Sunday, February 28, 2010

like a freight train, hurtling down a hill...

And with no freaking idea how to use the controls.

Am finding this whole dress shopping thing vaguely depressing. I had an idea in my head of what I wanted to wear: black, scoop neck (or something vaguely similar) dress with empire waist, cut to just above the knee, with black opaque tights and:
these peep toes from Zu. It occured to me that I could also throw on a black ruffle bolero similar to

these ones that I've seen on etsy. Indeed, I've even found a how-to for something similar on Cut Out and Keep! So, I'm moderately excited about what to wear, but completely unmotivated about the actual dress shopping aspect. Finding a simple black dress becomes infinately more complicated when short and kind of funny shaped (read: feelin real tubby). Lots  of styles I like, with structured bodices and spaghetti straps or frills or layers or a pencil skirt or WHATEVER just don't look nearly as nice on. So, ok, I'm no Sienna Miller (or whatever) but... you know, I'm feeling a little isolated out of the market here. Conventional dress sites show stuff that is too formal, too white, too frou frou or whatever, and if it manages to extend beyond these categories, then it is generally designed for someone much, much taller and slimmer than me... with the hips of a 12 year old boy.

It's frustrating, mildly depressing, and at times, when I'm feeling vulnerable, kind of soul destroying. 

So I'm going to continue to handwrite invitations and feel cranky and sorry for myself.

Oh, fuck.

I was just looking through the offbeat bride and was reminded that according to the Marriage Act 1961 our celebrant is obliged to say some crap about how, in Australia, marriage is a legally binding blah blah between a MAN AND A WOMAN to the exclusion of all others.
Now, I don't. agree. with. this. at. all.

It completely contravenes my feelings regarding love, people, and the notion that the heart knows no gender boundaries, and that marriage should be a right for all regardless of sex or sexual identity. It is at odds with everything I am trying to raise my children to understand - that laws do not dictate love (within reason: we're not talking child brides here, peoples - but then, I tend to think of this as something that is the product of religion more so) so I am at a bit of a loss as to how to circumvent this problem in our ceremony.
I'm not at all comfortable with the exclusive nature of the Australian Marriage Act.

Currently I'm trying to get my head around how I, as a feminist, can not only endorse, but actively engage in something that effectively deliniates one group of society from another, based on something as arbitrary as who they love. Not sexual preference, but love. Because to me, that's what it ultimately boils down to: N and I have (gloriously) realised that we are at a point in our relationship where we've decided, that "yeah, this is it, and it's awesome" and others, who also reach this point, cannot (legally) express this in the same fashion.
Kind of rough, isn't it?

Further, associated with marriage are all sorts of patriachal symbols that I wish to thoroughly disown. I've thought about this somewhat, though, we can condemn the symbols that oppress us, or we can reclaim them, call them our own and effectively repurpose them to represent what we want. It's the same logic I use with my frequent use of very naughty swear words.
Thus, marriage becomes not about possession and submission, but rather, strengthening and sharing the bonds of love, not just with each other, but with everyone else - friends and family alike. And I suppose that's why my family and N's family are overjoyed that we're doing this - (in my mother's words, "about bloody time") because then they too can join in (join hands? Figuratively speaking, NOT literally) and say something along the lines of "hey this makes me really happy".

I just don't like that it's so damned exclusive. And so, I continue to voice my discontent.

So, apart from blathering on about how I never planned a wedding, never dreamt of my wedding day, never envisioned myself getting married (when we played weddings at school, I was the celebrant, when we played mums and dads, I was the crazy aunty that visited occasionally from some far off corner of the world and bought the most AWESOME gifts - and wore funny hats)... and have even outwardly stated that "I don't think I'll ever get married"... but, you know, like in that Ms Jackson song, "forever never seems like a long time till you're wrong".
Mind you, I'm quite happily wrong about this.

Friday, February 26, 2010

hmmm... parallels where I suspect they were not intended to be...

Killing time this morning (feeling sorry for myself and my sore throat) I was reading about some dude that has made barbie models of Lady Gaga. Which is pretty cool, except that it occurs to me that many of Lady Gaga's latest outfits appear to be channelling some of The Mighty Boosh's characters, specifically, Black Frost.

Exhibit A: Lady Gaga and her miniature Barbie twin:

(image from NineMSN)

Exhibit B: The BlackFrost

(image from here)

and some dude dressed as the black frost (or lady gaga, you decide)

(image from here)

Further, in a Lady Gaga lookalike outfit (or atleast, that's what MSN newsfix called it), Jennifer Love Hewitt looks distinctly Old Gregg like. Skeptical? I bet you are. But really, it's there. Allow me to illustrate my point:

Exhibit A:

and Exhibit B:
Jennifer 'I like to vajazzle my vajayjay' Love Hewitt on her 31st birthday recently, who dressed up as Lady Gaga (note the hair-bow) doing some kooky "OMG LOOK AT ME I'M STILL CUTE" shots:

(from NineMSN)

Really, the trend setter here is Noel Fielding. Or Vince Noir. Or Noel Fielding AS Vince Noir. Or maybe it's just Old Gregg. I don't know.

The point is, no one can rock an elizabethan collar like Noel can. Example:

Exhibit A: Noel Fielding out being awesome, with a decidedly less awesome (in fact, I would argue, incredibly dreary) Lily Allen:

(pic from here - and I apologise immensely for Lily Allen being in this shot)

And Exhibit B: a somewhat oddly dressed Lady Gaga, who decided that meeting ol' Queen Liz II was a good time to dust off the Singer sewing machine and all that vinyl she just knew would come in handy some day:

(image from instyle)

Now, I could be wrong, but it would appear that Lizzie Windsor got her sparkle on for the occasion. Seems appropriate.
Further, and this may sound harsh (but I honestly couldn't give a fuck) the similarities between Noel Fielding and Lady Gaga don't end at her shameless copycat fashion efforts. Both! Yes, both! are pictured with a UK erm... 'celeb' that gets far more media attention than they should. Both are pictured with a 'celeb' that is decidedly dreary, and I'd hazard a guess that Liz's singing is probably on a par with Lily Allen's, as well.

Now let's all go listen to some Patti Smith in an effort to cleanse our souls of all those horrid Lily Allen and QEII thoughts.  

Man, Patti is awesome.
Women with attitude, real attitude (not faux attitude channelled for the cameras) are awesome.
The desire to challenge the boundaries of gender/class/race etc, social constructs that would act as prisons were these women not there to liberate us via constant questioning, pushing and testing these of boundaries... well, these women changed my life.
They taught me that it's ok to be reflexive and constantly reinvent or reassess yourself, so long as you stay true to yourself - this person that you are and most importantly, the passion that fuels you through your every day. Too easily, too readily we lose sight of the greater ideals that guide us, and in these situations it's very cathartic -I guess- to remind ourselves of who, and why, we are.

(Chrissie Hines, also from sounding project)

stand up and be counted

 made some dark chocolate and raspberry muffins for the girls to take to school. Very simple recipe:
220g self raising flour (sifted)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa (I think - I can't actually remember if I used this much or more)
1/4 of vegetable or canola oil
3/4 cup of skim milk
1 egg (lightly beaten)
150g of chopped dark chocolate and frozen raspberries. I think it was around 100g of chocolate and like, 70g of raspberries, but meh. You can put whatever you want in there (raspberries and white chocolate, for example!)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (C). Mix dry ingredients in a bowel and make a well in centre. Mix wet ingredients and pour in to well. Combine, taking care not to over-beat - this makes the mixture tough. Add whatever additional ingredients you were going to add, stir. Pour in to muffin tins lined with patty-pans, bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Considering the girls loved the chocolate and zucchini muffins, I imagine they're going to love these.

So, while waiting for these little chocolatey cakes of raspberry goodness to cool (So I could put them away) I was on facebook, reporting racist groups  (as I like to do, instead of sleeping). I also joined an anti-racist group, titled '"Abo" is a racist word! Don't say it, use it or think it!" ... apart from my cousin's sarcastic comments (damn it, katey, I thought of it as I read it) I was reminded of the Warumpi Band's seminal tune, "Black Fella, White Fella" - someone wrote a post about it on the wall of the group.

So here it is:

one of the most influential songs and bands in my childhood (and later, as a teen trying to find her feet in terms of social justice) and a song that reminds me of my dear old Uncle Mark (RIP). He was the kind of person that encouraged others to 'stand up and be counted'. Via Mark, I learned of Joh Bjelke-Peterson and his creation of Qld as a police state (replete with corrupt police), of Bjelke-Peterson's support of apartheid in South Africa. Bjelke-Peterson also made public protesting all but illegal, leading to some Liberal politicians crossing the floor to vote against this - the right to association and assembly - people he later accused of being traitors (well, that's the story I hear).
Further, Bjelke-Peterson seemed to do all that he could to continue to disempower and malign Australian Aboriginal people, such as pushing through an act to anull previous Native Title Claims, as well as evicting Fred Hollows and some Aboriginal Elders from a government controlled 'reserve' on the grounds that they were encouraging the Aboriginal people to enroll to vote - Hollows, of course, was there for trachoma work (though... I wouldn't put it past Fred Hollows to have been doing this!).
Bjelke-Peterson was also istrumental in the demise of the Whitlam Government.

Lovely fellow, eh?

