Scuse the hair. Wasn't allowed to shower when I had this on. Fruitlessly washed my armpits and etc many times, but really, in Queensland showers are not optional. Did not enjoy marinating in my own juices.
In my car. Locked out of the house. Sigh.
Hello Constant Reader.
Gosh, that phrase makes me feel guilty. Another reason why this blog must die, I already incorporate enough guilt into my daily subconscious thoughts without anything adding to it.
With a little help from my daughter, I have been working on removing the posts, from the oldest onwards. It's fiddly, especially when I am copying everything into a word doc, not simply hitting delete, and I have severe lazy bastarditus, a crippling ailment, hence the daughterly assistance.
However, I have decided to leave the guest posts by Donna, Charlotte and Phil up and the post I wrote about Karen. It seems wrong to take them down as they are about someone else and are mainly other people's words. I will also leave up one or two of the more (ahem) educational posts, and a few others. The one about the psychopath and the one about my clinical depression come to mind. Some folk have told me they found those helpful, so I will leave them for now at any rate.
If there's a story you particularly want to read again and it's no longer up, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will email it to you, provided you give me full credit if sharing it and ask those you share with to do the same. Remember to add something in the email subject heading to let me know it's a legitimate email, not spam.
I should also add that I am STILL not getting comment notifications. I have told Weebly, repeatedly. I have changed my email address per their request. I have asked support many times why this is happening. They keep responding in nonsense speak. Once the posts are culled to half a dozen, I can just check in on them from time to time and see if there are more comments. But at the moment, it would be impossibly time consuming to police, so forgive me if you have commented and I have not seen it or replied.
And, in light of recent events, those are selfies of me wearing a holter monitor. Not very flattering shots, but frankly if it's focused and I am actually in the picture I am beating the odds. On the morning when I was to return to have it removed, I managed to lock myself out of the house. That's not that unusual, on average it happens about 3 times a year. Which is why I have a back up plan. Leah's house keys (she of "women our age" fame) are in my garage, and she has a set of mine at her house, so I can always drive over there, grab my keys and drive home again. It's a little inconvenient, being approximately a 13 minute drive, but a lot better than being locked out.
Sadly, this time I also managed to lock my car keys in the house. So now I have a back up plan to my back up plan. My spare car keys, along with Leah's house keys, out in the garage. It's not a question of if, my friends, it is when.
And I'll bid you all farewell again when I do, eventually farewell this blog. Starting to feel a bit like Frank Sinatra...
So for now, au revoir, Gentle Reader. Soon to be adieu.
Dear Constant Reader
I recently, and rather abruptly, quit Twitter. Those who know me well know that I grow tired of things rather swiftly, and that was certainly part of the reason for the decision. Come October, Twitter and I would have been bound together in unholy matrimony for a year, and that’s really quite a long time for me to commit to anything. So one reason is simply that I am flighty and my interest tends to wane. When it starts to feel a little like a chore, it’s probably time to ditch a hobby.
Another is that I am the poster child for OCD and addictive personality. I am not on FB, Pinterest, Reddit, Kik, Snapchat, Google+ or any of the other popular or social sites because they frankly don’t interest me. But I often found Twitter utterly and completely compelling. The more people who followed me, the more I would follow them back, the more mentions, DM’s and retweets I received, the more I felt I had to reciprocate, the more I interacted with people, the more people followed me, the more I followed them back and on and on in an ever increasing circle of almost exponential lunacy.
It was getting to the point where I was checking my feed a phenomenal amount of times on any given day. That sort of obsessive behaviour is not particularly good for me, particularly if it involves interaction with a lot of human thoughts. The thoughts of other people often contribute to my deteriorating mental health.
It was also becoming too much like a real place. One day it was suddenly not so much fun anymore, because the realisation hit me that YOU’RE ALL REAL! I have such an avalanche of emotional shit going on in my life that I just can’t deal with anything else that feels even remotely like pressure.
