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Thursday, September 27, 2012

No Apologies For Fangirling...

Hey everyone!!

So I'm super excited about a new album- nothing new, I guess? But seriously, I've been waiting patiently for probably more than a month for this one to come out...

Who's heard of Heroes For Hire? If not, I highly suggest you get on it right now. After the very recent news of drummer Lee McGarrity moving on to become a fulltime dad, the band consists of three Sydney pop-punk dudes Brad Smith (lead vocals), Duane Hazell (guitar/vocals) and Chris "Potter" Moretti (bass). As you've probably guessed by now, Sydney trios are kinda my scene. 

One of the things I adore about this band, besides their edgy, upbeat and genuinely amazing style, is the fact that they're genuinely nice guys. Despite their partying ways- but come on, what band of twenty-something year old guys wouldn't?!- they actually take time out to come visit and play for their fans in areas like around here- not something that can be said for a lot of bands, to be honest! I went to a local show on their Just Shoe It! tour back in July, and had the pleasure of having a really nice, down-to-earth conversation with lead singer Brad. It's nice to be reassured that not all bands are strictly around for the fame these days!

Of course, if you're in a band, you're bound to be judged on your musical talent, and these guys definitely do not disappoint! If you're a die-hard Stackette or into the grungy kind of punk-pop that Sydney is worshipped for (or maybe that's just me), mix just a little bit of Ke$ha in and you get Heroes For Hire. Pure genius. Known best for their previous two albums Life of the Party (definitely not so far from the truth!) and Take One For The Team which contain the sexy sounds of 'Bright Lights In Paradise' and 'Secrets, Lies and Sins' and even a cover of 'Kiss and Tell' which instantly transforms Ke$ha's lyrics into anthem material. Also check out the Short Stack documentary for the hilarity and genius of Duane reading off his hand- my personal highlight of the entire film.

On top of that, the guys have a pretty impressive track record (pun not intended). They've braved the crowds to play Soundwave 2012, become regulars along the east coast, and even supported well-known US legends Yellowcard just this month; all the while writing and recording their much anticipated third album, No Apologies. It's been in the works for what seems like the better part of this year, and has got to be the next best thing since sliced bread, I swear. From the tracklist to the guest vocals (Roger Lima of Less Than Jake on 'Face Without A Name' as well as Jeff Todd of I Call Fives on 'Lords of Blacktown'), this album has got to be their best yet. 

Plus, if former prime minister K-Rudd's opinion is anything to go by, it's got to be worth a listen! 

For those of you who've lived a shameful past six years and never heard of them- click away on FacebookTwitter and YouTube. The album comes out TOMORROW- September 28. If you can't possibly wait that long, you can stream it online now by clicking here. Happy listening!

Also, just a note from Duane himself that I couldn't bear to leave out- Duane's signature is the best. Just thought it was a necessity of life that you know that. 

Sayonara, fellow ninjas!! xoxo

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My New Love

Hello internet!

Recently I've discovered something awesome that both PJ and I have come to adore- the wonderful world of K-Pop. If you've never heard of it, grab some popcorn or a bag of chips, maybe a can or two of softdrink and listen in because I'm going to explain the sheer awesomeness of it all.

Basically, K-Pop is the Korean pop music, hence the name. It consists of synth and boy bands much like western pop music, but in my opinion, is way cooler. Think bright colours and eccentric costumes. Or two words: Gangnam Style.

Maybe you already know what I'm talking about given the number of memes like this one:

Or the parodies like this one:

There's no exaggeration when you say that this video has gone viral. PSY (the artist) has even released a second version featuring Hyuna (his girlfriend in the original clip):

I would probably describe the song as the brighter, crazier Korean Pitbull. There's just some little parallels between them!

And how did this love of mine only just come to be? Well, it's a pretty basic story. 

PJ and I were at her place one afternoon, bored out of our minds. We were flicking through the TV guide and discovered that on SBS (don't judge, okay?!) was a half hour show called Pop Asia. We watched in amazement as we saw a whole variety of Korean music videos. Here's a list of some of our favourites (other than Gangnam Style, of course!):

Sayonara, fellow ninjas!! xoxo

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Part Of The Reason I Am Considered Weird

There are many ways in which I differ greatly from my peers, most of which have labelled me "weird." I don't watch TV, I don't go out on the weekends (walking two doors down the road doesn't really cut it as a social life at high school when you're competing with your partying cohort), I listen to "fake" bands and I actually enjoy the subject of English.

