Category Archives: Musings

I’m an Eclectic Magpie

Today’s post is just a motley collection of images that appeal to me, curated from my travels in the wonderful lands of Pinterest and Google Images. All credit and copyright remain with the original artist/photographer/designer etc. I always save my favourites to my Pinterest boards (just search for AlyZen Moonshadow), so if you need further information about any particular image, that’s where you should head first.

What can I say, I’m an eclectic magpie. I collect images like the ones below, to help stir up my creative juices, provide a springboard for inspiration, serve as colour or mood boards for future photography and art projects, trigger nostalgia, or just make me feel all sunshiney happy and gooey on the inside. :-)

Enjoy!

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Have a wonderful weekend, all! :-)

A Bird In The Hand…

…and I mean literally. I used to have 2 hens, their names were Alice and Bella, after the Twilight movie series characters. Bella passed away a month ago in March, and as an only hen is a lonely hen, I searched for 2 more suitable companions for Alice my remaining brown hen.

I bought 2 Leghorn pullets, beautiful but flighty white birds. Which I named Alice and Bella. Yes, again. The Kid and I have agreed that from hereon, all our chickens would be called Alice and Bella.

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So now the 2 new girls have settled in. And Alice is still top hen, bossing them around in her funny, cute little way. Leghorns are known for being flighty, and my 2 are no exception. They like nothing better than to fly up onto the roof of their henhouse, and chase the native Australian pigeons that come visiting looking for tidbits.

And I also found out recently that my ladies are not averse to a bit of hunting and cannibalism. I found the 3 of them snacking on the remains of a native pigeon the other day. Presumably one that they’d managed to bring down and kill themselves. Perhaps I was wrong and they’re not Leghorn chickens, but fine young cannibals falcons in training?

This morning, I came across a pigeon that had managed to get itself caught between 2 layers of netting that prevents the hens from flying out of their enclosure. I went to release it, but instead found myself with a bird in the hand.

It seemed unafraid, and did not struggle to escape from my clutches. So I took the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take some photographs of it before releasing it.

Isn’t it just beautiful?

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What Makes A Relationship Work?

The answer lies in the question. WORK. For any relationship to work, effort and time must be invested by both parties. Relationships that are one-sided, where one party does all the chasing, are dead-ended.

If you’re in a relationship and it’s flagging, take a step back and ask yourself if both of you are working on it. Or is it just you? What can be done to revive it? If one party is apathetic, just not bothered, or can’t see anything wrong with the relationship, then sadly, it is doomed to fail. You may try again and again to bring back the good feelings, you might stay for the sake of any children of your union, you may be reliant upon your partner financially…but if one party has no intention of pulling the cart you’re both hitched to, you’ll just be going round in circles.

I found some great quotes on Google Images:

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Knights in Rusty Armour

Yes, you, I’m talking to you, and you
You all know who you are
And you all know what you are
Yet you choose not to face up to it
…maybe another day
Sweep everything under the carpet
Deal with it later, alligator,
In a while, crocodile
I’ll be with you in a minute
..maybe she’ll forget?

When you want something
You can’t get it fast enough
You’ll move mountains to get it
No obstacle is too much of a hurdle
But when you’re not sure
Teetering on Maybe/No
Then no excuse is too great
I’ve heard everything under the Sun
(Yes, this poem is full of clich├ęs
Don’t I know it!)

Oh, you have to go clean your car?
Your house needs tidying up?
Visitors coming unexpectedly?
You’re too tired?
Not in the mood?
Pissed and broke?
I’d love to, but I’m busy
Tomorrow, maybe, I promise?
I just have to do this one thing
And then I’ll be with you?
Oh, sorry, something else came up
I’m going to have to bail.

Yes, No, Maybe
I don’t know
You sure blow hot and cold
Like an emotionally unavailable
See saw, Margery Daw
If you can’t deliver
Then don’t make promises
If you can’t make the effort
Then take a hike
If you can’t stay on the path
Then don’t set out on the journey
If you can’t stand the heat
Then stay out of the kitchen
If you can’t tell the truth
Then keep your mouth shut
If you can’t finish something
Then don’t bother starting
Faint heart never won fair maiden.

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Apathy Must Die

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I was once in a class where the lecturer asked for the meaning of Apathy. No one answered, so I put my hand up and said “Don’t know, don’t care”. Which was funny and also ironic at the same time.

But now, as I’ve grown older (and more mature, I hope!), I see that my flippant reply may have been rooted in ignorance and naivety.

