reviewthislife

It's my world – and I'm grading it

Kotsko, Heidegger, Awkwardness, and here’s what I think about your damn social rules

Sunsilk Co-creations – Addictive Brilliant Shine

My hair is both naturally and absolutely straight, which has earned me the resentment of many fellow females who have to condition/treatment/blowdry their own hair into submission. Whatever. All it means for me is that I have never been overly concerned with affairs of the hair. I wash it when it’s dirty, brush it when it’s knotted, and get the occasional cut to keep it neat.

Back when this story begins, approximately six years ago when my hair was still waist-length, I cared even less – I didn’t even bother cutting it. When buying shampoo and conditioner my choice was based on a combination of value for money and smell. I’ve never bothered choosing based on their supposed attributes because fuck it, they’re all the same, really.

Until one day when, after trying out a new flavour of shampoo/conditioner, I noticed that my hair was really soft. Fantastically soft. It was sensously, mind-blowingly soft. I made people touch it, “feel how soft my hair is!”, and they agreed. I swore that I had found the shampoo/conditioner combo for me and that I would never look back. I’m sure you know where this is going so I won’t bother building up to it: they stopped fucking making it. Presumably, because I managed to get through two bottles and was then unable to find it again.

Fast forward to present time.

Earlier this week, with a strange sense of deja vu, I picked out a new shampoo/conditioner combo. I based it on price (on sale!), smell (not bad), and the vague sense that this might be somewhat similar to the magical grooming product of my past. This shampoo and conditioner is Sunsilk’sAddictive Brilliant Shine” with pearl extract, and it’s back, by god, it’s fucking back.

For the past 33 1/2 hours I have not been able to stop running my fingers through my hair. I told my sister about it over the phone. I stood up in the office and announced it to my co-workers. I emailed a friend and told her the story, and she replied with:

“That stuff’s back again?? :-D”

It’s that good.

I cannot stop touching it. I want to go out and pick up men so that they can touch it too, and its softness will not be wasted. I have been orchestrating a thousand stumbles in my mind with the plan of falling into my crush’s arms/lap/third thing, and when he feels how soft my hair is he will requite my attraction with his own. This idea has so consumed me that it made its way into my dreams last night, except that instead of my trying to “accidentally” fall into his arms, I was trying to “accidentally” pour a can of blue paint over my mother’s head.

Take no offense, mum, you know how it is with dreams.

Anyway, I very simply and very truly love this shampoo and conditioner.

9/10

(because it needs to be punished for all the time it spent off the shelves)

https://i1.wp.com/www.beautyheaven.com.au/product_images/24705/sunsilk-co-creations-addictive-brilliant-shine-shampoo-conditioner.jpg

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The Hazards of New Technology

The creative process can consist of any number and combination of triggers, motivations and methodologies. I myself find that when writing critically I like to get it all done in go, whereas with this big creative piece I have coming it would be best to write steadily and roughly with many reviews and edits. Sometimes I will have an idea that steadily swells and festers over a period of days to weeks before it all comes out in a rush of word vomit – at other times *insert diametrically opposed analogy here*. Today’s entry came about as a result of the following occurences:

  1. I spent 80% of my working day reading articles on Cracked,
  2. I boarded the bus to go home and sat down next to man who refused to move his big fat elbows out of the way, and then
  3. I was checking out a guy, and then realised that he was wearing white Apple brand earphones… and that I was judging him for it

The shade went up in my mind, keys turned in locks, the little birdy-thing started drinking the water and now, I present to you, my list:

PHYSICAL HAZARDS BORN OF OUR NEW TECHNOLOGY

1. Chicken Elbows

I may as well start with the aforementioned fat, obtrusive elbow sydnrome. The problem here is that due to the advent of smartphones and tablets that people are constantly, like, doing things with, all of a sudden everyone is holding their hands up at boob level – and no one seems to know what the fuck to do with their elbows. Here’s a newsflash, people: your limbs have joints that allow them to move in an array of different directions. Your arms are not required to obey the geometric laws of reflection. It is entirely possible for you to hold up your freaking device and not take out the eyes, boobs and genitalia of anyone occupying the 30cm radius around you.

SUGGESTED SOLUTION: Stop being an inconsiderate twat and start paying attention to the movement of your body in space.

