Work

I am in a gym with upwards of thirty special needs students and the energy is palpable. We are ready to “Work” because Rhianna, Lil Jon, Britney and Missy sonically tell us to. Welcome to Dance Group. When Nike creator Phil Knight talks about the universal human goal of achieving “oneness” he is probably referring to the simultaneous “stanky leg” we are about to achieve.

This is our school’s first after-school program. We are a dual-mode special school where all students have IQs below 70, some functionally independent and others with complex needs requiring assistance with personal care. Roughly 40 percent of the school is nonverbal. I love being the self-appointed dance teacher almost as much as I love being the self-appointed Athlete Development Coach, a title I invented to justify my level of intensity coaching basketball.

Last year myself and fellow colleagues coached our school’s first basketball team to compete against mainstream schools. Few people will take anything as seriously as I took that team. Maybe it was because no-one believed in us in such a classic Michael Lewis underdog type of way that proving our potential became all consuming. It was nothing short of inspiring watching the students experience the camaraderie, drama, discipline and identity that come with being part of a team. It doesn’t matter what you know until you know what matters. At our school, basketball matters.

The adage “Whoever Wants It Most Wins” is true in sports and in life but not in the way one would expect. Our school’s basketball team is a group of winners because we want it. The win is in the want. We care. At the core of everything worthwhile is what we have in spades: heart.

I came to Australia five years ago with little money and even less optimism. Shortly after I arrived a sharp-shooting principal offered myself and a dozen other foreign teachers a job with one stipulation: don’t quit after six months. Stay the year. Our school is a challenging environment where if you are not committed you do not survive. Us foreign teachers were given a chance with the 457 visa and in turn we wouldn’t quit on the special needs students when the going got tough. The school has many dedicated Australian teachers but also a sizeable contingent of foreign workers. Best fit for the job.  It works.

In April 2017, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that the 457 Skilled Worker Visa was to be banned, the same visa that myself and a handful of others were initially given. He will be replacing it with two new visas, a Short-Term two year and Medium Term four year Temporary Skill Shortage(TSS) Visa, with the objective of creating more red tape as well as preventing workers from staying with an employer long enough to obtain permanent residency.

Turnbull’s announcement to Make Migration Great Again was accompanied by a two-minute video where he explains that Australian jobs belonged to Australians. The birther argument is compelling to even the most liberal of patriotic ideologues: what makes someone deserving or undeserving of their job is what’s on their birth certificate. Until you are waiting in an overcrowded emergency room, or your train is delayed, or your child has six different teachers in a month; then your priority is most likely finding someone who is good at their job. A 457 skilled worker is very unlikely to be taking an Australian’s job; they are merely filling in the gaps.

Turnbull’s 457 visa eradication has conveniently crystallised just as Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” has come into vogue. There are 41 times more undocumented immigrants living in L.A. than there are 457 skilled visa residents in all of Australia, but Turnbull asserts that 457 visas are a problem and need to be abolished.

It is hypothesised that Turnbull’s Trumpthink is an easy way to execute coded appeal to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. Exclaiming “They took our jyoooobs!” (South Park, Season 7, Ep. 8) is easier than synthesising complex issues like bridging the ever-increasing chasm between housing prices and wages.

I would need to work at my job, which pays teacher market rate, for 486 years to have the property portfolio that Turnbull and his wife have. That’s 954,000 avocado sandwiches I could’ve eaten.

Days after Prime Minister Turnbull tweeted “Putting Australians first – the 457 Visa for foreign workers to be abolished”, he explained that he would be making the English Language Skills Test (a test that skilled migrants need to take for their visa and citizenship) more “meaningful”. He announced that he would be adding hard-hitting questions to the test such as:

“When is it appropriate to hit your spouse?”

and

“When is female genital mutilation acceptable?”

The addition of these questions such as these is quite possibility one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard, and earlier in the day a student answered “ruler” to the question 7 + 3. But to be fair I was pointing to a ruler. The ruler was at least pertinent to the situation. There is zero evidence that any 457 visa worker believes in or practises domestic violence, female genital mutilation or any other extremist illegal practice.

Perhaps Turnbull has taken some sort of advanced English language class himself by effectively associating skilled workers with criminal activity.

But let me ask you this, Mr Turnbull: is it appropriate to kill baby sea turtles and use them as hair gel? Answer the question, Mr Turnbull, and try not to use the n-word.

See what I did there? I Turnbulled the tables and asked patronising questions to make myself sound like a paragon of justice when in actuality my accusatory questions had no basis in reality.

Last year our school had a class, Room 43, with all the staples of a complex needs classroom: nonverbal, PEG feeding, absconding, hitting, spitting, biting, nappy changes, autism, average IQ probably about 30. One of the students experienced anxiety that resulted in him frequently banging his head on a window or an object, scratching or hitting anyone who went close to him. Within the first six months the class went through maybe about 10 different teachers. Room 43 was chaos.

One substitute teacher, Natasha, stood out and was hired for the remaining six months of the year. With some stability and organisation the class became a settled, welloiled machine orchestrated by a skilled teacher and educational assistant. Natasha has an equally difficult class this year and once again is working miracles, day in, day out.

Natasha and I play on an indoor soccer team and before a match one night I mentioned how I had seen one of her former students having one of his violent meltdowns. I expected her to vent and mention how she was relieved she did not have to deal with him anymore. Instead she said she wished she had been there, that he was just misunderstood, that she was always able to enter his world, that she loved him.

Natasha will be returning to Canada at the end of this year because under the new visa policy there is no chance of her securing another visa to continue working. “This whole visa situation,” she says dejectedly.

Sometimes whoever wants it most wins.

And sometimes they don’t.

 

 

Moooonttaaage!

 

rocky

We all love a good montage, which is French for “editing” and also rhymes with fromage (mmmmmm cheese montage working on my night cheese).

But these short sonic shots can be reeeeaaaal sexist. Man montage: training, sweating, working, achieving, kicking ass, maybe there’s a shed, something outdoorssweetest thingy. Woman montage: trying on outfits, sunglasses, a ridiculous hat, dancing, posing, laughing, hair flip, cat walking.

A man’s montage is a journey of will, a woman’s is a makeover. And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE montages. I enjoy watching someone run up steps as much as I do watching someone swipe their way through a department store. But montages contribute to the lies we tell ourselves and also to the amount of excuses I find not to go to the gym. Why do a chin up when all I need is lipstick?

It’s a romantic and oft repeated narrative that a woman’s mobility is her beauty and a man’s is his athleticism (both are lies, we all know this). In real life convenience trumps conventions so most people’s montage’s are simply a daily grind of whatever it is they do to pay bills. But montages have certainly shaped my ambitions, or lack there of.  There are few things I want more in life than to wear 

louboutin shoes

Christian Louboutin shoes. I’m convinced that when I become the woman Im meant to be, one that wears Louboutins, then I will be happy.

What would I be doing in these shoes? Where would I be going? How could I afford them? Why do I want them so bad? These are questions I have not answered but I know there’s a montage involved. I wish I lived in a world that shaped my ambitions to be a little less Devil Wears Prada and a little more poundee da pavement or Lord Knows. But buying shoes seems easier than doing sit ups, so I dream of red heels.

Hilary Clinton

Why Hilary Need the Female Vote

We are the closest we’ve ever been to a female American president. The most powerful person in the world might be a woman. Yet this is failing to resonate with young women as inspirational symbolism, probably because Hillary is as representative of young women as Jeb Bush is of young men, in the sense that they’re not. How many women can relate to being married to a president? To being secretary of State? To being paid 350 000 for speaking engagements?

But it is not her pedigree or privilege that makes Hilary unrelatable, it’s the fact that she’s unrelatable. Her answers are so safe that they teeter on boring, to the extent that you forget what she’s talking about. According to the media, the theoretical appeal of Trump is that he sounds like a doer who’s assertive in his convictions.

