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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!

Letter to a suicidal houseplant

With Vivaldi’s Four Seasons floating in the background of Mums kitchen, I notice her houseplant is dying. Some sort of fern she bought from the local nursery. It’s sad, withering leaves have been taken over by a brownness that oozes melancholy, a mirror of his own depression. No Vivaldi allegro can lift his spirits nor bring the seemingly good-as-dead houseplant back from the edge.

Please don’t die. There must be something around me that can show me how to live in a world that is not suffocating in a thick darkness that doesn’t end because at sunrise the darkness is still there, it just changes colour.

If I can save this plant I can save myself.  

 

                                        TO:
Houseplant number three
                                    ADDRESS:
                                                    Bronze pot
                                                                                          Cement plinth in the lounge room
                                               Australia

 

Image courtesy of Page Foster
 

Suicide doesn’t end the pain. It just passes it on to those left behind.

 

 
 
Dear houseplant that lives on the cement plinth in the lounge room,

You have just discovered that you are a relatively conscious being in a relatively unconscious world. You woke up one day figuratively and literally. You opened your leaves to greet the new day and you didn’t like what you saw. After a nice morning bout of photosynthesis, enjoyed from your expensive potting mix, your world as you understood it turned to mud.

It all started when the humans took you home. They ripped you from your brethren and from that moment on you smelled the smells of a human world, which predominantly smelt like bacon. It’s a good thing you were adopted by a carnivorous family as you are safer than if you were residing with a vegan family. They could get extra hungry and make a mistake one day. No bacon eating family is going to eat the houseplant by mistake. Unless they smoked another kind of plant and got confused.

You heard the noises of the human world, Dr Pill at 12, classical music at 4, and the screaming grandson most mornings. You tasted the air of a human world which was dictated by the gas heating or the airconditioner, depending on the season and the mood of the female human. And somewhere along the way you got confused as to what species you belonged to. You were deep in a human world, all it had to offer you which was mostly water and the more than occasional cat poo. Suddenly you noticed that your feet, which were in fact not actually feet, were rooted into a pile of dirt, not the plush carpet that surrounded your potted world. At least you are not a mushroom.

It was a sad day and the sadness has enveloped you like a haze of cigarette smoke from a 1920s movie. It will not, cannot leave you and with your small understanding of consciousness, you feel that you want to die.

But stay put (like you have a choice) my little fronded friend and hear what I have to say. There are still reasons to carry on and you can carry on despite the fact you need to re-equate with yourself. Transgender people do it all the time and not only do they survive, but they look damn good whilst doing it.

You have comfort. You are indoors. Don’t be a princess, or a prince or both at the same time. There is no pea under your pot and you are untouched by the elements, all warm and cozy or light and airy whilst your tougher counterparts are outside where plants actually belong. And they are generally better at being plants than you are.

You have provisions made for you. Everything you need is provided for you. Water, the occasional bought of Bachs soothing music, pun totally intended and you get to watch Dr Phil every weekday. Perhaps this is the real reason behind your depression. You don’t have to join in the embarrassingly coordinated rain dance with the other plants if the drought persists. Your water comes from a silver container with a spout on the end of it. Since your humans prefer the American Dr Phil over the American Ellen, you probably don’t know how to dance anyway.

You are safe. You have already lived through your involuntary transition from the nursery to the blue doored house in Dean Street. And despite the three year old grandson not being capable of keeping his mittens off you, you are safe.

You must think of others. You exist on a planet shared with other beings so your existence cannot be solitary in attitude. You must exist for the pleasures of others. And your primary reason for existing at the moment is to serve as the cats preferred litter box. There is no more a noble creature to serve. Also your humans paid good money to welcome you into their family so be grateful. 

Logistics. Have you actually thought about how a houseplant might kill themselves? I highly doubt you could hang yourself from the rafters, assuming your house has exposed beams. And that’s just the start of the problems with that scenario. You are an instinctual creature, void of any real reasoning powers so I doubt you could starve yourself to death even if you wanted to.

