Monday, 23 November 2009

Help! Where should I go?

So I am planning a 2-3 month holiday next year and I have the following potential schedules. Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Am I crazy? Are these feasible? etc.

Note that I have to visit New York City between April 28 - May 15 cos Anna will be there. this complicates things but is essential. cos Anna will be there.

To help you help me...

Tourism I like:
  • nature, big impressive nature. i like cities but quickly get bored and don't go out much.
  • food. new food, yummy food, vege food.
  • swimming and horse riding.
  • walking. not crazy hiking mind you. a little casual hiking. but mostly walking.
  • reading my book in picturesque settings or nice cafes.
  • obscure museums about weird little topics.
  • camping.
Tourism I don't like:
  • youth hostels full of drunk Americans / Australians / Brits.
  • I know this is a generalisation but I am way more of a museum person than an art gallery person. just am.
  • extreme heat. would rather snow.

With that in mind I give you...

Option 1:

apr 2 - 6: vancouver
apr 6 - 22: canada, various, def Alberta with side trip to Edmonton to see Bridgit
apr 23 - 26 washington dc
apr 27 - may 6: new york city
may 7 - 22: mexico
may 23 - 24: road trip to...
may 24 - 30: grand canyon and las vegas
may 31 - june 2: road trip to...
june 3 - 7: yosemite national park
june 8 - 14: san francisco june
15 - 17: LA

Option 2:
april 1 - 15: mexico
april 16 - 23: cuba
april 24 - 30: jamaica
may 1 - 12: NYC
may 12 - 16: Washington D.C
may 17 - 22: las vegas and grand canyon
may 23 - 25: road trip to...
may 26 - 30: yosemite national park
may 31 - june 7: san francisco
june 8 - 9: L.A

Option 3:

april 1 - 14: mexico
april 15 - 26: central america (guatemala? belize? costa rica? el salvador? nicaragua?)
april 27 - may 3: cuba
may 4 - 15: NYC
may 16 - 19: Washington D.C
may 20 - 26: las vegas and grand canyon
may 27 - 29: road trip to...
may 30 - june 2: yosemite national park
june 3 - 9: san francisco
june 10 - 11: L.A

Option 4:
april 1 - 6: san francisco
april 7 - 10: yosemite national park
april 11 - 13: road trip to...
april 14 - 19: las vegas and grand canyon
april 20 - 21: transit
april 22 - may 5: mexico
may 6 - 15: NYC
may 16 - 20: washington DC
may 21 - june ?: canada

ARGH. am going mad from excessive unproductive planning. someone do it for me. WAH.


Monday, 9 November 2009

rape culture

News flash people!

None of the following cause rape:
- university colleges
- sports culture
- different ethnic groups
- alcohol
- drugs
- women (or men) walking home alone / flirting / wearing provocative clothing / sleeping around
- unclear consent

Rapists cause rape.

And rapists are found everywhere, in all professions, in all socio-economic groups, all ethnicities and all age groups. Rapists do not rape people because either party are drunk or drugged, they rape because they live in a culture that teaches them that they can.

I don't have the energy to rant more about this.
See Rape Culture 101


EDIT: I shot this off quickly and a friend has pointed out that it looks like I am suggesting that rapists are individuals acting without cultural influence.

Quite the opposite! I am suggesting that our entire culture is a rape culture (as in blog link above) and that claiming that only certain spaces are at fault suggests that this problem isn't widespread; doesn't permeate EVERY part of our society; is the fault of "bad egg" groups.

I don't mean to say that the media shouldn't highlight groups and causes as they arise, but that the discourse shouldn't claim that these little groups or catalysts cause rape in a vacuum. Rape Culture is everywhere.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

and i think to myself what a disappointing world

Fuck I hate mobile phone companies. This is why:

A few months ago my 2 yr old phone was dying a slow and horrible death. What had been a great phone (functionality wise) was rapidly losing the ability to stay on, battery dropping out every few hours.

As if by magic, a lady from 3mobile called and told me I could get a new phone if I renewed my contract. Please note: I knew this was not magic. I knew she had called at that time because:
a) my phone had been built to break after approx. 2 years, in line with contract length; and
b) by calling me a few months before my contract was due to end I would be pleasantly suprised and not question why I was getting a new phone earlier than expected

I was clever though and I refused to choose a phone right there and then. She'll rip me off, I thought. I'll go into the shop and pick one myself. The nice man assured me my sensible, sturdy, economic, simple phone was going to be a good one (of course the LG phone I loved had been discontinued as everyone wants freakin' touchscreens now not flip phones).

I secured new phone and new plan only to since discover the following:
1. new phone is shit. it takes an age to start up again after being placed on the charger. it takes an age to perform any simple task. nothing is straightforward. i can't do the simplest of things. it is shit.
2. if i had waited mere weeks i could have gotten an iphone on my plan.

That's right folks. bitch at 3 was palming off the old phones so that less people would get iphones.

I have been mad about this for some time, but, as I have an aversion to touchscreens and fads I thought I'd just plod along with my shitty nokia. Until I got a bill in which I had gone $100 over my plan.


Ever the optimist, I trotted along to the 3 shop today. Am old fashioned. Believe in customer service. You know, the man actually smirked at me, almost laughed out loud, when I told him what had happened. I asked - if I upgrade to a higher rate plan, can I have an iphone?

Oh no, that'll be $35 a month extra thankyouverymuch. On top of the new, higher cost plan.

How can they? How can they build these things to break and manipulate us so severely? Why don't people want to create quality merchandise and develop quality relationships with customers? As the world dies under a heap of rubbish and the bigwigs trip over themselves to claim they are green, no one is pointing out (or dare I say it legislating against) this absolute waste of resources, time and money.


When I actually think about this rip off and about how helpless I am to do anything about it, I feel like crying. Clothes, computers, appliances: all built to break. Why is no one (well no one prominent and powerful) saying that this fundamental principal is killing the earth and causing mental breakdowns in young and normally happy-go-lucky public servants like myself?

I left the shop not knowing how to solve the problem. I need a good phone. I am an obsessive communicator and, in today's society, the phone is an essential tool. But I don't want to pay them an extra $50 a month. And I don't want an iphone that will just break in two years. I want to leave 3 but I'd have to pay out my contract and all the other companies are the same anyway.

Why hasn't a phone company stood up and offered something different? Phones that don't break? Personalised service? An honest approach?

I left the shop and went off to iku in search of a soul reparing vegan lunch. Mmmm mushroom, thyme and leek pie I thought and purchased happily.

So many lima beans I could barely taste the mushroom. I saw no leek. I tasted no thyme. It was fucking lima bean pie. Do you know what I don't like?



Also on my list this week:
- 90 page strategy documents
- backing tracks that do not match the original
- people that think they know better than I do about my personal life
- rooms that do not tidy themselves


Thursday, 22 October 2009


I really hate housework. Today I have considered all of the following as methods for avoiding putting clean sheets* onto bed.

* Note that I have managed to take dirty sheets off bed and put in washing machine. I don't hate laundry so much, as a machine has kindly been invented to do all the work. And I have now bought one of these machines. Joy.

Avoidance options include:

1. Sleep on couch

2. Pay a friend $20 to do it for me (any takers?)

3. Go out every night and find a random to take me home so I don't have to sleep in own bed (unfortunately this clashes with my new celibacy resolution...but that's a different story)

4. Proposition someone flirtatiously in the hopes that they'll help me

5. Move in with a girlfriend (after having asked someone to be my girlfriend) so that she has to do it (girlfriends who live together don't have sex anyway, so this one is in line with celibacy resolution)

6. Sleep on bed without sheets

7. Use a sleeping bag

8. Rent a hotel room

9. Break my own arm so friend / parent / sibling / nurse has to come and do it for me

10. Go on internet dating site and find someone who gets off on doing chores for other people


Monday, 19 October 2009

blog. i does one.

I was asked this evening when I would blog again and I realised I haven't written here in a while (for facebook people: what you read is from my actual blog on bloggy website...which is of course the same as what you see on facebook except with colours and fonts I choose...but I digress).

I go through phases of having enough of the following to rant in written form:
1. confidence
2. time
3. presence of significant irritation in life to complain about
4. solitude
5. energy

Lately I have not really had the above in remotely generous enough servings, thus silence. I have started blogs but had neither time, confidence or inclination to complete them.

Topics have included:
- a list of criteria for my ideal wife
- musings about women, drawing on references to the West Wing. This blog was a little self-indulgent and wanky so is languishing in drafts
- a musing about the advantages of bus travel over train. now out of date as was staying in clovelly at the time
- recount of dream in which i had a seizure on a staircase at an Indian cooking school and Anna had to hold my head so it didn't smash
- spiel about my relationship to food and its social / creative / sensual / artistic / scientific joys

Oh world, see what fascinating and essential insights you have missed due to my:
a) disinterest and disbelief in own writing capabilities
b) business
c) contentment
d) constant company
e) exhaustion

I like lists.


Friday, 25 September 2009

today: the good, the bad and the ugly. not in that order.

the bad:
- Lateness. I am once more becoming incapable of getting to work on time. This must be rectified. These basic human tasks - falling asleep / waking up - have for so long now alluded me. I have so many random skills (e.g. remembering numbers, walking on stilts, carrying humans bigger than me, singing very loudly...). Why can't I get sleep right?

