My mum turns 60..

My mum turns 60..

The month of celebrations has come to a close with my mum’s 60th birthday yesterday.

Instead of a big boat party or such she opted for a small family meal albeit at a really posh and amazing restaurant in the city.

I guess after a certain age celebrating one’s life changes in character.. you are both looking back more on what happened (or could have or hasn’t) and looking out onto a shrinking future. This definitely gives me pause and I admire those older than me more and more and marvel at their ability to deal with it all. (does it get easier/harder, what might actual wisdom of sorts look like and why, is there a way to learn from it all and how? etc)

My mum has achieved so much, she’s such a powerhouse in many ways. She is (still) an amazing looking woman who cares about every aspect of her being. Looking back on her life gives you both a bit of cross-societal historical perspective and the view on a life that shows you the really difficult decisions and really hardcore bits that life doled out to her, and also on the opportunities, turning points and shifts in outlook.

I feel so much respect, warmth and gratitude for having an amazing mum who brought me up and brought me to Australia. A woman who achieved such amazing things and no doubt will continue to do so: bringing up a family, overcoming major life difficulties, embracing a new culture and language, obtaining degrees, publishing a book, organising a community, travelling around the world, running businesses, renovating property, learning to play the guitar etc. She has adapted to so many different circumstances and created and re-created her life… she even came on SBS TV with me and my poly friends to profess her views and lend us her support… she has so much more to teach me and herself.

There’s a lot to celebrate and contemplate…

month of birthdays and parties

month of birthdays and parties

January is turning out to be a rather festive month… Chris’ 30th, my mum’s 60th, birthdays of friends and awesome big parties.

I’m glad work is menageable so I can partake and contribute in this month of celebrating life and each other.

The most memorable were Chris’ birthday picnic and the big triple birthday party extravaganza in St Peters. The picnic went for the whole afternoon, evening and into the night. Started with a rather innocent picnic with food, music and fluffy dogs running around, then slowly morphed into drinking and games and me taking ridiculous photos of it all. So much fun.

The St Peters party was one of the best warehouse parties ever, except with caravans! There were awesome shows and costumes, several DJs, 3 cakes and much pleasure and fun in a variety of forms. For many it took a whole week to recover which tells you a bit more about the nature of the beast.

Through these parties our little tribe of bonobos gets stronger and new connections develop. It’s magnificent to be in the middle of it all.

3 books for summer

3 books for summer

Continuing my summer book reviews :)

1 Tim Flannery’s Here on Earth

2 Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story

3 Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma

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Tim Flannery’s Here on Earth is a passionate plea for humanity to use new tools in fighting environmental destruction and global warming. New tools not in the technological sense but in the social, psychological, political and strategic sense.

This book has a wide span ranging from Darwin and evolution, to genetics, mnemes and survival, going from the tragedy of the commons to a commonwealth of virtue, extinction and climate change, looking at ants as superorganisms whom we could learn from, considering the forces that kill Gaia and how we can turn the tide, and finally, most interestingly looking to game theory to give us both an account for our selfish unsustainable ways and possible ways of countering these.

Finally he closes with a plea to humanity to change our structure of governance so we can go from ‘monkeys playing politics’ to a truly intelligent species that can reject is self-defeating short-term, reductionist, instrumentally rational ways and find power in expanding Earth’s biocapacity, embrace guardianship and embark on a global transformation that leads to our long-term survival.

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Gary Shteyngart is continuing his wonderfully twisted social dystopian vision in Super Sad True Love Story. We are propelled into a financially insecure American future where everyone is glued to their personal devices, personal credit ratings and sexual attractiveness are measured and displayed publicly, where giant corporate conglomerates rule and China has the financial upper hand, where immigrant kids escape into non-stop consumerism while their rights are eroded and the rich do their best to attain immortality. Books, or rather ‘bound printed media artefacts’, are considered weird.

The writing is wickedly funny, wonderfully layered and engaging. Shteyngart has the goods.

Our main protagonist is a second generation Russian Jew who is desperately in love with a much younger seemingly superficial Korean girl who seems to be out of his range. However their similarities in family dysfunction and circumstances bring them together against this first banally dystopian then gradually more apocalyptic backdrop in New York. We skip between dairy entries, instant messages and our protagonist’s first hand account. There is both tenderness and musings on life and death here to round out the overall social critique of a world that is not as far from the present as we’d like to think.

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And finally there’s Michael Pollan’s beautifully written The Omnivore’s Dilemma to help you get immersed in the contradictions, peculiarities and dilemmas that our food industry presents to a (semi)conscious consumer. Pollan is a seasoned writer who has wonderful insights into the twisted and complicated relationship between nature, the many species and layers of biosphere in it and the human animal with his insatiable desires who makes use of it all to satisfy himself.

Pollan traces the origin of our food from pasture to plate and shows what processes lurk behind our choices for dinner. Each decision has its consequences. This is thoughtful intellectual fodder with a direct window to informing your everyday choices that will affect how animals are treated, plants are modified and ultimately how Earth’s resources are used to feed ourselves, either depleting its reserves and leading to an even more unsustainable future leading to increasing disasters or a more stable sustainable one where our interconnectedness is acknowledged in our everyday actions.

Owl

Owl

Got my owl tattoo on my right shoulder with its wings wrapped around it, peaking out to the front and the back.

It took 3.5 hours non-stop and was pretty painful, though not as painful as the wolf. Preparations and knowledge helped but also there was less black on a less sensitive area.

Still really whacked my body so spent last night and today resting, though right after I was walking through Surry Hills in a euphoric haze :P

As you can see on the picture it’s a polyamorous owl with a key, heart and infinity symbol.

There are awesome colours: brown, black, purple, blue and gold. They are shaded and understated though so it’s not crazy eye popping except for the awesome shapes of the whole design ;) which was based on my own original but augmented and transformed by the artist who tattooed me (Norbert at Inner Vision, highly recommend him!).

For me the owl is invested with so much and therefore asks the question: how do we know, why do we assume, how can we truly find out? So it’s both an epistemology owl and a bit of a metaphysical owl.

The poly symbol, of course, is about love towards many people and how this is reflected in my ideas and life. It’s also about the importance of finding out what motivates your life, what matters most at any given time and the wisdom that might guide you in that direction.

And owls are night creatures, like me, it will be nice for the owl to keep me company (and to the wolf) when I’m alone and need some advice, company or wisdom. The owl is my second spirit who embodies focus, awareness, presence, knowledge (including academic) and purposeful direction.. both when it’s in motion and when it’s simply present.

Funny sign language

Love this clip and so had to share it!

Even if you don’t speak any sign language (yes, each geographical area has its own version!) this is very enjoyable and gives you a window into the deaf world.

Once saw a sign language interpreter at a comedy night at Woodford, she was funnier than the comedians and got a standing ovation.

I only learnt Auslan for a year, that is the Australian sign language, but can really appreciate the work of interpreters and sign language teachers especially..