There is no more help for a suicidal houseplant other than this letter. There is no therapy available, there is no pill you can pop that will solve all your problems. The choice to live or die is entirely your own. But the consequences of your choice rests with those around you.

Make good choices,

Boy with too much time.

I stand with the LGBT community. And rainbows are cool.

Today the rainbow that represents the LGBT community is covered in blood. Another day, another massive amount of people dead. It must be Monday.


Image courtesy of Getty stock images.
Usually I prefer not to get too involved with media frenzies that seem to only cover tragic loss that occurs in the western world. Forget the dying and the dead in Africa or Asia, they are not important, or not interesting enough to sell advertising space. Westerners only drool over the dead from Western lives.

But, to me, the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting and the 50 odd dead is different. I know more gay people than straight people. I like them. They are fun and, wait for it, they are actually NORMAL people. They eat food, sometimes they even meat. They have jobs, sometimes of which are in industries other than fashion or events and they even have families that love them. Well, we hope they do anyway.
The LGBT community has been persecuted for so long, I actually thought the maltreatment of them was mostly over. Finally, it was looking like they were going to be free to live their lives as they see fit and splash rainbows around as much as they like, except of course, without the right to marry. But that is a whole other argument.

Obama, Clinton and Trump are taking to their virtual and literal microphones, no rainbows in sight, to blame extreme terrorists for the deaths in a community they usually don’t seem to care too much for. Not publicly anyway and certainly not at election time with all those evil terrorists out there that must be annihilated at all costs, they have to get their priorities straight. The LGBT community doesn’t do much for an election because they are gay and happy and therefore less likely to go on a rampage and kill 50 odd people. It’s the threat of mass shootings and bombs going off that wins elections in America these days, not acts of homophobia.

It’s absurd that what was clearly a hate crime has yet to be properly declared as one. Instead politicians are using this tragedy to fuel their own agendas; terrorism and gun control.

What a great day for American politics and the American people. The straight ones anyway.

Two guys sharing an innocent kiss in what was actually THEIR TURF, namely at a gay nightclub, makes it so much worse. It’s a gay nightclub filled with gay people, what did he expect? If you don’t like gay people don’t watch them kiss at a gay nightclub. It is so 1953 to not like gay people, so beige, so vanilla.

Over 50 of the LGBT community are dead because one American idiot with a gun that he never should have had access to, took offense to a small, demonstrative display of affection in a public place.

Living in 2016 is not a choice but choosing to live with a 1953 attitude is.

Homosexuality is not a choice but homophobia is.

I stand with the LGBT community and my rainbow flag is flying high.  

 

10 Things I learnt from having a baby and only 2 are related to Buffy.

This is not my child but it encapsulates reality with a child very well. Image courtesy of Andreas Bauer
 
Read this before attempting to have children. It may save your life, or the lives of those around you. Good luck. And remember, dogs are easier.

·         You will find yourself wishing that Buffy had children just so you can ask “what would Buffy do?” and it would still be a relevant question. Otherwise the answer is ‘kill the demons, save the world’. Not great since your children are the demons.

·         Having a baby changes you. Seems obvious but the way it changes you is subtle and creeps up on you like a shark at dawn. I know this because I used to be ‘team Angel’ but I think I may be ‘team Spike’ now. I’m not too sure. It’s hard to explain to non-Buffy people but this is a potentially profound change that would shatter my entire existence as I know it. Currently I’m trying not to think about it to much as I have a lot on my mental plate. Like, oh god, do we have another tube of toothpaste? This tube is definitely empty. I know I have been saying that for a week but I really mean it this time. And, who the hell did Negan kill on Season 6 of the Walking Dead? I think its Glen but I am going to be so mad if it is. Mad as in writing angry letters mad. If that doesn’t keep a woman up at night, I don’t know what does.

·         I leant it is possible for a human to survive on less than 10 hours sleep a night. For many, many, many nights in a row. I wish I had not learnt this. The long term damage of this accidental discovery is yet to be determined but so far it’s not looking good. Seriously, how can 2 people use so much toothpaste!  I bought a lot at the last shopping venture, 6 months ago. It was supposed to last a life time. That’s it, no more teeth brushing.

·         Long, hot, uninterrupted showers are not needed to be a semi-functioning member of society. Smelling good is also not needed to be a semi-functioning member of society. Neither is being able to be a semi-functioning member of society.

·         Boobs can be used for more than bedroom calisthenics. They don’t have to be but the option is there.

·         Coffee can be drunk cold and not is a peaceful place usually reserved for internal reflection. There is no proof that this will not kill you.

·         When you give your daughter a boys’ name and dress her in gender neutral clothes, people will assume she is a boy. And that’s ok.  It is also ok not to correct them.

·         People actually like babies. And they give the baby lots of presents, which is the same as giving you lots of presents. A big bonus right there.

·         Time has no meaning. Sometimes the sun is up, sometimes it is not. That is all you need to know and that is all you will know.

·         Puke is the new fashion accessory. Wear it with style but not pride.

Nothing can be written about having a child that has not already been written. The irony is that you cannot read anything that will prepare you for having children.

The lost art of the RSVP

Image courtesy of Getty Images
 
There are a myriad of blogs about etiquette and manners and a lot of them focus on the loss of basic etiquette and manners in modern society. Ironically enough, these blogs are mostly read by people who already have manners. They read the complaints and nod knowingly, feeling the pain of the loss of decent customer service and table manners and pants that sit above teenage boys buts. But these blogs should be read by people who have no manners and who want to learn, to better themselves and move up the rungs of society.  Much like Gatsby did but I bet he already had manners, he just needed the money, which he made. You can’t buy class, not even Gatsby could have bought that. Luckily he didn’t need to buy it as he is class. He even had more class than Rhett Butler. (If you think that Rhett Butler had more class than Jay Gatsby please comment in the section below. I promise I will not judge you.
Anyway, this is yet another blog to add to the plethora of winging about how common decency has gone out the window, and with it, manners. At least it’s a one off for “Words of Happy”.
My gripe today is with the lost art of RSVPs. When an event is occurring that requires a RSVP it usually means that the host needs to know numbers for a specific reason, usually catering but it could also be to make sure there is a percentage of clowns even to the small children attending. It could be to make sure there are an even amount of swinging couples attending the swing party hosted by the innocuous neighbour. Imagine turning up to one of those shindigs and being the odd couple out – literally. Or attending a catered party and eating the share of canopies that was reserved for your food obsessed, overweight manager. If that isn’t grounds for being fired I don’t know what is. (Of course one would have to have a job with a manager to find out.)
Invitations, whether verbal or online or printed on lovely expensive paper always clearly state ‘please RSVP’ if they need an RSVP for reasons listed above. Yet people take it upon themselves to either be too lazy to bother or to see themselves above the simple task. It’s rude and egotistical.
Replying to an RSVP is not time consuming and it’s not hard. They are designed to ease the stress of the host which you should be willing to do since all you have to do is turn up and eat, or look at clowns, or have sex, depending on which party you are attending. Still, the art of the RSVP is another concept that is becoming extinct. We have already lost the black rhino, being able to have conversations with people whilst they refrain from checking their phone and we have lost Prince. How many more great things of society do we need to lose before we sit up and take notice? When you live in a society you are signing a verbal contract to live in that society which means abiding by basic rules of common decency.
When F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote; “… it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams …” I always thought he was referring to the super B#%*h Daisy. Now I think he was most certainly referring to people who don’t bother to RSVP.

A rock star’s dream

 
When you have a dream and if you are brave enough to live by it, roads can open up that lead you to interesting destinations. But dreams can change as you get older, and as you decide what road you want to take, there should always be the inspiration of a dream to lead and motivate you.

Sameera Bashir has been living her dream as a rock ‘n roller for years. She’s a small and quirky yet powerful woman. She is her own muse and upon entering her bricked house one can’t help but be taken aback by the beauty of the autumn coloured tress that flank her property. The vegetarian doesn’t take her rock star life style home with her, but the rock star attitude will always be a part of her.

When performing at night she belts out her original music, overriding the din of the drunk patrons cheering her on with her surprisingly solid voice. It’s a classic scene for most performing musicians; melodies competing with the preferred beer of the night. But now this rocker from a small town has her sights set firmly on the glittering world of Hollywood and she has one cowboy boot in the door.

At 11 years of age Sameera picked up her first guitar with a dream of being a rock star. And after years of hard work and practice she was performing her unique sound of adult contemporary and blues on a regular basis and to a variety of crowds. But dreams change and that’s ok.

“Music is a way to use my creative energy,” she said. “I’ve been doing it so long, I used to dream of being a rock star but now I dream of making money from my dream.”

And the possibility of making money has been presented to Sameera through the signing of two contracts, one of which is with a Hollywood agency.  After sending a demo to Usher, Sameera was approached by two agencies, one representing the T.V. industry in Hollywood, the other representing the T.V industry in Scandinavia.

Sameera now spends her days writing and producing electronic music that, with a bit of luck, will be used for anything from a David Attenborough documentary to the Kardashians. It could make her a lot of money and she almost feels guilty about it. It’s interesting, this innate guilt that pours out of artistic people. For most, the dream of making money from their passion is so minuscule, that those who are offered the chance to make a living from their dream seem to be inherently guilty about it.

But this isn’t just a tale about a small town girl making it big in Hollywood. We’ve all seen that movie. This is also a story about how, at long last, artists who reside in rural locations are no longer at a geographical disadvantage. The internet and the flow of Sameera’s music amid fans helped her reach this stage of having her boot firmly in the door of Hollywood studios.

“I used to hate technology but now I am using it to write my music and look where it has gotten me,” she said.

Based in the small town of Narrandera in the Riverina, Sameera spends her days living the life of a different sort of rock star. She writes and produces her electronic music that will serve not only as, fingers crossed, an effective money making machine but as a way to sooth her soul of creativity.

With the natural landscapes of a naturally beautiful country town to inspire her, Samerra lives her new dream. She dared to dream and to stand tall in a crowd of fellow musicians and now Hollywood has taken notice.

 

How to kill a spider without wanting to die

Image courtesy of Thorarinn Stefansson

Most people, if not all, who inhabit our planet have come across them and not liked the experience. In any way. At any time. Whether it be in real life, late at night on the kitchen floor, or in the deep recesses of your sleeping mind – the place reserved for the scariest of scary nightmares – all Aussies have seen them and immediately wished they could wash their eyeballs to rid themselves of the horror they just witnessed. Or, wash their bodies in acid because that would be more soothing than seeing something that has eight legs scurrying in a most evil way across your view point.

And nothing is more terrifying than those eight legged bastards we call spiders. Not serial killers, not clowns, not even – and I don’t make this comment in a nonchalant way – not even sharks. Every normal human being hates them and refuses to hear the apparent use they have within the ecosystem. Stuff the ecosystem. I can tell you their use, it’s to jump out at you when you least expect it, or when you do expect it, it’s mind numbingly petrifying either way, and then they try to eat you whole. That is their one and only reason for existence. It’s a conspiracy that people think spiders are helpful because they eat flies. I have never seen a spider eat one, have you? (If you have you are more of a victim of this cleverly plotted conspiracy than I originally thought and there is no help for you.)

All spiders need to be killed and be killed dead but killing them is not an easy feat. It can be such an ordeal that you may think it is better to die yourself than spend another moment trying to kill something that is way too agile for its own good. 

