off the lesbian idea and am straight back to my original plan of living as a nun. I love nuns! I've decided I'm going to be like that one from The Blues Brothers. She kicks serious arse and knows how to handle a whacking stick.

Friday, October 20, 2006

turn to the left, now turn to the right

Now, while I cannot be quite deemed a fashionista I do know people in the business. Fashion Cousin, for instance is a designer and a good one at that. She has been there to tactfully remind me that the sideways pony tail went out of fashion when Young Talent Time got axed and through her careful attentions over the years I have learnt that while tracky dacks feel good, they don't actually look good. I'm still trying to figure out whether it matters or not but hey, I'm still on my Ls with that one. In fact my whole family is creative and has taste. Artists, Authors, Failed theatre whores, designers and then there's me who is still wondering when the creative and taste bug will hit (I theorise it might be stuck behind the bonehead gene and dying to get out, fingers crossed). Anyway, even me in my limited sense of taste and fashion knows when something is bad, really, really ..bad.

That, is what we are forced to wear on yard duty now.

And as if being a teacher wasn't humiliating enough - we have now been asked to direct traffic in the car park before and after school (wearing said vest) because parents are double parking and blocking traffic. Apparently it's not enough that we are teachers, nurses, social workers, diplomats and landscapers, we also have to be traffic controllers. Here's a thought for ya: MAKE THE CAR PARK STAFF EXCLUSIVE LIKE EVERY OTHER SCHOOL!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wednesday warm and fuzzy.

Sometimes in the art role I don't get the feeling that I'm affecting any change or that I'm inspiring children. Art is one of those subjects that most kids like because it's a release and because they finally get to do something creative and fun. It's not about drumming it in until you get it right. When you teach in the classroom you see development and gradual changes in their learning throughout the year. That is probably the thing I miss most about the classroom role. Last year was especially amazing. I won't ever forget that moment little R finally wrote his first sentence. I almost cried when I read it: "On the weekend I went in the spa with mum and dad and played piggy in the middle". His little face was so proud looking up and me and I just grabbed him and was all excited like he'd won lotto or something. I can't even begin to express that it was such a hard slog for a long time for him finally to do that. He'd gone from writing random backwards letters across the page to a full sentence. I suppose that doesn't really mean much to a non teacher but when you start the year with 23 odd kids who do not know what a letter is, or a word, or how to write their name - then it's such an achievement to finally write something and for those children who struggle behind the others, watching from the sidelines while their classmates find their feet - it's like climbing Everest. It is like winning the lotto actually.

Then there was the moment a few years ago that D finally answered to his name when I called the roll. He hadn't said anything for the whole year despite encouragement, prompting, therapy and his last teacher never had a conversation with him for the whole year and then finally out it came "I'm here". The whole class started clapping and cheering. Gradually he developed the confidence to come and tell me little whispered stories about his day and now he talks - not like the others, but he's getting there. I know I was the perfect teacher for him, because I don't get frustrated with children like that - I really put my heart into getting their needs sorted. But, anyway that moment was just the best too.

There was also the triumph two years ago when despite advice to the contrary I gave the silliest, most unreliable. low self confidence baby in the grade the lead role of Austin Powers Santa (long story) in our Christmas play. He totally rose to the occasion and stole the show with his "oh behave". I had so many parents come and tell me how much they enjoyed watching him and after that T's self confidence grew and he really started to knuckle down in class as well. I saw a twinkle in his eye that the other teachers didn't see and so I gave him: a chance and some support so that he didn't give up on himself. I've had lots of little moments like that, that make teaching worthwhile but not so much in art.

I've had lots of personal achievements in art. Parents come and tell me how much they enjoy seeing the new displays and how excited their children are about coming to art every week and how they're more inclined to keep their children's art work this year. I've had a lot of professional achievements too - like the mural project and the movie project. Prin has been especially happy and I've learnt to manage and coordinate a whole school program on my own. All commendable and all good things. But it's not the same.

