Friday, February 26, 2010

So, I sort my sugar hits before eating them...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Things we say...part 20

L and I ended up having an...enlightening conversation about how my brain works...

L: There are little peoples in your ears.
V: There are not!
L: Yeah, there are. They're playing with the kittens that pull the levers in your head.

Clear Skies~V

Random Pretty

This is the Zombie Sheep Tea Cup.
It needs no further explanation...
'cept that it wants your BRAINZ!!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Words, and what we do with them.

Apparently I'm currently residing in a lightheatedness-free zone. But it's 2am and I haven't been able to sleep, eat or think properly for days (long story), so let's just run with it and see where it goes.

For several months, I have been making an effort to eradicate the word 'retarded' from my vocabulary. To my shame, it's been there for a long time, a casually dismissive (offensive) marker of everything that's wrong with the subversion of meaning. I'm ashamed of myself for not having gotten rid of it sooner, not just because it's awful but for two other reasons; one of my family members has suffered throughout her life from the pernicious damage this language and attitude inflicts upon those we apply it to, and also because my younger sister would have been teaching me about the violence of language since we were kids, if I'd only had the wit to learn.

I'm not exactly a paragon of virtue when it comes to language. I swear. Lots, actually. I've never got the hang of being detached when arguing over something that means a lot to me; I rail and shout and rant. I'm not great at finding ways to produce emphasis without doing violence to, or through, the language I choose. At the core of much of this, I suppose, is a combination of passion and laziness. Passion for the things I believe in makes it difficult for me to divorce myself from the emotion of explaining, or arguing them; laziness has led to a failure to completely interrogate the language I use to describe the world and my relationship to it. In spite of my own failings on this point, I do believe in treating language with respect.

Because I'm bizarrely idealistic (strange attribute for a cynic, but what the hell...) I find the the manipulation of language for reasons of political expediency incredibly disturbing. I'm still flabbergasted by the 2001 Australian Federal election, when the Howard Government, desperate for an election victory, spent ten weeks engaged in a "pervasively mendacious" campaign of racial vilification. I found the language of the 'war on terror' similarly depressing, and so I shouldn't be surprised that, in the aftermath of yet another episode of violence, language is the first casualty of reporting.

When an individual chooses to commit an act of extraordinary violence as a means to protest the nature of government regulation, and clearly articulates that violence is the only way in which to make that stand, clearly in the hope that it will encourage others to 'wake up' and make that stand, that individual has committed an act of terrorism. Words have meaning for a reason. Official definitions of terrorism exist so that we are able to define those acts which, in endangering human life, aim to "intimidate or coerce the government, the civilian population... in furtherance of political or social objectives."

When a man flies a plane into a federal building and leaves behind documentation expressing his conviction that such acts are a necessary step, that man has engaged himself in a terrorist action. It is utterly indefensible to suggest that because that man happened to be an American citizen, acting without connection to international terrorist movements, he did not engage in a terrorist act.

Language is a powerful tool, and it is for that very reason that we have an obligation to use it well. Joseph Stack was a white, anglo, non-muslim American citizen. These facts in and of themselves are not enough to excuse him from being labelled a terrrorist in that 'capital T way'.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Music...soundtracks of life? o.O + Soundtrack of V part 1

Okay so, I can't help but think, that the things I listen to tend to be directly linked to what I'm feeling, what I want to feel, or what I'm doing at the time. L and I may have driven through St. Helens with our windows rolled down blasting Disturbed's Shout 2000, 10000 Fists, and Prayer...maaybe, because it fit the mood. When I'm feeling particularly in need of something to think about, or write about, I'll play William Joseph's Within and Beyond - the albums, I mean, not just the tracks - maybe mixed in with some Josh Groban. If I'm hyper, you'll probably catch me playing some Pink. If I'm angry, there'll be Korn, Disturbed, Godsmack, Metallica. If I'm feeling romantic, or soppy, which might be my current mood, you'll probably catch me listening to a series of love songs - don't roll your eyes at me; the current favourites are Staind's Tangled up in You, Aerosmith's Don't Wanna Miss a Thing, Poets of the Fall's Stay, and another song I'm actually being a little possessive over so I won't mention here (ner ner ner). Anyways, what is it about music that gets people going - or not as is the case if I try to subject my mother to 'heavy' things (which by my standards nowadays aren't actually 'heavy' anymore).

(Side note: D and I actually discovered that our father liked Nightwish of all things, a few years ago on  a roadtrip. Go figure. Maybe the previous generation isn't a total loss.)

I suppose I started thinking about this today because I've got a playlist going with only 21 songs in it, and that's been the Soundtrack of V since last week. It's been playing over and over, and try though I might, can't seem to switch over at the moment. I go through phases - I think most of us do; I know that L does, though our taste in music is sometimes sporadically different, and sometimes matches up quite nicely. Depends on the week.

So let's take a look inside my brain shall we?

Soundtrack of V, part 1.

Tracy Chapman - Baby Can I Hold You
Bryan Adams - I'll always be right here
Staind - Tangled up in You
AeroSmith - Don't Wanna Miss A Thing
Alicia Keyes - If I Ain't Got You
LoneStar - Amazed
Tupelo Honey - Make Me Believe
Bon Jovi - Always
Nickelback - I'd Come For You
Bryan Adams - Let's Make  Night To Remember
Jessica Riddle - Even Angels Fall
Poets of the Fall - Stay
Tupelo Honey - Morphine
Chris Rhea - Loving You Again
Hinder - Heaven Sent
Santana (ft. Chad Kroeger) - Into the Night
Hinder - Thing for You
Breaking Benjamin - Stay in Love Forever
The Blues Traveler - Maybe I'm Wrong
Queen - I was born to Love you

Got over your shock of the weirdest combination ever?

Okay good. I'll just pick some songs at random to ramble about.

Let's start with Stay. The Poets of the Fall are probably one of my all time favourite groups. They've got the lyrics and they've got the melody, if you haven't heard any of their things, go to YouTube right now and just search for 'Poets of the Fall - Carnival of Rust' and you'll know exactly what I mean. Stay is a powerful song, but subtle. You know that feeling you get when you really want someone to stay at your side except you know that they might have to go and never come back? That's what Stay says to me. There is something extremely powerful in that single word: 'stay'. It means 'stay here, with me, forever' when it's said the way it's said in the context of the song anyways. One of my all time faves, no doubt about it.

Morning comes slow today
Memories push through from yesterday
Where will I be tomorrow
What do I have to show

From my life
I need you here for a new day to break
I want you near like a shadow in my wake

Flow with life down the drain
Memories and force of will sustain
Where will I be tomorrow
What will be left to show

From my life
I need you here for a new day to break
I want you near like a shadow in my wake

It's the little things
Little things
Little things
That make the world

I need you here for a new day to break
I want you near like a shadow in my wake 

Maybe I'm Wrong, is...bluesy. Those of you who know me, are going to have to get your jaws off the floor now, please. It's an awesome song. It's one of those songs that speaks to you on a 'yeah, okay, this is honest' but in that very poetical sense that only something with that rhythm can pick up. It's off the 'Blues Brothers 2000' soundtrack, in case anyone was wondering. I recommend playing it REALLY LOUD. *ahem*

I wanna show you that anything is possible
Said I wanna show you that your wildest dreams can come true
And I swear someday I'm gonna figure out how to do just that
But until then I guess tryin is all I can do

Maybe I'm wrong thinkin you want somethin better
Maybe I'm wrong thinkin you got no problem makin it through the night
Maybe I'm wrong about every little thing I'm talkin about
Maybe I'm wrong but just maybe maybe I'm right

No its none of my business but I think I can make you happy
But it really doesnt matter if its me or someone else
All that i know is that i think you're kinda special
And one way or another gonna see that i can treat you well

Maybe i'm wrong thinking you want something better
Maybe i'm wrong thinking you got no problem making it through the night
Maybe i'm wrong about every little thing i'm talking about
Maybe i'm wrong, but just maybe, maybe i'm right

You seem to think that lady luck just doesn't like you
Well, i've been trying to believe that the lady just ain't that dumb
Oh, just give her time to get here
And i'm sure that when she gets here
She'll be really glad to be here when she comes.