There have been many articles outlining the existing quagmire between Hilary and the female vote, when in fact it doesn’t exist. The “female vote” was crystallised by the media, the same media that made Trump a viable presidential candidate despite no qualifications. The New York Times had more stories about Trump on its website’s front page during the primaries then all the other candidates combined. His ascendancy has everything to do with his coverage. Trump was strategically saying shocking statements and creating controversy for the same reason an MMA fighter talks smack at a press conference- for the currency of attention-and credible news sources wanted the clicks and currency just as much as Trump. And it’s these same news sources that write about Hillary not having “the young female vote” like it’s a real story, rather than an easy heuristic headline to package the words “Hilary” and “Female”.

Because women have the same voting habits as the rest of the country: Republican or Democrat or undecided or apathetic. No one would say the “male vote” because that would sound ridiculous, just as the concept of a homogenous unanimous female vote is a blanket statement. There is no vagina based vote. Perhaps journalists assume that because Hillary is a woman they’ll cheer for her like she’s the starting pitcher at a baseball game.

Many spheres of pop culture that supposedly represent young women actually don’t. Look at all the excitement on tampon commercials. The baby pink packaging of the pill. Ke$ha. Cosmo magazine has featured some version of “105 Ways to Please Your Man” on its cover for the past 20 years. I’m fairly confident no woman has ever wondered “How the hell do I sexually please a man?!? If only there were a scouts-type manual so I could always be prepared.” And that new Bridget Jones movie – a movie about two hot men both vying to be the father of Bridget’s bastard bun in the oven. What? Having two men in perfectly tailored suits who want to take care of you as you enter single motherhood? How is that a plausible predicament? Meanwhile the rest of us can’t even get a text back from night shift Jimmy.

I’ve always hated the inherent vulnerability of being a woman, and I’m not talking about being physically weaker than males. I’m talking about the real economic cost of being a mom, especially if you’re a single one.

I spend $25 a month and endure unintended side effects like weight gain, insomnia and depression to avoid getting pregnant. And that’s just on my Netflix and NBA League Pass. I’m also single and on the pill. Women have more opportunity, freedom, and identities than ever before, and the irony is that it has never been more financially precarious to have children. Because who’s paying for all that? Night shift Jimmy?!

So even though the elusive “female vote,” the one Trump and Hillary must supposedly win over, isn’t necessarily homogeneous, there are serious issues, some of which can be classified as “women’s,” that gravely affect the well-being of the entire country: paid maternity leave, access to safe government-funded family planning, affordable child care, raising of the minimum wage, federal student loan programs instead of private state agencies, investment in female-dominated professions like education and nursing, the decriminalisation of being black and poor, addressing the debilitating and bankrupting cost of medical bills, and actionable steps to address the shrinking middle class.

And I hope Hillary wins for the same reason people believe in capitalism and the Big Bang: because there’s simply no better alternative. This has nothing to do with “I am woman, hear me roar” or an all-encompassing “female” vote.

Only a Michael Lewis type of metric could have predicted that a recession would result in America’s first black president. But sometimes indices of progress prove to be aberrations rather than examples of systemic change. Malcolm Gladwell discusses this in “The Lady Vanishes,” an episode of his Revisionist podcast. Here he uses the example of Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female prime minister, who endured copious amounts of overt and covert sexism, which she discussed in that famous speech directed at Tony Abbott, only to have Tony Abbott become prime minister two years later.

At the end of the podcast, Gladwell hypothesises that if Hillary becomes president America will be so content with its progressiveness that it will revert right to its business-as-usual, white-man-in-power ways. Basically, countries are like yo-yo dieters: they eat a salad or vote a woman into office, and then eat 12 Krispy Kreme donuts or never vote another woman into leadership again.

But Gladwell’s prediction of what will happen if Hillary becomes president has already happened.

This primary has been filled with backlash and binge eating. Obama, perhaps the most worthy president in American history, is now followed by an election privy to celebrity last names and the wealthy one percent. Obama was the “Audacity of Hope” to Hillary’s “Audacity of Taupe” to Trump’s “Make America Great Again,” which is as subtly racist as a white man sitting on his porch saying, “I miss the good old days when you could own blacks and beat women.”

The most damning evidence on the anti-Hillary train is that she voted ‘Yes’ to the Iraq war. Well what was Trump doing at that time: voting “no” to Miss Venezuela’s evening gown in the Miss Universe contest?

But if you like Trump, or dislike Hillary, that’s your opinion, and your own personal preference for someone cannot be wrong. Life is not an exam; you do not need to give three reasons to support your answer.

But aside from Hillary’s shady history of “email scandals” and Trump’s shady history of defunct universities an not paying his workers, Hillary is best fit for the job. It’s 2016 and the symbolism of a female president, in this case, means nothing. She is not a champion of feminism. The only obstacle prohibiting Hillary from becoming the first female president is not her “lack of female voters” but the media’s constant coverage of a white man who has been entitled to everything since the day he was born: money, opportunity, women, attention, and now the presidency. And it’s that symbolism that means everything.

 

Conor McGregor Talk

Clays bragging was a way to convince himself that he could do what he said hed do. I never liked all his bragging. It took me a long time to understand who Clay was talking to. Clay was talking to Clay.”  -Flloyd Patterson on Muhammad Ali

Conor McGregor asking “Press Conference? Press Conference?” the way Allen Iverson says “practice” is how I imagine the conversation with Dana White starting. “We ain’t here talking bout fighting. The fight game I risk my life for. We ain’t here talking bout cheques. We here talking bout PRESS CONFERENCES?!?!” and this conversation would lead to a series of tweets and status updates that unfolded something like this:

Conor isn’t showing up for the UFC 200 Las Vegas press conference

Conor is pulled from UFC 200

Conor retires- this tweet explodes the internet taking layers out of the ozone

Nate Diaz makes sounds that may or may not be language

Conor wants to concentrate on training and not “handing out flyers” for the UFC like a promo puppet

Conor is not retired. Conor will be fighting at UFC 200

Nate Diaz is making sounds again. Maybe he’s hungry

Dana White will only confirm that Conor is actually back on the UFC 200 card once enough cameras are around

Dana White announces Conor is not on the UFC 200 card and the main event will be Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier

So there you have it. Conor is pulled from UFC 200 for missing a press conference and replaced by Jon Jones: a man who just finished fighting at UFC 197 12 seconds ago and is still on probation for hitting a pregnant women with his car and fleeing the scene. Because that’s fair right.

A player pulled from competition because of a missed media obligation would never happen in a league with a players union or in an organisation thats run like a business and not a fraternity.

Some people think Conor’s being egotistical and out of line for not fulfilling his job obligations. But let’s understand the parameters and conditions surrounding this ‘job’: It has no health benefits, no pension, no stability, no five year plan, no holiday pay, no overtime, and no guarantee you won’t die. It’s a job that guarantees head injuries, but unlike the NFL few people involved actually make enough to have a mortgage or even forgo a second job. There’s no NCAA Div 1 or Div 2 Mixed Martial Arts. This is not a system. There’s no draft. The UFC doesn’t give you a highly paid coach or gym to train in, its all on you. All of it. You don’t get paid to train. You don’t get paid to do press conferences.

When I went to see a Conor McGregor vs Jose Aldo press conference Dana White talked 80 percent of the time. It was clear that he wanted to be a celebrity so shamelessly he made Kim Kardashian look like Sia. Press conferences, especially with athletes, are ALWAYS forced. They’re like a first date, only generic things are said and none of it matters unless it leads to some good action.

But Conor did the promo show better than anyone. The suits, the aviators, the trash talk, calling Nate Diaz “the skinniest fan man I ever saw”. He won over fans and transcended the sport. But that’s when Conor was constructing Conor. Just like Cassius Clay, he was convincing the world and himself that he was the greatest. If he didn’t believe he could beat everybody,than nobody would. He was finding his footing not just as a UFC fighter, but as a personality, a celebrity, an icon, and all of his verbal sparring was punctuated with that one punch knockout against Aldo in an astonishing 13 second fight.

But then he lost.

And thats where the UFC and Dana fail to show reason and compassion. Being in the spotlight is an excruciating spectacle when you’re coming off a loss. Just ask Ronda. Or anyone whose ever lost anything ever. You want to disappear completely. You know words can’t change the past or alter the future. I’ve already heard Conor McGregor talk more than everyone in the NBA combined. Does Tony Parker have anything to say? Who knows. We don’t need to hear him discuss “pick et roll” because all that matters is that he carpe diem’s.

If you were Conor the only self preserving story you could tell yourself is that you lost because of your demanding schedule. That you didn’t prepare properly. You’d never concede it was because Nate was bigger, stronger or had more skill. That would ruin you. That’s the difference between a fighter and a regular civilian. The fighter is going to keep going through sheer will.

Conor had no choice but to put his head down and train like a maniac. He knows no amount of press, luck, or celebrity will help him in the cage against another man whose goal is to violently destroy him, everything he’s worked for and everything he can become.

This whole no-show at a press conference debacle could’ve been handled more professionally if Dana had just said “Sincerely apologise, Conor has come down with a cold and unable to make this press conference. We will keep you updated” and then had a conversation with Conor behind the scenes to see what was happening. No one would have interrogated either of them. But instead Dana took Conor’s no show personally. He’d acted like he had been stood up on a date and responded by aiming to hurt Conor. He was showing him who was boss in the stupidest possible “I don’t care if this is going to cost the company tons of money and piss off the fans even though no-one really cares if you miss a press conference” type of way. The world loves Conor. Would you even leave your drink around Dana White?

Conor McGregor can do whatever he wants. He can go into politics and run for office in Ireland. He can star in movies or reality TV shows. He can start a nutrition company. Unfortunately the only thing he can’t do right now is what he wants to do and was born to do: fight. Someone has to look into these UFC contracts and perhaps hire some dreaded L-Words: lawyers.

I hope Conor wins his next fight, whoever it’s against, whether its Nate Diaz, Dos Anjous, or the UFC for taking away that ten million dollar pay cheque. The fans are on your side.

Dancing with Cobain

Nothing makes you appreciate the ground like looking out the window of an airplane. It’s hard to ignore the fact there is less than 15cm of material separating me from the outside sky and at any moment technical difficulties can result in a lethal free fall. Is it always this bumpy? My god I miss the ground.

Instead of thinking about plummeting to my death I start contemplating about how much I love being alive. There’s a sense of purpose exacted while buying eggs or folding laundry, deciding to go to a movie, deciding anything. I took these freedoms for granted when I was a mere ant on earth, instead of being up here in this sky tank jetting towards the future like a spacecowboy.

I start listening to Nirvana’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” a song that’s conviction and sonic genius will hopefully bring me back to earth.My recent interest in Kurt Cobain is wholeheartedly unoriginal and probably a decade too late. I am well past my teenage angst years but listening to Cobain’s grainy voice makes me want to fringe my hair and watch a Sarsgaard movie.

About a month ago I was at a bar drinking overpriced cocktails listening to an accountant talk about how all his money wasn’t making him happy, just like Kurt Cobain. I couldn’t help but wonder if he knew his basis of comparison was completely misguided. Cobain was a rock star who was unhappy, not an accountant. In fact I’m sure you’d be hard pressed to find me an accountant who didn’t occasionally fantasise about putting a barrel to his brain.

And this melodramatic man made me remember the onslaught of Nirvana posters that inhabited male dorm rooms the way Che Guereva or Bob Marley or Tupac did. Somehow the beautiful blonde front man of a 90s grunge band represents unhappiness and disinterest in conventional success and acts as refuge for any young male who sucks at sport. Because even though Cobain is the archetype of antiestablishment, many men of middle class privilege identify with one of the most prolific heroin addicts in history. I suppose this is the highest accomplishment for any artist as their job is to make you feel something, which is exactly what Cobain did through his music; but also through his death. And I suspect more so than any notable figure in the late 20th century Kurt Cobain  death altered the trajectory of his iconography.

And so my rudimentary  interest in Cobain begins. My pondering’s lay not necessarily towards Cobain himself, but how the modern day man sees himself in him. My friend Anna says I have a habit of conveniently only listening to information that supports my preconceived opinion while disregarding anything else*. For the most part she is absolutely right, as I am ferociously unsatisfied with people’s answers when I attempt to casually discuss celebrity deaths that resulted in altering their public perception. Most people mention Elvis, Michael Jackson, Martin Luther King Jr, Robin Williams, as well as 27 club members Janis Joplin and Jimmi Hendrix.

But those are just examples of famous people who have died. For instance, Elvis was infinitely more popular and beloved and iconic than Kurt Cobain. But his death is impartial to how he is remembered. If Elvis died in a car crash or stampede or alcohol poisoning he’d still be remembered in his white studded suit all the same.

One woman mentions JFK… and I am very satisfied with her answer. She explains she knows little of American politics (she’s Australian) but knows about the JFK assassination. She asserts she only knows about JFK because of the way he died. Good anwer 19 year old woman I forced into a conversation about death. Good answer.

A major consensus in the influential death department is Princess Diana. Diana’s death certainly resulted in the most amount of public grief, partly due to the magnitude of her celebrity, the ubiquity of media, the way she died and how young she was. But I also suspect it had a lot to do with her haircut.Many women felt personal affections towards her because she was graceful and beautiful and gave them the confidence to wear shoulder pads and cut their hair and divorce their husbands. Diana was a beacon of hope for any woman coming to grips with independence  and feathered bobs.

But the relationship that society has with JFK or Diana was not altered by their death, it simply immortalised them as the cultural figures they already were. Their deaths became historical events in and of themselves. Because no one references JFK or Diana or Elvis to describe how they feel.

When you see old Nirvana interviews it’s impossible not to view everything through the lens of “this man will one day shoot himself in the head”. That single act retroactively colours everything Cobain ever said or did to the point of perceived destiny. Because when someone tells you they’re huge fans of Nirvana, it is probably implicated they identify with Kurt Cobain. They’re telling you they know what it’s like to be depressed. They’re telling you they don’t find meaning in societal forms of status, and they’re asking you to love them for who they are and not what they achieve. And this would not be the case had Cobain died of a heroin overdose.

Perhaps this accountant is telling me he’s unsatisfied with what the future holds for him, or perhaps he’s informing me of his “disinterest” in money as a way to inform me he has a lot of it. Perhaps both. And like many men before him he will flash me his oversized watch the way a toddler shows you their toy, thinking you’ll be impressed. Men want you to know their piece is big and time valuable, and they probably compare watch sizes as a civilised form of arm wrestling. But R.Kelly just came on so we better go dance. God I love dancing. And we dance and dance and bounce bounce bounce.

But I will soon go home alone from this dance floor. No need for an accountant in this equation because I am so happy, so solid, and I’m not going to crack. I’ve built this from the ground up and I’m not going to play Jenga. I’m unmovable. I’m exactly where I should be soaring through the sky…wondering if Ill ever fall asleep or land safely.

* Danielle (Sister/Editor in Chief): I’m confused by this ending. What does crumbling have to do with anything like not wanting the accountant? And you use Jenga as a metaphor for why you are unmovable. Doesn’t work.

