« October 2005 »
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com
Saturday, 22 October 2005
Topic: Whatever
The Melbourne International Arts Festival has been on for the past two weeks, and I promised myself I wasn't going to miss this one like I missed the film festival and the student arts festival -- by being so damn busy and scatty that I didn't bother to set aside time to see anything. So I got a festival program, and I looked for performances with student discounts, and I set aside the time to go see a performance: Stephen Petronio Company from New York.

Little did I know when I bought the ticket weeks ago that I was going to be so stressed and obsessed with school that I wasn't going to be able to focus on the performance until at least halfway through the opening solo piece, "Broken Man". My attention issues weren't helped by the fact that I'm not in the least familiar with latest in modern dance, so I always feel a bit at sea when watching it. Fortunately for me, the visuals of The Gotham Suite are gorgeously designed -- the lights, set and costumes work beautifully together -- and they eventually got my attention on the performance, where it belonged.

The other pieces in The Gotham Suite were group pieces. I found "City of Twist" easy to follow: it was about people in the city, and the way that we move together sometimes, and apart at others, and at cross purposes at yet other times. It was about the chaos of the city, too -- there was so much going on onstage sometimes that I didn't know where to look, and knew that I was missing something by choosing to watch a particular bit of action. And it was, ultimately, sad. "City of Twist" was a response to post-Sept. 11 New York, and it feels weighted with the shock of the immediate aftermath of the attacks.

"The Island of Misfit Toys" I had a bit more trouble with, in terms of what was being communicated. It feels a bit like every bad stereotype I ever absorbed about "the city" growing up -- it's grim, it's bewildering, no one cares about anyone else, you'll be in over your head, used and tossed aside. The music was composed by Lou Reed, so naturally the mood was dark and decadent and a bit grimy. "City of Twist", although not uplifting in its mood, at least had moments of gentleness that made it a bit easier to watch than "Misfit Toys". But the movement in "Misfit Toys" was stunning. I think it's the first choreography I've seen that directly acknowledges how sexy it is to dance. Its also the first choreography I've seen in which lifts and support movements were done without regard to the "man lifts, woman looks pretty" tradition in ballet. Women lifted men, men lifted men, women lifted women. I was fascinated because it was so unexpected. Petronio's choreography seems to me to be interested in exploring the strength and suppleness of the human body, rather than treating the male body as strong and the female body as fluid.

The applause at the end of the performance just went on and on. But no one stood up. I've heard that its nearly impossible to get a standing ovation in Melbourne, which is quite a change from the States. Another change from the States is that I only saw a few people wearing jeans, even though it was a matinee performance. And most of the people who were wearing jeans had dressed them up with a nice shirt and shoes. I really appreciate that people dress for the theater here. To me, going to the theater ought to be a special occasion, and it ruins the mood if half the audience is wearing jeans and t-shirts.

It started to rain as I left the theater, which suited me. It would've been too jarring to walk out into bright sunshine. Of course, the one thing I forgot to bring with me was an umbrella. It wasn't a cold rain, though, so it was almost pleasant to walk in. And now that it's stopped raining, I think I'll go out for a proper walk. I love the smell of the city after a good steady afternoon rain washes the air clean.

10:36 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Tuesday, 18 October 2005
Touched by a noodly appendage
Topic: Odds and ends
My brother has finally found religion, and in announcing his conversion, clued me in to the many important things that have been happening in the Church of the FSM since the last time I visited, including an explosion of inspired iconography and a mass conversion on the part of members of the academic community.

The relationship between Pastafarianism and holders of postgraduate degrees makes perfect sense. Postgrads spend a significant amount of time appealing to various higher powers (especially for extensions). From there, its just a small step to outright prayer. The FSM rites of worship are both satisfying and highly economical to those living on a student budget or repaying student loans. Plus its never not fun to dress like a pirate for evangelical purposes.

WWFSMD? Get one of these.

10:21 PM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 16 October 2005
Topic: Navel gazing
This is why Moment to Moment is one of my favorite blogs. Just as I'm thinking that I need to post something, but can't think of a damn thing to write about because my life has been utterly taken over by the upcoming end-of-term essays and I'm just not talented enough to make that sound at all interesting, Kate comes through with a meme. Bingo. I've got something to write about, on a topic that requires no research, and I don't have to worry about structuring an argument. Perfect . . .

7 things I want to do before I die:

1. Write a book.

2. Live in a sub-saharan African country. Yes, I realize that covers a lot of territory. No, I don't care to narrow it down further. Leaving it up to chance is part of the appeal.

