Why the ocean sucks

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I have seen all the documentaries about the ocean; Jaws, Deep Blue Sea, Sharknado. I have read all the textbooks about the ocean;  Megalodon: Deep Sea Terror, parts 1 through to 9.

I really enjoyed the fear they instilled in me and I leant a lot about the ocean’s true nature. Bathing or showering is totally overrated. Living in fear is much more important.

The ocean is the devil’s playground. It is hell on Earth. Poets made a mistake when they wrote about hell being all fire and brimstone. It’s salty water and sharks that exist only to eat people.

What I don’t understand is why the ocean has to be hell on Earth. Land roaming animals have a nice planet. It is solid, not salty and there are not weird creatures that can swim from nowhere and eat you.  It’s nice on land and the further away this land is from the ocean, the nicer it is.

Once humans start getting close to the ocean, the land becomes discombobulated and sandy and this sand gets everywhere. It makes me dizzy and itchy and really scared. These feelings are a warning that the ocean and its horrid ways are close. WARNING: wrong way, go back.  WARNING: there is no exit here. Do a U-turn as quickly as possible.  WARNING:  no dogs allowed 

That last one says it all because the shores of the ocean doesn’t even accept dogs and a place that does not accept dogs is not a nice to be. Plus, its home to evil, unnecessary creatures like giant octopuses and blow fish and sting rays that kill awesome people like Steve Irwin.

And worst of all there are sharks. People eating sharks. That’s all sharks do – eat people. They have no other reason to exist.

I lived near the ocean for a while. I wanted to try it out and so if I could beat it at it’s own game. This meant I would dip my little finger in and see if I got eaten. The chances were going to be pretty high.

Plus I needed a change and I had never lived with a surfer culture before, so why not? I also wanted my friends to come and visit me and they didn’t like visiting me in Canberra. I assumed my friends had not read all the textbooks and seen all the documentaries so they may have been fooled as to the oceans true nature. If this was the case I figured they would have come to visit me in this lovely, albeit dangerous, location.

They did come visit and no-one got eaten. But that’s only because I wouldn’t let them swim.

I treated the ocean like the lions in the open plains zoo that you hear about occasionally on the news; all pretty until you wind down the window and one eats you in front of your family.

But, mark my words, once I get rich (still on my list of things to do), I will seek vengeance for all the times I was afraid to have a bath alone because of your sharks and especially your famous sharks that share their stories in all the documentaries. Yes, my deep blue foe, vengeance will be mine.

Despite all the carry on, I did swim in the ocean once. I think I was drunk. And by swim I mean I went in as far as my ankles.

A blue bottle tried to eat me.

I decided it was time to move.

 

Weird things people insure. (Spoiler: one is a tongue)

I bet you didn’t kdreamstime_m_10879387now insurance could actually be interesting.

No really, I am being serious.  It is a fascinating world of risk management, asset protection and peace of mind.

Ok, so that part of it is really boring and in reality most of us pay A LOT for peace of mind only to have our peace obliterated when something goes wrong, and heaven forbid, we want to make a claim. And even before this we have to go through the trauma of deciding whether it is worth making a claim because it will mean our premiums go up. And if you are like me, you don’t like to think more than is absolutely necessary.

But. Did you know;

John Harrison, the official taste tester of an ice-cream company (how does one get that job?!) has his tongue insured for $1 000 000.

Golfers in Japan purchase insurance at AUD$170 per year for coverage in the event that they sink a hole-in-one, in which case tradition dictates they must buy gifts and drinks for all their friends.

Some business insurances in Australia have the added extra of insuring against a shark or crocodile attack.

And the best one yet; over 20 000 Americans have purchased Alien Abduction Insurance.

So they are the most interesting things about insurance. Generally, insurance is something people sweep below their under-insured floor rug as they pay the premiums without too much thought.

Therefore, insurance is only useful when you are the abducted by aliens or eaten by a shark.

Now, assuming I am not about to be abducted by aliens, I have to get back to deciding which insurance is best for my baby. You guessed it, I’m shopping around for pet insurance and yes, he will need cover against a crocodile attack.

 

Zoey gets arrested for murder. Again.

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This is not the face of a murderer

Ok, so the terms ‘arrested’ and ‘murder’ are a little over the top but there’s nothing like an enticing headline to draw people in. The truth is relative.

Last week I was asked to write a character reference.

For a dog.

She was in lock up for killing a chicken.

Again.

I kid you not.

