Friday, February 25, 2011

Lauren's Book Club the third

Eric Carle - The Very Hungry Caterpillar

A caterpillar - who from here on in shall be known by his hip hop name, Cat P – has a somewhat eventful week.
Sunday: Born today. Fair effort.
Monday: Ate 1 apple. Still hungry.
Tuesday: Ate 2 pears. Made a joke about having to eat a pair of pears, but had no friends to tell it to. Still hungry.
Wednesday: Ate 3 plums. Laughed at the word ‘plums.’ Still hungry.
Thursday: Ate 4 strawberries. Had no access to cream or lady caterpillars. Still hungry.
Friday: Ate 5 oranges. Still hungry, but no longer at risk of contracting scurvy.
Saturday: Ate 1 piece of chocolate cake, 1 ice cream cone (illustrations show that there was in fact ice cream inside the cone at the time), 1 pickle, 1 slice of swiss cheese (this has holes in it, so it doesn’t really count), 1 slice of salami, 1 lollipop, 1 piece of cherry pie, 1 sausage, 1 cupcake, 1 slice of watermelon, and a partridge in a pear tree (interestingly, not the same pear tree that the pair of pears came from). Got a stomach ache.
Sunday: Ate 1 leaf. Stomach settled and obesity acknowledged. Went to sleep. Woke up as a butterfly.

The story sounds simple enough, but what effect is it really having on our children? Or your children, because I don’t have any children. Or all of us, back when we was a children?

Issue 1: Is ‘very’ a good enough word to describe how hungry the caterpillar was?

Issue 2: Is this story responsible for childhood obesity?
Well, there seem to be many contributing factors to childhood obesity, so who can really say for sure that this book has had any impact? Me, I can. And yes, it is singlehandedly 100% unquestionably responsible for the little fatty boombahs. It’s surprising that religious groups never jumped on Cat P for being a filthy, no good, sinning glutton. There you go, religious nuts. You can have that one for free. If you require any more issues to sensationalise, leave the money in a sports bag under the slide of the playground down the road from my house. And cookies. Leave cookies. Chocolate ones. None of that oatmeal bull.

Issue 3: Why is the caterpillar so hungry?
One would assume that the everyday common caterpillar wouldn’t have such an extreme appetite, and why Cat P is the exception to this rule is never explained to us. Is it possible that his hunger is a metaphor for something? Is Cat P really trying to fill his stomach, or is he perhaps trying to fill his heart? When referring to the beginning of the story, the reader can’t help but notice that mama and papa Cat P weren’t hanging around when he hatched out of his egg. Does our protagonist have abandonment issues? Yes. Yes he does.

Issue 4: where is all this food coming from?
I don’t know. But if there’s free cake and ice cream, I want to live there.

Friday, February 18, 2011

And that's why it was the best summer ever

I’m a full time student, which means I do less than twenty hours of class each week and get three months off over summer. God bless you, Australian edu-ma-cation system. Anyhoo, sadly, my three months has come to an end and I’m back into my gruelling study schedule next week. So come with me as we take a moment to look back at some of the things I did this summer...
  • Learned that at 568 pages in hardcover, Paul Kelly’s How to Make Gravy is not an appropriate sized book to read in the bath.

  • Played so much Commander Keen that my right wrist started to make a clicking noise, which goes nicely with the buggered joints in my thumbs from the excessive amount of Nintendo I played as a child.

  • Wrapped a small plastic pig in tin foil so he looked like an astronaut.

  • Rearranged my bedroom and decided that packing it up was too hard and I am therefore never moving out of that room. Ever.

  • Remembered my Neopets password from 2001.

  • Became a multi-millionaire on Neopets.

  • Rewatched every episode of Black Books.

  • Rewatched every episode of Father Ted.

  • Didn’t rewatch every episode of 30 Rock, but watched enough to develop an odd and unexpected crush on Alec Baldwin. His eyes are, like, really blue 'n' that.

  • Realised I needed to go outside more.

  • Went outside and got sunburnt.

  • Went back inside and acknowledged that I should have known better than to go outside.

  • Tried to justify the amount of books I was buying online by reading each and every one of them - only 6 to go, y'all!

  • Started work at 6am for five days in a row and learned about the effects of sleep depravation. Was also verbally abused by a regular customer for playing Whitesnake at 7:30 in the morning. I believe that Whitesnake is good at any hour. He doesn't agree.

  • Broke my new years resolution to not type my Facebook password when trying to sign into Blogger.

  • Went to the Boxing Day sales for the first and hopefully last time.

  • Became worryingly good at Tetris.

  • Realised my Mr Potato Head obsession was out of control when my co-workers made me this:

  • Learned that if you put a single chicken wing in the microwave for more than 20 seconds it will explode all over your microwave.

  • Cleaned the microwave.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dye Hard… with a vengeance

Alternate titles: ‘To dye for’; ‘Live and let dye’; ‘Help me Jebus, my scalp is burning’

I started colouring my hair on a regular basis about 8 years ago. Towards the end of high school it shifted between dark purple and bright red, a colour that inspired another girl to tell me once that she’d always wanted to dye her hair that colour, but didn’t have the guts to do it because guys don’t like girls with red hair. The rest of my teen years taught me that she was right. And a bit of a bitch.

A few years back, in an attempt to come to terms with my pale-ness (I was wearing a skirt a few weeks ago and was temporarily blinded at one stage when the sun reflected off my legs), I did something I grew to regret. I decided that instead of trying to cover it with fake tan, I’d just emphasise it. So I started dying my hair black.

Fast forward 3 years and I was bloody well over it. I tried putting heaps of different colours over the black, but nothing would take. A few times I considered trying to bleach my hair myself, but never followed through because I’ve always held the strong belief that accident prone people shouldn’t handle chemicals. Unless they want to melt their face off. Which I don’t. I like my face. We’ve had some good times together.

On Tuesday I finally manned up and stopped being so cheap. The hairdresser said she could strip the colour, but since it was black, the best result I could hope for was a dark brown. My hair sure as hell showed her. First, the bleach had to come out earlier than expected when my naturally blonde regrowth started to turn white. Also, when they say ‘it might sting your scalp a little’, what they really mean is ‘it will feel like flames are shooting out of your head.’

That dark brown I was told to hope for ended up being a mix of reds, browns, and blondes, and I think like it. Mostly because the lighter colour makes it harder to spot the crumbs and other various food stuffs that keep getting stuck in there.

So far the best comment I've had is ‘It almost makes you look like you’ve got some colour in your face. Almost.’ This was followed by an explanation of how I used to look like I was in black and white.

I’m choosing to count this as a win.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

That’s why I’ll never finish anything I...

I wrote 1,000 words on Wednesday. Yes, I would like a medal. You can engrave it with 'In honour of Lauren, who did something that one time.' And on the front I would like the image of an infinite number of monkeys working on an infinite number of typewriters.

The problem with this 1,000 words was that I wrote 1,000 words of something new, instead of working on the 45,000ish words that I've already got of a well thought out and pretty much almost finished story that I haven’t looked at in months. Or the 2,500 words of the thing I started writing last August instead of working on the 45,000ish story.

I have a long history of this kind of behaviour. So I now present to you some of the many things I started and never finished:

Learning guitar – I could do some stuff in tabs, but I never learned any chords. The guitar itself became more of a decoration after a while, then I decided it was probably just mocking me. Now it lives in my wardrobe. But if you ever want someone to play the intro to the song ‘Scotty doesn’t know’ from the film Eurotrip, I’m your gal.

Learning keyboard – see above. But change ‘Scotty doesn’t know’ from Eurotrip to ‘And so it goes’ by Billy Joel. Or ‘Mary had a little lamb’ by whoever wrote that.

Higher education – I got my diploma of Music Industry Business just to prove to myself that I could actually finish something. Then I dropped out of the degree. Twice. Then I changed what I was studying. And yeah, I’m like, totally a writer now.

That really rich and big piece of chocolate cake I had at the Beechworth Bakery one magical Easter – it was amazing. But I’ve always believed you should probably stop eating when you find yourself struggling to breathe.

Reading The Count of Monte Cristo – it’s… it’s really long. I got about a third of the way through it when I decided to take a break and read some other stuff for a while. I’m pretty sure I’ll never open it again. Since before I was born my mum has had a bookmark exactly 39 pages from the end of War and Peace and can’t bring herself to finish it, and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Countless stories – I’m really good at coming up with ideas for stories, not so good at coming up with endings. The only ones I 'finished' were ones I had to hand in for uni, and they generally just ended in the middle of a scene, so I decided to pretend like I’m a trendy modern writer and that’s my thing that I do. Like the story about the leprechaun who was raised by humans and didn’t know he was a leprechaun, then struggled with the idea that he might be one, then eventually had to decide whether he was going to stay in his old life or follow that rainbow. What did he do, you ask? I dunno. It ended with him talking to his wife in a field. But I got an awesome mark for it.