Category Archives: Things

cackling over lessons with luis

Last night I caught up with an old friend who has hooked me up to some great comedy in the past, and continued the tradition with the youtube channel of lessonswithluis.

Keeping in mind this comes from someone with the comedic taste in line with The Mighty Boosh and animals wearing hats, this comedy is not for those who enjoy snappy one liners. It’s more simple laughing at odd mannerisms and parodying things (like the news).

I was hooked from the moment I watched my first video, a New News one entitled ‘New Snowland’. I suppose, this is a pretty easy one to love – as an Australian I love anything that pokes fun at New Zealanders, thanks to our friendly rivalry. It certainly does seem to be one of his better videos.

One of my favourite recurring people in his videos is his dad, who kind of reminds me a little bit of Kel from Kath and Kim, but without the bogan reference. He’s just a little odd, and very serious.

And also, a bit obsessed with his cat, ‘Catty’.

His humour is very light hearted, though it does have some deeper issues at heart, such as global politics and sensitive news topics. So, it’s as any good comedy should be, pertinent and still enjoyable.

Not that you’d think it from someone who has a video about their cat doing everyday cat things as one of the more popular episodes.

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revelling in whipped cream vodka

yum!

Last night, on an impulse, I made the decision to purchase and try Burnett’s Whipped Cream vodka. Possibly one of the best decisions I have made all week – it was fantastic.

At first I mixed it with lemonade, and it was startlingly similar in taste to creamy soda. It did not taste alcoholic at all. Which is kind of dangerous when you think about it. I also had some straight, and even then it barely tasted like vodka.

Then I mixed it with lemon squash, and suddenly I was drinking lemon meringue pie! Which is actually my favourite dessert ever, so needless to say, I was in heaven.

It truly tastes like whipped cream, which essentially means that it tastes like sugar. It doesn’t really get better than that. Plus, it’s vodka, which seems to be the spirit my body handles the best.

I seriously would recommend this to anyone who likes sugar and/or vodka. It’s just delicious!

branching out with new (but actually not) things

After impatiently checking my doorstep everyday for the last few weeks, at last my camera has arrived. As well as a bowler hat I bought off eBay, which I’m also very excited about. Although, I had a scary moment when I put them both on at the same time, and when combined with the outfit I was wearing at the time, looked extremely like a Tumblr hipster.

Of course, if these two items weren’t satisfying enough, I headed off to a vintage sale this morning armed with only $10, and managed to spend all of it on a beautifully bright knitted vest – an item of clothing I own nothing similar too. Having only enough money for one thing put a lot more pressure on me to find something worthwhile (and believe me, there were many tempting options), but ultimately the result is me coming away with something I truly want, as opposed to something that I purchase out of a fleeting interest and low price tag combination. It’s interesting, but a this vest is something that 2 years ago I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near. For one thing, I hated vests because it feels like the lack of sleeves is impractical. But also, I just thought that something about their proportions were odd, and they reminded me of awkward early teenage fashions, since there was a distinct waistcoat/vest trend going around when I was 14. I also was in a very muted colour phase for while, to the point of being monochromatic, and transitioning out of that has been a slow process.

That’s what makes this vest so exciting to me – it’s a symbol of me branching out in my tastes, and also buying things without caring what others think about them. I held back on what I wanted to wear for so many years, that it’s only been in the last 18 months that I’ve truly been able to let my style emerge. So far it seems to revolve a lot around knitwear and Doc Martens, but you’ve got to start somewhere, right?

Sometime very soon I will parade around kitted out with my vest, hat and camera and have a merry time gallivanting and photographing. For some reason, these three items feel like the start of something new – perhaps marking a shift in my life direction or general sense of being.

I’ve already wasted the film on several random photos. Well, not really wasted, because I was having a lovely time taking photos of things in my garden and house, but the photos lack meaning. They’re just pretty images, but I was so desperate to get started that that was all I had. Nothing eventful has happened since the camera arrived on my doorstep yesterday – I just went to work, slept and spent today attempting to study but mostly zoning out or napping. But don’t worry, I have big plans for this camera. It’s going to come everywhere with me, so I don’t miss a moment.

Then I shall get the film processed and maybe share some of the photos, if I deem them worthy.

My new old vest

My new old vest

 

appreciative of some old school Johnny Depp

Specifically, Cry Baby, which is one of my all-time favourite movies. It’s hard to beat when I need cheering up, since it’s full of ridiculous characters, good tunes and what Mrs Vernon-Williams likes to call ‘hysterectomy pants’.