Luckily I once read a book about Public Relations. I was all over it.

The owner of the now dead chickens didn’t take the murder to well and reported Zoey to the local council. The council decided they were going to declare the little fox terrier to be a dangerous dog.  Look at her face. Is that the scary face of a savage dog?

The canine in distress needed a good character reference to save her. If declared a dangerous dog, Zoey would be sentenced to a life of muzzles and she would never know the freedom of being off lead outside the confides of her back yard ever again.

She would never feel the wind in her hair unless her owners are really fast runners. Which they are not.

The chickens were roaming free in the street, the attack taking place on a side of the road that neither dog nor chicken dominated. It was free range. And yes, the chickens crossed the road.

Zoey being the compassionate canine that she is, didn’t question why they crossed the road. She dreamed of living in a world where chickens are free to cross the road without being interrogated. Innocent, well-meaning chickens anyway. Not these malevolent/deserve to be dead chickens.

We will never know the intricacies of what happened on that fateful day, or those fateful days because unless you are a mental patient, then you don’t speak dog.

So how do we know that Zoey wasn’t doing the world a favour by disposing of the two chickens? It is most likely they were evil masterminds, hell bent on world domination and Zoey saved us. Or they could have been perpetually bullying her through the common fence and one day the poor terrier just snapped. Happens all the time. They were probably crossing the road for dubious reasons.

There were witnesses, the surviving chickens, but they are unwilling to talk about the incident. I propose its because they know Zoey is onto them and their evil plans. Or, it could be because Dr Doolittle was unavailable to translate on account of him being a movie star and not interested in 2 dead rural chickens.

At the time of writing the superhero/bullying victim fox terrier awaits her trial. She is in good spirits, considering. It seems the chicken dinner has nourished her enough to keep her head up as she is vilified by the humans who keep her in lock up.

Let’s hope the character reference is enough to ensure Zoey can go on saving the world, or disposing of its bullies, with the freedom to run fast enough to feel the wind in her fur.

Feel free to comment to show your support for this little foxy.

 

Bow ties are for everyone but poetry isn’t.

I’ve been worried about myself.

At first I thought I had an issue with Lesbians wearing bow ties. But I worked through it and I’m cured now.

Bow ties are for everyone, not just weird science teachers and clowns.

Then it was mentioned that I may have an issue with tea drinkers. I am not willing to work on this issue, I simply have too much on my plate; wash clothes, eat chocolate, complain I’m too fat, wash clothes, You know, the usual.

But tea is for everyone. If you are weird and like to do things really slowly and relaxed – the opposite to being jacked up on caffeine. Weirdos. Maybe you should get some bow ties.

Finally, I think I may have an issue with poetry. It hurts my brain. Poetry hurts my brain more than my brain hurts when I try to read Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Versus and that is like trying to read cement.

But the poetry issue is one that I have been working on because poetry is considered cool and people who read it are considered to be smart. I want to be cool and considered smart.

I don’t think I am getting very far with my poetry issue though, especially if it doesn’t rhyme.

So I have started reading Emily Bronte to Tiny Monster because I firmly believe that 5 months is old enough to start learning about death and poetry. 6 months is when she will learn that poetry is death. Just kidding.

We have also been reading Wordsworth and Shakespeare . And the poor thing cries every time. She never cries through Dracula or All quiet on the Western Front so it’s not death that makes her sad and frustrated.

It’s poetry.

And just when I think I will never be able to come to terms with my issue regarding poetry, I read a poem that changed my world.

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The Martian Chronicles – Review

The Martian Chronicles by Ray BradburyWithout a doubt one of the best books ever created! If you like sci-fi that is so intelligently written, you are not 100% sure you are understanding the book at all times, then this is for you.

A perfect masterpiece of philosophy set on another planet with all the traditional ‘love the Earth themes’.

Bradbury has composed The Martian Chronicles of mini stories that intertwine into a broader picture encompassing our galaxy.

Loved it!!

No wonder it’s a classic.

Don’t drink and peddle

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I am a part of a local writing group and we meet once a week. The members are useful and civilised.

Except for the token poet.

She is no help and poetry is a useless medium anyway; all pretty words and hidden meaning. If you have something to say, say it, don’t drown your intentions in metaphors and adjectives and words I have never heard before. 

We all take turns in hosting the weekly meeting and since everyone lives relatively close to each other I have started riding my bike. Not just any bike, but my lemon yellow 1960s cruiser, complete with pink rims and pink flowers on the frame.

It’s the sort of bike all mature 30 something’s should own.

When I used to ride it in Forster kids in my neighbourhood used to wave at me and call out “what’s your name?”  

I think they thought I was a bit special.

Since then I have taken the streamers out of the handlebars.

So I rode my bike to the writing group last week and it was the first time I had been on my bike for about 4 years. And let me tell you, Narrandera is filled with Mount Everest style hills. They don’t look like it when you’re in a comfortable car, but on a bike, no amount of gears lessens the burn in your lungs, thighs, toenails, eyelashes – everything burns.

I arrived at my destination, a whopping 10 minutes of muscle burning hell later. Thank god the lady hosting was an ex nurse. I rang my bike bell until she rushed out thinking someone had declared a state of emergency. And it was a state of emergency. She helped me off the bike, helped me up her unnecessarily huge front steps and inside to a face washer and glass of water.

At this point it looked like I may never walk again. And we had an ambulance on stand-by, just in case.

I never drink wine at these gatherings but after the Chuck Norris like work out I had just had, wine was in order. I had 2 big glasses.

I made many bad choices that night.

The ride home was a zig zag of straight roads that moved under my tires. They didn’t move like a travellator to help me reach my destination, they moved against me.

Almost home I had a road to cross. As I approached it, my brain was having a conversation with itself – should I get off and walk across the road or ride across it. What would Buffy do?

My body wasn’t waiting for the answer and simply kept going. My brain caught up with my body half way across the road and panicked. The bike wobbled and I went head over heels, kissing the centre of the road. Cars tooted at me as they drove past, one kid laughing and sticking his finger up at me. I had never been so embarrassed and not just because people saw my denim overalls.

Unhurt, I picked up my stupid lemon yellow 1960s cruiser with pink rims and pink flowers on the frame as a car stopped to help me.

“Are you ok? she asked.

“Hang on, do I know you? she continued

“Are you B* ‘s daughter?”

I said yes and gave her my sisters name.

Despite riding a bike that is usually reserved for special people and despite wearing denim overalls in public, my reputation remains intact.

 

Satirical thoughts on art in rural areas

FB_IMG_1468888261355Recently I was awarded an opportunity to speak at a gallery opening. It got me thinking about the role art plays in rural areas. Government funding has been vamped up and there are organisations trying to combat the belief that one must live in the city in order to become a successful artist. So what role does art play in a rural society?

Artists in all their various forms are not important members of society, not like actors. Now these people are the most important members of society. They are the doctors, the spies, the heroes that keep the world turning on an axis so we can understand it. Without actors there would be no health care or heroics. What, you want to rely on ASIO to save us, not Jason Bourne? Honey, you live in a crazy world.

Unlike actors, artists are not real people with real jobs, they usually play in clay and paint and maybe some textiles. This is why they don’t get paid for their work and why they don’t have a lot of friends outside of their own creative circles.

And art is not a useful medium. Some say it makes the world a better place, others say it adds beauty to the planet. Maybe, but at the end of the day, art doesn’t make money and therefore does not contribute to the global economic scheme.  Without the creation of money they are only creating things, like a sculpture or a carving or a book. Not very helpful to keep the world spinning on its familiar axis.

Artists are usually on some sort of psychotropic drug, which explains Andy Warhol’s attempt at art, The Raw Shark Texts (the greatest book ever, you really should read it) and every episode of the Simpsons.

And because being an artist is such an impractical career, artists generally get rich once they are dead.

Edgar Allen Poe died in a gutter of Boston whilst handing out free copies of The Raven. I rest my case. And hopefully Poe has rectified his choice of career he made as a human and is now resting in piece.  Probably not because The Raven is about souls not resting in piece.

The great artists of the generations are not what they seem, if you take the time to look closely at their work.

Michelangelo’s King David, is actually a thinly vailed attempt at porn disguised as a sculpture masterpiece, but we all know it’s just porn.

Melting clocks hanging over a tree is not art either. It’s melting clocks hanging over a tree. Artists use strange terms like surrealism to cover up the fact they took a psychotropic drug and no longer have any clue as to what they are doing, let alone painting.

The Mona Lisa? Boring. I mean she’s not even doing anything exciting, just sitting there looking all smug and dreary.

Fashion designer Vivien Westwood, can be thanked for the grunge trend that dressed the sex pistols. You don’t need to be a hourte cature ‘artist’ to stick safety pins in stone washed jeans.

The most famous artists of the modern world are the “sandwich artists” of subway. They are on minimum wage and are not allowed to be creative unless they follow a specific recipe exactly. This is because artists don’t deserve money and they shouldn’t be given free range to create.

That’s how we ended up with stone washed jeans in the first place.

And of course, there all the bullshit artists too.  Think of all the Australian politicians. As known bullshit artists they don’t have to explain themselves, even if people ask you to ‘please explain’.

But in rural NSW we are very lucky, we have real artists. None of the poncy stuff that Pollock and Picassso and Prince churn out, with no imagination or talent or skill, our artists are real.

We have poets who are really good at spending hours deciding which is the best word to fit into a poem that is 3 sentences long. And it still doesn’t make sense.

We also have trendy art coordinators, who we know are artist because they have tell-tale beards and always wear very peculiar clothes. They always run late and have little concept about how the world actually operates – on time and with money to make it go round.

We are home to some of the most famous Aboriginal Artists in the country. They like to eat witchetty grubs and delight children by showing off the dead goannas and black snakes that lives in their freezers. Perfectly normal behaviour for an artist.

And don’t forget our farmers. They are artists too. It is a myth that farmers ‘sew crops’ and ‘feed the nation’. No, they spend their time and artistic flair making daisy chains and arranging bunches of patterson’s curse to sell to the urbanites who wish they were artistic but are not because their talents are smothered by city smog and uninspiring grey buildings.

The really talented farmers make crop circles.

Most country towns have a plethora of spaces artists can congregate and swap ideas and drink tea.  It’s one of the benefits of being an artist in rural Australia. These are often places like Masonic Lodges that have been renovated, the ‘men only’ energy scrubbed away and the blood of the goats that were allegedly sacrificed in black magic ritual has been cleansed.

If Masonic Lodges are not available, old hotels, railway buildings, empty homesteads, all the representations of industries long since dead, are being utilised to home the once homeless rural artists. And these are the types of places they like to meet because they are different with a tinge of weird. Like any self-respecting artist. Art galleries in the traditional sense, are for wooses and city folk.

With spaces like these there will be little chance of bad art being created, like stone washed jeans, melting clocks and Marylin Monroe’s face in different shades of ghastly fluro. Beautiful old buildings made new again, just like the art of mosaics, crocheting and knitting.

And if all else fails, there is always the option of slaughtering some goats to get the creative juices flowing. And dinner ready whilst you’re at it.

 

 

 

Coffee and dogs

stock-illustration-52924982-dog-with-coffeel-cartoon-illustrationCoffee is an industry that welcomes everyone. It doesn’t care if you’re short or tall, rich or poor but not so poor that you can’t buy a cup of coffee, then you’re no help to anyone. It doesn’t care if you’re clever or silly, gay or straight, everyone can get a cup of coffee in this socially accepting industry. Except tea drinkers. They are the enemy, the kryptonite to our Superman, kind of like vegans, we coffee drinkers do not accept tea drinkers. Now the industry welcomes a whole new species, man’s best friend, the dog.

65% of Australians own pets and 35% own dogs. Until now law abiding dog owners left Fido at home whilst they walked to the local cafe for a coffee. The really decent pet owners even stopped drinking coffee on their walk so Fido wouldn’t break any laws and spend the rest of the week looking over his shoulder for the dog catcher. The rest of us just took the dog anyway and hoped the staff didn’t notice him. Or if they did notice him, we hoped that Fido’s all round cuteness would soften the hearts of any cranky proprietor. Those days are over now because as long as Fido is sitting and on a leash and the business owner agrees to having dogs outside, by law he is allowed to join you for your cup of coffee.

The positive to this law change is that dog owners will be more inclined to go for a walk and take Fido with them. More exercise is a good thing both for people and dogs. And getting to drink a coffee in the middle of the exercise routine must be pretty cool too. If I ever exercised, this would be very exciting. It could also attract a new kind of clientele to coffee. People with kids who want dogs but can’t have one can go to the coffee shop on a Saturday morning and have a pat with Fido.

This will save parents having to fork over money for a dog and maybe even keep the kids busy whilst they drink their latte. Another type of people this law change might attract is people who have some weird and expensive breed of dog that they want the world to see. They can take expensive puppy for a coffee and show him off. You’ll know these people if you see them because the dog will be fluffy, wearing a coat, have a crazy name linked to some kind of food and the owner will order a coffee and insist it be served with a smile. (That’s just too much). Most people are happy about this law change, or at the very least, are nonchalant about it. But for every group of ‘pro’ there must be, by the laws of attraction, a ‘con’ group. Kind of like opposing sports teams and politics. For this ‘against’ group of people there are two issues against this new law. Hygiene and fear.

1) The Hygiene issue. Let’s set the record straight. There are very few germs that can be transferred between them and us. They have their bugs and we have ours. If you are concerned about the hair of the dog, don’t drink the night before.

2) The fear issue. If you are afraid of dogs either go to a place that does not allow them, or even better, seek professional help as Fido may be around a lot more. Most dog owners are responsible and most dogs are well trained and sociable. A tip though, if the dog looks like a gate keeper to hell and is wearing a muzzle, drink your coffee and get the heck out of there. Or sit inside or even get a take away. Don’t run as you leave though because I think gate keeper to hell dogs are trained to eat people who run. All in all nothing much is going to change. People were bringing their dogs to alfresco dining areas long before it was legal. As hot as this debate has been I doubt the coffee experience will alter for many people. This new law is a positive as it gives the element of choice back to the people, not to some cat owning politician in parliament house. I think all the ‘against’ group should stop being hound dogs and welcome this new law with wagging tails.

How coffee can change the world

Coffee is the second largest legally traded commodity on the face of the planet. After oil. I think the world would be a better place if there was more coffee than oil being traded.

 

We all know the problems oil has caused to probably every human being alive today. (And a lot who are dead too). The world would be a lot better if coffee was to surpass oil as the biggest traded commodity and I want the world to be a better place.
If we lived in a world were coffee was bigger than oil, there would be a lot more people strung out on the effects of caffeine. This is a good thing, think about it. Productivity would be through the roof and family time would be more common as people sleep less and do everything faster and better.  Robots would not have to be invented because people will be awake for twenty hours a day and get a lot more accomplished.   
Coffee grinds are great for growing roses so the world could look better and smell a lot better too. Women might get more bunches of roses from men so there would be more romance and a lot less men in trouble for not caring enough. Rose gardens could replace oil rigs so there would be less ugly constructions in the world and people in movies that work on oil rigs in the middle of the ocean that seem to always be on fire, would not die in these fires.
Oil leaks would be a thing of the past. The Gulf of Mexico would be pretty again, wild life would not die and Obama would never be in trouble for not fixing the leak. He could spend his time stopping to smell all the roses that his country is growing from rose gardens, which they would grow from invading other countries for their coffee grinds. 
The Middle East would get a break from being invaded.  Their climate is no good for growing coffee beans and the coffee they make is rubbish anyway so no one would be tempted to invade them.  Although looking at their history the poor bastards just keep getting invaded anyway so let’s be realistic here. 
Coffee tastes better than oil.  It smells better and looks fancier when served in fine bone china cups with little flowers on them.  Although it is possible to buy coffee that tastes like crude oil which makes me wonder if people do serve oil in cups and call it coffee.  If you don’t believe me, go to Japan for a coffee. It’s definitely crude oil. The liquid even dissolves the spoon you use to stir the coffee/oil. 
The world would be in a better socio-economic place if oil was in less demand and coffee was in more demand.  Farmers in Central America who currently get 2 cents from every cup of coffee sold might get 4 cents.  Actually, they would probably get even less as big corporations would move in and form unions that didn’t work and then the land would be bought out and make the farmers work for 0.5 cents per cup of coffee.  But this is about the bright side of coffee vs oil, not the dark side.  
Even those weird people who drink decaf would have to start drinking real coffee as the world would be spinning too fast for them and they couldn’t keep up.  hey would probably lose their jobs, spend far too much time sleeping and relaxing and then they would be persecuted, like the witches of Salem. Burnt at the stake for ruining the world, whether it’s their fault or not.  Decaf coffee might even have to go underground like illegal drugs and sold in the back alleys of Kings Cross. They could drink it out of bongs and start a black market movement called ‘sloths unite’ or something to that effect. 
So, I think we can all see the benefits of living in a world where coffee is grown, traded and sold more than oil. Robots would remain in Science Fiction novels and never take over the world because of their increasing self-awareness.  The back alleys of The Cross would be busy again and another series of Underbelly could be made. Everything would smell better, look better, go a lot faster and no one would invade the Middle East.   Women would be given more flowers, okay, that will probably never happen but it’s a lovely thought.  A world with more coffee and less oil sounds like Utopia to me. 

Sense of humour not optional