2. Specular Reflection

This phenomenon is dependent on the abovementioned laws of reflection, and occurs when light from a single incoming direction (a ray) is reflected into a single outgoing direction. What is happening here is that those devices that people are holding all have reflective surfaces, and when they hold them up on the bus/train/ferry, whilst in the vicinity of a decent light source – BLAMMO! The light of a thousand suns, squirted directly into your eye. This is an issue that I am very much aware of because I am one of those jerk bitches who leaves the house with her makeup half-done and finishes it off on the commute to work. But, being myself very conscious of the consequences of my actions and wishing to impose myself as little as possible on the people around me, I make a studious effort to a) sit on the side of the bus that is shaded, or b) wait until we drive through some shade before holding up my little mirror. Or even c) face the sun so that my reflective surface is pointed away from it. Incidentally, when Buddhists run out of consideration, they come and take some of mine.

SUGGESTED SOLUTION: Stop being an inconsiderate twat and start paying attention to the movement of light through space.

3. Aural Discomfort

This is where I Apple Bash. Aforementioned people have “smart devices”, the market is monopolised by Apple, and they make shitty shitty headphones. They’re loud, tinny, and ill-shaped. And when I say “aural discomfort” I am not referring to the destruction you are laying down upon your own hearing organs – I am referring to my discomfort, at having to listen to your shitty music, above my own earphones, whilst riding on a different bus. The problem doesn’t just lie there, though; back in the days of walkmans and discmans you had to be pretty dedicated to your music to carry it around with you, yes? Lugging around a bag full of tapes and/or cds, spending 5 minutes searching for the one track you want to hear, using your lap as a giant shock absorber whenever a bump is hit… now that we have these tiny devices that fit the entire freaking world in them, people are like MY PHONE CAN PLAY MUSIC, FUCK, I’D BETTER DOWNLOAD SOMETHING… WHAT’S “TRENDING” RIGHT NOW? The answer is: shit. What is trending now is shit.

SUGGESTED SOLUTION: Send an explosive dart of fire directly into the device of the offender, causing it to explode, and the resulting feedback to deafen them, thereby rendering music unneccesary.

4. Selective Sight

aka Dropped Blinker Vision. The “Blinker” refers to the things they make horses wear so that they can’t see anything but what’s directly in front of them. “Dropped” refers to the dropped posture of the head, meaning that what is directly in front of them is not the place toward which they are walking, but the fucking ground. Because morons be walking around staring directly at whatever thing they be holding down around their groin and paying absolutely no heed to anything that is around them. I am not suggesting here that people should not engage in any extra activity whilst walking. As well as being a Public Transport Groomer, I am a Walking Book Reader. But not once have I walked into anything whilst reading a book, and I will share my secret weapon with you: peripheral vision. It’s not a new concept. Peripheral vision is what our ancestors would have used to warn themselves of impending Smilodon attacks. It is what allows us to safely operate a vehicle without overly straining our neck and shoulder muscles. That thing that you just saw out of the corner of your eye? Causing you to shit yourself? Your peripheral vision picked that up. And if you must walk and look at a device at the same time, you can use this “peripheral vision” to stop you from walking into things.

SUGGESTED SOLUTION: Activate your innate sense of self-preservation and avoid the collision of your body with other objects in space/time.

5. PSYCHOLOGICAL AMBIGUITY

This problem is not “smart device” specific, but is moreso related to the technologies that allow people to talk on the phone hands-free. Everyone is now walking around and talking into thin air, and the problem with this is: I don’t know who’s crazy anymore. I could be widening my trajectory and adding 500m to my trip purely to avoid someone who is fighting with their accountant via a Bluetooth headset. Or worse, I could smile at an attractive man holding a very intense conversation with Mothra (whilst Jesus waits on the other line). The observable delineation of crazy has become obsolete.

SUGGESTED SOLUTION:

https://i2.wp.com/tvmedia.ign.com/tv/image/article/100/1001517/simpsons-starkravingdad-homer-michael_1246972370.jpg

My Decision to Enrol in a Masters Course Full-Time

Less than two months ago, I made the split decision to enrol in a Masters course, and to complete it full-time whilst still working full-time. It has been three weeks since class began, and I would like to review that decision.

Working and studying full-time-at-the-same-time did not seem like a big deal to me, because I actually completed my two Bachelor degrees that way. Studying through Open Universities, I was able to get it done in my “spare time” and still work the full-time job and pay the rent. True, I took a lot of stimulants, and drank many a bottle of red wine – but also true, I really enjoy drinking red wine and staying up until all hours, so… *shrug*

The Masters is different though, it requires actual on-campus attendance, the thought of which really excited me after six years of fleshing out my thoughts with facebook, a mirror and a sullen cat. When I found out that all classes would be held on the one day I ran straight to my boss’s office, presented my hypothetical situation and solution, assured him that if he acceded I would be happy and would not quit, and got my way. I would attend university on Tuesdays, and fit five days worth of working hours into the remaining four.

