#the1001project

This is likely to be the first of many diaries about #the1001project – although by no means is this my first attempt to tell these stories. I think it just might finally be the right attempt.

The 1001 Project is not a new endeavour. It began in 2015 as a means to escape anxiety, depression and the feeling I had nothing else to aspire or look forward to. It’s not the nicest of premises, I know, but sometimes the best tales originate from adversity, and this one was a point of optimism in a particularly dark time. While this list of items is arbitrary and chosen by others, it is also ultimately a reminder that I can find purpose in many situations.


The 1001 Project is a bucket list incorporating ten of the 1001 Before You Die lists published by Quintessence Editions. This means it’s more like the 11,584 project, but that’s not quite as catchy. The project focusses on 1001 Places, 1001 Escapes, 1001 Natural Wonders, 1001 Buildings, 1001 Historic Sites, 1001 Walks, 1001 Books, 1001 Movies and 1001 Tv Series “Before You Die” in addition to 1001 Children’s Books to Read Before You Grow Up.

But over the past year it has become more than static examples evolved from these curated lists, it’s also grown to include an additional category invented by my friend Andrew, which we refer to as the 1001 Additions, and it is through this list that I have gained a better sense of purpose. Including leading parkruns, playing Street Roller Hockey in Perth and making an extended effort to “do” things rather than see them.


I hope that this introduction makes sense to you as an individual. To many people it seems like a daunting task – a useless or perhaps impossible project. But I’m also happy to say it’s been an inspiring one too, on a smaller but no less important scale. I hope that if you’re reading this you gain something from it – travel inspiration, the desire to try something on your own, or the persuasion to start your own 1001 Project. But either way this is my story, or the beginning of it. I’m pretty interested to see where it goes.

Please enjoy these.

x The Girl Who Loves Stories

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Jasper J-owns the Big Screen

Directed by Rachel Perkins (Bran Nue DaeRedfern Now) and based on the 2009 novel by Craig Silvey, Jasper Jones is a movie about fleeting innocence, first love … and institutionalised racism in small Australian country towns.

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The movie opens on two main characters, schoolboys Charlie Bucktin (Levi Miller) and Jeffrey Lu (Kevin Long) engaged in what is becoming an increasingly prominent debate in popular culture: is Superman the best comic book hero, or is it Batman. While Jeffrey defends Superman based on his inherent supernatural powers, Charlie maintains that it is Batman’s courage in the face of his own fallibility which makes him the superior character. It is this theme, of courage in the face of adversity, shared in a light-hearted and juvenile tone, which permeates the movie and inspires the events that follow.

When Jasper Jones knocks on Charlie Bucktin’s window that night, shows him the dead body of his girlfriend Laura Wishart and begs for his help to clear his name, Charlie has a choice to make: who does he trust, and can he summon the courage to find the truth about the death of his first love’s sister.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it.” – Mark Twain

Throughout the movie, Charlie encounters several examples of racism in Corrigan – some of which is explained by Australia’s concurrent involvement in the Vietnam War as the movie is set in 1969. Tension between his best friend’s family, the Vietnamese-born Lu’s, and members of the community are conveyed through hesitation to accept a gifted Jeffrey to their cricket team as well as several violent xenophobic outbursts during the film. However these issues act as accessory to the main plot to the movie: the titular character, the half-caste Jasper Jones’ struggle with prejudice when Laura Wishart goes missing and he is the leading suspect simply because “he always is”. It is Aaron McGrath‘s genuinely emotional portrayal of the tormented Jasper Jones, in addition to the commentary on institutionalised racism that makes this a particularly strong message film, but despite this, the A-story of sleuthing teens solving a mystery still stands strong.

When Charlie first encounters Jasper Jones, our main character is simply an introverted adolescent, dealing simultaneously with feelings of exclusion and suffocation, the trademark symptoms of being a big fish in a small-town pond. After his interaction with Jasper however, Charlie not only gains a confidante, but also a task and his purpose is brought into proper focus. Levi Miller‘s performance as the awkward yet determined Charlie was the stand-out for me in this film. The ability to combine juvenile confusion with emotion and confidence was a large feat for such a young actor.