Yesterday as I was staring at a cupboard trying to visualise what I wanted to do to it to make it look prettier (what paint can you use on a metal cupboard? Do you have to prime it?). When I was interrupted by a group of girls in grade 4. The ringleader told me that our lessons on wire construction had inspired her to take it up at home. I remembered her work and how much she struggled with getting the beads through the wire and how difficult it was for her to bend and manipulate the wire into exactly what she wanted it to do. She pulled out this absolutely goregous piece of wire work - intricate and delicate - and original. She looked so proud of herself and I almost didn't know what to say. She confirmed that she had done this by herself and that she was going to start making more things and developing her own little range of work. She was absolutely shinning with happiness.

I'm going to go ahead and add that one to my little list: My first art warm and fuzzy.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Meme Schmeme

Stolen from Landy. Blame him.

Do you snore?
I go through snoring stages. It might have something to do with having a blocked nose. Either way I'm a tosser, turner, wakeruperer, so snoring or not I'm going to annoy the absolute christ out of you anyway.

Are you a lover or a fighter?
My first thought was I'm a pacifist. Politically, I don't see the point in war. There are many who will dissagree with me but fuck yas, I don't apologise for my dirty hippy feelings about it at all. Join the love train baby!

Then I thought about it some more and I realised on a personal level sometimes I will purposefully nudge at people until I get a certain reaction. I guess that counts as fighting.

Bottom line - lovin' over fightin'.

What's you worst fear?

Overall - not being able to fend for myself and having to rely on others financialy and otherwise.

As a kid, were you a Lego maniac?
Oh yeah, I was a lego freak. Bro and I would always beg for more lego at the store. Of course my parents never just bought us stuff so we had to make do with what we had. I bought a tub of lego for my classroom last year - half the time I want to play with it myself (though would have to sterilize it first).

What do you think of reality TV?
Yeah, I'm a reality TV whore. I scoff at shows like Grey's Anatomy because they are trash but will happily watch Aussie Idol (what the hell is up with Bobby being voted off yet keeping on that talentless boring wench? Jesus fuck, I hate the Australian public). So yeah.

Do you chew on your straws?

The other day I went to the movies and took two straws into the cinema with me. I didn't use the straws to drink from. I took them in especially to chew and fiddle with.

Were you a cute baby?
My parents didn't take many pictures of either my bro or I when we were babies. I guess I was cute. Aren't all babies cute? I think so.

Is the single life for you?

I was thinking about this the other day. I think I would love to be in a committed loving relationship with all the nice stuff that goes with that. But ultimately I would rather be alone and happy than with someone that made me unhappy or I didn't love. Despite all jokes to the contrary I'm perfectly happy being single - I have always been content when I'm alone, it's only when others act all sympathetic towards me for being a singleton that it ever gets me down (like the parent who came in the other day and practically signed me up to a dating service).

What color is your keyboard?
Well, on the Mac it's white. On the thinkpad it's black.

Do you sing in the shower?
yep :) But moreso I tend to just talk to myself or nut things out in the shower.

Have you ever bungee jumped?


Any secret talents?
I steal Landy's answer - it wouldn't be a secret if I told.

What is your ideal vacation spot?

Somewhere that isn't too hot, that has many things to do and see, that has a different accent/language.

Can you swim?
I'm Australian. Of course. I loved swimming as a child/teen. I should get back into it.

Have you seen the movie Donnie Darko?

Do you give a damn about the ozone?
There is a distinct difference in this city in the way that the sun burns your skin from a few years ago. You used to be able to stand in the sun no worries. Now you can literally feel it burn. That's really fucking worrying.

How many licks does it take to get the center of a Tootsie Pop?
huh? Is this an oral sex thing?

Can you sing the alphabet backwards?
uh, no.

Do you prefer electric or manual pencil sharpeners?

Manual, I like seeing the shavings curl upwards as I sharpen.

What's your stand on hunting?

Hunting what?

Is marriage in your future?
According to psychic - yes. According to me - only to God (or a pet cat).