Maybe i'm wrong thinking you want something better
Maybe i'm wrong thinking you got no problem making it through the night
Maybe i'm wrong about every little thing i'm talking about
Maybe i'm wrong, but just maybe, maybe i'm right

Maybe i'm wrong thinking you want something better
Maybe i'm wrong thinking you got no problem making it through the night
Maybe i'm wrong about every little thing i'm talking about
Maybe i'm wrong, but just maybe, maybe i'm right

And third, let's see...Thing for You. I first heard this song because someone played it for me. There is something very...BOY, about this one. You could call it 'tacky', 'lame', 'silly', but if you really think about it, it's a damn honest song.  Lemme find the lyrics and stick them up here, so tha those of you who have not yet been subjected to it can kinda get a handle on what I mean:

Well now that it's morning,
Where do you want to go from here?
Well now that we're sober,
Are your thoughts of me more clear?
Woah yeah, now that your head is right,
Did you dig last night?
It keeps playin' in my mind.

'Cause girl I gotta thing for you.
And I think it's kinda crazy,
'Cause I know that you have someone true,
Wonderin' where you were last night.

For now I'll say goodbye
But don't think we're through,
I gotta thing for you...

Well now that you're home will,
he be the first thing that you see?
I know you'll compare us,
But how does he match up next to me?

Woah yeah, and now that your head is right,
Did you dig last night?
It keeps playin' in my mind.

'Cause girl I gotta thing for you.
And I think it's kinda crazy,
'Cause I know that you have someone true,
Wonderin' where you were last night.

Girl I gotta thing for you.
And I know the night was hazy,
But I still remember wakin' up
And kissin' your head one more time
For now I'll say goodbye
But don't think we're through,
I gotta thing for you...

Well I remember layin your head down,
I remember lovin' all your sounds.

I gotta thing for you.
And I think it's kinda crazy,
'Cause I know that you have someone true,
Wonderin' where you were last night.

Girl I gotta thing for you.
And I know the night was hazy,
But I still remember wakin' up
and kissin' your head one more time...
For now I'll say goodbye

But don't think we're through,
I gotta thing for you...

Now, tell me, if you've been in that situation many of you can say you didn't at least think half of what's actually being said there?

...and so, after having inflicted my current musical taste on you along with the longest blog entry in our history (I think), I'll leave you with that.

Clear Skies~V

Disclaimer: I won't be held responsible for how you obtain any of these songs if you don't have them!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Things we say part 19

When asked by a friend over mic what kind of ice cream he was eating, D replied with...

D: Chocolate Creamy Classic
L: Just don't talk with your mouth full of chocolate creamy classic...


Clear Skies~V

Random Pretty

So we had a blackout one night while we were in Tasmania. This is one of the candles we lit, beeswax flower. Was very pretty. L took this picture.

How to cure a hangover (and the 100th Post, ironically)

I suppose some of you are going 'what does innocent lil Miss V know about hangovers?' Let me put it this way: I'm currently nursing one, ergo, I consider myself intimately familiar with hangovers since I've had one pretty much every day since Saturday, not for lack of trying to avoid it. And no, before you all get up onto your high horses, I don't have a drinking problem, it's been a social activity, and I'm at that point where I feel like I'm quite capable of pushing my limits. So there.

So anyways, out of sheer 'I should be doing school work but I'm not entirely alive yet' syndrome, I've been trolling the net looking for random ideas people might have on 'how to cure a hangover'. I found a whole series of fascinating experience-proven methods, including anything from not moving a muscle until fifteen hours after you first wake up (I figure that'll get boring real fast), to having another drink (I don't know about you, but if I'm hungover bad, that just isn't going to happen).

( horoscope just informed me that 'mental activity is right up my alley today', somehow I beg to differ.)

The article I found that I figured might be the most practical use was this one, from the Daily Telegraph, aptly titled 'Hangover Cure Guide' I might, in the future, after I survive this current little hangover, attempt to work my way through that list and give you a verdict, but for the time being I'll stick with barroca, water, and toast...and maybe, if a headache manifests itself, a nurofen plus.

