Do you have a flag?

Looky here!  The Sydney International Food festival inspired some foodies to go make some cool flags out of foods associated with each of the various countries.  The pics were created by advertising agency WHYBIN/TBWA for the event.  Starting to look like a great excuse to visit Sydney next month!

Australia (you’re standing in it!):  Meat pie with tomato sauce.

Brazil: banana leaf, limes, pineapple and passionfruit.


France: blue cheese, brie, red grapes.france-flag-made-from-food-600x450

Greece: kalamata olives and feta cheese.greece-flag-made-from-food-600x424 India: curries, rice and a pappadum.india-flag-made-from-food-600x457

Indonesia: spicy chili curry and sambal rice.indonesia-flag-made-from-food-600x387

Italy: basil leaves, pasta and fresh tomatoes.italy-flag-made-from-food-600x468

Japan:  rice and raw tuna.japan-flag-made-from-food-600x459

Lebanon:  lavash, fattoush and a sprig of herbs.lebanon-flag-made-from-food-600x424

Korea: Kimbap and saucessouth-korea-flag-made-from-food-600x442

Spain:  chorizo and rice.spain-flag-made-from-food-600x450

Switzerland: charcuteries and emmental.switzerland-flag-made-from-food-600x469

Thailand: sweet chili sauce, shredded coconut and blue swimmer crab.thailand-flag-made-of-food-600x334

Turkey:  rosewater lokum (Turkish Delight).turkey-flag-made-from-food-600x341

England:  scone, whipped cream and jams.united-kingdom-flag-made-from-food-600x326 United States:  hotdogs, ketchup and mustardunited-states-flag-made-from-food-600x340

Vietnam:  rambutan, lychees and starfruit.vietnam-flag-made-from-food-600x448Awesome photos incorporating international flavours and (of all things) heraldry…  for some reason I’m feeling pecking now.

Twitter – direct access.

I have only been using Twitter for a little over a year – I know, I’m fashionably late to the party, as per usual – and have inadvertently found myself ensconced in the warm fuzzy grip of what I like to call, the ‘Great Australian Labor Party Circle Jerk’.

One of the things that seems to happen almost by osmosis on Twitter is the ‘birds of a feather, flock together’ thing.  That is, like minded people with similar interests and opinions end up following each other, and retweeting one another, and not to mention sharing and resharing each others links until they are all over the place like some sort of informative glitter herpes, as they pervasively inhabit every crook and crevice of your Twitter feed!  This is never more apparent than when following people primarily engaged in the political arena.  The main impetus behind my ending up in this particularly, erm…  illustrious circle, was to engage in that now, much beloved Queensland past time – Campbell Newman bashing.  The decidedly nepotistic and morally bankrupt, Queensland Premier conducts himself like a reincarnation of Napoleon (complete with Little Man Syndrome), in such a dictatorial manner that he may as well tattoo a frigging target on his forehead!   So yeah, anyway… all these people with similar opinions crowd together daily, in a social media enabled, schadenfreudristic political feeding frenzy, which recently culminating with the meat food provided by the federal election, and the victory of a complete prat that the ALPCJ absolutely love to hate!  Actually, for a while there people seemed confused as to whether to stick with the tried and true, comforting and familiar Newman Bashing or to switch to the new and exciting, yet very satisfying, Abbott Bashing – fortunately for all involved, the ALPCJ resolved this dilemma by determining that it is possible to have it all, and proceeded to swiftly and efficiently bash BOTH Newman and Abbott, via the inherently flexible #LNPfail hastag!

This entire process of gravitating towards like minded individuals, or as I like to think of them from time to time, stark raving lunatics, is not even remotely surprising given the Twitter environment seriously discourages diversity of opinion.  For you see, when someone comes in from ‘outside’ and spews forth a diametrically opposed view to your own, they rarely do so with any courtesy. The limitation of 140 characters per tweet, does not a polite interjection, make.  As such, niceties are frequently abandoned in favour of making as strong a point as possible AND should that approach fail, or should the ‘outsider’ not have a sufficient grasp of the overarching issues, the specific case in point, or even just the English vernacular!, they often use their 140 characters to slag off at the original poster using nasty four letter words that you’d never dream of directing at a perfect stranger, were it not for the anonymity of the internet!  Naturally these trolls end up blocked pretty quickly.  The result of this decided lack of courtesy is that most of the people you end up following and/or are following you, tend to reflect, rather than challenge, your own ideologies.

But I have digressed considerably from my original intention when I set down to write this post.  I was going to write about ACCESS.  It’s the ease of access, or the appearance thereof, that I find most amusing on Twitter.  Access to people in positions of power, celebrity or influence.  Access to what they are thinking, access to what they might be doing, access in many cases of unprecedented direct contact.  Whether such communications are received or dignified with a response or not, is irrelevant… Twitter enables the masses to communicate directly with well known person, and what they choose to do with those tweets is, for many tweeter, neither here nor there.

I can tweet at Dita von Teese and tell her to pull her head out of her arse: “Why on earth are you tweeting about a fucking perfume launch, the day after 20 school children are shot dead? #BimboAlert”.  I can tweet at Pope Francis and tell him:  “Keep up the good work, it’s about time we had a progressive Head of the Catholic Church – hope you survive the inevitable assassination attempts! #HistoryRepeats”.  Or I can even tweet at Annastacia Palaszczuk, Leader of the Queensland Opposition (the self same one who was notably and completely absent from the media during the recent Federal election even though she was well placed to be telegraphing to the entire country what a disaster zone Queensland is turning into under a LNP Coalition government but was obviously too busy plucking her eyebrows or something, and we barely heard a peep out of the bint with the unpronounceable surname!), when she’s headed out for a night on the town…

annastacia palaszczuk twitter feedNow I got to ask you – as a public figure, whether you’re a burlesque strip tease artist, head of one of the worlds largest religious institutions of the leader of a political party – why would you lay yourself open like this?!?  It’s completely irrational.

Btw, I never received a reply to this Tweet – how rude! 😉 – but Ms Absent From The Media Palaszczuk, has been seen in the news challenging the Newman Government every day since I sent it!

Animation. We’re gonna animate and have a good time.

I’ve been a cartoon fan from way back… worked at the Disney Store, collected all the Disney movies that came out on VHS; was even disgusted at my own willingness to repurchase all the same movies once DVDs became de rigeur.  I also embraced the Dreamworks feature length animated films when they came along – the more the merrier!  Hell, I even considered studying animation at one time, but went for photography instead.


Anyway, I went to see Dreamworks’, Turbo with the Small Child and I’m finding myself becoming increasingly disenfranchised with the entire genre… honestly, I’m getting sick of seeing the same characters turning up again and again and again.  Of course you’re going to have your protagonists and antagonists like any good story should, but I’m getting a little sick of the protagonists being so stereotypical.  They’re become so predictable as to almost be an identical character in different digital clothing and it’s being rolled out over and over again. The protagonist in this particular story is Theo, aka Turbo the snail, who wants to be a race car driver… err race snail. driver. thing.

Turbo Ryan Reynolds

Which is fine.  But it’s becoming the ONLY formula for recent animated movies.  Little creature X isn’t happy with their lot in life and wants to be/do something else… for examples see:  Nemo in Finding Nemo, Flick in A Bug’s Life, Remy in Ratatouille, Ralph in Wreck-It-Ralph, Merida in Brave, Po in Kung Fu Panda, etc. etc. etc! This list goes on and on, once you start looking for it – and they’re all the same fucking character!  Seemingly small insignificant creature decides he doesn’t like the reef/colony/rats nest/computer game/clan/noodle house it was born into, and thinks himself a special little snow flake with big dreams, and as such, aspires to travel/see the world/cook/be nice/not marry/claim martial arts fame etc,… and leads everyone on merry chase to inevitable happy ‘Disney’ ending… yes, Dreamworks do the ‘Disney’ endings too.  Blargh.

However, it’s one thing to do the same old ‘snail out of the garden’/’fish out of the reef’/’ant out of the colony’/’rat in the kitchen’/’avatar out of his game’/’panda out of his restaurant’, thing over and over… but it’s getting a little lazy when the rest of the ensemble cast are becoming completely recognizable caricatures as well.  I’m only going to give a few examples (else, I could be here all day) but once I notice them, I see them everywhere!

For example, there is always The Naysayer.  In Turbo, it is Chet, brother to Theo/Turbo, who is less than supportive of Turbo’s dreams to race… in fact, he’s pointing out the futility of Turbo’s plans at every opportunity and constantly reinforcing how it will just about be the end of snail-kind should Turbo continue on his foolish path.  He does of course eventually wind his head in and is proud of his brother in the end.

Film Review Turbo chet naysayer

Which sounds remarkably like all the Daddy Downer Naysayers, yes?  Marlin from Finding Nemo, Fegus, from Brave, Django from Ratatouille and Triton from The Little Mermaid, Dracula from Hotel Transylvania.  Then there’s Emile, another Naysayer brother this time, also from Ratatouille and Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc. (who both do double duty playing The Dopey Sidekick btw) as well as Atta the party line ant from A Bug’s Life, Melman in Madagascar… blah blah blah.  Too many to count.

Turbo Whiplash Also in the standard cast line up is, The Sage:  In Turbo we have a character called Whiplash with his ‘been around the block before’  street smarts. Finding Nemo has Scar with his tragic past and special brand of fishtank wisdom, Cars has a ‘seen it all before’, Doc and Ice Age has the savvy survivalist sabre tooth tiger, named Diego.  The Sage is initially dismissive and condescending towards our little protagonist snail/fish/car/mammoth… but plays his part in eventually bringing the little guys around to seeing things from a different perspective and/or balancing out The Naysayers and encouraging them on their way.

Turbo Movie Michael Bell as White Shadow

Then we have The Dopey Sidekick.  These guys seem to be in every movie!  The new one is White Shadow from Turbo, but there’s Mater from Cars – Dory from Finding Nemo – Emile in RatatouilleThe Little Mermaid has two of them, the seagull, Scuttle and Ariel’s fish friend, Flounder – Madagascar has Marvin – Donkey from Shrek – Sid the sloth from Ice Age … and so on ad infinitum.  Just pick any animated movie and you’re falling over the Dopey Sidekicks.

side kicks disney dreamworks

Old school Disney almost ALWAYS saw the main characters sailing into the sunset to marriage and happily ever after, because this is where true happiness was found in the 20thC. These days, however, animated films tend to be more focused on the ‘follow your dreams and break out of the predestined life bestowed upon you by the virtue of your birth’ plot, and less focused on the traditional, ‘you can only find true happiness with your soulmate and are heading down the socially acceptable aisle’, plot.

turbo maya rudolph burn

Not sure what sort of message this is sending to our kids…?  But it has led a decreased value on romantic achievement in kids movies and an increased value in unrealistic worldly achievements, and subsequently the rise of the Alluded to But Rarely Realized Flirty Love Interest character – Atta from A Bug’s Life, Sally Carrera from Cars, Angie in Shark Tale, Burn is the chickie of choice in Turbo… all kinda distant and patronizing and/or exasperated and condescending at first, but eventually brought around by the charming and determined ways of our aspiring ant/car/fish/snail protagonists but no more marching off to wedded bliss at the end of the movie.

PrincessAtta Sally Carrera Burn Turbo

The we have the The Silent Industrious Guy with the weird personality issues.  He/she never says much, but he’s ridiculously fastidious and has a bag full of mental quirks coming off mad as a cut snake half the time… Guido with the pathological shyness from Cars – Jacques the OCD tank cleaning shrimp in Finding Nemo, the deluded love sick Dragon in Shrek, and of course, Scrat the neurotic prehistoric squirrel from Ice Age.  Probably joined by a host of other mentally challenged characters if you dig a little,  because, well… poking fun at Eeyore sold plenty of toys whilst glossing over the serious issue of chronic depression!  So why not?

guido jacques scrat ocd nutters

And I’m sure there are plenty of other way too similar characters out there as well should anyone choose to write a dissertation on the topic.  It’s starting to feel like today’s animated storytellers have maybe a dozen stereotyped caricatured characters up their sleeve, and they summarily chuck them in a box and pick out say, half of them, and use those to make the same damn story with the same damn plot!  We’ve had fish, ants, rats, cars, toys, furniture, snails, all anthropomophrized into cartoon characters… what next?  Pencils? Potatoes? Planes?

Oh wait.  That’s next week.  I haven’t even seen it yet, but over half the characters are already familiar just from the trailer!


New kind of road rage.

I’ve never been driving before and wanted to get out of my car and actually punch someone.  Sure, I’ve sworn and cursed and quelled the desire to verbally eviscerate other drivers for their utter stupidity and complete inability to perform routine traffic manoeuvres… but I’ve never actually wanted to get out of the vehicle and engage in an act of physical violence before.

Until yesterday.

I was in the car coming back from Ikea – for those of you who don’t know BrisVegas very well, the nearest Ikea is not far from the Logan Hyperdome… more commonly known as the Bogan Hyperdome.  And yes, down in these parts of town there are more personalized number plates and bumper stickers per square inch in the car park, than you can poke a stick at , so you know roughly the demographic I’m talking about here.  Anyway, driving along, and saw something that absolutely made my blood boil – a Mitsubishi Lancer containing four young-ish adults and an infant in a rearwards facing baby capsule.  You might be thinking – so what?  Well, at least two of the fucking miscreants in that vehicle were smoking.  That’s what.

That poor child.  Probably only a few months old and already inhaling second hand cigarette smoke.  No doubt the baby is also being forced to breathe toxic fumes in the home as well.  I saw this and was just infuriated beyond reason.  What do I care if these cretins don’t take proper care of their child?  It’s not like it will in anyway effect me or mine, in any way shape or form… but I really, really wanted to get out of the car, walk over to the other vehicle and punch the stupid bint with the words, ‘Butterfly Kisses’ tattooed down her forearm, right in her stupid, big hair, big sunglasses and too much bloody makeup’d, face!

How dare these people, who are fortunate enough to have that precious little person in their lives, show such a complete and blatant disregard for the health of that tiny baby who is so totally unable to advocate for itself?  It’s a parents job, and in cases like this I would argue the responsibility of all adults that are anywhere near an infant, to ensure it is not harmed in a manner so insidious and neglectful.  I just don’t understand it.  How could anyone be so stupid, ignorant, selfish and irresponsible as to smoke near a little baby?  It’s one thing to knowingly and decisively poison your own body with hideous amounts of toxins, and dismiss the overwhelming body of evidence about the repercussions for your own health… and quite another matter entirely to make that decision for a newly formed, tiny and defenceless human being.

People like this do not deserve to have children.  And let’s not even get started on women who smoke through their pregnancies…  this whole thing just angers and deeply saddens me beyond expression.  🙁


Then again perhaps the entire incident was just a result of spending a futile hour getting lost in Ikea, an endeavour in itself, guaranteed to raise one’s hackles before you even get to the vehicle for the return drive home.