Thursday, 28 February 2013

Five things Emma loves: Gettin' Enthusiastic

Today we have our very first guest post here on Four Letter Birds. Please give a warm round of applause to Emma, as she shares with us her thoughts on enthusiasm. Enthusiastically. Because that's how she rolls.

How do you do, Four Letter Bird readers? I am most pleased to be the first guest blogger on this lovely blog! One of my favourite things about FLB (ACRONYMISATION) is that a lot of it is about liking stuff without worrying about liking the ‘right’ stuff or liking stuff in the ‘right’ way. As I get older, I find that nothing is more wearying to be around than too-cool-for-schoolness. I want to be around people who are enthusiastic! Exclamation mark! The general positive vibe of FLB is something that brings me back to it again and again, and the “Five Things I Loved” feature is a perfect example.
So in light of that, here is my guest twist on “Five Things I Loved”, with five examples of enthusiasm making life better.
1. Our friend (let’s call him... Shmobertson) at Weezer.
Weezer toured Australia for the first time in sixteen years recently, playing a ‘Best of...’ selection and then The Blue Album in full. I’m a big Weezer fan, but I have many friends who are far bigger fans than me; none more ardent than Shmobertson. Weezer is his favourite band and he had never seen them play live before. We were all excited at their show at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, but he was just RADIATING joy and it was fantastic to be around.
Also one time he had Iced Magic for the first time without realising it’s supposed to go hard and crispy (he’s Canadian... wait, I mean... Schmanadian) and his reaction to that was also awesome.

2. Effortful Halloween parties.
I’ve. only been to a couple of proper, all-out, spookily-decorated, elaborate-costumes-encouraged Halloween parties, but they were so awesome. The most recent one in October last year was especially enthusiastic – there was a SMOKE MACHINE. YES. ONE OF THOSE MACHINES THAT PRODUCES SMOKE. There is nothing worse than going to a Halloween or costume party where no one has made an effort , whether out of laziness or concerns about looking silly. This party was great because almost everyone just threw themselves into it with gusto. It was like being in a Halloween episode of Roseanne.
I dressed as a vending machine. The plus: snacks at the ready. The minus: did not fully consider the implications of the fairly low-slung placement of the retrieval section: looooooots of ‘box’ and ‘flap’ jokes.
3. Dancing at weddings.
With the occasional break to track down any cake that has been left foolishly unattended, I usually try to spend the majority of a wedding reception on the dance floor. Just a bunch of slightly tipsy, happy people tearing it up like dorks to songs that errybody knows all the words to. Most recently, my cousin got married at a beach resort on Rarotonga in the Cook Islands (I know, whatever, no big deal, right?) and the dance floor was sand. Sand!  So forgiving of experimental and risky dance moves!
My favourite dance move I learned that night was moving my arms like a ticking clock then miming an explosion (ahem.. essplosion) for the “Tick Tick Tick Tick BOOM” part of Boom Boom Shake the Room.
4. The Nerdist podcasts.
A friend recommended Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist podcasts to me a few months back and after downloading a couple from iTunes I was instantly addicted. Hardwick (and occasionally his various Nerdist colleagues) has these rambling, super interesting conversations with some of his favourite people: Tina Fey, Bryan Cranston, Nathan Fillion and heaps more. Think of all the people you love in film, comedy, music and television – Hardwick will likely have interviewed a huge chunk of your list.
I think my favourite so far is the Tom Hanks one. Firstly, because it made me realise Tom Hanks is so much more awesome than I had previously appreciated. He came across as a completely wonderful guy. And secondly, because of the story of how the interview came about (Letters of Note is an amazing blog, BTdubs).
5. Paddle Pop afternoons at work.
One time months and months ago it was a slow afternoon at work, and my manager at the time and I were talking about how much we wanted a Paddle Pop. So my manager went and bought a couple of boxes for the team. This has now become a fairly regular thing that encompasses all four teams in the area I work in, with Mini Calippos and other awesome frozen treats thrown in as well.
Since that glorious first event, it does not matter how many times I am offered a Paddle Pop on an afternoon between the horrendous zone between approximately 2.30pm and 4pm when it actually genuinely truly FOR REALSIE feels like the day is never going to end and my life for eternity is going to be me at my desk with only Eclipse mints to eat and the same Excel error recurring for the reeeeeeeeest of my whole liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife – every single time it feels like it’s the first Paddle Pop anyone has ever offered me.

Thanks Emma! Come on back anytime...

Thursday, 21 February 2013

5 Things I Loved: Father John Misty

I've blogged about Father John Misty before, and on Tuesday night I was lucky enough to catch his/their show at The Metro theatre in Sydney. Now, when I go out on a school night I expect my efforts and lack of sleep to be rewarded appropriately. Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed! Let's get started kids.

1. Everyone loves a frontman

When I watched a few live videos of Joshua Tillman on the YouTubes I found that he came across as more of an oddball than a classic frontman. Boy, was I wrong. Or maybe he's special brand of charisma just doesn't translate over the internet. The man was dropping charm bombs left, right and centre. Chimney sweep jokes, just the right amount of amusing self deprecation about his amazing dance moves and also - what is pretty much my favourite thing in any person ever - he cracked up at his own jokes more than anyone else did. I know that may sound like a weird quality to appreciate in a person, but I just love it when someone gets that glint in their eye and starts laughing before they even get the words out. It's not obnoxious. It's delightful.

Plus, he was wearing a suit. Extra points. The singer from the support band "Oh Mercy" was wearing a sleeveless denim vest that said "Cold Chisel" on the back. While that was awesome in its own way, a suit is always better.

2. Be good at what you do.

I love a tight, professional performance. I get tired of watching half-hearted sets by musicians who don't even really know how to play their instruments all that well. It's like there's a certain school of thought that says as long as an artist is "truthful" (or whatever), or just tries really hard, they don't actually have to be good. Um, no. That's not so. Learning your craft is still important for any kind of artist.

3. Let's all be weird together.

FJM's bass player was like a rock and roll wizard. Or a Russell Brand character. Or both. Actually, Russell Brand should make a movie about a rock and roll wizard. Let's all just think on that for a while.


Anyway. The guy had sparkly face paint, floral trousers, threw his arms in the air when he got excited and delivered some pretty mean backup vocals. The lesson that we should learn here, is that we should all march to the beat of our own drummer and let our freak flags fly. Because it's awesome.

4. Dancing magic dance.

Oh how he danced. GOOD LORD, how he danced. Danced the night away. Fantastic dance moves involving the flailing of arms, flinging of limbs, and often the use of his mic stand as a prop. He even brought a lady out from backstage at one point to join him in an impassioned dance solo. It didn't come across as forced or insincere - it was kind of like that cheesy phrase that gets printed on fridge magnets "Dance like no one is watching" being brought to life, the way it was intended to. Except we were all watching. Because we paid to be there.

5. Not all songs are serious.

So, country inspired music is a thing at the moment. And it's so nice to see it done well. However, when they came on for their encore, Tillman started talking about a song they had written while taking a drunken visit to the Sydney Opera House after a gig. They played some of this song for us (it apparently has 27 verses). It's called "Sexwalk." It sounded like something Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake would have written - and I mean that in the best possible way. This is not "Sexwalk" but you should definitely watch it anyway.


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

What's got your blogging stopping, Georgia?

Lately I've been trying to work out why I haven't been blogging much.

Recently, Caroline seems to have really found her blog-mojo again but mine has been AWOL for a while. There are obvious physical reasons like most of my time is spent looking after a 2-year-old but I knew there must be other mental reasons.

It occurred to me that maybe I'm spending too much energy trying to blog like (some) other bloggers. I had it in my head that I had to blog like the cute 20-somethings who like to go out to abandoned factories and pose in their favourite outfits from Modcloth or Urban Outfitters. Don't get me wrong, I have bought some nice things from Modcloth in the past but I'm not a cute 20-something who likes to be in front of a camera and I couldn't blog like that if I tried. I am me. A 30-something who does like a lot of the things that appear on those sorts of blogs but who is also a mum who likes looking for vintage Fisher Price toys on eBay for myself my son or sewing wonky bibs for him. I need to keep reminding myself to stop trying so hard to be something that I'm not. It's an old lesson but it pops up at various times in life doesn't it?

From now on I am going to try to stop attempting to create a 'blog persona' and just write about the things I have actually been looking at, doing or thinking about. Maybe it doesn't seem like I've been trying to be someone else here on the blog... it's hard to know without having some distance from the blog... but that's how it seems inside my head. Hopefully a change of attitude will make it easier for me to write again.

Here are a couple of things I've been looking at or thinking about lately.

1. The Small Object - 2013 Daily Resolution Chart.

I've printed this chart out and put it on the fridge door to track my 'Quit Coca Cola' progress. There are a lot of other cute things on The Small Object blog and in the shop too. I've been visiting the site for quite a few years now.

2. Without getting into politics, I like our Prime Minister Julia Gillard's new glasses.

I know it is probably old news now but I think they look good. I'm not sure I'd call them 'hipster' glasses like in the linked article but they are quite stylish. To tell you the truth, I'm not entirely sure what a 'hipster' is these days... but who cares anyway?

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Saturday Reads

A Beautiful Mess did a great post last week on how to approach flea market shopping - or I guess what we would call op-shopping here in Oz. I really enjoyed this, and frankly, I think a lot of it can apply to shopping in general so it's worth a read even if heading out to Vinnies or the local car boot sale isn't really your thing.

Read this post from the New York times about new love late in life - it's so beautiful! You won't regret it!

I devoured all 5 seasons of Friday Night Lights with obsessive glee...but it probably would have helped if I'd read this beginners guide to American football before hand. It really cleared things up for me (being literal, not sarcastic here). Hey, it was Superbowl week, I wanted to know the rules once and for all.

Judith Ann Braun takes finger painting to a whole new level.

I want these for my flat! So clean and cool! Although, as someone who has killed a succulent, I'm not sure if I should invest, or just accept that my thumb is really, really not green.

This article from on how to simplify your life is funny, well-written and choc full of good advice. I particularly like #3 "If you're jealous, you have to be jealous of everything - i.e. if you're going to be jealous of someone's career success, you also have to be jealous of the hours of study and unpaid overtime they put in to get there.

A different kind of fashion blog...


Tuesday, 5 February 2013

These are my new favourite songs

I've been listening to these on repeat for a while now, so I thought I should probably share them with you - they are not brand spanking new, but they are pretty new. I'm particularly in love with the Solange song, and the video clip! Who is Solange? Solange is the younger sister of Beyonce Knowles - just as talented but with a very different style.

I stumbled across Flume because the album was the iTunes $9.99 album of the week. What can I say? Sometimes I feel like $16.99 is far too much to pay for a download, but I strongly believe in paying for my music - does anyone else agree? Anyway, I really, really enjoy this album and this is one of my favourite tracks. I don't often get into electro/dance music but when I do, this is the kind that gets played over and over. I feel like it's the sort of music that would get played at a cool house party in a movie (because those kinds of house parties don't actually happen in real life). And yes, for those wondering, the name is in reference to the Bon Iver song.



Saturday, 2 February 2013

Saturday Reads

So, Saturday mornings are generally when I find somewhere comfy to park myself with my laptop and a coffee and I catch up on all my favourite blogs and links that I've bookmarked or emailed to myself over the week. I guess it's my version of sitting down with the weekend papers. I thought I would start sharing some of these as a regular Saturday feature on the blog...we'll see! 

Over at Welcome to Ladyville, Kerry is talking about Jeff Goldblum. I mean really, who doesn't want to talk about Jeff Goldblum? The man is a delight.

US Vogue's latest cover lady is Rooney Mara, who I have to say, I find fairly fascinating. I think it's the eyebrows. I miss her super short fringe though - or bangs, as the northern Americans say. Plus, I find Hamish Bowles' features in Vogue a good deal less annoying than much of their stable of pet writers. 

Picture (c)

The Disney short Paperman is nominated for best short film at this year's Oscars and can be viewed on the inter webs for those who didn't manage to catch it before a screening of Wreck it Ralph. It is so lovely. And also, our leading man is like a 2D Jim Halpert - in other words, adorably charming. A pretty mean feat for a black and white cartoon dude who doesn't speak.

Lonely Island have a new song! "YOLO" (You only live once) is pretty much safe for work and under 18s, which is probably a first for them. Is it embarrassing that I didn't even know what YOLO meant until I watched a parody based on it? Probably. Oh well. It also features Adam Levine. I think that's pertinent information.

I recently bought a mud mask from Maeve Botanicals and I think I'm in love. It's only $14! Winning! Plus, they are 100% natural, and 100% ethical and 100% cruelty free. I like it. 

There is potentially going to be a movie of one of my favourite John Green novels, "The Fault in Our Stars." Hoorah!

Wondering how to write a good professional thank you note? Adulting has you covered.

This article about the cover image chosen for a recent reissue of The Bell Jar got me thinking about how books are marketed to women, especially young women. I know if I see a book cover with involving lipstick or shoes I don't even bother picking it up.

If I hadn't already cut my hair, I'd be going for the Karlie Kloss bob for sure.

30 Rock finishes up this week! This is a pretty good summary of the awesomeness of Tina Fey.