Till then, I guess it serves us right.

Clear Skies~V

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Things We Say part 18

So we were watching the Australian Open (tennis, not golf) while we were away in St. Helens 'n things, and during the Hewitt-Federer match it occured to me:

V: I think Jim Courier missed his calling; he could've bene a good poet. If Stephanie Meyers can sell books written badly, Jim would have no trouble selling poetic lines about ballets and flights of Federer's grace.

Ah, interwebs, how I love thee!

So! Those of you who I've talked to will probably know that I've been accepted into the University of Canberra's Master of Creative Writing program. Much excitingness, lemme tell you. This is just the start of it, so I'm not entirely sure if I've got a handle on things just yet. 

For all that I consider myself very 'net-savvy' taking an official online university degree online is a totally different ballgame. For one thing, I keep having to stop myself from saying things like 'zomg that is made of win!' and 'yayy! writingness ftw!'. (I got told on Friday night, funnily enough, that 'ftw' needed a dictionary sometimes, it's why I picked that Another thing that I'm finding interesting is getting my head around using Moodle; the Australian National Univerisity (where I did my undergrad BA) and the Canberra Institute of Technology (Library School) used a different online web interface called WebCT (which probably stands for something, but I has no idea what is it). Anyways, Moodle. Moodle moodle moodle moodle mooooooodle. *ahem* 
( anyone else having Final Fantasy flashbacks?)

So. IcansaythiswithoutcrackingupreallyIcan! MOODLE.

Moodle, it's certainly a lot prettier than WebCT, and I'm slowly getting used to how it actually works. The layout is seriously different from WebCT, but I think it's probably more userfriendly. That's not really what my issue is of course; my issue is that I haven't used it before; moreover, I've never done 'fully online' courses before so it's all rather new to me. Sure, I've used forums before - as we are all well aware - but there's something different about doing it in a purely academic setting. I actually have to be sensible for one thing! Do you have any idea how hard that can be for lil V? I have a hard time being sensible in actual class, and now you're asking me to do it online?

...ah well, such is life, and we will persevere, because, let's face it, this is fun and this is, ultimately what I do. Write.

Clear Skies~V

Monday, February 15, 2010

Things we say part 17

Okay, so those those of you half familiar with my Second Life, will know that I have the most wonderful SL sister and best friend in Buffy Shamen who is gonna be referred to in here by the initial 'A'.

A: When you are "making whoopy" online
V: 'Making whoopy'... really? roflmao
A: Ok so when you having sex online...geez. Just trying to be a lady here

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Summer dessert time!

I first came across this recipe in The Australian Magazine, in December 2004, I believe. That year I made around 7 and a half million of them for various christmas / new year's / random functions, by hand because my mother didn't have a mix master. Right before I left to come back to Canberra in Feb '05, she got one for the account-disabling sum of $12. I had amazing arms that year. It's all in the wrist.


Anyway, the original recipe calls for you to make 3 large disks of meringue, layer them with whipped cream and berries and make a stack. This is a bitch to transport, and very difficult to serve without ending up with a huge pile of meringue crumbs and cream-and-berries goop, so over the years I've made some alterations to the original - healthier and much, much easier to deal with. Also, tastier meringue that has less of a tendency to have that sugar-syrupy thing happening, which is also a plus.

Without further ado, I present: Rosewater Meringue with Summer Berries!


6 egg whites 1 tbsp (corn, not wheat) cornflour
440g caster sugar 500g cherries (halved & pitted)
2 tbsp rosewater 300g raspberries
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar 250g redcurrants
800g thick yoghurt

Oven - preheat to 180°C, turn down to 120°C while baking. (Not fan-forced.)

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar, 1/3 at a time, fully incorporating so you end up with a thick, glossy meringue. Fold through the rosewater, vinegar and cornflour (I often sieve the cornflour, just to eliminate the chance of lumps, but it's not usually a problem)

Line a few baking trays with baking paper (I use 2 layers, but that's just paranoia). Make small discs of meringue (approx. 10cm in diameter and 4-5cm deep) and hollow the middle out a little, so each disk will bake into a 'bowl'. Place in oven and reduce heat immediately; bake for 35-45 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave meringues inside to cool. The meringues should colour slightly, but not darken too much.

To serve, 2/3 fill each meringue with yoghurt (I use King Island Dairy 'creamy indulgence' yoghurt, either the plain or vanilla bean version. Any very thick or set yoghurt will do the job, but you're better off not using a strong flavour, as the rosewater gives the meringue a very delicate flavour which matches the fruit perfectly). Distribute the berries between the individual meringue bowls, and serve. The amount of fruit called for is from the original recipe; I tend to use whatever is on hand. I've never actually used the red currants, as I tend to make this when there are home-grown raspberries, cherries, strawberries and jostaberries on hand, and I put on as much or as little fruit as I like.

This will make about a dozen servings. The meringue is of the chewy variety, although you can lessen that slightly by baking them for a slightly shorter time, turning the oven off before they begin to colour.

Holy cow, I am a lazy, lazy non-person.

So, I'm going to fall into that tried-and-tested blog apology - I have totally failed to post... well, pretty much at all in the past couple of months, and for those who give a damn, I apologise. I can pretty much guarantee it'll happen again, though. Just sayin'.

I guess there should be a holiday-roundup taken care of first up: it was awesome. Apart from that bit where I crashed my Mum's car, that is. That was frustrating and upsetting, and I can now add 'guilt-ridden' to my various other neuroses. On the upside, I managed not to kill V in the process, and the only injuries were inflicted on said vehicle (sorry, Tracy). Thanks to the stupidity of insurance companies, the car was written off due to the relatively minor damage (Although I'm still confused about how I managed to screw up the wheel alignment, rear axle, crack the windshield and blow out a tyre while only putting a couple of scratches in the bodywork, but what the hell). Also, V bounced completely off the seat during said accident, but is so tiny that she didn't even hit her head (*whew*).

Before I wiped out the car we were using for our lil Tasmanian road trip, we spent a fun(!) spider-filled night in a caravan at Orford; camped in the Douglas Apsley National Park, visited my ex-sister-in-law and her two delightful (and incredibly energetic) toddlers, stayed in the St. Helens YHA and drove to the Bay of Fires. If you ever have the chance to take your time and see Tasmania, it's a beautiful place - also, wandering around in summer is pleasant, rather than hot. I'll trade 40 degree Canberra days for 25-in-the-sun any day.

We spent a goodly amount of time picking berries. More or less every day we were at my mum's, actually - our record was 5kg for one afternoon's effort. Freezers that smell of raspberries are awesome. I will also post the most amazing summer dessert recipe ever at a later stage, if only 'cause it's fun to be enjoying an antipodean summer while various places experience their snowmageddon.

(Is anyone else underwhelmed by using 'snowpocalypse' or 'snowmageddon' to describe these snowstorms? I guess it must be comforting to have a way to refer to them when you're stuck in the middle of one, but I can't help feeling that if we're gonna make up words, they might as well be fun ones.)

I also spent a fair bit of time sorting through my childhood relics, and lugged a bunch of them home with me. If you've never come across Barbro Lindgren's The Wild Baby, I whole heartedly recommend it - possibly the most endearing and funniest toddler ever. Also, V and I apparently had the same first watches. Weird.

I will leave you with this last comment - 6am skinnydipping in the Douglas Apsley waterhole is the best wake-up idea ever.

Things we say part 16

This one is L's fault...but I don't know why.

L: Well it could be worse. I could be wearing my bonnet.

Ah...Valentine's Day.

So. Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I hope you're all snug 'n things with your partner of choice, be they male, female, virtual, furry, fluffy, blown up, near or far, a book, a cat, a dog, or a box of tissues and chocolates (or as it is in my case, a large bottle of vodka, a bottle of cranberry juice, and my computer).

I've been meaning to talk about this for a long time, but for some reason it just seemed silly and somewhat stupid to talk about that crazy lil thing called 'love' when, firstly, I don't claim to know a thing about it other than what goes on in my brain, and secondly, I figure it's different in all books. And then, hey, check out the date! Perfect excuse right? But before we begin, let me set the rules: I will not cry, I will not rant (much), I will attempt to be objective and general, and I will attempt to use as little profanity as I can. Provided you lot don't laugh or roll your eyes or cry, rant, rave, or judge. Also: I'm not the expert! I'm just being opinionated 'n stuff 'n things, so no one kill me. All happy? Awesome, let's rock...

I keep seeing people stuck in relationships they shouldn't be in, either at all or anymore, take your pick. I know people who shouldn't still be together, except somewhere down the line in the turns and twists of their relationship they forgot that they were allowed to choose their own way, and now they're stuck together for the rest of their lives (granted, at 70, I suppose you really have to want to get out). Humans are creatures of habits, we like things we know, we're scared of things we don't. So few of us take risks anymore, and those of us who do tend to be looked upon as 'crazy idiots who really should settle down'. The thing is, habits and patterns are all well and good, if they're good patterns and habits. If you're in a relationship right now where you respect and love your partner and get that respect and love back, where you're communication is brilliant and everything is shiny 'n happy etc etc etc, then by all means, stay in that pattern and that habit. People who end up sticking it out in relationships where the spark has flown, either need to rekindle (and no I don't know how, I'm just half ranting thoughts here) or need to break the cycle and move on. The trouble is, they don't, because they're in a pattern where they know the ins and outs, where they know the rules and they know how the game is played - even if they don't like that game.

Of course, it's easy for me to say all of that. They're only words for me, for people in the situation, they have to be actions and that's always harder than words.

I've always viewed Valentine's Day as a little bit of a 'silly' holiday, carrying the same weight like 'Teacher's Day' - that came out a little bitter, but the metaphor stands: Teacher's Day is great for people involved in it, bringing apples to the teacher or whatever the traditions are these days (did that make me sound old?). The same goes for good ole V-day: if you're in love, and you're with someone, YAYY!!! If you're not in love and (I suppose therefore) not with someone, then YAYY!! Just another day!! If you're in love but not with someone, then you're just f***ed, cept not literally, which would be part of the problem maybe. (Okay that was bad. Sorry, couldn't help it. BAD V! *finds L and gets  a slap on the wrist*).

(Side quarter to 4 in the afternoon too early to start drinking?)

Of course, you could argue that Valentine's Day is primarily driven by the deliciously capitalist chocolate fabrication businesses, I mean this is their jackpot day right? Forget Halloween, forget Easter (though I would really like another chocolate orange, kthnxbai), and forget Christmas, Valentine's Day is where they really hit the spot. Why? Because people forget about it if they're not 'in the loop', and so they look at the calander and go 'Oh shit, Valentine's Day...should do something in case s/he thinks I forgot and don't love her/him! Where's the nearest chocolate store?'. Okay, so maybe that's a little cynical (*cough*unhealthycynicism*cough*)...and maybe I'm spending too much time thinking about it, but it is V-day...that kind of gives me perogative to think about it right?

Anyways, I hope I didn't spoil anyone's chocolate kisses, and those of you celebrating, celebrate away (safely, please, the world is already overpopulated, we'd like to avoid more accidents in the back of the car, kthnx). And those of you who can't wait to move onto the next chocolate season where you don't have to think about not being someone, it's okay, Easter's just around the corner and we can all celebrate Zombie-Jesus Day with extra chocolatey oranges 'n bunnies, if that's your thing.

Clear Skies~V

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Things we say, part 15

L: Is it bad that I had 3 slices of leftover pizza & a gin & tonic for breakfast at 3pm?
D: There's a fine line between 'bad' and 'awesome'. Army of Darkness and Edguy taught us that.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Things we say part 13

 I don't really remember when this happened, but it did...and that's all that really matters right?

V: Don't be ridiculous I'm a perfectly balanced individual.
L: Somewhere a kitten died for that lie.
V: Oh noes! If I clap my hands loud enough will it come back to life?