September 27, 2011

the liker chain

As I have no life, I spend a reasonable amount of time finding new websites to quench my internet hungry appetite. I'm always on the hunt for new content, and ashamedly probably spend too much time on the flaky rather than the nitty-gritty. I think that the internet is such a great outlet for creativity and communication and is a great place to build community. This post is a continuation of an old YouTube trend known as the 'Liker Chain' where YouTuber’s share the other YouTuber’s they like. So these are the blogs, vlogs and Tumblrs that I adore.

BLOGS. I struggle to find blogs that make me want to keep coming back. Blogs can be tricky because so often they can become a bit selfish when they have one author - I worry I am like that too. Larger blogs are often better as they show more diverse content and opinions. My favourite ever is Mamamia, as I love how they are not afraid to talk about anything. Secondly, though I'm being incredibly biased, is Hello Noise, as I think its unique in it's demographic. Good changes will be happening there soon! While I think fashion/beauty blogs are a tad silly, A Pair and A Spare is great for DIY's, Gary Pepper Vintage has some great fashion and colour and PRIMPED is a tad addictive. I recently discovered Thought Catalog which I think is really great and Leaky News was launched last week which is a combination of many forms of geekery that I love.

VLOGGERS. My first experience with vloggers was the absolutely hilarious Alex Reads Twilight videos which I still love. Definitely check them out. They then led me to Charlie, my favourite YouTuber whom I did previously have a bit of a fan girl obsession with last year. His stuff has been a bit inconsistent of late - but overall quite good. The Vlog Brothers are great - incredibly intelligent and witty (and one of them is John Green, a favourite author of mine). Also Electric Faerie Dust, however lame the name, I love and resonate with. She's very funny. I think there is a very fine balance with vlogging, as there are so many out there that are just so bad.

TUMBLRS. Tumblr is a weird invention and I dislike it when people have a blog on Tumblr, but by golly, I find some funny stuff on there. Mcgonabamf is great for all Harry Potter/Doctor Who/general cool things that I so love wasting my time on. Just Little Things is the best Tumblr ever, such positivity and actually has made a difference in how I think. I Love Charts is so weird and while the name deterred me at first now it's simply just awesome. I am also partial towards Awesome People Reading. Enough said.

I use and like a lot of other websites, these are just the ones that I love to waste my time on. Have you got any?

P.S. If you're going to follow one person on Twitter, make it Voldemort. HILARIOUS.

September 22, 2011

miss world domination

Last week, while watching Miss Universe 2011, I was reminded why I like the movie Miss Congeniality so much. Because it laughs and makes fun of the ridiculousness of beauty pageants. I'm not even going to bother talking about child pageants - that's a whole other issue. (But must watch this parody by Tom Hanks and his daughter, it’s hilarious). I am not a feminist, but by golly I hate pageants. Why? Because they essentially choose a winner based on their looks. This would be fine with me if it was a modelling competition, but realistically it's more than that, with winners getting to represent their country and maybe even the world. Now, let’s not kid ourselves, I don't think that pageant winners have a whole lot of influence (or any even) but they are still a representation none the less. The point is that Miss Universe acts like it's more than looks.

I watched the midday repeat of this year’s Miss Universe for comedic purposes, as I find it equally ridiculous and humourous. It's so cringe-worthy. To be honest, I couldn't even tell the 89 nationalities apart. All I saw were 89 tanned, skinny girls with big curly hair. Obviously there were differences with each person, but to me, those differences were very slight. The whole sameness of it just drives me nuts. The 89 girls were cut down to the top sixteen at the beginning of the program, already have been judged on their national costume. After the swimsuit section, ten remained. Then once eveningwear was showcased and the top five announced, they answered one question. ONE. The top five did have more intellectual and moral answers than I expected - but I think it is utterly meaningless that they choose a winner based on one question. Even stupider is that only the top five get to answer. Before that it was purely based on looks.

I know that this is the norm for pageants and I’m not that outraged. What annoys me is that smart and creative and witty and talented girls don’t necessarily get the chance to showcase their talents – purely for being smart and creative and witty and talented. Not for looks. I’m not saying that Miss Universe contestants aren’t these things, as I have no place to judge them as I haven’t met them. As Sandra Bullock’s character in Miss Congeniality said, “Oh, if only I had a brain!” I just don’t like that pageants are all about the looks while disguising that they are not, due to one mediocre question. I have nothing against pageant girls, it’s the pageants themselves I don’t like. So I say screw pageants and their traditionalist and vain outlook on girls and hell to the yes to whatever a girl wants to be or do, beauty queen or not.

September 14, 2011

the future is near. or is it?

I've just spent a weekend away at a girls camp which focused on identity and purpose, and after reading this blog post, it's given me some food for thought. As the above picture suggests, young people are consistently drilled and drilled about career. The world has a warped perception that a person's purpose in life is merely limited to the confinement of a 9-5 weekday job. Throughout school we are asked and told about "when we grow up". I can remember in Prep or Kindergarten my teacher had us write and draw our desired occupation on a piece of A3 paper and stick it on the classroom wall. Thinking hairdressing was the way for me at the ripe old age of five my mostly purple picture was surrounded by vets, singers, policemen and firefighters.

The ability to have dreams is great, and I think kids are most successful at that. When Emma Watson was young, she even wanted to be a matress and my brother had a girl tell him she wanted to be a snow dog. However absurd, I think dreaming is great. In no way am I condeming or against having dreams for the future because I think that is a crucial part of life. What frustrates me is that adults seem to teach children that a dream has to form shape in an occupation. Which is a whole load of bollocks.

My dreams for the future have changed over time and have been developing since I started a Creative Writing class when I was 14. Continuing the subject until the end of high school and starting this blog formed the foundation of my passion and love for writing. I am confident that I want to pursue a career in journalism, but for me it's not because it's a career. I believe (and hope) that my purpose is to write and to allow others to percieve something in a different way, and then make their opinions on their own terms. That purpose may come to fruition within the journalism field or it might come evident through community work or through writing books or whatever the heck else. But as long as I'm writing, whichever way it shapes out, whether career or not, it's fine with me because I'll be doing what I'm loving.

I don't have it together. I have fears and insecurities about it all. Just today I was looking at required ATAR scores at different uni's, which I was doing while procrastinating from my English folio. Which is stupid because I need to try my best to do well with the folio to get good marks to get into uni. And then I just got annoyed and frustrated at myself. Today is one of those days when I dwell on the future too much, and then end up feeling crappy about how life is today. So I just have to mentally slap myself and choose (as I try to every day), once again,  to take life step by step.

Purpose is not something that neccessarily comes easily. I consider myself fortunate to be so certain, as I know that some people have no idea what they want. I know my purpose might change and that's okay. The most important thing is to not let pressure and stress take hold of you. All through high school the pressure of choosing a career by Grade 12 looms and looms. In college you're expected to know what you want to do, get the correct marks for your chosen field, work a casual job, engage in extra curricular activities, do the right thing and still be young, happy and carefree. And that, is bloody hard.

Young people can become easily consumed about the future. Or avoid it altogether and get drunk every weekend. So I think that we should look after ourselves now. I always forget, but focus on today! Today is always more important. Being young is difficult and great all at the same time, we are discovering who we are. So I think we should do what we love. And hopefully purpose will come from that. I feel my purpose is in writing - not neccessarily the journalism career. Purpose often has nothing to do with career. So don't worry about what your job's going to be. And don't rush into choosing and then regret it later.

September 8, 2011

kindness is key

Sometimes I forget to be kind. Quite often really. I have a bit of a reputation of being too honest (anyone who knows me can attest to that). My brain is incredibly pathetic at filtering my words before they escape from my mouth. So often I put my foot in it and embarrass myself and others. But more so the case, my brutal honesty can often hurt peoples feelings. I don't realise at first but when I do, I feel dreadful. Unkindness is a very bad trait indeed, for kindness is one of the most important things in the world.

Sometimes kindness is often scoffed at, or considered wussy or lame or pathetic. I think this odd logic must come from the idea that to succeed we have to strong and firm and not let anything get in our way. These are the people who forget to be kind or choose to be unkind as they try to achieve what it is that they want. While I think it's important to always dream big and attempt to succeed, there is a right and wrong way to do it. When you finally succeed, would you rather celebrate with people who love you and are proud of you, or celebrate alone because you were an unkind and selfish person?

One of my best friends is one of the kindest people I know. I don't think she even realises it half the time as it's just her nature - she is just genuinely kind. Her kind manner has reminded me lately what a difference kindness makes. It's bloody hard to explain, but her disposition towards people makes her not only incredibly likeable and a lovely person to be around, but the kind of friend who makes you want to be a better version of yourself. It reminds me that life is not all about brutal honesty and success and treating people as they treat you but to just simply ask them how their day was and show them some respect. I don't necessarily being nice - there's a difference. Kindness is more from the heart, more meaningful and genuine than the exteriority of niceness.

Call me lame, but my whole Hufflepuff debacle has just reaffirmed the idea that we need to be kind. I really think that bravery and success and wealth means absolutely nothing if we are not a good person. A person who is kind, and true and loyal and fair. So I'm asking for a call back to kindness. We don't have to like everyone. No way. I believe that everybody is different and that some people will never get along. But if we show kindness to the arrogant and the mean, it shows volumes about our character as an accepting person, compared to the other who isn't even prepared to be civil. So I'm going to try to be a kinder person. And not on the surface. Genuinely kind. We sure do need more of it in the world.