Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tis the Season



I'd apologise, but if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you and I both know I've done it before and I'm going to do it again. So let's cut the crap. It's been a while. I've been busy. I'm not sorry, you don't care. And here, in pictures, is why:




Yes, I make my Christmas Cards blurry. Don't you? At one in the morning, this was the best I could do.



Santa's baking workshop, Melbourne Division



Them be load-bearing freckles.



See the windows? I hunted high and low for Jolly Ranchers for windows, and we have ONE hot day and they start melting. Next year, I'm aiming low.





Not pictured: Hand-sewn tree-skirt.


The best Christmas Present of all, my brand-new nephew, Lucas.Born five weeks early with his Mum's mouth and his Daddy's Eyes.

Happy Festive Season All. Be Merry, be Jolly, be Safe.



Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hot, Not hot

According to ABC:


Hot:








Not Hot:




So no problems with Britney pashing a woman decades older than herself, but when a man pashes a man similar in age, there's a problem?

Right.


Edit: Lambert's replacement? None other than girlfriend beating R&B singer Chris Brown. And ABC is now saying Adam wasn't cancelled because he was gay, or because he kissed another man, but because he was "unpredictable on Live TV"

So that's the message, performers. You can do whatever the hell you like - up to and including bloodying the lip of your partner - as long as you can follow a cue and don't deviate from the script. Just don't be original or spontaneous. Our precious little eyes couldn't take it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Two for the price of one

Two worthy causes have organised rallies in Melbourne at the State Library to bring attention to their cause.

Except one didn't check with the other. I guess there's not a lot of crossover.

And so the Equal Love same sex rally and the R18+ Ratings Rally have organised their respective rallies at the same time, same place, same day.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Admission

Today, once again, I put strangers' opinions of me ahead of my own comfort.

It was hot here today. Hot in the house, hot outside. It got up to 32 degrees, and it's still 25 now, at 10.59pm.

I'm wearing jeans. Not by choice, not because I don't feel the heat (By God, do I feel the heat!), but because I am afraid of the judgement, and the scorn, and the comments and the assumptions of people I do not know, and more than anything, from those I do.

I should backtrack. I have eczema, and the attendant dry skin that goes with it. Year-round, but worse at time when the temperatures change suddenly (Like now) no amount of moisturising will stop my lower legs from cracking and peeling, and my skin is tender, sore and red in places. It's manageable, but annoying.

As a result, during these flare-ups I can't shave my legs, and I can't wax. Depilatory creams are out at all times- my skin is just too sensitive for that. Those rotaty things that pluck the hair out? Also take off skin that is peeling, and did I mention the pain? Not keen on adding to it.

These times can last for a week, a month or six months. A Flare-up can materialise overnight - or during the night - and disappear just as quickly. There are things I can do to help, and one of them is avoiding peeling layers of already-cracking skin off with a razor, and not applying hot-wax to an area that's already causing me pain and discomfort.

But what do I do when it's hot? When it's summer? When I cannot shave, or remove the hair in another way?

When I have the choice between comfort and embarrassment? Between wearing shorts or a skirt or a dress and being cooler but enduring the looks, the sneers, the questions and comments? Between saying "Stuff it. I'm hot" and meekly accepting that Women Should Not Have Hair Where Men Do Not Want Them To Have Hair Even Though We Grow Hair There So Clearly We're Supposed To Have Hair There And It's Annoying Removing That Hair But For Some Reason It's Okay For Men To Have Hair There, and hide my shame behind pants and jeans?

Every time, EVERY time, I make the choice to put another person and their opinion in front of my comfort. I will don the Jeans of Wussiness. I will stand here, watching other women walk around in dresses, or skirts or shorts wishing I had made a different choice, but I cannot bring myself (and the sensible, progressive woman in my head is SCREAMING at me right now) to leave the house with the fact that I have not been able to shave my legs for a month on display.

Even though when I see it on another woman, I applaud their choice and celebrate that she has the guts to do so, I cannot do it myself. Even when I get as far as questioning myself as to WHY another womans choice is any of my damn business, I baulk. Every time. I am distinctly uncomfortable with the idea of going out in public in anything that displays my legs when I have been unable to do any hair-removal. And if I could get past that barrier? You can bet your bottom dollar that if challenged on it I would probably explain WHY I have not been able to toe the hair-free line instead of asking that person who the hell they think they are to question my body and my choices in relation to it.

I wish I could say this year will be different. I wish I could say that I'm taking lessons from something and drawing up my strength and biting the bullet and girding my loins and ditching the fucking pants and being a bit more bloody comfortable, but I don't see a change this year. Today I did what I do every year, and put the pants on and tomorrow I will doubtless do the same. I talked to a girl at the party tonight about the dilemma and her suggestion was Maxi dresses. Something that still hides the hair but will make me slightly more comfortable.

As long as I don't cross my legs. Or examine myself too closely to ask myself why I'm bowing to societal pressures when I don't want to and why I preface every one of these discussions with "But! I have a good reason not to!" bleating. And why this has taken me an hour to write, and why I'm still hesitant to hit Publish.

And that's my admission. I am a coward, and I am uncomfortable, and I am will make myself uncomfortable so you will not baulk at my hairy legs. And I don't know if that's ever going to change.

**Edit. Spelled "Baulk" as "Balk" throughout. Four years practically living in pool halls will do that to a girl.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Why I bother

Why I bother with slug patrol:



A Black Beauty rose I planted on July 7th this year, backed by six week old strawberries and parsley.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Slugalicious

And so, in my twenty eighth year, it came to pass that I'd become so domestic that not only was I posting about cooking, but gardening advice.

Oh, God.

Specifically, how to deal with slugs. In a pet friendly manner, considering we have two cats that do venture outside with us occasionally. Hopefully eco-friendly, for no other reason than the fact that I don't really like gloves, and most chemicals mean wearing them.

Want to know what I discovered? If you use orange halves - like, for example, the orange halves left over from the juice we make - as bait, you can collect all your gardens slugs with very little effort, for convenient disposal.

Okay. I just need a moment. I just blogged the words "You can collect all your gardens slugs" with a straight face.

Alright. So what I do is take the orange halves we've used each day, and lay them in front of the plants that have slug or snail damage. I usually put them out when I get home from work, around seven. Then, before bed, I go out and collect them, and pick up any stragglers who're making their way to or from Orange Heaven with a stick. I put them in a plastic bag and tie it tightly so the little buggers can't get out, and toss it in the bin. I don't know whether that means Death to Slugs through lack of air, or Slug Fiesta as they feast on the orange for a while, or Slugageddon, as they eat each other to survive, but I'm not going to individually squish each one, and salt is just too cruel. Whether they survive on the orangey goodness to the tip I do not know, and do not want to know. I'm not really into Slug Welfare, I just want the little bastards to stop eating my capsicum and chilli plants without killing my cats.

It's all less icky than it sounds, really.

What isn't less icky is the song that came into my head as I was doing Slug Patrol tonight.

To the tune of "Islands in the Stream":

Slimy, slimy slugs.
That is what you are
Coming from afar
For my orange halves
Come away with me
To the rubbish bin
You can eat all the orange,
ah ha.......

And that's where it tails off when Jeremy gives me the "Why are you doing this to me?" look.

Honestly, that man has the patience of a saint.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Fat is another one of those wimmin problems

Why do we never see the flip-side of this coin?

Why are these articles always focused at females? Why is there a huge gender divide between the blame game when it comes to weight?

We're bombarded with articles of late telling us that we've got it all wrong. We shouldn't be telling girls it's okay to be overweight.

Let's not get into that, because - leaving aside the fact that there's a healthy middle ground between morbidly obese and a stick-thin size 6 called NORMAL - we should absolutely be encouraging people to be healthy. Not thin. HEALTHY.

Instead, it struck me (whacked me round the head with the rage stick more like) that we never see these articles aimed at men. I asked the question on twitter - why are these things always written about women? And someone replied in jest that it was because "men don't listen"

Well, from my experience in having to repeat myself, that's probably true. But why is the societal pressure so much stronger on women than men to be thin? Why do we perpetuate the myth that "men carry excess weight better"? They don't. And the proclivity of men to carry weight around the middle makes them MORE at risk for health-related weight problems than women.

So why are we shouting down the women who point at the chuppa-chup sticks on catwalks with the "we shouldn't be telling you fatties it's okay to be fat anyway"?

When that patently, obviously, isn't.the.point.

The point is that there is a point in between. There are a group of women, who make up the majority of the female population in fact, that fall in between morbidly obese and stick-thin models. Why are these women not represented on the catwalk? When they are, why does it provoke a backlash of Op-Ed - mainly from women, I might add - saying we're setting a "bad example" for women by showcasing real women with real tits and real arses?

Why does the debate fall two ways? "Unhealthily stick women are giving our daughters eating disorders!!!11!!" and pejorative terms aplenty for the naturally thin woman, regardless of how healthy or fit they are and "normal people on catwalks are giving our daughters fatness!!!11!!" and pejorative terms aplenty for the naturally bigger person, regardless of how healthy and fit they are.

Here's a thought: Stop making fatness a sin, and a sin that only women are responsible for. Men are just as responsible for their own health issues, and I don't see an article every bloody day about how fat men are and how they're ruining society.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

More than me

If someone risks life and limb to escape persecution or poverty, gives everything they have for an unsafe passage and finally gets to their destination and wants to start a new life, they're welcome to come in, as far as I'm concerned.

If someone comes to a new country without a word of that countries language yet learns it well enough to talk to me in a short space of time, I'm happy to repeat myself without thinking them an idiot.

If a person who was qualified in their previous country for a white collar job and works night shift in a taxi while they get the same qualifications they had back home doesn't know the exact way home, I'm happy to point them in the right direction. It doesn't cost me anything to be courteous and helpful.

If someone has done more to earn the respect of their new fellow countrymen than any person who has "waited in line", pay it.

Do you know what someone like me - a white immigrant with family already here, from a Commonwealth country - does to get in?

Fills out forms.
Takes a medical.
Waits.

That's all I have to do to earn your respect. All I have to do to be considered the "right" type of immigrant.

And I'm glad my parents went through that. Because it's given us a better life, and I love this country. But we weren't hounded from our country. We weren't persecuted, or threatened or in danger.

What does someone who comes here on a piece of crap boat go through? What will they go through if we send them back? What do these people have to do to earn your respect?

Seriously. If I'm the ideal candidate for immigration, if I'm the only type of person you want in this country, ask yourself why. Because I look like you? Because I sound - for the most part - like you? Because when I walk past you on the street, or work next to you I don't make you confront your own prejudices?

Regardless of what someone is fleeing from - poverty, persecution, a hopeless upbringing with no opportunity to get ahead - they've done more to deserve their place than me. I fled nothing, endured nothing more than inconvenience and apart from some mild teasing about the way I pronounce some words, people accept me.

Once we were a nation of "battlers". A nation that gave a hand up to those who were down.

When did that change? When did we decide there was a limit (Whilst still offering a bonus for increasing the population) on compassion?


**EDIT** An additional note. I am heartily sick of hearing the "Don't like it? Leave!!!1!" bullshit everywhere I turn. Seriously? You think that because someone is an immigrant they are never - regardless of provocation - allowed to disagree with policies, politics or any social problems they see? Why? Every single person who holds that belief does their fair share of wingeing about society, but immigrants aren't.

Those people, to a man, believe that an immigrant can never truly be Australian, and only Australian-born Australians have any right to complain.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Taking my own advice

Every time an accusation is made against someone I know on the intertubes - and those times are legion, being what it is - I tell them to ignore it.

Thing is, this "He said, She said" stuff is wasting my time more and more of late. I can here myself in my head telling other people to walk away. Yet there I am, sticking my head in the hyperbole bucket for one good, last dunking.

The blogworld is a funny one. Its given me a lot, for seemingly very little effort. But what it gives with one hand it takes away with the other. Its given me my partner in a roundabout way, and exposed me to a whole range of people and ideas - right and left - that I otherwise would have been ignorant of. It's also exposed me to the ridicule of people who I've never met and don't know the first thing about me. You take the good with the bad, I tell people. Walk away when it gets personal. Don't jump in to threads you know are going to get nasty. Particularly if it involves you.

Yet I seem, of late, completely incapable of following my own advice. I've been getting pulled into blogwar bullshit, or stupid arguments where neither side is ever going to concede ground, going round and round in circles. Following links to nowhere, whilst the stuff that has real value - the writing and some craft projects I've been wanting to do for months now, researched and ready to roll - pile up around me. I'm working longer hours now, and I do not have time for this shit. Yet I seem unable to pull myself away. My tendency to need the last word in any given argument is manifesting itself into threads hundreds of comments long. Even I think I'm an idiot for engaging, yet it's hard to pull away.

So, I'm using a tried-and-true method for getting out of a bad habit.

I'm stepping back from it. Stepping back from the blogworld, at least for the next month. I'll be reading, and I'm going to be working on things for outside of our incestuous little corner of the interwebs that I said I'd been wanting to do for a while now, but I won't be engaging in anything outside of that.

I might be writing here, I might not be. Depends on how the writing projects go. I'll respond to comments that are topical if I write anything, but I won't be getting into arguments here, and I won't be commenting at all anywhere else for the next month. As of 6pm this evening, no more blogwarz. I'll still be on Twitter, for all your whining about late train, twittermasterchef and hair crisis needs, and you can grab me on the gmail account. DM the twitter profile (widget on the right) and I'll send it through.

See you on the flip side, yo.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Criticism is not illegal

Something that Ralph Lauren have apparently forgotten:




Seriously, Ralph Lauren. You put something out that was clearly a mistake, and instead of manning up and accepting it, you try and remove all reference to it and send out the legals?

What on earth did you expect when someone approved that?

Truthfully, the only person who should be suing is the poor girl pictured in your ad. She's probably a beautiful girl, and you've turned her into a laughing stock.

Because we've got soul

Andrew Bolt is back, and he's seen something of the world. He's loped back into his office, having gotten a taxi from the airport, and doesn't like what he sees he find Melbourne wanting.

