<![CDATA[Postmodern Life - Articles]]>Wed, 25 Nov 2015 09:58:23 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Party on a Budget]]>Fri, 28 Mar 2014 01:50:16 GMThttp://postmodernlife.weebly.com/articles/party-on-a-budget
Unfortunately I haven’t been in the position to throw too many parties in my life, but the few I’ve thrown and helped organize have been successful and it has all been down to the finer touches. From flat parties, to a charity dinner, to my own 21st – I’ve been instrumental to their organization and their without a flaw executions were often thanks to the help of a few good friends. Last year kicked off my social groups 21st season, still continuing much to my disappointment now that I’m living overseas and missing out. So many times I’ve seen people pour literally $1,000+ into a basic as party with overpriced food and catering as if that was what was going to make the party. I mean it helps, as does the location, but what it comes to most importantly is the feeling and atmosphere you create in the run-up to the event (eg. Invitations, images etc) and the setting is incredibly important too. Let’s break it down.
Not that I have any interest in events management, but I proved I can lead something major when I managed to feed 150 people in my final year of high school. I lead the organization of a Tongan themed dinner to raise money for school and medical supplies in Tonga. Okay, so I might sound saintly but the only reason I was involved in this charity group was because I was determined to get a trophy at the end of the year, and because I knew my participation with this would practically guarantee one. I became the president of my school’s charity group and with the help of an adult co-ordinator, a few junior students and about four friends we planned this wacky dinner theme, without ever really knowing the difference between Tonga and any other pacific country. Anyway, what began as a “let’s try and sell 30 tickets to fill up a classroom” quickly spiralled out of control after our school office agreed to sell the tickets on our behalf, and for god knows what reason decided to make hundreds of tickets available. Well, after a highly successful notice in my mum’s church newsletter – the whole damn parish signed on and I will never forget the feeling of dread I had realizing I had to feed 150 people. They’d paid for the tickets and we didn’t have anyone’s names! I don’t know why I didn’t cancel it there and then, but we continued to organize.

So things got a bit out of control – at that stage our principle hadn’t even given us permission to use the hall or the school’s cooking room, and to be honest I’m not sure I ever got permission for the later, I just took it over. However thanks to a goody-good friend in with a high standing, we secured the gym by evicting some community sports group and literally just took over the food room. I had organized for some pacific dancers to come and perform during dinner time; I bought a bunch of sun umbrellas from the recycling centre and probably illegally filled the stands up with the sand from the local beach. I drove around the suburbs looking for a palm tree and found one, told an old man I’d give it a free trim if he let me take the branches (thank god the vice-principle, as wacky as he is, gave me a hand) and then brought some candles and decorative stones to decorate the tables. In all honesty how it all came together was a stressful blur, and thank god the biggest worry of all, the food, was taken care of by my friends. Lorde knows where the tables and chairs came from or the music, but it came together flawlessly eventually (well aside from serving food that had gotten lukewarm). I was a nervous wreck and basically wagged a whole day of classes running around organizing this thing, but we got there in the end, people ate, loved it and left us with $1,500 (bit measly really) which was kindly boosted to $2,500 thanks to a generous donation from a local charity.

So aside from the cost of food, the most expensive of which, being the spit-roast pig and fish which were donated by the co-ordinator and my aunty respectively, and the minimal expense of the decorations left us with few expenses. We milked the school’s facilities for all they were worth! And there you have it; large-scale “party” on a budget, but then again it was more of a function than a party. Perhaps I’ve gotten a bit off topic.

