I au paired in the States about 12-13 years ago and I remember shortly after I got there we were watching television in the family room an an advert came on for washing powder. In this ad the voiceover went on to explain in detail how a competing brand was inferior to their brand. Our competitors brand is terrible because xyz. Our brand is much better. My heart kind of stopped. It sort of felt like some sort of serious thing was surely about to happen. So of course I blurted out “What the hell? They can’t do that!” Oh….such a naive foreigner… I was wrong. Apparently in the States this is completely permissible. (In hindsight I suppose this ad makes American politics a little easier to wrap my head around….but I digress…. ) I cannot possibly be the only one who finds this kind of advertising appalling! (more…)
So if random facebook postings are to be believed, the loadshedding schedule (that I imagine quite a bit of work must have gone into) has been put on hold.
Am I the only person who doesn’t care too much about loadshedding? Granted I am a spoiled (albeit penniless) stay-at-home mom, but loadshedding doesn’t bother me. It didn’t really bother me when I was “a career woman” (*snort*) either… It’s kind of just one of those things. And yes – I get it – it’s all about incompetence or whatever, but I do kind of like to think that I can find things to do with myself that don’t require electricity for a couple of hours per day. So….you can’t make tea for a while. Drink water. So you can’t play on the internet. Read a book. So you can’t “cook supper”. Make a salad with tuna in it! Is it really that big a deal? Our electricity went out yesterday and the kids put down their school work and proceeded to do some art. No problem.
The last time we had all this loadshedding stuff to deal with I was working in a dance studio. Bit difficult to teach your students with no music, right? I made them dance in the parking lot to music coming from my car. It’s kind of fun if you’re a slight exhibitionist…
I admit I complain about just about everything, but this is just one of those things that doesn’t really bother me. Honestly the only places that REALLY need electricity already have backup generators. As long as the hospitals have power I reckon it isn’t a real problem. Yes productivity slows down for a while. I dunno…. I guess I’m just the kind of person who would use it as an excuse to take a nap…
I was bullied pretty badly as a kid. I’m sure nothing as serious as what a lot of other people out there have endured, but it was pretty consistent (boring, tedious). I never considered killing myself. I don’t think I ever felt completely hopeless. But I did spend a lot of time in quiet tears that I didn’t let anyone see. It was a stupid thing. One of those things that I considered my problem because asking for help was too hard and I didn’t want anyone else to feel sad because of it. And your friends (and teachers) teach you very quickly that it is your problem and that they’re not actually going to stand up for you or do anything about it. They’re just going to sit on the sidelines and be grateful that you’re the target and not them, and sometimes they’re going to give off a giggle because being cool with the cool kids is what life is really all about. Your square ass doesn’t stand a chance! Kind of stupid I guess but you quickly come to the conclusion that you’re alone on this one, and if you’re lucky, you grow the boobs to deal with it and move on, hopefully unscathed. (more…)
So John Green has lately become my favourite thing of all the things because he is a real person (sadly, as much as I love The Doctor, he is not real) and as a real person I think the contribution that he is making with regards to changing the world is a significant one. John Green is just a good and brilliant man. This is literally a person who has made the world a better place to live in simply by reminding so many people that not-being-an-asshole is kind of the coolest thing there is. John Green and his brother Hank started the Nerdfighter movement which is too much awesomeness for me to even remotely comprehend nevermind share with you so that you might comprehend it. John Green writes the kind of YA literature that you can confidently give your kids and not worry about somehow messing them up for life. In fact, if your kid is reading John Green you can be pretty confident that they will be better people at the end of each novel. How do I know this? Because I am a little bit better for each of his novels that I have read. That is how magic he is.
