Second Chance Sunflowers

Panic! at the Disco are one of the few bands that I still love from my teenage years. A Fever You Can't Sweat Out introduced me to "heavy" music. (I know Panic's not heavy, but for a tiny classically trained Jen, it was super heavy) 

I remember when their second album came out. I was super excited for more of their baroque influenced rock/ whatever blend, but was quite disappointed when instead I was presented with the beetles-esque  orchestrated rock. I tried so very hard to like that album, but ultimately I gave up on it after a few months of it not quenching my thirst for their previous vibe. 

I've not listened to Pretty. Odd. since I was 16. It was in my thoughts after the release of the new Panic! at the disco album (which is a little hit and miss in my opinion) My music tastes have matured quite a bit since I was 16, so I decided to give Pretty. Odd another shot. 

I am so very glad I did. It's such a beautiful album. I particularly love the orchestration (although I wish they'd used real flutes/piccolo's/clarinets/oboes instead of synthesised ones).  My favourite track (which was one of my least favourite back in the day) is From a Mountain in the Middle of The Cabins. The details in the orchestration are superb, and are pretty similar to a lot of the music I've been getting into lately (Artists like Punch Brothers, My Brightest Diamond and Joanna Newsom that sit on the line between contemporary music, art music and folk) . 

Pretty. Odd. isn't the only album I revisited recently, and ended up loving all over again. About 4 months ago I started listening to Life in Cartoon Motion by Mika again. I originally liked this album well enough, but got sick of it. Again, I completely understand why. It wasn't the sound I was in love with at the time (and when you've only got 4 gigs of iPod space to work with, stuff gets culled regularly and mercilessly.) 

Something I've been thinking about putting together is a list of what's on my ipod with descriptions of the artists/links so you can hear what they sound like. I've got a rather eclectic collection of music, ranging from super well know peeps to those with less that 300 likes on facebook. So yeah, let me know if you'd be interested in this! 

Shirt: Revival, Pinafore: Home Made, Skirt: Home made, Socks: don't remember, Shoes: Store in Sydney near Max Brennar Wynyard.  

Shirt: Revival, Pinafore: Home Made, Skirt: Home made, Socks: don't remember, Shoes: Store in Sydney near Max Brennar Wynyard.  

Deviating from the music I've been listening to - This is the outfit I wore tuesday. Originally when I put it together, I wasn't intending to have the second skirt underneath the pinafore. When I added the socks to the outfit, it looked unbalanced, so I popped the skirt underneath. It made everything super flouncy, as well as adding much needed colour balance. 

Pink Politics 101

shoes It's been a few days since the lib spill, and now I've had a chance to rant and be angry I've decided to be productive instead. The following is a handy dandy guide to developing a political opinion. (I'm very sorry that I keep harping on about politics, but it's really important.)

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I suppose the first point I would like to address is why it's important to have an opinion about politics. There are so many reasons, but by far the biggest reason is that our government (is supposed) to represent the people. If the people don't know/don't care about the government how are they (they being the government) supposed to represent us effectively?

leg out

The biggest step to forming a political opinion is to decide what you want to change about Australia, and what you want to stay the same.

The next step is finding out how each party aligns with your view. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using Vote Compass. Basically what this does is it breaks down the main policy points into a simple questionnaire, then compare your answers to the policies of the various political parties, then gives you this information on a handy dandy graph! Unfortunately it only updates close to an election, but if you're curious about how your views align with Australia's political parties, the Federal Vote compass from 2013 is a great place to start.

The other resource I like isĀ  They Vote for you . This site breaks down how each parliament member has voted for things throughout their political career (meaning you can really get into the nitty gritty of each member of parliament)

hand on hip

So, you've formed a political opinion. The next thing you have to do is get your voice heard. There are lots of ways you can do that such as writing to your Member of Parliment, writing a letter to the editor, engaging your friends and family in a friendly political debate or even starting a blog about politics. These are all great options, but there is one really powerful way you can get your voice heard, and that is by voting.

Now, voting in Australia can get pretty complicated. To win an election one party needs to get 51% of the votes, which is pretty tricky when there are more than two parties (which there are). To solve this conundrum we use a thing called preferential voting (Here's a handy dandy graph!) Basically there's a bunch of parties in Australia who would all like to run the government, but some of these parties are smaller than others.

