HannahSpeltBackwards

Content Writer Hannah Miller

Month: September, 2011

Idea A Day #1

I always have ideas, many of which I don’t follow through with because there are just too many. I thought it would be fun to record them here, instead of burying them in a journal or letting them build up in the notes section of my iPod touch (no smart phone for me yet). I make no guarantees that all my ideas will be clever, life-changing or even worth following through with.

so #1 is to take analogue self portraits with my twin lens reflex camera and draw on them once printed. Changing my make up, adding tattoos, costumes, masks. Silly and serious.

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Cheating Sons Poster

Did some unintentionally cheesy modelling for Eff the other day.  I worked so hard to keep a straight face, but trust he uses the one smiling pic of me. He was working on a series of posters for the upcoming China tour of the band, Cheating Sons. See the final result here.

Clothing For Correspondence Teach Dave a Lesson

clothing

There’s this rad little project called Clothing For Correspondence, in which two clever and articulate Melbourne lasses trade their wordsmith skills for glad rags. After hearing the concept and reading some of the commissioned works they’ve already produced at their website, I remembered a way that I could put their slick savvy wits to work for me. I won’t explain too much here, but I sent the girls a long, rambling request for a letter to a guy named Dave whom I volunteered with in Portugal in June, helping him with his boat tours. Lets just say I wasn’t much impressed by his sexist manner; the kind of sexism that although not overtly or instantly offensive, is so ingrained into his persona that I was left incensed from a build up of minor comments. Their brilliant response is below, putting so succinctly what I’d been trying to say.

Dear Dave,

Elvis is dead. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but it’s better you hear it from me than some complete stranger. Also, John Lennon is dead too. Double whammy. Take a moment to regroup, I can wait.

On a brighter note, there’s this film called Star Wars and it has jedi knights and lightsabers and a wookie and is pretty fun actually. Check it out next time you’re at the DVD store. Oh yeah, we have these things called DVDs now. They’re discs that play movies in the same way that tapes used to. These days it’s also possible to download movies as files. To do this, you need something called a personal computer. Don’t freak out: these are really common and easy to use. You’ll pick it up easy.

What else? Oh yeah, Britain’s first female prime minister has come and gone, as has New Zealand’s. Here in Australia, our first female PM is serving as we speak. The Berlin Wall came down, the Soviet Union collapsed and the Cold War officially ended. Babies can now be born by fertilising egg cells with sperm in a test tube, Nelson Mandela was freed and became the President of South Africa, and Hong Kong was returned to China.

There’s been bad stuff too, of course. A hole found in the ozone layer, a nuclear accident in Chernobyl, a massacre in Tiananmen Square, genocide in Rwanda, a terrorist attack on America, retaliation attacks on Afghanistan and a war in Iraq (two actually).

Why am I telling you all this? Well, Dave, it’s simple. It seems that somehow you managed to get yourself stuck in a time vortex and are hovering somewhere back in the early 1970s. You are what is known today as an Unreconstructed 70s Male. And that’s not a compliment. The thing is, Dave, the world’s moved on. Women, for the most part, have thrown off their shackles. We are not your indentured slaves, nor are we mere sexual objects for your perving pleasure. If you want to have love affairs or friendships or even just cordial working relationships with women, you’d better get to learning this and fast.

The other thing, Dave, is that, despite what you may think, your time vortex has not stopped your aging process. You are a man in your 50s. You look like a man in your 50s. Chances are, women in their 20s are going to look at you and think of their fathers. Most of the time, they are not going to look at you and think of getting it on. It’s probably worth keeping this in mind.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed working on your boat in Portugal. You’re not a bad guy but some of your behaviour just doesn’t cut it anymore. Women who sign up to work with you deserve to be treated with respect and, frankly, if you don’t give it to them, you’re going to find yourself in some very sticky situations. Worse case scenario, you’re going to find yourself in court.

I don’t want this to happen, not for you and certainly not for the women who put their trust in you when they agree to come and work with you. So here’s what you should do: don’t expect women to clean up after you; if someone does something nice, like cooks you a meal, thank them and mean it; above all, don’t make lecherous or humiliating or offensive comments about a woman’s sexuality or appearance. You’re the boss, it’s inappropriate – let me introduce you to the phrase ‘sexual harassment’. Look it up. There’s this new-fangled thing called the internet that’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Sincerely,

Hannah

Lesson learned I’d say. Above is a photo of the clothes I’ll be sending them in return.

No Crying Over Spilt Yolk

Dodgeball

I’ve been editing the content for Issue 2 of Still Warm and I can’t help but reminisce about our Post-Incubation issue. My story about a summer games day made it to print but hasn’t yet appeared online. Here’s an excerpt.

– The egg and spoon looses its innocence.

Childhood games: some encourage team work, some test our wobbly developing limbs, our balance and our coordination, but all of them contain a significant dose of competition. Within the blissful bubble of childhood we may manage to stay sheltered from the concept, but of course there comes a time when we realise that winning is important. Usually this message was reinforced for me with each pelt of  a dodgeball until I began going to the sick bay every time the bag of balls was brought out for PE.

Some children will triumph and some will be picked last. The egg slides from the spoon into a gloopy mess on the ground, gleefully trodden in by your peers as they pass you by.

A somewhat unhealthy combination is an uncoordinated, vertically-challenged child who stubbornly can’t diminish her competitive nature. Yes, through school I must have learnt that sport would be a lost cause and I would be better off whooping ass in the more nerdy arenas.