Anyway – the point is that I forgot that he is one of my favourites of all the favourites while I was writing a post about reading all my favourite authors this month. This is kind of lame of me but he is a “new” favourite in that he has been a favourite for less than a year so I reckon I can forgive myself for the mistake. Luckily!! My husband bought me this little treasure as an anniversary present (I got him nothing…seriously…why did this man marry me?!) which made me remember that I LOVE JOHN GREEN and now I am so super duper happy because I get to read it right now this very minute as soon as I stop writing about how excited I am to have this new (to me) book by the awesomeness that is John Green. (more…)
After making just the tiniest bit of progress regarding our potential move to Thailand I couldn’t resist picking up this book and getting lost in someone else’s ideas of the place. So, of course, I took a hot shower and jumped on to my bed to read it while the family was out somewhere (this blissfully happens from time to time) and yes… I am totally naked in this photo… Reading in the nude after a hot shower is the best way to read. (hashtag:true story)
As always Tony Parsons did not disappoint me. Funny enough this particular book got bad reviews but I still loved it. Toni Parsons bring a certain kind of honesty to his writing. He is so real that I do feel like his books are teaching me something. I feel like he teaches me what it is to be a man, and in doing so he shows me how men and woman can kind of understand each other. I feel like he understands me and that I understand him because when he writes, he simply just writes. I don’t know if it is silly but this gives me hope. We are not so lost and different. There are pieces of ourselves that easily intertwine with the pieces of others. And when those others are essentially “good people” it feels incredibly good.
Tony Parsons makes me feel hopeful. He makes me feel hopeful about ordinary life. It is one thing to instil in someone a longing through the power of fantasy imagination, but to meet a longing by simply pointing out the beauty in human flaws? It feels like a relief. And I do very much think that counts for something….
So the husband and I have been married for two years which is kind of weird because half the time it feels like we have been together forever and the other half of the time it feels like we only just met the other day. We have been together since before my little dumpling could walk…which kind of means that ol’ Mr. Adams has been around for a whole bunch of my kid’s milestones. And…even weirder still….I met Bridgette when she was just a tiny bit older than Noah is now. That’s insane! The thoughts make me all twisty.
Anyway – because we are camera fiends and we like making a spectacle of ourselves we decided to delve into another trash-the-dress celebration. This of course will make many people silently yell about how stupid that is because technically a trash-the-dress shoot is supposed to happen the day after your wedding and blah blah blah blah. I don’t care. I like trashing my dress. Although I can now admit that I am getting dangerously close to being over it. (more…)
So I have been getting progressively worse at being a girl, but tomorrow I am dragging my husband to our third, fourth and fifth Trash-the-Dress photoshoot in honour of our 2nd anniversary (I can hear you snorting….I don’t care) and I decided to try and curl my hair. Don’t I look fab? I’m hoping that the result won’t be too dreadful. Actually who am I kidding? I’m not really bothered how it ends up looking – i’m just looking forward to a bit of silliness. I suppose it’s dumb but the man and I quite enjoy getting in front of the camera together. I guess in a weird way it’s about stealing a couple of moments that are completely about us. It’s fun and it feels “lovey” which we kind of need from time to time because of how this whole being alive thing makes stuff a bit pissy so you kind of sometimes forget that you like each other and that relationship fatigue comes from being tired far more than it comes from being tired of each other. So I’m doing my hair (should be fun to sleep in these mini pool noodle thingies….right?) and tomorrow we’re going to have a bit of fun playing. I must admit…I am starting to wonder if cosplay isn’t something we should be looking in to…because really all this dressing up stuff is just fun! Now if you’ll excuse me… I need to go and decide if I should do my nails or not…
It’s after 11am and I’m still in bed. It’s Saturday so at least there’s that, but I can’t help thinking that I should at least get up and shower and make the bed. And perhaps some more coffee. Instead I’m still lying here thinking about my favourite authors and why I love them so much. I am busy reading Tony Parson’s Catching the Sun and I find myself wrecked and elated at the same time. What is it about this man? I feel as though he profoundly understands me. I am aware that this is a ridiculous thought. It feels good though. After too many fairytales in February (they were fun but they got a bit much after a while) I kind of feel like I deserve a “break” and should be allowed to indulge in my failsafes for a while. They never let me down, after all.
