Category Archives: Musings

Mother’s Day 2015

Happy Mother’s Day to those countries celebrating it on Sunday 10th May 2015. Happy Mother’s Day to my own Mum. And to my 2 grandmothers, both sadly departed, and to my Mother-in-Law, also sadly departed.

I’ve curated some Mother’s Day quotes from good ole Google Images, just to share them here with you. No soppy roses and run-of-the-mill off-the-shelf sentiments here, but a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Mother.

I’m off to celebrate with The Kid today, by Abandoning some handmade bookmarks on the foreshore, and having a look at Rockingham’s “Castaways” sculpture on the beach exhibition. Followed by lunch at the Hog’s Breath Cafe at noon, with a complimentary Mother’s Day slice of Mississippi Mudcake that I’ll let him have. So that is why today’s post is extra early, in the morning instead of after 3pm.

I can’t believe my Jack is turning 13 this Halloween. He is the reason I get to celebrate Mother’s Day, without him there would be no cause for me. In fact, come to think of it, every day is Mother’s Day for me, as we are best friends and confidantes, and we go to the cinema together and have lunch or dinner dates. Or go cycling around town and chill at Baskin-Robbins, eating ice cream. In summertime, we hang out in our swimming pool, diving for rings and doing flips and just chatting. I drag him along to Art Abandonment drop-offs, to ComicCon and SupaNova “geek” conventions. I take him along to my favourite Malaysian restaurant in the city, Papparich, even though he doesn’t like spicy food (he has chicken nuggets and chips there, while I enjoy my chicken curry and beef rendang with rice). We tackle the dreaded Homework together, as if we’re playing the arcade game “Whack-A-Mole”. I listen to his grumbles and emphatise with his various complaints about bullies at school. I fix the squeaks and creaks in his bike…when you can’t find the WD40, dishwashing liquid works just as well. I nag him to tidy up his room (still working on that winning formula). He fills my life with all the little extra chores that I would normally not have to do, that eat away at my “me” time.

I would not have it any other way. Being Jack’ Mother enriches my life. Being a full-time Mother is the hardest job ever, and I haven’t a clue what I’m doing or even if I’m doing it right, I just make it up as we go along. You don’t get paid a single cent in money, the salary is zero. But you get paid with lots of Love instead. And lots of hugs and kisses. And giggles and laughter, as well as tears and tantrums. I love it!

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Art Quotes

Last week I posted on Facebook’s “Art Abandonment” Group Wall about my handmade Juicy Journals that I was abandoning. I thought I might get a dozen or so people commenting on it. Imagine my surprise when I received over 400 “likes”, and several dozen compliments about my Juicy Journals. That’s way more than my usual Facebook Wall posts ever get. Really chuffed and greatly encouraged by my fellow Art Abandoneers, thank you folks! :-)

I had several enquiries about whether I would be selling any of my Juicy Journals. I haven’t made enough to warrant selling them on my Etsy store yet…but you never know. Money is not my motivation for creating Art…but it does come in handy to buy more paints, inks and paper.

In addition to the 10 Juicy Journals that I abandoned in my town, I posted off a further 5 Juicy Journals to people who had expressed an interest in getting one. One of the 5 is a teacher in America, who intends to use my Juicy Journal as an end-of-term Art project for her class. Honoured, I am!

All this got me to thinking: “What does Art mean to me?” And so I did my usual modus operandi and looked up Art quotes on Google Images. I found several that resonated with me, so I’ll share them with you here:

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I also found one that describes me. I realise I am an Artist who also creates handmade/handbound books, marrying my passion for Gelli Plate printing with the same for making one-off Juicy Journals.
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Why “One More Line” is like Real Life

The Kid and I came across the computer game “One More Line” at Comic Con in Perth last month. It was rigged up like an arcade game, with just a simple monitor and a rotating ball button control. The premise is deceptively simple: get the highest score you can. You pilot a half-circle object which trails 3 coloured lines, up, around and past coloured obstacles of different sizes. Each obstacle is a similar, circular shape, and they all spin around with varying speeds, the bigger ones tend to spin more sluggishly than the little ones, and the closer you swing to them, the faster. There is only one control function – tap and hold to grab and spin around an obstacle i.e grapple, or let go to move on with a straight trajectory. Two lines, on on either side of your “runway” serve as barriers or walls – if you’re grappling an obstacle i.e holding on and swinging around it, your Pilot may pass through the walls safely. But if you’re in freefall mode i.e not tapping and holding the screen, you will crash and smash into smithereens if you hit the wall on either side, or if you crash into one of the obstacles.

“One More Line” is by the developers SMG and is available on both iOS and Android. They also have other games available, so if you like “One More Line”, you might like the others just as much.

Watch this video on how to play “One More Line”. It will give you a good idea just how addictive this game is. Oh, and if you don’t want a musical earwig (where you can’t sleep because the theme tune from some movie or App is playing on a loop through your brain), I’d play this game with the volume off.

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Sounds easy peasy, right? Wrong. The more I play “One More Line”, the more I’m thinking that it has a lot of similarities to Real Life. Here’s why:

1. In Life, the path is never straightforward, but goes round and about and is often full of obstacles.

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2. Some obstacles are tiny, others are huge. The Path you take and the decisions you make determine whether you come across the big ones or the little ones.

3. Some obstacles may be circumvented or bypassed by making clever or wise decisions. Others are too big to slide past or ignore, and must be tackled head on. Be careful that your decisions don’t lead you straight into another obstacle. Or worse, into a brick wall.

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4. You mustn’t get too cocky with your success, because pride always goes before a fall. The higher up you go, the more humble you must become. Control those impulses too! Don’t get too carried away because accidents happen when you’re taking too many risks.

5. You only have 1 Life. Crash, and it’s over. So, be careful with your actions and decisions, and always look where you’re heading. Be prepared to take last minute evasive action or change your direction. Sometimes, even an about turn may be called for.

6. If you tried and failed, try again. Try harder, fail better, and then succeed. Learn from your mistakes, and try not to repeat them.

7. In Life, we are all monkeys swinging from one branch to another. So keep practising those monkey swings, and let’s see how far you can go!

Social Observations: The New Religion

I was just scrolling through my Facebook feed, having read another shared post about the latest Apple vs Android debacle, followed by another one about some pastor who’s asking his congregation for a few million dollars so he can buy his own private jet…and suddenly my mind just made a connection between the two hitherto unrelated posts.

Apple fans have long been against Android fans, even more so against Samsung users, as Samsung is Apple’s main competitor. To say they hate each other is perhaps putting it mildly. I’ve owned both Apple iPhones and Android mobiles, so I can appreciate both sides of the coin. But I’ve lost friends on Facebook because I dared compare the long, snaking queues to buy the Apple iPhone 6, back in September 2014, to the bread queues of the Recession. Yes, really…one of those so-called “friends” on Facebook called me a hypocrite for using an iPhone and liking tech devices and gadgets, while at the same time “slagging off” Apple for pandering to consumers’ greed and egos.

It’s widely accepted that diehard zealots of Apple are members of the “Cult of Apple”, and that they will defend Apple’s products with their lives. Even when shown hard bare facts that some of Apple’s products are not as good as their competitors’ products, or not worth the bang for their buck. Even when shown how Apple devices are made using what’s tantamount to slave labour, in Chinese factories where workers never see the light of day and where suicides are a common occurrence. These Apple Cultists will gratefully swallow whatever expensive, non-essential new piece of bling Apple spews out.

I went to see what the big fuss was about, when the Apple Watch came out recently. (I wonder why it isn’t called the iWatch, with the “i” prefix, like all Apple’s other products?). The Apple rep at the store was waxing lyrical about this and that, even though I pointed out that 1) it doesn’t take or make calls 2) it doesn’t take photos 3) you can read your emails, sure, but you can’t reply unless it’s with a short previously prepared message 4) it’s going to pose a real driving hazard because drivers who get pinged while driving will be taking their eyes off the road to look at their wrists 5) why the obsession with counting heartbeats and steps? If you’ve been running, or if you’re excited, of course your pulse will be racing. So what? 6) Apple claims there’s a watch for everyone. Wow, like Joe Bloggs the hardworking blue-collar worker with a wife, 2 kids and another one on the way, can afford to fork out $500 for something that a $50 watch can do better? And, in this day and age, who can afford to splash out on a $24000 gold Apple Watch? When the same $24000 can feed Joe Bloggs’ entire family for a whole year?

But, as with iDiots, there will always be some rich people with no care for their community, environment, family, but only for themselves, who will buy that $24000 Apple Watch.

Just because they can. And just because it has the Apple logo on it, that they can show off. The world can go burn in hell, for all they care. It’s their money, they can buy what they like with it. What global warming? What climate change? What rainforest? What drought? What hunger? What poverty? What homelessness?

So…

Back to where I first started. If we were to compare Apple and Android to religion, then you could say that Apple is Catholicism, and Android is Protestantism. (Meaning no disrespect to Catholics and Protestants here, just using the religions as analogies).

Apple considers itself The Best, The Most Righteous, Catholic God, while Android fans are Protestants because there are so many different brands out there, all with their own good and bad points, but they just can’t agree amongst themselves so the schisms keep happening.

My two cents’ worth? Don’t follow the blind leading the blind. Find your own way, make your own path, follow principles that sit true with you and you alone. Buy products or follow brands that are ethical, guilt-free, GM free, organic, sustainable. Don’t just follow the Emperor, for the Emperor has no clothes.

And you know what else? If you really sit down and think about it, you don’t even really need a mobile phone. Not even the most basic model. People were perfectly fine before mobile phones came along. Now look at us. Tied to technology, not for any useful purpose, though, just to distract us from facing reality. Stuff you can and should do at the office at work, has now come home to us. As adults, we now have Homework again. Why not leave work at work, and go home and enjoy quality time with your family and children instead? Don’t be a slave to Technology, just like we are slaves to Money.

Me? I love my gadgets, to be sure…but nowadays I’d rather be in my studio making Art.

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Social Observations: Bronies

Today’s post, and tomorrow’s is a hodgepodge of different observations on modern society. Not so much Urban Legends like crocodiles in the sewer, or Bloody Mary etc. Just some things I’ve found out recently, or stuff which fell into my head suddenly in a “Eureka!” moment.

Let’s talk Bronies. The Kid is a self-confessed Brony. He just came out one day and told me he liked My Little Pony (hereafter referred to as MLP). I remembered those sweet little cartoon ponies from the days when I used to watch Care Bears and He-Man and the Masters Of The Universe, and She-Ra. Yup, THAT long ago. So what if MLP was originally aimed at an audience of little girls aged 6.

No biggie. The Kid told me that males who liked MLP are called Bronies (or Brony in the singular), a portmanteau word combining “Bro(ther)” and “(Po)ny”. Female fans are Pegasisters after Pegasus (all MLP ponies have wings). Very young fans are called “Colts”. I guess being a Brony’s Mum that makes me a Pegasister by default.

Being a Brony is just like being a Doctor Who fan (did you know there’s even a Doctor Who Pony called Doctor Whooves? Yes, really, and I’m going to get it for myself). Bronies stand up there with the likes of other cosplay convention nerds (yours truly, minus the cosplay). It doesn’t matter one jot if you’re a heterosexual male, or gay, or bisexual etc. Bronies transcend gender stereotyping, they are simply male fans of MLP who refuse to accept that MLP is for girls only. Cool with me!

Here’s an excellent primer on the subject of Bronies:
http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/subcultures/bronies

And here’s a poster that I just ordered on eBay for The Kid. It’s an amazing 43×24 inch one showing the character Rainbow Dash with a sword between its teeth, against a dark background sprinkled with stars. I think it’s totally rad!

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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 clichés
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.