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Archive for September, 2011

The other day I bumped into an old friend. I don’t know her really well, but she’s one of those beautiful people who just make you feel good, and make you feel really special when they call you a friend. Turns out she’s pregnant, and so of course immediately after I saw her my mind starting buzzing with ideas of what I could make for her to celebrate the birth.

That night I was browsing through some beautiful quilts online and came across Elizabeth Hartman’s new quiltalong at Oh Fransson. The Billboard Quilt is not only gorg-e-ous but it uses Elizabeth’s “Map of the States” technique that I’m so keen to try.

Elizabeth Hartman's 'Billboard Quilt' @ Oh, Fransson!

So I’m hoping to do a baby quilt for my friend with a small number of letters (probably 6), using mostly scraps from my own humble stash, and some “borrowed” from my mum’s.  Excited to get started on it, but determined that it won’t affect the other stuff I need to get done like study, work, etc.

Wish me luck!

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This is remarkable film documents the first contact between the Desert People, the last group of the Aboriginal Martu who were still living in the desert in the middle of the twentieth century, and white European Australians. The story is told, using both archival footage and current interviews, by Yuwali, a 62 year-old woman who was 17 in 1964 when the “contact” occured.

At that time Yuwali lived in a group of about twenty with her mother, aunts, nana and many children of various ages. There were no men. Hundreds of kilometres away scientists were preparing to launch a test rocket which would crash back to earth within a huge “dump site”. Two (white) men were sent to check that there were no inhabitants in the area, expecting to find nothing. Yuwali’s account of what actually happened is riveting, terrifying, haunting.

Alone near the camp with the other children Yuwali saw the giant rock they used to play on rolling around their camp. Then two men appeared, two “white devils with plates on their heads”. They were too scared to move and waited for nightfall to run away, following Yuwali’s mother’s tracks out into the desert. Eventually finding her mother, the whole group flees through the desert, terrified being caught and eaten by the cannibals who were persuing them.

Just one of the striking things about this film is hearing Yuwali talk about her life, describing normal, everyday activities which to us are so new and foreign. Also their response to and reasoning the new things that happened to them was so different, so that hearing Yuwali speak was like a light going on in a dark part of your mind. When they were finally taken away in cars she described the experience, “we saw the trees and bushes start running. We were scared we’d be thrown out.”

Being able to see glimpses of their desert lives in the archival footage was really amazing. Walking naked through the desert they just seemed to belong – it made me think of how ridiculous it’d be if my pasty white self was there. It just wouldn’t work. But Yuwali and her family really belonged there. They could survive with almost nothing. The physical beauty of their home is also represented in the film, so that you envy them for their belonging there, and you appreciate just what they lost. Their spiritual attachment to the area is also represented in the film and it makes their abduction from their even more savage.

The documentary also features interviews with one of the whitefellas who was also there at the first contact. It’s interesting to hear his view, particularly on incidents which are also described by Yuwali and her cousin (or half sister?) Thelma, often with a conflicting account. It’s so fascinating how they explain past events and have the experience now to compare their different ways of life, before and after they were taken. The wearing of clothes, for example. The have no use for clothes in the desert and when the whitefellas clothe them the garments seem slightly superfluous, ill-fitting and absurd.

Their language (Martu), too, is really nice to listen to. In New Zealand we officially acknowledge that Te Reo Maori is a taonga, Maori language is a treasure, but even so many of us feel we don’t use it, respect it enough. Although Australia is our close neighbour, I feel like we know nothing of their indigenous culture at all. It’s invisible. Even when you go there, Australia looks like a white country which celebrates its immigrants but denies its original inhabitants.

This documentary is poignant, powerful, beautiful, painful, shocking… but most of all I think I just feel lucky to have seen it. Grateful that Yuwali shared her story. Many of us have wondered what it would’ve been like for an indigenous population when they were thrust into the outside world for the first time. Or what it would’ve been like to be that person from the outside, knowing that you were the first they’d ever seen of a different race, culture, way of life, the first contact. So this film is really extraordinary.

