Friday, 20 November 2015

This is how we become

I don’t know what it feels like to be marginalised.
I don’t know what its like to be look at sideways on the street. 
I haven’t lost my loved ones to war. 

But I do feel loss, and grief and sadness and I ache. 

As I type, there is a shootout in Mali’s capital, and a hostage situation.  This will not garner a social media profile photo flag.  This will not garner wall to wall media coverage.

And that is just as painful as the grief and shock I feel for Paris and the unbelievable shock it has witnessed.

A day before Paris, it was Beirut.  Four people set out to blow up a popular shopping area of Beirut.  Two managed to detonate their bombs, a third got caught in the blast before he could explode his and a fourth got caught my locals before he could do anything. 

They nearly lynched him.  The police had to shoot into the air to make the crowd to disperse in order to arrest him.

In the hospital a man screamed out to the camera: ‘We are Arabs, and we will never bow our heads!’

Defiant, brave and uncowed.  The terrorists failed that day in Beirut, even if the price was high.

Paris; people living good, happy lives cut short by such callousness, a level of brutal inhumanity that I wondered if these people weren’t on drugs, that they did not flinch nor shy away.
It takes some kind of monstrousness to pull a trigger on anyone.

And you know what is so sad – that could be any of us.  That monstrousness spawned the #blacklivesmatter movement too remember? And yes, they're similar things if not the same.  Fueled by the same kind of ignorance, fueled by the same kind of hate and fear, its just a matter of degrees and its a sad day when we argue those tiny things instead of those big ones.

There is no ‘US’, there is no ‘THEM’ but we decided to make it so, and now we’re paying the cost. 

And what is more heart breaking is that Paris is rising from this tragedy with the same resilience that made them resist in the war, that made them overthrow their oppressors in glorious revolution and we are not even so much as learning from their example.

You will not have my hate – said a man who lost his wife.
Do you still trust me? – asked a local Parisian (and many still did).
I will not be manipulated – said a television broadcaster.

But I don’t know, it feels like there’s not enough of these.  I am drowning in so much argument and it hurts. 

It hurts because we are too busy yelling to stop for a second and just cry.

And I apologise, my writing is erratic and my spelling is probably worse – half my screen is blurry, or maybe that’s my eyesight.

I know we will grow from this, we’ll get better but right now its very black.  I sound very confident about my politics and social opinions but I’m not. 

I’m sad, I’m sad for the people we lose to the dumbest shit. 
If only someone had given those kids a year’s subscription to World of Warcraft.  Or invited them to play soccer.  Or just taken them to the movies. Or just told them that they mattered, and yeah we do different stuff but what's important is the stuff that makes us the same, like our love for Cristiano Ronaldo. 

If only our arguments were over who Kylo Ren is in the new Star Wars movie, I’d take a punch in the throat for spreading the theory about Dark Jar Jar.

We invent words, like US and THEM and by the nature of the fact that we are shaped by our language we create it.  So words like ‘INFIDEL’, ‘HOLY WAR’ become real to those who do not understand the terrible and exacting beauty of their own language. 

We invent things to fight over, and I’m not even talking about religion.

I see absolutely no difference between Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Rastafarians, Zoroastrians or even Bhuddists. For crying out loud, we can’t even get along with people with a different skin colour than us, or even genitalia for that matter, never mind the complicated existential stuff.
God came to all of us.  To some, he became a bearded dude in the sky, to others, an Elephant, or an abstract concept that manifests in different forms depending on what your requirements are.

My mother is a good catholic who taught me a very profound truth:

If god, who is amazing and huge and beautiful and powerful and everywhere and made everything including time and space – then why wouldn’t she reveal himself to everyone in different ways?

To some, it showed its face as a ten armed goddess, to others, a golden eagle, and to others, a kind hearted Jewish dude who allowed himself to get killed in a horrific way by some Italians because he knew that being excellent to each other was far more important than being afraid of death.  And to many others, words spoken by an angel to teach us the way forward.
Wouldn’t it be insulting to your god to think that he created billions of people, but only a handful are his chosen ones?  What kind of dickhead god is that?  Why would he make us if he only made some for himself?  Geez god, you’re a racist douche, and wasteful too.  All that clay wasted on the untouched, on the heathen.  You could have made like, a trillion turtles for all that effort.

