Sep 26, 2012

Cancel The Crisis, You Might Not Be Middle-Aged Yet

When I turned 45 I felt I had reached middle age. I thought that was reasonable enough. 90 sounded like a nice, even number to aim for (and not unattainable, as my two Grandmothers lived to the ripe old ages of 96 and 97, and my parents are now 90 and 86, and still alive), making the year between 45 and 46 my mid-life 'hump', so to speak. Clearly, 45 felt like the time to have a cracker of a mid-life crisis, no excuses required, before I embarked on the downward slide towards Bingo halls, sing-songs around the pianola, and bulk-buying incontinence pads.

Apparently I was being optimistic, as previous studies have ascertained middle age starts around 36... but I may have been pessimistic, as a new survey suggests middle age begins at 55.

[Study = twenty people paid to be locked in a room with free drinks and lollies until they complete an obscure questionnaire]
[Survey = some unemployed student picking up extra cash by roaming the streets with a clipboard harassing people until it's time for band practice]

So now I'm confused. Was I late with my mid-life crisis and should I have had it while still in my thirties, perhaps some time between doing the school drop-off with unwashed hair and holey tshirt, and getting tipsy on cheap wine at the end-of-year twilight dance concert?

Or am I still seven or eight years off my true mid-life crisis (my previous one at 45 just being a practice run), giving me plenty of time to prepare and plan, and perhaps engage a lawyer?

I choose the latter.

And I can, because being 'middle-aged' is a state of mind, a choice. I choose to be an immature idiot for at least another seven years.

I will continue to laugh at fart jokes. 

I will continue to pull faces at my kids across a crowded room when having boring conversations with relatives.

I will never stop laughing at funny names, like footballer Steele Sidebottom, who is dating someone with the surname Longstaff.

I will keep throwing the odd, fucking unnecessary swear word into my sentences.

I will keep throwing totally necessary and perfectly timed swear words into my rants.

I will continue to refuse to go on holiday cruises with my 50-something-year-old friends; they can have their mid-life crises at the all-you-can-eat buffet and Captain's Talent Night without me (though I am open to more opulent 5-star silver service cruises if you're paying;call me).

I will continue to laugh at dick jokes.

I will keep painting my nails emo black. Or fire engine red. Or hot pink.

I will continue to dance and sing like a drunk moron in high heels at various functions, even if I know I will cry and limp for the next three days, maybe even three weeks.

I will continue to dance around the family room while Linkin Park or Birds of Tokyo or Jet or Pink or Good Charlotte or Simple Minds or The Cure or Radiohead or INXS or Muse or Eminem or Temper Trap, etc etc rattle the shit out of the windows and scare the dog.

I will continue to laugh at double entendres, especially if I am making them, less so if it's the Husband.

I will keep making snarky comments as the need arises, and I will do so loudly.

I will continue to be the only family member still buying rude, sarcastic, dirty, inappropriate, or just plain hilarious birthday cards for everybody, even my aforementioned 90 year old Dad.

I will keep watching reruns of Friends, believing my inner circle are still like that, and refusing to acknowledge that we probably never were.

I will continue to use words like Yo, Sup, Totes, LOL, Shiz, Noob and Amazeballs, especially around my kids so they think I'm groovy.

I will continue to slip up with words like Groovy.

I will keep saying Kids, even when they are adults.

I will keep looking wistfully at shoes with heels that are too high, dresses that are sizes too small, jeans that are too tight, jewellery that is too loud, and sparkly sequinned things I will never wear.

I will continue to refuse to get my hair cut in an I'm-ageing-and-this-is-more-manageable style.

I will continue to contemplate the possibility of tattoos and more piercings, whether I follow through with them or not; it's the possibility that is important.

I will continue to believe that when I climb into bed at night, my boobs have not sagged beyond the point of recognition, but are just exercising their free will to roam around and explore other places... like my armpits.

I am worried though. If middle-aged is 55, will I live until I'm 110?

And where the hell will my boobs be hanging by then?

Are you middle-aged? 
Have you had a mid-life crisis or would you like to join me in my second one in 2019?

