Melbourne – Cooking me Softly with her Love…

If you live (or have lived) in Melbourne, you will know all about our wild fluctuations in weather.

The sooner you accept that Melbourne can’t be tamed, the more time you can allocate to surviving her temperament. It’s a fact – she does what she wants. With a flick of her hair and a hearty chuckle, she takes our pleas, notions of convention and defies us, even though such defiance makes no sense. Hell, it seems Melbourne’s happy to melt her beautiful self just to prove her power.

Back in spring, we pleaded with Melbourne to give us some sun. She denied our request and persisted with the rain thing. Then summer hit, and we were left with average (and sometimes legitimately cold) weather. We asked for heat and wow did we get it. This week has been between 40-45 degrees (105-110 for you Fahrenheit peeps) and Melbourne is now a fully fledged roasting pan, in which we’re the potatoes – and we’re now so overcooked that somebody is going to have a tough time scraping us out.

Sure, there are some downsides to this weather. In some rooms of my apartment, the air is so thick with heat that it may take up occupancy and start hogging the remote control. The heat has become such a presence that I’m contemplating charging it rent. At the very least, some light chores need to be done. Oh, the weather is also making it impossible to inhabit any portion of the apartment. There’s that. So yeah, it’s not all beer and skittles over here – and if it were, they’d be melted by now.

There are some upsides to the heatwave, though:

· When I opened the pantry yesterday, I could smell the contents of every can, container and box; as they’ve cooked themselves in the heat. Yep, that means no more cooking because it’s already been done. I just need to scoop stuff into a bowl and dig in.

· I believe the heat is so firmly entrenched into the brickwork, carpet and plaster that it will never go away. Sounds bad, right? Not quite. It means that I’m going to be toasty in the winter. Goodbye heater, I’ve found a heat source that costs me nothing other than my own sanity and wellbeing in the summertime.

· I ran out of sticky tape a while back. Not to worry, anything that was loose is now stuck to where I last left it. Hoorah!!

Now, if I could only unpeel my fingers from the keyboard I would scoop me some dinner.

All I want for Christmas is to be rash-free…

Jesus, this rash just won’t go away. On the upside, I suppose I now know the precise moment that future me became a Christmas grinch

It sounds a bit grinchy to talk about how I become a Grinch, but there’s no point in pretending otherwise. Look, Christmas has always been a touchy time for me. I was born on Christmas day and so I share my day with a time of year that has no room for anything else. Apparently, Christmas day isn’t big enough for the both of us. But this year, I decided to try something a little different. I made my peace with Christmas and bought some Christmas hats (purchased from a popular Japanese discount store) for my wife and I because I’m a good guy. Sorry ladies, I’m taken. I know you’ve probably been waiting for that dreamy guy who’ll surprise you with a festive hat, but sadly it can’t be me…

Then I gave my wife a rash. Wait, I should backtrack. I surprised the luckiest wife in the world with a sweet Christmas hat. She loved it, of course. Her ‘hat’ was a headband with antlers and I wore a simple, yet stylish, Santa hat. Oh, I totally got into the spirit of Christmas and despite the heat, my wife and I wore the hats ALL day. Our families came to lunch and thought the hats were the cutest. Dammit, they were.

The next morning, my wife woke up with a rash near her temples and you better believe I heard ALL about it. You know how people are when they wake up with inexplicable rashes – the worst. I may have chuckled a bit given that I was rash-free (which is just the way I like it). The morning after, I woke up with a rash of my very own in exactly the same place. Because it happened to me, we got straight on to working out what the hell happened.

Christmas hats, cheap glue and reckless husband (maybe I’m not the catch I made myself out to be above – sorry, ladies). That’s what happened.

So that’s what I get for trying to participate. Perhaps I’m being overly dramatic, but the level of cruelty involved in getting a rash from wearing a Christmas hat is off the scale. It would be like breaking a finger while signing a cheque for a charity or being hit by a bus while helping a little old lady cross the road.

Maybe I’m setting my goals way too low, but for the next forever years all I want for Christmas is to be rash-free.

HI HO HI HO – where the hell did my holidays go?

After 16 days of non-work-bliss, I am now preparing myself for the sad trudge to the coal mine tomorrow morning. I almost don’t mind the walk itself because, by then, I have pretty much resigned myself to the reality of what’s ahead. Much like a discussion in one of my favourite films, Fight Club, it’s like the oxygen has dropped and I succumb to the inevitable.

I actually quite like my job but the allure of kicking around in my jocks every day, playing the PS3 and pondering my next activity/the meaning of life/whether I can justify lunch #2 is appealing.

The dread rooted in the ‘transition’ from holiday to non-holiday is easily the worst part of the whole process. The CONCEPT of returning to work chills me. It actually commences its dirty work the second you step out of the office and lingers until it materialises upon your return to work. It’s the urban grim reaper. It’s the dark cloud that follows you until it’s time to rain. I like to think that (the odd grumble aside) I’m a glass half-full kind of guy – but it’s hard not to at least THINK about the fact that at some point you’re going to have to get your ass back to work.

It’s actually kind of funny. There is always a moment during the holidays where I think to myself: geez, this whole living thing is actually pretty easy. I mean, there’s nothing to it really. I choose the time I get up, the time I get out of my PJs, and there is no pang of guilt when I go to bed late. Obviously, I’m an idiot because this is clearly stage 3 of the transition back to work. If it were a leaflet in a waiting room, it would be titled: ‘so, you’re going back to work (holidays are over, chump)’ and look something like this:

• Stage 1: Conceptual dread – you know you’ll have to return to work, but for now it’s just a date and nothing more.

• Stage 2: Distant dread – the return-to-work date is approaching, but it’s still so far away that you can afford to scoff at it.

• Stage 3: ‘Work’s not that bad’ dread – you’ve been falsely lured into thinking that life is actually quite easy. You think that everything will be this breezy when you return to work, but you still don’t want to go back.

• Stage 4: Looming dread – the date is fast approaching and you start to sweat. You think about the work waiting for you on your desk.

• Stage 5: ‘The MOMENT’ dread – this is the exact moment you resign yourself to the knowledge that the holiday is overrRRRR. This usually occurs around dinner time on the eve of your return. This is dread at its purest.

Please let me know if you would like a copy of the above leaflet. I imagine it will have my sad face on the cover.

Happy New Year 

Kanye Yeah Yeah…

Kanye West – the man, the God (?), the hater, the lover (Kim K if you live under a rock , please refer to ‘Bound 2’ if you need absolute certainty), the creative genius, Jesus, Justin Bieber etc…

We’ve all heard of him. He makes sure of that. I actually don’t mind the guy. I mean, he’s a complete ass but at least he backs it up with boundary-pushing music. I know many disagree, but I kind of feel that he surely can’t believe half of the crap he says. He’s a button-pusher. There have been many before him (i.e. Elvis Presley, Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson etc) and there will be many that follow (i.e. Miley Cyrus…umm, kind of).

Today I read that Kanye won’t ‘talk shit’ for ‘like 6 months’. I don’t want to be Mr Negative, but it sounds like people who say they’ll quit smoking in the New Year and end up lasting about 7 hours. My gut tells me that Kanye will last about the same amount of time before he has a sook about something. When is the Nobel Peace Prize handed out? If he doesn’t win, it could be the ‘first smoke’ of 2014 if you catch my drift…

In preparation for the inevitable, can we, oh I dunno, stop getting so damned upset every time he opens his mouth? We know how he is. He’s the kid who stomps around banging pots and pans. I’m told (I’m not yet a parent – thankfully – more so for the well-being of the child than for any other reason) that if we just ignore them they’ll stop banging the pans and go to sleep (that will be my approach anyway). Why not the same approach with Kanye? I know he’s put the pots and pans down for a second…but they’ll never be out of reach.

So when Kanye eventually compares himself to doctors, declares himself Ghandi reincarnated (has he done that yet? I can’t keep up) or claims he is actually the Empire State Building (like, actually) – let’s just shrug it off and laugh, yeah? Kanye yeah yeah, we’ll say. Of course you’re the Empire State Building, and what a fine Empire State Building you are! He’ll get tired of the lack of universal reaction and he’ll take a nap.

I still want him to keep making music, though. Yeezus was the bomb – enjoy one of my faves from the very same.

Chapter 6: Hollywood Strikes Again!

Yet again, Hollywood is warping my expectations of common interactions with people.

I walked into a bookstore yesterday. An actual, physical ‘book-in-your-hands’ bookstore (i.e. not the sort where you are bombarded with side bar ads for things you may like based on ‘recent searches’). It’s kind of magical. There’s a sense of warmth to be found in flicking through a book that you just can’t get by browsing online. Bookstores are dying in Australia. Tax and greed are contributing to what I imagine will be the end of walk-in stores. It’s sad.

There are many famous TV shows/movie scenes that have taken place in bookstores. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind contains a classic moment of the ‘maybe’ in a bookstore. Then there is Black Books, with one of the greatest bookstore characters ever written in Bernard Black. Bernard perhaps did not eschew the sort of passion that I’m talking about, but the quirk, colour and general alcoholism is spot on. So, I guess I was expecting some sort of an ‘experience’ in the bookstore. I wanted to be whisked away into their fantasy land. I wanted to be swept up in a whirlwind of possibility. I wanted to dream their dreams…

I wandered around the store and exhibited my finest ‘pondering Sean’, however, nobody approached me to engage in academic banter. I picked books up, paused and then returned them to the shelf. No bites. Finally, I spotted the quirky, ‘oddball’ woman behind the counter who would take me to this wonderland. I handed over the book I had chosen (a rather interesting selection if I may say so) and waited. I was ready. She would ferry me to the other side and we’d take happy snaps among the other book lovers. She would wrap me up in a coat of many colours and prepare a hammock under the stars for me to immerse myself in my book (the selection of which she would call ‘inspired’).

What happened next was anything but the wonderland I had imagined/was led to believe by Hollywood. In fact, the only words she uttered were ‘savings or credit?’ when I presented my card and a very modest (read: perhaps forced) ‘thank you’ when I left. I think I even hung around for a short while. I thought my lingering presence would prompt her to fire up the ferry, as if I had passed some test (i.e. impressive book choice + patience + swag = ferry) but it only turned the disappointment into bookstore-awkward. So I tucked the book under my arm, straightened my tie and non-ferried my way back to work.

Soupdrops Keep Falling on my Head…

I placed my umbrella and a small tub of leftover stew/soup in a bag and headed off to work. Then I got to work and all was well in the world.

Oh that’s right – that’s not how it happened at all. Instead, when I got to work I noticed that the ‘airtight’ seal failed and made a mockery of my decision to place the soup in a container so that it would be separate from everything else. If I’d have known this is how it was going to be, I would have just ladled some soup into the bag, thrown the umbrella in and given the bag a good shake. So yeah, I was a bit upset that soup was swishing around in the bag and my umbrella was sopping wet. I know umbrellas are designed to handle liquids; but not soup. My first instinct? I don’t need this – I’m going to buy a new umbrella. How first-world-thinking is that?

Then I remembered, I don’t have money to splash (ha, get it?) on additional umbrellas. Spending money on backup umbrellas (purchased purely on the basis that your primary umbrella is ‘soupy’) definitely falls within the realm of discretionary spending. I’m not there (yet?), but I’ll be sure to let you know when I make enough money from this blog-biz that I reach ‘backup umbrella’ wealth (pfft). It makes me think, though. You know who has this sort of dough? People who buy stationery…

You know you’re making good money when you can buy your own stationery and don’t have to relocate it from other sources. I mean, I have a ton of pens – but I can’t recall the last time I actually walked into a store, selected a pen, informed the attendant that I wished to exchange my hard-earned $$$ for the pen and walked out ready to lay some ink. It seems like such a waste. It’s like when I went to Europe with my wife and we were faced with the ridiculousness of paying for tap water. It’s crazy. You leave this country and water is everywhere. Hell, you fly over thousands of KMs of it. Then, apparently, water stops being everywhere and it becomes worth its weight in gold. The funny thing is that when it rains, it rains for free and I’m left looking for a cheap umbrella that doesn’t stink like soup.

BAD FACE ROULETTE

Old people have a look.

For the sake of not spending the entirety of this piece referring to old people as ‘old people’, I’m going to call them agesters because it sounds at least marginally better, and perhaps a little cute.

I’m not having a go at the agesters, but they do, in fact, have a ‘look’. It’s like at some point in their lives they decide they’re not going to change their look anymore. I believe this commences the transition from hipster to midster – which ultimately leads to agester. For completeness, midster is the point at which they don’t actively change their look, but such a change is occasionally forced upon them by their children/partners with gifts of clothes etc (i.e. subtle reminders to look fresh/better). So these agesters stop changing their look and their last look becomes their uniform, of sorts. You could even call it a brand. Agesters know that Bob wears the purple knit and Mavis wears the large pink sun hat – every day. Maybe it’s a memory thing. It becomes harder to remember everyone if they keep looking different, so better to keep the same look? Imagine if agesters changed their look as much as hipsters. They’d never recognise each other.

I think a little more planning should go into this transition; otherwise you leave it to fate. It’s like image roulette – where you spin that one last time, you go bust and you’re left with what you’ve got. As I approach agester status , I’m going to be more thoughtful with the looks I adopt. I might even plan it. I mean, if I know I want to be an old guy who wears cowboy boots (with spurs), then I’ll save that look for a little later and hope that’s what I land on. People who fail to plan are going to be left with mohawks etc. That’s how some agesters today were left with mullets – poor planning. They either played their hand at the mullet look too late or held on to it too long.

Agesters even have a ‘face’ they pull when they walk around. Some have a 24-7 sour puss face and others look like they’re in the clouds (although, admittedly this could be the medication). The thought process above applies equally to this situation. As I approach agester status (many years from now!), I’m going to practice pulling the face I want to be my default agester face. Otherwise, it’s just too risky.

Bad face roulette – when the wind changes, you’d better be prepared.

An Artist’s Impression of Nothing

At the risk of sounding unoriginal, time seems to be moving faster and faster each day. When I was younger, some days would never end. Now I only manage to get to work, buy a bottle of milk and take off my shoes before bedtime strikes.

You know what I want to do one day? Nothing.

Seriously – I want to partake in just one day where I do absolutely nothing. I don’t even mean those (lucky and ridiculously rare) days where you can cruise around, pick up a sandwich from your local, do the laundry and watch one of those ‘panel’ TV shows where a group of people you’ve never seen before sit around a table and bicker endlessly. That’s already far more than my ‘day of nothing’ will comprise.

I’m talking nothing in the literal sense. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as: ‘not anything; no single thing’. Now we’re getting close. The peeps at Oxford know exactly what I’m trying to achieve. I want not a single thing to pass before me. I just want to sit in the middle of the living room in my underwear. I want to make the royal family (sorry, I won’t capitalise the ‘R’ there) look like the hardest working family in the world. I want to be non-responsive. I want to be vegetative. I want to make vegetables (actual vegetables) look industrious. I want to take non-action to a whole new level and turn it into an art form. I want someone to be able to look at me from far and admire my ‘form’ (not in the physical sense – more my abstract interpretation of the concept of nothing). I want people to study me for the purposes of putting together a textbook on how to correctly execute nothing. I will achieve the purist’s nothing.

I know time is precious and I really do try to live every day to the best of my ability. But I just want one day where I can brush aside the cruelty of our limited existence and achieve an entire day where I don’t want or need to do a damn thing. I’ll make it up to you all the next day. I’ll help you move. I’ll feed the dog. Whatever.

I’ll even put my clothes back on.