Do you like your handwriting?
Depends which handwriting. It tends to change with each of my multiple personalities. Sybil eat your heart out.

What are you allergic to?
I think I've developed hay fever in the last year or so. ugh.

When was the last time you said "I love you"?
A few days ago.

Do you cry at weddings?
Not as a rule. Not a big public crier.

How do you like your eggs?
fertilized. hahahaha ..ewww.

Are blondes dumb?
Only blond men.

Where does the other sock end up?
Starbucks coffee machine.

What time is it?
9.45pm and I've already fallen asleep a couple of times doing this. I am such a Nanna.

Do you have a nickname?
Whaddya reckon?

Is McDonalds disgusting?

Hungry Jacks is waaaay more disgusting than Maccers. Fact.

When was the last time you were in a car?
a few hours ago.

Do you prefer baths or showers?
Well, baths of course but who can be fucked waiting for them to fill up etc etc?

Is Santa Claus real?
I taught the infant grades for a couple of years so yeah - he's real, so is the tooth fairy and so is the Easter bunny.

Do you like to have your neck kissed?
It's only my happy place :)

Are you afraid of the dark?

What are you addicted to?
chocolate. I have it BAD.

Crunchy or creamy peanut butter?
crunchy! For fucks sake, if you like smooth tell me now so I can put your name on the crazy list.

Can you crack your neck?

not really.

Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?

Is drug free the way to be?
no but maybe free drugs is.

Are you a heavy sleeper?
I used to be but now I'm up all the time.

What color are your eyes?
Only a couple have noticed that they're anything other than brown. I always thought the person who *really* noticed them would end up being my soul mate. That, in effect has probably turned out to be true.

Do you like your life?

Sometimes loving it so much I can't stop grinning. Sometimes hating it so much it hurts.

Are you psychic?
yeah nah

Have you read Catcher in the Rye?

of course!

Do you play any instruments?
Not anymore.
(I was gonna say the hairy banjo but that would be crude).

Have you ever stolen money?
yes, bro and I used to steal from this money jar my parents had. There was probably about $150 bucks worth of coins in there and we'd steal some of it from time to time to go down to the milkbar and buy lollies. When my parents found out we GOT THE STRAP! Fo real.

Can you snowboard?
hahaha, I couldn't even skateboard without freaking out!

Do you like camping?
oh christ, that's a good one.

Do you snort when you laugh?

Do you believe in magic?
I believe in Agnes Moorehead.

Are dogs a man's best friend?
Man? probably. Try diamonds for women.

Do you believe in divorce?
Well, for some it's the release that they need. For other's it's just the easy way out. I never want to go there.

Can you do the moonwalk?
..you've read me long enough. Do you think I can do the moonwalk?

Do you make a lot of mistakes?
I fuck up all the time!

Is it cold outside today?

Nope, it was warm.

What was the last thing you ate?
Okay, rather embarrassing but buckwheat crisp bread with cheese spread.

Do you wear nail polish?

I haven't in ages actually. It's pointless when you know that in the AR any kind of polish lasts about 2 seconds. It's a shame because I do love it.

How many people do you like right now?
There might be a crush or two, but is all a lost cause.

What's the most annoying TV commercial?
That one with the worker type people dragging limp bodies around behind them. I have no idea what it's supposed to be advertising. It's just dumb.

Do you shop at American Eagle?
uh no, and the fact that there is a store called that makes me lolz.

Favorite song at the moment?
Love My Way - Psychedelic Furs

Gabba Gabba Hey

One of the kids at school (J) keeps on at me about punk. He's one of those rare kids in grade 6 that just gets real music (there are probably only about 4 of them that I know of at the school). He knows who Cream and Led Zep are. He listens to ACDC and he's always surprised that I know who The Used are. Kid, I'm not dead yet. But knowing bands that just might even predate their parents is huge for an 11 year old.