Brilliant, am I not? Four days in the office, starting an hour earlier than usual and doing 9-10 hours per day, remote access to fit in some extra work from home, one full day at uni, and whatever spare time I have around all that can be spent reading and doing assignments. And, like, writing a 10,000 word creative piece. Oh, and I do muay thai once a week, and have pre-paid for a term of belly dancing.

I did get some practise in with the 8am starts, for a couple of weeks before it officially began, and that went really well. But now we are in the third week of actual classes/work/shebang. Whereas I would usually get to bed somewhere between 12am-1am and get up about 7:30am, I am now getting up at 6:30am – but still getting to sleep at the same time.

I have missed the last two weeks of muay thai.

I have been responding to every single situation arising at work with “fuck”.

I have a packet of cigarettes (despite having “quit” just before classes started).

I have started making an afternoon (on class day) snack of a Mars Bar dipped in coffee, a combination I haven’t indulged in since high school.

I haven’t done my dishes for the last two nights (tonight will make three), not because I’m frantically studying/working, but because I DO NOT WANT to stand at the sink.

Tonight, on my way to belly dancing after work, I went down into the train station, pulled one of these, and went straight back up those escalators and home to stare at the walls.

I decided, for the first time in my life, to try to use good food to fuel my body instead of eating whatever the hell I wanted. I looked into some “good carb + protein” recipes that I might like to try for lunches, to help get me through the long days, and made a conscious decision to cut out white bread, white pasta, and superfluous sugar. Today my mind, in solidarity with my exhausted body, made me eat four jumbo-sized Caramello Koalas from the fundraising box at work.

And I seem to have forgotten to eat dinner tonight.

It has been less than three weeks, and I’m pretty fucking tired.

I am also faced with the fact that I have to write something this year. Something big. And good. About 3/4 of my waking moments (and maybe 1/4 of my sleeping ones) are consumed by the question: What the fuck am I going to write?? I have no idea, I cannot run from it, and by the end of the year I will know, once and for all, whether or not I am a writer – no more hiding.

It has been less than three weeks.

Upon review, I give my decision to enrol in this course an 8/10.

Because fuck you, body.

The Hunger Games – novel*

* term used loosely

Full disclosure: I have a degree in literature. I am currently doing a Master of Arts in creative writing. I also have a copy of Twilight. I am semi-learned, somewhat biased as such, but I am also fair – I believe that every piece of writing has a place in the grander scheme, even if it is to help form the base of a pyramid. Yes, I have referred to my copy of Twilight as “the literary equivalent of a full frontal lobotomy”, but sometimes you need that. I appreciate that. I opened The Hunger Games in the same frame of mind, but alas, I didn’t close it that way. Somewhere along the way (probably when I first decided to read it) something went horribly wrong.

I classify The Hunger Games as “storm fiction”, as in “taken the world by”. Into this genre we can also place Twilight, 50 Shades of GreyThe Da Vinci Code? Yes, I think so. Anyway, so, let’s place this alongside Twilight – how is it that Twilight is so much better than this? When it is in itself a steaming pile of unsophisticated triteness? Well, Twilight is incredibly poor literature, yes; but it’s about vampires. Hot teenage vampires. And the chick, who could have been me when I was a teenage chick, has a giant teenage crush on one of them. So yes, the writing is extremely poor, but at least it takes me somewhere, that somewhere being high school maths and my first massive crush on a boy named Scott. It’s naïve puppy love in word form, and after all the shit that I’ve copped from men during my adult years, I like being reminded of those times. First strike for The Hunger Games: it doesn’t have anything to distract you from its terrible writing.

And then there’s Katniss…

A first person narrator is a great idea when you want your reader to engage with them, you know? Really get into their head? But if you’re going to give your reader a glimpse into a mind, make sure there’s something in there, seriously. I didn’t think it was possible to create a protagonist dumber than Bella Swan (note that I have not read 50 Shades of Grey – also note that I did not add “yet” to that note), but here we are. Tough, yet soft, loved by many but completely unaware, loved by one in particular but so fucking self-deprecating that she thinks he’s doing it for the ratings… and so on, and clichéd so on. I do not care about anything this stupid character says, does or thinks, and so by extension, I do not care about anyone else in the story. Without empathy there is basically no reason at all for me to be reading the story, beside the fact that I started reading it, and now I want to know what the fuck happens.

I think my annoyance really kicked in, however, when I got to the end and saw that there were two pages of a simple interview with the author. And, stupidly, read them.

How did you come up with the idea?

