Sunday, December 29, 2013

City Adventures

Yesterday I went on an adventure in the city with a bunch of fellow nerdfighters. Perth nerdfighters aren't well known for their gatherings (I've never been to one) so we decided that this counted as one, just a small one. I didn't know them and I'm not sure if they all knew each other either but we were all summoned there by Mia, a visitor from Canberra, who we all decided to say hello to and lead around Perth.

We started our adventure by congregating around the giant cactus. Every Perthian knows of the giant cactus. Thing is I only knew Mia, and when I got there she wasn't there, so I saw a large group of people and headed towards them... but wasn't sure if they were The Group so I stopped short and awkwardly chilled off to the side. They saw me and went "you're probably with us." They were right. I'm glad we got that sorted out.

Mia arrived. The adventure begun... after we had stood around talking for a bit and deciding that even though the shade was nice we did want to see something in the city even if we weren't quite sure what that was. It ended up being nerd stores (for nerds... like... us). Then we encountered a Dalek:


Don't worry we survived. It was a placid Dalek that did not mind photos.

Adventures continued through various nerd stores - one of which I had never been in before. I felt somewhat inadequate as a nerd having no idea about it but then again doesn't it add to my stereotypical nerd cred if I don't go out to the city enough to know about it? Nerd-paradox! No one bought anything which was probably unfortunate for the shop owners because you'd probably be expecting good business if nearly a dozen people walk into your store. By this point we had collectively agreed that when we accidentally split up the code word to yell out was "group!" and hope it is answered so we could reunite and continue onwards like the oncoming storm of "just endlessly browsing" that we were.

Swag.

Then we got food. Food was good but Jake (pictured above) bought a pizza that they did not want to finish. The problem was that none of us wanted the last slice either... so he started offering it to random strangers who walked past. They didn't take it.

Who wouldn't take an innocent slice of pizza off this guy?

It became a competition. We would grab it and offer to someone, get rejected, and pass it off to the next person who would similarly have no luck. Note: if you are to repeat this try not to offer it to small children. It makes you look creepy and probably will get you kicked out of the food court by security...

...so after we were kicked out by security the next thing we did was try and give Jake's number on a piece of paper out to people in the street. Because passing out things to random strangers is not at all suspicious and has worked really well for us thus far? Screw logic this is an adventure. We went into another comic book store where people were browsing (with real intention to buy) and Mia whispered "offer it to that guy over there..."

"That guy" heard us and went "hmm? Sorry were you talking about me?" What remarkable ears. She explained how we were trying to get people to accept Jake's number. He accepted as a joke but on our way out someone pointed out that Jake's handwriting made it difficult to understand that his 7 was a 7 and not a 2 so he called out "I wouldn't call someone who can't write a 7!"

Will this burgeoning romance flourish or crash and burn due to Jake's substandard handwriting skills? I fear this ship will never become canon...

In the background firetrucks were driving around. There were a lot of police present. Someone was getting arrested. The police/firetruck presence was on for a while so as we walked in and out of stores we would occasionally see them.

The natural response is to take a group selfie with the firetruck in the background right?

Next was Myer where we discovered the comfiest couch in existence. I could've slept on that couch. It costed 6 grand. No one agreed on the best way to steal it or who would get ownership (I voted me, Jake voted himself, Mia wanted it for herself etc).
The natural response to any situation for out generation is to take a group selfie.

We chilled there for quite some time and no one kicked us out. No staff even bothered to ask us if we would move on instead of sitting on all the furniture. It was disappointing. The worst thing the staff did was when they asked if we needed assistance and we said we were looking for the toys section (for nerf guns). They looked at us and asked "aren't you a bit old for that?" but helped and then we found LEGO DARTH VADER:

Awwww yeah.

Can we stop for a moment to talk about store mannequins? I know they're infamous for not being good representations of the female form but those discussions rarely ever centre around things like necks. This is totally not how necks work:

That's not quite right. It's too long.

Something's wrong...

AEEEEEEEERRRRRRR!!!
Kill it with fire!

Things were pretty chill from then on. Some point during this adventure we were all sitting around and someone was looking at photos on their phone that the person next to me had taken. I leaned over and saw their name (Matthew Cabrera) and recognised it. I had somehow spent a few hours with this person without learning their name (that's not that unusual) only to discover that I knew who they were. We had a bunch of mutual friends (oh Perth), I'd watched a music video the other day he'd worked on, and he even follows me on tumblr! Now why he didn't mention that earlier I don't know. Isn't the appropriate thing to say when you first meet someone "I read your blog"? Seriously, if you bump into me and you follow my blog or youtube channel please tell me. Someone else in the group did. They got a sweet high-five. It was great. After a while I realised that basically everyone there knew who I was in some way or another (mainly Facebook. We're in a giant group of 2700+ people together and I contribute regularly) even though I had only heard of a few of them.

We sat on a bench outside of a place that did piercings for $15. Jake dared someone to get one but no one did... and by then it was reasonably far into the afternoon so we parted. The group had thinned by then and there only a few of us left. I said goodbye to all the new people I had met, Mia had discovered the wonders of wandering around Hay Street (rock candy!... and comics), and I had gotten my exercise for the day.

All in all it was a fun day out and remarkably I didn't get sunburned. Huzzah! Really that's the true measurement of success for a day outside.

DFBTA fellow Perth Nerdfighters.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Post-University Blues

I hate the question "have you got a job yet?"

"No," I say for the umpteenth time. The question isn't so bad by itself because it is just someone being curious about your life. It's good to know they care. The problem comes with the inevitable follow up.

"Have you tried X?" or "you should get a job" or "why haven't you got a job yet?" and "don't worry, just keep trying you'll get one eventually."

These don't really add anything to the discussion it's more of just words thrown at me in the form of cliche sentences. X is often something very simple and basic like "putting resumes out all over the place" or "looked online for available jobs" and the answer is always (always) "yes... of course." I should get a job? Oh thank you. I was not aware of this. The fact that I cannot afford anything I want was not an indication. The endless months of complaining that I cannot afford anything were really just to annoy you. Why don't I have a job? Because no one has employed me. There isn't any other reasons. It's not like there are secretly massive proboscis sticking out of my forehead that only you can't see and the satanic tattoo that covers it is putting employers off. Simply put: people just don't want to employ me. Why? I don't know. Some kind of mental deficiency, probably. Why wouldn't you employ this kawaii individual?

(I don't get it either.)

Then there's the ever cheery optimistic "just keep trying." It's like telling someone hanging off a cliff to "just hang on!" It's technically very good advice and advice I'm sure to follow, but it's not really necessary to say. Oh sorry, here I was thinking that maybe I should let go. I don't know about you but those jagged rocks of permanent joblessness and poverty sure look enticing compared to this belittling conversation we seem to be having.

I don't need job advice I need a job. It is almost guaranteed that a dozen other people have contributed the same thing as you to this discussion previously. I do not exist in a vacuum of information that relies on you to come in and direct me like a clueless individual who has been meandering aimlessly bumping into things thinking "why aren't I getting paid for this yet?"

I would super love to get paid to aimlessly bump into things by the way so if anyone knows where there's an opening going for that kind of position please tell me...

It is disheartening being unemployed day in and day out. I have two degrees... in infamously low-employment rate fields. The answer is simple: freelancer. I do that already. Know how profitable that is when you're starting out? Hint: freelancers have jobs on the side to support themselves while they pursue the job they love so much they've employed themselves to do. I don't have that... or much to prove just how great I am at my freelancing.

So there's a problem that needs to be fixed and it will be. Gradually. The problem is what do I do about money in the meantime? Answer: find someone who will pay me to weep and moan about having no job while I lie on their floor maybe?