Directors: Bentley Dean and Martin Butler
Starring: Yuwali, Thelma Judson

Before came a book,  Cleared Out: First Contact in the Western Desert by Sue Davenport, Peter Johnson and Yuwali

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Every sport has its “hooligans” and lots of us have probably been intimidated at a sporting event where rowdy, drunk spectators get violent and abusive. That was the problem in the Turkey soccer league where fans stormed the field and attacked journalists.

As a punishment the team supported by the out-of-control fans, Fenerbahce, was ordered to play two home games without spectators. However the soccer association changed the ruling and instead decreed that only women and children under 12 years-old will be allowed to attend games involving teams sanctioned for unruly behaviour. 

That strikes me as genius, and a little bit sexist.

So over 40,000 free tickets were given out to women and children and the game went on! Before kickoff players from both teams threw flowers into the crowds. The stadium full of women had an awesome time, and the players seemed pretty stoked, too.

It was such a fun and pleasant atmosphere. At first, we Manisaspor players couldn’t believe in what we were seeing and hearing

          Manisaspor (the visiting team) midfielder Ömer Aysan is quoted as saying.

Apparently there was even a force of female-only guards outside checking to make sure that no men entered the stadium.

For the first time in ages it seems the fans cheered for both teams and the game went off without a hitch, despite a potentially dodgy offside ruling by the ref. Nice one, ladies!

I reckon that looks like good times!

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If you pray, I think it’d be good if you pray for the people of Pakistan. They’re going through some stuff right now. And by “stuff” I mean water. Lots of water.

When you see it from the air you get a sense of the scale of what’s happening.

Imagine that your home was in the middle of there. Imagine the pain of leaving it. Imagine the terror of physically trying to leave it, but of having no dry ground to walk on for miles and miles. That much water is horrifying.

I think after experiencing our own natural disaster here in Christchurch I have a renewed empathy for people who experience life-altering events like this. It’s not just the fact that your life has changed, it’s the manner of the change. A violent wrenching away of everything you knew and an unceremonious discarding of your life into a whole new existence.

In relation to the Canterbury earthquake I always feel that there are so many people much worse of than I am. I almost feel guilty. I feel crazy lucky that this happened to me now, when I’m young, when I’m not responsible for anyone else. Seeing how the quake affected the elderly in particular has been quite hard. Old people aren’t meant to have to deal with things like that. When you’re old, alone, scared of everything and physically unable to cope with the conditions of a natural disaster it must be so hard. The knowledge that your world will not recover in your liftime must be paralysingly horrific.

I hope when I’m old, I won’t have to go through that.

But this man does have to. 

So maybe, if you sometimes pray, you could pray for him. And his neighbours. And the 7.5 million other people affected.

It’s a year on from the first Christchurch earthquake. What’s still so evident to us here (though it’s not really newsworthy elsewhere) is the thousands of ongoing affects on all our lives. In Pakistan the floods of 2010 and the current flooding have destroyed immense amounts of crops and livestock (= money and food for humans and non-humans). When the implications of this are considered it is really overwhelming.

So, if you pray, please pray for Pakistan.

Would you like another way to help? There are appeals.
“Appeal” is a weird word, isn’t it? Like, it’s what you do when someone’s about to kill you with an axe – pretty intense – but it’s also a word you hear all the time in relation to people wanting needing stuff. We become a bit numb to it; I guess we have to.

If you’d like to spend your money on this instead of on some new fingernails or a steak or a movie, you might like to check out the

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Song: Don’t Look Back in Anger
Artsit/Group: Oasis

Yes, I too think the opening bars of this song are a shameless ripoff from Imagine. And what’s with the Beatles glasses in the vid? I like to think of it as a tribute.

I got this tape in the United States that had apparently been burgled from the Dakota Hotel and someone had found these cassettes. Lennon was starting to record his memoirs on tape. He’s going on about ‘trying to start a revolution from me bed, because they said the brains I had went to my head.’ I thought ‘Thank you, I’ll take that’!
                                                        – Noel Gallagher, Oasis

I love this song because it feels oldschool. First released in 1995, I first listened to it when I was too young to listen to the lyrics or care who sang it. Now it feels like a rocky pop-song that’s trying come off as deep, but is really just awesome for chilling out.

Slip inside the eye of your mind
Don’t you know you might find
A better place to play

Sometimes after too much American pop, it’s nice to get back to some britpoprock. It’s comfy, and easy to listen to. And it feels familiar. Like an old falling-apart sofa that’s been sitting on your porch forever.

So Sally can wait, she knows it’s too late
As she’s walking on by
Her soul slides away, but don’t look back in anger
I heard you say

I’m not a huge Oasis fan. I just don’t even know many of their songs. I’m not sure they’re the huge revolution that everyone seems to think they are, but I think they’ve got a pretty cool sound — no matter what shenannigans they might get up to.

I don’t actually know anybody called Sally. It’s just a word that fitted, y’know, might as well throw a girl’s name in there. It’s gotta guarantee somebody a shag off a bird called Sally, hasn’t it?
                                  – Noel Gallagher, Oasis

You can watch the US version of the song’s MV on YouTube, and look at the song’s lyrics here.

(The lyrics link is to a fresh-lyrics.com page – pop ad and not sure how accurate the lyrics are in some places). Noel Gallagher quotes used here are from wikipedia (and are therefore 100% guaranteed legit. Owait. They’re not).

 

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I was flicking through channels tonight and found a show on TV called Big Ideas for a Small Planet. As a show about sustainable/eco-friendly living I thought it was quite cool ‘cos it showcased designers and companies who actually utilise environmentall-friendly practises in their businesses every day.
 
One of the companies featured was Rerun Productions, a small business that makes lamps out of salvaged and repurposed materials. I say “one of the companies” but what was really featured was not the company but the Bewley family, who came across as a very friendly, close, “normal” family. Except that I guess most “normal” families don’t go into business together designing and selling eco-friendly art, do they?
 
Old propane tank
The show followed one of the men (sorry, have forgotten names!) as he visited various places to salvage materials like discarded wine bottles, brake rotors, propane tanks and computer parts. From these unlikely beginnings come stunning works of art that also serve a function in buyers’ homes. So much design, work and resources go into creating something like a break rotor or a propane tank, and it makes no sense at all to just discard them when they get old or something better comes along. There’s beauty there, and the Bewleys can see it.
 
Below is one of their designs made from the curved top and bottom of a propane tank, welded together after the middle section was removed.
Excalibur lamp - Bewleys Rerun Productions

'Excalibur lamp' (aka Propane lamp) from Bewleys Rerun Productions

The show also showed mum Bewley (Jan) making the eco-friendly lamp shades which looked like a very fun (read: messy) process. According to the company’s website

Our lamps and furnishings are around 80% recycled, being comprised of salvaged materials , including brake rotors, guitar strings, piano strings, computer parts, propane tanks, reclaimed woods, and just about any other usable scrap parts.

I can’t see any prices in the website’s gallery, but on the TV show they said pieces cost around US$150-800. That’s a lot, but these are both pieces of art and quality household objects which will be the antiques of the future. I say, if you’ve got the money and are looking to decorate your home with nondisposable furniture, then this’d be a great way to spend it!

Recycled Wine Bottle Chandelier from Bewleys Rerun Productions

'Recycled Wine Bottle Chandelier' from Bewleys Rerun Productions

I’ve reserved a place in the entrance to my dream house for the Rcycled Wine Bottle Chandelier. Colours and light!

It looks like the 15min segment on Rerun Productions from Big Ideas for a Small Planet is featured on their website. Worth a watch just to see the raw selvaged materials transformed into stunning objects of want.

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Being a woman

Being drafted

Losing my lining

Fighting the scarlet crusade

CSI: Vagina

I’m a Potential Murder Suspect (PMS)

On my moon

My cup runneth over

Trollin’ for vampires

Sitting on a nice merlot

Leak week

Going through a detrital phase

Being visited by Aunt Flo, Uncle Red, Cousin TOM (Time Of the Month) and Gramps.