After flipping between two TV channels showing a reality TV show and actual war footage. Fucking genius, I am so inspired. To research for the story she drew on her father’s knowledge of hunting and foraging, and “read a big stack of wilderness survival books”. Indeed. But the clincher came when she was asked why she chose to write about such a serious topic and then shared her father’s experience with war and his insistence that his family “understood about certain aspects of life”; ie. war is serious business and needs to be discussed.

I am telling you now that this book does not contain a serious treatment of war and its effects. You do not read this book and think “oh wow, war is so bad, we need to work together as a species and stamp it out, provide a better future for our children…” – you read this book and think “that Kat chick is AWESOME”. Admit it. Hell, there isn’t even a fucking war, it’s a game show. If anything, the war-related message contained within is “don’t even think about rising up against inequality and injustice or future generations of your children will die as punishment”.

How about capitalism and economic inequality? Totalitarianism? Rampant consumerism? All of these things are right there, but again, they’ve been glossed over and glorified in the way in which they’re treated. Yeah, life is bad for those living in the poorer sectors, we feel sorry for them and we can see that the system is wrong. But that’s about it.

If the system is so wrong, why isn’t it crumbling? Why isn’t anyone rebelling? Why didn’t the author make it crumble?? After reading the book and beginning to write about it I then ended up watching the movie, and yes, there are the beginnings of a rebellion in that. And apparently that’s what happens in the later books. But I don’t think that counts in this discussion because a) I’m talking about this book, the first one, and will not be reading the others based on my reaction to it. But also b) in the interview that I’ve mentioned it is stated that this wasn’t planned as a trilogy, and the reason it was continued is because “Katniss does something that would never go unpunished in her world. There would definitely be repercussions.” Not because there was something more to be said about the fucked up state of our potential future, but because there was more drama to be written about (and cashed in on).

This author created an opportunity for herself to provide some serious social commentary on issues that are immediately pertinent to us, right now. And she claims to be doing so, when in actual fact all she’s done is written a kickass story about a kickass TV event where a kickass chick kicks some ass, and has a bit of a think about love and life along the way. I find that frustrating, that someone who has managed to grab the attention of a worldwide audience has done so through sheer mediocrity, and essentially squandered the opportunity to engage in some serious discourse. I think that is why I dislike it, not just because it is so badly written, but because there is actually scope there to really challenge the mindsets of the masses it has reached and their blind acceptance of this structure that contains us, scope that has been, quite simply, wasted.

But you know, in saying that – would the book have reached so many if it was written differently? Here’s some food for thought: that The Hunger Games, in both its creation and content, is a metaphor for itself. It is simple, shiny and easily digested, as is the very TV show contained within. It makes entertainment fodder of serious world issues, serious to the point of life and death, as does the very TV show contained within. And just like the TV show, the only reason that poorly written tripe like this can get published is because we have given it an audience.

“What if everyone just stopped watching? … No one watches and they don’t have a game. It’s as simple as that…”

“Won’t happen.”

3/10, because if nothing else, I read the whole thing.

Tonight’s Dinner/Dessert

It’s a Saturday evening in Sydney and, as I stayed in last night, I’m feeling a little restless. What I really want is to have some drinks with a friend and a relatively cheap dinner, after which I will take my anti-smoking meds and pretty much be useless for the rest of the night, and so go home without having emptied my bank account. I am getting no friend love tonight though, so I’m taking myself out: I will use my Entertainment Book to find somewhere nearby I can get a discount, and do a solo version of my original plan.

So began my night.

I won’t beat around the bush with verbosity, as the aforementioned medication really does make me quite spacey and useless (and I’m just plain tired). I gave myself two choices, Japanese or Thai, with a stop at a dessert café, all of which I had 25% off discounts for. I checked out the ramen place first and pretty much decided then and there that I would go with Thai – the ramen place wasn’t licensed and I wanted at least a glass of wine with my dinner.

Good Thai at Chatswood it was, then. I asked them if they could seat one and, aware that it was Saturday night, told them that I was happy to sit at one of the two outside tables, which, as it turned out, was all they had for me anyway. I ordered my glass of wine, which the waitress typed out by name off the menu and into a phone. Into a phone. I have seen restaurants use touch screens, and iPads are definitely becoming a thing now in hospitality, but this was A PHONE.

Anyway, that isn’t actually relevant, just an observation. After my wine came I ordered an entrée and a main, after which she asked me if that was it, and then asked me to pay now. Why? Because I’m sitting outside. In other words: so you can’t run off without paying.

Ok, it happens, I know this. But this restaurant is listed alongside the fine dining establishments in my Entertainment Book. It’s not inside a food court and it doesn’t have a drive-thru. I know that one should not take such a policy personally, but one cannot help but feel a bit miffed at the “they think I might not pay” thought. On top of that, the embarrassment of walking past the “inside people” on the other side of the glass who are allowed to gradually work on their bill, and the inconvenience of not being able to add anything else to my bill – I potentially wanted a second glass of wine along the way (as it turns out, I did) but the card I was using applies the discount to the one bill and would not be applied to any subsequent orders, so I refused to get anything else out of principle. But whatever, I took my wine inside to the counter (I too have an inherent distrust of street people and was surprised that they expected me to leave all of my stuff out there) and paid the damn bill.

I wasn’t expecting my entrée for about 10-15 minutes as the menu specifically stated this to be the cooking time for what I had chosen. It came out 5 minutes later, which disturbed me. I’d rather wait and ensure that my food has been prepared properly. Following the girl with the entrée was the girl with my main, they both came out at the same time. I fought with the pork skewers as quickly as possible as I watched my duck cooling and kept flies away from it. Along the way, I rationed my one glass of wine, but it still wasn’t enough to ease the discomfort from the excessive amounts of chilli in my stir fry – the entire dish looked like it had measles. All in all, it was an awkward and vaguely unpleasant dining experience.

As I was approaching the end of my eating some people were seated at the outside table behind me. I watched out of the corner of my eye as they placed their order, and noted that they were not asked to pay upfront. My conversation with the manager doesn’t need to be transcribed, basically I was embarrassed and offended, and pissed off that my main had to sit whilst I ate my entrée. Apparently it was “her first day” (could be true, but I myself have used that excuse to get out of a mistake) and apparently they’re meant to ask if you want the entrée and main separate.

Entrée – In modern Australian usage, “entree” describes a starter, not a main course.

Anyway, dessert: the venue for this course was My Sweet Memory, again, the Chatswood store. There was a menu board full of drinks and a selection of sweets in a small fridge to choose from; brightly coloured macarons (Weeee! Haven’t they just taken off?!) , some muffins, a few rectangle slice things on doilies, and citrus tarts. I would have been better off at the local bakery, choice-wise, but again, whatever. I ordered a citrus tart and an iced chocolate.

This is an iced chocolate

This is not

Also, the guy that served me was rude, and soulless.

I will close my dessert experience with a quote, by myself, on my facebook page, as I watched the liquid in my cup become more water than milk:

“I’m next to a place with ‘try our new fishy drink!’ written on the wall, HOW IS IT THAT THIS PLACE IS WORSE??”

Now, to rate them.

Good Thai

Food – 6/10

It was standard Thai fare, which is pretty good as it is, but nothing to write home about and too much chilli in my stir fry.

Service – 1/10

That doesn’t need to be explained, I’m sure.

My Sweet Memory

Food – 4/10

The tart gets 3/5 because it was citrusy, and i like that, the iced chocolate gets 1/5 because it was liquid.

Service – 2/10

They get one point because I was actually served, and another for bringing my order out to me.

13/40 = 3.25/10

At this point I will add a mark because I said I wasn’t going to be overly verbose and I am now on page 5. Therefore my dinner/dessert experience from tonight gets:

4.25/10

In other words: I don’t recommend them.

“real women”

“Real women *insert descriptive phrase here*” – when I first heard (or more properly, read) the words, it was with bemusement. Next came mild irritation, followed swiftly by severe irritation (I tend to suffer from Sudden Onset Irritation), and culminating in absolute fucking loathing. I loathe the words.

Let’s break them down.

“Real women *something something*” is a statement which claims that, well, “real women” *something something*. The most commonly heard *something something* is *have curves*, or a variant such as *are not whatever stupidly small size you are*. But “real women” have also been known to *lift weights*, *squat*, *be fit*, and even *bench press their own body weight*. I personally think that last expectation is a bit much, but there are people out there who believe that a real woman really is able to do everything (whilst simultaneously doing nothing, but hey). “Real women *something something*”

*something something* is a representation of the desires of the speaker, and usually conveniently matches their own (usually) physical state.

“Real women” is a load of absolute shit.

The phrase is used by people in order to justify, not even who they are, but what shape they are (repeat that, slowly: to. justify. what. shape. they. are.) to themselves and others, at the expense of anyone who is not like them.

.

Many women have ranted about this issue and I have seen some common arguments out there, the first of them being the somewhat superfluous “so what, I’m imaginary?” Logically, it’s sound, yes – but I think it’s a little obvious and unnecessary. Another common argument is “c’mon now, ALL bodies are beautiful!” Another unnecessary argument, and, I’m going to be brutally honest here – it’s not entirely true, is it? Some bodies are outstandingly aesthetically pleasing, some bodies are pretty horrendous. Most of them are just nice and normal and lovely and fine. Same with noses, and teeth, and elbow skin that looks like vaginas. But see, I don’t think that’s the real issue here, it’s not about whether your body is gorgeous or grotesque or pretty much the same as everyone else’s. It’s about what you’re doing to other people in order to feel better about yourself.

It’s about being a judgemental, spiteful bitch.

That’s essentially what you’re doing.

Glorifying a body type is inherently offensive to all others. You cannot argue out of that fact. Prefer, strive towards, be proud of, that’s fine! But to laud one over all others carries with it the inevitable side-effect of putting shit on someone else, and that is my issue with “real women”. As far as I can tell, “real women” are not curvy or fit, or powerful or chaste; they’re nasty, immature schoolgirls.

Just quietly, it doesn’t bother me how you feel about yourself. I don’t like the idea of people hating themselves, I do have empathy, but unless I am emotionally close to you and somehow able to help, caring too much about how much you love you is… well, it’s pointless. And quite often, those feelings can’t be changed, by me or you. What I do care about, what does directly affect me, and what we can all try to change, is how the people around us are affected by the expression of our feelings. Look, I have been blessed with a pretty decent metabolism, I am still considered quite slim, rarely watch what I eat, and have been described using a range of words on the pretty-hot-beautiful spectrum – and most of the time, I don’t like me. Sometimes, I hate me. Sometimes, I can’t even look people in the eye, I hate me so much. What I’m trying to get across here is that I have enough trouble feeling good about me with only my own negativity to deal with. I don’t need negativity from anyone else. And neither do you!

You cannot always, or easily, change the way you feel about yourself. But you can change the way you treat others, and you can start by not being a hateful bitch toward them your for own personal gain. And maybe after a while, if everyone is that little bit nicer to everyone, you can stop caring so much about your shape. Imagine being given the chance to drive through some of the most amazing places on earth, along the most breath-taking coastlines, through beautiful forests and fields, really experiencing this life on this planet and the wonder that’s just waiting for you to acknowledge it. Now imagine that you got to the end of that drive and realised that you had wasted the entire trip bitching about what sort of car you were driving.

Do you really want to end like that?

The term “real women *something whatever*” is complete and utter tripe, and I am publicly denouncing any of you who use it. Curvy women, denounced. Fit women, denounced. And if anyone ever claims that “real women eat whatever they want until they get doughy in their thirties and try to cover it up with high-waisted pants” I will denounce them too. Not because it’s nonsensical, or because we should all love our bodies; because it’s inherently nasty and indicative of spite in your own nature.

To “real women”, both the concept and those claiming to be one:

The Mayan Apocalypse

It has been just over a week since the passing by of December 21, 2012, and the whole world well and truly knows that they have survived the Mayan Apocalypse. And they’re not happy about it; just ask humanity’s latest spokesman.

Ok, so we didn’t all perish in a ball of fiery fire with added flames, or turn inside out as our poles suddenly shifted, and I’ve yet to see any zombies… I personally would consider these all to be good things, and now that I’ve had a week to ponder it, I’ve come up with a few reasons why I think that this particular Apocalypse, whilst not particularly successful, was still a little bit cool.

THE BREAKDOWN

Firstly, this is by no means the only Apocalypse that we have lived through. I think that it is definitely, however, the most popular. From memory, aside from Nostradamus, every other prophecy of mass destruction that I have heard has come from some obscure religious group with good Google luck who managed to get their word out to a decent amount of people. Getting the goss on the latest religious Apocalypse requires an internet connection, a curious mind, and a whole lot of spare time. The Mayan Apocalypse, however, was everywhere, whether you liked it or not. And I think that a big part of the appeal of this particular Apocalypse is that it wasn’t based on strict religious doctrine. You didn’t have to believe in any associated religious teachings to believe that maybe these guys quite simply knew their shit, and that maybe it could quite simply all end. As far as Apocalypses go, it was pretty universal and user-friendly.

Another factor that I think had an effect on the Mayan Apocalypse’s popularity was its delivery. Most prophecies rely upon a little-known reading of an obscure version of something that hardly anyone believes in anymore anyway, but the Mayans, they didn’t mess around – they just stopped the fucking clock. They pulled the “blank future gag” on the whole damn world (a technique that I recently saw in a charming old flick called Night of the Demon). You know how it goes, the protagonist is told that he will die on a certain day and then finds that the pages after said day in their diary/calendar/schedule are missing/blank. It’s simple, requires no explanation or justification, and has just enough “what if?” to make you wonder… what if?

