“What show from your childhood would you love to bring back?”

This one is an easy question for me, and only has one answer.

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My all-time favourite kids show.  I’d love it if they bought it back.  I remember watching it when I was little – I used to call the show “Chucky”.  It wasn’t until I was about ten I realized it actually had a different name.  I remember when my sister was a toddler, mum wouldn’t let me watch it “because it’s making your sister talk funny” (not true, as it turned out to be an actual speech issue and she had to go to a speech pathologist for it.  Despite that, the ban still stayed for quite a long time).  I love all the characters and that in some way, they’re all relatable.  I adore the movies.  I even really enjoy the “All Grown Up” series, although nothing beats the original.  They just don’t make shows like this any more!  My favourite character is definitely Tommy (like most people!) but I also love the adult characters like Betty and Stu, who seem to become so much more relatable now I’m grown up too.  Let’s be honest, despite the weird hairdos and horrendous lack of parental supervision, we all secretly wanted to be part of this family!

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This prompt, and many more, can be found here.

My Top 5 Movies of All Time

My Top 5 Movies are:

The Shawshank Redemption
This movie was introduced to me as part of my Year 12 Media curriculum.  I’d heard it mentioned in all the “Top 100 films” countdowns, but I didn’t understand how a prison movie could possibly make its way to the top of each countdown.  Then I watched it, and was blown away.  I love the storyline and how it keeps the audience guessing.  I love the characters and how different they all are.  I love how it’s not a romance movie, but you don’t even notice that it’s missing.  I love the actors, I think they do a phenomenal job.  Everything about the film is timeless and awesome and so well done.  I could watch this anywhere at any time and get just as much enjoyment out of it that I did the first time.

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Titanic
This movie has been my favourite since I was about ten.  Leo was my first celeb crush, I watched the movie so many times I knew it word for word (and probably still do).  The film inspired me to learn all about the sinking, and when I was about twelve I’d read about it for hours, scouring the library for books on it.  I was devastated when I accidentally taped over the movie…so much so both my parents and my uncle bought me properly copies of it that Christmas.  This was back in the days of VHS, so I’d constantly have to rewind the tapes every time I’d finish it so I could watch it again.  I had the soundtrack, I had posters and movie stills stuck up around my room and on my desk at school.  Obsessed was an understatement.  When we finally bought a DVD player, I bought the ultimate collections edition, which had 4 disks worth of extras.  While my obsession has since subsided, I still love watching this film.

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Interstallar
This is the newest addition to my list, and I was in two minds about whether to add it, but it wound up on here.  I saw this in the cinema and it completely caught me off guard.  It’s fantastic, in a crazy, far-fetched sort of way.  I love how it keeps you guessing, it gets you thinking about the future, about decisions somebody at some point in time will probably have to make.  It touches on space travel and science, both things I’ve watched many a documentary on.  I know the film is probably not accurate at all, but it’s still pretty cool and really interesting.  I love movies that can make you think about things in a different way.

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Shutter Island
Another Leo movie, although vastly different from Titanic.  This movie scared the shit out of me the first time I saw it.  It’s dark, morbid and creepy, but the twist at the end is mindblowing and fantastic.  It highlights how mental illness and the way it’s dealt with has changed over the years, and shows how it used to be handled.  The storyline is interesting, the characters fascinating and the setting mega-creepy.  You constantly have to question who to trust and what to believe and I love this.  I’ve watched it many times and I always find new things that I’ve missed previously.  Leo is fantastic in it, as always, as are all the other actors.  It really does feel like you’re stuck on the island with them.

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All 3 Rugrats Movies
This one seems to be a stark contrast to all the others on my list, I know, but I adore kids movies, and 9/10 times that will be what I put on if I want to watch something.  I can’t decide which one I like best, so I cheated and said all three of them.  I love Rugrats so much.  It reminds me of childhood and fun.  I grew up with Tommy and Chucky and all the others – I started watching when I was only a couple of years older than them!  While the storylines aren’t as complex as any of the other films I’ve listed, they’re a lot of fun and easy to watch.  I remember seeing the first film at the drive-ins with my parents.  All those memories make watching the films so enjoyable that I often pick these over any of my other favourites.

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What are your top 5 picks?

-JD

This prompt, and many more, can be found here

The Old Man

They talk about me like I’m deaf. Stare at me like I’m blind. They assume that behind my tall stature and solemn eyes, that I’m tough. How can I tell them I’m just a baby inside? That their words keep my eyes open at night, and their actions make my insides cold?
At my age, everyone assumes I’ve heard it all. Maybe they’re correct in that assumption. Hearing something more than once, however, doesn’t lessen the sting that the echoed words create, nor does it heal the heart it breaks. Doctors have told me I’m what they call ‘depressed’. Back in the day, you were told to have a stiff drink and move on. Now they’re jumping at any chance to medicate me, educe me into some faux-happy stupor. Oh, sometimes I think it’d make for a nice change. Sometimes, late at night as I stare up at my well-studied ceiling, I can’t even fathom my own reasons for denying the drugs. Sitting in the warm spring sunshine, watching my youngest grandchild learning to walk in my favourite little park, however, I realize this is what all the grief and unhappiness has led me to. Rebekah is constantly wishing for me to take the pills. It’s the accepted norm for the world now, a world that has shunned me into it’s darkest corners and rooms they politely call ‘retirement villages’. Those places that cater for our ‘heightened needs’, but in actuality are lonely rooms filled with lonelier souls, forced together by families who now see us as burdens instead of caregivers. Oh, the place has a games room and the nurses are polite and at times even seem to care slightly, but this is always outweighed by the crisp air that follows a death and the cereal that lands in our lap extra-soggy for the ‘retirees’ who refuse – or forget – to put their dentures in of a morning.

Like any place that forces strangers together for extended periods of time, I have a few people I am more fond of than most. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to name them as ‘friends’. I can’t remember the last time I’ve called anyone that. One of the more lively of my acquaintances is a Ms Sally Wheeler. She’s always ready to entertain us with a funny anecdote from her past, or give a hug – surprisingly strong and warm, given her age – to clear our heads from the clouds of doubt. Possibly I would call her a friend did I not think she lied through her teeth on a near-constant basis. In this place, this isn’t unusual, however it’s not usually with consciousness that they are uttered, but rather because of mental illness or lack of memory. Sally, though, suffered none of that, and lied nonetheless. For peace’s sake, I kept my observations to myself. After all, who was Ms Wheeler really harming when most of her audience wouldn’t remember the next day, or the next hour?

Those people who suffer from memory problems, I envy them. It seems strange to others, possibly, but should I suffer like the man simply known as Billy, I’d never have to dwell on my past, on my mistakes or on the words of others. I’d simply live in the moment, completely. Of course Billy never knows what day it is, nor recognizes me or anyone else, and for that he does suffer. Yet, he always seems perpetually happy compared to the few of us completely conscious of where we are and what we’ve done.

It’s funny, I suppose, that Billy doesn’t get hounded by doctors wanting to medicate him. They’ve pretty much written him off as a lost cause, spouting ‘the damage is done’ to his family each time they enquire with the false hope that maybe one day a miracle pill will form and he’ll remember their names once more. I say ‘it’s funny’ because the damage has been done to me too, in the past, and is what almost solely has formed my depression and yet, I never hear the the end of doctors telling me how wonderful their medication is. If they are so willing to help cure a patient who isn’t interested, why can’t they help Billy’s family, who desperately are? The world is cruel like that, I suppose.

*

This is one of my old attempts at writing fiction.  I say ‘attempt’ not because I think I’m no good or I can’t do it…I just never have the patience to follow through to the end.  I’m sure if I could, I’d enjoy writing professionally.  Alas, it remains a hobby instead.  This was written back in 2010, but has always been one of the short stories I’m most proud of.

This was inspired by the prompt ‘Post a previously unreleased chapter from one of your books’, which can be found here

“What is Your Favourite Childhood Christmas Memory?”

Christmas was one of my favourite times of year as a kid (as most people will say).  The countdowns with advent calendars filled with terrible tasting chocolate, writing messy handwritten letters to santa asking for ridiculous things, all the school activities in December leading up to it.  It’s magical.

Every Christmas Eve we’d sit around the TV as a family and watched the Carols (for people outside Australia, it’s a three-hour show where celebrities – I’m using the term loosely – sing Carols and the Wiggles and Santa Claus would come on for the kids).  My sister and I would put cookies and milk out for Santa in front of the fireplace, and shaved carrots for the reindeer.  We’d hang our oversized stockings up and head to bed, with my parents strict instructions “No getting out of bed until 7, otherwise Santa won’t come!”.

I’d always sleep terribly, too excited for the presents waiting in the lounge room.  The second the clock hit 7am, I’d be tearing up the stairs, bowling into my parents’ room, begging them to let me open my presents.  My sister wouldn’t be far behind.  My parents were always way too slow for my liking, but eventually we’d run down the stairs and into the lounge room.  There were always piles of presents, some under the tree (the presents “from my parents”) and ones in front of the fire place (from “Santa”).  I remember one year “Santa” changed it up and left me and my sister bikes behind the couches instead.  Another year, he left us a trampoline in the backyard.  This was probably the most memorable Christmas as within 24 hours of getting that trampoline, my sister (who was about 4 at the time) broke her leg on it.  We were on it together and we must have bounced too close together or something, and the next second she’s howling in pain.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t anything to do with the exposed springs, which is usually how injuries on trampolines happen!

I remember my dad rushing her to the closest doctor’s office – one we’d never been to before – and him coming back, carrying my sister awkwardly, telling mum they’d said it was just sprained.  My sister was still screaming and crying, and I guess mother’s intuition kicked in as she told dad to go straight to our normal doctor’s office instead (I’m not sure why he didn’t go there initially…I guess they may not have been opened that early or something).  I remember the time dragged on and they were there a long time, and when dad came back, my sister had a big cast over her whole leg (right up to her hip) and she had something called a ‘Green Stick Fracture’.  I didn’t know what that was, but it sounded funny.  I now know it means she basically broke the bone clear through.  She was so little that my mum had to hunt around for crutches small enough.  For the next six weeks, she had to have baths with a garbage bags over her cast, she had to go into her old stroller that she was miles to big for, that her kindergarten had to make special arrangements for her.  There was also a new rule that was never broken (possibly the only one to not be!)  – “only one person jumping on the trampoline at once!”


This prompt was found here, along with a whole bunch of others.

“Write a Letter to a Special Person in Your Life”

This was a letter I wrote awhile ago, in one of my depressed moods.  I wrote it knowing very well the person it was addressed to more-than-likely wouldn’t read or know about it.  It was just to get it off my chest – a coping mechanism I’ve used for several years when my head and heart feel like they’re exploding and overflowing with thoughts.  Things have changed a bit since then, but I felt like this is a fitting response to the prompt.  I might as well put it to some kind of use, even if it was never given to it’s addressee.

Hi,
You drive me crazy, do you know that? Probably not. I can’t stand not seeing you every day. I really can’t stand that we can’t even meet up regularly. I know, you’re busy and you’ve got this grown up job now and everything is coming up Milhouse for you. I hate that I’m once again in this painful situation of missing and hoping for something that probably isn’t there. It crosses my mind almost daily that I should just walk away. Block your number. Delete whatsapp. That would be the sensible MATURE thing to do, right? For all the joy you bring to my life right now, there’s at least an equal amount of disappointment and sadness. Surely that should be reason enough to move on? It isn’t though. Because sometimes you say or do something and suddenly…suddenly it reminds me why I’m in this situation at all. Granted you probably don’t even know you’re doing it. I’d even go so far as to suggest you’re trying your very best not to do anything like that because girls liking you makes you uncomfortable. Oh yeah, I noticed that. I’m not an idiot. I do find it kind of funny though…not haha funny, just…curious. Being on the bigger side myself, I’d give anything for someone to take an interest in me. Even if it’s awkwardly one sided. I just find it curious why you seem to push people who like you away? I’m not saying you should force something that isn’t there, I just…I would have thought your “big person” mentality may still be there somewhere. What would I know about that though? I didn’t know you then. It may sound funny to say, but I wish I did. Firstly, because maybe you’d have given me a shot…a proper shot. But secondly – and more importantly – because then maybe you’d believe I like you for who you are and not just because you’re super cute. Oh, that’s a plus, I’m not denying that, but you’re more than that. Infinitely more. You’re so funny. I could listen to you for hours and not get bored. And you’re cheeky. You’ve got the cutest smile when you do something naughty. And you’re so smart. World-smart, like you’ve experienced everything. You are always (infuriatingly at times) right. For me to admit that, as I’m sure you know, is a massive deal. I don’t like to be wrong. You’re patient, moreso than anyone I know. You know how to listen and how to respond. That is something that can’t be taught, no matter how much schooling or work experience you’ve had. You’re generous. You don’t mind spending money to make people happy. In this world, there aren’t enough people who understand the importance of that. You’re honest. God, guys your age need a lesson or two in that. It’s refreshing to be given a reality check once in awhile. It’s so nice to hear words come from someone else that you’ve been thinking all along instead of white lies to make you feel better. I guess what I’m getting at is, you are amazing on the inside, so who gives a fuck about the outside? I feel like you just assume anyone who likes you now only does so in a physical sense. I can appreciate that, and I’m also sure you have plenty of examples to back it up with. My point is, I’m not one of them.  I’ve gotten to know you pretty damn well and there isn’t a thing I’d change…well, except the uncomfortableness. I hate that we met the way we did though. I mean, I loved working with you and I enjoyed seeing your face every day, but I just feel like if we’d met in different circumstances, maybe things would be different. Do you remember way back at the start when we talked half the night and you bailed on a party to keep talking? Do you remember those times we could hardly catch our breaths from laughter?  Don’t tell me you didn’t feel something at some point. I saw it in your eyes. That’s why I wish we’d met under different circumstances. I know workplace relationships are a bad idea, and I certainly know how you felt about them. I wish we’d met at a party or through mutual friends or even – god forbid – Tinder. Just somewhere that let us be…I don’t know…free to see how things went. Properly. I feel like this is all being said too late. I always hoped deep down you’d say “fuck it” and ask me out anyway but I knew it wasn’t going to happen. You didn’t want to jeopardise your job. I get it. I mean it’s kind of funny now, given how everything turned out, but still. At the time, I get it. Oh I hope I’m not wrong about it all. It’s one thing to know you don’t feel that way now but it’s another thing entirely to know I was wrong all along. I’ve never been good at picking up signals but I know I caught you staring at me more than once and I know I certainly felt something between us. Please don’t say I imagined that.
Anyway, this turned into an essay. I could keep writing forever and still not fully explain everything. I guess the main point of all this is, I love you and I miss you uncontrollably and I just thought you ought to know. Or I guess, that I ought to tell you. Properly. Not someone else getting in your ear and sniggering as they tell you, as I’m sure has happened previously. I’m sorry about that. I should have been honest from the start, so that didn’t happen. It wasn’t fair on either of us. Too little too late as I’m sure this all is, I needed to get it off my chest. Maybe it’s not too late.

I found this prompt, and many more, here.

What One Song Defines Your childhood, Teenage & College Years?

The song that most takes me back to childhood is Aaron Carter’s cover of I Want Candy.  I know, I know, as if you’d chose this over Spice Girls.  Honestly, I never got into them as much as other people.  I was on the cusp of getting into pop music at that time (being only 6 or 7) and I never had their album.  Instead, mum got me my first completion CD – “Barbie Slumber Party Mix”.  This song was on it, and got a lot of plays.

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Also on the CD mix was Steps – 5, 6, 7, 8,  *Nsync – It’s Gonna Be Me, S Club 7 – Bring it All Back (a close contender for this title!) and Len – Steal My Sunshine.  It may have been released under a cheesy name, but this mix is still pretty cool for 90s nostalgia. (Yes, I may have just spent 25 minutes tracking down all the songs and making a playlist.  Don’t judge me!).

The song the defines my teenage years is an easy pick – Simple Plan’s “Perfect”.  It was the first song that really got me and my teenage angst.  Plus, these guys were the first band I ever saw in concert.  I remember almost my whole year level went and it’s all we could talk about for the next week.  Such an awesome show.

Hmmm, a song that defines my college years.  I think I’m going to have to go with Taylor Swift’s Teardrops on My Guitar.  Although comparatively late compared to everyone in the US, I was one of the first to discover her all the way over in Australia, and this was her first song I got into.  I remember going to her concert and it was so small and intimate that there was maybe 300 people at most there.  By the time she came out the following year, she’d filled up a whole stadium.  It’s pretty awesome to know I was there before all that.  Look how close I was!

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What songs define you?

-JD

#loveme challenge – Day Seventeen

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Day 17 – Something that Feeds your Soul

Whenever I’m feeling sick or sad or I can’t sleep, the best remedy I have is to put old episodes of The Simpsons, Rocko’s Modern Life or Rugrats on.  Cartoons – especially ones filled with nostalgia – make me feel like everything is okay.  It helps me switch off and relax, more than almost anything else can.  It takes me back to childhood and the sweet innocence of it all.  Plus, a bit of light comedy is always a good idea!

#loveme challenge – Day Four


Day Four – “A Person who Loves You”.

This is an interesting one because normally, you’d expect it to be “a person you love”, which is easy.  There are a few people I could go with, but I think the most suitable option is the person who got me into blogging, and who is probably my oldest friend.

CJ is someone I’ve known since…well, pretty much forever. Our families grew up together and we’d hang out together as kids. I remember way back in the day we went on a nature hike somewhere (back then it felt like it was hours away, though I have a sneaking suspicion it probably wasn’t) and another time, we all went bike riding then had a barbecue afterwards.
Despite all that, it wasn’t until about 2009 we actually started hanging out away from “family gatherings”.


Since then, we’ve worked on films together, roadtripped together, travelled together and – up until very recently – worked together.  She’s the closest thing to a big sister I’ve ever had and although we’re been through some rough patches (especially recently) we’ve always forgiven each other and not let it get us down.

I guess the point of today’s challenge isn’t walking down memory lane, though.  Given it’s “a person who loves you” and this whole challenge us about being positive, I think I’m supposed to explain how I know she loves me.

I guess it comes down to one thing – she’s always there for me.  She’s helped me through so many rough patches in these past six years, she’s there to celebrate wins and commiserate losses.  She’s my voice of reason when I’m gonna do something dumb.  Even in the moments I took her for granted or let my emotions get in the way of my common sense, she’s stuck by me.  She knows that even if I fuck up, that it wasn’t my intention, and she’s there to help me through it.  Just like any sisters, there are things we do that drive the other insane, but we see through it and gently remind them to knock it off.

I honestly couldn’t imagine my life without her, and it makes me sad that I won’t see her as much now we aren’t colleagues any more, but I know she’s always just a phone call away 😊

– JD

PS, check out her blog.