- Seeing a man in a fitness first uniform doing push-ups at a cafe on my (late) way to work. Fitness first has no place in my suburb with its uniformed athletes putting protein powder in my milkshake; a milkshake which will NOT bring the girls to the town if the (new)town becomes this crappy, increasingly homophobic, gentrified craphole I see it becoming more and more with every fake-tanned himbo that treks in to suck face at the Marly.

the good:
- Wonderful photoshoot for the front cover of Made You Look. If we don't speak, MYL is the magazine I am editing. I am not a journalist, let alone an editor. This amazing gift landed in my lap earlier this year and I really don't want to fuck it up. It's been touch and go, but on a sunny day like today I thank the heavens when the subject turns out to be hot, hot, hot and I catch the ball he throws at me instead of letting it smash a window. Plus, a bunnyrabbit ran out into the laneway where we were shooting. A bunnyrabbit! Who doesn't love a bunnyrabbit?

- Friendship: new + old.
1. Tomorrow night is my-favourite-person-in-the-world's little sister's birthday party. I had forgotten about it til an email reminder let me know and I felt so thrilled and relieved and joyous at the prospect of drinking bar tab with her and her family away from web-of-death mania.
2. I awoke to a message from Cameron, manlove of my life, to let me know he shall soon be visiting.
3. I am engaging in all sorts of written sassy banter with new potential gin-pals and playmates and it is super fun. I do love the written word. It's harder for me to interrupt people so I hear so much more of what they have to say. I am a firm believer that it will be a perfectly composed text message that will one day win my heart.

the ugly:
- My hair. Seriously. I don't know if I miss-aimed the hair spray or if the growing length and weight means a product change is in order, but things are NOT looking good today. I am yearning to get home to fix it. It disturbs me how much of my confidence lives in my hair.

- My room. Mess: I make it. It was going so well til my Clovelly jaunt, then I came home, didn't unpack and have consequently been frantically hauling clothes out of the suitcase every morning (see above re lateness) leaving room disaster zone once more. Oh well, at least with the mess I might start sleeping more soundly!


Monday, 21 September 2009


Some people regret Big Life Decisions. They fret and analyse and find each time a greater failing falling moment that led to the disappointment of the now.

Perhaps it's that I have not made enough Big Life Decisions, or perhaps it's that I cannot begin to conceive of my life now had I not decided on Bathurst, Croc, that first fated relationship or other great life changes that now have a bittersweet taint of "maybe that wasn't the best idea..."

But I do not go over and over these problematic choices. That said, oh my, how I sweat the little things.

My Great Regrets generally fall into the following categories:

1. Cooking Mistakes
2. Stupid stuff I've said
3. Clumsiness
4. Purchases

And now, for your reading pleasure, I shall elaborate on these points with examples. This will be neither eye-opening nor informative nor witty.

Cooking Mistakes:
In case you hadn't noticed I take great pride in my cooking ability. The only problem is that it is not always consistent. When I am cooking alone, it is nearly always spectacular as I lack outside stimulation. Unfortunately, cooking for others can often go awry as I am easily distracted, leading to burnt or un-taste-tested dishes. One bad dinner party can lead to weeks of disappointment and shame. I go off cooking, start eating toast and repeatedly acknowledge the failure to all who will listen, even though they don't care. Forgetting to put corn in the corn mufflettes I made for the div 9 bbq nearly led to tears. On Saturday night I cooked a tried a tested beetroot dish which FAILED. I have, through careful analysis on the night's events decided that the problems were as follows:

- too many veges in the oven tray stopping them from crisping
- oven too low for beetroot, too high for fennel
- garlic purchased not as strong as normal garlic thus needed double the quantity
- not enough tabasco as was concerned would put too much on and burn guests' mouths
- wine consumption prior to commencement of cooking distracted chef
- good looking dinner guests with witty banter and requests* for dramatic readings distracted chef
* "Requests" may or may not mean me forcing them to listen to dramatic readings

Stupid Stuff I've Said:
Oh the stupid things I say could fill a book. This is due to my lack of tact, inability to comprehend my own privacy (or others') and a general nerves-based tendency to talk more and more in already awkward situations. I can and do relive these moments in my mind's eye, but with the advent of social networking sites (and my subsequent addiction) such mistakes can also be viewed by the world wide web. Well, 532 members of the world wide web should they be stalking my faceborg page. I have been particularly nervous lately after a VERY CLOSE CALL. Using a friend's iphone, I attempted to facestalk someone. Just as I was about to press go, it was pointed out to me that I was typing not in search but in status. IMAGINE. IF. I. HAD. WRITTEN. STALKEE'S. NAME. IN. STATUS. Sheer luck it didn't happen really, as this sort of thing always happens to me (along with talking about people when they are standing behind me, paying someone out behind their back only to discover I am talking to their girlfriend and writing a text message about what a big crush on someone I have only to send it to that very person).

Spillages on clothes in front of hot people. Tripping over in front of hot people. Breaking my belongings. Breaking other people's belongings. Spilling coffee on my desk. Getting make up on my clothes. You get the picture.

Oh, this is a bad one. See, I don't like spending my money too much. I am a saver. I also find clothes shopping oftentimes distressing because, well, I am an eater. Thus, I have, in my time, bought clothes that I have never ever worn. Get over it, one might say, give the clothes away, chuck them in the charity bin. If only it were that simple! Instead, I keep them in my cupboard, mocking me with their ugliness for years on end. Punishing me with memories of poor choices. I once kept a silver velour jacket for 8 years, wearing it once. The counter-point to this is the clothes I HAVE chucked out only to frantically search for them months later and then flog myself silly with regret once I realise they are gone (flog with thoughts not an actual whip). Same purchase theory applies to technological devices which I tend to a) know nothing about and b) impulse buy without proper research. Thus, an ipod without enough memory and a really shitty phone.

Le sigh.

I would like to learn to either not over-think these errors or, better yet, stop repeating the same old mistakes. But I don't see it happening. I am sitting here writing this and, even though I just made a killer stir fry, I am still forlorn about Saturday's fail. I am wishing I hadn't said a few silly things on the phone with a friend. I am mourning the stain on my favourite hoodie. And I was mighty frustrated by both phone and ipod on journey home.


Tuesday, 15 September 2009

he's like the wind

Throughout primary school I spent most weekends in the company of a dear friend named Cleo. Our friendship is defined in my memory by dance classes and two films which we watched incessantly. Shaping the cushions of her brown velour couch around us to make dashboard and roof, we pretended we were at a drive in that played weekly reruns of 'Grease' and 'Dirty Dancing.'

When I logged on to facebook this morning, my feed was filled with messages of woe, commemorating the death of Patrick Swayze. I sat on the train and reminisced in his honour, about two 7 year olds, fascinated by the movement and energy of films that (pre-High School Musical and the like) dealt with real youth themes such as sexuality, parental control, class difference, trust and peer pressure. We may not yet have understood what exactly Rizzo and Kenickie were doing in the car, but we were transfixed.

I have fond and vivid memories of my early years spent at Cleo's Queen St abode. I remember the food her parents cooked; I remember the mosquito net over her bed and how it made me feel regal; my fascination at her asthma apparatus; choreographed dances to Grease songs and Ace of Bass; and the way her older sister pronounced 'Swayze', all fancy and Sean Connery-esque. It made us laugh to try and copy her tone.

Some films stick with you throughout your life and Dirty Dancing was one of them. In later years, new friends feigned irony when we pumped 'Hungry Eyes' out of p-plated car windows on the way to school. When I took up salsa with a friend in 2007, "I carried a watermelon" became a repeated joke, along with "this is my dance space, this is your dance space," when the bachata got a little flirty. Just recently I joined the hordes at Carriageworks for the Dirty Dancing Wrong Prom and we cackled with glee through each hip thrust and spin.

I think sometimes I am still 7 years old and waiting for Patrick Swayze to sweep me off my feet and turn me into a dancer. I want strong arms to lead me and teach me and one day, I'd like to look good in a pink leotard and denim shorts. It's strange reaching this age when the idols of early childhood start to die. I felt sad today, not for the death of a man I never knew, but for the loss of that wide-eyed wonderment I experienced with a friend I no longer know; that sense that a whole life could change in one summer and that someone would one day lift me high into the air.


Friday, 11 September 2009

My Giant Friend

I wish I had a Giant friend. She would clamber through the city, punch a whole in my tenth story window and gingerly scoop me up from my desk. Cradled in her palm, all soft and pillowy, we'd amble away, my handbag swinging from her pinky finger. Detour via ocean and she'd dip me in and spin me around, salt cleansing my tired limbs and eyes. Then as we moseyed over to Enmore she'd dry me with warm breath. My Giant friend would lift the roof on my little mansion and push back my bed sheets. Ever so softly, she'd drop me in and cover me up, smiling from above as roof was lowered back into its place. And there she would stay, singing lullabies, watching over me and blocking my windows, making temporary night with her shadow so that I may sleep easy in my bed and dream of peaceful slumber.

Important point to remember if you are fearing for your safety:
- My Giant friend would have tiny feet which she balances on as if by magic. All reasonable scientists would not be able to explain how she balanced on such tiny feet, but she would say she was made that way so as not to crush the little people.


Tuesday, 8 September 2009

a story for the writer

I have an old friend. She is an old friend as we have known each other for more than a third of our short lives. And she is old because of her insides, all they have seen and felt, both throughout these later years and in those that came before.

I love my friend. I don’t tell her often. I still have scars she dug in my heart and so it tries to keep her at a pretty distance. But I think, deep down, she knows she is one of the most important people in my life. I see her fight and struggle to be better. To be strong. To heal the scars cruel people etched in her. The scars she suffered and the scars she made when all alone. I see her fight and fall and crumble and break and it makes me so sad. But it inspires me too. To watch her grow. It makes me believe in healing and friendship and all the others things I call my religion.

I wish I knew a way to wrap her up, warm against the night. These women see the fire in my eyes and think it’s their reflection. They see my love and think that I want sex and ownership, that I want to keep her for myself. But that is so very much not it.

I have been through their fire and have come out the other side. I broke so completely and rebuilding took time. And even in my most recent loves I see her shadow, wrapping round me and holding me back from letting go. The memories we made taught me to protect myself and keep cool; to hide from those I love lest they smash my trust to bits. And in those moments, I hate her for what she showed me. I hate her pain and its ravenous depths, and I hate myself for falling in and believing I could save her.

So when I see them try the same, it makes me rage with pity and frustration. Because they can’t save her. And now I see that she needs to save herself. And these distractions and blows to her self-worth set back this process so thoroughly.

I know my friend is difficult. I see her myriad flaws. And she sees mine. I see her hurting others and I understand their anger. I remember it well.

In public and in future, I will tease her, poke and prod. Sometimes for humour, sometimes in retaliation, sometimes just because I can. People will call me bully and I won't deny it. They will laugh at our clowning and wrestling and strange attacks. But today, I’d like her to know that I believe in her, that I think she is amazing and brave and has so much to give. That I know she can’t see a future for herself, can’t muddle through the vast unjustness the world has given her. But that I do see her future. That it is bright and big and not as lonely as she thinks it may be.

Today, I want her to know that I love her, not because of what she gives me, but for all of who she is. That I am not asking her for anything except the trust, respect and friendship I intend to keep giving her for years to come. I think she needs to hear that this week.


Monday, 7 September 2009


I dreamt on Saturday night that I was in a strange dusty town and it was the annual, terrifying day when strange creatures came from beneath the soil to hold the town to ransom. These creatures wanted money and food from the townsfolk and would stream out of the drains to attack passing cars. They trashed the joint.

I was trying to convince the town that if they just gave the creatures food and money in small amounts, regularly, they would need to complete the annual attack. And at least the buildings wouldn't be burned. But the people didn't listen.

Last night I dreamt Amy and I were singing the theme tune to Captain Planet. I woke up thinking The Planeteers would be a good name for a band.

I love that moment of waking when the dream reality is more real than the present. I grieve the loss of my dream memories every day, as the working week wears on and odd imaginings are replaced by filing and train trips.

My soccer team doesn't have a game this week and I am sad because playing soccer still fits into a bit of a dream reality to me. I still don't quite believe I had the balls (teehee: pun) to take it up, when for 25 years, sport /health / exercise have been so bound up in pressure and failure and a devastating awareness of my size. The fact that I have pushed myself to do something foreign and exposing gives me the same thrill as awaking after dreaming I could fly. I am embarrassed a little by my childlike response to this new hobby, but there you have it. Despite being really quite a terrible sportswoman, I am still giddy with pride each time I manage to go out in public wearing those shorts.

Travel had a similar effect last year, though much, much more so, and when I am trying to press my insomniac body into sleep each night I catalogue each day of my trip, committting small details and feelings and fears to memory, trying to lock in that sense that I was invincible. Trying to recreate that dream. And each week when I am paid for my filing and train trips, I get a thrill in clicking the transfer-to-savings-account button as, slowly but surely, I build the possibility of setting off again. I can taste my savings as icelandic geysirs and french romance, turkish delight and slovenian mountains, a cosy bulgarian hostel and thumbs-out adventures round Ireland.

Until I can afford that dream I will settle for soccer, strange creatures and the planeteers.


Saturday, 5 September 2009

strange contentment

When I was little(r) I always always always wanted to be older, to have more responsibility, to be taken as an adult. - (To me, older was about 17) - So desperate was I that I chased worshiped "older women" (read: 16) and felt consistently distressed at having been born to late. I should have been the oldest. I came too late.

I was convinced 17 was an appropriate age to start having children called Eliza (named as a nod to Pride and Prejudice) and that I could totally manage study and child rearing at the same time. Thank God or Science I'm a homo or I'd have been barefoot and pregnant as soon as you could say "oops I skipped that sex ed class to go practice for the Shakespeare Festival."

I wanted respect which I didn't know how to earn and I wanted to grow into a person my childhood self would chase and worship. I wanted to look after people smaller than me or weaker than me, as evidenced by a saviour complex that gets me into trouble some days. "No, Maeve, you can't go punch that homophobic boy who called your friend a faggot. He's twice your size and you like your face a lot," she said last week.

This year, for the first time in my life, I feel content with the age I am. I am in my skin and while it is not entirely as I would wish it, it feels more right than it ever has before. I am flirting with having a sense of my place in the world and I feel...dare I say it...content. I have what I need. And it is leading me terrifyingly towards writing a blog that is neither funny nor angry. Panic Stations!

And yet there it is. My strange contentment. My small and colourful home littered in memories of houses spanning Sydney to Bathurst, family to friends, happiness to rage and pain. Vegetable garden. Flowers in tupperware vases and the most delightful, thoughtful musical housemates who bring the ice cream addiction and dance off madness I had always dreamed of.

I miss my drama though some days. I just can't invoke the misery or fear I used to run to. I can't hate quite as I used to or scream like I did. I yearn for the days when I could throw a lovers belongings at her doorstep and yell bloody murder. I don't think I could do it with a straight face nowadays... I am loving with a force field to protect me from past ills repeated and I am burying deep my guilt at this happiness. I have watched some of the most important people in my life crumble and fall so many times and I often wonder what I have that saves me from their fate. Am I foolish to not see the chasm of disappointment they find in the world?

I have rage, oh how I rage. But I don't convert it into the depths of sadness my loved ones tend to find. Sometimes I think the rage is so huge I can't fathom it so I ignore it like other terrifying unknowns which don't fit into my realm of understanding. Like outer space, how the internet works and why people find men interesting.*

*(excepting my beloved male folk who defy this generalisation and know who they are)

I ignore the fear that my family will never truly heal itself. I ignore my sorry conviction that I will, in fact, spend my life without ongoing romantic love, not because I think I am unworthy, but because I don't know that I have the staying power. I ignore the concern that I don't know what my contribution to society must be, that I have left it too late to create a career, that I still don't know what that career should be. I ignore the devastating awareness that I will not see, in my lifetime, a world I would be proud to live in. A world where I don't have to be scared walking alone at night just because I am a woman. Where we can sit safely in the front seat of a taxi. Where governments work for good not votes and the earth isn't dying.

I don't write about my personal personal life on this little blog too often. It's for rants and foolish musings. I find it painful when others do, airing the laundry of the inner west for all and sundry. I'm a talker. If you want to know what I think, I will, 99% of the time, respond frankly (ok tactlessly). I don't need this for an outpouring.

But I thought, maybe, if I acknowledged the fear and celebrated the contentment, I could get a handle on the balance of the two. Either embrace the simmering terror in my belly, or calm it with a good dose of 'my what a beautiful day it is how much do I love bagels and cheese.'

I'll see how I feel in an hour or so.


Friday, 28 August 2009

The Beast

In years gone by I could safely say that I had very low self-esteem. I covered this well - sometimes well enough to be accused of arrogance. But beneath the banter and sarcasm was your average teenage self-hating ball of fear and self-loathing.

But recently, thanks to some amazing women and a life changing Euroventure, I've begun to...well... like myself. I know it sounds cheesy, and I rather avoid writing blogs-about-my-feelings, but something must be said.

You see this newfound confidence has an unfortunate side effect. One brought on by that old foe, alcohol. We shall call this side-effect... The Beast.

The Beast thinks she is all that. She firmly believes she is the sassiest woman at the table and that everyone wants to hear what she has to say. While this may sometimes be's never flattering to show that you know it!

The Beast is also an incorrigible flirt. Yes, in The Beast's mind, fat is IN this season and every woman in the bar wants her. The Beast thought it appropriate to go boozing last night with a bunch of co-workers. She regaled her audience of public servants with her political opinions, and tales of amateur theatre success. Humility was nowhere to be found. And she flirted. Appallingly.

This is not good. Because do you know what isn't attractive? The Beast. The lovely little Maeve that I have come to appreciate in recent months bears little resemblance to The Beast, who speaks like a trashbag, spills her wine on you, steals your belongings for giggles and hits on straight women. The very qualities that gave me to confidence to create The Beast, if you will, go out the window after the sixth sauvignon blanc... ok the fourth...

So what to do about The Beast? Drinking less could be a start... Or maybe I need to bring myself down a peg, remember all that teenage angst and rediscover my flaws. C'mon kids, insult me, bitch to me, tell me you hate me!

Help me slay The Beast!