But I suppose it was this competitive strain that allowed me to push any memories of the misery of loss aside when my adult (sort-of) friends had the brilliant idea of reliving school sports day at our local park. It was to be a day of coloured teams, sweat bands, fun and games and coveted first place medallions. I certainly don’t regularly engage in any athletic pursuits that would give me reason to believe that I could easily take on these games with any better results than in the past.  But my inner child beckoned to me. And there was always the factor of excessive alcohol intake that may set my friends/opponents at a disadvantage.

It all started out with the retro flashback of the egg and spoon race. We lined up with our eggs and spoons at the ready and clarified the rules; one hand only, thumb not allowed to hold egg in place, other hand behind the back. Ready-Set-Go through the megaphone. And we’re off. Oops, my balance is bad and the egg rolls off. But, aha, it doesn’t break on the grass – not having far to fall due to my short stature. Pick it up. Not remembering if a fallen egg means starting again I allow myself to take in my surroundings. My peripheral vision registers a mess of limbs and colours and eggs. Instant free for all. I set off towards the half way mark, already behind the pack. From my right, an arm swings under my spoon and launches my egg through the air! I am indignantly stunned. What happened to the rules? I should have known that one adjudicator and at least twenty racers means that the appropriate level of rule monitoring would be impossible, but somehow I was still trusting the nature of my competitors. How could I be so naive? Whilst I did glance my foe, I still have eyes only for my egg, which again has not broken. Following its path along the ground I scoop it up and continue. All around me eggs are flying. I pass a marker post and am on the home stretch. I put up my defences, more aware of people around me now, but she gets me again! The same person! My egg shatters and I trudge to the finish-line in the midst of the egg and spoon chaos.

Evil grins were splashed across the faces of the cheaters. Eagerly they confronted their victims. Claims came from all around me.

“I got you”

“I just ran with my other hand under the spoon.”

“I was holding my egg and spoon in my fist.”

Thus, in the short few minutes of that race, my opponents had molested my inner child, taken her candy, cut the strings of her helium balloon and run over her dog.  But I patted her on the back, wiped away her tears and pep-talked her for the next race.

Photo credit: Lauren Olney for Still Warm

Matchbox Zine Project

That thing I made, a post ago…it’s a matchbox zine for the Australian Book Arts Journal. Obviously the challenge was to make a zine which fits inside a matchbox, but can become three dimensional when removed from the box. The matchboxes we were given in our kits were actually a little larger than average matchbox size so we didn’t have to work with the truly teeny tiny kind. I have been interested in using pop ups or paper craft with my zines for a while and so I considered making a tunnel book. But since it would be my first tunnel book attempt, I decided that I might save that idea for when I can refine it at a normal size, rather than try to squeeze it into the matchbox. I looked up different book folding and construction and settled on this style of making fold out albums – a bit of an extension on your average concertina style book. Constructed from individual squares, it leant itself well to the images I had in mind. I wanted this zine to be more visual, since words would just lead to eye strain anyway! On my recent trip to Spain and Portugal I had been fascinated with patterns and textures – particularly tiling – and I amassed quite a bit of photography featuring these patterns. In Portugal many houses have these glossy tiles on their exterior walls, that I can only describe as ugly, yet beautiful. I used these clashing photographs to make the resulting zine titled: Ugly/Beautiful. The matchbox zines will appear on the Australian Book Arts Journal website in November.

Healthy Sweets: Can It Be Done?


Beetroot: highly nutritious, super antioxidant.  And conducive to baking.

So my latest obsession is trying to avoid sugar in my diet. Which leads to sugar cravings, which lead to wasted hours on the Internet researching sugar alternatives and healthy baking. Not to mention labour and expensive ingredients that may not pay off more than caving in to a simple chocolate bar. But despite this, I’ve decided to try to make sweets that I can justify. That means substituting cane sugar for natural sweeteners and using flour alternatives to try to add protein and other nutrients rather than straight-up carbs. Sugar alternatives I’ve found are agave syrup, honey, apple juice concentrate and actual fruit can’t hurt either. Almond or hazelnut meal are good for going flourless, and buckwheat or brown rice flour are much better than plain. I made some carrot cookies recently and the concept of putting veggies in my sweets (which makes them much more justifiable) inspired me to try a beetroot recipe.  Here is what I made by combining a few recipes.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup apple juice concentrate
1 & 1/2 cup hazelnut meal
1/2 cup brown rice flour (or just more hazelnut meal)
3 eggs (separated if you can be bothered)
2 tbsp raw cacao powder (could use 2 tsp of cinnamon instead)
1 tsp baking powder
1 medium beet, grated
Most recipes seem to suggest adding a pinch of salt. Decided not to bother with my home brand table salt.

My adapted make-do method:

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Combine wet ingredients. Then mix in the dry stuff. Stir in beetroot. If I had a whisk and was good at making egg whites into peaks I would have added those peaks in now instead of using the whole egg before. Bake for 25 mins. I used a (not greased well enough) muffin tray.

My mixture seemed quite moist when I spooned it into the muffin cups. You can see the gooey bright beet-red mixture below. I thought it might be too moist and was thinking next time I’d lose the apple juice but I like the results moisture-wise.

They weren’t quite sweet enough for my taste; the beetroot was just a little too present. Next time I would add more honey/apple juice/agarve. The texture of the beetroot also reminded me too much that it was there. So next time I would do what I read in another beet-cake recipe and boil the beet first and then puree it. Anyway here’s my healthy sweet-fix muffin result: