What’s more important – love or money?

In all the history of all the world, love has never ended well.

The stories you have heard ending in an “I love you” and “let’s live happily ever after” have either been edited to end just before the piles of money can save the damsel in distress, or the author has been paid piles of money to lie. Probably by Disney. Or Mills and Boon. I hope not both because that would be kind of weird since these corporations are diametrically opposed in terms of the ages of their target markets.

Love is hurtful, embarrassing and was undoubtedly created by tissue manufacturing companies so they could sell more product.

Invariably, love is agony and anguish and if you do survive the evil grasps of this inessential concept, it ends in inevitable self-loathing and death. Probably by a gun shot.

Look at the classics. Cleopatra and Mark Antony. Romeo and Juliet. Oedipus and his Mummy. Narcissi and his reflection. Buffy and Angel. Nothing like a poisonous snake or poison in general or an incestuous love, self-love, or sword in the face to really show how utterly fantastic love it.

Love is the root of all evil. If you think that money is the root of all evil, obviously your Latin isn’t up to scratch. If you spent as much time in your life pursuing money as you did love, you could have paid to learn Latin properly. The correct translation is ‘the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.’ And there we have it. The love of something is the root of all evil. What a surprise. It’s the insertion of the notion of love that is the evil component of this famous phrase. Ergo (how do you like my Latin?) love is the root of all evil. Obviously.

(Incidentally, Mark Twain did the impossible and he actually perfected the phrase. He said, ‘the LACK of money is the root of all evil.’)

Money isn’t evil. It makes the world go around. It makes people put on beautifully weird flares and sing money money money. They have to say it three times because they are so happy to be so rich.

Money, on the other hand, is the greatest, most powerful force in the world. Look at where it got Trump. Money confers a freedom of movement on a person. Without money the world as we know it would grind to a halt. Money, if you treat it right, won’t leave you, won’t cheat on you, make you sad and won’t tell you you’re fat.

Money can get you happiness, the partner of your dreams, the newly released boxed edition of every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Money can even get you your own island.

Money makes you beautiful and thin. It makes you healthy, if that sort of thing is imprtant to you. But if you prefer it can also get you a sleep-in every single morning because you won’t ever have to get up if you don’t feel like it.

Love makes you too fat or too thin and never the right amount of happy. It ages you. Love messes with your hormones and before you know it you have five kids that will never amount to anything and you haven’t seen your waist line in fifty years and now the cat is looking at you in a really judgmental way – all because a cute boy once told you he loved you.

Finally, and most importantly, money can buy you a gun. Because when you are tempted by love, the root of all evil, it will ruin you.  Have you ever read a Greek Tragedy? Ever seen an episode of Jersey Shore? Ruined, every single one of them. And that’s when you really need a gun, which are expensive so you need money to get one. Ergo (there;s that awesome Latin again), when you move from the ‘I would have taken a bullet for you’ stage, and into the ‘now I want to pull the trigger,’ stage you are good to go.

Money gives you life. A good life. Any life you can imagine.

Love makes you want to take it and choke it and kill it until there is nothing left.

But of course, the choice is yours.

what you need to consider before dumpster diving

If given the opportunity and the anonymity, would you dumpster dive?

It’s for a good cause, we’ve all heard the horror stories about how much food is wasted every year,  we’ve all heard that ‘best before’ dates are pretty flexible too and we all grew up being told to eat our revolting cooked carrots because there are kids starving in Africa. Although I doubt even they would want to eat my Mums attempt at cooked carrots. Yuck.

Like just about everything, it’s a good concept in theory. Like cooking carrots. Like religion. In Australia dumpster divers are called freegans. And they are still in existence which I found surprising. From the moment this movement hit the world, I thought it was going to be a fad like ecosexuality and going to church every Sunday.

It’s surprising how I often I am proven wrong.

If you decided to take up dumpster diving, not only would you be getting free food, you would be rescuing the planet. Less landfill, less consumerism. But nothing is free, even free food taken from the garbage is not free. You pay with your dignity.

In the city it would be different. You could wear a tasteful balaclava; you could buy it with the money you save from not having to buy food, and off you go. Fill those hemp bags with all you can eat. It’s an open buffet.

In the country it’s too hard to remain anonymous when you are in the supermarket isles, let alone when you are engaged in the conspicuous act of rummaging through the rubbish bins, looking for a wedge of Brie to offer your guests later that evening.  And in the country often your reputation is all you have.

There would be no balaclava tasteful enough to combat what your new reputation would be if you were caught. No amount of free Brie cheese would make up for the fact your guests have just found out you are serving food from the local Coles skip bin.

I am all for other people saving the planet. It needs to be done and the freegans are a big part of this. Personally, I don’t have the energy or legs long enough to clamber into a rubbish bin so I like to leave the whole ‘save the planet’ thing to people like Leonardo DiCaprio and my hippy friends who think soap and shampoo is a government conspiracy.

So until I move back to the city or grow longer legs, I am happy in my life of complacent consumerism. Although I detest giant corporations like Coles and Woolworths, there are some battles that are not worth fighting. And for me, that battle is freeganism.

Have you ever been dumpster diving? Do you know anyone who has? Would love to hear about it!

How to be book and street smart

book-1568672There are two kinds of people in life. And no, I am not referring to coffee and tea drinkers. If I was referring to them I would have started with; there are humans and then there are sub humans. 

Just kidding.

Tea drinkers are ok. I have an Aunt who is one.

The two kinds of people are book smart and street smart. For those of you who are not too smart in either sense and don’t know about these kinds of ‘smart’, allow me to explain.

a) Book smart.

These people like books. They like to use big words and knowing their meaning and context is often irrelevant, especially when speaking to a street smart person.

Book smart people understand the world only through how it should be, not how it is currently functioning, which means they don’t really understand the world at all.

They drink tea.

b) Street smart.

This group of humans know how to fight and their fighting skills are usually acquired at the local drinking hole after making the bad decision to switch from beer to spirits.

Street smart people understand the world on a superficial level, but because the world is a superficial place, they actually do understand the world.

So, there you have it. Two types of people in a nut shell.

Assuming you can only be one or the other, which one would you want to be? Which is the more important of the two? Would you be more impressed by someone who had actually finished War and Peace, or by someone who could climb a tree and kill a zombie, preferably at the same time.

Who works harder? And don’t try to tell me that any physical job is harder than reading War and Peace.

These are all trick questions. The answer is you want to be both. You want to be able to go to the pub and get in a fight whilst using big words to commentate the fight you are about to win.

Anyone who is either type of smart has been watching The Walking Dead and making mental notes on how to survive the zombie apocalypse. I can’t see book smart being as useful in surviving the apocalypse as street smart unless War and Peace can be used as a weapon, or, has a section on zombies. 

I haven’t read it so I couldn’t say.

The education system is under fire because it reflects the polarity of the two kinds of smart. Teachers are being made to make fish climb trees and we all know that trees can give you splinters. If you could merge the two kinds of smart into one you would be miles ahead. Our murray cod’s would be climbing trees all over the place and that, my friends, is smart.

Yet increasingly it seems we can’t be both types of smart. Or perhaps we can but one is always valued over the other. Steve Jobs didn’t have a degree and he is a pretty successful guy and I have a friend who has a doctorate in Anthropology and she is not exactly making Steve Jobs kind of money, so the point (making the point again here for the street smart) is to be both kinds of smart. This is the way of the future, this is the only way to earn money and be proud of yourself for earning money. 

So, how can you be both kinds of smart? It’s simple. You need to finish reading War and Peace and be able to use it to survive the zombie apocalypse, probably by using it as a weapon. You need to be both a tea drinker and a coffee drinker. Play to the people around you, switch from one type to the other. 

Most importantly, be a fish that climbs trees. 

If you have are one or the other, or you have been able to become both, leave a comment. I’d love to hear about it.

 

 

4 ways to survive office politics

Unless you are a rock star, movie star or Michael Jordan in the 90s, no-one loves their job all the time. It’s fair to say that having a job invariably sucks. And when you have to work with other people having a job sucks even more because people invariably suck.

When you get more than one person in a room you have politics. And when these 2+ people are in an office you have office politics and this type of politics is the worst.

Let’s assume, that if you are having issues with office politics it’s because you work in an office and are therefore an adult. You need to deal with this nasty part of the grown-up world quickly and effectively. Or, you need to quit your job and move to a cave, Zarathustra style. I’m all for joining Nietzsche’s Zarathustra in his cave of self-reflection but caves tend to be lacking in the coffee machine department so it’s perhaps not the ideal answer.

Hence, by using my philosophical wit, and driven by a need to have permanent access to coffee, I have discovered the best ways to deal with office politics.

1/ Don’t get involved in the first place.

Like everything from putting on a bra to cooking dinner that is not cheese on jatz, this is easier said than done. More often than not, these types of politics drag people in before they have finished the left over cheese on jatz from last night’s dinner. Stay away from gossip and rumours and the gossip and rumours will be less likely to be focused on you. If they do, grab an extra peace of cheese and run.

