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Why Marriage Equality Matters…

September 12, 2017

It’s been bugging me a lot lately the debate about same-sex marriage.  I don’t mean the part where it’s fundamentally humiliating in this day and age to have to beg people for the right to be treated equally.  And not the part where it’s just a ridiculous amount of public funds to be wasted on something (that essentially has no legal consequence) when there are schools, hospitals and an ever-increasing amount of elderly Australians who direly need the money more.

 

But the thing that really has been upsetting me the most is the passivity of a lot of the people around me.  The friends and family members who, whilst likely to vote ‘YES’ on the non-legally binding marketing survey postcards currently being mailed out to them, seem content that quietly and privately ticking a little box on a piece of cardboard is enough to show support for the loved ones around them who have spent their lives being told to be ashamed of themselves for as long as they can remember.

 

Still, if they’re voting ‘YES’ then why does it feel inadequate somehow?  I’ve had countless arguments with my own mother about it and it frustrates me because I know she genuinely doesn’t understand why it almost feels like a betrayal that she doesn’t care *more*.  I mean – if someone was saying my little brother couldn’t marry his girlfriend, she’d be the first person marching down the street and knocking on every single door she could until she ensured the whole suburb understood about equal rights.  Heck, if that were the case I’d be right there marching alongside her.  Most of us would fight to the death for our loved ones, so why don’t they feel compelled to stand up and fight for us?

 

And it occurred to me that part of the reason why is because none of them truly understand what growing up gay is like.  I mean, this huge part of who we are and what shaped us is something that a vast majority of us kept secret for many years (and some of us still do).  We never talked to them about what it was like growing up being told that we different.  We never talked about what it was like being told who we love is wrong.  We never told them what it was like going to school each day being afraid of getting the living daylights beat out of us because of the way we were born.  We never talked about how lonely adolescence was for us because we couldn’t kiss who we wanted to kiss or date who we wanted to date.  We probably never made them acknowledge how much they contributed (whether implicitly or explicitly) to that very fear that, at any time, we could be kicked out of our own homes forever for nothing more than just being who we are.  And most of us have never told them what it was like to spend every single day contemplating killing ourselves because it was easier than living in fear.  Heck, most of us have never even said that out loud to ANYONE.  Thankfully, most of us eventually find a way to outgrow that feeling when we venture out into the adult world – but some of us don’t.  Some of us never make it that far.  So while we contend with all the other battles you all face surviving the challenges of childhood – whether it be being ‘too fat’, ‘too ugly’, ‘too unpopular’ or ‘too slow’ – we also have to battle an entire decade (if we’re lucky) of that daily battle about whether or not we want to live through another day.  One that often stretches far into adulthood for an unimaginable amount of you still.  The thing is – if you look around right now, the chances are good that someone sitting in your office, or across from you on the train, or in your very own home is STILL waging that mental war in their head, even in adulthood, because they are still too afraid to come out and live their life the way they actually want to.

 

But mostly I wonder if people realise how lucky they are to have that person sitting across from them at all.  And I guess they probably don’t, because they’ve never really been told how many times that person almost took their own life growing up, because they grew up in a world where we say that being gay is not okay.  And I wonder if the rest of you that have a family of your own realise that there is a one in ten chance that one of your own children is probably going to silently struggle with this very same impulse every single day that we let this sad excuse for a debate wage on.  It may just be a marketing survey about marriage equality, but it’s really a referendum on whether hard-working, decent, everyday Australians should get equal rights to go along with the equal taxes they pay and the equal responsibilities they have.

 

Cute Pic of me and the dog writing this. He’s not gay, but I’d support him if he was..

 

And for those of you sitting there with someone in your life who made it through the daily torment growing up gay in Australia still is to this very day, then take a second to appreciate that they are still there, and that they decided to stay.  Because most of them had to do so on their own.  And you’ll never know how close you came to not having them in your life anymore at all.  So be grateful, and help try to build a better Australia where future generations don’t have to feel this way.  Chances are, you probably weren’t there to protect us when we needed you to back then.  So BE HERE NOW and fight for us.  BE ANGRY.  It’s not too late to make a difference…

 

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‘ALWAYS FORWARD, NEVER BACK’

May 4, 2017

Just a little something I wrote a few weeks ago, the day after I got out of hospital.  Most I’ve fallen in love with something I wrote myself in the longest time.  Doubly so because it was written from start to finish in less than thirty minutes, all on the one park bench.  And, for some reason, I thought to take a photo of where I was when the idea first popped into my head, and another right after I finished the last chorus.

