{ Under The Bluegums }

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

April 30, 2012

What We Are

"What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of the mind." ~ Dhammapada

{Image credit: Wikimedia Commons\Tevaprapas Makklay}

April 27, 2012

Video of the Week

Reformed Whores' I'm A Slut YouTube Screenshot
April 27,2012 

I absolutely love this song by the Reformed Whores.

Their video is a response to the war on women that seems to be happening across America recently.

Women's rights to contraception, choosing abortion, education, and a range of other issues are being attacked by Republicans pushing against rights that women have been fighting for for centuries.

It would seem a lot of it started with Planned Parenthood's funding being pulled because women were having 'too many abortions'. Then the organisation was hit with an organised smear campaign that painted it as having a selective interest in only poor women's health.

Governments from several states have ruled that abortions are illegal, even if a woman falls pregnant by the travesty of rape, while others have ruled that women cannot have abortions unless they undertake an invasive vaginal sonar, and yet others are trying to pass rules that doctors may not recommend abortion, even if the child or the mother would not survive the birth. These doctors would also not have to tell their patients anything about possible illnesses the phoetus might have.

Women who go for abortions have been accused of being murderers and sluts, while there have been different campaigns about the fact that women should stay at home and raise the children, or struggle if they're single mothers, or that women who look to improve themselves and their lives are sluts.

This is why the Reformed Whores wrote the song, and why I like it so much. :)



What do you think of it?

April 25, 2012

Music Review || Markus Wormstorm

markus-wormstorm-art
Markus Wormstorm is a South African electro artist, and is highly-acclaimed among some of the top musicians in the country today.

Although his name is not on everyone's lips, it should be - I am known for my varied taste in music, and his electronic sounds have managed to make their way onto my playlist with ease. And I'll be honest, I'm not really an electro fan.

You should definitely give his new album, called 'Not I, But a Friend', a listen - it's certain to expand your musical horizons.

Take a listen to his work on SoundCloud.

Incidentally, one of Markus' songs appears on the compilation CD of music inspired by Lauren Beukes' dystopian novel Zoo City (which is on my to-read list). The compilation isn't too bad either, though it eventually became a little too much for my alternative brain! :)

{Image credit: Facebook\Markus-Wormstorm}

April 24, 2012

Life

"Life is not about answers. It is about learning to live in the middle of complete uncertainty, and doing so gracefully." ~ Swami Chetanananda.

{Image credit: By Kurt Stüber [1] [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons}

April 23, 2012

Just Read || Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

fairest-levine-cover
It is appropriate though completely coincidental that I decided to read this novel at the release of Disney's remake of the Snow White fairy tale, and ahead of the release of Snow White and the Huntsman (an endearing characteristic of which is not Kristen Stewart as Snow White).

Levine is known for penning Ella Enchanted, which was rendered in the usual Disney style a few years ago, and although the novel is set in a similar world of fantasy, I think Fairest is a lot deeper than it may appear at first glance.

The story follows the familiar vein of the Snow White fairy tale, but its plot is completely different. The protagonist is Aza, who is not considered pretty in her world of Ayortha - she has pale white skin, blood red lips and dark hair that is not an asset in her kingdom. Due to some luck, she makes her way to the capital, where she happens to make friends with the Queen. It is the evil Queen of the fairy tale, but in a twist, it is really the face in her mirror who contrives for the downfall of the Queen and her kingdom.

It sounds interesting enough, but what makes this novel special is its link to song. Music is an important part of life in Ayortha, and although the stanzas of song can become tedious, if you can read Lord of the Rings, this is nothing.

The characters are also interesting and intriguing, and the story moves along very fast, so be prepared to finish the novel in one sitting!

April 19, 2012

The Truth About Gaddafi


April 19, 2012 

This was one of those random emails that went around, but it still makes me think about what really happened in Libya?

"Zimmetro — The media has successfully painted Gaddafi as a hard-core dictator, tyrant whatever you want to call him. However, the media as usual has also failed to show the kind, giving Gaddafi we never heard of. Gaddafi unlike most dictators I will refrain from naming them has managed to show his humane side, the very side we dream of seeing in other dictators who just talk and talk.

I consider Libyans lucky to a certain extent and one wonders with the new democratic rule they cry for will it improve or worsen life for them. Yes, Gaddafi has spent millions of Libya`s money on personal ventures but is the average Libyan poor? We know others who take a country and destroy it until you feel like there is no hope of restoring this country… looting some prefer to call it. Did Gaddafi loot Libya in any way?

Now let us get to the unknown facts about the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi:

1. There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.
2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at 0% interest by law.
3. Home considered a human right in Libya – Gaddafi vowed that his parents would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a home. Gaddafi’s father has died while him, his wife and his mother are still living in a tent.
4. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 Dinar (US$50,000) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.
5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25% of Libyans are literate. Today the figure is 83%.
6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and livestock to kick-start their farms – all for free.
7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need in Libya, the government funds them to go abroad for it – not only free but they get US$2,300/mth accommodation and car allowance.
8. In Libyan, if a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidized 50% of the price.
9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0.14 per liter.
10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion – now frozen globally.
11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until employment is found.
12. A portion of Libyan oil sale is, credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.
13. A mother who gave birth to a child receive US$5,000
14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $ 0.15
15. 25% of Libyans have a university degree
16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man-Made River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.

Which other dictator has done much good to his people?"

{Image: Olof von Randow [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons}

April 17, 2012

Music Review || John Anealio's The Empire State

john-anealio-empire-state-cover
John Anealio is a supreme artist. He specialises in writing songs for science-fiction themes, and is also Wired.com's GeekDad guitar teacher (which is quite cool in its own right!)

His music is reminiscent of 70s rock - I was transported back to wearing oversized headphones and listening to my dad's choice of music. Add to that his smart lyrics and smooth guitar riffs, and you have a recipe for something unforgettable!

Take a listen to his latest release, called The Empire State. It was commissioned by Mur Lafferty and Angry Robot Books for the Worldbuilder project, and the site urges listeners to think of it as taking place in Adam Christopher's Empire State novel.

What do you think?

April 16, 2012

Quiet

"We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us, that they may see their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer, life because of our quiet" ~ William Butler Yeats

{Image: William Butler Yeats, by John Butler Yeats [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons}