Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 - wha' happened?

I can't help it. As much as I'm a bit of a New Year's Eve scrooge (seriously, the amount of pressure people put on this one night out of 365 is insane) I can't help but do the same reflecting-on-the-year-gone-by thing that most of you are probably doing as well. If you had asked me a week or two ago how I felt about 2012 I probably would have responded "Whatever. I was sick. I sat around a lot. I didn't really do much at all." The more I think about it however, the more aware I've become that that's just plain wrong. Sure, I didn't run any marathons, climb any mountains or finally embark upon that post-grad degree I've been talking about for oh, about 5 years now. But I did a buttload of other things, and all in all, 2012 was kind of cool, in it's own little way. (Is buttload one word or two? Oh, the things that occupy my mind sometimes).

I went to concerts

After declaring 2012 to be a non-gig-going year in the interest of saving dollars and energy, a whole heap of my favourite artists decided to visit our sunny shores. The temptation was way too much. I couldn't resist. Highlights were: Radiohead, Evan Dando and Juliana Hatifield, and The Beach Boys. And Priiince. Good lord Prince. How awesome you are.


I got technological.

I'm not a computery-gadgety kind of person, but I can feel that slowly changing. I love my Mac airbook, my iPad and my Kindle. The Kindle in particular...the idea of being able to go on holidays without limiting myself to only two or three books is amazing. Like, remember how we used to have discmans and we'd carry around those CD wallets that only held a limited number of CDs? And now your chosen MP3 player lets you have everything you could possibly want to listen to? That changed my life and certainly helped me pass my music degree. I'm feeling the same amount of life-changeyness about my Kindle. I've already been reading far more than I had been for that last few years.

I turned 30

I left my twenties behind this year with hardly a second glance. I studied hard, worked hard, travelled a bit and learned a lot. Broke my heart, once or twice. Moved out of home and moved back again (lather, rinse, repeat). Bought my own apartment. Everything that's supposed to happen in your twenties pretty much happened. Am I glad it all happened? Yes. Would I go back? Not a chance, my friends, not a chance. 

Photo courtesy of @sootsmagoots 

I went with my gut and made my own decisions

I spend a lot of time being bored in doctor/naturopath/random-medical-professional's waiting rooms this year, and was told a whole lot of conflicting information about what the best things are to do, so that I can be healthy and have energy. I learned that some medical professional's are genuine and caring and honest, and some have an agenda of their own to push on their patients. Not particularly nice, but true. So I decided to give the waiting rooms a miss for a while, and have been feeling pretty good about that decision.

I started a blog with my sister

Doing stuff with G is always fun. I do still feel like we're finding our feet in regards to what this blog is all about, but I've certainly had a whole lot of fun on the journey so far.

I went places

Not too many, and not for too long, but I enjoyed it all the same. In March I spent an extremely agreeable week on the south coast with some of my favourite lady friends. True friendship is letting each other read all day in our pyjamas and no one judging anyone if they decide to have Twisties for dinner. More than once. I spent an all-too-brief weekend visiting family in Brisbane. The older I get, the more I realise how awesome it is to have friends and  family that care so much about one another. We are lucky.

I learned that it's good to have some expectations of myself and others

I think learning how to navigate our relationships - with ourselves, friends, partners, family, colleagues - is a lesson that we continue learning all our lives. It's like learning to play an instrument. You never stop improving, and wanting to be better. It's a good thing, but can also be incredibly frustrating at the same time. When do we ever just get to sit back and be good at it, you know? What we find annoying or frustrating or unlikeable in others is often just a mirror, reflecting the expectations we have of ourselves back at us. A lot of the time, but not all the time. It's okay to say no, and to expect something better. You'll know when that time is, trust me. 

I cut my hair, I ate less sugar, I played guitar and spent time writing writing writing. I read blogs and figured out what I like and what I don't like. I read book reviews and then wrote down the names of the books and read them too. I babysat some of my favourite small people - such an easy thing to do - to help out some of my favourite big people. Now I'm thinking about what I  hope 2013 holds. I'm not one for hard and fast resolutions, but it's nice to make some kind of plan and set the tone, you know?

Happy New Year. I hope you are doing exactly what you want tonight, be it chugging champagne with 200 of your nearest and dearest, or watching the fireworks in the comfort of your living room.


Sunday, 30 December 2012

5 Things I Loved: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I had an idea for a new kind of post yesterday, for those short and sharp things we want to share without writing a full review. It might not be the most creative or snazzy title, but I'm going with "5 Things I Loved" posts for now.

I had the idea yesterday because that was when I went to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower at the movies, and I'm 99% sure that this was my favourite film of 2012. Here are the reasons why:

1. Just the right amount of faithfulness to the book.

Perks is directed by Stephen Chbosky, who happens to be the author of the novel and who also wrote the screenplay. This kind of thing doesn't happen often enough in Hollywood cinematizations (not a word, but I'm going with it) in my opinion. I can't really explain it as well as I'd like to, but the film remained absolutely faithful to the book, while acknowledging that a film is a film, and a book is a book. Different ways of telling a story use different techniques to tell it. That's okay.

2. Spot on casting.

I can't remember the last time I saw a movie that was as well cast as this one. Not once did I think that Hermione Granger had been transported from Hogwarts to early 90s America. Emma Watson was amazing as Sam. Logan Lerman, who plays main character Charlie, made my heart physically hurt. Ezra Miller was an absolute delight as Patrick, the friend who sees everything about everyone, and loves them more for it rather than less. All the actors were all so honest and true, I couldn't fault them.

Image courtesy of
3. Very big actors took very small parts.

I always think that you can tell when a movie is going to be good when there are amazing actors in very small parts. Paul Rudd plays the English teacher, and Joan Cusack has a tiny role but still manages to bring her wonderful heart and distinctive voice (literally and figuratively) to it. I like to imagine they had heated conversations with their agents about taking these roles in which the actors said things like "I don't care! I'll do it for free! JUST GET ME IN THE DAMN MOVIE."

Sidenote: when is John Cusack going to do something good again? I feel like it's time that happened.

4. It is set in a specific time period, without being gimmicky.

The story takes place in Pittsburgh in the early 90s, but that wasn't a thing in the movie, you know? It wasn't like being hit over the head with a baseball bat while someone yells at you "WE'RE IN THE NINETIES. CAN'T YOU TELL? LOOK AT ALL THE FLANNEL AND HALF-HEARTED HAIR!!"

5. Charlie's family

All families have their own levels of dysfunction. It's just a fact of life. And while some very good books and excellent films have been made about this very issue, it doesn't have to be a theme in storytelling all the time, you know? Plenty of families still love each other, and care for and support one another, which is what happened in Perks. I particularly liked the way Charlie's siblings cared so much about him, and he for them. Special mention goes to the actress playing Charlie's sister, Nina Dobrev, who works her butt off on The Vampire Diaries and is a much better actress than I have a feeling people give her credit for. (Also, I almost just wrote The Campire Diaries - unintentional Freudian pun slip!)

Now, I don't often get gushy about stuff, so I think I'll stop now before I grow a new personality. But just go see it okay? And remember, it doesn't matter if you see the movie first and read the book second. Seriously. So read it too, okay?


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Getting in touch with our '90s.

This week Caroline and I are gearing up for a '90s flashback. With tickets to see Juliana Hatfield and Evan Dando, my memories of gigs-gone-by and in-store appearances are flooding back. They were two of my favourite acts in my defining years. Not the only defining acts but my Juliana cassettes were on very high rotation in my Walkman in my final years of high school.

Here are a couple of shots of Evan Dando taken by my friends and I at an 'in-store' (from 1992 or 1993 maybe?) alongside a Juliana Hatfield magazine clipping in my old clippings folder. I have  a vague memory that she wrote about this photo in her book When I Grow up: A Memoir. And I have a vague memory that Evan was a bit 'floaty' at the autograph table.

I know I saw The Lemonheads play at least once in my youth. There was definitely one gig at Sydney Uni with Tumbleweed as support. We spotted a very young Ben Lee wandering around... and when I say 'very young' he was only a few years younger than me but I was pretty young.

Here is an old Lemonheads favourite of mine, 'Rockin' Stroll'. I believe the clip was filmed along Glebe Point Road and that the child in the pram belongs to one of the girls from The Hummingbirds (another of my favourite bands from the time).

I have only seen Juliana play once so far but my memory of that gig is a bit clearer. I think it was 1996 and it was at the Wollongong Uni Bar. It may have been the student end-of-year party. I went along with my brother that time and it was a great show for sure. This time I will be seeing her with my sister... so of course, here is her song 'My Sister'.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Sunday Somethings.

1. Summertime.


2. Too-late musical discoveries.

Sometimes you discover a band and it's too late. It's their last album. You spend some time catching up on their back catalogue and then you want more... but they are gone. They were already gone when you came across their music. There are some bands you just wish would reform, for one more album, or for one more tour. The Sundays came into my life around 2000 or 2001 and I would love more.

And how about those '90s fashions? Black bodysuit with Levi 501s - cuffed of course, wide black belt with large buckle, and you can probably assume there are some Doc Martens in there somewhere too.

2. The Parker - Palm Springs.

I wish they made hotels that look like this in Australia! If you like mid-century style and breeze-blocks then you might enjoy the pictures of this stylish looking place.

3. Bad Garage Sale Signs. 

What ever happened to the art of good garage sale signs? Doesn't anyone own a thick black texta or some black paint anymore?

"Oh, I know what will get noticed by passing cars - pink highlighter texta on an A4-sized piece of paper."

Wrong! Try again!

"Oh, well, what about if I stick it to a tree some distance from the road and the footpath? I'll put it behind this one that only has tape at the bottom now so you can't read it anymore because it has fallen over on itself. Will that be OK? People stop their cars to get out and read small signs don't they?"

Examples of poorly placed garage sale signs. (The one written with pink highlighter was gone when I went to take a photo of it unfortunately but I'm sure you can imagine it.)

4. Computer Game Glitches.

I think I love a computer game graphics glitch almost as much as I love watching shows about hoarders. Here are a few that made me chuckle as I've gamed over the last couple of years.

Skyrim glitch - "Oh, don't mind me - my legs are now encased in stone but I still like a chat."

The Sims - what happened to that cat!? My video card just isn't up to scratch when it comes to the Pets expansion pack.

The Sims - alien baby.

The Sims - I can't quite get the hang of this guitar.