It’s actually kinda special to me, in ways I don’t even quite understand myself yet.  Plus I just CANNOT. GET. IT. OUT. OF. MY. DAMNED. HEAD.  Which is even more hilarious because it’s total 1950’s-style Frank Sinatra/Perry Como smoothly crooned nostalgia (granted, with some good old Lorde-style Green Light-like verses).  Like, you can literally hear the chestnuts roasting over the open fire when you listen to it.  I dunno – maybe that’s why I love it so much?  It’s the so sincere and honest and warm – like a big whiskey-soaked hug.

ANYWAY, posted for posterity..

 

+10 Points to Twitter-dor for accidentally choosing to format this tweet better than I ever could. SCORE.

‘Always Forward, Never Back’
Leaves are meant to fall
And suns are meant to set
And chalk drawings on the sidewalk are meant to be stepped on
Salt is meant to pepper
And every day you’re better
When your heart has been broken in two
So you can start anew..

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The 22 Most Inappropriate GIFs of Spencer Bledsoe’s Survivor Second Chance Sex Faces

December 16, 2015

SO, with the Survivor Second Chance Finale only HOURS AWAY, we’ve been trying to update our annual Winner Rankings to include what has EASILY been one of the best seasons of all time.  The only problem is, every time we try to type anything, we keep getting stuck on one thing.  Spencer.  Or, rather, the amazing (and amazingly inappropriate) sex faces he’s been making ALL SEASON LONG.  And, when we say LONG, we mean it (check out #17 & #18 if you need to see how long we’re talking..)

Despite our most valiant and pure-hearted efforts, the extreme face game Everyone’s Favourite King Of #Crotchframing has been providing for the Survivor GIF Community has just been too strong to resist.  Still, on the plus side, Spot The Spencer Sex Face has been the funnest sideshow in a season FULL of them.

So, despite our heart (and PANTS) wanting a Spencer win this Wednesday, he’s probably only looking at either second place at best (losing to Mr Val Collins himself) or falling at the Final 4 once more (with Wentworth snatching the win out from under him like it was a hidden immunity idol).  Thankfully, while there’s probably no million dollars at the end of his Survivor tunnel, from the looks of these, his impending lifetime contract at Sean Cody should more than compensate for it.

Anyway, without further ado, here are our 22 Favourite Editions of Sex Face Spencer.  (a vast majority of the thanks goes to TheCrimsonKnight on reddit, who has been doing some fantastic work this season making these – check the whole library out HERE) :-

01. ‘OPEN-MOUTHED ONE MAN JANE KERKOVICH-WILLIAMS TRIBUTE ACT’ SEX FACE SPENCER

Survivor Spencer Sex Face Finger In Mouth

02. ‘MOANING IN THE RAIN’ SEX FACE SPENCER

Survivor Spencer Sex Face Moaning In The Rain

03. ‘MOANING IN THE RAIN’ SEX FACE SPENCER – NOW WITH ADDED INAPPROPRIATE SHOULDER ACTION!

Spencer Moaning In The Rain and Rubbing One Out Sex Face

04. ‘GETTING IT IN THE HOLE!’ IMMUNITY EDITION SEX FACE SPENCER

Survivor Spencer Sex Faces Getting It In The Hole

05. ‘WAVING HIS LEGS IN THE AIR LIKE HE JUST DON’T CARE’ SEX FACE SPENCER

Survivor Spencer Sex Faces Legs In The Air Immunity Challenge

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The Boy Who Thought Too Much..

