About Me

My photo
I started this blog as I entered my 40th year, and now firmly in my 40s, I continue to learn so much about life. I'm learning that life rarely goes according to plan and that there's something new to learn every single day, be it a subtle nudge or a smack in the face.... This is my blog about muddling through my 40s-working hard, writing a book, being an ammateur photographer, trying to exercise and eat well, endeavouring to be the world's best aunt, as well as having fun and laughing out loud every single day.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The True Intentions of a Curious Soul - by Diana Kirk - Guest Blogger

Let me introduce you to Diana Kirk, one of the most inspirational writers and people I know.  She's the person responsible for us building a house in Nicaragua a little later in the year - there's a blog post on that waiting to write itself.  You can find her on Facebook - Diana Kirk - or read her travel blog here.

Everyday, every single day I'm hit over the head with media telling me that everybody is insensitive to everybody else. 
Are we, as a society, beginning to lose our ability to speak anything outside of what is accepted by the masses? Our  media has begun a witch hunt on words, phrases, for political correctness. When a piece of jewelry worn by a musician is a weeklong media frenzy, I'm wondering what the intent is by both the artist and the media is.  I'm gong to assume the artist's intent was either to shock or to wear something cool and hip. The media's intent is to sell shame. Then Lana del Rey says a five word comment during a two hour interview and she becomes the poster girl for young suicide. I'm gonna say it outloud and hopefully stick to it but in this movement of sensitivity retraining, I'm beginning to think we are going to lose our edge for art, for individuality, for freedom of speech, on both sides if this witch hunt continues in its verocity.
And now this media frenzy is growing and attacking young people that barely know what they're doing. A fifteen year old Justin Bieber video shows up with him saying a racially insensitive joke and it goes viral. He issues an apology. People hate him. People get angry. People call for deportation. I'd like to find these people and have a talk with them about what they were like when they were fifteen. I was a mess at fifteen. I did all kinds of dumb things and thank goodnes nobody was recording me at the time. My intention though was certainly not to offend anyone as I doubt Justin Bieber's was, at fifteen. 
Yesterday I read an article that said talking about sex positively, offends some people who don't think of sex positively. It suggested we not talk about sex which now in this new sensitivity retraining means we return to what, the 1950's bedroom? Are you fucking kidding me? We hide sex now? We return to the world of shame? While we're at it, should we also hide the beauty of a multicultural society? Can I not think that a woman of color is gorgeous without being called a racist because I noticed she was a woman of color? Which is the actual definition of racism, to separate races. But what if I think she's gorgeous, because I'm not considered, in my country to be a woman of color and her friggin' hair and eyes rock my GD world. I mean when I travel to different countries, I notice the women and what they wear and their hair and their clothes and therefore, I am a racist. But really, is that my intent? My heart doesn't feel as though my intent is anything more than observation itself. I'm not suggesting we separate as races or that her or I should be limited because of our race, only that she is beautiful because she is so different to me. 
So, what can I talk about? Am I only allowed in this culture to talk about feminism because I'm a white woman and that's all that is to be allowed amongst my "hetero caste and color"? It certainly seems to be popular amongst my peers. Danger and inequality for the female gender is one that I do take seriously. Until it degrades to making fun of mens' mustaches or the color of their whitey white skin. Then the hypocricy begins. I mean, what if the speaker was a young African American woman with dreadlocks who said feminism was dead? Would it be appropriate to make fun of her then? I think the hypocricy is just too much. It makes me merely roll my eyes and probably dismiss probably arguments. But at this point, I can barely follow the rules. 
Which leads me to Scientology. Which is a religion, for some people. A belief in something of a higher power in an organized fashion. It has become absolutely acceptable to bash this religion because white rich people in Hollywood follow Scientology. Except, that's not true. That's only what we see in the media. Many people have found peace following the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. They've kicked drug addictions, mental illnesses and a plethora of others issues in their lives. Whether or not the teachings are correct, whether or not we think you can kick a mental illness, sounds like so many other religions out there that I wonder why it is OK to bash this one in particular. Granted other religious practices that follow these same principals are bashed upon in the media as well but this one in particular, gets the most scrutiny for being almost ludicrous. I myself think the parting of the Red Seas is ludicrous but that would outrage people if I said that. 
Can you imagine if some of the most famous artists of all time were alive now? Da Vinci taking bodies apart? Salvador Dali spying on his wife having sex? Seriously, how do you live freely when there are millions of people ready to tell you how insensitive you are, or sick in the head for merely thinking outside of the box. How does one have an open conversation about anything relevant without being jumped on for not phrasing it properly? I just watched photographer Terry Richardson get completely maligned as a pedophile in the media for taking provocative photos of younger women - famous women. He directed the Miley Cyrus Wrecking Ball video. Terry Richardson is a longstanding photo journalist that has been portraying society's obsesson with sex for decades. How people jump from that to a pedophile is a gross inaccuracy. But nobody picks up on that. Or the fact that Miley Cyrus is 21 years old, not a child and wanted the attention to launch her new album. It worked. She got it. I'm fairly sure Salvador Dali was a sick sick bastard. But did he hurt anybody in the process? Have you seen his art? Where do you think those kinds of thought processes come from? They come from living on the sharp edge of a knife. 
Which is where I want my art to come from. From that space between intelligence and lunacy. A place where brilliance is born when we reach to the outer cortex of our brains and find new shapes and colors. We all should have that freedom to explore, to say what we feel without the judgment that comes forth in tsunamis. How will one be comfortable enough to write that story, your story, that's deep down in the nether regions you've hidden it in if not to expose themselves, makes themselves vulnerable. So this witch hunt for shame, this hunger to point fingers isn't going to do anything but shame the art, shame the vulnerability that it takes to create art and wash it all away in politcal correctness. Or the media's idea of political correctness. Perhaps we could all just use our brains and think about intent now and again. Use your brain and see if there is malice towards you, an intention of malice or are these all just observations of a bunch of curious souls?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

