Great People Do Things Before They’re Ready

I’m back with another post, for the first time in many months, because I feel like I need to use this blog as a platform for a type of cathartic exercise in self-reflection. Recently, I’ve experienced two extremes – the lowest point of my life so far, quickly followed by one of the highest. It’s been a confusing to say the least, but strangely, I’ve been inspired. Inspired by these life events. By new people – a new family – who have recently come into my life. By a new semester of study. And by one little comic strip I stumbled across whilst scrolling through my Facebook feed just last week. 

This comic strip was entitled “Great People Do Things Before They’re Ready“, and was an illustrated version of a quote by comedian Amy Poehler. The quote is as follows:

“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that… that’s what life is. You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s really special. And if you’re not good… who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself.”

It’s simple, yes, but as I was reading it, it reminded me of the last few months of my life, and the change in perspective which I have experienced. This is how I should be approaching life, I thought. Not like the person I used to be – the girl who had to meticulously prepare and plan and ensure that every aspect of the next day, week, month, year… was mapped out in front of her. Because that’s just not realistic. Life isn’t a set course. There are no definitives from point A to B. It’s a journey, and there are roadblocks and bumps and unexpected hitch-hikers who jump out in your path. And if we wait until we’re ready for the next step of our journey, we may never begin. Because life doesn’t wait until you’re ready.

Just over a month ago, I lost someone who, to me, was one of the most important people in my world – my Pop. To me, he was a teacher, a fighter, a comedian, a pinnacle of wisdom, and my best mate. We knew that he was dying, weeks ahead of the fact, but that still could not prepare the family for the grief we felt – that we’re still feeling – after he passed away. Pop wasn’t ready to leave us, and we weren’t ready to let him go. But that didn’t matter. Time, cancer, death – it doesn’t wait until you’re ready, because really, could you ever be ready? So, without any control over the circumstances, I was plunged into a situation I was not ready to deal with. But it helped me to discover something about myself and my family – how we deal with grief, how closely we can support each other, and how meaningful Pop’s presence in our lives had been for all of us. It also made me more aware of my own mortality, and that changed my perspective on everything I do in my life.

A few weeks after the funeral, I faced the task of returning to university for a new semester. I doubted I could do it. I’d been spending so much time with my family that I’d become so reliant on their support – and also distracted myself a little by supporting them. Uni was so busy, yet so lonely. I had one real friend who I could connect with, who knew what was going on, and even then, we only saw each other maybe once a week. On my first day back, I was so sure that I wasn’t ready to do it that I had a bout of anxiety at the train station and spent the day at my Nan’s house instead. But I went back the next day – still not completely ready to face five hours by myself with my thoughts – and yet I found that I was coping. My classes distracted me far better than staying at home ever could, and I found out that I could get by better than I had initially thought. I’m still not entirely sure that I’m ready to see out the whole semester – for all of the assignments, to decide my major, to make up my mind about what I want to do with the rest of my life – but I’m muddling through and trying to focus more on the experience rather than the end point.

While we’re often thrown into something we’re not ready for without any say in the matter, sometimes we do have control. We may be offered an opportunity, and whether or not we’re ready for it can be a major deciding factor in whether or not we go ahead with it. But if we cope, and learn, and sometimes thrive in the situations which we have no control over, why should we hesitate to jump right in to the ones we do have control over? Recently, I had been on the fence for a few weeks about whether or not I would audition for Fame, the musical which was being produced at my local theatre. I was unsure about auditioning, mostly due to the inevitable family situation I would soon be facing. But I was offered the chance to audition earlier than I had been planning, and with only a few minutes to think it over, I thought, what the hell? What have I actually got to lose? I could’ve spent another week preparing, but that time to think could’ve only made me more apprehensive. So I threw myself right in, and got the role I was going for. Because of that, I’ve met some amazing people. They’re thoughtful, and fun, and love a good party. They’re helping me through, teaching me about myself, helping me to become a better person, and opening up the doors to new experiences – often without even realising that’s what they’re doing. They’re exactly the kind of friends I need right now, and I wouldn’t have met them without making a conscious decision to jump right in to something I didn’t think I was entirely ready for. 

Life naturally throws us into situations we are unprepared for – grief, death, even the more trivial things like a new semester or a new job. But more often than not, we eventually fare pretty well. Yet when it comes to throwing ourselves into these situations, we hesitate, teetering on the edge of an amazing experience because we’re apprehensive about whether or not we’re ready. By the time we decide we’re ready – if we ever decide this at all – the opportunity may have passed us by, and we’ve missed out on finding out something about ourselves. Life can’t be meticulously planned, so why should we try? Let’s forget readiness. Tear up the plans. Throw away the map. Ditch the safety net. And jump.

Failure

When it came to learning lessons in my early childhood, there were three main pinnacles of wisdom in my young life: my parents, theatre, and The Wizard of Oz. Yes, it’s true; by age three, Glinda the Good Witch, the Yellow Brick Road and good old Judy Garland had pretty much set me up for life with useful lessons that I’m still benefiting from today. One that has recently popped back in for a visit is a very important lesson about failure, which exists in my interpretation of a single line. In the 1939 film version of “The Wizard of Oz”, the Scarecrow laments to Dorothy, “Oh I’m a failure, because I haven’t got a brain”. This used to make three-year-old Chelsea very sad and sympathetic towards the dear old Scarecrow. “Why does that mean he’s a failure?” I thought to myself, sitting there on my kiddie couch, dressed up as a flying monkey. “He can do other cool stuff without a brain. Like jump really high into the air! And whistle!” Thinking retrospectively, now, I can see that three-year-old Chelsea had a greater philosophy on life that 18-year-old Chelsea currently does. And while I’m not entirely surprised, it’s made me realise that I need to get re-acquainted with these more innocent of ideals.

As teenagers and adults, it seems that we all too quickly lose sight of the bigger picture; we’re constantly having to remind ourselves that one negative aspect of our lives doesn’t permanently spoil the positive aspects. And that’s what baby Chelsea still had the ability to understand. The idea that no brain = failure, to my juvenile mind, always seemed preposterous because the Scarecrow had so many other talents – the one small fact that he didn’t have a brain didn’t mean that he wasn’t patient, loyal, kind, and a freaking great dancer.

I had to remind myself of this recently, when I went for my driving test to get my licence. I got to the testing centre, all pumped up and excited that I’d finally be able to drive by myself, and then two minutes into my test I didn’t to give way to an approaching ute and BAM, I failed. I FAILED. OH DEAR. After being handed the ominous pink slip stating how much of a FAILURE I was and that I was a TERRIBLE DRIVER who should NEVER be allowed behind the wheel, I walked to Hungry Jacks, bought myself a cheap frozen coke, and cried into it. Yes, there I was, on my eighteenth birthday, standing outside the testing centre, crying into a $1 drink. How pathetic.

Even more pathetic was that, for several hours a brief moment, I considered lying to people about my failure. I racked my brain for some excuse. But then, after being told by my mother that it was sad and dishonest thinking it through, I decided just to tell the truth. Okay, yes, I failed my driving test. I stuffed up! I’m human! It happens to people all the time. By the end of the day I was admitting it to friends who hadn’t even known I was taking my test, and strangely it made me feel a lot better just to tell the truth about my failure. Sure, I failed this one thing, but that doesn’t cancel out all the other things I’m good at – like political debates, or making costumes from my wardrobe items, or eating ice-cream straight from the tub! However, I didn’t realise this until after a bit of a meltdown, and with it came another realisation. The fact that I considered covering up my failure in the first place is what got me thinking: why are we so scared of failure?

All throughout our lives we’re told that if we do our best and try our hardest, we will succeed. But this is a very unfortunate lie, as – being humans – we occasionally screw up. Sometimes, our “best” just isn’t good enough, and the “hardest” didn’t pay off – so it’s no wonder we feel crappy about ourselves when we fail. What’s more is that we expect others will look at us and see that we weren’t good enough, and we’ll be judged on that. But I say to hell with it. We need to stop fearing what people will think of us if we fail, because it will end up stopping us from trying in the first place. We need to stop letting failure polarise our vision of our positive qualities and making us feel bad about ourselves – because often we are our own harshest critics. And we need to stop confusing life lessons with failure, because really, the two are interchangeable; there is hardly a failure that you can’t come back from and use as a tool to make yourself stronger. It just takes a bit of work – kind of like a rehab. And like a rehab, there’s somewhat of a twelve-step program, with step one being admitting you failed – after that, it’s easy to see where you’ve gone wrong and to bounce back.

Because five days after admitting my failure with my driving test, I marched back into the testing centre and got my licence – and this time it didn’t end with tears and sugary drinks. So, dear readers, keep on failing! Admit openly that you’ve done so. Realise that it’s doesn’t annul your positive qualities. And remember to use it as a life lesson to push yourself to do better next time.

As always, you can reach me at chelseainspace@hotmail.com.

Where the bloody hell are ya?

Hello world! It’s been 3 months and 22 days since my last post on here. And for that, I feel a mixture of awful feelings – including guilt, shame and concern.

I feel guilty because when I started this blog, I promised myself I’d update at least monthly – a promise which I have obviously not kept. I feel somewhat ashamed because in that time, I’ve been followed by some lovely new readers and haven’t actually put up any new content. And I feel worried because if I don’t keep writing, I might forget how to do it! It’s not like riding a bike, or eating food, or breathing!! This is a use it or lose it situation!

It makes me feel better, however, to know that I have been doing some worthwhile things during this little interlude. I graduated high school. I went away for a week with no adults (which was incredibly fun). I started a new job. I got into the University of my preference to do the degree of my preference. I’ve been acting as roadie (and number one fan) for my boyfriend’s band. I developed a “Game of Thrones” addiction. I turned 18. I bought a car. And I started driving.

It’s all been very exciting, but it’s caused me to get a little carried away and forget about things like reading and writing and playing music – all the things I did when I procrastinated studying last year. However, I start studying again – this time at a tertiary level – in a week and a bit, so I’ll need something to do when I’m trying to forget about the mountains of assignments I should be doing. Hopefully I can channel that into a form of writing again and share the crazy things in my brain with my lovely readers.

Oh, and I’ve just had an idea for a new piece. 

See you soon. x

Ja’mie: Private School Girl?

A few hours ago, the online magazine “Birdee” published an article by Olympia Nelson. I feel like I must say up front that Birdee is one of my favourite magazines and a site I frequent almost daily, but this particular article seemed to me to be so narrow-minded that I was incredibly disappointed. Titled, “Chris Lilley: The Status Whisperer” and carrying the subheading “Private School Winners”, I had initially hoped that Olympia Nelson’s article would be a satirical account about Chris Lilley’s new show “Ja’mie: Private School Girl”. Unfortunately, I was instead assaulted with the apparently “truthful” parallel the show creates with “real-life” circumstances of private schools. If you have heard of the outright horrible attitude portrayed by Lilley’s “Ja’mie”, you will understand why. Amongst other things, she is a bully, a racist, a classist, a homophobe, and just an outright evil bitch. (The trailer should give you a fair idea). To describe this as an accurate representation of the attitudes carried by any student or their school is simply twisted.

After reading this article a few times in an attempt to let it sink in, I have to say I am still shocked, slightly insulted, and wholly disappointed. Olympia Nelson is a young person who, according to her biography, prides herself on being passionate about speaking out against how the media can “misunderstand and discourage young people… through its parade of stereotypes”. Yet through her article, she herself has been ignorant and stereotypical and I cannot believe what a massive generalisation is being made by Olympia. Sure, she concedes a few times that perhaps private school students have some capacity in their quite obviously cold and elitist hearts for kindness, but “only on the basis that they can transcend the ‘leadership pomposity’ of their school”. It is as though Olympia is suggesting that all private school students – even if they may possibly have a potential for some inkling of kindness somewhere – are slaves to their schools; totally brainwashed and incapable of individual thought. Does she really believe that young people, in this modern era, are that gullible? I myself have been a student at both a public and a private school, and as I have discovered, if you scrape the surface of the so-called “conceit that has sold” some (and I emphasise some) private schools, you will find that many private schools actually have positive and beneficial developmental programs in place, which ensure favourable outcomes in students. These programs encourage and foster morals and values to create students who truly care about the world around them and are willing to stand up for what is equal, not put down those who are “disadvantaged”. 

Another oversight of Olympia’s is that she assumes that all private schools promote the attitude of “winning” versus “losing” – and she disdainfully suggests that if they don’t, it is obviously a mere facade of condescension and patronising attitudes. Sure, Lilley’s “Ja’mie” character may paint a picture of a few private schools, but it is a massive – and quite frankly insulting – oversight of the vast majority that don’t have these attitudes. The independent school which I attended was a brilliant place to grow up, and I was constantly surrounded by teachers and students who promoted positive values. Never once was I told that we had any kind of “advantage” or “privilege” over public and state schools, or that we should make judgements of others based upon this. Modesty was definitely never a “foreign concept” – sure, we celebrated achievements, but we never believed we were superior to anybody else because of our successes. Positive, just and fair attitudes came not only from our teachers, but over time from within ourselves, based on the values we had been taught. Over the years, I have attended inter-school events with a mixture of private, catholic and public school students, and the ‘divide’ which Olympia suggests exists has rarely ever been noted – by myself or by other students. I have been inspired my the vast majority of my teachers and peers, as I see them as down-to-earth people from all different backgrounds, and I believe I am a better, morally well-adjusted person because of their influence.  I wouldn’t consider myself, my schooling, my peers or my family to be “privileged” or “elitist” in any way – and in fact, I would be shocked if anyone else held this view.