Tuesday, 18 August 2009


I have been feeling a bit low on the body image front. But nothing makes a girl feel better than the following compliment:

"No matter how fat you got I would still love your teeth. I will only stop loving you if you get so fat that I can't see your teeth."

I am the luckiest woman alive.


Monday, 3 August 2009

nearly there / a little late

On the weekend the Labor party gave us a taster of equality with the recognition and a promise to register same sex couples. But marriage, that institution that so many inexplicably crave is still out of reach.

I feel like we are coaxing a child towards its first steps, "nearly there, Kevin, nearly there, you can do it..." You can recognise that fixing this same sex marriage storm isn't about finding a way to appease both sides of the argument, it's about standing up for what is right and good and acknowledging that all couples should be equal in every way possible.

There are small celebrations on the blogs of friends and in photos from Saturday's protest - action which may not always influence policy, but sure does empower community. With the ousting of Howard and the inevitable chug chug of progression, we are getting closer, little by little, to a society I would be proud to live in.

But the only relationship I would ever have wanted recognised and registered - that of my Mothers' - has ended now, recorded in photo albums and childrens' connectivity, but not written down or named outside of our little world. It is not etched into my chest as it should be.

"too late, Kevin, too late."

And when I think of my future, I do not see marriage. Community and love and friendship pushes my day to day and makes me care about the world, but not this institution of broken promises and tradition.

I was not at the protest on Saturday. I did not don a veil or kiss a girlfriend or raise my hands with pride, though I thank and congratulate those that did. I was busy rehearsing in a small, overheated room at the Conservatorium with a funny bunch of talented odds and ends who have made me smile and laugh and cry in the past few months of preparation.

And we are nearly there too. Opening next week, we will sing out to friends and family - and hopefully others... I will stand on stage and sing songs that cut to the heart of my love and hurt and play and happiness. It will not be subversive or outrageous or make statements about the world. But it will be celebration and community.

And my unregistered, unrecognised Mothers will attend on separate nights and sit proudly (even if I fall off the stage) as I share what they taught me: that pride and love and community cannot be validated by a government nor taken away by prejudice. They exist in celebration.


Thursday, 11 June 2009

The Battle for Fun: Queers and Straights

I recently posted this photo to the 'this is oz' website, an Australian initiative which basically involves people posting an anti-homophobia message in the form of a photo of themselves with a handwritten sign. The posts vary from playful, to political, to passionate pleas for equality, to more abstract statements.

I have received mixed responses to my "Queers have more're just jealous", from the positive to the confused, culminating last night in a straight woman saying something along the lines of "but I'm straight and I have fun"...or some such. Could she make a "Straights have more fun" sign, she asked.

No. No she could not.

There needs to be a class compulsory for all school students which explains privilege and power. Which explains why it is ok for a black person to say nigger, why there aren't straight bars or a straight mardi gras (because 364 days of the year ARE straight mardi gras) and why my statement about queers having more fun is not a flippant allusion to the idea that drag queens are like totes so funny right now and like being a lez is totally awesome cos it's just like falling in love with your bestest friend.

I chose my "Queers have more fun...' statement because I am sick to death of asking for acceptance, for equality, for tolerance (my MOST hated word). Because I am sick of gay rights meaning having exactly the same rights as straight people when I don't actually like the parameters of straight society and would rather redefine relationships and families for myself.

I chose it because I am proud to live in a society where, as a queer woman, I can have any fun at all! Where I am not gaoled, forced into straight marriage, beaten, silenced or killed. Because I could be raised by two amazing women and because I can live in a community of brilliant, out contemporaries who I adore.

I chose it because, in fact, I do see my queer community as capable of providing more of the kind of fun I want to have than my straight friends' communities do. I often wonder where I would find a community if it weren't for my sexuality. I see a lot of heterosexual friends (note I see a difference between heterosexual and straight) rally around politics or sports, past times or areas of study. But I choose to find the fun among queer politics, sports, past times and areas of study.

Being queer has given me a sense of history and culture. In a country where a lot is tossed around about a lack of history (white history anyway) and a lack of coherent, unifying culture, I feel I am part of an international shared history and language of queer. Though my community is extremely varied I feel a sense of nationhood and ownership and safety. We have citizens to be proud of and revere; writers and artists and activists and musicians and philosophers. And for me personally, I found that history and sense of unity in the family home where my wonderful mothers gave me a sense of my personal and global history - the events leading to the possibility of my mere existence! I had an A-Grade upbringing by queers.

It's fun to socialise and analyse with people that want to understand and better the world around them. Of course there are gays who do not strive for change and heterosexuals who work tirelessly for a better world. But when I think of my own queer community I see a higher than average willingness to support minority views and respect a marginalised group's right to agency. The other day a friend of mine who uses a wheelchair complained of perceived discrimination in a first aid course. Our coworkers initial reaction was to defend the tutor's intentions and try to explain his error, instead of saying to her - that's fucked that you felt persecuted. From a privileged position, it is easy to forget that when someone feels attacked they don't want the first response of their friends to be a justification of their attacker - they want support and then balanced analysis. I was really bothered by this interaction as I don't like to see a friend silenced, and on a personal level it reminded me of the myriad times I've been told I am overreacting to homophobia or seeing sexism because I want to (that evil Feminist agenda makes me oversensitive, remember?)

From the moment of self-realisation or 'outing' queers are explaining and justifying their sexual practices and relationships to the world. The number of overly personal questions that get asked is amazing. The positive of this (the fun part if you will) is that my queer friends are wonderfully analytical and productively critical about their relationships. We search for new ways to love each other and fuck each other and strive to find a model that makes us happy. We don't always get it right but I am proud and privileged to relate to people that care about how they love me and how I treat them and want to experiment with human interaction.

I'm going to say it: fucking queer women is fun. Now I can't make comparisons as my experience with men is limited, but I just can't imagine men being as...skilled... :-) Oh look, any straight friends reading this are going to have a tantrum now... One straight recently joked that lesbians shouldn't be allowed to use strap-ons - "you've made your choice" she quipped. Now the delivery was hilarious, but there's an underlying jealousy there no? Because we get to have it all... Am I due for another straight tantrum now? I don't care! The women I have loved have been bright, engaged, caring, supportive, adventurous, willing, playful, skilled, beautiful and yes - Fun. So I couldn't let this blog go by without acknowledgment of the joyous sex part of sexuality.

Maybe I think you're jealous because you have to stifle any urges you have for the same sex to fit in with your societal position. Whereas I can have a sexuality that is fluid and will not suffer the wrath of my friends if I deviate from their expectations of my gender and desire. Maybe you are jealous because I have sports teams I can join just for my kind and I have parties and events designed to appeal to my sexuality and desires. Or because some of my people are so clever they developed a whole queer theory. Are you jealous because I can define the rights I am fighting for and have a framework for analysing this very confusing world? Or because there are websites devoted to people posting messages of support for ME.

If you aren't jealous, you should be!

DISCLAIMER: I don't think the people I have referred to here read my blog, but if you do and you find it problematic that I have used your comments in this way, please let me know. I do not wish to offend you, but I do think it's worth me bringing up stuff I find problematic. If I am even talking to you, I obviously like you so hold you to a higher standard than the general population. And I'd be willing to chat and clarify. xxx


Wednesday, 3 June 2009

'the f word', or 'the longest blog in the world'

It's funny how things come in waves. I won't hear about something for months then all in a week, it's the hot topic; spurred on by a news item or social happening, suddenly wherever I go we're all speaking with the same focus.

Since the NRL incident, women and sexual assault have been bashing their way through opinion pieces and coffee tables. But I have noticed a relative silence on the matter among my social circles (in person rather than online), as if we have assumed we hold the same position, we are the same brand of Feminist, we know where we stand. That little tidbit of sensation has all but exited the mainstream now, but it and the subsequent furor have rekindled my thoughts around Women and Feminism.

Things comes in waves and yesterday I could not avoid Feminism and its waves. At work, through my searches of disability blogs I came across an online battle between "radical feminist" (for want of another term) bloggers and sex worker bloggers. The contention was over bags made by and for sex workers at an Australian convention that said "Sheila is not my sister." Outraged, the women who say "prostituted" rather than "worker" had made a "Sheila is my sister" logo for their blogs and had then waxed lyrical over the "attacks" made by these "privileged, non-representative" sex workers against their "hero" Sheila Jeffreys.

Now I don't want to blog on about Sheila because what struck me in these comment wars was not about her views, but about the bloggers' inability to hear each other and their references to the alleged waves of feminism that have flowed in and over society in the past century or so.

Apparently, feminism has had three waves and apparently these waves hold values that are mutually exclusive.

You can be a second-wave anti-porn anti-prostitution warrior OR you can be a third-wave pole-dancing ignorant "mind-dazed" (an actual quote!) slacker.

You can be a rigid, out-dated, radical anti-sex Sheila wannabe OR you can be an enlightened, sex-positive, queer-friendly, sex-work activist.

You can't like porn and be a feminist.
You can't have an opinion on sex work unless you are a sex worker.
If you believe in sex worker rights you are supporting the patriarchy.
If you are anti-porn you are anti-sex.
If you engage in BDSM you are a victim.
If you are a sex worker you have a history of sexual abuse.