Cover of "Cry Baby (Director's Cut)"

Cover of Cry Baby (Director’s Cut)

Essentially, the story is about two factions of teenagers, the squares who are the quintessential ‘good’ kids of the 1950s, with full skirts and a wholesome love for charm school and theme parks, and the drapes, juvenile delinquents who wear tight clothing and sing hillbilly music (which sounds an awful lot like Elvis Presley). In a way, the movie is like Grease’s rebellious and less popular cousin. The plot follows a square called Allison, who falls for a drape nicknamed Cry Baby. She is torn between the squares and the drapes after a brawl at the drapes hangout, where Cry Baby gets arrested. All sorts of pandemonium follows, including false pregnancies and parents speaking in tongues.

The movie has a lot of terrible jokes, particularly from Wanda’s ignorant parents, who unknowingly swear in court and are just excited about Wanda making it onto the radio.

Or even trying to switch their daughter for a Swedish milkmaid.

I’ve shown this movie to friends before, and they look at me like I’m nuts for loving it so much. But there’s something alluring about full skirts and good girls gone bad that makes it so good. And of course, Johnny Depp is in it (as well as a cast of surprisingly big names – Willem Dafoe and Iggy Pop included).

And you cannot deny a movie that captures teenage rebels and their shady relatives in such a loveable light. 

But mostly, it’s just Johnny Depp singing on a motorbike.

proud of the slow progress society is making

Lately, I’ve been completely hooked on HBO’s brilliant show Girls. Not only is it a very realistic portrayal of females in their twenties (perhaps a little more exciting than the average girl’s life), but it is a refreshing take on the behaviour and expectations of women.

Brooklyn - Williamsburg: Girls

Lena Dunham’s writing is funny, and yet still poignant. The characters are extremely relatable, the plotlines are interesting and not every episode has a candy-flossed ending or overly dramatic cliffhanger. The girls fight with each other. They laugh with each other. They also bathe with each other at times, one aspect which I find a little odd. But mostly, they have a dynamic which feels true.

But the main part that I find so wonderful to see on television (or in my case, my laptop, since it doesn’t air here) is that they look like real women. And they aren’t ashamed of it.

They aren’t gorgeous all the time and they certainly don’t always wear outfits that make me go ‘wow’. They do not look like the stereotypical Hollywood actresses whose characters live off  a diet which the actresses playing them would never go near. They look like the people who lead the lifestyles of their characters.

Society’s expectations of women are unachievable, mostly because the capitalist companies that fund the productions need to have an ideal to sell to women. And ideals which sell products should never be attainable, because then we would have no more need for the product.

So when I switch over to watch an episode of Girls I get comedy, yes, but also a reminder that most people don’t actually have the body of Miranda Kerr. And that that’s ok. Every time Lena Dunham strips down in some sex scene or other, it reminds me that not being super thin and toned really doesn’t mean all that much. Beauty and sexuality really are about so much more than weight or image, and self-confidence is the key to that distinction. If next time Lena’s character Hannah falls into bed with someone and she resumes the traditional female role of passivity and fear (and disempowerment), then she would forgo some of the awesome beauty that pours out of her every episode.

Gone are the days when women sat by like pretty dolls, but still we are expected to look like them. Societal expectations of the female body have yet to catch up to the more active role women play in the social atmosphere. For some reason, in order for the female body to appear powerful, it must be masculinised, with power suits, muscle tone and angled faces. This is kind of backwards, since what really should happen is the female body being celebrated as it actually looks like, and the power from accepting it as such. Celebrate the gender differences, instead of trying to blur the line between genders.

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disappointed in Melbourne’s weather

The weather in this city is a constant source of frustration for those who reside here. One minute it’s beautifully sunny, the next it’s a thunderstorm. It’s pretty common knowledge that you can get all four seasons in one day.

Today started off lovely and sunny when I strolled to uni to catch up with a friend I haven’t really heard from in a couple of months. We had a lovely catch up (inside, because of course it got cloudy by that point), mostly discussing a mutual love and excitement over Animal Crossing.

Of course, after he left I had an hour to relax and peruse the remainder of my Frankie, since yesterday was a little hectic, between work and meetings. And during that time, the whoop whoop of the fire alarm had to sound. Upon fleeing outside, I discovered light smatterings of rain. Naturally. Luckily, I was able to find shelter in a nearby building and procure myself a hot cup of coffee to fix my ailing spirit.

But this wasn’t even the main reason for my disappointment today. The rain stopped, I went to class and it was cloudy but pleasant when I walked home again. The more exciting event for the day was to be mini-golfing with my crew at work. But because of the unpredictable grey skies of Melbourne, this was cancelled.

