Thursday, 31 July 2014

Shyness and Loneliness - How I battled it

One of my latest favourite Youtubers, undertakerfreak1127, recently posted this video:







And I realised comparatively, I'm fucking lucky.  I go to the footy and I hang out with my friends (several different groups of them actually).  I go back to Oakey and I have my four best friends (Scary, Ginger, Baby and Posh).  How DID I overcome my rather lacklustre social skills?



Well, therapy helped no end.  So did that Modelling and Deportment Class my mother sent me to.  These two things taught me things like how to structure my thoughts so I could keep a conversation flowing without going all over the place, and the manners and little social niceties that are required in a social setting.  If you can hold a structured conversation while using good manners (and you can do it confidently) then that goes a long way to helping people forgive the little errors that you will make, and the fact that you're shedding anxiety and shyness all over the place.  Also, learning these little nuances and how they fit in to socialising and where to use them helps you see them and understand them in other people.  I did enjoy the Modelling and Deportment Class, but I didn't realise until now how beneficial it really has been.  I recommend all people with social anxiety and personality disorders look these things up - they will help give you the confidence and tools to navigate social settings and hopefully make friends.



However, I think this is only one part of it.  A lot of people have often commented that they love my wacky sense of humour and outlook on life.  I think generally being a kind, positive person who tries their best also helps when trying to make friends and get a foothold in society.  Things like giving footy cards that I don't want to kids who sit around me, helping my friends and club with whatever they need doing and just being there when someone needs you make people forgive and even ignore your little social lapses. 



So my advice to you undertakerfreak1127, go and find a class that teaches things like modelling, deportment, manners etc.  Especially ones where they make you go out and test your skills (our big test at the end was walking on the catwalk in front of a lot of people, including friends and family).  You'd be surprised how much of a difference to your confidence that those things can make.



(Random thought: I just thought of the poor little Eevee from the Abandon Lonliness creepypasta.  Even though it's just a story about a bunch of pixels I still feel for the little fella.  You're not a curse little Eevee.  No one is.)

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Farewell to the greatest friend I have ever known.

On Sunday, I got a message on Facebook from Mum wanting me to call her.  So I did.

She told me that His Royal Highness Prince Morgan Beaglehoven I (aka Morgan, Morgz, Morgy, Beagle Brains, Get back here right now, Get out of that, How the hell did you get out and How the hell did you get your paws on that) had deteriorated rapidly, to the point where he could barely walk.  She told me that the next day she would call the vet.

I immediately started blubbering.  Morgan has been my best friend since I was 10 years old (16 long years).  We got him when he was a little over a year old, he was supposed to be my sister Meagans dog.  However, the way things fell he ended up being my dog.  We were inseperable during my teenage years, we used to get up at 6am on school mornings to go for a walk (ending in a race to see who could get home first - it was always him), if I was going to hang out with my friends he came along, and I often spent my afternoons hanging out with him.  Much to my parents annoyance, he often slept on my bed (taking up most of it) and he nearly always came when I called his name.

I have so many fond memories of his life with me.  I can still remember one time (of many) he got out, and Mum kept calling him.  I called once, and he bolted into my arms.  I can recall the time we found an old softdrink bottle and turned it into a footy, running around like mad things.  This of course ended with him doing his hamstring, which he proceeded to milk.  If I wasn't touching him, he was shaking, and if I dared get up to go and get some food or go to the toilet he'd howl the house down.

There were numerous times he got into food he wasn't meant to, there was the time that he used a bike tyre hung up on a door handle to get himself out and numerous times he outsmarted me (one incident led to him being hit by a car, which was a dreadful day).   He loved to follow his nose, and anything that smelt interesting was fair game.  His favourite place (other than my bed) was the Oakey Creek, often times we went swimming there (one time we were both unlucky enough to end up landing in some rather not-so-nice plants, and spent the rest of the day very sore and very itchy!).  When I got into photography, he was right there with me, braving the Warrego Highway to get some snazzy sunsets and being my model (until he got sick of having the flash go off in his eyes, I could never get him to look at a camera after that!).

At the end of the day, I will never forget him lying on the bed with me, watching Neighbours and Big Brother '03, then waking up on a Saturday morning and watching Rage together (he had a great taste in music).

So yesterday, I headed back out to Oakey to say good-bye.  I got there and I could see he was done for.  He didn't even get up when I came in, and his tail would never wag again (although he did manage to polish off a whole bag of Schmackos - even on his death bed he was an eating machine).  I let him out for the last time to toilet, and he could barely walk.  I spent most of the day on the laundry room floor with him, crying.  About an hour before his death, we took him to the creek for the last time - he didn't even jump out of the car.  He raised his head, the old smells coming to him, but he couldn't follow them anymore.  He barely managed to waddle down to the creek (with a lot of help from Meagan and I) where he had his last drink (of his favourite creek water) and sat down in the mud, wanting to go for a swim but unable to.  We took him back home one last time, and waited for Mum to come home, when we took him to the vet and said our last good-byes.

Even though I know it was the right thing to do, because it wasn't fair for him to suffer, I can't shake the hollow sadness that has settled over me.  Morgan helped me through my teenage years, through the bullying, through the good times and the bad.  It hurts so bad to know I will never see him again and that he was so close to his 17th birthday, but I'm glad he's now okay.

Good-bye old friend and thank you.  See you on the other side.

RIP Morgan 8/8/98-28/7/14

Friday, 25 July 2014

Todays Lesson: Listen to your gut

I was upset and embarrassed.  They had tried BOTH arms for my first platelet donation and neither arm would yield any blood.

"We really need you to keep up your whole blood donations." They said.

"I really don't do whole blood that well." I replied.

"But you're a Universal Donor, we really need your whole blood if you can't do platelets." Was the mantra.

So today I headed in and gave whole blood, very much against the feeling in my gut.  I sat down and she put the harpoon in.

"Hmmm...nothing happening." There was little blood coming through the needle, so the nurse adjusted it.  It took a little while, but suddenly WHOOSH - a fast stream of blood poured out of me.

So fast in fact that I managed to set a record - four minutes and thirty-four seconds to fill the bag.  I've always had a pretty fast flow, so I wasn't too surprised by my feat.  Nor was I surprised when a minute after she withdrew the needle and I started to feel faint.

I KNEW it would happen.  But still I ignored my gut and went with what others were pressuring me to do.  I ended up lying there on oxygen, needing a wheelchair to get to the toilet.  Still, I got a free taxi out of it.

It DOES highlight the fact that I didn't listen to my gut feeling - the one that said "Stick to plasma or platelets" - and dove into whole blood even though I knew it would be trouble.  It seems a lot of people tend to do that.  They ignore their better judgement and end up in some very sticky situations.  The biggest reason is peer pressure, either wanting to do the right thing by someone or not wanting to be seen as weak or different to the crowd.  However that is no reason to not listen when something inside you tells you to stop.  You have no one to blame when things go wrong if you've ignored your gut feeling - you're the one who chose to go against your inner warning system.

Nature gave us our own personal alarm system to make sure we didn't get ourselves into stupid situations.  I wish I'd listened - I'd probably be feeling a lot better right now. :-(

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Walking of an afternoon.

My favourite part of the day is the afternoon on the way home.

First is the train ride from Gaythorne station - a nifty little station within striking distance of where I work.  It's much nicer than Enoggera station in my opinion, even if it is similar walking distance (and more chance of me getting killed by a speeding car.  I live dangerously).  As you all know, getting a SMU is a bonus, but most of the time it's a dinky old EMU - and worse, today was those awful swing-handles.

courtesy www.railpictures.net
Seriously, how hard would it be to send a 220 every so often?!

Now, a sane, rational person would get off at either a) Fortitude Valley and walk home or b) Central and catch the bus home.  I choose c) South Bank station and walk home past the Gabba and along River Terrace.  Why?  Because I love Woolloongabba and I love Kangaroo Point.  Plus I like taking photos with my good pal Rog.

This is Rog.  He's a camera.

Probably the best part of the afternoon is walking past my spiritual home, the Brisbane Cricket Ground, more affectionately known as the Gabba.  If you're ever at the footy and you're walking past section 11, come and say hi!






I have a few favourite spots to take photos from.  One is where I used to live on the Kangaroo Point cliffs, it's great for that sunset snap, especially with the sunlight bouncing off buildings and the boats cruising past.


The next spot is just before the Story Bridge - the buildings are usually lit up by the time I walk past and the lights in the offices contrasting with the sky behind them never ceases to fascinate me.  I could easily spend hours just taking photos of the same group of buildings if it weren't for the fact that I do need to get home, eat, shower and go to bed.



Finally, I LOVE taking a photo of the lit-up Story Bridge from the Wilson Outlook Reserve in New Farm.  The reflections make the photo in my opinion!



Back in Oakey, if you wanted to take photos of the sunset, people tended to look at you funny, plus there aren't very many places to take good sunset snaps from, unless you're willing to get yourself killed on the highway.  In Brisbane however, photography is an accepted form of entertainment.  People tend to treat you like part of the scenery if you're standing there with a camera or smartphone taking snaps.

And while I'm not the most savvy photographer in the world (I love the auto function, Rog tends to know what he's doing and gives me what I want) it's something I enjoy, plus I get a good bit of exercise every afternoon doing it (over 6kms every afternoon is nothing to sneeze at).  Sure, many will question me taking photos at the same locations every day, but in my opinion no two sunsets are the same and I tend to treat sunsets like Pok√©mon - I gotta catch 'em all!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

When did I become sane?!

No, seriously, when the hell did I stop doing crazy shit like jumping out of a train 4 stations early just to get a photo?



Although to be fair, it IS a nice photo.

I used to do things like that a LOT.  I used to walk 14-15kms every Sunday because it suited me.  I used to add 30 minutes to my walk home every day because I wanted to walk through South Bank and walk past the Gabba.  My Twitter feed was full of random thoughts and lyrics to songs I was listening to, and people liked it.  Facebook was just as full of randomness.

I loved living in Kangaroo Point.  Because it didn't matter that I wore dorky bright blue board shorts or ratty old Lions polos walking home.  It didn't matter that in the middle of the pouring rain I'd rush out to get a photo of the Brisbane River.

But it got taken away when I got stuck in poopy old New Farm.  Where people DON'T wear daggy polos and rush out in the rain to take photos.  I started to stack on a bit of weight, but nothing too serious.  I still had my Twitter feed, which was growing a bit more angsty seeing as I wasn't getting the exercise I was used to and was slightly embittered by my exile from Paradise.

Then there was an incident (which I won't go into to protect innocent parties) which seriously hurt me, and had me completely disappear from social media for a month.  Things were resolved, and I tentatively made my way back onto social media, but I was definitely too scared to ever use Twitter again except to advertise my blog and Instagram (plus it tends to crash my browser) and I've locked up Facebook a bit too.

It didn't do my anxiety any good, plus my physical health has deteriorated too.  I've become lethargic and miserable, and almost tempted to get back into my shell and stay there.  Until a couple of nights ago as, like I said, I decided to get out of my train at Newmarket to take some happy snaps and wait 15 minutes for the next train.  This evening, instead of going to Central and grabbing the bus home or walking along the Riverwalk, I got off at South Bank station and walked my old path again, including past the ruin that was my old home.

Sad face.

I even took my old mate Rog the Camera (yes, I named my camera) and took a photo or two from my old vantange point.

Paint Shopped for ease of viewing

And then had a stop by the Story Bridge too.

Also Shopped for your viewing pleasure.

When you're diagnosed, whether it be Aspergers, Anxiety, Depression or any other mental illness or personality disorder, you're whacked with a very uncomfortable truth - you are so different from the rest of the world that they see you as having something wrong with you, and while you can learn to cope with your condition, there's really nothing you can do to fix it.  It comes with a harsh choice - you can go on the way you have, you can try to assimilate, and then there are those of us who try to do both.  Doing both isn't really working out for me at all, and assimilation would involve the use of drugs that wipe out my entire personality, so it looks like I'm going back to being a looney.

Which you all love me for anyway.
 

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

I LOVE TECHNO.

"I wanna be a ninja, it could be so fun,
I'll use my secret magic to kill everyone.
I'll be a ninja, it could be so sweet,
So won't you run away to Japan with me?"
-Becky "I wanna be a ninja"

Add a bopping beat and a distinctive high-pitched bridge and you've got yourself a tune!  I love good, fast paced electronic pop that just makes you want to jump up and dance.

However, there seems to be a large majority of people who HATE techno.  I don't get it.  Sure, most if it's not the most lyrically impressive even if there are a few gems such as "Don't Don't Go Away" by Foxxie.  Speaking of "Don't Don't Go Away", there are multiple versions, both of which seem change the whole meaning of the song.

"Don't Don't Go Away,
Is that what you want to hear me say?
If you want to leave today,
I'll help you pack.
If things end today,
You won't break my heart that way.
You will never hear me say I want you back."
 -Foxxie "Don't Don't Go Away"

The DiskoWarp Main Mix gives a very empowering vibe.  Whereas the Richardo Autobahn Nightmare Mix gives it almost a pleading sound, turning it into more of a "Please don't leave me" instead of a "Well feck off then".

One of my absolute favourites though is the Panik mix of J-Mi and Midi-Ds "All Night Long".  The song is as upbeat and as catchy as they come, with some decent lyrics, and a myriad of musical changes throughout the tune.  From the percussive intro leading into the distinctive high-pitched tune which then leads into the main beat it's just such a fun song!





The Radio Edit isn't too shabby either.  I bet you're sorely tempted to dance along with either mix! 

Sadly, my favourite producers DiskoWarp are on indefinite hiatus, which means no new music for a while, but I keep hoping they're gonna come back better than ever!

Monday, 14 July 2014

My Favourite "Ships"

We've all done it.  We're watching/reading our favourite shows/books/whatever and there's always a pair of characters that you just KNOW are perfect for each other.  Whether or not the creators agree with you or not is another thing...

Snake and Otacon - The Metal Gear Solid series.


Oh come on, like you haven't noticed the great chemestry these two have.  Besides, who says 'ships necessarily have to be romantic?  Why not bromantic?  These two became instant best buds on Shadow Moses Island in the first Metal Gear Solid game, and at the end of Metal Gear Solid 4 Otacon vows to stay by Snakes side until he finally dies from his own genes.  That right there is love, and these two share it.

Barney Stintson and Robin Scherbatsky - How I Met Your Mother






I was SO pissed when I saw what happened to these two.  After building up their relationship, including a great friendship where they bounced off each other beautifully, what happened?  Robin got stuck with that idiot Ted (who honestly, I don't think she had anywhere NEAR as much chemistry with) and Barney gets a daughter.  Wow.  Anyone who saw the interplay between these two KNOWS that these two are meant for each other.  Both are witty, sassy, and the only ones thick-skinned and stubborn enough to put up with each other.  I can't believe they broke these guys up. 

Jeff Greene and Dicey Tillerman

The relationship between Jeff and Dicey is a special one to me.  They are the exact opposite of each other, yet both are brought together by music and what they can give to each other - headstrong Dicey pushes Jeff, challenges him to be better and motivate himself, and Jeff can reel Dicey back in when she starts getting a bit wild.  Their relationship nearly fails when Dicey gets too headstrong and stubborn, thinking her way is the only way, but Jeff wisely steps back and lets her learn.

Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley



I've been cheering for these two ever since Harry saved Ginny from the Chamber of Secrets.  Ginny finally got her hero, and Harry joined the Weasley family - how well does that work out?  There's something romantic about staying true to someone until they finally realise it's you they want.  Plus, Ginny's one of the few people in the world to actually be possessed by Voldemort - not just possessed mind, but confided in him and bonded with him until she figured out what was going on - and as such is one of the few people who can even begin to understand what Harry has been through.

Uzumaki Naruto and Hyuga Hinata



If Masashi Kishimoto stuffs this one up and puts Naruto with that stupid moron Haruno Sakura I will FLIP. Naruto was treated like DIRT by nearly all of the citizens of Konohagakure purely for being the unfortunate soul who happened to house Kurama, the Nine-Tailed Fox.  Only Hinata loved and respected him, looking up to him and even adopting his ninja way in never giving up and never going back on her word.  Not to mention when Naruto was getting his butt handed to him by Pain trying to save Konoha, there was only one person game enough to step in and protect him, even though she stood no chance and was 100% certain to die, and that was Hinata.  Not Sakura (who was one of the ones who looked down on Naruto), Hinata.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Favourite video game death sequences

Dying in a game SUCKS.  It means you have one less chance to get through the game, not to mention it's a bruise to the ego and in some cases FRUSTRATING!!!!  But some games do mitigate this somewhat with funny death sequences that make you giggle and make your pain a little more bearable.  Sometimes deaths make you want to kill the character just for the hilarity.

Oh, and for those of you who reckon this list is too morbid - your face is morbid.

Deep Duck Trouble starring Donald Duck - Falling off a ledge


I should feel bad for laughing, after all Donald is a much-beloved Disney character, but watching him struggle back up only to fall again is hilarious.  Although it is frustrating when he's grasping at the air above the cliff you fell off only for him to fall down again no matter how much you push the button!

Chuck Rock II - Son Of Chuck

Even when he gets hurt it's funny...in a sad sort of way




Oh come off it.  Like you don't throw the exact same temper tantrum as Chuck Jr is throwing when you lose a life.  Or get game over.  Especially when you were SO close to winning.

Let It Goat - Falling off a ledge


Ah, Let it Goat.  Everything that Flappy Bird aspired to be but failed miserably.  I'm sorry, but the sound the goat makes when he falls is hilarious, and cracks me up every time. FYI I am NOT addicted, I just play it a lot.

Action Fighter - Falling in the drink


Again, it's more the sound effect than it is the actual action.  Makes me giggle every time!

Special mention goes to the Fatalities from Mortal Kombat and all the ways you can kill your Sims.  Even though killing of Sims is more malice than hilarity....

Saturday, 12 July 2014

The "Good Old" Country Life

I talk to a few people around the city, and they all seem to be under the same delusion - life in the country is much simplier, more wholesome and overall better than city life.  Yeah...nah.

Don't get me wrong, there are people who make country living their own and good on them, but even they can't ignore the negatives that come with living rurally.

First off, poverty.  Yup, it's out in the country too.  Whether it's dole bludgers or farmers hit by poor farming conditions, it can get really dicey financially out in the wild wild west.  It doesn't help when you then add the nasty environmental changes that can devastate a farm to the point of collapse, and insurance can only go so far.  You still then have to clean up and get the farm running profitably again, which takes time.

This can then lead to other issues like depression and alcohol/drug abuse/domestic violence.

One thing I found is that the drinking culture is certainly alive out west, particularly amongst the younger crowd and when things are getting harder.  It's almost a rite of passage every weekend to head to the pubs and drink and play pool/darts/gamble on the NRL.  For some, alcohol goes in hand with drugs, which leads to the gang problem.

"Gangs?  In the country?" You may ask.  Oh yes, there is plenty of gang activity out in the country.  And since the police are spread thin, far and wide around the rural landscape, chances are they can probably get away with it.  Out in the country, you don't go out walking by yourself at night - if the gangs don't get you, then you're probably going to get hit by a car, because footpaths and street lights are either non-existant or faulty.  At least in the bigger cities public transport seems to run forever and there's more of it, but out in the sticks the people are usually ignored when it comes to things like transport and other things like roads.

Speaking of transport, good luck getting medical attention quickly if you need it.  Living far away from society means living away from things like shops and hospitals - some of my friends need to drive at least 15 minutes/half an hour to get to the nearest corner store!

I've already spoken about domestic violence and how mining is encroaching on farmland, which are other problems that come with living rurally - even if you do have a successful farm, how long before it's taken off you by the government for mining?

You would think that given that farming is where we get most of our food and produce, not to mention a fair bit of industry, that the governments would recognise the problems associated with rural living and try to at least make it so things like infrastructure are top-notch to try and off-set some of the negatives, but it looks like my rural friends and family are probably going to remain ignored for a while to come.  They still can't get a train service running from Toowoomba to Brisbane - there's Greyhound Buses, but even they're a bit meh.

If you're going to live out in the country, sure you'll enjoy the benefits of fresher air and more autonomy, but expect also that you will face some very tough times.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Let's talk about trains

I can't help it.  Trains are awesome.  Some more awesome than others.  I love taking the train to work and back every day, so I'm blogging about the trains I take.  Before I go on though, I'll give you a bit of background into the trains.

All of the trains are Electrical Multiple Units, which were first used in 1893 on the Liverpool Overhead Railway.  EMUs are used all over the world, mainly as surburban passanger trains, but they are sometimes designed for mail or other luggage.  They're pretty quiet and low-pollution, making them great for in the city where people are living.

EMU


These clunkoramas are older than me, and it shows!  Some of them still have the old turn-handle on them!  The seat layout is awful, and most of them are filthy.  I always cringe a little when I see these rickity old things heading towards me.


SMU200






These things also make me feel a tad apprehensive when they approach.  They're not as bad as the EMUs, but they have a similar seat layout which is annoying.  Thankfully these I don't see too often.

SMU220

The 220s are pretty good, they have a nicer seat layout including more disabled spaces, meaning the front seat of the three carriages has a bit more legroom (provided no one takes the seat in front of you). They have a nicer decor as well.




SMU260

I LOVE getting these trains - the front seat has a bar in front of it, making a little footrest if you're lucky enough to snag the seat.  The decor is lovely too, and the back of the seats are higher, making leaning back and relaxing much easier.


Images from www.queenslandrail.com.au

Monday, 7 July 2014

Prior Opportunity and Incorrect Disposal

One thing I LOVE seeing on the footy field is a beautifully laid tackle.  Unfortunately, 90% of the time there's no way in hell that tackle will be properly rewarded.  It's very annoying, and makes it harder to introduce people to the game when the rules are applied inconsistently.

In the game of Australian Rules Football, there are only two ways to dispose of the ball legally.  That is a) holding the ball in your hand and striking it with your fist a.k.a handballing or b) kicking it.  You are also allowed to punch the ball away from you if it's in the vicinity.  Disposing of the ball by any other means should incur a free kick.  However, this is almost NEVER the case.  Players are constantly dropping the ball in tackles in order to avoid getting pinged.  As far as I am concerned, a drop is as good as a throw - blow that whistle umpy!

The OTHER issue is a little thing known as "Prior Opportunity".  It refers to how long the player had between receiving the ball and the tackle being completed.  If a player takes a mark, ops to play on and is then tackled, that should be a free kick to the tackler, as the tacklee had the opportunity to dispose of the ball in a legal fashion and didn't take it.  If a player is given a 360 spin in a tackle with both hands free, then he deserves to be pinged - he should have handballed it off while he was swinging around. 

Finally, it seems to location of the tackle has a bearing on whether it gets paid or not.  It doesn't.  The rules are the same in the centre square as they are in the goalsquare.  There should be no bullcrap about "the flow of the game".  There is simply a black and white rule that clearly states what the infringements are, and if an umpire sees an infringement upon the rules, then he blows his whistle and a free kick is awarded.  It's time to reward players who do the right thing, and punish the players who break the rules, whether intentionalyl or through their own stupidity - they're professionals, and should know the rules by now.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Bullying.

Something that makes me angry is when I go onto Facebook and see the anti-bullying messages - especially when they're paraded around by the very people who set out to make my school-life hell.

"Oh Kezz, that was back in school, nearly 10 years ago, surely you should be over it by now?"

The whole "It was in the past, they were kids" argument makes me want to strangle someone - it's usually sprouted by people who are still bullies.

First off, anyone over the age of 5 knows that bullying and making other people feel bad isn't a good thing, so you can shove that argument out of the window.  The fact that the schoolyard bullies are young should be no reason why they should be allowed to get away with it, because they soon turn into adult bullies who are infinitely worse.  One thing that drove me insane were the"anti bullying" lectures that we got - nothing about NOT bullying, but rather telling us how to defend ourselves from bullies.  Of course, all the bullies were in these lectures, so they became very redundant very quickly as bullies found new ways to torture their victims. Why aren't these lectures designed to teach children behaviours OTHER than bullying?  I don't care if you're getting abused at home, it's no reason to make MY life hell.  It's not my fault your parents are fighting all the time, it's not my fault if your parents are never home, it's not my fault you suck at school, why try and pull a power trip on an innocent victim to make yourself feel better? 

We need to teach children skills to communicate better for a start, and how to relate to one another.  Unfortunately there seems to be a great deal of parents who either are too busy to teach these skills, or are bullies themselves and encourage these destructive behaviours.  And why wouldn't you?  Bullying can be very satisfying (I should know, I used to bully my siblings a fair bit, it was one of the few ways I could get them to stay away from me) and it does make you feel stronger - at the cost of somebody elses self-esteem and feelings.  I'm willing to bet that if you asked the people who bullied at school, 90% of them would come back and say that the victim deserved it, or that they were in some way justified in doing it. 

Parents have a responsibility to make sure their children aren't bullies.  Very few of them actually do this.  No one wants to believe their child is a bully, and most parents defend their children instead of stepping back and trying to resolve the situation (and we wonder why people have superiority complexes).  Or worse still, they believe the victim deserves it and reinforce the behaviour in their own child.

If there are any schoolchildren reading this, I ask you this - have you said something mean to one of your schoolmates recently (either in person or on social media)?  Have you gone out of your way to make someone else feel bad?  Why?  What gives you the right to hurt another person just to make yourself feel better?  I don't care if they're different, you're better than that.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

One of my biggest Inspirations

Everyone knows of my hero-worship of two Lions greats, Alastair Lynch and Joel Patfull.  But before those two, there was someone else.  Someone who I think is the single greatest actor ever to grace our screens, and had a huge influence on my sense of humour, adding irrelevance and childish aspects.

That man is Alan Alda.

His character in the hit series M*A*S*H Capt. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce continues to be one of my favourite characters of all time.  His quick wit, strength of conviction, irrelevant quips, good heart and all around amazing looks won me over for life (and I don't care how old he is, he still has that charm about him!).  Finding out a bit later on that Alan's also a strong advocate for womens rights and a charitable man to boot just make me like him even more.  

I adored Hawkeye as a kid - any episode focusing around him was always a favourite.  Some of my fondest memories are of his shinanigans - like after his eyesight healed in "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" and he started antagonising the nurses (that episode is also pretty special to me, as it deals with one of my worst fears - going blind).  Another memory is of Hawks reluctance to ever aim a gun at another human being or even carry a gun, something I respect quite a bit.

Another fond memory is when he punches out Frank Burns in "House Arrest", and tells Radar that he's fine the way he is, and doesn't need to wear shoes that make him look taller.  The only problem with this episode in my opinion is the "rape" scene where Frank is wrongly accused of rape and gets punished - I know this was back in the 70's but it still rankles me a bit.

My favourite episode by far is "Adam's Ribs".  Hawkeyes hilarious obsession with the ribs mirrors my own obsession with fried rice from a little store called Noodle Bento in Toowoomba (what, you thought I went back every once in a while to see my family and friends? Yeah, nah).

Unfortunately I doubt I'll ever get to meet him, he's 78 years old - older than my grandmother - and the chances of me getting over to the U.S any time soon are slim.  But he still remains an inspiration to me, many of the older characters I write are based on him. 

Thanks Mr. Alda, you created a character I will cherish forever, and inspired me to do the one thing that I have found gives me the greatest pleasure in life - make people laugh

Friday, 4 July 2014

Disappointment

Ever build up something big in your head, only for it to fall flat on it's face and not be as awesome as you hoped?

For a few weeks now I've been eyeing off the yellow Gold Perino Sweet Snacking Tomatoes at Coles.  They're 50c more expensive then the red ones (which I LOVE) and I've been wondering just how good they are.  So I bit the bullet tonight and grabbed a punnet.

They're crap.  Flavourless crap.  They have none of the tang or aftertaste of the red ones, instead being bland and boring.  Thankfully I also got a punnet of the red ones, and right now there's a conga line forming in my mouth. YUM.

Sonic '06 was another disaster.  I bought it for my ex (because I am a Sonic nutter) and it took me forever to get past the first level - particularly annoying as every time I started the game again I had to go through the opening cutscene and that stupid first mission again.  Sonic '06 was meant to be awesome, dammit!

Don't get me started on the expectations of my footy team.  Would it REALLY be that difficult to win every game in the season by 100+ points?  Honestly...

Thankfully it doesn't always happen that way, there was that weekend a year ago I swore would be the best ever and it was.  There was my Veloster, Tenny, and she's more awesome than I expected her to be.  There was my first NRL game too, Broncos v Rabbitohs, and that was far more exciting than I thought it would be (I'm actually looking forward to the Broncos v Bulldogs game, provided my little bro still wants to come).

Leigh Matthews once said "Nothing is as bad or as good as it seems" or something like that.  Not everything is meant to go our way, but that's what keeps things interesting I guess.  I still had my cherry tomatoes in the end!

Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Bridge People.

I'm sure a lot of my friends and family have already read "The Bridge People", however I've decided to make the ending a bit more...morbid.  The old ending came off just a tad too "tacked on" for my liking, and I think this new ending packs a bit more of a punch, if not a bit more of a message.  But that's up to my readers to decide.

So I now give you "The Bridge People"!

I don't remember how long I've been here, standing on the Bridge, watching the water below. I can hear the sounds of the rushing cars behind me, and sometimes someone will walk past, but they seem so much like echos that I usually don't bother to look anymore.
There are others like me. In fact, there's one about ten metres from me. I sometimes chat with him. There's about ten others on our side of the Bridge, but there are about twenty on the other side.
We wait. We watch.
And when someone comes to join us, we cheer.
He's pretty young too, like me. He's about fifteen metres away on our side of the Bridge. He looks drunk, and I daresay he's been crying. Probably girl trouble, that's why a few of them have done it.
"He's up on the banister! Give us a big swan dive!" The old man yelled.
"Nah, he's going headfirst!" The businessman, about twenty metres away replied.
"Whoa up, he's hesitating, he might not do it!" I shouted with a giggle. Most of the time they chickened out. Or someone came and got them.
"You hesitated love and look where it got you! Go son, big jump for the old man!" The old man ribbed me. It's true, I second-guessed myself before committing.
Then we heard it.
"Mate, don't do it, you have your whole life ahead of you!" Someone behind us called.
"She's not worth it, come on home and we'll talk about it!" Yelled another.
Thought so.
"Boooooooooooooo!" A young woman from the other side of the Bridge called. "Don't listen to them, big bomb jump down!"
"Give us a belly-flop, haven't had one of those for years!" Another one of us called.
"I don't want to..." He mumbled, swaying dangerously.
"Mate, come down. It's okay." One of the others tried to reach out to him.
"I don't want to, I don't want to...No!" He screamed as he lept from the Bridge.
"Mate!!!"
We cheered. What started with him heading feet-first into the river ended up with him landing on his side. We didn't even need to wait for him to drown, he must've snapped his neck.
He stood with us as the cheering died down, and we all returned to staring forlornly into the distance, thinking of our old lives, and what had driven us to jump. Because while we cheered when someone new took their lives on our Bridge, we all wished we hadn't done it.
The old man had jumped after his wife died. The businessman had lost everything in a bad business dealing. The lady across from us had lost her baby. There were a few divorcees, an old war veteran, and one man with his two tiny daughters. There was the abusive couple, the bloke had thrown his girlfriend over before jumping himself, and a few teenagers who came from broken homes.
Myself? I was mentally ill (as were a few others). I was deeply infatuated with a man, everything about him made me happy. But no matter how many times we chatted and got along, he still dumped me, due to his "issues". He was a dear friend. Then my rival took the credit for all my hard work and got my promotion. To make it worse, she made a move on my ex-boyfriend. I was so angry and upset. Then my parents split, my brother turned on me and my sister and I grew apart. I needed my man, but he would never come back to me. Sure, he would always give me a bit of a hug and a pep talk, but he was never truly there for me. Even the one night we spent together, playing video games and making love...it wasn't enough. I felt like a cheap toy.
I supposed I should have spoken to him, but he was always so good at what he did that I felt I could never be worthy of having him back. Long nights I spent yearning for his touch again, crying because I was alone.
So, I went with a swan dive, breaking my back but not quite killing myself. I drowned. Not the nicest way to go for someone who's claustrophobic, but I went.
I often wondered if they missed me. Sometimes one would come along and throw a white rose (my favourite flower) off the side of the Bridge.
I'm lonely. So lonely. I have nothing, nothing except this view of the river and the city, and if I turn around the cars speeding past, people walking past laughing, focused, alive. I wouldn't wish this upon anyone. Nothing has changed, I'm still hurting, my past life replaying itself in front of my eyes unless I'm on my guard.
Don't let any of them come for me. Don't let anyone join me...
I don't know how much time went by, day and night are the same for me. But he came. He came for me.
He was drunk. So drunk.
He stood almost exactly on top of me. He was crying.
"I wish I had said something to you. You were my closest friend. I still remember the night we spent together. You were the only woman..." He sobbed. "I'm so sorry I left you."
So lonely...
"Come on mate, just drop off the side now!" The old man cackled.
"I just want to see you again." He got up on the handrail.
I'm so lonely
"Looks like he's just gonna fall with no help from us!" The businessman laughed.
"Put some effort into it mate, even I went with some dignity!" The drunk chimed in.
“Come on ya jerk, I bet you're too much of a coward to do it!” I cheered.
Please stop my loneliness!
"Good-bye..." He gave one last whimper and dropped.
"No!" I screamed as he fell and landed with a splash. I sighed.
"Forgive me. I'm so sorry." I whispered.
It took a few minutes, but soon he was standing with me, looking out onto the water.
"Well, that was smart." I snapped.
"You did it first." He replied, hugging me from behind.
"There was no need for you to jump!"
"There was no need for you to jump either!"
"Will you two shut up? I don't want to put up with your bickering for the rest of my unlife." The lady from the other side yelled, to much loud agreement from everyone else.
I frowned, and we both continued watching the water, waiting for the next victim of the Bridge People. All of us lonely. All of us reliving our past pain.
All of us wishing we hadn't done it.