Wednesday, January 30, 2008

quotegirl's take on the first day back.

Me: So what are you hoping to learn about at school?
kid - lunch!

random teacher: hey, so how's it going?
me: I'm on my 10th cup
random teacher: whoa, okay - not too good then I take it.

me: When you have rules at home and you don't follow those rules what happens?
loudmouth #1: Um..well...um... you know...sometimes...um
(thinking; t, t, t, today junior!)
...um sometimes when you're bad maybe your mum might say "no you can't go to Gemma's birthday party anymore!!"
me: oohhhhh kay that's very ...specific..
loudmouth #2 - or maybe your own birthday gets called OFF!!
yes, you see sometimes it's best not to make "links to the real world" because the "real world" is a scary, scary place

ohhh, J you're being such a good boy today! I'm so impressed with how brave you are.
(J looks at me and starts crying...again).
Best to just keep out of it sometimes.

calling out girl: um...what are these nice clothes?
me: dress ups!
cog: can I.....?
me: no!
cog: can...?
me: no, no you can't, not today.
cog: c..
me: not today hon.
cog; tomorrow?
me: ....um...
cog: (looking at me expectantly).
me: .....nup!
I'm not being mean, just practical. I really don't feel like THAT much tidying up at the end of a 12 hour day!

kid: Miss F, I think you forgot to give us all personal points!
me: (looking at chart where only one child has a personal point sticker) - no, I didn't forget at all.
kid: but, I don't have one.
me: no, no you don't.
It's a harsh life.

cryer: (grabs onto hand) I want you to stay outside with me. You can't go!
me: but hon, I have to go inside
cryer: whyyyyy? (squeezing hand)
me: because I'm really hungry and I want to eat my lunch. You already got to eat your lunch and you wouldn't even let me have any of your chocolate. I'm HUNGRY!
cryer: nooooo you stay here!
me: (trying to inch away) I have lasagna waiting for me and did I mention I was really HUNGRY?
cryer: stay!
me: how about having a play in the sand pit. It's so much fun!
cryer: I want to stay with you!
me: oohh, look there's your big brother I bet he'd LOVE to look after you
(big bro trying to inch away but have already grabbed his hand)
me: look K, your sister would like to play with you. BYEEEEEEEEEE (run)
Survival of the fittest

So as you can see, I'm buggered.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Tender Age In Bloom

Lately, and by lately I mean the past 10 years, there has been a bit of a backlash against Nirvana's Nervermind. When Triple J first started their infamous hottest 100 countdown it was an "of all time" countdown. Love will tear us apart - Joy Division was at #1 two years running - and understandably so. The song is nothing short of masterful. In 1991 - two things of consequence happened:

1 - Nirvana's Nevermind was released.
2 - ummmm... ???

Okay, perhaps a few other things happened but trust me these were the biggies. The next year, in the hottest 100 of all time Smells like Teen Spirit - Nirvana topped Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division to become the hottest song of all time - according to Triple J listeners. That's a pretty big deal, considering LWTUA had been around for a good 11 years and SLTS only for a few months. The next year the countdown became more localised - songs from one year only.

Nevermind was soon touted as a classic album. Various - hell pretty much ALL - music magazines around that time and beyond have put Nevermind at the top (or near enough) of their best ever rock albums lists. The backlash began a few years later when people started saying 'it's just another grunge album - I don't see what's so good about it'.

Okay, personally I think if you can't see what's so good about Nevermind then you might have other developmental problems too. Either you are stuck in the 60s or you listen exclusively to Celine Dion. The album is nothing short of a masterpiece. It's a package. You don't buy Nevermind listen only to Smells like Teen Spirit and then put it back on the shelf. This is an album you listen to the whole way through - on repeat - not just because you're a fan but because really it's that good. Relatively speaking, if you look at all the music made in the last 50 years there are really only a few hundred albums that you could truly say are worth listening to all the way through - repeatedly and without irony. This is one of them. Being popular, doesn't make it any less special.

My first memory of Nevermind was of my friend E telling me that her younger sister had left her Nevermind tape (yes tape) in full sunlight on a 40 degree day in the car and now it wouldn't play anymore. S was apparently driving the family nuts - E in particular. I hadn't heard the full album by this stage, only the big hits. I knew of Bleach which was mine by proxy, courtesy of the my local library's borrowing register - which I thought was okay, but only in parts. A few weeks later and because of that conversation I had with E I bought Nevermiind for myself and have never looked back.

I don't think I can accurately explain the excitement and vibe created by Nirvana back in the early 90s but I'll say that you could smell something different in the air. This was a new beginning for music fans. Until that stage music had been going the way of a pop wasteland extravaganza - not in a good way. The late 80s and early 90s mainstream was littered with Technotronic, Whitney Houston, Wilson Phillips and Roxette. Things were really bad. Nirvana's music was pop don't get me wrong but - it was also incredibly sincere. I remember being relieved to finally hear *real* instruments again - ones that weren't warped by overproduction like other bands around that time. I think it woke a lot of people in the music industry up and from then on music made a big shift for the better. It was an exciting time - literally the most defining musical moment of my lifetime thus far - and surely of a whole generation of musical artists.

Nirvana defines my first drunken moment, my first kiss (or rather my first drunken kiss, ha!), my obsession and my sadness. When Kurt died, it broke my heart. I know it sounds trite and melodramatic but that's just how it was. It was like that for a lot of people of my generation who had suffered their lives with a soundtrack of Nirvana songs too.

Sometimes I hear people say "I just don't see what's so good about Nirvana" or that old favourite "they're overrated" and I'm reminded about this quote from the movie Clueless:

TRAVIS: The way I feel about the Rolling Stones is the way my kids are going to feel about Nine Inch Nails, so I really shouldn't torment my Mom anymore, huh?

Exactly. Maybe everyone that comes after my generation (that is people who were 13-28 when Nevermind first came out) - yes all those little ones that were born post 1984 who I think of as still not quite out of their nappies and on solid foods yet don't get it because they simply weren't around for the music to have a real effect.. Maybe those kids will one day understand how important Nirvana was and just how utterly magnificent this album really is. How long does it take for perspective to turn an album into a classic anyway?

Then again, maybe I'm the one lacking perspective. Maybe I'm too young to really understand the artists that came before Nirvana, those big guns - like Pink Floyd - artists that I wasn't there to witness for myself either. I like to think I'm pretty well rounded though, and my MM choices have included a range of musical styles and eras. Then again, who knows? Maybe I've been charmed by Kurt's twisted pain, his quirky rock hero reluctance, his apt Neil Young quote; it's better to burn out than to fade away scrawled for the world to see in Who Magazine after his suicide. And I have to say yes, it's all part of it. Either way with my recommendation or not - this album may only be a blip on the musical radar relatively speaking but it was a blip that defined musical change. It was a great moment in music. You don't have to like it for that to be true, but I think you do have to respect it.

I guess you just had to be there.

Two from Nevermind

In Bloom - Nirvana

Lithium - Nirvana

And two from other albums....

Aneurysm - Nirvana

Heart Shaped Box - Nirvana

...and one random.

Marigold - Nirvana (which funnily enough, was all Dave Grohl - but I just adore this song)

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

A squishy list of Australian things.

Australia day was served up to me this morning via a smallish flag atop a lovely dish of breakfast in North Melbourne as the sun beat down from the bluest sky. My post today is actually one that was from the old blog. I wrote it a few years ago but haven't posted it here and it's one of my favourite posts I've written about Australia day.

You might not get all the references and you know what? That's a good thing.

As Australian as..

a pot of cold beer (letting the kids drink the head), sunday cricket in the street, licking sunny boy dribble from down your arm on a 40 degree day, the insriparional words of Dorothea McKellar, fractured conversation in broken English from migrant women wearing black mourning clothes, souvlaki on the beach, Ned Kelly's last stand, the stolen generation, drinking good Italian coffee outside a busy trattoria, fluro zinc on the tip of your nose, drunken singing along to the Hunters and Collectors, fear of red backs, slip slop slap, playing under the sprinklers while the sky turns pink above you, stubby holders in your football team's colours, water bomb fights in the school yard, good yum cha, Cathy Freeman's two Australian flags, free settlers, European Migrants, Bloody stupid wogs, Indian accented Australians, Indigenous to the land, Aussie, Aussie, Aussie.. oi oi oi, a friendly smile, a rude joke, heavy rain after a scorching day, Bert Newton's hair piece, Ray Martin's hair piece, Aboriginal Art in New York City, "My home lies wide a thousand miles in the Never Never land", Tim Winton's famous waves breaking on the West Coast, Uluru; sacred heart of the red centre, the dichotomy of Steve Irwin; both ridiculous and knowledgeable, picnics by the Yarra, having a bet on the horses, staying up late to watch the world cup, watching the 7.30 report on Auntie, revering Parkinson as god of interviews, holidays in Bali, drug running in Indonesia, American sitcoms on the telly, listening to the crickets loud song reverberate well into the night, Australia shaped car aerials on a VWs, vegemite on toast for breakfast, matzah ball soup for dinner, Burka's adourned with beautiful broaches, duty free Bundy, coupling with GW, lamington drives, Dawn Fraser's magnificent trifecta, Foreign News on free to air telly, The First Fleet, swatting the flies from your face, "you call that a knife?", Holocaust survivors settling in Bondi, Whispering Jack, Kamahl, beaurocracy, Kylie Minogue's fake British accent, Jason Donovan gone bad, Greek Greengrocers who know their shit, really bad perm jobs, Fashion Week, bush fires leaving a black trail across the parched land, twisted gum trees reaching their spidery fingers towards the sky, Kebabs outside night clubs, the gay and lesbian mardi gras, Making fun of American reality television, Opera House tea cosies, Eiffel tower calendars, learning another language, watching old men play bocce at the local park, blogging, David Helfgott's mastery of classical piano, Baz Luhrman's quirky reappropriations on celluloid, leaving European history behind for prosperity in a new country, Mabo, Mambo, surfing, skate parks, homeboys holding their pants up yo!, Koala Bear (but it's not a bear!), embarrassed at ourselves, race riots at the beach, moshing at The Big Day Out 'till you pass out from heat exhaustion, Making fun of the politicians, men in suits wearing Burberry, men in stubbies wearing metho, arse not ass, shiraz, "Australia don't become America", a Maccas run at 3am, roast on the spit in the backyard, Buon Natale!, Happy Hannuka, a gift of dyed red eggs on Greek Easter from your neighbour, The Southern Cross; mother to us all, Waltzing Matilda; father to our theiving hearts, "not happy Jan", Pauline Hanson picking at the scab, the myth of Australian ethnicity?, performing ethnicity Helen Demidenko style, drinking Grappa and singing loudly until the neighbours call the cops, weird busking spacesuit guy on the corner of Burke and Swanston, Bluey, the Packer media empire, 8-up doc martins with pink laces, gothic babes in pleather, plumber's cleavage, Carlotta, Germaine Greer, Asian-Australian football league, Midnight Oil's heartfelt political diatribes, Schindler's List (yes Australian!), click go the sheers boy, "Hello Possums!", fighting against conscription, beatlemania, ABBA Down Under, John "bloody" Laws, Making fun of the Eurovision Song Contest, playing Scopa while drinking Fosters, absolutely refusing to go near Fosters, Molly Meldrum's hat, of course I can use chopsticks!, Multiculturalism, White Australia Policy, dole bludgers, Mandawuy Yunupingu, "I say Arthur", tai chi on the beach, raves at the docklands, muck up day, Truganini's determination, Rolf Harris' wobble board, Come on Aussie come on!, Fish and Chips, suishi in a classy restaurant, Aussie battlers, bloody whinging pomms, the reclaiming of the word 'wog' in order to make fun of Skippys, Shakespeare in the park, Sidney Nolan's historical accounts without using words, The big Pineapple, bush polka, ballet recitals, Macedonean wedding dances, the Japanese Gold Coast, still a Monarchy?, "you little beauty!", making and bottling your own spaghetti sauce for the year, "there was movement at the station for the word had passed around..", the Amercians poisoning Phar Lap?, Bicentenial coins for Australian children in 1988, take away curry, dim sims, The Rainbow Serpent creates land and life, bi-lingual families, European roots planted firmly at home (everywhere), working visa, dual citizenship, detention centre hunger strikes, diaspora; "from all the lands we come".

It was never really one thing, was it?

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Thursday, January 24, 2008


I awoke this morning to a text message from ex art teacher (who is coming back to do art this year) asking me whether I was coming in to school this week because if so we could meet and do a quick handover of the art program/key/info. I almost went into hyperventilation mode while reading it. No, I'm not quite ready to be so formal yet. Sure, I actually went into school for two very long, hard, messy days last week to clean my room and get it ready (is there any other job where the workers are made to clean their own office and rearrange the furniture and even in my case BRING IN MY OWN furniture?) - so the point is, I already went in early last week so I didn't have to do it now.

The text this morning reminded me that my time as a lady of leisure is almost over. It also made me feel nervous. Going back to the classroom is a big change from the art role - the biggest part of this change is having once again to deal with parental influence and pressure. For the most part I think I handle the pressure quite well and get along with most parents. But on the other hand there are a few parents who do make a teacher's life a living hell and those parents are the ones that end up overruling all the lovely ones. The way to make a teacher's life hell is not by requesting interviews, or by wanting more homework, or even by ringing them to discuss their child. All this stuff, I want the parents to do. I want them to be diligent about their child's reading as I am. I want them to strive for the best. The problems occur only when the parents are completely off the planet with their demands and/or are aggressive. The year level I'm going back to teach is by far the worst in terms of parental pressure on teachers, until probably year 12 VCE High School.

My non teacher friends don't quite believe my stories of being interrupted in the middle of lessons by parents who are pissed about something, or being told that they rule the school and that they can get anything they want done so watch out (this was actually said to a teacher I know), or dealing with parent teacher interviews where the parents actually REFUSE to leave (dude, you get 10 minutes like everyone else!) or parents who shout, are aggressive, complain to the prin instead of coming straight to you (news flash, prin has no idea what you're going on about), blame the teacher if their child loses a jumper (like as if we're stockpiling them or something) - and the best one, those that will stand outside the classroom with their noses pressed right into the window so they can see what's going on (not offputting for the child at all!). You see, when I relate these stories to my friends, they think I'm exaggerating - as I tend to do most times. The thing is, they all have jobs where the client has to make an appointment in order to see management and they all are in workplaces where there are rules of conduct that are actually followed by their clients. They can't quite believe that someone would be harassed like that in their place of work. Well, believe it - there isn't a teacher alive out there who doesn't have a horror story.

Anyway, the point is, thinking about this makes me extremely nervous. I'm about to get my world rocked when honestly I prefer people to be more easy going. It'll be tough.

The other day I was researching alternative education on the web. I've always been interested in alternative education - that is education that is not run by the state or private schools. I mean, independent schools where they are a law unto themselves. I came across a school run by a quite well known children's book author - that is located just outside of Melb. The school sounds interesting and is so unlike the experiences of a general education that I do wonder how things operate.

The principal wanted to create a school that was based about what schools were like back before the bureaucracy got a hold of the reigns and started controlling everything. The website of the school outlines it's educational approach which all seem very run of the mill except when you get to the last point. Food should not to be brought to school, as we provide morning tea and lunch and snacks in-between. Lollies, chewing gum and soft drinks are not to be brought to school at any time. We cater for allergies and special diets. Interesting and you know, I like it. There is another school in Melbourne that has a similar philosophy on food and cooking (scroll down). More and more schools I've had contact with are rejecting not only cooking in the school, but also the sharing of food or if they do cooking it is not eaten because of the risk of a) contamination. b) allegries. Back when I was at school we cooked, we ate, we shared food, we had parties with food. News flash! Food is part of being human. Let's embrace that fact again. It makes me sad that food is so feared in our society: due to the so called (scaremongering) obesity epidemic or to other factors such as allergies and other controlling forces.

The other part of this particular school that impressed me in particular was the "is this school right for you?" page. Basically, it's the school laying down the law and saying; this is what we do, if you don't like it then pick somewhere else to send your child. It's nothing that is out of the ordinary either. It's just about respecting the school environment. I heartily agree with #10 which states We are very happy for parents to be involved in the life of the school, in all kinds of rich, exciting and rewarding ways. We work on an `invitation-acceptance’ or an `offer-acceptance’ basis. In other words, we may invite parents to contribute to the school in some way, and they may accept our invitation; equally they may offer to help us in some way and we may accept their invitation. However we are not happy with parents who want to impose their own agendas on the school, and we don’t tolerate parents who attempt to bully the school, teachers, or other students.. You get the feeling that this rule is actually upheld and that's a good thing.

But my favourite philosophy behind both schools, and many alternative education schools is their stance on free time. Nowadays free time is a dirty word to most parents and especially to the department. Free time implies that the time is idle and wasted. But to me, free time is always where you learn the most because you are left to your own devices. It's no secret that most of what we learn we actually learn through experimentation and play. All those things we, as adults, do that grabs and holds our attention is achieved through experimentation and choice - with a camera, or a paintbrush, some words, or a book or whatever it is that we do when we are not actually forced to do anything. Free time doesn't mean "not learning" free time means researching something for yourself, it means tactile, it means feeding your imagination. The things that stick out in our minds are the things that we have pioneered and discovered for ourselves or with others in tow. Free time is an important part of school life that has been lost in both the private and government sector because of fear that we are not 'doing our jobs and teaching'. It's become corrupted by this view that giving a child free time will mean they are not learning anything. This point of view is so ignorant it makes me ill. I feel sorry for those children whose whole day is organised, from school all day which is organised into little sections of learning to after school where often they partake in some new kind of organised learning as well - sport, dance, language, play dates. I speak to so many parents who are basically chauffeurs on the weekend too. It's sad. I'm finding that these alternative schools put a lot of value in free time and thank God. Obviously it's not something that is done excessively - but rather it's just something that is seen as important.

The school has only been running a couple of years and I do wonder what kind of student the school will produce after a few years - and indeed what will that student be like as an adult and as an older student in a mainstream high school. Will they be wildcats who are behind in learning and unable to function in the real world or will they be the pioneers of an independent mind, creativity and cooperation - active in creating a new kind of world?

For the record, I don't agree with all facets of alternative education - nor to I disagree with all ways in which public or private schools are run.

But what say you? Would you ever consider alternative education for your own child? Was it a choice you ever entertained but decided against? Never considered it? Were you a child of alternative education? Know people who are into it? Hate the way that schools are run but still aren't putting your money where your mouth is by sending your child somewhere else? I'd love to know your thoughts!

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Again with the letters thing.

Dear Corey,

How can I put this?

You make me want to tear out my womb and feed it to the German Shepherds who live down the road.

Sick of the Yellow Sunglasses from Supre.

Dear Babied up people of the world,

Do not ring your spinster friend and then spend that time on the phone talking to your child instead. Spinster friend has got a shitlist.

It's getting longer.

Spinster Friend.

Dear Creators of the show "Ready Steady Cook"

I'm going to miss watching you when I go back to work next week. Yes I really am that pathetic. I do have one question though. Does it REALLY count when you create a dish and use the contestant's "special ingredient" only as a garnish? Surely this is cheating!

Uptight Viewer.

Dear Girl sitting near me at the Cinemas the other day,

Your BO was so bad I couldn't concentrate on the movie! I COULDN'T CONCENTRATE! I actually took out my peppermint flavoured MIGRANE STICK and pretty much stuffed it up my nose just so I didn't have to smell YOU.

I don't think people need to smell flower fresh every second of the day but why sit near me when the cinema was practically empty. SO many other seats! A VAST NUMBER OF SEATS AAAAALLLL OVER THE PLACE. But hey, sure, sit right near me, no worries.

Very Serious About Having Good Movie Experience.

Dear Mother on the Beach with her Toddler the other day,

When your little boy pointed at that young, muscle bound dude who had just come in from his swim and exclaimed "Daddy" I smiled. You see, I had seen "daddy" when your family arrived earlier. He was middle aged, pudgy, was wearing full zinc on his nose and had a Gilligan bucket hat on his head. But when you looked down at your boy and said (complete with dead pan delivery) - "nooooooope, Daddy's body looks nothing like that" I laughed out loud.

Thanks for the laugh.

Girl Hiding Behind Book.

Dear Tom Cruise,




Not a Fan.

Dear Beastie Boys,

I'm a long time fan. You make me want to grab my womb back from the German Shepherds and put it right back in.

Seriously, I can't say this enough; you are fabulous.


An Open Letter to NYC - Beastie Boys

Sabotage - Beastie Boys


Here's a crappy meme - as you will soon see it's scarily accurate..

The rules were
1) Put ipod on shuffle
2) every answer = a shuffled song.
3) the song that randomly comes up is the answer.

I tag all of you to do it!


saturday's night's alright for fighting - elton john

Yes, well - you see sometimes it's good to fight.

Tame - Pixies

Depends on the person - however maybe this is a consequence of #3.


Licking Stick - James Brown

Ipod has done it again! I plead the fifth.

Hanky Panky - Madonna

um, can I plead the 5th again? Oh look, there's a lovely butterfly over there..look! *run*

where the wild roses grow - nick cave

Oh goody, my life purpose is to die at the hands of a blood thirsty murderer. I will however look absolutely smashing while floating face up in a filthy lake.

Mayfair song - air

yes...well I have no idea what that is about. Perhaps I like playing monopoly a little TOO much

c'etait toi (you were the one) - billy joel

Why thank you! (Though I suppose the question is what do you REALLY think of me now that you know I have this song on my ipod?)


holiday - madonna

quite. I always did wish for an extended holiday from them.


tu quieres volver - gipsy kings

I agree. I do think in other languages I don't understand very often.

10. WHAT IS 2+2?
soul bossa nova - quincy jones

Is it any wonder I almost failed stats in uni?


I can't make it on time - The Ramones

Ipod knows I'm often late when meeting friends.

women - the easybeats

You see, ipod is also hinting that the end of my spinsterhood will be through lesbianism. Good one ipod, I shall look into it!

Let it Be - The Beatles

lordy, this thing is good.

put your head on my shoulder - paul anka

ahhh, yes. You see this harks back to the days in my early teens when I actually wanted to be a disembodied head atop of someone elses shoulders. It was a short lived dream really - not a lot of money in it. Glad I went into teaching instead.

courage - sarah polly

absolutely. Lots and lots of courage pounding through my veins... Then I run like hell.


gave up - nin

yes, hence the needing of a holiday.

I say a little prayer - dion warwick

good lord, I'm thinking the poor sod will be the one saying prayers but anyway.

psycho therapy - the ramones

hahahhaha, of course!

an american trilogy - elvis presley

Indeed, you see I'm much into popular culture, bad food and taking over small developing nations simply by using economic manipulation and brute force. Very American of me.

stuck on you - lionel ritchie

Apparently my biggest secret is actually the fact that I have Lionel Ritchie on my ipod but anyway. Aren't I glad to have that one out of the bag?

waiting - elizabeth daily

Currently waiting for their babies to grow up so that I get my friends back actually. Good one ipod - clever clogs!

China - tori amos

hm, ipod is being quite obscure here. Has it got something to do with giving up my current life and moving overseas to China where I will be showered with many diamonds and treated like a queen? Yes, I think that's what Ipod might be saying.

oh wait, this is what *I'd* do for love, isn't it? um, well maybe I will move to china and ...start selling china goods for cheap prices to the foreign market - maybe my future love is in trade of some kind. Yesss. The more I think about it the more sense it makes.

I don't like it like this - The Radio Dept.

Ipod obviously knows I was raised a catholic and now am disgruntled and confused.

Cold Hearted Snake - Paula Abdul

Christ, ipod not only have you outed that I have Paula Abdul on my ipod but you've really hit the nail on the head about my workplace too!

Release - pearl jam

From the looney bin I suppose.
You smug bastards!

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Major Jones for a Meme

Miss Nat tagged me and so...I'm gonna...

7 things I may (but hopefully not) have written in this journal before.

1) I'm big on gag reels. I'm always hopeful that one of the DVD extras of any film I watch has a gag reel. If it does then usually I'm too impatient to even watch the film first. In fact, while watching I'm usually thinking about the gag reel all the way through! I especially like those goofs where everyone on set starts laughing at some mistake or another - or can't keep it together while saying their line. I can't tell you how spazztastically hilarious I find the whole thing.

2) I have regular perverted but so realistic I can feel them dreams. Not just chicka-chicka-wow-wow type playboy mansion dreams but really fucked up ones that I can't stop thinking about all. day. long. There was this one the other night where...okay I can't do this. But it was fucked up, let me assure you.

3) I am never admitting this again, and if you call me on it I'll say that aliens took over my brain and made me write it but have a major jones for supermarket music but only within the context of the supermarket. There's something so soothing about hearing Kokomo playing at just the right volume over the loud speakers at Safeway while I sort through avocados trying to find a ripe but not too ripe one.

4) My great grandmother married a 75 year old man. she had 5 children to him. She was 14.

5) If it was socially acceptable to do so in public you'd usually find me with my hand down my pants - Al Bundy style. If not down my pants then on my boobs. Please believe me when I say it actually isn't a masturbatory thing. What can I say? I'm just still at the phallic psychosexual stage of development according to Freud.

6) Sometimes I will get certain tidbits from my relatives about my ancestors (see #4) however overall there are secrets that run deep in my family - so deep that I've been told in no uncertain terms that they are being kept from me ...for protection. Us cousins agree that there is a crazy gene - alive and rampant in the fam. No shit.

7) My imagination is so good that it's almost real. By almost, I really do mean by a hair. The only thing that stops it from not being real is my realisation that daydreams aren't actually real. If I was to ever lose my skills of rationalising everything that happens to me then I will become a full blown looney tune. This is true of everyone, sure - but it's especially true of me. If I could, I'd live totally within my imagination - it's nicer in there. Sometimes I hate that rational side of me, even if it does keep me clinically "sane".

I tag, yadda yadda yadda blah blah blah.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Boys and girls - I'm talking about penis and vagina.

A friend of mine recently met a man online through a popular dating website. She's very thrilled with him and indeed from what I hear so far he sounds like a really good person. Yay, for good people! High Five!

Anyway, since I am a ball breaker from way back I was asking my friend every question under the sun about their relationship and it soon came out that though they had been dating for a while now they had still not made the leap into the bedroom. I was surprised, not because it was such a long time to date without sleeping with each other, but because it was a long time for this girl in question.

She explained that due to a suggestion she heard on a popular daytime TV talk show headed by a powerful woman (you know the one) that it was worth her while to wait. By worth her while, she meant that it would have more chance of succeeding past a few weeks than not. My friend is a wonderful person; she's funny as fuck, she's lovely, smart, gorgeous, bubbly and positive and yet she never seems to last long with men. She's not one of these ultra picky women either - she's just your normal everyday kind of girl. She decided that she wanted to give the relationship a chance to develop before they slept together.

I totally applauded the move and she told me that although they were both frustrated as anything that they are both glad they have waited. They have gotten to know each other really well, they really like each other - really, they've discovered a connection beyond "dating", they've met each other's friends and families, are very open with the fact that they are "in a relationship" (again, rather than just dating) AND have discovered something about themselves which is really nice: That they are both gagging for it. Not just for *it*, but IT with EACH OTHER. They're not just horny you see. It's personal. Sounds pretty cool.

You know, I do think that people jump right into sex sometimes. I am no prude but I don't know many people who enjoy *that* feeling of anticipation anymore. Sure anticipation exists with anything, including buying a pair of shoes and wanting to wear them but I mean this is a real anticipation, one that consumes you totally and one that is coupled with something substantial behind it.

In any case, though he is more than thrilled with my friend - her boyfriend still hates Oprah, lol. He IS still a man, after all.

But what say you?
Is there merit in waiting?
How long is too long?
Guys - do you ever put the lid on it or does waiting depend on whether the girl wants to (ie: you're always good to go)?

(I just realised that all my closest friends who are married did not jump into sex with their husbands. They all waited a good deal longer than is customary in this day and age. I *do* have friends who have married their "one night stand" however, even upon examining that I realised that for those that did, they went back and dated them for a good while without sleeping together - even though obviously they HAD already slept together. Funny how that turned out).

Thinking music today courtesy of The Chemical Brothers. This song is awesome and definitely one I have on repeat (along with much of their back catalogue actually) a lot.

Hey Boy, Hey Girl - The Chemical Brothers

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Summer saw you wasted, everyday.

The first thing you see is blue on blue. A cloudless sky resting atop a line of deep indigo on the horizon. The sun is already burning a red line across your bare skin; where you couldn't quite reach to put the sunscreen properly. A thin film of sweat collects at the nape of your neck. You breathe in the waves and swat at the flies before making your way down the hill to the sand. Do you want an ice-cream now or later? your companion muses while looking hungrily at the van. Can't we do both? you laugh back.

The bathing boxes are lined up like soldiers at the ready for a gay mardi gras parade. You can hear the delighted squeals of small children no doubt wearing hats that are much too big and being taunted by splashes of water. This makes you smile as you remember countless summers spent by the water. Your mind goes back in time almost 20 years to your dad dripping freezing cold water onto your back while you sunbaked, purposely trying to annoy you. These memories make you smile now. They didn't back then.

You hoist the umbrella up under your arm with effort (everything takes effort on a day already hitting 30 degrees before 10am) and take those first tentative steps across the hot sand. A scratchy towel, under the other arm is already throwing you off balance and you falter a little, tipping dangerously to one side. Walking on sand involves feeling like one is temporarily drunk. Finding the right spot is an art. Private but close to the water, sandy but not shelly, away from the freaks playing with a ball (who ARE these people that do this?) and enough room to have a conversation without being overheard.

With the umbrella erected and tilted, the picnic rug spread and the towels positioned just right you peel back your clothes and sigh backwards onto your towel. "A" pulls back the lid on a container to reveal a bunch of crispy green grapes, nectarines, watermelon and ripe strawberries. You take a strawberry and enjoy its sweet coolness across your lips. A perfect beach breakfast. You smile, engaging in a cheerful conversation that soon dies away as the sun sends you both into drowsy silence.

You close your eyes and hear the sounds of the beach all around you. Cheery laughter, sunscreen bottles clicking closed, a shuffling of feet close by, occasional outbursts of loud laughter and the heavy splashes of people frolicking in the waves. You open one eye and peer at the middle aged Greek ladies proudly displaying their slight ponches and legs complete with a touch of cellulite. They laugh and recount stories in their own language while sunning themselves. You notice they're set up for the whole day. Food, and drinks, books and sunscreen - everything a close knit group of friends will need. You know they won't hit the books, they've got too much to talk about. You grin to yourself. You much prefer these real creatures of life and laughter to the gaggle of silent but deadly young things further down who look like they've had one too many days in the sun and are much too conscious of looking the part of the beach-goer. Give it a rest girls, this ain't LA you think.

The best part of the afternoon ticks by as you doze, and talk and imagine and sigh. The water feels like a silky awakening and you are christened by a new feeling of contentment. Hallelujah! And under you go again.

By the time you both pack away the makeshift picnic the beach dwellers have tripled. The sand is a patchwork of gaudy tends and Pisa tilted umbrellas. Making your way back to the car is always a challenge with your head weighted with daydreams as it is today. You smell a little bit like cocoa butter and sunscreen, ice-cream and sand all mixed together with a pinch of salt. It's a nice smell. You smell like summer.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Single meat.

I'm not even going to apologise for watching Oprah, but it IS the holidays folks. I've been an Oprah hater for many years, and so of course I watch her when I have the chance. Yes, I am a healthy and well adjusted person! Thanks for asking. Incidentally I'm under the impression that even O has pretty much just given up on the schmultzy TV she's producing. She's not even polite to people who have an opposing point of view these days. If Obama doesn't win that election I think she'll throw her hat in next time.

Anyway, today on Oprah was a doozy. Basically speaking it was about single women (and how many of us there are - again no distinction made between women who are thinking of marrying their cats and women who are in long term relationships with a man but just not married. Which in my view is a HUGE distinction).

It was yet another typical episode of O: Blonde white chicks wearing Laura Ashley classics giggling hopelessly and taking the prudish high ground while O raises her eyebrows and says "riiiiight". Black women talking sense and O laughing while falling sideways off her chair. Fun!

The bit that got my attention was when in the context of 'there are a lot of single women these days' O says:

Everybody's waiting for a certain cut of meat and that cut is NOT AVAILABLE!


Personally I agree with Oprah (for the first time ever). I don't just think that only women do this though. Men are picky, picky, picky as hell these days. A lot of them are looking for 11s, or Jessica Alba (but like, thinner cause she's too fat). Likewise a lot of women are looking for Mr Macho but with secret sensitive side and the fashion sense of Armani meets Ksubi (but cooler). Why do we do this? My take on the matter is that unless you are an exact replica of Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie (WITH their bank balances) then you can't expect your mate to look like that or be as successful. The rest of us humans are going to have to make do with other humans, don't you think?

What do you think causes us to be so picky?
Is this new or an age old thing?
Have you ever been told you have unrealistic expectations?
Do you write people off because they don't immediately meet your criteria?
If so, are you going to stop?
Why?/Why not?

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Monday, January 07, 2008

The Elvis Convention

Come. Let us pray to the Holy Trinity of Elvis.

O Blessed Face of my kind Savior, Elvis Presley, by the tender love (or Love Me Tender) and piercing sorrow of Elvis Costello as he beheld You in Your cruel Passion (of really snazzy suit jackets which he then emulated beautifully albeit in a rockabilly style), grant us to share in this intense rock and roll so as to fulfill the holy will of the other Elvis; Elvis Crespo to salsa the night away to the utmost of our ability even though it sometimes sounds like Nandos music.


Yes I do worship the holy trinity of Elvis
Yes I am going to hell.

Mid week it'll be Elvis Presley's birthday and I didn't want to let it slip by this year. Since I've already done an Elvis MM here I thought I'd take a different slant on it and offer music by three great Elvis musicians - two of which were named for Elvis Presley, whether by birth or marketing.


The first song I've picked is If I Can Dream by Elvis Presley himself. It was performed in his '68 come back special and is probably one of his most heartfelt and sincere songs. In my last musical Monday on Elvis I said that he there was a sincerity to his music - despite all the ridiculous marketing and jokes about him and I think that's what gives him longevity beyond death. In this song, he's just very moving. It's one of my favourites, of course.

Elvis Presley - If I Can Dream

If I Can Dream


And of course there is Elvis Crespo - latin artist extraordinaire. I discovered him while flipping through CDs at Borders one boring afternoon. I like how borders has those earphones where you can listen to music without having to track down a member of staff. Bro rather meanly comments that Crespo is Nandos music. I don't think Nandos was Puerto-Rican however...he has a point. Regardless, Tu Sonrisa is a great song.

Elvis Crespo - Tu Sonrisa

Tu Sonrisa


And Finally to finish up the Elvis convention, the Elvis with the most street cred - Elvis Costello though he wasn't born with that name. A little buddy holly, a little post punk, a little bluesy a little lounge and a little controversial. It's difficult to put him under one label. The first time I came across the name Elvis Costello was in a newspaper add for a concert he was doing in Melbourne. This was many, many years ago now and I had never heard of him. I looked at the name and the picture and thought he was an impersonator of some kind - part Elvis, part Buddy Holly. I think I laughed. How wrong I was. Only a little while later I realised that I knew some of his songs (Oliver's Army, Allison) but had never attributed them to him. Elvis Costello is just sublime and this song, is awesome.

Elvis Costello - Pump It Up

Pump It Up

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Where the Boys Are

Man #1: Funny thing about women. If you don't make big a pitch for them they get mad. If you do...they get mad. How can you win?

Man #2: You can't - they're not playing for the same stakes.

Where the Boys Are (1960).

I was watching this old 1960s classic about women, men sex and Fort Lauderdale during Spring Break. While the women grapple with whether they should or shouldn't..go all the way. The men are busy trying to convince them that there's only one option. After all cats it's the 1960s, what are we antiquated or something? Get with it!

The problem with all this perfectly outlined by the dialogue above is that men and women in 1960 aren't playing for the same stakes. The stakes being - virtue, love and marriage versus lust, fun and immediacy. Both wonderful in their own way - just very different. It makes for interesting viewing. The boys are trying to persuade the girls to give it up and the girls are trying to convince the boys to give up something too: their bachelorhood. It seems that they'll never quite get it together - either the boys need a little convincing or the girls do.

So a lot has changed, right?

Just a few short years later the sexual revolution was in full swing. Girls didn't have to wait for marriage in order to explore their sexuality anymore. Indeed, women were exploring a lot of things, including being the bread winner as well as cooking that bread and exploring for the first time a decision about the bun in the oven .

One didn't have to get married anymore to do anything they wanted, but that didn't mean that people didn't get married young. It still happened. In fact most women I know from that era DID get married, very very young - this is despite their "options".

Nowadays girls give it up big time and some even proclaim (and personally I hate this saying) that they can "have sex like a man". Waiting to get married until after one fulfills their personal dreams is something that happens more often. In fact every single woman I know who has gotten married in the last..oh say 20 years (since I started noticing that people actually got married) has had not only a career but earning on par or beyond their husbands. Yes things have certainly changed since 1960.

You'd think though, that things had changed so much that marriage would have been made redundant. Certainly one doesn't "need" to get married like one did in the old days. However, marriage is vibrantly alive. The truth of the matter is that people are still running down the isle, one, two even three times isn't uncommon. Just because we're breaking up more often hasn't actually affected the marriage game. Let's not forget that those who decide not to make it legal are still engaging in married like behaviour - making a home, having children, monogamy - defacto. While the cost of a ring has been spared, in the eyes of the law these people are as good as married, so the point still stands. Marriage is not dead. Far from it.

Has the concept of men being trapped by marriage (by women) changed though? Surely, since remember we don't *have* to get married anymore but you know what? No, it hasn't. If men needed to be convinced back in the 60s then they still have to be convinced now.

Has the concept of the fallen woman versus the healthy bachelor changed? Well, yes and no. Men who sleep around are still thought of as playboys which hasn't changed much since the 60s. Women who sleep around certainly aren't considered fallen anymore. However, there is a rather nasty stigma attached to women who decide to have frequent sexual liaisons with numerous men - and indeed women who specifically decide not to turn the sex into a relationship.

So things in that regard have changed in some ways but not in all ways.

The stakes you'd think would be evened out. But at the core of it all there's still that old struggle between wanting to get married versus (and we all know one) - the commitment-phobe. And there's still the struggle in cultural opinion of the slut versus the bachelor.

It's been 48 years since the 1960s dawned and in 48 years of enormous social, political and technological change. We have all the earmarks of change happening around us ... but when it comes down to the big things what has actually changed? I keep coming up with nothing significant except ...underwear. Women's underwear has definitely changed.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008


I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a kind of relief wash over me when the last second ticked 2007 off my radar and shot me head first into 2008. Bring on the lucky year - and for all intents and purposes I am now Chinese if it means being more open to some number 8 luck. I think my current mental state really needs a shift, and if that'll do it then that'll have to do it. I think the luck has already started; by some miracle of God I have no hangover today. My last thought as I fell into a stupor last night was that I was going to have to pay for this in the morning. However the forces of luck and the powers of Greyskull have combined together to eliminate any chance of a hangover. Hurrah! Zai Jian 2007, don't let the door hit your arse on the way out. And to you guys, happy new year!

I wasn't going to have any resolutions for 2008 except that a friend sprung the question on me last night and being on my 7th vodka in about 2 hours I slurred rather becomingly I thought "to get a fucking life". I guess the gut feeling is the one you should go with so that's the one "to get a fucking life". It's a pretty good resolution when you think about it. Amen.

I was tagged by the ever-lovely and talented Betty and since I've been thinking a lot about the old blog lately it's a timely meme...

1. What's the story behind the name of your blog and your nickname?

I was christened my rl nickname at about the age of 9 or 10 I think by my friend at the time Gil. At the time I was really hating my first name. People would always call me Ann Marie, which I hated so much that I actually wished that I WAS called Ann Marie, just so people would get it right. How hard can my name really be? After I got my nickname I wanted people to only call me that and for a while the only people calling me by my first name was immediate family/teachers/employer - eveyone else in my life knew me by my nickname. Since I started my career though people call me Marianne and I have learned to love it.

As for the blog. I still think of myself as sobriquet from when I started blogging, which basically means; an assumed name. Then there was lookingsideways because I liked that idea of not everything being quite head on, some things are in the periphery and that's how I regarded my journal. The Melbournestories nickname came about because this blogspot was only going to be full of stories about Melbourne. If you use firefox I think you can scroll down and see all my archives - all the early posts are exclusively stories of Melbourne. When diary-x went kaput I moved here temoporarily and started filling the blog in with other stuff too.. and I guess I never left. So that's why, it's melbstories and not lookingsideways, which is really what it should be.

2. Why did you start blogging in the first place?

I've always kept a paper journal but online I found that increasingly I was partaking in forums where I'd take over with my own blabber about this or that. In the end I did a yahoo search (it would have been yahoo back then) for online journals, not thinking that there even would be such a thing but there was and I ...began .

3. What has been your best blogging related experience? What about the worst?

Truly the best experience blogging has been being a part of the lives of others. I feel extremely lucky to experience marriages, births, deaths, divorce, pain, happiness, art and words - that go along with real life but for me in electronic form. It's a little surreal but awesome. Another big plus for me is the general acceptance that I get from most people online. I can pretty much say what I need to say and that's okay with you - it's actually very important for me. A lot of the time I get so much from comments and emails that really make me think and that is always something I treasure.

The worst blogging experience would have to be a tie between being found out by my friend S - which caused a kind of cold war between us for a long while and meant that I had to close my journal which I had grown to love so much. The other negative blogging experience was when diary-x had a meltdown and all my entries were lost. I had some entries downloaded but a whole year (part of 2004 and most of 2005) were completely lost forever. It was heartbreaking and actually still is heartbreaking. And of course..again I had to move journals. I did have a kind of back up journal as well that was rather ripe for the attention of people with loose screws. I garnered the attention of someone who became in his own words "obsessed" with me. As you can imagine that became rather uncomfortable...another journal lost.

4. What do you think will happen to your blog in 2008?

I honestly don't know. I think I would like to be more diligent with my postings to my companion blog comicbookgrl but don't know if I will (hope so) but as for this blog - I don't know how it will go.. I'm finding myself not wanting to blog about wahwah stuff all the time and yet lately I've felt a little hopeless so in the end I don't end up blogging as much - which is a shame because in a lot of ways I need it. It's part of me. So the question remains "what will happen?" and my answer is still a rather vague...I don't know. I really don't.

I tag anyone who wants to do it but please let me know if you are because I'd love to read it.

Anyway (and lastly), I missed my Musical Monday yesterday and so today I choose to start my New Year fresh, with a bit of beat, a drop of sexy, some fun and something a little left of centre - exactly how life should be really. So, looking sideways if you will I hope you enjoy my MM today as much as I do. Raul Paz, is Cuban born but puts a little spice into his music adding dub or hip hop and sometimes rock into his music. He currently lives in Paris - a city he chose over North America because of the melting pot of different cultures over there in the music scene. I have to say he made the right choice. Musically speaking France is where it's at. The song I've chosen of his is a little more trad in terms of his Latin music. However, I have to say, if your foot isn't tapping even just a little bit while listening then I'm going to go right ahead and proclaim that you have absolutely no rhythm!

Raul Paz - Mua Mua Mua