What's so bad about getting old? Isn't that the name of the game? It would be nice to have something to look forward to. So can people please stop banging on about having to look and be young? I want to get old. I want to kiss and hug my grandbabies and I can't bloody wait to retire and do whatever the hell I want all day. I've been on the lookout for beautiful older women who dress cool and live proud. This is a tribute to them and what I will one day be.
So Charlotte Dawson is dead. It's really sad. She had attempted suicide last year and luckily she was OK but not this time. Which brings us to the hot topic of cyber bullying. Why do people think it is alright to be so vicious in writing - so much more vicious than they would ever be in real life? And why are people so mean?
It is much easier to feel brave behind a computer. But do we forget that words hurt? Here are some examples of the kind of tweets Charlotte Dawson received:
Charlotte Dawson is not the only celebrity or person to receive harsh tweets. There are the classic You Tube clips of celebrities reading out their mean tweets.
Here's a link to some Kiwi broadcasters reading out their online bullying experiences.
As I watch my daughter grow up in this world of technology, I worry that one day someone might text her mean things or email her mean things or Facebook her mean things. What tools do we need to deal with this kind of stuff? Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.
You can watch a clip here of Charlotte confronting some of her cyber bullies last year.
They're called trolls because they live out of sight and make you feel bad.
In the end, Charlotte is responsible for taking her own life but maybe we all need to be a little kinder to each other because some people find it hard in this big, bad world.
“If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it."
- Marcus Aurelius
There's also some truth to the good old saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all."
I like to swim. I swim laps. Freestyle. Sets of 10. After each set I take a moment. Adjust my leaky goggles. Take a sip of water and I'm back into it. I do this for 40 minutes twice a week.
It grounds me. It keeps me calm. The water is my blue abyss. A barrier between me and the real world. In that muffled underwater oblivion nothing can touch me. I am a sea creature, relying on nothing but myself. My body. My breath.
My mind wanders. The weeks events float through my mind. I ponder. I wonder. I construct. The niggles of the day wander past my eyes. I breathe. They leave. I feel my lungs burn as I suck in air between strokes, but it's good. This is my meditation. My watery cocoon of zen.
I am after all an Aquarian. It seems fitting that I feel so at home in the water. I always have. It caresses me and consumes me. Though sometimes I can swim in too much of a dream state. I am guilty, at times, of wafting through my workout. It's so nice to just float along semi slowly in my comfort zone without really getting my heart rate to work too hard. Though sadly, the pay-off truly comes when you do push that little bit harder; Make it hurt just a little. And seeing as I am on a mission to get my BMI in the realm of healthy, I am all about working out effectively!
So how do you get the most out of your swimming workout? Here are some tips!
High Intensity Interval training:
Seriously, interval training is the shiz! It is the ultimate fat burning workout. Not only does High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) help you to burn more calories in a shorter time, it helps you to burn fat without burning muscle and it also allows you to continue burning fat within the 24 hours after you exercise! And all you have to do is push it. After a warm up set of around 8 - 10 laps, start your interval training. Swim one 'attack' lap as hard as you can and then swim a 'recovery' lap. Depending on your fitness levels you can change the attack/recovery proportion around. Perhaps one attack lap to two recovery laps, or half a lap attack before one and half laps recovery, and so on. Swimming like this for 10-15 minutes burns more calories than swimming for one hour at a relaxed rate!
Flippers or fins are sometimes looked at as a cheating method. But if you use them as a training tool and not a cheating tool then they can totally help you work harder in the water. For example swimming one set of 10 with fins with help work your legs harder, so when you go to take those puppies off you'll suddenly feel your legs come alive. Fins are proven to help tone up your quads and glutes in the water by increasing the resistance in the water. Personally my quads and glutes could definitely need some toning!
Hand paddles are, well paddles for your hands. Just as flippers can help tone your legs and bum, hand paddles can help you to tone your shoulders and back more efficiently. Though, shoulders can be fickle things. It took me over five years to recover from a shoulder injury! So be sure to warm up before using hand paddles and do your research to insure your technique is correct.
I know, flutter boards just seem so naff! But they are actually fantastic for training your legs and working on your kick technique. I am guilty of letting my arms, shoulders and back do a lot of the work for me in the water. I recall my swimming coach telling me if kept that up I'd be "all shoulders". That's not really the look I was/am going for! I like to swim at least six laps with the flutter board before my interval training, to wake my legs and butt up. That way, they are ready to work hard on those attack laps.
So there you have it. Those are my tips for working out in the water. Go hard, or get out of the pool I say!
I wonder what that tree has seen with its right arm
over that tropic sea
And its left arm over
I have eaten the bread and begged for
a sip of the wine
“I didn’t get any!”
The sea was golden
And the men
Were beautiful with their big white smiles and their calves
resting on their jandals.
I lay in the sun and turned golden
But I wanted,
I wanted to steal your Island and rest it
on my breast
And feed it milk
Feed it wine
Feed it Valima.
I came home.
Where are the men on the side of the road?
Where are the children running on the lawn?
Behind their fences
My dead do not lie out the front of my house
To protect me anymore.
Mariana and I have embarked on a journey. We have joined a group to compete against each other to lose the most weight as possible in a 12 week time period. Whoever loses the highest percentage of weight gets the cash in the kitty. Many a work place has done this kind of thing, but we are doing it all online. No actual contact with other contestants in necessary.
I know we write a lot about loving thyself. We are pro-curves. We are pro positive body image and against idolising uber slim people just because they are uber slim. But. We are also pro fashion. And god damn it, it's way more fun to shop when you like what you see in the mirror!
Seriously though, for me, I just feel too fleshy. When I run I feel the excess on my back wobble as my sneakers hit the pavement. I feel unstable on my feet, like there is too much for my small frame to hold up; and I am always taking out small children with my side flanks when I stride through my sons kindy. My ass is a hazard. Numbers wise I am in the 'almost red zone' on the BMI index of fatness, nicely labelled: "becoming overweight". It is time to get serious. And apparently I am only serious when there is money at stake. So too, before and after photos. They really put things into perspective.
The dawn of our competition coincided with the finale of the most recent series of the show in the USA. Photos of the winner Rachel Frederickson were all over the internet as fans of the show became angered at her extreme weight loss. Rachel started the show at 260 pounds but by the final weigh in was down to 105 pounds, making her not only the winner of the $250 000 prize money, but also the smallest winner in the shows history, losing almost 60% of her body weight.
Trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Micheals were noticeably shocked by Rachel's weight loss. I'm not suprised by their reactions though. If you think about the fact that the camera adds 10 pounds, imagine how thin she must have looked in person! After the show Jillian tweeted that she would not be commenting on Rachel's emaciated appearance at the finale, and recommended any inquires regarding Rachel's weight loss be directed to the shows producers.
Viewers became outraged, some tweeting things like:
But is Rachel herself really to blame? Should the onus really lie with her? After all it is a competition isn't it? What would you do for $250,000? I'm pretty sure that I'd feel good wad of determination to stay away from the chocolate biscuits if it was worth that much to me!
The real issue here is whether Rachel herself knows she is now too thin, or whether she thinks she has "just a few more pounds to reach her goal weight". Has she developed an eating disorder, or was she just in it to win it?
Interestingly nobody flips their lid when actors and actresses starve themselves for a role. Anne Hathaway won an Oscar partially because she managed to lose 14 pounds in two weeks by eating nothing but 4 tablespoons of oats a day! She wasn't condemned. She was congratulated. When Mila Cunis got her weight down to 98 pounds on her 5'4" frame to play a ballet dance in Black Swan she too was applauded. So why the double standards. Why are these actions acceptable for an actress when done in the name of art, work and money but not okay for a competitor in a game show?
The Biggest Loser is a TV show. It is a game. A game where fat people compete against each other to lose the most weight by D-day. Why? So we can watch it. So who is really to blame here? Is it the producers who thought this show up? Perhaps it is the sponsors who make the show possible. Or perhaps it's us. The sick people who watch the show each week whilst we sit on the couch eating biscuits and commenting on who is determined enough to lose the most weight.
In a way I commend Rachel. I think her weight loss has opened people eyes to the dangers of obsessive, excessive and rapid weight loss; the value we place on appearance; the sick need we all have to watch. Hopefully the shows producers will take stock of what's happened and make some appropriate changes. Like: more psychological support; more support once the contestants leave the ranch and perhaps even personality screening, to make sure the contestants aren't prone to obsessive, addictive behaviour (but that rules out most of the population!). Just because the contestants may leave the show thinner doesn't mean that all their inner issues are healed. The worst thing would be if they are simply switching from one obsessive behaviour (eating) to another (exercising).
As for my biggest loser journey. Am I still in? Well yes, yes I am. But considering the minimal prize offerings I doubt that my weight loss will be quite as competitive as Rachel's. I am in it to simply lie somewhere nicely in the middle of 'Normal' on the BMI index of fatness. No excessive rapid weight loss for me. Slow and steady wins the race.
Imagine it: You're taking a long drive across country. After a few hours of driving you start to tire. Perhaps it might pay to take a rest stop, you think. Just then you see a sign for a B&B up ahead! How convenient! I could use a nap. Maybe a nice cup of joe. Start again in the morning refreshed. That's a good idea right? So you pull on in and check into a room. Just when you kick off your shoes and start to relax, the owners barge in and stab you to death!
That's the inspiration for the upcoming Fringe play 'The Bloody Benders', produced by the Wellington based Killer Darlings Collective.
We caught up with Matt Loveranes of the Killer Darlings to hear all about the collective and their début in the Wellington Fringe festival.
Can you tell us a bit about Killer Darlings Collective? When did you form and why?
Killer Darlings formed in September of last year and is a text-based collective for eager young writers in Wellington. We as a group felt like there was a space in the local theatre market for a collective which focused specifically in creating exciting, original, scripted plays for public consumption. A lot of the really prominent theatre companies in Wellington either deal primarily with devised theatre or already well-established and published material and we wanted to differentiate ourselves from that.
So there are a few core members of the collective, how did you all meet?
We were all in our final years of our undergraduate theatre degrees at Vic and were itching to parlay our skills into producing theatre outside of university. I (Matt) approached my friends David from the scriptwriting course and Dejane from the directing course to become involved and we quickly hatched out what we wanted to achieve and what our theatrical values were. It soon became apparent that all of us immensley valued the written text and so a collective was born.
Killer Darlings, quite a catchy dark name. Are you as a collective seeking to produce darker pieces of theatre?
In a way we as a group are interested in quite darker themes and stories and I'm sure we will be producing plays which reflact that. That said, "Darlings" is still part of our name and we do enjoy a good laugh, so don't be surprised if we produce work of a sweet and funny nature in the future.
What is your theatre background? Are you an actor/writer/director/ all of the above?
I do all three but in the past year, I've been really focused on honing my skills as writer and director and David is primarily a writer. Dejane, who as of now has taken leave to pursue a teaching career, was also a director and lighting designer.
Your play The Bloody Benders, sounds a little spooky and quite intriguing, can you tell us a little about it?
The Bloody Benders is a play based on the true story of a family of serial killers who ran a bed and breakfast just after the American Civil War and killed their occupants. We''ve adapted the historical events to get maximum dramatic punch from the story, which we're billing as a "historical horror-mantic comedy".
Is this the collectives first Fringe show? Please tell us of any others.
Yes, not only is this our first Fringe show, it's our first show ever.
Who wrote the play? Or is it a group devised piece?
It is written by yours truly and David Williams. I will also be handling directing duties for the show.
What kind of theatre do you enjoy?
Honestly, I enjoy all theatre. The thing I love most about theatre is how it constantly surprises. It's easy to dismiss certain areas of theatre (e.g. devising, musicals, etc.) but from time to time, something just strikes you on an emotional level that you wouldn't have thought appealed to you on paper. I do have partiality towards a well-written script though, if you couldn't already tell.
What would you like to see more of in NZ theatre?
I would like to see more writers staging stories that would not only appeal to local tastes but to international ones as well. Writers should aim high. After all, you only live once.
What other projects is the collective working on for the future?
We've got a few projects brewing at the moment but we haven't quite decided which to pursue next. However, we're really excited to show more of our work to the wider Wellington community.
What would your advice be to someone who has written a play but doesn't know how to get it on the stage?
Just ask. Find the avenues and the right people. I supposed it's it's easier for students of theatre but even if you're not, you can ask BATS, ask people who are involved in theatre. The Wellington theatre community is a very tight-knit and supportive bunch so if you've got a story you're committed to tell, just ask and someone will always be there to lend a helping hand or point you to the right direction.
The Bloody Benders starts tomorrow night (Tuesday 18th February) and runs until Feb 21. You can book tickets here. You can also follow them on twitter and like 'em on Facebook.
Call me crazy but I'm going to walk 100km for charity. This is why one shouldn't ever make friends because they ring you up and say things like "Hey, do you want to walk 100km with me for charity?" and then you say "Yes OK. Grand idea." And then you realise just how f#@king far 100km is. It is very, very, very, very, very far. Think of a very long distance in your mind. Now times it by 50. That is how far I am going to walk. Some people think that because you are in a team of four that you divide 100km by four and walk 25km each. No. That is not the case. You walk the WHOLE 100km. I'm actually scared I might die. But because it is for charity I can't pull out. The idea behind it is that some children have to walk a long way to get an education so we are going to walk a long way. Our team is called Running, Walking, Crawling, Collapsing and it is made up of myself, Lisa, Aleisha and Emily. I am the least fit of the group because I don't do stupid things like run marathons.
The first mistake I made was saying yes to my "friend." The second mistake I made was watching the flyover video of the course. You can watch it if you want - but only if you're not actually doing the walk. If you are crazy like me and doing the walk then DO NOT WATCH THE VIDEO.
The biggest problem I have right now is blisters. You see I have very beautiful, soft lady feet. They are not made for hard labour. So, at the moment my heels are all plastered up. By the way - blisters hurt. But, I am tough and I will carry on. I will not give up. I will walk 100km. Yes I will.
To donate to this wonderful cause click here. And wish me luck!!!
If you are a business and you would like us to promote you by wearing a T-shirt with your name on it you can donate more and we will do whatever you want (well Lisa will because this is all her fault).
DEKA: Where clothes meet lollies meet cigarettes meet toys meet beauty products meet underwear. Like Farmers only better.
CASETTE TAPES: Rewind, fast forward, rewind. Stop. Play.
ANISEED WHEELS: Where the hell did these go? I loved them. I can never find them anymore. 20 cents for a slice of aniseedy goodness and I swear they fill you up.
GEORGIE PIE: A pie for $1 anyone?
THE FIREWORKS THAT DROP PARACHUTE MEN: It's raining men, hallelujah it's raining men. Ow, ow, ow, ow.
DEATH BY CHOCOLATE: I'll have chocolate for a starter please. And I'll have the chocolate for my main and also chocolate for dessert. Do you have a chocolate drink that would go nicely with that? Like maybe a hot chocolate? I really love chocolate. Oh no wait. I hate it now. Can you carry me to my car? I can't move and I feel sick.
PHONES THAT TURN WHEN YOU DIAL: 8......3.......4........3.......3.....1 Shit I made a mistake. Hang up. Start again. 8......3......4......2 Fuuuuuuucccckkkkkk. Hang up. Start again. Do I really need to call this person?
We don’t know it yet,
But this is the last time
We’ll spend the night like this.
Your parents in the next room.
I borrow your pyjamas.
Flowers in pale pink.
We have the tiny TV on low,
But we’re not watching.
We talk of things,
Like what he said,
When he wrote his number,
Across your arm
In my red lipstick.
And when the tall one kissed me,
And we ran home.
The taste of the dirty drink
My mum’s good sherry,
Your dad’s old port,
Now sitting heavy,
In my gut.
Our heads are spinning
As we laugh,
It’s all okay.
Cus we’re safe.
Your parents in the next room.
We don’t know it yet,
But this is the last time we spend the night,
Lisette Prendergast 2014
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Lisette Prendé and Mariana Collette are BFFs. They met on their first day of high school and have been making each other laugh ever since.