Monthly Archives: February 2016

My Satisfaction and Disappointment in the 2016 Oscars

Jenny Beavan Oscar 2016

Jenny Beavan at the 2016 Oscars

Oh dear … my news accounts are full of the scandal that a woman didn’t dress up in a gown for the Oscars. There is a clip of men flinching away from her as she walks down to the stage to collect her Oscar. What is everyone’s problem. She dressed stylishly and for comfort, and I support her wholeheartedly. She designs costumes, that doesn’t mean she has to be a model for her designs. Not everyone likes to dress up in a ballgown (says the woman who wears trews to the Steampunk Charity Ball for two years in a row).For the haters … build a bridge and get over it.

The horror ... she isn't in a frock.

The Horror! She isn’t wearing a frock!

On the other hand, I’ve never been a huge fan of Leonardo DeCaprio. However, that might change after his awesome acceptance speech. This is a superhero move, using his powers for good. (I wasn’t too keen on his movie, but let’s ignore that.)

Leo

 

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Filed under Opinion Piece, Oscars 2016, Personal experience, Uncategorized

The Most Kissed Face in the World; the Madonna of the Seine

Madonna

Is Beauty a concept that is ephemeral for a moment, or is it eternal? The body of the young female drowning victim was pulled out of the Seine River at the Quai du Louvre in Paris around the late 1880s. The girl child was never identified and no one ever came to claim her; it was assumed she was a suicide as there were no signs of a struggle on her body. However, the serene loveliness of her expression encouraged a pathologist to make a cast death mask of her face. Plaster copies of this death mask went on to decorate the sitting rooms and studios of artists and other fashionable people throughout Europe and North America, becoming the muse for thousands of artworks and literary works.

The Death Mask

L’Inconnue de la Seine means ‘The Unknown Woman of the Seine’ in French, and in America she was known as La Belle Italienne. The death mask inspired so many others with her Mona Lisa smile.

Art

Earrings

 

The death mask as art

This death mask was also used as the basis to Resusci Anne – the CPR dummy that everyone uses to learn first aid techniques. This means this face has been kissed over a million times, by people learning to save lives, including drowning victims. Not a bad way to be remembered.

Resusci Anne

Resusci Anne masks

 

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Filed under Historical Personage, History, Steampunk Aesthetic, Steampunk Themes, Uncategorized

My Favorite Things by James Ng

Source: My Favorite Things by James Ng

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Review – Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Calliger

Source: Review – Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Calliger

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Voteless is Voiceless: A Steampunk Feminist Perspective of Pro-Suffragette Propaganda

Suffragette-Snark-600x450

Choir

Voteless is Voiceless

dressmaker

Above is a small selection of pro-suffragette cartoons, showing the suffragettes had a sense of humour even in the most dire circumstances. It always amuses me when women are accused of having no sense of humour. This comment is usually made by someone who just made a very misogynistic joke or hasn’t understood the humour of a woman’s joke. It argues that women do have a sense of humour … but it is those making the accusation that aren’t getting the joke.

punch13june1910

Humour is a great weapon in the political arena. It makes a pointed comment, without using a real spear. Of course, pro-suffragette/pro-suffragist propaganda was a mere drop in the flood of anti-suffragist discourse. Because most of the media was run by men, and most of those men wanted to support the status quo.

what I would do with...

In the pro-propaganda, the suffragettes and suffragists are portrayed by normal-looking women. In the anti-propaganda, they were always made to either look like harridans or dismissed as fluffy followers of fashion – with wanting equal rights the equivalent of wanting a new hat. The men (and the children) are always depicted as victims of their wives’ aspirations, henpecked or abandoned.

Suffragette3USE.jpg

Because only mad, ugly spinsters want the vote…

suffragette madonna

Suffragette Madonna – I’ve never been able to figure out if this was meant in an ironical sense.

I've suffered

Want to bet that two minutes earlier, he had flicked his cigar ashes all over her newly cleaned carpet?

The real issue behind both sorts of propaganda was about giving voice to – or suppressing –   women’s politics and attitudes. The majority of women wanted to be taken seriously and given representation in the political and legal spheres of public life. The domestic sphere was a cage or a jail.

spring-cleaning-1912-lcp

 

 

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Filed under Historical Personage, History, Steampunk Feminist, Suffragettes, Suffragists, Uncategorized

Murphy and the Hunky Punk

 

This was the start of a chapter book I never finished. Upon rereading this opening chapter, I am beginning to wonder why I abandoned it. Any thoughts? Should I plan on finishing this?

Hunkypunk

Hunky punk on a church.

Chapter One – Radio Daze

Isaac Murphy often wondered if his name had cursed him. He loved sharing a name with his hero, Isaac Newton, but Murphy thought that his surname was what brought him bad luck. Everyone knows about Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. The law seemed all too true for Murphy. When he was around, weird things happened.

He wished people would call him Zak or Izzy, which were cool names. As a Zak, he would have smooth and in charge. As an Izzy, he would have been popular in Year Six. However, everyone called him Murphy, even his parents, and so he was jinxed to be clumsy, and to say or do stupid things when he was trying to be clever and witty. The episode with the hunky punk is perfect example of how strange things happened to Murphy.

Murphy wanted to be a cool kid, like a sports star.  But no matter how hard he tried to play soccer and cricket, he seemed destined to be a science nerd. He tinkered with gadgets. His current obsession was ham radio; he enjoyed building home-made radios and antennas as well as chatting to people from all over the world.

Murphy’s call sign was VK*MUR (This is not a real call sign. However, in Australia, all ham radio call signs starts with VK. The VK is followed by a number that represents your state, and another couple of letters to identify the individual.). He held an advanced licence, which meant he was allowed to tune into all of twenty-three amateur bands available. It was great fun to talk to people from other countries, when the conditions were right. He had spoken with people from every continent on the planet.

He spent all his pocket money, birthday money, and any cash he earned doing odd jobs for his neighbours, on new radio equipment and on improving his antenna array. He was constantly working to improve the range and sensitivity of his radio setup. As well, he borrowed every book in his library about radios and electronics. He hunted through the internet, looking for sites and forums that were run by fellow fanatics. When his friends were gaming or watching television, he was fiddling with his radio dials.

His parents were happy that he had a hobby.

Murphy’s parents did not suffer from the same curse as their son. Mr Murphy was a psychiatrist who liked to tell Dad jokes; he always answered the phone “Hello. This is Murphy’s Madhouse.” Mrs Murphy was a computer programmer, specialising in financial systems. Both of Murphy’s parents were successful in their jobs, looked like normal people and were pretty good at golf. As parents, they were kind and encouraging.

Murphy often wondered if he had been given to them by mistake, even though he had red hair the exact same shade as his mum’s hair (his hair looked goofy, his mum’s hair looked brilliant). But then, they didn’t seem to suffer from Murphy’s Law. Weird things happened to him, while his parents didn’t seem to have strange or bizarre incidents. For example, they never did see why he wanted to change bedrooms after his run in with the hunky punk…

What, you’re telling me you don’t know what a hunky punk is?  Well, have you ever seen a gargoyle? Gargoyles and hunky punks are ugly, gruesome statues that squat all over old buildings and some new ones. Gargoyles serve a purpose, as they act as drains, funnelling water away from the walls of a building like a pipe. Hunky punks are only there for show, to make the building look scarier.

There aren’t too many houses in Australia that sport gargoyles and hunky punks. However, Murphy lived in a house that had been built by an eccentric artist, one who had spent his days carving monsters and mythical beasts out of stone. Any that he couldn’t sell he put into the garden or used them to decorate the house. There was a truly horrible hunky punk set above Murphy’s window, with huge, spiky eyebrows and a wicked, leering mouth.

Most of the time, Murphy took little notice of the hideous thing.

 

 

 

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Filed under Short Story, The Writing Life, Uncategorized, writing, Writing Style

My Fascination With Steampunk

Source: My Fascination With Steampunk

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