Let’s talk about how to throw a more casual, flat party with friends and how to pull it off respectably in the age of Facebook event invites and “maybe attending” RSVP’s. First of all, your party needs a purpose or a hook. If you title it “chill drinks” that just means “boring”, if you call it “birthday party” that means “let’s get drunk” and if you try and think of some wacky name, that just means you’re trying too hard and it’s gonna be a snooze. That’s where the beauty of themes come along, or specific instructions on how to conduct yourself at said party. My first successful flat party was in 2012 when I decided we’d have a space themed party, no prizes for originality I know but it was fun. I made the worlds tackiest looking paper-mâché planet Saturn, drowned the house in glittery stars, stuck an inflatable alien to the door and put up random silvery streamers and decorations to give the room a nice retro-Sci-Fi vibe. Then Allah smiled down upon me when the queer addition of a glass wall into an internal bedroom meant I could turn that room’s light on to faintly illuminate the main party space, without blaring lights ruining the mood. There we had the setting as good as could be in our fairly small apartment, and obviously music was blasting much to our neighbours delight. We decided to throw in some money to serve some alcoholic punch and snack foods which was a quality incentive for greedy/”poor” students to show up. In our thoughtless drunken state we decided to stick a notice in the elevator inviting the apartment building’s residents to our party which was obviously sketchy with all of belongings sitting there ripe for the taking, however nothing went missing and it was a fortunate risk that allowed us to meet some new friends.

My 21st birthday was at a classy bar’s function room with food supplied and subsidised drinks so everyone came and loved it, right? Times like that when friends come in handy (to show up and make you look adored and not as if they’re just there because they had nothing better to do).  My 20th on the other hand was another flat party, but I decided I would make it a pot-luck (in the way of snacks) party, and an entry requirement was that people had to bring snacks. I think I wrote on the Facebook event that “chips or supermarket biscuits you brought on the way aren’t sufficient” which might have been a little rude and demanding, but I got away with it. My flatmates all laughed at me buying balloons and other generic party supplies to decorate the flat with, but I told them you HAVE to have decorations. If you walk into a snoozy old apartment with nothing going on there’s no festive mood or incentive to have a good time, it just feels like any old night. Trust me. So walk into a party with a flawless playlist blaring, a table of baked and delectable snacks with a punch bowl waiting and of course LOW lighting in a room adorned with stunning, but basic decorations and you’re set. A huge success and everyone loved it. AMEN.

Okay I admit this article went entirely off-track and barely focused on how to throw a party on a budget at all, but I hope you can see what at least makes a good party. It’s not paying for all the drinks and it’s certainly not paying for catering. it’s all in the decorations, the wording of the invite, the theme, the occasion, the setting and the guest list. You don’t have to be pedantic, but you do have to spend some time thinking about all of the above to be able to pull it all off successfully and without a hitch.

[ Image: FreshPhotography ]
<![CDATA[If I Won the Lottery]]>Thu, 27 Mar 2014 08:01:23 GMThttp://postmodernlife.weebly.com/articles/if-i-won-the-lottery
For any regular human, the dream of winning the lottery and having your life suddenly limited only by your imagination is an ultimate fantasy. So much can be done with a padded wallet; your health expenses are no longer a worry, bills and loans melt away, your student loan is no more and your shopping habit is no longer reduced to checking price tags before the actual items. If money can’t buy happiness, it can surely at least boost whatever you’ve got going for you in a major way. To be honest I’d argue money can buy happiness but only in the short-term via experiences, travel and negated burdens. If I won the lottery, here’s what I’d do assuming I won a nice healthy $30 million in New Zealand dollars (so that’s about $26m USD), which is about the top prize you can win in New Zealand. It’s completely life changing, but it’s not quite at island and jet-buying levels. So what would I do?

First of all I’d throw in the towel for my ALT job in Japan. It’s been an interesting experience, but quite imperfect and I’m constantly aware of my life ticking by – and I’m only 21! But time is something I fret about, and I know 30 will arrive only too soon. So not to waste my fledgling youth, bye-bye Japan and back to New Zealand I’d go, first-class just for the heck of it. I’d stay in a nice Wellington hotel until I got my affairs sorted. In a beautiful world I would be able to keep my winnings under wraps, but of course the lottery does say where the ticket winner is from (could I even win in Japan if I bought a ticket online?) or at least have some sort of write-up about the winner wanting to keep his/her privacy etc. Either way, it’d be pretty easy to put two and two together so I wouldn’t make it a priority. I’d hire out a fancy restaurant to have a big celebratory party with my friends and probably get shit-faced on expensive alcohol. Then probably just hit up the stores for a fun shopping day, I’d bring a few of my besties along and spoil them too. I’d buy a designer watch, probably get a facial and a massage, and suss out the pricey, custom designer stores in Wellington.

