Monday, October 31, 2011

The beet

It's, in my opinions, one of the best introductions to a book of all time. How could you not love it?

The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.
  Slavic people get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets.
  The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip...
  The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.
  The beet was Rasputin's favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes.
  In Europe there is grown widely a large beet they call the mangel-wurzel. Perhaps it is mangel-wurzel that we see in Rasputin. Certainly there is mangel-wurzel in the music of Wagner, although it is another composer whose name begins, B-e-e-t—.
  Of course, there are white beets, beets that ooze sugar water instead of blood, but it is the red beet with which we are concerned; the variety that blushes and swells like a hemorrhoid, a hemorrhoid for which there is no cure. (Actually, there is one remedy: commission a potter to make you a ceramic asshole—and when you aren't sitting on it, you can use it as a bowl for borscht.)
  An old Ukrainian proverb warns, "A tale that begins with a beet will end with the devil."
  That is a risk we have to take.

From the introduction to Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Head crusade

I'm on a god damn head crusade. There's not limit to what ticks me off in the world today. Right now it's double standards, or at least what I perceive to be double standards.

People moan and whinge about violence in movies and how it's desensitizes but spending time yesterday with a friend who smokes I couldn't help noticing how the warnings on the cigarette packets are getting bigger and grosser.

When I was still smoking some twelve years ago there were warning labels on packets. We used to ask for the packets that harmed babies or others as a joke because it was all a bit silly. The warnings had zero impact on my decision to quit smoking.

Nowadays cigarette packets are covered with cut up cadavers and gangrenous feet, and it basically seems like someone has gone on a photographic rampage at the coroner's or something. Here in Australia they're now proposing to cover the whole packet with gross photos like that because obviously what's already on there isn't horrible enough.

Has anyone even considered that people get desensitized and that if your addicted to something a photo isn't going to make you stop? If we can apply the desensitization rule to movies shouldn't we also apply it to the whole make-them-quit-by-showing-them-gross-photos campaign? Or, am I just being stupid here?

We were sitting in a cafe yesterday, outside, and my friend lit up a cigarette and he was chastised by the waitress. No one was bothered but they now suddenly have a no smoking rule. OK, that's fine, it's their restaurant but it's also our money. We cut our dining short because my friend wanted to smoke. Our choice. We kept our money.

My point is that it's not illegal to buy cigarettes, smokers don't buy them to be obnoxious and most smokers I know want to quite because they know it's killing them. All the while the government is making huge money from tax on cigarettes and that's hypocritical. And by the way, I hate the smell of cigarette smoke...

I think it's the unwillingness to deal with the smoking issue head on that made me get mad at the whole issue. If you really want to get people quitting then ban cigarettes and put some decent treatment programs in place. If you really want to deal with problems then take a look at alcohol and how it's currently killing more people than cigarettes are. No one's touching that holy cow now, are they?

Just like fat people can't help eating, smokers can't stop smoking,  alcoholics can't stop drinking and gamblers can't stop gambling. It's not even about banning the things people are addicted to or that they abuse, it's about making a better society where people don't need to rely on self harm to get them through the day. 

We think that because we live in the Western world what with our wealth and health care that we have no right to ask for something better. People are starving in Africa you know...

I think we have a right to demand things that will inevitably help more people lead a better life and that it's really not even something we should have to demand. As long as companies like cigarette companies are allowed to make and peddle their wares we should lay off the people that these companies prey on. Why don't we go to town on these companies and call them for what they really are: Murderers!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Peace on earth – is too much to ask for?!

For as long as I can remember peace on earth has been at the forefront of what we wish for. In the Western world we were programmed to use it as some kind of mantra as kids, which is kind of weird when you think about the Gulf War (twice!) and all that…

How do we go from bringing up nations of little kids who want peace on earth more than anything else to getting these same little kids to join the military forces as soon as they’re old enough? It’s not that hard you know if you manage to roll wanting peace in with some fear that war will touch the very place you’re living in.

A friend’s mother, who is a Buddhist (I don’t know why I had to mention that but I did…), has a small sign in the back window of her car that says “No war”. Simple enough, but I was saying to her on the weekend that I’d like it to say “More peace”.