Here are some of the talents I hope to get around to this month:
1.) Tony Parsons
The introduction to One For My Baby remains one of the most exquisite pieces of writing I have ever experienced. I often read just that piece and every single time it overwhelms me.
2.) Nick Hornby
I have loved this man ever since I read About a Boy for the first time. His movies and his books have all moved me, but none quite so much as How to Be Good which I will probably re-read another 10 times in my life. I hope to get around to A Long Way Down this month because the movie is coming out soon. With Toni Colette again! *squeal*
3.) Anne Tyler
I cannot express the gentleness of this woman. Her understanding of the nature of mankind. She takes the ordinary parts of life and underlines the beauty. Magical.
4.) Sarah Addison Allen
A new favourite, Allen enchanted me with The Girl Who Chased the Moon and I do believe I will remain enchanted throughout the rest of her works as well. After reading The Sugar Queen last year I finally decided on what kind of books I would like to write myself. I think I was kind of heading in that direction anyway, but she helped to push me over the edge. I picked up a copy of Garden Spells the other day and I can’t wait to get into it.
5.) Mike Gayle
Love this man for the same reasons that I love Parsons and Hornby. He’s such a “bloke” – but a nice bloke. And I like him.
6.) William Kowalski
Just a guy doing his writer thing. Making me smile. Making me nod.
7.) John Irving
This man is so far out of my league that I hardly feel worthy of reading his books!
8.) Margaret Atwood
Same as John Irving. Not worthy I tell you.
9.) Elizabeth Gilbert
How 21st Century of me to fall in love with this woman! Though possibly her work is not good for my general disposition. I fell in love with Ms Gilbert after seeing her TED talk and only then did I decide I should give this Oprah-approved book a read. I found that Eat Pray Love left me with a feeling of profound sadness and dis-ease. But I suppose she made all of us feel like we have forgotten how to live. I want to try Committed again because I struggled with it before.
Do you have your favourite authors who you use to rub your heart a little? Those few writers who you can trust to deliver something to ease your soul a little and leave you with a feeling of content instead of anxiety, or worse, indifference?
(Hmmmmm….. I’ve just realized that the Photobooth thingy on this computer does a mirror image… Weird…. )
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I must admit I don’t think that I am intelligent enough for Angela Carter. I have for a while believed that my own intelligence is slowly diminishing. Perhaps it is a simple case of growing up, I don’t know, but I am sure this book confused me far less as a young 20 year old. Now I feel like I didn’t particularly understand most of it. Of course there is no doubt that Angela Carter is an accomplished writer deserving of the utmost respect. I just cannot help but feel a slight bit of pressure while reading her books because they make me feel incurably stupid.
I remember the day I stopped reading magazines. I was paging through an issue of Cosmo and I came across a picture of Lindsay Lohan who was supposedly drunk. It was in the beginning of all that “Look how useless and alcoholic Lindsay Lohan is!” rubbish. It was before all the excessive drama. So here was this picture, and all I could think was “this is none of my business”. I felt dirty just looking at it. Why should it matter to me if Lindsay Lohan went out and got drunk with her friends one night? I have friends who do that all the time. I have done it quite a few times myself (although at the time I was quite a good girl and didn’t drink at all – now I just almost don’t drink) and I’ve never thought anything of it. But here was Cosmo, asking me to judge Miss Lohan, and I really didn’t like it. So I stopped buying Cosmo. And I stopped buying People and Heat. I just didn’t want to be told to judge people for their cellulite or their prescription medication habits or their relationship woes. It just wasn’t for me and it didn’t make me happy. In fact it made me decidedly unhappy. (more…)
I’m distressed this morning to hear that Thandile Sunduza is in hospital. She collapsed at the airport. She is seven months pregnant. And I think it is our fault that her health and the health of her baby might be in jeopardy. As of posting this I have not yet heard of a prognosis. I do however truly hope that she does not go into premature labour. I know from experience that it is not an easy thing to go through.