So... because of this, and because we can, we must stand up and be counted. As La Passionara said, "better to die on your feet than to live on your knees", or, in the words of Alexander Hamilton, "Those who stand for nothing, fall for anything".

Thursday, February 25, 2010

the printed word...

so at this point it might be appropriate to admit that while I happily subscribe to ideas and notions I see on the interwebs, such as 'I pledge to read the printed word' the fact is, as a perpetual student I frequently struggle to find time to read simply for pleasure. Well, this isn't entirely correct - as far as 'pleasure' is concerned, I enjoy study, and read beyond my field of inquiry (at that particular point in time) because I enjoy it. It's not exactly reading novels, though, and this is something I absolutely miss.
Having said that, I doubt that I could (without guilt) commit to a novel at this point in time. My leisure time is preoccupied with reading for my thesis, cryptic crosswords and sudoku.
And I like cryptic crosswords and sudoku too much to give it up.

Also, blogger no longer has spellcheck. Well, not an obvious one. This annoys me.

please bear with me while I open my mouth and spew forth a pile of unintelligable gibberish

I really loathe those days when I feel I swing a pendulum between talking too much (and saying very little) and not talking (and still, saying very little). There is no middle ground here, simply a dire case of foot-in-mouth, and uncomfortable silences.
Case in point - today, when, during a meeting with other Honours students and their supervisors, I felt I either babbled incessantly, or stared at the table intensely, hoping someone else would say anything so that I wouldn't feel the need to continue to blather on about nothing in particular. Fortunately, my supervisor appears to be quite empathetic to this unfortunate condition, as she rescued me on more than one occasion. She's like me, I think, in a short, intense personality kind of way.

Now, because I'm terribly vain, I like to think I'm intense in a Peaches kind of way. Of course, Peaches is brilliant and intense and a musical god, but still, I'd like to think there were parallels between the the more abrasive and challenging aspects of her public persona (she makes no apologies for who she is, indeed, she challenges people to question their presumptions and preconceptions) and myself.
I wish.

Picture courtesy of The Scenestar

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Everyone always leaves

I love this:

Everyone always leaves.

So, so funny, I don't know how I didn't discover this blog sooner. (Well, I do, and involves having a life, particularly one that incorporates lots of academic study, sport, dogs and children, but it sounds much less dramatic when put like that).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

So inspired I am by Helen Razer's blog, that I felt the need to blog about this here. Because ranting to no one in particular is what I do best.

Ms Razer describes her experiences while buying an RCA lead, and what seems to be an inevitable and entirely predictable exchange with male sales assistant, who acts in such a way as to assume that he wasn't aware that people with vaginas were allowed to go to school and might (God forbid!) know things.
My last experience in this sphere was while trying to establish the cost of replacing the battery in my car's remote control. I spoke to a automotive locksmith, and explained that I had sawed the remote open along its seam with a steak knife, pried the battery off, and that while one of the contacts was already broken (the result of being dropped too many times) I had established that fashioning a makeshift contact out of some tin-foil seemed to work just fine, and can I use a regular battery and would you sell me one please.
With an over-exaggerated sigh, he explained to me that these remotes were single use only, and couldn't be opened (in spite of me telling him I already had) and that purchasing a replacement battery was a mistake because it was NEVER GOING TO WORK BUT WHAT WOULD YOU KNOW BECAUSE YOU ARE JUST A STUPID GIRL. Well, the last bit wasn't actually spoken aloud, you know, but rather, tacit in his tone and slow manner of explanation. So, very patiently, and equally as slowly, I explained to him that not only was I confident it would work, but that at least attempting to fix the unit was preferable to obediently handing over wads of cash that I simply don't have - something I am sure he seemed to think was the only thing I was actually skilled at.

So, steeled by his arrogant presumptions, I called in to a local supermarket, bought a battery and replaced it, sticky tape, tin foil and all. And it works fine. So you know, nyeh nyeh, etc.

Cutlery, crockery, and all things servingware

Are plastic plates an absolute no-go?

In the process of planning our little backyard 'event', N and I have had to give thought to what people are actually going to eat off. Normally a mishmash of new and old plates are dragged out of the cupboards for people to use, and in some scenarios, the paper plate makes an appearance. It is an outside event, after all, and being the pseudo-greenie that I am, I can rationalise and justify using disposable products by buying those that are already made from recycled paper to begin with.

