Tuesday, July 28, 2009

When I Grow Up...

Tonight I want to talk a little bit about what I want to be in life. I don't mean what I want to do for a job, that whole "When I grow up I want to be a truck driver." (Though when I was a kid I had a t-shirt that said exactly that, thanks for giving me BOYS hand me downs Mother). I mean who I want to be as a person, what I want to bring to this rather amazing world of ours.

Now y'all know I love Craig Ferguson. You're probably all sick of me posting stuff of his on my blog. Well, tough. Because it's my blog and I'll post Craig Ferguson if I want to.

That out of the way, Craig is a prime example of the person I want to be. The person I sometimes am, but can't always hit the mark like he does. It's not because I think he's cute and funny. Yes he is those things. But what I really admire is his intelligence, passion, respect, joy, articulacy, wit and sense of wonder.

I have so much respect for someone who embodies those values. Even more someone who is articulate enough to express them. I want to be someone who not only shows intelligence, but also is able to see the joy and wonder in the world. I want to be someone who can laugh at the absurdity of life, but also wonder at the awesome stuff too. I want to have passion for things I do and believe in. I want to be able to express myself in an articulate manner. But more than anything, respect for myself and for others is really important to me.

Now I've shared some of the videos I find hilariously funny from the vast library on YouTube of Craig Ferguson's work before. But now I want to share with you a few other bits and pieces, which to me, illustrate qualities that I really admire.

Let's start with this one, which I think is one of my favourite pieces (or rants, he is known for a rant or two, is Craig) he has done:

What I admire most about this piece is his absolute passion for the subject matter, and the fact that he does not dumb his argument down for his audience at any moment. He still approaches the subject with some humour, but you can see the passion in every word. I love that he takes on subjects that MATTER, rather than just joking about the same old stuff everyone else is, because it's fashionable or topical or appeals to his sponsors. When it means a lot to him, he will get in there and speak up. But never in a disrespectful way - notice that while he's criticising the deification of youth, he's also pointing out that inexperience is part of being young, that it's not something to be ashamed of.

Another quality I would like to be known for is the ability to speak articulately on ANY subject. That doesn't mean I want to be an expert on every subject, but to have the ability to learn about new things my whole life, and be able to have an informed opinion and understanding, and to be able to converse/discuss or present on new things all the time. Craig has an incredible skill with this - he works with only a couple of writers who give him some form and ideas for his show, and is known for only using reminders and guides on his teleprompter rather than having it all written for him. And he'll have a go at almost any subject.

I always loved the character of Coker in John Wyndham's "The Day of the Triffids" who was a professional orator who's slogan was "Subject no object."

I also want to share with you a quote of his that I found:

"Cynicism is the true refuge of the pseudo-intellectual. Cynicism is easy. Joy is an extremely advanced spiritual and intellectual tenet."

I love this. Oh how I love this! I truly believe that it is easy to sneer and smirk at the world, to always believe the worst. To be jaundiced and jaded, scornful. Most cynics believe they're oh so intelligent for this attitude.

But I disagree. To fill your life with joy, to look for the positive as much as possible. Some equate it with naivety or being a "Pollyanna", or viewing the world through "rose coloured glasses", but I don't believe that is what the opposite of cynicism truly is. We all know that life can be cruel, or pointless at times. But cynics tend to have that view as the default. I think that even in the most difficult of times, there can be moments of joy and wonder to be found. In fact, those are the things that make the difficult times pass a lot quicker.

Then there is the ability to laugh at yourself. For example, I love this little montage from one of Craig's opening monologues of him totally making fun of himself:

It's juvenile, it's silly, and it's delightfully self-deprecating. I want to be able to laugh at myself and be an idiot sometimes. I want to be childish, silly and goofy, as well as being articulate, intteligent, passionate and respectful.

So who do you want to be? What qualities are important to you? Is there someone that you truly admire as a person and want to embody the same qualities as?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Anti-Depressants Anyone?

Well if you've read this blog before this post, you know I've been suffering a bout of depression lately, and while I'm pretty good at just waiting it out until it passes, and doing a few things to take care of myself, today it was kicking my arse a bit. So I decided to be totally indulgent in something that I KNOW makes me feel good, and that's Craig Ferguson lip sync videos.

Half an hour later I feel great. I've laughed, I've chair-danced, I've sung and I've bought a bunch of songs off iTunes.

Why do I love them? Well firstly because I have a mega crush on Craig. He's everything that is yum - handsome, funny, intelligent and a complete nutbar sense of humour.

Secondly, because he clearly picks songs he enjoys himself, and has lots of fun dancing around like a nut to, and lip syncing.

The fact that he semi-choreographs some of them cracks me up.

It's one of the few places you will see a totally unco black dude. The fact that he gets rhythmically pwned by two geeky white guys is hilarious.

The little man in leather trousers has a hot body.


So I'm going to share the collection I have found here, and you can come back anytime you like for a dose of Craig's madness. I am telling you, it's good for what ails ya.

Britney Spears - Oops I Did it Again

A Duran Duran cover of Grandmaster Flash's White Lines. Great song.

I think this one is my favourite, mostly because I love the song:

Say Hey (I Love You) - Michael Franti and Spearhead

It's a Wonderful Night - Fatboy Slim (the first Craig lip sync video I ever saw)

Kronos the Monkey lip syncs to She Taught me To Yodel by Frank Ifield (whom I knew when I was a kid!!!)

Actually I think if you have watched Kronos above and not laughed, I can't be your friend any more.

Istanbul - They Might be Giants

The Lonely Goatherd from The Sound of Music.

So there you have it. My favourite kind of anti-depressants. And if you dig Craig Ferguson and want to see more of his videos, may I suggest checking out Malinky2Stoatir on YouTube and if you use Twitter, follow @LipSyncingScot who is a fan working to share more of Craig's work.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fake it 'Til You Make It

You may have heard the phrase "Fake it 'til you make it." before. Often people use it in reference to a subject matter they're supposed to know about, or as a show of confidence when they feel they don't have any.

I use it in another way though. I use it when I'm struggling with depression.

I've had some wobbles again over the past week, mostly because I've pushed myself too hard and not got enough sleep. I know that when I get really busy with work and my social life, that I don't sleep enough, and then I tend to fall over in a bit of a heap. It used to be really hard to deal with, but these days I treat it the same as I would getting physically run down - I take some time to rest and relax, and take care of myself with eating well, drinking lots of water and getting some fresh air.

There is one other thing I know helps. Faking it until I make it. Instead of spending my down times shut up avoiding the world, I try to connect with it instead. Even though I don't feel like it, I know in the long run, it helps me shake off the black dog.

Whether that is virtually or in reality, it doesn't matter. Spending time online immersed in upbeat, fun stuff (whether it's conversations on Twitter, watching videos on YouTube, surfing around Tumblr, etc) really helps, especially if you're like me and have run yourself into the ground physically, and need to chill a wee bit. But if you're physically ok, getting out is good too. Whether it be with friends or family, or even on your own. I will carry myself off to a movie if I want to get out and about but can't catch up with people.

I know that quite often when depression hits, you just don't feel like getting out. It's hard enough to get out of bed, let alone out of the house. But it is something that will make you feel so much better, if you get yourself doing something that makes you feel good. And if you don't know what that is, try some new things, you might surprise yourself.

All in all, remember the phrase "Fake it 'til you make it." and try it when you find yourself dogged by the depression fairy. I know it works for me.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Act Your Age...

You know when people make those throwaway comments with a bite? The ones that they toss at you glibly, but underneath is a slightly vinegar tone, that tells you that it means more than they want you to believe?


Well I had one of those come my way yesterday. I was telling someone about how much fun I have at the first Friday of the month BTUB events. To which the little comment came back "What, don't you like spending time with people your own age anymore?" It was said in a jesting tone, but with just enough vinegar to alert me to the fact that the commenter was clearly getting a dig in. I didn't comment on it at the time, but I've been thinking about it.

Firstly, yes, BTUB is a Twitter group. Oooooh, people from the internets! Watch out that they're not all weird stalkers and child pornographers, won't you? I meet with folks from the internet all the time. Have been doing so now for about a decade, and before that I was meeting with penpals I made through things like Rolling Stone magazine and even earlier, Dolly magazine. I'm still alive. I've not yet been stalked (that I know of) and other than a few annoying people (far less than I've met through my workplace and other "real life" events), I've not had any really bad experiences.


Secondly, it's a pretty mixed age group. The youngest I can think of is about 20, and they range to maybe up to a decade older than I am. Maybe more (you know, some folks have the youthful gene). I read somewhere that more than 60% of Twitter users are over 35. I'm just a teensy bit over 35 myself.

However, yes, there are a lot of people who are "BTUBbers" who are under 30. Most of the people I seem to have clicked with the most are under 30. And personally, I don't care what someone's age is, it's just a number of years they have rotated around the sun.


But one thing I am noticing is, that the reason I tend to gravitate towards those younger than my own generation, is that I find them refreshingly different to my "peers" so to speak. Now I am generalising here, and I am not saying that EVERYONE of my age or older fits the cookie cutter. But I have made a few observations about the people I find myself surrounded by lately, which I will share with you all.

Less cynicism. Nothing bores me more than cynics trying oh-so-hard to be cool and detached. Sneering at anything goofy, joyful, silly, entertaining or God forbid, popular. I love being around people who see fun in life, who enjoy things simply for the pleasure they give, rather than some lofty ideal or to impress others. It's so much more pleasant to be around.


Willingness to change/learn. The day I stop learning is the day I stop living. There are times I am wrong. I like to discover more about myself, others and the world. I like those who feel the same way. I like those who are eager to try new things, in the same way I am. That doesn't mean I don't like old favourites too, but I don't want to ever find myself in a rut.

Thinking outside the cookie cutter. Whether it be in clothes, music, books, movies, I don't want to ever find myself not trying something new. Or shunning something that is geeky or nerdy or not in fashion, just because it's pretty or fun or pleasant. I don't want to find myself wearing a "uniform" of clothes because it's what everyone else wears. I want to admire silver boots and purple tights and Dr Who scarves and blue dyed hair. I want to eat cupcakes in the park, or get dolled up and go to high tea, rather than stand around a barbecue with a chardy while the blokes have a beer and turn the sausages, talking about what the kiddies did at kindy or what the boss said at work.


One I've noticed from the guys: not intimidated by a woman who is independant, outgoing and confident. Oh so many guys of my generation and older like to whinge how they want an independant woman, how they want an outgoing lady with confidence but only find women who want them to pay their mortgage and tell them what to do. But when they meet a woman with confidence, they run a fucking mile. And tell their mates what a ball-breaking, aggressive bitch she is. It's refreshing to find guys who aren't bothered a jot about an outgoing, independant woman, who mostly see it as normal.

And finally, a willingness to go out of their way to show caring for each other. I think it's part of the cynicism, but I am wearied by people who like to call themselves friends, but won't inconvenience themselves for their friends. And I mean inconvenience, not at anyones expense. I'm not talking handing over your life savings, I'm talking about letting someone know you are there to listen, even though you have your own busy life. Some time ago I found myself surrounded by people who were more than happy to have me put in all the effort in a friendship, but the minute I showed any sign of need myself... well, you could hear the crickets chirping. Over the past year or so, I've found myself gathering a lovely tribe of people who give as well as receive, and yes, most of them are indeed younger than I am.


Anyway, I'm not saying everyone over 35 is boring and restricted and selfish. You know how I hate generalisations. And perhaps it is skewed by the fact that I'm meeting people who are interested in the same things I am (but I am including those I meet through work, other friends and such as well). However, for a long time, I felt tired and bored and I've changed my method of socialising, to one which happens to include people of all ages. But yes, I am often, but not always, drawn to those who are younger than I am because they're not so caught up in appearances and and what other people think.

I'll probably get a few of those barbed comments for this too... *wink*!