#62 Dear Rocky - The Lion King

Dear Rocky,

A couple of weeks ago now, I watched the Lion King - another of Graham's Top Ten films of all time.  I have to admit, this is another title that I hadn't watched until now.

I'm not entirely sure why I hadn't watched it.  It's not like I'm against animated films.  Far from it.  In fact, Up would have to be in my Top Ten all time films.

Another confession - I pushed play on the dvd player and didn't even look up from Facebook until the stampede scene about 30 minutes into the film.  I was listening though, and up until that point it sounded like your average kiddie flick.

My interested was sparked when Simba found his voice, and then I was hooked.  Glued to the screen then, I was petrified as he ran amongst those fearsome hooves - Please don't die Simba!! 

Then that awful Scar finds Mufasa and alerts him that his son is in danger - I wonder why Scar, you horrendous beast!

And when James Earl J...... I mean, Mufasa goes to save his son, my heart was in my throat.

I would have to say that last part where Mufasa is climbing the cliff and Scar puts his claws in his paws and says "Long live the King" is hands-down THE MOST villainous line in any movie, any where, any time.  Wow.

The way he throws Mufasa back and the way he falls and screams..... most heartbreaking scenes ever.  And of course, he is dead.  And little Simba curls up beside him.  Sob. Sob.

It's incredible how moving animated characters can be isn't it.  When Simba was escaping through that jungle of thorns, escaping from the hyenas, I felt so sorry for him. So small, and alone in the world.

Then I tuned out again, until the last fight scene with Scar.  What a battle.  First, I was surprised that the Scar was given the opportunity to walk away and I didn't see his retaliation coming - I love that I could still be surprised by this movie.  Then the bitch slapping made me giggle.  And finally, the beautiful karmic end with the hyenas. 

While, it clearly didn't engage me completely, the two scenes that I did watch engrossed me entirely.  Because of that, I give this film an 8/10.

I still want to see the stage musical.....

How about you Rocky?  Read Rocky's review here.


Friday, June 27, 2014

#61 Conscious Uncoupling

I've been thinking about this blog post ever since I listened to Cold Play's new album Ghost Stories on repeat during a four hour car ride recently.

Ghost Stories is thought to be Chris Martin's version of a mixed tape for Gwyneth Paltrow - in reverse.  Normally, mixed tapes come at the beginning of a relationship, not the end. 

After listening to the album though, one could easily be mistaken that this is one massive love letter. 
Take Sky Full of Stars for example.  I dare anyone to watch this film clip and not smile widely, feeling the love.

Magic is no exception to my theory that the album is all about love.  So where does love fit into divorce?

What is this concept of "conscious uncoupling" and does it lessen the pain?

This is what Dr Habib Sadeghi and Dr Sherry Sami had to say about it on Goop.com.

"To change the concept of divorce, we need to release the belief structures we have around marriage that create rigidity in our thought process. ... The idea of being married to one person for life is too much pressure for anyone...If we can recognize that our partners in our intimate relationships are our teachers, helping us evolve our internal, spiritual support structure, we can avoid the drama of divorce and experience what we call a conscious uncoupling.

A conscious uncoupling is the ability to understand that every irritation and argument was a signal to look inside ourselves and identify a negative internal object that needed healing. Because present events always trigger pain from a past event, it’s never the current situation that needs the real fixing. It’s just the echo of an older emotional injury. If we can remain conscious of this during our uncoupling, we will understand it’s how we relate to ourselves internally as we go through an experience that’s the real issue, not what’s actually happening.

It’s conscious uncoupling that prevents families from being broken by divorce and creates expanded families that continue to function in a healthy way outside of traditional marriage."

I do believe it is the human condition to avoid pain.  What if consciously and respectfully recognising when a relationship has run its course and mutually agreeing to end it could actually avoid the anger part of grief?

I'm assuming no-one would want to avoid the sadness.  No grief would surely equal no love - wouldn't it??

What I wonder though, is that while it's all blog posts and album releases now, what will happen to Chris and Gwyn when we fast-forward 5 years.  When one wants to live in a different country with the children.  When the other moves into a new relationship or relationships.  When missed opportunities require blame in some direction.

What will conscious uncoupling look like then?

Would love to hear your thoughts?  Have you consciously uncoupled and pulled it off - or not?

My husband and I, after we 'consciously uncoupled' in 2010.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

#60 Dear Rocky - Schindler's List

Read Rocky's review here.
Itzhak Stern and Oskar Schindler
Dear Rocky,

As we move through Graham's Top Ten (11) List of favourite films, here we are reviewing Schindler's List.

Graham will be disgusted by this, but I had never seen the entire movie until this weekend.  Just before my 22nd birthday, I left work sick and went home to rest up as the next day I was flying to New Zealand - my first overseas trip!  My aunty owned a dvd shop at that stage and so I grabbed Schindler's List on my way home to watch on the couch.  Needless to say, whatever medication I took knocked me out cold and I only saw the first 30 minutes of it.

Watching it now, 20 years later, I can't say I was a very willing participant.  The first two hours in particular (it goes for 3 hours) were very difficult to watch due to the heartless treatment of the Jewish people.

I noted to ever present photographers, at the parties mainly, and thought to myself, they were recording history and they probably didn't even realise it.  I found myself wondering where all of the clothes and jewels and family heirlooms ended up once they were robbed from the unknowing Jewish people as they boarded those fated trains.

Oddly, I'm sitting on a train as I write this.  The air is cool due to the Winter's night outside, but I don't let myself complain.  Remembering the scenes on the trains throughout the movie send shivers up my spine.

It wasn't until the last hour that I could grow to like Oskar Schindler.  When he began to become less self-focussed and put himself and his safety on the line for his workers.

The true hero of this film for me was Itzhac Stern.  He was one step ahead of Schindler all the time, keeping his eyes open for those he might save by adding them to what would become, Schindler's List.

I also wondered, in the scene where they are found with the chicken, whether or not the man who is shot was really responsible, or was that little boy just extremely quick thinking.  I like to think he was.

At the end, I felt like Schindler showed too much remorse, far too soon.  Comforted by Stern.  Reassured that he did an amazing thing in saving 1100 lives.  As of course, he did.  Perhaps it wasn't until he went to Auschwitz to save the women that he truly realised the ramifications of that war - to the human race.

Oh, and how about that glorious scene in the showers at Auschwitz when the showers came on and the women showed their relief that they weren't being gassed.  So powerful.

I truly loved at the end when the actors led the real life people on Schindler's List to his grave to lay a stone.  6000 descendants from the survivors.  In spite of his flaws, Oskar Schindler certainly left his mark on the world.

This is a film that has me thinking still and I know it will for a while to come.

I'm giving this one an 8/10 Rocky.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

#59 Dear Rocky - As Good As It Gets

Read Rocky's review of As Good As It Gets here.

Dear Rocky,

I'm still singing the closing tune as I write this review, "Always look on that bright side of life...."

Some films you should only see once, and some you should see at regular intervals throughout your life.  It has been remiss of me to wait until now to see As Good As It Gets again, since it was first released in 1997.

In 1997 I was 25 years old, and while I would have understood most of the blatant concepts in this film, I sure missed a lot of the true gold.

This is a film about our relationship with our very own mind.  More than that, it's about how powerful our mind is and how often it gets in our way.

For example, after Simon is beaten to within an inch of his life, his fear prevents him from being able to return to his painting - his art - his lifeline.  We see him so distressed, his world falling apart around him, alone.  Even Vedell doesn't want a bar of him.  Fear can stop us in our tracks, but in an effort to 'protect' ourselves, we often withdraw from, well....life, to varying degrees.  What is the point of saving ourselves for a life not lived?

Luckily, there's that Carol bathroom scene that triggers off his artistic instincts again and life is restored.

Then of course, we have our main protagonist, Melvin.  Can I just say that for me, Jack Nicholson as Melvin is more like Mel Gibson as himself.  Maybe OCD can explain all of Mel's issues too?

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a pretty extreme example of a mind getting in the way of life.  I don't need to describe Melvin's symptoms, they were very clear.  Can I just note however, that I have never met someone with OCD who has the cleanliness obsession as well as a counting or checking compulsion.  Add to the that, not standing on cracks, and poor old Melvin was well up against it!

My favourite part of the entire film is near the end, when he pauses at his door, on his way to win over Carol's heart. 

"I forgot to lock the door."

That moment tells us everything about his readiness to be with her.  She made him want to be a better man.  He took his medicine.  He forgot to lock the door (five times).  Gold.

I am so glad I watched this film again.  Thank you Graham.

I give it a 9/10.

What's up next? 


I so loved this scene!!!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...