Another point that Olympia makes is that Ja’mie is high on “power-swagger” because she is “boss of the school”. Olympia is referring to Ja’mie’s role as school captain, and I would like to assert that somebody like Ja’mie wouldn’t ever become school captain at any of the schools I have attended or have experienced through inter-school activities. Wherever you go – public, catholic or private – teachers are not as gullible as what they seem on “Ja’mie: Private School Girl” – this is a comedic technique of Lilley’s because of its juxtaposition with the truth, not its parallel with it. They can pick out bullies and will not view them positively, no matter what their “privileged” background. The private school which I attended constantly enacted a “zero tolerance policy” towards bullying – whether it be revolving around race, ‘social class’, sexual orientation or any other basis. This was enforced superbly and we rarely had bullying problems. Ja’mie’s view of the world could most definitely not “come straight out of a brochure for a private school” as Olympia suggests. Please, correct me if I’m wrong, but education is about promoting positive values not matter what the stream of the system. No school that I know would ever promote homophobia, racism or disdain towards other people like Ja’mie does.

I’ll emphasise this point: there are some (some!) private school students who hold the same abysmal values as Ja’mie. There are also some, (again, some!) private schools which undoubtedly do sell an elitist attitude to students, and who are, in Olympia’s own words, “in a perpetual struggle to maintain the air of advantage”. However, from my observations, there are also public schools and public school students which do the same, and I think to force the blame solely onto private schools is a disappointing misjudgement. It is perhaps those who rule society in general who create this sense of elitism, and like many other attitudes, occasionally this seeps into our schooling system – not just private, but every stream. However, the vast majority of students do not allow themselves to be caught up in the depressingly bigoted attitudes of some of our elders. We’re young, we have our own opinions, and many of us want to change the thinking of the world! This brings me to my next point.

Olympia finishes with the statement, “Ultimately we all have to live with the results of our families choosing our aspirations from a tender age”. By “aspirations” she clearly means, “schooling system” or alternatively “profession”, and this is yet another point where Olympia has made a judgement which, in actuality, is far from the truth. I see youth transcending the expectations of their families and society every day. Nothing irks me more than when intelligent students are told, “you’re too smart to be a teacher/tradesperson/writer (et al.), why don’t you become a doctor/lawyer/rocket scientist?” While these are great professions to aspire to if it is the true dream of the student, nothing makes me happier than when students unabashedly and honestly reply with “because that’s not what I want to do with my life!”. I see this frequently – at my school and in broader society – and often it is a young person talking about breaking away from the expectations of their families. When this happens, my heart rises with joy. It’s the twenty-first century, and young people are becoming more and more empowered to do what they want with their lives. This fact is not bound by ‘social class’, family structure, or schooling system – no matter what our walk of life, we are all intelligent young people who can make our own decisions without being bound by decisions made by others.

Olympia herself says that she has attended a public school; clearly she hasn’t ever experienced life at an independent school. I’m certainly not judging her on that one – nor am I judging any other state school student (my education has taught me better than that). What I am saying is that I believe she should be well informed of the realities of a topic before she makes sweeping generalisations about it. It seems quite an unfortunate hypocrisy that the judgemental attitudes of private school students being discussed in the article are the very same generalised attitudes being displayed by Olympia towards all private school students, with minimal exception. If Olympia could only move out of her narrow – and quite frankly stereotypical – mindset that all private schools and their students are arrogant and conceited, then perhaps her argument would hold some more validity with readers.

Tall Poppy Syndrome

Recently, I’ve started writing a list of all of the people I’ll be coming back to haunt once I die (I am hoping it will be such a long time away that I will need said list if I am to remember any of these people eighty years from now). The list is growing very quickly, as I feel I need to add everyone who has ever wronged me – for instance, the boy who dumped me over Facebook, the supermarket lady who was very unhelpful when I asked where they kept the tapioca, the teacher who wanted to mark me harder than everyone else because I was “doing too well”, etc. However, amongst these wrongdoers, I have reserved a special place for a special (do not read: “good”) type of people. These are the people who bully or torment those who have the courage to do something that nobody else – and certainly not the tormenters – would have the courage to do. A public message to these people:

STOP.

You do not look cool in front of your mates. You are not raising your own social status by trying to tear down anyone else’s. You are not, in any way, making yourself look anything remotely close to good. Please, please, stop this nonsense at once, because all you are doing is sending out negative vibes and raining on the parade of those who are trying to send out positive ones.