Hugo Weaving is almost physically unrecognisable as Charlie and Jasper’s main suspect, the reclusive Mad Jack Lionel, but provides an emotionally charged performance that I’d really like to spoil by comparing it, right down to dialogue, to another fictional character, but I won’t. The cast also includes the consistently flexible Toni Collette as the stifled and frustrated mother, and Dan Wyllie who gave yet another performing confirming my belief that he is currently topping my favourite Australian actors list – Puberty Blues, anyone – played the socially cognizant and calm father. Kevin Long provided the much needed comic relief and goofy fun throughout an increasingly dark movie, and Angourie Rice brings stunning maturity mixed with girlish charm, and is a choice which actually has me interested in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which is a phrase I never thought I’d type.

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For me, this period film is an aesthetically nostalgic call-back to country life. The imagery and colouration switches with tone, where bright blues and yellows reflect happy, jovial scenes between friends, while all the mystery, tension and most overt injustices happen under cover of darkness.

If I had one complaint about Jasper Jones as a film, it would be several poorly executed plot devices throughout the film, coupled with a particularly abrupt ending. Presumably this is to suggest the impossibility of a completely satisfying outcome for certain characters, but combined these inconclusive scenes resulted in a confusing conclusion to the film.

Technically brilliant and emotionally charged, the talented cast and dedicated production team of Rachel PerkinsCraig Silvey and Mark Wereham with sound/editing by Antony Partos and Veronika Jenet have brought this best-selling novel to the screen in spectacular fashion. An Australian masterpiece, this film is both haunting and sweet, a coming of age story with both courage and charm.

Jasper Jones is out in cinemas today, March 2, 2017.

x Casey

Why don’t you come on over, Valerie?

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I’m a Glee fan, that’s a fact I’ve shared with you all here before. So when the most recent Perth Fringe show I saw contained some variation on “my songs have now been butchered on shows like Glee“, well, it probably wasn’t the best time to bring up the fact that I’d been listening to the Glee cover of Valerie by Amy Winehouse in the car on the way to the show.

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In my defence, I’m a huge fan of shows that make difficult content more available, the ones that share music or film I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise, and do so in a relatable, fun and inspiring way. And like Glee, that is what Ashleigh Kreveld has done with Frankly Winehouse.

I promise I’m done mentioning Glee now.

A self described “all out cabaret”, Frankly Winehouse is a heartfelt and powerful tribute to the late Amy Winehouse, featuring music, stories and a completely unique experience from Kreveld herself – from the iconic beehive hair and make-up, right down to the characteristic sass of Winehouse herself.

Accompanied by a single pianist, it is Kreveld’s voice and passion that genuinely fill the stage and the room. True to her inspiration, Kreveld’s singing voice is powerful, masterfully covering the jazz stylings of Amy Winehouse, while simultaneously providing a raw and emotional biography of the troubled artist, including idiosyncratic quips and repartee with the audience.

As young men are wont to do, however, the usual accompanying pianist obtained a sports related injury mere hours before showtime, but an impromptu replacement allowed the show to go on. With admirable urgency and composure under pressure, this young artist showed not only artistic expertise, but also confidence in precarious circumstances – not assisted in the least by a particularly hot summer evening in a small and crowded venue.

The two artists combined to create an impressive and devastatingly sincere portrayal of Amy Winehouse, a performance which was both comedic and moving. One of the most impressive Fringe performances I have seen to date, I was honestly in sympathetic tears until finally at the end we got to SING ALONG TO VALERIE!

That’s not TECHNICALLY a Glee reference, it’s just me bringing this review full circle.

Unfortunately Frankly Winehouse‘s runs in both Perth and Adelaide are over for the year, but tickets for Melbourne shows are available here, and if you have an opportunity to future to see this show or anything else of Kreveld’s, I would particularly recommend it.

x Casey

I want my Baby [Got] Back, Baby [Got] Back, Baby [Got] Back…

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I once heard someone quote that “all comedy is just everyone vying for the best dick joke” but a fortnight ago I watched a show focused on butts and now I have even more reason to believe fart jokes may actually be the road to world peace.

After sell-out seasons in 2015 & 2016, an all-new Baby Got Back returned to Perth Fringe to reprise their theatrical and comedic tribute to all things ass and where butts were promised, butts were delivered. Through the inclusion of multimedia presentation, dance, dramatic performance and even MAGIC, this all female cast isn’t afraid to utilise all of their ass-ets to keep their audience in both awe and side-splitting laughter for a full 60 minutes.

With several cogent references to the current state of opinion in regards to respect for all women and their bodies – size, shape or colour – this show is both entertaining and poignant. While the most enjoyable parts might be the humour and wild talent on stage, this inherently accepting and feminist show is a subtle reminder that while women have the right to exhibit everything they have, it’s worth remembering that while everything they have is on display for you to enjoy, it is not yours to touch or take photos of for later.

While ‘confronting’ is not often a category of shows I choose during Fringe, I’m glad I made this inspiring and adventurous deviation. The cast’s enthusiasm, pride, confidence and above all, talent left me feeling both entertained and empowered. The future is indeed female, and we as women can certainly stand to be a little nastier.

The run for Baby Got Back has ended for Perth unfortunately, but the cast are now headed to Adelaide’s Fringe festival, beginning on February 28th, and tickets and further information are available here.

Baby Got Back is was among the best shows I saw during Fringe 2017, and I’d recommend it for anyone who wants to be entertained, enlightened, or even appropriately and encouragingly aroused.

The show is strictly 18+ however, so remember that when you’re looking for a companion – take your mum, not your kids.

Anna Kendrick is a “Scrappy Little Nobody”

Are you looking for audiobooks? Check out Audible.com for your first month free!

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Scrappy Little Nobody
Anna Kendrick
Published: November 15, 2016 by Touchstone & Simon and Schuster Audio
Audiobook available at Audible.com

For fans of: Humour, Autobiography, Female Authors

A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.

“[I had resolved to] keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy. It. Wants. Out.”


Firstly I have to straight up apologise to Anna. I used this audiobook as a distraction during my long training runs in the last two weeks. This basically blasphemes the integrity of any and most themes in this memoir, but I have no regrets. To recompense I’ll eat pop-tarts in my sweatpants while I compile this review.

@bestcascenario – Jan 20
I have just torn through @AnnaKendrick47’s Scrappy Little Nobody in two days and like, I think I have all the symptoms of “actor”…

Anna Kendrick first appeared on widespread screen as snarky, brutally honest Jessica, the “best friend” of Kristen Stewart’s Bella in the Twilight series, and since then she has remarkably retained that persona as her career has developed, which has of course only cemented her reputation as loveable and relatable in the media. From stories of a homely apartment in LA to being praised by George Clooney during filming for Up in the Air, in her first memoir she shares stories of Hollywood awkwardness and her fear of being discovered as an impostor, basically proving she’s the same as the rest of us – just, wildly talented and popular and lucky of course.

Scrappy Little Nobody is part of a new genre of memoir, where the author who is most often a comedian or actor, provides humorous essays as opposed to autobiographical reflective texts. The most common arguments against these compilations are confusion about whether the book is premature or the implication that they are marketing tools to capitalise on a performer’s recent success. However, I only outline these arguments in the spirit of fairness, as I’ve found this genre profoundly inspirational over the past few months. I recommend this style of memoir to anyone beginning an adult life of their own, artistic or not and Scrappy Little Nobody is no different to my other favourites such as Yes Please by Amy Poehler, or Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling.

Anna Kendrick’s voice only enhances the personal stories, and as with past memoirs I’ve enjoyed, the audiobook version is how I would recommend consuming this content. Kendrick is honest with herself, the reader and more often than not honest with characters from her life she has disagreed with, presenting arguments against misogyny, condescension and just plain bad manners, but as with most arguments about difficult topics, they are human and more forceful when heard in the writer’s voice. In addition, recalling her struggles as an actress who has to wear heels when she’d rather be eating tacos in sweatpants, makes this audiobook like listening to a very famous friend outline the largest of first-world problems in a way that is humanising while still convincing you its a dream you’d like to accomplish. It’s an inspirational tale of hardwork, but it’s also FUNNY, and silly and snarky and I’m ready for Anna Kendrick to be my best friend now. I really apologise for the listening while running thing, I promise it’s just a New Years Resolution, Anna!

If you have someone in your life who is currently making a jump, or following their dreams, particularly young female listeners or readers, I’d recommend this as a gift, but I would also recommend this for anyone who’s a little lost or scared and needs the motivation to jump, as this warming and human recollection of hardwork and life shows that if one normal, if attention-seeking, human being can do it, anyone can.

Also did I mention it’s fucking funny? Because it’s fucking funny.

“The crazy. It wants out!”

x Casey

#the1001project – On Anxiety & Falling for Sydney on Day 1

The 1001 Project is my ongoing venture to finish items from various 1001 Before You Die lists. For other blog posts you can click here, or for a better description you can click here.

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First: A Prelude to Adventure

I used to love airports. There’s a great sense of anticipation, waiting in an airport, either knowing where you’re going, or not having a plan but considering your options, knowing there’s somewhere new or exciting just hours away, and you can go anywhere you want to if you set your mind to it. I was always someone who arrived at airports hours early to soak up the anticipation of a holiday or the buzz of adventure. I’ve travelled solo enough times to be completely comfortable waiting for a journey alone in a room packed with people coming and going, and never had I found anything to be anxious about with travel.

Until three years ago.

Four years ago I was experiencing anxiety in its most desperate and nervous state. It’s not the time to explain why, although it’s never really the time to explain why, but all roads lead somewhere and mine resulted in abandoning my sister on a flight to my grandmother’s funeral in 2013 because I was overwhelmed and claustrophobic. Until May 2016, I hadn’t flown in three years.

I wasn’t anxious about the funeral, I had never been claustrophobic before and with parents who lived on opposite sides of the country to each other, I was a perfectly seasoned traveller – I’d been flying alone with my sister since the age of six. But anxiety is anxiety and it manifested itself as a panic attack during boarding where I left my – granted, she is as well, or perhaps more well travelled – teenage sister to go on alone.

The process of overcoming these problems has taken years, but step by step and slowly but surely, the unconscious side-effects of this situation have been dealt with in time, until the final and most difficult was set for last – flying for fun. But as of December 2016, I can finally say that, with the aid of one or more anti-anxiety tools for backup, I can fly again.


Therefore: Sydney

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I had a blast.

Have you ever been to a new city before and straight away just “yep, this is my vibe” and all of a sudden things fall into place and you know you’re somewhere that’s for you. That was Sydney. Now, I will always love Perth and as I’ve said countless times before, I will always return to the SWAFR, it’s my home. But Sydney was just perfect. Maybe only needing to survive two days was the key, but I have a sneaking suspicion that that’s not it.

Sydney is also the second best Australian locality for #the1001project so here’s a run-down of my 56 hours of constant adventure.

Day One: ANZACs, Heights & So Much Walking

The first key to travel is understanding timezones, and though I crossed state lines five times in ten days during my holiday, I’m happy to report that I avoided jet lag completely. That first day though, waking up at 4:30am “my” time was not easy.

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Day One started with an early train to Hyde Park. Now I had travelled to Sydney once before, as a beret-wearing, book-loving thirteen year old – there are no photos of this phase, thankfully – and I have specific memories of grumpily heading to Hyde Park with my parents and my copy of the Goblet Of Fire in tow. In some ways my travel habits have not changed – if where we’re going is of no concern to the 1001 Project and does not have a museum of natural history or a petting zoo, then please leave me in my hotel room so I can read and watch Gilmore Girls. More importantly though, in many ways it has changed, and Hyde Park was the first tangible proof that I was no longer that inside kid.

While the Park itself is not on any of the relevant lists, there are two nearby attractions which are: The ANZAC War Memorial & The Hyde Park Barracks. Side note, there is also a museum of natural history, but unfortunately I didn’t have the time.

The photo above is a relatively terrible representation of the War Memorial, but a cute photo of me, and though the fellow I asked to be my Instagram husband for the moment had “just returned from an overseas trip where he became adept at portrait  photography” he did a remarkably poor job with a real photo – it’s in portrait orientation and anyone who follows me on Instagram knows that isn’t how I roll so this’ll do for now.

The ANZAC Memorial however, is fantastic. I’ll soon post a YouTube video of the days I spent in Sydney and if you haven’t been to the ANZAC Memorial in Sydney, please consider watching it because the artistic symbolism throughout the monument is wonderful, and it’s too difficult to portray in either text or photography. One item of particular note however, is the incorporation of nurses into the list of commemorated casualties of the collective war effort. They are memorialised among the important groups which also include the army, air force and navy leaders. To me this gesture to the underrepresented women, over 2000 of whom served overseas during the Great War is significant and in my experience, one of a kind.

As an Australian, the ANZACs are kinda like our gladiators. Not in a glorified or overall sense, but we each have connections to a family member who was involved in World War I, and though far from exalting war in its many forms, the commemoration of the ANZACs is fuelled by a certain sense of pride and respect. Seeing this memorial for all of the soldiers and nurses who lost their lives was a sobering and pensive experience, which I’m glad I was able to experience in the relative silence and contemplation of the memorial.

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As of December 2016, the ANZAC War Memorial is actually receiving an upgrade. Though the initial building commemorates all 120,000 casualties from New South Wales, these men and women are represented by stars on the roof of the building. The upgrade will instead present soil samples from each suburb as a token of memory. In addition it will also expand the memorial and incorporate rooms with an emphasis on education and support.

Please click here for more information or donations!

Stop number two for the day was the Hyde Park Barracks, and where the Memorial made me pensive and reflective of our past, the memory of Australia being formed by convicts has always been humorous to me. I think there’s something telling in the fact that our entire society was based on a group of people who stole bread or killed people, and I’m not sure exactly what it is, but it’s definitely great that we are all related to people who were the scum of England.

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It’s really hard to take something seriously when you know there were probably people who were stuck there because they stole an apple, and your mum always taught you that eating grapes while you’re in Coles is fine.

To be honest, after the ANZAC War Memorial, the Hyde Park Barracks was a little less special. I’ve grown up with Fremantle Prison, so the Barracks seemed too similar to be particularly interesting, and it’s difficult to discuss properly an experience that isn’t new or educational. The stand-out parts of the exhibition were comedic ones, which I vlogged about and you can see in the video part of this blog post.

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As for the rest of this blog post, I have suddenly discovered that while exhaustive and detailed, 1300 words is entirely ridiculous, so I am going to split the rest of the information in further blog posts – including the much more interesting topics of the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and of course the Hunger Games exhibit, but honestly, that’s just good writing, making you come back a second time…

x Casey

New Leederville donuts store MOPs the floor with Krispy Kreme

Food of Perth is an ongoing series for whatever it sounds like. To see other blog entries on the topic, click HERE.

MOP [Made on Premises] Donuts on Facebook
Specialty Desserts
Open 24/7 at 747 Newcastle Street, Leederville
Prices ranging from $5 for donuts, to $30 for crazy dairy concoctions

As you wander through Leederville after dark on a Wednesday night, you’ll be hard pressed to consider the viewpoint that Perth has no night-life at all and that we’re “just not as good as Melbourne”. As Oxford Street thrives with traffic into the later hours, now people looking for late-night meatballs or careful coffee can be joined by those looking for alcohol infused sweet-treats as MOP Donuts opened a fortnight ago and they offer just that.