2/ Constructive confrontation

Or as I like to call it, smacking that annoying bitch/bastard in the mouth. (I think it may be time to watch less Orange is the New Black.)

3/ Skilled communication.

Don’t fall for the old ‘active listening’ rubbish that adults in offices are always peddling. And don’t use the saying ‘speak only if it improves the silence.’ Instead, use big words to confuse your dopey opponent and then storm away before they can ask you questions you can’t answer.

4/ Read Robert Fulgham’s All I really need to know, I learnt in kindergarten.’

This is the very best way to handle office politics, because really, office politics is the kindergarten playground all over again except instead of monkey bars there are computers and some of the players are now wearing Prada. All the lessons you need to survive office politics and life in general are in this book. Share everything, play fair, don’t hit people, put things back where you found them, clean up your own mess, say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody, etc. Maybe buy extra copies and hand them out to people in your office.

Being able to cope, survive and manage office gossip is important because you spend more time at your job than you do in your bed. I know, the world’s gone mad. Office politics is childish but it is, unfortunately, a big part of the adult world. Even rock stars and movie stars deal with office politics, except their political warfare is played out in the tabloids, which are the bullies of their playgrounds. It can make you feel like a movie star when the entire office is gossiping about you, but office politics is erroneous. It’s not the correct way to behave and it’s not something to get involved with. Just remember, all you really need to know about dealing with office politics you learnt in kindergarten

 

Me write, you act.

I used to be in a writing group. They were called The Lampshades because sometimes they were switched on and sometimes they were switched off.

It was the local TAFE’s answer to the French Enlightenment.

But instead of Jean-Jacques Rousseau revolutionising 18th Century Political Philosophy, we had Alice, who liked to trace pictures of her hand.

Another member was a budding play write. Rachels’ play was almost ready for public consumption 2 weeks after my fateful joining of this mostly switched off group. But after 1 session I sat next to Alice and traced my hand. I dare say if the play had called for a character who liked to trace her hand, Alice and I would have been all over it. But some artists treat their art too seriously, as though they really care about it and the finished product.

The play as I understood it, with my waning attention, was a comedy. It was hard to help write it because no-one else in the group had written a play before, and without the help of Rousseau, or any other of the great minds of the French Enlightenment, it wasn’t a piece of art that members outside of the group would recognise.

Unlike Alice’s hand.

These were hard times. Our lives were bad. The play was hard work and no amount of re-writes got it to the standard Rachel wanted, which was “too at least make some sort of sense”.

Then one day things went from bad to I-wish-I-was-dead bad.

We were told we had to act in this play. There was no option. We were all to become literally, unwilling actors on an unwilling stage; the Leeton Eisteddfod. We didn’t want to be there and I was pretty sure none of the students wanted us there; we were all bad puns delivered through a permanent mode of debilitating stage fright.

Now writers are a unique breed. We like to hide behind words on a page, we don’t like to stand emotionally naked in front of an audience, pretending to be someone else. That’s what characters are for. We decide what the characters say and when and how much they get to drink. We don’t like taking on the guise of another person’s creation. That’s what Jake Gyllenhaall is for. And according to his agent, no, he would not be available to act in the play.

My character was an alcoholic. I don’t remember much more than that, I blocked most of the event out of mind. It’s locked away, in the deepest reserves of the deepest part of the darkest part of my mind. Even Freud couldn’t undo that padlock of humiliation. I do remember doing what any sane person would do in such an insane circumstance. I drank real alcohol on stage. So at least whilst I was being mortified in front of a bunch of school kids, I would be drunk. And I was.

In year 4 I had been in the school play and I knew then it was not something I would ever do sober again. I was a tree. I didn’t have to move or speak and still it was embarrassing. Plus I was facing the back curtain which I later found out was the wrong direction.

In the Eisteddfod of pain and suffering I had one small monologue and I forgot most of it. At one point I was a dear in the headlights, mind blank. Everyone was starring at me with sympathetic eyes. After some sort of time lapse that only a physics major could discern, I picked up from where I could remember and prayed for the zombie apocalypse to break out right then so I could be eaten alive, which would be less painful that the moment I was stuck in.

The little bit of my monologue I did manager to deliver was drowned out by a passing ambulance, sirens blaring, so no-one heard me anyway. I suspect this is was why I wasn’t awarded ‘best actress’.

Needless to say, my tiny foray into a world of adoring fans complimenting me wherever I walked and dressing rooms filled with wine and flowers, ended before it occurred to me it could begin. I liked the character that is me too much to pretend to be someone else.

The play was an experience and as Rousseau wrote, “the person who has lived the most is not the one with the most years but the one with the richest experiences”.

