Saturday, 29 October 2011

Vacant Lots Are Not Vacant

Vacant block somewhere in the centre of Sydney with amazing see-through facade.



Delicate little yellow flowers in an empty block near the road.

 






ETSY CHRISTMAS LIST

I decided to make a list of some of the interesting things on Etsy that might be considered as Christmas gifts, instead of the same boring old ones lots of people give. I love Etsy because it supports arty people, something I really care about! 

Here's a little selection of some of my favourite things on Etsy, hope it gives you some good ideas!

Click on the pictures to go to the page.



Friday, 28 October 2011

The Silver Metal Lover by Tanith Lee



Young Adult to Adult

The Silver Metal Lover is a book which questions the nature of humanity. This is a love story, where a girl falls for a humanoid robot, who also loves her back. It is never determined what gives him the power to love, except that he might have been made wrongly.

In this story, the robot is more human than most of the other characters, he cares for the girl, both emotionally and physically, and he can sing and paint, things we generally see as being a human thing. Along with the female protagonist, Jane, they are the only ones that feel love or loyalty. Jane's own mother seems to regard her as a possession, a pretty toy to show off, and she 'chose her', had her mostly taken care of by machines during her childhood. It even says she was fed by machines as a baby. She says she feels more like a machine than a human because of this. However she and her robot lover, 'Silver' are the only ones who really have connections. Even her friends, most of whom don't really seem to care about her at all, are manipulative people, who enjoy sex but not love. Her closest friend, Clovis, who actually helps her buy Silver from the manufacturer manipulates and bullies his lovers, and usually drives them away, because he can't really stand being around humans.

The world presented in the story is also interesting, the machines, the cities, the way people live, are all so different from the way we live, and yet, so similar. I love the exotic names of people, drinks, the beautiful clothes, the dark beauty of the slums and the poisoned river, and the haunting memories of the asteroid. Tanith Lee has a wonderful way with words and strongly evokes the world she has created in a way that makes me long to be there.

The novel is, at its heart, a love story, and very strongly brings back the wonder and despair of first love. This is a truly beautiful book for young adults that can enjoyed by adults, too. 

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Little Children by Tom Perotta


Adult Novel

Little Children by Tom Perrotta is an adult novel dealing with the complexities of relationships, especially for families who are married with young children. It also deals with the issue of a paedophile moving into the town, and the reactions of the townspeople.

This book is an engrossing one that shows sympathy for many people’s actions, and the reasons behind them, a lack of intimacy when a child becomes the parent's main focus that can lead to an affair, a mother's exhaustion in the face of endless parenting of a child with no real support.

I think what I liked most about this book was the insights into characters- no one is perfect, but we are allowed to understand why they are that way, and the little flashbacks into character's memories that allow us a glimpse of this past. It is always so exciting to be told little stories from the past of a character that none of the other characters ever know. The university boyfriend who broke up with a character because she was too tall, things like that.

The characters are refreshingly imperfect, so instead of an annoying TV-series perfect world, we are presented with a view of reality, real people that we can relate to and identify with more than those plastic, ever perfectly dressed men and women of the TV world. We have mothers trying to deal with the demands of parenting, people trying to negotiate the minefields of their relationships.

This really is an adult novel, mostly because it deals with issues it would be difficult for younger people to understand, dealing with issues in marriages, raising children, etc. The issue of the paedophile is dealt with in a sensitive way. Ronald McGorvey has just got out of jail for revealing himself to a girl scout and moved back in with his mother. A sad case with no job and no life, it is hard to know whether to feel sorry for him or not as he alternately is seen to be bullied by the public and just be 'trying to live his life' while being ungrateful to his mother, and seemingly unrepentant. Also the shadow of a possible murder he was never convicted for hangs over his head. The moral question of how the public should treat this man is an interesting question that runs throughout the novel.

Little Children is a book for people that want real problems and issues in everyday life, not fantasy and escapism. I probably wouldn't recommend it to people who are considering getting married and having children, as it might put them off. I think that it might be comforting to those who are dealing with raising young children and the changes it causes to their relationships, as it might show them they are not alone in their problems.  

Apparently this book was also made into a movie of the same title, and I find it interesting that the character of Sarah, who was not meant to be conventionally attractive, which helps us relate to her better as a normal woman, was played by Kate Winslet, who (while I think she is a wonderful actress) is really nothing short of beautiful. I find it very frustrating that Hollywood always finds it so important to sex up female characters, making them into something it is much more hard to relate to. She is meant to be a worn out mother, not a screen goddess. 

Asturias by Brian Caswell


Young Adult novel.

Asturias explores a tragic time in Spanish history and the painful past of a family while hitting the pulse of what it is like to be a youth and delivering an engaging narrative of the rise and fall of a teenage band. It offers all the elements that draw you in, a narrative from different points of view. Accurate writing of characters from an adult writer that still knows what it feels like to be a teenager, the excitement that stories about fame always have for us non-famous folk. The dark and sorrowful tale of his grandfather, his grandfather’s brother and they women who loved them during the Spanish civil war is also woven into the narrative, providing a counterpoint to the problems in the main narrative. The haunting beauty of the single supernatural element of the story (that the main character Alex was taught to play guitar by the spirit of his grandfather's dead brother) somehow does not detract from the narrative, but feels perfect, somehow right.

In the book, all of the stars deal with their own personal battles, and while it is maybe a little coincidental that they all start to happen at the same time, it makes sense with the pressures of fame, and shows us that no one is perfect. Also as mostly adolescent characters, some of the issues they go through are things that any adolescent might deal with- drugs, family problems, finding out your best friend may be in love with you, etc., so for the teenage reader, these may be issues that resonate with them.

I'm actually reading this book for the second grime now, after picking it up earlier this year, and I find myself just as engaged in the story as I was the first time. For me, being able to read the book again is definitely a good sign, as most books I read once, unless I really like or identify with something in the narrative. This book is definitely a read-again book for me, which means it must be good!

More stories about the rise and fall of teenagers in a band:

The Runaways, movie. Warning to parents/ younger children. There are sex and a lot of drug use in this film. A group of teenage girls are chosen to form the first real female rock band. Based on the true story of the rock band, written by lead singer, Cherie Currie.

Cherokee Bat and The Goat Guys, Francesca Lia Block. In her beautiful way of melding magic with reality, Francesca Lia Block tells the story of Weetzie's daughters and their boyfriends who start a band and become successful with the aid of magical totems, but soon find their fame is tearing their close knit relationships apart.

(This book is now usually in a collection of two Weetzie Bat stories called Goat Girls, or the full anthology, called Dangerous Angels. If you want to know more about the Weetzie Bat books, see this post.)  

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Steampunk or '80s Pirate'

Another Steampunk inspired outfit today. Although my tutor said it looked 80s pirate. But in my opinion, that's a compliment, anyway. 


Brown glass bead necklace, white frilly shirt, blue velvet waistcoat, penny cuff bracelets and knee high boots all thrifted. I got the boots about 11 years ago, maybe, when they were quite a bit bigger than my feet, and now they are just about the right size. 

The shirt is pretty old, too, maybe 8 years old? When I got it, it didn't have any laces, so I put the maroon ones in, they were from some hair thing I just had lying around. I like the look.

The shorts are fake leather shorts I got for $10 at one of those discount clothing stores. As soon as I saw them I knew I was going to wear them with a frilly shirt.

It's actually meant to be Summer, but it was so cold and windy today it was almost like Winter again, so I was able to wear this without sweltering to death. 


I'm actually reading a Steampunk novel at the moment, Liberator by Richard Harland, it's the sequel to his novel, World Shaker, which I read a while back. I might post a review on my other blog, Roses and Vellum, when I finish it. I can say that the first was really clever and totally blew me away!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Letters of Note: Ray Bradbury

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2011/02/be-your-own-self-love-what-you-love.html

This site is wonderful, containing not very well known letters by people like Hunter S. Thompson, Ray Bradbury and Roald Dahl.

Ray Bradbury has, and continues to inspire me with all of his stories, whether science fiction or fantasy. But when I read this letter, I fell in love with him all over again!

(Click image to enlarge.)


Be your own self! Love what you love!

Check out some of the other letters on the site!