I’m not even a huge fan of mini-golf, in fact, I kind of hate it. But I was looking forward to this. For the last few days we had been building up the hype for this night, and it was going to be fun regardless of the activity. At my work, we almost never do fun activities. Previous crew outings have always been bowling, which is good once, but not again and again and again. So the change was going to be refreshing, as well as the fact that the people who I work with are people I genuinely like. Maybe it’s the seniority I now possess, but I feel much more fond of those that I work with than I ever used to.

But now it has been postponed, indefinitely. So who knows when it will happen.

At least I have something to look forward to tomorrow, which weather cannot interfere with – my good friend’s cocktail party. I’m not the most flexible with my plans, and dislike last minute changes. So (fingers crossed) nothing should stand in the way of tomorrow night!

excited about the latest issue of Frankie magazine that is bursting out of my mailbox

Literally, bursting. Because it contains so much goodness.

I swear, Frankie time is one of the best bits of every 2 months. For the last few months, some of my best days have been when the magazine arrives. Sadly, I need to find the money to re-up my subscription though – I only have two issues left. But that can be done later.

Frankies has arrived!

What other magazine arrives with origami instructions on the back of the page with your address?  It’s one of the most exciting things about this quirky magazine. And I do so love origami – once, when I was about 11, I made origami boxes for everyone in my class and filled them with lollies for Christmas. That was some 30-odd boxes, and I labelled each one for people. A fair undertaking, but I loved every minute of it.

I really enjoyed DIY as a kid. Origami, sewing, masks, writing stories – my bedroom was filled with them. I had a book called 100 TV-free activities for kids. That pretty much sums up how I spent my time. It had everything from craft to cooking in it, and I remember always dreaming about making potato fritters (though I never did), because the book made them sound so tantalising.

But then I discovered the lure of the internet, and school kicked into high gear, and I forgot about how good it made me feel. I think I also got “too old” and “too cool”. I still continued some sort of creative activity, but now it was on Photoshop and Illustrator, with the occasional writing piece.

It wasn’t until last year that I rediscovered some of my craftier passions – I’m now knitting a scarf, and I have a few projects underway. Not to mention the hot glue gun I now own, the various pieces of felt, the beads and the canvases (for a photo print I’ve yet to do). At Christmas I went into a frenzy making decorations for my tree, mostly since I own so few and can’t really afford to buy many from the shops.

I think reading Frankie on a regular basis spurned me on. There are just so many amazing ideas and craft projects mentioned, and the articles are about such inspiring, crafty people. I’m actually incredibly jealous of the people I read about. Their lives sound so satisfying. Just creating things and living their lives their own way, without the pressure of society to dress or behave a certain way. No professional dress code, no company policy, no bottom line. Just doing what makes them happy for a living.

I wish I could do that. But I don’t have the skill or talent or specific medium to do it. Yet. Maybe I’ll find my thing, someday.

But for now, I’m just going to snuggle up with Frankie, a hot chocolate and The Frames, and dream of a content creative life.

completing Kikki K’s happiness journal

I bought this journal in February and have been slowly working on it since then. The advice at the beginning is to progress slowly – doing maybe one chapter a month (there are 12). Since I started late, I haven’t exactly been following that guide, and instead did 2 tabs in the first month, half of one in the second and then had a massive gap until yesterday. I’m still in the third tab, but I’m nearly there.

The first section was devoted to gratitude, and involved finding things that you are grateful for and thinking up ways to express that gratitude. I had a plan for doing this, but only managed to get through one of my expressions of gratitude (a typed letter to a friend). I had another one planned, but I’m not sure if I’m still grateful for that. So I guess I should move onto the next one – baking a thankyou cake for my mum. Perhaps I can do this for Mothers’ Day next month.

The next section was about taking control. It involved planning my week and identifying what activities I’m doing that are no longer giving me pleasure or use, and I can cut out. Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m throwing all housework out the window. But I planned an ideal week which made time for it, along with uni, work and exercise, but still left me with some down time (which is incredibly important to me. Without it I get a little overtired and emotional). For the first couple of weeks, I did try to follow this guide. But then my work roster started to get stuffed around a bit (the problems of having a different schedule each week) and I joined the committee of one of the clubs at uni, and that began to consume a lot of my time. So something had to suffer, and unfortunately, it was uni. I cannot function without enough chill time, which is what most people would have compromised in this situation, so my already scant uni timetable became a lot smaller.

Section 3 is about doing an attitude audit – the powers of optimism vs pessimism, and reducing the amount of things you worry about. The theme actually reminds me a bit of the serenity prayer –

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

By focusing on what worries you, the journal then asks you whether that will bother you in a months time or a year. And also, if you can do something about it. If you can, do it. If you can’t, why should you worry about it? Que sera, sera. And then reminds you, once again, how your attitude affects the outcome of events.

This chapter is one I really should pay attention to. I have a tendency to go into things with a negative outlook, and feel like I am doomed to fail (a phrase I have actually used several times in the last year). So, naturally, when it came to an example of an event where a pessimistic outlook had altered the course of things, I was rife with stories.

And so I really do want to try to change my attitude. So this month, my goal is to really put that into practise.



a selection of more recent pages

Another thing I love about completing this journal, aside from the self-discovery and exploration it provides, is the chance to decorate it. It’s kind of become a bit like a scrapbook of motivational quotes, inspiring photos and helpful tips for a few things I struggle with. I think this is perhaps where most of the time I spend working on it goes. In the picture above, the two pages on the right are ones I completed over the last 2 days, whereas the ones on the left are just a part of the happiness journal (the top left being the cover).

So basically, I get to participate in one of my hobbies at the same time as working on myself.

a Pancake Parlour regular

One of my very good friends and I have a tradition whenever we catch up – we visit the Pancake Parlour for what we call our ‘pancake dates’. This happens on a fairly regular basis, generally every 2 weeks or so. Needless to say, we consider ourselves regulars at the restaurant. To the point where we pretty much know the menu, and are savvy at saving money with coupons and Facebook offers.

There is something very comforting about returning to the same place frequently. It has a sense of home, and when it comes to food, it feels very safe, since you know what to expect from it. At the Pancake Parlour, I tend to stick to the sweet dishes. Not that I have anything against the savoury (although the steak dish sounds unusual, plus I’m vegetarian so there are only a couple  of dishes I can eat), I just prefer sweet foods. At this point I’ve tried most of them, and I have my favourites. So basically what determines my menu choices now is a combination of what offers are available plus any specific cravings I may have.

Today’s deal was a short stack for $5, which is less than half the usual price ($10.90).

According to our syrup theory – if there isn’t a puddle left over at the end, you didn’t add enough (photo credit: Vegeterranean)

Usually, my friend and I go for dinner, but due to conflicting schedules the best we could manage this time was a nice Sunday breakfast. It was kind of perfect actually, because Sunday is the best day for a break from routine and who doesn’t love pancakes on a Sunday morning? Plus, it was an opportunity to try the breakfast menu (or as the PP calls it, Breakfeast Fare). Not that we really did, but it was nice to have the option.

Plus, due to our participation in the Pancake Parlour Ladies Race on Shrove Tuesday, we had a $25 voucher, which covered all our food costs today. Loyalty and participation certainly has its rewards.

Although, you’d think frequenting the place so much would make us speedy orderers. But no, we remain as indecisive as ever. Perhaps we have even gotten worse, now that we know the deliciousness of each dish.

I have to say, the logo has it right. Going to the Pancake Parlour so often is just lovely!

Pancake Parlour

making my workouts fun with Hip Hop Abs

For the last few weeks I’ve been doing the Hip Hop Abs program by Shaun T, though not very religiously. Due to work commitments, emotional ups and downs and various other intervening factors I’ve missed a few days, plus I stopped following the calendar because it didn’t feel challenging enough.

Especially the cardio workout. Well, level 1 at least. I’ve done level 2 a couple of times and that at least makes me feel tired. In fact, I’m probably ready to do more level 2 workouts, I just haven’t because I can still get  a better burn from the level 1 routines where I’ve actually got the moves down. Until I master the moves in level 2, it won’t have as much effect.

But boy, when it works, it is so much better than my previous fitness love (the 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels). That workout was painful for the whole 20 minutes, but left me with similar results to Shaun T, though maybe I had slightly more strength. But the hip hop dancing in Hip Hop Abs makes it feel a lot less like a workout, and the minutes can pass without me noticing. Plus, instead of yelling at you to push yourself, Shaun T just smiles and tells you to funk it out (which actually works – making the painful moves more dancey changes your focus from the pain to the fun). For some people, the yelling might work, but I find it not nearly as effective as encouragement. But I’ve always been like that.

Not that Jillian Michaels is a tyrant. These DVDs are elective, so she isn’t as harsh on them as she seems on The Biggest Loser. But she still demands a lot from you. And I would definitely still recommend the 30DS. I just got sick of it after doing it for a long time.

I think next I want to try P90X, if I’m game.

But for now, I’m happy to have workouts that have good music and lots of fun. Even if it means a little compromise on my leg strength.