a little east of reality

Friday, August 29, 2008

the book i won't be reading this week

I finished the Cory Doctorow book and I'm looking around for something new. I decided to go non-fiction and happened across a book on DailyLit called 100 Ways to Succeed/Make Money by Tom Peters. Now I'd like to make some money. I _almost_ signed up to start reading it.

And then I read these recommendations:
In no small part, what American corporations have become is what Peters has encouraged them to be. (The New Yorker)

Peters is...the father of the post-modern corporation. (Los Angeles Times)

We live in a Tom Peters world. (Fortune)
I think I'll pass.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I'm totally crushing on this guy I barely know and I can't even write about it because I'm pretty sure someone who knows him reads this blog.

Oh, and because it makes me sound like a 12-year-old at a sleepover.



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

ed westwick on his style

Quote of the week from Ed "Chuck Bass" Westwick:
"I like the glamorous indie-rock look, like the Libertines. But, you know, without the heroin needle sticking out of my arm."
Now imagine it in his British accent. Mmm.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

strange how it only just occurred to me...

That Youtube is like having Neil Gaiman on tap. ^_^ I just added about twenty Neil vids to my favourites.

I go through phases with Youtube, getting onto one theme or another and pursuing it until some other shiny object catches my eye. These phases are evident when you look through my favs. Neil is the most recent addition. Before him there was a series of David Bowie interviews. Before that it was a pile of 80s music videos, including a lot of early Blondie and my favourite Elvis Costello song. For a while I couldn't get enough of Van Hansis and his storyline on a daytime soap we don't get here, which led me to discover a random Catalan soap opera. At one point I was collecting Post Secret videos and TV commercials I thought were cool. And there's always a healthy dose of random weirdness thrown in for good effect.

And now it's 5am. Playing in my favourites pool on a week night is not wise...

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

sytycd? top 8

First up I have to say that I spent quite a bit of the top 8 show skipping guest judge Toni Basil's remarks. The drivel that came out of this woman's mouth...so very irritating.

But on to better things! Like Courtney and Will TEARING UP THE FLOOR with a Jean Marc Genereaux Samba. That is some hot tamale dancing right there!

The next is the coolest Mia Michaels routine of the season. Fantastic use of a prop and the dance AND the performance by Twitch and Katee are awesome.

Here is a tight Tabitha and Napolean hip hop routine danced by Mark and Comfort. This could have morphed into crumping and I think they still would have handled it.

So many good routines in this show. Last couple dance I'm adding is a disco routine choreographed by Doriana Sanchez and danced by Chelsie and Joshua.

And last by not least, here's the most awesome solo of the night from Will. I wish it could have been longer. Fabulous James Brown impression! This is the stage of the show where we lost Will. The results are ruled by votes at this point and I'm surprised that Mark made it through over Will. Mark's great and I think Joshua and Twitch are wonderful overall performers, but there's no denying that Will is a brilliant dancer and I look forward to seeing him dance in the future.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

sytycd? top 10

Okay, time to wrap this up. I know this is all over in the US but I want to finish my posts on it anyway. If you're watching in Australia then I'm a little ahead of you so watch out for spoilers.

This first piece is a pas de deux choreographed by Desmond Richardson and performed by Katie and Will. Don't anyone give me lip for another shirtless Will routine, because actually I think those shorts are a little dorky looking. :)

The next three are all group routines, the first a Mia Michaels contemporary routine danced by the top 5 girls ~ Comfort, Katee, Kerrington, Chelsea and Courtney.

Next, here are the top 5 guys ~ Will, Joshua, Gev, Mark and Twitch ~ performing a Nigel Lithgow routine to the song "Five Guys Named Moe".

Finally, here are all ten of them giving out a lot of good energy in an exuberent Bollywood routine. Great beginning, too!


Friday, August 22, 2008

normally I wouldn't ask you to look at spiders

...but this is freaking hilarious!!! (Thanks, Ai.) I thought it was kind of lame, right up until the moment I turned the sound on. Makes all the difference. (Not at all scary, by the way, for those of you who hate/fear/run very fast away from spideys as much as I do.)

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Monday, August 18, 2008

sytycd? top 12

The first of my two favs from the top 12 episode was this fun Bollywood routine from Katee and Joshua (love those two!). Sorry it's the version with the judges commentary, etc, but the only versions I could find without it looked like they had been taped from the TV with a handheld camcorder. Though for those unfamilar with the show, you do get to hear a Mary Murphy scream. :)

This second one is, I think, the best choreography of the night. It's a lyrical jazz piece by Tyce DiOrio. He said it didn't have a story, but was meant to represent the connection between a man and a woman and that he thinks of it as the Garden of Eden. I liked the way Jessica explained it:
This piece is so much more than dance. It's about the combination of art with music and our bodies.
It's sensual more than sexual and very beautiful. Enjoy.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

what women want

As mentioned a few posts back, I saw Chris Rock live in Sydney last weekend. I also met up with my old housemate, Phi, and slept at his place before driving back early Sunday morning.

An idea Chris pitched in his show was that it's more important for a guy to keep his job than for a woman to keep hers, because a guy won't dump a girl for being unemployed, but a woman will only be patient for so long with an unemployed guy. The material was funny as far as it went, but I did think the idea really was a bit of a crock. At least in my world. I would dump a guy who didn't want to work and was happy to dole-bludge, but I'd never break up with a guy because he lost his job. That's just stupid.

I thought about this again later when I drove back to Phi's. He had parked his car in an off-street park to save it for me (safer than parking on the street). When I got there he put his car in his regular spot under the apartment building and I took the park. He'd also moved the mattress from the room where I was sleeping (which was apparently really messy) and made up a bed in the lounge room. The sheets smelled so fresh and clean. As I was going to sleep I thought, 'I don't need a guy who has money or some great job. A guy being thoughtful is worth so much more than that.' Not that I want Phi. We're friends and ever will be. But his simple thoughtfulness made me feel welcomed, cared for, and that was nice.

I think Chris Rock needs to either update his views on women, or hang out with some that aren't quite so committed to the idea that a boyfriend needs to live up to the lifestyle to which she would like to become accustomed.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

sytycd? top 14

Wow. Fourteen performances to choose from and it was so very hard. In the end I've gone for choreography again and included three dances. The first is a lyrical jazz piece by Mandy Moore and danced by Jessica and Will. And while I chose it for its power and the amazing use of a shirt as a prop, it must be said that Will without a shirt is quite something to behold all on its own. ^_^

Mia Michaels was insanely good this time around, too, with two amazing contemporary routines, the first danced by Twitch (ditto on my previous 'no shirt' remark) and Kerrington and the second by Katee and Joshua. Loved them both. I don't usually differentiate between colours on the show, but I have to say that this season's contingent of black guys are far outstripping their paler peers. Each one of them is like a vial of distilled talent. Mark is the only other guy coming close for me.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

coraline featurettes

I'm pretty much happy to see anything Neil Gaiman-related. There's a fair chance that I'll like it. I enjoyed the book Coraline and even though the film was going to be animated, I was sure I'd enjoy that, too. I forgot that Neil's reached that point where he gets to work with really cool people who do amazing things. After watching these featurettes on the making of the movie, I'm now really excited to see the movie.

I think it's going to be utterly delightful. It will be made in stop-motion animation by Henry Selick, the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas. I love that Neil sent Henry the manuscript for the film 18 months before the book was even published...he REALLY wanted him to make the movie. ^_^

1. Henry Selick and Neil Gaiman bring Coraline to life (the girl in the green dress is Neil's daughter Maddy)

2. Crafting the world of Coraline. More about the stop-motion process.

3. The story of Coraline.

There are four more to come, but they are being released one at a time over the next few days.

And for you lucky bastards who can enter this competition, here's a link to a chance to win a trip to visit the set. Would be so cool to see all the models, puppets, etc. Ends on the 17th!

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

sytycd? top 16

My favourite from the top 16 performance show is another wonder piece of hip hop choreography from Tabitha and Napoleon, danced by Chelsea and Mark. The story here is that of a husband and wife. He is very emotionally engaged with his work and not with his wife, and her heart is breaking over it.

Also so very impressed week after week with this couple, Joshua and Katee. Here they're doing a sexy samba. As an aside...how shiny is her hair?


Saturday, August 09, 2008

fourneau flambé

Note to self: Starting a small kitchen fire is not the best way to make an early start getting away to Sydney.

(Don't worry, REALLY small...as in contained to the stove top. Cleaning up the spilled hot oil and getting the thin layer of smoke hovering under the ceiling out, however, took forever!

Oh, handy hint, by the way ~ you know how you can't put out an oil fire with water? Well salt works really well. Also burned oil and salt doesn't stick to the hotplate. Once it cools you can just pick it up and put it in the bin. Too easy. (Please don't start an oil fire just so you can try this out.)

Okay, I'm off to Sydney to catch up with my ex-housemate and see Chris Rock live. Yah!

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

sytycd? top 18

My favourite from this episode was a Viennese waltz danced by Twitch and Kerrington. I've liked the Viennese waltz every since I first saw Benji and Donyelle do one back in season 2. It's just so beautiful and is one ballroom style I'd like to be able to dance myself. Anyway, hope you enjoy it.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008


A complete list of all of Bart Simpson's blackboard lines.

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so you think you can dance?

The latest US season of So You Think You Can Dance? has been going a while, but I've only just started watching it recently. The first performance show (top 20 dancers) was amazing. The bar really has been set high this year. I think people are starting to prepare better for the show and it's attracting dancers that already have a certain level of flexibility in the styles they know.

I wanted to pick one video to post of the couple I think danced the best, but it was so hard to choose amongst the dancers that instead I'm posting my favourite piece of choreography from the show. Napoleon and Tabitha, a husband and wife team of hip hop choreographers, do some really interesting things with hip hop. I'm a huge fan of Shane Sparks and when I realised that this new team was on board I was kind of disappointed (no idea if Shane will contribute later in the season). But wow, this piece was wonderful. The story behind it is that the guy has just gotten his news that he's going off to the war. Sounds a little corny, right? But it isn't. I was so moved by this piece, I found myself unexpectedly crying.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Last night I watched the pilot episode of a TV show called Pretty/Handsome. It stars Joseph Fiennes as Bob, a married gynecologist with two sons (10 and 18) who works at a family practice with his dad. Their crowd is old money and conservative. Which is why Bob is working so hard to hide the gender dysphoria he feels. At first I thought this was going to be a story, a comedy even from some comments I'd heard, about a cross-dresser. But there is nothing comedic about this story. Now I'm no expert on transgender experience or issues, but I thought they portrayed several things really well:

  1. the sense that his body feels 'wrong' to him
  2. the longing to be feminine (as he perceives femininity)
  3. the way he over-compensates by being scarily macho at times
  4. the fear of discovery and the pain of not being able to be honest
Seeing his life, it's undeniable that the moment he is open about these feelings, his world as he knows it will end. The possible (negative) consequences are shown in sharp relief in the episode through a FTM transsexual who comes to him seeking a hysterectomy. He lives with a post-op MTF transsexual partner. They are happy in their relationship, but their life is punctuated with quite hateful treatment from other people. The man has also lost custody of his children.

I'll freely admit I don't 'get' transsexuality. I understand it, and gender dysphoria, theoretically, but I don't really relate to it at all. I've tried to imagine what it would be like to feel like I was in the wrong body, but even if I imagine myself in a male body, the feeling that mostly comes is just the feeling that if it was the case I would deal with it. Given the extreme confusion and grief some people experience with gender dysphoria, clearly my imagination just doesn't stretch far enough. Of course I've never had anyone treat me as if I was a guy. Maybe it would be easier if I'd experienced that kind of confused response to another person's assumptions about me.

Also I grew up in a family where being a girl didn't equate to a lot of confining gender role rules. I was never limited in what I wore, the sports I played or the careers I was encouraged to pursue. I don't have any strong feelings of propriety over traditionally 'girlie' stuff and I kind of like it when guys branch out and wear makeup, etc. Other traditional gender-related behaviours, like expecting a man to take control or stifle his emotions, or a woman wanting a man to 'protect her', irritate the hell out of me. I like being a woman, but I reject anyone's attempts to define for me what that means. I've tried to define it myself, because the question interests me, but in the end it's always a bit like trying to nail water to a wall.

Some of the things I think or have thought in the past about transsexualism are:
  1. that more research should be done into curing gender dysphoria, rather than assuming that changing a person's body is always the answer. There are other disorders where dysphoria is experienced and some where people feel disconnected from the world, or even from their own bodies. To assume that this kind of dysphoria is indicative of a correct state, when the other kinds aren't, seems illogical.
  2. that there is too much emphasis on defined gender roles in this world and that transsexualism seems to reinforce those roles. I watched a video the other day with a transmale and a transfemale talking side-by-side. It wasn't that interesting to be honest, but one comment made really irked me. The woman talked about how long it took to get ready and do make-up etc and then said, 'but we're girls, that's what we do.' Immediately I thought 'whatever'. This is where my lack of understanding of transsexualism begins, because none of those things...make-up, dresses, heels, etc... are what makes a woman a woman and I don't understand why they, after doing those things, don't see that.
  3. that less emphasis on gender roles might mean that people don't feel they have to alter their body in order to be allowed to behave in ways that are considered the domain of the opposite sex.
  4. that in the end it is not so much about being a woman, or being a man, as been acknowledged as one or the other and being treated like one or the other. People do act differently towards men and women, even if only on a subconscious level, and their expectations of the responses they'll get are also influenced by that person's gender.
  5. At one time my feelings about transsexual/transgendered people was much more negative. I felt like they were some sort of aberration. A few years ago I realised that this kind of thinking was pointless. It doesn't matter what I think is or isn't normal and it doesn't matter what I think about their choices regarding their bodies ~ these are real people for whom this way of feeling is normal. This is their normal and the dysphoria they experience is real and at some point you have to acknowledge that your opinion one way or another cannot be allowed to be as important as your compassion for other people.
I hope it's clear that I am not trying to convince anyone on any of those points. They're just thoughts I've had on the subject and I've already acknowledged my total lack of experience in this area. I'm just kind of laying a bunch of ideas out there because I'm interested in what other people think. (NB: Negative comments are fine, but any comment expressed in a hateful way will be deleted.)

In the end what I know for sure is that I don't understand the hatred some people feel/show towards transgendered people. Even if you don't understand it, even if it freaks you out a little, why does that translate into painting 'die freaks' on their house? (That's what happened in the show.) 'Freaky' often just means 'something I would never do' or 'something I don't understand' and that isn't enough reason to hate on someone. It just isn't.

Apparently the show isn't being picked up. I think that's a shame. They seemed to hit the right tone with it and my gut feeling is that they would have handled the subject well. There's one part in the pilot where Bob gets to dress as a woman in public (Halloween party). For the outside eye, he plays it for laughs, but it's really easy to see the freedom and relief that exists for him in openly dressing as a woman, even if just for one night. It's so obvious the next day that his suit and tie are the costume he wears every day pretending to be everyone's idea of what a man is.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

you WILL have a good time

After party notes to a friend:

There's a difference between being a good hostess and being so intent on everyone having the best possible time that you make the atmosphere in the room tense. You can promote fun just by relaxing a little and enjoying your own party.

For example:

  1. If my drink is empty, I don't need you to leap to your feet and run to get me another.
  2. If I don't eat an appetiser every minute, this doesn't mean I don't like them.
  3. Ditto having seconds of dinner. The food was great. I just didn't want to roll home.
  4. People wanting to go home before midnight doesn't mean the party sucked. 11:30pm is late for people whose seven and ten-year-old children are at the party with them.
  5. Dancing: not everyone's into it. And that's okay.
We all had fun. I'm just not certain we had enough fun to satisfy her sense of what a 'great party' is. And I didn't like feeling like that was my role.

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

feeling rattled ~ the windows et moi

The carport at our place is open at the sides. The back has two large metal panels. One of them has come loose towards the middle and sits a little askew. Friday night the wind tore through our neighbourhood like a banshee warning of approaching death. This huge sheet of metal groaned with the strain on staying in place and the windows in the house shook. Sheet rain beat a heavy pattern on the house and made the wind icy the one time I ventured out. The last time the wind and rain swept through so loud and strong five huge trees fell, so it was a little scary to imagine what damage might occur.

Wild weather always makes me wonder about climate change. I've read that one of its effects will be more of the unpredictable weather that seems to have increased in the last decade. It's nice to feel like you're in control, like life will go steadily along if you just do your part. But the truth is that we have so little control over so many things. Weather is just one of them. Health is another obvious area where control would be nice, but any sense of real control is pretty much an illusion.

A young friend of mine has been driving recklessly lately, despite a horrible accident that left a close friend of hers with brain damage. He is still in hospital with huge challenges like impaired vision and many skills to relearn. She's been at the hospital so often over the last few months, and yet still she speeds and weaves in and out of traffic as is Fate had secretly given her a 'get out of death free' card. I just wish she could really understand that the reason more experienced drivers don't drive that way isn't because we can't. It's because we have the years of driving behind us to know just how little we have control of on the road. She is well able to handle the way she drives...as long as nothing unexpectedly goes wrong. The only thing she can control is herself and her own car, and even the latter is tenuous. She can't control other drivers, their cars, the composite effect of the traffic conditions, the kid who may run out, the kangaroo with a death wish, and so on.

Recently at work a couple of people were asked if they wanted to take a redundancy package. Generally that question has only one workable answer. Working for government often engenders a false sense of job security. I've been working really hard lately because of some personal goalsetting, but this situation made me even more determined to make sure that I have a good record at work. One of my friends is one of the people leaving and she was so thrown by it. It seemed like she had the next few years sorted and now she's looking for a new job.

I know life is uncertain and it's not something I worry about a lot. Until the windows rattle and I remember just how mere a mere mortal I am.

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