February 22, 2015

Random thought I had just now.  As those of you who know me know, I’m one of those guys who is *always* thinking.  Like, non-stop thinking.  Olympic marathon thinking. And it’s fine for me because it’s something that is second nature to me – my brain works fast, it takes no effort and I’m normally at the end of a puzzle before everyone else has finished reading the instructions.  And I don’t mean this in a boastful way, but just it what it is – everyone is good at something, and that’s a thing that I got born with. The frustrating part for me is that it’s often quite alienating – both for me because I’m constantly waiting for people around me to catch up and, even more so, because it genuinely upsets me to see how exhausting I can be for people I care about.  I may be borderline Hawking-like in the brains department, but I’m lucky enough to be either hyper-empathetic or just unnaturally adept at intellectually deconstructing human psychology.  Either way, the net result is about the same.

Anyway, the point is that it just occurred to me that – I wonder whether the reason that I think so much is something I was born with, or whether it’s a direct byproduct of how I grew up?  I mean, without rehashing all the gory details, I learnt very clearly at a *very* young age EXACTLY how unpredictable adults could be, both from things I saw them do around me and things I saw them do to me.  And not even the general tedious TV Movie Of The Week shit you see on basic cable, but really unfathomable, weird stuff that most people even as adults don’t truly understand exists outside of independent cinema or Aronofsky films.  But, for me, it was just how I grew up.

And, to be perfectly honest, I’ve never even really cared.  Sure – there are things that happened to me that I don’t think any child should ever be exposed to, ever.  But I’ve never really understood the impulse to sit around and mope about things that are done.  Like – you can’t change the past, so what’s the point of making the time you have left even shittier than the time that preceded it, ya know?  Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big believer in always remembering things, and analysing situations that happen.  But only because that’s the only real way you can ever learn from something.  Or, even better, learn how to make sure it never happens again.  And, looking back, I had such a long, random, weird ass laundry list of childhood traumas and teenage tragedies that fell across my path that it’s almost comical at times.  But that’s why I have such a grounded perspective in life.  I learned so early on that real serious shit really fucking happens, so I learned not to take so many mundane things seriously.  And that sense of perspective is what opened me up to being able to experience such pure joy in so many ordinary, little things that most people around me never even notice.

But I guess the thing that I’d never thought about before was the whole nature vs nurture aspect of my MENSA-ness.  I appreciate and am truly grateful for how nimble and practical and emotionally astute my mind is every single day, but I wonder if I would even have that had things been different growing up.  My ability to so astutely psychologically profile someone within a minute of meeting them is one of my favourite things I can do, and yet I wonder if that is purely a by-product of learning the full spectrum of human behaviour by the time I was in grade school.  If I didn’t so innately understand exactly what people are truly capable of – both bad AND good – would I have ever developed the ability to be a mere birthplace away from being an FBI Profiler or something?

The problem is, once you’ve learned fully that people are literally capable of any random unpredictable action or thought as a reaction to any situation ever, it because near impossible to ever stop running numbers, crunching variables and imagining twenty seven potential outcomes to any given mundane interaction. Which is a great life skill if you were in an emergency, or playing Survivor, but it’s just exhausting sometimes in day to day life, because I basically understand the people around me incredibly well but also find them just completely baffling and illogical.  I might always end up being right, but I also end almost always being by myself, even in a room full of everyone.

I guess I’ve always been someone who truly believes in finding the good in anything, not because I’ve read too many self-help books, but because I’m an inherently practical person.  And I’m just curious I guess how much of this particular skill I owe to certain people.  And wonder if there is a way to better socially streamline it so I don’t keep hurting the handful of people I truly care about.  Because it’s wonderful to be able to know someone better than they know themselves, but it’s lonely as hell too.

Wide Open Heart

January 2, 2015

i’ve got sinead o’connor on
i’m listening to the saddest songs
i’m crying in the shower on my own

my friends are blowing up my phone
they’re making moves since you moved on
but it’s the time you mourn that lets you know it’s love

and i know it sounds stupid to believe in a cupid who fires an arrow straight away
but i’d rather be stupid than be afraid of losing something that i’ve got to give away..

and i’m gonna live – with a wide open heart
cuz i’d rather be the guy who falls apart
than the one whose too afraid to start
get hurt – fall down again and again, again
cuz someday someone will make it all seem worth it

staring blankly at my phone
nothing’s changed since you last called
i’m just being anxious because this could be love

they say don’t speak these thoughts out loud
but i’m gonna sing them anyhow
cuz it’s better losing than risk missing out

and i know it sounds foolish to believe i could do this, to go and make you feel the same
but i’d rather die trying than live life while i’m lying with every single breath i take..

so i’m gonna live – with a wide open heart
cuz i’d rather be the guy who falls apart
than the one who’s too afraid to start
get hurt – fall down again and again, again
cuz someday someone will make it all seem worth it
someday someone could make it all be worth it..

and i’m not afraid
of what people say
about the tears falling from my face
because it’s brave
it’s just mistakes
and nothing great came from someone afraid to break
and i was never afraid to break..

and i know it sounds stupid to believe in a cupid who would fire an arrow straight away
but you know what is stupid, being afraid to do this because a fire is worth the pain..

so i’m gonna live – with a wide open heart
cuz i’d rather be the guy who falls apart
than the one who’s too afraid to start
get hurt – fall down again and again, again
cuz someday someone will make it all seem worth it..
someday someone could make it all seem worth it..
maybe one day you’ll make it all be worth it .. to me

The Emergency Worker Support Group

December 15, 2014

Sometimes I wish there was, like, a Support Group for people whose friends have had shitty things happen to them.  Like, a safe space where people who are accident adjacent could go to and vent and deal and process all the second hand residual feelings that are left from when something shitty happens to someone you love.  Because you can’t talk about it like you normally would.  It’s not cool to discuss second hand pain.  But it’s a real thing.  And not like in some narcissistic Hannah Horvath way where you’re just kind of making someone else’s tragedy all about you either – but a real legit thing.  Because, honestly?  It’s draining as all fuck.  Watching crappy things happen to people you care about is horrible, but you can’t talk about it because you have to be supportive and strong because you want to help them and support them and distract them.  But it’s draining.  And it’s depressing.

Like yesterday – my flatmate, who is one of my top tier best friends for life, got hit by a car.  And not just a love tap/glove slap kind of thing, but a legit, neck fractured, bike totalled, lucky to be alive kind of deal.  And it only just hit me now – after spending two days in hospitals and doctors appointments and dealing with insurance companies and lawyers and the like – that, once I dealt with all the logistical and practical stuff, I legitimately almost lost one of the people I love most in my entire life.  The reality that he was a split second either side of being someone’s permanent hood ornament (through no fault of his own – the error was 100% the drivers fault) is just draining in a totally different way to all those other things I outlined.  It’s horrifying beyond words to think about. But you can’t talk about it in a traditional way, because it sounds selfish, or narcissistic, or just inappropriate.  But these aren’t feelings I’m consumed with at the expense of caring about my friend – they’re feelings that exist on a secondary or tertiary level, in their own little self-contained bubble.  And yet there is no forum to really talk about them because, as I know as well as anyone else, they’re not important.  Or at least not in the grand scheme of the situation.  But it’s so WEIRD.

And it leads to me to think of how many times I’ve been in this situation – trauma adjacent.  And suddenly being aware of the emotional toll it takes, constantly propping up other people in their time of need.  It’s not something you do (or should ever do) for thanks, but it *is* something that is incredibly exhausting.  But you can’t talk about it out loud – ESPECIALLY not to the friend that it involves – because that is a completely garbage thing to do.

I guess it’s just part of the deal these days, part and parcel of what goes along with choosing to truly care about someone.  And that’s fine.  If anything, it’s really nice to do – probably the only genuinely satisfying experience I can think of in life sometimes, to know that something that’s inherently easy for you to do can make someone else’s world a better place for a couple of seconds.  I’ve always thought it just makes mathematical sense, you know?  But it also creates this strange disconnect sometimes.  Because you hand over these giants chunks of your life force and your soul to someone, but you can’t even objectively mention the toll it takes on you because even just verbalising it kind of makes you sound like a c**t.  And it’s weird because, for me at least, it’s not complaining.  At all.  I just find it such an interesting concept.  I guess maybe that’s part and parcel of being a writer – these moments of dissociative observation.  But for as long as I can remember, I’ve always just kind of known that you can never be truly connected and effective with someone at the same time, and I don’t know how to always be able to deal with that, because it’s kind of lonely.

Going over the past year alone, I think back on all these second hand life traumas I’ve been present for.  And it makes me truly happy that I was able to be be around and be able to genuinely help these people, because I think anything that can makes someone else’s life better is always worth the effort. But this last year or two, there’s really been a lot.  The car accident yesterday, my best friends relationship breakdown, my grandmothers slow descent into dementia, my Mum losing her job, my 2014 list just goes on and on..  Sometimes I feel like I can’t turn around without seeing someone I care about in the most acute kind of pain, and I don’t know how to not feel every single drop of it.  And I just get exhausted.  But I don’t really know how to ‘half-care’.  I have no problem at all with openly not caring and being able to stand up and admit it, but this weird kind of ‘selective caring’ that I see so many people do in the real world just skeezes me out – because I think that, if you’re being true, you either care about something or you don’t, and anything less than 100% is just kind of disingenuous, or hollow.

But it’s also strange for me because I’ve never really been one to just throw my own pain in other peoples faces.  I’ve always found it kind of gauche.  And I don’t mean that as a slight to everyone else – because I truly don’t – but it’s just not the way I’ve ever really been.  Since I was a little kid, I’ve always just found it strange to dump your problems into someone else’s lap unless there is something specific that they can do to help with them.  In those cases, I think it’s totally fine and, if anything, a very smart and practical thing to do.  But the concept of dumping an unsolvable problem on someone else just seems kind of mean – why would you want to torment someone else if it’s something there’s no solution to?  Like – why drag two people down?  And so, with my own problems, if I know what the solution is, I just go and do it.  And if I can’t work it out, then I kind of compartmentalise it away until the universe nudges me towards the answer sheet.  And, honestly – it’s really kind of worked thus far.

Anyway, there was no real point to this I guess.  It’s just weird.  I’d never thought of it like that before.  It’s strange to think of how many people in the world are walking around with these kind of  secondary injuries, like invisible pieces of debris, just floating around the crowds.  It’s such a strange thing to be aware of suddenly.  There are so many strange Social Laws that govern what feelings we can discuss and what we can and when, and sometimes I worry that all they do is help redistribute the problem by breaking it down to more easily shareable pieces that are harder to notice.  But it’s interesting to watch I guess, to watch what makes the world turn.

The Glenny Guide To.. The 10 Best Scary Movies To See Before You Die

October 31, 2014

So, once again – Halloween is basically upon us.  And, like last year, I’m eschewing getting my ghoulishly goofy self AWN in favor of staying in and finishing any one of the six screenplays and two tv shows that I’m currently actively working on.   I’ve always said – “Halloween is for people who achieve their life goals.  And for people who like to dress like whores”.  That being said, this year is particularly tough to stay in, mostly because of the fact I’ve managed to attain a pretty wicked bod and thus have the kind of physique that lends itself to ALL SORTS of sexy costumes.  Although, if we’re perfectly honest, all I really want to do is dress up in my Tigger onesie because, well, OBVI.

So, while I stay in like a good boy and write, drink and occasionally post naked photos of myself on Twitter, I thought I would pay tribute to some of the best lesser-known modern horror movies (aka ones you probably HAVEN’T already seen) that have helped shaped me – both as a writer and as a cinema fan.  These are the kind of movies that make me not just defend the whole genre on a regular basis, but aspire to contribute to it and, one day, become it’s impossibly abdominated King.  They’re not just movies I want to equal, but ones that motivate me to want to do even better, both as a writer and a full-time scare-ntertainer.

ANYWAYS, without further ado, here are ten slices of post-1990 horror that you really MUST SEE.  Not just if you consider yourself not a fan of the genre, but of cinema itself :-

10 – THE STRANGERS (2008)

PLOT – Young couple vacationing in isolated country cabin find themselves stalked by a trio of masked intruders, for no discernible reason (TRAILER).

