Saturday, June 26, 2010

Just back from seeing Bill Bailey at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington. Hilarious stuff.

My favourite bit: a mash-up of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' and 80s song 'Last Christmas' - all in the style of (and language of) Kraftwerk. Words cannot describe. But it was awesome :)

I love comedians like Bill Bailey for their ability to make the audience laugh about every day situations. Not everything has to be a joke about sex or women or penis size (Although there was some of that. Did you know that the barnacle has the largest sized penis in relation to the rest of its body in the world? True.)

My least favourite bit: the guy sitting next to me with a disturbingly high-pitched laugh, and a lack of understanding of his own innate lack of funniness. Ah well. He had a little notebook and was writing down random funny things. So either he's a wannabe comedian, or he has a Blog.

Anyway, Bill Bailey, very musically gifted and funny guy. Go see his latest show!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

None of these people, to my knowledge, are in a band.

On being a goalie:

Sometimes we'd lose 10-0, other times we were hammered. One day the manager's best mate decided to give me a boost. "Unlucky, son," he said, as another one flew past me into the middle of the goal. "You didn't stand a chance." He then turned to the manager. "Who's that useless bastard in goal, Irv?" I only lasted half a season as a proper goalie.

How to be a functional freak:

“You should never just read for ‘enjoyment.’ Read to make yourself smarter! Less judgmental. More apt to understand your friends’ insane behavior; or better yet, your own. Pick ‘hard books.’ Ones you have to concentrate on while reading. And for God’s sake, don’t let me ever hear you say, ‘I can’t read fiction. I only have time for the truth.’ Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of ‘literature’? That means fiction, too, stupid.”

Pretty (video)

Will I be rich? Which is almost pretty depending on where you shop...

Murals and skin colour

.. my cousin's company driver showed us the sights, but when we stopped for lunch at Howard Johnson's he explained he couldn't go inside because they didn't serve colored people. "But you're with us!" I said. "I know," he said, smiling over my head at my mother, "but they don't know who you are." Inside, I asked my mother why they wouldn't serve him. "They have their own nice places to eat," she said. I don't believe she was particularly upset on his behalf.

(Roger Ebert has gotten much more verbose since losing the ability to talk)

Are you fat positive?

For some time I've been following a small number of 'fat positive' blogs. These are blogs from the 'fatosphere' which encourages positive attitudes towards one's body no matter the size (although sometimes this falls into 'fat is better and how dare you be skinny'). Seems like a good attitude to have - that it's more about being happy with who you are and what you look like, than it is about conforming to society's norms and trying to become something you're not.

I fit into the fat side of things and am inclined to agree with the view that people have a natural 'point' that their body weight trends towards (but that they can buck this trend through diet and exercise or lack thereof). Some people's natural point is higher than others, some lower, and I'm not sure there's such a thing as normal. But then you could take the view that this is a useful excuse for not exercising more and not eating 'healthily'.. And maybe it is. I have observed that those in the 'fatosphere' are often women (almost always women) who incorporate some level of activity into their lives and generally don't have high degrees of health issues (or not that they talk about on their blog - which is fair enough if it's not about that). They are generally white, and often some level of 'middle class'. I'm not meaning to pigeon-hole but it's easier to talk about positivity if you're not coming from a position of zero..

Anyway I was reading a blog post about one woman's experience losing a fairly large amount of weight. And I was thinking about how some of the people in the fatosphere would consider this to be traitorous behaviour. But the woman telling her story sounded so positive.. Viz:
There will be such an huge weight lifted - literally and figuratively - from my life. I am going to be strong. I am already stronger than I remembered I could be.
So being overweight had a negative impact on her life. It sounds as though she was quite large (talks of not being able to fit into seats etc) - but I still wonder if the fat acceptance movement would tell her to learn to be happy with who she was..

Nothing is ever as simple as it would like to be.

Gratuitous links to websites on or around these kinds of topics that I have on my regular reading list: (Shauna has a great book out as well about how she lost half her body weight..) - I find this one a bit more challenging as they're more along the lines of fat positive

Friday, June 11, 2010

Glee Finale (spoiler alert..)

I have been a fan of musicals since well before we videotaped the Sound of Music when I was a child - but it was cemented by viewing after viewing, to the point where my sisters and I could sing/talk along with the whole thing, including the bit where someone forgot to pause the ads, and so we had to skip a few lines of dialogue to keep in sync..

I'm a natural candidate for the audience of Glee. Show choirs are (afaik) a uniquely American thing but the appeal is pretty universal, particularly for someone with my background - an enthusiastic singer who likes to couch dance, and was even in the Choir at high school, but I'm not a performer. Wish fulfillment, here we go. And the all-inclusive nature of the Glee group let's everyone in.

From here on, So Many Spoilers.

The extended season has been building and building to 'Regionals' - a winner-takes-all opportunity to qualify for the show choir Nationals. And really, they were never going to win. For a show that has sewn up probably at least another couple of seasons it would be too much too soon. So they put a lot of 'heart' into it, but the more 'professional' school won. Even though their performance was intentionally wooden and they were just going through the motions.

The final episode was a bit too rock and roll hydroslide through all the loose ends for me - it felt like it needed a bit longer to breathe. Normally the talking in Glee slows it down a bit too much for me, but tonight was as though the kids had all been given speed and everyone was runningandrunningandrunning.

And breathe.

Anyway, everyone will (I assume, from the action) be back 'next year' (actually September), and the scene is set for heaps more high school melodrama. Will Rachel and Finn get it on? Will Emma and Mr Schu sort it out? Will Quinn find out that the director of the enemy has adopted her baby? Will Brittany and Santana declare their undying love? Will poor old Kurt get the chance to have a boy-on-boy kiss on primetime tv? Remains to be seen, but I'm sure we'll see all that and more...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Let's start a band

Amy Macdonald is currently on high rotate for me. Similarly other females-with-a-[your instrument goes here]. It's a thing for me.

But having said that, I've recently realised that the key factor in most of the music I like is that... I can sing along. I love music and singing. I'll never be any kind of Idol, and wouldn't even get to the televised auditions of a tv show - because I'm not *awful* but I also have no delusions at all that I'm any more than vaguely tuneful.

So most of the music I listen to is music that's in the right key for me to dance around and sing to. Ani difranco is a big one for me. I'm definitely in the camp which prefers her older material, and I can sing along to all of Not A Pretty Girl and Not So Soft. I think she has some really important messages about being a strong woman etc - but even more helpfully her range is very similar to mine. If I'd had to squeak to sing along, I don't think her music would have stuck so much.

So the singers who go way up into the rooftops with their octaves and sopranoism are out of reach for me. So I stick with Amanda Palmer and Ani and Amy. The Whitlams are another band who make music in approximately the right key for me. Sometimes I have to modulate, but overall I can sing along.

The best thing for me is when I'm not tired and not distracted, and can go for a nice long drive, singing to my favourite songs and enjoying the road and the music and where they both take me.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Skirting around

Of late, I have been on a mission to Wear More Skirts. It helps that it is winter, because it means I get to also wear tights (oh so many tights) and my cosy cardigan and generally feel well put together.

Skirts work better for me - I'm big enough that I don't fit the clothes from shops like Max or Portmans, so work-wear tends to come from plus-size shops. And trousers in such shops don't often differentiate between taller-than-average and average and shorter-than-average. I'm short-waisted and I don't like having to wear trousers that don't sit well at the top, and which have to be hemmed at the bottom - so skirts are ideal.

My favourite skirt of the moment is from Zebrano and is black with white circles. Or maybe it's white with black fill-in bits. Either way. I still find it hard to spend as much as you need to, to buy clothes from Zebrano, but I find that clothes from Farmers almost entirely come under the 'tent' category, so I suck it up and get Nice Things. I am lucky that I can do that.

But I've also been dipping into the delights of Trade Me - a significant percentage of the clothes on the auction site are either just straight up bad, or so poorly photographed that it's not worth the risk. But sometimes you get something worth having. My latest was a pencil skirt for about $30. It looks quite corporate so it's for the days when I feel like being a bit more formal.

Probably a post for another time is that whole concept of 'formal' clothes and what's appropriate for a Wellington office situation. I work in IT and am surrounded by men, who can do 'shirt and tie' with the same pants every day with no-one commenting or caring, but women's outfits tend to be a bit less pigeon-holed, which makes me feel like I need to be different every day. Mind you, there are 17 males in my office and one other female, so it's likely to be all in my head ;)