Job hunting stresses me out. It gives me a headache. I do it daily anyway. I've been doing it for a very very long time... before I finished my degrees. The constant denial, the extreme disinterest, the 1 interview per every 100 job applications (this may be an exaggeration... the ratio is probably more like 1:80 but that's still pretty terrible) and rarity of even the courtesy of a rejection email wears on the place where my soul be if I weren't ginger. It feels as if the world is filled with jobs that require exactly all the skills I don't have, or do, but don't have 1-2 years experience being employed in to be qualified for a job. It feels hopeless. How could it not be pointless if thus far it hasn't worked? Is this not just a monotonous rehash of last month's job applications? My resume and cover letter only ever improves and yet my results don't. It has been reviewed, rewritten, revised, and revitalised over and over in case there was some flaw in it that prevented me from getting a call back. I swear I've handed in my resume to the same places so many times and yet they still keep putting up staff wanted signs. Excuse me? You don't need more staff... you have me.

You all have me...

*Shakes fist menacingly*

*Sighs* Well... this has been a moments reprieve from the endless drudge of going through every single Job listing on Seek (the only search criteria is "Perth"... I'm not letting one slip away from me just because it's 40 minutes drive from me) and I should get back to my daily routine of smashing my head against a wall while yelling in every direction "EMPLOY ME! EMPLOY ME! I'M AVAILABLE!"

When not blogging or job hunting David Cox can be found making music videos, taking photos, promotional material, and updating his Youtube channel. If you would like to get him to make any of these types of media for you then he can be contacted via email at DavidPCox (at) live.com.au (absence of @ to prevent spam). If you ask nicely he will also send you a selfie. You want a selfie don't you?


(so dramatic)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Bamboozled Was Terrible and is a Shameful Entry to Tropfest.

Bamboozled sucked and I could have done better. Lots of people could have done better. I've seen many student films better. It was also horribly deeply offensive.

Now if you haven't seen the offending film you should, or don't if you want to avoid it, but it helps you understand why I am annoyed better if you do:

It won Tropfest. The prestigious and massive short film festival Tropfest that requires your film be specific to it's yearly changing keyword. No really... that... thing.

This year's was: change. And Matt Hardie cleverly took this theme and made a film about a female to male sex change who meets an ex-boyfriend whom they spend a night bonding and catching up with... and getting wasted. Then they wake up next to each other. See that has great potential as an idea. It could have gone this great progressive way where Pete goes through a change of his own... one of acceptance and realising that hey, he might be bisexual (not gay because he has a history of dating women and getting with a guy does not erase his previous heterosexual behaviour so this film gets "biphobic" tacked onto it's already long list of -phobic's - but no one seems to have mentioned that) and so we see the theme of change going even deeper into both a social message and actual character development (of which there is basically none in this film. The development is: surprise! I'm actually a giant dick!).

To redeem itself Pete could've rebutted their snide jeers with "so what?" and then it would've been so much better. That would have fixed it right up and made the point clear! It could have been actually good! It would have defended being gay instead of laughing at it and so the joke is entirely on the cruel and vicious camera crew but instead they end with horrible taunts and humiliating footage of his exposed body, zooming into his butt as if to say "hahah you had a DICK up there! Isn't that gross?" They might as well have kicked down his door and yelled "HA YOU'RE A FAGGOT!" at him for 30 seconds before cutting to black. The lack of slur does not remove the offensiveness.

It treats transgender issues as a punchline. "Ha, they're different so let's turn it into a joke. This highly sensitive issue about important life changes isn't actually important, it's all just split decisions, jokes, and exploited for the sake of petty revenge." There are no good characters. Pete is... just a random dude... Harry is a manipulative cunt, and Helen is a massive spiteful bitch who held a grudge for 11 years just to intoxicate her ex to the point where, yes, Harry just raped Pete (he was too inebriated to legally give consent)... then they humiliate him on camera and laugh at him.

"Hahahaha you're a faggot who just got date raped what a funny thing!"

That's it. That's the joke...

Apply palm to face and groan slowly and softly until pain and anger subsides.

Now the director has defended the film (of course he has) by saying this:

“I’m copping it hard from some people. I guess that just going to happen with such a controversial subject matter. But I’m not homophobic and I don’t think the movie is homophobic or transphobic. People are completely missing the point... The main character decides to sleep with the transgender person because he loves that person for who they are. But it’s not even a transgender character… it’s someone playing a trick on him. It’s more a comment on media and the extremes to which reality TV could go… It’s satirising.”

But... it's bad satire. You didn't do your job properly.

How many times have we heard the words "I'm not homophobic" in defense of something clearly homophobic? It gets mentioned so often. I don't want to hear it. If anything it makes you look like a worse person.

A QUICK GUIDE ON HOW TO REACT TO BEING CALLED HOMOPHOBIC:

Apologise and learn from your behaviour so you don't do it again.

That's it. That's how you be a good person. You cannot say "this isn't actually offensive" as you are dismissing the people you are offending, and in this case it's the already oppressed and silenced queer community. The queer communities voices are far more valid on a piece of media that poorly represents them than a bunch of annoying straight people going "why can't we just laugh at you? Why are you getting so offended?" The film is all about change... negative change... backwards. As in the fact that it won is a sign of a society regressing backwards. In the times of the massive step forward of Gay Marriage being legalised in the ACT we still have incredibly offensive media being awarded for being offensive.

See, intention doesn't really matter when judging a film. I think Matt Hardie would love it to count as it is his only defense "I didn't mean that! I meant the opposite of that!" but it doesn't. If you cannot get your point across then you simply have failed to do it effectively which means you are a bad storyteller. If you didn't have that bit of defensive explanation to guide you through the film it would've been harder to see the meaning behind it and thus the film doesn't stand alone as a firm piece of work. There's no clear indication of what he is trying to say present in the film itself. "The main character decides to sleep with the transgender person because he loves that person for who they are." 1) No they were raped 2) They were clearly uncomfortable about this situation when they woke up, moving away when touched, looking confused and distraught like "did that really just happen?" 3) Then he gets accosted for this supposed "true love." The film never defends Pete, only the offended audience defends him, which leaves plenty of room for someone to see it and have it reaffirm their homophobic attitudes. The film technically doesn't say anything to the contrary that it is anything but funny to laugh at gay people so it suits whatever opinion you want to put on it. If you choose to see it as an attack on the homophobic media then you can read it like that (if you ignore all the points I'm trying to make) but the unfortunate reality is people think this sort of poor treatment of gay people is funny so being presented with a situation where they can laugh at that only reinforces their homophobia. Whatever progressive intent it supposedly has fails to actually come through as it is offensive to progressive people and reinforces negativity in non-progressive people.

Then there's the comment "it's not even a transgender character... it's someone playing a trick on him." YES. THAT'S THE POINT. You turned transgender identities into a PUNCHLINE! An idea that can be easily manipulated for the sake of petty revenge! At no point do I see any shred of respect towards transgender individuals. The fact that they weren't one to begin doesn't mean that everything up until the point that was revealed wasn't a bad representation of them.

As for satire it is indistinguishable from the negative media it aims to satirise. The issue is it does not come off as parody, it does not come off as witty or intelligent, it just comes off as offensive and hurtful. It just adds to the already cemented idea that it's OK to laugh at people for being gay. There are no negative consequences to the camera crews actions, we're encouraged to laugh along with them because see get it? That's the joke. It's funny. Laugh. I said laugh damn it! *Waves award in your face mockingly* It's not a piece of genius to take playground taunts and put it in a film. Satire is about making fun of the majority and it hasn't managed to do that at all. Parody requires more than just the imitation of the thing it is parodying (I admit it does really mimic those hidden camera prank shows) it needs more self-reflexivity and irony put into it. It's poorly done and even if it really is satire it's ill advised and mean spirited satire. The thing is the audience gets it... just Matt Hardie doesn't.

It may attack the media but it does it at the expense of the queer community and it doesn't even get it's point across effectively.

The only way this really has helped empower the marginalised queer community is to give them something specific to be vocal about... and then shut down by a wall of apathy and disinterest. Take a look at the youtube comments and you will find a bunch of dismissive comments telling people to calm down and stop caring. It's funny after all:





"Hahaha minorities being laughed at is funny! Gosh, representation sure means jack shit huh?" Admittedly there are quite a few people agreeing with me that it is offensive trash but there is this unfortunate mix of "this is horrible" and "it's just a film!" as if somehow that means anything? Yes. It is an offensive film. We know this.

No matter what your intention is it still comes across as trying to laugh at queer identities. To argue it is satire once again reinforces the fact that you are bad at satire because you shouldn't have to explain the joke to people for them to get it.

Even if it were a well intentioned film with an actually non-offensive plot it's execution has utterly destroyed that and makes it a bad film.

...but it was a bad film to begin with so why did it win? Seriously though let's ignore the fact that it is incredibly offensive. It's not particularly interesting. Two old friends randomly encounter each other and have a night out to catch up. Not that original. If student films weren't so obsessed with suicide and drug overdoses after opening shots of an alarm clock and a montage of the main character getting dressed then they'd be making those types of films by the bucket load. The two wake up next to each other the next morning. Not even remotely anything but a cliche. The classic punchline of a night out drinking montage. There's no depth to the cliche story that is only distinguished from others like it by the (offensive) transgender revenge plotline. There's no character development, or even characters worthwhile paying attention to. Even the non-offensive jokes weren't that funny. It was shot moderately OK. There is literally nothing particularly special about this film... it's just... a short film... 

It was at best an OK film that flips off it's audience and tells them to laugh. Laugh, you terrible human beings, laugh at the giant homo.

The judges apparently thought it was the best damn transphobic/homophobic rape joke they've ever seen! $10,000 to you, Matt Hardie!

So considering this is the competition I can expect I guess next year I will enter Tropfest... because hey, how hard could it be right? I don't even need to treat my characters like people who have dignity and sure as hell don't need depth to get in either!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Terrible Cover Letter

Hey you, employer.

Hire me because I am awesome. How am I awesome? Well I’m a Ravenclaw so I’m naturally quite smart and dumb employees suck. I know you shouldn’t discriminate but wouldn’t it be great to just have someone intelligent working for you? Damn right.

I have many skills. I don’t know which ones are helpful to you so I’m just going to through some at you and hope they apply to the job. I am good at drawing, I have the ability to smile in 5 different ways, can eat a whole apple (core included), am surprisingly good at staring competitions, have a basic understanding of this thing humans called “currency” and have been known to interact with people on a monthly basis.

I wish to get all up in your business and be the best gosh darn employee I’ve ever been for you. This will be easy as you’ve never employed me before and won’t have any previous standards to judge me on. Win-win right?

Right.

Correct.

I am so poor please give me money in exchange for servitude to your capitalist ventures. Down with communism!


David Cox.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Grandfather Had a Stroke Last Night

My grandfather had a stroke last night. It was a shock despite his history of medical problems and the fact that he has a brain tumour. The tumour, which has been chilling in his brain for about as long as I have been alive if not longer, seems unrelated to this event but it is just one of his many medical problems. He’s getting older and so it was a matter of time before something bad happened I just didn’t really stop to think about the likelihood of it. Yes, he's ill, but when did that ever stop him?

There are two types of strokes apparently: clots and bleeds. It was a catastrophic bleed deep in his head. That sounds as un-reassuring as you can get. Not mild. Not "mysteriously fluffy." Outright catastrophic.

It was weird visiting him. I haven’t really been in many hospitals in my life. The smell was... sterile. That's an obvious way to describe it but it was. The faint stench of chlorine wafted through my noise as I walked the halls. I felt out of place in this unfamiliar world of nurses and equipment that was foreign to me. I didn’t even realise there was such a thing as a bladder scanner but the sign on the wall said thank you in advance to whoever would return it to its proper position after use. I made sure not to touch that.

They were keeping him in the high dependency section. Only two visitors allowed at a time so my mother and father went in first and talked to him while my brother and I waited outside, standing in the corridor. Eventually my parents came out, their eyes watery, and the nurses led us to him.

He was paralysed on one side and lying to look towards a single chair that had been placed next to his bed. His left arm was the only arm he could move and he didn’t seem to have much control over it. It would just move occasionally, his hand waving indistinctly in the air before placing it down again. He grabbed the bed a few times and squeezed before letting go. Half of his face didn’t move and so his mouth was crooked and the left side acted independent of the right. It made it impossible to tell what exactly his expression was meant to be. Was he uncomfortable? Was he in pain? Was he even paying attention to me as I awkwardly told him how I had recently finished with my University degrees and needed to get a real job now? I couldn’t tell.


That was the terrible part of it: not knowing. Not being able to interact properly with this man who had been around my entire life. What do you say when you're the only one who can talk? It felt like I was talking at him not to him. I didn’t even know if he could hear me because he kept on squirming where he was even when I stopped talking. His one working eye opened and shut randomly and his breathing was heavy and laboured. I kept trying to think of new things to say because I couldn't just walk out that door. Even though it was awkward and at times I just stood there in silence with him I knew it would hurt both of us if I just left him without a good reason. It must have been painful for him to watch, trapped in a dysfunctional body that was falling apart, unable to communicate as he watched me struggle to find words to say. How horrible must it be to be incapable of reassuring a family member who is made uncomfortable by the very way you are? I couldn't imagine how frustrating it must have been for him confined to a bed, unable to move, just... being there as everyone worried over him... his son exiting the room, teary eyed.

It's incredibly difficult to talk to someone who is unresponsive but I had to anyway. I told him about the novels I was writing and about how I did really well in my final ever exam for my degrees. I hope that made him proud deep down inside. My parents were off talking to the doctor about the medical details of his condition and just how bad everything was. Eventually my grandmother came into the room to talk to him and my brother and I left. I had brought my laptop to work on my novel while I was waiting but couldn't think of anything to say as I stared out the window and watched the construction across the road. Words were few then and there from either party. It was then I realised that I hadn't said enough.

I went back. The rules were you had to be escorted in by a nurse so I waited for one to tell me it was OK to go in. It was 15 minutes before visiting hours were about to end. There was the reality that he might not get better and this was the last I would see of him. Right now we're not sure if he'll get better or worse but I didn't want to let me optimism come off as apathy and make the mistake of not having said goodbye properly. His eyes were closed when I came in and said hello but they opened enough for me to know he had heard me start talking. 

I told him I was leaving now but I just wanted to tell him that he is a really good grandfather and that I hope he gets better. Not exactly the emotional "I love you" farewell but it was still something. 

If those were my final words than I will be content to know that I at least let him know that I cared about him and that he did a good job. That, I cannot regret. He's lived to see at least one of his grandchildren marry and I have finished University so he has seen a few miles stones. I hope he gets better. I really want him to get better.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Rewatching Doctor Who

OK so I have been rewatching the later half of season 7 of Doctor Who with Clara in the lead up to the 50th Anniversary and I’ve been skipping a few episodes because they’re actually really terrible. It’s sad just how terrible a lot of things are. Even the Neil Gaiman episode was disappointing (probably because either the script or the director was under the misunderstanding just how old the kids were meant to be and thus Angie seems oddly old for her behaviour) and even worse: two whole episodes were written by Mark Gatiss! Ugh. Normally he only writes one terrible episode per season at the most.

But the thing is I have unpopular opinion  regarding the episode The Rings of Akhaten and that is that it is actually really good. People go “oh ugh it’s so stupid, they sing to appease the star and it eats a leaf and the day is saved” but that’s really just an over simplified misinterpretation. The thing is it works with pre-established canon about how magic in the Doctor Who universe works. Spells are emotional energy which are induced through words, chants, songs, etc. This is classic era stuff, back in the 3rd doctor with The Daemons or 7th doctor with the pseudo-vampires repelled by the psychic energy of faith in the cross not the actual cross itself in The Curse of Fenric. If you want a solely new-Who example of this then this is present in The Shakespeare Code. Admittedly that episode wasn't that great but the idea isn't necessarily what makes it bad, especially when in The Rings of Akhaten it is done so much better.

