Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A history of unfortunate misadventures

Posted by lea at 5:44 PM 1 comments Links to this post
I cracked my toe on a metal bar and fractured it on Saturday. Result: strange grey sausagey looking toe and a lot of difficulty walking. Secondary result: a sore butt from sitting too long in one position with my foot elevated. Tertiary result: a strange desire to exercise. Hmm, perhaps I should fracture my toe more often. Who knew this would be a motivation for exercise?

So anyway I thought it might be a good opportunity to list my history of misadventures. My close friends have heard these stories many times but they've never been documented, so here goes:

At around age 3-4, still in Korea, I fell over onto broken glass and cut my chin, requiring three stitches. I still have the scars to prove it.

Age 6: as the younger sister I was forced to sleep in the bottom bunk, as usual. Somehow the double bunk wasn't as sturdy as my parents thoughts (Ikea, anyone?) and my sister's top bunk fell on top of me during the night. She proceeded to STAY ON THE BED ON TOP OF ME and wail at the top of her lungs while I politely asked her to get off me. At least that's how I remember it. I still have the staple scar on my forehead to prove it.

Age 7-8: We attended an engagement party at someone's house and all the kids were climbing up to the half-storey balcony. I was the youngest and wanted to fit in, so I climbed up too... then cheered for victory when I got to the top by raising my arms. Big mistake. I fell splat on my face on the concrete below, split my lip and and dislodged my two front teeth.

The next day: My dad was taking me to the dentist and I was in the backseat next to my siblings. I was next to the door, which I evidently hadn't closed properly. We turned a sharp corner, the door flew open and I fell out of the car. To this day I remember being dragged along the ground by my face, the bottom half of my body still in the car until my dad slammed on the brakes.

Age 11: Rollerskates! Yay! Result: fractured wrist.

Also age 11: Learned to play newcomball (is that how you spell it? I've never heard of it since primary school), except my hand-eye-coordination is average at best. Result: fractured finger. Middle finger. I still remember the kids going 'Eerr, guess what you've been doing!' and it took me YEARS (until my twenties in fact) to understand what they were going on about. Dirty kids.

Age 13: We never had a bicycle so I never learned to ride as a child (to this day I still can't turn right on a bike). When my sister's friend got a new bike for Christmas, we inherited her old one, with its broken rusty spoke and all. How hard could it be to learn to ride, right? So I took it up to the top of our steep street, straddled the seat, held my legs out stiffly on either side and rode that sucker. All the way down. Until I got the end of the cul de sac. At which point I realised I didn't know how to stop. Result: face plant and rusty spoke in my calf, lots of blood and visible bone. Gross.

Age 26: Running down the steps at a church camp, I fell over and twisted my foot. Turned out that I'd actually fractured two bones. I couldn't walk on it, so two friends on either side of me were helping me down some other steps the next day, when I slipped on some water and fractured the other foot. Lots of fun, especially trying to get into the apartment - my flatmate and I had to accost a perfect stranger off the street to carry me from the car to our apartment.

It's been a relatively event-free past few years aside from some minor spills, grazed knees and cut fingers (oh the joy of learning to cook).

So let me put forth this post as my official case for upgrading my status to urgent should science finally work out how to morph human bones with adamantium. I figure if it worked for Wolverine, it could work for me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Creativity - innate or divine?

Posted by lea at 5:13 PM 4 comments Links to this post
Wow. Where have I been for the past year? Elizabeth Gilbert, of Eat, Pray, Love fame delivered this amazing speech about creativity at a TED conference last year (a non-profit organisation for Technology, Entertainment and Design).

I haven't read her book(s) and I haven't heard her speak before, but I found this speech profoundly impacting. Whether you're a creative person or not, it's inspirational and moving, and as an added bonus, it's funny too. She's suddenly shot into the list of people I admire.

In short, if you don't have 18 minutes to devote to the clip (which is well worth the investment of your time), she talks about the historical shift in human thinking about creativity. In ancient Greek and Roman times, genius was like a genie - coming from somewhere external to the self to express itself through you. Then in the industrial age, there was a change and humans began to believe that creativity came from within, as an intrinsic part of self.

As a result, motivation became internalised and fear-based: how to top your last success, how to be the best in your field, etc. The focus, being solely on self and feeding directly into the sense of identity, led to the anxiety, depression and 'darkness' that creative geniuses now have a reputation for.

It's a liberating speech because it frees us from the idea that we ARE (or at least should be) genius incarnate, and that if everything we produce doesn't express that inner genius, then we've failed. As someone who experienced phenomenal worldwide success with her book, Eat, Pray, Love, she speaks candidly and with self-deprecating honesty about trying to follow up something as scary as that kind of success. For her, it just means continuing to do what she's always done, which is to write, and hope that that incredible creative force will come and do its part, but that it's something outside of her control.

She even goes so far as to name that force in certain circles as Allah, God, and provides an historical anecdote: at times when a person was obviously in the throes of genius (for example, dancing as part of a tribe), the people around them would recognise it and respond by calling out 'Allah Allah Allah', as in God God God. This practice still continues today, but it has been adapted in Spain and other cultures into Ole Ole Ole. Don't you just love learning new things?

Elizabeth Gilbert's speech resonated with me, because I do believe that God is the ultimate creative force.  Being made in his image, we all have the ability to create, but sometimes we need that external inspiration to do be able to do it. Leonardo had his paintbrush, Mozart had his piano. Heck, Kurt Cobain (if you believe he's a genius) had an electric guitar.

What do we have that we can start using to tap into this divine creative force? Whether it's a pen or a ukelele, it's amazing to think that we can do something that transcends ourselves.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Miss Cranky Pants turns to junk food

Posted by lea at 4:50 PM 4 comments Links to this post
In the spirit of over-sharing, allow me to say that I'm totally pre-menstrual right now, and with the imminent onslaught of the mean reds, I've turned to junk food and junk reading for comfort. In the last two days I've eaten:
  • fast food for two consecutive lunches (maccas and oportos)
  • Haigh's chocolates (I need to find a cheaper chocolate escape)
  • chips (including Red Rock's vintage cheddar and red onion, possibly the stinkiest chips made by man)
  • Sara Lee's ultra-choc ice cream
But I'll claim a small victory in having been tempted by a chocolate sundae and withstanding... mostly because I didn't pass another maccas on the way back to the office. Whew for little blessings.

Is it just me? Surely other people also become mean and moody at these very special times of the month. I'm pretty sure this is what led to my arsehole outburst last month.

And why junk food cravings? Is it medical? If so, who am I to stand in the way of modern health. If the chips and chocolate and crap that I shovel in my mouth stop me from putting my foot in it instead, I'll take the zits that will no doubt appear on the near horizon (of my forehead).

Monday, May 10, 2010

Loving Mean Cards

Posted by lea at 1:00 PM 1 comments Links to this post
I'm loving these mean cards - they're hilarious, and the stick figures render them impossible to offend.

Inside: my patience for your condition is beginning to wane

Inside: you best maintain our friendship

Inside: it doesn't love you back (there's just no app for that)

 Inside: you know why.

 Inside: ask around

 Inside: refrain, and seek instruction

It brings to mind the episode from Seinfeld where Kramer throws up on Susan and there's a suggestion of cards for awkward situations like 'Sorry I threw up on you'.

The mean cards artist also has a great blog called stories of daily peril filled with her wonderfully winsome stick images.

What mean cards or awkward-situation cards would you think up? My suggestions: 

(outside): you annoy me
(inside): but I find you oddly endearing

(outside): you make me sick
(inside): you're too talented for your own good

(outside): stop chucking sickies
(inside): they make mine look suspicious too

Friday, May 7, 2010

Gleeful pleasures

Posted by lea at 12:32 PM 2 comments Links to this post
I've been sick for half a week, down with spousal flu (caught from hubster), so yesterday after leaving work early, I dropped by Haigh's and treated myself to an expensive pack of chocolate-covered hazelnuts and went home to watch my guilty pleasure: GLEE! It's camped up high school musical at its best. Last night was the Madonna special, full of girl power, a surprising turn by Sue Sylvester and the special Glee treatment on an assortment of Madonna songs that have never sounded better. I particularly loved their treatment of Open Your Heart and What it Feels Like for a Girl - the videos will probably be restricted by the time I hit 'publish' but you can look up another version on youtube if you're so inclined:

Open Your Heart - mash up of Borderline and Open Your Heart with Rachel and Finn

What it Feels Like for Girl - awesome harmonies by the Glee boys

It's an infectiously fun and hilarious show! How can you hate a show that has lines like:

Cheerios Coach Sue Sylvester to her nemesis Glee Club Director Will Shuester after being told to 'bring it': 'Oh, I will bring it, William. You know what else I'm going to bring? I'm going to bring some Asian cookery to rub your hair with, because right now you have enough product in your hair to season a wok.'

Blonde Cheerio Brittany: 'I had a cold and I took all my antibiotics at the same time and I forgot how to leave.' And 'When I pulled my hamstring, I went to a misogynist.'

Bad boy Puck to his impregnated girlfriend: 'Please stop super-sizing because I don't dig on fat chicks.'

Principal Figgins: 'I need those parents happy! They found out we've been serving the children prison food.'

If you're a fan of the show, here's a secret: you can watch the latest episode loaded at the same time it airs in the US on casttv.

My comfort list

It's at times like this when you're feeling a little sorry for yourself that you turn to comfort eating, comfort reading and comfort watching.

Movies: I turn to romantic comedies, like old favourites Bridget Jones's Diary, Love Actually, While You Were Sleeping, and The Jane Austen Book Club. If I'm really sick, I go the whole hog with the Andrew Davies' BBC 6 hour version of Pride and Prejudice.

TV: Things that make me laugh like The IT Crowd, Arrested Development, 30 Rock... also some old BBC stuff like As Time Goes By, Black Books and The Vicar of Dibley.

Reading: I love a sick-visit to the library to get comedic chicklit, Alexander McCall-Smith books from the Number One Ladies' Detective Agency series, and some random stuff.

Food: chocolate (the good stuff), chocolate-covered strawberries, dragonfruit, mandarines, anything I don't have to cook or prepare myself.

Got any comfort secrets?

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