Review four books, three movies, and one theatre show without boring you?
*cue kitschy game show music*
*Enter from left: Sleazy, arrogant host with slicked back hairpiece, shiny suit, porcelain teeth, and the weight of the world on his shoulders due to an upcoming court case involving his missing accountant, embezzled investment funds, a 40 grand credit card bill run up at a hotel in Cancun allegedly owned by the Mexican Mafia, his pregnant-with-twins former personal assistant currently in witness protection, a botched blackmail attempt, some suspicious blood stains, and a spectacularly buff maître de from New Jersey called Pablo.*
*Host smiles cheesily at camera, introduces himself, makes sexist joke, laughs, reluctantly peels his eyes away from the camera to introduce the increasingly frustrated carry-over champion Cate, whom he belittles every episode by drawing attention to the studio lights making her hair look grey, her need to stand on a box to be in camera shot, and mentioning her obvious lack of any successful cosmetic surgical procedures, all while thinking ahead to which bisexually-oriented strip club he will take the network bosses that night and wondering if he can turn it into a tax deduction*
*Cate decides to reject her usual front-of-camera state of total zen*
Host: "And here we go! [assumes serious demeanour by remembering the exquisite Pablo has an uncle who is a hitman] My dear Cate, select a category."
Cate: "Theatre for $200. [mutters "And I'm not your dear."]
*audio guy chuckles, all floor crew pay a little more attention, the director sits up straighter in his chair, and the atmosphere in the control booth intensifies*
Host [hides annoyance behind gritted teeth]: "Okayyyyy. A remarkable live show. Part shadow theatre, part modern dance, part circus, part acrobatics. An enthralling story, told completely through such fluid, beautiful, and astoundingly clever human movement, that not once do any 'interpretive dance' jokes enter your mind. Captivating, funny and brilliant."
Cate: "What is 'Shadowland', presented by Pilobolus Dance Theater.
Cate: "They've finished their Australian tour."
Host [shrugs]: "Right, we don't need to know..."
Cate: "Wherever they are now, everyone should go see them."
Host [frowns, vein in temple twitches]: "Fine. Whatever. Now, would you like to select a category?"
Cate: "Movies for $200."
Host [catches his own reflection in a new part of the set, grins stupidly and starts daydreaming of white beaches and dark biceps, until a cameraman coughs and interrupts his reverie]: "Yes. Next. The true story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks, who were in and out of trouble with women, the law, local gangsters, and worst of all, their mothers, but went on to form one of the most iconic groups of the 1960s. A rollicking journey through music history with fantastic performances, and tunes you will be humming long after the credits finish rolling. You probably didn't even know what a fan you were, until you realised you knew the words to every song. Toe-tapping fun."
Cate: "What is Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons."
Host [surprised and flustered by mental images of the last time he met Pablo in a Four Seasons hotel, searches through question cards]: "Err..."
Cate [rolls eyes impatiently]: "What? It's Jersey Boys. Check your card, Einstein."
*director asks assistant if they have a four-second-delay button on standby*
Host [laughs dismissively]: "I already put the card aside, I thought the answer was supposed to be Grease. Hahaha..." [turns to floor manager and mouths "What is she doing?"]
Cate [snorts]: "Grease? Seriously? Are you shitting me?"
*director drops coffee and lunges for four-second-delay button*
Host [coughs and mutters something unintelligible, but sounds suspiciously like 'bucking fitch']: "Right. Correct...and..."
Cate [smirks]: "I think you confused it because it was a stage show too. [dripping with sarcasm] All those singing and dancing shows are the same, right?"
Cate [speaking slowly]: "The DVD would make a great gift for anyone who doesn't understand the difference. Like yourself."
Host [vein throbbing noticeably, sheen of sweat appearing on forehead] : "CATE.... [clears throat].... Cate, select a category. Now."
Cate [haughtily]: "There's no need to yell at me. [mutters "dickhead" quite audibly, forcing director to move permanently closer to the four-second-delay button] Movies for $400."
Host [hears sniggering, glances at floor crew, plasters fake smile on face while wondering if Cate is related to one of his ex-wives] : "Right. A thrilling spy story, set in Hamburg and based on the John Le Carre novel. This is not the stuff of James Bond - no explosions or crazy gadgets here - but a smart and subtle insight into the gathering of intelligence from suspected terrorists, and the battle amongst various agencies to control the outcomes. Captivating performances, particularly by Philip Seymour Hoffman."