Then there’s the idea of eating the energy of a potential story. Clara manages to "defeat" the God-Sun, Akhaten, by over satiating it with her leaf, the leaf that led to her creation, and holds the potential of her entire life which is seemingly infinite. "Oh that's silly too!" Well we've already established that this is a completely legitimate idea within Doctor Who canon with the weeping angels. The weeping angels were an invention of Moffat back when everyone adored him and thought him amazing thanks to his creep-tastic and quite solid episodes like The Empty Child and Blink. Remember how everyone loves Blink? Yeah. A BAFTA and Hugo award went to that and no one complained that the premise of an Angel was complete nonsense.

See, this episode doesn't want to make up something new to justify itself, it already is present in an already established framework that dates back over 40 years. It actually tells you all the ways it works and explains itself all the way throughout. That by itself means the entire episode is quite solid as far as plot goes, unlike a lot of the other episodes which rapidly resolve themselves in the last few minutes through poorly explained reasons and care more about the drama of the premise than the actual logical resolution of the conflict. This episode actually takes time to introduce the conflict, make you interested, give you a protagonist to care about, a world with nuance and charm to get to know, and builds towards its climax and resolution in an actually structured and ordered way instead of BAM! Buiild build build oh wait we’re running out of time RESOLUTION SOMEHOW! Which I hate about a bunch of other recent episodes. 

It also has a stellar performance from Matt Smith whose speech against Akhaten as he encourages them to take everything is so emotionally charged. He manages to express deep emotion even when the shot shows a near silhouette from behind him, not showing any facial features at all, simply his body language alone can convey the emotions of the scene. He’s telling Akhaten to take his life. Not his physical breathing and hearts beating but the experience of life, the very essence of being, the things that make him the sentient being he is now and that’s powerful. It is one of the most dramatic and emotionally powerful speeches of that season (part 1 and 2). He's facing off with a God and combating it with the sorrows of his life.

"I watched universes freeze and creations burn, I have seen things you wouldn't believe, I have lost things you will never understand - and I know things, secrets that must never be told, knowledge that must never be spoken..."

Just ooooh. Shivers. That's but a section of the speech and it is so powerful. It is summing up the darker part of the Doctor's existence: sad, destructive, shrouded in mystery, empathetic and a survivor of endless disasters. It's effectively the 11th Doctor's version of the "he's like fire and ice and rage. He's like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun" speech, delivered with all the weight and eloquence that proves why Matt Smith is playing The Doctor to begin with.

Then comes in the leaf. Now the leaf seems stupid because oh, just a leaf, but it works because of the pre-established canon of potential energy. There’s the potential existence of a whole person placed within that leaf and that by itself was awesome but when you go back and watch it with the fact of who Clara is in mind you understand that leaf isn’t just potentially massive but potentially infinite. She isn’t just a singular person but spread out through time and space over and over, different incarnations all over the place, living different lives over and over to save the Doctor throughout time and space. She is almost infinite and thus the leaf is more than just the infinite potential of a single person but the infinite potential of a whole myriad of beings with potentials all the way through time and space. By itself it is a pretty solid and cool episode but working within the grander scheme of the overall series arc it serves as  a pretty epic reminder that the idea of Clara is more powerful than it seems. It is not just a leaf, it the catalyst for a massive cosmic event. Clara is so much more than just one person and the potential of a life not lived can satiate even a God.


Cool, huh?

So the episode gets a lot of hate for being silly but I think it's actually one of the cooler episodes in that debacle of weak episodes strewn together for series 7b. It just has a bit of an unconventional mythology to its central conflict which people didn't want to accept but once you realise it is completely legitimate within the working canon of the show then it vastly improves. So I encourage everyone to rewatch it with that in mind and hopefully you'll think more positively of it.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

I Love Being Event Staff

It's great being event staff. I have never paid for a music festival because most of the time I get in for free doing some form of volunteer work, whether it's gate staff or photographer for Murdoch (I guess those days are over now... oh well). It gives me the freedom without all that much responsibility. Just do the thing and everything is OK.

It would be an absolute nightmare to be important. The people organising things look constantly busy, rushed, stressed out, like they're burdened by the responsibility. They're grateful for the help and I am thankful for the rewards which is: I get to walk places normal people don't and no one questions it. The magical aura of "staff" shrouds me in this grand glow of moderate-responsibility with amazing freedom.

Tired? Well I get to go to some sectioned off staff area where there might be chairs. If I'm there for Murdoch then the Murdoch tent (or radio caravan if it is Southbound) is free for me to chill in. Feeling crowded? A quick nod to the security guards and a flash of my mystical staff-band adorned wrist and I can simply walk out of the festival and then back in. No one questions what I'm doing. I don't need a reason I can just walk places, so long as they are not specific to different staff members. I can't go everywhere but the fact that I go nearly anywhere is a blessing made all the sweeter by the hundreds of people all around me who have made a commitment to stay in a certain spot for the festival. If they leave they forfeit their right to be there. No passouts.

This makes everything so casual. I do my job and once done I chill. Life is good when no one expects grand things from you. One festival I left it and went to McDonald's with friend and brought the security guard a coke on my return. This freedom turns a day of unpaid work into a relaxing day out. Unlike festival goers I don't have to prove my identity when I go through gates. They know I'm one of the staff and it's bam, straight in or out without breaking my stride.

Recently I was working (paid this time) at a film screening. My job involved interviewing people about their responses to the festival and I basically had free reign to walk in and out as I pleased as the event staff knew who I was and the staff of the cinema knew I was with the event staff so didn't question me walking in and out of a cinema holding a giant camera. Of course I wasn't going to wander off unless I had to but afterwards I was told to dump the footage on a laptop that happened to be located in the projector room. So I just walked into it. It was a bit odd without asking anyone but when event staff the location sort of becomes your domain and you feel free to do as you wish if it helps you do your job, and walking around without supervision just so happened to be part of that.

The projectionist came up minutes later and I said hello. He didn't seem at all phased or concerned that I was up there by myself. I had a reason related to my job and he gave me help in locating the laptop (it wasn't up there, it had been moved). That's the joy of being staff: as long as you don't be a dick everyone just accepts what you're doing.

I like that. It is so liberating to just be able to do something and everyone accept that it's OK. It doesn't make the job feel like a chore and it doesn't weigh me down. Volunteer or paid, it is the way to go.

Let's Talk About Lorde

Recently I decided that it wasn't just enough to watch her music videos, turn the volume way up whenever her songs were on the radio, and listen to the Love Club EP repeatedly online. I had to buy her physical album, "Pure Heroine", to experience her brilliance in even more detail.

I think she's great. Let's start with this album. The album cover is this:


Well that seems rather boring doesn't it? Lazy minimalist design. It's just the album title in white on black background. "Boo!" you cry from within the crowd. "Why is that good?"

I'll tell you why it's good: because the title is a sheer bit of brilliance. "Pure Heroine" sounds (and looks) just like "Pure Heroin" and that's exactly what I mistook it for when I first glanced. I had to look twice and Googled it to make sure everything was correct. Yes. It is called "Pure Heroine." That is not a mistake. See, that's the first thing, and only thing, you notice, and that in itself is enough to go "whoa, wait, what?" It's even more eye catching when you know she's only 17. "Why is a teenager making an album based off drugs? What?" Album covers need to grab your attention and we've got off to a good start by doing that simply with two words instead of a fancy image and that not only is a brilliant bit of design but it represents Lorde's music quite well too.

