Stay Inside

It’s an immeasurably miserable winter day in Wellington, even though it’s still Autumn for another 5 weeks or so. With this in mind, here’s some stuff to keep you occupied while you stay inside where it’s warm. Snuggle into a blankie, make yourself a hot cup of whatever you fancy, click and read and watch….

Food blogs are always good to read, but I think they’re even better when it’s cold. You can vicariously enjoy the food pictures and dream about things you might make. It may even inspire you to actually cook or bake, then you can really enjoy the food!
*Freshly Ground has recently branched out into podcast reviews, which might also interest you, but the recipes are still coming. Every time I read one of those recipes I just want to kidnap Dan and make him cook for me all the time. Luckily for him, I’m very lazy.
*My friend Jen is back from her OE and put me on to the marvelous looking Bread and honey. She advises me that the chocolate cupcakes are very good.

After I played around with the drama button Svend asked if I’d ever tracked down the animation we saw in the Animation For Kids collection a couple of years ago which we keep quoting at each other. Inspired by the powers of the internets I tracked it down. It’s a story told by three kids about Crazy eyes dolphin vs the Mad cows and animated by Ian Stewart in the manner of kids’ drawings. Good fun, if somewhat startling.

He was an article on stuff randomly, but I still think you should all read Sockington, especially if you’ve ever known a cat. It’s incredibly funny stuff. And it makes me want to talk SOMETIMES IN ALL CAPS and then undercut myself.

Just for something completely different, why not check out Filament magazine? It’s the brainchild of my friend Suraya and the first edition is going to print very very soon. Basically it’s porn for girls, or erotic images of men designed specifically to appeal to the straight woman. I have personally been involved in small ways over the course of the project, giving feedback on one of the photo sessions and beta-ing a short story. In one of the later editions, there may even be a story written by me….anyway, I’ve subscribed, so expect a review of the first edition once I’ve received it in the mail.

Suraya linked to this article about one woman’s experience in a modern burlesque show. It describes quite eloquently the problems I tend to have with the idea of burlesque.

Latest awesomeness from cutebreak is this cat’s bitter disappointment that a pigeon got away from him. Heh.

Have you read something awesome online recently? Seen a great video? Please comment with the links, I’m always up for new stuff! Speaking of which, my sister in law on Lee’s side just got a kitten, we’re going to visit and I’m going to pass on some of my cat-rearing knowledge.

Linky linky

Mostly found these via Cleolinda…

Turns out Dove’s ‘real beauty’ campaign is massively retouched. Not sure if this is a surprise to anyone, but I like how it was leaked by the guy that touched it up. Oh the irony. I mean, I kind of knew this was the case, but it makes me a little sad anyway.

Cool science stuff….on Talula? Yep, turns out the platypus looks so weird because it’s a mix of different species! Scientists have mapped the platypus genome.
…and a species has adapted to climate change! Great Tits Cope Well With Warming, is basically the best BBC article title ever.

Youtube fun! The cool way to put on jeans, no really. This is amazing.

…and one of my writing idols Meg Cabot talking about where she gets her inspiration from and reads from her journal from 1981. Awesomely funny.

More Twilight, here’s the official poster. Is it just me or is there something weird about how Bella’s standing? I can see that Edward has his arms around her but I keep thinking it looks like her hands are tied behind her back? Or maybe she has her hands on something important of his…which would explain the expression.

It also bugs me that 2 out of 3 of the men are all staring straight back at the reader but the ‘good’ girls are looking off to the side. The only female staring straight back at me is the wild vampire girl who doesn’t like Bella. Not sure what Alice and Emmet are looking at actually. I wonder why they decided to go with that poster?

This one is more better but she still doesn’t look like Bella to me. I like how weird they’ve made Cedric Diggory look.

I want to end on an upper note than me whining/obsessing about the Twilight movie (seriously, why can’t I leave it alone?) so here’s one more link.

I really liked Style tips by Gala Darling, because they weren’t what I expected and I really like the picture she uses to head up the article.
I just found out that Gail Carson Levine has a new book out called Ever. I must go to Borders and see if they have it yet…but I made an unofficial resolution to stop spending my money….but I really love her work….oh dear.

Oh heck, this how to take better pictures article Gala linked to is great too. Makes me want to go out and get artsy. And then get the pictures printed and scrapbook them. I am such a craft geek.

PoF: Pjs, robe-with-hood-up, two blankies.
CO: Hungry, want breakfast

Disney Princesses

Look, you all know that I love the idea of being a Princess, they have the pretty dresses and the tiaras, the handsome princes, dashing white horses, some sort of involvement with dragons, etc.

But in my head the princess is a kind of kick-ass figure. One of my favourite books as a kid was The Paperbag Princess in which the dragon carries off the prince and the princess has to put on a paper bag (because everything else is burnt up) and rescue him through outwitting the dragon. Or Amy in The Practical Princess who learned how to do housework and farming, etc.

The Disney Princess marketing strategy and merchandise bothers me not because it is about princesses, but because it only shows said princesses doing passive things, prancing about in ball gowns, looking at themselves in mirrors, gazing winsomely at the viewer, head on folded, gloved hands. (Although it does crack me up that sometimes they’re all in their ballgowns except Ariel’s still in her seashell bra and fish tail.)
I’ve seen all the Disney movies, I know that Ariel is capable of so much more than wistful gazing. She worked hard to get her man, she was active, not passive. She spent maybe one evening in a ball gown. Sure, she may not have lead the charge against the villain at the end of the movie, but she did stand up to her in some way.

Belle is the one that really breaks my heart to see reduced to the Disney Princess duvet cover. Again, she only wore that yellow ballgown for one night. She proactively went searching for her father through the dark cold night, through the scary wolf infested forest and when she was confronted by the Beast she stood up to him and offered to take her father’s place in the prison tower. She was scared, but she acted anyway, which is a pretty good definition of bravery if you ask me.

She refused to marry the man she didn’t love, she was bookish and ‘odd’, she disobeyed the Beast and snuck into the forbidden wing and was totally going to touch his magical rose (not a euphemism). She was brave is what I’m trying to get at, and she had way better things to do with her time than pose for photos in her ball gown. She would have been reading for Heaven’s sake.

If the Disney Princess range would just show them doing what the movies had them doing I’d be a lot happier. What the hell is wrong with showing Aurora fetching mushrooms from the forest? Or Cinderella scrubbing the floor? How about Belle curled up in a chair reading a book?

One awesome thing about the movie Enchanted is that it showed Giselle moving away from (some of) the trappings of the Disney Princess and towards more suitable actions. Example: at the start of the movie she is happy to marry Edward even though they have never talked, just sung a song together. After talking to McDreamy about how things work in the Real World, she is not satisfied with that and wants a ‘date’ to get to know each other better and ensure that she really does love the man she chooses.

Another thing is they show her at the end of the movie running her own business. Andalasia Fashions is a huge store with heaps of workers (animal and human if I recall correctly) and is shown to be a success.
It also includes the fantastic scene when Giselle and Edward are reunited and he sings their song and she doesn’t.

Edward: You’re not singing!
Giselle: No, I was thinking.
Edward, bewildered: Why?

None of this even touches on the whole ethnic side of things. Sometimes Mulan and Pocahontas are included in the Disney Princess pictures but more often they aren’t, which leaves Jasmine as the only girl with any colour to her skin. Jasmine, Belle, Ariel, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.
I don’t know. I don’t think it’s inherently damaging to little girls to like the princesses, I just think they need a more rounded princess experience.

Read also:,0,7487597.column?track=rss


I think Jezebel may be my new favourite website…a little.

They’ve made a no commenting on women’s physical appearance
kind of a rule. I particularly like this quote from a reader that spurred them to do it…

“Apparently nothing a woman does can ever be more important than the way she looks, and even we woman have been brainwashed into thinking that to be valued and beautiful we must be young, thin, and covered in cosmetics”

I know I am guilty of this kind of thinking, and I hope I can get myself out of it.
Stopping myself obsessing about my rather round belly will be a bit harder.
*smacks head against wall* I hate you social conditioning!

In other news Enchanted is my new favourite-ist movie ever. My favourite bit is the big song and dance in the middle. You can see it here including the brilliant bit where the ordinary guy says “no, it’s alright, don’t sing” hee hee.

Now if only my life were more full of singing and dancing. I’m sure I’d have less stress.

PoF: not a pretty dress 😦
CO: singing and dancing

Books, sex, etc.

Reasons to love Meg Cabot #121: she uses her blog to ask her loyal readers to get her banned. How to help her get banned.

And she even references the ‘faucet thing’ in Ready or Not, my favourite book with teen sex in it, ever. The reason why? The teen heroine learns how to pleasure herself under the faucet (to practice XD ) and then has sex with her boyfriend in a completely loving, safe and consensual way. It’s surprising how rare that is in teen novels. That’s probably my reason to love Meg Cabot #1 actually….

Yay books. Yay holiday. Soon I shall oovle into town and buy myself a new book (hopefully). Jacky Daydream came out two days ago, and I want it. It’s a memoir by Children’s Author Phenom Jacqueline Wilson. I love her too.
I was going to sleep in today, but I was so excited about being on holiday and all the things I can do if I want to that I couldn’t sleep.

also, via the above article, but worth adding to my catalogue of How to Write that I have on this blog…Sarah Dessen’s views are here on her myspace.

PoF: cute! Pink top, mini skirt, neopolitan striped legs, teeny pigtails.
CO: letting myself relax + Pocky for breakfast.

The Bride Stripped Bare

Originally published anonymously, The Bride Stripped Bare is by Nikki Gemmell , an Australian author now living in London.

I am not yet finished this book, but from 3/4s of the way through I can say this: Read it. If you are a woman, or are in a relationship with a woman or are in any way interested in female sexuality… it.

It is told in first person, as a diary of a married woman. It is primarily about sex, and an exploration of what she thinks about sex, what she wants, what she doesn’t want. Nikki says she deliberately made the woman (who is unnamed) conventional, an everywoman so as to make the text more accessible.

I read it and am relieved that I am not the only one who thinks, feels, wants these things. Reading this book is a bit like having a cup of tea with a close friend who says ‘yes! that’s right!’ and ‘me too’ and ‘you’re normal’.
…Besides all that, it’s also got a fantastic story and engaging characters who make mistakes and learn from them. Great ‘adult’ fiction in every sense of the word.

Nikki answers questions about Bride here


Comics geek linkage….comics 4 libraries, a rather charmingly written blog about comics from a publisher…I found a link to a rather startling and wonderful blog entry about exploitation.

i.e. if comic cover artists exploited men in the same way they exploit women what would the covers of DC issues look like??? Warning. Uh, it’s a bit racy. Oddity Collector.
Just…so great. I may have to add her as an lj buddy.

PoF: Rarotonga
CO: stupid clogged throat!
Edited to add Thanks to C-Star, librarian extraordinairre for the sweet linkage 🙂

Librarian Jenni

Yesterday at the library I talked to the mother of an 8 year old girl who wants to be a boy. When asked why she wants to be a boy, she replied that boys get to do all the ‘cool stuff’ they get to go on adventures, be pirates and action heroes and generally be cool.

In all the tv and movies and books this 8 year old has encountered she has found no girls doing this kind of thing. Her mum wanted to know if there were any books we could recommend that show girls being the action hero.
The books that came to mind first for me were The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch and The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye because of the stereotype reversal and because Paperbag princess was my favourite book when I was a kid.

Then I thought of the obvious solution: Tamora Pierce books!

I especially recommended Alanna: the First Adventure because of the whole girl has to pretend to be boy to do these things and because it’s a fantastic book. Hopefully the kid will get into it and read the whole series and I can put her onto First Test as well.

The only other ones I could think of were Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine and a bunch of Young Adult novels that would be beyond an 8 year old. I went ahead and told her mum about The Changeover by Margaret Mahy anyway because that’s cool.

It was a worrying exchange though, her mum is a dedicated feminist and her heart was breaking because her daughter thinks that being a girl is boring and useless. It was much harder to think of good kid’s movies that show a string female lead action hero. They’d already tried and rejected Spy Kids, Thunderbirds and a bunch of other stuff. I suggested Kim Possible but that’s all I had.

my hand hurts

Lee had a restless night, so of course I did by proxy. I am aware of being woken many times because he was moving around too much.
My hand hurts and I don’t know why. My left hand, in the middle of my palm, slightly towards the pinkie.

I watched a weird show on TV last night. It was on Prime and called “Mistresses” it was a sort of how-to documentary show about what mistresses do and why men cheat. I saw a bit about a dominatrix, a bit about different sexy costumes you should have if you are a mistress and an interview with a “serial mistress” who basically said (and this may be oversimplifying) men will always cheat and they cheat because their wives aren’t sexy enough/stop trying to be sexy.

That pissed me off. Then they showed a preview of the next episode (because of course it’s a series!) where two different men said that it was ingrained nature for men to cheat and there was nothing they could do about it.

I say bollocks to that. It is really very easy not to cheat (in my experience, and granted I have no being-a-man-experience). I mean, you just don’t have sex with other people. I don’t buy that nature shite. I think it’s more what you can get away with…like if everyone could stay home on a sickie all the time and still get paid, well, we’d all do it right? But there are consequences.

Lee knows what the consequences would be if he ever cheated on me, so he doesn’t do it. I don’t cheat on him because I know what consequences I’d get (besides the whole feeling really bad about betraying someone which is still a huge factor don’t get me wrong.)

There you go. Rant after weird Prime watching.
It’s a great show. 10pm Tuesdays. I know it’s actually aimed at men because all the ads in the ad break were for cars, motorbikes, anti-speeding and a men’s health clinic. You get to see buxom host lady try on hussy clothes and interviews with dominatrices. What more could you want?


I am quite used to being offended by things that don’t seem to bother the majority of my friends. Take the speights ads for example. I think they’re sexist and awful but all these people say ‘but they’re funny!’ That is not an excuse and it is not OK.
I’ve been ranting about tv ads a lot lately so I’ll move to a different example type. Big dumb Hollywood Blockbusters. I used to love ’em. Now they offend me with their poorly drawn characters, storyline that exists only to provide more explosions and token women who are just there to flash breasts/legs/give men sexual pleasure.

Then you get something like that blasted milkshake song that everyone I talk to agrees is just plain wrong, and yet it gets a lot of publicity, played on Top of the Pops and probably made it to number one in the UK and possibly in NZ. I don’t really now since it’s been years since I watched a charts show.

Men whistling at me in the street, or calling out. That’s awful too. I do not exist to provide all men with something nice to look at. I do not enjoy being told if I have by some total stranger. I don’t think I’ve ever been whistled at by a woman so that’s not an issue for me.
Moan moan moan.