Sunday, October 31, 2010

Going a little crazy...

OK so maybe my desk doesn't look this bad but I am currently surrounded by about 1000 pieces of loose paper, the paperbacks I've been studying, pens, pencils, cups, tissues, chocolate wrappers. Not to mention all of the bits and pieces of my sister's architecture paraphernalia which has spread much further across the house than my stuff (anything to make me feel better!!) and is going to require a dozen garbage bags and 4 vacuum attempts.

I'm getting close though!! Twelve days and two exams to go!! One on Tuesday which I'm battling right now. I know the subject (popular fiction) but I'm terrified I won't be able to write all three essays within the allotted time. Another couple of hours will be spent on it tonight, then I have to work tomorrow, then I'll come how and get another 4 hours done on it and have an early one so I can wake up beautiful and fresh and intelligent on Tuesday the 2nd and blitz this exam!!

I think I can I think I can I think I can... I mean... I know I can I know I can I know I can!

Also, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! Here are some fabulous children in gorgeous lil costumes (squueee!!) and one of the most fabulous and handsome zombie that ever existed (my dearest boyfriend Tom).

Colonel Sanders
Alex from A Clockwork Orange
Zombie Tom

Friday, October 29, 2010

An open letter to cyclists

Dear mister and misses cyclist,

 Bikes terrify me, I think it is the combination of being completely exposed without any real protection and traffic, hills and those horrible breaks. It's sad though because the idea of riding down a country road in search of the perfect picnic spot seems quite idyllic to me. You guys don't have that problem obviously, because I see you everywhere! All over town at all hours of the day in all kinds of weather. You're so wonderful and colourful in those form fitting leotard things, very festive and easy on the eye. You're saving the environment, paving the way for a healthy future and seem to give cafes a lot of business on Sunday mornings. For all this commend you.


You are not a car, you cannot ride at 100km/h, you can't even match the 50km speed limits so why do you continue to ride in the centre of the lane? Why is it so hard for you to stay to the left of the lane when riding along a narrow road along the river, even when there is a line of 15 cars trailing behind you? Are your lycra bike shorts so tight they restrict your ability to sense the world around you? And why is it that you continue to ride on the road even when there is a nice and wide bike path specifically designed for you two metres to the left? I think I get it, you feel left out, all of us with engines are roaring around the place and you're stuck with those measly pedestrians who only use their legs to get around, obviously you should be with us, the people with wheels and speed and stuff. But if that is what you want how come you refuse to conform to our rules? Why will you only follow road rules when they suit you. If I can't weave out of traffic onto the bike path how come you can? If I can't turn on a red arrow how come you can?

As great as you folks are I think it is time for you to make a decision, either you stick to the road rules (ALL of them), register your bike and join us heavy, unenvironmentally friendly fellows or you restrain yourselves and keep your multicoloured butts in your designated zone. No one can have it all, and even with all of your environmental and health benefits you are not an exception to this. So make a decision. Now. Please.

Yours truly,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Weight Debate and Marie Claire

Just a quick post to weigh in on the current Marie Claire scandal (if you haven't read the article go here) that is raging across the Internet.

I am all for free speech, for Christ sake I am one of the most opinionated people on the planet, but there is such a thing as tact and Maura Kelly does not have it. By all means write an article about the prevalence of obesity in western society and definitely tie it into the new show about overweight people that is currently the number 1 new comedy in America, because that makes it topical and relevant to right now. And by all means try and write it in a light-hearted, frothy way if that is the only writing you can manage, heck aim for a little comedy, anything to connect with your readers.

But do not title your blog "should fatties get a room?" and don't connect it to a TV show you've never actually watched and do not fill it with pretentious and demeaning statements like "now, don't go getting the wrong impression: I have a few friends who could be called plump. I'm not some size-ist jerk" or "But ... I think obesity is something that most people have a ton of control over. It's something they can change, if only they put their minds to it" or "I admit that there's plenty that makes slimming down tough, but YOU CAN DO IT!"

No one can deny that obesity is a problem and that it is connected to a variety of diseases and what not but a list of 'helpful tips' about eating healthy and walking more does not help. Better diet and exercise is common knowledge, everyone knows that is key to a healthier life and yes, for some being overweight is probably 100% a response to laziness. But just like anorexics can't simply start eating again, there are psychological implications to obesity. I think this is one of the worst aspects of the article, not just because Maura is so insensitive regarding the topic, but that she reduces it to sheer laziness, she removes any psychological implications and does an entire group of people an injustice by suggesting that unlike anorexic people who truly suffer, they are wasting taxpayers money because of their selfish desire to eat.