Halloween Costume Inspirations

http://www.refinery29.com/23-super-unique-halloween-costumes-from-nyc-s-fashion-influencers/slideshow#slide-1

I really liked some of the costumes from this slideshow. The motorcross rider with a dead crow stuck to his visor, a giant bonbon, a lamb...the Babette and Lumiere was amazing, and the broken pinata one was so funny! The drowned swimmer and fisherman one was clever and creepy!





Sunday, 23 October 2011

'Marriage' by Gregory Corso

I've loved this poem since I was a teenager. It shows that you don't need to live a normal life, you can be extraordinary and unusual forever! Or, at least, that's what I think!

I love the bit about penguin dust! I want to do that! Why don't we have a milkman?

'Marriage' by Gregory Corso

Should I get married? Should I be good?
Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and faustus hood?
Don't take her to movies but to cemeteries
tell all about werewolf bathtubs and forked clarinets
then desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries
and she going just so far and I understanding why
not getting angry saying You must feel! It's beautiful to feel!
Instead take her in my arms lean against an old crooked tombstone
and woo her the entire night the constellations in the sky-
When she introduces me to her parents
back straightened, hair finally combed, strangled by a tie,
should I sit with my knees together on their 3rd degree sofa
and not ask Where's the bathroom?
How else to feel other than I am,
often thinking Flash Gordon soap-
O how terrible it must be for a young man
seated before a family and the family thinking
We never saw him before! He wants our Mary Lou!
After tea and homemade cookies they ask What do you do for a living?
Should I tell them? Would they like me then?
Say All right get married, we're losing a daughter
but we're gaining a son-
And should I then ask Where's the bathroom?
O God, and the wedding! All her family and her friends
and only a handful of mine all scroungy and bearded
just wait to get at the drinks and food-
And the priest! he looking at me as if I masturbated
asking me Do you take this woman for your lawful wedded wife?
And I trembling what to say say Pie Glue!
I kiss the bride all those corny men slapping me on the back
She's all yours, boy! Ha-ha-ha!
And in their eyes you could see some obscene honeymoon going on-
Then all that absurd rice and clanky cans and shoes
Niagara Falls! Hordes of us! Husbands! Wives! Flowers! Chocolates!
All streaming into cozy hotels
All going to do the same thing tonight
The indifferent clerk he knowing what was going to happen
The lobby zombies they knowing what
The whistling elevator man he knowing
Everybody knowing! I'd almost be inclined not to do anything!
Stay up all night! Stare that hotel clerk in the eye!
Screaming: I deny honeymoon! I deny honeymoon!
running rampant into those almost climactic suites
yelling Radio belly! Cat shovel!
O I'd live in Niagara forever! in a dark cave beneath the Falls
I'd sit there the Mad Honeymooner
devising ways to break marriages, a scourge of bigamy
a saint of divorce-
But I should get married I should be good
How nice it'd be to come home to her
and sit by the fireplace and she in the kitchen
aproned young and lovely wanting my baby
and so happy about me she burns the roast beef
and comes crying to me and I get up from my big papa chair
saying Christmas teeth! Radiant brains! Apple deaf!
God what a husband I'd make! Yes, I should get married!
So much to do! Like sneaking into Mr Jones' house late at night
and cover his golf clubs with 1920 Norwegian books
Like hanging a picture of Rimbaud on the lawnmower
like pasting Tannu Tuva postage stamps all over the picket fence
like when Mrs Kindhead comes to collect for the Community Chest
grab her and tell her There are unfavorable omens in the sky!
And when the mayor comes to get my vote tell him
When are you going to stop people killing whales!
And when the milkman comes leave him a note in the bottle
Penguin dust, bring me penguin dust, I want penguin dust-
Yes if I should get married and it's Connecticut and snow
and she gives birth to a child and I am sleepless, worn,
up for nights, head bowed against a quiet window, the past behind me,
finding myself in the most common of situations a trembling man
knowledged with responsibility not twig-smear nor Roman coin soup-
O what would that be like!
Surely I'd give it for a nipple a rubber Tacitus
For a rattle a bag of broken Bach records
Tack Della Francesca all over its crib
Sew the Greek alphabet on its bib
And build for its playpen a roofless Parthenon
No, I doubt I'd be that kind of father
Not rural not snow no quiet window
but hot smelly tight New York City
seven flights up, roaches and rats in the walls
a fat Reichian wife screeching over potatoes Get a job!
And five nose running brats in love with Batman
And the neighbors all toothless and dry haired
like those hag masses of the 18th century
all wanting to come in and watch TV
The landlord wants his rent
Grocery store Blue Cross Gas & Electric Knights of Columbus
impossible to lie back and dream Telephone snow, ghost parking-
No! I should not get married! I should never get married!
But-imagine if I were married to a beautiful sophisticated woman
tall and pale wearing an elegant black dress and long black gloves
holding a cigarette holder in one hand and a highball in the other
and we lived high up in a penthouse with a huge window
from which we could see all of New York and even farther on clearer days
No, can't imagine myself married to that pleasant prison dream-
O but what about love? I forget love
not that I am incapable of love
It's just that I see love as odd as wearing shoes-
I never wanted to marry a girl who was like my mother
And Ingrid Bergman was always impossible
And there's maybe a girl now but she's already married
And I don't like men and-
But there's got to be somebody!
Because what if I'm 60 years old and not married,
all alone in a furnished room with pee stains on my underwear
and everybody else is married! All the universe married but me! Ah, yet well I know that were a woman possible as I am possible
then marriage would be possible-
Like SHE in her lonely alien gaud waiting her Egyptian lover
so i wait-bereft of 2,000 years and the bath of life.

ARE SUPERHEROES SEXIST: The Truth About Women In Comics

I'm working on a short list of female empowering films, hopefully to be posted, soon. Meanwhile, this article is amazing!!!

It's a defence of the sexist claims about comic book characters being sexist and exploitative, very well researched and written. It's nice to see an article with a pro-feminist view on comics as possibly empowering to women!

http://www.badhaven.com/featured-posts/are-superheroes-sexist-the-truth-about-women-in-comics/



"Sexism in comics is not at all a new portrayal. The fantasy playground for generations of men since the late 1930′s, comics have seen women go through various incarnations whether it be: Scantily clad crime fighting vixens, plucky gal reporters, subconsciously over-sexual  Amazons, seductive villainesses, spunky teen side-kicks or strong feminine role models – the list goes on and not to everybodies approval.
And it’s hard to dismiss claims that women have been stereotyped, objectified and at times degraded over the history of comics. And while we enter into a new era of a more inclusive bull penn of writers with a more layered approach to female characters, the old ghosts of sexist past still linger on many a comics page and the issue is far from being put to bed.
 I’m not going to judge the way those characters were portrayed on here, but what I am going to do is provide you with is both sides of the argument. So below without further ado are some points on the existence of sexism in comics, what’s being done to amend things and where the accusers have simply and got it wrong ..."


FOLLOW THE  TO LINK FOR THE FULL  ARTICLE. :) IT REALLY IS WORTH THE EFFORT!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Inspirations: Stevie Nicks, Stardust, Steampunk!

At the moment, my main inspirations seem to start with an S!

I haven't got a lot of steampunk stuff yet, but I'm working on it. Izumihiiiflower's post was very inspiring. I've always loved Victoriana/ romantic stuff, so I think it's a cool style for me to try!

Stardust:


Everything thrifted except rings.

I was so excited when I realised this dress looks a lot like the one princess Una wears in Stardust! The pendant looks kind of like a moonstone, I didn't have a huge blingy one like the one in Stardust. 


I love velvet, I love ruffles, and I love blue, what could be better than this jacket?


The chain across the front of the jacket actually came with it! Is this the best find ever or what?


The ring at the top is a poison ring. It opens up to a little compartment you can put things in. I've wanted one since I first heard the story of The Three Musketeers, even though I hated Milady de Winter. I got it from a hippie shop years ago. I got my boyfriend a matching one.

The other one is some kind of dome ring, made of resin or something like that with a bit of purply sand/ rock inside, and fancy silver detailing. I got this and another one thrifting/ Vintage shopping with my boyfriend's sister a long time ago. They reminded me of The Dark Crystal. They were about $30 each, the most I've ever spent on a ring, but they were so beautiful, I think it was well worth it!

Steampunk:


Bracelet: That spiked cuff again. Thrifted. 
Fake gun: Boyfriend's from childhood. It's real cast metal, very cool!


Top: Thrifted.
Brooch: Thrifted. 
Necklace: From Redheart13 on Etsy


Leather belt with metal triangles and cord and bead belt thrifted, as was the skirt. The skirt is cool because it is gold in some lights, purple in others. The bottom of the skirt is also very cool, as you will see below. 


Any advice/ suggestions on style and where to find cheap accessories or DIY please let me know :)

Amazing Spiral Staircases and Bird nest Hotel

As long as you don't get vertigo, check out these amazing shots of spiral staircases on:

http://dornob.com/creative-wood-metal-stone-spiral-staircases/




I love this one that looks like it is straight out of Alice In Wonderland or The Matrix.

The spiral is one of the amazing shapes in nature, and was also one of the earliest symbols of religious worship, apparently based on the sight of a comet in ancient times. IT also symbolises the circle of life. Perhaps that's why we love spirals so much. 

And while you're there, check out one of my favourite things ever:

http://dornob.com/the-birds-nest-fantastic-treehouse-room-in-a-forest-hotel/

A bird nest hotel!

Friday, 21 October 2011

The Night Circus: I just read a preview

I wrote a while ago about the free-online game which is a tie-in for the book, The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. I have just finished reading a preview of the first few chapters on the Random House website, and I must say, I am very interested to read the whole novel now. I am waiting in a queue at the library at the moment.

I am also trying to edit some of my writing to put into my university's yearly collection, and trying to finish all my assignments before term is over.

LOFTY WORDS

On Thursday the 20th of October I went to Lofty Words, an event with poetry and spoken word, short stories, music, etc. It was really amazing! It wasn't actually in the loft, but in this studio with giant Tetrus blocks, and messages written on the wall in texta and paint. There was even a texta in the toilet stall for writing on the walls! There was also a psychedelic Felix the cat stuck on one of the walls.

There were some really talented writers reading in the open mike section, I was blown away by what they had written, funny, angry, sad, touching, it was a riot of emotions and words! I loved every second of it! I also got to read a couple of my own poems.

We were joined by British poet, Hollie Mcnish, who won a ticket to go anywhere and chose Australia! How flattering! Her poetry was amazing, fast paced, with visceral imagery, and a good dose of humour. I especially loved her poems Willies Are More Dangerous Than Guns and Touch, which questions why in such a highly sexualised world, people are so hesitant to touch each other. Apparently a man did a study of how often friends touch each other while meeting in coffee shops, in some countries, it's hundreds of times, I think in Australia, it was about 30 times, in England it was one time or something. And at the same time, she said, English people were the country that watches the most porn. This poem was inspired by that dichotomy. I got a free CD of some of her spoken poetry, too, so I can't wait to listen to that!

You can find Hollie at http://holliemcnish.bandcamp.com/
and http://www.myspace.com/papanicol

We also had performances from musican Inja, who reminded us what freestyle rap really means with a crazy hilarious improvised rap using items that people held up and words they suggested, including kid's shoes, robots, phones, and an OCCUPY SYDNEY T-shirt. It was amazing how fast he could spin a completely improvised rap from these diverse objects!

You can find Inja at http://www.injamusic.com/

Afterwards, it was cool just to chill with the other creative people. The night was a blast!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Current Obsession: Anaȉs Nin's Style in Henry and June

I am absolutely in love with all the outfits Anaȉs Nin wears in the movie Henry and June. The actess that plays her, Maria de Madeiros is so cute and piquant I can barely stand it, and everything about her style is so perfect! She has subtle cat eye makeup, burning red lipstick, and amazing velvet dresses and capes! And I really love the orange tapestry type dress she wears near the beginning with what looks like a black lace waistband! I really want to find some little velvet hats now, but of course, I have no idea where to start! I want to get out some of my velvet dresses, but it's much too hot over here! Whyyy!







The little cape/ shawl thing is a beautiful shade of blue with wonderfully painted flowers, and seems to be part of the dress.


I really want this little velvet hat! The faded rose colour is beautiful!

I have to apologise to the actress for this photo, I took it from a terrible angle, her nose is really so cute!



 The hat, the cape, the dress, the earrings...



Delicately drawn cat's eye makeup. 


Hair comb. Seems to be carved of wood. 


I am dying to have a collar like this! I might have to try and make one after all my assignments are over!





 Embroidered dress and jacket.
Velvet cape.