Friday, November 24, 2006

mean girls - some weekend reading

so i'm reading this book called queen bees and wannabes: helping your daughter survive cliques, gossip, boyfriends and other realities of adolescence, written by rosalind wiseman . as someone pointed out before, it inspired mean girls.

it's kind of funny because as i'm reading it, i'm seeing the rules of girlworld still apply to me and some of my friends.

i mean

[shouted in lleyton way, or g.o.b way*. take your pick depending on what kind of reader you are**]

so, i figured, now that princess is well into tween-dom, and on the cusp of not quite a woman and not a girlness [apols brit] i would take a stroll into some of the literature, and try to gather some knowledge, read some of the current thinking and basically get a head start on her. i know this isn't possible, this girl is Smart, and quicksilver fast when it comes to figuring stuff out. my old brain plods behind hers like the tortoise to the hare; and i'm pretty intelligent.

guess what? things are so much worse than when i was a teenager. it seems. maybe i was in a bit of a bubble, but being at an all-girls school, which apparently are seething masses of champion bitchy behaviour, you might have thought i would come across the occasional bitch who would try to put me down. from memory, i met no such bitch, and there was no such put down.

one answer to this was that I, yes moi, was the bitch.

impossible. no, really. i was nice and polite. still am.

bevis, close your mouth right now.

the other reason was maybe this sort of thing only happens in movies, especially american movies, where people like lindsay lohan enter an underworld of teendom, where there are rules about who talks to who, who is cool, who is a dork, where you are allowed to stand or sit or eat lunch, who you can date [fuck, when i was at school, we "went out" with someone.]

but i'm aware of the pack mentality that girls can get into. [still sorry about that, steph. maybe i'm not that nice?] i'm not sure if it's the same with boys. i'm talking when applying social controls to peers, not gang bangs.

anyway, this book tells us the following:

here are the different roles our daughters and their friends might play [also read us and our friends]

queen bee
torn bystander

now, straight away we can see that we don't want to be the target. but what do the other ones mean?

you or your daughter is a queen bee if...

- her friends do what she wants to do
- she isn't intimidated by any other girl in her class/girl at the bar/girl at work
- her complaints about the other girls are limited to the lame things they did or said
- she can persuade her peers to do just about anything she wants
- she can argue anyone down
- she's charming
- she can make another girl feel 'anointed' by declaring her a special friend
- she's affectionate and can use that to demonstrate rejection of another girl
- she won't, or is very reluctant to, take responsibility when she hurts someone's feelings
- if she feels she's been wronged, she feels she has the right to seek revenge; an eye for an eye.

the sidekick
- second in command to queen bee and the closest to her and will back her no matter what.
- dresses and looks like the queen bee; helps queen bee to wield her power

the banker
- almost as powerful as the queen bee, but it's easy to mistake her for the messenger
- the banker creates chaos wherever she goes by banking information about others and dispensing it in a way and at a time that works for her
- gets girls to trust her when she pumps them for info because it doesn't seem like she's gossiping. they spill, then she uses the information

she is
- extremely secretive
- she thinks in complext, strategic ways
- she seems to be friends with everyone
- she's rarely the subject of fights
- she's rarely excluded from the group

the floater
- she moves around between groups and she's really quite nice

the torn bystander
- constantly conflicted between doing the right thing and her allegiance to the clique
- most likely to be caught in the middle of a conflict between two girls or two groups
- tries to accommodate everyone
- not good at saying no to her friends

- bends over backwards to be in the group and not get kicked out

the target
- the victim, the one set up by the girls to get picked on.
- can be a member of the clique

so, at this stage i'm thinking "girlworld" is just a little too benign a term, a little too close to spiceworld and the colour pink, ms wiseman. how about "girlmafia"?

next up, we have the "act like a woman" box, where we are told that high social status is forthcoming when a girl has certain characteristics, and of course low social status is attached to other states or behaviours. these are the attributes that girls themselves listed and rated.


i can't draw a box here, but the author has a box with the following characteristics in it:

hangs out with the right guys
nice on the outside
in control

and, outside the box:

too opinionated and cause-oriented

so, you can work out which are the high status ones, and which are the low.

a couple of things jumped out at me here.

"nice on the outside"


so, fake it and that's all that matters in girlworld. so what about the years, and it's still ongoing, of me teaching princess that it's important to be kind, generous and accepting of other people. to share, to be tolerant, to care for and look after.

also, "too opinionated and cause oriented." it's interesting to see this here. i've had a private little theory, perhaps shared with the germaine, that girls or women who are too opinionated cause discomfort to the kinds of people who are inside the "act like a woman" box. so does that mean that intelligent thought, and having opinions, and sharing those opinions are lowering the personal social status of girls/women who behave like that? i see it happening all the time. it's connected to the idea that some/alot of boys/men don't like strong women.

as a strong woman with mad hair, i find that kind of annoying.

and also as a mad woman with strong hair.

before i finish, i can hear some of the male readers smugly chuckling.

well, as it happens, boyos, there's a box for you guys too.

check it -

inside the "act like a man" box:

in control

and outside it:

mama's boy
trying too hard
acts like a girl

as wiseman points out, "acting like a girl" is the basis for every characteristic outside the box. as she says anytime a boy's behaviour was perceived as weak or sensitive, the boys' automatic perception was that the behavior was inherently female or gay.

apparently most if not all of boy social behaviour is enacted with the underlying consideration/control of not seeming gay. what the hell is going on?

what the hell is going on?

have a good weekend, and be nice to each other.

[*secretly hopes there are more g.o.b people reading than lleyton peeps, but isn't fussy.]

** if i have to explain who g.o.b is, then you are clearly not one of his peeps.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

haircut - warning to boys. girly whining inside. you will find emotionality and other boring non-male stuff.

long-time readers will know that i have a hair thing. my hair is very thick, and out of control, and is possibly the bane of my life. i should probably just keep it short, but in a weird way, it's something i hang on to. i've got to have something.

when i was little this was the kind of hair i liked:

this was the kind of good hair that girls wanted. nothing's changed much, has it?

in this hair-angst regard, i seem to have much in common with african-american girls. i'm reading a book called queen bees and wannabes - helping your daughter survive cliques, gossip, boyfriends and other realities of adolescence.

i tell you, it's fascinating.

even though princess is only 10, as i've said before, she's 10 going on 16, and so i reckon the earlier i arm myself with some insider strategies and knowledge, the better.

the author of this book is an educator working in the united states, and says that amongst teenage white girls, it's all about weight; skinny is better. with the black girls, it's hair. who has good hair and who has bad hair. good hair is like "white hair" - hair that is soft and swings and is straight, and not "nappy" (whatever that means.)

a while back i asked all of you to recommend some hair artisans. i said i had a final solution i was considering. well, since talking to phillip at the hair place in malvern central, i've decided against a perm. before you scream, it wasn't going to be a frizz perm; no no no. my hair doesn't need a perm to do that. i was thinking some sort of reverse, taming perm, to get some definition. you see, i don't want to straighten - i want to embrace the volume. but the dryness, the frizz. it's killing me.

anyway, phil said not to perm. so i have to get tong things which will straighten when i want, or i can do different things with them, he can kindly show me, to get different looks.

this is so wannabe.

so you all kindly suggested cutters. and i've chosen one and have an appointment tomorrow, with someone who apparently is good with crazy, thick hair.

i promised then to report back, and this is a semi progress report. and then i guess tomorrow i'll let you know how it went. and i tell you where i chose.

boys, i don't expect you to understand. but that's ok. the girls are getting me.

and just to make the boys feel included, what is the male equivalent of hair anguish for you guys? and don't say penis size, we know all about that one.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


this post was inspired by gianluca's thorough and very apt treatment of english grammar.

when i was living in japan, i taught what we called "pilot's english". this would involve sometimes going to the airport and testing pilot applicants in their level of english. we would sit there, me and two other guys also from australia, called mark and paul. to relieve the tedium of listening to rote interview responses, for hours and hours over a period of days, mark came up with the idea that we teachers were all POWs, being held in japan, and being forced to work in an english school.

this led to us having names, i was nurse melbournegirl, and would have to look out for dysentery and fever and mark was lance corporal. the senior teacher, jay, was the major-general and the director of studies, alex, was the brigadier.

this also led us to leaving elaborate notes for each other in the pigeon holes back at school, some of which i still have. things like:

dear nurse melbournegirl. we're on rations now, and the buggars have extended my contract so i'm here for another year at least. troop morale is at an all-time low. damn this war!

dear lance, supplies of penicillin are getting low, and there's been an outbreak of typhoid. i just don't know how long i can keep going. damn this war!

sometimes we would have the pilot applicants come to the school for the interview. it was one of these that provided me with a memory i've never forgotten.

as part of the interview, we had to ask about interests and hobbies. we would always get the same old fucking answers - i like rock and roll music. i'm interested in baseball and soccer. i enjoy very much playing the guitar.

the applicants would bow into the room, and sometimes bow out of the room, backing away from the table behind which i sat, slowly inching to the exit. it was excruciating to watch.

so here i was in one of the interviews. going through the motions. nothing spectacular about this one, i'm thinking. ordinary, blah, boring.

until we get to the hobbies and interests part of the interview.

me: so, what music do you like?

[stifles yawn. looks out window. wishes window would open. i'm dying here. i can't breathe. i hate japan.]

pilot applicant # 86: do you know billy joh-el?

me [interest piqued]: yes, i do.

pilot applicant # 86: i like billy joh-el.

me: so do i.

pa #86: my fabrite song honesty. do you know honesty?

me: yes, i love honesty.

pa: may i sing it for you?

what could i say, dear readers. of COURSE he could sing it for me.

If you search for tenderness
It isn't hard to find
You can have the love you need to live
But if you look for truthfulness
You might just as well be blind
It always seems to be so hard to give

me and pilot:
is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

i expect him to finish here.

he doesn't.

I can always find someone
To say they sympathize
If I wear my heart out on my sleeve
But I don't want some pretty face
To tell me pretty lies
All I want is someone to believe

me and pilot:
is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

now we're done. no, we're not.

I can find a lover
I can find a friend
I can have security
Until the bitter end
Anyone can comfort me
With promises again
I know,
I know

When I'm deep inside of me
Don't be too concerned
I won't ask for nothin' while I'm gone
But when I want sincerity
Tell me where else can I turn
Because you're the only one that I depend on

me and pilot:
Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

i gave him the top mark. and told him, honestly, that he would make an excellent pilot.

Monday, November 13, 2006

master costello

sebastian costello, 19, poses with one of the country's "merchants of death"

i'm just a humble boy from the burbs who pays HECS, drives a mazda 1990 and works in a video store. i'm also ravishingly good-looking and sleek with the ladies... i'm kidding, really i'm kidding.

so, costello the younger has a sense of humour.

it becomes real when you're walking around and see photos of johnny and your old man looking like merchants of death.

i'm liking him more and more.

yeah, my old man still hasn't discovered board shorts. he wears his budgie smugglers to the beach. it's a bit sad.

heh. nice one.

no, dad doesn't have a dart-board with howard's face on it, but i made him one once, as a joke.


howard's been around since whitlam's dismissal. he had a few cracks at the top job but always lived to fight another day. dad understands that, he doesn't sit at home plotting a coup.

mmmmm. i think you'd better shut up now, seb.

they (the young liberals) are a bunch of wankers...

actually, no, keep going.

i met a young liberal once who told me his most prized possession was a polaroid photo of him and my dad.

errr, better stop now, seb. a polaroid?

i'm not sure whether this is good for costello's image, or not. but it's funny as fuck. it appeared in the saturday herald-sun, the bit with johnny depp on the cover.

Friday, November 10, 2006

henn and who?

i am seriously obsessed with this blouse.

it's the "betty gable" confetti spot blouse, it's by henn and hoo, and it's $229.

and i want it bad.

you can't see it properly in this photo. i have a clipping from a newspaper magazine from about 2 weeks ago.

pray for me.

update on mahir vs borat

my brother told me about this. listen to an audio clip of interview with mahir on bbc uk. (you'll need real player).

he's in london, he's got lawyers and he's angry that cohen "used" his identity without permission, and makes "very bad" against jewish people and kazhakstan. he says he likes jokes, he likes borat, he likes everyone, but that it is very bad to joke about other religions and countries.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

the real borat

i've been wondering when the bok* would hit the fan about borat and his origins.

the real borat is taking action against sacha baron cohen, and will be flying to england to confront the comedian and get a piece of the action. mahir cagri, 44, a turkish freelance journalist, was one of the first people to enjoy world-wide internet fame. he posted his website, or a friend did without his knowledge, i can't quite remember the details, and it became an instant hit, not with the ladies as he hoped, but with people who thought it was hilarious and started sending the link around the world.

this is the original site:

and this is one slightly modified, after mahir's celebrity took off:

i first heard about mahir in 1999, which i believe was well before borat surfaced. apparently, sacha baron cohen has said the inspiration for borat was a doctor he met in southern russia.

"I can't remember his name — he was a doctor" Baron Cohen said. "The moment I met him, I was totally crying. He was a hysterically funny guy, albeit totally unintentionally."

while i'm sure there are many borat-type individuals around the world, authentico or not, i suspect that there might be a few too many similarities for this to be a coincidence.

consider, if you will, the following points of comparison.

1. ping pong.

mahir was playing table tennis way before borat

2. sunbathing

and sunbathing in fetching togs - granted they are not those lime green godawful over-the-shoulder things, but still. you can see the pattern here.

3. disco dancing

enjoying the disco dancing

*bok = turkish for shit

article where i got this from:

Turkish man says he's the real Borat
By SUZAN FRASER, Associated Press WriterTue Nov 7, 9:16 AM ET
A Turkish Internet celebrity is so convinced he was the inspiration for Sacha Baron Cohen's "Borat" character, he's traveling to London seeking an apology and a way to get paid from the film's surprise success.

Mahir Cagri 44, became a cyber celebrity after posting a personal Web site in 1999, featuring unintentionally amusing photos of himself playing pingpong or the accordion and sunbathing in a skimpy bathing suit. Fans were captivated by his broken English and hilarious invitation to women: "Who is want to come TURKEY I can invitate ... She can stay my home."

"The world knows he is copying Mahir," Cagri told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his hometown of Izmir on Monday, minutes before he was to board a plane for Istanbul to appear on a talk show.

"I am not saying this — the world is. I have received so many e-mails from people in the United States who tell me he is imitating me," he said.

Cagri, a freelance journalist, was scheduled to fly to London on Tuesday for meetings with his manager and lawyer there to discuss his options and hold interviews with British newspapers. He hopes to receive an "acknowledgment or an apology" from Baron Cohen.

"The bombshell is going to fall," he said of his London trip. "(Cohen) is making money by using me."
The title character in the movie "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" was first developed for "Da Ali G Show" on HBO. The 20th Century Fox movie took in $26.5 million in the U.S. its opening weekend, more than any other film.

On the commentary track to the DVD of "Da Ali G Show," Baron Cohen says Borat was influenced by someone he met in southern Russia.

"I can't remember his name — he was a doctor" Baron Cohen said. "The moment I met him, I was totally crying. He was a hysterically funny guy, albeit totally unintentionally."

The character Borat has caused outrage among Kazakhs over the way their nation is being jokingly portrayed.

Cagri set up his Web site in the hope of making foreign friends and welcoming guests from abroad to his home. The Turk quickly became a celebrity, much to his surprise.

this article, however, indicates that borat might have been around before 1999.

"In 1998 he came to the attention of the producers of Channel 4's 11 O' Clock Show. He had already perfected Borat..."

so who really knows? life imitating art?

Friday, November 03, 2006

truth for today

it is really really really difficult to find good non-wheat muesli.

oh, and we're going camping.

it was almost like this last year, so this year am trying to keep positive. it rained for 29 hours last year. i've been telling people it was 72.

me and my exaggeration, khuh*

back later.

* i've always wondered how to write this sound. it's in the sheesh range of exasperation utterances, however it's not a word. it's the sound john cleese makes a couple of times in life of brian, and i think also in fawlty towers. it's in the back of the throat, like the ch in l'chaim. it's like a self-scraping of the throat. i would really appreciate any suggestions on how to write this sound. it's a sound i use a lot, even if in my head. it's a sound i need in my life, and as so much of my life is written these days, i need to know how to spell it.