This incident has made me sad, that Maura was able to publish this not on a personal blog but on a (previously) reputable magazine's website leaves me questioning fashion journalism, an industry I've always been interested in. I know that there are dippy, frothy people out there and they always seem to be the ones who speak the loudest, but the fact that this was allowed to be published after a fellow editor read it just goes to show that there indeed is a sickness in the fashion industry and the members of that community don't seem too interested in curing.

Finally I want to mention the responders to Maura Kelly's article. 1578 comments have been left and apparently around 28000 emails have been sent to Marie Claire and while many are eloquent and appropriate there are a large sum which are horrible. Yes I'm upset over this article, and if I was overweight I'm sure there'd be a whole new level of hurt, but it doesn't help to leave comments saying that Maura is a "C@nt" and that you "wish she'd died from her anorexia." Ultimately this article stripped a group of people of their dignity and comments of that nature are equally horrendous, taking her condition and using it as an insult is just as bad as her criticising people without intending to. By all means speak your piece, but do so in a calm and respectable manner, they are the comments that will impact the most, over-emotional, hate filled comments will be skipped over quickly.

If you want to express your thoughts...
Twitter: Speak your mind in 140 characters or less using the hashtag #unfollowmarieclaire
Facebook: Join the group Boycott Marie Claire magazine - say NO to fat phobia and discrimination!

Keep an eye out for Marie Claire's counterpoint articles on the topic--
Question...Is creating a discussion good enough or should they be removing Maura's blog and firing her? *note* People have been fired for less but personally I don't think that is the right way to go.

... . -.-. .-. . - ... .-. --- -.-. -.- ..--.

As a kid I always thought the very essence of a friendship was the secrets you shared, about who you had crushes on, the lipstick you stole from your mum's makeup bag or the prank you played on your sister. More than these shared secrets were the secret handshakes and secret languages. To put in the time and effort to create a long-winded, detailed and difficult handshake complete with slaps, hip bumps, dance moves and twirls or to create a completely new alphabet or code, well, to me that exemplifies a true friendship. You aren't going to go through the silly, semi-embarrassing creation process if you know that person is anyone but your best friend.

I made my fair share of handshakes when I was younger (*cough* earlier this year with my sister *cough*) but the secret language/code never really caught on. I learnt pig Latin and attempted Gobble-de-gook (but I could never get my head around it) but that wasn't secret enough, everyone knew them, even our parents. My sister and I attempted a couple of personal languages, I think we must have wanted to spice up our doll/teddy fantasy worlds, but the only one that every stuck was one where we began each word with an N. So, Hi my name is Kayleigh became Ni, nmy name nis Nayleigh. It was terrible and it didn't take long for us to recognise that, but every now and then I'll walk up to my sister and poke her in the side and say "Narn!! Now Nar Nu Nuing? Nisters!" and we'll shoot shifty looks around us, and seeing that the coast is clear we'll do our energetic and complex handshake and fall over laughing.

 I've had a renewed interest in secret languages lately, whether it is simply using morse code to tap out messages to one another like Oskar and Eli in Let the Right One In or flashlights like Kristy and Maryanne in The Babysitters Club or a full blown new creation like Tolkien's Elvish language, they fascinate me, perhaps because of the significance to my childhood. I think that at 23 I'm past the age of creating a language with a good friend, but I'd love to create something for my children, some little inside joke for us to all share, a tradition to pass on. As much as I love my family we never seemed to have any special activities or secrets that were just ours, and I regretted that. It's something that I've always known I wanted to do with my family, nothing intense or over the top, even a personalised greeting that was just ours would be enough.

I've got a few years to go before I really have to start thinking of that though, but until then I love thinking of these things and banking them away for those special future years I have ahead of me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stressed like a pair of 80s jeans

Last assignment due tomorrow, then two exams and I'm finished!! Until then (the 12th of November- which in the future will be fondly referred to as the day the madness ended)  I'll probably be contemplating suicide several times a day, so anyone reading this please send out some happy thoughts for me in this time of academic stress.


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