I couldn't believe the barrage of simplistic conclusions that absolutely disallowed complexity of thought or varying views or debate. And! When one person's comments were deemed too challenging to the view of the original blog, they started to be blocked!

I commented here and there, tried to point out that perhaps there was a middle ground. Perhaps Sheila-ites should listen to the sex workers they were supposedly saving. Perhaps there was a place for some porn, especially when it is female-made, queer or demonstrates safe sex practices...

Now, I am aware that I am demonstrating a bias towards the sex-positive, sex-worker rights side of this debate and I make no apology, nor do I wish to hide this. As a rule, I adhere with a lot of what this "wave" of feminism has to say.

The problem here is that then I am labelled third-wave, not allowed to use the word "radical" to describe myself and, according to some, am aligned with the "I can wear a short skirt if I want to" camp. Incidentally, I can and do wear a short skirt most weekends, but I digress.

Back to Tuesday:
I left the blogs and headed out for a beverage or two (non-alcoholic: see health plan).

I came across a group of friends sitting, primarily silently while two wonderful women waxed lyrical on what was wrong with the world. With the system. With the patriarchy. With the fact that even in Newtown - our supposed "pocket" - one of them could be assaulted in a park, then asked by the cops afterwards "Is that what you were wearing?"

These women are (perhaps including but not limited to) queer, sex-positive, kinky, radical, angry, intelligent, witty, bright and engaged. They have become my community in the past few years and represent a diverse range of views. And they debate!

When the conversation steered to a t-shirt worn by a man one of them knew, someone spoke up in opposition to the party line that had been drawn in the past minutes. The offending garment had said "Dead Girls Can't Say No." (It says something about my dark sense of humour that I stated that if a girl was wearing that I would think it sassy, confrontational and ironic...) One reaction was that the shirt was woman-hatred, plain and simple. Another advocated that necrophilia was the problem and that the shirt would be just as bad if it said "Dead people..." When will it stop being about women's rights and start being about people's rights?


Never tell a Feminist that Feminism isn't needed anymore unless you want to see her face go purple. I won't transcribe the rest of the debate, but it was fiery and I imagine continued on after I skipped off to go see a movie (Synechdoche, New York, which incidentally I have a lot to say about - largely on the role played by women!)

But these Tuesday adventures made me sad. It made me sad that my angriest, most clever and passionate Feminist friends are debating these issues with each other but not always being heard in the wider community. Feminists are battling against each other online, but not face to face where a little more compassion may be allowed for and where comments can't be "blocked" with the click of a button. I was sad because I am tired of fighting and fighting and fighting and would rather leave the office than speak out when co-workers gather round a computer to violently denounce pictures of women at an award show as "fat," "ugly," "a tranny," "a grandma" and so on... (but that's another story)

I am not part of a wave. I see Feminism as a continuum with space for the views of everyone (yes, even Sheila Jeffreys though I think much of her work ridiculous). I don't want to fight with other women about Feminism, but I am not going to be silent when people say she was asking for it or think that, in a world where women are overwhelmingly more likely to be the victims of violence, we haven't got a struggle anymore.

It was quite a Tuesday all round, and I haven't even told you about the meat tray I sat beside for an hour.


Monday, 1 June 2009

My Extensive Intensive Comprehensive Health Plan

I hereby declare that , for the next two months, I shall:

- not drink alcohol (excepting the housewarming we may be having and if my soccer team wins - these are the ONLY exceptions).

- drastically reduce my take-out consumption. I have never been one to buy when I can bake, but life has been a bit hectic and suddenly my diet is incorporating way more felafel rolls and big brekkies than it should. For the next two months I am only allowed to buy dinner / breakfast once a week and lunch at work once a week.

- take vitamins, not just buy them and remember every now and then to pop a few. I will be taking flaxseed and B.

- cut out heavy carbs (as in potato, rice, pasta, bread) after 3pm. This will be hard as carbs are so tasty and I am so good at making them. But I shall try!

- not smoke socially. I have cut this down since going overseas but now it's a no-no. If I ask say no...unlikely that I'll ask though as I won't be drunk! Hurrah!

- find a yoga / pilates class to do once a week. I believe there is pilates at Newtown gym at 10.30am on a Friday and Yoga at 6pm.

- start working Thursdays and Fridays. Three days a week does not a work routine make.

- tidy room once a week. More is just unrealistic.

- turn off computer at 10pm every night and place it in the lounge room. Unless I am chatting to France.

- regular coffee not large!

- buy the following things which will add to emotional well being:
* new mattress
* camera
* work pants
* new underwear
* washing machine

- start saving again like a crazy woman to make up for all the crap I just bought!

Prizes for me if I make it to August 1!


Sunday, 31 May 2009

lazy me letting someone else blog about gay marriage

i was going to write down my opinions on gay marriage, but this person did it for me:


work choices

i should like to have an office affair one day. it strikes me as something one should do at some point. unfortunately, i don't tend to work in places overrun with hot, young, single lesbians. yes, there have been a number of lesbians, but none of the single + in my age range. i may need to seek work in hospitality. which would defeat the purpose as cafes do not have elevators.

i am aware this is a cliche.

i am aware these things tend to lead to disaster.

but my life needs
more cliche, yes more i say.


Thursday, 21 May 2009

my mates clare and matty

You know I didn't want to write about the recent explosion of football/rape/feminism/consent/other-relevant-key-words madness. I thought that, firstly, most of my friends and readers would agree with me (so I'd be preaching to the converted) and secondly, that many wonderful people had expressed similar views more eloquently than I.

However, I have noticed recently that a few of my faceborg friends have joined "I Support Matthew Johns" groups and the foul taste that fact left in my mouth has spurred a rant.

You see, I am going to go out and say that I am not that interested in this particular case. Whether or not "Clare" gave consent, whether or not the people who play whatever sport they play thought she gave all this I say whatever.

Because, you see, I think a big problem in the media attention this has received is the individualising and emotive reportage. We join groups supporting "Matthew" or "Clare" as if these people are our family members and require our love and attention. Debate rages as to his/their and her intentions and feelings and so on as if this is the only time ever that men and women have engaged in a sex act with unclear consent or committed acts that the general public consider morally problematic (e.g. group sex, infidelity). As if by knowing exactly what went on that night and why, we'll KNOW how to fix all of societies "gender problems."

So, in light of all the to-ing and fro-ing about these particular individuals, I am just going to go out and make some sweeping generalisations that I believe to always be true! Most of what I say is directed at the idiots who thought it appropriate to join groups supporting men who would invite their mates back to their room to fuck their date, but there are some truths in there for the 'feminists' who make problematic assumptions of their own!

The following statements have nothing to do with what happened in Christchurch, they are in no particular order, and I have made them into a list because I hope it will make me concise:

1. Police do not have to charge a person with rape in order for it to have been rape. Police make mistakes. People can be afraid to speak out. Money and fame are powerful. Our justice system is severely flawed. As is New Zealand's I imagine.
2. Rape is not the only unethical sex act a perpetrator can perform. Just because something wasn't rape doesn't mean it wasn't wrong or harmful.
3. Sex and Consent are never the responsibility of only one party. It is the responsibility of BOTH parties to negotiate sex.
4. Some women enjoy and consent to group sex, submission and other sex practices YOU may not agree with or find hot. This does not make them a helpless victim or a whore (incidently, there is nothing wrong with being a whore so stop using it as an insult).
5. Consenting to sex acts does not mean merely allowing them to happen or even saying "yes" when they are suggested. It means agreeing to do them with someone you trust or feel confident to stand up to. If you feel uncomfortable during or after the fact and don't feel like you can speak out, you are not consenting.
6. Not only footballers treat women like objects. In fact I wouldn't be suprised if the percentage of footballers who do is equal to the percentage of the general population. This is a whole-society-problem, not an elite-sports-problem.
7. Supporting a victim does not mean that you do not feel for the family of the perpetrator.
8. Enjoying group sex does not make you gay. Being gay makes you gay. There is nothing wrong with being gay.
9. People who have experienced trauma should not be believed / disbelieved based on at what point they spoke out / how they spoke out. Sometimes victims of abuse takes years to talk about it. Sometimes they talk about it jokingly or boastingly to cope. Sometimes they never talk about it.
10. YOU are never an expert on another person's life, experiences and sexuality. Discuss society, discuss sexuality, discuss notions of fame and power, ideas about masculinity and femininity, sexism and feminism - discuss them as much as you can because they are important and understanding them is essential. DO NOT TALK SHIT ABOUT INDIVIDUALS AS IF YOU KNOW THEM WHEN YOU DON'T.

and if you are going to write about things please, god, please learn some basic grammar and spelling*

* not intended to be racist or ableist. am referring to people who think "da" is an appropriate replacement for "the"and "l8er" is an appropriate replacement for "later." It hurts my eyes and brain and heart.

The End.

p.s. this is, alack, neither eloquent nor as well expressed as it should be. rage and bewilderment do that to a girl.


Monday, 18 May 2009

whatever trevor

I have been feeling oddly detached and disinterested in human company this past week. Has someone invented Post Menstrual Stress yet?

Yesterday after soccer I hit the pub and was characteristically socially inappropriate for a few beers and a wolfed down shared fried rice. I felt unsettled, as I did on Saturday and indeed Friday when I cancelled social engagements to watch Frost/Nixon (pleasing) and then grumpily sleeeeeep.

All I wanted to do was get into bed last night and watch the Grey's Anatomy final which I downloaded with ma new technical skillz. But Grey's was DECIDEDLY unsettling as well. Stupid television, failing to warm my heart and threatening to kill off two characters. We do NOT kill two characters at a time, we only kill ONE. Stupid television. Letting me down.

So it is Monday and I guessed it...unsettled! And jealous of friends who are travelling and cruely posting photos, like I used to.

I am meant to go to physio re knees, but don't feel like spending $80 to hear that:
a) I have harmed them in some way
b) I should lose weight (duh)
c) I need to do exercises or start pilates (bloody exercise is what's harmed them in the first place)
d) I will need further expensive appointments


Friday, 15 May 2009

everything is breaking

My body is falling to bits, with sore soccer knees and flu sneezes and such. At what point did this body become an object I couldn't control, a piece of flesh that snaps and stretches in the wrong direction, that starts to hurt on a Thursday for no good reason since i haven't even been to work that day (flu!).

The one part I can control and do is my over-styled, too-regularly-trimmed hair. Fuck I love doing my hair. it's up for the chop in 43 minutes and I'm ever so excited.

I turned down a phsyio appointment I could have had at 1.30pm for my hair appointment at 2pm and I think that shows that my personality is still in tact and I still value vanity over ability to play sports.

stupid sports. breaking my body.

Why doesn't this body break in a repetitive, dependable, expected way? A few years ago a terribly sore lower back (brought on by body shop shifts and long nights of dancing) was treated with pilates and a shift in posture. Now the knees give way.

Actually i think it's a leftover injury from a chair lift incident some years back...the last time i engaged in sports... i'm sensing a conspiracy...

So anyway, I'm off to fix the one part of my body that seems to improve with age. For the rest I'm hoping that my new favourite show Dollhouse* becomes a reality and I can body swap. Ideally with Olivia Williams, my new celebrity crush (I say crush, but I mean passionate conviction that she is The One). Then we could be together foreva.

That said, if I was Olivia Williams I would have to have beautiful long hair like hers that curls and cascades around her british charm in just the right way. It wouldn't need such regular cutting and styling and what would I have to look forward to on a friday afternoon?

oh Olivia.

This blog has not been edited and has no literary merit i think.

* I think that Dollhouse, Joss Whedon's latest offering is not actually a good show. It's possible it's quite bad. But sometimes, just sometimes, strains of Buffy come through in dialogue or character or a particular fight scene (or in the huge number of recycled actors) and I think I am watching new Buffy and it's like a long lost lover has come back from the dead and is whispering sweet nothings in my ear. For that reason, as well as a recent bout of the flu, I have been addictively watching Dollhouse and am convinced Olivia Williams and I are destined to make love.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Too Much Information.

My sister really wants the best for me. That's why she likes to impart charming little criticisms every now and then to encourage my personal improvement, to ensure I am the best that I can be.

One of her latest crusades has been this blog. You see, apparently, I was much funnier and more interesting when I was overseas. Now I am actually entirely in agreement with her on that one, however her other gripe is that I am far too open, that I give too much information.

("No one wants to KNOW when you have you period Maeve.")

So, in honour of my dearest littlest sibling, I would like to share with you all the things you did not want to know about me. Cringe on, little sister! I have no sense of privacy and can't see that changing any time in the near future.

1. I smell my clothes (yes all my clothes) to see if they need washing.

2. I am very content on the toilet. I like how relaxed one can be. I sometimes have a little nap.

3. If we are friends, I have thought about what it would be like to have sex with you.

4. I have also probably talked to you while on the toilet. I do not understand why this is a problem.

5. I really like squeezing pimples and blackheads and sometimes I daydream about having a really hideous skin disease that I could squeeze and pick to my heart's content. I hope I never DO get a skin disease cos there would be scarring.

6. I ate beetroot last night and my poo was purple this morning and I wondered whether the friend I fed beetroot to for dinner also had purple poo but I didn't ask her.

7. I bite my hands. Not just nails, but cuticles, tops of fingers, and knuckles - both sides. I have tried to stop many, many times, but I can't relax in social situations unless I am biting them. Which is crap, cos I look entirely un-relaxed when doing so.

8. I pick my nose. In private. Well, mostly in private.

9. I like eating food with my hands. In private. Well, mostly in private.

10. Once my friend Anastasia and I decided after drinking a little too much of the cooking wine that the secret ingredient in our cooking was our own saliva (cos we tasted-tested everything and double-dipped). We then spat in the meal we were making for our friends.

Monday, 4 May 2009

living in a material world

I didn't let myself buy pretty things on return from o/s having just spent a small car on travel.
But lately, I've found myself moseying into clothing outlets seeking little treats. I have bought a few new items and, time having passed since I last allowed myself guilt-free shopping pleasure, these items have brought me capital-J Joy. They are:

- 6 ties in various colours and patterns, all describable as 'grandpa,' $1.50 each, purchased on my day off when walking home through Petersham
- a Bananas in Pyjamas blue striped shirt that is big enough to be worn as a dress, were I that kind of trendy
- a navy vest
- a black and grey checked vest that cost more than three times the sum total of the above items, purchased from the same place I bought my favourite grey hoodie, an item which I bought in exactly the same way - wandered in while waiting for a movie to start, wandered out with new clothing item.

I want:
- new work pants. I wear the same pair every day. Time to hit up, dare I say it, Country Road.

The first time I tied a girl up, I used a Country Road scarf

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

leichhardt. it has two Hs in it.

I went to Leichhardt this morning for a doctor's appointment, at the same practice I've gone to since I was 5 years old and Dr Ovadia came to our house every day before and after work to check on my paralysed meningitised self. I feel an attachment to that practice, though it has changed buildings and I've changed doctors over the years (to the friendlier, rounder, female and wonderful Kate George).

Walking round Leichhardt always has a strong affect on me. I have a real physical attachment to place and memory, creating a sense of nostalgia in a really short space of time. While I've spent most of my life around the inner west - never essentially leaving Leichhardt (we moved one suburb away to Haberfield in 1996), I have a definite nostalgia about those early years in Australia, living on James St, with neighbours Sue and the Browns and Heather & Skye and Elaine and that place where they kept their dogs under the house.

Because while Leichhardt has been gentrified and de-Italianised (damn Thai restaurants, what's THAT about?) it remains in many ways the same, with stalwart, memory joggers round every corner.

I walk past the school and remember the spots I waited for parental collection; the place where I first remember being shat on by a pigeon...elicits a sense of revulsion still, and humiliation as I look down at my fore arm - I remember the heat on my skin of the grotesque brown...the panic at not knowing how to make it go away. I see the steps where my friend Cleo and I were caught looking up a teacher's dress...though I have forgotten the teacher's name I remember my embarrassment and my conviction that it was all Cleo's idea! Despite extreme parental frankness at an early age, many of my first understandings of sex happened in that friendship, watching Grease and Dirty Dancing and negotiating an idea of what it all meant; I remember dragging my toy rabbit to school in a cardboard box on a string, spinning it round and discovering some scientific process that held the rabbit in the box even when I spun it round and upside down. I did this for so long, fascinated that she didn't fall out. Poor dizzy rabbit...

I remember my first Australian summer thunderstorm raging against the awnings as we walked up Norton St to school.

Irish dancing competitions in Leichhardt Primary hall.
Apricot pieces from the canteen.
The day my mother, Teresa (no Mother Teresa) threatened a girl who had hit interesting parenting practice...

Rooms and teachers and childish confusion and friends who I have no way of tracing as I only remember their first name and would have nothing in common with them now anyway.

And James St, which I have passed so often, still makes me close my eyes and see bicycle rides round blocks (we were so unbothered by repetition), Grainne and I flower stealing to make revolting 'perfume' and street parties where particular games, or particular dishes stand out vidily in my mind.

The walls on Campbells' Cash & Carry where Rowan and I would bash tennis balls crying "WAMSTECKERS" with each hit. Only years later did we find out where we had discovered that word (which went so well with the thwack of a tennis ball). Hank Wamstecker was my mothers' accountant.

Pizza at Leichhardt swimming pool when it opened til 8pm and the infamous incident when Louise accidently got anchovies on our pizza. Travesty.

I remember sitting outside the house in the rain under an umbrella reading a book and pretending to be homeless. A few years on, I sat in my cupboard the day we had to move, sobbing and devastated to be leaving a home I loved so much, not understanding the logic behind this departure for Hateful Haberfield and its quiet streets and lack of broken glass.

I could list on, try harder to create a montage in my head of all those moments and firsts and family rituals, but nothing does it like a walk through old DykeHeart. I can almost do the same in Haberfield, Bathurst, even Newtown now, where I am creating a lived nostalgia, a sentimental attachment to little moments and corners. But not like early-childhood-Leichhardt, where the memories are framed in childish fascination and wonderment.

I cling to my past, grip fast to memory and panic when it fails me. And at the same time I spend so much time day dreaming about potential futures.

It's amazing I have any energy for the now...

Friday, 17 April 2009

money money money ah-ah, must be funny

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! K-Rudd stimulated me last night!

I would like to hereby state that I think the tax bonus is a stupid idea and am, in principle, opposed to it.

That said, Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I shall be placing mine into my savings account.

I love nothing more than watching my savings account climb. Especially after the mildly traumatic months abroad in which I watched its rapid descent. I like making my savings account into neat whole numbers by transferring odd amounts. I like checking when the interest comes in. I like developing strange savings schemes. I like putting everything that is left at the end of the week into my savings and starting fresh with a new paypacket. I like spontaneously tending to my savings account with small amounts like $20 or $50. I like trying to calculate how much I will be able to save this year. I like trying to work out what my tax return will contribute to my savings account. I like imagining the grand things I shall buy / do when my savings account is healthy and robust at the end of the year.

Potential recipients of my carefully tended to and adored savings account:
- a trip around Australia
- a trip to the Americas
- cookwear (various)
- a shiny, fancy camera
- gardening equipment and plants
- an apartment

But for the moment there shall be no spending, no sir. The stimulating buck stops with me. I have a love affair with my savings account and I is stimulatin' her good.

Sorry Kevin.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

reflections on the west

I ran into some guys from uni the other day, most of whom I don't like. One of the charmers saw fit to sit with my friends and I for a time, feigning friendliness. He said nothing particularly offensive (unusual) but his presence bugged me. And so did his comment that I "have not changed."

In the 3 and a half years since I left uni I feel I have changed a great deal. This is, in part due to growing up, but when I think back on who I was then and place her next to who I am now I notice marked differences - and at times it is hard not to feel angry about who I let myself be before.

I allowed myself to feel ashamed of my politics and to think that my rage was unjustified. I apologised for my "radicalism" and I let my sexuality be exoticised by straight men and, bi-curious women who confused me.

I let my brain get lazy, and shunned my academic side and allowed people to ignore my skills and criticise the fact that I did not have physical talents, without standing up and saying "but this is what I DO have."

I let myself be mistreated by a lover, and I at times mistreated her. I let myself live in a place where there was little choice in lovers and we believed this was the best we deserved.

I tried to prove I was some form of normal, instead of being proud of the fact that I was not.

I believed that I was ugly and bought into a beauty ideal that does not belong to my community. I developed a language of body shame that I am still trying to un-learn.

I would never change my choice to study in Bathurst. There is a list of what I learned as long as the list of what I gave up. I needed to leave my cushioned inner-west environment to SEE what the rest of Australia can be like. I needed to see that open-mindedness and care come in many forms and that judging someone based on their background or religion or education is just as bigotted as homophobia or sexism or racism. I saw the beauty of rural Australia, its history, nature and people. I learned that I could be left in the wilderness for a few nights and survive. I learnt teamwork and discovered I could write but also that I like driving trucks and drilling holes in stuff - and that these practical skills were just as valuable as the academic ones I proved I had at high school.

I learnt a lot. But I will never go back to a community in which I am the minority, in which I am ridiculed and in which I must compromise my values.

I have changed. I am not hiding or apologising anymore.


Sunday, 12 April 2009

i know better about me

sometimes i wish i didn't take the advice of others. i knew i'd need a bigger ipod (more space, not bigger object). no, no said the naysayers, 8GB is enough. it's not enough. i listen to a lot of music. i'm not taking advice anymore. i clearly know best.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

the story of Maeve's Wednesday Night:

i went to soccer. i was SO tired as i haven't had a good night's sleep in ages due to a) insomnia b) cramps c) staying at my mum's house thinking it'll give me a good night's sleep forgetting she has internet and cable and a tv in the spare room.

but i went to soccer nonetheless and ran around learning skillz and made friends with bev. we kicked the ball to each other but she didn't seem to like me very much cos she kept aiming it at other people not me. she has named us 'Super V' cos we both have Vs in our name. she googled super v and found out it is the name for a very powerful gun, a brand of vitamins or a brand of ten pin bowling pins. she made us a logo.

after soccer a different friend drove me home (soccer = instantaneous friendship) and i saw another car of soccer people drive past on enmore rd and then ran into jen and carl and i felt like i was postman pat.

then laura brought me a cheese and spinach triangle and i ate it and we went and got gelato. i bought a big gelato thinking i'd save half for a rainy day. there is no more gelato so on said rainy day methinks i shall have to exercise to cancel out the gelato i scoffed last night.

i watched two episodes of big love which i really truly think is an excellent show. then i took a happy blue sleeping pill that laura gave me and passed out.

the end.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

think about THIS while you are eating your lunch

Having my period makes me believe in intelligent design over evolution. Well, not intelligent design, rather evil, misogynist, stupid design.

"Some" would claim I know "nothing" about "anatomy," but my friends, riddle me this:

What other body parts need to regenerate themselves monthly??? Ok, skin and hair reject themselves and start afresh, but they are outside the body so it's a kind of self-cleansing due to the grubby, grubby elements. We get rid of poo and wee, but they are the waste products from stuff we put into our bodies.

But the lining of my womb is made by ME right? No outside germies or last night's dinner? So why has it got to go the way of my sister's dead goldfish? What is so defective with my womb that it can't stay garden fresh while it waits for a baby? My veins don't split open in time with the moons and eject all that dirty, dirty blood before refilling themselves with the good stuff.

The only male comparison I can think of is the regular ejection and regeneration of sperm. BUT YOU DON'T SEE BOYS DOUBLED OVER IN PAIN AND SNAPPING AT THEIR FRIENDS IN RAGE EVERY TIME THAT HAPPENS NOW DO YOU?

Scientists, Enlighten Me.

Or I shall have to become a God-resenting Christian on the morrow.

Alternately, deliver hard core pain killers to me at my desk.



I can't sleep. I lie awake waiting for it to come, I run around all day trying to tire myself out, I breathe in, breathe out, can't sleep. So I stay up, watch a movie, read, mess around with computer. The activity stimulates my brain, so of course, I can't sleep.

My eyes are red, my body is sore, I can't focus on uni or work or you.

I can't sleep.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Why the Courthouse Hotel is the Mardi Gras of Pubs

It's an age old problem that when something is good, people find out that it's good and it inevitably becomes crap. A victim of its own success. This process can take the form of gentrification / wankification (think Paddington or The Bank Hotel) or, in the case of Mardi Gras and the Courthouse, it's simply a takeover by the hoardes.

The courthouse used to be a cosy, beer gardened place where one could find a table and chat with mates. Now, to find a table, you have to a) wait b) share or c) seek out the eastern suburbs bus-ins, sit a little too close to them and talk graphically about sex, making them feel uncomfortable / oddly arroused til they leave.

Bar queues take FOREVER and I have many a time had to contend with sleazy menfolk wishing me happy birthday and winking sleepily. Check the hair do and baggy jeans matey - do the math!

Speaking of hair dos, there is a poshifying straightifying element going on as the clientele moves from vinnies to vintage - a problem facing much of the Newtown area.

I like space, comfort and like-minded friendly folk. I don't like waiting around and I don't like sleaze.

Crowds, waiting and straight-sleaze also sum up my Mardi Gras experience this year. My friends and I saw more homophobia that night than we do in an average month of Newtown ghettodom. The mammoth parade is overpoliced, over-sponsored, and no longer a particularly pleasant experience for participants with gawking crowds full of tourists who sneer when you seek out a cheer.

Mardi Gras is like a family tradition for me and I have supported it longer than many. But next year, I think I'll have a subdued Mardi Gras in Newtown. Maybe with the hoardes lining Oxford St, I'll head to the Courty for a quiet beer.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

oooohhhh I Wanna Dance With Somebody

To Dance or Not to Dance....
I love dancing more than most things in the world. I would place dancing up there with eating, fucking, watching TV and swimming as my five favourite things to do. It saddens me deeply that my passion for dancing is sometimes misunderstood as skill...or the belief that I think that I HAVE skills.

I have no skills. My dancing takes the form of faux-krumping, bad-robot, jumping, bottom-wriggling mania. When my "friends" say they don't dance (we can't REALLY think of them as friends in this case) because they "can't" I feel like bitch-slapping time with some super-fun, wicked beats. Teehee, I don't think I've ever used the phrase "wicked beats" before.


Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Never Again

Our first soccer game is on Sunday. As in the first competitive game with another team of people who aren't (necessarily) lesbians so can't be distracted from my lack of ability by my charming charm and asymmetrical hair do.

I hadn't really thought about the First Game til today when an email full of sporting information came through and I wanted to hit the panic button. You see, I've been jollying around with soccer peeps about how I Don't Do Sports and I Hate This Stuff for weeks, but it's all been in laughter.

The Problem:

Not because I can't. I am competitive, reasonably strong, unfit but not the least fit in the world, I like team stuff and I have good hand/eye coordination (useless in soccer, but still worth mentioning). I don't do sports because they evoke the trauma of childhood obesity (which we just called being fat back then cos it wasn't an epidemic). Up until high school I was trundled through a number of sports in an attempt to get me into exercise.

The end result is that sports make me panic.
Doing sports in front of others makes me panic.
Especially if those others are more sporty than me.

Case Study: I love climbing trees. Once I locked a friend out of her apartment and came to save the day by climbing a tree onto her balcony, all nonchalant like I did that every day. This was possible because a) I like saving the day b) it was my fault so the least I could do c) my friend is less sporty than me so there was no pressure. Last week I went to the beach with Soccer Girl and I said I liked climbing and we went to climb a rope play equipment thing and she bounded up all tall and efficient and looked back to see what was taking me so long. Result: I panicked, slowed down and climbed gingerly up like I'd never climbed anything in my life.
Pressure = Failure.

Do you know what there will be on Sunday at the soccer match?

Sometimes I think my fat / body image / food neuroses are on the way out. Improvements include:
1. enjoying food without excessive guilt
2. being naked with the lights on
3. joining a soccer team

But then I think of the panics that still remain, and I wonder if I will ever NOT feel like the fat kid.

1. Panic at the thought of actually playing soccer
2. Panic every time I have to choose something on a menu (considerations: a) will people think I am ordering too much? b) will it be good enough? food = fat so if it is bad it is WASTED FAT)
3. Panic when choosing what to wear when going out, resulting in being an hour late, sitting on bed wanting to cry

Oh well. Baby steps.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

I've loved him for a long long time...

...I know this love is real.

He walked in to a standing ovation. That says it all really. But, with that much adoration, failure - or at least disappointment - could have been on the cards.

To be honest, what I expected from the Leonard Cohen concert Wednesday night was to bathe in the glory of sharing air space with my favourite musician (or at least my favourite lyricist.) But I thought, at his age, that maybe some of the musicality might have left his dulcet tones. Or that he'd be doing one of those token revival tours that can be a little lacklustre and depressing.

Not so, my friends, not so.

He was a delight.

"The last time I was here it was 15 years ago...I was 60...just a kid with a dream..."

He tipped his hat to our cheers and skipped off the stage. Hell, if I can still skip in my 70s I hope I'll get to do it in front of thousands of people.

I know I am not original in my passion nor am I new. But love him, I really really do.

It's the words that do it. He manages poetry in such an effortless way. Though I have heard that he works years sometimes on a song, his metaphors and imagery never seem laboured. Brilliant, rich lines ("and jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water") couple with simple statements like "there ain't no cure for love" or poetic nonsenses like "a thousand kisses deep." And he writes concept songs, not just simple storytelling or ditties imploring someone to love him - 'Everybody knows' and 'Repent' have IDEAS in them. His storytelling works too though with beautifully told narratives like 'The Partisan.'

and oh the wit - from "Everybody knows you've been discreet, but there were so many people you just had to meet...without your clothes" to "we are ugly but we have the music." He's so wry and divine.

and of course the random - "all the women tear their blouses off and the men they dance on the polka-dots, it's closing time."

oh, and when he does write a love song, as often he does, they always appeal directly to my unfortunately over-passionate, worryingly submissive attitude to romance. The devastation of unrequited love in 'ain't no cure for love,' the adoration of 'dance me to the end of love,' the mournful longing of 'hey, that's no way to say goodbye' and the sacrificial 'if it be your will' - all of them can make me weep with memory or hope or loss or passion.

and of course the eponymous heroine of Suzanne - I do heart the crazy ladies. (Butterfingers also summed this problem of mine up with the line "I like it when they're troubled," but they don't really compare, now do they?)

But my ultimate Leonard will always be 'I'm your man.' I don't actually think it's his best song, musically or lyrically...

But fuck, it's sexy.

It has all the abandon of submission and all the power of standing before someone and stating your case, almost demanding they love you back. It is superbly open and a little wild and singing it just makes me feel like a king.

The concert was amazing. Standing up with the 'Came so far for beauty' Cohen tribute concert of 2005 as one of my favourite gigs ever. This opera house spectacular was astoundingly good, especially for giving me Antony's 'If it be your will' and Martha Wainwright's 'Tower of Song.' These divine covers rival the originals and demonstrate the other wonderful quality of his songs which is that they are so adaptable. Easy to cover badly (Monsieur Camembert's soulless covers album comes to mind), but when done well (Clare Bowditch's 'Hallelujah' also a gem) they are songs renewed and re-examined - something that can well be done when the lyrics are able to be intepreted in so many ways.

I am not a fan, in the traditional, 'worship the individual' sense. I have never been into researching the personal lives of my favourite artists. I think when I know too much about them it detracts from my ability to claim the stories as my own, as soundtracks to events in my own life. I actually know little about him, or my other favourites and I think I'll probably keep it that way... I should admit that this also fits in with imagining that it is I, not them, who will be performing the songs. Can't get too attached tho those who we would like to kill in order to steal their lives (Camille the Dark Angel - look out! I am out for your blood!!)

But I just wanted to write this mini-fan-letter down. Make love official. Tie the fan knot etc etc. Anyway, I'll end there. Rant over. Love expressed. Joy shared, I hope.

Sincerely, M. Marsden.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

There's just something about Paris

I love it. It's a cliché. I like tacky tourism. I have romantic day dreams in which I am starring in an appalling coming-of-age drama with a stellar soundtrack. However, I have tried to avoid being absolutely cliché. But when it comes to Paris, I just can't help it.

This would be fine if I had well defined reasons for my love, but I don't. In fact, I have far more reasons to dislike Paris than I do to love it.

It is insanely busy, something that irritates me about London. It is not clean like Ljubljana or traffic-free like Amsterdam. It's not quaint like Edinburgh or as cool as Berlin. It lacks nature. And water, which is my favourite thing about Sydney. And it isn't varied. All the suburbs look the same.

The things that other people love about the clichéd Paris aren't qualities I seek out. All that alleged romance. When I sensed romance in Dubrovnik I ran, ran, ran from the cliffside cafe with its crashing waves and smoochy music. And the sophistication thing? All I see is people not wearing colour. All the brown and grey and black (I have only been to Paris in Winter, but I am sure they all wear monotone coats in summer as well.) I am not sophisticated, and being in Paris sometimes makes me feel like a clown.
NB: This is especially bad when couchsurfing with super-cool, tidy, classy french types who have a lovely appartment that you keeping wrecking. Sorry about the bed i broke* Anna...and the piece of tofu I lost behind the cupboard...oops I didn't tell you guys about that one...
* NB # 2: Did not fall on bed and break it in a passionate French way. Fell on it in a tripped over whilst picking up my backpack way. SO sophisticated right now.

So why like Paris? I do enjoy how easy it is to fit anything that happens there into the cultural stereotype built up for the place. Easy when the stereotype is pretty much anything goes. Any expression of individuality? Anything random? TOTES French right now. This is harder in, say, Germany where something disorganised is unGerman, or Scandinavia where wood that isn't blonde just isn't right. Cheery service in London, opinions in Switzerland, you get the picture. These countries have far more restrictive travel expectations.

But even though I am aware of this I still succumb to the romance of it all. The "ooooh I am in Paris." I suppose it's good marketing on Paris' behalf, having us all think it is the ultimate travel destination. Putting it in movies and books and such. I read The Flaneur before I arrived and so, (even though I'd been to Paris a few times in the past) I felt all excited like I was going somewhere really special.

It helps that I can communicate with people there. And that I have been fortunate to meet some lovely French people over the years. I guess it also helps that my first big, independant adventure was in France (exchange when I was 16) so I associate the city with that grown-up, big-world kind of sensation that became a permanent emotional state over the past 6 months.

So maybe, I am not being cliché. Maybe I love Paris for my own reasons. It doesn't stop me going "EEEE LOOK LOOK, THE EIFFEL TOWER!!!" though...I am still a dirty big tourist.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

bored now

Time goes differently here. A week has passed since I got home and I feel like I've done nothing. Where is the learning folks? Where are the new people to meet? I promised myself I would live Sydney like it was Europe and see new places, do new things. But my old habits are, well, habitual... Hmm, Maeve use words good.

I didn't think I'd get travel hangover. I was so ready to come home.

So here I am and the heat is blending into my boredom. My friend whimpered like a little girl today cos the heat was so bad. I made whingy noises then hot-footed it (scuse pun) to the beach.

I saw a woman at the ladies pool whose nipples were getting sunburnt. Is this what we have become? People who purposefully burn their nipples? Imagine if they peeled! I wanted to take her aside and say, 'Lady, you are burning your nipples!' But I didn't want her to think I was a sleaze.

There was also lettuce floating in the water and a film of oily matter on the surface. I think it was sunscreen. Laura and I decided that this meant if we were under the water we wouldn't get burnt. Ah, science, you have always eluded me.

Randwick Council has cut down a lot of the shrubbery that used to protect the ladies pool from the prying eyes of leisurely walkers strolling along the path nearby. Now anyone can see the topless lesbians, nice old nannas and awkward teenagers splashing about in single-sex glee. This makes me mad. Maybe some old man was also looking down and thinking 'Lady, you are burning your nipples!'

Life: you are disappointing.

I am, however, thankful that green grapes are in season and enjoy eating them crispy fresh from the fridge.


Blog Archive

The Blurb

For maevegobash: yeah, I just like thinking/writing/talking about myself. That's what blogs are for, right? For vegepalooza: I have been vegetarian for 25 years now - so that's always for me. My mothers cooked a storm up in the kitchen and I am carrying the torch filling my friends bellies at every opportunity. I love food and want to share my recipes, tips and tricks here to encourage creative vegetarian eating. There will also be a lot of vegan recipes for my friends with more willpower than me (sorry kids, I just love the cheese). Anyway enjoy, feel free to criticise and most of all Happy Eating!