{ Under The Bluegums }

A personal blog with craft tutorials, reviews of books, films, and music, parenting advice, and opinions on society and politics.

December 19, 2011

Breast Cancer Can Happen to Anyone

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A breast cancer awareness campaign was launched in Mozambique by DDB. It shows familiar superheroes giving themselves breast examinations. Breast examinations are a woman's best bet at finding cancer early enough to get treatment.

I love geeky things, so these comic-themed posters are right up my alley.

My concern, however, is that the advertisements may only appeal to a small percentage of women. I don't mean to generalise and assume that most women don't know of or enjoy comics, but isn't there a large proportion of women that may not even notice them?

My other concern is that sex is selling. Once again. Obviously the posters will be ideal wall d├ęcor for the average teenage boy - and adults too - but people will definitely notice them, so I suppose the campaign worked!

They still make my skin crawl a little though...

What do you think of them?

via Laughing Squid

December 11, 2011

Book Review || Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

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I'll admit that my first introduction to Girl With a Pearl Earring was through the movie based on the book starring Scarlet Johanssen. But the movie has nothing on the book.

Delft in the 1600s is described through the eyes of Griet, who is a tilemaker's daughter. She is forced to leave home and work for a wealthier family as a maid after her father loses his sight, and so his job as the family's breadwinner, during an accident at the tile factory. Her new life is tough, but revolves around her attraction to her new master, the artist Vermeer.

The novel is intense, and the descriptions are also rich, textured, and colourful - so much more so than the film. Chevalier's style is addictive - I usually fall asleep reading a book at night, unless it's really good, and I completed it without falling asleep (yay!)

Griet is also a compelling character - she is torn between the Griet who wears a cap to cover all her hair, and the Griet who is desperate to let herself go as wild as hair is.

I also think I liked this novel so much because of the allusions to paint and art. As an amateur painter, it would have been wonderful to be able to mix my paints myself. The descriptions of all the artwork are also beautiful. :)

The only thing that annoyed me? That I pictured Scarlet Johanssen as the character instead of the real girl in the portrait! :( Doh!

December 6, 2011

Book Review || The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony

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I am known as an animal lover, and I enjoyed this book immensely, even to the point where I couldn't put it down, telling myself "Just one more chapter, just one more chapter".

The Elephant Whisperer is about Lawrence Anthony and his family, who own the game reserve Thula Thula in South Africa and who decided to accept a herd of elephants who faced certain death if they found no home. Though the reserve was not ready for a herd of elephant, let alone one called "rogue" by those determined to be rid of them, Lawrence made a home for them. Using a mix of logic and gut feeling, he helps the herd to feel accepted in their new home, and shows them how not all humans are as horrible as those they've met in the big leagues of the Kruger National Park.

Throughout the novel, Lawrence's life is touched by the herd in either its entirety or by one of its members. My favourite parts are when Lawrence tells us about the elephants' uncanny powers of perception. On his trips overseas or around the country, the herd would come to his home and say farewell, and they would be waiting for him when he arrived to give him a warm welcome. Once, they were spotted on their way to welcome him back, but once they 'felt' that his plane was delayed, stopped in their tracks and walked away, somehow knowing that he was not going to be there any more.

The elephants are such characters that I'm desperate to meet one now: they have always fascinated me because of their social structure and for the way they seem to be so wise and spiritual. But Anthony's closing chapter is about how he has distanced himself from the elephants because they are, after all, wild animals and not meant to interact with humans.

As was shown with the bull of the herd Mnumzane, human interaction - admittedly reduced to teasing - caused him to be unafraid of the reserve's vehicles and guests. The situation was to the detriment for Mnumzane - he was shot.

I would still love to meet an elephant, but do you think I shouldn't support such a practice?