2011 has been a bittersweet year for me. As I struggled to look for work, I was suddenly faced with something I had never had this much of before: time! Time to do many things I had been putting off doing but was always too busy to do before. Although the opportunities of the “paid” variety were lacking, I was also given opportunities to do other things that just may one day lead to a more fulfilling life.
And so, as another year draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on some of the things and events that have impacted me in whatever capacity. Many have been happy but some, not so much. So here we go…
Retiring Swans Co-captain Craig Bolton takes a lap of honour around the SCG
The year in AFL has been a mixed one. My team, the Sydney Swans, spent most of their home games in Sydney playing in wet conditions, which means I spent a lot of time trying to stay dry in the stands. With the well-respected Paul Roos now retired after a very successful 8 years in the senior coach’s position, the reigns were handed down to his former assistant, John “Horse” Longmire. It had been six years since the Swans won a Premiership and with many of its Premiership players retired or retiring, many critics did not give the youngsters on the 2011 playlist much chance to make the finals series. As usual, the Swans showed their “Bloods” spirit and proved the naysayers wrong and we made it as far as the second week of the finals, finishing sixth on the ladder. Not a bad effort at all. Go Swans!
Twelve months ago this week, I dared to annoy and bore my friends and family by starting a blog and then making them read it. It all began because I had always wanted to write and, quite frankly, I was not about to be outdone by my then-seven-year-old nephew who had started his own blog, Kids’ Movie Guide. This is now my 44th post on this site, not counting the two travelogues I wrote for my photo blog Thursday Has A View which I created in March 2011.
It has been a long time since I read my earlier posts but when I look back at the titles of the earliest writings, there is no doubt they were all about how I could put a funny and positive spin on my work life which was pretty much making me miserable. A friend of mine said she liked that my posts were always so positive. The reality was that by writing, I was forcing myself to focus on the positives rather than the negative things that were motivating me to vent in public.
It was exactly two years ago, on March 18, 2009, that I joined the Twitterverse. I know exactly why I joined and what I was doing when I signed up. I was watching the Ellen DeGeneres Show. She had been talking about Twitter a few times and I finally got curious about it. Other people had mentioned it before as well. I already had a Facebook account but at the time was barely using it. But I decided to try Twitter anyway. I signed up but I had no followers (sounds a little cult-ish, doesn’t it?) and I didn’t know what to do. I assume everyone started out searching for celebrities to follow. I know I did. Then somehow I learnt a few other things like using hashtags (#), how to send public messages to people (@) and private/direct messages (D). In the beginning, I didn’t tweet much. I hardly even logged in.
My Tweet Stats
So what changed in February 2010 to cause me to start tweeting madly (well, to me, at that time it seemed like I was tweeting madly at 154 tweets for the month!)? The answer is quite simple: I discovered White Collar. To my now-dedicated and loyal group of friends/followers, you will understand exactly what this means. To those who aren’t, I won’t judge you but you are missing out! 😀 Now, you may say “but the show started in October 2009! What were you doing all this time?” Well, it didn’t air in Australia till a couple of months after the US so I did catch on a little later but once I caught the bug, I caught it BIG…viral proportions! As they say, better late than never! Continue reading →
In a society currently bringing the subject of bullying front and centre of our consciousness, it seems to me a timely reminder that it is easier to be kind than to be cruel. The old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is certainly not true, especially in cyber-age when unkind words are all that may be required to push a person over the edge and cause irreparable damage. As of the time of writing, there is a “train wreck” fascination with the ranting and raving of actor Charlie Sheen, who apparently never learnt the adage about not biting the hand that feeds you. Amongst the recipients of his wordy attacks is the creator of the TV show, of which he is paid millions per episode to star in. Thankfully, creator Chuck Lorre, is taking the high road and opted to use his vanity cards to let his thoughts be heard. You can read Mr Lorre’s replies on his site, Chuck Lorre Productions – the Official Vanity Card Archives (and in case you missed my earlier post to explain the name of my blog, yes, I named it after his) – of note are Card#329 and most recently, Card #334. I’m sure you’ll enjoy following these as they unfold as much as I do.
But I don’t want to dwell on the negativity of using words.
I woke up a little grumpy this morning, after only getting about 4 or 5 hours sleep. Yes, it was self-inflicted pain as I stayed up later than I should talking to friends on Twitter – what am I supposed to do when we live in different timezones? Chatting with my gal Lena Lamoray about her photography work and interviewing the latest crop of hot actors in the US (and darl, if you ever send me with a press pass to Comic Con on Matt Bomer/Tim DeKay stalking duties I would go at the drop of a hat and be forever in your debt!), reading the latest blog post by Claire, my fellow White Collar fangirl from Perth and who also has been editor/proof-reader of my stories, and generally trying to work on my next blog are all time-consuming and result in sleep deprivation. Sleep be damned when their long-distance friendship and encouraging words have inspired me to do things that may ultimately, hopefully, be a positive change to my future.
My regular readers and Twitter followers know that sometimes when I get obsessed with something, I can get too carried away, regardless of what that something might be. There is no denying that my obsession for the last 12 months has been a TV show called White Collar, its stars and writers. I tweet about them, blog about them, and of course, talk about them. Incessantly. My opinions on all things WC-related are often so strong that when someone says something negative about them, I feel the need to publicly defend them. At the same time, if there was something I did not like, such as one of the episodes that aired a couple of weeks ago, I did not shy away from going into lengthy discussions with my fellow Collars, detailing every plot hole we could identify (quite frankly, because we know the show so well that we were able to spot the plot holes from a mile away) and offering possible explanations for what went wrong.
So, this particular obsessive (and possibly very shallow) behaviour aside, it brought to mind the question of why we care so much about some things and so little about others? As I write, the major news items around the world involve the Christchurch earthquake (as discussed in my blog “When Tragedy Strikes We Pull Together“) and the continuing turmoil in Libya.
In case you didn’t know, today is Chinese New Year. It marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit. Now, before you go asking me what that means, let me just say I have no idea…will it be a good year? Well, there are a lot of people in this world so I’m sure it is bound to be a good year for at least one person, right? 🙂
As is tradition, I got a red packet (or “lucky money”) from my parents. For the first time this year, I would not be getting one from my Grandmother since she passed away recently (In Loving Memory for my Grandmother). The very thought threatened to bring tears to my eyes but I was determined that I would not start the new year with tears, but rather, I was going to remind myself of the many blessings in my life. And it would seem that I am not the only one to be thankful for my friends of late.
This next story I am telling does not belong to me but it makes me happy telling it just the same. You see, earlier this week, my favourite actor, Matt Bomer (star of White Collar) was appearing on US late night TV talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live. All of us Collars are excited at every opportunity that we get to see Matt. So needless to say it was very exciting for us fans seeing him promoting our favourite show, but of course, not everyone can get to L.A. to meet the man himself. And this is where having great friends makes me “squee”…you see, Christine Antonios could not make it to L.A. to meet Matt in person, but two of her friends were kind enough to go, and here is the best part. Not only did they get to meet Matt outside the studios, but they went, armed with a handmade sign for Matt to hold so they could photograph him with it…and below is the result:
Matt Bomer holding a sign in support of my fellow Bo-mite Christine Antonios
For most of the past 18 Christmases, the special day was celebrated at my sister’s house. Although not so much the biggest fans of dinner parties, my sister and brother-in-law would host the Christmas Day lunch as they had the biggest house to accommodate both sides of the family. Lunch was traditionally the good ole Aussie BBQ with a touch of side salads and variety of cold meats and the like – the usual fare that would leave you thankful for wearing pants or skirts with elastic waistbands. Cleaning up was always the “fun” part and that was another good reason to have the luncheon at my sister’s since they have a dishwasher (I, on the other hand, AM the dishwasher). My sister has two pieces of household machinery that she swears she cannot live without: the washing machine and the dishwasher (I suppose you could say the refrigerator is pretty important too but if the fridge dies you could just eat out). So it came as no surprise that she went into hyper-crazed mode when her dishwasher died just before Christmas a few years ago.
That year, I spent Christmas Eve at my sister’s and she suddenly proclaimed: “My God! My God! Why have you abandoned me?” Now, I have to point out that I am from a pretty spiritual and religious family, so for her to say that was pretty serious (for the non-Christians who may not be familiar with this phrase, these were the words uttered by Jesus Christ at his Crucifixion)! So I stopped and reminded her that there were people in the world who were homeless or had no family to celebrate Christmas with and that a broken-down dishwasher would be the least of their worries!