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Yes, they’re called Drunken Donuts and I enjoy the pun.

While I’m not overly a desert person, and would probably spend my calories on a block of mint chocolate or a pint of ice-cream as opposed to devouring a slice of cake or some kind of fancy parfait (is parfait even considered dessert), MOP’s start up event was free Baileys and Butterscotch donuts at midnight when you gave them the password and of all people this girl loves a gimmick.

So following a friend’s birthday, hence the meme shirt pictured above, I headed to MOPs small but cosy Leederville store where I stood with twenty other people in line for free donuts at midnight. The store itself is tucked next to Meatball and close to other small cafes similar to Leederville’s “small but variable” aesthetic. Its clean and clear interior is almost nondescript enough that if you blink you’ll miss it, so you need to know what you’re looking out for, but once you’re there, the choice is yours.

Along with their signature Drunken Donuts – of which I’ve now tried both Baileys and Butterscotch and Limoncello Lime Brulee – there are also many options for the underage or less adventurous of us, including a “rich and compelling” Belgian Chocolate, the flavour of which was “enhanced by the softness of the dough” and an “all-weather, fresh and light but also cosy for warm nights and post-midnight swims” Madagascan Vanilla Bean.

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Quotes attributed to good pals Rachel and Honor respectively as we had midnight adventure donuts on Wednesday night.

While I can’t speak to the other concoctions that MOP offers, although I’m definitely looking for an opportunity to try their Unicorn Freek Shake at some point, their donuts are basically everything you want them to be – soft, fluffy, and dusted with sugar – as well as having the potential to be alcoholic, so what more could you want?

Option I Chose: My first choice was of course the Baileys and Butterscotch “Drunken Donut”, which was of course fantastically soft, fluffy and dusted with sugar, however one caveat on the experience being the Baileys aftertaste which could be a little unsettling.

Notable AlternativeThe Belgian Chocolate would be the ideal addition to the standard MOP donut shell, speaking from experience now and is a good non-alcoholic version to try first.

I always enjoy seeing creative spins on an any-time treat, and while the novelty of getting drunk from donuts may fade, the taste and presentation of MOP donuts as well as the ability to get them 24 hours a day and in a really convenient hub like Leederville may not. Pair them with a trip to Meatball, or if you’re pescatarian Sweetlips is also a great option, followed by coffee at Greens & Co to round out a night with friends. Or stumble there from Blue Flamingo at 2am – there are options for everyone!

Don’t just take my word for it: The Urban List of course lists MOP among their top locations in Leederville!

x Casey

Uncle Tom’s Rabbit Proof Fence

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe is on the list of 1001 Books to Read before You Die, and The Rabbit Proof Fence is one of the 1001 Movies. This blog has never been about reviewing a text, but more about a discussion into the emotion they inspire. That’s what this is.


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In the past few years of blogging, in particular the more recent 2015/2016 effort towards completing the 1001 lists, I’ve accepted few reasons to write seriously about what I’ve been experiencing. As my natural preference is towards positive or comedic creations, I tend to figure that life gives you enough lemons as it is, why delve further into the things that make you upset? No one wants to read a post on a lifestyle blog about racism, segregation or the Stolen Generation – they want to see photos of beaches and pancakes, while reading about the time I watched Fantasia with the audio out of sync.

I’m also not often a social warrior – if you want to make me cry about human failures, show me the photo of a koala sitting in a logged field, or remind me that I may get to see the Great Barrier Reef, but I will never see the Great Barrier Reef as it was in its prime. Human struggles don’t often rate on my emotional scale, and it isn’t because I’m not a genuinely kind or feeling person, and it’s not because I don’t feel for, or cry for human misfortune, it’s just because if I’m completely honest, I like to imagine Earth as it would be without us. We’re kind of the worst.

