Woman

I had a writing task in Script For Performance today that asked us to look at a photo of a person, and then to write a description of this person, starting from a close-up physical description, then to pan out to a wide-shot which gives her some form of identity, and finally to put her into a “space”, a context.

I had a photo of a Japanese woman standing in water, while behind her there was only rubble. I don’t want to describe the photo too much because I wrote about it, and I hope you can get the sense of the photo from what I wrote.

Her hair sticks to her face and forehead, plastered in place by sweat. The lips are set, not pressed firmly, but with some determination. A towel is draped around her neck, acting not only as its original purpose, but more as insulation. Her body has morphed into a sphere, all features hidden underneath layers that try to keep her warm from the inside. In fact, apart from the parts of her face – and those determined lips – unobscured by her hair, not another inch of her kin can be seen.

Were her clothes only there to keep her physical body warm? Were her lips only tightened to keep any despair out? She stands ankle deep in water so clear that a distorted version of herself stares back. The ripples of the water smooth out, leaving a stillness that wasn’t just her, but seems to contaminate everything around her. She stares off into a personal thought, until the determination in her lips gives way to a sigh of the overwhelmed.

She looks down. A perfectly blue sky, straight out of the imagination of a child, reflects back at her. In front of it, her distorted twin looks at her, silent and strong.

She looks up. The sky gives way to the mess of a country in ruins. The shadow gives way to short and panicked breaths.

She recognizes the mangled red sedan behind her – she had driven her (still missing) son to school countless times in it. She looks down again, and for a moment all those short, packed breaths gathered at the top of her throat as she wondered how quickly the idyllic sky that lapped around her ankles had destroyed her car.

It was difficult to write this piece, not only for its technicality, but also because when you start emotionally putting yourself in her position, it hurts just that much more.

Alex.

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I Have Been Made New

[Meteor Shower – Owl City]

3 new chapters published! I’d actually written Chapters 8 and 9 back in September/October, when I should have been writing my university essays. I wrote half of Chapter 10, but in the past few days I reworked most of it. I wanted to publish all three chapters in one go (and you’ll see why once you’ve read them).

I’m sorry about the delay though! Chapter 11 might be a while, or it might not be, if I get struck by inspiration tomorrow.

Alex.

Burn Another Bridge, Break Another Heart

Lost this song and finally got it back yesterday. Missed this song a lot!

Heading into the annoying period of exams. I think I’ll be fine but I do have to get my ass into gear to start studying a little. Also, one essay.

I did enrollment stuff for 2011 yesterday, and the subjects I picked meant that Semester 1 will once again be full of writing, and Semester 2 research. I kinda hate that. But near as I can tell, I won’t have a single exam next year. Just. LOTS OF WORDS.

I have beaten the Elite Four.

I simply cannot wait til I am done with my exams. Then it is 15 posts a month on this blog, right? I have been neglectful.

Alex.

Madness? THIS. IS. PLAYSCHOOL!

I wrote a REALLY long post in my Uni blog today. (The title was “There’s a bear in there, and it disapproves”)

Without going into risky waters of likening anything to pedobear, I will clarify that yes, I am making a Playschool reference.

I was on the phone with a friend who is still in Yr 12 this year, and in the process of our conversation I mentioned that I actually used to watch Playschool up until I was 17. You know, when you’re reading a book in the living room and complete silence unnerves you (at least, it unnerves me) so you turn on the TV just for the sound. I used to do this during my school holidays, when my parents weren’t home.

In those days, we only had ABC, Seven, Nine, Ten, SBS and that other channel with the fish swimming back and forth for 5 hours each day. During the day, the only shows on the commercial channels were old-grandma shows, like Days of Our Lives (which I did end up watching during a period of time when I stayed home cos I was feeling a bit feverish and thought I had the Swine Flu but that’s another story), or those boring fishing shows for stay-at-home dads. I was a teenage girl. Those shows not only FAILED to capture my attention, they actively DESTROYED my SOUL.

SBS was usually showing a Russian news anchor firing off rapid speech, and for a while I thought he was recounting a particularly distasteful rampage of a rapist, he sounded that angry, but then the story turned out to be some old lady turning 90. (A bit of racist stereotype there. BY THE WAY, I totally got this off the Simpsons. I searched but can’t find the video clip to show you.)

So I was left with ABC. Remember, I had no amazing new choices like GO! or Seven2, or SevenMate for TV shows I actually like, and there weren’t two other ABC channels where I can watch more Arthur (which, by the way, is still awesome).

So, while reading my book, I would have ABC running in the background. As you would, you start to recognise all the shows, and you start sort of having this guilty pleasure in putting down your book when the familiar “There’s a bear in there” comes on.

I admitted to my friend on the phone, who is Yr 12, about to turn 18 and way too cool, that when I was in Yr 10, and I was watching one of the episodes of Playschool (my favorite playmate was Karen, the only Asian chick. Dude. She clearly was better) I actually learned, from Playschool, that avocadoes grew on trees. I had no idea before that. I didn’t know WHERE they came from but I didn’t think it was trees. So there I was, 16 going on 17, doing a VE&T course at Swineburne outside of my school hours, and I learn from PLAYSCHOOL.

When she heard this, my awesomely-cool friend (who we’ll name Brenda, cos that’s totally not her name or anything) started laughing hysterically. She was actually having difficulties stopping, and so I sat there for about 5 minutes while she wheezed with laughter at the other end. When she finally decided to breathe again, she clarified, “YOU learned from PLAYSCHOOL when you were SIXTEEN!?”

And so, 8 paragraphs in, I finally get to the point of this post.

I have spent the past…hmm let’s see…probably since Yr 6 I have been laboriously building an image of myself. Admittably, in Yr 9 when I changed schools, I threw away most of my work and tried to start anew. Still, the point is that, as a young adolescent, I spent quite a lot of time creating this certain image of myself.

And this included the stuff I bought and consumed. I started caring about my hair a lot more when my parents finally let me go to an actual hairdressers, and I cared about my clothes (though still not as much as most girls my age) near the end of Yr 9. I especially started caring about my media image (and this media I mean by internet and technology gadgets etc) by Yr 10, when it became apparent to me that my goals in life involved the Media heavily.

I deleted my old blog on Xanga (which looked great, but had horrid spelling and grammar and it was full of me bitching), and started one on WordPress after going to a Journalism Convention thing. I deleted that WordPress as well, but not because it was horrible like Xanga. You don’t need to know why. I got a new WordPress in Yr 11, and has kept that since (yes, that’s the WordPress that this appears in as well).

I held of getting Facebook for a while, because it felt like it was giving too much power to other people to mold what I appear to them – they comment, they tag, they like – but, in the end, for communications’ sake (and because everyone else was doing it) I got one.

I didnt hesitate in getting Twitter, because that, I felt, was me in power. On my profile, you only see what I posted. I may not have many followers, but it wasn’t like the follower count was at 0.

Finally, I got Tumblr. I got it on the basis that I felt my WordPress wasn’t pictorial enough, and I wanted more pictures. Tumblr gave me the power to follow people with similar tastes to me, and for me to repost what I like. This action of reposting what I like shows to people who subsequently follow ME what kind of person I am.

Brenda was a friend I’d met on Tumblr through mutual friends. The image she received of me initially was a sarcastic and cynical one I have on my Tumblr account. She told me that she thought I was rather “snarky” on Tumblr, because I wasn’t hesitant in shooting anyone down, and I wrote captions that were borderline rude.

She added me on Facebook, which didn’t change her opinion that much. I linked both my Twitter and Tumblr to Facebook, so whatever public image I create on Tumblr and on Twitter, I have to maintain it on Facebook.

But then she added me on MSN. MSN is definitely much more private than Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter. I am more like my physical presence on MSN. And it was there that she saw I was different.

Still, I kept a certain image of myself on MSN, as I do in every day life. I was vocal about how much I love TV shows like NCIS, Glee, HIMYM etc, and I wasn’t shy to admit I love Pokemon – anywhere. But one thing that I do not admit too vocally was my tendency towards children’s shows (Arthur doesn’t count). I like watching them to see what they consider approrpiriate codes to present to children, and also because it’s kind of funny to see grown adults play with dolls.

So when Brenda regained her regular breathing pattern, I realized that the image that I’d created had been slightly shattered by the fact that I apparently do something that goes AGAINST the ideology I created about myself. No matter what I said to her, I will always have the label of “Playschool lover” on my forehead.

I’m saying this out loud now, not only because it goes with the topic of branding through what we consume, but also because I don’t see how watching Playschool makes me a loser. It’s all subjective, right? I personally don’t get why people watch the Kardashians show, or that show with Snooki in it. I used to love the Idol and X Factor shows, but I have began to see them as contrived and fake. Playschool is purposefully fake, it’s purposefully staged, but I don’t see any underhanded influencing of the audience (yes, they promote mostly a heterosexual nuclear family, but I honestly don’t see any positives in confusing really little kids with the gay-rights thing. Teaching kids about gay-rights can come a bit later in life, and of course is solely dependent on their own parents).

I’m sorry for such a long post, but I really tried to not use big complicated words because I hate reading them too.

Alex.

In other news, and this I swear was not a request…haha okay it was a teeny bit a request but I’m more than glad to do it:

I think I’m a decent singer, but no way I have enough guts to lead sing in a band. My friend JAYMEE, however, has the guts. And, thankfully for her, the skills to back those guts up.

Check out her YouTube account: MyNameIsJaymeeNotAmy, and below is one of her videos. (And, no, I’m not running ads or plugs now, she asked me to and I think she deserves it. If I don’t know you and you randomly ask me to plug you, um, no.)

Check out her wild emotional hand gestures and her soulful eye closing!

Alex.

Er, yeah, H2A maybe?

Haha I can dream on. At the rate I’m (not) going, I might get a H2B if I’m REALLY lucky.

I just wrote another uni blog about TV. I should write more about my favorite topic but…I dunno.

Anyway:

What? Using Britney Spears lyrics? Atrocity!

I am writing this on the day that the new Glee episode Brittany/Britney is to air. I already have the songs on my iTunes, and have been listening to Toxic on replay since yesterday.

I have seen some screencaps on Tumblr of some highlights, and on Twitter I can see that trending topics include Heather Morris (the actress for Brittany, the blond cheerleader on Glee), and yet I won’t get to see the episode until 7:30 pm.

Watching TV isn’t just the act of watching TV anymore. I think watching TV has become something like living the moment of watching the show. Social networking sites like Twitter and Tumblr have made it possible for us to voice what we feel about a particular scene IMMEDIATELY. (Well, the immediacy is more a feature of Twitter, but Tumblr comes with pictures so in a visual media, that helps too.)

I’m not innocent of the need to broadcast my thoughts at the same time as watching a broadcast. Last week, when Glee’s Season 2 premier was on TV (I had refrained from watching it online three hours prior to 7:30, because a) I’d wanted to conserve bandwidth and b) I wanted to share the experience of watching it with people “around” me – online with me, in my timezone. Also I got yelled at quite a few times for revealing spoilers), I had been watching and tweeting all the moments that I found glorious. Someone replied to me, “I had missed these Glee tweets”, referring to the dry-spell when the show was on Summer hiatus.

Even when I’m watching a show not airing, such as last week when I was watching True Blood, or a while back when I was watching Chuck (neither of these shows are airing in Australia anymore), I still tweet about it. There is always going to be someone else like me in my larger social group who is a fan of a show not airing on Australian TV, and sure enough, my tweets gained a few “likes” on Facebook (because I am so connected, my tweets appear on Facebook too), and I immediately knew who else is a True Blood fan.

Ironically, when I am watching a show that DOES air in Australia, but ahead of everyone else (because we all know Australia sucks at keeping up with America, though they are giving it a shot with a few shows), I have to PROMISE people that I don’t tweet spoilers. I am currently ahead of Australia in NCIS, How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory, and as much as I want to tweet about it, I shouldn’t, because revealing something about it would ruin the experience for other people.

Which brings me back to my title. I don’t have qualms about listening to a Glee song before the episode airs, but one of my friend does. She is a huge Gleek as well, and I asked if she wouldn’t want me to send her the new songs when I get them. She told me she’d rather listen to them at the same time as seeing it on TV, so when she later listens to them, she can imagine the scenes on TV. The two of us both love Glee equally, but we like to experience it differently. I like to have all the social networks at my fingertips as I’m watching, because I like to see what others think about it, as well as have others see what I think about it. My friend would rather be shut off completely and be only concentrating on the show, and that’s how she rolls.

Currently, TV shows don’t really interact with other forms of media when they are airing. I guess that’s the traditional way. I do remember that the Glee pilot had once aired a re-run where as the show is airing, the cast of the show is live tweeting, and their tweets and commentary runs across the bottom of the screen (this, again, wasn’t available in Australia).

I guess where I’m headed with this is that, maybe, TV shows in the future would become sort of INTERACTIVE with Twitter, or whatever replaces Twitter next. Those who are like me can use Twitter to enhance their viewing experience, but those with a more traditional viewing habit like my friend can still watch the show as it is, and then talk about it.

TV is no longer an experience as it was when it first appeared, with the family gathering around a set to watch it together – I actually don’t like having my parents next to me when I watch a show I want to concentrate on, despite being online while watching the show. As weird as that is, I like it better when I’m alone with the internet… – but it’s not exactly a complete polar opposite either. Personally, the generation and cultural gap between what my parents like and understand and my own tendencies renders my family a divided unit when we watch TV, but I’m more than certain that in some other families, there is still at times a show or movie that has the whole family sitting together in the living room (or maybe in different rooms but with the TVs on the same channel, cos that happens too) watching together. The experience of watching a show is just as interesting as the show’s contents itself.

Okay I think I’m excused for another week before I post again? 🙂

Alex.

I’m such a TV whore.

Alex.

P.S. What is a TV whore? I just felt like saying ‘Whore’.

Let Jerusalem Bells Ring!

I actually don’t know what Jerusalem bells refer to in Viva la Vida, but it sounds celebratory.

I have uploaded Chapter 7 of my writing project.

I used To The Wolves as the title, because I had just listened to Anberlin’s yet-to-be-released album on their MySpace, and the chorus seemed fitting.

“To the wolves, you fed me to the wolves”.

Will get onto Chapter 8 straightaway, seeing as I finished my essays. I’m not one for spoilers, especially since I can’t be sure what I will write – I haven’t started on Chapter 8, though I have some ideas about what will happen.

Alex.