Why? Because Apathy is the greatest weapon of mass destruction the world has ever seen. Never mind wars or crime – what you don’t stop, will continue. What you ignore, you condone. What you don’t speak out against, you approve of by default.

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Jane Goodall stood up for primates. And it’s thanks to people like her (and Dian Fossey) that wild primates and gorillas even have a future today. Someone has to care, otherwise these creatures will go the way of the black rhinoceros.

So, take up a cause or a dozen. Fight against injustice, cruelty, greed, oppression, discrimination. There are hundreds of just causes out there. You just have to care.

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There is really no excuse for anyone to say “But I’m just one person, how can I make a difference?” Because you Can. Look at the image above…what do you think will happen if you, and all the other “little people” refuse to listen to the voice of insanity, and just leave?

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Some may consider the works and words of Dr Seuss childish and aimed for an audience under the age of 6. But in reality, just like the stories of Winnie The Pooh by A.A Milne and my favourite, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, there are many, many nuggets and gems of good Life’s Lessons to be learnt from them.

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The sad thing is, most of society today have been conditioned by TV advertisements, billboards, the internet, radio etc to do only one thing – BUY. Consumerism is the biggest occupation or pre-occupation on earth, subscribed to by 90% of the population. We go about our daily lives purchasing things that we hope will make our lives more fulfilled…not realising that material things will never fill an emotional void. We ignore what goes on behind the scenes – slave labour, child labour, sweatshop scenarios, etc etc etc, or, if we are not ignorant of that, we convince ourselves that all that suffering is for the greater good.

You wouldn’t buy a Blood Diamond, would you, where innocent lives are killed for the sake of increasing the wealth of a few uber-powerful families? So why do you queue up around the block to buy the latest Apple iPhone?

Yes, the gleaming skyscrapers of Dubai are wonderful feats of architecture. I’ve always wanted to visit that city for its buildings. But recently I found out, to my utter horror, exactly how these wonders of the modern world are constructed. Slave labour. That’s how. Here’s Wikipedia’s entry about it, there are dozens more articles about this atrocity.

Imagine thousands of foreign workers from poor countries enticed by false promises of good pay, job prospects, clean housing…and when they arrive, their passports are taken away from them, they are forced to live 12 to a room in hovels, forced to drink unclean, salty water, forced to work up to 16 hours a day in the searing desert heat, for mere cents.

And up above, in the dreaming spires, a few thousand feet closer to heaven, the rich and beautiful flaunt their wares and eat, drink and make merry. Without a care about the plight of the people who built the very floor they stand on.

Ask yourself – in a city that is so full of wealth, where millionnaires abound, why must their buildings be based on the sweat and blood of poorly paid servants? Can these millionnaire Sheikhs not afford to pay their workers more for their labour? Oh, don’t tell me they’re too poor to afford a few dollars more per hour per worker, too poor to provide clean and hygienic housing, too poor to provide desalinated drinking water?

And what are we doing about this? People say these rich Arab countries are too powerful to go up against. So must we just accept the bullying that goes on? Or must we speak out and continue to speak out, until our collective voices are too many to be stilled? I’m speaking now.

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Another great quote by a great man. Ignorance is not bliss. Neither is Apathy. If you want to see a change, you must first BE the change. Even if you think your voice is too small to be heard, speak out anyway. Someone will hear you. Someone will agree with you. Someone will show you the way.

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And we stand by and watch wars being fabricated by governments, in the pursuit of material gains (oil, diamonds, minerals), and swallow the false background stories they dish out to us?? Why??

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It happened in Plato’s time. It happened in our grandparents’ time, our parents’ time. It is happening to us now. And it will continue to happen unless we stop it.

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This quote is by far the most powerful I’ve come across. And it is by the most hated man on earth. But it is 100% accurate. We are like the proverbial frogs in a pot of slowly boiling water. If we don’t take action now, it may be too late. And sadly, for a lot of people, Apathy has already won.

Remember, what you allow, continues.

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I will leave you with this quote I found on Google, that made me smile and at the same time acknowledge its double-edged sharpness.

Unmasked (Facebook, It’s On You)

How, you ask
Does it feel
To be unmasked
After years of living
In another skin?
Does it feel like
Freedom?
Is it liberating
To not have another
Face to hide behind?