Maybe it's just me, but every time I get a taxi or drive back from the airport over the bridge and clock the Melbourne skyline, my heart soars. I feel sorry for Andrew that his doesn't. I've travelled the world too. Was born overseas and have made the trek back via god only knows how many places five times. I've seen the sights Andrew laments we don't have, and you know what? I wouldn't live anywhere else.

Fine and dandy the cities that have the landmarks. I've trotted to the top of the Eiffel Tower, I've been on the steps of the Opera House. Seen the London Houses of Parliament. They're all organic to their cities. The latter two are functional. The first was a gift from the Americans. They have meaning. They're intrinsic to their cities. Do we really want a landmark for the sake of having a landmark?

I don't. I prefer the fact that this city has soul. That every time I journey into the city I see something new. There's always something to do, something to see, something to enjoy.

Yes, the Ferris Wheel thing at the Docklands was a bad idea. But for precisely the reason we have no landmark now - the true, enduring landmarks are those that spring up because of what a city already is, not because of what a city wants to be.

Our city is a place of hidden alleys where you stumble across bars that serve drinks in test-tubes. Or an art gallery you never knew existed. Or a tiny restaurant where the owner knows exactly what you want and takes the time to chat to you and your friends. It's footy at the G, it's drinks afterwards at Holliava and the best Souv in all of Victoria (depending on opinion) in Preston. It's music at the Corner.

Melbourne's landmark is it's liveability. It doesn't need some gaudy trinket tacked on to it to make it great. And here's some more pearls of wisdom from Andrew:

"Take Federation Square, all surly elbows and cringing in camouflage colours - just the building for a generation of neo-barbarians with lip rings and bum antlers."

What the bloody hell are bum antlers? I don't particularly think Fed Square is a thing of beauty, but it's a great meeting place, and I think it's contributed a lot to Melbourne's sense of community.

Andrew also hates the fact that the modern is replacing the old skool. He hates that the "Little Italy of Lygon is being diluted by by restaurants of Thai, Lebanese and Malay cuisine."

Right. So what Melbourne needs is some shiny giant trinket and segregation of eateries?

Dude, for serious? Word of advice. Don't write with jet lag. And appreciate what you've got, because you live in one hell of a city, Andrew. Landmark or nay.

**UPDATE** Mike Sheahan weighs in with his opinion that the MCG classifies as a landmark.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The US health debate, in one sentence

I've posted this before, but this quote from Aunerin Bevan sums up my feelings on the US health debate:

"No society can legitimately call itself civilized if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means" - Aunerin Bevan.

And because cats say it best:

socks the cat
see more Political Pictures

Musing

So, new album by Muse, The Resistance. I was expecting big things, Black Holes and Revelations being what it was. Did it live up to my expectations?

In a word, no. In more words, here's a song-by-song account of why I'm not saying it's a bad album, but that it wasn't quite what I was hoping for:

Uprising

The first dozen bars are very, very KLF and the Timelords Doctorin' the Tardis. We're then getting into some typical Bellamy vocals - punchy verses, key change into chorus, soaring harmonies through chorus, smash into the bridge, climax and then an instrumental, back into chorus for the climax.

Look, it's musically a good song. Very KLF and the Timelords, as I said - even the bass line and clapping and chanting is there. I do enjoy it. But. The lyrics. Forcing drugs on us? We need to watch our flag ascend? Am I listening to a Muse album or at a Marxist rally?*

It sets the tone for the rest of the album, with a few exceptions.

Resistance

Ah, here comes the piano. And Bellamy, this was why I fell in love with your voice. The slightly-out-of-control vibrato in all the right places.... what? You've gone all Radiohead/Darkness on me in the bridge there. And now... this chorus seriously could have been lifted from any one of a dozen Darkness songs. And Oh, god. I think I've just worked out what this song is about. You know in 1984, the two main characters Winston and Julia conduct a love affair? I'm fairly sure this song is about that.

1984? Really? Um, right. Moving right along.

Undisclosed Desires

I have to confess that I've had this song on perpetual replay for about a week. It's got a surprising beat, and the string riff is pure stylised R&B. It's very un-Muse, and I love it. I was a bit iffy about the lyrics in the chorus at one stage ("I want to reconcile the violence in your heart/I want to recognise your beauty's not just a mask/I want to exorcise the demons from your past/I want to satisfy the undisclosed desires in your heart"), but really, it's a small quibble when you see a band stepping outside their comfort zone so successfully. I seriously could not work out what about this song it was that was so different, until I realised it was a clever, wordy pop/r&b song. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that when it's done well, and this is.

United States of Eurasia (Collateral Damage)

I looked at the title of the song and groaned out loud. Oh, Muse. Aren't you a bit old to be dipping into that bucket? Come on, now. We aren't in Year 11 English Literature anymore.

But, this song is surprising in a completely unsurprising way, if you take my meaning. Let's ignore the words altogether, and it's a great Muse/KLF/Queen hybrid (I will not be surprised, as with the Darkness' last album when the hands of a Queen producer were clearly evident to see a KLF hand in the making of this album. Someone involved in the making of this KLF'd this album up good). Yes, it's wanky. Yes, there is something that's either got pretenses at a Chopin piece or some kind of Mazurka. I can't be positive which. But musically and vocally, it's good.

Add the lyrics back in, and I'm skipping it every time. God, Muse. Orwell? How original!

Guiding Light

This song seems to start without an introduction. Which, if you're me, is a great thing. Some people will be discombobulated by it, though, and the slightly predictable harmonies and melody (Seriously, I could guess where it was going note-for-note on the first run through) couple to make this a skippable song that has a great concept and great lyrics that falls so short it pissed me off.

Unnatural Selection

Starts off with organ music. And Bellamy's voice with a fairly blase' effect - Oh for the love of, I'm looking this up. Who produced this? - Muse, with Ah. Mike Stent as "engineer". A KLF man from way back. That explains the Doctorin' the Tardis feel to Uprising. Oh, and for those playing along at home, it WAS a Chopin piece in United States of Eurasia. Score two to me!

Apart from that and more KLF fingerprints in the form of guttural chanting, we're back on track here. Fast paced prog-rock at it's best.

MK Ultra

I'm tipping this song isn't going to slay me, folks.

Oh, here we go. More punchy prog-rock. This is what I was looking for, Muse. I have no idea why you're writing about a minor Australian blogger, but keep it coming. Electronica aplenty, and soaring vocals. I could eat it with a spoon.

Which, now that I think about it, is a bit of a sad indictment on me, really.

I Belong to You (Mon Couer S'ouvre A Ta Voix)

My shambolic French tells me the above means Doesn't everyone cool have a song in both English and French these days? Dear Muse, Robbie Williams did this two albums ago. Not a good precedent to be following, depending on your feelings on Williams.

Have to admit Muse did it better though. This really is a return to Black Holes and Revelations Muse. With the French tagged on, of course. Bellamy truly has a beautiful, well controlled and well developed voice, whatever you think of his music. This is a showcase for Muse's greatest instrument - Bellamy.

