Blogging from my phone

•June 9, 2011 • 1 Comment

I’m not sure if this works. Or if anyone will read it. Lord I hope there are no auto publish links attached to any other account.

Anyway, I guess we will find out in the morn, or of the morn, or however those old people say it when they are describing their medication schedules.

Ttfn

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Glad for you, glad I’m not you

•July 27, 2010 • 1 Comment

This is my vomit face.

Politics makes my medulla oblongata hurt.  I never liked you in high school, I don’t know if I like you now.  But I am getting to know you.  And the more I know, the more I want to know, and the less I like you.

For now, this is about Penny Wong.  (I don’t know if I would ever write about politics again.  It depends on how much punishment I can take before I projectile vomit.)  The knee-jerk reaction to her agreeing with her party’s policy is one of outrage.  That’s normal, and even after my disgust subsides, I realise it is the right response.  This is me trying to explain how I get from A (rage) to Z and then all the way back to A (fauxrage).

In the game of politics, the players are there because the spectators can’t or don’t want to play the game.  We love them, we hate them, we hate them more often than we love them but we love to hate them.  We’re just glad that we’re not the ones playing, glad that we don’t have to be hated, glad that we don’t have to compromise our integrity to play.  It is the players’ job to play and part of that job is to be hated.  They understand this before they start playing the game and they prepare themselves for this.

I don’t honestly think that Penny Wong is against same-sex marriage.  In everything that I have read, I haven’t come across her personal opinions (please enlighten me if I have missed something).  Even in this latest statement she uses the words “party’s position” and “party’s policy”.  It is easy to assume that if you support your party, and if your party supports discrimination, you, too, are publicly and privately discriminatory.  But it is also easy to see that she is playing the game.  Even if you don’t understand political theory, you should understand that if you fuck with your caucus (I think they’re a group of players that get bitchy if you aren’t loyal), they’ll fuck you right back and kick you off the field.  The caucus thing doesn’t apply to Malcolm Turnbull apparently.  Don’t ask me why, I don’t know, it just doesn’t.

So Penny said what she said so that she could stay in the game.  But she also knew that if she said it, the hypocrisy would be palpable.  She prepared for it.  In the locker room, the coach slapped her across the face a few times with a glove full of needles after the pep talk and sent her out into the stadium so that all her adoring fans could throw rotten tomatoes into her callous-covered face.  That’s her job in this game; she knows it.

Players like Penny are necessary.  We need to be grateful for her.  But it doesn’t mean we have to proclaim our unconditional devotion for her.  On the contrary, we need to burn her at the stake like the bwitch (fake public bwitch, not real bwitch) she is playing even if we know she’s secretly trying to tear down the man from the inside.  The why is coming up, I promise.

Penny is playing a two-faced game on one side of the boundary lines.  As spectators, we too have our own two-faced game to play on the other side.  Despite the glacial pace of the players’ game and their fucked up rules, our role is to pretend to play (not as players) the unhappy campers.  Nothing will satisfy us.  We want more blood, more tears, more distress from our players because that is how we change the rules.  The players understand the need for external pressure, and so should we.  The players plead “we’re doing our best, we need to make everyone happy, it takes time” and the spectators retort “rah, rah, not good enough, more, better, faster, now!”

Penny is making the most of a bad situation.  But if spectators supported her and in turn supported her “party’s policy”, it would do nothing to change that bad situation.  She wants to foster change just like everyone else.  If she didn’t expect to be criticised, she would have kept her mouth shut, or instead, run as an independent.  If we all supported her stance to support her party’s policy, her unpopular stance would have been all for nothing.  The caucus would think they are right to discriminate and the balls that Penny had to craft from her unused ovaries to shield herself from the barrage of gay tomatoes would have been wasted.  Don’t let her unused ovaries go…unused.

Penny has to deal with her caucus.  It doesn’t mean we have to.  We are free, and should remain free, to be horrified at her because, like Bob Brown, we have nothing to lose.  If nobody hated the players because everyone understood the game (and didn’t want to play the part of fauxrager), there would be no spectators, just players.  Then everyone loses.

Letter Art(i): Part 1

•July 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I like writing letters.  But, most of the time, there is little reason to make the effort to craft something that emphasises a point to one particular recipient.  If you can’t bang home your message in 140 characters or less, best of luck trying to hold my attention for more than five seconds.  I don’t like talking on the phone.  Everyone I speak to over the phone takes my sullen tone so personally and it requires too much effort to inject enthusiasm into my voice without sounding like I need to ask about fatty potato accompaniments.

I helped my sister write a doozy of a letter when she was trying to break up with a dude.  The letter wasn’t all that successful because he had something going on with his eyes (or his head) that prevented him from reading (or understanding) it.  My letters have a tendency of not doing what they were supposed to do.  But I try, oh how I try.  The dude is an ex now.  So it still worked out.

When I received a formal written letter (all official with the typed font and the letterhead on real human paper) from my Owners Corporation about complaints against me for “Alleged Breach of Rules, Undue Noise”, I was more than a bit pee-worthy excited.  I had a real reason to write a letter because “If the allegation is disputed, please respond to our office in writing.”  And I had some disputin’ to do, some real hard, and long, disputin’.  I gave them my disputin’ good.

So, in the immortal words of the MasterChef MasterClasses on Friday nights, here are some of my top tips when writing strongly worded letters:

  • Be right.  Whether it be standing up for your right to wield sharp blades or tearing the heart out of an unsuspecting partner, use facts wherever possible.  Avoid truthiness if you can.  If the letter is about laws or rules, do your research.  You may end up sounding like a pretentious douche but at least you won’t be a lying pretentious douche.
  • Sound right.  If you don’t have truth on your side, make it seem that you do.  Be honest when you are at fault but don’t focus on your flaws.  Exercise brevity, or if you are really desperate, exclude falsehoods altogether.  They’re not lies if you leave it out.  It’s like masturbation; nobody will know unless you tell them.  Except god.  He might.  I should probably start typing with both hands now.

Letter one:

Thank you for the written notice of the noise complaints. I didn’t wish for it to come to this but if it means that all parties concerned come to a mutual understanding of the Owners Corporation’s Rules, then it will be all for the best.

As far as I am aware, I have only received complaints from one neighbour, namely the gentleman from [redacted], as he is the only one who has approached me personally. When you specify that multiple “neighbours” have complained about noise coming from my unit, I would appreciate knowing who the other neighbours are so that they can air their concerns and I can modify my behaviour if necessary.

The gentleman in [redacted] approached me to two occasions. First was at approximately 9:30pm when he knocked on my door and complained about a beating or thumping sound coming from my unit. To the best of my knowledge, the noise was due to the music that I was playing, which I admit, did have a regular beat to it. Even though I did not believe I was breaching any Owners Corporation’s Rules, I immediately obliged to his concerns and stopped the music. From then on, at his request, I have never played music with an “electrical amplified sound reproducing equipment” for a time longer than one minute outside the hours of 9am and 7pm. I now listen to music through headphones.

The second occasion was on a different night, at 7:05pm. Again, he knocked on my door because he was unhappy about a thumping sound. At the time, was preparing dinner by cutting vegetables. More specifically, I was chopping a raw carrot. I showed him my kitchen bench through my open door and reminded him of the time. I was visibly annoyed because I had complied with his earlier requests even though I did not think I was at all at fault on the first occasion. He asked me if I could cut my vegetables more softly but I am unable to see how this is possible with a raw carrot.

On this second occasion, he also brought up another noise complaint he had about a whirring sound that was coming from my lounge room at midnight. I advised him that I am in bed by 11pm and so I could not understand how I was responsible for this complaint. After some thought, I believe that his complaint may have been regarding my electric toothbrush which I use at approximately 10:30pm before bed. Even if my electric toothbrush was used after 11pm, the Environment Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2008 excludes “electric equipment or appliances for personal care or grooming” under Group 5.

I am in bed by 11pm and I have my alarm clock, which plays music, set for 7am so that I can prepare for work. Even if I cannot sleep, I remain in bed in silence. I live alone. Between 11pm and 7am, I do not engage in any activity other than using my toilet. I turn off the alarm after I awake. I do not allow the music to continue to play.

I recommended that he seek out the rules regarding noise in multi-dwelling units or bring the matter to the Owners Corporation if he still believed that I was being unreasonable because I believed that he did not have a complete understanding of the appropriate regulations.

The Owners Corporation’s Rules, as of January 2008, specify “noise and other nuisances, including noise from domestic air conditioners, musical instruments, televisions and stereos and lawn mowers between 10pm and 9am.” I do not own any air conditioner, musical instrument or lawn mower. The gentleman from [redacted] has personally stated to me that my television use is not an issue. I have modified my behaviour regarding my stereo even though I have not used it to cause undue noise between 10pm and 9am even before the first complaint.

I hope that you would advise me if any of my above-described behaviour is unacceptable and in breach of the Owners Corporation’s Rules before you begin to charge me $121 per hour for all of your time spent on the matter. If I am not at fault, I do not see why I should be responsible for this cost. I do not believe that my behaviour has changed since the new owner occupier has taken residency of [redacted]. I had not received any personal or written complaint from the previous owner occupier.

I would greatly appreciate prompt response to this matter because I would like to resume living my life without fear of being a nuisance or breaking any laws as soon as possible.

The Secret Life of The Twitter

•May 22, 2010 • 10 Comments

I am fully aware that I can come across as offensive on Twitter.  People have unfollowed me as well as asked me to unfollow them because of it.  But funnily enough, it hasn’t made me feel the need to censor myself.  If you are reading this, it is highly likely that you have heard of the controversy surrounding the tweets and opinions of some notable personalities in Australian media.  I wasn’t going to write any blog comments about Catherine Deveny and her Logies tweets because the horse was already dead and nobody needed to hear even more opinions about it from another nobody.  But when someone feels compelled to go out of their way to anonymously criticise my tweets about how insulting they find them, I, in turn, feel compelled to go on a rant.

I suspect the anonymous question was in reference to a series of tweets I made about David Campbell, George Alan Rekers, Jason Akermanis, Anthony Callea and Tim Campbell.  Lacking further specification, this is my assumption as the question in question arose at that time.  But I’m sure there are other ‘chains of insults’ that have offended sensitive readers in the past.  Please, I invite you to enlighten me.

In no way do I regard myself in a similar league as Catherine Deveny.  I think she is a fine writer (or, she has a lot of strong opinions and she isn’t afraid to voice them and when she can’t eloquently express herself in the written word she has a good editor).  I find some of her tweets funny (but not all of them).  I didn’t understand the humour in her Logies tweets until she explained their context (I am slow like that).  I think she is an ordinary comedian.  I never considered her a comedian before her Comedy Festival show and even after I *gasp* paid money to see her, I still don’t consider her a fantastic live performer.  She lacks the timing and delivery of a seasoned professional but I still enjoyed the show for the content.  And I respect any person that has the balls to stand up in front of any crowd and entertain.  I criticised Melinda Buttle‘s humour but I still respect the fuck out of her and also paid money to see her.

So, do I think The Age should have fired her?  Fuck no!  Call her unfunny, unfollow her, criticise her writings, ignore the retweets or the comments about her.  But to claim that all of her tweets are the express opinions of her employer is bullshit.  Her abrasive personality was the reason The Age hired her to write for them.  Jason Akermanis’ unpopular views are the reason the Herald Sun published that piece.  The Age only fired her because it was convenient for them at the time.

I have the advantage of not being in the public eye but my humour or opinions are not how I earn a living.  My views that marriage inequality is wrong, that political hypocrisy is disgusting and that religion thrives on misogyny and discrimination will never get me fired.

People use Twitter in many ways.  Some will comment on the weather, or how tired they are, complain about work but then tweet something about the silver lining so they don’t come across as negative.  I follow these people.  But I don’t judge them for it, or ask anonymous questions criticising their tweets’ quality.  If I really had a problem with them, I would just unfollow them.  Just because I follow them, it doesn’t mean that I have to tweet in the same way.  I use Twitter to find out what people are talking about.  Whether it be scathing commentary about MasterChef contestants or the outrage that builds from Jason Akermanis recommending AFL players to stay in the closet.  It’s not a reliable news source.  It’s filtered to what a select community are discussing as well as to what I want to read about.

And when I comment on news that I interests me, I try being funny, or what I think is funny.  I don’t expect everyone else to find it funny.  If I direct them at you and you find it offensive, then I apologise.  If I direct them at a public figure, get their people to contact my people, we can workshop their offence and figure out an agreement.  Criticism comes with the territory.  But to find something that is not about you as insulting just because you don’t agree with the message or share the humour will lead to a life of insults.

So if you really want to know what I was on about with my tweets yesterday afternoon, I was trying to make fun of how the spread of gossip on Twitter can become like Chinese Whispers.  If I remember it correctly, it started with Ricky Martin and/or Carl Williams.  I saw a tweet saying “I can’t believe Ray Martin is gay” (from Tom Ballard I believe).  I followed this with “I can’t believe Carl Williams is gay.”  Then, I think, “I can’t believe Justin Bieber is gay.”  Then more recently “I can’t believe David Campbell is dead.”  I am aware these statements are false.  I tried to muddy the news waters further with the hypocrisy of George Alan Rekers, the former officer of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) who hired a male prostitute.  In all honesty, I confused David Campbell with Tim Campbell and because I disagree with the gay power couple’s stance to distance themselves from the gay community Tim Campbell’s acceptance as an ‘influential gay Australian‘, I threw in Anthony Callea as well (I’m petty, so shoot me).  He’s small like a gerbil (so am I by comparison, I can relate) and his partner is a gay man who may or may not roger him (again, I can relate).  For #rogeringgerbils, see Miranda Devine.  And if you are this far already, I really don’t think I need to explain #Akermankiss.

As for the compliments, I still need to work on that.  I don’t know any of the people who I follow well enough to pay them a compliment.  Any comment I make about them that I need to condense into less than 140 characters, to me, will sound insincere.  That is probably not how compliments work.  We pay them to make others feel better even if their intention is sometimes superficial.

And with that, Twitter (like formspring as Mr Gartside has so eloquently pointed out to me) is not the best place to get to know someone.  If you think that these people are off-limits to criticism or ridicule, then everyone, including myself, should receive the same treatment.  If you think you know them, because they are in the public eye, or you think you know me, from a bunch of tweets, then you are sorely mistaken.  I’m not defined by the one-dimensionality of Twitter, nor by a series of insulting tweets that make up only a part of my stream.  But I can see how Helen Razer feared being pigeon-holed by it.

I DO understand this part of myself Mr Anonymous.  But it’s not Twitter’s job to make you, or anyone else, understand.  I will share what I choose to share and my followers will take from that what they choose to take.  It’s like Chinese Whispers.

What drives you

•May 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It has been 11 weeks and 5 days since I last ran.  Almost 3 months.  This was the second time I stopped.  Last time it was almost 5 months, but last time I was told to stop.  I know how long it has been because I record the date and location of every instance of pavement pounding I do, how long it takes me, how far I go and my heart rate (when I remember).  It is one of the few (or many) things over which I am obsessed.  Last time I was told I have the back of a 40 year old and if I didn’t stop, it would only get worse.  It took me 5 months to seek a second opinion and get back on the horse.  All because of some glute pain.

This time, I stopped because I had ignored pain from a shin splint for far too long.  I didn’t need an expert to tell me that.  I thought I had given it up for good.  My body was telling me to just stop trying so hard.  I almost listened.  But no matter how many times I stop, no matter how many injuries I sustain, there is one reason, above all others, that manages to drag me right back.  And I always forget it because it is the last thing on my mind.

It’s not the fitness.  It was the fitness.  That’s what started me running.  It isn’t any more.  After reaching a plateau with my weight, I realised I wasn’t getting any further with resistance training, just more injuries.  I was never a good runner.  My sister was running.  I thought the only people who ran were people who ran good.  Like those that speak good.  Thank fuck I got past that.

It’s not the feeling.  The feeling that you’re collapsing from the inside and that every extra step is like shoving the knife another inch deeper.  The feeling of death that makes you feel alive.  It will sometimes beat the fuck out of you until you give up and start walking and other times it will become your bitch.  That feeling of accomplishment and defeat is the same.  The successes and failures don’t define you as a runner so they force you to prove to yourself, and the rest of the world, that you won’t be beaten.  That your last time won’t be your last time.  It drags you back for more, every fucking time.  It is still a big part of it but it’s not the only thing.

It’s not being sociable.  I’ve run with family, friends and in larger groups.  The benefits of sharing advice, stories or just getting out there are invaluable.  But I could easily choose some alone time in my warm bed over chitchat with others in the dark cold of morning.

It’s not the competition.  The fun runs are fun.  They push you to achieve personal bests.  The drum of pounding feet from the mass of bodies around you is comforting like a hug.  When a single individual immerses themselves among the facelessness of a massive hivemind with that one clear goal, your insignificance becomes all the more intoxicating.  But I’m not competitive.  I despise comparing myself to others.  I still do it of course.  But it fucks with your head.  The cautious joggers that you pass near the starting line and wheezing first timers throughout the race come with countless others on the other side of the coin.  The old woman that overtakes you.  The prepubescent boy who is doing the half while you are struggling with the 10km.  The chubby mum that doesn’t break a sweat as she pushes her pram past you.  The PBs when you’re sick, the knee pain when you’re fine.

If it was any of these things, I should have been well on my way to a marathon by now.  But I’m not there, and that really isn’t my goal.  A lot of people will never understand that, runners and non-runners alike.  Putting yourself through the pain, the distress, without striving for a holy grail.

It’s the escape.  For that 17 minutes and 9 seconds last Saturday morning, the world was gone.  All the disappointments, the failures, the problems and the mistakes meant fuck all.  All that was left was my mind, and the only thing that mattered was getting my head to that last marker.  Once it was there, it didn’t matter how my body felt; nothing could stop me.  All the petty little issues of the past week were trampled into the ground with every stride.  There was no turning back, no obsessing over every broken piece of my fucked up head, no analysing why life was so shit.  It was all literally behind me.

But it never stays there.  That’s why I keep running.

My considerate neighbours

•March 31, 2010 • Leave a Comment

28th March 2010

Dear neighbour,

I hope you got a better sleep last night than I did.

No doubt you have heard the drunken party last night at unit [REDACTED] that went on until 4.00 am.

If you are unhappy about the loutish drunken behaviour that kept us awake all night, please call or email [REDACTED] of [REDACTED], (the Body Corporate Manager) and voice your displeasure, to ensure that such event does not happen again.

Some days..

•March 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Some days, the random noise is comforting.  The moving figures are reassuring.  The fact that another being recognises your existence turns a shit day good.

Other days, I’m glad to shut it out, cut it off.  I don’t want to be ‘on’.  The disconnection trumps the validation.  These days, I’m glad that I have a choice.