28 February 2010

The handbag challenge

Many of my blog posts in recent weeks have been a little serious.

To lighten things up a bit, I am going to participate in this little quiz that Daughter of the Stars passed on to me.

Here is my handbag.

My Mum gave this to me on the day I received an award at work last year. It's by Olga Berg. I love it, especially the different patterned panels on the front.

I am a bit sad because the straps are getting worn, and that disappoints me because it's not that old. I think I will buy some leather off cuts and ask someone to make me some strap covers?

Anyhow, this is what is in my bag. Initially I thought it is a bit creepy to post this on my blog, and may attract crime. But then I realised just how much I share here - and none of that has attracted anything negative.

I like how what's in my bag holds some memories for me.

Lucas paw-paw ointment - I use this for my lips and also for my hands.

Packet of tissues - I am constantly wiping my eyes.

Leather key case with keys attached. I have a spare set but they are currently in my door.

Bloom make-up case - this was given to me from a friend at work who got it as a gift with purchase. I keep hand sanitiser, comb, perfume, mirror etc in it.

Envirosac bag - I bought this at the Salamanca Markets in Hobart, Tasmania. I like how compact it is and how when I go shopping, I will always have a bag.

Sennheiser headphones - these are the best! They have pleather ear-pads which are wipeable, and they fold compactly like a pair of sunglasses. And they have a great sound.

Moxie tin - filled with cough lollies, panadol, zyrtec, eyedrops.

Notebook - given to me by a friend at work for Kris Kringle in 2008. Sometimes I just have to write down ideas for poems. Not so much now I have my iPhone - I text ideas into it.

Pens - I have two in case one runs out.

Baby brush - this is to brush the skin from my clothes, especially when I wear black.

Purse - this was a Christmas gift from my friend Kristy. I love it - it's very pretty and leather and I adore the smell. I have a bigger purse which keeps everything much more organised - I think I should save this little purse for best.

Envelope purse carrying my iPod - I love this envelope purse I got at Dangerfield. It is so cute. The back of it has With Love written on it. I love my iPod too, though it gets listened to more on the dock at home, rather than on the move because my train trip to work is quite short.

iPhone - it has a purple cover. I don't really like having an iPhone. Mine is not very good at making calls. There's something wrong with the microphone. I like the apps on it - especially the train timetable, Facebook and email, and of course the notes function. It does everything but make calls.

Vaseline - this is pretty much what keeps me alive and looking youthful.

Something that is not in my bag but should be is my work building pass. I hope I'm not running around frantically looking for it tomorrow before work!

I pass the quiz onto

Faux Fuschia



Miss Kitty


Are you looking at me?

I went to high tea at the National Gallery of Victoria today with a group of girls I hadn't met before. We came together because we are all users of the Vogue Forums.

It was really good fun - they were all lovely and the food was great - there are no pictures because the ones I took on my iPhone are blurry.

When I was walking to the shops then train station afterward with one of the girls, she noticed a man staring at me as he walked by and asked whether it happens often.

I hadn't actually noticed him staring. I hadn't noticed because it does happens so often.

I can't think of a day when I've gone out and not been stared at. I can't think of a day when I haven't had to explain why I look they way I do.

I'm definitely used to it, and as I said, a lot of the time I don't notice it. Family and friends notice it more than me. But it does annoy me.

Sometimes I see people in conversation, then they see me and stop talking immediately.

Other times people stare and comment to their friends, trying to be discreet but I can always see them turn around to look at me before I've even walked past.

People shake their heads at me, probably wondering how I got so sunburnt.

There are kids that see me, stare, point, tell everyone around them how red I am, and their parents sit there and do nothing, or smile and look embarrassed.

I know my looks have scared children. I hate it when they see me then hide behind their parents' legs.

I can sometimes feel people staring at me from behind - they will stare at me when they are oncoming, and then turn around after they've walked past.

Sometimes I feel my presence makes people very uncomfortable. Like they may catch something from me, or they take pity on me.

I hate this.

I deal with it by ignoring them, or smiling at them, or asking if they are ok.

There's a line in a Darren Hayes song, Setting Sun, that reminds me of when people stare at me.

'Do I make you hot?
Do I make you uncomfortable?'

Friends and colleagues say people stare at me and ask questions about my appearance because they are concerned and curious.

I take no excuses. Even if they are children.

One should never stare at another person and point.

One should never comment on another's appearance unless it's a compliment.

Sometimes I just want to be stared at because someone thinks I am beautiful. Sometimes I just want to be wolf-whistled at.

26 February 2010

Switched on

I did a Body Balance class tonight for the first time in a few weeks.

I haven't been because I have either had another commitment on the same night as the Body Balance class, or I've been unwell. Tonight's class made me realise just how 'connected' I've been. And this connectedness, or being switched on, if you like, has led me to feel stressed and tired and I guess run down.

Tonight's class relaxed me so much. I feel calm, stretched, strong and focused.

During the class, I tuned out. I only focused on the difficulty of doing the moves and the pride I felt in accomplishing them. It felt great.

I was thinking about just how connected I have been, and how draining it has been for me this week - managing my work schedule, and others' schedules, committed to volunteer work, commencing uni for this semester, cleaning my flat, worrying about whether my shower is leaking into my downstairs neighbour's ceiling (apparently it's not), cooking meals for myself, communicating with friends and strangers in real life and online.... and this week, with my skin trying to heal and working quadruple time renewing, and my hand is still really sore from the IV, it's been hard.

I am worn out.

After the Body Balance class I treated myself to a late meal of salmon, fruit and juice. (I went to Coles Showground Village (the best supermarket in MY world!) to get my treats and the traffic was so busy because of a big music festival. I'd hoped to hear one of my fave bands, Placebo, play as I drove there, but nothing. As I type this, there are fireworks or gunshots going off. People are screaming and dogs are barking. I hope it's fireworks at the music festival. It's fireworks. Phew.)

It's not that I've eaten junk this week. It's that the antibiotics have made me feel so unwell that I've chosen not to eat much - so I've had cereal with fruit and juice for breakfast, a wholemeal toasted cheese sandwich with a salad of lettuce, tomato, purple cabbage and grapes for lunch, and a cup of stock for dinner. So I've been depriving my body a little, and last night I craved fat so I had french toast, and today I had fried noodles, pork and veges from the Asian cafe for lunch.

I realised I needed to nourish my tummy as well as my skin.

While I ate I sat on the couch and spent time listening to a CD - I wondered when the last time I actually listened to a CD was - fully concentrating, not skipping through the songs on the iPod because it's so easy to do - Silverchair Live From Faraway Stables - and browsed the Melbourne Fashion Festival program picking out (free) events I'd like to attend. I also read the Entertainment Guide in The Age and parts of the Melbourne Magazine.

It felt really good to just do nothing.

Well, just to focus on one thing - me and what's happening in front of me.

I've found lately, there's always something I could be doing. Checking out someone's life on Facebook or a blog. Checking the news. Flicking TV channels. Changing the song on the iPod. Changing my mind about my outfit. Starting a book and not finishing it. Choosing something else.

It's like we're faced with so much choice there's no time to focus on one task or give our minds time to properly think and absorb. They say generation Y is the generation of multitasking. Absolutely. There is a pressure to multitask, to always be switched on. To always be doing something, to be available and aware of what others are doing.

I feel the need to slow down. Of course, I need to keep my commitments - work, uni, volunteer work, health - but maybe just take some time to relax, sit back and do not very much.

Just because we sit there, looking as if we are doing nothing exertive, it doesn't mean our minds aren't running marathons.

Tonight's Body Balance class really clarified the need for me to relax.

This weekend I have bellydance, seeing a movie, going to High Tea and may view the Ron Mueck exhibition.

I bought a book that I want to read immediately. It is called Net, Blogs and Rock'n'Roll. The nerd in me has always been interested in the economics of technology (since I studied lock in and switching costs in 2001 at uni) and I am also interested in new media. This book is about the fan economy. I think this book will be just up my alley.

There will be two sleep ins. Some cleaning before the cleaner comes on Monday. Cooking. That's all.

I'm excited for the escapism of it all.

24 February 2010

Miss You Love - an analysis of a beautful Silverchair song

The other day when I was searching for a video of Silverchair's Freak song on YouTube, I came across their song Miss You Love.

Miss You Love is maybe my top favourite Silverchair song, and up there with favourite songs of all time. I adore it.

I also love with equal parts: Ana's Song, Emotion Sickness, Without You, Across The Night, Cemetery and The Greatest View. I pretty much like their old stuff better than their new stuff.

My love for their music is very specific. It starts at Freakshow and stops at Diorama. I think Daniel Johns looked his best in this period (despite his unfortunate illnesses of anorexia and arthritis) and their music was the most imaginative and beautiful.I love the metaphors in the lyrics, the theatrics of the music particularly with the Neon Ballroom and Diorama albums. I am not keen on Young Modern nor Frogstomp apart from Tomorrow.

I think Daniel Johns is so creative and articulate, and damn good looking to boot. His honesty is refreshing. I really admire how he has overcome his adversities. I once met Ben Gillies when he played in Tambalane. I asked Ben how Daniel was. He said 'aren't you going to ask how Chris is too?' - I was very embarrassed.

I digress.

You may recall in this blog entry that Neon Ballroom was one of the albums that influenced me during 1999.

I loved the darkness, and could relate to some of the isolation Daniel Johns wrote and sang about.

Miss You Love was of course my favourite song, The lyrics are beautifully sad. There's a sense of love and despair because of the adoration from others.

Daniel said that at the time of writing Neon Ballroom, he was in a dark place and he hated music.

"I wrote . . . Neon Ballroom in that time where I hated music, really everything about it, I hated it. But I couldn't stop doing it and I felt like a slave to it."

I believe Miss You Love was written about the pressures of stardom Daniel (and probably Chris Joannou and Ben Gillies) felt at such a young age.

'But I'm not too sure
How I'm supposed to feel
Or what I'm supposed to say
But I'm not, not sure,
Not too sure how it feels
To handle every day'

That fame they had, at what, 15 years old? I can't imagine.

On Andrew Denton's Enough Rope in 2004, Daniel spoke of the overwhelming feeling of fame:

'I think having three million people owning the first thing that you've ever recorded makes you kind of have to live up to it, in a way. It kind of puts pressure... It put pressure on me and I was obsessed with spending every second of every day studying music and becoming better and better and... Just because I felt like I wasn't worthy of what had come to me at a really early age. I needed to live up to it, I guess, you know?'

I guess that is where my favourite line of the song comes from - 'I love the way you love, but I hate the way I'm supposed to love you back'. This line is beautiful, and selfishly, I always wanted it to somehow relate to me - where I wanted to be adored by someone but wasn't sure how to feel. I guess it does apply in reverse though - I am always on the unrequited end of unrequited love!

The video clip of Miss You Love is equally compelling.

Many of Silverchair's videos tell a story or are artfully directed, like short films.

Miss You Love tells a few stories of love. The detail is amazing.

It details difference audience members' feelings as they watch a film, and also the feelings of the film's characters, too.

Silverchair enter the cinema theatre via a back entrance. Maybe to avoid the crowds and the attention that goes with fame. Yes. They don't look on comers in the eye.

Daniel sits away from Ben and Chris, tense, wary, hands clenched and teeth gritted. Isolated. Thin. I feel sad for him. Like the song Ana's Song, this video probably reflects his life back then quite truthfully.

I love how immersed in the film and music the audience members are, to the point where Chris catches Ben singing along and they both laugh.

There's the guy who looks reluctant when his girlfriend takes his band in the first 'I love the way you love...' line.

The film's characters are two lovers on the verge of break up. Their subtitled dialogue says:

~'Are you falling asleep?'
~'No I'm falling apart.'


There's the usherette who is reading by torchlight through the film. I can't figure her out. She's emotional.

Sometimes I think she is immersed in the sadness or love story of the book she is reading, imagining herself as a character, trying to escape from he mundane reality of her job as an usherette.

Other times I think just wants to be noticed amongst the crowd because she feels insignificant - being stepped over by audience members. I can't help think she wants to be noticed by the reel operator. But he's being more than just noticed by another girl. And this probably happens every film he reels.

And then, the handsome guy watching the film intently. He sings along with the song. He looks uncomfortable in some parts of the film. Like he's identifying the situation of the lovers on screen. Like he's got a lover he's about to break up with. Is he walking out of the cinema before the film's end to make up or break up with his lover?

I love the way the video to Miss You love shows so much emotion from different characters.

Gosh that was an in depth analysis. I have not analysed something that much since year 12 English. But I love that video clip and have thought about its meaning a lot over these past 11 years.

I would love to chat to Silverchair about the thought process behind the making of the clip.

What are your thoughts on this remarkable song and video?

Here is the video and the lyrics.

'Millionaire say
Got a big shot deal
And thrown it all away but
But I'm not too sure
How I'm supposed to feel
Or what I'm supposed to say
But I'm not, not sure,
Not too sure how it feels
To handle every day
And I miss you love

Make room for the pray
'Cause I'm coming in
With what I wanna say but
It's gonna hurt
And I love the pain
A breeding ground for hate but...

I'm not, not sure,
Not too sure how it feels
To handle everyday
Like the one that just past
In the crowds of all the people

Remember today
I've no respect for you
And I miss you love
And I miss you love

I love the way you love
But I hate the way
I'm supposed to love you back

It's just a fad
Part of the teen, teenage angst brigade and
I'm not, not sure,
Not too sure how it feels
To handle everyday
Like the one that just past
In the crowds of all the people

Remember today
I've no respect for you
And I miss you love
And I miss you love

Remember today
I've no respect for you
And I miss you love
And I miss you love

I love the way you love
But I hate the way
I'm supposed to love you back'

(Miss You Love - written by Daniel Johns, performed by Silverchair)

23 February 2010

Reflection - live music, Darren Hayes

Today there was a massive protest rally in Melbourne to save live music. The Age reported 'the protest was organised in response to restrictions placed on small music venues under the government's liquor licensing laws.' Venues such as The Tote have shut down because of these laws.

I was unable to attend because I was at work, but I am fully in support of live music. It's sad that live music suffers because of drunken violence on the streets of the city and not in the music venues.

I've seen so many great live bands - big names and lesser known ones. I met one of my best friends at a Lazy Susan gig in 2006. I've seen countless live bands, and loved every single time.

I don't want live music to stop.

You can find out more about the SLAM rally at their website. SLAM stands for Save Live Australian Music, by the way.

A friend told me that Manchester Lane had shut down. Manchester Lane was an elegant jazz bar in Melbourne. I feel sad. I have only been there twice but those two gigs were some of the best of my life.

I saw Darren Hayes there twice. The first time on 13 September 2004 and the second on 22 March 2007.

These were amazing experiences.

I can remember the buzz before the show, and the way Darren looked at me during the show. Magic.

Here is a blog entry I did on my Myspace blog after the 2007 Darren gig. It really shows my excitement and passion for Darren.

My Darren Hayes experience in full
22 March 2007

I'm going to post a blog about my Darren Hayes at Manchester Lane expereince. An account of my experience rather than a review because to be honest, I can't recall everything about the music due to my overwhelming excitement.