Me: The ending can be taken as a metaphor for the plane I was in at the beginning, which is actually my own head. “I’m so happy” and “I will not crack” are lines from Nirvana’s “Lithium” about bipolar disorder. The ending means I’ve finally learned to be happy, even if its only in my head. Once another piece is added (ie. an accountant) or removed (like, I don’t know, if I lost my Netflix) then EVERYTHING CRUMBLES. So I am unmovable

Danielle: Also I think you were off with the accountant’s intentions of telling you about his dissatisfaction with life. It’s a common tactic: they say money is not important, which leaves a vacancy for the girl to wonder what is important, and imagine that it is love, and that it is her.

Me: This isn’t an R.L. Stine choose your own adventure. I’m not changing anything. *Dammit Anna

The Unbeatable Ronda Rousey

WHY RONDA ROUSEY IS THE BEST ATHLETE ON THE PLANET: (I will refrain from writing this post in caps but let it be known I’m yelling) She is indisputably the best pound for pound female fighter in the world

Her last Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight on Feb 28 2015 was a record breaking 14 seconds

She is undefeated with the majority of her 11 career fights at less than a minute

She’s in the cast of Furious 7, making her the only professional athlete to star in a blockbuster of this magnitude (it grossed approx. $384 Million worldwide opening weekend) while in their athletic prime

When she says “I’m willing to die in that cage” it’s taken as truth

Because not even Dana White thought female fighting would be possible or profitable. rousey leather dree

Her mother was the first American to win the World Judo Championships. Her father committed suicide when she was 8 after suffering an injurious accident and mounting medical bills. She didn’t speak coherently until she was 6. She is the first American Olympic medallist in judo. Her training begins at 4:15am. Anyone who knows her attests she’s one of the most disciplined hard working athletes they’ve ever encountered. You couldn’t build a better fighter in a lab.

On March 29 2015 she made an appearance along side The Rock for WWE’s Wrestmania31, which was critically acclaimed and the most profitable Wrestlemania to date. To be clear though, MMA: Real. WWE: Entertainment.

She’s only 28

ronda-rousey-maxim-cover-6-1She had always wanted to look like a Maxim cover girl, so she changed the definition of what a Maxim cover girl looks like.

Because I know more about her bar tending job than I do about any of her previous boyfriends. Her narrative never wavers, whether it’s making cocktails or being the most dominant female athlete in the world, she defines herself by her work.

Because that Meisha Tate fight is one of the best of all time

UFC isn’t even legal in many countries or major American cities, and this simply makes her even more of a badass

Because every great sports story is about the uprising of an underclass, and Ronda represents any person who persevered when no one believed. The money is dictated by the power of television, and even though UFC is only available Pay Per View, the numbers have spoken: we want Ronda in the octagon. Because witnessing genius is sometimes the only thing in the world that gives you pause, and ignites whatever flame you have left of your childhood belief that anything is possible. Because anything is possible. Ronda

Fifty Shades of February

With the recent release of Fifty Shades of Grey, it made me remember my very first blog post three years ago where I ranted about February Movies. Thank you to the five people that read it, and thank you to the 60 000 people that read this blog in 2014. I appreciate anyone who visits my tiny underground internet labyrinth.

When I re-read my February Movie post I thought 1.) Somewhat accurate and 2.) Wow that was jaded.

That was the old me. The new me is more forgiving, for two reasons:

1.) As an adult I simply have less energy to be angry about anything that doesn’t directly inconvenience me. Porn, euthanasia, Katy Perry, suburbia, the patriarchy embedded in religion…my sentiment towards these issues borders on impartial. Sure I’m more educated about global issues, but this is merely an extension of being an informed adult. As long as my train leaves on time for work, I’m fine with Kris Jenner manipulating the cultural architecture of celebrity. The old me would have flipped a table at the mere thought of Fifty Shades of Grey. The new me would just dread having to pick up the table. That is growth.

image2.) My previous anger towards uncreative romantic movies was partially due to my own failings (Nancy Drew ova hare!). If a guy didn’t text me back, this was Hollywood’s fault. Formulaic scripts with rainstorms and weddings were leaving chasms in my real life causing insecurities to fester. Like many young women I was emotional about the grave burden of risk inherent in romantic relationships; that one day I could be impregnated and abandoned. Creating stability is hellaciously difficult in your early twenties, especially with young men involved. This all left me a little jaded.

I frequent online support forums for abandonment. I don’t know why, perhaps listening to stories of those experiencing my universal fear is a coping mechanism, but that’s not a satisfying answer. Intellectual justifications rarely account for what people do on their free time. Even the most goal oriented among us lack cerebral accountability for their Saturdays. We’re all just emotive animalistic beings during non working hours.

Through my perusing of support forums I realised something obvious but not often discussed: there is no one lonelier than a middle aged man who loses his family. For whatever reason, mom and the kids left, and there’s little chance of them coming back. Single white older men are the most likely demographic to kill themselves, and prior to visiting these support forums I predominantly viewed them as the arbiters of some sort of amorphous anti feminist oppressive status quo. Everyone’s vulnerable, and we’re all just trying to survive. Yes this is depressing. Surely there was a better way for me to articulate my maturity than noting my evolved sympathy for men. But understanding that everyone is powerless when it comes to love is the most romantic revelation one can have. There’s never a need to feel hopeless, because in a sense, we all are.

Happy Valentines Day

2014 Favourites

HERMovie: Her (Joaquin Phoneix, Scarlett Johanson)

About a man that falls in love with his phone. “Her” acknowledges the day to day existential quire “What if I’ve already felt everything there is to feel?” Okay I’m losing you…come back…ohhh gawd you’re watching a sausage dog video.

Book: “Flash Boys” by Michael Lewis

Even if you lack rudimentary interest in financial arbitrage read this book for the triumph that is Ronan. An Irish man with a potato famine work ethic who goes from pager salesmen to high frequency trader extraordinaire.

Also the classic Michael Lewis “no one believes in me but Im going to expose the flaws and change the entire system” character (think Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side” or Jonah Hill in “Moneyball”) is Brad Katsyuama from Canada, eh, Canada (that north north that up top that OVOwhich brings me to)

Musical Act: Drake (See: Mandatory Canadian Content)

Drake aka Aubrey Graham aka the human croissant tries Iggy Aza-level hard to be respected, is legitimately respected, but still manages to be a joke. Drake gave us some Wayne level genius this year (see: the catch up, only, who do you love) and also this which wasn’t even as bad as this.

swifty cat
Look at my face: I am a cat. Cat = Youtube gold.

Biggest Mystery: Taylor Swift. How and why is she one of the best sellers on the planet? How good is Blank Space? How BAD is Shake it Off? If you looked like a 6ft’7 feline rodent why would you wear that shirt?

 

Eyebrows. Check. Selfie. Check
Eyebrows. Check. Selfie. Check

Trends: Selfies. Prominent eyebrows. Girls with prominent eyebrows taking selfies

TV Show: The Mindy Project

“I can’t be somewhere in three minutes..I gotta shave this hot body from ankles to eyebrows. Also, I have to highlight and contour everything just so you’ll have sex with me. I’m basically CGI.” -Mindy

Comedian: Chelsea Peretti discussing a woman who only makes status updates about her husband: “But she doesn’t call him husband, which would be awesome, she doesn’t call him by his name, which would be great, she calls him by a word that I really feel is one of the more disgusting words in the english language; she calls hime her “hubby” which to me is on par with the N word.”

Hashtag: #illridewithyou

#icantbreath was the most impactful hashtag. But #illridewithyou completely flipped the script during the Sydney hostage crisisbreath where an “us vs them ” mentality could’ve easily crystallized. The hashtag flew through the internet like a dove prompting beautiful sentiments of tolerance and togetherness round the world.

Athlete: Neymar. For discussion purposes: Ronda Rousey

Twelve year old girls love Ronda Rousey. They love her the same way they love romantic movies with vampires and cancer patients. Being unbeatable in a cage is beseeching unrequited love for the championship belt of teen girl ideals.