Listen, I say
If my life was so easy
I would have never
Needed to create a
Second Life
And if I’d never done that
Then there would not have been
Any need for all this palaver
No need to
Reveal myself
And place my life in danger
Put my neck on the line
Literally

With me
What you see is
What you get
Always has been
And always will be
It was never about the person
It was only about the name
I was
And still am
AlyZen Moonshadow
And I built a new life
Under my new name
– call it my homemade
Witness Protection Plan

I made friends
I met my chosen family
I made Art
I created my own brand
Under that name
And I was proud of
Who I was under that second skin

Until yesterday, when
As a cruel joke, perhaps
(It was, after all, April 1st)
Facebook decided
In its almighty
Impotence I mean Omnipotence
To browbeat me
Into revealing my real name
Dear benign malignant Facebook
Decided my 5-year-old persona
Wasn’t real
Wasn’t permitted
Decided I had to come out
And say my true name

Talk about an Exorcism!

So now the deed is done
The great reveal revealed
Are you proud, Facebook,
Of having made
A victim of domestic violence
Strip herself almost bare
And made it that much easier
For her abuser to track her down
And carry out long-held threats?
No, wait…
Facebook, You have just
Become an abuser yourself
Make no qualms about that

Now I have to start over
As not many of my friends
Recognise my new name
The one I never really used anyway
The one I don’t associate with
Now I have to
Run around doing damage control
Try to plug and repair
The holes and craters in my life
That Facebook created
When it decided
To murder me

Yes, if one day I am found
Murdered
And my child
Abducted
Let it be known now
That Facebook did it.

#mynameis
AlyZen Moonshadow

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Hanging up my (Facebook) boots

Today is April 1st. And apparently the joke’s on me. Facebook has decided to make me its latest victim of its half-baked “real name” policy. After apparently backing down last October about users having to use their real names, due to the great outcry by the world’s LGBT community, and then again this year when Native Americans spoke out, the great cogwheels of Facebook have proven impossible to stop. On and on they go, crunching underfoot millions of users who dared, for one reason or other, use a name they were not born with.

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I’m not LGBT or Native American. I am not a drag queen, celebrity or some other famous personality. I have no financial clout, no millions of followers, no influence over Mark Zuckerberg or anyone at Facebook. I’m just someone who, for personal safety reasons, does not use her real name online. (There’s an abusive ex-partner and the threat of murder and child abduction in the background, but let’s not go into that here…but if I’m found dead and The Kid abducted, Facebook is to blame).

This morning, when I tried to check my Facebook Timeline, I got a message saying I had to change my username to my real name. Not only that, if I wanted to keep my current username, I was required to provide 2 forms of ID, one of which has to have a photo and my date of birth.

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“AlyZen Moonshadow” is obviously not my real name. I’ve only been using it for the last 5 years, as a professional name for my mobile photography art and design. This very blog is under that name. My email, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Etsy, eBay, Society 6, Red Bubble, Zazzle, Fine Art America, deviantArt, ArtHog, Room, Bridgeman Studios, Kess InHouse Designs pages/profiles ALL bear the name “AlyZen Moonshadow”. On Facebook I have never been known by any other name. “AlyZen Moonshadow” mobile photography Art has thousands of hits on Google. I have over the years carefully built a reputation or brand under the name.

And yet Facebook is demanding that I use my real name. As if “AlyZen Moonshadow” is less real than “John Smith”. I’m not sure if someone with a grudge against me reported me to Facebook, or whether my time just came up. After all, to implement this insane real name policy, Facebook has to employ hundreds of people to look through every one of its more than 1.35 billion users, so it could be months or even years before your name came up for scrutiny.

I searched online for others who had had the misfortune of becoming similar victims of Facebook. Jay Smooth (obviously not his real name), a famous DJ and blogger, tweeted an engineer at Facebook, Jeff Ferland in February, when his account got frozen, and in return had his Facebook account reinstated pronto, with an apology for the inconvenience. You can read about it on Lux Alptraum’s blog here.

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Lil Miss Hot Mess, one of the LGBT protestors who had had his account frozen during the Facebook LGBT fiasco, is still waiting for reinstatement, 6 months later.

Lil ole me, on the other hand, who is no one in the big bad world, and who has no strings to pull, won’t stand a chance. My request for reinstatement will simply go into the slush pile and never see the light of day. I’ll have no choice but to let Facebook beat me into submission.

Facebook is Big Brother, with emphasis on Big – big marketing, big advertisements, selling your personal details to other companies for big profits, claiming your photos and artwork posted on its platform as its own, Facebook does everything in a big way.

And when Facebook fails, like now, it does so in a spectacularly big way too.

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So I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for my Facebook account to get reinstated under the name “AlyZen Moonshadow”. I’ve tweeted some people about my plight, sent some messages on Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn, letting friends know the reason I’ve suddenly vanished off the face of Facebook, and telling them to make others aware of what’s happened to me…but in the end I’ll just have to put in my real name.

I just hope my friends still recognise me when they realise my username is different now.

And if anyone finds me dead and my son abducted, Facebook is to blame.

I think it’s high time to hang up my (Facebook) boots for good now…what’s Ello like?

Life’s Simple Pleasures

Okay, first things first. I did not take any of these photos, they are the work of many talented photographers with a great eye for detail, colour and composition. Also, I can’t claim to have tried any of the food portrayed herewith, I can only say I have drooled over their images lol.

It’s Sunday, and a day for lying in, food, family and friends. Maybe “lying in” isn’t a word in my vocabulary, as our household generally gets up with the birds. And these days, food means simple fare, and family means my son and our menagerie of animals. As for friends, most of mine are virtual…meaning you, you and you. So who better to share my favourite food porn photos of food with than you all good people around the world. ;-)

You are all invited to my virtual Sunday feast. The weather is ideal, sunny with a slight breeze. Best of all, it won’t cost you a penny to join in the festivities. Why, even as we speak, here you are!

(All photos courtesy of Pinterest)

Let’s start with table settings. Shall we have rustic? I love the idea of mismatched chairs and benches. This setting would be ideal for a Madhatter’s Tea Party a la Alice in Wonderland.
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Or, perhaps something more cottagey and formal? I’d love a whitewashed house with sash windows like in this photo. So romantic, sigh.
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Or, maybe let’s go all Bohemian Rhapsody and enjoy some bright splashes of colour? I love the blue and turquoise canopy, and the vivid red tablecloth and runner.
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And now for the food. As it’s still early, some of you may prefer something light, like this, perhaps?
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Then some salad and appetizers:
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Mmmm, yum! Next, we have a selection of hot cooked food. For those still in the mood (or time zone) for breakfast, we have these:

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And now, a medley of heartier fare:
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Not forgetting liquid refresments:

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And, to round it all off, some dessert:
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Mmmmm…I’m liking this so much, I think I’ll host another virtual party like it next month. Enjoy! Thank you for coming to my party! :-)

Feminist Quotes

Following on from my post yesterday about being a Feminist, here are some quotes I found on Google Images.

Some will make you laugh. Others will make you think. All are relevant to understanding the importance of women being understood and acknowledged as being equals of men.

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I am a Feminist

I was talking to a friend the other day, and I asked this question:

“Why do men always think that if a woman is well-travelled then she’s slept her way around? Why does sex always have to be involved? Can’t men like and admire a woman for her intellect and wit?”

(I should frame this question within its context: I have moved 22 times in 44 years, and I have lived in 6 different countries. I have worked as a Piano tutor, retail assistant, Music Teacher, Library Assistant, administrative assistant, Social Security Officer, Executive Officer and Higher Executive Officer for 2 different Government bodies, and Customer Services Representative for 2 different banks. The countries I have lived in are: Malaysia, Singapore, England, Spain, Ireland and Australia).

This friend, who happens to be male, insinuated that only Feminists think that way, and that not all men think of women as sex objects. (If so, why does he keep making sexist jokes at my expense? Why did he insult me by implying that the reason I moved around so much was because I worked as a prostitute, perhaps?) Joke, right? NO. I not only felt greatly insulted by his remark, I felt unclean, like he was undressing me with his eyes, and I was just a sexual object to be toyed with and not a real person.

Well, I am no Barbie doll.

What my friend was saying is that Feminists hate men and blame everything on them. A statement which is NOT true. That is Misandry (female misogyny). Also, I don’t hate men or blame them for everything – I love the idea of an ideal Man, who is loving, intelligent, kind, generous with his time and money, supportive, fun, adventurous, who knows how to treat a Woman as his equal and at other times places her high on a pedestal to worship at her feet. For a man like that, I would happily reciprocate each and every ideal).

Trouble is, I have yet to meet such a man.

The quote that “What Man Does Not Understand, He Fears, And What He Fears, He Destroys” springs to mind, when wondering why Men have suppressed and oppressed Women for millennia. And yet, despite all Man’s efforts, Woman has survived.

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I never thought of myself as a Feminist until now. My friend’s misconception has led me to read up on what Feminism stands for.

And, rather than think of Feminism as a dirty word, as some men will have you believe, I choose to embrace it, as it simply means I choose to stand for and with my sisters all over the world.

So yes, I am a Feminist, and proud of it. You can throw your sexist remarks at me and make jokes about my gender, but I am Woman, hear me roar!