Killing a spider whilst the only male in the house is peacefully slumbering in the bed, all wrapped up and cozy in the Egyptian cotton sheets and happy and oblivious to the terror that is happening in the very next room, is an amazing feet when taken upon without said man doing the killing. Yes, the idea of tackling a spider is a sexist undertaking as it is one of the few tasks, perhaps the only task that a man should do, not a woman. I wish to protect my fellow sisters in this form of horrific warfare. We should be sheltered from these hell dwelling antagonists. Let the men folk handle them whilst we get on with more important tasks like organising world peace, or much harder, getting the baby to sleep for more than 45 minutes.  At least the male orientated role of spider killing lends credence to their argument for their species still being relevant. With woman mowing lawns and wearing steel cap boots with style, men are of course worried they no longer have a need in modern society. Spiders prove that men are still needed. As long as spiders still exist, so too shall men.

Come to think of it, this is a problem. We need men to kill spiders. Therefore men exist because spiders do. Therefore, men may be less inclined to kill spiders because if they succeed they are no longer required to be a part of this human experience. Best not to let them know they are needed. Best to pretend we would like to use the spider killing opportunity as a chance to see their muscles. Men like that sort of stuff.

 Being in the same room as the creepy crawly bastards is feat number one. If you can remain in the same room, you may just have a chance of killing it and saving yourself, or at least reversing some of the fear back onto the useless creature. Let them feel what it feels like to have your life flash before your eyes and all you see is cup of coffee, cup of coffee, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, more coffee and your dog. Remaining in the same room is very hard and takes more self-control than is fair to ask of someone. It is, however, a lot easier if the spider is anywhere near the only exit of the room.

If you took your eyes off the spider, then a safe and effective killing should consist of throwing shoes in the general direction the spider was last seen heading. It doesn’t matter what type of shoe or who owns it, or how many you have to throw, it’s a free for all in these circumstances. I usually find screaming hysterically really helps calm the nerves, ironically enough.  It also helps with the accuracy of the aim. Please note, booties and shoes made of feathers are not ideal weapons. (If you own shoes made of feathers you are just a weirdo and probably like spiders anyway so this blog is not relevant to you.)

Now these creatures can move fast. They appear from nowhere and vanish just as fast and if you don’t see exactly where they went, you are in some serious trouble. So always be on the ready, on high alert and limbering up is an absolute must. Enjoying a cup of strong coffee on the comfy couch? Be ready because the serenity you feel could be destroyed at any moment. At any moment, one nanosecond further in time, life as you were just experiencing it will be over, replaced with a non-shakable need to kill and kill fast or die and die fast.

You must not only limber up before attempting the kill, it is also recommended that you remain limbered up at all times because at one point you are seated on your rotund butt (of which toning up is on your list of things to do) enjoying your coffee and the next thing you know you have glimpsed the devil creature and suddenly you are perched precariously on top of the couch. Often exactly how you got from the comfy seat to the back of the couch in one gravity defying leap is a mystery. Hence, if you stay limbered up at least your muscles won’t be sore from all the leaping.

The same goes for your shoe throwing arm. Those muscles will also get a workout, there’s no doubt about it. Especially if you own a lot of shoes and you have terrible aim.

Never ever take your eyes off your eight legged foe. Reach for shoes with one arm, one eye, one finger, whatever it takes, do not look away from the soul consuming demon that is attempting to cohabitate your home. They move like a rocket and their entire reason for existence is to kill you so you must kill them first. It’s kill or be killed.

In the event that shoe throwing is not successful, you should play ‘Warcraft’ as much as you can. Get used to using a gun and get used to living in a world of war. Watch every episode of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ to draw strength from and remain inspired to fight your demons. If all else fails, join the army. This should get you the skills you need. And don’t be afraid to master the bazooka. This was the Mona Lisa’s choice of weapon, the included picture is unquestionable proof of this. These weapons are underrated when it comes to arachnid annihilation. The only downside to using the bazooka is the ensuing mess and mayhem may be a tad bit difficult to explain to the now wide awake man of the house.

Spiders are horrible. They make people scream in really high tones. They have no real use and they have no right to live in our homes, especially when they don’t contribute by paying the rates or weeding the garden. So just remember; it’s them or you so if you have to explain the gaping hole in the living room, you have done your part and you have lived to tell your tail. You are a survivor and no builders’ fee can take that away from you.

One spider down, several billion to go.