Yesterday, I participated in a somewhat relaxed inter-house music competition at school. For many of us, we were very busy with, you know, our lives, that we didn’t get a lot of time to rehearse our pieces – or for some houses, time to actually organise pieces. Despite this, however, my fellow house competitors and I – while we were certainly not the best there – had a lot of fun just having a bit of a jam and earning some points for our houses, and I know that many other competitors felt the same about their performances. However, it made me very sad to hear some people making nasty comments or gossiping about some of the performers. Hang on, I thought, where’s the good sportsmanship in that? What made me even more annoyed was the fact that some of these comments were coming from people who had some musical talent, but who hadn’t even bothered to sign up or put something together – be it out of nervousness or laziness. I don’t see what gives them the right to pick on others who got up and had a go, had a bit of fun, and displayed school and house spirit by earning some points for their house.

It’s not just silly schoolyard things either – we see this sort of thing happening all throughout our society. It’s called “tall poppy syndrome”, and basically means that people don’t like seeing other “poppies” grow to be taller than they are. This jealousy causes them to cut the other poppies down in any way they can. I think in this instance, many of the tormentors are jealous that they do not have the courage to do the same brave thing that others are doing, and they feel bad within themselves for this, so they try to make the accomplishments of others seem worthless. It’s actually a bit pathetic.

Now I’d just like to point out that I don’t think this applies to everything. Take for instance, Miley Cyrus’s recent performance at the MTV VMAs, which came pretty damn close to causing the internet to explode over the past few days. I wouldn’t have the courage to get up and do that,  but that’s because that was offensive on so many levels: using people of colour as accessories to her choreography; degrading her own gender; displaying herself as a mere sexual object – the list goes on. I would not defend those who were being bad-mouthed for having the courage to stand up and do something offensive or harmful in the same way that I wouldn’t defend a criminal for committing a murder* because nobody else had the guts to do it. That’s just plain silly. But for something like a music competition, or presenting a speech (one of the most common phobias people suffer) – where is the sense in picking on people for that?

So I guess, in summary, if you don’t have the guts to do something, don’t bully other people about it. It’s not cool and it just increases worldsuck, thereby totally decimating the efforts of those trying to decrease it (often by doing said courageous things). And if you’re someone who is being picked on for doing something you enjoy/were nervous about/is not typically considered “cool”, don’t let it get to you! If you’re doing what’s right for you, keep on doing it. As the very old, ancient and spiritual saying of our ancestors goes, “haters gon’ hate”.

If you have any thoughts (thoughts? what are these strange things you speak of?), as always, you can reach me at chelseainspace@hotmail.com. Peace out lovelies.

*This is not me comparing Miley Cyrus to a murderer. That’s also silly. I’m just making a somewhat hyperbolic point.

Oh Rocky!

Last night, I had the pleasure of going to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show at a theatre in my city – and it was good. Some things to know before you read this post, however: where I live, screenings only happen about three times a year, and there aren’t live performers acting out the movie in front of the screen, as some of you may have seen in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”. There are still, however, many rabid fans in costume who like to throw stuff and shout out lines. Now that we’ve got that sorted, on with the show!

So last night I showed up to the theatre dressed as Magenta, (“A Domestic”), complete with big teased hair and a tatty apron. As I waited in the foyer, I took a moment to soak up the atmosphere. Guys in makeup and corsets! Girls with sparkly hats and tap shoes! Other lunatics in costume – I was among my own people! It was truly a sight to see, and what was even better was when we got into the auditorium and the show began. An MC, dressed as a hunchback a la Riff-Raff , came out onto the stage in a flurry of pelvic thrusts and makeup, and in an accented voice, invited of the costumed freaks and geeks to present themselves on stage. With me being… well, me, I ran up onto the stage and took my place next to a twenty-something guy dressed as Frank n Furter. He had fabulous shoes and a tiny glass of over-priced champagne in his hand, and as it turned out, he was a regular – later he was up on stage acting out “Sweet Transvestite” with the exact choreography that Tim Curry was performing on screen.

Anyway, the movie began, and as we Time-Warped our way through the songs, the witty dialogue and the eyebrow raising scenes, it felt like the five-hundred or so of us in that auditorium were connected, brought together by a mutual obsession for this cult movie. People shouted lines and threw props, which brings me to my next point: if you do go to one of these screenings, (and I strongly recommend it for fans of Rocky or anyone looking for a fun night), go prepared! With last night being my first time, I didn’t really know many of the lines and I wasn’t aware that props were allowed (some theatres are conscious of mess) so I didn’t have any. But fortunately for you, dear reader, I will outline some of the required tools of the trade here, so you can truly experience Rocky in the way it has been done since the seventies.

Props:

  • Rice – this is for throwing during the scene where Betty Munro and Ralph Hapschatt get married. Try not to get it in people’s eyes!
  • Newspaper (preferably “The Plain Dealer” as in the movie) – Cover your head with this when Brad and Janet get stuck in the rainstorm. Some theatres allow water guns to simulate the rain, but the one I was at didn’t – check beforehand if you’re unsure!
  • Lighter or mobile phone – when they sing “There’s a light… over at the Frankenstein place!”
  • Noise makers such as those blow-y whistle things or those clappy things – for the lab scene at the end of Frank’s speech
  • Confetti (or more rice) – when Rocky and Frank walk into the bedroom after the “I Can Make You a Man” reprise.
  • Toilet paper – when Brad yells, “Great Scott!”
  • Playing Cards – when Frank sings the line “Cards for sorrow, cards for pain” during “I’m Going Home”. (At the theatre I was at, there must have been about 500 cards sprinkling down from the dress circle – it was great!)

There are also many lines that are yelled during the show, and most people like to sing along. The lines differ from theatre to theatre, so that’s just something you have to learn for yourself. Plus, it’s more fun when you’re not expecting the lines, because some of them are hilarious and don’t make much sense unless they’re accompanying the movie.

Last night was a night out that – just like Brad and Janet’s in the movie – I will remember for a very long time. I really urge everybody to go because – whether you’re a fan of the movie or not – the atmosphere is electric and it’s a brilliant experience.

You’ll shiver with antici…

pation!

 

As always, feel free to email me and share your Rocky experiences!

Procrastination

Over the last few months, procrastination is a word which has become a regular in my vocabulary – so regular that I practically know its favourite colour and how it likes its morning coffee. But often (usually around the fourth or fifth refresh of my Instagram feed) I find myself procrastinating my procrastination. For that reason, I have put together a list of interesting websites for when Facebook is just not fulfilling my procrastination needs, and I thought I’d share it with you, dear readers, incase you find yourself in a situation similar to mine.

  1. Every Noise at Once
    If you’ve ever wondered exactly how many genres of music are out there, or what genre that quirky song you heard on Triple J belongs to, this is the site for you. It features sound-clip examples of songs from pretty much every genre you could think of – ranging from your standard pop songs to “funeral doom metal” with some “skiffle” and “laiko” thrown in there. This site is great because you can brush up on some musical education and enjoy procrastinating at the same time. Who knows, you might even discover something new and interesting that you really like the sound of! Avant-garde Jazz, anyone?
  2. Cats That Look Like Hitler
    Cats seem to make up a majority of funnies on the internet – with Nyan Cat and LolCats being esteemed leaders in the field – so this was bound to happen sooner or later. And really, what better way than to make fun of the world’s most evil man than to have a chuckle at his feline facsimiles? While I’m sure these cats aren’t on the same level as a malignant German dictator, the likeness of some of these cuddly kittens is uncanny. Most come complete with a tiny little toothbrush ‘stache, and others have even managed to pull off a salute with their paws.  Check it out!
  3. Do Not Touch
    This is actually a really interesting little website. It was created by a band called “Light Light” for their song “Kilo”, and the general idea is that they record the movement of your mouse in order to add it to the video. The video is basically just a cluster of cursors moving around a green space… it’s very hard to explain, so you should go and check it out for yourself. [Warning, contains a brief image of nudity]
  4. The Nicest Place on the Internet
    This one is especially great for when you’re having “one of those days” of being really, really sick of work, school, or life in general. It’s an entire collection of people who have sent in videos of themselves hugging a camera, so that it looks like they’re reaching out to give you a great big bear cuddle. What makes it even nicer is the cute-as music that plays in the background, and the fact that each hug is a little bit different in its own way. Look out for the guy with the little white fluffy dog. It’s a real pick-me-up, and totally refreshing to see after some of the hateful things that get thrown around the internet these days.

Well, that’s the end of my list for now. If you have any other sites to feed the procrastination monster, drop me an email at chelseainspace@hotmail.com and let me know! For now, however, I must be off. The procrasti- I mean, studyis calling!

It’s driving me crazy…

Hello again dear reader! Yes, I am in fact still alive! I’ve managed to clamber my way out from underneath the pile of schoolbooks and study to have a bit of a rant about something I have noticed lately… something that is driving me crazy! (Pardon the pun – you’ll see what I mean…)

With Easter time upon us once again, we inevitably notice the chocolate eggs, stuffed rabbit toys, and various other festive paraphernalia start to line the shelves of our local supermarkets – and often it starts as early as February. The corporate money-makers are at it again, taking every opportunity they are presented with to force-feed us some plastic crap we don’t need, or some tasty treat that will only leave us feeling guilty or bloated. But one thing that I have noticed that really irks me is the sale of “car costumes”. Around Easter time, these take the shape of silly little bunny ears that people stick to the top of their windows, and even little fluffy tails for their tow bars. If you’re unsure what I mean, here’s a picture:

medium_bunny-car-decorations

To me, this seems like something that Kath Day-Knight would do in an episode of Kath and Kim, and sure, that’s pretty funny and I can understand why she’d do that – the woman wears leg-of-mutton sleeves, gumnut earrings and pumpkin capris! But why do normal people feel the need to dress their cars up? Personally, I like dressing myself up, but that’s only because I’m a theatre kid. My little cousin used to like dressing up, but that was only because she was five years old. Cosplayers like dressing up, but that’s only because they’re crazy-obsessed with their fandoms. Your car is not a theatre kid. It is not a five year old girl. It is not a nerdy cosplayer. So why is it necessary to put funny little “outfits” on it?

I first noticed this trend about two years ago, when people started sticking reindeer antlers onto their windows for Christmas. Then came the Australia day flags, and I had hoped it would stop there. But no, there are also decorations for Valentine’s day, St Patrick’s day, Halloween, and now these strange people are putting ears on their car. Do they hope that chocolate eggs will plop out of the exhaust pipe and maybe they won’t have to spend exorbitant amounts of money on Easter presents? Or perhaps they think they are being good citizens by spreading Easter cheer?

But it doesn’t stop there! Now the site Squidoo is selling EYELASHES for your car. I feel bad for people who do this, and I think it’s probably worse than the people who talk to their dogs like they’re people, or pretend that their Cabbage Patch Kids are real babies. If you’re so lonely that you need to dress your car up to resemble a living thing, I feel a little bit sad for you. Join a club, or get a hobby, or maybe a new job, and meet some people that way. If by chance you’re not lonely, and are just trying to be funny , or cool, or trying to promote the holiday spirit, PLEASE STOP. You are in fact not being funny, or cool, or prompting anyone to get into the holiday spirit. Sure, people are laughing, but AT YOU and not WITH YOU. Please please please, for the good of humanity, stop this silliness and just spend time with your family, or dress your kids or pets up in a ridiculous outfit. God knows it would be better than this.

As always, chelseainspace@hotmail.com

Girl look at that body… I work out!

Many apologies for not having posted anything in a while. I went back to school a few weeks ago, and finding time to breathe is proving difficult, let alone writing blog posts. Another thing proving difficult is finding the time – or motivation – to exercise. So I thought I’d combine the two and put my guilty conscience somewhat at ease! Here you have it.

Recently, after becoming a little discontent with my post-Christmas/New Years/Birthday figure, I acquired a gym membership. After much labouring over exorbitant amounts of paperwork – seriously, I think most politicians do less paperwork in a year – I was in. Yes! I’d done it! They’d even thrown in a free backpack, water bottle and gym towel to make me feel welcome! I was going to get super dooper fit!

And then I came to the realisation that simply having the little plastic membership tag on your keyring does not automatically shed three kilos. I’d actually have to *go* to the gym.

Now, I don’t mind exercise. It helps me clear my head, and I know that I’m doing something good for my body. It’s also probably my peak time for drinking water (which I’m actually getting better at since they put one of those fun little water filters in the study room at school!). There are certain times, however, when this “fitness club” institution feels a little creepy/disheartening/disappointing/mortifying. The following is a list of such times.

Accidental Farts. One of my favourite classes is Pilates, but I often find myself sweating out a mix of hard work and dread when I feel my stomach begin to churn. Surely I can’t be the only one that worries they’re going to rip a massive low D on the butt trumpet in the middle of the downward dog? When this happens I tend to lose focus on my cyclic Pilates breathing and place a little more focus on keeping my gas valves shut, all the while praying, “please, god of Pilates, if it’s going to happen, at least let it be a Silent-But-Deadly. Anything but a loud one!”

Music Videos. This is something that irritates me to no end. The way the music industry works is that they put all of the attractive, desirable people on the music videos in order to sell the song. Do the health clubs know this? Are they exploiting the fact the while most of us are sweating it out on the treadmill, we’re facing a television with a scantily clad, fit young man or woman – what most of us are trying to become? There is some kind of sick metaphor on the fact that when we run on a treadmill with a music video in front of us, it’s like we’re running towards something we want to become, but we never get any closer. Besides, most of the music is crap, which brings me to my next point:

Crappy covers of my favourite songs. One class in particular seems as though the fitness club stole my iPod, picked out some songs that I really really like, then took some really awful singers and made them do their own version of the song. I’m talking “Some Nights” by ‘fun’ feat. Autotune, “In For The Kill” by ‘La Roux/Skrillex’ feat. That’s Not Even Dubstep, and “I Don’t Care” by ‘Fall Out Boy’ feat. Did Patrick Stump Have A Sex Change Or Is This Justin Bieber?. I think they did it to protect their arses when the SOPA/PIPA bills threatened the world’s freedoms, but a year or so later and it still hasn’t been changed. Ugh.

Blokes in the the weights room. I feel as though this room has been put in the gym for the simple reason that the protein-shake-drinking, wrist-strap-wearing junkies who want to get “hard” need a place to grunt it out. I respect that, but I will not go in there, merely because every time I do, they turn and look at me with stares that burn a hole into my soul – just for being a female. What’s more is that they put mirrors in that room, just so those blokes can look at themselves. That’s probably more vain than the hair straighteners they supply in the female toilets. (Don’t even get me started on some of the girls who “exercise” at the gym!)

So there you have it, folks – the concise edition of things I hate about the gym. Nevertheless, I will continue to go, because Cellulite Sally doesn’t feel like leaving without a bit of a push, and everyone knows hard work never comes without results. As a Nutrigrain ad once taught me, “you only get out what you put in”!

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

When I started this blog I didn’t really have any plans to write movie reviews on here, considering that I hardly watch enough to justify keeping it up. But in this past week I watched a movie that made a real impact on me, which is very rare for movies I hire out on a spur-of-the-moment decision. Hence, why I have decided to share it with you, dear readers.

This movie is called “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”, and stars Steve Carell and Keira Knightley. Here’s a short, non-spoilery summary:

The movie opens to Dodge and Linda Petersen (Steve Carell and his real-life wife Nancy) sitting in their car, with the radio informing them that the last effort to save humanity from a 70-mile wide asteroid named Matilda has failed, and it will undoubtedly collide with earth in three weeks time. Panicked, Linda runs from the car “as fast as any human woman could”, leaving Dodge to face the end of the world completely alone. After an end-of-the-world party where his friends try in vain to set him up with someone new, Dodge returns to his flat, where he finds a young British woman named Penny Lockhart (Keira Knightley) crying on the fire escape, after just having broken up with her boyfriend (Adam Brody). He lets her in, and together they dive head-first into the end of humanity. Through riots, wild parties, an abandoned dog named “Sorry”, arrests, and pre-arranged “murders”, they help each other along with their respective journeys to complete their final wishes – Dodge wants to meet up with his High School Sweetheart, and Penny wants to see her family in England again. What happens along the way, however, is altogether unexpected, and the ending… well, I don’t want to give too much away.

Carell and Knightley are a pair who I never expected to be sharing the screen, yet they play off each other so well as a leading man and lady – despite the difference in age – and I think the fact that they are an unexpected pair is what adds to the charm. The seemingly mismatched couple was what drew me to pick out the movie, along with the DVD cover – it’s a kind of shambled mix of optimism and pessimism, with a good dash of irony and black humour thrown in. I have to say that the cover is a perfect representation of most of the movie, but the card it keeps close to its chest is the incredible, bittersweet emotion that is woven throughout the movie.

Keira Knightley plays her role fantastically (as always), and seems comfortable in the shoes of Penny – a really quirky, artsy sort of girl with a fiery tongue but very real obvious emotional issues, which add depth. Most of the time, she is the driving force in the adventures of the pair – for instance, taking the adventure to the overly enthusiastic Friendsy’s (“the restaurant where everyone’s your friend!”). However she also shares some nuggets of wisdom and perspective on what life, love and friendship could be like at the end of the world. The way the character of Penny is written and the way Knightley plays her makes her a delight to watch and a strong, relatable female lead.

When I saw Steve Carell on the cover, I expected him to be playing his usual, goofy, comic-relief sort of character – the typical Michael-Scott-from-The-Office, or Brick-from-Anchorman kind of guy. But he really proved his stripes in “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”. Sure, the comedy aspect of his perfomance was alive and kicking, but Carell wowed me with how well he could pull off the lonely and desperate, but caring and kind-hearted character of Dodge Petersen. He seems comfortable for once to step aside and leave most of the comedy to the ensemble characters, who do a fantastic job of it themselves without Carell’s high-profile funnyman status to push them along. Carell brings a sense of reality to Dodge, and he somehow encompasses the fears and hopes of every viewer simultaneously.

The story itself is an excellent re-imagining of what life could be like at the end of the world for everyday people. Writer and Director Lorene Scafaria has done a great job of moving away from the typical survival-of-the-fittest, rehashed apocalypse nonsense that is so present in Hollywood, and has explored the jarring reality of what Armageddon would be like for people who can’t afford underground bunkers or state-of-the-art equipment. It is refreshing to see an interpretation that is relatable for once, and seems closer to the truth than the other nonsense churned out by some movies.

“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” is a movie that will give you more than you bargained for. It will make you laugh, cry, raise your eyebrows in shock, shout at your telly a bit, and then keep you coming back for more. But be warned: keep a box of tissues handy and wear waterproof mascara.