Her music is driven by her voice. There's a beat going underneath her voice to give it a bit of depth but really we're listening to the nuances in her voice (the opening of "Team" is just beautiful). I feel covers of her songs really fall flat in that they just don't have the right wonderful sonorous quality. They copy the music but it's her voice that really makes those songs. I heard a remix of one of her songs and it was just her sped up and homogenized into a steady factory setting dance beat and it was like someone punched music in the face. That works for other songs but her work it is a quick and easy way to destroy it it. It ruined the point of it entirely. It's soft, it's relaxing, it's a short story with a minimalist music accompaniment, and it's enjoyable.

I wish I could make music like this. She proves that teenagers are capable of being talented. Of course everyone is amazed by her age as if talented people don't exist under the age of 23 and admittedly there are fewer well crafted musicians at her age. I don't want to disregard the talent of many teenagers out there (who are super amazing, just not famous), but I do found her quite amazing despite her youth.

She is a teenage girl and with this comes a bunch of assumptions and stereotypes. I was listening to the radio (horrifying, I know, but it is how I discovered her music so it's not all bad) and Smallzy on Nova was interviewing her in some exclusive first Australian interview or whatever gimmick I'm not entirely sure is true ("first" in advertising generally means "one of the first"). I listened to that station waiting for that interview, listened to horrible music, terrible ads, and endured even though the interview got later and later after its supposed start time. Finally she was on and all the questions were very basic things, nothing even within spying distance of groundbreaking but there was this one question that screamed "so... you're a teenage girl huh?"

They asked which one Lorde would prefer as a boyfriend: Harry Styles or Justin Bieber. Her response was "aww yuck! They can have each other!" That was such a puerile question that played on the idea that all teenage girls are screaming adoring fans for manufactured pop icons and she shut it right down. She had more important things to do than fawn over them as if they were the only two boys in the world. I heard that and thought "I am young but I am not a screaming fangirl. I am not your stereotype." I loved it. That first interview gave such a great impression of her personality despite the basic questions thrown at her.

Getting to know her personality seems to be part of her marketing. If you look at her VEVO account on Youtube you'll find a series of videos that aren't music videos but just short videos of her talking about her life, her inspirations, music, and life as a musician, edited with footage in short documentary format bits of entertainment. This certainly isn't limited to her, but it's an interesting way to get to "know" the musician. She's from a small country that people know of but, outside of Lord of the Rings, does not really hold the global spotlight very often. It minimises distance, erases unfamiliarity. She's there on our screens, talking, wandering around, being a teenager - and a down to Earth one at that. It's not just about connecting with her but we see her as a pretty level headed and calm individual who is fascinated by her fame and hasn't let it get to her ego like other teenage singers (you know who they are). "Don't worry, she's young, but she's not one of those reckless and ego-centric teens who turn into dicks when they get fame that you're all scared of and horribly judge constantly."

So she's got an unusually brilliant debut album cover, her music is amazing (and I have listened to the whole album more times than the amount of days I've owned it), and she is not the negative stereotype of a famous teenager or a teenage girl. This isn't the point where I deride every other musicians out there and say some cry along the lines of "finally! Music is saved!" Music is fine. She may be called Lorde but she is not some saviour for a cynical generation of disillusioned people who think music has gone downhill (despite what some people will try and convince you in the comments section under music videos - that is, when they're not complaining about the new Youtube comments section). But I do think she is brilliant and I look forward to many great things from her. We have one album from her and already I wish she'd make another one.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Well... what now?

So I finished my degrees. I finished multiple degrees. I did it and I didn't even stress over how difficult my last assignments were (probably because they weren't that difficult). See, a year ago I was completing the final practical element of my film degree and that was so utterly stressful and painful that, after 36 hours awake straight, I collapsed and became an inanimate object for quite some time. This time... not so much. There was no big hump to get over, no giant final hurdle to overcome. When you've got no other commitments and all you have to do is write essays then all there is really is the steady approach. It wasn't an end of semester sprint so much as a long distance jog.

See, that's some fancy metaphorical prose all up in this blog post thanks to my handy English and Creative Writing degree skillz yo. Word.

I did a first year unit in my fourth and final year and that probably contributed to my relaxed last semester ever. It was simple. 800-1000 word essays? Bite sized! I spent about a dozen hours studying for that final exam. It felt like some cruel twist of irony (read: not really irony but whatever) to be doing a unit for beginners to finish off. I stood in the abandoned ampitheatre next to the carpark afterwards and had a moment of preemptive longing for the place I would soon say goodbye to for potentially forever. It didn't seem like I had done enough there, like there was just something more I should do before my final farewell. This was it. I had grown accustomed to the idea that I simply was a student. I liked the feel of it. I liked the aesthetic of trousers, casual shoes, a satchel over shoulder, and the love of 11:30am starts. There was a structure and order to being a student but also (as long as it was the first 10 weeks of semester) a sense of freedom. I could do whatever I wanted as long as I got everything in on time and I did just that. It was a truly saddening feeling to look around speechless at the grass before me and marvel at it like it was somehow special to be there here and now for the last time. I decided to go on a little nostalgic walk around campus for a bit while the sun lowered in the sky just so I could see all the familiar sights again...

I stopped and sat in the back of the old Hill Lecture Theatre... the familiar lecture theatre for film students of all years. I remember sitting down there in my very first semester writing out notes on a notebook long before I invested in a handy laptop. So young, so ready to learn about what I needed to work in my dream job of film.


I looked at the tiny lecture theatre one last time, sighed, and left. I went home a new person, a non-student...

...of course then I came back two days later and the day after that because I had agreed to do film work. I will come back to film a few Second Chance Theatre plays. I actually will see Murdoch a few more times at least before graduation and probably will come back many times afterwards. I basically had this emotional farewell for nothing.

But now I am just a non-student. I am no longer blessed with the wonder of a structured life with a simple schedule. There's no need to be at a certain place at a certain time for X amount of hours because I don't have a job... all I have is a bunch of skills and memories...

And these two hands.

These two hands are all I need from my body and persistence and determination is all I need from my mind. I am a creative person. I do creative things and for quite a while things held me back; excuses I made up about being too busy with University so if I was working on projects then I wouldn't be working on assignments or doing my readings... so I just ended up not doing either a lot of the time. But now I don't have an excuse. There was no big stressful finish point to collapse over so there's no need to spend a few days doing nothing to recover. I am without reason nor hindrance to be better.

What do I now? Well, I make great things. I have been writing every day since I finished and I know that hasn't been long but I will make sure it is every day for quite some time to come. I want to get published. I want people to read my work and be entertained. I want you to fall in love with people who are not real and miss places you have never been to...

There are ideas in my mind, unfinished novels on the harddrives of my computers, thousands of words upon thousands of words describing complex people, stories that go fantastic places, stories that go nowhere but will after I put the effort in to make them work, and so much potential to be amazing.

I have two degrees. I will not let them go to waste, job or not.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Problem With Being a Nice Guy

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine (who happened to be girl) about women and how they dress. I said that the kind of women who dress in tight clothing that shows off their legs aren't inviting rape and that's a horrible thing to happen to them. She agreed. We shared views on contraception, sex positivity, and even that make up is not inherently for the sake of men viewing the wearer. (See, remarkably, women do it because it makes them feel good and sometimes they then subsequently wish that guys would similarly find their appearance appealing. See how it can be related to men viewing them but isn't always? Shocking.) Heck, we even discussed how there was this dick in one of her classes that believed women shouldn't use contraception because their purpose was making babies and those who do are sluts. Well there were many things wrong with that starting with the moment he opened his mouth, followed by contraception isn't solely for preventing babies and has other medical uses, followed by women are not factories, and topped off with the delusion that a) women on the pill are promiscuous b) their worth as a person is determined by their sexual exploits... ("I'm sorry, you've had one too many dicks this year. Your dick quota has been over loaded and now you must wait until the new year for anyone to be a decent person to you. Remember citizens: dick quotas are important if you want to impress prudes!") Thankfully he did something right by closing his mouth and not talking anymore.

My friend was so happy that I agreed with her completely that this guy was a complete ignorant f***! That's when she said it...

