Monday, 30 November 2015

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid of Car Park Markets

Geena Davis, The Fly: Be Afraid, be very afraid.
What they don’t tell you about car park markets:

1. Despite the sunny weather, it will be freezing under the car park, and your immune system will take a hit.

2. Your soul will be destroyed when no one even glances at your stall.

3. Your stall neighbour will be a lovely lady with a surprisingly bogan family that keeps hanging around.

4. A poor little boy from said bogan family will vomit behind your stand. Bogan family doesn’t bother to clean up the mess.

5. There will be at least one potential customer, commenting that your prices are rather low, yet she doesn’t buy anything.

6. No one said it would be easy, but… faaaaaark!!!

7. Bring a book to read. It’s going to be a long day with the neighbouring bogans.

8. You’re advised to arrive and set up at 7 AM. You get there at 7 AM to discover other stallholders have been there since 4 AM. They have prime position in the car park, and you are given the bottom’s end of the car park, right next to the bogans.

9. No amount of telling my friends that I got ‘experience points’ makes it right. Face it! ‘Experience points’ is code for ‘it was awful, don’t make me do it again’.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Subluxated

As luck would have it the universe has a sadistic sense of humour, of which I tend to be the butt of many a joke. I spent a month preparing for a market by making dolls, tooth pouches and cute little foodie badges that have you wishing the pizza shop was open, like right now. The result of which was a past health issue rearing it's head spinning ugly head just in time for me to reap the rewards of my hard work.

I fancied selling my dolls and making enough money to finance a new line of dolls for the new year. It was going to awesome. Epic even. There was Rocky musical montage going on in my head of the future work process. You were going to see my work go in a whole new direction. Well things did go in a whole new direction. Toward the chiropractor I go. Yes my dear invisible readers, I am subluxated up to my eyeballs which means no dollmaking. Dreams of being the next Joshua David McKinney go on hold. And as I cannot go ten seconds without some creative outlet, my writing beckons me with wide open arms.

So to the laptop I go. Little machine elevated by my latest library find [Amy Poehler's Yes Please], because tilting my head in a downward direction is going to have dire consequences for my already skew-wiffy sense of orientation. Thank you subluxated atlas bone!


As much as I am complaining, I do realise pleasant opportunities do derive from my poor health. My body has declared marshall law and told my brain 'you will slow dow, or so help me, you will have vertigo 24-7'. And that is exactly what I am doing. Or trying to do. My brain is still firing in a million different directions, and I really, really want to design another doll. But here I am writing, listening to the backyard breeze, and feeling it. And I get to wondering, maybe the universe wasn't playing a mean joke on me. Maybe this, the writing, was where I was meant to be all along.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Wonderland


    I love Wonderland, truly I do. A drama set in a Sydney beachside apartment building. Unless it is Dr Who, I don’t usually get hooked on a show when it is first airing, but Wonderland definitely makes the A grade. So much so that husband and I practically planned our week around it. Watching Wonderland got us through the one day more difficult than Manic Monday – Speed Hump Wednesdays!

    But let it be known when you enjoy a season show this much there is sure to be a drawback. The half-year hiatus – it’s the stuff that gawd awful withdrawal symptoms are made of. There is, however, a light at the end of the telly tube – the DVD collection of Wonderland, yours, mine to own for those days when the Wonderland withdrawal is at its most unbearable.


Let me list ten things I love about Wonderland:

1. That song: For starters that theme song, “[Come on] Come Inside” is such a happy, perfect fit for the show. My kids have heard me singing it around the home and now even they love it.


2. Harry Hewitt, the seemingly unappreciated, quirky neighbour has proven to be an audience favourite. Whenever he appeared in an episode I always felt a little internal cheer. He started out as ‘that weird neighbour’ and became everyone’s hero when he supported his friends through depression and bad relationship issues. Harry, you're the dude!



3. For days after each episode, husband and I would be discussing and analysing every inch of every episode. Each episode followed an almost one worded theme and we saw how each couple handled that. Hats off to a show that has couples talking.


4. Watching Wonderland wasn’t a separate experience. The show never broke through the fourth wall, but as an audience I felt like I was right there in that world. I could believe these characters. They could have been my friends. In fact inside my brain they are my friends.