WHY – When people ask me to name one movie that makes me want to be a genre writer, this is IT.  In eighty-eight short minutes, this tale of two semi-estranged suburbanites holidaying in the countryside manages to encapsulate everything that is both great and poorly done in modern horror cinema.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the good FAR outweighs the weak, but we mean it when we say this movie is only a few narrative tweaks from being MUCH higher on this list.  Honestly, it’s almost frustrating to say so because The Strangers really, truly does so many things just RIGHT.  Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler (particularly the latter) give incredibly engaging and relatable performances, delivering just the right amount of nuance and gravitas (abetted by an impressively well paced and structured screenplay) that makes you honestly care about them and their plight, as you’re so fully invested both in their relationship and the situation they find themselves in.  And that’s what makes it all the more heartbreaking that the final thirty minutes is kind of undone by the two characters making increasingly stupid decisions that seem more concerned with furthering the plot than with anything someone with a triple digit IQ could conceivably do.  There is only so many “splitting up/going back into the house/not running for help” moments that a viewer can take before they inevitably just stop caring about whether a character lives or dies.  That being said, the way The Strangers not just amps up but maintains the tension throughout the picture is nothing short of phenomenal – even on a second viewing, this is a movie too scary to watch by yourself.  Believe us – we’ve tried!

The Strangers Liv Tyler Mask

BEST BIT – The Masked Intruders.  Besides the next entry on the list, we can’t think of a single movie in modern horror that has utilized an anonymous mask so effectively and terrifyingly.  Also, the Barn scene is just perfect.  For a movie built on silently escalating tension in long, deliberate takes, this scene takes the cake.  And the soundtrack is just PERFECT – scariest use of Country Music since  Gwyneth ‘Country Strong’ herself!

IF YOU LIKED THIS, THEN TRY – VACANCY (2007).  Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson take a similar ‘couple against the odds’ scenario and play it out to seat-squirmingly terrifying effect.  A brutally simple but ingenious concept played for maximum thrills, without ever feeling cheap.  The movie may have some minor flaws, but the suspense sequences pack nail bitingly visceral thrill that is on par with the greats.

09 – SCREAM 4 (2011)

PLOT – Modern scream queen survivor Sidney Prescott releases a self help book, and finds that the demons of her past aren’t quite as dead and buried as they seem (TRAILER).

WHY – Social Commentary and Cinema Critique disguised as a Self Referential Slasher Reboot., this 11 years in the making four-quel/reboot to the almighty franchise (see our countdown of the Top Ten Reasons the Scream Franchise is pretty much GOAT *HERE*) is as maligned as it is loved by serious horror fans.  Now – we’re not going to argue that Scream 4 is perfect – it’s NOT.  But take away the 10% of the movie that needs major retooling (the second ending in the Hospital should be completely cut, and the hastily reshot third part of the opening scene is SO completely trite and unengaging that you really wish they had’ve kept the more cerebral, affecting and disturbing original concept instead), and you’re left with an incredibly smart, well acted horror movie that not just works as a How To Guide for modern horror sequels, but is brimming with some of the most exciting and challenging ideas seen this decade.  Neve Campbell in particular gives a genuinely bravura performance and puts in some beautiful finishing touches on what just might be the single most three dimensional heroine in horror movie history.  All in all, Scream 4 is the rarest of horror sequels, in that it manages to not just honour all that is great about the original, but truly build on the concept, instead of just regurgitating it.

Scream 4 Scary Movie Body Ceiling Fan

BEST BIT – Honorable mentions go to the scene where Neve’s years of survivors guilt lead her to not just run directly INTO the house, but to go full blown Sigourney Weaver (because, when you think about it, the best defense is often a good surprise offence), as well as pretty much any scene Hayden Panettiere or Courteney Cox are in.  But, it’s impossible to go past THAT ending, which (Hospital malarkey notwithstanding) which is both intellectually exciting and as bursting with ideas bananas as we’ve seen in memory.  It’s just THAT GOOD.

(Bonus Points to the scrapped opening scene, which was a slight rewrite away from being the most gut-wrenching opening since Drew Barrymore’d herself – WATCH HERE).

IF YOU LIKED THIS, THEN TRY – WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE (1994).  If the original Scream was the moment the mainstream Horror Movie became self-aware, then this little seen meta-gem is where that seed got planted.  Not just reuniting the original cast of his 1984 Elm Street opus, but ingeniously recasting them as themselves in the modern day, Craven single-handedly invents not just the self-referential horror movie, but establishes it as a go-to genre for the thinking cinema fan.  Worth seeing just for original Nightmare On Elm Street star Langenkamp’s vunerable tour de force performance alone.

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