So the Mayan Apocalypse was a little bit easier to swallow than the other ones, it didn’t rely upon calculations and doctrine and obscure faith, and it had just enough hype and mystique to grab people’s attention. But yet another aspect of it was that it had two levels of potentiality. Level one – the sky falls down, and we’re under it. But on a slightly less FARK level – the sky might open up. This other rumour had it that the planetary alignment at the specified time was going to open up human consciousness and let it expand. I don’t know about you, but I found it a little comforting to know that I could be curious about what could possibly happen without having to commit myself to the idea that we were all going to die, scared, and begging for our mothers.

THE EVENT

I approached the night of the Mayan Apocalypse with a disproportionate mixture of cynicism, curiosity, and hope (for the good stuff, not the bad). At approximately 10:10pm (AEDST) I stepped outside of the bar that I was in to have a cigarette and some me-time. My phone is chronically set to the wrong time, plus, I’d forgotten what the exact time for the Apocalypse was anyway, but at some stage between my saying to the security guard “so do you realise the world is meant to end right now?” and going back inside one step closer to cancer, the moment came. Was it going to come to me as thought? I opened my mind to hear it – I heard Marvin Gaye singing Let’s Get It On from inside the bar. Was there something for me to see? I looked, really looked, around me – and caught two middle-aged men in striped shirts looking at my butt. I wracked my brain for some evidence of heightened consciousness, but the only thought that came to me (aside from “not dead! YAY!”) was “if the world had ended while I was HERE, I would have been pissed off”. Following my enlightened decision to leave that shit-hole and head to an even shittier-hole, a stranger returned my friend’s wallet that she’d left behind (which I refuse to attribute to an expansion of human consciousness, as it implies that we would have been better off burning), and I ended the night by sobbing into a stolen schooner glass – this is a quarterly occurrence for me, and cannot be blamed on any alignment of planets.

THE CONSENSUS

I am now going to rate the Mayan Apocalypse using three scores: Overall Apocalyptic Theory, Earth-Destructedness, and Heightened Consciousness.

OVERALL APOCALYPTIC THEORY

As stated above, I kind of dug it. It was simple, engaging, and not nearly as demanding as “Kool-Aid now, ask questions later”. I’m giving it 6/10.

EARTH-DESTRUCTEDNESS

The fact is that the world did not end. Whether or not this turns out to be a good thing is for future generations to discuss, not I – personally I’m quite happy to be alive, unhindered by zombies, and without having to play the “race must continue” game with anyone even vaguely resembling Jeff Goldblum or John Cusack. But on a scale of 1 to 10, in this category, it has to be given a zero. Yes, I know that zero is not on the scale. Shut up.

HEIGHTENED CONSCIOUSNESS

OK, so we haven’t suddenly figured out how to end war and famine and Gangnam Style. A simple look around is evidence against the advanced consciousness that one would expect from an apocalyptic planetary alignment. But a look around is also evidence that maybe all that is needed to heighten human consciousness, even by a little, is to force people to actually think for once. This, thing, idea, non-event, whatever, it made me think; “Is my life going to change? Is this going to inspire me to change my life? What kind of idiot am I if it’s going to take the end of the fucking world to inspire me to make changes in my life?” And so if it made me think, it’s possible that it made a few other people think too. I’m giving this 3/10.

And so the Mayan Apocalypse has a total score of 9/30. At this point, I am going to deduct one mark, because of this. 8/30 = 26.6%

2.7/10

In hindsight, maybe it wasn’t actually as good as I’d thought.

Cause/Effect

I thought I might kick things off with a few words about an event I went to last Saturday, 15 December 2012. It was Cause/Effect, a charity event with the purpose of raising awareness and funds for MS Australia. Being a friend of one of the organisers, Daniel Crocetti, for many years, and a regular attendee at his old Sweetchilli events, it was pretty much a given that I would be there – the fact that I would also be helping out for a good cause served to sweeten my pot. I arrived at the venue with one word in my party pants: excited.

The task of discussing the music gives me a twinge of trepidation, because

a)     if you were there, you heard it;

b)     if you weren’t there, hearing about it would only make you sad; and

c)     I personally think that it was more than the music that made the night

Also, d) I suck at it, and e) I had a few “charity” ciders and possibly didn’t pay close enough attention. But I can’t really call this a review if I don’t at least mention something of what transpired musically, so, to the best of my alcohol-addled recollection:

Jamie Stevens is not only one third of Infusion, but also a maker/player/lover of tunes in his own right. Jamie literally breathes music – I would hate to see what would happen to him if he ever stopped – and I’m pretty much guaranteed to enjoy everything that he pulls out. He played downstairs to a contingent of loyal fans who were tickled pink with the realisation that “zomg, this track!” was created by his truly. Stellar set, all opposable digits up. And sorry for trying to give your drink to someone else.

I believe that after Jamie’s set I attempted to be social, and that Robbie Lowe provided the soundtrack, but alas, I didn’t make the dancefloor – apologies, Robbie. The next thing I knew it was Infusion time, and I was front’n’far-left. I am loathe to admit it, but I can only trainspot “Girls Can Be Cruel” with any certainty (did anyone hear the annoying chick up front screaming out “I’m getting sick of your SHIT”? yep, that was me). But what I do remember is what I remember from every single time that I have seen them, and that is the pure enjoyment and contagious enthusiasm that they bring to their performance. Their dancefloors heave like a bountiful bosom, to steal a phrase, and I cannot think of a single true dance music enthusiast who would not be proud to have them representing us Aussies in the scene ❤

Daniel Crocetti followed, and I ran to the front of the floor with giant doe eyes when I heard his first track (at which point I found out that my friend had said to him, “If you play Love in Traffic, Amber is going to wet herself”… I love having friends who know me so well). As stated above, I have known Dan for many years, and he is up there in the top five DJs who, quite simply, play what I LOVE. I’ve missed you and your music, Dan, and we all know that I’m not the only one who wishes we had more of it.

Suffice to say that, musically, I was satiated, which is quite the feat now that I’m old and grumpy. What really made the night so special, however, was the amazing sense of community that I got from the gathering. I hate to be “that guy”, but the scene really has changed – EVERYTHING WAS BETTER BACK IN THE DAY! 😉 But seriously, before dance music became as popular as it is now, it was something to be sought, and found – you had to WANT to find it. To hear the music you loved you had to scour the street press, ransack the music stores, and when you found your scene you supported it so that it didn’t die. And so when you went out, you were surrounded by people who, regardless of who or what they were outside of the club, shared with you one of the important facets of your own life – a sweet sweet love of quality music.

Cause/Effect dragged all of these quality people out of hiding. But not only that, it gave us a sense of purpose outside of our own sense of personal enjoyment. I was surrounded not only by awesome people with awesome taste in music and fun, but also by amazing people who wanted to make an effort to support a worthy cause. Everywhere I looked, all day/night, I saw happy people being truly excellent to each other. So much laughter and reminiscing, Jamie’s parents dancing and supporting, Nic Downey getting hugs out the whazoo… that is what made the event so special for me, an almost palpable sense of love and good stuff that made me want to both cry and throw up in my mouth a little (in the best possible way, of course).

Wow, so… where do I go from there? There’s really nothing left but to thank everyone involved for such an amazing night! And by that I don’t just mean the organisers and performers, although we do love and appreciate you so much. I’m also referring to the massive crew who forked out their hard-earned cash and dusted the old’n’tired off their lapels, and not only helped to raise money for MS Australia, but contributed to the amazing vibe which made me pine for some of the funnest times of my life.

I knew there was a reason I spent so much time with you “back in the day” 😉

10/10

(but you all knew that was coming)

reviewthisblog

I used to write stuff. Exactly what it is that I wrote, I couldn’t say, because it was basically anything and everything that popped into my head. Regardless, it provided me with great pleasure, and a select few with varying levels of amusement – until one day, tertiary education and the dreaded “9-5 job” stepped in and drained my brain of all its useless ramblings.

Now that the university studies have been completed (for now, anyway) I am hoping that I will regain my ability to make vaguely entertaining words. Rather than simply Dear Diary my way along, I am going to review stuff. I think it fitting that my first entry be a review of this blog.

First, a definition (courtesy of thefreedictionary.com):

re·view 

1. To look over, study, or examine again.

2. To consider retrospectively; look back on.

3. To examine with an eye to criticism or correction: reviewed the research findings.

4. To write or give a critical report on (a new work or performance, for example).

 

During the course of my inane ramblings I am going to be looking at my life and the stuff in it, both in real time and retrospectively. I am going to examine it, praise it, criticise it, and no doubt give my genius opinion on the way that things ought to be. Be it social events, music, literature, the sandwich I ate for lunch, or the state of the world today – I am going to examine shit, and then tell you what I think.

Fascinating stuff, no?

In light of my intentions, and their relevance to and compatibility with the above definition, I’m going to go ahead and give this blog a 10/10.

Let’s do this…

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