Before the election, these parties sit down and decide who they would like to give their votes to if they don't get elected (Although, if you vote for a party and don't like their next preferred party, you can decide your own preference path at the polling booth). Starting with the guys who got the least amount of votes, and working there way up, the votes of the less voted for parties get given to other parties until someone has 51%. It's not a perfect system (but, lets be honest, there's no such thing as a perfect system). I can remember some election where more people voted for one party, but the other one was elected because of how the preferences transferred.

xack

On top of this, there are two different sets of government people (at a federal level) you have to elect. There's the House of Representatives, who at their most basic level write legislation and keep all the stuff going (they also do things like write budgets, and attend official events, and sometimes they even say silly things on camera) These guys are pretty important, but not as important as the Senate.

head

The Senate are the people who actually pass the legislation. They're the people who look over the legislation and ask "is this really best for the people?". (In theory) They stop the government from having free reign over everything and everyone. You her about them less because their work is more behind the scenes than the work of the House of Representatives.

adjusting glasses

At all levels of Federal Parliment you mostly hear about 2 major parties, and 1 party who's gaining more and more traction every election. These parties are the Liberal Party of Australia(aka The Coalition (because a bunch of parties all joined forces and stuff)who are the current government), The Australian Labor Party (these guys are the main opposition) and The GreensĀ  .

The TLDR of the above is:

Liberal Party: Conservative

Labor Party: Kind of liberal

The Greens: Liberal

(yeah, the difference between the names/political views confuses me too, but it is what it is (this is literally the only time I'll ever say that in relation to politics))

bow

That's pretty much it. I've linked all of the most relevant resources above as they're the best place to start when it comes to informing yourself about how your views fit in with politics. Remember, political parties aren't like football teams. Just because "your a liberal/labor/whatever" party doesn't mean you should automatically give them your vote without actually understanding what they stand for.

I've probably missed out quite a few things, but this is only meant to be an overview. (If you have any more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. You can also probably find the answer using google! :) )

leaning

I feel as though this outfit is the most appropriate to go with this blog post. This is what I wore the day of the Lib Spill (which was the day I posted my political rant) I biked to a nearby park (and then went exploring) to calm my thoughts after all the political drama (it didn't quite work. I finished purging the angry thoughts into that political rant a few days ago)

Vintage Laura Ashley.

shoes Have I ever talked about how much I love thrift shops? Welp, I really really really love thrift shops. They're great for the environment, they're great for your wallet, and they're great for finding treasures of all sorts.

portrait

About a month ago I travelled to Sydney with Rohan to hang some V'Shapes posters around near the venue we were going to play at. We also stopped in at a couple of thrift shops. One of my finds for that day was this lovely vintage Laura Ashley dress (dresses from this era (late 70's early 80's) for $100 of dollars on etsy). Now, as beautiful as the dress was, it wasn't perfect. It was slightly too big, slightly too long, and didn't have enough lace on it.

looking away

It's been staring at me from my "to alter" pile ever since I brought it home.

I finally had time to make the alterations to the dress, and this is how it turned out! I ended up cutting 25cm of fabric off the bottom, and taking the bodice in about 6 cm (which doesn't sound like a lot, but trust me, every cm counts when it comes to fit) The collar was already lacy, so I added lace on the sleeves and the bottom hem.

I did feel a little guilty altering such a beautiful vintage piece, but the dress is much more "me" now, and I can see myself wearing it heaps in the future (especially on lazy days. This dress is so comfy!)

face

I actually wore this outfit for a short period last night for a gig I played at The Rhythm Hut. The Rhythm Hut runs this monthly jam band called 5 lands (basically, you don't know what your instrumentation is going to be till you show up). The jam band plays a set, and then they have a special guest artist.

As always, 5 lands was so much fun to play! (it was a bit different this month though. There weren't many of us on stage, so the sound changed dramatically. It went in some really unusual directions, which was rad)

walking

Last night the guest artist was a guy called Nick Saxon. He's one guy on an acoustic guitar and a loop pedal (with various percussion instruments) but his sounds is very very different to all the other guys on an acoustic guitar with a loop pedal a miscellaneous percussion instruments. His sounds is very folk, and very beautiful (almost haunting in a way, but describing it as haunting does not do it justice)

I also really loved his use of the loop pedal. It was very subtle. He also used a reverb pedal on his vocals, which I really loved as well. His live production is on point!

full body portrait

After doing some internet stalking, it turns out my band will be sharing a stage with him at Wollombi music festival. I'm really looking forward to seeing him play again. (hopefully we'll get to have a jam this time!)

necklace, lace and pattern