I started my art teaching by playing music as a mandatory part of every lesson. It seems to me that art and music go together - since they are both essentially part of the human spirit. Also, I relished in the glory that I could play music that I liked in class without feeling like I was short changing the kids (you cannot play music during maths, for instance). The last art teacher didn't do this at all - and at first the kids were a little shell shocked by my playing music and were always on my back asking Who's this? Do you listen to this? Can we bring in CDs? etc. I tend to use pop culture references in my art teaching. I think it's important to show that art and music have strong ties. I'm doing an Andy Warhol unit at the moment. How can I do that without mentioning The Velvet Underground? I figure if the kids don't get it, hopefully one little sliver will make its way to their brain and they'll pick up on it a few years later when they're in their moronic teen angst phase. Anyway, J always had the most questions about any music I played in the AR and soon he would bail me up before and after class with CDs he'd brought in that he wanted an opinion on. I'm a big music fan - music has been a friend to me when I felt like I didn't have any friends. Music is still a friend, so from that point of view (passion) I can talk but apart from a personal and pop cult interest in it I have no real authority to speak about music. I think he needs a subscription to Q.

Anyway, J is into punk. But not so much the punk that I am into. His type of punk is the modern sort - The Used (which I would classify as Emo). My type of punk is old school - The Ramones, The Clash, Patty Smith, Talking Heads, Blondie (who I know the last two are not technically punk - new wave - according to the purists but the purists can fuck off - they come from the same cbgb seed). Punk is one of the widely contested genres of music. I guess it depends where you stand as to how you define it. Historial probably seems the best standpoint - but I know of people who insist that punk started and ended with The Sex Pistols, so I guess passion always wins out in the end when it comes to music.

There's not a lot that The Ramones and The Used have in common. Both have The in the front, so I guess that's something. But part of the reason I like The Ramones because they never seemed to take themselves so seriously, and are almost caricatures of themselves. I think Jon Savage called them cartoonish in his book England's Dreaming, and it's true. They are. I love that. The Used (I do have an album somewhere) are a bit more polished, complex - well, they're today - ya know and most of the time I want yesterday). J grabbed my lap top the other day and put some of his music on it. God love him for it, but no. Maybe I'm a bit too young to have given up on the new stuff out there, but hey I like the old shit.

I remember my very first encounter with The Ramones like it was yesterday. It was really the only way a kid under 10 is ever going to encounter The Ramones in the 80s. Yep, we're talking - Blitzkrieg Bop featured in the movie National Lampoons American Vacation. I rewound that bit in the movie with BP in it about a kazillion times just to hear that song. So much so, that bit became fuzzy and then finally that bit just became a bit of white static for 20 seconds of tape. I also taped that bit onto my tape recorder (which I held up to the TV -on full volume- and pressed "record") so phew, that little tidbit of The Ramones was able to be enjoyed by me for a while before I finally was able to get my own FULL LENGTH copy. Joy!

After that, I pretty much forgot about The Ramones until late high school when I went through my "I must learn everything about music history" phase. It was a bit sad of me - but boy did my library card get a workout. Then in uni I encountered The Rowden White Library which was basically a pop cult library and I found myself reading through all the back issues of every music magazine (categorised and bound thank you very much) I could find between classes (nerd). It was during this stage that I rediscovered The Ramones through Rock and Roll High School and became a huge fan. They're just simple guys with long hair playing punk rock - what's not to love? They're fun. They're cool. They wear leathers and are nice guys. I cannot listen to The Ramones without feeling just a little bit happy.

I haven't played any Ramones the art room yet. I'm going to go make a mixed CD of various tracks. Good to know I'm still a total nerd.

Judy is a Punk - The Ramones

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

funny little life.

* I can't help showing my rather hideous (yet strangely fascinating) hot glue gun damaged blistery hand to everyone. It's like a strange compulsion I have to interrupt people and just say heeey, look what happened to me, like some derranged lunatic. Maybe I'm a little proud of my battle scars, as if it legitimises my martyr-like suffering as a teacher because it's visible. You'd think I'd fought in WWII or something.

* This morning I saw the most perfectly matched couple crossing the road at Hoddle/Johnston (that's right, bogan capital). The girl had dyed got any blacker? hair and was wearing a studded belt and she was holding the leash of the world's meanest looking dog. Her boyfriend had a Lars Urlich type look about him, but with loooong side burns and was wearing a shirt that said Guns don't kill people. Bullets do on the back. It was comedy gold. Of course I was sitting at the lights listening to We Built this City by Starship on 39 (yea, we're talking gangsta level) - so who am I to make fun of others?

* Also this morning as I was driving along Flinders St, I zipped past a homeless man sort of wandering along with his bag and looking like he could use a wash. He looked absolutely miserable. How many homeless people do you think you'd see in a day? Do you think about them at all? Is it easier not to? I spend a lot of my week living in my suburban bubble teaching art to the kids. I'm not really confronted by images of people who have nowhere to live and no food to eat. I don't hear of many people who are born and die homeless - but I do hear about people who become homeless through a series of circumstances. Homeless is something someone becomes.

I used to read a blog written by a woman in England who was homeless. She lived in her car and washed wherever she could (hospitals, gym etc) - and updated her journal from the local library. Apparently now she has a book deal - not surprised her blog was amazing. A year or so before becoming homeless she was holding down a top job and living a lifestyle most people would feel envious about. I don't know if these things are true or not - who can tell in blogland anyway? But it's become apparent to me that very little in life is absolute. Shit happens, so to speak. How certain are you about your life path? Are you paving or are you just walking? Have you ever thought about being homeless (or been homeless)?

* Oh, and Dawson found the movie. It was scrambled and in a temp file so some of the quality was lost, but still - phew!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Summer too early

It's been hot today. 37 degrees hot. Parents are picking their kids up from school wearing their bathers under their clothes. They've just come from the pool, or the spa and have relaxed smiles on their faces. Everyone is thinking about a cold beer, or a drink with ice in it. I'm hanging up artwork with two blisters on my hand the size of 5 cent pieces -hot glue gun burn- trying to hold back the tears because it stings like fire. The corridor doesn't have any air conditioning and the little bodies spilling out from the classrooms only adds to the heat.

It's been an uncomfortable sort of day - watching the cloudless sky become deeper in colour as the day went on, through the art room window. Uncomfortable for it's injuries and frustration. One particular class I just don't seem to gel with, no matter what I've tried. It's too late now, I'm at a loss. How do you get back what you've lost anyway? Is there ever a chance to unpick bad stitches or is that too messy? I find myself detatching from everything they do and say. I don't care about their artwork and I don't want to care about them. But I always catch myself wanting to make it better. It only leads to dissapointment though and I curse myself for caring..again. So dumb.

The new furniture was delivered most quietly and left outside the artroom as a pleasant surprise. Another surprise came in the form of a group of boys who volunteered to help move all the old tables out and bring the new ones in. A job I couldn't do alone. A job that would be impossible with my hand hurting the way it did. We had fun ripping the plastic from the table tops and unravelling the shiny newness underneath. The boys love unwrapping things as much as I do - even Dawson, who is trying to get back into my good graces by helping out. Give me any present wrapped in layers and layers of tape and bubble wrap and I'm happy. It feels like christmas day.

I come home to another present. Not a good one - from the Victoria Police. Isn't there a mafia crime ring that deserves their attention rather than picking on the broken girl? Not a word of a lie; I never went through that red light. Karma is trying to tell me something but all I can think about is a nice cold beer.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

the art of looking sideways

It's only Tuesday and I already feel absolutely exhausted. I haven't been sleeping well (that is, I fall asleep at some embarrassingly early hour and then wake up around 2am and stare at the walls until I fall asleep again at 5.30am before being disturbed again by the alarm a half hour later - fun). I need to learn the 'stay asleep' technique. How do people *do* that?

Monday I finally gave in and started my unit of clay with the preps. Good christ, I know now why I've been avoiding it for so long citing 'they're not ready' as the reason. Actually, the truth is, *I'm* not ready. I think I spent about 5 minutes talking about how eating clay is bad, very bad, VERY, VERY BAD KIDS - NEVER EAT CLAY. Until they were all looking at me like I'd eaten the crazy cake (again). They loved it though. Kids love clay (and no it wasn't raku gold this time Phil, it was just normal white earthenware clay).

They love poking it, rolling it, banging it and throwing it - wait..no they get in trouble when they throw it - anyway, they love it. I was a bit of a nazi about them cleaning up (did a good job considering they are 5 years old). I let them all take a piece home to play with. Today I had grade 3s and 4s all day and one of them found a bit of clay wrapped in foil that someone must have left behind from the prep class - and she begged me until I let her have it. I guess EVERYONE loves clay. If I ever have my little sperm doner baby I will definitely invest in a 7 buck bag of clay and have much fun making little garden ornaments. Despite all the fun and games and me having done clay with all the grades now, I still have no idea what I'm doing! I was reading up on it right before the class and getting all nervous about fucking up in front of the 5 year olds and ruining clay forever for them. How ridiculous - kids are pretty accepting when you fuck up. They're always doing it so it's like you're one of them. I remember when in the classroom doing modelled journal writing I used to make mistakes on purpose so they wouldn't feel so bad about making mistakes themselves. Of course then they'd point out all the mistakes I made when I wasn't trying to make them and embarrass me. Bloody cheek!

Anyway, there really should have be nothing to worry about re: the clay class - but there I was anyway, trying desperately to remember all the little things I wanted them to do, failing miserably and just winging it. It's amazing how much 'winging it' I do in the art role. Sure, despite comicbookgrl evidence to the contrary I can sketch okay, but apart from that I'm reading books and trying to sound knowledgable when actually I'm the world's biggest fraud. I'm amazed that the kids' artwork comes out as good as it does. Nothing to do with me, let me tells ya.

I had a phone call the other day from an art teacher from another school asking for help with some art issues she's having. I was a bit taken aback because what do I know? But she insisted that I was a lot of help with her issue. I mentioned this garden project that's happening at the school and she offered to help me plan the pathway that we're making and give me all sorts of tips about how to get it done. She has done a similar project at her school.

If there's one thing I've discovered from being the art teacher it's that fellow art teachers are so much more helpful than classroom teachers. Classroom teachers have a point to prove - they have parents to impress and at the end of the year it's a badge of honour to have parents ask to be in your grade the next year. While there is a lot of teamwork going on, there's also an added dimension of competition between classes and between schools. The art role is lovely and different. Firstly, I'm the one and only, absolute head honcho of art. There's noone to compete against and you teach all the kids regardless of whether parents want you to or not, so actually I don't care about impressing them (quite refreshing). Secondly, art is HUGE, there is so much to organise and get done and noone understands this but other art teachers. I think everyone else thinks it's al fun and games. Since art teachers understand eachother so well they're always willing to help out with ideas and truly don't mind if you steal them and use them in your own program. The teacher who rang me told me about all the difficult things she's been through as an art teacher that noone else understood about. We bonded instantly through shared experience. I feel really lucky that I've seen both sides of the coin in teaching.

One day when I'm prin of my own little community school filled with children who are creative thinkers and parents who don't care so much about standarised testing I'll look back with fond memories on this time (or perhaps I'll be in a mental institute by then). But for now, there's a lot of shit to clean up.

ps: Here's a couple of limited edition photos of the garden stakes I was making with the grade 1s and 2s at the school. I apologise for the crappy quality of photos but my camera was playing up. The good photos are on the camera at school. If I can be bothered I'll post some of them when I get to school.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I'm afraid I can't help it

Last week I featured Queen. Queen subsequently introduced me to David Bowie - through the track Under Pressure. I'll get back to that later. I love the incestual world of music. All of the good ones have been in the preverbial bed together at some point. I read so many music magazines as a teen and young adult (I pretty much bought as many of them as I could afford each month) that it was impossible for me not to pick up on the influences of my favourite artists. It stands to reason that if you like a particular artist chances are that you'll like their influences too.