On Friday, South African social media flared up with all sorts of mostly nasty comments on the outfit she wore to the SONA thing. The second I saw it, I must admit I kind of went a little crazy. Comments on News Media sites do this to me a lot. News seems to bring out the crazies and the downright nasties in all their full glory. Sometimes it can be quite frightening to behold. Now I am no saint. I tend to jump to snap judgements like we all do. Sometimes (she confesses sheepishly) hipsters make me laugh. It’s totally wrong of me, I know. But they always look so serious! And that doesn’t seem to match with the crazy outfits, so it makes me giggle. When really, they have an “identity”. I don’t think I personally can claim to have so much. So who am I to laugh? The nastiness surrounding Ms Sunduza’s outfit hit me like a club though. I am so bad at politics, really. I didn’t watch the SONA thing. I’m not even sure I know what it stands for. I don’t know what the job of the Arts Commissioner is. I don’t know if she does her job well. I have no opinions on what should be considered “dignified” when it comes to dressing for government events. All I saw was a pregnant woman (captured in the midst of a heartfelt laugh) being absolutely lambasted by my countryfolk and it literally stole a giant piece of my joy. Imagine waking up one morning and discovering that the entire country is insulting you. And for something as superficial as an outfit!
Of course my immediate reaction was to post a “what the hell is wrong with people” post on Facebook. This sparked a “debate” of sorts in which a friend of mine (and acquaintance really) noted the incident as farcical in the context of being a government official and noting the probable cost of the dress etc. Fair enough I guess, though it wasn’t where I was coming from. Now I’m not sure I’m very good at debating. I tend to be able to be objective and appreciate differences (sometimes!) but I do find it annoying when I am showing respect for someone else’s opinion only to be found offensive in return. It’s a bit yawnish. My friend didn’t do that though. For a change, I was listened to and eventually understood. Later he even called me “right” – in public! Now, as much as we all love to be told that we are “right” – being called that is not the point.
My point is this: I could have just been angry and said nothing at all. I could have been angry, said something, and then just been offended by someone else’s opinion. And then? Then nothing. I spoke though. I spoke in the hopes of inspiring a little bit of goodness. This is something I find myself doing often these days and it hardly ever feels like it has any effect (just today I stood up for someone who went on to agree with the person I was standing up for her against – *sigh* – you win some you lose most I guess) but when it does have an effect? Doesn’t that make it worth it? I’m not saying that I changed the mind of an asshole – yay a big win for the good guys! The person I am talking about is a good guy. I’m just saying that sometimes we think things without thinking about those things. And there are lots of people out there who have been responsible for making me thing about things. We should really be doing that for each other. It was so damn nice to feel like we can be better. And we can be better together. His arguments were spot on I’m sure (he has never struck me as someone dramatic or excessively emotional and I have no leg to stand on when it comes to talking politics so I have no counter for political arguments) but my argument was that there is literally no reason that can justify slaughtering someone in the media for what they wear. It is something that has bothered me about cheap tabloids for years and it was disappointing to find that my local paper was stooping to these ugly tricks. Surely that must make sense?
I’m tired of living in a victim blaming society. Why am I tired of it? Because someone else pointed it out. THANK YOU someone else for pointing that out. I am so very aware of it now. I am tired of living in a society where little children try to kill themselves and people have the audacity to say things like “the parents should not have let him wear that tshirt to school because he would obviously be teased for it”. I’m tired of living in a society where rape culture is alive and thriving. I’m tired of living in a society where bullying is not only acceptable, but it is tolerated and indulged in by the people we learn from and emulate on a daily basis.
If something happens to Thandile Sunduza’s baby, are all the people who participated in all the nastiness about her going to say “oh well it’s her fault for wearing that stupid outfit!” or are there at least a few people out there who will own their responsibility in this? Will the media take responsibility for fuelling this sensationalist and superficial nonsense? Because you know what? If you took part in Friday’s nastiness, then it might very well be a little bit your fault that she is in the hospital today. The responsibility is minuscule if you want to divide it among all the offenders, I admit, but it is there.
The brutality of mankind is something that weighs on me quite heavily these days. I am told by well-meaning friends to “just ignore it” but I cannot help but think that all this ignoring is part of the problem. I don’t want to be part of the problem. I want to be part of the solution, even if my part is miniscule. I want to stand up for those who are being wrongly slain, even if my words have no effect. Even if it means that pieces of myself are chipped away for my efforts. I don’t want to be the guy frantically trying to justify his actions. I don’t want to be the guy shouting about how everyone has “a right to their opinion and to express it” because you know what? Yes, you do have that right, but somehow that doesn’t really make it right. I want to be right. Not just with myself but with the peace of the world. I want to be right with my Gods and yours. I want to be better. I keep failing, but I can at least honestly say that I am trying, sometimes aggressively so.
I think it is ok to demand better though. You can call it feminist crap if you want, but I’m done with being shut up. I want to stick up now. I want to do it for myself and for others who have no one to stick up for them.
And I don’t want to do it because it is “fun”. I want to do it because it is right.
I dorkishly loved this movie the first time I watched it and I still love it. I don’t think it can really fall under the “Fairytale retelling” banner, but it’s all enchanty and fairytaley so we’re going with that. Of course, Anne Hathaway, Eric Idle and Minnie Driver are favourites of mine, so that kind of kicks ass too. That crazy-ass blond woman who acts in Ben & Kate and Dinner for Schmucks (I think) is kind of awesome to watch in a trainwreck sort of way. Her particular brand of obnoxious is kind of hysterical. Unfortunately my kid doesn’t share my love of this movie. He asked me if it was “his turn” to watch TV so I put it on for “his turn”. He wasn’t impressed. He was hoping for Dora. At least he loved Peter Pan yesterday. I definitely need a Dora break…
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’m giving this collection of stories a four star review simply because I enjoyed reading it. Most of the stories stretched far outside of their traditional counterparts and I absolutely loved the creative retelling. If I were to meet any of the contributors I imagine I might just get a little bit gushy. I especially loved that almost none of them we “obvious” in the beginning and I found myself racing through each tale, enthusiastic to discover which story was being retold. A definite must-read for anyone who love retellings.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
So this is what happens when you decide to furnish your reading list with free stuff from Kindle: You end up reading a whole bunch of sorta weird stuff that you would otherwise never have glanced at before. I guess that is a good thing in the spirit of expanding one’s horizons…
Anyway – here I was exposed to a bit more “Fairytale Erotica” which I must admit is still kind of weird as all hell to me. For instance, with this story you’re merrily going along reading about a man and his son living in the woods and then there are a couple of lions and other creatures and it’s all sort of lovely….and then all of a sudden you find yourself reading the word “cock” and suddenly all is no longer right with the world. Now don’t get me wrong, as much as I don’t usually choose erotica as my default genre, I certainly have no issue with graphic sex scenes should they find their way into a book that I actually want to read (this almost never happens by the way). It is usually as impossible to read about sex without getting randy as it is to watch porn (or a particularly steamy non-porn-but-still sex scene) without getting a little randy….but this? I can’t say it did much for me at all. It was just kind of icky. And not because of the throbbing vein on the engorged member (*snortlaugh*) but because again I found myself reading about a sort of rape fantasy. The fact that the usual gender role was reversed in this situation didn’t really make it any better. It was still a bit yucky. Basically, Circe (a goddess) forces the huntsman to sexually gratify her in exchange for the return of his son.
In my Fairytale wanderings I came across this little gem of a mini series and decided that I had to see Zooey Deschanel play the Dorothy character in this more modern retelling. Sadly it was a little blah but certainly not the worst I have seen so far. A couple of famous-ish faces pop up here and there too, making the whole thing sort of fun to watch despite the lack of brilliance and the overall silliness of the show. I liked that “scarecrow” had a zipper on the top of his head where his brain had been removed and I liked that there were different sorts of “races” based on the main characters. The story as a whole was kind of interesting too and it comes together quite nicely at the end.