Exogenesis Symphony Part 1

Musically, again, we're in brilliance territory. Bellamy is truly using his voice as an instrument without grandiosity or the glory noting that usually accompanies someone of his talent. I realise his voice isn't every ones cup of tea, but what he does with it - brilliant.

Exogenesis Symphony Part 2

Holy shit. The opening piano makes me despair. In a very, very good way. I've just started learning, and I can manage a very simple Mozart Minuet with Jeremy standing on the other side of the room telling me to get my eyes on the page and off my fingers every now and then. To be able to play the opening phrases of this is now my aim. Good god. Musically, again, I am floored. But, nine times out of ten I'm skipping, because it's not what I'm looking for when I reach for the Muse.

Yes, I'm a hard task-master, and I change the tasks at a moments notice. I'm a fickle music listener, and no doubt in six months time, this'll be what's on repeat. But here and now, again, musically I'm sighing in envy, but it's leaving me kind of cold.

Exogenesis Symphony Part 3

If Part 2 is the grumbling, rushing crescendo, Part 3 is the pretty, sweeping lullaby. Technically, I think it's more waltzy, and I can here it as the dance scene in about a hundred TV and movie scenes already. You heard it here first, people.

Again, Bellamy lets the musical landscape they've woven around us do the talking, and his vocal work, even when it soars is muted, constrained and modest.

All in all, I'm talking up the music and Bellamy's awesome vocals because the songwriting itself is not my cup of tea. Look, if you're a 17 year old reading 1984 for the first time, you're going to love it. Anyone else I'm guessing is going to think it self-indulgent wankery. And they're not entirely wrong.

A few songs in there are standout: Uprising, Undisclosed Desires, Unnatural Selection. Funny, all the ones starting with U.

Go out and buy it, but be prepared to overlook faults that just weren't there in Blackholes and Revelations.

*I have no idea what goes on at Marxist rallies. Or even if Marxist rallies exist.

** EDIT** Minor spelling errors corrected. Numerous, but minor.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A good day

Another year down. It's been one hell of a birthday week. Dinners, morning teas, more dinners, and some awesome presents. Gold class tickets from one side, a bracelet that matches my mothers from the other, some gorgeous jewelry, handbags and scarves from various awesome people, and this:



An antique silver locket on White Gold chain. I love it. It's perfect. I love it. If you look closely, you can see the reflection of a very interested Max about to make a move on it. Just his way of saying Happy Birthday.

Thanks to everyone who made this day/week so special. And to my love, who made the whole thing my best birthday yet.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Comments and Moderation.

One of Bloggers big failings for me is not being able to ban commenters, or moderate certain commenters.

I've had issues in the last week (And in the past) with anonymous commenters and spam-bots, and because of one particular commenter, I've enabled comment moderation for the time being. Whether that gets turned off at some point in the future, or if I move to Wordpress as I've been threatening for the past god-knows how long, I don't know. I'm going to sleep on it and see how I go.

In the meantime, a reminder of the comments policy. I will not tolerate personal abuse of myself, my family and friends, my partner or other commenters. Yes, I will step in if there is personal abuse between commenters, but I'd prefer not to have to. I don't like that I have to have comments policy.

And the overiding principal? It's my blog, my call.

And yes, I realise I'm being slack with updating again. Will try and rectify.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Why do they need to be perfect?

A few thoughts from this debacle.

Basically, MP allegedly has affair with younger woman. MP is accused of letting younger woman through security without signing in, another MP is said to have offered her a job.

Let's assume the last two aren't true. Just as a hypothetical. Would he still have resigned? Would we still expect him to? Would it still be a scandal? And why?

I cannot fathom in this day and age when everyone knows someone who's been cheated on - or have been cheated on themselves - or has been the one to cheat, why we expect our elected officials to be "above" the same foibles and flaws we ourselves have been subject to. And is that a good thing?

Think about it: If every man and woman who had cheated on their partner lost their jobs as a result, there'd be chaos. How many people would be without a job?

Personally, I want my elected representatives to be human. I want them to make mistakes. I want them to be the kind of person fit to govern a country, yes, but how does being unfaithful to your wife preclude you from being so? If the job my parlimentarian is doing is a good one, is the rest of it make-or-break?

Making mistakes - even ones that hurt other people - does not make you a bad person. It does not make our elected representatives bad people. It simply makes them human.

And we could do with a bit more of that in government, if you ask me.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Christ in a frying pan

I've been meaning to do a post for two days. Yesterday I was at a work conference, so I had no chance, and when I got home, between bicycle-building related exhaustion (No, really. For Camp Quality kids) and the hangover to end all hangovers, there wasn't a hope in hell.

Tonight, my phone seems hell-bent on interfering with my plans, and won't cough up the photos that were going to go with this post.

So, situation normal - there's nothing of substance here.

Hopefully I can wrangle the phone into disgorging the goods tomorrow and getting something up here. In the meantime, here's some thinking music, just because I can:

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Four Thousand Confirm what 60% of us think; ALP oblivious

So, Jeremy and I attended the National Day of Action for Same Sex Rally (There's a mouthful!) at Fed Square today, along with four thousand other Melbournites braving the hair-ruining inclement weather to make their feelings known on the issue of same-sex marriage.



There were speeches, quartets, music and chanting, as one would expect. Most of all there was an air of mixed feelings; frustration that we had to be there at all - frustration that this is still an issue in 2009, and hope. Hope that this generation will be the one to sweep aside the last area of discrimination against same-sex couples. Hope that this will be the Government that listens to the voices of the majority of Australia.



Not that we really expected that today would be the day that changed it - Rudd has made his small-minded opinion known for some time now, but it was still disappointing to know that unless the Bill introduced by the Greens gets up, we wait even longer to grant equal rights to same-sex couples.



We are not impressed with your work this morning, Mr. Rudd

The Rally culminated with an illegal marriage on the steps of Parliament House. We marched from Fed Square up Swanston and Collins Streets, and for the most part, passers-by were supportive - apart from one Bible basher standing on the tram-tracks telling all assembled they were going to hell. Nice.



I'm glad I went. I'm glad that my voice was heard, and that the voices of other were as well. Not so glad that the ALP chose not to listen to us and a majority of Australians, but it's a start*.

*I realise that this is a remarkably easy thing for me to say, not having a same-sex partner myself, and being quite free to marry my partner should I so choose. I'm aware of that, and acknowledge it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'll be there

Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi
see more Lol Celebs

Saturday 1st of August is a National Day of Action for Same-Sex marriage. As long as I can shake this god-awful sinus/virus thing, I'll be attending the Melbourne Rally at Fed Square, and I encourage everyone else - regardless of your sexuality - to attend.

This isn't just a "Gay Issue" - it's an issue for everyone who believes in Equality. This is an opportunity to make a stand. Be heard. The Government can only ignore this issue as long as we let them.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Good God

Jesus Christ.

A 14-year old dragged onto a radio show to undergo a lie-detector test who says to the host before the questions even begin "I’m scared ... it’s not fair.", and you don't think to stop and ask if she wants to go through with it after all, or if she's been pressured?