3. Learn to dance the tango.

4. Take a cross-country trip through the U.S.

5. This is where "live in New Orleans" would have been.

6. Learn to speak French.

7. Learn to bellydance.

7 things I cannot do:

1. Make small talk without feeling like an idiot.

2. Cook anything more complicated than scrambled eggs.

3. Manage time effectively.

4. Play the piano (despite my mother's best efforts).

5. Just put down a badly-written book. I keep reading, hoping that it will get better, and kick myself for wasting time when it doesn't.

6. Wear short skirts.

7. Not be bossy. I try to reign it in, but once the oldest sister, always the oldest sister.

7 things that attract me to a person:

1. A genuine smile.

2. Attentiveness.

3. Thoughtfulness.

4. Intelligence.

5. Confidence.

6. A sense of concern for and engagement in the world.

7. A wicked sense of humor.

7 things that I say most often:

1. I miss you (to just about everybody).

2. I love you (funny how being far away makes that easier to say).

3. What do you mean "item not found"? (to the library database)

4. I don't want to go to class tonight.

5. I am so screwed (contemplating end-of-term essays).

6. Why do I do this to myself? (see: time management)

7. Gah. Feh. Haaaaaaaaaate (anything having to do with U.S. politics).

7 celebrity crushes:

1. John Corbett. Although its less about him and more about "Chris in the Morning" from Northern Exposure.

2. Adrian Brody. It's all about the nose. And those luminous eyes.

3. Kate Winslet. Gorgeous and, seemingly, smart and grounded.

4. Mike Doughty. Guy + guitar + good lyrics + sense of humor + sensitive without being new-agey = siiiiiiiiiiigh.

5. Ani Difranco. Girl + guitar + good lyrics + sense of humor + utterly unapologetic lefty politics = hell yeah.

6. Johnny Depp. Which is why I'm a bit afraid to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I'm not sure my crush will survive watching him in Michael Jackson drag for two hours.

7. Toni Collette. I love the story about her impromptu highway donation of the new Coldplay album.

7 people I want to do this:

I don't even know seven people with blogs on whom to foist this, so ... whoever. Just jump on in if you feel like it.

Update, 20 Nov.: Essay? What essay? The only research I need to be doing is on the availability of online celebrity pictures. I know nothing of this 'essay'. I do know that this may be the best picture of Kate Winslet ever, and it's not just because Johnny Depp is in it (though that doesn't hurt, by any means). More where that came from . . .

11:42 PM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Sunday, 20 November 2005 5:13 AM GMT
Wednesday, 12 October 2005
Found oddness
Topic: Odds and ends
Perhaps not so much found as 'sent' - I have a bit of an obsession with spam, particularly those bits that are successful at evading filters, which the following was. Apparently, someone has now decided that spam provides an opportunity to offer not only unsolicited 'opportunities' but unsolicited advice, and the occasional bizarre aphorism:
Breaking news alert issue - big news coming.

Xxxxxxx International Corporation

We give it to you again as a gift. This company is doing incredible things. They have cash and have made great strategic aquisitions. Current price is $4.70. Short term projection is $8. This company has dropped big new's in the past. Who's to say they don't have another big one.

Not everybody has to sing the melody. More to the point, not everyone can.
Men are punished by their sins, not for them.
What if there had been room at the inn? Oooh, historical speculation! I'm going to go with: Baby Jesus would've been exposed to lice, instead of fleas.
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
There must be more to life than having everything.
Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.
There are 350 varieties of shark, not counting loan and pool.
America is the greatest of opportunities and the worst of influences.
The more you run over a dead cat, the flatter it gets. Ew. Just . . . ew.
Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence. Sometimes, silence is preferable.
Fear not those who argue but those who dodge. Because they will always beat you at dodgeball, and who wants to lose all the time?
How many husbands have I had? You mean apart from my own? (sings) One of these things is not like the others, one of these things is not the same . . .
He who has never envied the vegetable has missed the human drama. Whaaaaaaaat?
Sleep is an eight-hour peep show of infantile erotica. Where the hell did they get this one from?
Be not afraid of going slowly; be only afraid of standing still.
Examine what is said, not him who speaks.
For four-fifths of our history, our planet was populated by pond scum. Oh, this is just too easy.
Sex: the pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable. Damnable? Does someone think he's channeling Oscar Wilde?

Spam's more fun when it's interactive, don't you think? And, of course, when it enables procrastination. How did I manage to waste 20 minutes on this? Back to work with me . . .

2:55 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, 10 October 2005
Let the madness begin
Topic: Uni
So we're in the homestretch of the semester, and if I disappear for awhile, that's why. Not only do I have four end of term essays of various lengths and degrees of difficulty coming up in the next 4-6 weeks, the journal I'm working on is going into production this month and formatting and layout consumes a lot of time. I find myself now hoping that the pattern of only sleeping 5 or 6 hours a night that's been kind of stressing me out all semester keeps up until I'm through all this. I'll have time to collapse in mid-November.

Fortunately, even research provides its moments of fun in unexpected places. For example, this gave me the giggles when I came across it last night:
Preschoolers identified as masculine that which was large, dark, sharp, or rough-textured (including fire, lightning, sharks, and gorillas), and identified as feminine what was smooth, rounded, or pastel-colored (including clouds, ducklings, and soap).  (Goldstein, War and Gender, p. 249)
Granted, as noted on previous occasions, I'm easily amused, but little boys identifying soap as feminine, and therefore presumably something to be avoided, just fits so neatly with the stereotype (link via this site, which is really trying to wriggle around any accusations of copyright violation).

1:28 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, 3 October 2005

I've been thinking that its high time I wrote again, but the problem is that I spent the entire weekend writing an essay after letting the pleasures of procrastination distract me from the fact that getting such things done sooner rather than later makes for fewer sleepless nights. And now, I have completely fried my poor brain and apparently lost the ability stop the run-on sentences, and man, do I hope that I didn't leave any blatant ones in my essay. Oh well, too late to worry about it now.

Classes are back on this week, and we're back to the burn out. I've been really unenthusiastic about written work, which isn't at all like me. Sure I leave it to the last possible minute, but generally I'm quite happy to write about pretty much anything. It used to be a point of pride that I could spin about 6 and half pages' worth of actual content into 10 pages of essay on sheer strength of style. Lately, though, I feel like I just can't bothered with any of it. And that sort of attitude really isn't going to help with end-of-term essays coming up in just over four weeks.

I'm thinking that perhaps I need to volunteer with a local community development organization over the summer break. Maybe it would help motivate me if I could see how I might apply some of this theoretical knowledge in a real world setting. Or maybe I just need some regular contact with a non-academic environment. The university is such a strange place sometimes. So many people running around wrapped up in their own heads. Sometimes its really interesting and stimulating, and sometimes its weird and unhealthy.

Maybe its because the environment is so different from what I've been accustomed to, but I'm feeling rather like I'm on an extended vacation from my real life. Which maybe isn't the most helpful approach when it leads me to behave as if what I do here isn't really going to matter in the 'real world'. It also leads to things like this happening:

Yes, they're subtle, but yes, those are purple streaks in my hair. I promised myself crayon-colored hair after reaching a certain weight loss goal, and five months of living on a student budget that doesn't allow me to eat out finally put me over the edge.

So on the plus side, we have "purple hair". On the minus side we have "now have to go shopping because nothing I brought with me fits". And the time in life in which you cannot afford to eat out is not the time in life in which you can afford to junk pretty much your entire wardrobe and start over from scratch. Not to mention that I'm not a fan of the whole shopping experience. I was reminded of that in the past week or two, in which several days of shopping in a variety of establishments netted me 1) one cardigan that really doesn't go with the remnants of my wardrobe and 2) two t-shirts. Hate. Shopping. So. Much.

But at least its been good shopping weather. By which I mean the kind of weather that makes running around the city a pleasure. When the sunshine on your face makes life good even when you're leaving a store in which you have spent two hours trying on everything in sight and not finding anything wearable, that's good shopping weather. I dug out my sandals in blissful denial of the fact that it still gets cold enough when the wind picks up to make exposed toes impractical. The sun is shining, there are flowers blooming everywhere - I refuse to let a piddling little nuisance like the fact that the temperature can drop 10 degrees from one minute to the next keep me from my sandals. I'm so ready for it to be summer.

10:55 PM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, 29 September 2005
Topic: Odds and ends
Headline of the day: "Rockers Disturbed, Bon Jovi lead U.S. album charts"

How disappointed was I to find out that this wasn't actually a value judgement on Bon Jovi's chart position?

8:34 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, 26 September 2005
Thank you, Paul Sheehan, for showing me the error of my ways
Topic: Ranting
I am so totally going to swear off eating so as not to contribute to the magnitude of the problem of "Fat Chick Syndrome" in Australia, a timely and critical issue that you grapple with so eloquently in today's Sydney Morning Herald.

And thank you, Paul Sheehan, for sparing 73 words of your 900 word editorial to address the problem of "fat blokes". Its efforts like this which make it crystal clear that you're not just some pig taking advantage of the current climate of obesity panic to crap on ad nauseum about your image of the ideal woman under the guise of concern for public health and well-being. No, clearly you sympathize with the plight of women, as we're forced by "the unspeakable cruelty of women's magazines" to loathe our bodies. Because clearly, its the fashion industry and women's magazines that are responsible for perpetuating unrealistic physical ideals in our culture. Print advertisements, movies, television - those aspects of our culture that are essentially unavoidable for those of us who don't follow fashion and don't read women's magazines - all of these are merely incidental to the rampaging scourge of Vogue, Mademoiselle, Cosmopolitan and their ilk.

And thank you, Paul Sheehan, for affirming the "transformative" nature of taking one's appearance seriously. After all, like Susannah, host of What Not To Wear and the paragon of taste and discretion that you hold up as an example to all non-"giraffic" women, I too could say:
"Oh my God! The breasts have engorged to an E cup, the stomach has emerged like a hernia, open and laid out for inspection above every waistband, and the arms, well, they are worryingly vast and soon to take over my entire body. This may sound like an exaggeration, but it's how I feel about the parts I don't like."
At least, I could say that if I was worryingly disengaged from my body and therefore prone to metaphorical self-dismemberment. And I'm sure that your response to me would be the same as your response to Susannah, a rational yet sensitive and not at all patronizing statement to the effect of "well, that's a realistic self-assessment, but at least you're well-packaged". After all, only outrageously fertile girls and young women of 17 to 23 should be running around in "push-up bras, Gosford miniskirts, spray-on jeans, low-cut tops, bare legs, bare arms, bare ankles, G-strings", as you pointed out with an admirable lack of prurience in an earlier article.

Actually, Paul Sheehan, reading these two articles together, I realize that I know what to do to take action against the "affluenza" that's causing Fat Chick Syndrome. It's so obvious to me now, after reading your articles, that I've been contributing to the problem by getting educated and not having babies. After all, since "[n]ature has programmed [me] for pregnancy, genetic diversity and keeping the species going"¹ then I must have been causing myself untold stress by forestalling that urge in order to pursue a career and a postgrad degree, and "[s]tress and weight tend to go together".² Funny, that the stress of postgrad study seems to be causing me to lose weight, rather than gain it, but the exception proves the rule, right? And since you say that "there is a marked link between intelligence and weight"³, it seems obvious that if I were to go on for a PhD, I'd only be risking getting fat. So that's off the "future plans" list now. I can't thank you enough for helping me identify this vicious, vicious circle.

Right, so to break that cycle, I need to find a father for my babies. How about it, Paul Sheehan? Clearly, your dizzying intellect and compassionate soul ought to be passed along to the next generation. That is, as long as you're not ugly. If I'm going to "[b]uild a better package"º in order to help cure affluenza, doing it with an ugly man seems sort of counterproductive.

¹"In praise of female sexuality"
²Affluenza is a big weight on our mind, too"

1:07 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, 25 September 2005
Testing the power of denial
Topic: Events
I don't care what the Observer says or the US Navy admits to, I cannot believe that this is real: Armed and dangerous - Flipper the firing dolphin let loose by Katrina. I just refuse to believe this. Because this? Is insane.
It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.

Dolphins have been trained in attack-and-kill missions since the Cold War. The US Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have apparently been taught to shoot terrorists attacking military vessels. Their coastal compound was breached during the storm, sweeping them out to sea. But those who have studied the controversial use of dolphins in the US defence programme claim it is vital they are caught quickly.
First reaction: when did life become a B movie? Second reaction: the Observer is overselling this story with all the "may be"-ing. Third reaction: wait, the training is for real. I'm willing to believe in hell, so long as it has a special place for the person who came up with idea of training dolphins to kill people.

(Thanks to Ro for forwarding the article to me)

10:47 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Monday, 26 September 2005 2:48 AM BST
Admin issues
Topic: Whatever
Okay, I'm going to be trying something new for the comments section, and I suspect that it may make all the old comments disappear. So if you happen to notice that a comment you made has vanished, it's not because I'm suddenly into censorship. I'm just trying out some fancy new stuff, and my technical knowledge isn't sufficient to test it out without sacrificing the existing comments. So if your comments did vanish, please accept my apologies.

Update: Hmmm. Apparently my technical knowledge is even more insufficient than I originally thought, because I can't get the new comments system working. Everything anyone has said is safe, at least until I sort out the issue.

7:53 AM BST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Sunday, 25 September 2005 8:18 AM BST

Newer | Latest | Older