Apparently I am immortal.

The eyes don’t work; nothing works. And it’s personal

#amwriting 

We know, oh god do we know. We have all been there. The eyes don’t work, and neither do the weird pokey upy things stuck in helmets. Sticks don’t work, dogs don’t help you (mine even goes so far as to pretend not to notice anything is wrong). Nothing works except suicide or staying indoors until summer finally gets its lazy arse out of bed and comes to save us.

After what seems like an endless season filled with dark clouds, depression and the threat of White Walkers, winter has finally buggered off. On paper anyway. It’s time to be happy. It’s time for us to exercise our god-given right to rejoice in the daisies and the intermittent sunshine and the hay fever.

It’s time for picnics and smelling freshly cut lawn, except if you live in Australia. After being taken by surprise, yet again, by the reality of winter, we have spent the last 3 months hoping we don’t die from hyperthermia or cabin fever or lack of social life. And then spring comes and still, we are forced to stay indoors because hell has unleashed its most fearsome demons onto our continent.

God, Buddha, Allah, Gia, they all hate us.

I’d rather fight a White Walker. I’m not exactly sure what that is but I know enough to know they are not Rick Grimes or Buffy so they are the baddies.

But magpies are the worst of all the baddies and they are more dangerous. And scary. And they are real, just like Buffy.

These murderous demonic birds were put on Earth to make every Australian live in fear for what is supposed to be the best season of the year. It’s a season filled with baby goats and cold wine with bubbles in it. I rest my case.

And now studies have shown these little black and white bastards remember faces. They swoop the same people each season. Their murderous, demonic swooping is personal.

We’ve all been there. One minute you are all tra-la-la-la through the flowers filled with bees that commit suicide just so they can sting you and the next minute you are funning faster than your legs can actually run whilst moping bucket loads of blood from the back of your neck. Not even 30 bee stings slow you down.

According to a 2011 study conducted by some very brave or some very stupid Koreans, these territorial-waste-of-space demonic, murderous birds remember faces and they swoop/dive bomb the same people each season. And if these black and white bastards decide your face is a face they don’t like, there is nothing you can do about it except kill yourself or stay indoors for another 3 months.

Fantastic. Spring is here. Let’s hope we survive it.

If you do need to go out and you can’t drive your car; perhaps you don’t have one (get one) or perhaps it’s with your mechanic and you suddenly have an emergency like an empty wine bottle (drink beer), then you are taking your life into your own hands. It’s too late to stock up on wine now, the season is upon us so maybe you will be more prepared next year. Or, you could move. I hear Iceland is nice.

So when you do venture out into the magpie filled skies remember; the eyes don’t work.  And your Mum is not coming to save you. She is too busy being safe indoors drinking chilled wine whilst looking at baby goats.

Be more like your mother.

 

The Kids Party.

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One-year-old’s cake. Gluten free. This is an adult cake if ever I saw one.

On the weekend I went to my very first kids party. Having a kid of my own means I get to do super cool things like that now.

It was brilliant. I think the parents were a bit confused about the purpose of the party, but it was still good.

My kid, being a whole 5.5 months old couldn’t have cared less about the party. She slept through pretty much all of it. And I think the kid who was having the birthday, being a whole 12 months old, couldn’t have cared less either.

But that’s not the point. If a kid can’t vocalise any of their opinions, I think it is safe to say they don’t have opinions. Unless they are mute. Mute kids can have an opinion; we just don’t know what it is.

I have discovered a little known fact and I think it needs to be clarified. Especially for the parents who hosted the party and for all other parents.

Kids parties are not actually for kids.

So the kids party, which I’m pretty sure had nothing to do with the one-year-old, was a lot of fun. There was cake and activities and vegans. There was also a swing but MJ said it was probably better if I didn’t swing on it. I don’t think he was saying I was too fat, I think he was saying I hadn’t had enough wine to really get the most out of the experience. Good old MJ, always looking out for me. Or for the small branch the swing was tied to.

According to MJ, the activities that were on offer were for the kids, not the half-drunk parent of one of the too-busy-to-sleeping-to-participate kids.

Exactly where is the legal disclaimer stating I was not supposed to decorate my own pet rock to take home? The sign said I could. It didn’t have an age limit on it, so I decorated two. I named them “Sugar” and “Sparkles”.

One kid tried to take one of my rocks so I had to put him down. There is certain behaviour that should not be tolerated and stealing a pet rock off an adult is one such behaviour. I don’t even know what he was doing at the party, it was supposed to be an adult only affair.

Kids at a kids party, what will they think of next? The party was so concerned with the ‘children’ element, there weren’t even any dogs. And the party was on a farm.  

Obviously the cakes were for the adults. Sugar is wasted on kids; they don’t know how to get the most out of the rush. I do have a serious issue with the fact the cakes were gluten free – my letter of complaint is in the mail – but at the end of the day, a cake is a cake. As long as it has sugar. But if they don’t have sugar they aren’t even cakes so it’s an irrelevant argument.

There was also sushi. Name one kids party that was actually for kids that had sushi on the menu. Exactly. None. Except weird kids on the upper North Shore who have a Japanese maid who only knows how to make sushi. Their kid is probably mute so he can’t say how much he hates it.

We also took a bag full of lemons home, they were on a very full tree. I asked if we could pick a couple, I was thinking they would be perfect for the tequila shots I was planning on having that afternoon. We ended up with 2 bags full. There is not enough tequila in the world to use all those lemons. But my point here is, I appreciated the lemons and took advantage of them being on the tree which was in the middle of the party. I didn’t see any kids picking lemons. They were too busy wondering what happened to all the sparkles that were used for decorating the rocks.

The presents were also more for the parents than the birthday boy. We gave him 3 books. One was called “How to be a Dinosaur”. A one-year-old doesn’t care about how to be a dinosaur, he doesn’t care about dinosaurs in general, unless one is about to eat him.

But I know the Dad and he would love to be a dinosaur if only he knew how. So really, the books were for the Dad.

MJ is still recovering from the out-of-control-party. Mostly from my wine induced behaviour and his decision to not drink beer. It turns out kids parties are my new favourite thing; so many things to eat and things to do.

The party gave MJ and I some great ideas for our own kid’s party. Ok, the party gave me some great ideas and gave MJ a lot of reasons to roll his eyes. There will be lolly bags and sparkles and cakes with extra sugar and extra gluten. There will be tequila with lots of lemon. People can be dinosaurs if they want to be.

The invitations will also state, clearly, that dogs are encouraged but, unfortunately, there will be no kids allowed.

 

Comic con cavies and Camellias

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Wow, a pink flower

Narrandera had a busy weekend. This tiny town of the Riverina hosted the annual National Cavy Show and the annual (not national) Camellia Show.

For those of you who are not well versed in guinea pigs, that’s what a Cavy is. It’s the alternate name given to what is typically a kids pet so adults can feel more mature when they need to admit they breed guinea pigs for a hobby.

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Oh look, more pink flowers

No adult who says they breed guinea pigs is going to get laid. Ever. Now replace ‘guinea pig’ with ‘cavy’ and the weird adult may be in with a chance.

The Cavy Show in Narrandera is the comic con of domesticated rodents.

I need to credit that last line, the only good one in this entire blog, to Paul from “The Mixed Tape” at Spirit FM. The only funny thing I was able to get out of a blog about the Cavy and the Camellia Show and it wasn’t my line.

Camellia’s are not a funny flower.

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Holy cow, another pink flower

I don’t think there are any funny flowers. I even used my brilliant research skills to find a funny flower. I googled ‘funny flowers’. Google is stupid. And it turns out flowers are serious.

About 800 people from all over our eclectic nation came to look at, show off and buy new guinea pigs. About 20 came to the camellia show.

And people think Narrandera is boring.

Of the two intensely exciting events, I went to the camellia show. I had put two lavender twigs into pots the week before so I figured I can label myself as a gardener. May as well hang out with my own kind.

Holy hell. That was a lot of pink.

Instead of patting furry little balls of cuteness, I went to the camellia show, guessing it would give me the best material for a blog.

As you can tell, it did not.

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Could it be, more pink flowers?

I dragged my Mum along who in turn dragged 5 month old Beau along. Needless to say 5 month old Beau was not in the slightest bit interested.

Especially since she couldn’t rip any of the originally Chinese/Japanese flowers apart. Please note google not so stupid here.

After 17 minutes in a room filled with more variations on the shade of pink that I ever knew existed, I too wanted to rip them up.

But I’m not 5 months old.

So I only ripped up a couple.

At the end of the day it’s great that Narrandera gets to host events like these. They really put our town on the map, which is why so many of you know where Narrandera is and why you also new there was a comic con of domesticated rodents. (Thanks again Paul)

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Is it? It can’t be. Pink flowers

Cavy’s and camellias are people’s hobbies and they should be respected for being people’s hobbies. Weird people’s hobbies, but weird people are people too.

My hobby is complaining on the internet so I respect their hobbies for the fodder they provide and I’m not weird. But I am a keen gardener, as long as the plants don’t produce anything pink.

Sense of humour not optional