"You're such a nice guy."

Oh. Dear.

Then I groaned.

I basically said "women are people who shouldn't be punished for having bodies" and I got rewarded? See, this thing happens where I be a decent human being and women tell me how nice I am. I'm "nice" because I'm against rape? That's really the cut off here? Surely I thought I would've had to worked harder. I didn't even compliment you I just didn't actively shame you.

That's the problem with being a "nice guy"... it's not that hard to be one. It doesn't mean anything.

Then the worst part is then when women say "I wonder why you're single."

No don't say that. That's horrible. That implies being nice is the only thing that is important. It's a prerequisite, I know, because respect is a basic thing in a relationship but there is far more to me than just "I understand and accept you have autonomy and a personhood outside of my own pleasure." Simply saying that I am nice and thus should have a partner is to deny my complexity.

That's right. It's a bad thing to simply just be "nice" and anyone who complains that this isn't sufficient to get girls does not understand the nature of being nice and how insufficient you are as a person to only have one admirable trait. I am nice... and so is nearly everyone else. I don't actively have to avoid a**holes in my daily social interactions. They're not a plague. To rely on that would not distinguish me from any other random person. I'm nerdy, I am hopelessly romantic, ginger, calm, devoted, I use idiosyncratic language to discuss serious things to lighten the mood, and so forth. It is the specific qualities of my nature that make me appealing to another person and vice versa. I am very much so not an outdoorsy person and so I am unappealing to someone who I am good friends with who finds my company otherwise a delight. See? I get along well with them but I'm just not the right combination of things to date. Simple. I have wooed girls with a mention of my comic book collection whereas others have no interest and I have to stress the other appealing aspects of me. My beard turns many a person on but equally as many off. Not everyone cares for my ideas of romantic gesture whereas others have practically melted just by me explaining my plans for cute surprises for eventual partners. I am a complex bundle of qualities, I am a variety of mannerisms, I am a diverse range of quirks that make up a person that is uniquely amazing, but only appealing to a select amount of people for different reasons...

And none of those reasons include "you don't punch me in the face" (or other not nice things like "youdon't actively attack my body image with snide and manipulative remarks" and other such romantic things).

Women telling me I'm nice and thus shouldn't be single reinforces the idea that this is all that it takes. I know it isn't all that it takes but not everyone has quite realised this mentality yet (this isn't women's fault though, as it's somewhat basic to realise if you have the gift of logical thought, self-reflexivity, and a bit of respect for women as complex beings to begin with). I am nice to strangers in the street but they're not flinging themselves at me to get into my pants. (Thank goodness as that'd be horrifying. "Lovely day isn't it? You look good in that dress." "GIVE ME YOUR COCK!" "OH F***! RUN!") It also doesn't praise me on the things I actually hold as an integral part of my identity (like how gosh darn pretty I am) which is what I really want. So merely being nice is sub-par. I am not nice, I am sweet. I am adorable. I am cute in the ways I make sure that my partner feels cared for and happy. Women don't come to me simply because I'm not a douchebag, they come for my personality.

So don't aim to be "nice." Aim to be so much more.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Surpassing that #200 Milestone

So I've published over 200 posts on this blog now. Impressive? Not really. I've had since 2008 to do that. I managed 100 by 2010 and then kinda slowed down. So... what has happened since 2010? Well that was my first year of University and now I am nearing the end... the final semester is now nearly complete. I'm writing my bigger assignments and things are starting to heat up.

It's ending. It's ending.

But what about the past? I learned so much... This is weird because I'm trying to engage in some nostalgia, look forward to future, and also I woke up with an annoying cold so I'm all "ooh, ahhh, uuugh" all at once.

Looking back I don't think I accomplished much. Was I meant to? As a rule I should not compare myself to others as that creates a selective bias that only really reflects my self esteem not reality (if I think lowly of myself I'll more actively think of things that support this and the opposite if I think I'm superior). Other people are not the measure of a person.

Back in 2010 and I was just studying Film with a minor in Photography and a minor in Journalism I believe. I enrolled in that minor without actually having done any journalism units but was going to do intro to journalism anyway so figured why the heck not? Well the heck not was because I hate journalism and I am terrible at it. I ended up failing the last assignment so hard I was told to resubmit it. (To be fair I had completely got the assignment criteria mixed around in my head with an assignment for a different class so it was one part me being a bad journalist one part complete misunderstanding of what I was meant to be doing.) I ended up quitting it and leaving a note to the tutor that said "so long and thanks for all the fish" on the back of my resubmitted final assignment (her response was "?"). I then went on to enrol in a minor in Creative Writing instead. I liked that a lot more but then decided I didn't want a minor in it. I wanted a major in it. As I had to drop the minor to pick up the major of the same-ish name (English and Creative Writing with a minor in Creative Writing is, not surprisingly, not allowed) I decided to change that minor to Scriptwriting. I'm not studying a Ba Film, Ba English and Creative Writing, minor in Photography, minor in Scriptwriting. I plan on having a very fancy piece of paper by the end of it all.

Oh, also my 100th post was when I voted for the first time. My 200th was a few posts ago and happened a few days before the election. So yeah... 100 posts chronicling what I did and thought between one election and another. Since that 2010 election I have become a more political person, formed stronger opinions on matters, and have learned more about different ideologies and perspectives. This has led to greater acceptance and understanding... or alternatively weeping at the thought that some people out there honestly are just that illogical and bizarre. Politics! Where everyone can agree on one thing: the other person is an idiot and if they're in power they'll destroy (insert thing of interest here)!

In late 2010 I got a tumblr. It gradually consumed more and more of my time until it became a problem. I don't recommend it to people. Get. Run. Flee! You don't need that in your life... unless you're a big fan of shipping characters, homoeroticism, social justice, feminism, occasionally over zealous activists who are a bit self-righteous but avoidable, gifs, cat gifs, puppy gifs, arguments about the pronounciation of gif, beating memes into the ground until they're no longer funny, and the main tumblr fandoms of Supernatural, Harry Potter, Sherlock, Doctor Who, and Merlin.

Though if you like ALL of those things and don't mind that it'll STEAL YOUR SOUL then BAM! GET ONE NOW! I personally found that somehow, without trying, you'll make friends on there. I did. My best gosh darn friend ever comes from Tumblr. What she doesn't know isn't because it's a secret but because it hasn't come up in conversation yet. So that was a bonus out of the productivity-sapping website...

They've been a great help these past couple of years as I went through the ups and downs. The horrors of assignments, the late nights in editing labs, the times I spent 30+ hours awake and nearly died driving home... and I mean literally nearly died (multiple times) due to exhaustion. Yeah. How many people can say that their degrees nearly killed them? The more I study art the more I realise just how completely and utterly wrong the stereotype that arts majors are lazy are. We're so hard working... and yet no one wants to pay us. We're so under valued.

So that's what the past 3 years has helped give me. Perspective. Perspective, a tumblr addiction that I had to break through cold turkey, a better political mindset, and a bunch of HECS debt that will slowly be payed off in the future...

But oh the fun I had earning that debt and oh the fun I'll have paying it back in a career that I love.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Long Journey of Film Making

So I'm sitting in the bedroom of my editor for my latest film typing away as he fiddles with the credits. It's been quite some time coming. It was a lengthy process... See in 2009 Darkstone Entertainment released a teaser trailer for their upcoming film Plan 9: a remake of the classic Z-grade cult film Plan 9 From Outer Space. Well I loved the film, as do a lot of people, thanks to its super-low budget special effects and terrible acting/plot/everything. It is very aptly called "the worst film ever made." I got interested in it because of the involvement of Caitlin Hill, a popular youtuber back in the day who decided to drop out of the production but oh well.

Fast forward a bit: It's 2010 and I'm in my first year of film school. I've just finished my first assignment film. An OK piece of work for a first year film student. Nicely shot but unfortunately opened with a shot of an alarm clock with the main character getting out of bed (to be fair it had a nice pull focus and isn't followed by a montage of them getting ready so I only am cursed with half of a film student cliché). I show to the director of Plan 9 and he tells me it looks good then tells me that he's going to be holding a competition sometime soon would I be interested in taking part of it? Heck yeah I would!

2011: first semester of Uni and I have a film to make for this competition. It's a 2-3 minute re-imagining of the original Plan 9 From Outer Space and I decided, foolishly, to do the majority of it by myself. Armed with a cast that outnumbers the crew and only my mother helping me with the costume I decided that I would make a short film that would require more effort on my part than my major film assignment for that semester... in less time. I constructed the sets (deliberately poorly made cardboard to mimic the super low budget cheesiness of 50s B-grade), composed the music, filmed, directed, produced, and edited it. It wouldn't be a David Cox film if I didn't do at least 4 different things.

Spoilers: I won that competition near the end of 2011. What was the prize? I get to make a new film! This film is a prequel (or "sister film") to the feature film and gets to be on the special features of the DVD release. Pretty sweet. Everyone gets to see my work. Well now it's 2012 and I've written the script. Time to make it. After a bit of getting distracted with the final major project of my film degree I start production at the start of 2013 and we shoot it in January. Only now, September, have we finished it. It was stressful as all hell.

The schedule was ridiculously tight. The two lead actors as well as the crew were both intensely busy so we had two shoot days to get everything with them done and then that was it. We managed this, thank goodness. Then we had to edit it. Unfortunately there was a specific thing that needed to be made (outside of the actors) to be filmed and it took forever. There was an issue at every step of the process which I won't go into but it could've been done a lot better. Delays delays delays.

I'm no longer sitting in that room with my editor. We exported it and I sent it off to Darkstone. Good times.

Months later we had to do ADR because issues forced me to rewrite a piece of dialogue we'd already shot. Can't reshoot anything so have to talk over it. This was incredibly difficult as I had to find a sound person who was available at the same time as the actress who was going off to Europe for 2 months and thus had a few random days of availability. Sound people are in high demand all the time and literally every time anything sound related needed to be done it'd be a different sound person. Sound recordist was different each day on set, we did two ADR sessions with two different sound people, and I went through a list of 20ish people before I got directed to someone in Canada who directed me to someone in Sydney to do the sound editing. This stressed me out so much that I became an insomniac for a week as this horrific deadline loomed. I managed it. Yay.

Insomnia isn't fun. You have so much more time to do things but everything becomes so difficult that you can't function properly and so all that extra time is a waste... a waste you're conscious for.

After a long and stressful search for a sound editor and many hour long drives to my editor's house to overlook things we made progress... At times I wanted to bang my head against a wall. Everything felt like it was taking longer than it should've. Our deadline was extended twice. But we managed... we did it...

It got done.

Then I got really drunk.

I finished a thing. I made a film and it's pretty alright I guess. I finished it and just in time for me to finish my last semester of my 4 year long stay at University. I can sigh in relief now... that this horribly lengthy production is over...

...and pick back up where I left off on Birdman nearly a year ago... Birdman that I wrote back in... 2011. Oh for...

Why does everything take forever to make? THEY'RE ONLY SHORT FILMS!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Post-Voting Sorrow Party

As optimistic as my friends and I would like to be it was clear that Tony Abbott was going to win from the start. Polls exist for a reason and that reason is to allow you pre-emptively plan how much despair you'll be in. As someone who likes, you know... human rights and the internet... the news of Abbott's inevitable win was a horrifying one so with 4 different plans to get drunk in various places I picked the closest one for most convenient stumbling home potential.

I was getting ready to leave when Kevin Rudd came up on the TV to give his defeat speech. Oh no! Everyone will be drinking in sorrow without me because of this! I headed forth with booze in bag and arrived to a bunch of 19 year olds sitting around with bottles in their hands and watching the horrifying event unfold.

We were watching it stream via the internet and put onto a TV. This led to it being pixellated and occasionally pausing the image while the audio continued underneath it. Somehow it managed to pause on Abbott's horrific reptilian smile as he told us "the government of Australia has changed" over and over to the sound of the cheers from the Liberal crowd. It was like he was mocking the progressive Youth of Australia and rubbing it in. "That got a good cheer so I'll say it again. The government of Australia has changed." He then went on to say it in a variety of different ways while the ABC would occasionally cut to the grim visage of John Howard. His might eyebrows made him look somewhat concerned and the poor lighting that didn't illuminate his face made him look like a dark figure staring up and out of the crowd at a hideous malformed creature (which wasn't too far off).

"Well Abbott's PM now so we need to get used to this shitty internet." We all laughed then drank to wash away the pain of how real that statement is.
"Tony what?"

"Oh... sweet fuck no..."

We decided that we'd turn it into a drinking game and drink whenever he said "Australia" (we didn't have enough alcohol for the amount of times he said "government" + drinking games, preferably, should not lead to death). I told them my story about how I had confronted the Liberal supporters with the question "why as a gay man should I vote for the Liberals?" (a question they poorly attempted to answer and left me unsatisfied as "because of his other policies" was like saying "I actually have nothing to respond to this but I have to say something.") Then someone replied with an even better story about how one of the Liberal supporters handing out pamphlets to encourage him to vote Liberal had hooked up with him at a party. I don't remember who sucked whose dick but that's just a minor detail in the irony of "loves gay sex but supports Liberals."

The rest of the night involved enjoying the odd names of various politicians all over the country like "Jane Austen" (no really) and making fun of Abbott. If we are to suffer him for the next 3 (and hopefully only 3) years then we might as well find ways to lighten the mood. Human rights progress might have been put on hold for the next 3 years and the internet is going to be terrible but it's OK... slow internet is still enough to read my new blog: The Abbott Chronicles.

I will be writing satirical short stories about the misadventures of Tony Abbott: Australian Overlord, Lizard King, and Bungie Smuggler Enthusiast and trying to ease the pain.

Which I really right now because I'm so hungover from last night... I really did try to drink away the sorrow of a Liberal government being elected but alas... The news of Tony Abbott's election last night still greatly outweighs the hangover from today.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Voting in an Animal Onesie

I did it. I voted while in an animal onesie. A raccoon to be exact. I figured my attempts to blend in with the rest of these things called "adults" are going to be met with odd looks anyway so might as well have fun with them.

Photographic evidence of my sheer commitment to the democratic way:


My mother saw this and was dismayed, as she usually is when I do things, and told me not to do anything silly/don't get arrested because people know she's my mother. Geez mum, arrested? Ye of little faith... I'm sneakier than that when breaking the law...

First up: the people handing out last minute sheets of information to tell you all the wonderful things about their parties while excluding all the really terrible things like "we're actually a bit racist". The only piece of paper I took was from "Rise Up Australia" just so I can go "ugh" and scrunch it up right in front of them. They need to know that I don't care. I was approached by two Liberal supporters and I asked them both "so as a gay man why should I vote for Liberal considering how homophobic Tony Abbott is?" (I'm not gay but hey, it doesn't matter if you lie to Liberals. If they get upset about it just stare at them menacingly for 30 seconds and then go "I've given you the response you deserve" before staring for a bit longer and then walking away.) Their responses were simply "because he has other policies" and "Kevin Rudd is lying to you." I should've said "as an immigrant gay man who is also a high school teacher" and watch them fall apart. The Greens said "oh you clearly care about animal rights so you should vote for us" and I gave them an odd look and said "what gives you that idea?"

I hadn't gotten to the back of the line yet when a pimpled boy approached me and asked if he could shake my hand (clearly because I was so awesome in my onesie). I allowed it and started saying "no autographs please, no autographs."

Once in line I tried talking to the elderly lady in front of me to tell her how great Liberal was "because they cater to my kind" just to creep her out but it didn't seem to work. People liked my onesie. A Greens supporter said "nice costume" and I said "what costume? This is who I am." "Oh sorry, I used the wrong word" she replied.

