Fandoms, Updated

Hi all. In the first few months of this blog, I posted about my fandoms. It’s a category all of itself on this blog because I’m a voracious reader who also watches a few different shows/ movies from time to time. I thought it was time to redo the actual fandoms post, instead of just editing the original – as I’ve done a few times.

Image taken from the header of this post via Google. Image is white writing on black text and reads: keep calm and join fandoms

Potential spoilers in the links and also a content note as I have to mention why I’m glad the Dr Blake Mysteries was removed from the ABC.

The link to the original is here. In it, I describe my love of Harry Potter (JK Rowling), Tortall and Emelan (Tamora Pierce), and a huge list of others, ranging from the well-known to the more obscure.

I’ll get to the old favourites in a minute, but first I want to celebrate two new ones. The first one is a series which has its first book in my original fandoms post. I’ve now read the second and discovered that not only is there a third book due out this month, but that the collection has a name: introducing the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers. The two books so far are A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and A Closed and Common Orbit, and the third book that’ll be released soon is Record of a Spaceborn Few. I can’t wait! Becky Chambers has a really good way of worldbuilding her stories, and the story of how she became published is interesting. Books in the series have won some prestigious awards as well.

The second series I am adding to my Fandoms wall is, as promised, The Chaos Walking. I gushed about it a bit under a month ago, but I really like the character development of Patrick Ness’ stories, and the way he asks questions about human nature.

I’m going to also promote The Moorehawke Trilogy here, because while it was first placed in the “read once, really liked it, searched for more” section of this post, seeing it on the list made me realise I hadn’t done the final part of that. Celine Kiernan has other works out too, and judging from my memory of Moorehawke, they should be good.

Now, onto the “old favourites and other things” section of this post.

I separated Harry Potter and both of Tamora Pierce’s series from the rest because I think that they’re the ones I keep returning to. HP was my first major (second remembered) fandom and I love it for that, and the depth of many characters, and the idea of the magical world existing beside our own. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to critique it, when I see ways it could be better.

Tamora Pierce’s Tortall and Emelan worlds are put here because they’re fun mediaeval fantasy – that has lots of diversity, magic, and deep world-building. The Tortall world has had some new books come out relatively recently: Tortall: A Spy’s Guide and Tempests and Slaughter (book 1 of the latest series, the Numair Chronicles). I engage with her series’  critically as well, when I need to.

Some of the series on the original list I liked more when I was a teenager than perhaps now. I’ll still enjoy them if I pick them up but perhaps some of that is nostalgia.  LIke Rangers Apprentice, Deltora Quest, Rowan of Rin series, Rondo trilogy, Saddle Club, Warriors, and books by particular authors like Roald Dahl and Jackie French.

Some titles on the list, I’ll keep being involved in the fandom even if they’re not my primary ones at present. Most of the ones on the list fall into this category: Star WarsStar TrekHunger Games, DivergentTo Kill a Mockingbird, LotR and The Hobbit, His Dark Materials, Doctor WhoChronicles of Narnia* and Call the Midwife. Also to a certain extent it includes ones I read/watched once and liked, and maybe looked at the other works by the authors for a time: Earth’s Children series,  New Tricks, Vera, Dr Blake Mysteries*.

Two in that list have asterisks next to them because as I’ve mentioned before, I enjoy my fandoms with a critical eye, and for those two, in particular, there are parts of their stories that are uncomfortable. With Narnia, it’s CS Lewis’ treatment of Susan in the later books that gets my goat (as well as certain preachy elements). With Dr Blake Mysteries it’s that, while the show was fairly decent (especially series 1-3, and parts of series 5), the actor who played Dr Blake (Craig McLachlan) turned out to be Not Nice behind the scenes. (There was a big expose on that at the start of this year/ end of last year.)

 

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More Concerts!

Last night’s concert went well if I do say so myself. Go LaTUCS!

We realised at the dress rehearsal the night before that we performed our 2017 May concert on exactly the same date! Funny coincidence.

Now I have to refocus back to uni, but there are other concerts by other university choirs happening soon. I’ll see the ROCS one, Internet Through the Ages, next week on Saturday evening. In fact, there are several concerts happening next weekend as well as this one.

EDITED to add: Queensland University Choral Society (QUMS) are holding a concert with the The 810 Clarinet Quartet, The University of Queensland Chamber Choir and The Stuartholme Singers this Saturday 2nd June, in Brisbane: Colin Brumby, A Retrospective. Sounds fun!

