Sunday, 17 November 2013

Getting told off by a random old person on the street

Two weeks ago, I got off the bus in the early evening and walked over to the traffic lights at the intersection near my house.  I had just gotten back from uni and I was starving for sustenance.  I crossed one street with a number of other former bus patrons and then stepped up to the next light and pressed the button to cross the other.  But then I realised something that I had never realised before.  As you all know, there would normally be a small 'red light' above the button to indicate that someone has pressed it.  As I drooped my head to take a closer look, the second light did not have the indicator function at all.  So in a moment of doubt, I thought: 'oh, that's weird. I better press it a few more times just in case.'  Like your typical fidgety teenager, I pushed the button three times in quick succession.  Just, well, you know, to make sure.  No biggie at all.  Nothing to get too excited or worried about.  Not like I was breaking the fucking thing.

Suddenly. 

A gruff, rusty voice with a tinge of belligerence:

"You only need to press it once."

I whipped around and because I had not heard properly, I asked, with a saccharine smile on my face, "Pardon?"

The old white man, with the hunchback, white hair, receding hairline, oxford glasses and shriveled face of irritation, lunges close like a bear and practically spat:

"You only need to press it once."

As he stomped off in the other direction, the lights turned green and a huge line of cars were waiting at the stop.  I had no choice but to cross.  And my erstwhile smile quickly turned into the gritting of teeth.  I was thinking - what the fuck?!??!?!?!  That was so rude.  Wow.  Jezuz.

So in a split second decision, halfway at the crossing, I angrily whipped my head back around and yelled:

"YOU RACIST!"

And then I ran for my bloody lyf.
#YOLOSWAG






Also I'm kidding.  I did not say that.  I just took it like an international student and walked off fuming.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Movie: Thor: The Dark World

So yesterday night, I watched Thor 2 even though I had never seen the first Thor or Avengers.  And surprisingly, I enjoyed it. 


The acting was crap all round.
The editing was a major fuckery.
Continuity problems ravaged the entire movie.

And yet I still liked it.  It was great dumb action. The best thing about this movie was probably a sword-wielding Rene Russo, who is still pretty hot for a 59 year old woman, although we all know the hottest 59 year old woman ever is Christie 'you-can-never-be-this-fabulous' Brinkley. 

Kat Dennings, who played a beanie-clad sidekick to Natalie Portman's feminist-trollin' character, annoyed the heck out of me.  But that was probably not her fault.  Blame the writers of 2 Broke Girls.  Because every time I see this girl on screen, rolling her eyes, sucking in her cheeks and exploding with sarcastic 'wit', a bit of PTSD kicks in and I start to experience flashbacks of all the crappy promo ads that I've ever seen on TV for 2BG. 

Seedy looking guy: Welcome to my home ladies, dis is where dee magic happens. 
Laugh track.
Kat Dennings:  I'm sure you've made a few women disappear here.
Laugh track.

I punched myself in the face.
Anyway.

Natalie Portman really disappointed me in this movie.  Well, to be fair, she had nothing much to work with in the first place and an actress like her in a movie like this only means one thing:  $$$$$$$$$$$
It was like watching someone complete a chore.  Say this.  Do that.  Look scared here.  Complain here.
Most egregiously, Thor pretty much just risked losing the entire universe (Asgard and all the other realms) to protect her freaking ass.  I mean, he could have just destroyed the aether while it was in her, but of course, why the fuck would that happen.  They're lovers. So maybe Portman could look a bit more shocked/grateful/worried about the events taking place.  You know, maybe like whispering in a shocked voice 'The whole world might go to ruins because of me...' instead of stuff like 'well, I guess we're stuck here....'

whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat.

Tom Hiddleston.  I was really looking forward to checking out how hot this guy really was.  I've heard things from both men and women so I was holding very high expectations of this double first Cambridge grad.  And I've got to say, I did not particularly like his character, Loki.  Yeah, he's hot.  But Loki is overdone.  That two second uber close up of his nefarious downward pointed face in front of Odin, with his narrowed eyes full of poison and lips seething with unspoken epithets, face plastered with white make up - I almost laughed out loud in the cinema.  It was a bit ridiculous how much they had to keep emphasising the fact that he was OH SO VERY BAD. YES I'M BAD I'M SO BAD AND HOT AND BAD.

Loki, in terms of character, is built like Jack Sparrow.  OTT wickedness, mannerisms and 'evil' stereotypes constantly reinforced through the explicit opinions of other characters.  But sigh.  Who can hate Tom Hiddleston. 

I did wish Malekith and his cronies had better things to say to each other instead of the boring 'WE SHALL RISE AGAIN AND KILL THEM ALL.'  Listening to Malekith speak to his elves sounded like Dumb and Dumber for a while. 

And then Chris Hemsworth.  Well................................ I congratulate him for graduating from Summer Bay.  He's come a long way. 

OH WELL, CINDY, IT'S JUST THOR 2, NOT 12 YEARS A SLAVE.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Amnesia

[Foreword:  this is a short story that I wrote at the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013 (I've got a crap memory).  I recently submitted this to the annual Monash Creative Writers' competition and lo and behold - attained third place and a couple of free books.  FREE BOOKS.]



Lisa

It was like seeing you for the first time in my lifeand in a way, this was true.  You were no longer you.  You were different, a complete stranger once again.  In fact, you weren't even human anymore.

"Hello," you greeted me, your voice giving off a monotonous robotic lull.  My heart bounced a little faster and my throat became painfully dry.  You couldn’t remember anything, could you?  You couldn’t remember what we were. 

Standing pathetically wide-eyed and speechless, I felt a sudden pang of vertigo.  Around me, the blue-grey hues of our ship’s walls blurred into a whirlpool of grief.  The real you only exists to me as a scattering of images in a distant mythological past that was no longer relevant.  The man standing in front of me now is a mere shadow.  A fake.  A flawed imitation.

It didn’t matter that you still had that jet black hair, those viridian green eyes and the same distinctive brush of freckles across your cheeks.  My insides lurched with pain as you flashed me his smile – because your gaze, however personable it meant to be, emitted a peculiar vacuous quality only seen among the machines.  There was no trace of your former humanity. 

"Hello," I finally managed to muster, coming off rather brusque.  Not that you would care about it.   

"I am John."  

So they changed your name too.  

"I'm… Lisa."  

"Nice to meet you Lisa."  

Your eyes perused our tiny vestibule, finally pausing at the MAC-10 on my desk, the weapon partially obscured by a black duffel bag carrying all sorts of contraband.  You glided over, picking up my pistol for a curious examination while I stood there looking at you in much the same way.  Maybe worse.  Like staring at an animal in a zoo, pitying a thing for living a life of controlled artificiality.   

"So are you a soldier too?" you asked coolly, green eyes darting back to me.  "Fighting the war against the Rebels? The R-nines?"

"Yes.  Ever since I can remember,” I say.  My eyes came to rest on your incomplete left arm.  A colourful array of wires, red, green and blue, ran across your fingers, convoluting at the wrist and spearheading into a mass of gold electrical chips at the elbow.  I felt sick again. 

I had to ask you.  "How much of you… How much of your body is… android?"  

"Eighty five percent."  

Your reply is immediate.  Clinical.  Unmistakeably robotic.  Registering the shock on my face, you let out an unnerving grin.  "It was a major breakthrough for Doctor Kio's team.  They had never attempted anything of such scale before and yet here I stand as proof of their achievements.  Faster.  Smarter.  Better equipped than any other android.  I am the first step of the solution.  With others like me, Lisa, we can win the war."  

Skin prickling. 
Spine tingling. 
Sense of disgust. 
Horror.  Anger.  Outrage. 

But you are not android.  
You are not.  
YOU ARE NOT.

A glacial layer of sweat had formed on my forehead and I turned my face away, trembling like I had during the maze incident back on planet Orkos four years ago - he and I trapped underground surrounded by at least a hundred wandering guerrilla R9s.  Now I couldn’t meet your eyes.  His eyes.  Without being reminded of when I believed it was the end.  Bits of coagulated blood around his ears.  Vermillion speckles of dirt all over his cheeks, with the left side smarting from a fresh laceration.  He had reassured me.  Held my face with calloused hands.  Looked me in my eyes. 

I’d never leave you. Never.

Everyone lied to me.  I realise it now.  I realise that the brilliant Doctor Kio - the man people dub the saviour of mankind, the people’s hero - had played me and everyone else on earth for a complete fool. 

This had never been a rescue mission but an experiment transcending all ethical boundaries – an experiment which, despite the possibility of presenting us with victory in a century long war, could set humanity back eons more than the war ever will.  Tampering with bodies and messing with memories until humans are no longer humans but machines built to kill.  

We would be the price of our own victory. 

"John...” I say, but end up whispering.  He swivels around mechanically to face me.   “I need to see Doctor Kio.  Right now.”

 "Alright," he answers, eyes flicking immediately back to my gun, appearing fascinated by the way the polish shone under the lighting as he tilted it at different angles.  I linger for a moment.  Taking in the face of someone I once loved and trying to discern which 15 percent of him that was left.   



It wasn't there. 



I walked out of the room, not looking back.  And not intending to. 












John

Her behaviour was abnormal.  Not like the others.  

Emotional.  Rash.  Unbalanced.   The program taught me how to see their moods. 

Her tone was cold.  Her eyes were watery.  Her mood, visibly shaken.  She had wanted to cry.  

Why?

This gun is heavy.  Seems too heavy for a small person like her.

It gleams under this phosphorescent blue lamp. 

This gun has interesting features.  It has been altered in many places.  Fitted with new functions.  A silencer.  More stable points.  But not the best there is.

Her bag seems heavy.  It holds weapons.  I scan it and there are fifteen small to medium sized automatics.  Eight generation six grenades.  One old Heckler and Koch MP5A2 with a chipped handguard.

I scan across a photograph in the side pocket.  I slide it out, careful not to rip it as its edges are worn.   It is of her and a man.

That man is me from another time.  I am sitting next to a young looking Lisa at a bar.  Frothy drinks in front of us.  We are smiling at the camera.  She looks nervous, but happy.  We both look happy.  As the program has taught me to recognise happy

I turn the photograph over.


Lisa,

In a desperate world full of hate,
You gave me love and hope from the
very first day we met. 

David


I do not remember being David.  I do not remember Lisa from a time before.  

I return the photograph to the pocket, sliding it in carefully to avoid scratching its already abrasive surface.   I pick up another automatic.

Now this gun seems quite effective.  Good stabiliser and ...


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

This article is another example of how charity groups are bashed for overhead:

Here Are the Most Overpaid Charity CEOs in America



COMMENTS:
quixotic226UHamilton Nolan
L
You know, there's this misconception that people who work at nonprofits should essentially accept being paid less than market value for their skillset. I couldn't say which of these I do think are overpaid; however, this is one of the serious issues facing nonprofits today: that the majority of the public thinks that they should spend every dollar directly on services, and not on things defined as "overhead" - which might include staff salary, or basic expenses that allow the business to operate.
In order to make an impact, nonprofits need highly skilled management. Over $1 million may be high, but without looking at the salary within the context of impact, overall budget, etc., it's really difficult to just flatly state they're overpaid.
And it really is worth noting how much less these salaries are than for-profit counterparts. Is it better for them to have ridiculous salaries because they aren't accepting public money, even as they treat their workers poorly? What about the nonprofits who primarily receive individual contributions - do they deserve the same scrutiny? What about nonprofits who earn a large percentage of their revenue?
I typically like your posts, Hamilton, but I'm kind of tired of the oversimplified nonprofit criticism. Yesterday 2:04pm

kateperegrinateUquixotic226
L
I've worked at a non-profit for 14 years, and in my experience, a lot of public expect the majority of work to be done by volunteers, not paid staff.
I just don't understand that mentality — I have to pay my bills just like everyone else, so why shouldn't I expect to have salary and benefits similar to someone doing the same work in the for-profit sector? Yesterday 2:14pm

pmarbleUquixotic226
L
There was a pretty popular Ted talk this year that made many of the same points. By a guy who had been hugely successful at organizing AIDS rides and then saw it all fall apart because of this narrow thinking. You may have seen it, but if not, I highly recommend it.Yesterday 2:28pm

Monday, 7 October 2013

If you didn't know already, Emma Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch are "two white people"



"The two white people..."

What in the actual fuck?!?!??!?!

Anyway.  I don't know anything about Benedict except that he's in Dr. Who and apparently women love him even though with his all white (hur) looks he could probably play a steely eyed Nazi pretty well.  

Emma Watson on the other hand - if we are going to be shallow dicks like everyone who puts these lists together - I think she is average or at most, slightly above average.  I think the biggest reason why guys find her extremely hot is because 1. they grew up with her on apparently everybody's (but not mine) favourite series evaaaaaaar, Harry Potter   2.  she's cutesy, nice and looks approachable i.e. wifey material.

I don't think she's sexy, but yeah, I guess she's cute.  
Really overrated in terms of hotness though.

Also, speaking of smart actresses, Natalie Portman >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Emma Watson any day.

Also, Kate Beckinsale went to Oxford.  *INTERESTING FACT OF THE DAY*


Sunday, 6 October 2013

The douchebags who aren't willing to believe that celebrities can be rape victims

Today, shocking media reports surfaced which revealed that two of the world's richest, most recognised pop icons are victims of rape.

One of them at eight years old; the other when she was 20, trying to make it big in New York as a dancer.  While their accounts were disturbing ( - being held at gunpoint and being raped on the roof of a building), the way that some articles and netizens have dismissed these experiences as fictional, self-aggrandising, attention-grabbing ploys, have been even more so. They go even further as to insinuate that pop stars who are 'fame-whores', who act arrogant, who have built their entire careers on being 'sex icons/gods'are people that just...can't possibly be rape victims because ahem - they're sluts and morally decrepit people.

So who are they?  Madonna and Chris Brown.




Firstly, there's Madonna for the November issue of Harpers Bazaar, talking about the first year she moved to New York:


New York wasn't everything I thought it would be. It did not welcome me with open arms. The first year, I was held up at gunpoint. Raped on the roof of a building I was dragged up to with a knife in my back, and had my apartment broken into three times. I don't know why; I had nothing of value after they took my radio the first time. 

And all the homeless people on the street. This wasn't anything I prepared for in Rochester, Michigan. Trying to be a professional dancer, paying my rent by posing nude for art classes, staring at people staring at me naked. Daring them to think of me as anything but a form they were trying to capture with their pencils and charcoal. I was defiant. Hell-bent on surviving. On making it. But it was hard and it was lonely, and I had to dare myself every day to keep going. 

Despite the fact that some comments have provided links to articles as early as 1995 where she has talked about the rape incident, there was an initial barrage of really horrible, really hypocritical, slut-shaming comments left on Jezebel, a well known feminist gossip & news site that usually draws a commentariat of above average literacy and intelligence:




SendMeToHelenBackAgainUDodai Stewart
I don't believe her. There is NOTHING Madonna wouldn't have done or said to get attention early in her career. If this were true, we'd have known about it for 30 years already. Friday 7:12pm





gayghostUSendMeToHelenBackAgain
Yeah, I know it's a seriously touchy thing around here not to believe a woman when she claims she's been a victim of rape but Madonna is a total fame whore who is fading out of the spotlight, she'll do anything to stay in it and like you said, this would have come out a long time ago if it were true. Friday 7:23pm




SendMeToHelenBackAgainUgayghost
Exactly. The break-ins, absolutely I believe. The gunpoint robbery, maybe. The rape, no.

She practically invited us inside her body with a speculum (in fact, for all I know, she may literally have done that). There's no way she would have kept quiet about this for so long. It's just a pathetic attempt to aggrandize herself - look what I've survived! How awesome I am!
Are you fucking kidding me!??!?!?  God, I just want to punch these people in the fucking face. Saying shit like that is like saying:

  • If Lady Gaga (because she's probably the modern day equivalent) had been raped when she was young but only spoke about it publicly during an interregnum in her career or after retirement, then it's automatically 1. attention grabbing and fake 2. not possible because we have seen her 99% naked in her music videos and therefore, she should have been really comfortable talking about her experience of rape (RAPE!) at all times, to a potential audience of 7 billion people  i.e. the fucking world.  Because after all, it's LADY GAGA, INVINCIBLE 'FREE BITCH' & MULTI-MILLIONAIRE CHAMPION OF THE WEIRD. NOT LADY GAGA THE HUMAN BEING who can be JUST AS VULNERABLE to assaults as any of us plebs. 
  • A stripper, a prostitute or a porn star can't be raped because they flaunt or use their bodies in a sexual way anyway and they are absolutely the DEVIL'S HEATHENS - i.e. 100% SLUT SHAMING

After this initial onslaught of 'oh my god it's Madonna, she can't be raped', were at last, some comments from some sensible readers of the same site who have called out the slut-shamers:




oblonglolUDodai Stewart
So, wait. Some of the comments here don't sit well with me.

The general sentiment seems to be: "She loves attention, obviously she couldn't have been raped."
That makes no fucking sense. Everybody can be raped. Everybody, including people who get naked on TV. Jesus Christ. Friday 8:36pm



wonderfulfrowardUoblonglol
Yes, this. For fuck's sake, sex workers get raped all the time. Wanting attention is not mutually exclusive to getting raped. Friday 8:54pm





brightersideoflifeUoblonglol
I know, right? Especially given that she was working as a nude model and a dancer, I can totally believe she knew exactly how problematic it would be to even try to report it to the police back in the day. Friday 9:55pm




TraceTheLordeUJenB84
I could imagine someone as she, who had begun her career as someone wanting to champion women as powerful and so forth, not feeling so psyched about sharing this with anyone, let alone the world, let alone at that time, and let alone when it's a benchmark of women's victimization.

But to question the veracity as others have done? Egads, that's troublesome and sad and indicative yet again, of why women don't want to give voice to this crime.

Most vindicating is this 1995 NME interview with Madonna:
Madonna grimaces and falls silent.
Would you rather stop talking about this? 
“I don’t want to talk about it only in that…” she pauses, choosing her words carefully, “I don’t want to get into this Oprah Winfrey/Sinead O’Connor thing of, ‘Oh, everybody, all these horrible things have happened to me!’ I don’t want to make it an issue. I think that I’ve had what a lot of people would consider to be horrific experiences in my life. But I don’t want people to feel sorry for me because I don’t.

So there you go.  Fucking hell.
I just can't believe that Jezebel - a site that's so infamous for its feminist readership, has come up with this shit storm of what is essentially victim-blaming; and for perpetuating this entrenched disadvantage/problem  - that rape victims have to constantly deal with social judgments on their past sexual experiences, their past behaviour, their 'inclination' to get in bed with someone (things that have been banned from being taken into account in rape trials btw), and even be accused of making fake rape claims.  UGH.  
GET IT INTO YOUR BRAINS, slut-shaming is wrong because:
  • a woman could be walking naked on the beach but that doesn't excuse a man from running over there and raping the heck out of her. 
  • I could be wearing a mini-skirt while taking pt but I'm not asking men to stick their hand up my skirt and feel me up. 
  • Even if a girl is at a club, in a barely-there dress, grinding up on you with flirty eyes on show, and a little bit tipsy, that's NEVER AN EXCUSE for you to assume, even if you guys have kissed, that she wants your penis inside her.  Because rape is humiliating, violating, could impregnate the victim and is likely to stigmatise her forever depending on her values and cultural background.  Not to mention that it could leave physical, and definitely mental scars. No woman asks for rape.
  • Discussion about 'how a woman should dress' is a different fucking thing to 'how to prevent rape'. The former is about standards of propriety and freedom of choice and expression, while the latter is about stopping men from doing rape because it's goddamn fucking obvious that when a woman gets raped, it's the man who's in control.  So stop the man, not the woman.  ffs


But if I thought what people have said about Madonna was bad, holee furkin' crap... the Chris Brown article on Jezebel was 1000000000000000000000000000x worse.  
Before I go on, I realise that a lot of people really hate CB as a person. He's bashed Rihanna and thrown chairs at people so he's not exactly a person that's easy to sympathise with.  
But anyway, criticism where it is valid, and sympathy where it is necessary too. We can hold multiple opinions of Chris Brown at the same time, for he is probably as complex as the rest of us.  - a Jezebel commenter
But people need to realise that this is a very different case.  A male rape victim case.  Meaning that if you take into account the overwhelming social expectations that are placed on male superstars (especially rappers and whatnot who explicitly channel masculinity into their art) as well as his childhood - watching his mother get beaten to a bloody pulp, having admitted that he once wanted to kill his stepfather - then it is really inappropriate for the writer to be glossing over his story (even if CB was uber cocky about it) with a nonchalant, yep haha CB trying to portray himeslf as 'some sort of mythical sex Jesus'... what a cunt.
The fact is that he lost his virginity when he was EIGHT to a 14/15 year old girl - WHAT????Can't Doug Barry (the writer of the Jezebel article) see that this is something extremely extremely ... disturbing and wrong???
I mean - that's statutory rape that he just accidentally admitted to. HE WAS EIGHT.
This is a kid who is eight.
EIGHT.
If a female actress/singer came out and said 'yeah haha I mean I was watching porn at a really young age, I lost my virginity when I was eight to a fifteen year old guy, so yeah I guess I was really mature ya know.'
THE WHOLE MEDIA WOULD BE ALL OVER THAT SHIT. LIKE 'OMG OMG YOU WERE EIGHT DID YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU WERE DOING THEN?'
I feel like because CB is a guy, and because he's done some stupid shit in the past, and because he was vaunting about his first time like it was a huge achievement - that people just completely forget the fact that 1. that's statutory rape 2. there is a reason why he's kind of fucked up right now.  
And of course, there is a good goddamn reason why laws are enacted to criminalise people who have sex with children below a certain age, or people who groom children for sex by supplying them with porn. Because they're CHILDREN. There is a huge power imbalance between them: being too young to understand what's happening, too weak to say no etc.
Comments from the original interview on The Guardian:

He lost his virginity when he was eight years old, to a local girl who was 14 or 15. Seriously? "Yeah, really. Uh-huh." He grins and chuckles. "It's different in the country."
Omfg, what did I just read???????? Bloody disturbing. I couldn't get passed that part. Eight year old with a 14/15 year old! WTF.

d
Excuse me?
He and his gang were addicted to porn. At eight. He was 'raring to go'.
You cannot apply only one analysis to every situation. This was not an innocent 8 year old who was seduced by his kindergarten teacher and went home crying to his mummy.

Try replacing what you wrote with 8 year old girl and think how disturbing what you wrote is

Can you hear yourself?
Sexual abuse is only sexual abuse if the victim is innocent? I'd consider it highly disturbing that 8 year old boys were accessing enough porn at that age to get addicted. That's just grooming by another name.
Blame Chris Brown for beating Rihanna and being so unrepentant about it. But it's beyond words to blame an 8 year old for their sexual abuse and perpetuate this hierarchy of victims where some are more deserving of sympathy than others.

On Jezebel:




ZombieCateUDoug Barry
Chris Brown has a singular talent for making it impossible to sympathize with him even if he’s recounting a vaguely traumatic incident from his childhood. You know, like that time he lost his virginity to teenage girl. When he was eight.


Is this a joke? Did Jezebel really just publish a story that tries to make a victim the villain of their own sexual abuse? I get that CB is an asshat and an abuser. I get that he's full of shit. But he just admitted to being RAPED and you used it as an excuse to say that he thinks he's awesome?
WHAT THE ACTUAL EVERLOVING FUCK IS THIS SHIT?
Let me tell you how the narrative would go if this were a white guy with CB's history. Let's say Charlie Sheen:
"Well this explains a lot about his previous behaviour. It's obvious that he's internalized the idea that sex makes a man powerful and is something that all men aspire to all the time. Sheen's abuse reveals interesting points about the way he views masculinity, power and dominance, and hints at why he feels the need to surround himself with porn star girlfriends. His abuse may have cemented the idea that sexual activity was the only way to demonstrate his manhood, spiraling into other damaging beliefs about masculinity and dominance over women."
NOT "What a dick! He thinks he's awesome for having sex at 8. Asshole."
Seriously? Fuck this Jezebel. Yesterday 3:45pm

I need not say more.