Monthly Archives: June 2013

More macho movies

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Rocky has such a heart of gold he takes personal responsibility for tenderising all of Philadelphia's meat.

Rocky has such a heart of gold he takes personal responsibility for tenderising all of Philadelphia’s meat. (Photo credit: Comic Vine)

It was quite the sausage fest on my TV screen this week with five more movies crossed off my Top 250 IMDb list: Rocky, There Will Be Blood, The Wrestler, The Third Man, and The Bourne Ultimatum.

The Bourne Ultimatum

Interesting timing to watch this movie! I think I read about the Edward Snowden NSA leak the following day and the third installment of the Jason Bourne series certainly plays on the same idea: does a government have the right to make fundamental decisions about people’s lives without the consent or knowledge of those people? Is it ever justifiable to give someone the ‘no questions asked’ go-ahead to destroy the life of anyone they choose in the name of greater safety for all?

I liked this movie and think it raised these questions quite articulately but like the other Bourne movies, the action sequences lose me a little. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the series, but I have learned that I may as well get up and make a coffee when Bourne starts kicking ass because my eyes obviously can’t keep up with the rapidity of shots that are so short they may well qualify as subliminal messaging. All I need to know is what happened in the end. Did Bourne win again? Of course he did. Then it’s just a matter of finding out if anyone has switched sides. Oops, spoiler alert!

All of that and Matt Damon makes for the most attractive action hero ever. Can more action heroes not be jerks? I like that there is a cap on how many cheesy one-liners in the vein of ‘I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum’ are included in these movies.

Rocky

“Adrian!” Oh Sly, what a charming leading man you make. You know, if a woman is either deaf or stupid. Given your leading lady doesn’t really say anything until halfway through the movie, I could make sense of why she agrees to date you – she’s got to be impaired in some way, right? Wrong.

Yes, Rocky is the sweet underdog. Yes, he has a heart of gold. But he also talks wall-to-wall crap for the entire duration of the movie.

I don’t like this movie, but I don’t hate it either. It’s about as subtle as a very slow, intentional punch to the face, but I’m super glad that there are people out there who love it. It has a lovely message that I haven’t seen communicated so well since Walt Disney’s Dumbo. I would explain the message but I don’t want to be condescending.

The Wrestler

This is what a more sophisticated movie about a fighter looks like. This movie repeatedly broke my heart and then mended it from start to finish.

The plot makes you want to jump off a bridge, it is so tragic, but it is an incredible character piece for Mickey Rourke.

I thought some steroid-injecting, old guy with long bleached hair who fake wrestles other men for fun and hangs out at his local strip club would be hard for me to relate to. This, the second film I have watched of Darren Aronofsky (see my review of Black Swan from last week), perfectly captures the one, universal thing about humans no matter where they are in the world: we crave connection.

As much as Mickey’s character Randy loves wrestling, he would throw it all away if it meant he never had to feel lonely again. Realising that he lost the person he cared most about, his daughter, because he instead chose the fast times of being a professional wrestler is the biggest lesson of his life. Even though he is solely responsible for his loneliness, you want so badly for him to have his daughter back in his life. It is unbearable to see someone alone with no one who cares about him and I think this audience reaction is a defining thing about humanity.

Also, I didn’t really buy that no one wanted a private dance from Marisa Tomei’s stripper character because she was older. She is insanely hot in the movie; I don’t care how old you are.

There Will Be Blood

With Daniel Day Lewis, a filmmaker can’t go wrong. I don’t think the plot of this movie really worked but it still held my attention while I dug my fingernails into my knees because Daniel Day Lewis is so intense in every scene I was always convinced he was going to murder someone, anyone.

Paul Dano as his nemesis gives a great performance, but he just can’t compete with the Day Lewis factor. They need to give him a more formidable opponent.

The film makes a pretty clear statement about the trappings of success and greed and how it can leave a person cold to even their own family. It’s nicely paralleled in the final scene when Paul Dano’s character Eli Sunday renounces the one thing that is supposed to mean the most to him.

Daniel’s son H.W. is the one person you care about, but he’s not really well developed enough to carry your interest. Everyone else just seems evil, stupid, or like a potential murder victim.

Because there is no strong character to empathise with, I didn’t feel invested beyond feeling terrified that I was about to see murders all the time.

The movie’s title may also have had a hand in this anxiety.

The Third Man

That Orson Welles, what a kidder. His character, Harry Lime, certainly leads his poor buddy Holly Martins up the garden path, alright. (Reread those last two sentences in a 1950s sassy American reporter voice. It will help you transition to thinking about old movies.)

Not just his buddy, but the army police, his girlfriend, everybody really.

It’s a nice little mystery to watch unfold, but it is very hard for me to see why his friend, Holly, and his girlfriend, Anna, ever thought so highly of him. His character is a real scumbag and when we finally meet him and hear what he has to say for himself, he is completely unapologetic and finds the whole situation and the damage he has caused to be a joke. He doesn’t seem capable of putting on a charade to fool anyone into thinking he is a great guy.

I enjoyed this movie, but only in the same way I enjoyed those ‘Choose your own Adventure’ books when I was a kid. It’s a short-lived novelty to figure out the answer to the mystery with the main character.

On the upside, there’s a lovely shot of Orson Welles’ face caught in the moonlight halfway through the movie. He really had a cool-looking face and his voice was neat-o. That’s all I have to say about that.

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My favourite places

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I have now travelled to 25 countries, which is really just like dipping my toes into the water as far as exploring the world goes. Still, after my last trip to Eastern Europe, I started making a list of my favourite places so far. It felt like a nice time to look back and figure out an answer to the question asked by those who diagnose you with the ‘travel bug’: “Where did you like best?” I might also have been bored on a long train ride.

So, in no particular order, here’s my list.

Paraty, Brazil

Stunning small coastal village with colonial buildings and cobbled streets. A day out on a yacht never hurts either.

Stunning small coastal village with colonial buildings and cobbled streets. A day out on a yacht never hurts either.

Rome, Italy

There is nowhere like Rome. You wander through narrow little streets and then stumble upon a massive ancient monument. I was awestruck.

There is nowhere like Rome. You wander through narrow little streets and then stumble upon a massive ancient monument. I was awestruck.

Geneva, Switzerland

My friend who lives in Geneva took me for a tour and warned it wouldn't take long. She was right. We happily wandered around the beautiful lake and Old Town and I got carried away photographing the gorgeous spring flowers in the peaceful park.

My friend who lives in Geneva took me for a tour and warned it wouldn’t take long. She was right. We happily wandered around the beautiful lake and Old Town and I got carried away photographing the gorgeous spring flowers in the peaceful park.

Bled, Slovenia

A tiny town by a still lake where motor boats are not allowed and a man paddles you out to a small island where you can ring a church bell and make a wish. If that's not enough, visit the medieval castle on the hill and bottle your own wine with a monk.

A tiny town by a still lake where motor boats are not allowed and a man paddles you out to a small island where you can ring a church bell and make a wish. If that’s not enough, visit the medieval castle on the hill and bottle your own wine with a monk.

Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

I arrived in this town exhausted but walking around completely reinvigorated me. An old Bohemian town, highlights include artwork around every corner in the form of paintings on the walls of buildings, sculptures, and even writing on the stones of the cobbled streets. Plus bears living in the moat of an old castle, super friendly people, arts and crafts stores in abundance, medieval feasts, and a lively gypsy bar.

I arrived in this town exhausted but walking around completely reinvigorated me. An old Bohemian town, highlights include artwork around every corner in the form of paintings on the walls of buildings, sculptures, and even writing on the stones of the cobbled streets. Plus bears living in the moat of an old castle, super friendly people, arts and crafts stores in abundance, medieval feasts, and a lively gypsy bar.

San Francisco, USA

Being from a bayside area in Australia, San Francisco instantly felt familiar. It's easy going and you would almost feel like you were in Europe with the Victorian architecture if it weren't for the blue sky and sea breeze.

Being from a bayside area in Australia, San Francisco instantly felt familiar. It’s easy going and you would almost feel like you were in Europe with the Victorian architecture if it weren’t for the blue sky and sea breeze.

Paris, France

Paris is one of the few cities that completely lived up to the hype for me. Staying in Montmartre, we wandered around gathering delicious macarons, pastries, bread, poulet et pommes, and bottles of Bordeaux. I almost wept one night thanking the chef after the best meal of my life. Beyond the food, Paris is one of the best cities to explore on foot and via the Metro, from the old haunts of artists like Dali, Monet, and Picasso, to stunning churches like Notre Dame, to quirky bookshops where you can walk upstairs and sit on the couch while your friend plays the piano. Oh, and there's this little place called the Louvre where I nearly passed out because I forgot about hunger as I walked around in a trance.

Paris is one of the few cities that completely lived up to the hype for me. Staying in Montmartre, we wandered around gathering delicious macarons, pastries, bread, poulet et pommes, and bottles of Bordeaux. I almost wept one night thanking the chef after the best meal of my life. Beyond the food, Paris is one of the best cities to explore on foot and via the Metro, from the old haunts of artists like Dali, Monet, and Picasso, to stunning churches like Notre Dame, to quirky bookshops where you can walk upstairs and sit on the couch while your friend plays the piano. Oh, and there’s this little place called the Louvre where I nearly passed out because I forgot about hunger as I walked around in a trance.

Edinburgh, Scotland

With dark, gothic architecture and a rich artistic history, this city is fun to explore at night. A journey that began at a castle, wound through streets lined with warm pubs, up some stairs into a cemetery to visit the grave of 18th century philosopher David Hume, then up Calton Hill to the half-built, full-size replica of the Parthenon, lit up and overlooking the city below.

With dark, gothic architecture and a rich artistic history, this city is fun to explore at night. A journey that began at a castle, wound through streets lined with warm pubs, up some stairs into a cemetery to visit the grave of 18th century philosopher David Hume, then up Calton Hill to the half-built, full-size replica of the Parthenon, lit up and overlooking the city below.

Bath, England

Bath is exactly what you would expect the one time home of Jane Austen to be: completely charming and romantic. It feels like a town willing its  residents to enjoy themselves with lots of public parks, theatres, and of course the Roman Baths.

Bath is exactly what you would expect the one time home of Jane Austen to be: completely charming and romantic. It feels like a town willing its residents to enjoy themselves with lots of public parks, theatres, and of course the Roman Baths.

Dunedin, New Zealand

A city built around a big lake is always a thing of beauty. Dunedin has that beauty plus an albatross nesting area and a history involving the Maori peoples, Scottish settlers, a gold rush, and a thriving indie rock scene. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A city built around a big lake is always a thing of beauty. Dunedin has that beauty plus an albatross nesting area and a history involving the Maori peoples, Scottish settlers, a gold rush, and a thriving indie rock scene. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Isle of Pines, New Caledonia

Imagine snorkelling here. With tropical fish. With no one else on the tiny little beach but the people you came with. Enough said. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Imagine snorkelling here. With tropical fish. With no one else on the tiny little beach but the people you came with. Enough said. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s the silly part though. I am guilty of the same thing that many travellers admit to with shame in their eyes; I have not really explored much of my own country, Australia.

I have not included any Australian destinations on my list of favourites because, even though I think our country is incredibly beautiful and unique, I haven’t really seen the best bits yet. I’m yet to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, visit the big red rock at Uluru, or go down to that little extra piece at the bottom that sometimes gets forgotten, Tasmania, which is so beautiful it inspired one of my friends to pack up and move down there.

I have seen the Twelve Apostles and driven along the Great Ocean Road, which is stunning, and I do enjoy a visit to what is the trendiest of our cities these days, Melbourne.

I am committing to seeing more of Australia before I journey to any more of the rest of the world. That way, when I next cross paths with a Canadian backpacker who tells me about their trip to Australia, I will understand what the hell they’re talking about.

I want to live with Petunia Pig again

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You pretty little piggy, where have you been all my adult life? Oh, Etsy.com.

You pretty little piggy, where have you been all my adult life? Oh, Etsy.com.

I’ve been hit by a wave of nostalgia. Hard. My bank account may also suffer some of this impact.

On one of my recent journeys around the Internet, I came across this little Petunia Pig glass for sale on Etsy.com and I lost my freaking mind. I had completely forgotten that Petunia had ever existed. You know her, right? Porky Pig‘s girlfriend? She started out sassy, paving the way for others like Miss Piggy. Then she softened a little and was the sweet, quiet girlfriend (and later wife) of Porky. She took pity on him with his stutter, gathering him under her wing, uh, I mean, trotter.

Now, not only can I rediscover my childhood love of Petunia, but I can drink out of her! It got me thinking: a) what other awesome cartoon characters have I forgotten from my youth, and b) can I fill my house with them?

Here’s what I have found so far. This isn’t over.

Little Lulu ring

Little Lulu wrapped around your little finger (or ring finger)

This chick rocked my world. I even call my dog Lucy ‘Lulu’ when she’s mischievous (and ‘Lucifer’ when she’s truly evil). I had a video of Little Lulu and she taught me that you can outsmart teachers in the classroom and ticket inspectors on the train. I can only assume she has since turned to a life of crime. Bet they never caught her though. Little Lulu, still at large.

Come along with the lady in the rad Snorks top.

Come along with the lady in the rad Snorks tank top.

My mum never would have convinced me to get out of bed for school if it wasn’t for The Snorks on Cartoon Connection on weekday mornings. They were basically like The Smurfs but UNDERWATER. Suck that, Smurfs. You wouldn’t last one minute down there. Well, you might last one minute but then your little blue lungs would fill with water and you would drown. Where is The Snorks 3D  feature film 20 years later? There is no justice here on land.

Spooky the Tuff Little Ghost kicked Casper's ass.

Spooky the Tuff Little Ghost cookin’ up a storm.

Someone gave me an old copy of a Spooky comic book when I was a kid and I actually felt afraid when I looked at the cover. Spooky might be little, but look at those eyebrows! They’re so menacing. What’s up with that sneer? And the hat, even though I was not aware at the time, is a little bit Clockwork Orange.

Jem and the Holograms - to wear with pride.

The three great music rivalries of our time: The Beatles v The Rolling Stones, Nirvana v Pearl Jam, and Barbie and the Rockers v Jem and the Holograms.

Taking their fashion cues from David Bowie and Cyndi Lauper, Jem and the Holograms were the glam rock girl answer to GI Joe for the boys. They also had fabulous ’80s young adult fiction names: Jerrica ‘Jem’ Benton, Kimber Benton, Aja Leith, Shana Elmsford, and Carmen ‘Raya’ Alonso. I can’t help but favour Stormer from their rival band The Misfits though. I’m a sucker for a keytar player.

This week… in my living room

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Oh wait, no, I didn't murder anyone in my living room. I just watched some movies.

Oh wait, no, I didn’t murder anyone in my living room. I just watched some movies.

Over the past week, in my mission to watch all the movies on the Top 250 IMDb list, I have watched Black Swan, Inglourious Basterds, Dial M for Murder, Gandhi, and The Godfather Part II.

Here are my thoughts…

Black Swan

Obviously, I didn’t exactly rush out to see this one. It has taken me until now to worship at the altar of Natalie Portman. Oh, I thought she was a pretty good actress, for sure, but no performance she had delivered had ever blown me away. No, not even in Star Wars, can you believe it.

That has all changed with Black Swan. I was actually angry with myself for not seeing this earlier. For once, I wished I had listened to the hype. Natalie’s performance, and the movie itself, mimics its subject matter. It is exactly like a ballet, perfectly executed.

As Natalie’s character Nina loses herself more and more in the dance and her quest to find the Black Swan, the dark side within herself, I found myself sitting on my couch, finding my anger over so many things that had happened in the past year of my own life. Seriously, I need to pay Natalie and director Darren Aronofsky for therapy.

Natalie perfectly portrays Nina’s childlike vulnerability, ambition, social awkwardness, fear, and anger. The film forces the viewer out of their comfortable, distant role of the knowing aunt, tsk-tsking at Nina’s low self esteem and fragility, into her world of confusion, fear, and darkness.

I think this film will stand the test of time and will still be regarded a classic in decades to come. I will be watching Aronofsky’s The Wrestler this week and can’t wait to see how he has told this story.

Inglourious Basterds

As a welcome change to all the old mafia and western movies I’ve been watching from the list, I saw a second film from within the past few years this week.

I have a complicated relationship with Quentin Tarantino. I so admire and relate to his nerdiness, his ability to reference such a diverse range of pop culture in his films (and his chatty-chat-chat interviews).

What I find difficult to deal with are the graphic killings in his movies. And boy, wouldn’t he love to hear that.

It’s not that I can’t take violence in movies. It’s a vital part of telling many stories. One of the earlier films I watched from the list was The Pianist, the story of a Jewish man during the Nazi occupation of his native Poland. Every murder in that movie shocked me and broke my heart, until I realised I’d spent an hour with my hand over my mouth and tears in my eyes. I visited Auschwitz and many other sites of Nazi atrocities during my trip earlier this year, and it was clear that the violence that occurred during this time was in no way exaggerated or glamourised in The Pianist.

Perhaps this Eastern Europe trip and the conversations I had with people who either lived through the Nazi occupation or whose family members did, was not going to be the best place for me to come from to think this movie was awesome. It certainly simplifies a very painful history that still exists within living memory for many people in the world.

Or maybe I’m just getting a little tired of Tarantino’s spaghetti western approach to telling any story.

The, yes, Jewish American, but American cowboys who come in to save the day just seemed so unnecessary to me. Why couldn’t the story have stayed with Shosanna? It begins with her and her family and the climax of the movie takes place in her cinema, where her plan comes to fruition; why are the cowboys necessary? It is an entirely fictional story, after all. I feel like the movie sells out Shosanna and her importance as the central character, in favour of Brad Pitt and his big knife. [Insert phallic theory here.]

I guess this angle is the only way that Tarantino could feel he had some claim as storyteller about this subject matter.

Coming up on the list is Django Unchained and I’m trying to keep an open mind, even though the approach seems to be about the same. Like most film lovers, I really really want to like Tarantino’s films. He is, after all, one of us. But I think his films need to grow up a little and stand on their own two feet.

Dial M for Murder

Hitchcock’s reputation as a flawless storyteller remains intact, in my mind, after watching this movie.

One of his lesser-raved-about films, I had the same experience watching it as I have had with his others; I feel like I can almost hear him thinking about each shot, each line of dialogue, the placement of each prop.

Like listening to a great album for the first time on vinyl, I turn a Hitchcock film up loud and hold my breath, not wanting to miss any subtle detail.

Dial M for Murder mostly takes place in a single room and I didn’t even realise this until the end. Hitchcock is such the master of suspense that I never once felt bored.

Ray Milland as Tony Wendice is incredible. He inspires hate, empathy, admiration, and fear in the audience. And that voice! He sent shivers down my spine. Tony Wendice is a refreshing change for a villain; the only weapon he ever wields is his intelligence.

I won’t say too much more about this one for those who haven’t seen it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Gandhi

Watching this movie has made me want to change my life! It makes you believe in the power of an idea and of committing to that idea at all costs.

The real-life character of Gandhi makes it difficult to think of the film alone. The man is so inspiring and continues to carry such an empowering message of peace for people, even beyond his death, that watching the movie feels like a deeply spiritual experience.

However, thinking this way, I realised that this is evidence of how good the film is. Richard Attenborough knew he had an incredibly powerful subject for his film and just had to get out of the way.

I watched an interview with the actor who portrayed Gandhi, Ben Kingsley, and he spoke of just copying Gandhi as best as he could from recordings. The scenes of Gandhi with the crowds were shot with Ben and the crowds. There was no digital combination of the two created later, they were really there together, giving Ben the sensation of what it must have felt like for the real Gandhi.

This movie beautifully shows that when you have an incredible story to tell, don’t try to tell it, don’t embellish, don’t sign to the audience that this is dramatic or important, applaud here, etc. Just tell it.

The Godfather Part II

What an appropriate film to see directly after Gandhi. Talk about a different philosophical approach…

So while I had just experienced a spiritual awakening about peace and tolerance, this film, which thematically centres on revenge, still lived up to the hype for me.

And I totally agree that it’s better than the first Godfather. This is called the ‘De Niro Factor’.

Robert De Niro is just so damn good at making you feel a connection, an empathy with his characters. In this movie, when he is standing outside the room where his baby is ill, your heart goes out to this young father, feeling helpless and desperate that he can’t properly provide and care for his family.

The superiority of his performance, spoken almost entirely in Italian, made me long for more Vito Corleone, less Michael Corleone. Don’t get me wrong, Al Pacino plays Michael well, but he has become too much the hardened mob boss by this part of The Godfather story. The opportunities to feel empathy for his character (the rifts between Michael and his brother Fredo, and between him and his wife Kay) fall flat because it’s just so hard to see his vulnerability anymore. These experiences seem to affect his ego more than play on his fear of losing his family.

The contrast between the young Vito and the older Michael though does help to tell the story and it’s obvious what Francis Ford Coppola was trying to achieve. Personally, however, I think the recipe was just ever so slightly off. A dash more Vito and a sprinkle of remaining vulnerability in Michael and it would have been perfect.

Y it’s not a dirty letter

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Lena Dunham: another Gen Y'er who just expects handouts... in exchange for her hard work, talent, and courage to break new ground.

Lena Dunham: another Gen Y’er who just expects handouts… in exchange for her hard work, talent, and courage to break new ground.

So you’ve heard how the conversation starts, right?

“That’s not how it was in my day…”

“Yeah, it’s so much easier for them now. They don’t want to have to work for anything.”

“It’s all just ‘me, me, me’ and ‘I want it now’.”

“Flamin’ mongrels.”

Ok, so I may have gone to the Alf side there for a second, but hey, that’s me, I’m Generation Y, we’re sooo random.

Most of the time, my Gen Y comrades and I just nod and smile during those workplace conversations. Yes, we are lucky. Yes, we don’t have to fight for so much. Yes, the world is our oyster. What can we say, we’re younger, our lives are ahead of us, we’re not going to win this argument, just be grateful and smile.

All of this is fine… to a point. That point is when a complete stranger starts accusing me across a meeting room table of being a passive, consumerist, spoilt brat.

Well, the issue of good manners aside, does this very forward gentleman have a point? (My use of the word ‘gentleman’ there is part of a little game I like to play in all my writing called ‘Spot the sarcasm’.)

Have we just wandered into the world, ready to take whatever is handed to us? By the end of our lives, will we have made no mark other than to contribute to a healthier economy through our spendthrift ways?

This man, a former radical and member of Generation X, was in the midst of planning an exhibition and party for himself and the other former members of his ragtag team that published naughty things back in the 1970s and ‘80s.

I was actually pretty excited to meet them but his combative attitude, his distaste for my involvement due to my age and obvious ignorance was like a glass of ice cold water poured over my flickering candle of admiration.

As a younger generation, are we allowed to fight back?

Well, Generation X certainly did. But how exactly?

Those who weren’t known for being disaffected, apathetic nihilists were very good at complaining about things. In France, people of this age were called Génération Bof, or Generation Whatever.

Some of my favourite music, films and reading materials come from this generation’s complaints. They used these established vehicles, mostly run by the Baby Boomers, to make their complaints.

To what end? They let the world know they were angry before embracing ‘the establishment’ jobs and settling down with a couple of kids, marrying then divorcing, realising they were older and had a whole new generation about which to complain.

I’m sorry, was that an unfair, sweeping generalisation? How dare I.

In reality, I have no issue with Generation X. They are simply a group of people born during a vague period of time in the 20th century (no one ever seems to agree what the actual start and end birth years are for each generation). There are corporate ladder climbers, stay at home parents, criminals, artists, travelling gypsies, politicians, the full range of humanity.

But if we must talk in general terms about Generation Y, then can we at least acknowledge that there is a good side.

We are more radical than people think.

We don’t just do mischievous things in the spaces established by previous generations – we create the space, change the face of it or challenge its very existence. We make new rules.

We’ve shaped the realm of social media that continues to keep corporations, politicians and marketers on their toes. We hold them accountable for their claims. Surely that dispels the myth of a passive consumerist generation. We know what we want, we are resourceful, we research, we ask each other for advice.

We have embraced, for better or for worse, file sharing and the exchange of ideas and yet we are accused of having no sense of community.

My friends and I report the news to each other, providing links to several sources via social media and then engaging in discussion and critique. No one can tell us what to think.

We are made to feel selfish and spoiled because we dare to ask ourselves what it is we want and then proactively seek out the answer to that question. My friends are not lazy. My Facebook newsfeed is a constant stream of “Still at the office”, “Finished my first triathlon”, “Volunteering at the charity store tomorrow”, “Writing my thesis”, and “Completed the surf lifesaving course”.

It seems when you stop complaining and pointing the finger of blame at other groups of people, you start becoming a more valuable, productive member of society.

Huh.

Breaking up is hard… no actually, is getting easier to do

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PROOF: Singing to yourself in your underwear helps.

PROOF: Singing to yourself in your underwear helps.

Going through a break up can make it seem like all of your Facebook friends are married and producing offspring, while another one of your attempts at a ‘happily ever after’ has turned to dust.

However, the more of these break ups I endure, the better I get at figuring out the way through to the end without causing serious damage to others or myself.

I have learned not to set fire to anything, to ask politely for any of my borrowed stuff back, and to accept my role in the relationship’s demise.

I have realised that I need to acknowledge that the relationship is over and that makes me sad. If I don’t make my peace with this, I become very good at pretending I’m happy and running straight into another man’s arms/bedroom. Cut to three years later and I’ll be going through another break up. Contrary to what I claim in job applications, it seems I am not a fast learner.

That leads me onto the importance of not having sex with any of your friends. Complicated, very complicated, and really just not worth it. Not fun in the end, I guarantee you. Ignore every stupid romantic comedy movie ever made about the love of one’s life having been under one’s nose the whole time. People are generally not stupid and realise pretty early on if they want to hook up with a new ‘friend’.

Look, I love When Harry Met Sally as much as the next person, but in reality, the movie’s ending translates to this:

Harry was so horny one New Year’s Eve that he decided to go apologise to his friend, the last person he slept with who still liked him afterwards. Sally was on a bad date and feeling pretty depressed so they decided to get married to ensure they’d at least have sex and company. Sally was then able to concentrate on her career as a journalist and Harry went back to consulting with politicians (or whatever it was he did).

I may even understand now how to stay friends with an ex. So long as I never see him with a new girlfriend. That’s realistic, right?

The most important thing to remember is to reach out to friends and family for chats, alcohol, flowers, puppies, chocolate, and hugs.

They will give you validation that you still ‘got it’ when you roll up in your car blaring Beyoncé and emerge wearing tight pants. Just don’t bang them. Seriously, no banging.

And this is that Beyoncé song you need to listen to. It actually includes the line, “Sucks to be you right now.” Better than Neil Sedaka.