Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
I think we tend to suffer from disaster fatigue. Particularly in 2011. At the best of times I have trouble imagining that the more than 10,000 people who died in Japan were in fact that, 10,000 people. Not a sentence. Not a line written by a journalist on deadline.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
I've never been to an actual conference. I'd always pictured them as staid affairs where people go to learn about the value-adding brilliance of brass door knobs and vertical integration and maybe things get titillating a bit later on because Bob the accounts executive gets a bit drunk and tells his team that he likes men.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I say almost zero ability because I have yet to meet all the chickens in the world and it remains possible that there is an obscure chicken cult somewhere in the Amazon that has figured this bit out. I have every expectation that I will one day meet all the chickens in the world because this seems to have been my mother's calling and she insists on naming each new chicken and then introducing them to me in the world's most absurd roll-call.
Hessy and Bessy and Ita and Sammy and, the chicken with what must be a chip on its shoulder, Silly Chook. These all have or do exist and lead me to worry for my mum's wellbeing when my sister eventually finishes high school.
Anyhow. The Kinder Surprises, to be completely frank, are shit. If you had to design the most perfect applicator of crushed hope for a child it would be a pointless object hidden in a shell of awful chocolate. The Kinder Surprise was a metaphor for later life. You will dig and dig through the shit, only to be confronted by something that looked like a cross between a front-end loader and death row.
The egg itself is labelled on the outside with big block letters that say CHOKING HAZARD which makes you wonder why they put the choking bits in the middle of the fucking egg.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
I went to an inordinate number of camps when I was a kid. There is more ‘camp’ in my childhood then a hat full of poodles. If you’re a fan of linguistic omens, this may well have been what turned me gay. That and my penchant for rock hard abs though, sadly, not my own abs.
Anyhow. There was Year 7 camp, Year 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 camp, a Rotary youth camp (tricked!), writer’s camp just after Year 7 camp and another in the backwoods of Boonah where we had to talk a lot about Jesus. It was organised by the Catholic Church and, in no insignificant sign of its popularity, we were all forced to go by our mothers, invalidating the first Genesis Biblical lesson that we were all given free will and that is why we no longer get our bits out in paradise.
The God Camp was filled with a lot of praying but we still had to do our own dishes and that was mostly what I prayed for. I figured with the collective spiritual power of it all that a saucepan would have at least washed itself, but alas.
What do you do on God camp? Pillow fights, mostly. We spent a lot of time asking for forgiveness after whacking one another, pillow raised in self-defence: “Please, I’m sorry, don’t hit me back!” For a room filled with Christians, there was little turning of the other cheek.
Year 7 camp was all fine and dandy until we experienced the biggest floods in a decade. We had intended to canoe across a small inlet on the lake to get to the 4WDs waiting to take us home, but the dam filled to 110% and the only way home was to canoe all the way across it back to base camp.
It took hours. At this point in my life I had never intended on spending five hours in a canoe on a hot summer’s day and therefore had not in the slightest prepared for it. My classmates turned into chicken drumsticks and there was a brief mutiny where we unlashed our canoes from the teachers’ and made a half-hearted break for freedom across the still pond of our own despair.
Year 10 camp was worse. It was a ‘leadership’ camp. You can only become a leader, it turns out, by spending five gruelling days hiking through the mountains around Boonah, putting our high school on par with the armed forces of Bosnia, Sparta and Israel. At the end of the five days one is conferred with both leadership qualities and any and all required medical attention.
We had to hike to a new campsite daily, some 9km each day up the steepest mountains you have ever come across all while wearing your entire campsite and food on your back. I always assumed the benefit of having one’s home on one’s back was that you didn’t have to go anywhere.
Walking groups were divided into office bearers and jobs, with each person being chosen for one based on merit. I was the team historian which basically meant a lot of writing around a campfire. Others were the ‘ecologists’ which is basically a fancy way of saying ‘the people who dig the trench you are meant to shit in’. It was an interesting microcosm of the class struggle that would eventually break out between us as we left high school and found our place in the world. There are historians and poop trench diggers among us all, of course. All vital. All necessary. Especially if you’ve yet to install a functioning toilet where you live.
The Rotary Youth camp was a great deal of fun. It was billed as the event to gain friends, build confidence and motivate your success which was sadly undermined by the theme music ‘Let’s Get Loud’ by J-Lo which played every lunch break and made rather a lot of us consider throwing ourselves under the amphibious water wagon.
Fun times. Year 9 camp was very nearly cut short after a structural flaw in the 100-year-old buildings was exploited by a boy, pushing the wall out from his cabin and sneaking his head through to watch the girls getting changed.
The teachers very nearly didn’t believe the girls when they explained he was able to spy them because the walls did not join up like they are required to under most council planning laws.
Man, I feel like going on another camp now.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
There are several things in life surrounded by an impregnable barrier of implausibility, by virtue of which I simply cannot come to have faith in them.
The elaborate brickwork of ‘no fucking way’ has walled itself around several of life’s little pleasures (or at least, I imagine them to be) such that even if I wanted to swallow them whole into my little gullet of belief I couldn’t, because they are inherently, dramatically, bullshit.
As a child, for example, I remained uncompromisingly hell-bent on authenticating every nursery rhyme.
I mean, honestly, I had enough to worry about without having spurious lies spoon-fed to me in helpful rhymes and iambic pentameter.
Jack and Jill may well have gone up the hill to fetch a pale of water but who sent them, on whose orders and was ‘pale of water’ code for ‘nuclear armaments’ where Jack and Jill are metaphors for heavily industrialised enemies of the West?
Exactly, and do you think my mother could tell me? She couldn’t. She may well have been complicit in the plutonium enriching agenda of developing economies and I would never have known.
Furthermore, Little Miss Muffet (whose birth certificate was never presented to me) sat on her tuffet. Whoa. Just whoa. Other variations of a tuffet are pouffe and hassock. Pouffe! It’s a gay conspiracy and, one would assume, just step one of the homosexual master plan to indoctrinate our children and turn them all into pillow-biters…and…and lesbians!
And, one must ask, why was she so afraid of the spider when all evidence suggests the spider did nothing even remotely aggressive. There was no pre-emptive arachnid strike. It was probably just having a picnic. Little Miss Muffet, ergo, is a racist bigot.
I certainly didn’t appreciate having nursery rhyme recitals where the authors of said nursery rhymes were either heavily bent on acid or so cynically ambivalent toward the English language.. Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon. What. The. Fuck. Honestly, I’ve seen clearer statements pour forth from the almighty maw of legitimate meth addict Charlie Sheen.
That the dish ran away with the spoon is evidence of an adulterous undertone, suggesting that this nursery rhyme at least was written by several willing participants in an outrageous and entirely child-inappropriate swinger’s party.
Retrospectively off with their heads!
I put these questions to my mother and watched her flounder, wondering why on Earth a child so young would be so unwilling to believe a cow could leap bodily over the moon (not least of all because it would be a major detraction from every human-led space milestone to date).
She knew then, as I now know, that sometimes things are not conspiracy theories. Sometimes things just are. Sometimes people do nice things because they want to. Not because there is a reward or because their moral code is being monitored by a supreme being. Sometimes occam’s razor really does cut straight to the truth of it.
Maybe Jack and Jill just wanted some water. They may have wanted some illicit rumpy pumpy, but why is it so hard to understand they also might have just been thirsty in the most basic, non-innuendo forms of thirstiness?
This is why today I generally steer clear of the comments section on news websites, peppered so liberally (scoff, I said liberal!) with conspiracy theories that appear to have been formulated at the bottom of a meth lab.
No, BevanofBankstown, I do not believe that Julia Gillard is bringing on the carbon tax because she is secretly a lizard inside. Besides, that doesn’t even make sense! If she were a lizard she would want the world to get warmer because lizards are cold-blooded and they need the sun’s energy to function.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
I find it diabolical that nobody in this whole media circus has thought to focus on the real victims of the carbon tax. The carbon atoms themselves. All this coming from a Labor Government too – taxing working carbon families like this is just an instrument of cynical politics.
Those little carbon atoms do a lot of work. They make you and I, for instance. They help us make little, tiny things like carbon nano-tubes. And here we are, thinking about taxing them. And so soon after the global financial crisis as well!
It seems the only thing less popular in this country right now than a carbon tax is reading about the carbon tax. And who can blame them when all the literature paints a dastardly future for struggling carbon families who already had to stop using the air-conditioning in summer because they couldn’t afford to pay the electricity bill.
Which is why I propose an alternative, morale boosting policy platform. The carbon sax. It would be a stimulus program for working carbon atoms to build this nation’s next novelty over-sized highway feature. The carbon sax.
It will be an investment in infrastructure and jobs. It’ll be robust. A beacon of what we can achieve when we put our minds together and try and stop thinking about la-la-la-la-la climate change.
I just hope the giant carbon sax never catches on fire, because it’ll really fuck up the atmosphere.