Over in Perth, they’re presenting, “Invictus: Freedom is Coming” on 17th June, back by popular demand after the first concert sold out! So get tickets quickly.

If you’re in Sydney, you can go to the Greenway Series and see Sydney University Choral Society (SUMS) and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on June 1st and 2nd. You could also go to Violets in Her Lap, a performance by Sydney University Madrigals Society (MADS), the following weekend (June 9th).

Adelaide University Choral Society (AUCS) are performing Faure Requiem on June 1st. Incidentally, they’re also hosting the next Intervarsity Choral Festival, Adelaide IV 2019, in January next year. They’re holding a movie fundraiser tomorrow (May 26th) – a screening of the new movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Also tomorrow is a concert from the ANU Choral Society (SCUNA) in Canberra, Four Seasons by Haydn.

Finally, in Ballarat, the 2nd Year Music Theatre group of FedUni are in the middle of perfoming a set of shows called, The Wide Blue. There are still tickets available for tonight and tomorrow afternoon!

Chookas to all the performing people. I love concert season!

What now for Manus?

Urrrrgh.

I bloody hate this situation.

I’ve made phone-calls, including to Peter Dutton MP (Minister for Immigration and Border Protection). I’ve also sent an email to my local member, Bill Shorten MP (Opposition Leader) and Shayne Neumann MP (Shadow Minister for Immigration).

See that below. This sickens me…. and I feel so hopeless and helpless about it.

Check out the statement from Shadow Minister for Immigration here:  http://shayneneumann.com.au/news/immigration-and-border-protection/former-manus-island-regional-processing-centre/ A lot more mealy-mouthed than I’d hoped for. Luckily I saw it when looking up his contact details and could address the icky bits in my email (they’re the bits in red). In the email, when I speak of the “current situation” I’m referring to the situation today. The angle I took was influenced by a phone-chat I had with a staffer from Shayne Neumann’s office.

 

Dear Mr David Feeney MP, Mr Shayne Neumann MP and Mr Bill Shorten MP,

My name is Clare Keogh and I am a young university student living in [suburb], Victoria. I am deeply concerned about the situation on Manus Island that has been unfolding for several weeks and escalated today. I am also keeping the people detained on Nauru in my thoughts, as they should not be forgotten either.
I know that the current situation is not Labor’s doing and that the centres, when Labor restarted them, was intended to be used for regional processing rather than indefinite detention. 
 
However, the fact remains that the current situation is not the responsibility of PNG but of Australia. There have been reports of AFP involvement in today’s crisis on Nauru, after all. 
 
By what right are the men’s phones being seized? By what right are their few belongings being taken and destroyed? By what right have their only means of getting water and shelter been destroyed? By what right has their access to even the most basic medical aid and food been removed? Why has Behrouz Boochani been arrested?
 
I understand that, as you are in Opposition, it makes it harder to make concrete change. But you and your colleagues should speak up about the situation still. Perhaps you are advocating for them behind closed doors. Can you explain, concretely, how? 
 
I am particularly concerned by some of the information that has been presented in the statement produced by Mr Neumann an hour ago: 
 

The situation at the closed Manus Island RPC could have been avoided if Malcolm Turnbull was clear from the start about refugees’ access to essential services at the alternative accommodation in PNG.

Turnbull has a moral obligation to work with PNG to deescalate tensions and guarantee the ongoing safety and security of these people.

Labor accepts that the former Manus Island RPC has closed as the result of a decision of the Supreme Court of PNG.

The men at the closed centre need to relocate to alternative accommodation – such as East Lorengau – to access security, health and welfare services.

Footage and reports from advocates who have visited the East Lorengau site make clear that the “alternative accommodation” at East Lorengau is not ready. No water, toilets, or showers. No power. Inadequate shelter for the tropical conditions. No security and no safety. The locals do not want them there. After all, Manus Island is a tiny part of PNG, with scarce resources for the local population.
 
Has anyone from Labor attempted to go and see conditions for themselves? Where has this idea that the offered alternative accommodation is acceptable come from? Why is the onus on the men to move there, rather than the violence to stop? The men have been asking us to listen to them about this. Why are you ignoring their voices? 
 
 
Nauru is also a small place that is struggling to care for all of its people. Yet today I heard news of a new contract being given to Canstruct to build more facilities (described as “garrison-type”) for those held there. There are children and vulnerable women on Nauru. Can nothing be done for them? 
I thought Australia was better than this. It makes me sick at heart to think of this going on, when it would be so much cheaper and more humane to fulfil our international and moral obligations and either bring them here or resettle them in another country who are willing and able to take them – like New Zealand – while working with other countries in the region to create a viable long-term solution. 
 