5. Villains we love to hate and love: In coffee shops and in offices there lurked villains of the heart. They were people who were equal parts human, misguiding and misguided. We watched these infiltrators [traitors?] as sirens distracting and driving the Wonderland inhabitants from their true love destiny. But for all their misdeeds there was always a part of me that understood them as nothing more than imperfect and perhaps broken human beings. You couldn’t help but like them just a little.


6. In the main title sequence of every episode paper dolls of the Wonderland cast line up is cut and dressed up. That is just the super cutest start up sequence I have ever seen for an adult show. I totally, love, approve and I want my own Wonderland paper doll set. Can we make it happen?


7. Favourite Wonderland moment? That has to be the mother-daughter wedding dance, season 1. The use of “Message to my Girl” by Split Ends literally kills me with love every single time I watch this scene.



Now, here's hoping for a fourth season of Wonderland in 2016. Please, please, please!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Define 'Paradox'

    I must sleep. In order to sleep I must be horizontal, in the dark, with eyes wide shut.

    However I cannot obtain sleep due to maddening cough set off by being horizontal, in the dark. So I have enforced myself to sit up on the couch in an effort to let my husband sleep.
Coughing subsides, kind of… Still, I cannot sleep because I am not horizontal, in the dark.

    I am sleepy with sleep deprivation [Yeah! Try working that one out]. Ergo the 'paradox'.

Post script: Note to self - Swipe 4 y.o. daughter's dictionary and look up 'ergo'. Make sure I'm using late night clever word in correct context.

Post post script: Coughing subsided. Throat feels like it has turned to stone. Dare I try be horizontal, and in the dark again? Walk very slowly back to bed. Try not to wake the cough.

Five Whys and a How

The things we write at midnight when we simply cannot fall asleep...

Why is it that the only green thing about green tea is the green packaging?

Why do we suddenly have coughing fits only when it is time to be horizontal, unconscious, in the dark?

Why does my home not have a toe warming fireplace for me to lovingly reenact scenes from Wind in the Willows?

How does the untameable John Stamos tame that lion's mane of his?

Why does the fridge gurgle with indigestion?

Why is there cat hair inside the freezer? No really, why?

Monday, 28 September 2015

Elephants, Unicorns

Elephants, unicorns,
Rising storm,
Infinite treasury,
Dreams, desires,
Burning within,
Spires on fire,
Words undone,
This is the deal,
I am the song,
That is unsung.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Dawn

    In her directorial debut Rose McGowan has her audience questioning what lessons we are teaching our daughters and sons. This is a story where politeness is in conflict with the survival instinct. This short film is not an easy watch, but then stories that ask us to think often are.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Quote of the Week

"Mummy! Mummy! Toby Abbott, or whatever his name is… He's not our Prime Minister anymore."
- My daughter, Gwen [6 y.o.]

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

I Just Wanna Say

There are lots of little things I want to say, but I often don't put it out there because I think I'm supposed to back those ideas with an extremely long article. But you know what? Who wants to read a massive article when they're reading online? So I'm just going to put my individual thoughts out there in one piece. Kind of a like a shopping list of brain farts. 

Emma Watson is awesome because...
EW isn't a perfect person, but she is the perfect role model. Thanks to her place in pop culture EW is in a position to affect change. What a wonderful thing it is for someone to realise they have power and to use it in a positive way. That is exactly what EW is doing with the issue of gender inequality. There are people who think feminism is about hating men, and really it is not. As EW pointed out, gender inequality is also a guy issue - 
"For the record, feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes." Digital high five EW! Click here to read a transcript of Emma's awesome UN speech.
Emma Watson

Best thing since sliced bread... Be gone with rubber bands that snap and wear away. Forget the bread bag fasteners that break upon first use. I'm now all about pegs. Clothes line pegs, that is. I now use pegs to close bread bags, and food packaging [ie coffee beans, sugar, rice]. No longer will I scrub away bands which have snapped and become one with kitchen cupboard surfaces, after many melty summers. I now keep pegs in the laundry aaaaand the kitchen.
© Melissa Gaggiano



Change... I am undertaking the ultimate clean up - one of those spring cleans that only happens once every fifteen years. The aim is to have a new home without moving house.
Rule 1 Only tackle two cupboards per day. It's a big job, and you don't want to burn out, otherwise it'll be another fifteen years before you have the energy to try this again.
Rule 2 Throw out [and when I say throw out I mean resell it or give to an op shop] anything that hasn't been used in ten years. 
Rule 3 Throw out anything that cannot be identified. If you have no freakin' clue what it is, then it definitely has to go.
The Mole spring cleaning [Wind in the Willows]
{link}

Books I want to read... Ever since watching Veronica Mars I've wanted to read books by Ernest Hemingway, and carry his books around in a brown EH inspired bag. Although the bag doesn't have to be brown. It can be pink with sparkles, and flying, rainbow unicorns on it. And how awesome would it be writing on a typewriter, right?
Ernest Hemingway

Enough said!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

What About Ken?

Photo © Dina GoldsteinIn the Dollhouse

                  Twenty to thirty years ago I had a glorious collection of Barbie dolls, with a not half shabby assortment of clothes that I could change them into. I also had a Ken doll. Now you might think that being surrounded by all those Barbies would go to Ken’s head. Already you're probably picturing a plastic, polyester pink harem. Thankfully though this was further from the truth. In my bedroom, Barbie ruled supreme. She was an Amazon. She was the female Indianna Jones [before we had Lara Croft].

                  On the flipside, there was Ken. Poor Ken didn't have another pal to kick around with, unless you counted my heavy weighted, mustached cloth bedtime buddy [who, by the way, filled in as Barbie's boyfriend before Ken came along]. And as if he lived in a Dickenson universe Ken only had two outfits - the onesie suit he came in and the leisure outfit my parents later bought, when they too took pity on the little guy.

                  Moving forward to the present day, my daughters too have a glorious collection of Barbie dolls. Spectacularly, they come in a wide variety of skin tones and hair colour [finally!]. The dolls have a huge assortment of clothes, which to my mind, aren't made to last [hmmm], but never mind that. And what about Ken?

                  Ken - the illustrious loner in Barbieverse. The girls have two Ken dolls - a blonde and a brunette. It's like seeing Elvis playing two roles in that film Kissing Cousins. Now that Ken has Ken to kick around with, and talk about important guy issues, things should be looking up for him. But here's the thing, Ken1 was bought from a commercial shop - he's got clothes! Ken2 was found in all his beautiful, naked, glory at a second’s market. The result being there is always a naked Ken at any one time. The only way around that is if the girls dress Ken in drag, and let me just say, the only reason that doesn't work is because Barbie's clothes can't stretch that far.

                  The logical solution, you'd think, is to go back to the shop. There are plenty of Barbie accessories you can choose from - car, house, horse, sisters, skimpy party clothes, and high heels. So surely there'd be something for Ken, since they are offering him in board shorts for about $10. So I looked, and I looked. And you know what I found? Nada. Zilch. There are no Ken clothes. Can you believe it?

                  Now I thought to myself maybe this is a 'chain store buyer' issue. Maybe the supplier has their own line of modern, cool, relaxed, awesomeness that could be bought directly from them. So a couple of online hits later, I am shocked to discover that even the supplier doesn't bother designing extra accessories for Ken. Poor board short Ken! How will he get through the winter?

                  The only real solution to this first world doll problem is to make the clothes myself. Or find independent doll clothes makers online - people who have realized there is money to be made for clothing a million semi-clad Ken dolls.


                  If anyone from Mattel is reading this, please pass the message along. Ken's a simply guy, he doesn't say much, so I'm speaking on his behalf. Can you pretty, please with a cherry on top give board short Ken a suitcase with a couple of day’s change of clothes? He’d really appreciate that.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Thoughts of Then

© Melissa Gaggiano
1994 photography class

    I usually love remembering details of the past - memorable days at the beach, barbecues at sunset, Fourth of July fireworks [yes, I am an Australian who celebrated an American holiday], roller disco days. Though the one chapter that I had preferred remained locked in mental archives, permanently, were my teen years.


    For some high school was like super awesome. But for me there were three cringe worth years that I felt like I just wasn't going to get back. But during those years there were a few bright spots that kind of made it worthwhile getting out of bed in the morning. There was photography class, for one.

    In 1994 photography was offered as an elective and mine was the guinea pig class. Meaning, we had no actual photography facilities. Instead our teacher found unique methods for getting the class to have a darkroom experience. When I think about it, this was pretty amazing, as we had no actual darkroom. 

    To my surprise I have been thinking about those early teen years and without the anxiety I used to feel. Partly because I have been dreaming about one of those kids I used to know. I can't help wondering how they are, and what they are up to. Of course, they're not kids anymore. How much could people change over a twenty year period? Are those people what they always were? Am I, for that matter?

    It's a relief to reach a point of acceptance about the past. It is what it is so that we can break and grow.
© Melissa Gaggiano
1994 photography class


Sunday, 12 April 2015

Dear Mr Prime Minister

Dear Mr Prime Minister

            Picture yourself in your own home. Safe. Healthy. Warm. Comfortable. Surrounded by people who care about you and that you care about. You entrust your hopes and interests in a government that you believe will never turn on you, even if you don't always appreciate its policies. It may not be hard for you to imagine because you may already be living that life, or at least some semblance of it.

            One day you hear a knock at your door. It is a woman [or man] and her young family. You don't know her. She doesn't know you. She is obviously not from your neighborhood. And yet here she is scared and in a state of disarray. The woman's home is no longer safe for her and her children and they have left it. Having taken to the streets this woman finds herself at your front door. She asks you one question. She asks for your protection.

            You have a choice before you. You can open your door to this stranger and her family. Or you can close your door and go about your day pretending that this interaction never took place. Of course it is a no brainer of a choice. I want to believe that you would do the humane thing and offer the woman and her family your protection.

            So you invite the woman into your home. She does not intend to occupy your home forever. She just needs your protection until she can be certain that her home is once again a safe place, until she can get back on her feet. There is great potential in that single act of kindness.

            Recently a friend asked me what the definition of an asylum seeker was. They thought it meant something derogatory. I explained there was nothing derogatory about asking for asylum and I used the above story as a domestic example. But what a sad state of affairs this country is in when a reasonably smart adult has been led to think that asylum is a dirty word.

            As a nation will we continue to alienate the world and ourselves with inhumane choices? Are we ever going to reprogram and stop being victim blamers? Dear Mr Prime Minister, is this how you want your leadership and government to be remembered?


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Got That Feeling


     It is the first day of the new school year. You're excited. The kid is excited. The teacher is excited. Everyone is excited. After weeks of no routine, you're thinking what a relief it is to be returning to school day patterns.

    You're looking forward to having the house to yourself. Thinking of the things you can do uninterrupted. Then you get home. And the house is quiet. Real quiet. Too quiet. It is so quiet you can hear a fish fart.

    A surprising thought occurs to me… How did I survive school days last year? Because now  that I have no excuse about getting chores done I am actually struggling to get started.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Dear Sunday Driver

Dear Sunday Driver,
Do you know that I like eating chocolate far more than I should?
Do you know that I drink coffee even though I don’t particularly like it?
Do you know that I take photos of sunsets?
Do you know that I am not a morning person?
Do you know that I sing in the shower?
Do you know that I like eating hot chips on cold afternoons?
Do you know that once I pick up a book and start reading it is hard for me to put it down?
Do you know I like getting caught out in the rain without an umbrella?
Do you know I have impulses to just start dancing in the street?
Do you know I have hundreds of super creative thoughts each day?
Do you know that I have two children?
Do you know that I celebrated my eldest turning six yesterday?
Do you know that I’ll celebrate my ninth wedding anniversary next week?
Do you know that I am an only child?
Do you know that as I write this, my youngest is snuggled into my side, telling me infinitely that she loves me?
Do you know that when you went through a red light you just missed taking my life?

Monday, 12 January 2015

Lightening in the Cage


The boy stands,
With bended knees.
Surrounded by walls of mesh.
His back curves.
Resolute, calm, ready.
No sign of the old man
He will one day be.
Head turned and all is focus.
A ball flies low.
Legs turn, the body follows.
A fluidic curve and
Crack! There is
Lightening in the cage.


Monday, 5 January 2015

Awesome Mix Vol 1

Melissa Gaggiano Photography
"Mix Tape"

            Recently I watched Guardians of the Galaxy, and I can hardly put into words how exquisitely happy this film made me feel. GotG ticked all the right boxes for me. It had the perfect formula of sci-fi, warped humour, and retro pop music.

I sat down to this film with no expectations whatsoever. And within seconds I was hearing a 10cc tune. In that moment I was delivered back to my own childhood. I knew right there and then that for the next hour or so I was in for a very special treat.

I loved seeing Peter Quinn [played by Chris Pratt; gotta’ love this guy all the more for being the voice of Emmet in The Lego Movie] dancing his way through life [not to mention the galaxy]. It was like coming face to face with the real me. There is a side to myself that just wants to break out and dance half the time. Of course I don’t out of fear of being locked up for the crime of my so-called weirdness.

While I’m on the topic of dancing and music I got to thinking about mix tapes and what music I would want to have on me in the rare likelihood that I become the next Peter Quinn-slash-Arthur Dent-slash-Rose Tyler-slash-Alex Rogan and am taken away into space for the adventure of a lifetime. I gave it some thought and this is what I came up with…

1.     It’s Oh So Quiet – Bjork
2.     All I Wanna Do – Sheryl Crow
3.     Between Us – Harry Connick Jr
4.     Boondocks – Little Big Town
5.     Pride – U2
6.     At Last I Am Free – Chic
7.     Evil Woman – Electric Light Orchestra
8.     Cantaloop – US3
9.     I Send a Message – INXS
10. Avalon – Roxy Music
11. Dreams – Van Halen
12. All Night Long – Lionel Richie
13. Jump – The Pointer Sisters
14. Strange Magic – Electric Light Orchestra
15. Cosmic Girl – Jamiroquai
16. Slave to Love – Bryan Ferry
17. Hot Stuff – Donna Summer
18. Get It On – T. Rex
19. Take the Long Way Home – Supertramp
20. Hotel California – The Eagles

21. A Horse With No Name – America

Sunday, 4 January 2015

The Coffee Monologue

Day 1:
I shall take a break from drinking coffee. Today is a good day to begin my self-imposed coffee embargo. I’ll start my day with a camomile tea. Yes. A nice hot, soothing camomile tea will be lovely.
Boiling the water now. Got the mug. Staring at the coffee machine – not today, thank you very much. I’m drinking camomile today…
Coffee it is then.

Day 2:
You didn’t even try! Just went straight for the coffee machine, didn't you. Have you no compunction or gumption? No self respect?

Day 3:
Yesterday’s brilliant effort – 1 hot coffee in the morning, and 2 iced coffees in the arvo. Is this your idea of caffeine abstinance? Do you even know what words mean?
Sorry.
Okay. I’ll just say ‘bygones’. Starting today – no more coffee.
You are right of course, mean voice in my head.
I heard that.
I know you did.
Where do you think you’re going?
Just going to the kitchen to get something to eat. Don’t worry. No coffee.
Hmm. Coffee machine don’t you be looking at me like that… you sly, sexy, steamin’ thing…

Day 5:
In my defence, it was heinously hot two days ago. And even though the night air cooled down the house remained hot. And so I was hot. No way could I sleep. Do you know that I got all of three hours broken sleep. I had no choice.
There’s always a choice.
Mean voice inside my head, now is not the time to be a smug bitch. I was exhausted. I couldn’t function. I had the brain function of a zombie. I couldn’t even put three coherent words together. I had to drink high strength coffee.
Yeah, but the higher the strength, the more sugar you drink. You had 3 SUPER COFFEES!!!
I was wired! I was fired!!
You were still freakin’ tired!!!
Don’t you judge me. Don’t you dare.
I swear, tomorrow moring I’ll come clean.

Day 6:
Enough! The foot is going down. No. More. Stimulants.
Okay.
Okay? That’s it? No more excuses?
Nope.
This is progress.
I just couldn’t be bothered operating the coffee machine today.