Cate: "What is A Most Wanted Man."
Host [determined grimace]: "Correct. Select..."
Cate: "Such a wonderful talent lost to us."
Host [eyes widen, mouth drops open with exasperation]: "Sorry, what?"
Cate [sniffs]: "Philip Seymour Hoffman. His final movie. Tragic."
Host [confused look at floor manager, who is hiding behind the cameraman, both suppressing laughter]: "Uhhh... Isn't he making a living in Germany delivering messages in his Baywatch Speedos now or something?"
Cate [disgusted snarl]:"That's David Hasselhoff, you ignorant tosser."
*clattering sounds can be heard off set, as crew scramble to get advice from the legal department on the censorship of the word 'tosser'*
Host [turns red, takes deep breaths, glares at floor manager who is now doubled over with mirth]: "Cate, just select a goddamn bloody category."
*director wearily places forehead on four-second-delay button*
Cate [arches eyebrow]: "Clearly, you don't write the questions. It's a wonder you even have the ability to read them without having a stroke. If a thought ever crossed your mind it would be a long and lonely journey. [smiles sweetly] Movies for $600. [mutters "fucking arsehole"]
*director breaks four-second-delay button through repeated rapid pounding*
Host [turns away from camera and appears to take a sip from a flask concealed in his jacket, turns back with wet lips and drool on his chin]: "Ahh, hell. Umm...[burps] An action-packed futuristic thriller which makes us wonder what kind of world we would live in if we had the ability to use 100% of our brain's capabilities. From a young girl caught in a Taiwanese drug deal gone wrong, [tugs at shirt collar and looks nervously towards network lawyers who have now arrived on set] to a brains trust holed up in a French university where the girl becomes the focus of everyone's scientific attention, there is rarely a dull moment."
Cate: "What is..."
Host [wild-eyed, vein in temple threatening to explode, brow dripping sweat, punches fist in the air and yells]: "WAIT! HAHA! I know this one... It's the one starring Nelson Mandela and the blonde with nice tits..."
*director carefully pours his fresh coffee over the control board*
Cate [steps down from box and advances angrily towards Host]: "HEY, SHIT-FOR-BRAINS! I do the answers, you're supposed to let me say 'What is Lucy'..."
Host [desperately turns towards floor crew to find them all convulsing with laughter]: "Hey! Some help here? SOMEBODY STOP THE BLOODY COW BEFORE SHE..."
Cate [knocks the question cards from Host's hand and tugs the toupee from his head]: "The blonde's name is Scarlett Johansson and it's NOT Nelson Mandela, it's MORGAN FREEMAN, you COCKJUGGLING WANKBADGER..."
*director slowly stands up, puts on his coat, reaches into his pocket for his cigarettes and matches, sets fire to the booth, and heads straight to the unemployment office*
*office assistant bursts into studio yelling at Host that someone named Pablo is calling from a detention centre, crying and asking which of the fake passports he was supposed to use*
Cate [steps over Host, looks around forlornly as the still laughing crew all wander off]: "But... we haven't even done the book categories yet..."
I enjoyed my first attempt at #7vignettes in July so much, I knew I'd give it another go in August.
(For new readers, I watched, and enjoyed, the #7vignettes 'game' developed by Jen(@interiorsaddict) on Instagram for a while, before finally deciding to take the plunge last month. It runs for the first seven days of every month, and Jen forms a list of seven different themes, challenging all participants to create seven vignettes related to those themes, upload them to Instagram throughout the week, and join in the fun.)
Last month I focused on including lots of colour, vintage items, and bits of nature in every photo. I took a fresh photo every day over the course of the week and was happy with that process, but decided to get a bit more organised this time. I studied the list of prompts, gathered armfuls of props from around our home, and set about producing all seven photos in one morning. This meant I was able to be consistent with natural lighting, background, style, and themes. (I did have to redo one photo the next day as I wasn't happy with the original result when compared to the other six. I'm a fusspot.)
I stuck to my favoured vintage theme (smart move, as the day 4 prompt was in fact 'vintage') but decided to pare down the colours, and include things that meant something to me. Every photo ended up telling a story.
Day 1. North
My grandfather left Australia for the first time to travel north to a war from which most didn't return. Luckily, he did. He was a stretcher bearer who rescued and treated many soldiers while under fire, was wounded, and awarded the Military Medal.
Day 2. Collector
I am a collector of faces, and of the memorabilia treasured by those faces.
Day 3. Unique
A camera with no film, a pocket watch with no hands, and admission to a race meet held 97 years ago. All uniquely useless, but I love them.
Day 4. Vintage
With so many vintage goodies to choose from, I focused on the fact August 4 was my late mum's birthday, so it was apt to show some of her belongings; her 1948 street directory, childhood autograph book, marcasite watch and a letter from the Queen's secretary dated 1939.
Day 5. Nurture
My mother's childhood melds with mine.
Day 6. Craft
My grandmother kept sewing paraphernalia and buttons galore because they were useful. I keep them because they're beautiful and remind me of her.
Day 7. Organic
My mother-in-law worked at Faulding's in her youth - she was even their hand model at one point - and kept some of the bottles she acquired during those years. Lucky for me and my vintage collection.
I really enjoyed these prompts; they were fun, brought some of my belongings to life, and stirred some nice memories.
I recently got tagged on Facebook to take part in a brief positivity challenge. With all the sad, tragic news lately, it was refreshing at the end of each day, for five days, to reflect on three positive things to have come from that day.
However, I did find it hard not to strive for balance. I wanted to look for negative things too.
That sounds weird doesn't it...bear with me.
Life isn't all highs, nor all lows. Usually. You might get a run of really shitty things happening, or a streak of good luck and happy times....but you won't recognise the simplest of positives, like a clean toilet, if you've never had a negative, like the skid marks and vomit chunks from forty drunk teenagers.
So I'm going to even up the scales (I blame this on the fact I am Libran - which I do for every whim I cannot explain) and write a balanced summary of present day life.
Negative: My husband often works Mon - Fri in other cities, which means he flies out early on a Monday morning. His alarm goes off any time between 4am and 5am depending on flight times, and in recent months I have found it impossible to go back to sleep after I am woken by the hideous ::brrrrrr::brrrrr::brrrrr:: of his phone. It fucking shits me to tears.
Positive: On the upside, I have been experiencing the gentle sounds of nature at that hour, as the birds wake, the dog stirs, the cat bangs on the window wanting breakfast, and the Husband rolls his suitcase up the driveway...::thud::thud::thud:: ...
Ok, I think I need to try harder at this 'balanced' thing.
Negative: It was so cold this morning (yes, after being woken at 5am) that I really didn't want to get out of bed. That Fucking Cat had no consideration for the temperature, which was a whole one degree. And when I finally dragged myself out to feed the fat arsehole, for fear of him actually breaking through the window and my bedroom becoming an instant igloo, I rushed back to bed to find the dog had taken my spot.
Positive: The frost on the front lawn was beautiful.
Extra Positive: The payoff for a cold, frosty morning is a bright, sunny day. And a satisfied cat.
Negative: I woke up with a fat lip and the beginnings of a cold sore. This makes me wonder whose arse the Husband was kissing on his training course in another city last week.
Positive: My love for Nyal Cold Sore Cream (no fancy names, it just says what it is and it works) has been rekindled - lump holding steady at approximately 2mm, and the Husband has taken his virus (well, I'm blaming him) off to yet another city this week, away from me.
Negative: I'm still a bit of a tech noob. I don't know much, and get frustrated when things go wrong. I had an annoying couple of hours on Instagram on the weekend when something didn't work and I didn't know how to make it right. I blamed Instagram, my iPad, Kyle Sandilands, and the pro-Russian rebels, and seriously thought about starting drinking, all before midday.
Positive: I swallowed my pride and asked complete strangers what was going on. Turns out it was a technical fuckup by ME due to my use of a taboo hashtag (note to all: don't use #photography hashtag on Instagram pics, because DUH, IT'S INSTAGRAM, IT'S ALL PHOTOGRAPHY). Anyway, I discovered how helpful people are when you ask nicely (I didn't swear or blame terrorists) and more people were nice enough to come and 'like' my photo when I asked them to, because I didn't want to feel like a loser for the entire day.