First term of English, our assignment was to write a descriptive prose. I was very excited to get that assignment because I knew I'd end up with a good mark for something I do anyway. A lot of people aren't overly keen on writing, and barely anyone- around here, anyway- would actually do it voluntarily. I guess it was similar to English last year as well, when we were told we were going to be studying Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

There was a collective groan from all the lethargic, bored fourteen year olds who would much rather be kicking around a football or discussing the colours of hair dye in an exclusive cluster in a carefully chosen stairwell as opposed to reading some love story written way back when by some ancient, bald guy. 

I, on the other hand, broke into a grin. Though I never read a Shakespearean play, I was well up for the challenge. Although I personally don't find Romeo and Juliet all that romantic at all, the tragedy of the story intrigued me somehow. I may be a hopeless romantic, but the same "happily ever after" ending time after time doesn't really wash well with me. But it wasn't only that, it was the language! "But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the sun! Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, who is already sick and pale with grief, that thou, her maid, art far more fair than she." Language like that is not used every day- most people I know don't exactly appreciate me using vocabulary exceeding eight letters in length! To read language creating imagery so vivid and beautiful is remarkably me, anyway.

And so, with this term's assessment in which we had to choose one novel to read from a list of twenty-something, I chose Jane Eyre. That book, to put it simply, is absolutely beautiful. Even Charlotte Bronte's commentary on the lives of women in the Victorian era, and the way she gave a voice to the oppressed sex of the times through the narration of the headstrong Jane is incredible. Back in the 1800s, it was radical to speak out this way due to the given role of a woman as a loyal and dutiful wife. To all of a sudden have Jane- plain and simple, orphaned and brutally honest- as a protagonist, speaking out against social norms and refusing to conform to the demands of a class based society is incredible.

And again, it's the language. The way in which sentences are constructed- it's not just the same words over and over. And the quotes I can draw from it! One which I relate to is this:

“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.” 

--Mr. Rochester to Jane, Chapter 19

Either way, this is quickly becoming an analysis essay, and if that were to be so, it may ruin the book for anyone who may read it, which I definitely recommend, if you are a reader like me. And so, dear reader, I shall leave you to believe what you will.

Sayonara, fellow ninjas!! xoxo

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Watty Awards 2012

Hey guys!

Usually I'm not into posting to make other people do your bidding, but today I'm going to be a hypocrite. So, without further ado, just a quick little note to ask a huge favour!

As some of you may know- well, I'm guessing everyone as it's rather obvious- I'm a writer, and I really like writing stories. This year, I've decided to try something new and enter a writing competition. 

There's a site called Wattpad where writers can post their work and receive feedback from a whole bunch of different people and gain a bit of an underground following, if you will. You also have the chance to submit one or two stories into their annual "Watty Awards." Basically, you can post a story of any genre on their site, list it under the Watty Awards category and try and get as many votes as you can, and you can win stuff!

What I would love you guys to do is go onto Wattpad and vote for my story! It's called The Last Beautiful Thing and I'm pretty proud of it...I'd like to think it's some of my best work! So if you can PRETTY PRETTY PLEASE WITH CHERRIES AND SUGAR AND ICE CREAM read my short story- it's not long!- and click the vote button in the top left hand corner, I will absolutely love you forever and I will bake you cookies. 

It would be absolutely awesome if you guys could help me out!

Also, if you're awesome at editing and such, please note that I am not so handy and I'd love a hand with the book cover...if you think you're up for it, please help me out if you can!!

Sayonara, fellow ninjas!! xoxo

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Somewhere I Want To Visit Or Move To

Hello world!

This is actually a cool topic that I actually forgot about for some reason...but no matter.

Travel is a really big interest of mine. I love languages and culture and being somewhere different. There's not anything wrong with Australia really, aside from the fact that we have six of the top ten deadliest snakes in the world here. But y'know, that's life.

Still, there's something thrilling about the prospect of going somewhere new and exciting; of seeing something other than your little corner of the world- for me, that's here in a pretty quiet little area where a party popper in a bin- thought, at the time, to be a bomb- was the most exciting thing to happen in pretty much forever.

After the exchange last year, I've got an itch to just get out of here and see more of the big blue ball we live on. There's so much to see- five other completely mysterious continents I've never even been to.

The world is a big place and I've barely seen my own country. I've been to all the Eastern Australian capital cities, and as far south in Tassie as you can possibly go without a lab coat, but there's still two states and a territory that I've never been to. Either way, I would love to go everywhere. I want to see the way other people live; learn other languages; immerse myself in another culture.

New Zealand was a great place to start- for a fourteen year old girl who'd never been away from home for more than a week on school camp, it was the best possible chance I could have to see something new. I loved it immediately- if you've never been, you should go. The scenery is just...well, wow. Three months was barely enough time for me to truly get a handle on just how breathtakingly beautiful that country really is. I also met some amazing people there, and for those reasons, I would want to go and move there for a bit- maybe work over there on a gap year after year twelve.

And then of course- of course- I want to go to Indonesia. Six years I've spent in a classroom learning about their culture and their language and just life on the islands in general- seeing photos of their traditional long houses (lamin) and hearing an abbreviated version of the Ramayana (it's an ancient Hindu epic which, in its full form, consists of 24000 verses in 7 books- so yes, I heard a very abridged version!) has made me long to be there and experience it for myself.

I suppose that much is obvious though, given that it is a big part of what I actually want to do with my life. I want to get involved in international law, particularly relations with Indonesia. I've seen so many media horror stories about all the drug smuggling cases- Schapelle Corby is pretty much a household name now- and the feature on the news about a 14 year old Indonesian boy being kept in a maximum security prison intended, clearly, for grown men. Add to that the fact that he was by no means given a fair trial- he spoke no English and the trial went ahead without a translator....ugh, they call this the justice system...

Well, that was a tangent and a half. I also really want to go to Italy- it may not be anything like the movies but to me it sounds like the most romantic place on earth. Plus lasagna is from there- and who doesn't love lasagna?!

Also on my list is China- I started reading a the Dark Heavens Trilogy by Kylie Chan last year and it got me really interested in the mythology. It's not made up- the author did her research and made up a fictional story based on the real Taoist beliefs- plus I researched it myself after. Yes I am that big a nerd. Don't judge me.

Japan- I still remember bits and pieces from the days of sitting in Kindergarten. All the kids would sit and moan about how much they hated Japanese, while I took to it with a fascination that no one else really understood. Well, it can't really be blamed given that we were between the ages of four and six back then. But I still remember little bits...I can still sing a little song we learnt in I think grade three. Plus, that's where the ninjas are from- you couldn't forget that, now could you?!

And Spain- the flamenco guitar sound is incredible; and the tiny bit of language I learned and forgot in New Zealand made me want to learn properly.

And of course Czech Republic- I would very much like to go there. I met and became friends with a girl from there while I was in New Zealand as she was on exchange at the school as well. She was lovely and even taught me how to say hello in their language- "ahoy!" I wondered what it was like their so I Googled- the pictures were just beautiful.

Anyhow, I'm just prattling on. Basically put, I want to travel the world.

Sayonara, fellow ninjas!! xoxo

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Five Words/Phrases That Make Me Laugh

Considering that today hasn't been all that grand, this is not a bad post to write today...and just a note, they're probably all going to be from movies. Predominantly chick flicks.

1. "Live every day like you're Glen Coco."
If you've ever seen Mean Girls, you'll understand. The kid that gets four candy canes in class? Yeah, him. That's Glen Coco. No face, but is just generally associated with being awesome. Basically, the quote is the world's best way of saying just be an all-round knockout, awesome, amazing, bad-ass human every day. Its meaning, obviously, is kinda sappy and all, but the way it's put is brilliant and definitely entertaining.

2. "That's so fetch!!" - Gretchen Weiners, Mean Girls.
Again, another Mean Girls reference. One which is quoted to the extreme by me and PJ, particularly on the bus on the way home from school, or walking home from the bus stop. Either way, it's overused, which makes it perfect.

3. "What are you doing today, Napoleon?" "Whatever I wanna do, gosh!!"
It's not exactly a chick flick, but God I love this movie; I really do. I watched it with PJ and ever since I have loved it. Napoleon says a lot of stupid, strange and wonderful things, which are fantastically quotable.

4. "I'm not as random as you think I salad."
I don't actually know where it is that I heard and/or read this one, but it entertained me nevertheless. It describes me and my excitable personality pretty much in a nutshell.

5. "You will use the quadratic formula in later life."
This quote is just so ridiculous that I cannot help but laugh whenever I hear it. How many people who aren't maths teachers or some kind of big-shot, super-fancy engineer person will actually ever use that horrible memory drain in their daily lives aside from senior Maths B?

Anyhow, that was brief, stupid, and long overdue. Sorry guys!

Sayonara, fellow ninjas!! xoxo

Monday, July 23, 2012

Something I Miss

I miss a fair few things right about now. I miss the warmth and possibility of summer; I miss New Zealand in its entirety; I miss the Home Ice Cream truck as it drives down the streets of New South Wales. I miss the salty smell of the beach; the endlessness of a blank page and the fresh leather seats of a brand new car. While I could talk for hours on end about each of these, it is something else entirely that I'm going to discuss.

Don't you love the rush you get when you buy the brand new album that your favourite band has just released? You egg on the download bar on iTunes (because pirating is bad); you open the CD case with trembling fingers for the first time, careful not to break the fragile plastic case, bend the booklet or leave fingerprints on the disc. Okay, maybe the digital download is more common these days, but I still like to buy CDs every so often- the commonality of that is another thing I miss.

But I digress. However you purchase it, it's exciting to finally have this brand spankin' new album in your possession. That's how I felt about every single Short Stack CD I ever purchased. You groan, but please bear with me.

The Stack boys have come to "call it a day", and while it is a saddening reality for Stackettes everywhere, it is also an exciting prospect to see where the break up will lead us next. With Shaun, we've seen just today what exactly is in the works.

Shaun Diviney- or Diviney, to use the name of the new solo project currently underway- has released a brand new track, You're So Cool, which was aired at 7.30pm on Australia's Hot30 Countdown with Matty and Mel earlier tonight, and the video posted on YouTube, reaching 302 views within 3 hours, as can be seen here:

You're So Cool- Diviney

Right from the announcement of You're So Cool's release, Diviney was subject to high expectations. Short Stack's critics would surely be listening for any tiny flaw in the music and be poised and ready for a smooth takedown; former Stackettes struggling to come to terms with the break up looking to point fingers would sit by and/or boycott the music entirely; and of course the true fans, willing to support the boys, hoping not to be let down by some techno-top 40 track.

Personally, I like the new sound; however it is incredibly different to the sound of the Short Stack of former years. Obviously, this is the idea- of growing up and changing styles; maturing as a musician and a writer- but it's what Stackettes are used to and we (including me, but perhaps not you), have loved for the eight years the band was around. As a positive, it reinforces Shaun's capability to create a danceable and interesting track in a vast amount of musical styles; which has been evident since the early days of Short Stack. While still solidly in the pop-rock/punk-pop genres, no two songs sounded the same and each album remains wildly different from the rest.

In addition to the Stack albums is, of course, Diviney's first solo release, You're So Cool. The track is catchy and easy to dance and sing along to, however it sounds very different to the upbeat, fun hooks of the debut Stack Is The New Black (released 2009); the much more mature, darker and edgier, This Is Bat Country (released 2010); and, judging by the two tracks which were released and featured on Short Stack: The Story So Far, the third and unreleased Art Vandelay.

While Short Stack fans used to the dance-your-heart-out nature of Princess, more mature and long term fans may find solace in Diviney's You're So Cool, discovering that the differences in style and sound, realising that these diversities are still true to the tastes of the musician and do nothing detrimental to the prospect of a musical future. I look forward to hearing more works in the near and distant future, and I believe that many long term fans will stand by Shaun on his journey.

Sayonara, fellow ninjas!! xoxo