Monday, April 28, 2008

Wings of a Dove

My television watching hours have gone from 1 hour a week (ANTM) to about a bazillion hours a week with the return of what I've heard being called "the biggest load of crap to ever be on tele". Yes folks BIG BROTHER is BACK!

Bring it on!

Yes, there are a few changes this year, but let's face it - how much can they really change in a show like this? So they've made the house mates sleep outside for the first night instead of giving them a big party. Wowee. So they're making them evict early - ooolala let me catch my breath. BB the way you make changes is by the quality of what goes in and in this, as far as I can tell an effort to change has been made.

1. For the first time ever, they have remembered that we in the humble land of Oz have more than one race living here! For the record (for people about to say "but mate, we HAVE seen many races on BB before), "I'm Irish ...back 5 generations" does not count as a "race". News FLASH, if you don't have an Irish accent which no one can understand and don't see leprechauns everywhere you look then you ain't Irish - you're just boring old Australian. Telling everyone you celebrate St Patricks day doesn't make you culturally aware or Irish. It just makes you a drunktard who is trying too hard to forge an identity with ancestors 500 years ago. Let it go - you're not Irish at all. Stop talking about it. Embrace the swag, billy and damper mate!

Aaaaanyway, the point is - it was nice to see someone other than the so called *real* Oztraaaaalyns represented. As far as I can tell no major bogan accents either (though the bogans may still be lurking and awaiting their moment to fully shine). It was GOOD to see an Asian bloke for once. It was great to see an Aboriginal woman. It was good to see an Italian (though they have been represented before). Yes, they all exist in this "Aussie" culture - crazy but true. The lack of Asian people on Big Brother so far has actually been one thing that has really annoyed me about the show. In fact it annoys me that there are so few representations of our closest neighbours on ANY television show in this country. What's up with that?

2. The cult of the pretty and pretty ugly. The last few years have seen BB employ women who all end up in Zoo magazine (magazine for blokes who are idiots) and men who are bogans but are build like brick shit-houses. I love me some build like brick shit-houses, don't you worry. Bogans in extremely small doses make me laugh and I like watching the female form as much as anybody else but enough is enough. I vote for substance instead. Just because someone is good looking doesn't mean they are interesting. It doesn't mean they aren't interesting either mind you - but let's not assume that being good looking actually makes someone worth watching, or worth anything on its own merits. I read a comment on the forums recently where someone said that the lack of female eye candy this year would result in a dwindling of the already iffy male viewers.

Maybe this is true. It sort of makes me want to get out the drool bibs, padded helmets and pat these kind of "eye candy only" people on the head while saying 'there there' though. I don't usually mince my words but I feel sorry for people who think like that. I can't respect it either. Bottom line - I think it's ignorant - yesh, u r dum. I've yet to be proven wrong on that but anyway. The other thing is that I don't think there is a lack of female eye candy (or male eye candy) this year. There just aren't that many fake boobs. Do fake boobs make people more attractive I wonder? Personally, they turn me off. I'd take tiny ones over fake ones any day. I think the housemates look great - just not in such a homogeneous way. It makes me wonder if I just view the world in a completely different way to everybody else around me though. That makes me sad. I think I have brilliant taste in what is "beautiful" but maybe I don't after all.

3. Age. Most of them seem to be in their early 20s - mid 20s. I would have liked to see more people in their late twenties or 30s (much like my *gulp* self) - but where the past house mates have been younger/about the same age - they were certainly more immature than what we're getting in 2008. The youngest, at 18 doesn't seem to act idiotic or treat life like a big nightclub, which is more than I can say for most of the house mates last year. It's early days yet though. Maybe there's a lot to be said for being 18 and seeing life in those terms - hell why grow up so fast anyway? As a viewer however, that shit gets old fast. I don't watch BB for the drunken escapades..

You might ask what I do watch for...

4. Psychology. I love watching how people interact. If I could get away with people watching all day I would. I just love it. I love how people react to each other at first go. I adored watching how the blokes reacted to Bianca with her big chest - no filters, no excuses (no "yeah, I'm really good at sneaking a look without anyone noticing" -yeah RIGHT!). I loved watching them try to keep a poker face when Rima the woman who stands at only 100cm tall walked in or when Travis the man with a woman's voice first talked. All this stuff makes the world go round - people's reactions and interactions. I love watching people tick and analysing how their past created the person they are today. I'm interested in their triggers and how chemistry with others will make or break them. When else do we get the chance to really see people interact that we aren't emotionally invested in like we are with our families and friends? This is why I watch the show.

This year they've tried hard to create a diverse bunch - some of it an obvious attempt to entice aggression or irritability but not all of it is like this. There are similarities at play too.

Terri is a grandmother and Pauline Hanson fan.
Nobbi is an Asian man.
Dixie is an Aboriginal woman.

Nobbi looks like a gym junkie
So does David
Rebecca is a personal trainer.

Travis with the high pitched voice is deeply religious.
David escaped from the Brethren cult when he was 19 and is now excommunicated from his family.
Saxon is 100% sure that UFOs exist
Terri hates religion.

Terri hates overly positive people (Terri hates a lot of stuff)
Travis is an overly positive person who can't understand people who are not always happy.

Alice is a vet
Renee works in an abattoir and LOVES it.

Bianca looks like a Bimbo and has the world's best knockers but actually hates Bimbos and is a bit of a brain (remains to be seen - though she seems very level headed)
Rebecca is the very definition of a bimbo - but quite possibly doesn't actually think that she is one (zoo magazine here we come).

And so on. It's going to be interesting housemate wise, and this is where the show may be made or ruined. I would have LOVED to see many more overtly political people in there though. I love a good argument. But we'll see if they come through with the goods this year.

As for the hosts - I miss Gretski, even though she always flirted with all the men under 20 and then tried to have sex with them backstage. I wonder if she watched the show tonight?

Did you?
Will you?
If not..
What show can't you miss on tele or you have a conniption fit? If you say Four Corners or "I only watch the ABC" I you'd better include your address in the comment because I will seriously look you up - not in a good way either.

And for a song completely out of the blue that has nothing to do with BB or television, just because I been listening to it lately. It makes me smile. It's either the coolest song or the most annoying. It has one of my all time favourite instruments in it - the calypso steel drum (does any other instrument just scream 'holiday' like that one?). And...well I just freakin' love this song! I'm gonna go dance around while listening to it on high volume.

Wings of a Dove - Madness

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Australia's Next Top Ana

* Today I was doing a writing activity with a few children in my grade. We were looking at a photo of a girl with her dog and using that as a jumping off point to discuss pets. One boy in the group said that he wasn't allowed to have a dog. I asked why and he said that his grandpa said no to the whole thing "because dogs don't live as long as humans". I thought it was a beautiful example of the different ways in which people think. It was just so logical and true. I'm not saying it was fair or right but just that it was so true. You could tell that the other children in this group had never heard that kind of reasoning before. They only saw that their dog would lick them and play with them.

I guess one can look at things in two ways - the immediate and the long term. Some people plan ahead and that might give them better stead in some areas but hold them back in other areas. Others will always live for now, which is exciting but doesn't always take you where you want to go.

In other news, Grandpa always makes this child come in at the end of every day and bow to me - which I think is both hilarious and disturbing. I adore this child to no end. He's just the BEST kid, but if he keeps on bowing I have a feeling that he's going to come back one day as an adult and kill me dead.

* The other day I had a conversation about childbirth that had a twist - it was all about the husband. In one story - during childbirth, the father was so traumatised by the whole act that he could do nothing more than stand in the corner rigidly, rather like a human lamp post - not saying anything, not looking at anything, not hearing anything. The midwife went ballistic on him and started screaming "You go pet your wife! PET HER! YOU SAY SOMETHING NICE TO YOUR WIFE, SHE'S GIVING BIRTH!" He wouldn't move for the whole labour, and only "came to" after the child was born. It happens every time apparently. Not quite sure why you'd make the man go through it again and again if he was going to be like that.

I have heard of men whom, after witnessing the birth of their child are NOT in a hurry to go through it again. I guess the lack of control you have in the whole situation would be incredibly stressful. Men don't have the benefit of that hormone that supposedly takes away the "evil memories" as it happens for the mother. I still doubt an existence of such a hormone. How can someone forget the pain of something so unnatural and horrific? Then again, most of us do go back to go through it countless times so maybe there is something in it.

* I don't watch a lot of television but I admit what I do watch is the gutter trash of the televisual realm. I love trashy TV - it's not even a guilty pleasure. It's just a pleasure. So as you can probably guess tonight I was glued to the tele for premiere of the new season of Australia's Next Top Model. I'm a sucker for this shit. I'm already in love with the geeky girl Belinda who can hardly stand up without toppling over, or bumping into something. She's quirky and not bitchy in the least. Every other girl has "bitch" tattooed over their face of course. Is it just that they edit these shows to be like this, or is it that the more beautiful a woman is the bitchier she is, by nurture? Is it because they don't *have* to be nice - and they will still get what they want, regardless of personality that makes them bitchier? There is no question that all the girls on the show are stunning - the two that are quirky/clever are less bitchy than the rest however. If beauty makes a girl bitchy, does being beautiful make a man bitchy too? Or is it that having money makes a man bitchy instead? What is the line that men and women must cross before they become bitchy?** I know a girl who was a model (oh lord, STUNNING!) but she's the nicest girl that ever lived. Of course, she's also incredibly clever and driven in her chosen career so she fits into that "other" category of a girl who has something else to her. She's given up on modeling now though and will never go back, she hated the bitchiness inherent in the field and would be the first person to confirm about beauty = bitchiness. What makes people bitchy?

* Speaking of ANTM, I know that it's customary for models to be anorexic however does anyone else find it disturbing to hear the judges tell waifs that they still have to lose weight? I understand that this is just how the industry is, but since I have the televisual habits of a 15 year old girl I also know that if I'm watching Top Model then of course there are bazillions of other teens watching it too. Call me crazy but the last thing impressionable teens need is yet another public forum telling them that they are too fat. The Biggest Loser people need to lose weight. Models, not so much. Why can't they starve themselves behind closed toilet doors instead like we all expect them to instead of being 6 foot tall and weighing 45 kilos and STILL being though of as too fat out in the open for us all to hear? Our society has an obsession with weight! We're completely consumed by it. Fat people are too fat. Skinny people are too fat. People in the normal range are too fat. No one is ever just perfect the way they are. It's crazy.

** yeah, yeah I understand that not all beautiful men or women are bitchy and yes I understand that not all men or women with money are bitchy either. As always, I'm talking *many* not *all*.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bigger than a baby's arm and yet, nowhere to be seen.

There isn't a lot of full frontal male nudity around in mainstream movies is there?

The point was hammered home yesterday when I went to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall at the cinema. Yes, yes fine I realise it's not exactly high quality cinema but then again I don't have a stick up my arse about only watching movies that win at Sundance. Anyway, within the first 20 minutes or so there is a rather unassuming and flaccid CINEMASCOPE SIZED PENIS displayed for all to see. Hellooooooo sailor!

Perhaps the copious amounts of xxx porn I consume (What? Who said that?) has desensitized me to all penises -big and small- but I wasn't all that shocked to see it hanging there. In context, sure I realised that you don't usually pay your $15 bucks for penis and popcorn but overall it was pretty underwhelming. This view was not shared by the woman and man sitting behind me who clucked their tongues and she even said "oh my god, can you believe this?" and he replied with another disapproving click of the tongue.

Okay there are a couple of things going on here:

Firstly - Surely "from the makers of Knocked Up and 40 Year old Virgin" highlighted on the poster should have been a big giveaway that this wasn't going to be a deMille classic.

Secondly - I bet if a couple of enormous, plastic surgeried (made up word), blemish/scar free, perfectly airbrushed chesticles with nipples so erect that they could poke a man blind were presented on an actress of anorexic proportions who sported a bush that was expertly waxed to show a "landing strip" and little else then noone but the bible bashers from friggin Alabama would complain. Am I right? Ohhhh, but put a penis on screen for literally one second and everyone is clucking their tongues disapprovingly.

The hypocrisy kills me. I grew up seeing more boobs and bush on television than I saw green veggies on my dinner plate - penises simply don't get a gong on the tele. Why is it okay for the mainstream camera to linger on a naked woman's body like she's being stalked but a penis is rarely if ever shown in any context other than comedy or in a blink and you'll miss it sequence? Pretty much every building in the world is a homage to the brilliant architecture of the penis and every war that has ever been fought is a testament to the mighty power of those dick(head)s, every hotted up red sports car a metaphor for a man who wishes he had one and pretty much every man drunk off his man boobs figures he has the supreme privilege to flash it to anyone who has eyes - and yet penis on screen - oh no, we've gone too far now.

I can think of one type of cinema where lingering shots of the penis are displayed in their glory. Gay cinema. Maybe there's something in that. If gay cinema has the market on the penis then does that mean that mainstream cinema is hetero-sexist?

Is a penis really more offensive than a vulva? Or... Is it too sacred to be displayed in a manner where we can purchase it easily and without embarrassment on DVD like we can with the female body (take your pick of movie, there's millions)? Or can we boil all this down to rampant homophobia on the part of the consumers and studio system alike, thus: a fear of men watching other men's penises in a darkened cinema will turn all straight men gay?

What is it about the penis?

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

shorter than it was...

I was going to write a zillion word rant but I'll keep it short and simple.

My team leader talks a lot but doesn't actually know very much - she's good at organising meetings but not actually contributing. I think that if you're a team leader then you should know the most, work the hardest and pick up the slack. That's what you get paid for, after all.

Today out of 7 hours of planning our team leader contributed very little. In fact. Nothing - though she did a lot of photocopying. If I worked in the corporate world I'd enjoy sitting back and watching the car crash but I don't. I work in an industry where actually, contrary to popular belief 90% of us do it because we really care about children - so if someone fucks up it's not the leader who crashes and burns but instead the rest of us and the kids.

This means that today I picked up the slack and am STILL continuing to contribute all alone when I really should be saying flush off flushles and not caring about it. I hate caring that it even gets done. I'm really pissed off that I'm doing the work and not getting paid for it. I'm sick of working really hard only to find more work to do on the other side. I'm angry with myself for feeling accountable to the children.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Cipher Keeps Moving Like a Rolling Stone.

My friend B lives in a old Jade coloured farmhouse in a large-ish town in Northern Victoria. It's a grand old home sporting a patched tin roof with a sharp rusted peak and an imposing chimney rising up from the back. The dry patch of front garden is carefully framed by fragrant flowers in various blushes of red and littered with brightly coloured children's play things. She's standing on her front porch, right hip jutted, holding the baby expertly in one arm and waving with the other as we pull up into her gravelly driveway. Her own smile is mirrored on the face of the pixie-faced 4 year old clinging to her side (inside a 2 year old awaits, sans pants but singing rather loudly).

It's been a while. A lot has changed.

B is as comfortable in her role as mother now as she was holding a cocktail glass and a flirty smile back in the day. She calmly sails across the cluttered rooms gathering this and that, chatting away happily and creating order where there once was chaos. Pants are put on, presents are opened, children are placated...tea is offered. Hubby comes in and gathers the jellybean shaped child from her arms and rocks him from screaming to sleeping within 40 seconds - all the while asking how the drive was. This is a couple in control.

B takes us on the tour of the labyrinth-like house. Across the scratchy but beautiful old floorboards and into the study which is more like a library, with floor to ceiling books decorating all walls except one - reserved for the well loved upright piano. I look closer - the piano is labelled, the desk is labelled..the door, window, etc - all labelled unapologetically with brightly coloured pieces of paper. Obviously we have a young reader in the household. B and hubby are showing her teaching roots. Immediately I love the house and somehow this small act of inclusion of the children makes me love it more. The house belongs to everybody.

Brother and sister begin fighting over the crayons and all of us adults offer an easy solution that involves sharing. You might as well give up now says #2 with a laugh looking at the children You're surrounded by teachers. The eldest gives us a quizzical look and we all laugh. The terrifying truth has been told. B and hubby look at each other and smile.

They are in absolute bliss.

The old farmhouse reminded me a little of this video. Really a gorgeous song - almost a lullaby. For those not familiar with Badu, she is worth getting to know.

On and On - Erykah Badu

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Friday, April 11, 2008

What they're saying...

I remember when I turned 18 and it was very cool to suddenly be able to drink (like, legally!) I was also rather stoked at being able to vote. I know, I'm a dork like that but I was really looking forward to finally being able to have my say!

When I turned 21 I was pretty excited. I got that key thingy. I still have no idea what the key means but hey, I think it was something about all doors being open to me. On a personal level I saw myself as finally being old enough to call myself an adult but still being able to do crazy shit and not have anyone really judge me on that. That is a very cool thing, now that I look back.

Now that I'm 30 (no denying it by saying I'm 29.999999999). I really don't know what it is I'm supposed to be looking forward to. Yeah, yeah you hear all those feel good hippies who never wash who always say "I'm really looking forward to my 30s because I spent my 20s searching for my identity/not really knowing who I was and now I'm comfortable with who I am so I don't have to pretend anymore BLAH BLAH BLAH". But you know what? I hate those people (yet am insanely jealous)! How dare they have all their shit worked out by 30 and be able to settle down to a life that is completely free of societal pressure? Is that even possible? I highly doubt it. It's always people who are in love/have a job they're reasonably happy with/have a child or house or totally happening sex life/have travelled the world in style that ever say this. What about the confused 30-somethings who have no effing idea how this 30 thing sprang up on them? Wasn't it just yesterday that we were all 16? I'm approaching my 30s with absolutely none of those so-called feel good pleasures of being comfortable with who I am.

Thirty. God - do the numbers ever GO up that high? Maybe I should look at this like the kids in my grade do.

That's right. Twenty-Ten. Not thirty. Not yet ready to be thirty. Numbers don't go that high.

So tell me, what is supposed to be so good about 30 anyway?

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Thoughts during the week..

Why do street revelers always look so carefree? Is it the alcohol?

Knowing something about someone without them knowing you know the thing you know is pure agony. A lesson in how to feel the effects of a relationship shifting without push or pull.

Does anyone else ever look at their friends and wonder whether they have anything in common anymore and if not, then what am I doing here?

At first glance she looked capable and strong but the high pitched shrieks and giggles gave her away. She was a promise, broken.

Can babies see into your soul in a way that adults can't? If a baby doesn't like a particular adult then is that a marker of a bad person?

An ex colleague asked for her child to be in my class next year. This is one for the "too hard basket". It's a lot of pressure. She is not the kind of woman who could take 'no' any other way than personally and badly.

Can I really afford to go back to school? If nothing material comes of it, can I just put it down to a really expensive but worthwhile venture?

Two people in my extended family had a dream about my father this week. One had a message to tell. All I can say is that the right person had the right dream. She didn't look happy at all. The other (her mother) also had a visitation. An omen. We've been waiting for one for a while. So now, we shall see...

I was also "visited" but that's another story. Message - rather hard to take, but understood nevertheless.

I hate when people are passive aggressive. If they have something to say, they should just say it. Hiding behind snark is so unbecoming.

I can feel myself pulling away from everyone I know (and they are equally pulling away from me). I'm walking around in a haze. I'm not sure where the blurriness came from but I feel tired all.the.time.

What makes things "worth it"? Is it something as small as 'the smell of fresh coffee' or does it have to be something big like 'love'? What keeps people going?

Do you believe in signs (meta-physical ones)?

Last week I wrote about one of my favourite albums by Weezer and so speaking of wonderful albums, Moon Safari is beyond doubt one of the best albums released in the last 10 years (soon to be re-released!). Strictly only for lovers of moon music, modernity, space travel, French stuff and of course - good taste. I have played Air a couple of times now and each time it divides people equally. They are not 'typical' which tends to polarise opinion about them.

This song is sublime. I wish mornings really did sound like AIR. Instead it sounds like the alarm clock jackhammering through my dreams and into my brain. If mornings really felt like AIR sounded, I think I'd get through the day a little easier.

Ce Matin Là - AIR

And for night time - strictly for stargazing and wondering about living on the moon.

Kelly Watch the Stars - AIR

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