(Shameless Plug: I am catep36 on Instagram, follow me and like all of my #7vignettes photos this week, because I'm needy. Seriously though, if you're into styling vignettes or just looking at nice stuff, it's worth checking out. There are some amazing pro stylists, decorators, artists and business people involved in the #7vignettes game each month. I'm a total rookie.)
Negative: Mum has been gone for just over a year.
Positive: It's her birthday today and I'm thinking CAKE.
It's all swings and roundabouts really, isn't it. Ups and downs. Good and bad.
And I'm not. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But while I do love, for the sake of my own wardrobe, that pretty much 'anything goes' these days, there is something to be said for the times when people dressed up to leave the house, no matter where they were going. Of course, if life was still like that, we wouldn't have sites like People Of Walmart....
And where would the interwebz be without such gems?
If my grandparents, and even parents, had Instagram back in their day, I'm sure the web would be a much classier place. Or would it?
Well, there'd be a lot of hats, for starters....
Unknown source. Somebody with a good eye though.
My grandparents. The couple who were hatted together, stayed together.
Grandparents again, shopping in the city. For frocks. And possibly for hats.
My aunties donned belts and hats for a hit of tennis. Not to keep the sun off, but for fashion. And not a Nike contract in sight.
Great Uncle Frank and Grandfather Bert getting into the party hat spirit. Clearly, Great Uncle Doone hadn't drunk enough of the spirits yet.
(Also, three piece suits were not just for weddings! Suave.)
Nanna, hatted, while Grandfather Bert looks embarrassed to be caught hatless. Nanna will make him pay for that later. At least he had his three piece suit on, surely that scored him points.
And of course, Mum wore the obligatory wedding hat. Or was it a shower cap...
And ties! All of the ties.
Pinstripe suits and ties, even a bow tie, at a party at a hall. (Alas, no hats)
The Downton Abbey staff, relaxing.....no, sorry, it's just a party in my parents' rumpus room.
The sartorial splendour of ties and cardigans, while posing awkwardly at the bar.
And if you didn't want to wear a hat...or a tie... but still want to make sure someone posts your photo on the internet more than fifty years later....
There is a Hairy Leg Movement taking over the interwebz. Really. There is a Hairy Legs Club which started on tumblr and a Very Hairy Legs blog, both of which are gaining followers from all over the world. Women everywhere are posting photos of their hirsute limbs in various poses in all their shaggy glory (as above). Some have never shaved or waxed in their whole lives, others are born-again Hairy Zealots. Some may be men taking the piss, we don't really know (other body parts tend not to be included in the pics, and there are some feet which are....well...anyway).
Commenters are also in their glory, as you can imagine. "Yuck", "unattractive" and "disgusting" seem to be the most common reactions, along with the thought-provoking "I feel sick" and the equally eloquent "ewwwwww".
My name is Cate, and I am a part-time member of the Hairy Leg Movement. I have a partially hairy leg in each camp, if you will.
I admit in winter the Department of Forestries comes a callin' to register me. I let what arises from my hair follicles do what comes naturally. That is, grow.
Yes, boys and girls, it's NATURAL. Who'da thunk girls have hair too??
I do this for a few reasons...
1. I'm lazy.
2. My legs are covered all winter and nobody can see them. I don't do skirts. Or swimming or gym (see number 1)
3. The extra layer of warmth when combined with thick socks and boots is pleasant on chilly days.
4. I have a beagle which sheds hair 24/7 all year round and I spend more than enough time scooping up balls of her hair.
5. I'm lazy.
However, as soon as the first sign of spring comes and the possibility of donning my Middle Aged Elastic Waisted Stretchy So I Can Eat Cake Three Quarter Cropped Jeans is on the horizon, out comes the Whipper Snipper Weed Trimmer and those little suckers get obliterated. I have been known, when in a hurry or feeling extra lazy, to only shave the portion of leg which I estimate will be on show. I have also been known to dreadfully underestimate this, then spend the whole day in public avoiding making any movements which would reveal my laziness, and hairiness, to the world. No, I'm fine, I don't need to sit down, I enjoy standing still....in the corner...behind this pot plant...
To be honest, I guess this doesn't really qualify me to be a card-carrying member of the Movement. I'm just not a committed Hair Activist. I love the feeling in warmer weather when I slide my smooth, hairless legs into my bed made with fresh, clean sheets. I feel cooler. I'm only a Wookiee when it suits me, and the rest of the time I'm Princess Leia (I WISH!). I admit I'm vain enough to find a dense thicket on my own legs unattractive. On me. But I truly don't care what others do and I will never comment with a "yuck". Each to their own.
In the interest of at least sympathising with the Hairy Sisterhood, I probably should have included a photo of my own legs in their current natural state, but I haven't had time to braid them.
Vain and lazy, told you.
So, what camp are you in?
Hairy Leg Movement, Smooth & Silky, or a Seasonal Swinger like me?
I am the softie who lets the dog sleep on the Husband's pillow when he's not here. I am the quick thinking lady who helps a young boy step onto an escalator when his mother is already halfway down and he is stranded at the top. I am the engaging nutcase who can have a long conversation with a stranger. I am the introvert who won't answer the phone. I am the party girl who sings and dances like nobody is watching, when everyone is watching. I am the anxious recluse who wants to stay home all week and read books. I am the impatient reader who will toss aside any book which displeases me. I am the word nerd who loves to say 'displeases'. I am the OCD dabbler who wants to count everything. Twice. I am the vague git who doesn't know how many days are in each month.
I am the mother who lets her adult kids sleep until mid afternoon when they're on holidays because she likes quiet mornings to herself. I am the hypocrite who then complains that her kids are lazy and she can't vacuum whenever she wants because they're always sleeping. I am the lazy domestic goddess who bought a Roomba. I am the hormonal wreck who cries at the drop of a tissue. I am the stoic cynic who rolls her eyes and takes everything with a pinch of salt. I am the shopper who buys unsalted butter. I am the loud one the neighbours hear above all the other voices and music at 1am. I am the wife who teases the Husband mercilessly for a whole day about his choice of footwear. I am the child who still laughs at funny real names, like Jack Sock, Fanny Chmela, and Rusty Kuntz.
I am the dag who loves trackie daks. I am the shopaholic who has a different scarf, necklace and pair of shoes for almost every occasion. I am the Twitter smartarse who starts a war with quinoa loving hipsters. I am the night owl who loves watching Wimbledon. I am the overtired idiot who falls asleep during the men's final. I am the glutton for punishment who will do it all again throughout the Tour De France. I am the stubborn grudge holder who would, for some strange reason, still have a drink with Lance Armstrong. I am the snaphappy photographer who has far too many accidental shots of her feet. I am the spontaneous woman who loves spur of the moment decisions. I am the organised planner who needs to organise and plan. I am the housewife who can use any power tool in the shed but fails at ironing. I am the potty mouth who swears too much, but does so with fucking excellent grammar and punctuation.
I am the perimenopausal sweatbox who finds every place she goes far too hot. I am the first one to light the fire on cold days. I am the annoying nag with the vivid memory who will tell you all exactly what you said during that heated discussion four years ago. I am the ditsy friend who can't remember where you all work or what cars you drive or how you drink your coffee. I am the odd one out who doesn't work, drive or drink coffee. I am the reluctant traveller who has successfully avoided flying for twenty years. I dream I can fly. I also dream in colour, with action and movement. I am the vivid dreamer who, when getting attacked with missiles from an unknown enemy, dives behind an armchair, because we all know that a beautifully upholstered wingback will save the day.
I am the optimist who knows life right now is so bloody good and will probably get even better. I am the pessimist who keeps the optimist in check. I am the sarcastic clown who uses humour as a defence mechanism. I am the pragmatist who hates hiding behind the words 'defence mechanism'. To be honest, I just love making others laugh. I am the realist who is fully aware of her contradictions. I am the expert at finding the funny side in everything, even if inappropriate. Especially if inappropriate. I am the naive girl who still tries to get her hair to do things it doesn't want to, like, straighten. I am the adult who doesn't always feel very grown up. I am the lover who wears her heart on her sleeve. I am the woman who embraces all the weird and wonderful things she is.....mostly.
I am the daughter who lost her mum one year ago today.