Perhaps one day girls will discuss their fantasy MMA entrance songs with the same veracity as their fantasy wedding songs.

Mo'nePerhaps one day it will be common place for impromptu spin kick lady fights to ignite

Welcome to the dawn of the female celebrity athlete, Mo’ne Mo’ne Mo’ne, Mo’ne

My Jian Ghomeshi Internship

One woman's encounter with Ghomeshi that surfaced shortly after he was "being fired in my prime from the show I love and built and threw myself into for years because of what I do in my private life"
One woman’s encounter with Ghomeshi that surfaced shortly after he was “being fired in my prime from the show I love and built and threw myself into for years because of what I do in my private life”

*When I was in my early twenties I performed unfavourable acts in Jian Ghomeshi’s home. These acts included but were not limited to:

  • Folding laundry
  • Washing his deck
  • Cleaning his bathroom
  • Ensuring fresh cut flowers and soy milk were in place
  • Travelling two hours to IKEA to purchase a set of white candles
  • Organizing his CD’s
  • Making a scrapbook of him for him (he had collected the newspaper and magazine articles about himself, but I was instructed to purchase the scrapbook and assemble the homage)

These tasks were performed under the auspices of an internship with a three month unpaid probation period. Everything was done with my consent, free will, and the bright-eyed complicity characteristic of interns. When that three months was near complete Jian avoided my request to formalize a compensation structure and projected hours per week which resulted in my resignation. It was all very awkward.

My first week as an intern included getting a key to his apartment and my duties never went beyond housekeeping or running personal errands. I spent a lot of time in his home, either with others, by myself, or just with him. I never stepped foot in the CBC. My biggest task was probably purchasing his hair wax.

This was an exciting moment. Blegh
The irony of this email is that it says “Part of this message has been blocked for your safety” as it connects me to Jian

Being alone in the home of a man I barely knew could have resulted in an experience anywhere on the spectrum between Seinfeld’s “Kramerica” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. But it ended up being similar to the majority of unpaid internships; a colossal waste of time.

My final interaction with him occurred when he was surprised I was leaving his apartment to go to a paying job. “What kind of future does catering give you?” followed by, “Is that all you care about, money?” Did he think helping him pack a suitcase was a bigger priority for me than eating? In my experience Jian was cordial and nice but entitled.

I returned his key and never saw him again.

I now have full-time employment as a special needs teacher and the confidence to know my work is important, challenging, rewarding, and a means to support myself.

Jian is one of the rare people in the world granted a media platform and because of this he was able to convince a young woman that picking up his dry cleaning for free was an opportunity. Which says as much about my naivety as it does his ego.

Maybe an unpaid internship is a legitimate opportunity considering I’m an up and coming nobody and he is a prominent public figure. Or maybe it’s an abuse of power indicative of a man leveraging his celebrity to persuade young women he can offer a future. Or maybe it’s an innocuous occurrence that has nothing to do with anything. My unpaid internship can’t even be used as a footnote in allegations as severe as sexual abuse.

After the internship best friend Michelle and I thought it would be a good idea to egg his giant poster that hangs outside the CBC. We never actually did, but we thought that would be an appropriate level of justice.

But my opinion of Jian abruptly changed with that 1600 word Facebook post proclaiming his innocence prior to any allegations been made public.

Jian is a smart, articulate, media trained man with a team of lawyers and PR people so it is unclear what he thought “the truth” would accomplish.

His tasteless diatribe makes Lebron’s “I’m taking my talents to Southbeach” look like Lebron’s “I’m coming home”. A horrible PR tactic despite its hundreds of thousands of likes. Just because something is viral doesn’t’t make it right.

At best Jian portrays himself as a man who was wrongly terminated for his proclivities to have rough casual sex with younger women. At worst his post is a literal example of a man using his position of power to silence victims of sexual abuse.

He claims that his private life is none of his employer’s business. Why would a tax funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation whose prototypical star is David Suzuki of “The Nature of Things” be obligated to enable a man who engages in debatably consensual commitment-free violent sex with young women?

It takes courage for victims of sexual abuse to come forward, especially when the assailant preemptively claims “She wanted it!”,“Prove it” and “All of that is a lie”. Perhaps one of the most disconcerting results of this media blitz are peoples’ anger and threats to the allegedly sexually abused women. This doesn’t look good internet. Not in the least.

The CBC has provided Jian with a nice home, a voice, a personhood, a living, national adulation, and an intellectually satisfying career. And as it stands now alleged victims of his sexual abuse are being given a voice in order to take his away. The media can be used to empower or silence, and it is no one’s inalienable right to have a national radio show.

And yes Jian, it can be a scary world out their with no job and an uncertain future.

But the good news is I’m looking for an intern.

*I wrote this piece as a reaction to his now infamous facebook status update. As the story unfolded it became clear the CBC was justified in his termination.  It’s too difficult to articulate the sadness and anger I now feel about this man so I’ve decided to leave my post as my original logical reaction. Reading the stories of the unwanted sexual violence pretty much gave me a panic attack. You can’t read this Tornoto Star article or the many others that have surfaced and believe he’s innocent. Truth is beautiful. Fuck you Jian.

Iggy Azalea

IgazThe voltage of my existence may never go beyond my ability to comfortably afford public transport. Think of that “I want to win a championship” Brad Pitt speech in Moneyball. Now think of the opposite of that speech; that’s my life. All I’m trying to do is not go broke, get fat, depressed or pregnant. That’s my bar.

Which is why I’m glad Iggy Azalea exists.* Not too often do I go “how the hell?” but that’s what the “Fancy” singers sonic and physical incongruence warranted. Is she half black? Nope, from Mullumbimby Australia. My two hours of googling and youtubeing brought me to ‘Work’, which sounds like Eve and looks like Ciara.

Im been up all night, Tryna get that Rich, work work workn on my shit

Me like. Watching countless Iggy interviews (about 5) I was hoping the outback beauty would articulate justification for her cultural appropriation. Not the case. She deftly avoids any admonition for adopting the vernacular of a racial subgroup for financial gain (Specifically,  Atlanta).

I am at a bar/café right now, one where the constituents are predominantly tatted and label their diets. I am geared in my hipster boots and tortured soul. The man beside me just used the phrase “Dawkins posits” in casual conversation. 

During a GQ interview with NBA boyfriend Nick Young she quips “No Nick can’t rap, that’d be like me trying to play basketball”. A 5’10 athletic woman playing basketball is within the realm of plausibility as is an NBA player rapping. Iggy is nay aware of these likelihoods.

The fact she’s publicly dating an NBA player indicates she’s aware of her need to maintain a semblance of offstage congruence to her onstage persona. If she were to swap Nick Young for a Hemsworth brother her career would surely falter. You can’t spit “pledge allegiance to the struggle” then frolic with Thor.

Other than the fact she has thick legs, tiny waist, big ass (huge points) the crux of her stardom seems to be by association: T.I. the driving force of her fame. How much influence he has is not clear, but it’s there and it’s essential

twitterIf you like Iggy Azalea then you enjoy the song “Fancy”. If you dislike Iggy Azalea its because you believe that authenticity matters. You believe artists can be disingenuous even in a superfluous idiom such as pop culture.  But here’s why the concept of Iggy Azalea can be intellectually justified: Even though she’s not a game changer in the rap world by directly imitating it, she’s a game changer in the personal identity world. The predictive potential of her being a successful rapper at time of birth was zero percent. She exalted 100 percent intellectual agency over constructing her livelihood.  She’s certainly not a working class hero or bastion of economic mobility but she’s managed to manoeuvre out of a life her biology would’ve dictated.   This type of transformation is a positive direction for society. Yes ‘society’ is one of those amorphous terms that breeds banalities but Iggy cannot exist in isolation. If you believe the magnitude of Iggy’s lifestyle branding doesn’t reach beyond her own bank account, than you’re missing the bigger picture.