Manchester Lane was to showcase some songs from Darren's upcoming album 'This Delicate Thing We've Made'. The doorgirl said there were about 150 people who managed to get in.

My friends and I got dressed up and waited outside the venue from around 4:30 pm, hoping to see Darren before he went in for the soundcheck. There were four girls and a bemused husband in our group. Lucy, Jaclyn, Tanya and her husband Brett. We all looked stunning in our dresses (Brett didn't wear a dress though).

I've never seen Darren with full on fans before. We were all excited, but I think I was physically by far the most enthusiastic. We stood outside the door behind the barrier, and everytime a car came in the alleyway, I'd run and peer through its window in case Darren was in it. I think at one stage, a driver waved me off because I was obstructing traffic.

We made friends with the security guard, Steve. I asked him a million questions, and he took a photo of the group of us outside the venue. I ended up making a documentary on my camera with Steve, interviewing him about how he felt about Darren and the world in general.

I also spoke to Troy, Darren's hairdresser, and commented on his trousers. I called them a 'manafore' - meaning male pinafore. (Jaclyn deemed them a 'pantafore', which I think is a pretty cool word). We conceded it's better than a mankini later at the bar.

We managed to see Darren very briefly as his car was up against the door and the crowd of screaming girls (yes, including me) was big. I did tell my friends that when it comes to Darren, I am all for myself, and true to my word, I ran on my own to see him, not looking if my friends were behind me. Jaclyn and Tanya managed to come, but poor Lucy missed out. Darren makes me turn into a shrieking monster I think, because when he got out of the car, I was shrieking and jumping up and down (the security guard told me they need a screamer there!). I thanked him for the tickets and he saw me, he said 'my pleasure' and then went into the sound check. I got one picture, well, he's about 1/8th of the picture and the stripey shirted security guard made up the rest of the picture! Darren and co went inside for the soundcheck.

Jaclyn saw Darren standing near the bar in the middle of their soundcheck. I missed him, but spent a great deal of time with Tanya peering into the window and trying to hear if he was singing.

We were finally let in after 6 pm. Our table was near the front, though there was about three people in front of us on either side of the table. There were three tables long ways in front of the stage. The meal was really good, especially the dessert.

In the pre-show music, Angus and Julia Stone's Paper Aeroplane song was featured, so i was very happy about that.

A caberet style singer called Antigone performed about three songs before Darren came on. She wasn't my cup of tea, but she was a powerful singer.

A short break before Darren came on and everyone was getting excited. As there were no cameras or recordings allowed, I did the nerdy journalist thing and got some paper out to take notes with. I ended up jotting down some lyrics and things he said, as well as part of the set list. I hope that doesn't contravene Darren's recording and posting online requests.

Jaclyn had warned me that his music was a bit techno, or at least, a bit different to what I may be used to - she had been to the Sydney show. I was expecting some Chemical Brothers type stuff, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Darren wore a black suit with black sneakers. The jacket had a strip of contrast trim down the front.

The music was very blippy electronic beat-oriented, despite the use of guitars and drums.

His first song was 'Fear'. I can't recall too much of it, I do apologise, because I think i was just overwhelmed with him coming on stage. There was quite a fast paced lead up, and some fast singing. Not 'I want you' fast,but fast enough to keep up with the beats.

His second song, Who Would Have Thought has been stuck in my head. One of the lyrics was 'who would have thought it could be this amazing... I had to find you, I had to let you know...and bring me back to you'... There are long verses and a lot of guitar.It sounds like a radio hit, if he actually releases songs from this album onto radio.

The next song, Carry On Dancing was impressive. I do like the theatrics of this song, in its originality, and to hear it live is always good. This version was quite rocky. The setlist says 'Carry On Amadeus'. Excuse my ignorance, but I don't know what Amadeus is. In this song I recall Darren dancing around the stage and being very animated with his hands. He introduced it saying 'this was my favourite song, when I was in That Band'.

'Unlovable' was the next song, kind of acoustic but fast paced at the same time. Unlovable has always hit me hard, especially seeing the back graphics at his Big Night In show in Sydney last year. This really made me stop and think. I know this song is big for Tanya too, and she was listening with great intent. He also mashed up 'Footsteps on the dancefloor' in the middle of Unlovable.

Darren comented that the front crowd were quite chilled and the back crowd was partying. he said 'it would be really cool if we could get party and chilled to have sex' and then said something about maybe causing a riot.

'Step into the light' was his next song. I can only recall one lyric, 'I've never been so in love before'.

Darren also included some anecdotes in the show, they were conversational and very funny. Not funny because he is darren hayes and he should be laughed at during every funny thing he says. But genuinely funny. He told a story of how he was in a vafe with bad service and the waiter apologised saying that Kylie Minogue was in before. darren said he's obviously not photographed enough.

He asked people to put their hand up if they didn't know he was gay, and he counted two people. He then said his mum did not know, and the crowd let out a sympathetic 'awww', to which Darren mocked us. "aww, poor thing, his mum didn't know he was gay'. he said his clothes in the 1990s should have been a dead giveaway about his sexuality.

He playfully commanded a setlist, which was already in front of him, and did a funny charades type thing with Shave on keys about what the next song could be.

The next song was How to Build a Time Machine, which was my favourite lyrically. Darren introduced it as one of his favourites, a song to 'try to drag some joy forward in some way'. He mentioned his marriage and falling in love and the crowd was extremely receptive for this, letting out a cheer. I did write a lyric down which I thought was breathtaking, and reminded me of Darren's incredible writing ability. 'I'll tell my reflection it's not your fault'. Wow. There was lots of guitar in this song. And two paces of music. Lyrically the song was about recalling events in his past and bringing something good from them.

He then sang 'I don't think you're ready for this jelly' before he did a gorgeous acoustic of 'I Like the Way'. I'm not keen on this on the album, but it was acoustic and the words were somehow more powerful. There was guitar in this one too.

'Words was his next song - introduced as 'a song about when I've spent all my anger and know I've done the wrong thing'.

I am thinking, as I type this, my notes paid off! It's good and useful to be a nerd.

He told the audience of how he was thrown out of a Whitney Houston concert because he was disruptive, on his seat, answering Whitney's large calls for dancing to the crowd. He said the bouncer had him a headlock and also felt up his sister's boobs.

The next song was 'I want you'. And he asked the crowd to stand up and dance. I stopped taking notes here, and everything went to a mushy state of euphoria because I ran up the front. I got quite close to the stage, very close in fact. No one in front.

I want you was fairly traditional. I loved it.

A girl had a teddy bear and she showed Darren, he grabbed it and tried to destroy it – jumping on it, pulling it, biting it. He said he 'did everything but have sex with it, it's indestructible'. In trying to destroy it, he let me tug on the other half of the bear, he pulled so hard I fell onto the stage! Later he apologised, saying 'sorry about before', I said no problem and I pointed to the newfound set list, asking if I could have it, he said 'of course you can'. Later I had to argue with the waiter for the set list.

Tanya and Lucy ran up to the front during 'On the Verge'. Jaclyn couldn't make it through the chairs in front. Brett was minding the bags at the table.

Tanya was so excited. More excited than me at one stage. She held my hand during the entire song On the Verge and we spent the song jumping up and down and looking at eachother and Darren in amazement. Lucy was having a great time dancing too.

He then played 'Me Myself and I' and 'Baby I am Popular' (a mashup of Prince's 'Baby I'm a Star' and 'Popular', but these are a bit of a blur to me. He did wink at Tanya in Popular and she was thrilled.

There was a short break and he came back to do Void. I really like this song, and again it was powerful live. At this point I was so happy with seeing him live I had tears in my eyes, and my arms were folded and I was contentedly singing along. He looked down at me which was amazing.

When he said his goodbyes, he leant down and gave me a hug then a kiss. The hug was genuine and lasted a good ten seconds. I can't recall much of it except the feel of his bristles on my nose. I keep asking my friends who were with me whether it was real. It was apparently. I was beside myself. So excited. That meant the world to me.

And that was it. Goodbye Melbourne. Can't wait til the album comes out in August.

After arguing with the waiter-cum-bouncer, I got the set list. It has their hotel details on the back.

We ran outside to the car waiting to take the crew away. Waited and waited. I kept on exclaiming how Darren is the 14th boy to kiss me.

Got no photos. Darren came out after Troy, he was bundled in a scarf and jacket in 35 degree heat. He pressed his face up against the window. Then the car drove off.

Oh what an excellent night.

I feel so honoured to have heard the music before the album release, and also for Darren's affection. My friends were truly appreciative too. We got an awesome table, thanks to Manchester Lane, and also the generosity of Darren for putting tickets aside for me when I was sick in hospital. So cool.

I didn't get any photos of the Manchester Lane gig in 2007, but here is the photo Darren took with my camera at the 2004 gig. If you look really closely you can see me in the background. When I look at these photos I think of the great time I had seeing Darren and how special he made me feel.

And here is one after the show.

I was smiling for days after those two gigs.

The buzz of seeing Darren play live beat any album.

Save live Australian music. It's the fans and bands that need it.

(PS this is my entry for the Blogthis reflection challenge.)

22 February 2010

On the improve :)


I am feeling heaps better than Friday :) Though my body seems to go through a cycle everytime I go to hospital (even if this stay was so short!) and my skin still isn't at its best, I am pleased with my improvement. I survived the hot weekend, I got through a day at work today and I have cleaned the house.

Although I went to work today with my face feeling really good, and so I was more confident looking at the world, I felt pretty terrible inside. I know I get dangerously close to making this a medical/illness/skin related blog sometimes, which I don't want to do, so I'll be brief in my medical talk. My dad once said to me that it's funny that every day he asks me how my skin is. That skin should be such a big topic of conversation. I guess sometimes I feel defined by my skin because it is such a talking point, but I try not to let it define me.


The antibiotics prescribed are much stronger than the ones I usually take. They make me feel so nauseous. I have painkillers that also make me feel this way, and honestly, I would rather put up with the pain than feel nauseous. I hate it. So this afternoon from about 1:45 pm until about 6:00 pm I felt like I was on the boat to Tasmania again. Really really shitty. But hey, my skin looked better than it did on Friday!

It's unlike me to go without food, but the only food I've eaten tonight is a piece of dry wholegrain spelt bread, and a cup of hot water mixed with a teaspoon of vegetable stock. And I just took the last antibiotics for the day so I ate a small piece of cheese afterward. I'm not even hungry, but I'm dreading the nausea tonight :/

On a brighter note, I know you'll all be envious at the rate my skin is regenerating - you can say since Friday I have rejuvenated to the point of that woman in the Silverchair Freak video. That's right - I don't pay for chemical peels and botox - my youthful looks are all in the genes and the vaseline.

Since I've had this blog I've 'met' so many lovely readers and received great comments. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to read my last post about the hospital trip. Thank you especially to those who left kind words of support and admiration. For me to be myself through this blog (and there are rarely instances nowadays when I'm not myself, but I have always been wary of revealing the true me online) and to have so many strangers and friends read my writing to see parts of me that many will never see and still accept me feels pretty amazing.

What I have been amazed at is the comments I've received on this blog (and also in real life) about the way my openness and honesty in the way I tell my story has made others ore confident to be more open and honest and to share their stories too. That is a big compliment.

Melanie in the UK and I 'met' years ago because we both used the Savage Garden forums. It turns out Darren Hayes fans in Australia were mistaking me for Melmo (Melanie's nickname) and would ask me if I was her. I often wondered why they asked. Somehow we got talking a few years into the future and she told me that she too had ichthyosis. And that is why I was mistaken for her? Anyhow, Melanie has started a blog too and she told me she now feels more comfortable discussing her condition because of my blog. Check her blog out, she writes really well, and she has great taste in music ;)

I've had a few offers and instances of real life help too these past few days which has been so lovely and reminded me of the great friends I have.

Thank you everyone for your care and concern. Your kindness really means a lot.

Tomorrow I have orientation at uni. I am excited and nervous about this coming year. It will be difficult and challenging and at times frustrating (just like every other semester, really) but I know I am going to enjoy it, especially seeing it's my final semester of my Masters. I love learning and I know I will enjoy researching and writing about my chosen topic.

Today I emailed the guy in charge of this semester's subject. I articulated the topic for my thesis in the email. It felt good to do this. Especially at the start of the semester. Sometimes I've gone through the whole semester just winging it. I felt good knowing that maybe I'll be flying toward a clear goal early on, rather than scrambling to make it at the end.

I was thinking, as a journal for my thesis, I might start another blog, devoted solely to that. Because the plan for my thesis topic is around Web 2.0, I may as well demonstrate my use of it. I'm not sure yet, but maybe it will help to articulate my thoughts and get some different perspectives. I will keep you posted.

It is almost bedtime. I am listening to old school Silverchair (Neon Ballroom period) before I sleep. I wish you a happy Tuesday :)

20 February 2010

Hospital trip

Yesterday I went to hospital.

It was either the shortest hospital stay ever for me, or the longest wait ever.

I woke up looking like this. It's a little hard to see, but yesterday I had infection on my nose, my forehead and my cheeks.

It's been a difficult decision whether to post pictures of me at my worst on this blog.

I guess it's a little like posting nude photos of ones self. But with me I'm not sure of how much I should give away before it becomes sensationalist or gory or like the 'Weird Medical Stories' TV show.

And then there's the idea that there's a gross factor for the more perverse readers/stumblers of this blog.

I have decided to share my experiences with you as a form of education. I have not edited these photos with retouching tools, other than cropping them. I think the full face shot is too Freddy Kruger.

I guess what my face looked like yesterday is not something that we see everyday. Even I get shocked when I get this sick. Even I don't want to look at myself.

The people we are used to seeing look normal, smooth skinned, made up, beautiful. And the photos we share with the world are usually the ones we like the most, where we look our best.

This is me at my rawest. Not many have seen me like this.

I know it sounds a bit holier than thou, but because I sometimes look so yucky at my worst, it makes me so disappointed when I hear people worry so much about their image when they look absolutely fine.

It took three face-washes before I felt and looked comfortable enough to go to work.

I was very sore the whole time I was at work. I can't really explain the pain - it hurt when I raised me eyebrows, smiled, touched my face, when the wind blew... and so on.

I decided that after three days of face infection, I should go to hospital.

I told the lovely triage nurse in emergency I didn't want to stay in hospital. Unfortunately there were no dermatologists on duty, so I had to wait to see a regular doctor.

I was there for a long time. For five and a half hours.

The pain I felt on my face, the shivering I was experiencing, and the anticipation of a hospital stay made me very fragile. Even though I've done this so many times, it's still difficult to get sick like this.

Fortunately one of my good friends was working so she spent some time with me after her shift, and this cheered me up.

It was good to talk to her, despite being in hospital. And I take comfort in knowing I can look my worst around her and still be accepted.

The emergency ward can be a lonely place on ones own.

Here is me in the bed after I had eaten a rice cake. The cheesy coating went over my face like a powder puff. We couldn't stop giggling.

When I finally did see the doctor, I received an IV shot of antibiotics. This is an every day procedure for some, and I know it's not too severe in the scheme of medical procedures, but I really don't do needles very well. The inflamed skin combined with the tension of knowing I'm going to have a needle makes for very hard to catch veins.

The hospital now has volunteers in the emergency ward - to talk to patients, to bring them magazines and to make the experience better for them. I had a nice lady hold my hand and she made me think of good looking guys and shopping when I had the needle. I think at one stage, me squeezing her hand was more painful than when the needle was being inserted in my other hand!

The IV antibiotics made me feel a lot better, and I am now on stronger antibiotics than the ones I took throughout the week, plus some cortisone ointment for my face.

After my hospital trip, I feel and look 200% better.

When I got home last night, I bought Indian takeaway and found a parcel on my doorstep. It was my bear jacket.

A week too late for the party, but it certainly made me smile.

Thank you to everyone who sent their wishes and helped me out. I appreciate you so much :)

18 February 2010

Raising Ruby - a must read blog

Last night I was so very tired.

I put off going to sleep as long as possible as my face was still sore, and it felt like an infection would be there in the morning. (Fortunately there was no infection this morning, but it was still a bit sore.)

To put off going to sleep, I read blogs and watched a podcast (Poh's Kitchen).

One blog I read from start to finish was Raising Ruby.

Raising Ruby details the journey of a puppy in training, based in Colorado America.

Ruby is a Labrador puppy training to be a special assistance dog. A service dog.

When she completes training at 18 months old, she will go onto advanced training and then hopefully be a partner to a special person.

She will assist her partner by guiding them, alerting them to things, and maybe even opening fridges and pressing lift buttons.

Reading this blog was so moving.

Ruby is a very intelligent, gorgeous and cheeky puppy. She is around nine months old now.

Her foster parents are dedicated and loving, and I marveled at the range of places they've taken Ruby for her training - a firestation, a noodle bar, the Apple Store... Of course, when Ruby graduates to working as a service dog, she will need to go to lots of different places and do many different things to assist her partner, but I guess it has really amazed me at the level of devotion her foster parents have put into training her.

This is what I wrote to Ruby's raiser:

Gosh I have read the entire journey you have shared with Ruby until now.

I am moved and amazed by:
1) how clever and beautiful Ruby is, and
2) the wonderful work you are doing readying her for her life as an assistance dog.

The dedication and love you are putting into her training is commendable. I don't know too much about puppy trainers, other than what I've seen on your blog and a few things that I've read, but I imagine it is one of the most selfless jobs you can do. Not only are you training a gorgeous dog to do very intelligent things, but you will be making a huge difference to the life of s special person and their family, who will one day have Ruby.

Well done, and I will keep following Ruby and your adventures on this blog. Thank you for sharing.

I think you should all have a look at Raising Ruby, and also have a look at how you can help assistance dogs with their training and development in Australia.

Guide Dogs Victoria

Assistance Dogs

Aware Dogs Australia

17 February 2010

When my face is this sore I find it hard to look in the mirror

I am at home sick today.

Not throwing up or coughing or suffering from period pain.

When I am sick, it usually means my skin hurts. Most of the times my skin hurts, I go to work or uni, and if it's sore on the weekend, I stay rested. I'd say my skin is sore 70% of the time, and for most of it, I've just got to keep going, because I don't really want to stop.

But today my face is sore. It probably doesn't look that different, but I can feel it is.

The right side of my face has become infected. It is a bit wet, a bit hot, very tingly, and I don't much like looking in the mirror or looking at people as it's probably yellowish.

Sometimes I wish my illness was more predictable. I've been feeling a bit sore in the body since Saturday, but have been taking antibiotics to alleviate the pain. My face has not been sore at all.

But today when I woke up, it was weepy and stuck to the pillow and very sore to wash.

Last night I was pretty tired, and my face was a bit too...smooth I guess is the word, probably signs that my skin may be on its way to being sore. Even though there were these small signs, there's nothing I can do to control it - it would either be sore or not sore today.

Sometimes I really hate it that when my skin is sore, my mind still functions 100% and I can still think, write (hence this blog), read, and I actually want to do things.

This is probably a bit too much information. But as I've said before, I'm going to be honest with you. And it's so hard to explain to people how it feels, or why I can be well one day and not well the next.

I should be and want to be alright tomorrow. I've had a massive sleep in the middle of the day today, changed my bedding, and taken panadol for pain, antibiotics for infection and zyrtec for allergies. That's all I can do really.

A little over a year ago, I had a really serious bout of infection on my face. It started at the Bob Evans concert at the Toff in Town. I could feel it burning and the infection spreading while the heat from the stage lights shone down on me. I was in lots of pain when I got home. I tried my best to sleep but it was too tingly and burning to sleep. I went to work in the morning, and went home in tears about 30 minutes later. It was the sorest it had been in ages (it's not often my face is sore, usually my legs get sore, then the rest of my body). I was due to go to see Bob Evans at the Northcote Social Club that night but I had to forfeit. The first time I've ever missed out on a band due to my skin. It took another day to heal and for the next few weeks it was sore on and off, eventually leading to a week long hospital trip just before Christmas.

In hospital I had my face bandaged like a mummy. Chux cloths soaked in saline and placed on my face four times a day.

It helped get my face better, but being in hospital takes so much out of me that it took the whole 10 - 12 day Christmas break to recover. A trip to hospital can certainly rid the initial infection, but lying in that plastic bed, having a drip attached to my wrist (or where ever they can find a vein - just typing this makes me squirm) and not being in my regular routine can make my whole body/skin weak and I may end up sicker than when went in.

Here I am last hospital trip looking like a mummy. As the nurse was doing the dressings, I made it more 'fun' by taking photos of the process with my phone.

These photos make me smile and a bit sad at the same time. I guess the reality of it is hard for me and others to take in.

Fortunately today's sore face will probably (I just can't predict) won't make me end up in hospital. I will continue to rest up and tonight I will have a bleach bath.

Tomorrow should be less painful and I'll be back to looking in the mirror and at other people :)

16 February 2010


Today I went on an errand for work. I walked there and back.

On my way back to work, outside Melbourne Central, a girl stopped me with a 'HEY!'.

I looked around and there appeared to be no one else she could have been heying at.

So I turned back to speak to her.

She said she recognised me from THIS BLOG.

I had an OMG moment there and then. I shrieked inside.


Outside I was sensible.

Though I giggled nervously, I thanked her for reading, said 'wow' a lot, and thanked her for reading again.

I was truly flattered that a stranger-reader stopped me to say hi and that they read my writing.

Her name is Madeline. Hi Madeline, and thank you, if you read this!

I'm still shrieking and wowing inside :)

15 February 2010

Party pictures

Here are some photos from the superhero party on Friday night.

I am against putting photos of friends up on the internet unless it's on my Facebook and they are are also on Facebook. So there are only three here.

To set the scene: there were lots of undies worn on the outside, a wheelie bin of punch, facepaint, I had super giant high heels on, and there was a fake boob.

I had an awesome time! Thanks VB Girl and Super K and your great friends!

These are my fairy wings on DuffMan's lap.

KittyExpress said she wants my legs. I'm very flattered, so sharing this blurry, a bit tipsy photo with you.

This is me looking very perky after the party punch. I got facepaint on my dress late into the night, and it is my favourite dress so I was a bit devastated. But lucky for napisan, the facepaint came out. My dress actually wasn't that short, FYI. It's the way the photo was taken.

It was a blast!

14 February 2010

Movie and shopping - the I Love Me date

As mentioned earlier, I spent today at the cinema and then shopping it upat the local massive mall.

I LOVED the film Valentine's Day. It didn't take much brain power, and it was really sappy in parts, but it was a great escape and it made me laugh and feel warm and fuzzy.

I did notice it was a lot like Love Actually, even though Valentine's Day was directed by Barry Marshall and Love Actually was directed by Richard Curtis. The part that reminded me the most of Love Actually was the little boy with the crush on his teacher. I don't love it as much as Love Actually, I don't think I could give my heart fully to another movie, but I will be watching again, if not buying it on DVD.

Another thing I thought about the film was most of the female actresses had high cheekbones and thin lips or narrow faces. Julia Roberts. Jessica Biel. Anne Hathaway. Jennifer Garner.

I recommend seeing the film at the cinema. It is nice. Boys may be bored, but there are enough female characters to distract them from the plot.

I think my favourite part was the Julia Roberts blooper at the end of the film in the credits - she's been down Rodeo Drive before.

After the film, I shopped. I have done some serious walking, enough to believe it's fine not to go to pilates tonight.

I believe shopping is my true love.

If shopping was a man, I would marry him. I love shopping.

I love finding bargains. I enjoy buying a few cheapish things on a shopping trip, but then I see something in Country Road or Cue and wish I had not spent my money on three items from ValleyGirl. I try not to spend too much.

Today I went shopping with the gift vouchers from my birthday and Christmas.

I really wanted to buy some CDs and DVDs from JB HiFi as I had a voucher to burn there. But there was simply TOO MUCH CHOICE! And being the bargain hunter I am, I didn't want to spend $30 on the Julie and Julia DVD when in a month or so it will be half that price. (Why are the prices of CDs and DVDs constantly fluctuating?) I picked up Bertie Blackman's Secrets and Lies, The Frames and the Swell Season, and Little Miss Sunshine. And I really wanted to buy Taylor Swift's CD but I was scared I'd regret it.

I was shocked to see Natalie Imbriglia's classic 1997 album (IMO) Left of the Middle for $4.99. Shocked! It is worth SO MUCH MORE THAN $4.99.

I walked around the store with the CDs and DVDs for a while. And I walked out with NOTHING. Too much choice means I can't make up my mind and so I leave empty handed, only to suffer non-buyer's remorse when I arrive home.

I did have luck with buying clothing though. My lovely managers gave me a massive mall gift voucher for my birthday and it could be used at most of the stores. I spent it in Temt and another cheapie shop. I looked in my FAVOURITE STORE OF ALL TIME, Cue, but everything on sale is really 80s looking and everything that I adore is well out of my price range. So I satisificed (a word I learned a few minutes ago in the Sunday Life magazine supplement with the Sunday Age = satisfied X sufficed) with buying from cheapie shops.

This is what I bought with the voucher plus only a little of my own money.

A pleather jacket from Temt. I wanted a jacket I can wear over a dress as well as with jeans. I like this one.

A sundress from I'm not sure where. I've been eyeing it off for a while now.

I adore the print.

A silver and cream top from Temt. I love silver.

I like how you can buy things for $10 that don't look $10. I enjoy the hunt for expensive looking cheap things.

Last night a friend came over and I cooked us a massive lasagne, full of vegies. It was delicious and there is lots left over for tonight and tomorrow's lunch.

I had a nice weekend. Hope you did, too.

Valentine's Day plans - I love me.

My date hasn't surfaced for Valentine's Day.


I've been a single girl for ages now, and there's nothing more that I enjoy than seeing a film on my own and going shopping in a giant mall. I love it.

So as an I Love Me present, I am doing just that.

I have some unspent vouchers from my birthday and Christmas so I shall see what treats I can buy myself without feeling guilty and depleting my own funds.

I am off to the 10:30 screening of Valentine's Day. I am very excited about this movie, despite the lack of brainpower I foresee I'll be using while watching it.

I hope I love this movie just as much as I love Love Actually.

Happy Valentine's Day.

13 February 2010


It's strange.

I am very Web 2.0 savvy.

I have this blog. I tell the world a lot about me here. Obviously not everything, but I am fairly honest and cover a wide range of topics. Friends and strangers comment on my blog. I visit other blogs regularly, and comment occasionally.

I use Facebook each day. Share photos with my friends. Update my status to tell my friends what I am thinking. I currently have 751 friends on Facebook. Admittedly I probably only speak to 100 of these on Facebook? But I would know 700 of them in real life.

I also use Twitter. I keep in touch with what's happening in the world this way. Get peoples' opinions (in 140 characters or less) on Twitter. I do know some tweeters, and have met some new people through Twitter. But the majority of tweeters I allow to see my feed I don't know in real life.

Myspace is still there. My blog still exists. I am 'friends' with a number of bands. I don't visit often.

And I am keen to study Web 2.0 in the subjects for my Masters degree. I researched social networking in a hierarchical organisation. I also researched the way people with chronic illness and disability use the Web 2.0 to mobilise themselves. And my thesis will be along these lines too.

So, yeah, I am quite into using Web 2.0 and merging my real life with the Internet.

I've had this blog for about two months. I have put a visitor counter on it about a month ago. I am amazed by the number of hits I get per day. I believe 486 was the most I have had. Wow. Flattering. I am also intrigued by where my visitors are from - Hong Kong, Latvia, Italy, Barbados, Denmark, Wodongs, to name a few. And I like to see how they reached my page - usually via Facebook or the Vogue Forums.

Sometimes I can see that someone who is not my friend on Facebook but a friend of a friend has accessed my blog. Even though I am set to private on all of my setting bar some photos. That surprised me to know that privacy on Facebook is not that secure. Well, I guess it shouldn't have surprised me - the media goes on about it all the time.

I am also a little disconcerted to know how many people Google me. Ok, it's not that many. But five Googles a week is surprising. People have Googled 'Carly Findlay', 'Carly Findlay Melbourne', 'Radio Carly irrelevant' and 'Carly Findlay ichthyosis'.

Of course they've Googled other things like 'Rob Thomas concert' or Marie Claire Jennifer Hawkins', and I always marvel how this Google search brings them to my blog. I am always relieved to know that someone searching 'Britney porn video' or a much more explicit term is not directed to my blog!

But I am always surprised, and a little creeped out that people Google my name and location and illness. I think most of the Googles may be because people may have forgotten the linky to my blog - hopefully - but then I wonder why someone is Googling my name at 11:08 pm.

I probably shouldn't worry, because after all, I created this blog to share my thoughts with the world, and I belong to other social networking sites on which I share my life with.

And I admit, I have Googled peoples' names too. Mostly my own name, but yes, I have done some Googling.

But to be Googled when I am not a celebrity is one part flattering, two parts uncomfortable. I wonder who these Googlers are.

To those who keep a blog and have a visitor counter, does this worry you too?

12 February 2010

Off to costume party...

My bear jacket did not arrive - so I won't be going to the costume party as SuperTed. The seller wrote to me saying it had been returned to sender. Back to Hong Kong. On the day I need to wear it :|

So at lunchtime today, I did a power shop and purchased the following:

Some fairy wings
A wand
A tiara.

I shall go as a SuperFairy.

Magicking everything I touch.

11 February 2010

Puma Hardchorus

My Dad loves football. Dedicates his life to it.

He's an extreme armchair fan. And when in the UK, an active fan.

And I think I get my extreme fandom from him.

I really enjoy Savage Garden. Dedicated my life to it. I am a lifelong fan.

My Dad and my worlds have collided in this Puma ad.


'It's Fiona, isn't it?'

I went to the hospital today, for my regular dermatology check up.

I go to hospital around once a month. Each time I go I see an older man, around 60, at the cafeteria. He wears a singlet and shorts, has a very leathery tan and long toenail, and I think he carries his life in a green shopping bag.

I always make sure I say hello to him. Sometimes we talk for a while. Once, when I was admitted to stay in hospital, he helped me carry my bags. He can never remember my name, but always recognises me.

This man sits at the bench in the cafeteria. From the first thing in the morning until the evening. The hospital is his life, though he's not a patient.

Last year I went for an appointment on my day off. I had a bit of time to eat something after the appointment, so I sat and ate with this man. I talked to him for about an hour.

I asked him why he comes to the hospital each day.

It was an amazing story. Very sad. Yet full of hope.

About 10 years ago he worked as a medical technician in a hospital in Melbourne. He worked on the wards and loved his job.

One morning he was walking near his home, before the sun had risen. He was hit by a car.

He was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital and remained in a coma for many days.

He has lost his short term memory because of the accident. He remembers everything before the accident, but nothing afterwards.

He carries around pictures of his daughter and son he has not seen since before I was born, he remembers them. But he can't remember the names of people he sees on a regular basis.

Everytime I see him, he says, 'It's Fiona isn't it?. He needs me to prompt him with my name. He is always glad to see me.

Once I bought him a chicken sandwich and a lemonade one day and he said I made his week.

He said he keeps on returning to the Royal Melbourne Hospital to see whether it will help his memory return. He believes if he keeps going back, he will remember things that happened since the accident.

Today he said 'It's Fiona, isn't it?'. I find it interesting he remembers my name incorrectly - he calls me Fiona most times, and when I prompt him, it's Carla.

When I told him my name is Carly, he said 'Carly. that's right. One day I'll remember it'.

I hope he does.

10 February 2010

My quest for a Valentine's Date continues...

So you know yesterday I challenged you readers to find me a date for Valentine's Day.

I have received so many compliments from lots of lovely readers, and some help from tweeters through passing my message on.

One lovely reader, Clementine, said if I was gay she'd take me out on a date. I am so flattered by this :) Thank you, thank you.

I also emailed Snitch at the Sunday Age Melbourne Magazine, telling them about my quest to get a date. The reporter wrote back expressing her adoration for me, and saying Snitch would love to help me out but the magazine has gone to print today so they'll be in touch next week. Squeeee!

Exciting times!

Please spread the word about my quest for romance. Drop the line that I was ALMOST a supermodel!

In unrelated matters, my bear jacket has not arrived from Ebay (China) and the superhero party is on Friday. Not sure what to do. Eeek. Maybe I will go as myself.

09 February 2010

Find me a date for Valentine's Day

So it's cutting it fine, given it's Tuesday and Valentine's Day is on Sunday. But I was talking with the boys at work and I said I want to get a date for Valentine's Day.

A movie would be nice.

A dinner.

Hell, just a flirtatious wink may constitute as a date in my opinion!

I don't even believe in Valentine's day. Despite that fact I've given three Valentines to three boys throughout my life.

I've been single for a very long time. Most loves of mine have been unrequited. The other loves have turned out to be idiots (putting it mildly).

So, given that between now and Sunday my opportunities to meet boys will be

1) though work
2) at the gym
3) at a costume party
4) at belly dance
(and I think there's only one opportunity there that could be even a little promising).

I challenge you, reader, to find me a date for Valentine's day.

My only requisites is that he must be in Melbourne (live in Melbourne, or travelling through Melbourne on Sunday - we can't do a Skype date), non smoker, compassionate, and good sense of humour.

Oh, and he has to know that I'm red. Maybe you could recommend him a paint swatch that I compare to. Postbox red, or on a good day, Chippolata. Or take him a pink lady apple.

Tell him about me.

-I am employed full time as an events planner and writer and personal assistant and general provider of workplace fun.

-I have tertiary qualifications, soon to have a Master of Communication.

-I volunteer at a children's charity.

(The above qualities show I have stability, ambition and drive, and good with young people.)

-I am a great cook.

-I love food.

-If the money wasn't less than my current salary and the hours weren't more, I'd consider being a chef.

(This means I am not a fussy eater. He can take me anywhere.)

-I enjoy seeing bands and listening to music.

-I like movies.

-I have come to enjoy exercise, even if it's just pilates and bellydance.

(The above things we can do together.)

-I am not superficial.

-I am not afraid to take the piss out of myself. Obviously apparent through merely putting this call out!

-I am broad-minded and have a good sense of perspective.

-I enjoy helping people.

-I have a strong opposition to bullying, discrimination and exclusion.

-And I am happy with my looks, have an alright figure and great smile.

See the following examples.

This is me eating Vietnamese. Dressed well. Smiling.

This is an example of my smile.

I look great in black and white. But the lucky boy will get to see me in full colour.

I won this dress. It makes me look tall. And enhances my assets.

So, my challenge is for you to spread the word, and find me a date for Valentine's Day.

I'm open to your suggestions.

Thank you!

EDIT: I forgot ONE IMPORTANT THING! I was almost a supermodel. Last year when I entered Fox Fm's Real Beauty contest. Yep. Almost a supermodel, boys.

08 February 2010


Today four men were fined for bullying which caused a beautiful girl to take her own life. You can read the story at The Age.

Brodie Panlock was subjected to verbal and physical workplace bullying. Her colleagues called her fat and ugly, poured fish sauce on her clothes and in her hair, and when she took rat poison in attempt to take her own life but didn't succeed, they taunted her for not succeeding and encouraged her to take more.

It is heartbreaking to know that human beings have the power to make others feel so worthless to the point they take their own life.

I have been bullied throughout my life, mostly at school. I've never forgotten it. I would be called names, teased because of my appearance, I was once stabbed with a protractor in class, and I felt never had many true friends through my school life. The worst thing I felt was the exclusion by other kids. I had no one to sit with at lunchtime - I would sit with another boy who was bullied and isolated, or in the library alone.

Sometimes when I see highschool kids on the train or in the street, I feel intimidated and my mind casts back to the days highschool kids bullied me, even though I finished year 12, 10 years ago.

I have now formed good friendships with a few people from school. One of the best things to happen was a few years back when I sent a boy (who used to tease me with his group of friends) an article I wrote about my illness. He wrote back with the kindest words, apologising for how he treated me, and acknowledging my strength and personality. I valued that so much.

As for bullying in the workplace - it is so hard to address this if you are being bullied. Often people are too scared to do anything about it, so the bullying continues, or the person leaves the workplace, or in Brodie's case, takes their own life. There needs to be more built into the Workplace Relations Act to deal with bullies so it doesn't result in suicide.

One thing I don't understand is the rationale of counselors and mediators who have asked me how I could change MY behaviour to reduce the bullying.

This sort of counseling damaged my self worth just as much as the bullies. It made me question whether I had done something to encourage the bullying behaviour.

If you read this, and have treated someone badly, please stop and think about the impact it is having on that person.

Change your behaviour.

You don't have to like the person, but you shouldn't bully them.

If you see someone bullying another person, say something to stop them.

If you've bullied someone in the past, apologise to them. It will mean the world to them. Honestly.

It may just save their life.

Edit: This was in The Age today. Heartbreaking.

07 February 2010

My blog got a mention...

On the Rob Thomas celebrity tweet page.


7 February

I can't believe a year has passed since Black Saturday. 7 February 2009.

This past week the media has featured stories of hope and survival about the communities affected by Black Saturday. I read a story in The Age this morning that brought tears to my eyes. I have read and viewed other stories, reflecting on the enormity of the bushfires, and remembering the sadness in Victoria and Australia this time last year.

Christine Nixon, head of the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority writes of the challenges of moving forward after the tragedy of Black Saturday.I wonder how people who have lost so much - their houses, schools, pets, family members - can continue to live with hope. Though it seems, hope abounds, and there are so many people affected by Black Saturday who are helping others. There's the story of Linda Haggard who is helping school children heal through art therapy. There are countless volunteers giving their time and materials to rebuild houses and buildings. And stories are emerging of how people rescued others on Black Saturday.

It's awful to think that 173 people lost their lives that day. That 2000 houses were destroyed. And that the lives of thousands of people have changed forever. This tragedy meant loss on an unimaginable scale, but it also brought the nation together to raise money for the survivors and rebuild the towns and lives affected.