Shit, we can’t even get along with non-humans come to think about it. 

And I’m equal parts heart-broken and angry, because it’s the same goddamn thing.

Its Richard the Lionheart, Grand Crusader for the Cross of Christ, burning Acre to the ground killing everyone inside, women and children.  All for the Christian faith.

Don’t think that because it happened so long ago that its not relevant boys and girls, time is, as Rust says, a flat circle.

ISIS took Aleppo, they burned the ruins of thousands of years.  They killed women and they killed children.

Boko Haram has stolen more children than we can ever count.

Catholic bishops and priests raped, tortured and mutilated thousands of people just to get them to confess to unimportant heresies, the office of the Inquisition is still an active office of the Vatican.

We embroidered yellow stars on Jews to point them out to the population, only later to use it as an identifier as to whom should go to the camps.

Now, some brainiac in the US wants to give Syrian refugees special Ids if they come into the country.  Hahahah I did Nazi that coming... get it?

Of course you do.  How sad is that?

Around 70 years ago.  Japanese pilots invoked the spirit of the divine wind and killed their enemies in their thousands.  There are Buddhists actively participating in the massacre of the Rohingya people. 

There are priests destroying children, safe in the knowledge that the Vatican will protect them. 

God blew down the walls of Jericho, God burned cities to the ground... holy cow god, you’re pretty freaking scary when you pick sides in a fight.

You can ‘yeah but...’ all you like, but this smells like human nature to me and then we blamed something so much more gorgeous than ourselves for our stupidity and called it righteous.  Same mongrel, different collar and everyone is doing it so if you’re going to point the finger, remember there’s three pointing back.

So here I am, forlorn and disheartened and needing something to hang on to.

And here’s the thing, the only thing we really have is each other. So I have no choice but to hang on to you guys and believe we’re more beautiful than this. 

And I have to believe the fairy tales that tell me, time and time again, that good people triumph because there has to be a reason we tell these tales. To light tiny candles in the deep dark.

If we tell them enough, they just might start happening.

So I’ll take the words of a widow and I will only love.  And I will take my indignation and turn it into a shield because I will not be manipulated.

And I will be the first to say sorry, even though I haven’t done anything.

I’m sorry that I am often helpless to help.  I am sorry that I too am quick to judge.  I’m sorry, I forget you’re human too.  I’m sorry, I want to give you a hug, but computer screens prevent that.  I’m sorry that all my good intentions and love and well wishes sometimes can’t stop the hate or the anger or the loss or the sorrow.
I’m sorry, I don’t have the answers.  I’m sorry, I will always be ignorant about something.  I’m sorry, I sometimes just wont understand.

But I have to remember these things, so that all my apologies can become steps forward.  So maybe I’ll read some history on the internet and find out what everyone was doing back then. 
I’ll go to that soup kitchen, or that library and have a bizarre conversation about haunted trains, because I’ll still learn something and I’m sure that guy appreciates telling me all about it.   

And I’ll try to walk half a mile in your shoes, especially if they’re Vivienne Westwoods. 

And I’ll believe the stories and fairy tales about heroes and good people because maybe if I believe hard enough.  They’ll come true. Because even if they’re just fairy tales, I’m still pretending to be a better person than what I normally am.

Because Terry Pratchett, may his magnificent soul rest in peace – was right all along.

And maybe the only good thing I can ever do is spread the word of my own personal prophet to you.  Because his words have saved me and my human, stupid, full of holes heart more times than I can count.

THE SUN WOULD NOT HAVE RISEN

‘Really? Then what would have happened?’

A MERE BALL OF FLAMING GAS WOULD HAVE ILLUMINATED THE WORLD

‘Ah’ said Susan dully. ‘Trickery with words. I would have thought you’d have been more literal-minded than that’.

I AM NOTHING IF NOT LITERAL-MINDED. TRICKERY WITH WORDS IS WHERE HUMANS LIVE.

‘All right’, said Susan. ‘I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable.’

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO.  HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN.  TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

‘Toothfairies? Hogfathers? Little-‘

YES. AS PRACTICE.  YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

‘So we can believe the big ones?’

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

‘They’re not the same at all!’

YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET – Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME... SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT IS JUDGED.

‘Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what the point-‘

MY POINT EXACTLY

THERE IS A PLACE WHERE TWO GALAXIES HAVE BEEN COLLIDING FOR A MILLION YEARS, said Death, apropos of nothing.  DON’T TRY TO TELL ME THAT’S RIGHT.

‘Yes, but people don’t think about that,’ Said Susan.

CORRECT. STARS EXPLODE, WORLDS COLLIDE, THERE’S HARDLY ANYWHERE IN THE UNIVERSE WHERE HUMANS CAN LIVE WITHOUT BEING FROZEN OR FRIED, AND YET YOU BELIEVE THAT A...A BED IS A NORMAL THING. IT IS THE MOST AMAZING TALENT.

‘Talent?’

OH YES, A VERY SPECIAL KIND OF STUPIDITY.  YOU THINK THE WHOLE UNIVERSE IS INSIDE YOUR HEADS.

‘You make us sound mad,’ said Susan.

NO, YOU NEED TO BELIEVE IN THINGS THAT AREN’T TRUE.  HOW ELSE CAN THEY BECOME?

I think I’ve had enough of a rant, maybe my venting might help you digest some of your thoughts.
Cancer is a shit and so is blind sightedness and there’s too much loss sometimes. And sometimes it isn't fair but if we don't wear our hearts like armour then we will never become strong. 

So lets make new things. Better things, that they may carry the better sides of our nature.

And if you ever need a holler, a virtual hug or a chat buddy, I'm here, wherever that may be.
/peace

T

Thursday, 29 October 2015

NOPEtober and associated Gifs

Goddamnit!

It's almost the end of the year.  How the hell did this happen?


Its been an interesting month. Work still goes, and I'm still adjusting.  It's been a slog actually, I feel my metaphorical calves chafing from all that metaphorical uphill climbing. On the plus side, dem metaphorical glutes.  On the minus - dem glutes aren't real. 

It almost December - which means Christmas, which means I'm going to be eating so much and oh my god decorations and presents and the new year holy shit, wait...


I had plans! what happen!

In fact, I have recently been encouraged to write my short stories and such and start looking for ways to publish.  If anyone has any resources or sharing ideas, please hand them over!  I'm not expecting something lucrative, but I want to write to get better, get critique and collaborate with others.  That way I don't write in a vacuum of writer's hipsterness.

I feel like I have procrastinated a lot, even though I have done quite a few little things.  Seriously, what is happening October, it wasn't meant to be like this! Damn you Chris Evans! I developed a mild obsession with you as Captain America and have been re-watching too much Cap.

PHWOAR
But yeah, I have made a few little things, mainly props and pretty decors.  I may sell these things if anyone is interested. 
 
The sea in a jar and some crystals I grew myself
 
Bottled Galaxies

At least on the learning to make make-up front.  I even made a new palette - but more on that later.

Sparkly!
Oh and also, I sort of got tanned!

Anyway. 

The year has gotten a hold of me and shaken me around.  I almost feel like I've run out of time despite the fact that I still managed to find the time to write inane comments on movie forums.

I even saw crimson peak!


It was inspiring - I ended up drawing things and designing things that I want to make for future crafts-ing.  Man, I want to be adopted by Guillermo del Toro.  I'll live in his attic and make little curios for his cabinet.

I finally managed to take a proper course in making mineral makeup and boy did I learn a hell of a lot. And got a migraine.
Research!
Aaand - I made these!!! whooooo
Skin matching foundation, blusher, bronzer and eyeshadows

I'm really excited to make and learn more.  I'll stick to eyeshadows for now simply because that's a lot of powdery, glittery stuff to make a mess with.
NOT LIKE THAT!!!
We also had a labour day holiday and I took advantage to book the fam bam and I to go to the Gold Coast and spend some really relaxing time in Sanctuary Cove.

OOOOoooOOOOOO chick it ouuut!
We had such a worry-free time.  The hotel had a man-made lagoon where we just lounged everyday, like walruses in the sun.

The hotel is situated in a inland river cove so we visited the local marina, where they had little festivals and good, fresh seafood restaurants.

Then, the rest of October happened.  It was mostly work and some birthday parties.... and cake.
SOON
But I am heading to PAX this weekend and I'll probably have an update on that in November.

For now, I will need to get art and craft inspiration and cling onto my sanity as the year rushes on by the skin of my teeth. 
herping that drawing derp
So people - throw those ideas at me... my body is ready.


And as always - I'm leaving you with a funny video to watch and ingest as food for thought. 
STEPHEN FRY IS LEAVING QI WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MYSELF!!!!!!!
Except Sandi Toksvig will be the new host, and she's marvellous.

Just watch!!


Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Tapas Fest 2014 - My Spanish Adventure




So last September 2014 I went on an epic adventure back to my (other) homeland, Spain!

I took K and J with me as travel buddies (oh and mum too hee hee) and they're the best travel buddies ever!

We spent 4 weeks gallivanting around the peninsula and even though I was still mega sick with a borderline hangover style depression, I had an amazeballs time and got to reconnect to my old home and reminisce about childhood and meet with old friends and family.
Flying high with Monster Hunter - Achieving G-Rank at 5000 feet!
Mind you, the long flights are horrible, thankfully the Emirates long haul flights we took had a great collection of shows to watch like Community, Brooklyn 99 and some old school friends - awwww 
yeah!





Finally arriving in Barcelona, tired and excited, we met up with two other travel buds who decided the first meal they'd have in Spain was Burger King. WACK!

No worries, we were situated in a nice area that let us commute easily around the city and were near some really nice taperias.

We also arrived on the same weekend the Catalans celebrate the Diada, which is the National Day for Catalonia.  The streets were covered in yellow and red flags and everyone and they grandma was out on the street showing their nationalistic pride for their erm, province, dukedom, sovereignity, desire for independence which, as someone who was born in Madrid and studied Spain's history as an outsider was weird and fascinating to watch.

But hey, recent news says that Catalunya might go independent and hey, good luck to them, if it works out for them then good, if it doesn't well, you tried.

But Barcelona was lovely, it was warm and humid and my hair got greasy quite a lot.









We went to the Casas Gaudi, Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia, the Olympic Parks and ate as many tapas as I could stuff my face with.  I also introduced everyone to the wonders of my favourite cold sausage; Fuet.









Then we headed off to Madrid.  J, K and I took the bullet train and enjoy the super speed scenery while Mum went by car with the others.

And then, I was home!!!!  The first lovely thing to see was not only the amazing weather but that the Madrid Central Station - Atocha still had that adorable turtle sanctuary i








Every day I showed off something beautiful and unique and so very Madrid to my friends, I knew all the corners and haunts and niches as much as I encouraged we visit all the beautiful tour sites.  Eventually we all cut off into our own little groups, as a local there were some things I didn't want to see again and everyone being adults, made their own itineraries.  For one, I didn't go to El Prado art Gallery this time because I didn't want the usual overload migraine.

I caught up with my sis from another miss and my other family. 
The weather in Madrid was sublime and my hair looked quite lovely thank you very much.



From Madrid, we took little day trips to different nearby towns like the always beautiful Toledo and Segovia.  We binged on damascene jewellery shopping and saw the usual plethora of ancient ruins, Mega Churches/Cathedrals and ancient ruins.












Then, we headed south on the wonderful bullet train to Andalucía.  We settled in at Carmona, a small town near Seville where we stayed in an old palace hotel.  I had stayed there once as a child and the memory remains true to its beauty and tranquillity.





We spent a day in Seville because while it may be nice - and the cathedral is impressive, we were there for tapas, wine and Flamenco.  We attended a tablau and even though it is genuinely a touristy thing, we had a hell of a lot of fun. 







Next were my absolute favourite stops in the South of Spain.  Cordoba and Granada.


Cordoba is a delight - I love that town so, so, so very much that I'd genuinely consider moving there if it weren't for the fact that I'd have no idea what to do with myself.

Cordoba's town centre is almost unchanged from the way it must have looked like in the heyday of Andalucía.  The South was once a Moorish kingdom, with a culture based on a unique blend of Islam, Judaism and Christianity.  The kingdom was wealthy, progressive, prosperous and tolerant.  Had the catholic kings not driven the Moors out, we'd have a completely different Spanish culture.  



The Cathedral Mosque is the jewel of Cordoba.  Its origin lay in a tiny gothic church which eventually was built over with the grand Mosque of Cordoba.  The place is enormous and the architecture is sublime.  The Quibla (the corner indicating where you face to point to Mecca) is adorned with semi precious stone mosaic given to the Sultan of the time by the Christian Emperor of Byzantine.



Then, the catholic kings came in and shoved an overly ornate baroque church right in the middle of it.  The architectural disconnect is the weirdest thing you'll ever see and the gaudiness of the Christian décor contrasts with the beautiful and simple décor of what remained of the mosque.






Oh, and by the by, there just happened to be roman ruins next door, and in the basement of our hotel. Just cause... and cats that ambled about on the ruins...








Then we went to Granada where we visited the Alhambra.  The beautiful (read: breathtakingly beautiful) castle fortress of one of the last Sultanates to rule Al Andalus before it became a Christian kingdom.









The architectural style, although Islamic is unique only to Spain, form the way the tiles are designed, to the bas relief of the walls and columns.  But the structure of the building follows a uniquely Islamic home décor style of having a central courtyard with a water feature and having a crap load of trees and gardens to provide tranquillity and shade.



We also ate Tapas all day erry day.  At one point K walked in on me chowing down on a Fuet sausage with some slightly perverse gusto.  I swear to god it wasn't awkward.




We also saw some strange things - like the fact that dancing is not allowed when getting off trains.  And there's actual Fifty Shades merchandise....



But back to the food...



Of course, I had churros....

And everything else. And all the ham you can bust your gut at.




What you're seeing here is the free pile of tapas that you get when you buy a drink at a bar.  Yes, free tapas with every drink.




The measure of love is love without measure.

After our southern romp.  We headed back to Madrid.  By this point my fatigue was getting the better of me and my sleep and eating habits were slightly alarming my family.

Despite my incessant eating of Fuet, I was loosing weight and I was feeling nauseated quite a lot.

J and K took a short visit to Amsterdam, but since I wasn't feeling well and also, I wanted to spend time with an old friend who was also very sick, I stayed behind.  They had an amazeballs time, and I am feeling excessively jealous - but there's always next time.  I'm so glad they loved my other home away from home as much as I did.

Nonetheless, I shopped and shopped and ate and ate and wined and wined as much as by body would let me.


I got to visit old haunts and just generally chill out in one of the most beautiful cities that I've ever loved.

I felt the usual trickles of nostalgia and felt grateful I could show my two best friends the fun and weirdness of my Spanish childhood.  We even watched a Real Madrid Match. 

Needless to say - Madrid won

It was a wonderful holiday spent with wonderful people and even though I wasn't at 100% (and it went downhill when I got back but I got a holiday out of it so yey!) - I had such a great time and was so glad to have shared it with some of my favourite people.


Oh - and I introduced J &K to Gazpacho *pats self on back* - you're welcome guys.

Eventually we flew back to Barcelona for our last night there and flew back to Sydney.  We had a horrendously long stop in Dubai but thankfully managed to get a booking at the corporate lounge.  At one point we all got woken up by the call to Friday prayers, which as tired and as grumpy as we all were, I utterly loved listening to the ululations that called the faithful to pray.

I am heading off on another adventure this weekend and I'll tell you all about it next time.  I know this post is a year late but things really got weird last year and I wasn't going to be in a good writing mood to share the utterly breathtaking beauty of Spain with you. 

But here you go, I hope you're sufficiently jealous and maybe even inspired to go visit by beloved birth country. 

And since I've been gorging on these videos, I'll leave you with a relevant tale about a Spanish guy wrote an amazing book - explained to you by the coolest and knowledge-swollest of homies: