Tuesday, August 25, 2009


There are several shorter things I want to blog about that I don't merit think posts in their own right... so you get an assortment today, readers.

Regarding the last post

A Facebook reader (hi Catie!) expressed interest in Mental Health First Aid Certificates. The elevator pitch: MHFA is a multi-award winning course designed by leading Australian psychiatric researchers. It is supposed to be a very rough equivalent of a (Physical) First Aid Certificate - like those run by St John's or Red Cross - for Mental Health. For example, learning how to identify and respond to a potential emergency, such as a psychotic episode. Having experienced psychosis myself, and having witnessed others under its effects (I mean on the street, on the bus, in my workplace, and so forth, not just during the time I spent in a psychiatric ward), I'd like to see more of the general public educated about it, and of course other mental health issues. I'm trying to push it as a training agenda item in my workplace at the moment; I personally receive a lot of help from ROAM communities, one of the Sydney-based organisations who offer the course, and since I know from first hand experience that they're awesome guys I feel no hesitation in recommending friends, family and colleagues to take the class with them.

More High Fidelity Antics

Current topic: The Greatest Feminist Anthem in History, so far

I've quizzed a few people about this. There seems to be a paucity of opinions amongst people I know about the great songs of feminism; this is probably because I don't know enough feminists, which is a shame. I have my own choice which so far nobody else I've asked has picked. Please throw your opinions into the comment thread (assuming I can actually get a comment thread for this post) and I'll see if I can compile something more resembling a personal top 5 in place of my current personal top 1. Massive bonus points to anyone who makes a suggestion which displaces my current favourite. I expect players to abide by the same rules of the game I do - no use of Google, Wikipedia, iTunes, or in fact any source of information except the brains of yourself and the people you happen to come into immediate contact with. Think pub trivia.

Finally, for a nice tie-in of the previous two mini-posts,

The top 5 songs that personally best capture my experience of Mania

Songs are important to us partly because they evoke certain moods and emotions, right? Mania is a pretty damn significant mood, by any standard, and there are definitely songs that I associate with it. Here's a "naked" top 5, without the accompanying explanatory music geekery :

5: Territorial Pissings by Nirvana, 4: Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles, 3: Breathe by the Prodigy; 2: Its the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine) by R.E.M; 1.....

will wait for a follow up post, pending receiving some guesses from others. Yes, I'm trying, as I often do, and probably just as ineffectually, to coerce readers into giving me some feedback. Sometimes the stark truth of blogging - the endless shouting into an empty room - is hard to simply accept and live with.

This is a rather diverse list, which is intended; I want to convey that mania isn't a simple cut-and-dried affair - any more than say, happiness, or love. The list is subject to change of course - in fact just about any song can seem overwhelmingly significant and relevant during mania itself, but these leap to mind as appropriate songs about mania when I'm not feelings especially manic.

I hereby promise to post part I of my current political rant series within a week of getting 6 or more distinct people commenting on this post :-)


James said...

Sometimes people read and they don't have much to say.

Probably correlated with whether they actually have a blog.

Alexey said...

#1 is Lithium.

With Respect to X said...

@James: I've had that response from other people when I've whinged about lack of feedback in the past.

What I really need is some sort of unique visitors metric to give me a sense that people are reading even if they're not replying.

I mean, I don't blog just to be read. And I read and enjoy lots of blogs without always commenting on them. There's something disheartening about 0 comments, though.

@Alex: #1 is not Lithium! While it could have perhaps made the list, the mood its trying to capture is actually kinda ambiguous as far as I can tell. And I'm trying to avoid doubling up on songs for different topics.

4 more commentators to go before politics countdown begins.

Sari said...

My first thought was "She's a maniac" from Flashdance, but I'm guessing it doesn't quite capture the essence of your list... or something. I'll guess #1 is some classical piece.. yes.

Also, funnily enough earlier today we were talking about Alanis Morisette's "You Oughta Know". I can't remember the lyrics.. but would that qualify as a feminist song?

With Respect to X said...

It's not "She's a maniac", no. In fact the song makes no direct reference to the term mania or its derivatives.

As far as You Oughta Know goes - its an awesome song, but I already used it for a different category (see my above comment about doubling up.)

And, as I discussed IRL with someone regarding this same theme and this same song (!!!), its not all that feminist - with a bit of lyrical tweaking the same themes could work for a man who's relationship with a woman ended badly. So in my book its not quite "feminist enough" to top the category.

In other news "Sari" counts as twice as important as anyone else commenting, because she's never, as far as I can remember, posted a comment on this blog before! She also wins the prize of an impromptu poem:

Sari, you commented on my blog
During weather that would not, in all fairness, be classified as fog

OK blog is not such a good word to use in poems, it seems.

Anyway, I sure better get cracking on polishing up that political rant. Extrapolating from current trends, this post alone should have about 60 comments within a week or so.

Carol said...

How about Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walking" and Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation"?

Anonymous said...

A thought on getting more traffic for your blog:

Post regularly. At the very least, you should have an "x number of posts per week" target that you meet. more ideally, you would post on a set schedule. If people know that you post at the same time each week, they're more likely to visit - if they have no idea when you're going to post, they're only going to visit when the thought crosses their mind that you have a blog. Do you know how often people think about the fact that you have a blog? I'll give you a clue: not very

Looking at my site statistics, I can tell you that since I started posting every Thursday, my average weekly views has crept up from 5 to 20. This article puts it well: "Write your posts when you have the time and inspiration. Post them when it is most convenient to your reader."

Also, whining about the fact that people don't read your blog on your blog isn't going to do you any good - the people that aren't reading it aren't going to see that. Instead, whine about it elsewhere. Like, say, Facebook.

There's nothing wrong with a little shameless self promotion!

Oh, and did I mention I have a blog?

cat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cat said...

Thanks for the info Jordan! :)

Mania songs... 'I will not go quietly' by The Whitlams? Or 'Royal in the Afternoon'? Are you selecting the songs by lyrics, tune or combination?

Katherine said...

I don't think Spence is entirely right. Whinging about not getting enough feedback on your blog can help to guilt existing readers into leaving comments- sorry, encourage. That seems to have gotten both Carol and i out of the cyber woods. But indeed, do broaden your whinging horizons by all means!

No, really, sometimes there's too much to reflect on, too much to say, and or too limited a time in which to say/type it. Some variant of the above usually applies in my case at least.

Anyway, i just wanted to say hi! Carol Chan and Spenceria included. Also, i just have to nominate a couple of contenders for the greatest feminist song of all time (so far).

My two top picks are Ursula Rucker's "What a Woman Must Do" and "Your Revolution" by Sarah Jones- which is best if you're familiar with the hip hop references. Both are utterly scathing and fantastic.

As for your top mania song, I'll take several wild stabs:
- "Dr Robert" or "Tomorrow Never Knows", The Beatles
- "Seven Nation Army", The White Stripes
- "Sugar Man", Jesus Rodriguez
- "The Coming of Spring", The Rapture

Carol said...

I only posted a comment because Jordan said he would discipline me at work.

With Respect to X said...

Alright I'm going to play fair, acknowledge the substantial comment levels, and end the guessing game.

I like many of the guesses for both categories of song, although none was on the money. Hardly surprising, given the range of possible selections.

My number 1 Mania song is Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger, for lyrics, melody, tempo, structure, in fact just about every damn quality by which you could judge a song. I'll go into more detail about the entire top 5 in a follow up post perhaps.

My favourite feminist anthem remains You Don't Own Me by Leslie Gore. I think it spectacularly expresses the basic message of women's liberation, better than any other song I can think of. Its nice to be reminded by comments and the like that I do greatly enjoy some plausible alternatives, though.

Yay for the success of guilting people into commenting! :P I'll try a strategy of more regular posting in the future as well, though.

Ang said...

Also, let it be known that Spencer's self-promotion idea is a good one but that you should differ from him by spelling your url right.

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