Sep 24, 2012

My Favourites of the Week

Favourite shot of my garden

Favourite saying

Favourite album cover
Favourite vintage B&W photo...possibly related to
the woman on the album cover

Favourite tshirt purchase

Favourite blog post

Favourite drink

Favourite truth

Sep 19, 2012

50 Shades Dumber

For continuity purposes, I will assume you have read my review of the first book in E L James' trilogy, 50 Shades of Grey, here at  50 Shades of Unmitigated Crap.

I procrastinated over starting the second book, 50 Shades Darker, as I wasn't sure my brain was ready to ingest more bile so soon after the first crapfest. I had hoped for improvement. Several people had told me the second and third books were better. What I'd like to know is, better than what? Crap? I guess a small pile of crap is better than a big pile of crap, but let's be honest, crap is crap, and if you step in it, it doesn't matter how big the pile is. Crap stinks.

I took an extraordinarily long time to read the second novel, as I had to put the book down and walk away in search of soothing, high-percentage alcohol every time the Thesaurus-less author, via our moronic leading lady Anastasia Steele, uttered the words "Oh, my". I drank a LOT last week. In hindsight, I should have stuck at it and got it over with quickly instead of prolonging the agony. It would have been kinder to both my brain cells and liver.

I also decided to make notes while reading, and started jotting down the page numbers I wanted to make comments on.
I wrote this:
I have made it as far as page 7 and I am already nauseated. I now feel like this fucking awful author is not only promoting incredibly shithouse writing among many other things, but also eating disorders. 
Ana: "By lunchtime on Wednesday, I manage a cup of yogurt, and it's the first thing I've eaten since Friday. I am surviving on a newfound tolerance for lattes and Diet Coke."
This is our HEROINE for fuck's sake?

Food, and the amount she does or doesn't eat, is constantly mentioned in great detail, her clothes are loose on her, there is a mention of dark circles under the eyes and shock when people see her state, and yet Ana says "I like being this thin". I'm not even going to delve further into this, you can all understand the wrongness for yourselves.

On page 15 I almost cried. We have the first reference of "I'm drawn, Icarus to his sun", the half-smile, the electricity between them when enclosed in an elevator, Ana gasping "Oh, my", Ana biting her lip and Christian telling her off, and ARRRRGGGHHH, the "inner goddess stirs from her five day sulk".




And breathe. Sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself.

I had to stop this jotting process when I realised I was writing down almost every page number, and this blog post would end up as long as the book. Which, I might add here, is overly long. I could easily edit several thousand words purely by eliminating Ana describing Christian's looks, including his "just-fucked hair, grey eyes, open shirt, jeans sitting on his hips, enigmatic half-smile,and hmmm, he smells so good", etc etc etc, EVERY TIME SHE LOOKS AT HIM.
 Wonder Woman tied herself in chains in
 anticipation, but even she got bored.



Put another record on, lady, this one is worn out.

There was an attempt to amp up some of the sex scenes, but that didn't work either. They were still repetitive, laborious, awkward, corny and non-sexy, and I found myself skim-reading quite a lot of the book. It was so same-old, same-old. Ana still has an orgasm every time Christian tells her to. "Come on baby, I need this, give it to me". I'd give it to him alright... a full-blooded swing right on his nuts with a golf club, preferably a large-headed driver for optimized ball flight.

The stalking themes continue and even escalate, with Christian buying the company Ana works at (she's been there a whole week) so he can control her life in every way. This man has no sense of boundaries; his one redeeming feature is that he makes her eat. Ana lets him tell her what to do, gives over her life and her body to him; he controls who she sees and what she does, what she drives and what she wears (and freaks out when she dares to leave the apartment to dash to a supermarket, wearing a short dress), and yet when he suggests she move in with him, she exclaims "Does he want me to move in? Holy Moses... I barely know the man".
But she agrees to marry him about a week later.

Every single female character, apart from the two lesbians and family, ogles Christian, blushes, appears to be stupidly shallow and rendered either incoherent or dumbstruck when confronted with his beauty, and some of them spend a great deal of time scowling at Ana with jealous pique. This tragically damaged psycho is clearly God's gift to women (it says so on page 207).

Although I did at one point doubt his sexuality and wrote this:
Would a 28yo straight guy wear a cream cable-knit sweater 'draped artfully over his shoulders'...seriously? This author is a moron. 

To even things up, every single male character, again apart from family, apparently wants to get into Ana's panties (apologies for that appalling word but it is a favourite of the author's). I clearly have no idea why, as I wrote in another note:
Ana Steele must be the most pathetic female character in literature. She makes Bella Swan look like a kick-ass motherfucker. 

Perhaps Ana wears this perfume... yes,
it's a real thing.
Maybe the attraction is that Ana's self-esteem is non-existent. She admits Christian is controlling and obsessive and even tells him "You intimidate me", and in the next paragraph says "I love you, Christian Grey... I'm the one who is undeserving..."
Do I need to yell WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK again?

The contrived nature of the other relationships in the book - Ana's best friend and roomie Kate is dating Christian's brother Elliot, and Christian and Elliot's little sister Mia wants to date Kate's brother Ethan - is all a little insular, boring and in my opinion, just another confirmation of really lazy, unimaginative and untalented writing.

And Christian's shrink, who knows all his sordid secrets, attends not only a masked charity ball in the family home, but also Christian's smaller, more private birthday party.... really? Crossing the ethical line much? Ridiculous, or a case of 'only in America'?

There was an attempt to introduce some plotlines with dramatic turns, all of which fell very flat, including an ex-submissive of Christian's who goes postal, wandering the city with a gun. I found myself fervently hoping she would shoot them all.
Another ex, the older woman who introduced Christian to the BDSM world when he was 15 and is therefore strictly a paedophile, seems to have different personalities in different parts of this book. She ranges from warm and supportive, to interfering, to being a thoroughly spiteful cow towards the end. I think the author ran out of climactic (if you'll pardon the pun) ideas as she was going along and adjusted Mrs Robinson's personality accordingly.
And of course, any sleazy publisher who gets fired by his boss (Christian) for sexually harassing his assistant (Ana) immediately goes out and sabotages the boss' helicopter for revenge. Of course the average publishing-type bloke has the opportunity and know-how, not to mention the murderous urge, to do that. Don't we all?

*runs off to cut the brake lines in the car belonging to that woman who gave me a dirty look last week*

Sorry E L James, but I've read real dramas and real thrillers by real authors. Just don't, okay?

The last few chapters would have to be the worst I've read in my life. Sigh. I could go on. And on. But I have yet another awful novel to read, 50 Shades Freed. I have to finish this quest.

In the meantime...

Sep 17, 2012

Stone The Bloody Crows

Stone the crows: An old English expression, even perhaps dating back to anglo-saxon times. Used commonly in situations where an inconvenience or annoyance has occurred to one's self or others. 'Bloody' can be inserted into the phrase to further emphasise the inconvenience/annoyance/pain.

I posted about this on Facebook yesterday, and it is still annoying me. It appeared in our Sunday paper, in the 'Style Police' section, trash I don't usually look at but for some inexplicable reason, I did.

Is it just me getting old and oversensitive, or does anyone else find the comments under Sharon Stone's fashion pic EXTREMELY condescending??

"Forever famous for a bit of leg crossing - and uncrossing - the beautiful actress can still pull off a bit of glitzy glam at the grand age of 54. Beaded and lace gown is pure gold, enhancing the blonde bombshell reputation."

Why mention the Basic Instinct scene?

Why use the word 'still'?

Why mention her age, let alone 'GRAND' age? I think 94 is grand, maybe even 84, but 54???

Why allude to any kind of 'reputation'?

I don't know who writes the captions... male, female, or something in between... but they need to have a rethink.

To the left, just out of shot, was a pic of Kate Hudson with comments on her fashion style. No mention of age, or of any of the shit movies she's been in. Oh, possibly because she's only 33 and not 'grand' yet. Give her 20 years.

Why can't Sharon Stone's fashion style just be complimented without the backhanders??

Sep 15, 2012

The Photo a Day September Challenge - Part One



DAY 3: FAR AWAY... but on their way home. RIP.

DAY 4: IN MY MAILBOX... I was apprehensive about this, as it's usually just bills or spiders, but there was nothing but a black hole.

DAY 5: BRIGHT... my grandmother's brooch.

DAY 6: EVERY DAY... Bella the beagle sees the Daughter off to school every day. She escorts Daughter to the front door, watches her go down the path, out the gate, and disappear up the street. It's one of the sweet things she does in between destroying my shoes.

DAY 7: NATURAL... I took a while to decide whether to post a pic of my natural colour, natural curl bedhair or my boobs. Sorry guys, but I think the ladies will be relieved I went for the bedhair. Well, most of them...


DAY 9: SOMETHING YOU DO MOST WEEKENDS... not all at once, mind you.

DAY 10: BLACK & WHITE... we don't scrub up too bad, considering it was the 80s... despite the mullet... and the puffed sleeves...

DAY 11: HERO... I don't do the personal 'hero' thing, never have, but I acknowledge there are thousands of people out there who do heroic things every day. Since I can't photograph them all, you get this lady, who I'm sure was a hero at this party....

DAY 12: TOGETHER...  Today is my dad's 90th birthday. He and mum have been together almost 70 years. Please ignore the blinding light which appears to be emanating from my mother's... flowers.

DAY 13: TABLE... this table is where I do some of my best thinking. And drinking.

DAY 14: FAVOURITE... and it's a triple word score.

DAY 15: FIRST THING YOU SEE... and smell. (Funny footnote: I had the family in stitches the night before when I announced "I have the camera next to the bed, ready for the morning", without actually explaining why. Husband thought I was going to make a certain type of home movie... he looked scared, Daughter looked horrified)

Sep 5, 2012

To Believe Or Not To Believe, That Is The Question

Many years ago I picked up two Penguin Shakespeares, Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet, at a secondhand book sale. I think I paid 50 cents for each of them. They are very old (both editions published in 1937), not in very good condition, and I have no idea why I bought them. Possibly to raise the 'perceived intelligence level' of my bookshelves, as I think at that time they would have been full of books like How To Create a Cottage Garden, Max Walker's Best Cricket Jokes, and Dried Flower Arranging For The Stay-At-Home Mum Who Needs To Do Something Creative That Doesn't Involve Finger Paints Or Crayons.

I admit I gave fiction a wide berth for a few years there. I blame sleep deprivation and the resultant lack of concentration; it was easier to read one chapter on spring bulbs and two jokes involving a play on the word 'balls', then start violently sticking dried lavender heads into foam shapes, than it was to focus sustained daily attention on any epic saga involving family feuds, star-crossed lovers, or incestuous royal families.

I think the book sale did the trick though. Armed with a pram full of books - there was a small child somewhere in there too, possibly wedged between stacks of Jeffrey Archer, Wilbur Smith and John le Carré hardcovers - I went back to my first love, fiction.

And when I finally flicked open the two little Penguins (I admit they were not high on my reading list; I did Macbeth at school, that was enough) I discovered a lovely surprise.

I particularly love the full title of Romeo and Juliet

Both books bear the name C.M.Thiele, Adelaide University.

Perhaps this won't mean much to a lot of people, but Colin Milton Thiele (1920-2006) was an Australian author renowned for his award-winning children's fiction. I grew up reading his books, and watching the movies they were turned into. Storm Boy (book 1964, movie 1976), Blue Fin (book 1969, movie 1978), Sun On The Stubble (book 1961, TV miniseries 1996)... all told, more than 100 books in assorted genres, including collaborations and secondary school educational tools.

Colin Thiele with Jamie Croft, who starred in the
Sun On The Stubble miniseries

I already knew Colin Thiele was South Australian and had been a teacher here, and quickly confirmed he had studied at Adelaide University, graduating in 1941. So the timing is right.
I believe they were his. Surely there weren't too many C.M.Thieles.
I believe the young Colin held my two little Penguin Shakespeares in his hand during English Literature lectures, while contemplating his future...

... to teach or not to teach...

... to write or not to write...

... to draw glasses and wrinkles on Shakespeare's face or not...

... that is the question.


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