This woman and I don’t normally have a lot to agree on (It’s hard to find common ground with a Polish Jewish mother who’s 80 and who spent the best part of her childhood hiding from Nazis and eating the walls of a house because there wasn’t enough food…I’m a spoilt brat compared to her no matter how you look at it …I’m just saying.) but on this we agreed and I think the reason is that “No war” seems bloody impossible to achieve what with the current level of maturity of the world leaders and all. More peace just seems a little more realistic. It’s easier to get your head around that and you can start small, like with your neighbors or something.

Apart from that I think it’s important to focus on things in a more positive way, I’m hedging my bets here really in case the law of attraction people really are right and because it’s less depressing that way. We established the other day that depression is just not funny (refer that post that I’m too lazy to link too...I must have tagged it Depression if you’re interested…which I hope you are).

I suppose there are some people who like war, though they’re probably making some sort of career out of to be honest, but most of us are scared witless of even the thought of going through war. We don’t want it. We’d much rather give it a miss and have a root canal if those were the only two options available to us. War is bloody awful stuff. Nothing good ever came of war. One has to wonder why there’s so much of it. I know people who went to war and they got seriously messed up!

It’s almost as if we can’t stand it when it’s all peaceful with little fluffy bunnies and kittens happily running around in the grass playing. It’s almost as if when there’s no drama we feel lost because we think we lack purpose or something. I see this all around me at work. As soon as things are going smooth someone has to throw their weight around and put an obstacle in the way. Things just can’t be easy and smooth, can they?

But just as a reliable economy and better wealth distribution is not too much to ask for it’s not too much to ask for to have peace on earth. We’ve tried the war thing. It’s pretty much a lose-lose situation. Peace and quiet, no one really loses there. It's just that it seems like such a huge thing to ask for but it's not.

So no, peace on earth is not too much to ask for so I’m asking for it now.






And better wealth distribution (I think that will help with the peace too).

Thank you.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

*Arrrrrch* at the world

I think the world is a bit of a pisser at the moment. It’s all a bit disappointing really.

I don’t want to go ahead and blame people or even humanity; it’s so easy to do though, isn’t it?

I’ve kind of come the full circle with the whole self-help thing and I confessed yesterday to y’all that I had in past done the rounds with various spiritual paths.

I’ve toyed with the Law of Attraction and frankly I laughed in its face. The Law of Attraction got the last laugh though when my daughter found a small notebook that I had told her about. She asked me to read what was in it. She knew it was my “wish book”. I was a little taken aback when I realized that most of the things I had wished for were in my life, maybe not exactly the way I had imagined but none the less there. I’m still not convinced you know.

I do think though, and this goes together with my post from yesterday, that I right now am almost purposely seeing the world through dirt stained glasses. I’m a reality girl you see and as such I’m in constant search for the truth. Trouble is that I have long since realized that the truth is a funny little thing that can vary enormously depending on who you talk to and what situation they’re in. It also depends on what facts people have and whole lot of other things. Truth is fickle in other words.

My truth is that I know my mind well enough to know that truth is something that if applied to rigidly can lead to the apathy. You have to let your mind expand and play and you have to imagine yourself out of the quagmire sometimes before you can actually find a way out of it.

This is what I need to do. Imagine.

I find that I feel so completely at the mercy of the world that it’s starting to affect me badly. What with the looming economic crisis and all it’s not going to get any easier so it’s time to really take stock of what it is that makes me smile and feel good. I need to create a new worldview that suits me better and that has nothing to do with the truth. The truth is that the looming economic crisis has zero impact on me personally right now and I should really wait to worry about it until it does.

I’m not meaning to be selfish y’all because I care deeply about the world and the people in it. I’m at a complete loss to try to figure out why there people out there who find it hard to just exist and they live in friggin’ Europe! Africa, well we know they have issues there, God knows that with a little creativity we could solve that little problem in a jiffy but we don’t.

I despise the fact that wealth is accumulated by few when others are clearly suffering. Why is that OK? Why is it tolerated? It makes me so angry. “They” have made us fear sharing. We’re like little dragons sitting on treasures ready to kill anyone who even dares to side glance at our pretties.

A third of the world’s population is starving to death.

A third of the world’s population is eating itself to death.


Is it just me or is that not completely insane? I don’t need 20 different types of crisp chips to choose from especially not if they’re going to kill me!

I’m not sure how I got from the Law of Attraction to starvation but I do this a lot. I start somewhere and just ramble on (and make lots of spelling and grammar mistakes…). In a way it’s all connected though because I’m fairly certain that all those starving people wish they had food and the fact that they don’t is why I doubt the Law of Attraction….and that there’s a God. Frankly, if God can’t be bothered helping those people why the hell would he bother with my little petty problems?

The only ones that are responsible for the state of the world are us and we’re the ones who have the responsibility to fix it. We need to stop this corporate selfish BS thinking and smarten up and stop being afraid of sharing. I don’t think sharing’s ever hurt anybody. Really. Do you know anyone who was hurt by sharing? I don’t.

So cop this world:

I need y’all to quit being selfish pratts and start sharing a bit. I’m not talking to you Joe Blow, I’m talking to you Mr Suited-up-greedy-bonus-in-the-millions-grabbing arsehole who think that you are better than the little person cleaning the toilets on which you do your poo poo. We’re sick of being afraid and feeling helpless. We’re sick of working long hours for nothing and of being pushed around. We’re sick of feeling desperate because we know little kids are starving to death in Africa while knowing that any donations we make won’t really make a difference. It’s your turn now. You need to clean up this mess.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On faith or lack thereof

**Warning! The following contains personal admissions.**

I envy people who are religious, not the religious nut kind but people who have faith that there's something bigger and better out there looking out for them. I especially envy people who have faith so deep that they're certain that there's something better waiting for them "on the other side".

I'm not of the religious kind. I'm the scientific kind. I could never embrace creationism because to me there are too many things that prove that it's just baloney. I just can't find proof that God exists.

I just can't find proof that God doesn't exist.

I have come so far. Just this year and the breakdown I had brought about so much good change for me. To have come from where I was when I left my first husband and then to go through a second abusive relationship, I know now that I'm strong or else I would never have survived that. It was only a few months ago that I allowed myself to think of myself as a survivor.

I have no faith though. I'm still afraid of....things. I'm still anxious. I wish I could surrender and just allow myself to be. I need faith to do that.

I sat there today and watched Dexter, of all things, when I realized that having faith is not about being "saved" or "finding God". It's about creating another belief in your mind, one that will serve you and carry you forward, one that will ease the burden a bit. Some people call the rituals they use to bring that about religion and some practice a certain set of rituals or a particular religion.

I can't do that. I'm not religious.

You see to me God may as well be called Steve and be a tiny rabbit just as long as Steve will be there in some capacity so I can talk to him. Or her, I mean in all fairness Steve may be a girl. Never mind, what I'm trying to say is that I need to allow my mind to create a deity of sorts it's comfortable with and that I can believe in so that I can foster a relationship with that deity.

I need faith y'all and I don't want it to come in a prepackaged format. I think faith is far more personal than that.

I'm just saying.

That I can 't be told. I mean you can't tell me to do anything without giving me a bloody good reason and it just seems to me that no religion really does that. No offense. I'm just saying.

Monday, October 24, 2011

For “the good of the business”

I’ve been thinking this weekend of that good “excuse”, and I have no other word for it I’m afraid, that most of those who are in the corporate world come across over and over again:

It’s for the good of the business.

Managers and company leaders can get away with doing some pretty awful stuff and it’s pretty much accepted if it’s for “the good of the business”. I used to wonder what this “business” was because if business isn’t about people what the hell is it about?! Any business deals with people in the form of employees and customers and those are just the most basic relationships a business has with people. How can it not be about the good of those people? What is this other entity that exists that seems to take priority at just about every turn?

I was thinking on the weekend, actually to be honest I was having a bloody good whinge to myself about the “state of the nation” (meaning the whole bloody world and its economy), and I was thinking about how times had changed. This thing, this “for the good of the business”, is something new that’s crept up and it’s really ugly.

Then I remembered something…

When I was a kid growing up in Southern Sweden we went on a field trip. I can’t remember how old I was exactly but I guess I was 10-11 years old. We went to visit a place that had a stone that commemorated Ansgar.

In 829 the Swedish king Björn av Hauge requested a mission to the Swedes and Ansgar was appointed missionary. Together with the friar Witmar, he preached and converted people for six months at Birka, a settlement located by the lake Mälaren.

We were also told that contrary to what most people were told the methods of converting people were rather, shall we say, persuasive. We were told they usually started with the chieftain and they asked him if he wanted to get baptized. If he said no they would chop an arm off. If he refused again they would chop the other arm off, and of he continued to refuse they would go on with the legs and then the head. The result was the most people readily accepted God and were baptized.