Trouble is, they're kinda cheap looking.
And while cheap isn't really a concern of mine, it's not what I would choose if I wanted to set this particular backyard 'event' apart from every other occasion, and doing so seems somewhat important to me at the moment, as if to give some indication of the brevity of the ceremony, while still doing it in a uniquely N & Katey kind of way.
Yet, this seems preferable to the plastic alternative:



I don't know. But I suppose it is one of those very important things that I will need to work out sooner rather than later. Like what we're wearing, and other crap like that. Meh.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cougars and Cubs

Is this new 'cougar' phenomenon *actually* a phenomenon? There has been much buzz in the media regarding the issue, not the least of which includes a new (and much promoted) tv series titled "Cougar Town" starring a 40-something-but-still-very-hawt Courtney Cox. Of course, preceding this was an article on some trashy - sorry- serious current affairs program on Australian tv regarding the 'cougar phenomenon' amongst women and young, starry eyed and cashed up Rugby League players (and presumably, AFL players, but really, who cares about that weird sport and their oddly cumbersome passing and tackling techniques?).
What has occurred, at least in my observations, is an evolution of the word 'cougar' to mean, not just a hot, older woman, but a hot, older woman over the age of about 35 (this is not precise, I suspect it could be higher?) who is single, looking for a no-commitment relationship with a similarly hot male approximately 10 years their junior. Conversational ability optional.
What I initially understood it to mean, was a woman who was... perhaps in her thirties, seeking same with hot young rugby players. I suppose the lines are blurred and fundamentally the same, but at the tender age of thirty I witnessed an old school friend refer to herself on facebook as a cougar, so was surprised to eventually learn the age requirements for the label were somewhat higher than initially thought.


What this means, though, for women, is a reinforcement and perhaps prolonging of the sociological imperative to remain 'hot' for as long as they possibly can, equipping themselves with clingy fabrics, spray tans, perhaps a little surgical aid, and a decent amount of hair and makeup.
Now, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with a woman's desire to look 'nice' - I want to make this clear. However, it is who this effort is for, that I take umbrage with. Is it really, truly, for the woman, if she is then going out and actively seeking the attentions of much younger males (and presumably, competing with younger women, and their nubile, not-yet-had-children bodies). The answer is, I don't know.
Seeking non-committal sex is fantastic, women are to be lauded for having the confidence and self-assuredness to do this, ignoring social expectations to be demure and chaste and acknowledging their desire for what is fundamentally a physical relationship. After all, the only *real* discernible difference between males seeking casual, non-committal sex and entirely physical relationships, and women, is well, some stupid gendered ideas regarding women's biological imperative as the child bearers/carers and generally downtrodden within the male/female: masculine/feminine paradigm. Which isn't very just or fair, nor is it accurate. Gender identities are, as we all well know, malleable, changeable, and forever in a state of flux. That's how we know that they're not inherited, but rather, socialised - because if they were biological then they would be much, much more rigid, and there would be no categories that fell outside of these binary terms (eg, 'feminine men, and 'masculine' women).
So, with respect to this, I admire and respect the cougars. what I don't admire and respect is, as previously stated, women's societal worth being measured largely by their physical appearance, that is, their attractiveness (via social norms of what is and is not attractive), particularly to the opposite sex.
Can't women have one night stands without the nasty removal of almost all pubic hair (additional issues here with mimicking pre-pubescent girls), tan-in-a-can and very expensive dye and blow-dry?
Men are less so expected to fulfill the same physical requirements - the 'yummy mummy'/milf phenomenon does not necessarily translate to 'yummy daddy'/dilf' with such ease and social acceptance- perhaps because it is still taboo for women to discuss such things so publicly.

I don't know. I do admit that I'm not immune to this, but at the same time, I tell myself that I want to buck these trends/expectations and live my life as *I* see fit, measuring my appearance as a body that grows and nourishes life, is strong and fit (And eventually, athletic), moves and sustains and supports my teammates on the sporting field. With this, comes a level of physical fitness that *happens* to fit desirable images of bodies in current society.
In theory.

In reality, I know I'm just as vain as everyone else.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Plans, eh?

So we have 10 weeks till -the date- and I am aware that we have much plans to make, and put in to action.
Yet, motivation is so....

Which is not to say that I don't want to go through with the ceremony - THAT part I'm actually really excited about. What I'm not keen on, is the organisation of having some kind of 'not-your-average' barbeque, with expectations from friends and family that things should look and be a certain way.
Actually- I don't even care about their expecations... so is it my own that concerns me?
I don't know.

I thought that it'd all be easier once I sorted a dress out. In keeping with this, I kept the girls home from school, and went shopping in an effort to gain some inspiration and ideas on appropriate outfits. In doing so, I was reminded just why I dislike shopping - the arduous process of trudging shop to shop, trying on things and, more frequently, not trying things on because it is clear that they would be unflattering/too small/too long/wrong colour.

Thus, the entire experience becomes extraordinarily depressing, reminding myself that I actually *do* have body issues, reinforced by the presence of my daughters' and their critical eyes.

(not that I begrudge my daughters' presence, by any means!)

So, we are as yet dress-less. I admit though, secretly, the idea of getting a dress at the absolute last minute appeals to me.