Tuesday, October 30, 2007

This show was brought to you by letter...

Dear Red Ferrari driver who sped off in a roar from corner of Wellington and Alexandra Parade on Sunday afternoon,

Sorry to hear about your penis.


Girl who laughs at men who drive sports cars.

Dear little Prep girl in my class yesterday,

No, food dye isn't "something that kills food" but you saying that totally made my day.


Laughing Teacher.

Dear Hay Fever inducing thingies in the air.



Sneezy McSneeze.

Dear Prin,

When you come into the Art Room saying nice things I know you want to borrow something. That's okay but last time I had to break into your office and steal back my staple gun using stealth methods. Please return the good wire cutters soon... or else.



Dear People at Big Brother,

So you have given host Gretel the boot. Who you really should be giving the boot are the selection panel. Here's a tip - next year, no promo models, no breast implants, no ocker speaking metrosexual truckies (is it supposed to surprise us that he's in a macho profession but looks after his hair? pfft), no one with an IQ under 100, someone of a race OTHER than having an ancestry of colonial British settlers or Euro back 3 generations - in fact MORE than one token Euro would be nice. Please block any body who wants to pose for a men's magazine in the near future. If they want to do porn they should leak a sex video of themselves onto the internets just like everybody else.



Dear Teacher at School who has found the man of her dreams,

You look so happy that it makes me happy, even though we are not exactly friends.

It's lovely when you hear romantic stories that are not in a Mills and Boon.



Dear Grade 6 class in the room next to mine,

I've seen you tearing up and down the corridors this last week. You're shouting, you're counting down to the bell at the top of your lungs and generally acting like dickheads.

I'm not looking forward to teaching art to you tomorrow. I might end up shanking one of you in the back if you're not careful.

That wouldn't be good for my criminal record.


Not Amused.

Dear Bro,

I'm sorry you had to sit though my photography class the other day. Everyone else said they were bringing a model to class... Everyone else apparently lied. I realise I owe you BIG TIME. Now, I'm a little worried about what you'll make ME do in return.



Dear New Art Teacher,

I'm thinking about next year and not being there. I'm thinking about how much work I've put into organising the shelves and all the cool new stuff I've bought. It kind of KILLS me to give it up to you even though I know you'll do a fabulous job.



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Monday, October 29, 2007

no promises, that if you should fall...

Back in the 80s, when I was a wee child, (wearing board shorts with fluoro colours, rolled down long socks and a groovy sideways ponytail) there is one band I remember everyone in my peer group loving. A ubiquitous little band called Icehouse. In fact as I recall the Australian government threatened to take away your citizenship and ship you back to the motherland if you didn't love them.

Unfortunately the problem was that I HATED Icehouse. I loved the album Man of Colours of course but only because it had the song Electric Blue ("help me baby, tell me what can I do?") on it. Electric Blue was a big hit for us 11 year olds living in the burbs. Apart from that one hit it was a little hard for me to try to relate to the rest of the Icehouse loving freaks out there in the big wide world.

Bro was a big Icehouse fan - in fact to this day I'd say Icehouse remains one of his all time favourite bands. I remember making fun of him for it, mercilessly. I'd "neh, neh, neh - you're a dork" him. He'd insist that Iva Davies made good music and then he'd slam the door and turn "Great Southern Land" up on 11. Yeah, I was a bitch.

The thing is - and this is just between you and me. I don't hate them so much anymore. In fact, I rather like them now - not everything they've done - but enough to care. Some of it has to do with being enveloped in that golden hue of nostalgia I enjoy so much. Play any song from Man of Colours and you will surely find me grinning and staring off into space with my funny hat of memories on. It's not all nostalgia though - some of it has to do with finally recognising that some of the songs really are rather good, and that maybe Bro was right.

The truth of the matter is though - and this comes from perspective and taste - Electric Blue though co written with Oates from Hall & Oats, is a really shit song. Icehouse have far better ones elsewhere in their catalogue, some dating back to when they were known as "Flowers".

With summer around the corner the days are getting longer now, warmer, tinged in an orange glow and coupled with long sighs and sticky icy pole residue running down one's arm. Or maybe that's just me.. It's always around this time of year that I dig Icehouse out, flick my shoes off, lay down, close my eyes and enjoy feeling the sunlight dance across my face with little soft kisses (stinging by the time I get up). Apt for these next three songs. Perfect, even.

Hey Little Girl

No Promises

We Can Get Together

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Who's gonna save me?

What with all the political hoopla going on in Oz-land at the moment I thought I'd turn my attention to politics in music. By some strange coincidence this afternoon I was listening to drive time radio where Aussie musician Ben Lee was being interviewed about this very thing. Maybe he's not the best authority but he's young, he's outspoken and he's a musician - okay maybe he IS the best authority. He said that art and politics were inextricably linked, but that good political music will first and foremost appeal to the compassion within people and that people who have compassion in their hearts WILL vote accordingly: They WILL vote to aid education and health, they WILL vote for measures to help the environment, they WILL NOT vote for war etc - Compassionate people will vote for compassionate causes. It's a loaded statement but you know, I can't fault it. It's true, our real responsibilities are in building a future that goes beyond us - trusting that will happen is the hard bit - trusting that pouring money into money pits such as education and health will have good results is hard. Accepting that losing money will eventually help us be better people, smarter people, healthier people is difficult but is it worth it?. For me, no question, yes, yes, yes and I don't quite understand any other way to build a stable future to tell you the truth.

Anyway, I digress - there are people who will disagree with politics and art mixing but I'm not one of them. I like my art a tad controversial - not all my art of course - some of it I love purely for it's aesthetic value. Obviously disco gives me nothing in terms of thought but damn those dance beats get me every time. Other music I love purely because it brings up a question or challenges the way things are. I think music is an extremely powerful platform to which people can use to have their say. Have a look at gospel and old slave music and the importance it has in those cultures. What about how the Aboriginal people told their history through art and music? It's powerful. Looking through history you'd be hard pressed to find a time when politics and music were not linked in some way. Classical music is often likened to specific political figures. There were many war propoganda songs in the early 20th Century and then as time went on we grew into folk, punk and anarchist, riot grrl, grunge and music which generally had a social conscience. It's always been around.

The question keeps getting asked though: Are musicians qualified to make political statements?

Well, it seems to me we're stepping down a tretcherous road if we're saying that only certain kinds of people get to speak their mind while others have to shut up. So yes, IMO they are qualified. They are qualified simply because they are human, they live in society and they have an opinion. By that token I think that anyone with a voice is qualified to have their say - even the people I (or you) don't agree with. Hell, I might disagree quite strongly and loudly but that's the point in a society that advocates free speech - you're allowed to do that, it's encouraged even. Guess what? Life isn't one big tea party where everyone chews like they have a secret and smiles sweetly over Turkish Delight. Life is messy and political and more importantly in our own hands. I really do believe that people not standing up for their beliefs and the beliefs of others who have no voice has resulted in a society that is too scared to change. Change is important for (r)evolution and if no one is saying anything then you can bet we're all going to be stuck in a rut for a while yet. It amazes me, the amount of people who do not advocate passivity in their personal life but are extremely passive when it comes to speaking out on political matters. Things don't change on their own, we have to change them.

So yes, I do think that musicians are qualified to have their say - they also speak to an audience that the politicians and academics do not - that is youth. Youth are oft forgotten when it comes to politics - swept under the carpet because they are too young to vote and spend and there fore not seen as important to include in the debate. I beg to differ - they are the most important resource we have. They'll also be running the nursing homes we'll be living in, so you know..we'd better be nice.

The other reason why I enjoy the odd political song is that musicians are artists and there is integrity in standing by the art you create that goes far beyond it being "just a job". Why can I listen to a piece of music and find it more relevant than some kind of political debate on the television? Well, because said artist has put their heart and soul into the things I listen to. No I don't give the same consideration to music that is mass produced, fuck no, that has little soul. I might like elements of that kind of music but not the message. So unless an artist is being held under the thumb of an overly inflated conservative record label (or are created BY a label) they can say whatever the fuck they want. I LOVE that. There's a reason we don't trust politicians - they never say what they mean - ever. They also lie to get votes. Musicians don't have to do this - not if they're writing their own music (ie: not Milli Vanilli). There's enough variety in the music industry to sustain the boy bands who say nothing AS WELL AS the Dixie Chicks, who haven't stopped talking for years now and that's good. There's something for everyone. I know that when I listen to a piece of music I'm listening to an opinion that I can either take or leave - I don't have to like it and if I don't I can go elsewhere - but if someone takes the time to say it then good on them.

However, what happens when musicians move into politics? Do they maintain their political integrity?

Peter Garrett - Aussie muso turned politician can be used as an example. I can't think of any other mainstream musician apart from perhaps Bob Dylan in the early days and Eddie Vedder during the grunge era who have been more outspoken and explicit in their political ideologies. Whether you agree with their political musings or not, Midnight Oil were an amazing band and an Australian institution - you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who would disagree with that. I was excited when Peter Garrett first announced his political candidacy because I thought he would immediately stir things up - but this wasn't to be. Politics means existing inside a box where one has to conduct themselves in a certain way. We live in an era of political conservatism - even the liberal left aren't as left leaning as they used to be. People are scared to say what they think and unfortunately (maybe ironically) it's the politicians who have to zip it most of all.

Rock musicians don't live by these constricting rules, they can be as liberal or conservative as they like. They can even live a rather unclean type of lifestyle and still say what they want. Maybe we take what they say with a grain of salt but that's okay too - context does matter. I'd be less likely to agree with someone who was coked out for most of their career than someone who was clean but anyway the point is both musician and politician have a ready audience. Who would you rather listen to though? Liar, activist or artist? Peter Garrett may be pushing his agenda through other avenues now - there's a lot to be said for the act of subversion - moving with the mainstream while slowly chipping a secret tunnel and I support that too - but I have to say: I miss the old Peter Garrett, wonky dancing and all.

Not all musical artists are explicit though - not everyone is a Billy Bragg or Bikini Kill. Musical artists have been lending themselves to causes for many years now in the form of, Live 8, Live Aid, Rock the Vote, Free Tibet, RAIN, Race Rights, the surf rider foundation, live earth, United Farm Workers, earth first, animal rights, Sweet Relief, Home Alive and so many more. They are out there, even if they don't hold interviews that project an explicit point of view.

Following are a few of my favourite songs which have a political edge. What are your favourite political songs and why (if any)?

Masters of War - Bob Dylan (This song is an explicit reminder of exactly how war works: Top down - and who loses: the plebs. The song was written in the early 60s and every single word is still relevant today. Scary.).

stand out lyrics:

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

The Message - Grandmaster Flash and the furious five
(This is an important song and has been much referenced by other artists through the years. Deals with the struggles of being black in a ghetto neighbourhood in the US. Something tells me not that much has changed).

standout lyrics:
Bill collectors they ring my phone
And scare my wife when I'm not home
Got a bum education, double-digit inflation
Cant take the train to the job, theres a strike
At the station
Me on King Kong standin' on my back
Can't stop to turn around, broke my sacroiliac
Midrange, migraine, cancered membrane
Sometimes I think I'm going insane, I swear I might
Hijack a plane!

Don't push me, cause I'm close to the edge
I'm trying not to loose my head

21st Century Digital Boy - Bad Religion (Social commentary on consumerist society that has no soul - with particular regard to how baby boomers have fucked things up for their Gen X/Y offspring. You know...typical Bad Religion music :P)

Stand out lyrics:
Cuz I'm a 21st century digital boy
I don't know how to live but I've got a lot of toys
My daddy's a lazy middle class intellectual
My mommy's on valium, so ineffectual

Blue Sky Mine - Midnight Oil (Miners and visitors to CSR mines in WA exposed to lethal levels of Blue Asbestos. The company continued to act negligently even after health warnings - people are still dying today and many will continue to die in the future from fatal illnesses as a direct result of this exposure. The song gave voice to many people who didn't - and still don't - have a voice).

stand out lyrics:

The candy store paupers lie to the share holders
They're crossing their fingers they pay the truth makers
The balance sheet is breaking up the sky
So I'm caught at the junction still waiting for medicine
The sweat of my brow keeps on feeding the engine
Hope the crumbs in my pocket can keep me for another night
And if the blue sky mining company wont come to my rescue
If the sugar refining company wont save me
Who's gonna save me?

Blue Sky Mine - Midnight Oil

Dear God - XTC (It's been described as an Atheist's anthem. It's an incredibly brave song - and also a wonderful piece of music in its own right).

stand out lyrics
Did you make disease, and the diamond blue?
Did you make mankind after we made you?
And the devil too

Dear God - XTC

Double Dare Ya - Bikini Kill (Kathleen Hanna was pretty much responsible for the riot grrl feminist movement of the 90s. She started her zines and band as a reaction to the rampant sexism going on in punk music at the time. Ian MacKaye (punk god) was supportive of this venture and engineered some of BK's stuff. Kathleen Hanna is hated and loved at the same time, which seems to happen a lot to women who speak out. She screams, she swears and for a while there she wore a ski mask during her performances so you couldn't even see her face. She does not beat around the bush - she's very outspoken and thank fuck for that. How often do you see girls really rocking it like boys, potty mouth and all? Not in the mainstream that's for sure. There's a lot of girls in skimpy bikini type outfits though - hence - Bikini Kill. Definitely not pretty music).

stand out lyrics:
Hey girlfriend
I got a proposition goes something like this:
Dare ya to do what you want
Dare ya to be who you will
Dare ya to cry right outloud
"You get so emotional baby"

Double dare ya, double dare ya, double dare ya
Girl fuckin friend yeah

Double Dare Ya - Bikini Kill

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

il politico è mobile

Remember Opera man? I loved him. He always knew how to make newsworthy items that would otherwise bore us to death into a work of supreme art. Not to mention accessible to all. With the Australian election looming on the horizon we're being bombarded with so many electoral promises that it's hard to really know what they're going on about.

Where is Opera man when you need him?

La Mr Ruddy
Has a tax plan for me
it means the richies
give up some money.

I like it a whole bunch
rich folks have far too much
we should be spending
..on ed-u-cating

La Mr Ruddy
the working class' buddy
even HE will paaaaaaayyy
more tax to us plebs.

more tax to us plebs.

yaaaaaaaaaaay, tax for the plebs!

*flips cape dramatically and stomps about on stage*

Bushy eyed leader man
says Rudd stole his whole plan
except that big bit about
rich folks going without

Under the Liberals
everyone gets a cut
of course that means for you
less roads, health, schools and food.

La Mr Howard
is good at tax breaks.
that last tax break weeeeeent straaaight
...to the petrol tank

...and interest rates.



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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

schools and learning

It's over! The film has been made, edited, submitted and finally screened. The premiere was last night (to rave reviews). V. Prin was there to support the cause and so were all the parents and children. Our film stood up marvellously to the work from neighbouring schools - even to neighbouring high schools. I understand why you were being so pedantic now V.Prin whispers to me during the premiere.

I was talking to the organiser of the event afterwards and it turns out that they might not get funding to re-create the event and training next year. This is not good. V.Prin is especially supportive of school events that go beyond English and Mathematics and so am I. Unfortunately schools are suffering the paradox of only being funded for core subjects but at the same time being EXPECTED to SOLVE the problems of the world. Shitty kids - apparently schools are to blame. Overweight kids - apparently schools are to blame. A valueless society - apparently schools are to blame. Apparently many parents don't parent anymore, this is my personal opinion but in any case we're expected to solve these problems but the only programs that are ever valued (with money and support) are programs involving numeracy and English. It's frustrating.

Anyway, this morning I got to school and found out that one of our little girls has qualified for a specific sport event - state level. Soon it will be Nationals - she's really that talented and I wouldn't be surprised if she ended up competing for Australia one day in her event. As it also happens she's not doing so well academically - but these sporting events; they are really her forte and indeed I'm not exaggerating when I say that this is her ticket out of hellsville - really. Unfortunately things are such that the things she does well aren't recognised properly by the powers that be. The school itself has poured money into the programs that help her (and others like her) but that's been off our own bat and I know that if she had gone to another school she wouldn't have had the chance to develop these particular talents because they are too far out from what is valued in schools to teach. In short, it's not English or Maths - and it can't be quantified so therefore it's not seen as important.

Schools these days are so tied by quantifying results to everyone around us (parents, high schools, the media, the government) that anything that can't be quantified gets put on the backburner as a "nice idea buuuuut..." - and that's what is happening to this film making thing – never mind that it ties in with literacy, decision making skills, art, technology, organisation and planning skills, critical thinking etc - but apparently these can't be measured by some crappy standardised test so they aren't seen as important. Sigh - and what of those kids that aren't going to ever make it based on their maths scores? Where do they fit in when it comes to the current education climate? You can bet if their programs are being devalued then they are feeling devalued too.

In other news I've started another photography class, this one focuses on portraits. In the last class I was frustrated by one of the other students. He constantly talked over the top of the teacher and was basically the kind of person I hate - acts superior, few brain cells, big mouth, arrogant, flirted with the only married woman in the class. Boo to all that. In this class everyone seems nice and all but the teacher is a nutter. Firstly he tells us that we won't actually need our cameras because he's very "theoretical" and then he says that in order to get discussion going he's going to pick on us individually until we start talking. So when he mused the other night -"What *is* a portrait anyway?" and then turned around and suddenly pointed right at my nose and shouted "YOU! WHAT DO YOU THINK?" I immediately felt like I was back in high school - my mouth went completely dry and could hardly answer. I'm a bit scared of him. I have no idea how we are going to learn about portrait taking without using our cameras ... should be err..something something.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

I guess I'm lying to myself

* Saturday morning in Melbourne town saw me braving the western subs for a bit of brekkie, coffee - and apparently a trip of self discovery. For it was on this day while perusing the more unsavory of the Melbourne newspapers that I spied a "What Kind Of Personality Are You?" type test. Being a student of psychology and no stranger to the myriad of different personality tests out there - pushed on me via the route of "lab requirements" of unimelb undergrad psych, I thought what any other sane and rational person would think when faced with a personality test in their morning paper; oh goodie!.

With only 12 questions the test promised to tell me who I was. Since I'm always up for being told who or what I am I looked around left and right, before quickly pocketing the offending page and quickly finishing off my eggs.

So I took the test and here's what I found out:

I display very high levels of Neuroticism and Openness and high levels of Agreeableness. I score quite low on Conscientiousness and Extraversion. All this seems by and large on the money. I am a worrier, analytical and a thinker hence the neurotic label. Indeed I'm also very open to different kinds of people and ideas. I have strong opinions but am not actually judgemental when it comes down to it - which all apparently makes me 'open'. Agreeableness is related to being sympathetic and helping others (hello! Teacher!). I'm not known for being organised, methodological or being anally retentive and am also not known for screaming 'here I am' when I enter a room so it's only fair I score low on Extraversion and conscientiousness.

All this, I have no issue with - but then I had a look at the pictures which accompanied the personality blurbs. This is what represents me.


Yeah, hi that's the Neurotic me a cross between Herman Munster and THE GRINCH. Don't make any sudden movements or I'll rain all over you with my big black cloud of doom. I'm so Emo, now where the hell is my blacker than black eyeliner?


Hi again, when I read 'open' I thought, open to new ideas and all people - but apparently it just means that I'm about to join the Ralean sect. It also means I am a little bit wacko (look into my eyes...if you can find my wonky pupils that is) and am either into mooncakes or have stolen some kind of meterorite from the astronomical section of the Scienceworks museum. We've been observing your earth, and we'd like to make contact with youuuu.


Oh, I'm so huggy aren't I? Come here, let me hug you! Come onnnnnnn! COME HERE I WANT TO HUG YOU!! I WAAANNNNAA HUUUUUUG!! PLEASE SNUGGLE WITH ME!!! WHERE ARE YOU GOING? Where?.... oh.. :( Actually, ..there is a reason why I have the profile photo that I do.

So yes, after seeing those pictures I felt very well adjusted and normal didn't I? Don't worry about me - my recipe is apparently: One part Herman Munster, One part alien worshiping wack job and One part little Miss "I Psychotically love you to DEATH". Stir with swivel stick, drink and call the paramedics immediately.

* Anyway I was a tad traumatised after doing the test so was looking forward to some friendly company at dinner that night. Finally the group was going to meet L's new man. He was lovely and it was also lovely to see my friend B, who was down from QLD for a visit. Bonus of Bonuses, she turned up to the dinner with my star chart (she's a qualified astrologer). Oh goodie, another personality test - without actually having to take the test! Anyway, she starts the conversation with "you're a dark horse aren't you?" and ends with "we've been underestimating you for a long time" - which, may I add makes me feel like a bit of a fraud for some reason. Everyone went a little silent and looked at me quizzically for a while (trying to figure out my dark horse side, probably). I wonder if she was referring to my Herman Munster side.

B did tell me something that has made me want to change myself for the better though. She said that I find it hard to let people go. I have done a lot of self analysis and soul searching in my life and I had never really thought of myself in these terms. Weird I know, but as soon as she said it I knew it was true. Funny how revelations only ever feel like an anvil falling on your head but it's true, I do find it incredibly hard to let people go. I'd love to think of myself as a love 'em and leave 'em - and who really cares about 'em anyway.. type girl but I'm not. I embrace any kind of affection that comes my way - even if it's bad for me. There are a lot of reasons for this, not least the lack of affection shown to me during my own childhood and my need to feel that someone finds me worthy of their time. I've seen friends of mine go through the whole 'going back to people who make you feel bad about yourself' thing with men and the like, advising them to have the strength to say no.. when all the while it was me too. I don't want to be that girl. Closer to the case - I don't want to be her ...anymore. I don't need anymore fair weather friends. They tear me apart.

I thought about this all night, and all of today. I guess I have to be a stronger person - maybe I have to let that "agreeableness" part of me go a little and be less agreeable and be less open. Those people that use me shouldn't be welcomed by me with open arms ever again and those people that don't see my good qualities - well, it's their loss isn't it? I shouldn't see myself for being at fault just because THEY are idiotic. Stop making excuses for other people's mistakes, that's basically what I have to do.

* Meanwhile and since it's all about me today: on Idol (I know, please don't hate me for using Idol as my Musical Monday crutch for two weeks in a row) they had 'choose music from the year you were born. I thought it was a smashing idea and I've come up with a song from a band I've been meaning to do for a while now. The Rolling Stones.

I'm certainly no hardcore fan, as you will probably tell when you hear my song choice but one of my very earliest memories I have of myself enjoying music is while I was listening to The Rolling Stones. It was the 80s, I was wearing my pajamas and jumping up and down on the couch with my bro to Start me Up, which happened to be playing on Countdown one night. I did think it was an excellent song - even though I sang Stompio (hence the stomping on the couch) instead of Start me Up, but that's just a technicality surely. I mean Mick probably sang the wrong words half the time too. As for Keith, good christ, did he ever know the words? (God love 'em) But I digress. That was the early me.

In my mid teens I re-discovered them when I was going through my 60s rock and I'm depressed with the world phase. In fact Paint it Black was a constant fixture in the soundtrack of my life around that time. I can't even being to tell you how many times I listened to that one. And of course at 18-ish when I decided that Get Off My Cloud would be my theme song (I might take it up again). Then again, at 19 sitting on the floor of some filthy bungalow down by the beach singing along to As Tears Go By being played beautifully on guitar by a sad friend. And lately, with this one - 1978, my year. I love everything about it, the slightly bluesy influence, the sexy beat and all the lyrics; yes every single one - even the Peurto Rican girls just dyyyyyyyyyyyyyin' to meet you. Love it.

Miss You - The Rolling Stones

So you see, they've been around for a while; The Rolling Stones. Never really at the forefront of my life but there, behind the scenes, definitely in the soundtrack - a perfect accompaniment. Don't you just love it when must does that?

err sorry, slip of the button... what I meant was..

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Friday, October 12, 2007

happy days

People are pretty weird. Everyone is. Even the most well adjusted; married, kid, house in the burbs, job people have a little something about them that is a tad weird.

One of my co-workers is obsessed with rabbits, she loves them. Another plays Scottish music (we're talking bagpipes) on 11 so you can hear it all the way down the corridor as soon as the kids leave for the day. Yet another is so obsessed with running that she runs every single day, even when she's ill. She enters the marathons and everything. One man I know acts like his dog is a real person - we're talking birthday parties. I know a German Shepherd owner whose devotion I would easily compare to that of a hard core Christian - church on Sunday; puppy school on Sunday. Praying every day; going for a walk everyday. Trying to convert everyone to Jesus; trying to convert everyone to liking Alsatians. Same - yes ma'am. I am friends with fashion nuts, shoe whores, self help book devotees, sex maniacs, gardening experts and people who write everyday, some of which whom write for an audience they've never met.

The point is - people have things that make them happy and some of these things are weird. Scottish music guy whistles a merry tune along with his bagpipes. He's happy with that and who is anyone to argue? My good friend is happy with a cat laying peacefully in her lap and purring softly while she strokes it. Sometimes all I need is a dark theatre and the celluloid screen to feel content with the world. I can't imagine anyone being more happy than me in that moment and who's to say that anyone is? You want to challenge me on it? Are you sure? How do we compare exactly? Whose scale of happiness are we using anyway?

Happy is what you feel in your heart and since each of us has only one heart (our own), then this happy feeling we're all so opinionated about is something only the individual can really know for themselves.

I have this acquaintance who constantly gives me the old patronising 'awww you still single?' speech every time she sees me. Perhaps I am missing out on something but I dunno, if the hubby and the babies were the only things that truly made her feel fulfilled then why does she still have that funny little teddy bear fetish?

I think we judge each other too harshly based our own ideas of happiness and fulfillment, when clearly these things are personal indeed.

Why do we see the child laden couples as happier than the gardener who has just grown his first organic tomato? Is it possible they both experience the same level of happy - just about different things?

What weird things make you happy?

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007


* I hate hay fever. For many years I've been the person that scoffs at people who have hay fever. You feeling sniffly? Have runny eyes? An itchy throat? Well BUILD A BRIDGE buster. Wah, wah, waaaah - get over it. How bad can it really be? That was typical of back when I didn't get hay fever - aka: the golden years. Now that I'm afflicted with it I take those sentiments back. I take it all back 10 fold. I've decided that spring is an evil season filled with horrible hay fever inducing elements and I hate it! Hay fever feels like having a permanent cold. It's ridiculous - I pretty much look like someone has punched me in the face every morning. mmmm Attractive. Claratine does nothing for me either. Is there some way short of cutting out my sinuses that will actually relieve my symptoms?

* School has started once again. Monday was fabulous! No water in the AR. We were doing clay which would have to be the worlds worst activity to do when you don't have water on hand. I had to supply 4 grades of preps with latex gloves so that their hands didn't get dirty. Have you ever tried to get 25 children put on adult sized latex gloves simultaneously? Yeah, it wasn't the best.

* Another one of my friends recently gave birth to a baby. Almost all my friends have given birth to sons. It's interesting to see what names people pick. It's widely thought in teaching that boys with J names end up having issues - it might be behavioural or learning difficulties or social difficulties. I've gone through all the J boys I've taught - freaks, all of them. There was the kid that I couldn't understand. Then there was the kleptomaniac. Then the kid who pretended to read by just saying random words and then the one who had depression. There have been a lot of maladjusted J boys in my life. I think the freak factor balances out in later life but it IS a bit of a weird phenomenon. I've since gone back and realised that pretty much all the kids I've taught are pretty freaky. Maybe it's not just J boys after all.

I've been tagged by Girlabout to produce 7 interesting/weird facts about me. I pretty much think that everything about me is weird but anyway here goes.

1) I have no middle name.

2) I'm messy but pedantic when it comes to certain things. For instance, I'm on staff room duty this week and driving everyone crazy because yes I have to put all the white mugs together and all the coloured mugs together and all the flowery mugs together and if they don't go together then I break out in a sweat. Meanwhile my desk is so messy I can't even use it to lean on so I can write a note.

3) I keep letters from children that say nice things like "you are the best teacher in the world!!!<3<3<3" (which is a letter that all teachers receive at some point in their career). I've got a lot of them. They're sweet.

4) I love getting into my pjs and sipping hot chocolate from underneath my bed doona. I do it often.

5) Sometimes I just get tired of talking and want to be silent. It annoys me when people try to engage me in conversation when I feel like this. In fact I've been known to get irrationally pissed off at people for talking to me when I don't want to talk back.

6) I'm in one of those moods right now.

7) I don't think teaching is in my distant future.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

End of a ..

It was last night's appalling "Britpop" episode on Idol that had me on my knees reaching into the darkest corners of the second bottom shelf of my cd library and blowing dust off those old cds looking for something to listen to. In my world you can't call The Beatles Britpop and I stand by that even if Noel and Liam disagree (oi!). In my world you also can't sing anything by Amy Winehouse while looking like you just stepped out the front doors of church on Sunday. No sir. It's only about Rehab if even the gentlefolk are calling you a crack-head, honey - and they ain't, no ma'am.

So, anyway I dig out the old mid-90s feel good albums and make my way through the ones that tickle my fancy - which of course instantaneously takes me back to better times. I'm not quite sure why they are better exactly but I do know that nostalgia plays tricks on old minds - maybe that's it. I come across a couple of songs I haven't listened to in years. I feel the excitement that I felt then - about life, love, learning etc building up in my heart and pounding through my veins. Music is wonderful isn't it? It's a time machine for emotions and memories long since buried.

I'm smiling even now at the lyrics to End of a Century: the mind gets dirty as you get closer to thirty remembering myself back then, wondering whether that would ever be true of me, wondering indeed if I'd ever get there - close to thirty, in this new century - and yet here we are: 2007. It seemed much too far away to be true back then.

Indeed, funny that the young girl I once was seems too far away to be true to me now. The ribbon that binds us together is now grey and fraying dangerously along the edges. I'm desperately tying knots to keep her close but she's all but disappeared that one. She was so untouchable and so ready for life to happen. She was ...unaware, and that's good - that's a very good way to be says the present older me, who knows a little too much to be so objective about life's little surprises now. The lesson has been learned.

I'm listening to the song and remembering her blissfully dancing at the Blur concert (for it was always blissful this kind of dancing, completely self absorbed) - some time in the mid nineties - and suddenly looking upwards and laughing as a turret of water is poured into the overheated crowd - indeed over her, drenching her to the bone in a shock of cold that is quickly enveloped and turned steamy by the dancing masses. She looks over at her friends and they all laugh and clasp hands and jump into the air, shaking wet hair everywhere and screaming whilst not missing one beat.

I wish I could get her back. I miss her.

End of a Century - Blur

This MM wasn't going to be about this, but I'll just leave it there anyway.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Hand that Feeds.

* Do married people/coupled up people still masturbate even if they are having sex regularly? I'm not talking about the kind of masturbation that involves your partner, voyeur fantasties or whatever it is that categorises the act as a couples activity. I mean the real kind of masturbation the kind that says - this is all about me, alone.

* Does anyone seriously not masturbate or are they just lying when they say they don't EVER?

* It's generally thought that girls use vibrators or some other form of masturbatory aide in order to 'get there' but do men use "stuff" like that too? If so, what? I mean is that apple pie thing for real or will a hand do?

* Do vaginal orgasms depend on the partner or on the person themselves? It's been theorised that many (most, in fact) women have a difficult time achieving vaginal orgasm - more than we'd like to admit. Is this because their partners aren't doing the right things or because of some sort of physiological problem?

* Is any man out there absolutely certain that their partner/s have never faked it? Never? Really? Are you sure? How are you sure?

* Do men ever fake it? And if so..how the hell does THAT work?

*edit: when doing it do you have a fantasy, a visual or literal something, or just go for it without either - purely physical?

Contrary to popular belief, personally I'm not huge on the gadgets at all.

This post was bought to you by one too many vodka gimlets and weird thoughts on a Saturday night.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Best Things in Life are Free.

Us singles have a different approach to life and finance than the marrieds do. Since I'm almost 30 and have pretty much resigned to never finding someone to settle down with I'm really thinking about my financial future at the moment, and looking to set myself up in alone-land. Alone-land involves thinking about 'what if I get sick?', 'what if I lose my job?' 'who will look after me?'. The answer is no one, and actually that's fucking scary. There's a lot of insecurity there - and this is because I know what it's like to account for every penny. It's how I grew up. It's not fun.

I've done a bit of soul searching and I've realised that I've been unconsciously doing something for a very long time that hasn't been good for me. I've been waiting. The waiting has held me back. While I *have* been looking for a house I'm realising now that maybe my fear about 'going it alone' has been holding me back from really laying my savings down on the line and buying something. Going it alone is bloody scary when you know that you're not ever going to earn enough to really be totally secure in mortgage land. Whatever I choose to do I know I'll have to be careful with money. That's okay in theory, but actually doing it is scary. The alternative however - waiting is a lot worse for me. Waiting is not on the cards - I need to be truly independent with waiting not even a factor. If this means I'm cutting off certain possibilities then so be it. I'm not going to suddenly win lotto so I need to really plan for my future now.

I hate people saying 'oh but you're so free'. Usually this comes from people who are snug as a bug in a rug in couple land where they're not thinking about how they are totally dependent only on themselves for everything. It's easy to say 'you're free to do what you want' when you've got a kid on your hip and hubby coming home for supper - I once challenged my friend on this and she admitted in the end that if she didn't have her husband then she wouldn't be able to do half the things that she's done. House, trips, etc - they can rely on each other. It's different when it's just you and I know the quirkyalone among you reading this will totally know what I'm talking about - serial monogamists excluded.

Anyway on being free - I don't really feel like going on an extended trip overseas, coming back with no savings and having to start again in a market that is even worse than what it is now. No thanks, I don't want to get caught up later. Honestly, if I was married, I think I would PUSH for an overseas trip right now, perhaps a stint living there for a while - because quite frankly it's easier when you've got two salaries to play with and there's safety in numbers as well. When you come back you have two salaries to bolster yourself up. Spending money on two living together is almost the same as one living alone - but you have two salaries to do it with. Yes, sure I *could* easily pack up my life and go overseas right now and not have to tell anyone about it. It could be great...for now - but while you hear all those romantic statements about living in the moment blah blah, back in the land of reality that ain't happening. Certainly not with the big stuff anyway. I'm pretty naive sometimes but not stupid. I know I have to plan and I know it has to happen now. I wrote an entry about this a while ago, in the context of men who say 'where have all the girls gone?' - well we went and got ourselves financially secure buddy.

Anyway it's taken a lot of soul searching on my part but I'm at that stage where I know I want to be financially secure so that I don't have to stress about it for the rest of my life. I've worked out a way to make it happen and am in a process of creating a future where I will not become my parents.

The relationship my parents had with money has taught me to never depend on another person for money coming in. Yes, that means I'm scarred but better to live and learn than to repeat the mistakes of others. I never want to have to 'talk about my spending' I never want to have to justify the extra pair of knickers I bought, I don't want to have to talk about how 'since I'm earning more that means you do more housework' (which yes, I have seen happen with friends of mine). I reject marrying for money (and all arguments out there that say that all women look for that in a man) because even the thought of someone paying for the date makes me incredibly anxious. Actually KNOWING that they resent doing this (from what I keep reading on the internets anyway) has opened up my eyes in a very bad way. The crap about women being gold diggers is even worse. For someone who already has a chip on her shoulder about being independent this whole money in relationships issue really gives me hives.

It's a good thing I'm planning for alone-land then eh?

So anyway, the point is I've got this plan that is actually going to happen and it's a good one but then something hit me hard - what if someone comes along in the future - waaay in the future when I least expect it? Where do they fit into the financial stability that I've (hopefully) created? I do believe in share and share alike and I'm generous to boot. I just don't want to be dependent - ever. I like the thought of a buddy relationship where you have each others backs and you both contribute the same, that would be ideal - but I'm wondering does that really exist when money and ego come into play?

The other day I was at my friend S's place and we were playing with her new baby. The baby did a poo and S looked at her husband - "can you please do it this time?" she said. He looked at her smiled and made a joke "no, I'm bringing the money in, you change the baby". I didn't say it was a funny joke, in fact it wasn't a joke at all - he was completely serious. These two actually have very similar work ethics and ideas about money and yet, there it was hanging over the room like a storm cloud waiting to erupt. Money.

Does money get in the way of a good relationship? How do you stop that from happening? Singletons, do you worry for your financial future - have you tried to plan for a future alone or are you waiting for someone to come along and help? Marrieds - did you go into your marriage totally financially secure or is this something you've developed together? Have you ever HAD these worries or were you married before it got to crunch time (for the record, I reckon 30-40 is crunch time). Is it detrimental to a relationship if one person is financially secure and the other isn't?

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The personal and the theoretical have lunch.

Do we have a soul?

Does it go to heaven?

Does it stay and look out for those who are left behind?

Is it that nothing happens- your body dies and there is nothing more to say?

Do you believe in ghosts? Do you believe in spirits?

Do you believe that all we see is what we are and nothing more?

Is there a God? What is she like?

What do you think happens after you die?

When someone you know actually dies - these questions are not just about answering a theory. These questions become part of your emotional healing - or ruin. Now, it's personal, as they say. Personal is a lot different from theoretical, though perhaps they can have a civilised lunch if they remember to tuck their egos into their handbags first.

After said loved one dies you start to wonder if they're looking out for you. Maybe you felt something, maybe you know something, maybe it's all in your head - maybe not. You wonder if they disappeared with a plop into thin air like a bubble that was suddenly pricked and you wonder if that is true then whether anything at all matters. Maybe 14 years later, you're still wondering.

If someone said 'I spoke to your dead [...] the other day - this is what they said' - would you believe them? And if you did believe them...then what?

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Make Air Not War

Being a girl with very refined and classic tastes, the other day I treated myself to an interesting little documentary at the cinema called Air Guitar Nation. It followed the stories of two men hell bent on being not only the best air guitar errm..artists in the US but also THE WORLD! Yes, apparently there is a world championship for this kind of thing and yes, it's serious business indeed.

I'm an air guitarist from way back. I think that most people who learn an instrument from a young age (me: piano: 5yrs old) don't have a choice. When I hear music my fingers immediately twitch along with the notes. In fact my first instinct is actually to air piano even the guitar based songs. Indeed with that in mind, maybe the best air guitarists are those that have not been sullied by keeping time with the metronome and learning major and minor chords at the hands of Madam Piano Teacher who used to slap at my fingers if they went the wrong way. Is air guitar inbuilt in all of us or is it something that only people so into music that they can't help it partake?

Before the lights went down in the cinema I thought about the vast number of Air Guitar CLASSICS I know and came up with one main contender should I ever find myself in an Air guitar showdown with the devil. Not Stairway to Heaven (though it's a good one) or Rebel Rebel (though it's one of my favourites) and not Back in Black (though it rocks all colours of socks). These songs were all too much about the "music" and not enough about "the cock" for my liking. Let's face it folks, if I'm going to be playing a fake guitar I might as well go all out and go the full fake cock stroking bonanza! I can't think of any other time in musical history when it was more about the cock than 80s hair bands.

So since I am also a girl of impeccable taste regarding "the classics" my mind went to one place and one place only.


So clearly the choice for me had to be Play With Me by Extreme. Which happens to be featured in the scene (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure) where all the famous historical figures go wild (wyld!) at the mall - beating up on each other and sampling the goods (Genghis Khan seen perusing baseball bats at a sporting goods store..of course, what else?). If you haven't yet heard this song then I have to prepare you by saying that the GOLD is in the guitar solo (about 3/4 of the way through) and while I find this song infinitely amusing it also happens to be a guilty pleasure of mine. The solo is just a little bit on the awesome side, I promise.

Play With Me - Extreme


Is this what guitar solos and indeed Air Guitar is all about? Self indulgent, theatrical, masterful and technical? Or should it be something more meaningful?

As it turns out the main "guy" in the documentary C.Diddy agreed with my choice. He rocked Play with Me to the likes of which the world has never seen before and probably won't ever seen again. The other guy Bjorn Turoque however did not agree that Air Guitar should be quite so funny. His style was more punk rock, tight and with street cred.

The movie was funny, interesting and rather thought provoking. While I don't know if it legitimised Air Guitar the doco certainly made me think about how I engage with guitar rock and indeed think about why people air guitar in the first place?

So with that in mind - I have some questions for you, if you wouldn't mind.

1. I know what Bill and Ted, Beavis and Butthead and Wayne and Garth would say but what say you: What is good Air Guitar? Should it be funny, theatrical and preferably penned by bands sporting big hair and tight spandex or is air guitar something anyone can to do any song at any time depending on ones tastes?

2. Is air guitar in the soul or in the crotch?

3. You certainly can air guitar to Nirvana, The Saints or The Ramones (etc) but should you?

4. Can one air 'other musical instruments'? Is it right to air piano, air violin or air flute (Jethro Tull anyone?)

5. Can you air guitar to acoustic guitar?

6. Can girls air guitar as well as boys or should we just stick to being air groupies?

7. Can one Air Guitar to Sweet Home Alabama or is it better to make the twangy twangy sounds using your voice instead?

8. In a song like Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones do you go Air Guitar or Air Tamborine or BOTH (are particularly good at multi-tasking)?

9. Are there some songs so sacred that air guitaring (made up word) shouldn't be allowed?

10. What songs give you the urge to air guitar?

11. Why do people air guitar?

12. Is there anyone out there in blog land who does not partake in the art form of air guitar?

And now songs* (which are not necessarily the BEST air guitar choices but I like 'em):

Paradise City - Guns and Roses

White Riot - The Clash

The Stroke - Billy Squier

Rock N roll Part II - Gary Glitter

Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple

Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin

I love Rock N' Roll - joan jett

20th Century Boy - T-Rex

Are you Gonna Be My Girl - Jet

Aneurysm - Nirvana

21st Century Digital Boy - Bad Religion

And Because it's got my name in it

More than a Feeling - Boston

I <3 "Brown Bear"

* All songs have been through vigorous Air Guitar testing by yours truly and are safe for the general public to air guitar their little hearts out to. Having said that I hold no responsibility for anyone who strains their groin, fingers or neck while "performing".

* I wanted to include Evie - Stevie Wright (which is a TOP guitar song) but couldn't upload it for some reason).

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