Category Archives: Life

How to Feign Looking Like A Writing Genius

I’m taking time out from my NaNo novel trail blazing to bring you this special account of my outing into the ‘real world’, where strange and magical things happen in the hallowed aisles of the supermarket.

Oh, I felt so compelled to share my experiences I wandered around the shopping centre writing notes as I went, accumulating funny looks along the way. Yes, texting while walking is perfectly acceptable, writing in a notebook, oh ho ho ho. I’m here to shock and amaze people, this is my purpose on this planet.

Any who, my first notation. A young person buying alcohol is much less conspicuous if  purchasing Healthy Start cereal and 100% pure organic coconut water along with her alcoholic purchase. Much less likely to get carded than the tall, blond, young person buying only a bottle of vodka in front of her. Much more likely to be told ‘Oh, yes, I’ve had that cider last night, it was really nice!’, like she is just another fellow middle aged lady, who spends nights alone with her cat, watching Dancing with the Stars and sampling new, fancy flavours of imported cider. So am I old, or have a I just discovered a new fool proof way for underage people to buy alcohol?

Second notation. Closing times in cafes should be clearer. Because they lie, they are straight out liars, people. 9am – 3pm in not accurate. It should be more like 9am – 1:30 we are perfectly happy to serve you, 1:30pm – 2pm we are still happy to serve you, but with every minute encroaching upon kitchen close time we become more and more begrudging towards you. 2pm kitchen closes! Do they mention that on the opening hours? Nah. 2pm-3pm, we want to seem like we have flexible opening hours, but really we’re trying to cram in closing down within this hour so we don’t have to pay our staff overtime, and they can get home before 5pm on a Saturday so they can get ready for whatever social event they had planned, technically you can stay, but we will just casually begin to clean around you, gradually making you feel more and more uncomfortable until you down your tea, ruining your previous tea-induced relaxation, now making you feel all stomach swishingly, overflowing with tea. So why don’t they just do this – 9am – 1:30pm (please feel free and welcome to order your lunch) 1:30pm – 2pm (please only order beverages, but finish them before 2:30pm) 2:30pm – 3pm (get the fuck out).

Third notation. Lines at supermarket cash registers leave me flustered, and brain dead. Which is the shortest one? Self service or normal or express lane? Where the fuck is the express lane?

‘There’s no-one at the express lane,’ some lady attendant says, seemingly annoyed that people are lining up at self service, like it is personally ruining her whole life.

‘I thought this was the express lane,’ I reply, like a bubble headed loon.

‘No, it’s down the end.’

Wellity, wellity, wellity. Maybe no-one’s there because it’s in some obscure, hidden place behind tens of thousands of other unused express cash registers. The rather creepy ghosts of ruthless Supermarket job cut backs, in favour of machines who always get upset if I use my own bags. ‘Unexpected item in bagging area’. I’ll give you an unexpected item, my fist in your face!

Anyways, ‘Thanks,’ replies the ever polite and genial me.

Oo, the register attendant is kind of cute. Did that Lady tell everyone the express lane was empty? These people just seemed to swarm in like flies onto fresh dog shit. But I’m here now. I’ll feel silly if I line up for the third time. Hey, this register guy has really awesome glasses, they look expensive, they make him look like a hipster. Wow, he actually asked me how my day was going. I now bet he has instantly regretted it. I’m babbling I can tell. I make some remark about how everyone was sent here at the same time. I try and give him some change with my fifty so I can get notes back. Oh no. Too much pressure. I can’t add. Why can’t I add? For the love of god why do you escape me now simple maths?! Why?! The humanity! Escape! Just take your odd change and escape.

‘Well that didn’t work,’ I casually remark.

‘Yeah, I was wondering why you gave this to me…’

Walking away, wow do I feel stupid. Hmm, I think, I’ll just write about it in my blog to make myself feel better that I’m such a spaz. You see I do this deliberately for writing material.

Last notation. I should walk around the shopping centre writing shit down more often. I look like a crazy, genius writer person, whose ideas are too fabulous and awesome to be forgotten to the winds of time and a poor short term memory. They must be written down immediately! Also, shopping centre toilet cubicles are strangely inspiring.

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It’s Moments Like These You’ll Need Something A Bit Stronger Than Minties

Small moments, out of all moments, stick in my mind like tiny white strands of cat hair stick to clean black work pants.

They can be a passing thought or feeling or some tiny, seemingly unimportant incident that reminds me I’m human in the most endearingly flawed kind of ways.

Like that small window of relief you feel after finally submitting an assignment. You’re so joyous and triumphant that you got the little fucker out of the way, you’re completely oblivious to the crippling anxiety that is about to follow once you realise there is still a result, marks and comments to come. When I’m in the throws of my next assignment, I’ll remember that minuscule moment of complete relaxation, to remind myself of what I’m aiming for.

Other moments remembered don’t really serve me any purpose, however they do give me some form of amusement.

I had trouble buttoning my pants the other day – pants I’d only owned for the past couple of months. I thought that I must up my Karate training. Yes, more cardio, I resolve. But you probably won’t commit to that, comes the little voice in my head. And no, watching Dragonball doesn’t count as training, even if you are taking mental notes of Goku’s fighting technique. Hmm, we were quite snippy that day.

I locked myself out of my car on another day. I was lucky no one was around to witness me hopping in through the boot of my car and ever so gracefully crawling over my back seat to retrieve my car keys (kind of like the time I wedged myself in the bathroom window trying to get back inside the house I was sharing, after my housemate unknowingly locked me out in a state of sleep deprived anal retentiveness).  Anyways, knowing me and my scatter brain, keeping my boot open is my insurance policy … just don’t tell anyone.

My car and I do seem to be at odds lately. My stereo is busted again and I’m uncomfortable with the silence. I tried singing to myself to compensate. I sang almost the entirety of Tenacious D’s first album, finding it quite awesome that I’ve still retained that knowledge from say six or seven years ago. But there’s only so much of my own singing I can take, so I’ll probably just have to stop being such a tight ass and get a new stereo.

Speaking of new purchases, I was at the snow last week. Wait the segue will eventually make sense.  I noticed in the promotional posters around the ski resort that all the girls have beach blond hair, stylish and form fitting ski gear and actually look good in a beanie and ski goggles (no-one looks good in a beanie and ski goggles). None of them resembled a cream puff with a big melon head. And suddenly I felt inadequate in my immense lemon coloured jacket and bulging, bright green helmet – who made those brilliant purchases anyways?

Oh that’s right – me. But you can’t expect too much from someone who makes their own music when their stereo brakes for the hundredth time, can you? I felt more comfortable skiing in my Charmander onesie. It did make me look awesome, I must admit. One of the lifties was all like ‘use flamethrower’ and I was all like ‘I haven’t gotten to that level yet!’. My skiing skills are probably more comparable with Scratch, Tackle and Smokescreen – somewhat effective, but in the grand scheme of moves, pretty useless.

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Survival Guide 101

I am failing as a caretaker.

And when I say caretaker, I mean gatherer and collector of wood and kindling for the fireplace – as a nice toasty fire is the most caring thing you can provide to a cold and dreary house.

Kindling is easy. Large bits of wood – fine. I don’t have to put much effort into sourcing those. Medium sized branches, however, are giving me the shits. They won’t succumb to my knee brake of steel, or my foot stamp of death. I have an axe to grind with medium sized branches.

No, literally, I have an axe to grind.

I found it in the shed.

It’s blunt as anything.

As I was hacking away at one gnarly piece of wood I thought to myself, ‘this axe is too blunt.’ And then continued to think, ‘dear Liza, dear Liza’.

‘Then sharpen it, dear Henry, dear Henry…’

With what? Yadda, yadda, yadda.

‘With a stone’.

Teach me to take advice from some daft childhood song. Who fixes a bucket with straw anyways? How does that work?

It doesn’t and neither does a stone in sharpening an axe, unless, I’m guessing, you invest a couple of hours.

I wasn’t about to do that. Ten minutes into using the axe and the skin was peeling off my hand.

What a sook. Well, that was the extent of my efforts.

It was probably for the best. Too long with an axe in my hand and I was having strange thoughts like ‘If I could hardly make a dent in the wood, then this would be fairly useless hacking through bone…’

I don’t know why, but I have a strange compulsion to make mental notes of things that would be useful in survival situations. Not ordinary ‘lost in the woods’ situations, more like the world is ending, zombie apocalypse kind of situations. Because if that axe isn’t sharp enough to crack some crazy ass zombie skull, then it best not weigh me down.

I also find myself canvassing my university car park, trying to decide the best get away vehicle for said apocalypse. Like, do I go for something fuel efficient, small and quiet, to limit dangerous stops for petrol, squeeze past road blocks and not draw attention to myself? Or do I go for an off road vehicle that could get me out of more sticky situations, one with a massive bull bar for plowing down those pesky zombies? Or do I just go for that expensive Mercedes Benz, because, hey, the world is ending, and if I’m going to die it might as well be in executive comfort and living out the dream, you know?

There’s also the question of where you would drive to. Do I go inland, where there’s a lesser population, or I do make a move for the sea, where I might be able to find a boat and some remote, self sufficient island in the Pacific? Or, you know, maybe Nimbin, because organically fed zombies on a pot high might be mellower?

Think about it.

Are you prepared for the end?

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I Wrote This With My Eyes Closed

Sitting at the kitchen table, waiting for inspiration to strike, I suddenly notice that for a non-religious household, there sure are a lot of representations of Buddha around the place.

When I was younger, in a previous house, Mum put a statue of Buddha outside the door, hoping it would repel Johos.

Somehow, I don’t think a little clay monument would deter them from helping us look for Jesus, but no matter. I searched behind my couch, where most lost things gravitate to, but alas, no avail.

Anyways, I digress. It was my first day back at Uni today. I had a midday short story class straight off the bat, my holiday hangover ever apparent as 12 still felt too early to function and my attentions immediately wandered from the teacher to all the new and shiny people. Particularly some Byron Bay alumni, with a floppy, maroon beanie and dead straight, sun bleached hair, compelling me to note down that I don’t like it when guys have prettier hair than I do.

The guy sitting next to him had red rimmed eyes, and I unabashedly assumed he was stoned. When the teacher asked him to define ‘short story’ on behalf of his group, he replied ‘Well, we all agree that they are short.’

Smart ass.

Anyways, he turned out to be some deep thinking, intellectual genius.

Here’s another one. ‘Short story is like a door, opened just a little.’

‘What does that mean to you?’

‘That life is like a door.’

Oh, god.

‘Why do we study short fiction?’

Thinks I, ‘Because it’s impossible to write and mark novel length fiction?’

BOOM.

Smart ass.

Unfortunately I didn’t turn out to be some deep thinking, intellectual genius.

Don’t get me wrong, I like short fiction, so in respect for the genre, let’s keep this post as short as possible.

 

 

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One Stormy Night.

We seem to be in the eye of a storm, rumbling thunder, lightning flashing and big fat pouring rain. There’s nothing on television. My cat, who five minutes ago was the picture of sweetness, all cosied up and sleeping, is now running around the kitchen and lounge room like he dropped an E or something. Why must he venture into every cupboard that’s open? It’s not like he’s never seen the mixing bowls and the frypans ten million times before.  I guess he’s a bit frenetic. I can’t talk, kiai – ing and kicking all over the place, practicing my ninja moves. We’re really one and the same, me and Smudge, as I too like to stick my head in the kitchen bin and jump into laptop bags just for the heck of it.

Is this what my life has become? Observations of my cat? Smudge might as well hire me to ghost write his autobiography. What’s in the toilet bowl and other poignant life questions. I tried to convince him to go with something a little more snappy for the title, but he’s just about as stubborn as I am.

Well, that’s just about enough of that chapter.

I’ll tell you instead what I’ve recently come to realise. Writing is hard. Actually, I already knew that, but I’ve put it into a different context.

You see, the other day I broke my first board in Karate. Thank you, thank you. Your applause is greatly appreciated. Anyways, prior to such accomplishment I was told that to break a board you need three things – belief, focus and follow through. And with my genius mind I extrapolated that it is the exact same thing with writing.

I know, mind blowing isn’t it?

Not really, it’s just sometimes you realise obvious things when they’re put in certain ways.

To write that piece, that short story, novel, poem, or whatever grabs your fancy, you first need to believe you can do it.

Yes, well that’s all very well and good, but secondly you must put your ass in that goddamn chair and focus. Focus with the steely gaze of a falcon on his small, mousy prey. Attach falcon! Attack!

Now that you are so focused, one hundred percent, that not even your cat laying over your keyboard like a hippy in front of a bulldozer, can deter you, you must then follow through.

Break through that board, or in this case blank white page, all the way to the other side, with a big fat KIAI at the end. Wasn’t that just the most satisfying snap you have ever heard in your life?

I know it was for me. I’m freaking hanging that ply wood on my wall or something and writing all over it:

Belief

Focus

Follow Through

Because that is some good shit. And I would do well to remember that shit.

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I Am Number 6

I’d like to think my cat ruining my driver’s license renewal papers is his way of saying ‘I love you, don’t ever leave me’. But I think I’m reaching a bit. The lines on his face, however, do make him look like he’s in a constant state of worry. But he doesn’t really give a fuck, as he licks his balls in the middle of the dining room table. He doesn’t kiss his mother with that mouth… That’s why we settle for eskimo kisses.

I read my numerology the other day. Apparently my personality is one that relates better to pets than humans. Well, I did have a mind slip the other day that would support this theory. Running through my list of errands I thought ‘and I’ll take the kids for a walk down the back paddock … oh wait, kids, I meant dogs…’

Wow. I know my biological clock has been ticking loudly at me lately, with strange compulsions to abscond with the cute four years old at my karate dojo, but hmm…

As my kitten rests his warm little chin against the crook of my arm as I write this, unfortunately he’s the closest thing I’ve got to children.

And I ask, where else am I supposed to put my overflowing reserves of love? Into some unhealthy obsession with someone I barely know? Sure, why not. I’m sure they would highly appreciate being the object of my undivided attention. Until I leave a bunny rabbit in their kitchen boiler.

Kidding. I’d never do that to a bunny. I’m an animal person, remember.

My mother told me that one day some guy will come along and make me his princess.

I said, ‘no, not princess. Warrior princess?’

Because for some reason I have this vision of myself being a badass black belt within the next five years.

Yet, at the rate I’m going it’ll probably be more like ten years.

Teenage girls, at the moment, have more strength and flexibility than I do. Am I intimidated by these confident, pubescent little fuckers? Hell yes. They bloody well knocked over that standing punching bag thingo with their flying side kicks, whilst I think I pulled a muscle.

Like I already don’t feel like an old lady, you know with my clock ticking and all.

Woman, you’re freaking 22 years old.

But if I’m going to create my own personal army of black belts, I’m going to have to start early.

Maybe I’ll just settle for my own personal army of cats.

 

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Fire Demons, Dragons and … Smoke Alarms?

‘I probably shouldn’t have thrown that precariously zip-locked bag of kitty litter onto the passenger seat of my car,’ I tell myself as I scoop handfuls of tiny recycled wood cylinders out of the impossible nooks and crannies of my interior. Now my hands smell like sawdust and wood chips. Mmm, earthy.

I love the smell of firewood.

That was a segue I didn’t see coming, yet it seems highly appropriate to this time of year.

It’s my favourite time, when it’s just getting cold and crispy enough to have the fireplace burning.

Mum did a test fire, seeing as though it’s a new house and we’ve never used the fireplace before. Needless to say she smoked the house out and we were happily introduced to the living room smoke alarm for the first time.

Those things are like horror movie monsters. They just keep coming back, no matter how many times you kill them.

It was quite appropriate that I was watching Grimm at the time it went off, as it coincided with a fire demon bursting up through a man hole in all its blazing glory. Now I’m thinking that if only the victims on that show had fire alarms, maybe they’d be warned of their skin melting, internal organ cooking death.

It’s funny how your internal logic works when watching a show like Grimm. You see I couldn’t swallow some god like volcano monster’s existence, yet all the human shape-shifting ones I’ve totally accepted as realistic.

That and dragons. Because dragons are badass. Especially when they reign torrents of fire down on your foe after you momentously declare ‘Dragons are not slaves’.

Holy crap. If you know what I’m referencing then you’ll understand my turn of phrase. Singularly one of the most awesome moments I have ever seen on TV.

That and the Pegasus/Galactica standoff. Can anyone say tension?

I sure can. Aren’t I special?

Now I lost my train of thought, now I’m thinking where the term train of thought comes from, now I’m thinking about trains…

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Cats Make Wonderful Companions

Last time I was left home alone I went cuckoo for coco puffs. I remember it so well and surely thought I would lose my mind once again this time around, with my mother off galavanting on a cruise ship somewhere in the South Pacific. It’s safe to say I haven’t been caught out talking rampantly to myself so much this time, which is an improvement I suppose. I’m not sure. It depends if talking to your cat is a step above talking to yourself on the crazy scale or below. I’d put my money on below, because at least a cat has a different personality and is outside of your own head.

Yet again, every time I find myself enjoying the company of my kitten I can only think of this…

"Cats Make Wonderful Companions."

“Cats make wonderful companions.”

At least I only have one.

But, believe me, if I had the money, I’d probably want to bring home the whole goddamn pet shelter. Before I got little Smudge, my white and grey tabby, I’d just stand in front of the cages, cooing, at all of them. ‘Oh, you’re a sweetheart. Aren’t you a sweetheart? Aww, you too, and you and you and you…but not you…nah I’m kidding. How could I not love ALL OF YOU! I’ll save you all, and we’ll all frolic around the farm and meadows together!’

Then the shop owner would be all like ‘you’re still here?’

…Holy crap, do I ever need a boyfriend.

And yet my efforts are bordering on non-existant.

It doesn’t help that Smudge gives the best cuddles ever! And I can survive for awhile off just one whiff of the blue-eyed silver fox who came to fix the coffee grinder today. Reow.

Just subtly drink in the manliness. Ah, yep, that’ll last me.

Is that weird?

When I was eighteen these rather unsightly, middle aged removalists came to our house, and I mean they were not pretty, not one little bit, but my god did they ever smell amazing. It was like pheromones gone wild. ‘What is this scent? I don’t understand! You’re so unattractive, yet I want to be near you…’

Okay, I’m starting to hear myself now, and perhaps this whole being alone thing is affecting me more than I thought.

Woman, put on some perfume, and get out of the goddamn house.

(And I promise, this will be the last post about my cat… but I dunno, there could be more in there. I can never be certain. Okay, probably more like my 3rd last…)

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This Could Be Very Dangerous

Oh, wow. I can post from my phone. I couldn’t possibly think of anything more annoying than single finger typing and constant predictive text. Especially with my less than nimble fingers.

However, I am stuck inside waiting for my script writing tutorial, because of the miniature cyclone raging outside, so I must occupy my time somehow, meanwhile looking to everyone like I’m writing the longest text message of all time.

All I thought about in my first script writing lecture is how distressing it is to already know everything. Taking the word ‘everything’ with a grain of salt, however. Just the answers to newbie’s questions that you instinctively want to scream across the room.

Or yell out at the teacher about common short film length.

Look at me! I’m having a minor brain aneurysm holding my seasoned knowledge inside.

I am certain however, that past the introductory faze, it will be I whom receives an education.

Because despite my best efforts, I, in fact, don’t know it all.

P.S. The dangerous part is that this phone blogging business could be addictive.

In my previous post I pondered having a notepad surgically implanted in my hand, to jot down all my insightful thoughts whenever they crossed my mind. Scarily, a phone seems to be just that…

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Use Your Scholarly Words

I had the most brilliant observation the other day to share with you all, then I completely forgot what it was. So, really, it couldn’t have been that brilliant.

They say writers should carry a notepad around with them so they can jot down all the little unexpected gems that may cross their minds. But like my forever disappearing Chapstick, I know I would have to have one surgically implanted into the palm of my hand.

Or a tape recorder in my head. That has to be invented sooner or later, right?

Now all I have to share is a mildly entertaining anecdote about my first day back at Uni.

Actually I use the term ‘entertaining’ very loosely. Perhaps mild is exaggerated also. What’s below mild? I’ve never seen ‘boring’ on a taco flavouring packet before…

I can’t believe that Old El Paso ad where they try to make tacos less spicy with ice and a pedestal fan. I’m like ‘cucumber yogurt people! Obviously. Or is that just an Indian thing?’

Anyways. First day back at Uni and I’d forgotten to turn my ‘intellectual switch’ back on.

I noticed that it was still on everyday-citizen/waitress/friend/daughter mode, when in my self introduction to the class, where you could share the latest move you’d seen, I described Django Unchained as ‘cool’.

I, in this mode, thought that this was a perfectly adequate description, especially when in the realms of a short personal introduction. Because, I dunno, maybe you’d gather a little bit of insight just knowing that I enjoy Tarantino films.

But, alas, no, what was I thinking? That was an everyday-citizen/waitress/friend/daughter response. You’re back at Uni now baby, you must expound. You must think critically. You must think about the way that you think.

In my defense, I was first cab off the rank, so I only forgot to flick back on my intellectual switch.

Now, to the guy that described Prometheus as a ‘spiritual’ prequel to Alien, good on you for remembering.

I have never heard that turn of phrase in my life, but it sounds intellectual, so you must be on the right track!

Believe me, I went to film school, so I could defiantly give you an in depth breakdown of all the themes and techniques used in Django Unchained. But, the thing is, when I did expand and said that it was Tarantino just indulging in what Tarantino does, with a whole bunch of long shots in the beginning that go on forever, it didn’t quite encapsulate my movie going experience like the word ‘cool’.

So, I conclude, let’s keep it simple people. It’s a self introduction. There’s plenty of opportunities for self evaluating and exegesis-ing in class.

Ah, exegesis-ing. My wielding of the English language is incomparable. I can almost feel the high distinctions already.

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