Queensland Floods: An Appeal For Help

 

Toowoomba - Queensland Floods 2011

IMAGE CREDIT: news.com.au

As I write this, my nation is in crisis. These words are epic and weighted words that on any other day would seem like an exaggeration. But not today.

I’m writing this to appeal to you, whoever you are and wherever you are, for your help.

In case you haven’t seen much of the news, Australia has been hit by some of the worst flooding it has ever seen, with the brunt of it hitting Queensland (the northern most east coast state).

According to the most recent reports, 75% of the state has now been declared a disaster zone, after rains and floods that have seen an area as big as Germany, twice the size of Texas and five times the size of the entire United Kingdom go completely underwater. If even one life had been lost, this disaster would have been horrific. As it stands however, dozens are missing and the death toll is rising.

Our headlines are being dominated by impossible concepts like ‘inland tsunamis’, in which sometimes up to 8 metre high walls of water are thundering into towns and cities that have had no time to prepare, not from the sea, but down from the mountains. Crops are gone. People have watched their livelihoods crushed, broken and just plain washed away in one fell swoop. Men, women and children have lost everything.

Today, we are a nation in mourning.

Today, there are no states. No territories. Only Australians.

My appeal to you is this:  we live in a world where we wake up to headlines everyday of war and politics, of separation and sadness. We live in a world where society is intent on separating itself into a thousand different categories of haves and have nots, those who agree with our beliefs and those who do not. But disasters such as these do not recognise the borders we as humanity place around ourselves to stake our claims on this big green and blue ball, social or physical.

Days like today highlight the idiocy and uselessness of our petty differences. But more than that, it highlights the fact that when push comes to shove, our collective humanity makes us more than co-inhabitants of a planet. It makes us family.

With that in mind, I ask that you seriously consider giving what you can – whether it’s a lot or a little – to the Queensland Flood Relief Appeal.

The best information on how and where you can donate can be be found here, on the Queensland Government website: http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html

As at 11am this morning, almost $32.5 million has been raised by donations alone. This is proof particularly of how willing Aussies are by nature to band together in the face of disaster. It is a comradeship and a brotherhood that is in our very blood, and days like today are for me a reminder of how – despite such tragedy – we are still very much The Lucky Country. A country I love and am honoured to call my own, a sentiment that I know the rest of Australia will continue to echo in it’s loudest voice to the world.

Whatever you can do to add to the already spectacular total of funds donated is brilliant, and I guarantee will be appreciated because, trite as it sounds, every cent counts.

And if you are unable to give financially, then this is also an appeal to keep this country and these people in your prayers and thoughts over the hours, days, weeks and months that follow this disaster.

After all. There into their despair, but for the grace of God go we all.

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My Life According to iTunes

My friend Lee (gorgeous blogger extraordinaire) recently put up a little challenge called “My Life According To iTunes”.

Basically, you get your iTunes library, hit shuffle and the first 18 songs will become the definitive sound track that is you.

So, here’s mine:

#1 Opening Credits: When I Look At the World – U2
Excellent – very on par.

#2 Waking Up: Feed The Light – Joan As Police Woman
A song about finding and losing one’s self. To think. I’m not even out of bed yet.

#3 1st Day of School: Paying the Cost To Be The Boss – BB King & The Rolling Stones
Kindergarten – where Erin first learned to lay down the law regarding who’s da BOSS. Now WHERE’S MY COOKIE, MINION?

#4 Falling In Love Country Comfort – Keith Urban
Am a country girl to my bones, but most of the song is about old ladies needing help to fix barns and workmen  surviving the addition of new technology to blue collar work environments, causing subsequent redundancy. Keith Urban offers emotional support to all of them. WHAT ARE YOU SAYING ABOUT ME, ITUNES.

#5 Fight Song Hindi Sad Diamonds – Moulin Rouge
A fight song with a sitar and Jazz hands. Oh dear.

#6 Breaking Up Heartbeat of Heaven – Steven Curtis Chapman
Beautiful song – reminding me that a God who loves me is bigger and better than any man who breaks my heart. Comforting choice. Thanks, iTunes.

#7 Prom Gypsy Biker – Bruce Springsteen
Speaks volumes regarding every date I’ve ever had. Springsteen couldn’t have written a song called “Hot, Intelligent, Funny, Smart Athlete who owns a motorbike and a vineyard in the Napa Valley who only has eyes for Erin” could he. Noooooo. Of course not.

#8 Life How Sweet it Is – Michael Buble
It’s true. I do feel very loved. By a lot of amazing people. Good choice.

#9 Mental Breakdown Keep Holding On – Avril Lavigne
Oh my goodness. The POETRY of this selection. Ever since I turned Genius on on my iTunes, I swear. It’s like it KNOWS.

#10 Driving Lost – Katy Perry
Shut up.

#11 Flashback The Way You Look Tonight – Michael Buble
The romance of this choice? MAGICAL.

#12 Getting Back Together I Guess You’re Right – The Posies
Angsty love make up song. Suggests tears and much bittersweet kissing.

#13 Wedding Lucia Di Lammermoor Act III – Best of Opera
Taken from an opera where the lover kills himself at the funeral of his beloved who died before her arranged wedding to a man she didn’t love. Or something like that. Dyslexic iTunes is my?

#14 Birth of Child Amazing – Alex Lloyd
Oh my goodness. SPECTACULAR pick. Love. This. Song.

#15 Final Battle Get Free – The Vines
Purrrrrrrrrrfect. The exact one I’d’ve picked myself.

#16 Death Scene Scorched Earth Love Affair – Dave Graney & The Coral Snakes
Apparently my death will be an utterly uplifting, soul changing moment of reminiscing and beauty. Niiiiice.

#17 Funeral Scene Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani
You wanna come to my last hurrah? Better git some Jagger in yo swagger, coz gurl Imma mess you up if you punk me at my own party. For realz.

#18 End credits You Belong With Me – Taylor Swift
A happy perky joyful song about living and moving on with joy into the rest of your life with the one you’re meant to be with. Don’t mind me. Imma just sit here in the dark after my pop-sensation-filled funeral. You all go on ahead and have a GREAT TIME at my wake.

Anything You Can Do…

This is Gary Oldman. He is Perfect.In a way, when you think about it, ‘People’ is a bit of an ironic name for ‘People’ magazine to have.

For the record, I’m always worried that when I insert the word ‘ironic’ in front of anything. I fear I will accidentally – and therefore more poetically – use it in the Alanis Morrissette sense (i.e. you write a song about irony, call it ‘Ironic’ and yet the one thing all the situations in the song aren’t, is ironic. Ironically.).

But in this case, I think I’ve got it right. When you hear the word ‘people’ it suggests two things: the everyman, and that there is more than one of him present. We, the people… It’s a word of, for and about the masses. If you’re talking about the other guys, you call them something else. ‘The aristocracy’. ‘The Royal Family’. ‘The Kardashians’. etc. etc.

So when you have a magazine called People, it sort of feels like false advertising. Especially at the moment, as I highly doubt, for example, that the everyman is built like this months cover boy, Ryan Reynolds, who has just been awarded the prestigious title that is People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2010. In all honesty, I am a sucker for this issue every year. Who doesn’t want a good looking man staring back at you from a beautifully taken black and white photo, attached to which is an interview with said good looking man that once again reiterates their perfection? Ahem. Yes please.

But it does beg the question: what exactly makes a man ‘sexy’?

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Nine Tenths of The Law

There is a full moon out tonight. There has been one for a couple of nights now, but this one is different. It’s, I don’t know…kinder maybe; it’s hazy and grainy against the sky – which is deep, deep blue rather than black – almost like it’s an unfocussed photograph of itself. Speaking of unfocussed, it has been a long while since I posted. I’ve spent so much time writing for other people that sometimes I forget how what I do is about more than examining other peoples words for clarity: it’s about finding my own somewhere in the midst of all this noise they call life, and living. In its remembered place, the constant reminder of how easy it it is to get lost. To be honest that’s sort of how it feels at the moment, like I’m a Lost Boy (or girl in my case) who knows they’re in Neverland but has forgotten the reason why that’s such a good thing to be. It gets harder to know what to make of anything.

I have no pirates, no daring sword fights, no princes in disguise or fairy dust to sprinkle over my grown up life.

What I do have is the ever constant enemy of my own procrastination; no fight but that against my own laziness; no princes in disguise, but plenty of plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face good hearted average Joe’s that either walk on by as though I were little more than a piece of the scenery, or with whom I become that good girl friend that they spill their darkest hearts to; no fairy dust but plenty of wishing that I could just pack up and go back to a time when things were simpler and not quite so expectation laden. But then maybe that’s all of us in one way or another. Specific as things feel a lot of the time, I am under no doubt that the questions I ask on a daily basis have been asked by every generation before me and in the same way will be, even by its last.

I learned a long time ago, perhaps more eloquently for  having been reminded of it after spending so long with my nose in one Bill Shakespeare play/sonnet or another rather than a maths text book, that while society and life and times change, people essentially don’t. Joy is still the same feeling now as it was back in Ancient Egypt. A scullery maid in Henry VIII’s house hold would have felt the same despair at the sight of a stain on a good table cloth as my mum finding one on hers as she gets the table ready for Christmas dinner in 2010. A thousand years from now, a kind word will still have the power to bolster someone’s confidence, and a sad sight will still bring them to tears.

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10 Things I Love

So this post was inspired by the lovely Dianne Sylvan (you can visit her website here), who reminded me to do something I don’t do enough, but should do more often, and that is to stop, take time and be thankful for different things in my life. This is a great concept, so – as per her lovely invitation ;) – here is my own list, in no particular order. For now.

  • Rainy Nights, Overcast Days, Sunshowers & Thunderstorms

When it came to rain when I was a kid on our farm, I’m pretty sure the things I got up to during the big thunderstorms we had, were probably not the safest. But when you’re a kid, for better or worse safety isn’t exactly the first thing on your mind most of the time; as it was then, some of my most precious childhood memories were born under a cloudy sky sometimes in very dubious circumstances. Running around on a beach under the dark, dark grey clouds of an impending electrical storm late one summer afternoon, or going pippy fishing just before one, for enough of the tiny shellfish to make a big boulibase at one of the last holidays we ever spent at one side of our family’s holiday house.

Or out on our farm, watching my grandad run up the hill under whipping gum trees in the wildest, brightest sunshower I’ve ever seen; my sister and I rounding up cattle in the rain with our dad on the bike and driving them in one big mob back to the yards by the front gate, with cold, wet air numbing our faces and the collars of the flannelette shirts we’d borrowed from dad’s drawer turned up against the chill; Laura and I taking our horses swimming in a flooded gully and galloping like crazy people, filling up our boots with water & having to explain how we’d destroyed said boots to mum later. The way mist wrapped around everything when it rained. The way the bushland smelled in and after it.
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A Matter of Trust: The Case for Bonnie Bennett

Bonnie BennettDespite the fact that I usually try to – for the most part – keep my writing for the Vampire Diaries and my own stuff fairly separate, I really wanted to write this, partially in response to feedback on a recap I wrote for the most recent episode, called Bad Moon Rising but also because this is something I really feel is important for me to say.

One of the unfortunate side effects of playing a character that people don’t always particularly like – or whose behaviour people don’t necessarily agree with – is that the negativity does seem to rub off occasionally on the actor who plays them.

There’s been a lot of talk about the Bonnie Bennett of Season 2 versus the Bonnie of season one, especially in the light of her apparently greatly changed actions and attitudes in recent episodes. Sadly however, whilst some of this discussion has been positive, and undertaken with a mind to try to tease apart the many potential plot twists related to her character, other parts of it have turned – in all honesty – extremely petty and, at times, incredibly hurtful, not just towards Bonnie as a character, but much worse, towards Kat who plays her.

Now, good fiction will always get people talking. Turning a much loved character in to one who in recent times has behaved in much less than loveable ways was a really, really big call by the writers of this show.

But the calibre, skill and focus of the writers behind The Vampire Diaries has meant that more than once, our viewer expectations have been well and truly turned on their heads or kicked in the pants, and to great dramatic effect.

The Unknown: it’s the X factor that has made this show more than fodder for scintillating water cooler talk amongst the masses. It’s what’s turned this show into a phenomenon, whose brilliance amazingly has both critics and fans batting for the same team.
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What’s So Good About the Bad Nature Boy?

There was a boy
A very strange enchanted boy
They say he wandered very far, very far
Over land and sea
A little shy and sad of eye
But very wise was he

And then one day
A magic day he passed my way
And while we spoke of many things
Fools and kings
This he said to me
“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return.”

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return.”

Nature Boy – Nat King Cole

Lana Turner – an actress of the golden but bygone age of old Hollywood – once said that “A gentleman is just a patient wolf.”
I don’t know about you. Who you’ve spent your life waiting for, but as for me, if I learned anything about being a woman from the great women who’ve inspired me over my lifetime, it’s that we deserve a good man. One who sees us for what, and as we are, and loves us anyway. That even if we don’t always get it, we always deserve a man who opens the door and lets us go in first, offers us his coat when we’re cold and tells us we’re beautiful no matter what we look or feel like. Logic would say then that it’s impossible; a real gentleman is incapable of being a wolf…isn’t he? He’s just…good…isn’t he? And aren’t we taught that it’s really only the good guys in the end who are the ones worth waiting for? That ultimately it’s not a case of them finishing last, but rather their being the best that is saved till last?

In all honesty, then, despite believing I deserve a man who sees all these good things as priorities, I will admit here and now that 9 times out of 10, he is not the one I dream about.
No.
My mind, like my eye, wanders instead straight to the one kind of man that ultimately all our mothers warned us about. You know exactly who I’m talking about, don’t you.
The Bad Boy. Continue reading