While collecting my ballot papers I struck up a conversation with the girl who was checking off that I was present to vote. I told her her the entertaining story of how I had confronted the Liberals with the harsh reality that their policies outright offended me as an advocate for marriage equality... Only when I walked away did I realise I'd put in the "as a gay man" bit but had forgot to clarify that I wasn't... woops. And once I had finished voting she had disappeared. Apparently I had looked familiar to her? I forgot her name (I'm terrible with names) so I can't find her on Facebook... I tried to give her my Youtube url but whenever I say it out loud people confuse it for "one day at a time" so I'm pretty sure she won't remember it. Curses.

Then came actually voting. Spoilers: I'm definitively opposed to the Right. Unfortunately there are so many Right Wing parties when it comes to voting below the line... and I did vote below the line. The first few options are pretty simple because there's limited Left-Wing options and not all of those are actually that good. I had to fill in 62 little boxes, which isn't as big as it gets I know, but the problem is eventually it gets to a point where trying to figure out who is less appealing than another party gets increasingly difficult... and I wanted to do it properly so I would give them thought as to whom I ranked "slightly less despicable" to the other. Naturally One Nation gets put last and things like "Stop The Greens Party" can go shove it (which is the most ridiculous party I've ever encountered in my life as stopping the Greens is basically just voting for something other than Greens and another party as a middle step between voting and not electing the Greens is a waste of time and effort). I reached the end... finally...

...and wrote "60" down in box #62... wait... what?

OH FOR F-

I awkwardly asked for a new piece of paper and quickly filled it out with less accuracy than before when it comes to the lesser appealing parties but still ranked my proper preferences properly. At this point I was realising that a onesie with a jacket of it is a bad idea because gosh it was hot. BAM. VOTED. When I got home my mother told me she thought I had gotten arrested because I was taking so long... thanks mum. Your confidence in me is amazing.

Now I can sit back and hope... hope that the progressive youth of Australia are numerous and passionate enough to prevent Tony Abbott from ever getting elected. Now I can finally go on Facebook without seeing all those HORRIBLE ADS FOR LIBERAL. Just SHUT. UP.

Also I'm going to get super drunk tonight. Super drunk. Either to pre-emptively celebrate or pre-emptively weep for a terrible loss for politics for the next 3 years...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Seeing A Mirror In Another's Blog

Isn't weird to see yourself in other people's lives? I don't mean in a romantic sense where you co-habit their life alongside them I mean looking at another person and going "I can relate to you... I understand what you're going through and I'm doing it too."

See the thing about people is they're so varied and different. Their experiences are built up of different social situations, cultures, environments, what age they were, where they grew up, what class, who they know and see and meet and talk to and and and... so on. Naturally when having conversations with people you find yourself disagreeing on basic things. That's fine as opinions are so varied too.

That's why it's weird when you find someone who shouldn't share things with you but does. Like looking into a murky mirror, bit and pieces of you are reflected back in the words you read that were written by a different mind. People that should be dissimilar but somehow they're channeling the same things... not like mental health issues because a surprising amount of people have those (unfortunately) and it's not that shocking that someone out there can relate to you (even if it doesn't seem like it there are people who know) but simple things instead... things that aren't obvious when you think about yourself. The words on the screen read out a passage that seems to unfold itself into a moment from your life through the eyes of someone else.

It creates this sense of a shared human experience. That there are ideas, thoughts, and problems that can unify two separate people. But these are just snippets of life played out and recorded in blog form. They don't make up a person...

The mirror is only a few chance reflections and then its back to being an image unlike yourself. It seems absurd now to reach out to that person and get to know them better. They're not really like you all that much after all... But it's still interesting to have caught a glimpse at someone out there who had thought your thoughts and faced your fears.

Good Enough for Liberals

Election time is looming over us again. In the Right we have Tony Abbott, resident exercise enthusiast and expert swimmer (he thinks if he swims enough eventually he'll be able to patrol the coast himself to better help stop the boats) and in the middle we have Rudd who looks somewhat like a balding koala and in the Left corner we have Christine Milne who comes from Tasmania and thus is from down under Down Under so to speak. If I had to describe them all I would say they are all candidates.

That's what's happening in the big league boxing ring of the political sphere but the lesser famous politicians are important too. They help make up government, not just the fearful leader of their parties. Yep it's important to have good local politicians for the different electorates and so that's why the Liberals have put forward to replace Dr Mal Washer with this guy:
Ian Goodenough. Yep.

Good... enough.

"Vote for Liberals! We're pretty acceptable I guess."

It's good to see that at least someone out there has a level head when it comes to politics. But really though, out of all the unfortunate names for someone who is trying to sell your trust in them to you... Goodenough.

"I promise to have some decent policies. I will stand for at least some change but not in any radical sense that allows to actually solve problems. I will make sure you are kept at least moderately content with my performance as a politician or at the very least displease you less than average. Of this you can kinda assume! Be rest assured I won't be terrible."

Slow clap. Slow clap for the Liberals.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Blogging by a Pool with a Dog by my Feet

It seems that for a while now I haven't updated you on things that I actually do but rather my very important thoughts on different things like youtuber relationships or... actually, what have I been blogging about... OK so a quick check discovers that the previous statement is false but I've started typing this post anyway so let's continue.

I am by a pool. It has leaves on the bottom, has not been cleaned in a while, and it is too cold to even bother thinking about swimming but it is a nice day to be outside, under shade where the wind (and occasional sprinkle of rain) cannot get me. There is a dog sitting on my legs. Her name is Scamp and she has a hairbrush that she has mangled quite completely with her teeth and yet still thinks the job is not yet done. I don't know where it came from or why she has it but oh well.

It's not my dog and it's not my pool.

As the responsible adult (who can't even cook something without screwing up) I have been entrusted to look after a house. A whole house. For 6 weeks! It also comes with a FREE dog and a list of instructions on how to not accidentally let that dog die. It's very important I have instructions.

Scamp loves me though. She really does. It's great because some dogs seem to genuinely wish I was dead for no reason that I can fathom. They take one look at me and think "I hate this dude more than I've ever hate anything before." It might be the ginger hair. Dogs can tell when you don't have a soul. Seriously though I was going for a walk once, I turn a corner, and this dog goes crazy as soon as it sees me. It barks, growls, bares teeth, and generally has that "Come a bit closer so I can give you rabies!" look in its eyes.

My family was right next to me. It wasn't the presence of strangers that spooked it because the rest of my family it was fine towards. Just me it hated. Just me.

My friend has a dog. He's evil. (The dog that is, not my friend, though further studies need to be done to see if my friend really is neutral good or just pretending not to be evil so he can better take over the world at a later date.) The moment he saw me he decided "I hate this guy. I hate him and want him to know I hate him."

"He's such a lovely dog..." his owners tell me "...when you're not around."

Yeah. Out of all the people in the world he knows he has decided that me specifically is going to be hated. Some dogs seem to look at me and innately think "screw you buddy."

So it's nice to be able to open the door and have a dog run up to me excitedly and go "YAY! HUMAN IS HOME! ME LOVE HUMAN SO MUCH!" Though the fact that she always wants attention is a bit tiresome. I can't always rub your belly, Scamp. I need hands to feed you or do other things like type out blog posts about how adorable you are.

It's nice and relaxing having a house to yourself. I'm just chilling by myself, watching Scamp consider touching the pool and deciding not to. When there isn't the responsibility of having to do chores weighing down on me (the dog is well fed, the pool is operating normally, etc) it is nice and simple. My legs are up, I'm leaning back, and I'm watching flowers sway gently in the wind. The only company is my endlessly unconditionally loving companion, Scamp. Ah, so peaceful.

Plus there's an Xbox 360 and a bunch of games to play in the games room just to my right so that's going to be fun. HALO TIME!