For the good of the people.

For the good of the church.

For the good of the business.

Not much has changed it seems except that the methods are perhaps a little gentler nowadays, I mean at least people are only losing their jobs not limbs…

Friday, October 21, 2011

Streamlining processes

Does anyone here love corporate jargon much as I do? In case you missed it I did type that there with a heavy dose of sarcasm. Sarcasm can be a little problematic in print, can’t it? It’s really at its best when there’s sound involved, isn’t it?

I’m all for improvement and stoping time waste (although I’m not all that certain how you can waste something that linear and infinite and that ticks along at the same pace not matter what you do) but once you’ve been through your processes and streamlined them you really don’t need to do it every time you get a new manager i.e. every six months.

It’s very fashionable changing managers nowadays which is probably the main reason streamlining processes has got as much traction as it does in the corporate realm. Every new manager has to be seen to be doing something, right? Most of them have no clue what it is the plebs they’ve been put in charge of do so hitting up the processes seems logical, doesn’t it? Sure it does.

For the average worker though it gets a little obnoxious. Once you’ve gone through process streamlining that means that you can produce documentation 1600% faster you’ve kind of taken a giant step forward no matter how inefficient you were to begin with. It’s hard to muster enthusiasm again.

I’m not quite sure where we got this need to be so god damned efficient but we just need to try to make everything faster and and cheaper (not necessarily better) especially if it has to do with someone else’s job.

Mother Nature doesn’t do any of that streamlining crap. There are over a million species of animals. There are 1000 different types of bats alone, that we know of! Some may still be hiding from us holding out for discovery. How many types of bats do you need? Apparently that many!

If we streamlined bats there would be three types maximum: small, medium and large. Maybe you could even get rid of the medium size. Really. Two types of bats should be enough. You’d save a bundle on production cost, you only need two part numbers and imagine all the money you would save on documentation plus it would be much easier for people to choose their favourite bat because everyone knows that too many choices is just too damned confusing and that there’s not a single person who gets happier when they have too many choices.

Streamlining, that’s where bats should be at.

I’m just saying.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Depression just isn’t friggin' funny

A lot, no wait, A LOT of people are depressed. Depressed is the new ADHD.

I suppose it’s lucky that depression has been around for as long as it has, as a recognized condition I mean, because it’s not only important to know that a condition from which you can suffer is available to suffer from but also that it has some cred.

Depression has cred and it’s just not street cred.  It has med cred, psych cred, general population cred and a whole lot of other types of cred that I’m frankly too tired to think of right now.

Depression sucks which is why it’s so important to get help before you realize that you are suffering from it. Ideally. 

Ideally if you feel like crap for any prolonged period you should talk to someone about it. For those of us who are socially inept, like myself, and who are also psychologically burdened with a tendency to not want to burden others with our burdens, it’s especially important to reach out. If you have friends reach out to them.

If you don't have friends or have friends that you feel you can't talk to it about then reach out to one of the many organizations that exist and that have people who are eager to listen to your problems without wanting anything from you. There are people who volunteer just so they can listen to people feeling depressed and help them. You should show them the respect they deserve and talk to them because they want to help you. I'm just saying. Respect.

I’m not making fun of depression. It’s not available to make fun of. Depression just isn’t friggin' funny.

I, in my own brain tired kind of way, am writing this post because I spend a lot of time talking on Communicator with a lady in our US office. She lost her daughter to suicide because of depression. We talk about how she misses her daughter every day. She spends every moment of her life wondering why and asking herself why she didn't do anything/enough to stop it from happening.

If you're depressed it can be hard to remember that you will be missed but you will be. If you're depressed seek help now. Don't wait. You don't deserve to wait.

If you know someone who you think is depressed the best thing you can do is to be their friend. Just be there and as much as it can be really hard to be around depressed people just be their friend. You can also talk to one of the organizations that are set up to help people with depression. They can give you advice on how to help others.

If you're depressed I need to let you know that you matter. I don't even know you but you matter to me.

If you're depressed and you haven't reached out do it now. Please. Right now. You don't deserve to wait.

I'm just saying.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

On being mothers in today's world, education and mental health

For the past week or so I haven’t had a lot to say. It comes and goes in cycles and it manifests in that I go about finding information about topics that interest me and that leads me into new subject areas. Inevitably I get to the stage when I feel like I have formed a new idea or way of thinking out of the new information I have acquired.

I was reading some posts about being a mother and the comments left on those posts. There seems to be some sort of movement out there that preaches that as mothers we need to find ourselves, return to our old selves or generally do something to have motherhood impact less on us. It’s as though being a mother is some sort of condition you need to cure yourself of because what you were before you hatched your little wonder creation was a superior state.

No. I don’t like being dogmatic but I can categorically state that it’s not. It’s neither less nor more as a state. It’s just different.

For me personally it’s been a journey that has severely altered my view on intelligence and development. When my daughter was born I had dreams of her becoming something great and the way I saw that happening was through education. I was hoping that unlike me she would love the classroom environment and that she would thrive in it. I always felt locked up in school and always regarded the subjects to be too narrow. There wasn’t enough room to ask why and certainly not enough room to ask why not.

It didn’t take long once Bee had started school to realize that something wasn’t right. She didn’t learn to read or to count. She was falling behind drastically and she was bullied mercilessly. Teachers gave up on her over and over. The occasional teacher would tailor work for her and make sure she learned something and felt valued but for most of the seven years she spent in primary school she was miserable and depressed. I gave up my dreams of her excelling academically very early in the piece.

This was a child who at four and a half years of age sat down and watched a Discovery channel program about heart operations and who in great detail described the differences between using life support and lowering of body temperatures to me and my dad when it had finished. My dad was floored when she did this and commented on how much smarter she was than her three month older cousin who’s also a girl. The child is not stupid, she just can’t learn in school and she is no good at learning to read the traditional way.

I’ve always suspected that we’re not meant to all fit into the sausage factory style education system that we’re plagued with. We waste enormous talent in this world by discounting people at a very early age because they can’t learn in a certain way. It’s sad. It’s very, very sad and it contributes to a lot of problems in society. How can we have a system that systemically weeds out those who haven’t got a certain type of intelligence and then go about calling that society good? It’s good for some but it’s utter rubbish for others!

It’s also sad to see how narrow the view we as women have of ourselves. Feminism didn’t bring about the changes much needed. We somehow sold ourselves short and instead of rising with the occasion we limited the opportunity to once and for all break free and allowed ourselves to be boxed in again. We’re still paid less than our male counterparts and because we take time off to have children our careers are limited.

Ours is not a happy world.

I don’t think there’s any doubt that at least to some extent pharmaceutical companies are behind the rise of use of drugs like Ritalin to control behavior in children and SSRIs to control what seems to be an epidemic of depression and anxiety. What’s causing all these behavioural and mental health issues? Could the way we’ve structured society be the cause? Could it be that what we’ve created is so limited that we’re creating an array of new problems.

Being a mother isn’t easy but I believe that the last thing we need is to ourselves, as mothers, jump on the bandwagon and start telling each other what we should do. We need to be supportive of each other but we also need to understand that every mother will experience being a mother differently and she needs to be able to embrace being a mother. As mothers we will never get back to what we once were and we shouldn’t try.

Being a mother is not a disease just because it changes our bodies and our priorities. We ourselves are perpetuating the myth that women are only sexy and therefor valuable when they are young and beautiful. We as women need to put a real value on being mothers and rise with it. It’s not just a cliché when we say it’s the most important job of all.

I'm just saying.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Embracing fear

Many of use stop taking risks very early in life. We’re taught by experience and by our caregivers that taking risks is something you should avoid. Sure there are times when you ought to play it safe but most of the time it’s just fear standing in your way and stop you from progressing.

If you take risk there will be opportunity. It’s inevitable! You need to encourage yourself to take risks. Ultimately you have to embrace fear and put that bear in a cage!

Then maybe you’ll realize that what’s holding you back isn’t something all that grand after all.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

In which I was duped

I've been battling with whether I should talk about this one or not but I think I'll have too. It's just too damned intriguing to leave alone.

Just over a month ago I hired a new technical writer. The ad had said one to three years experience but this lady really had none. She did however have 5 years plus as an editor. She had a tech blog that had some good stuff on it - it wasn't perfect but it was something you could definitely develop a decent technical writer from.

The only potential problem the recruiter flagged was what he had perceived as an inability to connect with him in the interview. It worried him because he was afraid that this lady would crumble when confronted with some of our stronger engineering personalities (i.e. the arseholes).

We tested the "man connection issue" by getting her together for a coffee with me and my senior technical writer and my illustrator. It all went fabulously. We all agreed she was a really nice lady and we felt that she was as keen as mustard and that this was going to be easy.

When she first arrived I put her to work on converting documents from one software to another. The idea was the she would get an idea of what we wrote about, formatting and so on which would then enable her to go on to bigger and better things.

Unfortunately this was not the case.

A month later I realize that I was more than likely treated to a hell of a display in the interview. This woman saw herself as a technical writer in the interview and it projected really well. Her resume said all the right things, she said all the right things, but she has zero to back it up with.

To make up for that she has proceeded to flirt with all men who venture into our little corner of the office landscape and more specifically with my senior and my illustrator. I'm amazed that a women almost 40 years old would behave like that.

I'm baffled. I'm usually a really good judge of character but in this case I didn't see it coming at all.

Last week we had a young graduate do a two day stint with us and I gave him the same work to do as I gave her. What took her a week to produce he did in two hours. His I could use. Hers I have to rewrite.

It's all very well to go into an interview and do everything to get a job but for god's sake make sure you can do the job before you accept an offer. It's bleeding painful to have to tell someone that they're not up to par and you have to let them go.

It turns out, and only an extreme amount of googling dug this up, that the 5 years plus editing she claims to have is for some fan fic forum she created herself. The stories she's posted on it are awful. I can't explain the tech blog because I have seen none of the writing capabilities I saw there in the work she's done for me. She's expecting me to tell her exactly what to write! I mean what the what?

While I lick my wounds and try to find out what the hell happened in my head, and try not to suspect that I'm still off my game after the breakdown, I will try to figure out how to repair the damage she's caused. I'm not talking about the wasted time, I'm talking about 20 odd people being laid off in our building alone last week while she kept her job. These were people with good experience, years of it, and emotional investment in their jobs. I'm also talking about the fact that I will not be able to rehire because now there's a hiring freeze.

This makes me angry. And baffled.

I'm just saying.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The art of Creativity

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have."

Steve Jobs in Wired, February 1996

I'm not a fan of the apply hype although I have to admit that since my Windows laptop died early last year and start using a Mac I've had to admit that they're so much easier to use. I have the tiny little Mac Mini on my desk and even though it's a few years old it's just happily chunking away. Macs are more intuitive and certainly more stable (like when you use Linux...)

Apple's strength has been understanding that the human experience plays a huge part when we use technology and how friendly we perceive it to be. Let's hope Apple doesn't fall into the money cutting approach.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The art of being polite despite...

I stopped off at the fish shop this afternoon to get some salmon and having purchased said salmon I stepped outside onto the footpath where I stopped to put on my cycling gloves. I was cycling you see.

I was standing there on the footpath putting on my gloves, facing towards my bike and getting ready to get on it so I could keep riding home when I heard the beginning of that turned out to be an angry mutter. I turned around and I copped the most insane dose of stabby eyes I've seen in a long time. This was coupled with an angry tirade along the lines of "Are you going to stand there and block the foot path or are you going to move out of the way?"

I politely said "I'm sorry!" but I can tell you that it's not what went through my head.

I felt like running down the street to the hardware shop to get a can of spray paint so I could run back and tag that pepper pot's sky blue, synthetic, pathetic tracksuit pant arse 'cause that shit stains and there's no way any amount of Preen or White King bleach is going to remove that shit so she would have to hall her sorry arse back down to St Vincent's shop to find another god damned synthetic, pathetic pre-loved, bargain track suit 'cause that's the only god damned place you can buy that shit. ARRRRCH!

(And I'm so not even attempting to make the sentence grammatically correct. Or shorter.)

I mean really people. Is there something wrong with being polite? Is there an actual age limit for politeness? Is the world so bad that you cannot allow other humans in it to make simple mistakes without acting like a complete bitch? I'm so sick of rude people and Sydney it seems is full of them.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The art of will power

Who and what is will power and where to you get some? Is will power something that you can only obtain after years of practicing Zen Buddhism in a desert where there’s nothing, absolutely nothing, to tempt you? I know this much, I don’t have a lot of it. Not desert or Zen Buddhism. Will power. I don’t have a lot of will power.

It’s come down to this: It’s me against crap food. It’s not because I’m horrendously overweight or unfit anymore. I’m OK for my age. I could settle for that, being fit and overweight (no longer classified as obese which I found out didn’t take all that much) but I don’t want to. I want to be skinny because I know it will make me feel better in so many ways. There’s also the little problem of diabetes. I don’t have a family history of it as such but I do have an awful lot of people around me who have suddenly developed diabetes. Getting diabetes is scary. That shit makes you go blind!

One of the guys who work for me was diagnosed with diabetes last year. He’s made enormous changes to his diet. He used to have things in his lunchbox that would have an eight year old envious. He’s lost weight, he eats healthier and as a result of that he’s healthier. He comes in the other day and tells me that he was reading an article in a diabetes magazine about this weird diet that could cure diabetes. All you’re allowed to eat for two months is onions and capsicum. You’d lose a hell of a lot of weight if you only ate onions and capsicum. I asked him this because I’m a curious person:

If he knew that sticking to that diet for two months would cure him, would he do it? Would he eat only onions and capsicum for two months if he knew it would cure his diabetes?

He looked at me for the longest time because it was obviously a valid question and one that he hadn’t yet asked himself.

Having played mind games with my colleague, something I always find satisfying, I found myself asking myself the same question in a slightly different way:

If I knew that I could prevent myself from ever getting diabetes would I eat only onions and capsicum for two months? I mean, if my doctor told me that this was the way, would I do it? Would I start, cheat and then pretend, or would I really do it?

Now I don’t have diabetes and I don’t show any signs of being on my way to getting it but it could happen unless I smarten up now and change my ways.

Eating to keep healthy seems like such a no-brainer but it’s not. Unless we’re staring certain death in the face we don’t really take action. Unless we’re staring certain death in the face we choose to be sold on marketing for products that are killing us at worst and making us a lot unhealthier at best.

Why do they even allow these products to be sold? Companies are making money off slow murder! And don’t tell me that it’s a free world, that's what capitalism is all about or that people should be responsible for themselves and make smart choices. It’s clear that the majority just can’t be responsible in that way and it's costing us millions in healthcare (just so that these companies can make a profit).


Perhaps the way to start taking weight loss seriously and to start eating like a grown up is to get at least a little paranoid about bad health and dying as a result of it. Maybe that is the way to develop will power…

I don’t care how it happens; I just want to stop eating crap.

I’m just saying.

Oh, and by the way, the guy who works for me has decided to lose ten kgs (20 pounds roughly) before Christmas. His doctor thinks it may cure his diabetes. No onions or capsicum though.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The art of eating like a grown up

I've been thinking. How come I eat so much crap? I don't let my daughter Bee eat as much crap as I do because I don't want her to grow up addicted to junk food.

I eat healthy, don't get me wrong. I eat dark rye bread because I love it. I put smoked salmon on it. I don't butter the bread, I avocado it because I love, love, love avocado. I put Jarlsberg lite cheese on it because it's the lowest in saturated fats. I have no more than two slices.

I eat apples, golden kiwis and a sushi roll at work for breakfast and lunch.

I have a glass of apple juice, gold pressed and no added sugar, in the morning when I get to work because I find it completely kills the problems I had with too much acid in my stomach and it makes me stretchy as hell when I do yoga. I kid you not. That apple juice helps me stretch into positions my cycling legs just wouldn't before. It's mad. I tuck my hands under my feet doing a forward bend with straight legs easy since I started with the juice. It's insane.

But here's the thing. My fat little secret is all the little sugary sweets I sneak in especially when I can't sleep. Luckily I'm getting better at sleeping. Since I started my Lose Weight by Changing My Mind experiment I have come realize just how many of them I sneak in. This is what keeps me fat y'all!

What is it that still makes me eat like a kid? I don't even like the taste of the sugary treats but yet I have to somehow get them in my mouth and swallow them. It's like I'm rebelling against my mom telling me I can't have too many cookies and like watch me now mom 'cause I just ate a whole packet of Oreos. I don't even like the taste of them. I buy them because they're so sweet.

The art of eating like a grown up is something I have partially mastered. It's the partially unmastered part that I need to change. I need to change it because I want to wear dresses again without my thighs chafing. I want to wear sleeveless things without having to worry that I have begun the process of developing bat arms. Arrrrrrrrch! (<--- Yes Merry, I stole that from your iPad. I'm sorry but it just stuck you know.)

I need to stop buying crap food and just ban it from the house for like a month or something and then ban it for another month again. I need to learn to eat like a grown up because consarnit, I don't need to eat like a little kid!

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