Her mother asks her if she's ever had sex, and the girl replies "I’ve already told you the story about this ... and don’t look at me and smile because it’s not funny."

Instead of showing concern, the host then asks "Right ... is that the only experience you’ve had?"

The mother then interjects to say she only found out about it "a couple of months ago" and at this point the segment ends.

Are you fucking SERIOUS?

First, why in the name of arse wasn't the girl asked before-hand is she wanted to go through with it when she's clearly expressing doubts?

Why was Kyle's immediate response to continue to interrogate the girl?

Until further details come out, I'm reserving judgement on who is to blame here, but at the moment, it seems clear that at the very least there should be questions asked as to how participation of minors is approached.

**EDIT**

Lauredhel makes an excellent point: regardless of whether any sex the girl had engaged in outside of the incident she recounts at age 12, given the girl is - right now - aged 14, Kyle and Jackie were quizzing this girl about possible rape. She's fourteen years old. Anything other sexual experience she's had is also rape.

An excerpt from the transcript:

"Mum: OK. Have you had sex?

Daughter: [quieter] I’ve already told you the story of this. And don’t look at me and smile, because it’s not funny. [louder, announcing with bravado] OH, OK. I got raped when I was twelve years old.

[silence]

Kyle: Right. And is that the, is that the only experience you’ve had?

Mum: I only found out about that, um, a couple of months ago. Yes, I knew about that.

Daughter: And yet you still asked me the question."


Let's repeat that last bit:

"And yet you still asked me the question"

On Live.National.Radio.

Nice.

**EDIT 2**

Did mean to be more specific with the comment "Anything other sexual experience she's had is also rape" - given that the mother was talking about her having sex with older boys, I was basing the comment on that.

And thanks to Barry, who got there before the Tandoori finished in the kitchen.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Teh Annasthetik hsan't afeckted me at all!

Message received a minute or two after Jeremy woke up (Did you know they let you have your mobile on in some hospitals now?):

"Didmt asplodem hurrah

Jaw feels absoitely awsome, rxepy for ctriplling opainr"

Now I know what he'd be like drunk. He was high as a kite for the first twenty minutes after he woke up.

He's home now, recovering well and the pain seems to be under control. Posting may be even more sporadic than usual in the next week, depending on how he goes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Same sex, Same rights.

August 1 is a National Day of Action for Same-Sex Marriage.

You can make submissions on why rights in regards to same-sex marriage are important to you (Or not, if you're opposed, I guess) to the Senate Inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009. A link to Equal Love's Online Submission form is here.

And here is my submission:

"I write to express my support for the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009.

The definition and tradition of marriage in Australia and most of the Western world has changed in the last century. 58 percent of Australians now believe that it is time for change. It is time to remove the discrimination in the Marriages Act 1961.

Law has always kept pace with the morals and attitudes of society. A majority of Australians no longer believe that discrimination
should exist within the Marriage Act 1961, and that everyone, regardless of sexuality and gender identity should be afforded the same rights to have their marriage and relationships acknowledged by the Commonwealth.

In most areas of law, same-sex relationships are afforded the same rights and responsibilities as a heterosexual relationship.
Centrelink - a Government department - now recognises (and penalises) couples of the same-sex.

When even government departments have kept pace with the attitudes and morals of society, it is time to ensure that attitude in regards to removing discrimination is carried through all sectors of legislation.

Same-sex marriages WILL be legal in this country at some stage. Whether that happens under this proposed amendment or the next is up to you. You can choose to do what a majority of Australians would have you do as their elected representative, or we can acquiesce once again to the demands of a minority opinion steeped in discriminatory thinking and baseless prejudice.

There is no sound, logical reason for the discrimination against same-sex couples to continue under the Marriage Act 1961. I implore you, do what is right, and what is just."


We elect representatives to carry our voices to the Senate and various Houses of Parliament. Sometimes, that isn't enough. Make your voice heard.

EDIT: Changed the wording of "union" to "marriage" in the third last paragraph.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Yes, something about this IS unacceptable

I have not the words:


Acceptable? Scrap that. I have the words, but I won't use at least one of them on this blog.

And this, from the article:

"Do you think female presenters carry as much authority as their male colleagues, or will they always be mere Barbies in the chair?"

Mere barbies in the chair? Fuck you, Herald Sun. If you're trying to manufacture a contraversy with your outrageously sexist, insipid comments on this one, well done.

Scarier is the thought that the person who inserted those comments could be serious. And scarier that I have no faith that they weren't.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Killer Queen

So. I've had my first incident in the car. And it was completely my fault.

I've started practising playing pool again, with my mate A (of the swimming in a bra whilst we were camping fame), and that means driving to his house twenty minutes away and driving back. No big deal, but this particular night, it was dark, wet and windy.

And more importantly, I was listening to Queen.

I don't know about anyone else, but when I listen to Queen, I don't listen to it quietly. Especially not Bohemian Rhapsody, and particularly not the rockier parts. Which was one of the parts I was at when I got back in the car and turned the stereo on.

I'd parked dead straight in the driveway, but I thought I was a bit close to the bushes, so I'd correct on the way out. Because somewhere between parking dead-straight and coming to reverse, I lost my tiny little mind.

Honestly. What happened next I cannot excuse and cannot explain away. I corrected what I thought was the right amount, and because the metal fence A's place has as the other side of the driveway was in shadow, I Scaramouched right along it.

Except, because of the volume of the music, I didn't realise until the mirror on the passenger side bent backwards.

Jeremy was thankfully not too annoyed (It was, after all, his car), and the car is not too damaged.

But I think I'm going to ban myself from listening to Queen in the car from now on. At least when I'm reversing.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Insomnia Playlist

So, with the new phone, I've got a new late-night playlist. Mainly because I sometimes have trouble getting to sleep and Jeremy decidedly doesn't. But I was interested to see some of the new stuff that's crept in since my last playlist, and what's been retained:

Back to the Start - Lily Allen - I've gotten more and more into Lily Allen in the last few months, and this is one of those songs that I don't love, but still makes the cut.


Spaceman - The Killers - I've been playing this with alarming (for Jeremy, anyway) regularity since I first heard it late last year. I love it. I cannot get enough.

I can't Decide - Scissor Sisters - Oh, I love this song. It's so upbeat, yet so macabre. And sometimes I forget just so dark it is. I've had it as my main ringtone since I got the new phone, and it's really only now striking me just how wrong that is.

Doomsday - Murray Gold - From the new series' of Doctor Who. I love this theme.

My Freeze Ray - Neil Patrick Harris - All the geeks will know where this and the next song are from, and if you don't know, you should.

My Eyes
- Felicia Day & Neil Patrick Harris - Second verse, same as the first.

Stoned - Dido- It's about now I usually fall asleep, because the songs are so familiar to me. If I'm not asleep by now, the next few songs - all Dido songs will do it.
See you when you're 40 - Dido

Sand in my Shoes - Dido

They Live in You - Samuel E Wright - From the stage show of The Lion King. Which I've never seen, but have heard a lot about. If you haven't heard this song, I recommend you look it up.

I don't Believe Anymore - Icehouse - I toss up constantly as to whether I prefer this version or the Whitlams version. They are very different versions of the same song. This one seems to be a bit more peaceful though, so it makes the cut.

What songs put you to sleep?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Asking for it"

A story has been made public after remarks by former Carlton President John Elliot stating that during his time with the club, several women were paid off by the club who had made allegations of being sexually assaulted by Cartlon players. Elliot also said he had concerns that one of the women might not have been just after the money.

Disturbing enough? I thought so. But it gets worse. The following comments on a board I frequent staggered me:

"Dredging up the past is ridiculous "

"women throw them selves at footballers and say that they have been sexually abused to get their 15 minutes of fame and get a story on a current affair."

"It never fails to frustrate me when females think they can pull the wool over the eyes of everyone and cry rape etc, when is was consensual, and now they've decided they want some quick cash or a turn in the spotlight, but where do we draw the line at who to believe?"

"I'm not saying rape isn't wrong, but if a woman is asking for it, I have no sympathy"

What really got me - to the point where I felt almost physically ill - was that these comments were all on a board that is a forum for women; a female footy fans forum (If that isn't enough alliteration to choke on) I won't name the forum, but these are by-and-large intelligent, seemingly caring women, and most of the attitudes range from "it doesn't matter, it was years ago" to "she was asking for it"

To which I replied:


Let's get one thing clear right now. NO-ONE ASKS FOR RAPE. Rape is a criminal offence, a violation and should never be tolerated or apologised for with remarks like "well, she asked for it" Wearing a short skirt is "not asking for it". Deciding you don't want to go through with something at any stage is not "asking for it". The only determining factor as to whether something is rape is whether the person consented - and changing your mind before or during removes consent. What they are wearing, how they act or whether someone considers that person a tart do not enter into the equation.


The response?

"aren't we being a bit sterotypical by saying that men are wrong for raping women- which they are but what about women who rape men, isn't that the same thing."

Riiiight. Because referring to specific allegations against AFL footballers - who, correct me if I'm wrong, are men - in the masculine pronoun negates your comment saying that women are "asking for it"?

I'd make some sensible points about women being our own worst enemies sometimes, the "she's only saying it because he's famous" defence and why we still have a long way to go on our attitudes to rape victims, but I'm too bloody furious right now.

**EDIT** Tweaked a sentence in one paragraph so it actually made sense, and changed the spelling of forum from "Fourum" I have no idea what a "Fourum" is, unless it's an obscure alcohol measurement.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Geek Heaven

So, I've been meaning to post for the last two or three days, but I've been distracted. Mainly by this:



HTC Magic running Android OS.

One of the things I love most about this phone is the features. Both whats included, and what you can download almost instantly from the Android Market for free. Like Google Sky. I open Google Sky, point my phone at a patch of the sky, and it tells me what constellation I'm looking at. I've got my Google Reader pointing at my phone, Twitroid set up for all my twittering needs, Gmail straight to my phone - in a format that isn't more difficult to use than a PC.

It's glorious. I'm in heaven. And it shits all over the iphone.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

2001: A Space Wankfest

Another in the series of movies I apparently "HAVE to see", which, on reflection, I could have lived without.

Here's pretty much a faithful run-down of how it went:

(Jeremy, voice-over guying): After all the space-type music, and the cover for this DVD, you might be expecting a space-ship. And what do you get? Guys in Ape-Suits!

Me: Monkeys?

J: It's the Dawn of Man

Me (Seventeen minutes of monkeys later): It's seventeen minutes of monkeys.

J: It'll all make sense later

Me: You mean there's a point to the monkeys?

J: To the Monolith.

Me: That couldn't possibly have been condensed from seventeen minutes of monkeys? And why, after the monkeys start bashing them with bones and eating them, do the Taipirs still hang around the monkeys?

J: They're stupid?

Me: You are.

(One hour and forty minutes in, the scenes with HAL)

Me: So what happens with the Doctor who made that call to his daughter?

J: Nothing.

Me: Nothing?

J: Yeah.

Me: Then what the hell was that all about? Why did they try and make us care about the character and then ditch him?

J: He was in that part of the movie

Me: Did someone lose the keys to the editing suite?

(Two hours and oh-my-God make it stop minutes in, the psychedelic light show):

Me: I get it. Colours.

J: He's going through a gateway.

Me: I get that, but how many times have we seen that same shot of his eye?

J: How freaked out would you be if you go through all that and you end up in a hotel room?

Me: I'd be pretty relieved.

J: And now they're fucking with his head

Me: What the hell is going on now?

J: He's ascending.

Me: He's a fetus.

J: It's called a Star Child.

Me: There is absolutely no way you could possibly know what's going on in this part of the movie without either someone telling you or reading the book. That's incredibly wanky.

And that, in a nutshell, is my problem with this part of the movie. The part with HAL and Dave disconnecting him (An excellent metaphor for a lobotomy) I liked. The parts that could have - and should have - been chopped to the minimum required to tell the story? Not so much. I understand that a lot of this technology would have been new at the time, so the tendency to play with it would have been high, but that doesn't make a five minute psychedelic light show meaningful. And I do like a film that makes you think. But a film where the ending doesn't make sense unless you either make something up or read the book that - co-incidentally - the film-makers wrote? That gives me the screaming shits.

When I compare this movie with Dr. Strangelove - also a Kubrick film - there's no question which movie I prefer. Dr. Strangelove every time. And that isn't just because of Peter Sellers. It's because Dr. Strangelove made you think about the futility of nuclear armament. And gave you an insight into the attitudes of the time the film was made.

2001 merely made me think that Kubrick was one of those film-makers who feels he has possession over his scenes, and refuses to let them go - even if that's to the detriment of the entire project.

And that's sad, because the what for me was a film that had merit in parts - the HAL parts - lost much of that to an impenetrable story line that went nowhere.

Three and a half stars for the Hal portion of the move. Minus five for all others.

Bleurgh

I know I should blog something, and I do have a few things in the works, but last week I had a stomach bug all week (Fun, when your partner has a head cold), since Sunday I've had a head-cold/throat infection combination. My attention span is not that great.

I'll try and get something up soon, but at the moment, I just don't have the stamina.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Neenish Tart / What the recipe doesn't tell you

I've been spending a bit of time in the kitchen of late. I've got a bit more time on my hands than usual and keeping them busy is the way to go. So I've been concentrating on two things: pastry, and broths/soups.

Broth is something that my family makes really well, and it's really only a matter of supervision, not precision. It's just a matter of having the time. So I made a Beef and Vegetable Broth week before last. The great thing about a broth is you can use a cheap cut of meat that you usually wouldn't feed to the dogs, and because of the amount of time you spend cooking it, by the time you come to serve it, it's falling apart on the spoon. Plus, if you let it cool once or twice before serving, you can cut the fat content by skimming the skin off the top. Cheap and relatively healthy. Plus, most of the vegies used in it are fairly inexpensive. I used Parsnip, Potato, Carrot, Onion and Turnip. It worked well, cost about thirteen dollars to make and there was enough for at least half-a-dozen meals easy meals there.

