“Whenever someone who knows you disappears, you lose one version of yourself. Yourself as you were seen, as you were judged to be. Lover or enemy, mother or friend, those who know us construct us, and their several knowings slant the different facets of our characters like diamond-cutter’s tools. Each such loss is a step leading to the grave, where all versions blend and end.”—Salman Rushdie (via ladolcelivvy)
An amalgamation of seeds and clay rolled into a ball which can bloom into anything you want: herbs, wildflowers, you name it. With a "throw it and go" approach, it’s probably the only thing I’d be able to grow without it dying five minutes later.
A sneak peak at Disney’s latest feature film, “Frozen” to be released later this year. Wiki claims the following:
"When Anna (Kristen Bell) is cursed by her estranged sister, the cold-hearted Snow Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel), Anna’s only hope of reversing the curse is to survive a perilous but thrilling journey across an icy and unforgiving landscape. Joined by a rugged, thrill-seeking outdoorsman Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his one-antlered reindeer, and a hapless snowman, Anna must race against time, conquer the elements and battle an army of frozen sinister warriors if she ever hopes to melt her frozen heart"
It’s based of Hans Christian Anderson’s AMAZING tale, “The Snow Queen”, although perhaps the only similarity between the two is an icy location. The original, it can be argued, can be seen as a metaphor for mental illness. Essentially, the devil creates a magic mirror that has the power to change the way people view themselves. Rather than reflecting the goodness in people, it magnifies their worst thoughts and appearances - making the most loveliest of landscapes look like “boiled spinach”. Essentially, this mirror breaks into millions of shards, and ends up in peoples eyes and ears, making them view the worst of people around them, and most importantly, of themselves. Essentially, to put a very long story short, it ends up in one of the eyes of Kai, a small boy. Gerda, his friend, goes on a quest to save him.
I’m disappointed because not only did Disney have the opportunity to make their film a little more broader, having the “princess” save the guy (not to mention, the protagonist just looks like Tangled’s princess in plaits), but it also missed the opportunity to comment on something much bigger. They had the chance to take a peak at representing mental illness and they disregarded it entirely.
Ashamedly, I’m still freaking excited to see it, I just think that Disney’s pursuit for sanitisation has the consequence of missing out really important health issues that ought to be more widely talked about.
The first literary renditions of Puss In Boots stem from two authors. One named Giovan Francesco Straparola called “Constantino Fortunato” and the other by a lovely man named Giambattista Basile who rendered his “Cagliuso”
Both felines in these adaptations are the same. Both are cunning. Both are agile little buggers. Both end up bestowing their owners with enormous riches.
Both were also female. Not to mention, bootless.
Yes, Puss’s sex change was instigated by this dashing lad: Charles Perrault, aka Mr French Dreamboat:
Until he intervened, Puss got around just fine without a sword, using an amalgamation of wit and charm to restore his owner’s name … The same owner who actually considers to throw dear puss out of a window when he thinks she’s dead, but still!
It’s a worry that Perrault uses the sexist stick to bash down a lot of fairy tales we know and love today. The first few literary versions of Red Riding Hood show Little Red outsmarting the wolf. Perrault just found it worked better if she were digested and her memory reprimanded. No biggie.
The wonderful Ben Byrne has just started a lovely podcast to do with writing, music, acting: pretty much, anything that falls under the umbrella of “Art”
Somehow Luckily, like Rhianna before me, I fall under this umbrella-ella-ella.
To hear my little ol’ (surprisingly-masculine-sounding) voice talking about gender politics in fairy tales and all that fun stuff, venture here and click on the mp3 link under “Fairy Tales for Adults.” It’s a weekly podcast so every Monday, there’s something new and exciting to listen to on the train ride home! Great if you wanna check out the art scene around Melbourne!
People always wonder why I choose to study fairy tales. I’ve even received laughter. Actual laughter from fellow students when I tell them I’m continuing a PhD on the subject. And I’m done with politeness. Politeness shmiteness. Proverbial wolverine claws are budding out of my knuckles.
Here is my attempt at the short answer.
Red riding hood tells the story of a small child who, due to her own ruffian curiosity, decides to go on a short cut to grandma’s house. She meets a meddlesome wolf whom (depending on the version) attempts to eat her.
The moral is that curious girls ought not to stray from intended paths.
Bluebeard enlists the story of a very intimidating man who has had his fair share of marriages, but decides to finally settle down with the right gal. It seems like true’ish love at it’s finest. When Bluebeard has to depart his house for a vacation, he leaves his current wife with the keys to all the doors in his humble abode. However, she is forbidden to open a specific door. When the man leaves, of course, curiosity (damned Eve started all this nonsense) compels her to open the door. She finds a row of his former wives, dead and “hanging up to dry.” Bluebeard discovers her “betrayal” and decides to add her to the pile. Depending on the version, she is saved at the last minute.
The moral of this story is that curiosity killed the cat.
Goldilocks tells the story of a young girl who finds solace in what she believes to be an abandoned house. She couldn’t be more wrong. The house is occupied by bears. Although she gets off scots free, there is a hint that it would have been a good lesson for her if she were to be eaten.
The moral? Little girls ought not to be in places where they shouldn’t be.
Female curiosity and it’s consequences. These tales are full of them. And before people rebut with: “Goldilock’s actions are akin to breaking an entry,” one cannot help but wonder why Jack and his beloved Beanstalk don’t get the proverbial slap on the wrist for trespassing and stealing (arguably in a much cooler fashion).
Men, whether their beards are blue or whether they’re symbolic as wolves, or bears, are never to blame. Women should be obedient. Women should wear their red capes and stay off dangerous roads where wolfish men lurk nearby. If they refuse to follow these simple instructions, they only have themselves to blame if they are “devoured”.
Lets fast-forward a few centuries after, when women are continuously being blamed for not wearing their little red capes, for not staying on safer roads that are lined with huntsmen that can save the day. Where do we learn these ideas? These are not simply children’s stories. They are reflections of our culture, our society and our own unchanging psyches.
Time has barely changed.
The truth is, men cannot be compared to wolves and bears. Men are not animals. In making this distinction, I propose that we stop blaming the goldilocks of the world for wearing lower cut tops or for forgetting their capsicum spray that day. Blame the society that tells you it’s the damsel’s fault in the first place.
“… the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”—Jack Kerouac
Buying people is not a modern conception by any means. The trade has existed from Egyptian slaves to Charles Dickens novels. But other than mail-order brides, the notion of buying people has always been a foreign concept to me.
I wanted to go to Brunswick. My mission? To hunt down and find the perfect second-hand book store. To complete my indie credentials, of course.
My stallion to aid my wondrous journey would be the metallic force of doom known as the common Melbournian tram. My squadron? Benjamin along with my own wide-eyed, Japanese-Dwarf-Flying-Squirrel-inspired innocent nature.
(Realistic image of how I usually look like when travelling on trams)
With my Roman-Holiday-inspired look (complete with pretentious scarf to match), I skipped on, fairly confident with myself and at ease. Not knowing that I would appear to one man (who for now on, shall be named Tram Man) in particular like so:
Now as soon as I sat down, I could tell there was a man at the corner of my eye looking at me (and not trying very hard to hide it).
Again, my mind morphs things so in reality, he probably looked like this:
But by the end of the ride, would come to be known as this:
Uncomfortable (and honestly, with my perception of older men ogling women on trams these days, worried he’d show a little too much of himself), I sat on the window side so that at least my surroundings would be a suitable distraction. But a person becomes harder to ignore when they start making weird bleating noises. We make the mistake of looking at him.
"You. You." Tram Man points to me.
I ignore it.
He brings his hand to his chin, contemplating me. If he had a thick and lavish moustache, the imagery of human investor would be complete. Unfortunately stache’less, Tram Man made more weird noises. But then, I notice he wasn’t making random sounds - he had a thick accent and I couldn’t hear what he was saying. I suddenly feel guilty for ignoring him. “Maybe he needs directions?” I think innocently, “Maybe he needs help of navigating our shared metal-stallion?”
No innocent Japanese-Dwarf-Flying-Squirrel Tory. No. That is not what he thought at all. For the next thing he said was:
"You." He points to Ben. "I can buy the woman for five dollars?"
Considering his newfound aspiration to BUY me, in but one short phrase, Tram Man turned from this:
I don’t know what to be more offended at: The fact that I am being bartered for, the fact that my opinion on my new ‘owner’ wasn’t even considered, or that the guy thinks I’m akin the value of a secondhand Nickelback CD!
There is a wide-eyed guy sitting in front of me, who mutters an “Oh God” and bursts out into laughter. And out of a congealed mixture of amusement and offence, I do as well. I can see in Ben’s eyes that he’s thinking of raising the bidding to $7.50, but he smiles jovially and assures the man that I’m not for sale.
I thought that would end things.
"But how do I get one like that!" He looks confused. "What do I do!"
Well I don’t know! (I think) DON’T PROPOSE TO BUY THEM!?!
We said some joke about going the caveman route of impressing a woman with your hunting skills and luring them back into your cave … Which was probably a horrible thing to say judging by his serious nod and lack of understanding sarcasm.
"I was married … Once" He replied, with a hint of a murderous glint in his eyes.
I find no better excuse to use a hyperventilating owl gif THAN RIGHT NOW.
To add to my suspicions of a murdering psychopath, Tram Man gets off the tram at that point - most likely in search for fishing lines and bait to impress future unfortunate cavewomen. We saw him later, lurking the streets of Brunswick à la Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Thankfully, despite his intention to come up to us, we dodged him and went on our way.
Inevitably from this experience, I have learnt one thing and one thing only:
No matter how nicely you dress up for the day, no matter how inspired by Audrey Hepburn you are, there is always going to be that one dingus who thinks you’re worth five bucks.
It turns something as terrible as exercise into everything I love: A virtual reality game filled with the groaning undead.
Here’s the run down from iTunes:
You tie your shoes, put on your headphones, take your first steps outside. You’ve barely covered 100 yards when you hear them. They must be close. You can hear every guttural breath, every rattling groan - they’re everywhere. Zombies. There’s only one thing you can do: Run!
Zombies, Run! is an ultra-immersive running game and audio adventure, co-created with award-winning novelist Naomi Alderman. We deliver the story straight to your headphones through orders and voice recordings - and when you get back home, you use the supplies you’ve collected while running to build and grow your base.
It uses google maps as well as the new iPhone’s inbuilt accelerometer to figure out how fast your running. Pretty cool, yes? You get pretty immersed as well. Especially when you already live in the middle of nowhere and your setting is this:
(Note: Dark, lingering shadows may have been added for dramatic effect)
All was going well … If you count ‘well’ as accidentally giving out a blood-curdiling scream when encountering my first virtual zombie alongside a Kindergarden (Queue a small doe-eyed girl asking me if I were okay as I ran away like this with my dog, Griffin).
But I was making good ground, collecting items and surviving the apocalypse.
… Until I came across a pond of ducks.
Griffin loves ponds. And because we had been running for a while, I had stopped running to let him drink.
But then I hear this beeping all through Arcade Fire’s ‘Wake Up’ which was not part of the drum beat.
I realise that my phone had actually recognised I had stopped running and so the zombies were advancing.
The beeps were getting faster.
I told Griffin that the zombies were coming.
But he was all:
So I run like a maniac on the spot, freaking and screaming out “ZOMBIES, GRIFFIN, ZOMBIES”
But the gurgles of the undead intensified.
AND I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO PAUSE THE GAME BECAUSE YOU DON’T REALLY LOOK AT YOUR PHONE AT ALL WHILE RUNNING ANYWAY.
And so I was screaming “ZOMBIES GRIFFIN! I’M NOT LEAVING YOU BEHIND!”
And Griffin was just like:
"YOU’RE NOT GOING TO TURN OUT LIKE THAT DOG THAT DIES IN THAT WILL SMITH ZOMBIE MOVIE"
WE ARE NOT GOING TO DIE IN A POND OF DUCKS!!!!
But it was too late. And ‘Runner 5’ as I had been so aptly named, was subsequently devoured by the oncoming zombie mob.
Note, my distress as I try to figure out how to pause the game:
By the time I figured out how to pause, I just stared at the phone; horrified as a mixture of congealed sweat and fear-lingering tears dripped across my face:
Nevertheless, according to my phone, I ran 6km overall. I didn’t even know that was possible for my tim-tam infested body. Even though I was walking home like a polar bear with no front legs.
Every Wednesday, I haven’t taken notice. It was nothing special. All I know is that it is right next to an excellent café where my friend Rachael and I get cheap wraps from an angry lady who hates it when we talk about the weather or a local sports team.
Two days ago, this building changed. Because two days ago Rachael told me that at 11:00am, a young man jumped off this once-forgettable building and fell to his death. A judge witnessed everything. My friend saw the blanket draped over his body.
A few days later, people attacked Charlotte Dawson on twitter, urging her to hang herself. She is now hospitalised.
Today, I commented on a picture of a man in Idaho who took a picture of himself with seven wolf pelts lying around him. He was smiling from ear-to-ear. I simply said it was wrong. I, and all others who claimed anti-hunting laws, were told to kill ourselves. I shrugged, muttered something about ‘Republicans’ and scrolled up to see other comments. People, no matter where they stood, were telling the other to kill themselves without a whim in the world.
When will people realise that abuse does not have to be physical? When will people realise that depression is real and does not exist in quotation marks? Words are powerful. Words create worlds and laws and religions. But frighteningly enough, words are like weapons.
Be damned careful of using the wrong words. You never know what effect you have on people.
And when you use the right ones, you never know who you might be saving
"In the fifteenth century the war against heresy, the Inquisition, produced the ‘Malleus Maleficarum’, a book used as the basis of the persecution of millions of women as ‘witches’. A charge frequently made by this text of misogyny against feminine witchcraft is its ability to ‘disappear’ men’s ‘membrum virile’. A typical example of this fiendish sorcery tells of how ‘some glamour was cast over him so that he could see or touch nothing but his smooth body’
- Mark Simpson
”— I love it when I have to research the historicism of witches for my thesis. It makes me feel like I really ‘do’ go to Hogwarts.
“So what are you going to do? This is the season when a clutch of successful women — who have it all — give speeches to women like you and say, to be perfectly honest, you can’t have it all. Maybe young women don’t wonder whether they can have it all any longer, but in case of you are wondering, of course you can have it all. What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don’t be frightened: you can always change your mind. I know: I’ve had four careers and three husbands. And this is something else I want to tell you, one of the hundreds of things I didn’t know when I was sitting here so many years ago: you are not going to be you, fixed and immutable you, forever. We have a game we play when we’re waiting for tables in restaurants, where you have to write the five things that describe yourself on a piece of paper. When I was your age, I would have put: ambitious, Wellesley graduate, daughter, Democrat, single. Ten years later not one of those five things turned up on my list. I was: journalist, feminist, New Yorker, divorced, funny. Today not one of those five things turns up in my list: writer, director, mother, sister, happy. Whatever those five things are for you today, they won’t make the list in ten years — not that you still won’t be some of those things, but they won’t be the five most important things about you. Which is one of the most delicious things available to women, and more particularly to women than to men. I think. It’s slightly easier for us to shift, to change our minds, to take another path. Yogi Berra, the former New York Yankee who made a specialty of saying things that were famously maladroit, quoted himself at a recent commencement speech he gave. “When you see a fork in the road,” he said, “take it.” Yes, it’s supposed to be a joke, but as someone said in a movie I made, don’t laugh this is my life, this is the life many women lead: two paths diverge in a wood, and we get to take them both. It’s another of the nicest things about being women; we can do that. Did I say it was hard? Yes, but let me say it again so that none of you can ever say the words, nobody said it was so hard. But it’s also incredibly interesting. You are so lucky to have that life as an option.”—RIP Nora Ephron.
We stopped freaking out about the “Oh my god, women want to wear pants!” thing a really long time ago. Women wandered into the traditionally masculine realms of self-expression and ambition and now it’s just normal.
Not so with masculinity. It is still as rigid and well defended as ever, despite a few David Bowies or Johnny Depps in the mix. Just look at last year’s total freaking meltdown about a J. Crew catalog that carried a photo of a woman painting her young son’s toenails. Just look at the way the more delicate boys of the world are bullied by their classmates and accused of being gay. Just look at the gender imbalance in the diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder in children, with gender disordered pre-pubescent boys outnumbering girls at a rate of up to 30 to 1. When a girl is boyish, or even claims she’d rather be a boy, it’s cute. She’s a tomboy. When a boy is girlish, wanting to wear dresses or try on some makeup, it’s a mental disorder and needs an immediate medical intervention.
This is what I’m studying in my thesis at the moment. Cross dressing is so unbelievably scandalous in society these days, especially via children’s literature. A woman who dons a tomboy attitude in children’s fiction [either through some ‘masculine’ trope of hunting, wearing mens clothing, etc] is persistently brushed aside because they are elevated into the masculine paradigm. It’s a social promotion. “Well done. You’ve made it to equality by conforming to a masculine realm.” To be a man, or act like a man, is a social promotion in children’s literature.
However, to be a man and dress like a woman in children’s literature is persistently mocked and still gets a cheap laugh by audiences. From Toy Story’s ‘Mrs Nesbit’ to Tangled’s mob sequence, a man who wears a dress, acts feminine, or dons a doe-eyed expression for practicing interior design (as ‘Tangled’ quotes) is a social pariah because he has demoted himself to such ‘feminine’ values when he’s already elevated in society. We must point and laugh at such ridiculousness.
I never ‘got’ the comedy in it and people found me weird for that.
I have finally found someone in my life that I can completely and utterly depend on. It is a rarity in this world, to find such love. But I have found it and I am content. Nay, lucky. Blessed even.
This is my boyfriend:
(I could stare into those glistening black eyes all day)
We’ve been dating for 10 minutes now. He just called me Si-ha or something. Hopefully that’s not Drell for prostitute because I’ve kind of been flirting with a lot of people during this game (Mass Effect 2 for those wondering - playing for the first time and yes, I know I’m a little late on the hype).
Though I have to say, finding out that Jack is not gay for Femshep was gut-wrenching. I kept visiting her and hoped for convo options and was all:
But to no avail…
Don’t even get me started on Garrus. WHY YOU NO FINISH CALIBRATIONS. EVERY time I want to talk to the guy, I end up doing this with my controller:
And I was all “You know what Gar? You know what? I should come BEFORE your calibrations… DON’T STOP ME FROM WALKING OUT— oh, you’re not…”
But seriously. I know Thane is going to die. I don’t even care. I think he even has a wife who I’m still not sure is completely dead… —but OURLOVEISPURE.com/ANDTHATSALLTHATMATTERS !!!
So the other day I had to do a photo shoot at Uni during school hours. *Que a number of Melbournians snickering at my Tyra-banks orientated modelling*. To say the least, it didn’t help my cred’ much to be smiling ever-so-cherrily with book in hand and gazing back at the camera with ‘I love Melbourne’ eyes. Then again, around university, I already have the reputation of Millhouse so it didn’t really matter:
I just got a bunch of the photos back in my inbox today. Mind you, through the magic of photoshop, you can’t even tell that it was raining (Ahem… wearing a white blouse was a bad choice):
What I didn’t expect to be included in the bunch was a shot of me, making fun of my own commerical’ness.
Already sent to a bunch of teachers.
Needless to say, I hope this isn’t the photo they’re going to choose for their website:
Trams. Why I will never take one. EVER EVER AGAIN.
Behold, brethren. For below, I divulge in the reason why I will be walking to uni every single day for the rest of the year:
Creepy tram guy.
Creepy tram guy isn’t a new specimen. Rather, the creature has existed for decades now, perpetrating our metro lines with his rough exoskeleton. Camouflaged between the myki posts and the disabled chair section, creepy tram guy is elusive in nature. A creature of habit. He is a nomad, travelling upon either the 16 and 67 tram to gain hostage of his victims (most of which after transaction with the creature, will have the urge to sit cross-legged in the shower, shaking back and forth uncontrollably).
Not knowing the danger ahead of me, I hopped on the tram with a wistful glint in my eye and a general spring in my step. I was… naive… Nay, foolish. Donning a white dress and shawl over my head for good measure. My ipod filled with the sound of music soundtrack and a teddy bear clutched in the other hand (note: details may be exaggerated).
I remember I was on the phone at the time so keep in mind that my concentration was elsewhere.
The tram is packed so I’m forced to stand near the door. A few moments later, an old man of about sixty ventures on.
Now to the untrained eye, he probably looked like this:
But after the tram ride and in all my retellings afterwards, he’d turn into this:
So I’m on the phone, sorting out something with the university and I notice that salad fingers this guy, rather than grabbing hold of the pole above him, he grabs the floor pole which is right next to my side and a little more awkward for him to hold.
I don’t pay much attention to this and continue my conversation.
THEN I notice him stepping closer to me. But I shrug this off because the tram is fairly packed by this stage.
If this wasn’t close enough, he steps even closer to me and I try to step backwards but there is someone else behind me. At this point, I’m suspect. I hang up the phone.
The tram gets more packed and this guy doesn’t seem to mind because I can’t move now and he’s very close. So close that his side is pressed against my side.
BUT THEN HE TURNS. AND I FEEL SOMETHING.
SOMETHING THAT FELT LIKE A BIT MORE THAN AN INNOCENT ROLL OF QUARTERS IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.
And now, when it comes to facial expressions, I suck. Because I’m as subtle as a nuclear explosion. So there I am looking like this:
And there he is, looking like this:
AND THEN I SEE THE WORDS ‘MELBOURNE CENTRAL’ AND RUN OFF THE TRAM LIKE A BAT OUT OF HELL.
Whilst I live to tell the tale, there is no word, no emotion to adequately describe when you look back at creepy train guy and the doors close like this on him as he rides away on his sexual-harassment stallion: