Monday, 23 February 2015

"Feminine" and "Masculine", it needs to stop.

Back when women were trying to assert their rights, it was all about how women could do what men did, and to a degree it still is.  Women can build houses, women can shovel dirt, women can drive trains, women can fix cars and computers.

This attitude though ignores one little fact - the jobs that have always been considered feminine, like sewing, nursing, teaching, motherhood even - they still need doing.  Unfortunately what we're seeing is a world where being feminine is being seen as being weak, and to me, that's not true equality.  This is the same attitude that believes that if a man is raped or suffers from domestic violence at the hands of a female that he deserves scorn.  The notions of "feminine" and "masculine" need to go if there is to be any smidgen of hope that there will be true equality of the sexes (male, female or otherwise!).

To me, true equality will be when a man can be a stay-at-home parent without being judged.  When a woman is not seen as "ditsy and dumb" when she wears a pretty dress and a bit of make up.  When a man is not considered weak for crying.

I can't fault the womens rights movement, after all if it weren't for those first women then I certainly wouldn't be typing this.  However, I think a change in ideals is needed. We all know that anything men can do, women can do too, now how about the opposite?  That anything women used to do is still worth doing and in fact is needed to be done, and men are just as capable as women at doing it.

The worst people for this attitude are easily older males.  All of my co-workers often disdain men who act feminine - and don't like it when I call them on it.  I have often asked "What's wrong with being feminine?" "Oh, it's all right when WOMEN do it." "But I act masculine and you don't have a problem with that, why is it a problem when men act feminine?" Cue a lot of dodging the question and getting flustered.  It's a piss-poor attitude and one that needs to change.  If women are now allowed to wear pants, then men should be allowed to wear dresses WITHOUT the bullcrap!

The only issue anyone should have with this photo is that parasol with that dress.  
HELLO, colour co-ordination anyone?!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

100 Years Ago

February 22, 1915.  It was a Monday, so I would have been at work.  Of course, World War One was well in swing by then too.  Bombings were happening, fighting was rife and Australia and New Zealand were planning to take Gallipoli.  I probably would have been working in a workroom, sewing clothes, or perhaps I would have been in a military office, filling in forms and taking care of paperwork.  I could have been a nurse too.

I wouldn't  have been particularly worried about footy for a start - all of the boys who are currently on an AFL Club list would more than likely be getting ready to be sent overseas to fight.  My worries about having a new favourite player (Justin Clarke if you're curious) would be non-existent. I'd be more concerned about him and the other Lions being sent to their deaths on foreign shores.  It's something I've often thought about - if we were ever to find ourselves in another World War (and let's hope NOT) then I'd dare say the pressure would be on every sports-person in the country to join the fight. Think about it - over 700 players in the AFL, 400 in the NRL alone, all of them already sorted into "units" and nearly all of them at peak physical fitness.  It's not a thought I really like to dwell on though.

My little brother too is of the age where he'd be ready to be sent overseas.  The older of my two little sisters is also of an age where she'd also probably be a nurse or a worker.  Thankfully the youngest is still only eleven and wouldn't get involved, but given the economic repercussions of the war, I doubt she would have gotten away unscathed.

My Dad most definitely wouldn't be a lowly Warrant Officer any more.  I reckon he'd easily be a Colonel or even a General (what, my Dad is awesome.  I'm allowed to pump him up a bit), probably commanding overseas.  He'd be a bastard of a commander though, and I'd definitely feel for anyone under his command - he'd be super tough to live with.

Even though ANZAC Day is still a few months away, the War itself lasted so many years.  It might pay to think about that every so often for the next few years.

If you feel like having a read, check out:

Lest We Forget.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Sexism in the workplace.

Background: I am the only female in the entire building.  The guys at work often have conversations that would raise the eyebrows of just about any decent human being alive, and I often laugh along with them.  We're all close friends, and all of them are a) married, b) old enough to be my father or c) both.

Of course, if the guys push things too far I politely let them know to back off, but it does raise questions.  The biggest one is: If I were to be sexually assaulted, not just by the guys at work but by any male, how much would his defence lawyer use my lax attitude around my co-workers to discredit me?

The fact is, unless a woman is a complete prude who always wears long pants and a heavy non-fitted jumper at all times, there's always going to be someone who blames her if she gets raped or sexually assaulted.  If a woman dares go to a late-night party and gets her drink spiked and gets assaulted, it's her fault for drinking.  If a woman goes out clubbing with friends wearing something flattering and gets assaulted, it's her fault for wearing something flattering and for being out at night.  If I were to get assaulted by a client, how much of that would be "my fault" for being too jovial and letting things slide?  The words "slut" and "whore" are still too easily thrown around, and not just by males either - women can be NASTY to a female that they think is too sexually liberal (why it's anyone elses businesses what anyone else does in their bedroom is beyond me) which leads me to my second concern.

The other is the issue of my standards compared to that of other women.  Up until the end of last year there was another girl in the office, who was a lot less forgiving about sexual jokes and innuendo. Subsequently all the blokes in the office didn't like her.  It makes me wonder if I really am okay with these jokes, or whether or not I'm just letting things slide for the fear of being the least favourite person in the office.  Of course, I shake this thought off, seeing as I start my fair share of questionable conversations, but sometimes I wonder what would happen if I were to pull the guys up.  On top of that, am I betraying my gender by being like this?  Am I betraying other females by laughing at "tits and ass" jokes?  When I think of the times I've laughed at the guys objectification of women, I remind myself of the constant objectifying of men I tend to do (hell, my friends and I have a rating system where we rate the backsides of our favourite cricketers and footy players).  I sometimes wonder if the fact that we shut up when someone from outside walks in is a bad thing.

It's no great secret that men and women, hell, everyone has a different view on sexuality and the opposite sex.  We all have a right to have our bodies and our standards respected.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Bali and the Death Penalty.

My opinion on the whole Bali 9 situation is pretty multi-faceted.

First off, even before this happened I was never going to set foot in Indonesia.  Something about their government and our international relations with them just puts me off.  So I'm not particularly affected by the whole "boycott Bali" thing.  If I'm going overseas, I'm going to Vietnam to visit GincDmon, Japan for the cherry blossoms or the USA to see a WWE event or meet Alan Alda.

Now, I have never believed in the death penalty.  For any crime, death is too easy.  If someone hurts another person, then they should be made to attone for it, not be given the easy out of dying.  On that note, it would be nice if punishments were in fact punishments.  Putting people in a nice cushy facility with three square meals a day with dessert is not cool.  If you are arrested and thrown in gaol, you should be working your backside off.  Make these guys dig up mud and make bricks, or sit them in a room (with no air conditioning) and make them sew school uniforms.  Make them work, don't kill them. 

That being said, these guys knew what the penalty was for messing around with drugs in Bali.  They knew the risks and they took them.  At the end of the day, they have no one to blame but themselves for their current situation.  Sure, they're rehabilitated, and if they were in Australia they would have the chance to make amends for their situation.  However, they're not, and that was their choice.  At the end of the day, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Finally, the whole hoo-hah about the Australian Feds tipping off the Indonesian Police instead of waiting for these people to return to Australian soil. At the end of the day the Feds made a decision based on the information that they had at the time.  Was it the wrong one? I don't think anyone has the answer to that.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

"BUY AUSTRALIAN!" How am I supposed to afford it?

Unfortunately for those who like their berries, Nanna's Frozen Mixed Berries have been pulled due to Hep A.

Now everyone is calling out for Australians to buy local.  I'd love to support my local farmers, having lived among them for 15 years, but I simply can't afford to.  With the price of rent, transport (whether I take public transport or not), electricity, gas et cetera going up, I can barely keep my head above water.  Every time someone mentions "savings" it's like a punch in the gut because there's no way I could afford it.

Are Australian producers going to lower their prices? Of course not.  Is the government going to make sure that employers pay their employees enough to keep up with the rising costs of living? HA HA HA HA! The fact is, if I want to be able to live and enjoy life, I'm going to buy the essentials that are the cheapest and hang where they come from.  Other people get to enjoy their lives, why should I suffer just because I get paid less when I work just as hard as they do?  Why should I feel guilty for buying cheap imports and monetizing my blog (yes, I'm doing it.  I need to pull an income in somehow!)?

There has to be a balance where the producers make a fair profit and the customers get a fair price.

Of course, it WOULD be nice if the imports were made to pass the same stringent tests as the local produce is, but that's another thing that will never happen.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Earth to Fans: I'll write it my way

I love the Naruto series and I will admit to being a NaruHina shipper.  This isn't to say I hate Sakura or Sasuke, personally I think Sasuke should have ended up with Karin (making him and Naruto proper family, as Karin is an Uzimaki) and that Sakura should have struck out on her own - she's too badass for any male to handle.

I also L-O-V-E the Harry Potter series.  Again, I'm a big Harry/Ginny, Ron/Herminone fan and a big fan of James and Lily Potter.

But alas there are fans who are upset.  NaruSaku fans, NaruSasu fans, Harminone fans, Snape/Lily fans.  Now, the Harry Potter fandom are pretty chill, unless you dare say the slightest thing negative about Snape, who, if you recall from the books, was just as nasty to James as James was to him.  Snape also had his own posse against the Marauders.  Naruto fans on the other hand...

Constructive criticism is awesome, but seriously? Sending death threats to Kishimoto? Calling Hinata names?  Throwing huge temper tantrums over social media?  Wow.

The fact is, as a writer myself, I know that not everyone is going to like how my story goes.  But it's MY story.  I can do with it whatever I like.  They're my characters, I'm the one who created them and brought them to life.  If you don't like what I do with them, you have a few options:

1. Stop reading.

2. Write a fanfiction detailing how YOU think it should be (seriously, this option.  This is a good option.  Go this option.  I wanna see a Chuckles and Giggles fanfiction!).

3. Accept it and enjoy the work for what it is.

Sending death threats and getting all upset is NOT the way to go about it.  People put a lot of hard work and passion into their art.  They're creating their own world, and because they want to entertain people they decide to share their world with everyone else.  One way to make sure that people stop sharing their work is to overreact massively when something happens that you don't like.

Be sad that Naruto didn't end up with Sakura.  Be upset that Lily chose James over Snape.  But no death threats.  Enjoy the works for what they are, and be grateful that people are creating books, shows, movies and manga for you to enjoy in the first place!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

I'm vaccinated, are you?

Yesterday I got my whooping cough vaccine (seeing as babies seem to be popping up everywhere at the moment).  Apart from my arm still being sore where the needle went in (which actually didn't hurt at all during the event, it's just NOW it's decided it's sore) I feel pretty good.  I found a place that does fried rice the way I like it (just outside the doctors too) and Australia smashed the ever-living crap out of England in the Cricket World Cup last night.

The thing that scares me still are the number of people who won't vaccinate.  Now, I understand there are people who CAN'T vaccinate - just like with any other food or medication there are people who are allergic to the ingredients, are already ill or are too young to have the injections.  It's THEM I got vaccinated for.  Because if enough of us are vaccinated, we can wipe out these diseases.

However there are STILL people who believe it's a big conspiracy, a way for the "Big Pharma" to steal their money.  I hope these people never take a painkiller or go to a doctor in their lives, otherwise they've just made the biggest hypocrites out of themselves.  I mean, really?  Getting vaccinated is one way to ENSURE the "Big Pharma" doesn't get your cash.

Actually, let's take a look at who the "Big Pharma" actually are, so that the "anti-vaxxers" can avoid supporting these evil establishments.  The some of the biggest players in the game are:

Johnson & Johnson
These people make bloody good band-aids, although I tend to use other brands as well.  They're also responsible for baby products such as baby oil and baby shampoo.  Their over-the-counter medicines include Nicorette (for those who want to quit smoking) and Sudafed (for those stuffy sinuses). They're also responsible for Listerine Mouthwash and the Stayfree line of womens sanitary products.

WOW.  Pfizer are responsible for a lot of antibiotics and other medications that you need a script for. Things like Viagra, ear drops, eye drops.  I got to admit, that website impresses me.

These guys are responsible for the wonders of Valium (aka diazepam) as well as a few anti-virals.

Lots of mothers would LOVE this company - it's the one responsible for that lovely cream Bepanthen. Young people would love them for their product Berocca.  Dads with bad toes and ladies with a bit of an itch downstairs love them for Canesten, Farmers love them for their wide range of herbicides.

The company responsible for Niccobate and Sensodyne (without which a lot of people could never enjoy ice cream).  Also responsible for my current sore arm.

So, to all those "anti-vaxxers" out there who "don't trust the Big Pharma" - are you SURE you don't trust them?

BTW remember to check out Chuckles and Giggles and also give artist Ginc Dmon a bit of love - he's opening up for requests of all sorts so if you're looking for someone to design your next tattoo or a nice piece of art to put up on your wall, give him a go!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Top Ten M*A*S*H episodes

This will be by far the hardest blog post I have ever written in my entire life.  M*A*S*H is the single greatest TV show ever to air ("Good-bye, Farewell and Amen" holds the distinction of being the most-watched episode of anything ever) and now I'm going to try and pick ten of my favourites.  Wish me luck!

10. "The General Flipped At Dawn" Season Three

"That General is nuts! I've seen that look in every Hitchcock movie!"

Harry Morgans (RIP) debut at the M*A*S*H 4077 as General Max Steele is easily one of the funnier episodes of the series.  My favourite scene is when he, Major Burns and Col. Blake are inspecting a new campsite - Frank and Henry warn the General that a salute will probably set the snipers off, but he inisists on one anyway.  Cue snipers and Frank and Henry suddenly thinking lunch is the best meal of the day.

9. "Kim" Season Two

"How can you make a mistake giving a kid his life?"

To be honest, if I'm going to choose between Trapper and BJ, then BJ will win hands down every time.  Trapper was just a little too much like Hawkeye for me, only with the added "I'm cheating on my wife" tagline. However, Kim makes me like Trapper just a little bit more, because it shows him as a great father, even if he is a bit of a lousy husband.
8. "None Like It Hot" Season Seven

"All right, let's hold our water everybody. This can still work. We hide this when we have to, we respect each others privacy, change the water every now and then and above all we be greedy and keep this thing to ourselves!"

There's no such thing as a secret when you work closely with other people.  You knew the minute that BJ and Hawkeye decided to keep their beautiful tub a secret that the news would be all over camp within a week.  This episode is NOT one you watch on a hot day, especially with one Maxwell Klinger trying to get his Section Eight by wearing his winter clothing in the middle of summer.  Also not an episode to watch if you have a sore throat.  Poor Radar.

7. "The Nurses" Season Five

"Did you ever show me any kind of friendship? Ask my help with a personal problem? Include me in one of your little bull sessions? Can you imagine what if feels like walk by this tent and hear you laughing...and know I'm not welcome?"

I've always loved Major Margaret Houlihan (Loretta Swit has to be one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen), not so much in the first few seasons while she was fooling around with Frank, but in the later seasons where she really came into her own as a character.  This episode shows how isolated her life is, being the highest-ranking female, the one who is torn between being a woman and her career.  It makes you wonder if she would have been with Frank at all if the girls had let her in.  I really do feel for the Major in this episode.

6. "Morale Victory" Season Eight

"Don't you see? Your hand my be still, but your gift cannot be silenced if you refuse to let it be."

Major Charles Emerson Winchester III.  Easily the most complex charecter in the whole series in my opinion, the snotty upperclass brat who is capable of the most amazing feats of compassion seen in the show.  This episode shows so beautifully how compassionate and passionate the man is, about not only healing the body but the spirit too.  This man is able to recognise beauty and acknowledge and encourage it, even if it far surpasses himself.  I wonder sometimes if the character ever had a family after the war, I daresay any child would flourish with a father such as Charles (where do you think the male lead of Chuckles and Giggles gets his name from?).

5. "Sons and Bowlers" Season Ten

"But...where I have a have a Dad."

I love this little combination of my three favourite characters - the emotional connection between Charles and Hawkeye (seeing more of Charles compassion and learning more about Hawkeyes past and how he lost his mother) and Margaret kicking bottom against the camp rivals, using not only her feminine charm but simply by being better than the boys.  She is such a kick-arse character!

4. "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" Season Five

"One part of the world has closed down for me, but another part has opened up. Sure I keep picturing myself sitting on a corner with a tin cup selling thermometors, but...I'm going through something here I didn't expect. This morning I spent two incredible hours listening to that rainstorm. And I didn't just hear it, I was part of it. I'll bet you have no idea that rain hitting the ground makes the same sound as steaks when they're barbecuing."

One of my number one worst fears (amongst my many, many fears) is going blind.  I'm too paranoid to go blind, I could never trust my other senses not to be fooled.  I'd constantly be questioning who people were or where I was, terrified that I was being mislead by people out to get me.  This episode sort of soothes me a bit, Hawkeye seems to wear his lack of eyesight very well.  It opens up a new world for him, that he would probably have never experienced if he hadn't lost his eyesight.  The fooling of Frank Burns is always good for a laugh too (fink) and the ending always makes me laugh.  There's sleezebags, and then there's Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce.

(By the way has anyone else compared barbecuing steaks to rain?  They do sound very similar!)

3. "Life Time" Season Eight

"If we cut off the blood to the spinal cord for more than 20 minutes he stands a good chance of winding up paralysed. What time is it?"

"1432 sir."

"Right, let's go!"

This whole episode is a race against time to get a new aorta for a wounded soldier.  Unfortunately the aorta they want is attached to a guy who's slowly dying and whose buddy isn't so thrilled about watching his mate get cut up for spare parts.  You know, just writing that made me look at my arm, at the little holes that will always be there from previous blood donations.  I keep telling myself that I need to go and fill out a form to become an organ donor, but I never get around to it.  It really needs to be an opt-out system, I hate to think of someone lying there near death and the organs that can save them just get buried in some grave.  What a waste.  I hope my family will honour my wishes to be used for spare parts, there's a lot of me that could be made use of.

2. "Bless You, Hawkeye" Season Nine

"Arsenic would solve your problems Pierce, I know it would solve mine."

I gotta use that line one day.

Another character I have a lot of love for is Dr. Sidney Freeman, the psychologist who comes over to play poker and help the staff of the 4077 (usually Hawkeye).  This time Hawkeye has a psychomatic reaction to stale water from a ditch, leading to some repressed memories.  I'm sure I probably have some repressed memories, for example I can't for the life of me remember what happened in September of 2004, although I have a seething hatred of port adelaide for some reason.  Brains are weird.

1. "Adam's Rib" Season Three

"I've eaten a river of liver and an ocean of fish!"

Pick any moment out of this episode and it's memorable.  Hawkeye starting a riot in the Mess Tent.  Forgetting the colesaw.  Just settling down for ribs and choppers come in.  The succotash in the stoal.  I love this episode.  Just watch it, the episode speaks for itself.

Anyone else feel like BBQ ribs now?