Last week, for Jeremy's birthday I made Apple Pie. I'd never made it before - previously I'd stuck to Crumble and Strudel - so I stuck to the recipe. The top layer of pastry was perfect, but the bottom was fairly non-existant due to the consistency of the apple. It tasted good though. I wish I'd taken a photo, because it looked awesome before it was cut.

Yesterday, I made Neenish Tarts, because it's one of Jeremy's favourites. He's fairly fussy when it comes to desserts, and I thought it would be good to make one I hadn't done before.

My God. The fiddlines. First, I know I made things hard for myself by making the pastry myself, but I want to get the shortcrust/sweet pastry down before I start taking shortcuts and use pre-made cases. But the pastry was the easy part. Combine ingredients, put in case-tin, rest for fifteen. Cook for ten. Melt the jam, put in cases. Apart from the fact that I should have pricked the bases more than twice, easy:




The Mock Cream was not so easy. For a start, there were three different mixtures to it - a sugar/milk mixture, a gelatine/water mixture and a butter/vanilla mixture. Combining them, I realised that something was wrong with the recipe. I'd never made it before, so I stuck to the measurements more than I usually would, but all of the measurements that said Tablespoon seemed too large when I added them. Considering most of the Tablespoon measurements in the Mock Cream were liquid and it was being added to a butter mixture, that was an issue. It would not come together, no matter what I did. So I improvised a little and worked out what the sugar/butter to liquid ingredient ratio would need to be if the recipe WAS incorrect and added some more. It came together almost straight away. All in all, that part of the recipe took about fourty-five minutes. Rested for fifteen to allow the gelatine time to do it's thing:



Then came the icing. This is where things got very, very fiddly. It's an icing sugar/milk combo, with cocoa for the chocolate side. One problem I think the reicpe-makers didn't forsee - They're asking you to put melted, runny (and therefore HOT) icing on top of cream.

It took me about twenty minutes of cock-ups before I got something approaching a knack happening. I'd wait until the icing was almost too thick and cold to use, then do two or three really quickly. That was still too hot to prevent the icing sliding off the cream before it set, but by holding each one sideways as the icing looked like it was going to slide, I managed to get them to set properly:






How long did the entire process take? Well, I started at two thirty, and had just finished by ten-to-six. It's a fiddly, fiddly, process. The results were fairly good, but there are things the recipe just doesn't tell you:

* Change all liquid measurements in the Mock Cream to Teaspoons.
* Be prepared to spend an entire afternoon making twelve tarts.
* Use Pastry Cases, if for no other reason than home-made pastry cases are hard to get uniform.
* Put the cream under the jam, regardless of what the recipe says.
* Five minutes is nowhere near enough time for the jam to set. Try forty-five.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Max here, with an urgent plea:



Please, I implore you. On behalf of kittehs everywhere.



Don't subject your Kitteh to Cat-Yodelling.

We might only look mildly annoyed, but remember, you have to sleep sometime.

(Go to two minutes onwards for the really funny terrible bits)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is there an alternate meaning of "Exchange" I'm not aware of?

A few times recently I've gone to return an item to a store and been faced with a "new policy" in regards to exchange. When you aren't exchanging for exactly the same item - which I thought would be a substitution, not an exchange - and you paid in the first place via Credit Card (Or Visa Debit), the store insists on refunding the original amount of the item back to the card and then recharging the card for the cost of the new item.

I have a few issues with this. Firstly, that's a refund with a subsequent purchase, not an exchange. Why call it an exchange policy if it doesn't do what it's called?

Secondly, if I use a Visa Debit card, I may not have sufficient funds in the account at that moment to cover the cost of the subsequent purchase. I, like most people, have several accounts, and I move money around depending on what I'm doing with it, and might use a card for a purchase one day that wouldn't have the funds a few days later when I need to take the item back. The refund to the debit card takes three days, so I would be forced to either find an alternate means of payment on the spot, or come back in three business days to complete what should be a simple process.

Thirdly, if the card I'm using is a Credit Card and I don't have an interest-free period, I'll be paying interest on both purchases for those three days it takes the refund to get back onto the card.

If I use cash, you don't give me back the cash for the original purchase, then make me hand it back again for the exchanged item, do you?

I've asked at the stores - not making a complaint, which isn't fair considering the shop-assistants aren't the ones setting this policy - what the policy is designed for, and was told that "too many people were returning things that had been bought on cards". I asked why that was a problem, and was referred to the Exchange Policy of that particular store. It mentioned nothing about it.

Has anyone else had this experience, and can anyone tell me why it's such an issue? Having worked at the other end of the line, I know it isn't that hard to reconcile a refund in cash with a purchase on card as long as sufficiently detailed records are kept. I can't imagine it being too onerous to keep track of the exchanged items either, considering paperwork is filled out detailing exactly that. Is it laziness? Or just a way of trying to limit the number of people returning goods?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday, my darling. I hope you have a fabulous day, and enjoy every minute of it.



(Taken last night at my stepbrother's 30th (80's themed). Happy Birtday, D!)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Side Effects May Include:

Went to see the new Star Trek movie, and I thought it was great. It was a little weird seeing someone I went to school with in a minor-but-important role in it, but apart from that, fantastic.

But it did have one draw back. I had this song stuck in my head last night as I tried to get to sleep:



Better than counting sheep, that's for damned sure!

Friday, May 08, 2009

You get a badge and a membership card, as well.

I read with interest the latest Andrew Bolt article, regarding the scandal surrounding Miss California USA Carrie Prejean.

Firstly, Bolt claims he was urged to join "The Left" as a boy.

Um, Andrew? You are aware "The Left" isn't a club, aren't you? That you can't actually join it? The Left and Right divide is quite often nothing more than a convenient label when you're trying to pigeon-hole someone.

Then Bolt can't understand why Perez Hilton is asked to judge:

"Prejean last month competed in the Miss USA final, where she was inexplicably asked by a judge, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, what she thought of gay marriage.

Hilton, not incidentally, is dye-my-hair-blue gay, but such is the official tolerance of these times that he was naturally asked to judge a pick-a-chick show for hetero fantasists. "


Dye-my-hair-blue gay? What the hell? I've known many people with blue hair, and many who identify as gay, and I can't say I've ever seen a cross-over.

It might be a pick-a-chick show, Andrew, but it also has a very large gay following, and Perez Hilton is - just like everyone else in the world - not just his sexuality. There's always a celebrity judge. That's he's gay has three-fourths of fuck all to do with it. Are we excluding women from judging as well? Is the most important qualification in judging a beauty pageant whether you want to have sex with the contestants?

Next, the point where I agree:

"Indeed, even President Barack Obama - a hero of the Left who has "inspired millions", according to this same Hilton - said before the election that he was against gay marriage, too, because "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman".

Just what Prejean said."


That's correct. And we didn't see Perez Hilton come out before the election and declare Obama a "Dumb Bitch" or anything similar for expressing that opinion. But Prejean was taking part in a beauty pageant, so the gags and condemnation came thick and fast.

"Yet the punishment of Prejean had barely begun. Organisers of Miss California issued a statement saying they were "saddened" by her response to the judge's direct question because "religious beliefs have no place in politics in the Miss California family".

