Sunday, July 31, 2011

Courage

Courage is what you need when you feel like every day brings rejection.

Courage is what you need when you feel like despite your age and all the wisdom you have gathered while traveling the windy road that has been your life, you still just don't know what do because you don't have the answers.

You need to make a choice. You don't know what's right. But you do know that if you don't the result with always be the same half arsed life you have so far lived.

You need courage.

Oh, I want one of these!

Friday, July 29, 2011

I'm posting. It's a long one. I have a lot to say.

What is the perfect end to a "Satans. Jävlar. Skit."-day? If you have form phobia, like I do, it's coming home to find a massive census form left on your front doorstep that you must fill in because if you don't they will come to hound you. And they hire just about anyone to hound so if you're unlucky they're scoping your house as they come to badger you about not having done the census. That's how it goes in my mind anyway. It may or may not be truth. I'm just saying.

I still haven't told that council that I don't have a dog anymore and I had to rehouse him in December last year. How hard is it to print a form that's already partially filled out, signed it, put it in an envelope and send it? For some of us it's very hard. And very traumatic.Which is why I haven't done it.

I should be doing my tax too. It's that time Down Under. You have until the end of October unless of course you have an accountant do it for you in which case you can hold on to your papers and send them to your accountant in April. The next year. It's a neat little loophole I found and that I blatantly abuse very year. My accountant, a lovely man, knows this and he always assures me it's OK. Why wouldn't he? He gets $220 for lodging a tax return online that's easy enough for any dimwit to do themselves. But he knows. About my form phobia. And he still loves me. Almost like a father.

But that's not what I really wanted tell you about. Tell you a lot about. You did see the topic, yeah?

Lately I have had more than my fair share or revelations and it wouldn't be fair to keep all these little tidbits to myself.

#1 Tidbit
Other people can't be relied on for anything. Even your best friend will let you down on occasion. It's kind of how you decide to deal with the let down that determines the way things pan out for you with other people. Less expectations = less unhappiness. You have control there. If you feel like you need to bring your happy down a bit just start expecting things from people. I find that expecting people to keep promises is especially effective. There's nothing quite like a broken promise to add disappointment to your day.

And I'm not saying this because I'm bitter. I'm saying it because I have come to realize that it really is up to you do control how you feel about how others act. Expecting too much, especially of people who are incapable to follow trough, will make you unhappy.

#2 Tidbit
Don't fear showing others that you're feeling vulnerable. This can be very hard for women in the workplace because if you get sad and upset and burst into tears you are obviously on the rag. That's a given. But here's the thing, only men think that and we all know that most men suck at the feely thing so why would you want them around if you feel like shit anyway. Unless they want to get in your pants they're not going to be supportive (and we can safely assume here that since they think tears equals being on the rag then they're not going to want to root you) so seek out some female company. A lot of the time women are bitches to each other in the corporate world but tears bring out the sisterhood solidarity in all us girls. Especially if a man made you cry. They're all bastards. And the woman will kick their asses if they need to.

#3 Tidbit
Love is something that happens to other people. Or does it? Is it just that they pretend? Or are they just better at the whole relationship thing? Or more lucky? I don't know but I do know this: Love is something that happens to other people.

#4 Tidbit
If you want to get a head in your career don't work hard. Get a whole bunch of books, preferably written by anyone who works for Google, and get fully acquainted with the latest corporate lingo. If you really want to get ahead master the art of inventing new words like "managerising" or "incentovisation", or better still whole phrases like "it's a global international world" or "atomic teams". Nobody will ever know what you're on about but that's the whole point. Show me a person who doesn't mind looking stupid and that would admit that they think you're talking bullcrap. I will dance with joy. All you need to do to get ahead in your career is to learn a few catchy words and phrases, pretend that you know what you're talking about (if you have problems with this cast your mind back to when you were little and no trouble at all pretending to be anything from pirate to astronaut to Luke Skywalker or whatever the hell tickled your fancy) and get on with moving up the corporate ladder. You don't even need to believe in yourself. It's only necessary to bamboozle a few people higher up than you are and hey presto, you're going places.

#5 Tidbit
When your lovely little Chinese doctor who pronounces your name horribly wrong tells you that you need to take medication you take it. If she gets the medication wrong allow her to try another one. She may actually know exactly what she's doing and you're just being a stubborn ass thinking you can take care of all of yourself when you in fact could use some help.

#6 Tidbit
If you're in therapy and your psychologist tells you that you need to change your attitude to something that upsets, grieves or generally messes with your sanity or life, leave immediately and if they made you pay upfront ask for your money back. If that's the best they can do you may has well have just googled aimlessly.

#7 Tidbit
Don't take crap from anyone no matter who they are. Don't allow yourself to be made fun of, be made to feel like you're less or generally have anyone feel crappy about what and who you are. Unless you're an asshole. Then you need to take stock of your life and reform. But if you're mostly OK then you don't need to take that crap. Feel a little proud of who you are and when someone pulls that kind of crap on you tell them that you don't like the way they're talking to you. Walk away. Find something better to do or someone better to talk to.

#8 Tidbit
Lucky number eight. Life is hard they say. It doesn't have to be. It shouldn't have to be. Most of what we perceive as hard are caused by beliefs and limitations imposed on us by others. We forget to bloom. We start out like little seedlings and we grow and grow and when we're about to burst open in all our glory we recall some snarky comment someone made in error, out of spite or because they wanted to control us, and we fail to open up fully in all our splendor!

#9 Tidbit
Love. For fuck's sake love! Do not withhold love from someone you care about and don't forget to tell them how you feel about them. Don't be afraid to tell them all about what you find great with them. Do it now! Or, you can not do it and run the risk of losing them. They may know logically that you care but us humans need poetry in our hearts to soothe the longing that lives there especially on crappy days when nothing seems to be OK. Go now and tell them! You mustn't wait. It costs you nothing but it gains you everything and it makes you stronger not more vulnerable. Love. Love as much as you can until you feel like your soul is going to explode with it and spew love all over the Universe like some radical nuclear love bomb. Or something. Love. It's important.

Satans. Jävlar. Skit.

...is my way of summing up how I feel about this morning. I woke up and I felt completely and utterly mentally unprepared for it, this morning I mean.

Having to face this morning just all seemed a bit too much. I could have used a coach to get me through it because I felt like I was going into a boxing match horribly unprepared. It was like knowing that my opponent was going to be three times the size of me, at least!, and that he had won on knockout in the last ten matches. In the first round! I could have used a pep talk is all I’m saying.

It’s not that it was all that hard this morning.

It wasn’t earlier than normal, it wasn’t colder than the day before and the trip wasn’t any longer.

I had coffee before I left, a lovely cappuccino with a healthy layer of frothed milk and a dusting of chocolate on top.

There were no large fires to detour around and there was hot water in the shower when I got to work.

It’s just that I wanted to stay in bed and hide. I had my little nest and I wanted to stay there in the warmth and safety among all my pillows. Maybe one of the cats would come and visit to make sure I was OK. That was all the interaction I was ready for. Nothing else.

So I’m left feeling like you do when you’re a little kid and one of your schemes is foiled and you say the most heinous you can think of and in my case its “Satans. Jävlar. Skit.” Three Swedish swear words that I used when I was a kid when something went annoyingly wrong out of your control and it made you angry, the kind of angry that makes you want to stomp your feet and pout.

Satans. Jävlar. Skit.

Never let my mum catch me saying that out loud. She would have had words to say about it (but I suspect that behind my back she would have laughed at the stubborn little girl who got so angry over nothing really).
I can say it out loud here. No one knows what it means.

Satans. Jävlar. Skit.

Later:
So despite the most fabulous weather and the most fabulous ride home and what is probably a fabulous leek and potato soup waiting for me I just can't get along with this day. I want some love damn it and I want the kind of love that makes you feel really good on the inside. Is it too much to ask for? I should think not. The Universe may beg to differ. In which case we're just going to have to disagree or reach some sort of compromise the Universe and I. I don't want to compromise though. I want some love. I need some love.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

There's a tiny bit of summer in the air and my fruit and veg shop burns to the ground

This morning, and it was early morning because I like to get to work so I can start at 6am probably because there are less pesky people around at that time, I spotted a plume of smoke rising into the air from where the shops I usually do my grocery shopping are located. (And that's a really long sentence ya'll so I'm going to take a deep breath and think about whether I should rewrite it.) I was on top of the hill about to turn into that street that has that lovely hill you can sail down but that we also refer to as "the Last Hill" because it's so long. The shops were down there at the end of the very long hill.

By the time we got close we realized that we were going to have to detour because even though it was clear that this was at the end of putting out a very large fire three blocks had been cordoned off by police and there were still ten fire trucks about. People everywhere doing their stuff and some really cool fireman equipment lying around! I had to look because the little techno geek in couldn't help herself.

As it turned out it was our fruit and veg shop that had caught fire and it's now just a burned out shell and a lot of dead fruit and veg I assume. It's a good thing we bought potatoes yesterday so they didn't have to burn to death too!

But the thing about today that stands out even more is that although it was a freezing and foggy morning by the time the afternoon arrived the temperature had gone up significantly but not in that wintery kind of way we've had so far. Today there was a distinct air of summer which made me hope that spring is only just around the corner. The one thing I long for the most right now is to be able to get out of the long cycling tights and get into some shorts. I need to feel the wind on my legs, my very white legs, and not have my legs stuffed away all the time.

It's coming. Summer. I felt it on my face today.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Norway. Anders Breivik. Awfulness

A lot of people sat back at the end of last week, scratched their heads and asked WTF? Norway, little peaceful Norway, with its fjords and people who sound funny when they talk was suddenly not so bloody innocent anymore. Quite the opposite. They’d been hit with was referred to Down Under as a terrorist attack. Problem is when the terrorist is a blonde, blue-eyed, well-educated young Norwegian man it gets a hell of a lot more confusing and hard to deal with. It’s easier to hate an Arab looking man who commits such a crime than it is to hate someone who basically looks like you.

Terrorism is about choice. It’s about making the choice to hurt others to make your own point come across in an all too loud way.

There’s no doubt that Anders Breivik made a choice and that it was a choice that had dire consequences for many and that it an impact not only on Norway and its neighbouring countries but much of the rest of the world (as we tend to define it anyway – I doubt too many people in famine and war stricken Africa would care).

Anders Breivik’s choice was not made selfishly; it was made in fear. To tie ones identity so strongly to the perceived identity of a country, so strongly that you can’t accommodate people choosing to live in a different way, is bloody dangerous. This kind of fear is not only seen in Norway, it’s prevalent in a lot of countries and it stands firmly in the way of a fairer world.

Norway has one of the highest standards of living in the world. The fear of losing that in the face of a changing world and the possibility that Norway will soon run out of the oil that has kept them so rich is no doubt growing.

You would be kidding yourself if you didn’t think that Scandinavia has people that are right extremists or even Neo-Nazis. I remember when I grew up how they reared their ugly heads in a close to where I was living.

It was May 1st, a day traditionally reserved for celebrations of the more socialistic and labour day variety. Thousands of people had gathered in the town’s square. On the opposite side of one of the surrounding street a small troupe of neo-Nazi skinheads had decided to have a demonstration shouting their own slogans.

The results was that every shop around quickly ran out of eggs and tomatoes to pelt the skinheads with. They were subsequently chased through town and ended up locking themselves in the train station toilets to get away from the hoard of people who had taken up chase. The police had to escort them out of there and we never heard of them again. Not because the Swedish police were like the KGB or anything but because they learned a thing or two that day. If all neo-Nazis are as silly as these guys we have nothing to worry about but it’s not quite that easy.

Even if we’re not in Norway, or even Scandinavia, we need to pay attention to what happened in Oslo and on Utoya last Friday. It could happen where you live too. For some people the fear of losing something that isn’t even clearly defined becomes so strong that they feel the need to fight back. Immigration has happened throughout human history. How about we get over our fear of it?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above

The weather. Is it suppose to just fall on you every damned day for what seems to be weeks straight? I don't think so. Welcome to sunny Australia. Not. Don't worry about the sun screen. WE DON'T HAVE SUN NO MORE! When it returns (IF it returns) we will stare at the sky in wonder and ask each other what that strange disk in the sky is.

It's not fabulous but I'm trying to cope without cycling. Gets me grumpy that. No cycling.

Most of the issues I'm experiencing at the moment have to do with the fact that it's raining all the time. I would like to wash some clothes, you know basic hygiene and all, but there's really nowhere to dry the stuff. So, like never mind. You think I smell? IT'S THE GOD DAMNED MOLD GROWING IN MY ARMPITS!

I should have got pet ducks instead of pet cats. Cats go stir crazy when the weather is bad for long periods. It's not that they need to go out because in this weather they don't even want to. They just sit there and stare at it through the window and they get shittier and shittier the longer they sit there. Then they're drawn in by the gas heater's force field but what was once considered acceptable closeness is now not. It's like their need for more personal space multiplies by hundreds and they have to wage really nasty war on each other. The house is suddenly not big enough for all and what used to be the occasional paw batting incident is now eye gouging and general maiming. You try to talk to them but they don't listen. Cats are like engineers. They always think they're right. Me, I'm taking revenge by taking them all to the vet for their yearly jab and stab. Take that cats. Take that.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's OK

Every now and again I get overloaded with disdain for humanity and the crap some members of that little club allow to spill out of their mouths. Therefore I'm compelled today to say;


It's OK to be a woman. It's OK to be angry because you're paid less because you are a woman. It's OK to have the period every month and it shouldn't mean that some jerkface CEO can turn around and claim that it's the reason women are paid less. Because they period. Which makes them take more sick days. Not all but some of them. And they have kids they stay at home to take care of. So they need to be paid less. He didn't make sense when he said that. He's a CEO. He can get the sack. He did. That's OK too.

It's OK to be black. It's OK to be whatever color you like (or don't like). It's OK.

It's OK to speak loudly in Hindi in the office if people around speak loudly in English. There's no real difference. It's OK. Loud is loud. Volume is not changed by language. It's OK.

It's OK to be gay. It's not OK to give medicaid money to people who run reparative therapy (WTF kind of term is that?!) because it's OK to be gay. There's nothing that's not OK about being gay just as there's nothing about being heterosexual that's not OK. It's all OK.

It's OK to say that gay rights are civil rights. Most gays I know are civil. Most gays are as right as anyone else is. It's OK to say that gay rights are civil rights.

It's OK to marry a same sex partner. It's not going to ruin it for anyone else. (I'm more than a little tired of that debate.) It's OK.

It's OK to tell your boss that he's behaving like a jerk-face if he belittles you in public. He's wrong. You're not. You're OK.

It's OK to take medication to feel OK if you're not able to do without it. It's also OK to be in therapy if it helps you. It's OK just as it's OK to seek treatment when you break your arm or accidentally hack it off. By accident. All that's OK.

It's OK to just be sometimes. There's nothing you have to be or do. Sometimes you just need to chill and just be. It's OK. You can even burp. That's OK too.

It's OK to get mad as hell when you see something that you think is really wrong. It's OK to say something about it. Say something, OK?

It's OK to call other people's bluff if your gut is screaming out that they're wrong no matter who they are. It's OK and if it's not it bloody well should be. OK.

It's OK to want to be pretty, skinny and shiny. It's not OK to put yourself down for what you are because you're OK. No, really. You're OK.

It's OK to ache for love or feel a heart wrenching need to have children even if you can't and it's OK to cry all over the place about it. Or be angry. It's OK to get angry. Or feel loss. Like you're grieving. Because your dream was killed. Right in front of you. Not fair. Life is not always fair and while that's not OK it's OK to feel utterly powerless because there's eff all you can do to change it. It's OK to cuss the Universe or God. It doesn't mind. It thinks it's OK. It rather you did than give up. It's not OK with you giving up. That's not OK.

It's OK not to want to be part of the whole consumer thing and to feel like things corporate are truly evil. It's OK.

It's OK to want a better world and hope that one day we will have what John Lennon only imagined as our world. It's OK to want that. Now.

It's OK to stop worrying that you're not measuring up even though you've worked longer hours, suffered from more stress than you should and still have people making sure you know you're not measuring up to their impossible standards. It's OK. It's OK to set your own standards if they suit you better. It's OK. If you don't believe me watch Office Space, close your eyes and imagine you're the main character in that movie and stop worrying. It's OK.

OK?

I hope you're OK.

I'm OK. I'm more OK than I've been in years.

OK :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I can't stand Twilight but I'm kinda hooked on True Blood

I know people love Twilight but I don't know why it hasn't been banned yet. Why aren't there church groups out there getting all incensed about Twilight the way they did with Harry Potter? I mean Stephanie Meyers should get a medal for finding a company to published that stuff. I'm sorry ya'll but SHE'S THE MOST AWFUL WRITER IN THE WORLD and the books DON'T EVEN MAKE SENSE!

And, Edward is creepy. Period.

I've tried to avoid getting to know it but it's like a bad virus that spreads and then suddenly everyone knows about it even if they've not caught it. IT MAKES ME WANNA CRY BLOOD! It's god awful writing.

I can't even take heart in the fact that you can actually get crap like that published and make money from it, not just small money but lots of money. I wish I could. That could mean I could write a book and get it published and go "Hey, look at me! I'm a published author!" It's not even good for that. As Bella would say, it sucks.

True Blood on the other hand I like but I've not read it. I'm not going to either. It gets delivered to me in small installments on TV and that's OK. I had little hope for the fourth season but now that the Wiccans fried Eric Northman's brain who knows what will happen?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

To swear or not to swear...

On a writers’ forum far, far away there was a little topic discussed and the little topic was all about whether one should use swear words when writing or whether one should not.

I’m not a fan of writers’ forums per se because writers are a snooty bunch who like to pick on each others writings, and that makes any other post on a writers’ forum a target for grammar correction, spell checking and other rather tedious things. Plus the discussions get a little too inane for an intellectual giant like myself in depth for someone who is only a mere technical writer.

I use the f-word a bit when I speak, not a lot but it happens especially when I talk to my friends, or perhaps rather people I feel comfortable around. In my defence I have to say that I don’t need to be fucking judged to me the f-word probably hasn’t got the same bad connotations it has to you unless you’re a useless son of a bitch who lacks so far in the fucking vocabulary department that you’re basically a retard of non-English speaking background like myself. I come from a background where the language seriously lacks those really juicy little gems like the f-word. There’s simply no Swedish equivalent.

In Sweden, back in my day that is, we had to make do with the equivalent of “hell”, “satan” and “devils” as our worst possible vocabulary choices. Seeing they’re all related to invoking things the anti-Christ or his general location one can’t help but wonder if not in the early days of Christianity those words weren’t chosen as swear words by those still pagan so they could seem to invoke the anti-Christ and therefore scare the crap out of their Christian brethren. Who knows? Who cares? Linguists and some writers, that’s who cares, and maybe those morbidly curious.

Anyway, having realized how pathetic and lame their own swear words are the Swedes started to seriously adopt some of the more serious English swear words in 1990s. I don’t blame them. How could I? I’m one of them and I did it too! I’d be the pot calling the fucking kettle black.

The only language that seems to have even lamer swear words than Swedish is German. The Germans have to make do with saying things like “donnerwetter” (thunderstorm) when they get really pissed. It just doesn’t cut the mustard. It has about the same zing to it as when my grandmother would say “iron nails” (she actually said “järnspikar” but I have to translate for you) when something went seriously wrong in her life.

There’s no doubt that the use of words that were once regarded as extremely bad is now more common. There seems to have been a growing acceptance of the use of these words. What was the linguistic equivalent of dropping the Hiroshima bomb in my grandmother’s day was more like more like an air raid in my parents’. The same these days is more like light artillery. I’m guessing that these words will have little left of the sting they once had by the time my daughter is adult. (The worst thing you can call someone if you’re my daughter’s age seems to be gay or lesbian. Like what? I was sitting here thinking we had tolerance for that kind of thing now!)

Is this good or bad, that the really bad swear words are losing their power? I don’t know nor do I really want to take sides.

A friend who’s a linguist said to me when I complained about the corporate trend to make new words like “managerizing” and “incentovizing” (those are not fucking words people!) and then go on to sprinkle every conversation with them so liberally they’re soon accepted, Well as he said to me, language is dynamic and it evolves all the time. It’s not a dead thing and it continues to evolve with the communication needs of the people using it. It’s hard to argue that point.

Even putting that argument aside there are times when no other words suffice. Like Billy Connolly said:

"People say to me, 'You only swear because of a lack in your own vocabulary' ... but this is nonsense. You show me the proper English equivalent of 'fuck off' and I'll happily use it. It certainly isn't 'go away'."

He’s right.


So, as much as dropping the f-word once too many in your musing can ruin it the opposite can also be true. Swear words can actually add to a piece of writing if one doesn’t go overboard and if it’s not a substitute for good writing. Good writing is not something I personally claim being able of producing so I swear. There you have it. Fuck you!

There are times when I write when taking out the swear words I would use if I was talking to friends makes a blog post sound less like I’m talking to you and more like stilted writing. My blog is the place I come to vomit my thoughts out into the ether as much as it’s a way to write things I don’t normally get to write. I like writing. I don’t have enough time to write creatively. This blog is my compromise and my outlet. Fuck you!

I got the distinct impression when I was going through the posts on that writers’ forum that the dislike of swear words is almost directly proportionate to age and so is the non-acceptance of txt-isms. It appears that the older we get the less able we are to keep up with the hip changes of our own language. Perhaps that’s just as bad because couldn’t we then as we get older be accused of being too lazy to keep our vocabulary up to date and extending it? I should think so.

(Which reminds me of a time when we caught the bus to school, we would have been all of 12 years old or close to it, and one of my friends said when asked to give up her seat for a passenger much more advanced in years. “How about we wear out one generation at the time and let the young ones remain seated?” Oh boy, did she ever get into to trouble over that one! But back to language…)

I think there are times when swearing in your writing is completely appropriate and that it can even add something extra. At the same times though I would be the first to admit that I swear because of sheer laziness and because I’m linguistically retarded.

Oh yeah, by the way. There is a Swedish f-word that’s almost equivalent to the English c-word (and with c-word I don’t mean “crap”) and I only just remembered that. It must be because of the dire ramifications of using that kind of language when I was a kid that I had completely put it out of my mind.

Friday, July 1, 2011

This one is just too good to resist…

Making the rounds of the internet currently is this little gem. A newspaper in China published a story with the following photograph:  

The photograph is obviously (duh!) a clear case of having had Photoshop contaminate in a really bad way. Apparently the photographer has defended the photograph saying that the Chinese officials in the photo had actually visited the road in question and so implying that the photograph was not a total fake. He offered this photograph as proof:






Curious minds ask the question why bother photoshopping in this case. There seems to be nothing wrong with the original photo. Well, apparently in 2008 a photographer at the newspaper was sacked for making party officials look bad in a photo and so our photographer decided that he better get creative or he’d suffer a similar fate.

And, of course the inevitable followed:



















Those Chinese chaps get around, don't they? You can imagine me saying that in a far too happy and stupefyingly positive voice as if I was narrating a 1950s propaganda movie.

I’m sure we could get even more creative with this one, don’t you?

Source: Sydney Daily Telegraph

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