All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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Ten people who inspire me…

In today’s installment of the Ten Time to Be Happy Challenge I’ve been tasked with sharing ten influential people. People who inspire me. People who fill me with joy. People who make me happy. The only catch; they have to be people I don’t know!

~ In no particular order ~

~ Click each image to enlarge ~

What about you? Are there any famous people (or not so famous people) who inspire you toward greatness?


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Robin Williams gave us a lifelong masterclass in comedy

Today, the world lost one of its most outstanding human beings. A consummate professional, a brilliant actor and a comedian whose talent was unmatched by any other. Even sadder, it appears that the world lost him through suicide.

In celebration of his life I am republishing an article written by Stayci Taylor that first appeared on The Conversation.

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Robin Williams gave us a lifelong masterclass in comedy

By Stayci Taylor, RMIT University

American actor and stand-up comedian Robin Williams has died today, aged 63. Today, Barack Obama posted a statement about his death and noted, in a rather odd turn of phrase, that “he arrived in our lives as an alien”. Williams’ break-out role was as the alien Mork who arrived on earth to observe human behaviour.

Though his long and successful career comprised sold-out tours and feature film leads, including Oscar nominated and winning turns in dramatic roles, I am still not surprised that it is Mork-from-Ork related tributes crowding my Facebook and Twitter feeds today, posted by my shocked and saddened Gen-X peers. I have now lost count of those making some reverse variation on “Mork calling Orson”.

These could be misconstrued as flippant responses to the tragic and untimely end of a complex and creative life. But for many of us, Robin William’s performance in the spin-off Mork and Mindy (1978-82) was our first exposure to this free form style of improvised physical and verbal comedy.

Fonzie’s water ski jump in the fifth season of Happy Days (1974-84) was famously deemed so ludicrous that the term “jump the shark” became television parlance. Specifically, shorthand for those moments when TV shows pushed the content past what their once loyal viewers considered believable.

Undeterred, Happy Days ran for another seven years and, in episode 22 of that same apparently questionable season, introduced an extra-terrestrial craft piloted by a character named Mork. That legend has a shark, not an alien from Ork, derailing the credibility of this popular 70s sit-com is a testament to the performance of then relatively unknown stand-up comedian Robin Williams.

Mork’s attempt to free an egg in the pilot episode (above) might just have been the funniest thing this 9-year-old had ever watched on the small screen.

As with all good fish-out-of-water stories, through Mork’s eyes we were encouraged to develop our own curiosity around human behaviour; which recalls a much earlier carnivalesque tradition whereby, as comedy scholar Frank Krutnik has observed:

the comedian figure’s alienation from or resistance to everyday social codes […] also displays the comedian’s creative dexterity as a performer.

If one function of comedy is to question the status quo, then watching Mork drink through his finger or sit upside down on a chair was an early masterclass in what was possible.

Williams of course went on to carry comedy feature films, many of which we might call “comedian comedies” – what film academic Geoff King defines as those films where:

The name of the comic performer, and the promise of the routine, is usually the main box office draw.

In other words, as engaged as we might be by Adrian Cronauer (Good Morning Vietnam, 1987) or Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), we remain aware we are watching the comic skills and techniques of Williams whom, fittingly in the case of these two examples and others, is often playing a character who is required to “perform” himself.

Good Morning Vietnam. BagoGames

English comedian David Walliams notes in his 2012 memoir Camp David that:

no one wants to be laughed at, and certainly not the comedian. He or she creates comedy to control the laughter at them, and turns it into being laughed with.

As a Mork and Mindy-watching, laugh-seeking child, I recall the same discomfort with unsolicited laughter, and was not comforted by (probably insincere) assurances that adults were laughing with me, not at me. Thus John Keating’s quip (Dead Poets Society, 1989) “we’re not laughing at you, we’re laughing near you” some ten years later was both funny and validating.

Whether it came from the pen of screenwriter Tom Schulman or not, it felt to me like Robin Williams telling the truth.

I can only speculate as to what level of responsibility must be felt when the promise of one’s routine is, as aforementioned, “the main box office draw”. But though Mork’s “constant displays of humour [were] not welcome here on Ork” (according to Orson in the pilot episode), those of Williams were most welcome here on Earth.

And will be missed.

If you have depression or feel very low, please seek support immediately. For support in a crisis, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. For information about depression and suicide prevention, visit beyondblue, Sane or The Samaritans.

Stayci Taylor does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.


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Happy Birthday to all November 28ers!

Personally I think it’s rather cool I share my birthday with:

Ryan Kwanten~Joe Dante
Alfonso Cuarón~Karen Gillan~Ed Harris
Mary Elizabeth Winstead~Judd Nelson~Aimee Garcia

So a huge Happy Birthday to all November 28ers!

Whomever you are, wherever you are…have an awesome day :-)


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Vampires, PTSD and Celebrity Crushes (a post that is as random as the title suggests!)

All I want to do right now…

…is crawl under my duvet and hide there until at least Saturday.

I only got a couple of hours sleep last night and since dragging myself from bed I’ve done virtually nothing today aside from cobble together a Teaser Tuesday post, tweet a few nonsensical tweets, feel emotionally exhausted and watch The Vampire Diaries.

In all honesty I don’t know why I was watching The Vampire Diaries –  it’s all a little too high-school vampirey for me (you would have thought the title would have given me a clue) – but I thought some dodgy soap styled horror would take my mind off the incessant barrage of memories my mind has been hurling at me all week.

But whether my eyes are open, closed or being distracted by Nina Dobrev there seems to be little I can do today to focus my mind on any one thing, and to be honest I hate it. I want to be able to sit down and write an interesting post; I want to be able to watch Homeland, not TVD; I want to be able to read articles and books; I want to be able to do so many things but when I’m like this, I can’t do anything.

I end up sitting on the floor berating myself for being so worthless, even though I know it’s not my fault, but that of this pesky illness. It frustrates me because I feel I’m letting so many people down (myself, family, blog readers looking for inspirational entertaining posts), even though I know my lack of function at the moment is a result of that pesky PTSD and depressive episode combo.

[Just in case you were wondering how I can write so many words if I’m so unfocused, so far I’ve been writing since 4:32pm. It’s now 8:47, an average of 78.25 words per hour, or 1.3 words per minute; well below my average!]

I was thinking this evening about where I was this time last year. I’d already left Melbourne (officially now the longest period of time I’ve been away from my home Down Under) after being issued a death threat for not giving someone money to fund their drug addiction (money I didn’t have, btw) and considering he had a history of incarceration for GBH and attempted murder it’s not too difficult to understand why I didn’t just brush his words off with a hearty chuckle. If I remember correctly I was rough-sleeping in some random NSW regional area and…and I just realised I can’t tell that particular story as, well, it ended with me phoning Lifeline from a payphone in the middle of a crowded shopping strip crying my eyes out over how much I wasn’t coping and wanted to end it all.

Like I said, this time of year, really not a good time for me. At least this year I have somewhere to live :)

So…

The brand spanking new blog challenge, day one…

To try shift the content of this post into something that could raise a smile (for both you and I) perhaps I should undertake the new blog challenge I promised on Sunday. Which, given my love of unsubtle topic changes, could be a good choice. Where else will you see PTSD and suicide segwaying almost immediately into the frothy cheesiness of embarrassing celebrity crushes?

Given there is no prompt other than “who are your celebrity crushes?” I’m a little unsure how to tackle this topic, for over the years I’ve had many wild and varied celebrity crushes. Do I start from childhood where posters of Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan adorned my walls? Or do I begin during the heady pubescent teenage years where everyone from Sandra Bullock to Gail Porter to Natalia Cigliuti were stuck around my private quarters?

To make it simple, for your entertainment and amusement, I will divulge twelve of my all-time biggest celebrity crushes:

Tiffani Amber-Theissen is a woman I’ve had a crush on since the exceptional teen-comedy series Saved by the Bell. Upon recently discovering she stars in the hit American (and also rather wonderful) US series White Collar I have become enamoured with her all over again.

Helen Mirren, meanwhile, may be an odd choice for an early thirty-something…but a crush on her I have!

Toni Pearen was the lucky recipient of my first ever stalkerish fan letter. Or rather she would have been had I built up the courage to send it, which looking back I’m rather glad I didn’t. She’s an Australian actress who starred in hit 90s drama E-Street and went on to feature in other Australian classics such as Australia’s Funniest Home Videos and Dancing with the Stars. Her debut album, never released in the UK, was one of the things I was desperate to track down upon arriving in Australia. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

I first fell for Claire Danes through a fish tank in one of the all-time great Shakespeare adaptations and have continues to crush on her ever since. When she appeared in a brief cameo in the Australian movie The Rage in Placid Lake, I had a small aneurism in the cinema. Now she is starring in a hit drama series I’m frustrated beyond belief I haven’t been able to watch it yet as her performance is a little too close to home for me to deal with at the moment.

David Tennant. I’m comfortable enough in my sexuality to divulge how much I crush on this delectable human being. Even before he stole my heart as The Doctor I had fallen for this man (courtesy of Casanova, Takin’ Over the Asylum and Blackpool), in fact, virtually every woman I’ve ever known has fallen for this beautiful man.

One of the most awesome gigs of my life was watching Serena Ryder play the Northcote Social Club wearing a jaw dropping knee-length skirt and stunning the audience with her tremendous vocals. An absolutely incredible, talented woman.

I had never heard of Karen Gillan until she was cast as Amy Pond, but upon realising she had previously guest starred in an earlier episode of Doctor Who, I realised that I’d commented how gorgeous the actress was. However, it was her portrayal of Amy that caused me to crush on her so immensely.

Ah, Kiefer Sutherland. My first girlfriend used to tease me immensely for eliciting all the signs of a classic male-crush whilst watching his portrayal of Jack Bauer. Upon discovering why I crushed on him so intently, she rolled her eyes and declared I was even weirder than she first thought!

Maggie Gyllenhaal first came to my attention in Donnie Darko, but it was her role in Secretary that drew me to her awesomeness. Since then I’ve watched every film she’s ever made and come to realise just how talented she really is. Easily one of the best actresses currently working in Hollywood. For your information, such is my affection for her, in a moment of grief-stricken anxiety, I very nearly declared The Dark Knight the worst movie ever made and came within a few insane seconds of walking out the cinema and never looking back.

Elisabeth Sladen, may God rest her soul, was a crush that lasted nearly two decades of my life. I was devastated upon learning of her death.

I hadn’t heard of Mary Louise-Parker until the TV show Weeds came along. Needless to say I am a huge fan of the show.

You may grin, snigger or smirk but I think Vanessa Hudgens is a very underrated actress. In fact, when I watched Bandslam for the first time I honestly expected to hate both it and her, but found myself falling for both it and her. Since then I have discovered some of her back catalogue (High School Musical trilogy, Thunderbirds, Thirteen) and made a point to try to watch the films she has made since. I can honestly tell you she is by far the only reason to watch Journey 2 The Mysterious Island and I am looking forward to Spring Break – and not just because of all the leaked ‘cavorting in bikini’ photos that have emerged from the shoot :p

So there we have it…

I am sorry my current lethargic, unfocused mood isn’t producing more interesting posts. I have considered not posting until I’ve pulled out of this, but I fear if I were to do that I would end up vanishing for a few months as I did earlier this year. I’ve found the best way to deal with these moods over the years is to try to do something…anything…rather than allowing yourself to be consumed by the darkness.

Given tomorrow is both World Mental Health Day and World Homelessness Day, I am hoping to be able to come up with something to mark these important events on the calendar (especially given my history) so for now I think I will depart for bed and hope I can get a few more hours sleep than last night.

Have a wonderful day, one and all :)