Sunday, June 28, 2009

Old Movies vs New Movies

I gotta admit it, I do love an old movie; really I do. There's just something about watching an old Fred Astaire movie like 'Shall We Dance' or 'Follow the Fleet' or better still 'Royal Wedding' and watching that guy dance as though he has a cushion of air underneath his feet. Even when he's got a dance partner (which, in those days was hard on her because Mr Astaire expected his partners to do the exact same steps as him; but in high heels!) it was an amazing sight! Fred was such a close dancer and he was such a perfectionist he hated getting things wrong.
But old movies weren't just about dancing and singing. I love the old movies for another reason. There was less visual violence in them. In the old horror movies, a shadow, blood going down a drain and somebody's blood-curdling scream was enough to make a lot of us jump out of our skins. You didn't need to see the mutilated body hung up for all to see in the trees or dug up after two weeks of being left in the mountains (yeah, eewww!)... you also didn't have to see some poor soul's body laid out on a slab with their chest peeled open and the ME weighing the organs one by one making a recording as he went. No, in the old days, all that was skipped and the report came through at the police desk. Or you saw the draw being rolled out and the sheet being pulled up, but you never saw the goriness of what laid beneath that sheet; only the hapless relative - who normally turned away looking like they were going to throw up (they were great actors when they could do that).

Today's movies are brilliantly cast, the cinematography is fantastic and the special effects are top knotch! However, some of the movies I've seen only work because if the special effects weren't in it, there wouldn't be much of a storyline. So, I look for movies where it's character-driven; and that's hard to find now. With the way movies are being made and how computers are used for a good part of them, it seems that it's not only easier (which takes the high risks out of being an actor) it also helps the director see the whole picture before the movie leaves the cutting room floor.

Now, we can't say they're cheating at this. Like anything, we've gotta move forward.

I suppose, I have a soft spot for both types of movies - the old-fashioned where there's not a lot of gun battles, swearing all the time, punch-ups and revenge in the worst possible ways. Then, I love the sci-fi, high-tech kind of ones where it's an amazing feat of computer graphics to see how far we've come to see what we can do with movies. And owning a huge variety of them is a start. I own a good mix between the old Fred Astaire (as I've mentioned) to 'The Matrix' trilogy, 'X-Men' and 'Grease'. So, I guess, I love to watch a good lot of movies... even the old-fashioned vampire movies are a lot of fun to play around with.

So, what do you watch?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Amazing Stuff

I was just printing out my shopping list (because I have the worst handwriting in the world some days) when I was thinking how amazing all this technology is these days. We can send off a letter or parcel and it'll take between three days to a week or so to get where it's gotta be; but the beauty of the internet is that you send an e-mail and it reaches its recipient within seconds not days or weeks! I love it! I never thought I would, but I do.
And I've learned so much on this here ol' phone lines too. The world has become a smaller place because of the internet. Just consider what would happen if we didn't have it and we were still communicating the same way we used to in the 1960's - 1980's? We wouldn't have the ipod, iphone, digital camera, sms or anything to the likes of what we have now. It would be a very big world for us to get around in. However, now, it's so much easier to communicate and chat with people on the other side of the globe.

Through various websites and blogging, I've made some really cool friends. In fact, I have more online friends than I do in my own city; and I'm betting you probably do as well. I've found that with my new internet friends, I've found that they are the nicest people. On, we trade and talk about books. We're just crazy about them. On we are nuts about knitting and patterns. Otherwise, I'm on and I've got my select collection of friends there who I've gotten over time (and that group is slowly growing).

But when you think about it, the leaps and bounds with technology isn't just fun and games. In the medical world, it's been fantastic. What doctors can do to save a life or to - at the very least - keep somebody alive for longer is absolutely brilliant.
I'm an Epileptic and there's an operation that can help people suffering from this condition (as it's degenerative as you get older) from taking seizures when they become uncontrolled. I was offered this operation and had to go to Melbourne for tests. However, I wasn't a candidate. Instead, I changed doctors and found that even though my seizures are the worst kind, they are controlled with the smallest amount of medication; just a little of three twice a day and I'm good. Yes, the medical world has most certainly benefited from the new technologies that have come with the internet and computerisation of the world.

However, I never used to think this way. Nope. I never wanted a mobile phone or a digital camera or an MP3 player. I wanted life to be easier for me; and to get with it and keep up with the times it gradually did get easier, without me having to let go of the old technologies I love as well. It's the old stuff that keeps us in contact with who we are, our families, our past and everything else in between. It's like my books. They are old-fashioned and I love them; however, never would I ever get a Sony e-reader or a Kindle; it's just not my style.
So, I'm embracing this Hi-Tech world of ours for what it is: a little of the old-fashioned beauty that we were taught about when we went to school; and the future of where our world is going. However, we must be careful how we treat our home. Even though what's occuring to it is perfectly natural and it's just how it's supposed to happen to a planet (I really don't think it's our fault), we are still only a blip on the radar screen of Earth's life. I say: enjoy it while we're here and love the time we're in right now; because it's just amazing stuff that's going on around us.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

History Never Repeat

It's strange how things can change so much; yet seem to stay the same. The other day, I walked down the street towards my parents' house and found that one house was fenced off to be removed and another not far down the road had been taken off its lot and even the trees and garden were gone. I was absolutely surprised and shocked. Had it been that long since I was a kid when they were close to new and I used to walk past on my way to school? My God it has been!
It's sad but true to know that my entire area is going to be changing very quickly over the next five to ten years; and I can't do anything about holding onto my past - my childhood - too easily. We have photos of when the block of land behind us was just forest right to the service road with a creek running through it - and it wasn't a clean one, it was filthy and contaminated. We had a tree house up behind our friends' house two doors up where we could escape one wet days; and now that's not there anymore.

Yes, my past is quickly fading into history and there's not going to be much left of it to hold onto. Sure we have the photographs to look at and the memories that I wrote about in my diaries when I was a teenager and growing into an adult. However, it's going to take more than that to keep my memories from fading away and disappearing from Logan City as it changes - morphes - into something I'm suddenly realising I'm not going to recognise in years to come.

As life is an everchanging entity in itself, as is time, we all feel sad that our past will eventually fade away and just be a part of the history books. However, I've thought of a way to keep it from vanishing from our lives all together. I'm going to keep posting about something from my past that I remember and treasure (even something I don't like) so that anyone reading this online will see what kind of life I lived in the 1980's as and X-Generation kid being born in the 1970's... before the internet became readily available, mobile phones were small enough to lose, video games were 'Space Invaders' and 'Pacman' and car alarms weren't so annoying (nobody stole a car; and if they did, well, you probably left the car unlocked!).

The past is something we should all treasure and look back on with a smile and a giggle sometimes. In the past, we've all made mistakes, conquered our fears, fallen in love and had our hearts broken, beaten up the school bully and come out the other end surviving one thing or another that makes us totally and completely original and unique.

So count this post as a first of many where I'll talk about what my past was like compared to how it is now; how I communicated with my friends and family; how I spent my days and what I did to get from one place to another. Travel back in time with me and enjoy the life of an X-Gen kid.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Creative Minds

For a very long time, I didn't think I was all that creative; well, besides with my writing and books. Yeah, sure, I could scare you into not turning out your light, bring you to tears, make you laugh out loud or make you think about things. But, really, I didn't think I was creative outside the written world. Not until a good part of my world fell apart on me and I was rediagnosed with Epilepsy. I say 'rediagnosed' because mine had been dormant for a while; during the most dangerous time of my life - puberty. And seeing it wasn't going to rear its ugly head then, the doctors thought I was going to be okay. Wrong. It took me travelling to New Zealand on a tour that was far too fast for me and I not only caused it to come back, but I also burnt myself out.
And that wasn't all. I had just gotten my drivers license and bought a car! Hell! So, there I was with a gorgeous red Celica Liftback in the driveway and my neurologist telling me not to drive it for a month! It was like buying a house, then somebody telling you that you can't live in it for a month as a precaution that something might happen. Being a cocky nineteen year old, I ignored the doctor and drove the car (or lived in my house). He was not impressed about it when I went in to see him a month later and impressed him with not only being able to find a park on Wickham Terrace, but I could also do reverse parallel park too! He knew I had been driving seeing that I didn't hit the gutter or the other two cars.

But this isn't about my Epilepsy. This is how my life has turned out to be as it's become controlled over the last decade. I have found that since we had tests done on my brain and the condition matured; completely affecting all of my brain cells and not just a certain few, I have gotten a hell of a creative streak!
I picked up a paintbrush and tried out acrylic paints while I visited my boyfriend's parents out at Roma. While out there, I did three paintings and when I came home, I didn't stop. We found that doing art actually pulled me back off some medications; making it so that I wasn't taking so much of it and that my seizures were lessening. This was brilliant!

However, I had to look at my stress.

About six years ago, I moved out of my folks' home and lived on my own. It was an absolutely gutsy move. Dad wasn't too keen on it, but my doctors said was something that may help my stress and condition; and it has. My art works have moved forward; and in more ways than one! I tried out mixed media and found it wasn't really me. But then, I picked up my late-Grandmother's knitting needles and got the most brilliant idea! Knitted Trees! I began doing them in May and had problems with the tags in June... but I think I've got it all sorted out! If you want to know more, check out 'A Natural Background' in my complete profile; it's another blog I manage. I may have missed out on this month for knitting trees, however, next month will have a few in it; if it doesn't rain too much.

Over the years, I've had fun with art; so much so, I volunteer at the local art gallery in my area, and have done so for ten years this year. It's fun and brilliant and I love doing the volunteer work just to get my butt out of the house and seeing some talented artists! I do enjoy different types of art and love to learn about it all as well and so I take part in some workshops when they are available to us; and when I can come in (or be squeezed in on the lists if there's space!).

I do believe we all have creative minds - each and every one of us - however if we don't try to use the artistic abilities we have been blessed with, we'll never know how good we are; or can be. So, when somebody tells you that they don't have an artistic talent in their little toe/finger, don't ever believe them; not until you actually see them doing something creative. It's the ones who doubt themselves that usually surprise the socks off everyone else around them.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Collectors or Hoarders?

I love to collect things. Some may say that I hoard; but that's different. Hoarding is where you have no intention of throwing something out because it holds sentimental value; however, you're not really sure exactly what kind. Me? I love to collect practical things, things I can use. As you may have read from my previous posts, I love books... all kinds of books. Usually, I love books that I can get my nose into; otherwise there's no real use in collecting them (well, unless they're worth an absolute fortune - but I'm not about to tell you which books are valuable in my collection; that'd be cheating).

I collect other things too.

Coin purses are another thing I love to collect. They're small and cute and there are so many designs they come in; and then you can mix'n'match them with how you feel, what your wearing, your bag, the occasion... the list goes on. Usually, I find my best ones when I'm not actually hoping to find any; and often when I'm only planning to buy only one. It's then I stumble across around ten or so that I just can't say no to because the charity store has such a great variety and they're in wonderful condition. However, charity stores aren't the only places I hunt for coin purses. There's garage sales, the Smart Tip over at Browns Plains, the markets and Oxfam (now that's a place for coin purses!). Also, whenever somebody goes overseas now, I ask them to get me some coin purses from anywhere they see them. The best thing about asking for this from a traveller is that these things take up so little space in their luggage! Well, to start with. Once you've accumulated around twenty or so, then it starts to get to be a little much... hehe. And yeah, I've had to move my collection to another place just recently because it outgrew the drawer it was living in.

But I my collecting doesn't just stop at coin purses and books. I also collect vinyls; good quality vinyls. I'll hike it into Brisbane City and hunt around for a good vinyl. And I'm not shy about how much I'll pay either when I'm looking for a certain one. Recently (in the last year), I purchased the second vinyl of 'The Big Chill' in the city. I had been looking for another, however, I came across this one instead seeing I didn't find the first one I was looking for. I actually found about three copies of this particular vinyl and pulled them all down to look at them. I chose the best out of the three and paid a little over $10.00 for it; something I expected.
The next thing I also expected was that it was going to need some TLC; and a lot of it.

When I got home, I began the three days I had to spend on it to get every track clean. You see, when I buy a second-hand vinyl from any shop, most of the time, they haven't been cared for very well.

So, like anything second-hand I wish to use again like new, I must clean it and care for it. When I collect, I look for good quality work. If the purse I've picked up is looking old and the leather is hard and it's falling apart; I'm afraid, it may be at the end of its life. Well, to me it is; for somebody else, it may not be. Same goes for vinyls. But you see, with vinyls, they're hiding something. What they're hiding is their beautiful music. All I have to do is find it under the caked on dirt and crap.

So, what are you? Are you a collector who looks for beauty beyond the dirt and works hard on it when you get the item home? Or are you the hoarder who loves what you have, yet you're not too sure where to go from here? Both these things go hand in hand; however, if you end up cleaning up your hoarding, you can always go on ebay and make some money out of your hoarding and collect something your passionate about.

Just an idea.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My Addiction

I'm addicted. Totally and completely addicted; and yet I thought at one stage I was getting better. However, I'm not. When I moved out of my parents' home, I had only one bookcase and it fitted nice and neat downstairs in my living room. It housed all my books and looked like it was going to fall over if I put anymore into it.
Then, I found nobody was visiting enough to use my spare room and I began transforming it into an office. I was storing things in it anyway; so why not use it as my place to write and my place for some of my books. Some...ha! What was I thinking? What started out as about one hundred books or so has surged very quickly to around five hundred... and it's still growing!!! Oh my god! It's been amazing to find that it's not just me who has this gremlin-like collection in my house either! There are people called BookCrossers (yeah, I'm one as well) who trade and swap books across the world to get the books they want to read, borrow books they don't have and ring their own books around the world and have them come back like boomerangs in the post! And from this very thing, my collection of one bookcase increased to four!

But... I love it. I love it that I don't have to go to a library on a wet, cold day. I love it that I can sit on the internet all day and chat with a person in Wisconsin or London through Bookcrossing. I love that. It may keep me from my household chores, but I love that my friends on the net have the passion and love for books just like I do; and they feel just like I do when they see somebody destroying a book (it's a gut-wrenching feeling). We feel downright sad when a book's pages fall out in our hands and its bindings come undone when we go to read them; causing us to shed a silent tear and have to throw them away.
Books also bring people together too. I love that about books; I enjoy the fact that books are universally known to bring love, joy, hope and every other emotion known to humans.
So, yeah, my addiction is books.

But I have others.

I collect other things besides books; and they're useful little things too. However, I must leave that for another time. This time, I'd rather talk about books and the joys they have brought to me; the tears and love and hope and fear of turning out the light. Books are the most wonderful things, no matter how much technology they turn them into or how many Sony e-readers or Kindles they put out, the feeling of a real, honest to God, book is so wonderful to hold between your hands. It's the pages, the print... the smell of a brand new book... the odour of an old one and where it's been and how it's lived its life with so many other people (or maybe just one for a very long time). I love books and the way they can be beautifully bound in
leather, wood or paper. Their cover art is sought after and their author's words are read by generations of readers; no matter how faded and yellow the pages become.

Books will always be here to be read, loved and enjoyed by all who have come before us, are here today and will be here in the future. Love them for who has had them, who gave them to you and what they mean to you because they are a form of freedom within your mind; a freedom that nobody can take away from you.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Going Green in More Ways Than One.

I love to recycle things. Clothes, books, kitchen scraps... all kinds of things. And when the Life Line Bookfest came along, I was ready for it this year. I had saved up big and gotten my walkin' boots on. And yesterday (6th, June - Queensland Day) was my day to hike it into Brisbane City to buy up big on books that I wanted. So during this last week, I organised my money, printed out my wishlist off Bookcrossing and emptied out my blue shopping trolley and made sure I had the right bag to go into town with.
However, one of my friends who was a bus driver told me to get off at Southbank and that the Convention Centre would be 'right there'. He was wrong. I had to leg it another three blocks and ask for directions from a nice police officer/security guard at the Southbank Police Station (who told me that I'd have another 400 metres to walk!). Once there, I found that this Bookfest was bigger than I thought. I had never ever seen anything like it. I just stood there in the doors for a moment and took in the sight of millions of books all laid out there for anyone to pick up and buy at bargain basement prices! And I mean starting at .50c and the most expensive I had to fork out was $4.00!! Not bad if you ask me! I spent $50 on around twenty books; and that included books for my niece too.
The one thing I did do was stop off at Garden City and pull out the cash I needed and leave some in the keycard; a kind of just-in-case deal. I didn't want to be flogged with charges.
Well, once I got my blue trolley almost too heavy to pull around and my feet were begging for a rest, I saw a coffee place outside the Scrapbooking Convention next door and grabbed a latte (forgetting to ask for a decaf...oops!). I guzzled that down and called my brother asking if his daughter still enjoyed horse books and told him I got her a few others I thought she'd like. He asked where I was and I told him.
Well, he invited me to the Botanical Gardens for the Green Day Festival. I thought why not and jumped on a bus down the road
outside the museum and art gallery and found myself at the coolest and hippest place that advertised how to use green energy. I even scored two free plants for entering a competition! Not too shabby if you ask me! We lounged about for an hour or so and I gave my niece her books and she was thrilled to see more horse books than classics (that was my aim) and when I mentioned that one of the classics had pirates in them; well that got her attention! The bands were wicked, the gardens looked fantastic and green. The weather was lovely and warm (for our winter, that's unusual!) and it was one of the best Queensland Days we've had for a long time! However, the afternoon was getting on and I had two busses to catch to get home before dark.
So, when 3:30pm rocked around, I said my goodbyes to my brother, his girlfriend and my darling niece and made tracks home.
However, the books I bought were so heavy that my trolley fell over on the bus and hurt an asian lady. Man! Did I feel bad. I kept asking if she was okay (because
I know that can hurt. I've had the trolley fall over onto me and it hurt me badly). She kept saying she was okay, but I knew she was in pain. I was worried about her all the way home on the bus; but if she wasn't going to tell me if she was in pain, well, I couldn't help her. I kept apologising to her but she said it was okay. Well, I got an early night last night after watching a movie at 7:30pm and then headed off to bed at around 10pm or so. I remember hearing the rain on the roof at around 11pm or so and then the alarm going off this morning.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Hibernation of the Winter Months

Yep, June is here; as is Winter. But it's not a sudden thing, this cold has been slowly creeping up on us for about two months and now it's here, I love it! Yes, I love the colder months of Winter where we rug up, eat stodgier foods and drink hot totties before bed. However, this Winter, we're in for colder weather and a lot more rain. So, when I normally read outside, I'll be reading more inside - hey, I can live with that! I'll probably be writing more books too because I'll be stuck inside my home with 'nothing to do'... hehe... for somebody who doesn't watch daytime television, there's always plenty to do. And there are days where I do take off in the wet.

However, I love the hibernation of the Winter months. They cause us to break out the slow cooker and make popcorn when we watch the dvds on the wet weekends. We tend to talk more to our families because weekend sport has been called off for the kids. Life takes on a whole new aspect all because it's too cold to go outside. For some people, it's the best time to go out. Like for me. I love going out on a nice crisp day in Winter; so long I dress warmly and keep dry, I'll be fine. I guess it's the Scottish blood, or the Irish, or the Viking blood in me... take your pick, it's all there - and it's all good!

I read more during Winter too. Seeing I zoomed through fourteen books since the beginning of the year; well, I'll be getting through a lot more in the next few months all beause it's colder. Who needs the movies when a book is just as good! And with the LifeLine Bookfest coming up this weekend, I'm heading on in there rain, hail or shine to pick up a few bargains. I'll be there with my blue trolley, dressed warmly with my wishlist in hand... no probs. That'll be me there.

Afterwards, I may yet take a nice break to the Brisbane Art Gallery and look at the American Art that I saw an advert for a few months back. I mean, why not? Kill two birds with one stone? It's not too far away and on the same side of the river. May as well.

Well, it's overcast again and sound like it's going to rain again. The temperature has dropped and the birds have begun to go nuts outside (thus the reason why I said 'it sounds like' when I talked about the rain, they always do when it's about to or just after). As much as I love it when it does rain, I have to make sure I do laundry in small lots because I don't really have an undercover place to put it; and I hate using my dryer as it's so old I always have the feeling it's going to burn out, so I don't use it. I must be going. Things to do, people to meet and other blogs to write and keep updated.