Here are two websites worth visiting.

Australian Story - Her beauty and her terror

ABC Black Saturday tribute

Over the top quiz

The lovely, stylish and fashion savvy She Wore it Well passed this award/quiz onto me. Thank you!

1. Where is your cell phone? in my bag.
2.Your hair? Brown, dark and curly.
3. Your mother? My best friend.
4. Your father? Generous
5. Favourite food? Cheese, salmon and mango
6. Your dream last night? I committed some sort of crime. True! Well, only true in my dream.
7. Your favourite drink? Moscato, Frangelico and lemonade, water.
8. Your dream/goal? To be Darren Hayes' towel girl.
9. What room are you in? Lounge
10. Your hobby? Writing, cooking, listening to music.
11. Your fear? Getting burnt
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Happy and maybe in a property that is mine.
13. Where were you last night? Bed.
14. Something you aren't? Superficial
15. Muffins? My muffin top is shrinking.
16. Wish list item? Tiffany something or other, once I'm done with my Masters
17. Where did you grow up? near Albury NSW, Australia.
18. Last thing you did? Ate a McDonald's sundae
19. What are you wearing? Leggings, thin blue floaty shirt and yellow singlet.
20. Your TV? Bigger than the last one I had
21. Your pets? At Mum and Dad's house
22. Your friends? few but great.
23. Your life? Busy and content
24. Your mood? Productive
25. Missing someone? No
26. Vehicle? 1990 Toyota Corolla which mostly sits in its parking spot. Train then.
27. Something you are not wearing? Jewellery.
28. Your favourite store? Cue, Myer, Temt.
29. Your favourite colour? Purple, silver
30. When was the last time you laughed? Lunch with friends after bellydancing yesterday
31. Last time you cried? Reading the news stories about Black Saturday anniversary today
32. Your best friend? Mum and others
33. One place that I go over and over? this blog!
34. One person you emails me regularly? my manager
35. Favourite place to eat? From my kitchen.

I pass this on to Rach and Kelly.

06 February 2010

Rob Thomas concert review

Rob Thomas
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Friday 5 February 2010

Last night I went to the Rob Thomas concert that I won tickets for. Thanks Nova 100!

I was really excited about seeing Rob Thomas play solo. I've been to four Matchbox Twenty concerts before, and LOVED them so much. I'd also watched Something to Be tour live on DVD and enjoyed it. Matchbox Twenty is one of my favourite bands, and their album Yourself or Someone Like You is a high played, high loved album for me.

But I found out last night, a Rob Thomas concert is much different to a Matchbox Twenty concert.

It's not that I didn't enjoy it.

And it's not that it wasn't great.

I just expected to hear some familiar Matchbox Twenty songs. Honestly, the only Rob Thomas songs I know are the ones played on radio. I like the singles he has released, but don't identify with and adore them as I do Matchbox Twenty songs. At last night's concert he ONLY played his solo stuff. Fair enough because he has had so many singles from his two albums, plus Smooth. But of all the songs played up to the last two songs, Smooth was my favourite. The songs just didn't gel with me. I expected to hear more. I wanted to sing along with his songs.

If You're Gone
Bright Lights
Rest Stop
How Far We've Come

(And Darren Hayes performs Savage Garden songs in his solo shows - I just thought Rob Thomas may, too.)

Rob is a great performer - heartfelt, charismatic, sexy, brilliant singer and beautiful songwriter. I love the way he punches his chest. The way he leans over the piano when he plays it. The combined aggression and passion in his eyes when he sings. He is great. But I didn't buzz as much as I have at a Matchbox Twenty concert.

I admit though, hearing some of the lyrics to the songs that I'm not as familiar with was great - it does amaze me that he consistently writes heartfelt, beautiful lyrics. I think the song lyrics that touched me the most was Ever The Same.

A friend told me yesterday that INXS would play with Rob. I was really looking forward to this. And the collision of the two acts was amazing (aside from seeing/hearing some fracas behind us because a drunk guy in the corporate box broke a glass on the head of a guy sitting in front of him).

If INXS needs a new frontman, Rob Thomas is it. Yes, I am a supporter of leaving INXS be with Michael Hutchence, and no further songs coming from them under the name INXS. Michael was fantastic, irreplaceable and god-like. But Rob Thomas brought a real flair to INXS, and could easily slot in as a believable, quality frontman, 'covering' the songs made famous by Michael.

They played Never Tear Us Apart and Don't Change.

It was a privilege to see INXS play live, even if not in their original form. Those two songs of the concert was my highlight.

I could have easily watched a whole INXS gig fronted by Rob Thomas, singing INXS songs.

We sat very far from the stage (second row from the back) and my photos aren't that great compared to others I've taken. But they are better than I thought they'd turn out.

05 February 2010

I won Rob Thomas tickets!

Remember yesterday when I said this:

PS - I did some online rejecting of my own tonight! Ticketek generated me a B row ticket to Rob Thomas tomorrow night. I entered all my card details into the system. Then I closed the window. Must pay off my MacBook. Must pay it off fast! Don't need a Rob Thomas ticket. Can watch him 'live' on DVD on my MacBook. I will see him much closer up than at Rod Laver Arena

Well karma has come around!

This morning I rang Nova to enter the hum-along-Hughesy competition. I guessed the right song (Sultans of Swing, thanks to my love for Dire Straits!) and the prize was...

Rob Thomas tickets!

Obviously if I bought my ticket last night I wouldn't have entered the comp, but by NOT buying one, and winning one, it is some sort of karma. That's how I get rewarded for repaying my MacBook!

Off to get ready and go to the concert now. Can't wait.

Rob Thomas is hot.

04 February 2010

My doppelganger

So apparently it is Doppelganger week on Facebook.

All my friends are partaking. Peer pressure and that, I thought I should, too.

But no celebrity looks like me, and vice versa.

Then a friend posted her doppelganger photo.

And it reminded me of who I said I once looked like.

A red Cabbage Patch Kid. (That's who I resemble, not her. She had a cute pig tailed one)

I have fuzzy hair and chubby cheeks. Just like a Cabbage Patch Kid.

Note - my doppelganger photo has been retouched to look more like me hahaha - I'm so Jen Hawkins now!

When one word looks too much like another word... hehehe

I like to keep this blog nice. Of course, I'm going to drop the odd f-bomb, or make a suggestive remark. But I'm not going to start publishing erotic fiction here, or make comment on my sex life or of anyone else.

But I had to share this, it was too funny not to.

It was a conversation between a friend an I following on from her Facebook status.


Carly's friend: has something on her uvula activating her gag reflex. Worth seeing a doctor for?

Carly: the first thing I saw in your FB status update was the word 'vulva'.
Then I thought, why is your vulva gagging?


Yep. When one word looks too much like another word.


See. Poles apart.

Ebay goodies

In other news, I am suddenly on a massive fitness kick. I know. I am just as surprised as you are.

I'm not doing three hours a day at the gym. Nor am I doing any more than low impact exercise.

But now I can see a bit of my hourglass figure back after only seven sessions of Body Balance and one bellydance class, I want to do more.

Bellydance class was so much fun. I forgot to blog about it. Two friends came along last week and this week another friend will join us. It's great shimmying. Makes you feel so empowered and like your body is actually working out.

I have ordered two things on Ebay to help me on my quest to looking and feeling fabulous.

This jingly jangly hip scarf was about $6.00, including postage. I know! I have a pink one, but wanted a yellow one to alternate.

And this DVD means I can practice both pilates and belly dance in the comfort of my own home on the days I can't get to class, or need some gentle movement to help my skin feel better.

Mr postman, come by my house with my parcels.


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