Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Five Stages

The Five Stages of Grief.

Everyone knows that the five stages are Denial, Anger, Deal Making, Depression and Acceptance.

They are in fact the five stages of making ANY unwanted decision. If there is a scenario we don't want to make a decision on we go through these five stages. Decisions such as getting out of bed in the morning:
Nope, I'm not getting up.
Oh, why do I have to go to work today?
5 more minutes and I'll skip breakfast and still make it to work.
My life sucks and work is worse.
Ok. Ok. I'll go. I'll get out of bed.

A similar process occurs with dieting or exercise - and the process often stops at Deal Making (Just, one more chip and I'll have two salads tomorrow) and then the depression sets in for an added bonus which explains why dieting makes people unhappy.

And of course, since we go through this process when facing up to the loss of a loved one (either by death or the break up of a relationship) is one of the most powerful emotional episodes we will experience it shows that these 5 stages are a fundemental, basic process that we automatically engage whenever there is ANY decision to be made when we just want the world to pass us by.
Which makes sense when you look at how a 3 or 4 year old reacts to being told it's time for bed (_particualrly_ when there are guests over). The same five stages.
No, it's not bedtime yet!
Why do I have to go to bed? i don't want to!
If I change into my jammies can I stay for ten more minutes?
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! It's the end of the world.
Ok. Ok. Good night everyone.

Of course, soft parents give in at the deal making stage and then they realise that they should never have had kids because they stop fun bappening and the depression is transferred to the parents but it's too late suckers!!!! hahahahahaha! Losers. I jest about the depression transfer.

So, the 5 stages of grief are not some hallowed process that is essential to our mental health - or anything else along that asinine touchy-feely overly-accepting and forgiving psychodrivel school of lameness - they are just the reactions of a child. The inability to accept/deal with reality is seen as childish (rightly so), so you could argue that those who linger at one of the stages are being childish, and that those who reach acceptance first are the most emotionally mature. Or, to be fair, emotionally shutdown. Ok, assuming they aren't emotionally shutdown, then maturity can be gauged by how quickly someone goes through the process. eg someone who simply jumps out of bed when the alarm goes off has used discipline to overcome the inner child who wants to go through the 5steps.

So, before people start expanding the 5stages to things other than grief we can shut them down with a cry of 'discipline!'.

Procrastination can be seen as getting stuck at the Deal Making stage ie 'I'll do it later'.
Hmm, bribe taking by someone trying to do a deal with the devil for the first couple of times could also be seen in the same light - the rationalisation that they will make up for it later is Deal Making.

So, does the process often break down as a way of avoiding the Depression stage - is it the abyss edge?
eg "What's the point of getting up, my work is pointless anyway?", "All this hard work probably won't pay off anyway", "I am as hollow and false as the bad guys. The whole system is broken because they always get away with it."

This is not to say that these depressing conclusions AREN'T true, just that they need to be Accepted ie discipline (to work past the Depression) will enable us to Accept and THEN be able to do something about work, pay offs and the system.

So, just as understanding evolution is all about embryology, human behaviour is childhood development.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Loyalty card?

I picked up this brochure for the Coles loyalty card program not because I want the card but because I have to question the marketing department that put this brochure together.

This is the face of a happy person being rewarded for their loyalty.

This is the face of a victim of domestic violence being rewarded for their loyalty.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sydney bound

This is what I packed in my check-in luggage to go to Sydney.

Guess which item meant I got to meet the bomb disposal AFP officer and his four friends?

Your choices are (clockwise from the top): a wooden model of a Chinese Phoenix to give to Louis; a space cow costume for me to wear to Pip n Alec's combined 30th bday party; a bag of chilis for Pip; 3 pieces of fossilised dinosaur poo for UTS ex-workmates; 'banana saver' plastic case to stop banana squashing in your bag for Sparkly; 40mm shell from a ferret armoured car for Blacklow; 5kg of haircot beans for The Aunt?

Monday, July 5, 2010

My awesome bike

What do you do when your bike is chocolate/poo brown?


Since I am now harder to see on this thing I had better buy a shed-load of lights, eh?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Christmas in July

No, that's not trick photography in a pine forest in Christchurch, NZ.

Why is this child wearing cardboard moose antlers?....

...because my father made them for his Christmas costume. His teeshirt reads "Merry Chris Moose". His name is Chris. See how it works? Comedy.

Just add alcohol and put your child on Harry's shoulders. Dance, Harry, Dance!
Is that Running Man? You bet.

I also brought this move to the street.
It was less kindly received by my homies.

Oh, well, they can't all be winners.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Saucy: PM rolled.

Aha! I finally get to use this!
I took it in Detroit airport in 2008.

This is for the Army of Flying Monkeys who will be baying their woe that we stand on the doorstep of the Lesbian Socialist Republic that we always wanted.

In my head, our new PM looks like this.

Note: Not really work-safe. Sorry, Liam.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Self indulgence.

24th March, 2010.

On Giving Up

Well, it is ten years to the day as far as I can reckon since I quit my job to write a book, and that seems an auspicious time to announce - no, admit - that I'm giving up on my extremely half-arsed aspiration to be a novelist.

During those five months back in 2000 I wrote 30,000 words and played a lot of Starcraft. I experimented with sleeping during the day and working during the night; I flipped out on LSD; and I was shot at by my neighbour. The most enduring thing to come from that period was that my cooking improved by great leaps. 'Rick Stein's Seafood Odyssey' was shown at noon, I'd roll out of bed and I'd watch it with a notepad ready.

Since then I have written a drift of stuff on scraps of paper, notebooks and the backs of envelopes - just like a real writer, and just like everyone else - but I never got around to really putting it all together.
And do you know why?
It's because it's really hard work to produce a published novel, and I don't have the drive or passion to go through all that shit.
Not only do you have to write a manuscript, you have to shop it to agents or (far less likely) publishers. Then, if they look at it, you have to do rewrites n times. Then, because this takes a couple of years, the market will shift and they won't publish it after all.
Luckily you're usually saved that pain by just being rejected again and again.
Ok, ok, *say* you get published. Do you know how much the average author earns? SFA. Say $8K if you do well.
$8K for two plus years work isn't enticing.

But, ahhh!, you say: you're not in it for the money, but for the love of it.
Well maybe *you* are but not me.
I kinda think that if I loved writing then I would have done something close to the 10,000 hours someone needs to do to become an expert at something. Over ten years that is 2-3 hours a day, every day.
And that's just for a shot at the title (pun). That's not a guarantee of success - you still have to be lucky.
And, sure, people do get published and make a living, but people also win lotto.
I haven't done the sums but it is tempting to think that instead of going through the agony of writing something that nobody wants, how about just get a job and turn those wasted hours into cash that you then spend entirely on lottery tickets.
After ten years you might crack the big one, as they say.
Also, there is less chance of cracking the shits, as they say, and running round the streets bludgeoning randoms with an axe-handle.

I guess it all comes back to that excellent movie 'Office Space' from the late nineties. The plot revolves around an unhappy office drone, Peter, who realises that life should be on his terms - and he starts dictating those terms. Through this process he becomes happy.
During a heart-to-heart with coworkers he tells of the careers advice he received at school. They asked the kids "If someone gave you a million dollars, what would you do with it?" and if you said you'd buy a car and do it up, then you were meant to be a mechanic. If you said you would invest it on the staock exchange then you should be a broker.
'So, what did you say', asks Peter's friend.
'I said 'Nothing'. I would do nothing'.

You know what the best bit of those five months in 2000 were? Watching Rick Stein.
No, that doesn't mean I should become a chef - I tried being a cook and it was the most stressful job I've ever had.
What it means is that I enjoyed doing what I wanted to do and that didn't look ANYTHING at all like work.

If someone gave me a million dollars I would do nothing too. Heck, I'm doing nothing now: rent's paid til June; I just bought tickets to 14 shows of the comedy festival; and I got a whole library of books to read.

It's not giving up - it's biting the bullet.


7th June 2010

On Not Giving Up

So, I wrote the above in a funk in late March, and I happily packed everything away in boxes and didn't think about it for a month or so.

Since then three things occured to me:

a) The above was actually quite well written.

b or 2) Something about being a spineless and lazy little girl/This being one of those test of character things I keep hearing about/Something inspirational bordering on the trite.

b part 2 (or 2 part b)) Um, how about trying doing something that actually is actually hard like being a nurse or a gigolo specialising in the handicapped or something, you tool? No? So, shut up. qv 'spineless girl'.

c) What _else_ am I going to do for funnsies, really?

d) All of the above.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tassie the Last

"The bouquet is floral and complex with jonagold apple, and banana chip, and freshly dried goji berries..."

Sat 20th, Day 18:

Last day in Tassie. We had to be at Devonport that evening for 7:30 cast-off.
Nice drive that wound through the hills to get to Scottsdale.
Scottdales is a town totally owned by the forestry people so we ate quickly in a bakery and fled.
It is back to being dry and yellow farmland, which is good because that means vineyards. We explored the Pipers Brook area a bit.
Lunch at Pipers Brook vineyard. The wines were so so, but they have THE most pretentious tasting notes ever. (see photo)
Stopped at a couple of others. Got fuel in George Town and crossed the Tamar on the Batman bridge.
Stopped at two vineyards on this side including Holm Oak who have a pig.
Took the B71 to Devonport through rich farmland with the deep red soil like we'd seen at Table Cape.

East of Devonport. Rich red volcanic soil.

In Devonport we ate in a crazy witch themed place. The building was an old stout mansion. There was tons of stuff for decoration - bottles of decorative preserved veges; old copper things; old port bottles etc. The tables were tree slabs and therefore weren't flat. The food was good and well priced. Large helpings.

H: You look ready for a cruise!
C: Do you have the frangipanis?
H: I have arranged for us to be met with bouquets.

Loading was a breeze.
We sat at the stern until Tasmania was out of sight.

Sun 21st and Mon 22nd:
I turned up at Caroline's cabin for a shower. I'd spent the night in one of the upright airline style 'Ocean Recliners' cursing people who snore. I did move away from the worst snorer, but closer to the second worst snorer. Eh, it's all experience, right?

Caroline told me "You're very lucky having me for an aunt, you know! They didn't give me a bathmat this time and I was going to use the other towel but was more kind and thoughtful than usual and let you have it."

I agree. I am lucky.

Unloaded into the Melbourne gloaming we refuelled and bought ice for the esky. Then I took The Aunt for breakfast at the enormous Italian patisserie just off Lygon St called Brunetti's. This place is an institution. It has an enormous and mind boggling range spread through two shop fronts.
We had morning tea at Ellen's parent's place in the Macedon ranges for an hour.
And after driving for far too long whilst too tired, got to Henty where we stayed at the Doodle Cooma Arms Hotel.
We'd stayed there on our way back from Victoria last road trip and loved it.
Those owners had sold it on two a pair of unhappy people.
They were singly unsuited to customer service. No greeting or welcome. He seemed displeased that we were even staying there.
Ahhh, anyway.
Got pissed on four Kilkennies and passed out from exhaustion at about 8pm.

Drove through Wagga and tried to get the Aunt enthused about the M-113 armoured personnel carrier with 75mm low-pressure gun that was on display at one of the crossroads. She didn't care.
Morning tea in Gundagai. They gave us butter for the finger bun!

Then home about 3pm. Unloaded all my loot, and bid The Aunt farewell.
And I haven't seen her since!

Above, Rain in Henty

From 'The Discovery of France' by Graham Robb

'My secret reason' for recounting all this, Stendhal (Henri Beyle, later known as Stendhal, travelled throughout France in 1837) explained, was to encourage the reader ot take a cheerful view of 'all the little mishaps that often spoil the jolliest expeditions - passports, quarantine, accidents', etc. Modern transport created expections of comfort and convenience, but a traveller who put his mind to it could avoid ill humour as 'a kind of madness that eclipses the objects of interest that may surround one and amongst which one shall never pass again'.

A recent note from the Aunt:
"(Quoting from the website for Seahorse World, Beauty Point Wharf) Seahorse World offers a totally unique experience, as the aquarium is 100% dedicated to the mysterious life of the seahorse. Seahorse World offers an enjoyable tour that is devoted to the preservation and conservation of the seahorse.Enjoy a memorable and fun day at Seahorse World and help assist in the pro-active.."

We must have driven almost right past it. I'm sorry we ever went to stupid Tasmania now - all I wanted to see was seahorses. None of the other stuff was worth it.

actually, I thought I'd mention it in case you're ever in that vicinity again. I can't imagine you would have known about it otherwise we would have been there quick smart?? This is not a criticism as such - possibly more a disappointment in your ability to provide a reasonably decent trip for the Aunt."

I give up.

Tassie Part 16

Friday 19th, Day 17:
Drove north to The Gardens which is the village that marks the start of the Bay of Fires. We wandered round the rocks for quite a while. Bright orange lichen covers many of the granite boulders.
Gradually made our way south - stopping every so often to walk along a beach or visit a lookout. We finally saw a pair of oyster catchers. We were surprised the whole way round Tasmania not to see more seabirds. We saw a lot more on the Great Ocean Road trip and we don't know why there was a dearth of them further south. It was the late breeding season and everything.
Lunch by a lagoon. Had the whole place to ourselves.

South of St Helens is a road out to St Helens Point and the conservation area. There are large sand dunes and I got to run around on them. That was cool.

Tassie Part 15

Thurs 18th, Day 16:
North and inland to St Columba Falls due west of St Helens. Glorius man-fern heavy forest with lots of wattle. The thickness and height of the man-ferns give a glimpse of dinosaur forest. The falls are very nice.
Saw quite a few small birds including a pardalote or similar right by the track who was completley unconcerned by us. The info board at the head of the path has that story of a colonial woman who was lost in this forest for nine days and was tracked by two thylacines for two days who were just waiting for her to die. She spent one night tunnelled into a hollow fallen trunk with a thylacine looking in at each end. She made it out eventually when she found two woodcutters but refused to take her shoes off in their presence because her stockings were torn. What a lady!

On the drive out a young echidna crossed the road in front of us. We kept pace with him for several minutes.
The cheese place at Pyengana was crap. A tourist trap with no good cheese. Don't go there.

We drove through the thickly forested hills to Weldborough. Good views. We did a forest walk through southern beech forest with cloyingly twee signs.
Found a pub/backpackers in Weldborough. It is a pretty old building and is in very good nick. It is being run by the son and his girlfriend of a Melbourne couple who bought it as their retirement plan. The parents were tying up loose ends on the mainland before moving down. Georgeous setting. Much much prettier than St Helens.
After lunch with ciders we took the dirt road through beautiful farmland and forest to Mt Paris Dam. I think Caroline just saw the sign and said 'Let's go there!'
A juvenile tasmanian devil ran across the road up ahead.
Mt Paris Dam is no longer in use. There is a newer dam further into the hills that made it redundant. They blasted holes in it to let the water out.
"First time I've walked through a dam!" says The Aunt.

A pleasant lookout near Goshen (which I learned just last week is named after a place in the bible where something happened).

There was something that Caroline wanted to buy from a chainstore called Chickenfeed. I think it was pegs. We'd seen Chickenfeed shops all over Tasmania and while we were there it was announced the head office was moving to Sydney to start the chain up there. It is a bargain shop.
The first time I saw it I thought it actually was an animal feed place specialising in poultry pellets. The Aunt thought it was a fast food place like Red Rooster.
Anyway, Chickedfeed has everything - including kneepads.
We bought kneepads.
See our heroic poses wearing them in our cabin!