With Moses

On the bus (Bleeding Uterus Syndrome)

Not praying

Rebooting the Ovarian Operating System

Reasserting my femininity

Being visited by the red bird of bitchiness

Over The Rainbow (On The Rag)

Shark Week

My vagina is emo (it’s so desperate for attention, it’s bleeding)

T-minus 9 months and holding

Visited by the red fairy

Flying Bravo

Bleeding the lining of my uterus through my sexual organs in a very painful way

 

Do you ever find yourself with a series of browser tabs open on a range of fascinating topics with absolutely no clue of how you got there? Clearly, I do. The above are some of my faves of the myriad euphamisms I found on the interwebs for having your period (in case you hadn’t figured it out by now) (If you hadn’t, I’m not judging you).

Some of them I find to be hilarious, others painfully realistic. But the overall response I had to the whole thing was: why do we have so many euphamisms? Is something that half of the people on earth experience for 1 out of every four weeks for most of their life really that taboo that we have to invent code words just to explain why we can’t go to the pool on Thursday?

That’s a bit scary, isn’t it?

I mean, we think we’re all modern and that but heaps of women still need code words to ask their husband to put tampons on the shopping list. Really? Teaching new generations to be ashamed of something it is natural and healthy for them to do and that they have no control over? Really? Do not make me give you the “being a potential childbearer is a powerful and treasured thing and womyn should be revered” speech. ‘Cause I will!

Obviously, some of them are just for fun. For example, I can’t wait for someone to ask me why I’m slow/emotional/leaning against something/can’t make it to Zumba next time I have my period. For the answer shall be “CSI:Vagina”*.

That’s similar to another fave of mine (and something which may have originally prompted my menstruation-related brower tab); No Strings Attached was a pale flop of a movie for me, despite performances by both the resplendent Natalie Portman and the wonderful Greta Gerwig. However. As many have noted there was one awesome scene. That’s right. The period scene.

Adam breaks the “friends with benefits” code by visiting Emma when she (and her two flatmates) are sick at home with their periods. He brings donuts and a frank, overly-caring sympathy for their condition. The scene is both awesome and hilarious because periods just aren’t like that. Periods gross guys out. And/or embarrass them**, and girls are often so ashamed of them they’re wary of any guy who is curious/sympathetic.

It’s here that Greta Gerwig as Emma’s friend Patrice, while lying on the floor stuffing a donut in her mouth, delivers one of my favourite movie lines ever.

It’s like a crime scene in my pants.

Instant hilarity. It’s like the filmmakers forgot that this truth that all women know is a total secret that we’re not supposed to talk about – and she just said right out loud! It’s funny ‘cos we’ve all been there (well, us ladies, anyway). And she’s so adorable.

I recommend going on YouTube to watch this scene, rather than renting the movie. Sorry, but I do.

"The Period Scene" from the film No Strings Attached

The other thing Adam brings Emma in the scene is a mix CD. A period mix CD. See? It’s funny, ‘cos in movies guys are supposed to pretend periods are revolting or they just don’t happen, but instead he’s being nice to her! Ya geddit?
The tracks on the CD are listed below. Enjoy!

1. Evenflow – Pearl Jam
2. The Tide Is High – Blondie
3. Red Red Wine – UB40
4. Sunday Bloody Sunday – U2
5. I’ve Got The World On A String – Frank Sinatra
6. Muddy River – Johnny Rivers
7. Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis
8. Here Comes The Flood – Peter Gabriel
9. Red Rain – Peter Gabriel
10. Waterfalls – TLC
11. Red Red Rose – The Weepies
12. Red Tide – Neko Case
13. Why Does It Always Rain On Me – Travis
14. I Love You, Period – Dan Baird
15. Just A Girl – No Doubt
16. Here Comes The Rain – Eurythmics
17. Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.
18. Stormy Pinkness – They Might Be Giants
19. Time To Flow – D-Nice
20. Blood Is Thicker Than Water – Wyclef Jean featuring The Product G&B

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*Provided that that person is a close female friend. Otherwise it’s a bit graphic and I don’t wanna inflict that on someone. (I find “I’ve got my period” suffices in those situations).

**Yes, this is a horrible generalisation. Yes, guys who don’t freak out about periods do exist and yes, I find them very attractive.

>> Many (many, many, many) words that people use for menstruation can be found here. Warning: surprisingly addictive

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