They then cattily announced that not only did Prejean have breast implants, but the pageant had paid for them."


If religious beliefs have no place in politics in the Miss California family, why was she asked the question? And what would the organisers (or in fact, the public), have had her do? Lie? And what, apart from demonising her further and giving the public and certain commentators more fuel for their pyre, does who paid for her implants have to do with anything?

"I said that feminists, whatever their politics, should have denounced this savage and sexist put-down of a woman for merely having expressed a personal opinion, particularly when that same opinion is excused when expressed by a man that's now the President."

To be honest, I agree with that. Not that Andrew Bolt should be telling feminists what to do - particularly when he's usually so scathing of them - but why are we okay with a woman being attacked about her appearance, her breast implants, her hair colour, only when she disagrees with our point of view? When by-and-large, Obama got through saying the same thing with nary a backward glance?

Next, Andrew points out that the pageant organisers are considering stripping Prejean of her Miss California crown:

"Now they're even checking if they can take away her Miss California crown, on the pretext she broke pageant rules by posing topless at 17 - even though she'd merely auditioned for Victoria's Secret with her back to the camera and an arm shielding her breasts."

Aaand, this is where we cease to agree. Firstly, there are many precendents for stripping beauty pageant winners of their crown for similar rule-breaking, and contenstants are specifically asked on their application if they've ever had nude, or partially nude photographs taken of them. Prejean didn't declare the photograph.

That could have been a legitimate error - not seeing a topless shot that shows nothing as partially nude - or it could have been a deliberate oversight. I don't know, so I'm not going to judge that.

Secondly, Andrew was up in arms in April of last year with Vanity Fair "exploiting" a then-fifteen Miley Cyrus.

Let's compare the pair, shall we?

Miley:



Carrie:



There's two years difference between them, granted, but in Miley's shot, you see nothing but her back. Prejean's shot, particularly the full length shot where all she's wearing is a pair of boy-cut panties, is far more provactive.

Wherefore your indignation at adolescents and their sexualisation, Andrew?

Personally, I see nothing wrong with either shot, but that's my personal opinion. Nor do I see why with Miley, Bolt had an issue, but with Prejean he's donned his armour and he's galloping around on his white horse rushing to her defence.

Then we move on to Sarah Palin, and the media's treatment of her:

"No slur was too outrageous or false to be flung in Palin's face by writers who'd swear blind they were warriors against intolerance, sexism and snobbery.

Cult filmmaker Michael Moore even claimed Palin's Down syndrome baby, Trig, was actually the son of her eldest daughter, and prominent gay campaigner and writer Andrew Sullivan demanded to see the birth records of a boy the Huffington Post mocked as "the runt of the litter" and the editor of Australia's far-Left Crikey website unforgivably called "a mongrel".


A few things. Calling Trig a "mongrel" was absolutely unforgivable. Problem is, Andrew gets it wrong when he says the Editor of Crikey was the one who called Trig a Mongrel, He didn't. It was reader submitted. Still unforgivable, and should have been picked up. Considering it was first short-listed and then made it on to a poll, there were at least two opportunities to do so, and that it wasn't is pretty unbelievable.

Michael Moore is an idiot for taking that rumour (Anyone remember where that started?) at face value and not investigating it properly before making public comment on it.

Additionally, I lose a little bit of the sympathy I have for Palin - and I do have sympathy for the way she was treated by the media - when she herself uses her baby to further her Pro-life, anti-choice stance. It's distasteful to thrust your infant son into the media spotlight like that.

"Even Palin's pregnant daughter, just 17, was held up and mocked as a symbol of working-class depravity."

Here's another case where Palin loses my sympathy a bit. She was more than happy to use her daughters circumstances as a political point-scoring tool, but not so happy when others did the same. And I do not agree with - or defend - anyone who calls Sarah Palin's daughter a "slut", but when you preach an abstinance-only stance and your 17-year old, unmarried daughter gets knocked up, it kind of takes something away from your message, know what I'm saying?

Bristol Palin was not held up as a symbol of "working-class depravity", she was held up as an example of Abstinence-only sex-education doing what it does best - NOT WORKING.

Of Pauline Hanson, Bolt has this to say:

"This year she was falsely assumed by some papers to be just the trash who'd have posed for porn pictures, too, and deserved to have those fake pictures run without proper checking."

Andrew, your own paper was amongst those "some". Are you now claiming that News Limited is a Leftist organisation? Or that the editor who let this one through was? Or are you just trying not to piss off your bosses by mentioning that the organisation you write for was one of those who ran the story without the appropriate checking?

Basically, I have two issues with this whole Prejean thing. Firstly, when are we going to stop insisting that women (and men, for that matter) who are in the public eye are perfect? No-one is perfect. Teens go out and have pre-marital sex. Young women let their partners take photographs of them in compromising positions. Mothers sometimes DON'T have total control over what their children do. That doesn't make them bad people.

Personally, I don't agree with either Palin's policies, or Prejeans gay marriage stance. But that doesn't give me, or anyone else, the license to start picking Prejean apart on the basis of her appearance. Or her boob job. Or her blonde hair. Or even the fact that she's taking part in a pageant. It doesn't give anyone the right to pick Palin apart on the basis of her Downs Syndrome child, her pregnant daughter or the amount the McCain campaign spent on her wardrobe.

The fact that she also broke pageant rules by appearing on behalf of NOM, an anti-gay pro-fear organisation (Also, incidentally, against the rules), does piss me off a bit, but everyone is entitled to align themselves with whomever they chose. Just because I think NOM are a bunch of lying crazies with the worst weather predicting capabilities in the world doesn't mean Prejean shouldn't sully her name by her association with them. If that's how she wants to roll, that's fine.

Basically, what I'm asking for is that people take on Prejeans arguments and prejudices on their own merit. If what she's saying is so wrong (And it's my personal opinion that it is), then the counter-arguments will stand up on their own measure. There's no reason to be bringing blonde, boobs or brains into it.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

King of the Castle

Max, as kittehs are want to do, grows apace.

From this, in February:



To this, taken yesterday:



He's no longer entirely kitten, only, as I call him now, Kittenish. And you can see the handsome boy he's going to be. His marks are certainly darker.

And, as you can see in this photo, he thinks he's King of the Castle:




And Polly (Or Poll-Poll, as I call her), continues to be her pretty self:



Polly was keeping me company last week when I was sick and holed up on the couch. She's a total sweetie like that.



Speaking of things that are growing apace, I'm growing my hair. Basically, I chopped it off back to this last year:



And decided that, contrary to how it looked, it wasn't actually any easier to handle.

So I've been growing it in the last two months. This is a late March photo:



It's longer at the sides, as you can see, and much longer at the back since I went hack-happy in mid-Jan and got the back cut fairly short.

And a bonus photo, just because it makes me laugh. Someone once told me I have a very animated face. Until I saw this photo, and the set it is a part of, I didn't quite undestand what they meant. Never let it be said that only the flattering ones get through:



**Differences in the size of photos due to only showing photos of those I have permission to**