The point is, Nine Inch Nails. I admit I didn't really want to like them, but it just happened. When Closer first came out in the mid 90s and they reached a wide target audience I was already yawning my head off. Of course all the dickhead boys at school thought the song was wonderful because it had the word FUCK in it, and that put me right off. Then the goths came out with their pleather and black lipstick and I thought it was all a little ridiculous. Even Trent Reznor himself taped up in black electrical tape looked relatively normal in relation to the goths. I took great pleasure in the spoof Closer to Hogs by the Nine Inch Richards (quite disturbing really). But, having said that I had loved Head Like a Hole, which Triple J had been playing for a while before Closer.

Towards the end of high school and early uni I got into The Smiths, The Cure, The Clash, The Pixies (if it had "The" in the band name then you know I was into it), Sonic Youth etc. I came across NIN again in a tribute on cable TV and sat down to watch it - I was a bit more ready for them. In the tribute Trent Reznor performed Get Down Make Love, which is a Queen song. You know how I feel about Queen. IMO the performance of that song was better than the original. A big call, I know. Later I found out that Queen and Kiss were huge influences on Trent Reznor. He also cited The Cure and Bowie as influences too. I love Bowie. I love The Cure. Meanwhile, I was already obsessed with Tori Amos, so I knew of the lyric "made my own, pretty hate machine" from her song Caught a Lite Sneeze and I knew that Trent had already collaborated with her on her song Past the Mission. Sometimes the music world has a bit of 6 degrees of separation going on. I checked out some of NIN's stuff and liked it but I was apparently small fry. Only a couple of days later I happened to be chatting online about music (what else? err), when my fellow chatter insisted that I go buy Pretty Hate Machine and basically berated me until I promised that I would.

So anyway, I went out and bought PHM on my next pay day. On my first listen I was a bit confused. I liked it, but I didn't. The sound was very indicative of the early 90s - which is of course when it was released. In the 7 or so years that had passed, music technology had changed a lot. There's not a lot you can change in the sound of a guitar. A riff is a riff and that hasn't changed all that much in... forever. Electronic/Industrial music however changes as technology changes and PHM sounded dated. After a few listens though it became one of those albums that always seemed to be in the player. It took me a while to appreciate but I think it's one of the best albums of our time. It's definitely a "I've cut my chest open and here's my heart", type album. Terrible Lie is still one of my all time favourite songs ever. I went out and bought The Downward Spiral and then when The Fragile came out I bought that too. I had somehow become a fan without really meaning to. I joined a prominent NIN forum where I discovered that I would never be quite as obsessed with them as the rest of the freaks. I was never a goth and I didn't really care if people called NIN industrial or not (apparently not, if you know what's good for you). I also discovered that NIN fans fall into three categories:
1) cross over Tori freaks.
2) Obnoxious freaks from planet goth who made trips to New Orleans to stand outside his house and lick his door knob.
3) Apple Mac/Gamer/remix/Anne Rice freaks.

I was category 1 - though I did have a bit of a vampire fetish. I never really got into any of the remix albums though (which apparently doesn't make you a real fan but anyway). I am more of a purist, I like the originals. Therefore my pick for today's MM goes against my dislike of remixes.

Back to Bowie (it's relevant). Bowie is truly one of my favourites as well. He's full of soul, I think. Immensely talented. Sublime. I went through a stage where I listened to nothing but Space Oddity and Ashes to Ashes along with many others, over and over and over. I'm not ashamed to admit that I also have a rather disturbing fetish for Suffragette City (all time favourites category). That's the old school stuff.

When I heard I'm Afraid of Americans I was literally floored. This is a song where the remix is better than the original and the remix honours go to Trent Reznor - who collaborated with Bowie here. Bowie has always been way ahead of his time. Just when you'd get used to one image he'd hit you with another, and different sound to go with it. So while Reznor and Bowie may at first seem like strange bed fellows, they really aren't. They've both always been one step ahead of their time. The song is bloody fantastic - but I admit you'll either love it or hate it. It's not 'typical Bowie' (if there is such a thing) nor is it 'typically NIN'. Besides isn't everyone fucking terrified of Americans?

I'm Afraid of Americans - David Bowie and Trent Reznor


Sunday, October 08, 2006

wave your hands if you're not with a man.

* The house hunting continues. I love looking through people's homes and wondering about who lives there. I really believe that the places we live in capture some of our energy. Some houses feel good, others feel not so good. It's got nothing to do with bricks and mortar. Yesterday I came upon a little place in the dodgy part of town that I'm considering quite strongly. I say dodgy part of town because I saw a man performing a wee bit of public urination (wee bit, geddit?!). I hate public urinators - they're always look so smug and proud of themselves. Gee, you just emptied your bladder in a public street, what's to be proud of? Anyhoo, there are a couple of things that are holding me back about this place

1) living with public urinators.
2) I already want to change the facade and it's a unit. Being a unit means I can't do whatever the hell I want because of body corporate - and well, I pretty much operate on the 'doing whatever the hell I want' philosophy.

Anyway asside from that the place had a good feel. They (it was a couple) had a fuck load of incense burning though and a shelf full of goddess-type massage oils and the study had a shelf full of feminist lit, philosophical texts, KD Lang biog and a low carb diet book. In fact there was no sign of men anywhere. It was quite refreshing since the place I went to before that had a photo of a naked man sitting on a rock (??) and in another house the couple had their marriage certificate on the WALL (folks, I stood there with bro and both laughed out loud at the certificate until someone told us to move along - we went into the bedroom and the marital bed was HILARIOUS on the husband's bed side table there was a picture of his wife. On the wife's side there was a picture of the husband. For fucks sake THEY ARE THERE WHEN YOU WAKE UP YOU GODDAMN FREAKS!). Anyway, back to the lesbian mansion, then I walked into the hallway and saw:

This picture on the wall. A picture which I happen to have myself as outlined here, in this entry. Now, that's a coincidence isn't it? I think that all coincidences is the universe's way trying to tell us something (no the incense didn't go to my head).

I think the universe might be sending me a message to become a lesbian. God knows I have contemplated it a lot - maybe I should. Do you think it's possible to convince yourself to change sexuality or is sexuality an instinct that you're pretty much stuck with? I do get on with women better than I do men, I don't really like KD Lang but she does have a good voice, I don't like walking in heels very much, I don't support flattering men by laughing flirtily when they behave like idiots and I'm a femo. Doesn't that pretty much guarrantee me a life of girl loving? Of course the universe could also be telling me to buy the place, but I don't know. The lesbian thing DOES seem quite probable. I'll have to think about it.

* This past week has seen my dreams become scary. A few nights ago I was chased by a gang of gangster type men who all wanted to kill me for some reason or another - I had to scale a fence in my skirt and it got stuck on a piece of splintery wood rendering me helpless. Then there was the dream about the puppy dog that didn't want to be my friend even though I was trying so hard to entertain it and be nice. Who could forget the one about buying an apartment where the pay off was becoming a sex slave (yes, I accepted)? And last night was the dream where a cowboy pointed a gun at my face and started firing rounds - each of them blank.

Dream analysts, do your worst.

* This morning I got up and spent about 10 minutes in front of the mirror wondering what it would be like to be Madonna - then I quite embarrassingly proceeded to sing "holiday" into my hairbrush. I don't know. Do men ever stand in front of the mirror wondering what it would be like to be Chuck Norris and then do a couple of roundhouse kicks?

Okay I'm going to go watch some episodes of Weeds (this show is so great!) and then download some KD Lang. A girl's gotta start somewhere.

*EDIT* I was just watching an episode of Weeds where they had a whole bit on masturbation. Anyway, the young son was you know..going for it A LOT but flushed his tube socks - which blocked up the pipes, creating havoc. So his uncle comes along and tells him all these *other* common ways that he can get rid of the pearl jam (so to speak). One particular way was masturbating into a banana skin (a la American Pie style). Do people DO that? Please, someone set me straight!