There’s only one memory I have of a serious post in relation to #the1001project, and it’s from last year when I watched Within Our Gates, the 1920s Oscar Micheaux film about slavery and racism in America. I remember at the time thinking “wow, the context of my watching this is so poignant! There are so many horrible things happening lately”, with tasering and shooting of innocent people, and several mass murders, I was upset and I’ll always remember ending that post with:

“It’s not change that we need to be afraid of, though I know there’s a lot of that going around at the moment – we need to be terrified of the ways in which we are still the same.”

I want to write poetically, or eloquently, about how I feel when I see films like Rabbit Proof Fence and read novels like Uncle Tom’s Cabin but more often than not, the reactions are more emotional and forceful. Admittedly I’m not reading as many tales as I was last year, but the aftershocks still exist, and there are still videos of police stopping noticeably shaken African American ladies, convincing them they’ve broken a law and then saying “nahhh it’s a joke! I wanna give you an ice-cream”.  I can’t decide which I hate more, that this lady had the fear of law enforcement ingrained in her, or that the police played on that insecurity to pull a blatant stunt. As ever, the phrase “Check Your Privilege” really needs to be reiterated, and yet again:

Change isn’t the enemy – be concerned about the ways we’re still the same.

Kimmy Schmidt is “Strong as Hell”

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The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Season 1
Available on DVD or Netflix online library.

A while ago at a party I was playing “Who Would Play Me in a TV Series: The I Just Met You Edition” with some new acquaintances as a sort of get to know you exercise. Now I have always fancied myself a less caricatured, less Hollywood Jessica Day [Zooey Deschanel in New Girl] with my bangs and my limitless optimistic enthusiasm so when “John Krasinski” – it was that kind of crowd – made the call that I was “clearly an Ellie Kemper”, “I was like, ‘really’?”.

I mean sure, as “The Other Kelly” in The Office, she flies her adorkable flag with Andy, but while I had always seen myself as more of the Nice Girl with a bit of weird, not to mention being exceeeedingly brunette in all understandings of the word, Ellie Kemper always struck me as playing the slightly unstable, definitely fiery-in-the-good-way, but crazy, ginger lady characters.

That was until I caught up and fell in love with The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

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From creators who between them have credits on 30 Rock, Friends, Mean Girls and of course, Saturday Night Live – Tina Fey and Robert Carlock – comes a show whose basis is so dark, we’ve burst right through the other side where everything is technicolour and we have to laugh because if we think too much about what happened, it’s really super creepy.

Kimmy Schmidt is one of the “Indiana Mole Women”, a group of ladies kidnapped by the leader of a doomsday cult and held in an underground bunker for fifteen years where, yes, “weird sex stuff happened”. Determined to escape the stigma of victimisation, and equipped with only her unbreakable enthusiasm, a ninth grade education, her Baby-Sitters Club Murder Mystery  and her $13,000 Mole Woman Fund, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt follows her adjustment to adventures in the real world.

hispanic womanAnd it’s Fey/Carlock exactly as we know and love. From a theme song created by Songify the News‘ Gregory Brothers, a tribute to songified viral videos, to challenging the media on their manipulation of “victims” for ratings and press, S01E01 Kimmy Goes Outside! sets Kimmy up as a hard-hitting reference-comedy piece exactly as we would expect from the alumni of Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock.

Enter Ellie Kemper as Kimmy

After a history of cameos as the naive, quirky girl (The Office, Bridesmaids), the psycho redhead (The Mindy Project) and comedy roles in internet shorts and late night television, Ellie Kemper has finally landed a lead role and it’s great to see that it’s one with a little bit of depth: an underlying horror story.

What doesn’t kill us, can only make us stronger, and in the case of Kimmy, her experiences in an apocalypse cult, sex dungeon has only worked to make her Unbreakable. Through the use of positive reinforcement techniques and pure willpower, Kimmy remains upbeat and positive despite dealing with her demons realistically and in a not entirely sane, way. We still don’t know why Kimmy is afraid of velcro.

Protect me? From what? The worst thing that will ever happen to me happened in my own front yard. Life beats you up, Titus. You can either curl up in a ball and die, like we thought Cyndee did that time, or you can stand up and say “we’re different. We’re the strong ones and you can’t break us!”

In the end, Jess Day is a lot like Kimmy Schmidt, in an albeit more realistic and relatable way, both are optimistic, enthusiastic and a little bit naive, but while New Girl is a show about friends and quirky adventures, Kimmy Schmidt is a show about accepting the worst and being your best anyway. And friends and quirky adventures.

Top Travel: Western Australia

This list and any other Top Travel lists are in conjunction with my side venture The 1001 Project and are not only ongoing, but extensive. This page will be continuously updated as I visit more of the top travel destinations in WA.

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Bluff Knoll
Mt Barker, Western Australia
1001 Natural Wonders & 1001 Walks

With stunning 360 degree views of the Stirling Ranges from its summit, Bluff Knoll is the highest peak within the Southwestern Australian Floristic Region. During the months of August to October, thousands of wildflowers in bloom make this the leading destination for botany enthusiasts and adventurers alike.

With a vertical height of 1095m, the third tallest mountain in Western Australia, the 3.1km return trip with a hiking classification of 4 (moderately difficult), requires approximately 3 to 4 hours return, but experienced hikers or fitness freaks can complete the trek in under 120 minutes.

While September is the ideal season to visit Bluff Knoll for wildflowers, any time between May and October is suitable, weather permitting. Climate can change instantaneously, and during winter it is uncommon, but not unheard of to experience frost and even snowfall during particularly cold days. Take adequate water and sun protective equipment at all times, but consider taking wet or cold weather gear even if it might seem gratuitous.

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Torndirrup Peninsula
Albany, Western Australia
1001 Natural Wonders

Located approximately 30 minutes drive from Albany central, Torndirrup National Park is one of several protected nature reserves in the town’s vicinity, and one of two specified as Natural Wonders. With several picturesque options, there are a range of attractions to visit within the park.

The Peninsula itself is the most frequently visited, featuring both the Gap and Natural Bridge formations. No exertion is necessary, with a large open car park after a short drive, however as of December 2015, restoration activities were occurring at Natural Bridge and access was prohibited.

If you’re feeling slightly more adventurous, Cable Beach (pictured above) is my personal favourite, requiring some dirt track driving, rock walking that can be dangerous in wet weather and descent of a wooden staircase. The “beach” is non-accessible by foot without steep climbs, and high wind or water pressure can produce large, dangerous swell, so please use your own discretion and judgement when visiting.

Torndirrup also features several steep and exhaustive trails including Isthmus Hill (10km, 6-8 hour return trip) and Peak Head (4.3km, 2 hour return trip with some rock climbing), as well as short trips to the Stony Hill car park and Heritage Trail (500m, 20 minute walk) and as I would highly recommend, the Salmon Holes (300m, 10 minute walk).

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Two Peoples Bay National Park
Albany, Western Australia
1001 Natural Wonders

Little Beach (pictured above) at Two Peoples Bay National Park is so far the most convincing argument yet against my prevailing dislike of beaches. Located 35km east of Albany, this spot is one of the more convenient secrets of the Albany area, and yet secluded enough to remain relatively unknown.

As with other national parks in the area, Two Peoples Bay features several options depending on the level or type of activity. For bush-walkers and flora/fauna enthusiasts, the Heritage Trail, a 4.6km Moderately Difficult hike takes you on a 2 hour return loop through woodland with strategic lookouts along the path to view the sheltered bay. For fishermen and swimmers, the Bay itself has open shallow water perfect for frolicking, or swimming with small children and a boat ramp allowing access by open water to Little Beach.

Little Beach itself is the headline act for Two Peoples Bay. With deep, clear water for 50-100m and clean white sand, surrounded by dense natural flora (unfortunately pictured above post-burning in December 2015) and granite rock, this is a perfect, secluded location for a summer swim, with the only downfall being the unfortunately low temperatures in Albany year-round. The area is large, with plenty of room, affording everyone the luxury of desolation even if you’re sharing the beach with several other groups.