Once my wee splurge and celebration period was over, it’d be time to deal with the money officially. After knocking off my, and a few good friends’ student loans, and having flicked a hundred grand to my parents, it’d be time to meet with a renowned financial advisor to sort out my finances in order to earn interest and to invest etc. I suppose they encourage you to stick it all in some long-term savings type of thing which I’d probably do, but I would keep a few million handy for immediate endeavours such as property, travel and various other spending. I’d like to donate $8-10m on charities that have directly affected my family and friends, so the types that benefit cancer, arthritis and child poverty in particular as well as environmental groups like Generation Zero which I think do some fantastic work. I’d obviously do some research. Maybe Greenpeace too, though they don’t seem to be the most financially savvy. I think it’s a better idea to hit a few charities heavily, and then scatter various generous amounts around the others. Even to donate the entire $30m would barely touch the coffers of many of NZ’s charities, but to give away around 1/3 in total seems reasonable. And then over the years donate as I see fitting. I wouldn’t hoard my money for the sake of it, but I can see why you wouldn’t want to keep a certain amount of back-up.

Finally I’d buy my parents a new house if they wanted one, which I imagine they might considering their current house is the same one they’ve lived in since I was born and their advancing ages mean its high-maintenance nature is a little more trouble than it’s worth. I’d buy myself a nice house or apartment in Wellington, probably something luxurious and overpriced, let’s be honest. But I do love Wellington and could happily live there for the rest of my life. And of course I’d embark on some classic, soul-searching travel around the far reaches of the glove, preferably off the beaten track and I can’t imagine I’d bother too much with luxury. I can’t imagine the point of travelling the world only to stay at luxury hotels. That doesn’t sound fun and it’s certainly not how to obtain an accurate experience of the world. However that’s not to say you wouldn’t spot me in the occasional fine-dining restaurant and you certainly wouldn’t find me squished on a crowded train or bus either.

Afterwards I guess I’d be back to where I am now really, wondering what to do with my life. Ideally my travels would lead me to discover a passion, something I’m currently lacking, but if not perhaps I’d go back to university to pursue honours in my degree if I couldn’t find an enjoyable job. It’s always been a plan in the back of my mind to pursue post-graduate study, but it would be preferable to find a job I enjoyed. A bit of financial influence behind me might just make it that much easier, but then again perhaps not. It’d be odd to work without the incentive of needing the money so I’d have to pursue something that fulfilled a passion, perhaps in the line of film-making or learning to make music.

Anyway, now it’s time to get back to reality. After really fleshing this out it’s interesting to realize I’d more or less be back where I already am, just with less concerns. I’m still young and no amount of money could really find me any fulfilment with my life. Seems as if money can’t buy happiness after all! The only truly rewarding results of my winnings would be to assist my parents and friends, and to go travelling which technically I could do anyway with a bit of saving. Perhaps then I’ll get on just fine, lottery or not. There are a lot of people far worthier of it than I.

[ Image: CarolHighSmithAmerica ]
<![CDATA[Running: The Feel Good Exercise]]>Thu, 27 Mar 2014 04:57:46 GMThttp://postmodernlife.weebly.com/articles/running-the-feel-good-exercise
I get a guilty tang every time I talk or write about exercise because I know only too well that until I was about 13/14 I hated exercise and was a lazy, indoor child who loved nothing more than plopping down on the couch to play games and watch TV. I remember my exercise epiphany, I have no idea what brought it on or what I was doing but I think I’d just eaten something overly indulgent and I was watching TV in my parents bed, probably thinking about how gross and lethargic I surely must have felt. All of a sudden I decided “Wait, maybe I should eat healthier and actually do some exercise?!” As a child I loved to swim and from about the age of 9 or 10 my parents would happily let me wonder down the road to a school’s pool where I would swim and play with other kids for hours – I had a terrific tan too. Then as I hit puberty I got pretty chubby and I became self-conscious about it, so that was the end of my swimming obsession. Then I pretty much did no exercise.
However, once my epiphany occurred I never looked back. I lived in quite a suburban environment with plenty of hills and tracks nearby, but I was terrified of the idea of being seen running in public. I knew I’d only be able to run like 5-10mins without needing a break, an unfortunate reality for most beginning runners. I eventually found a nearby dirt track that my aunty took me for a walk with on once that led up a steep wee hill and is comprised of an hour circuit to get back home. It was a fairly gradual climb up to the base of the hill, and then an incredibly steep stretch that I insisted on making myself run up. No matter what I would always have to stop and sit on a stile that I used to jump over a fence, as the hill was a sheep grazing area. I used to sweat and pant there for at least 5mins before I could work up the energy to climb the next bit, that was too steep and hazardous to attempt running. However, this method eventually built me up to be a pretty strong runner, and this hill’s tracks are some of my favourites and the beautiful views of the ocean, mountains and city made it a worthwhile run. Having that privacy to develop my fitness was a god send, because after that I began to feel comfortable running around the city’s actual walkways and streets without shame, and because of my height I was naturally a bit faster than many people.

I have a slim build now, but it’s not particularly stickly and I do carry a bit of meat with me so my stamina isn’t exactly flawless, but it’s an ongoing work in progress. Since I started running, I have found a lot of menial tasks became much easier. I can go for like walks and not tire; hiking isn’t an issue and if I need to quickly run a short distance (to catch a bus for example) I won’t lose my breath. Plus I just feel a lot better, which is ultimately what it comes down to. I feel stronger, lighter and like I have a spring in my step. When I’m in a regular running routine, I feel really good. In Wellington on a nice day when it’s not too windy or cold, a run up Mount Vic, up to Highbury around the outskirts of New Zealandia or the stunning classic waterfront run is heaven. I feel happier when I’m running sometimes, and often if I’m in a bad mood going for a run can perk me up somewhat. Of course not all my problems are solved via cardio, but it was also my go-to activity when I was drowning in studies and assignments at uni. Of course a walk does the trick too, but really tiring myself physically, sweating and panting just gave me that real physical release I needed to get my mind focused. That all sounds a bit graphic and innuendo-esque, but yes, just like various other physical activities, running is a great release.

Having spent the last 3 months confined to indoor runs in Japan thanks to Hokkaido’s atrocious winter, I’m more than ready to get off the boring 30min-limited treadmill and charge off around the country side for some far superior runs. Nothing cures my cabin fever and isolated feelings better here than sweating it all out. 

[ Image: MensHealth ]
<![CDATA[Will Bonnie McKee make it?]]>Wed, 26 Mar 2014 07:51:12 GMThttp://postmodernlife.weebly.com/articles/will-bonnie-mckee-make-it
It’s been said before and I’ll say it again – you already know some of the singer-songwriter Bonnie McKee’s songs, but that’s not to say you’ll necessarily know her. The self-proclaimed popstar-in-training is the songwriter responsible for some of the biggest hit songs over the last few years, penning over eight #1 songs for Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Taio Cruz. Not to mention the numerous other popular bops released by Ke$ha and Rita Ora. She’s even been nominated for a Grammy Award in the “Song of the Year” category for co-writing Katy Perry’s “Roar”. Bonnie’s songwriting accolades are inarguable, and she could happily rest upon her laurels if it weren’t for her own insatiable desire to become a singer herself.

In 2004 she released her debut album Trouble to little success and was subsequently dropped from her label. The album’s slower, poetic and emotive style lacked the Bonnie-isms and double-entendre lyrics she later picked up through her 9 years of songwriting. In 2013, she began the difficult transition back into the spotlight carefully positioning herself as a new pop-girl with a retro-throwback style, which she has called “street chic” combining thrift-store items with luxury brands and always wearing designer shoes.
She released the first single “American Girl” from her upcoming spring 2014 album in late July, 2013. The song was a nostalgic nod to Bonnie’s teenage self and shone a nostalgic light upon the things she considers particularly American eg. 7-Eleven, slurpees, vending machines. However, despite the song’s seemingly pop-perfect sound, style and formula it only achieved minor success charting most significantly at 25 on the Billboard Pop Songs chart and with limited radio play. Many have pointed the finger at the similarities to the song’s overt similarities to Katy Perry’s sound and style (technically Bonnie’s considering the abrupt musical style change from Katy’s debut and sophomore album, when Bonnie began to write for her). Other reasons have been that the song was released too late in the American summer to catch on as a summer anthem. Whatever the reason, the song’ failure to top the charts was a disappointment to Bonnie. She had unashamedly expressed on her short-lived YouTube series ‘Breaking Bonnie’ that the goal was to take the song all the way to the top. Not even a viral video featuring a kaleidoscope of celebrities such as Ke$ha, Macklemore, Kathy Griffin, Kiss, George Takei and many others gave the song the attention it deserved (though it certainly garnered recognition in the blogosphere).