JUST A FISTFUL OF DISAPPOINTMENT…

A friend recently told me he’d accumulated enough frequent flyer points to travel to South America. Shit. While that lucky sod will be flying across the world, I’ll be here chasing my own damn tail, it seems.

You see, I enter almost every competition I come across. Not those competitions that require the application of skill, of course – my almost comical lack of skills sees to it that I don’t bother insulting anybody with my half-arsed attempt at whatever it is they would like me to do in exchange for the possibility of some win.

I’m talking about the vanilla-variety competitions where you put your name down to win a scooter/holiday/pumpkin. It goes something like this: I SMS my details to win stuff, they say they’ll let me know of the outcome and I either never hear back from them or I’m told I have been ‘unsuccessful on this occasion’. Um, that’s plainly wrong because I am unsuccessful on EVERY occasion.

What angers me is that everybody else I speak to on this point tells me about the time they won a scooter/holiday/pumpkin. So why the hell can’t that be me? Am I doing it wrong? How can I enter a competition wrong? Am I supposed to wink when I hand the competition slip back to the promo person or stand on my tippy toes when I send the SMS? Who the hell do I need to shake down for a free gift??!

What makes it worse is that I can’t even get reward points right. I can’t even EARN a freebie. Hell, I’ve had plenty of cards over the years that were supposed to reward me for my errant spending habits. No joke, I have accumulated points and companies have just point blank told me that they’re cancelling the points because the card I use is no longer eligible. It’s like they know who I am and they want to continue this life long tradition of really sticking it to Sean.

So, basically – I can’t win and I can’t even get what I’m entitled to. I’m essentially the worst at receiving goods that I haven’t directly paid for. The worst. No scooter, no holiday and no damn pumpkin. Just a fistful of competition flyers and no free bag to put them in.

The Smiths said it best when they (very politely) asked for what they want. This is a version by one of my favourite bands in the world – Deftones. Enjoy.

 

A man, his diary and the final entry

I’ve started using a calendar.

Not because I’m popular or precious enough to think that my time is in such high demand that it demands regulation – because I can assure you that’s not the case. At the risk of over simplifying this, the reality is that I am using a diary so I can say that I’m using one (i.e. diary chic).

Think of the privileges. Now when people ask if I’m free, I can say ‘hmmm, let me check my calendar’, and then flick through a completely unnecessary number of pages, occasionally pausing to build some hope – but then I’ll crush it with my wit (i.e. oh, I’d love to cancel THAT appointment, but I don’t think the Queen would be impressed, now would she??). I’ll lick my finger so as to better grip the pages and remark about certain ‘engagements’ that ‘just can’t be moved’. Sure, I’m only using the calendar on my phone for now, but I’m planning on upgrading and carrying around one of those leather-bound diaries. I’ll use a really heavy pen and ‘squeeze people in’ where I can. When I write, I’ll refer to them as ‘entries’ and I’ll say things like ‘my diary goes where I go’, ‘some space has just opened up in my calendar’ and other similarly wanky things. It will be great. People will avoid me even more than they do now, but I won’t care because my calendar will be ‘too jam-packed’ to notice.

My diary will, in fact, contain the musings of a madman, doodles (i.e. really shitty drawings of robots, helicopters, pre-historic animals re-imagined as tax lawyers (i.e. Taxosaurus Rex, Taxodactly etc.)) and probably some flip diagrams. The flip diagrams may contain boobies.

My reputation will skyrocket off the back of my diary. I’ll be perceived as an organisation machine. People will refer to me as ‘the guru’. I’ll be sought out for ‘consultations’, ‘seminars’ and ‘workshops’. Of course, I’ll need to check my calendar before I commit to anything, but I’m sure I can squeeze a few sessions here and there.

Sadly, when I shuffle off one day, my diary will be found and the ‘guru persona’ will most definitely be uncovered for the sham that it is. They’ll find the doodles, the musings and the boobies. I’m not organised, they’ll say. I’m a two-bit trickster that can’t even draw. People will have been had and they’ll bay for my blood. But it will be too late. I’ll already be 6 feet underground with my calendar well and truly booked for the rest of eternity…

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