And though the mental image primed when I say ‘rapper’ is still more easily accessible than most other jobs (other than ones that directly depend on physique like athlete, ballerina, mime, etc.) at least Iggy slightly abolishes preconceived notions. Art and ALL WORK should be judged independently of the vehicle that produces it. Fancy and Work are good songs, independent of pigment.

Iggy gets to the core of any argument concerning validity with her direct and simple message in countless interviews (about 5) “Im making money from rapping, I wouldn’t be making money if I wasn’t giving people something they enjoy”. And I suspect she will reiterate this phrase until she convinces the world of her place in it.

However the argument she touches on tangentially when she says “culture doesn’t have a colour”is perhaps the most accidentally metaphorical. Here’s a quote

ATL Georgia booties look like this size, 23 waist, pretty face, thick thighs
ATL Georgia booties look like this size, 23 waist, pretty face, thick thighs

from a post I did in 2012 about Basketball and hip hop

“What do Nike and MJ have to do with hip hop? The ascendancy of hip hop is akin to a “virtually unknown black guy selling shoes to white America”.In terms of progress, no other type of music has become more prevalent in the past 25 years. Pop stars and rockstars have been the norm, now there are rap stars. And rap stars are as groundbreaking as a signature celebrity shoes in the 80′s.  For the hero worship youth, rappers project the coveted cool ethos and therefore act as the templates for imitation and identity association.”

Alright, yes I just quoted myself. But considering I used the phrase “cultural appropriation”earlier in this post I figured Ide reached the pretentious plateau. Editor in Chief/Chief Beauty Consultant sister Danielle notes that this theory is nothing new. She says it came to prominence in the early 90s when Tommy Hilfiger became  popular with urban blacks which then influenced suburban whites to start wearing it. Google finds me this:

Like so much of cool hunting, Hilfiger’s marketing journey feeds off the alienation at the heart of America’s race relations: selling white youth on their fetishization of black style, and black youth on their fetishization of white wealth.”

― Naomi KleinNo LOGO

Pretentious apex shattered. I concede EC/CBC sister Danielle’s point. But Im also suggesting (clears throat, “positing”, if you will) that its getting increasingly difficult to decipher rap and hip hop influence because its the dominant paradigm. Basically, rap and hip hop has become so prevalent it is no longer a subculture. It IS culture. Ubiquity diminishes geneses.

Iggy makes a flippant comment in one of her interviews “If people have a problem with me rapping then they should grab a guitar and put out a country album” The thought of Jay Z singing achey breaky heart is ridiculous borderline humorous. But its not so ridiculous for Billy Rays Hannah Montana daughter Miley Cyrus to have Wiz Kafhila and Juicy J on her album? Like I said: Hip hop culture has become so pervasive it’s eroding its provenance. Perhaps in ten years when an Australian puts out a record with an Atlanta swag lexicon no one will notice.

You can be whatever you want to be, even a rapper from Atlanta, you just have to work….nah get this work.

* Am I qualified to write a post about music? No. But am I qualified to write about a white girl who thinks she’s black? Perhaps you’ve never seen me dance. Im overqualified.

 

Netflix

It’s amazing how one mans personal vendetta against Blockbuster spawned one of the most convenient ways to consume entertainment.After Reed Hastings received $40 in late fees for Apollo 13 he knew the world needed changing. His spite eventually provided the masses with unlimited entertainment for a set fee of $8.00/month.  He brought us relics into world where watching 8 consecutive basketball documentaries requires no effort, cost, motion, or pants. Tis a beautiful thing.

I tried to make a list of my favourite documentaries but there were too many. There are supposedly 76 897 sub genres but I’ve managed to narrow my top docs to three categories: random, sports, and business. Click here for Top Sports Documentaries (number one is my all time favourite). And if you’re interested in business documentaries click: Top Business. Here are

Top 5 Random Picks

5.) Room 237 (2012)

A documentary that deconstructs The Shining. Listen, I understand the word “deconstructs” implicates boring but this documentary is fantastic. It makes a convincing case that Stanley Kubrick directed the Moon Landing. Imagine if that were true!? The moon landing solidified the shiningAmerica as an unstoppable superpower and made television the primary medium for consuming and creating culture. The theories are all supported visually with scenes of Kubricks movies. One theory I enjoyed  suggested how the hotel is a metaphor for consciousness (I think the third floor represented the dream world)? I can’t remember. I’m not doing this justice. Just watch it.

4.) Central Park Five (2012)

This documentary is like Memphis Three except about five young black men wrongly convicted of rape. The film illustrates the height of racial profiling during New York cities crime wave in the 90s. One crime expert (who was black) said when he heard the news about a central park jogger being raped his first thought was “I hope that wasn’t one of us”. That’s how bad and ignorant public perception was, if one black man was a rapist, it was to the detriment of black men everywhere.

cant waaaaiiit til Im a trophy wife *on 7th hour of Netflix, has exclusively eaten take out for the past 4 years
cant waaaaiiit til Im a trophy wife
*on 7th hour of Netflix, has exclusively eaten take out for the past 4 years

3.) Following Sean (2005)

Great documentary showing the passage of time. Shows a 1969 interview with four year old Sean and finds him 30 years later. When we first meet Sean he is a carefree son of two drugged out hippies, running around the streets barefoot discussing how he prefers to eat grass rather than smoke it. Cut to 30 years later and he’s leading a pedestrian life as a maintenance worker with a steady girlfriend. The beauty of this film is in it’s mundanity. Sean wasn’t exactly a triumph through tragedy but concomitantly well adjusted for the progeny of drug addicts. There’s a scene where 34 year old Sean is using a drill at work while talking about how his dad never influenced him. Cut to footage of 4 year old Sean being taught how to use a drill by his dad.  Everyone is influenced by their parents, even if they consciously choose not to be.

maxed2.) Maxed Out (2006)

There’s seven million documentaries about the evils of the fast food industry and very few about this pressing issue: Getting a credit card and racking up debt will RUIN YOUR LIFE. The documentaries most poignant interview is with two mothers whose children killed themselves. There is nothing sadder than watching a parent talk about their kids suicide. One of the sons had over 10 credit cards and $12000 worth of debt before he completed his first year university. The two mothers tried passing a law to make it illegal for credit cards to advertise on college campuses to no avail. You can’t fight Citigroup.

Mini Rant: Did any of us learn anything in careers? I actually showed up to that class so Ill answer it for us: no.  I was beyond financially illiterate until I was 22, and even now I’m just getting by. Why not give seventeen year olds a course called “Budgeting”?
But Maxed Out is only inadvertently about the rising cost of living and education, it’s primarily about the ruthlessness of credit card companies. The crux of the documentary is the trappings debt brings. Credit cards are supposed to help alleviate the feelings of financial destitution but in actuality they exacerbate it. If life were that Dragon Tatoo movie credit card companies would be the fat smug pervert ready to ass rape anyone who needs money.

1.)Monica and David (2010)

monica and davidIt follows a couple from their engagement to after the wedding.Both Monica and David have Down Syndrome. It’s just pure love. Favourite quote:

Interviewer: David, if you could change one thing in your life what Monica and Davidwould it be?

David: Nothing. Just more Monica

I could barely transcribe that without crying. That’s a lie I’m definitely crying.  I can’t even watch Rashida Jones and Paul Rudd pretend to care about each other now that I’ve experienced real life romance.  And by real life I mean Netflix.

Netflix: Top Sports Documentaries

5.) Bones Brigade(2012)

he's just a skater boy she said see you later...wait, what? u got sponsored for 10 million
he’s just a skater boy she said see you later…wait, what? u got sponsored for 10 million

An enjoyable documentary about five skateboarders (Tony Hawk included) who brought skateboarding from the fringe to the mainstream. Forget the Devil Wears Prada type of top down fashion construction. The reason ‘skater’ became a look is because a few key art directors crystallised physical talent into life style011 identities. Fascinating and exciting uprising of a subculture that never seemed very promising. Also Fred Durst makes a random unwarranted appearance, which is hilarious.

4.) Lindsay Vonn: In the Moment
Good training montages. Horrible hard boiled egg eating montages.

3.) Undefeated (2011)

My God, in terms of what you want from a sports film, this has everything. The intense training, the dramatic speeches, Varsity Blues level accents, failure, the undefeated 2pressure and fragility associated with having your body as a potential vehicle for socioeconomic mobility. Undefeated gets to the heart of why we watch sports: there is nothing else to believe in. Everybody worships, and what type of football you worship is geographically determined. Undefeated is about man v stagnation, one dead lift at a time.

2.) ESPSN’s 30 for 30 series

I have yet to watch one of these that wasn’t entertaining. So good I need to make a micro top 5

5) The Two Escobar’s

4.) Broke

3.) You Don’t Know Bo

2.) Unguarded

1.) Fab Five

They have so many documentaries about squandered potential. Failure is just as romantic as success.

1.) The Short Game (2013)

Over 300 trophies between these two OshKoshbogoshers
Over 300 trophies between these two OshKoshbogoshers

About the golf world championships for kids. Phenomenal documentary. World class athletes who make sand castles during their down time. Allan Kournikova (Anna Kournikova’s brother) is a hilarious little man. Amary Avery is a FORCE to be reckoned with and she’s an 8 year old girl. All of these kids work harder than any adult you know. You have to be a little crazy to raise a world class athlete but the dedication is inspiring to watch. Executive producers are Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel. Even if those two produce a kid it will not be better than this

Fight Interrupted: Sex and Suburbia

images-11

(Two friends, sitting in a cafe)

Girl 1: How’s the apartment search going?

Girl 2: Not bad. But there’s a surprising number of people who make fake craigslist ads just to send dick pics.

Girl 1: Really? That’s so much effort.

Girl 2: If you can be anonymously perverted from the comfort of your couch it’s really not that much effort. Stupid, yes. But I get it.

Girl 1:  Couch time, the ultimate comfort zone. If I didn’t have roommates I would starfish naked on the couch all day. Can’t wait til I’m married with my own house in the suburbs.

Girl 2:  You think being married in suburbia would allot that kind of freedom? A husband is just a roommate who sits on the couch all day, pretending to watch sports. And would you actually consider moving to the suburbs?

Girl 1: In the next 5 years, yes, I am. The price of housing in the city is ridiculous.

Girl 2: Suburbia constrains you by biology. Women and men get married-have babies. Cities invented the gays, hipsters, the career woman.

Girl 1: Cities didn’t invent being gay. You’re born gay.

Girl 2:  Well it gave them a place to dance. To protest. To have parades. Suburbia just gives you a place to park.

Girl 1: It allows you to own property at an affordable price.

Girl 2: Gridlock 5 days a week is a steep price to pay for abetting status anxiety.

Girl 1:  So is paying $25 for a burger because the place plays Radiohead on vinyl

Girl 2: HAVE YOU TRIED THOSE BURGERS??! But that’s why a city is awesome, it makes the visceral experience of eating seem culturally and socially relevant. Not even the vocals of Thom Yorke can intellectually heighten the stagnant cycle of commute, grocery shop, laundry, prime time reality television, make your lunch, repeat.

Girl 1:  There can be meaning in mundanity, in routine, if it serves a larger purpose. Eventually you might want something more than a good burger. Like a family.

Girl 2:  Since when is having a suburban mortgage the only qualifier to being a loving parent? That’s why were in this economic crisis. Because the middle class industrial complex made everyone think they should and can own a house.

Girl 1 You say things like “middle class industrial complex” like its a thing. Is it a thing? Either way it’s pretentious.

Girl 2: No one with my hair can be pretentious.

Girl 1: Your unkempt hair is a perfect example of how pretentious you are. You think you’re too much of an individual to look presentable.

Girl 2: You calling me fat?

Girl 1: No. I’m saying you could show a modicum of effort towards your appearance.

Girl 2: Listen, I like makeovers and montages as much as the next person, but Im acutely aware of a cute outfits ephemeral nature. How would my life be any different if I was wearing mascara right now? Maybe more guys would find me attractive…what would that entitle me to? Better sex? More money? Nicer apartment? There are plenty of pretty girls with shit lives who are sexually unsatisfied.

Girl 1: What are you talking about? How can you even pretend you secure orgasms with business men and bartenders alike? You dress like a lesbian. Last weekend that guy you were aggressively hitting on said “I have no standards” and you replied “Ill take that to mean you will protect and love me forever.” Were you even joking? I don’t think you were. Maybe if you dressed a little nicer you wouldn’t fall in love every time you sustain a conversation for three minutes.

Girl 2: He did love me. Real romance doesn’t last. That’s why Romeo and Juliet died instead of taking out subprime mortgages with the Montague’s and Capulet’s as co-signers.

Girl 1: Yeah, but Juliet didn’t only interact with Romeo when he was shitfaced. You try to convince yourself intelligence is inversely proportional to prettiness, but it’s simply justification for your laziness. Like instead of putting on lip gloss you’re curing cancer. And you say alienating things like “I could have had two abortions by the time we get into this club”

Girl 2: Sorry I don’t fit the cookie cutter template required to be a successful receptionist filing papers in between mat leaves.

Girl 1: Im not a receptionist. But please, continue to make sweeping generalisations about anyone who works behind a desk. Continue to have contempt for putting food on the table and having a steady paycheque.

Girl 2: Im not saying the necessities of life are stupid. Im just saying there is more to life than getting married and having a family and a two car garage.

Girl 1: Sure there’s more, but it still does not refute the merits of purchasing property.

Anyone over 24 knows disposable income is more important than vague conceptualisations like identities. I don’t give a shit about wearing an outfit suggesting I pop mollies before I deconstruct William S.Burroughs. It’s all surface level shit.  None of it matters. Incomes. Marriage. Property. Family. That’s real.Dieing your hair blue, tattoos, thats all bullshit. There’s value in coming home from work to people you love, in a place that’s yours.

Girl 2: Well have fun spending your weekends doing yard work.

Girl 1: Have fun spending the rest of your life with whoever you meet on Craigslist.

Girl 2: Thats snarky. I’m the snarky one.

Girl 1: Actually we both are. It’s because you lack the ability to construct a voice beyond your singular self. This was supposed to be a conversation but quickly derailed into an internal monologue.

Girl 2: Nah, we’ve been convincingly chatting.

Girl 1: Not at all. There’s supposed to be an id and an ego in these things. One representing the status quo, the other being exciting and progressive. This…this has been all id. All cerebral. Like Girl Interrupted without Lisa or Fight Club without Tyler Durden. And the centrality of those characters to the success of those films explains the inevitability of Bradgelina.

Girl 2: Rough segue way. But I’ll let you continue because I have no choice.

ImageGirl 1: See Fight Club and Girl Interrupted are very similar films, and the parallels of Lisa and Tyler Durden are why Pitt and Jolie are together.

Girl 2: This better be convincing.

Girl 1: Both films star protagonists grappling with an existential crisis and the tepidness of their projected future. This is always an alluring premise because it addresses the reason we watch films, which is to escape the mundanity of daily life. That’s why Garden State and Requiem for A Dream and Trainspotting and The Little Mermaid are classics. Their emotive truth stems from the simplicity of the central conflict: it is very difficult to feel/be human. To feel human is often just wanting to feel anything, either by regulating your internal state with drugs, going off drugs, or getting punched in the face

Girl 2: Right. Okay.

Girl 1: So you have Edward Norton and Winona Ryder moping about, seeking solace in professional counselling…cue the attractive compelling alter ego that doesn’t give a fuck about all the societal pressures that make people depressed. Inevitably Lisa and Tyler’s thrill seeking is merely self serving and sociopathic, and both are revealed to be fake and full of shit. Tyler Durden is fake in the most literal sense that he was a figment of the protagonists imagination, and Lisa because her lack of relationships and engagement in society makes her metaphorically dead.

But the most compelling characters in both those films are undoubtedly played by Pitt and Jolie.images-13

Girl 1: I agree with that part.

Girl 2: And both those films are better than the books they’re based on, which is rare, and those actors performances have as much to do with the cinematic edification as anything else.

Girl 1: This has nothing to do with Bradgelina

Girl 2: Of course it does. Every time you see Brad Pitt you subconsciously espouse him with the raw sexuality of Tyler Durden.  Every time you see Angelina Jolie you subconsciously espouse her with the magnetism of Lisa. Jolie and Pitt were perfect for those roles, and those roles ultimately solidified those actors as forever interesting people. Can you imagine Angelina Jolie’s career if she never had that role? Tomb Raider was hot. But it was an awful movie warranting her no acting cred. The entirety of Angelina Jolies alluded emotional depth stems from her performance as Lisa.

Few actors have ever played characters so convincingly the role will forever seep into how we view that actor as a person (television stars are excluded from this. For instance, James Gandolfini will always be Tony Soprano and all of his other acting roles were derivative of the Soprano template. Television is a character medium) The only other actor of comparable magnitude is Matt Damon.  He will always be Good Will Hunting. Sure Jason Bourne is his blockbuster bread and butter, but we all subconsciously see him as a genius from working class roots.

And I don’t think Jolie and Pitt are immune to these inherent projections. They will continuously be enraptured by each other because they’re both insanely girl-interruptedattractive, AND because their attractiveness can be commoditised to save you from the trappings of a menial vapid life. We’de like to believe Pitt could possibly be burning George Clooneys hand with acid or maniacally beating up strangers in bar room basements, but he’s most likely choosing sofas for one of his villas. Celebrities are intersting because they’re celebrities, but celebrity is an idea, and actors are just people who are more than likely less interesting than the characters they perform. Brad Pitt can get married to Jennifer Anniston, but the actor who played Tyler Durden cannot stay married to the actress who pumps out Paul Rudd vehicles. He needs someone with more emotional range, however constructed, and if this woman happens to be the most beautiful woman on the planet than so be it.

Girl 1: I completely disagree with this. Are you telling me that if Katherine Heigle played Lisa she’d be shacked up with Pitt

Girl 2: Definitely not. That’s exactly my point. Heigel could NEVER play that role. Heigel could never convince you she understands what it means to feel alive.  Pitt and Jolie are the only people that could have played those roles, and that is why Jolie ended up with Pitt.  Listen we all want someone sexy and interesting to save us…

Girl 1: This has to do with living in suburbia.

Girl 2: Sure it does. Stability is the antithesis of sexiness.

Girl 1: I think we’re through here.

Girl 2: Alright.

You Have Entered An Era

images-5

I watched the 2013 NBA finals series in Australia, a country where no one really cares about basketball. That is until a couple days ago, when the most genetically gifted specimen secured a second championship and crystallised himself as the greatest athlete on the planet. Then people noticed.

During NCAA March Maddness I would go to The Imperial and watch college basketball by myself. I would sit in my booth, Carla would bring me my Mediterranean Pizza, and nary a person would glance at the television.

Along came the 2013 NBA finals. I called The Imperial as per usual and inquired “are you playing the Spurs Heat game tomorrow?” to which Carla inevitably replied “what sport is that?” to which I would say “NBA basketball” to which she generously replied   “I’ll book it in for you”.

images-9Just to be clear, if Carla did not work at one of the main sports bars in Melbourne and felt obligated to look up this elusive “NBA Basketball” the bar would not have televised games 1-4 of the series. It’s a city of 4.25 million people and you can only get access to Lebron as per request.

Near the end of game 2 a man who was delivering bar rags stopped and watched the rest of the fourth quarter. In game 3 an elderly man on the way to the bathroom stopped and watched about 15 minutes of the third quarter.  Maybe I could organise a fantasy draft with delivery man and hunchback? Maybe I’ll just eat my Mediterranean pizza.

By game 5 everything changed. A few other people showed up at the bar to specifically watch that game. By the end of game 5 NBA basketball was on every television in the bar and every patron was watching it. They knew who Lebron was, and they knew they didn’t like him. I have no idea why people in Australia dislike him, yet ironically everyone with rudimentary basketball knowledge is a fan of Kobe Bryant, who is seemingly the easiest athlete to dislike.

When the Spurs won Game 5 the entire bar cheered, and I can guarantee you not one person there was a Spurs fans. A few people even images-7commented “Gewd to see Lebron James loose yeah” like he had taken their parking space. The rest of the basketball commentary had been relegated to their immediate viewing “Wow, that guy can jump high” and “thats a far away shot”.

The intensity of the series is what made people across the world pay attention. And the intensity emanated from a superhuman who solidified himself as impossibly unstoppable. This is his time.  Game 2 is when Lebrons “no effing way mode” first surfaced and game 6 is when “No efffing way mode” came back with a vengeance. Just as the Spurs were on the precipice of winning the championship, Lebron knew they were taking something that was his. The comeback in that game made you love Lebron, even if you had hated him for no legitimate reason.  A full bar watched Game 6, and other bars in the area were televising the game. Game 7 packed a full house at The Imperial, a bar who one week earlier could not tell you if Heat vs. Spurs was basketball or hockey.

And people went nuts. They cared. At this point everyone in the bar was there to watch this Lebron James. And even though there were many moments of doubt, Lebron got it done. We are in an era, whether you consciously recognise it or not. By game 7 no one was cheering for or against Lebron. They were all just witnesses.

Aint No Party Like an SBUX Party

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*Loitering at a bux  with Michelle was all I did from ages 16-26. Noting beats it. Hence, the SBUX song to your right.

Got a receipt saying “Please enjoy free SBUX WI-FI” which immediately made me think ( to the tune of SClub Party)

SSSSSSSBBBBUUUUXXXX,

there aint no coffee like an sbux coffee,

lets loits downtooowwwnnn,

gonna chill with Michelle tonight!!

SSSSSSSSBUUUUXXXXXX*

So I used said free WiFi to watch SClub 7s classic hit creatively titled: S Club Party. Please rewatch this video. You’ve already waited too long if you’re reading this sentence.  The cheesiness rivals anything made in the 80s. Three aspects of the party to note:

The Premise

The video starts with the SCLUBbers driving through a time portal to 1959. Why time travel? Why the year 1959? We’ll never now because neither has any relevance pertaining to the video or song. “Alright, lets have them in a dessert, but with classic 1950s style sand”

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1959 is kind of looking exactly the same as 1999

Joe

You will notice the most masculine SCLUBber is 1.) a female and 2.) named Joe. Joe, if you’re trying to convince the world you’re a woman maybe go with a less conspicuously “I could be a guy or a girl” name like Jaimie or Blue. Just look at these teeth. Yikes.

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“Oy, whatchu looking at?”
person who accidentally looked at her pisses himself

Jon Lee

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By far the best part of this video. His dancing. His sensuality. His authoritative S making. I think we have the real life Garreth from The Office if he were one seventh of a musical septuplet. I am officially commemorating Jon with The Ricky Martin So Obviously Gay But Came Out of The Closet Anyway Award. Vin Diesel is currently the biggest threat to Jons title. Your move Vinnie.

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For real, just in case you haven’t watch the video yet (or need to watch it again), please do.