The idea that these measures are in place to “save lives at sea” or “protecting Australian borders” is rubbish. There are far cheaper and better ways of preventing people risking lives on boats to Australia, like investing in real regional dialogue and processing, providing support and resources to countries, like Malaysia and Indonesia, where the boats set out from. 
 
The current situation is a punitive measure created to encourage asylum seekers to think that going to Australia is worse than staying where they are. Now that has led to desperate people being treated like animals, denied even the most basic human rights. 
 
Please do something. This is a major sticking point for myself and many others in terms of voting. More than that, making a stand is the right thing to do. Have some political courage, listen to those who are experiencing the crisis, and act, please. The situation has gone on for far too long! 
 
If you reply, please don’t use an automated response but something real. 

Marriage Equality Essay

Last year I took a subject as an elective called Sex, Gender, Identity. It was an introductory subject that encouraged us to explore different aspects of those three things and how “the personal is political” (original quote author unknown). The final assignment for the subject was an essay which we could choose the topic from a list. I chose to examine marriage – the feminist critiques and marriage equality movement. The resulting essay gained me the highest mark I’ve ever received on an assignment. But more importantly, the research I did educated me about the topics and reaffirmed my stance on the issue. Below is an edited version of that essay. Please read.

I’ll note that I’m in a privileged position in writing this article. I’ve been raised in a heterosexual environment, I’m in a heterosexual relationship and I’ve had to learn about these things second-hand. So these are my opinions backed by evidence collected from academic sources as well as personal ones.

 

Marriage: an institution which involves formal recognition of the union of two people, conferring legitimacy on an intimate relationship (3). This formal recognition usually grants a range of social, religious and legal benefits, rights and responsibilities (3) and has existed in some form for centuries (14). At the moment, the most easily-recognised and legitimised marriage is monogamous and opposite-sex – it’s still considered the norm. Challenging this norm, same-sex marriages have begun to be recognised in many countries after the hard work and activism of advocates. For many, this is a positive step for LGBTIQA+ people and society as the gains are seen to outweigh potential negatives. However, other activists are not as sure, as they take a more radical view that marriage should be either changed completely or left behind together. I investigated these two competing discourses and drew conclusions for this piece.

Firstly, the positives. 🙂 It has been suggested that access to marriage is tied, metaphorically and/or physically, to full citizenship rights in society (9). Also, as the phrase, “equal before the law” suggests, in democracies, the law is a place where all citizens should be equal (8). Hence, marriage is seen as a pathway to acceptance and legitimacy, a way of demonstrating that what people feel for each other is real and valuable. A chance to throw a big party and show how much they love each other. The exclusion of LGBTIQA+ people could be and has been argued to be an intolerable discriminatory practice. It has been suggested that in order for LGBTIQA+ rights to advance, all formal barriers to full equality must be overcome (2)(4) before or while other steps are taken – like fixing anti-discrimination laws (10). Due to the prominence of marriage in society, it can be seen as symbolic of other rights and some have argued that governments which do not afford equal respect of and protections for both LGBTIQA+ and heterosexual intimate relationships enable and participate in systemic homophobia and heterosexism (4). It has also been argued that this inequality harms LGBTIQA+ people in substantial, material ways – from subtle exclusion to violence (1)(2)(4). I agree with this – I’ve read very compelling personal accounts from people over the last few weeks and before that (not to mention hearing the lived experiences of my friends) which demonstrate the truth of it (6) (11). I also agree with the contention that one way of combatting the harms is to work towards full equality, including in marriage, for all regardless of sexuality. Research shows that there are particular social, legal and psychological benefits to this.

Marriage can reinforce partnership bonds, facilitate parenting and generate levels of social support for those who participate (7). LGBTIQA+ participation in marriage widens the scope of marriage norms, as non-traditional roles and practices are expressed, intentionally or otherwise (1)(7), providing additional choices and freedoms. For example, with children. It could be said that the very presence of LGBTIQA+ people and families in so-called public spheres changes and destabilises the unconsciously accepted heteronormative view (1) of society. Hmm, maybe that’s why the conservatives get so grumpy about it. Well, they can suck it up, because change is a thing that happens. Changes to societal views of family and so on include what is seen as normal by children – everything from the gender of their parents and/or extended family members, to how gendered or egalitarian their household is. Research shows that in observing and learning about these practices and by educating each other, children become directors of change (1). After all, we’re products of where we come from, influenced by the personal world(s) we inhabit. And if those worlds are more equitable, so much the better. The presence of children also highlights discriminatory practices which occur within the current system which privileges marriage, particularly heterosexual marriage, over other relationships (4). To many LGBTIQA+ people, the idea of only being allowed something separate-and-different to marriage does not work if it’s not seen as legally and emotionally equal to it. Even if/when marriage alternatives were given equal rights, benefits, protections and obligations as marriage, it can be argued that LGBTIQA+ people are still discriminated against simply because they’re still unable to choose between marriage, a civil partnership, or something else (14).

But what about the feminist/queer case against marriage? Feminists have criticised marriage as being oppressive to women due to patriarchal structures of power for many years (14). These power structures are those which reinforce a socially conservative breadwinner model (5) – an opposite-sex relationship of mandated monogamy, working husband and dependent wife bearing the brunt of housework and child-rearing (9). If you think about it, this model has been – and still is – at the core of public policy for some time (5)(15). Non-traditional families – such as single parents, mixed-race partnerships, and LGBTIQA+ families – challenge the model. You can tell this from the way conservatives react. However, I’ve read concerns about whether the model is really being challenged (15). There’s an argument that marriage equality campaigns are being turned into binary debates of for and against. These leave little room for valid critiques of the social and economic institutions of marriage, and how the societal privileging of marriage marginalises other intimate relationships (9)(13). The argument continues that while the potential benefits of marriage should be recognised, the next or concurrent step should be to push for those rights to be expanded to all intimate consensual relationships. There’s a risk, activists argue, that not doing this would go against hard-fought-for feminist freedoms (12) and create a new tiered system within the LGBTIQA+ community of the socially acceptable marrieds held above the rest of the queers. This could lead to a reinforcing of conservative heteronormative marriage ideas, merely expanded slightly.

Despite this, there’s no question that many LGBTIQA+ people do want to get married (4), even as they recognise its pitfalls. Marriage as an institution isn’t necessarily seen as a good thing – but the equality before the law is (2). Marriage is a complex institution and we should resist the urge to press it into one box or another (5). If and when marriage equality becomes reality, then the contradiction of being separate-but-equal (13) is removed. It then becomes a choice for all, heterosexual and LGBTIQA+ alike, as to whether we’ll participate in marriage and how we could or would change the institution for the better. As it currently stands, some of the population have only a restricted choice and how is that choice then free or fair? Alongside this, we then work for the expansion of legal and economic protections, currently enshrined in marriage, to all relationships so that all intimate consensual relationships are valued (5). We could even go further and ensure that welfare rights are fair for all regardless of relationship, employment and monetary status (5). This then challenges the conservative understanding that defending the rights of women, LGBTIQA+ and other marginalised groups undermines committed caring relationships. At the same time, it dismantles the patriarchal heteronormative one-size-fits-all approach and works towards a more caring society, away from the outdated universal breadwinner model to a universal caregiver one. In this latter model, LGBTIQA+ people would be just as accepted for caregivers and caregiving as heterosexuals (5). This opens up possibilities for greater awareness on and attention to other intersectional issues. After all, attending to one issue does not prevent us from working on others and “those of us who are interested in fighting for justice and the flourishing of sentient beings in any of these contexts should be interested in fighting for justice in all of these contexts” (4, p. 77).

 

In other words, I’m in favour of marriage equality, as I’ve previously discussed. Btw, for me, my religious beliefs influence that view positively, as I’ve mentioned before as well. I’ll be unpacking that side of the argument soon too. If the postal survey goes ahead I’ll be participating in it and voting yes. I hope if you’re an Australian reading this that you will too.

If the postal survey goes ahead I’ll be participating in it and voting yes. I hope if you’re an Australian reading this that you will too.

 

References (these got a little muddled when rewriting this into a post, but I’d really encourage you to check them out):

  1. Bernstein, M. (2015). Same-Sex Marriage and the Future of the LGBT Movement. Gender & Society, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 321–337, DOI: 10.1177/0891243215575287
  2. Bevacqua, M. (2004). Feminist Theory and the Question of Lesbian and Gay Marriage. Feminism & Psychology, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 36–40, DOI: 10.1177/0959-353504040300
  3. Budgeon, S. (2009). Marriage, in Encyclopaedia of Gender and Society, O’Brien J, (ed.), vol. 2, Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, pp. 505-508.
  4. Callahan, J, 2009, ‘Same-Sex Marriage: Why It Matters—At Least for Now’, Hypatia, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 70-81.
  5. Ferguson, A, 2007, ‘Gay Marriage: An American and Feminist Dilemma’, Hypatia, vol. 27, no. 1, pp.39-57.
  6. Gadsby, H. (2017, August 17). “Probably a good time to repost my anti-plebiscite piece…” Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fhannahgadsbycomedy%2Fposts%2F10155675309518000
  7. Green, AI, 2010, ‘Same-Sex Marriage: Lesbian and Gay Spouses Marrying Tradition and Innovation’, Canadian Journal of Sociology, vol.35 no. 3, pp.399-436. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org.ez.library.latrobe.edu.au/stable/canajsocicahican.35.3.399
  8. Harrison, JB, 2015, ‘At Long Last Marriage’, Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law, vol. 24, no. 1, pp.1-60.
  9. Josephson, J, 2005, ‘Citizenship, Same-Sex Marriage, and Feminist Critiques of Marriage’, Perspectives on Politics, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 269-284.
  10. Lawrie, A. (2017, July 29). A quick guide to Australian LGBTI anti-discrimination laws [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://alastairlawrie.net/2017/07/29/a-quick-guide-to-australian-lgbti-anti-discrimination-laws/
  11. Lawrie, A. (2017, August 9). 2,756 Days. Frustration and love [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://alastairlawrie.net/2017/08/09/2756-days-frustration-and-love/
  12. Marso LJ, 2010, ‘Marriage and Bourgeois Respectability’, Politics & Gender, vol. 6, no. 1, pp.145-53, DOI: 10.1017/S1743923X09990572
  13. Merin, Y, 2002a, ‘Chapter 2: The Changing Institution of Marriage and the Exclusion of Same-Sex Couples’, in Equality for Same-Sex Couples, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 6-60.
  14. Merin, Y, 2002b, ‘Chapter 10: Alternatives to Marriage and the Doctrine of “Separate but Equal” ’, in Equality for Same-Sex Couples, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 278-307.
  15. Wilson AR, 2010, ‘Feminism and Same-Sex Marriage: Who Cares?’, Politics & Gender, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 134-145, DOI: 10.1017/S1743923X09990560
  16. Young, C & Boyd, S, 2006, ‘Losing the Feminist Voice? Debates on the Legal Recognition of Same Sex Partnerships in Canada’, Feminist Legal Studies, vol. 14, pp. 213–240, DOI 10.1007/s10691-006-9028-8.

 

#MIV2018 Update: Registration is OPEN! 

I’m so excited right now. If you’re interested, follow the links below from the email I received overnight. I’ll be doing that tonight after placement. It’s going to be a blast. Come along!

____________________________________


From the Convenors’ desk…

Hi groovers,

Exciting things are happening in Melbourne. At our AGM a few weeks ago we welcomed Cameron, Gemma and Justina to the committee and we’re glad to have them on board.

And now, for the news you’ve all been waiting for. We are so incredibly excited to announce that registrations for MIV 2018 are officially open!


Register now for the festival and secure your place in the Summer of 69.
We can’t wait to see you – there’s only 6 months to go!

Peace and love,
Alex and El xoxo

Reblog: Resolutions: Good or Bad

I find resolutions interesting. As I commented on Noelle’s post (linked below),

I like ones that are “commitments to try”, so to speak. You know they’re goals and things you’d like to do, but they’re not “have-tos”.

Setting unattainable resolutions can lead to trouble or so it seems – we gain only negative emotions when we revert to old habits after promising to keep to a path for a year.

I remind myself that these are goals, to be practiced and worked on during the year but not mandatory.

With that in mind, some ones for this year are:

  • Do well in my Masters coursework etc.
    – Ask for help if I need it and monitor myself so that the changes of this year don’t cause my grades to drop.
  • To listen twice as much as I speak;
    –   I’ll be addressing this in more depth later, but as I’m a talker and social person who also is a “Feeler” (high F in Myers-Briggs, for example), I worry about my ratio of talking to listening. So I’m working on it.
  • Alongside the above is my want to actively practice my Feeling
    –   Again, I’ll explain in another post, but cultivating my empathetic presence is important to me. These first two are very connected.
  • To get back into blogging
    – I fell off a regular blogging schedule a bit over the second half of 2016, but I’d like to be more consistent.
  • To get back into writing my story.
    – I’ve done quite a lot of backstory-work but haven’t actually done any story-writing for a while. I need to get back into that.
  • To be more active and finding more walking spaces.
    –   I’m not naturally a person who gets active, as I’m not sporty. But I like nature and I like walking and I know I ought to be sitting less. I’m not interested in overdoing it though, as I’m skinny enough as it is.

Idea taken from the post linked below:

What are your thoughts on setting New Years Resolutions? Have you completed yours in the past or are you one of those who forgets what they are? Come read about the good and the bad of setting reso…

Source: {DISCUSSION} Resolutions: Good or Bad

#BringThemHere

https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/refugees/bringthemhere/upload-your-own-bringthemhere-message

I did this yesterday:

ESP Bring-Them-Here_photo 1.jpg
The Equality, Sustainability & Peace (ESP) Group at La Trobe says: #BringThemHere!

We stand with those on Manus and Nauru – we love you and support you. It’s past time for the government to stop stuffing around and close the camps. Set up some humane processes, open up onshore and offshore detention centres and #bringthemhere to #letthemstay.

Momentum is building – join us!

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/aug/17/this-is-critical-103-nauru-and-manus-staff-speak-out-their-letter-in-full?CMP=share_btn_tw

 

 

 

“Access to Fashion” Show

Screenshot of the image header for the event: it's purplish-mauve with white writing saying

Hi all. My friend Carly Findlay is organising a fashion show as part of Melbourne Fashion Week in September. I love the idea! Disability is very underrepresented in fashion and in the media. From the ticket link:

Access to Fashion – Disability on the Runway is a Melbourne Fashion Week event that endeavours to solve the pervasive issue of disability exclusion in the fashion industry. The event which will be comprised of a panel discussion and runway show featuring disabled models, and will emphasise the need for accessibility and authentic representation, and highlight change makers and activists within the disabled community.”

The event aims to “make a statement about disability access and inclusion” as well as showcasing “disability pride – disabled people coming together to celebrate themselves and each other”.

This is a topic close to my heart. It sounds like it’ll be a lot of fun, and tickets are cheap. Only $15 for a bit over two hours of fashion – there’ll be a parade, then some nibbles and a panel discussion. The event is accessible, with wheelchair access, Auslan or open captions and hearing loop. Buy your ticket here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/access-to-fashion-disability-on-the-runway-tickets-46837473143 

The Melbourne Fashion Week link to the event is here: https://mfw.melbourne.vic.gov.au/event/access-to-fashion/ 

It’ll be held at Library at The Dock, Victoria Harbour Promenade, Docklands VIC, Australia.

See more information about the event on the website, here:  http://disabilityontherunway.blogspot.com/ 

Contribute to the fundraiser to help make the event a success here:  https://www.gofundme.com/access-to-fashion (you can also contribute time, resources and sponsorship – see the main details link above!)

There’s a Facebook event too. See here.

It’s exciting!

Tomatoey Lentils and Veg with Rice

I made this last week but unfortunately didn’t written anything down until I wrote this post, not even a title or recipe link saved on my phone. So I’ve had to take a bit of a guess at things.

Ingredients:

  • Onion
  • Tomato paste
  • Water/ vegetable stock
  • Vegetables – e.g. bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mushroom
  • Rice
  • Lentils
  • Spicy sauce (optional – just something I had in the fridge, consists of a stir-fry sauce with chilli and garlic and mixed herbs)

Tools:

  • frying pan
  • saucepan
  • kitchen spoon
  • cutlery and crockery

Method:

  1. Chop onion and vegetables
  2. Put lentils in the saucepan on a low heat, in water. Add chilli sauce if desired and cook.
  3. Fry onion and mushroom in the pan until onion is soft and mushrooms are starting to turn golden.
  4. Add other vegetables and fry for a minute or two, then add mixed herbs and tomato paste with vegetable stock.
  5. Let simmer until vegetables are done (sauce will reduce, so top up with extra water as needed.).
  6. While vegetables are simmering, add noodles to a pot of boiling water and let cook.
  7. When vegetables are almost ready, add lentils into the pan and stir to combine.
  8. When noodles are finished, drain them and tip into the pan with the vegetables and lentils.
  9. I “fry-steamed” a couple of Brussels sprouts to go with this, just because I felt like it. They take 8 or so minutes in a small frypan.
  10. You’re ready to serve. This will make leftovers.

Flavoured Chops with Veggies and Noodles

Hi all. Here’s another recipe post.

The other night, I had chops, veg and noodles. I started out with a simple idea of dusting the chops with mixed herbs, then frying them with some garlic. A usual thing for me. But when it came time to cook, I didn’t want to have steamed veggies with it. So I did things a bit differently.

In a deep black frying pan are chops in a red tomatoey sauce with carrots, corn, bok choi and cauliflower with noodles stirred through

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 small chops
  • 1 clove garlic*
  • 1 tsp dried ginger*
    NB. Or whatever variations of garlic and ginger you have.
  • 2-3 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1/4x onion
  • different veggies – as you can see in the picture, I used carrot, cauliflower, corn and bok choi
  • Water
  • Tomato paste (to taste)
  • 1x serving of noodles
  • Cooking oil

Tools:

  • 1x frying pan
  • 1x small saucepan
  • 1x kitchen spoon
  • 2-3 teaspoons
  • 1x tongs
  • cutlery and crockery for plating & eating

Method:

  1. Chop vegetables, onion.  and garlic clove.
  2. Take chops out of its packaging and chop off excess fat
  3. Fry the onion with garlic and ginger for a couple of minutes in oil.
  4. While this occurs, scatter a teaspoon (roughly) of mixed herbs onto each chop and ensure both sides are coated.
  5. Fry chops in oil with the garlic, ginger and onion.
  6. When both sides are browned, turn heat to low and add chopped vegetables.
  7. Give that another minute or two, then add water mixed with tomato paste. This shouldn’t cover the vegetables or meat but just create a nice sauce for them.
  8. Cook noodles in boiling water. Once done, stir them through the frying pan mixture.
  9. Plate up and eat.

Yum!

 

Life, and…

Hi all.

I’m writing this on Sunday evening after a nice weekend. Fun, but tiring.

I spent Sunday afternoon reading through a book called Space Opera. It is Eurovision in space, where the stakes are high and Earth’s hopes for their first (and possibly last!) entry rest on a couple of misfits.

Utter ridiculousness ensues, with the small semblance of plot finding time to make broad geopolitical commentary amidst heady descriptions and a dizzying pace.

I expected a light-hearted romp featuring a starry-eyed main star and got a tragicomedy drama with a bunch of cynics. Also, unexpectedly, quite a lot of feels.

Hoping that this week’s literature search for the project is a bit easier than last week’s.

I’m halfway through my second-last uni subject! Wow!

 

Meatloaf with mushroom sauce

This week has been busy! Yesterday was a real doozy. Something that keeps me grounded is my cooking.

On Monday evening, my partner came over and we made a meatloaf with mushroom sauce, steamed veg and noodles. It was really good.

Ingredients:

  • 2x serves of mince (we used 1x roo mince and 1x Adani Kofte-flavoured mince) – about 200g?
  • 1 egg
  • breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp of Vegemite (or equivalent malt/ yeast spread)
  • 4-6 button mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/4x onion
  • vegetable stock
  • cooking oil
  • extra veg, for steaming
  • noodles or another carb, to serve

Tools:

  • 1x medium to large mixing bowl
  • 2x kitchen spoon/ spatula/ stirrer
  • 1x baking tray
  • 1x steamer pot
  • 1x saucepan

Method:

  1. Mix mince, breadcrumbs, egg and 1 tsp Vegemite in the bowl.
    NB.   You can add extra flavourings (e.g. mixed herbs, garlic) and/or extra veg (e.g. carrots/ celery/ zucchini, chopped finely), but I had no carrots in the house, and as we were using already-flavoured mince, extras weren’t really needed.
    NB#2. The Vegemite tip came from my dad – it gives the meatloaf a really nice subtle “extra” flavour.
  2. Drizzle a baking tray with oil, or cover it with baking paper. Shape the mince mixture into a rough log/ loaf and place onto the tray, then into the oven it goes. We put it in for 35 minutes.
  3. Chop the veggies for steaming then place them in the steamer pot. They’ll take about 15 minutes to cook – remember to time it so that they’ll finish at the same time as the meatloaf.
  4. Prepare the noodles for cooking and time this to the finishing time of the others.
  5. The last task is to make the mushroom sauce/ gravy. You’ll want to chop up the mushrooms quite finely and dice the onion.
  6. Put these into a pan over medium heat and let simmer for a few minutes, stirring, until the mushrooms start turning golden. Add either a tsp of Vegemite or a dash of soy sauce in at this point.
  7. Keep stirring and add a bit of flour, then veggie stock, then flour, then stock. Do this until you’ve reached your desired consistency, depending on whether you’re making a sauce or a gravy.
  8. When everything is ready, serve it up and dig in!

 

Spicy black bean and mushroom stew

Hi all. This was last night’s dinner – I was very pleased with it. It was a case of “a little of this, a little of that”, made using a few things I had in the fridge and pantry. It made two servings – so I’ll get to enjoy it again another day. Yay!

On a white plate with green rim are the pasta with the stew on top - you can see the black beans, cauli, Brussel sprouts and peanuts clearly

Ingredients:

  • 1x can of black beans, drained
  • 3x Brussel sprouts (1 large, 2 smaller)
  • 1x large floret of cauliflower
  • 2x choy sum leaves
  • 6x button mushrooms, small to medium sizes
  • 1/3x onion
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • A generous amount of chilli (whatever suits your spice levels)
  • A dash of pepper
  • A sprinkling or two of mixed herbs (mixed herbs go with everything!)
  • A glug of honey-soy sauce
  • 1 – 1&1/4 cups of veggie stock
  • Oil for frying
  • Optional: a sprinkling of fish sauce and a dollop of oyster sauce (I used these because they were available – if you’re really vegetarian, sub in something else, even another glug of the honey-soy)
  • Optional: a decent handful of peanuts
  • Optional: a couple of dollops of cream or milk
  • pasta (or another carb) to serve with the stew

Tools:

  • 1x large flat-bottomed frying pan
  • 1x kitchen spoon
  • 3x teaspoons
  • 1x strainer
  • 1x small to medium-sized pot

Method:

Note: I tried to watch the clock with this so I could say how long everything took, but I got distracted by the cooking process, cleaning up as I went – and by listening to a podcast from Conversations, which is a regular mealtime activity if I’m by myself. All I know is that cooking took about half an hour all up.

  1. De-shell peanuts, if required and set aside
  2. Chop up mushrooms into very small pieces
  3. Thinly slice the cauliflower and Brussels sprouts and roughly chop the choy sum
  4. Chop onion roughly.
  5. Fry onion in hot oil. After a minute or two, add garlic, ginger and chilli. Stir around to coat the mushrooms and make sure nothing is sticking. Give it a couple of minutes.
  6. After that’s cooked for a bit, dump in the mushrooms and peanuts, if using. Mix around to coat and let them fry for a bit. Maybe five minutes?
  7. Put on the pasta to cook according to packet instructions – if it finishes before the stew, just cover it and turn the heat off.
  8. Next, tip in the drained black beans. Mix them around to allow them to soak up the flavours. Give it a couple of minutes.
  9. Add the sauces and stir, then give it another five minutes or so.
  10. Add the rest of the veg, with the cup of veggie stock. Stir it around and add some mixed herbs and pepper if desired. Cover and let it simmer away for another five minutes or so.
  11. Take the lid off and stir the mixture around. You can add a few dollops of cream (or milk) here if desired – I had some in the fridge thanks to a dinner gathering I went to earlier in the week.
  12. Let it simmer away for another few minutes until the veggies you added in Step 9 are soft and everything is combined nicely.
  13. Serve it up and EAT!

Here is the process in pictures:

“What do I need right now?”

The following link landed in my inbox last night. I needed to hear it. So I’m passing it onto you, in the hope it helps someone else.

Simplify Self-Care 

Week 4 of the project, and I’ve rediscovered one of the more challenging aspects of literature searches: broad topics! Oh well. I’ll be working on that today, and other elements of life are going well.

Here, have a photo of a rainbow I took on the weekend.

a rainbow stands out against dark sky, with trees and green grass in front of it. It's visible through a window.

 

Reblog: Top 5 tips for Living Healthily on a Budget

Check out the latest post from Jack Monroe. I might use their method to do a kitchen audit, and chat more about my thoughts about this, later…. once I’ve made more progress on my project proposal, that is. The flexible deadline is tomorrow (Friday), but given tomorrow’s schedule, I want to get as much as possible done today! So this busy bee needs to get buzzing.

Here, have a picture of one of my latest “creations”: lentils and veg in a store-bought-on-special teriyaki sauce with rice. It was quite nice actually.

On a white plate with green rim sits white rice with lentils and veg in a teriyaki sauce around it on the right side. A fork is partly visible next to the rice.

Whose Priorities?

I was sitting in class earlier today. We were talking about health priorities, on a macro level. I.e. what can governments, organisations, etc. do to increase health and wellbeing? (Rather than what can individuals do themselves?)

There are lots of different initiatives being talked about, and the whys and hows they’re meaningful. If people are interested, then look up sites like VicHealth or the National Health Priorities.

Anyway. During the break, an article about recycling caught my eye. Its basic premise is that households aren’t the biggest source of landfill in Australia – that title goes to comercial and industrial sector. So, how do we make it a “macro-level priority” to reduce waste and increase recycling in the commercial and industrial sectors?

Hmm….