For now Bonnie McKee remains a bubbling-under pop-act, perfecting her craft for another shot at the top with her upcoming visual EP ahead of her sophomore album’s spring release. If her “inbetwingle” (between singles, her word) buzz song “Sleepwalker” is a sign of things to come, with its darker tones and Michael Jackson throwback zombie-themed video, then I’m more than here for it. Keep your ears tuned for new music from the popsicle-orange haired artiste because I have a good feeling she’s not gonna throw in the towel any time soon.
<![CDATA[Media Handling of MH370]]>Wed, 26 Mar 2014 06:36:25 GMThttp://postmodernlife.weebly.com/articles/media-handling-of-mh370
The missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has been one of the most prominent news stories internationally for the past two weeks, perhaps triumphed only by Russia’s scarily militaristic annexation of Crimea. The official announcement by the Malaysian Prime Minister concluding that there was no hope for any remaining survivors was a final blow to the victims’ families hanging on to their last hopes by a thread. However, fair enough for them to remain hopeful because how else is someone expected to deal with such trauma. What I have a problem with in regards to the whole story is the media’s approach to investigating what happened to the plane throughout an inconclusive investigation to this day.
Like I said, fair enough for the victims’ families to cling on to whatever hope they can but for the media to perpetuate the growingly outrageous ideas of survivors was becoming  an extreme stretch when taking into account the magnitude of the international search looking for the plane. Far too many “experts” were called into weigh in on the disappearance, ranging from semi-understandable former-pilots and air force workers to outrageous conspiracists leading the discussion along the lines of alien abductions and meteor strikes. Now obviously those were partially in jest (I hope), but the irresponsibility caused by these myths must have only stood to cause more damage to those affected as a result of their crushed hopes.

I would like to believe there were survivors as well as any other hopeful person, but to hope that people crashed-landed, survived and found their way aboard a wee lifeboat and found their way to a LOST-esque island might just be a little more of a stretch then I’m willing to believe. I understand the story had to be followed, and considering no developments really have happened other than numerous floating objects being found and then being proven to have come from elsewhere it must have been a tricky one to cover. However, when the line between investigative journalism and inventive journalism is crossed in the case of a serious, unsolved tragedy it all seems a bit tacky.

[Image: International Business Times]
<![CDATA[Introduction]]>Wed, 26 Mar 2014 05:51:51 GMThttp://postmodernlife.weebly.com/articles/march-26th-2014
If you were looking for an informative website describing the actualities of what postmodernism’s definition and meaning is, then I’m sorry to inform you that you’re in the wrong place. I titled this blog ‘Postmodern Life’ because that’s the style of life I, and a lot of contemporary people live with and the stylistic road with which I expect my blog will take. It will probably be inconsistent, feature numerous topics, rehash ideas and clash images. It will be whatever I want it to be; everything and nothing. I love the idea of pop culture and high culture being juxtaposed together. Perhaps that’s why I’m in love with Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP concept so much. It’s a juxtaposition of ideas that nonetheless merge seamlessly.

I’m not 100% sure what I want Postmodern Life to become, but I intend to more or less write about whatever I feel like. Rather than cite an exhaustive list of interests, I’ll let them emerge themselves throughout the run of this blog. Maybe I’ll write about news topics, or personal blogs, or perhaps wrote anonymous love letters to my crush. Let’s see how it goes.

[Image: LadyoftheArts]