And one of the best things about Twitter is that you can say whatever the hell you want. But one of the worst is that so can other people. There are a lot of very, very stupid people in the world. I wasn’t following stupid people, or when I was and realised it I swiftly blocked them, however that doesn’t stop one from seeing the retweets. My penultimate act on Twitter was to call a verbally abusive, passive aggressive monster out. It went something like “Show some humility and shut your vile, abusive, ignorant fucking face. Shut the fuck up, cunt.” Twas a glorious moment. However, inadvertently reading the bleating dross that some insist upon inflicting on others in the form of their worthless and witless opinions infuriates me.
It is better for me, generally, to avoid things which enrage me. Hence the no TV (especially NOT “reality” TV) no news, no newspapers rule, which I adhere to for the most part.
However I am feeling a little guilty about ditching my Twitter friends without fair warning or a proper cheerio. The decision was made fairly hastily after Twitter non support screwed with my account again. They had been messing with my avi for days. They then turned me into an egg. They replied to my request for help with useless penis dribble. And then took to ignoring me altogether, as is their wont. You will know Constant Reader, this is not, by far, the only run in I have had with Twitter incompetence. Again, infuriating.
And a cog seized up and a spring went boing and I knew it was enough.
I deliberately did not check any DMs or @’s before leaving in case it swayed me to stay. But oh how I often loved you, Twitter.
So I would just like to say (and if you used to follow me on Twitter, perhaps you could let a few others know) that I am sorry I had to leave you all. My bizarre, often brilliant, witty, sparkling, sexually deviant and sometimes cantankerous and semi-misanthropic followers afforded me much pleasure and taught me a great deal. Twitter – the Twitter I knew – was NOTHING like Facebook or any other social site. It is a truism on Twitter that you cannot explain what it is to outsiders. It defies all description.
So, in other words, it’s not you guys. It’s me.
I can’t go back to say goodbye properly. Once I logged in again I would be lost forever on a sea of thoughts and like the Ancient Mariner, would find that:
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
Until I awoke, dazed and disorientated, decades hence, glassily gawping at a phone or a laptop screen. Old and grey, hair matted, a cat, a bottle of vodka and a bacon sandwich on my lap, sporting only a giant nappy, fingers and thumbs grown huge and muscular while the rest of my sinews had atrophied to uselessness, relentlessly re-tweeting, starring, DMing, trophying and @ing as they carried me, finally, to my coffin. From wherein I would tweet my last words. It’s that sort of place.
So the thought came, how can I share this news if I don’t tweet it? And the answer came back in a whisper “blog it”.
So here I am, blogging it. Well, I did say never say never. But certainly say seldom, or possibly never again.
And to all of you whom I abandoned, forgive me, I beg. Goodnight, goodnight! Parting is such tweet sorrow. You can always email me if you still would like to chat in lines of more than 140 characters. The address is email@example.com. I get a lot of spam so please put something in the subject line to let me know who you are.
Tweet of me as I am. Nothing extenuate, Nor set down aught in malice. Then must you tweet. Of one that loved not wisely, but too well.
On the 5th October, 2012, I started this little blog. I had blogged for maybe 2 months prior to that, in 2011, before my mental health break down (you can read about that here if you like: Swimming in the soup) but then closed it down and deleted it all.
The catalyst for trying again was leaving Facebook. I was chatting to Lynn (she of Brisbane fame), about leaving FB and how I would miss everyone. She suggested I take up blogging again, where I could ramble and rant to my heart's content and still keep an open line of communication with online friends.
So, I did. And you, Constant Reader, followed me down the Yellow Brick Road. I have been up and down like a yo yo with mental and physical issues and have shared some of that with you. There have been a couple of rants along the way. But mostly, I hope I just made you smile and entertained you a little.
If I had any goals, they were pretty minor ones. Mainly, I just wanted to talk. But en route I managed a wee bit more than that:
- I discovered the blogging community. Much of which is absolute dribble and not worth a second glance. But some of which includes people who are funny, empathetic and with whom I became online friends. If you go to the top of this page and click on the Blogs I Like To Read tab, you will see most of them mentioned.
- Blogger to blogger awards. Fellow bloggers were kind enough to notice me and offer me the hand of friendship and the voice of praise on several occasions.
- This blog was nominated in two online writing competitions too. Though I didn't win, I got a lot of support, and, truly, that others thought I was good enough to nominate meant an awful lot to me.
- I accidentally monetised my blog along the way and made such a staggering sum I broke even on paying for the domain name and stat counter. Basically, Digital Parents approached me and I ran some ads for them. It was as easy as pie, got me some spare change and made me feel vaguely professional for a while.
- I was asked to write for The Shake, which I did, twice. For personal reasons, I decided not to write any more articles for them, but it was still pleasing to be included on their site.
- You, Constant Reader. I received subscribers. You have no idea how much that idea still astonishes me. That anybody, ever, would subscribe to read my ramblings is marvellous and humbling.
- I have become a better writer. I look back on earlier posts and can see the flaws. Writing this blog two or three times a week has really improved my ability to edit and to fine tune the writing.
- Catharsis and a great deal of fun. Though I have spoken mainly about amusing things on the blog, there were a few serious topics addressed too. The relief of speaking out about those things, of being able to put my thoughts down coherently and have others understand, listen and comment has been indescribable.
And so, what now? Well, I think 15,000 hits is a fitting time to stop blogging. At the back of my mind I had the idea that I would stop at 15,000 hits or after a year, whichever came first. Going by the average, I will make 15,000 hits in the next week or so. That's not bad for ten months of just writing any damn thing I pleased and dressing it up with Clipart.
A long time ago, Kim Foale said to me (when I shut down the brief blog of 2011 and stated that I planned not to blog any more) Never say Never. And she was right, so I won't do that. I will say though that I think I have achieved everything I subconsciously wanted to. I rarely set myself conscious goals, because when I do that I usually self sabotage and fail. In this case, the goals I never set myself were reached and a great deal more. With that in mind, I don't really plan to write any new posts. Maybe the odd thing might just cry out to be written, I guess we shall see. Never say never, right? But I think from now on (to horribly mistreat the Bard) "the rest is silence."
I don't think any of you discovered the Easter egg links on the sidebar, so let me just mention those to you . If you click on the non-conformity Kool aid comment, it will take you to an amusing little sketch. The name H.P. Lovecraft will take you to a page about his work. There were a couple of other links there a while back, but over time I have changed the sidebar and they disappeared. My favourite was this one, on sunshine.
Thank you, my amazing online friends, the Constant Reader, for accompanying me on my little voyage. Thank you for your support, your comments, your kindness. It's all been frankly amazing. Thank you for spending time with me.
You know where to find me if you want to talk to me.
You will note from the comments that such things as I talk about here are called Mondegreens. We have a book in the house somewhere on Mondegreens, Spoonerisms, Eggcorns and Malapropisms which is highly amusing - although sometimes sets my teeth on edge a little (people who say oldtimers when they mean alzheimers for example) - however I couldn't remember the word at the time and was far too lazy to look it up.When I was a child, my mother used to save hard each year to take us away for a few days to a caravan at the seaside. I would spend hours at the beach with my wee brother, oblivious to intermittent rain showers, sorting through assorted flotsam and jetsam, building sand castles, digging holes, flying kites, and watching crabs in rock pools in horrified fascination. Crabs still alarm me, with their disagreeable eyes and furtive gait. Most aquatic life does, actually. I'm fairly phobic about fish and sometimes have nightmares about being naked in the ocean while they jump all over me. (Fun fact - my star sign is Pisces).
Anyway, I like to sing along to tunes, always have, but as a child was a bit clueless when it came to the actual lyrics. Around the age of 9, California Girls was undergoing a brief revival on the radio, and I took delight in belting it out with the words "Ripstead Toddy B California girls." I was vaguely aware that this didn't mean anything sensible, but I liked the tune.
That year, I uncovered my usual trove of treasure on my visits to the beach at St Andrews. One particularly fortuitous morning, as the wind whipped the slate grey ocean into a furious frenzy, I discovered the battered end of an old paint brush, stumpy bristles matted together, decorated with peeling flecks of antiquated paint, and coated with grotty, ancient, crumbling barnacles. Naturally, I decided to adopt it as a pet, and named it Toddy B. Toddy B was by my side all week long, riding proudly in my bucket with my shells and other prized possessions as I crooned "Ripstead Toddy B California" to him, or admiring my castle construction skills as he lay beside me on the sand. But our time together was cut cruelly short. By the time we had returned home, Toddy B had mysteriously vanished. My mother swore up and down I must have left him in one of the caravan cupboards. I always had my suspicions, however, that he met with a more sinister fate.
The Constant Reader has probably already gathered that I was considered a little odd, right from the day I emerged squalling from the womb. On that, mother told a lovely anecdote about my arrival. Apparently I met the world shrieking fit to burst a blood vessel. I probably had some inkling of what was ahead of me. The nurse gazed down at me screaming my bloody lungs out, and commented "My god, look at the size of her mouth!" To which my mother answered "Do you mind? That's my baby!" and the nurse replied "I'm really sorry Mrs, but I've never seen a gub that big before."
Heart warming, isn't it?
Anyway, to this day, if I am not entirely certain of the word, or even the entire line of a song, I will just insert whatever I think fits. I do not let lack of talent, or knowledge, deter me.
It seems my daughter shares my penchant for singing along, whether she should or not. A couple of years back, when I was playing Newton Faulkner on repeat at the time, she could be heard sweetly warbling "Love, love is a fart, love is a doing word". And she insisted that Bernard Fanning was telling us that his Hairpin was slowly creeping back.
I have a friend who loves to sing, but won't, for fear of what others might think. Sigh. I regularly burst into unexpected song - in part because I quite often have a soundtrack echoing around my mind, and I forget that other people cannot hear it. I'll be wandering through the mall, or putting something in the boot of the car and suddenly join in on the chorus, leading to startled glances and wide berths. I have perfected the "Oh, sorry, don't worry, I am only harmful to myself, not others" smile in response to that. I encourage everyone, each and every one of you, to sing your little lungs out. Don't let other people take this pleasure from you. Belting out a song in the car, at the mall, in the kitchen, at a friend's house, i̶n̶ ̶a̶ ̶b̶o̶r̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶m̶e̶e̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ can be elating, mood enhancing and just downright good fun. When they were little, my children used to reply to the question "Why do we sing?" with their well rehearsed answer "Because it fills us with joy."
So, aside from being a bit, um, different that is why I sing, Constant Reader. I sing because it fills me with joy.
And if I can make someone wince and flinch in the process, well, that's just a bonus.
As I have lately been thinking that my little blogging spree has pretty much run its course, this seems like a good time to post something terribly sensible and serious.
Every now and then I read "professionals" telling people how to blog. I often disagree with what they have to say. So, in the grand tradition of loudly airing my opinion, whether you want it or not, here are my own tips for bloggers.
And finally, it occurs to me new bloggers might want to drive traffic up to their site. One of the easiest ways to do this is to comment on other blogs - particularly those where the comment section allows you to add your own URL. When commenting, I usually use the blog name as my name and my site URL. Most bloggers will politely click back on your link to have a look (I pretty much always do too), and often others simply reading the comments will also do so. I know this because of statcounter, it lets me see where traffic is coming from.Another good resource is Digital Parents. You will see their button on my sidebar. They have a "flog your blog" Friday where you can comment and add your link. Digital parents were also responsible for an advertiser who placed an ad on my blog a couple of months back (and they approached me, which was lovely). On top of which I just won a free massage through Digital Parents, so they are my favourite resource at the moment. Link ups in general are useful for diving traffic to the blog.And that's pretty much all I've learned from paying attention over the last 9 months or so.
- Spelling and grammar are not optional. Do not publicly post anything if you do not have a decent grasp of literacy. If you are unsure, ask a high school English teacher to read your composition and give honest feedback. Everyone makes mistakes, but some simply cannot string two decent sentences together. If you are that someone, spare yourself the embarrassment and just email your chums.
- Don't post every day. Write only when you have something interesting to write about. Posting something worth reading once a week, or only once a month, is much more desirable than forcing yourself to post nothing much every day. It's also too much to expect even your greatest fans to read your thoughts this often. If you really feel compelled to write every day because you have something fascinating to say, fair enough. But I would warrant that is fairly unusual.
- Add a stat counter. I use statcounter.com. Yes, your site will probably come with some sort of stat counter of its own, but it very probably won't offer nearly so much information. The free versionof statcounter.com is good, the paid version is cheap and very good. (Also, the key word searches are often hilarious). This is not a sponsored comment.
- Use pictures, because they make every post more interesting, however...
- Use your own pictures, or get permission, or be very sure that they are "common" pictures. I regularly use Openclipart for this reason. People can, and do, take legal action against bloggers for using their pictures without permission.
- Paint.net is another great piece of software. It's free, so don't download anything asking you for money. (Rojerb tells me Gimp is equally good and is also free.) If you use pictures and want to alter them in any way, it's a very useful tool. Again, not sponsored, I just happen to like it.
- No pop ups. I have repeatedly left sites, never to return, for pop ups, and will continue to do so.
- No videos that automatically play. If I wanted to watch a video I would have gone to Youtube.
- No click throughs. I no longer read any articles where I am forced to keep clicking. I already know why they do it, spare me.
- No signing in for comments. Mrs D talked about this here. Wholeheartedly agree. Make it easy for people to comment, or most of them won't bother.
- On that, many people loathe Captcha. I personally don't hate it but you should be aware that it is generally detested.
- Write about whatever you choose. But remember if it is an opinion piece it is just that, an opinion. If you believe it is more than an opinion piece, back it up with citations. Look up the words citation and peer reviewed before you attempt to claim something is a citation. Wikipedia and Youtube do not count as citations.
- Expect dissenting opinions, particularly if you talk about something controversial.
- If you regularly react to dissenting opinions with belligerence, anger or severe anxiety, best not to publish anything publicly. Note - "words" mean "things" and disagreement, even lively or heated disagreement, does not = attack.
- Respond to comments as much as possible. Your time is NOT more important than that of your readers and it is arrogant to imagine otherwise.
- Back up your site in case of catastrophic failure. Even if you have a copy of the posts, that will not include any comments made. Your site will provide information about how to do that.
- If you want traffic, you need to let people know you are there. This does not mean every tweet, email or status update should be about your blog. But do tweet or post a link a few times a week.
- Ensure you have an easy option to subscribe by email on your site.
- Add a copyright disclaimer, to discourage theft of your work.
- Wednesday addendum - I suddenly thought of one more dot point. When thinking up a title for your blog post, it doesn't hurt to include words that might drag the unwitting internet searcher to your blog. I once called a post "Facebook, Youtube, Google" because I "couldn't think of a blog title that wasn't simply disgusting so decided to incorporate some of the hottest google keyword searches in a blatant ruse to drag unwilling and unwary wanderers into my lair." Just something to bear in mind, if you lack inspiration for a title.
If I've missed anything, please let me know. Happy Tuesday, Constant Reader.
A quick aside - if you follow me on Twitter, you might notice my account has been suspended. Again. Bottom line, two twatty strangers (some vain lassie and her metrosexual boyfriend) were @ing me the other day, I told them both to fuck off and blocked them - details supplied on request :D One of my followers spotted the altercation this morning and had a go at them both, which was highly amusing and certainly appreciated. I didn't join in or bother to read any of what either of them said, they were beige passive aggressives and I had no interest in either of them any more. However, my suspicion is that they got very upset at being told they were sad fuckers by my follower and got a few friends to report me for spam. Twitter goes on algorithms, they don't bother to check what has actually been going on. Anyway, who knows how long this suspension will last? To be honest, I really needed a break from Twitter, I was dreaming about the place and some of my followers, so best to leave it alone for a bit anyway. So thanks, beige, weird, aggressive strangers for the enforced holiday. May you get the life you so richly deserve :D And now, we return to our scheduled programming. If you need/want to contact me in the meantime, my contact details are in the tab at the top.
I first published this back in November. I am linking up with The Lounge on their theme of "Simply the best:" Rachel's post about moderation reminded me of this one from the vaults. To be clear, I'm not a fan of the concept. One might say I'm the best at being immoderate in all things.
Anybody who knows me knows that I'm an all or nothing sort of girl. I love it, or it bores me to tears. I eat the whole bar of chocolate, or I don't bother buying one. I will email you fifteen times a day for six months and then go deathly silent for weeks. I have been known to listen to the same song over and over for two weeks at a go. I remember my niece's plaintive cry of "Aunty Ali, could we please listen to something apart from the Doobie Brothers?..." "Listen to the music" was on repeat in the car and I hadn't even noticed. As this was day 3 of her holiday, it was probably becoming tiresome to a normal person. I wistfully recall the time I ate almost nothing but cheese logs for two weeks. I have never been able to muster the same enthusiasm for them since. As they say where I come from, ah scunnert masel'.
Well, tonight I decided we would have curry. Despite knowing exactly what that was going to do to my innards and those around me for the next few days. Sometimes with joy comes suffering. Which in turn put me in mind of a day, long ago in Sunny So Cal. My friend Bart had introduced me to the joys of baking garlic bulbs and spreading them on crackers. I was unreceptive at first, imagining the taste would be really strong, but to my delight they were scrumptious. So one afternoon, with little else to amuse me (as the Constant Reader will know, this never ends well) I took to the kitchen and tried it out on the first bulb of garlic. Mmmm deereeshus. So I had another. And another. And yes, all of them. All five bulbs.
Let us be clear, I am not talking about cloves, but bulbs with maybe 30 little cloves in each. I consumed approximately 150 cloves of garlic in the space of about four hours.
By the end I was feeling a bit squeamish, and did, in fact, throw up. Too late though. Much too late. As soon as my husband (then boyfriend) opened the door he demanded to know what the appalling, putrid, god awful stench in the apartment was.
Well, sadly, it was me. Seems that garlic doesn't sit quietly in your tum, digesting away, not 150 cloves of it anyway. It was erupting from every orifice in vocal delight. Even I was astonished at the noisesome odours surrounding me. Later, banished to the guest bedroom, as I lay under the covers fluffing warmly away and feeling quietly sorry for myself, Bruce came to the door, feeling guilty about my banishment and about to let me rejoin him in the non-smelly suite. But, upon opening the door, and as soon as had wiped his burning eyes, he said goodnight in a quiet, slightly strangled, but firm voice.
The next day was Saturday and we were due to join some friends at a baseball game. There was no let up on the garlic front, and in desperation I took myself to the nearest pharmacy to beg a vial of something to halt, at least for a few hours, the unpleasant eructations.
Of course it didn't prevent the garlicy odour emanating from my pores, mouth, hair, nails and eyeballs, but it did make the world around me a slightly sweeter place to be. And though the potion did work, it had an odd effect. The gas, while no longer leaking from my bottom in a toxic mist, didn't, actually, go away. It stayed inside me, roiling around in my stomach in a way that those who saw Alien the first time round would have found familiar. All in all, the garlic bulbs were in my system for a good week. I am sure they did my heart the world of good, even if they did the atmosphere no good at all.
I would like to say I learned a lesson from it all, but of course I did not. Last week I listened to Newton Faulkner* over and over in my car in between eating peanuts non stop for three days and watching a whole season of Fringe. Some say mental problems, I say a zest for life. As I shovel in second helpings of Korma later on, knowing I will wish I hadn't by tomorrow, I will reflect on this.
Oh, and I haven't looked baked garlic in the eye in nearly 15 years. You should try it though. It's yum....
* For the last 6 months it's been Foo Fighters and Snow Patrol. My kids know all the words. Reluctantly.
Good evening, Constant Reader. For your perusal, the evolution of my online day, thanks to Twitter being all in a kerfuffle about some mind-numbingly, bum-bitingly dull gossip from the other side of the planet. Apparently some chick had a kid and a bunch of people who will never know them got a bit excited.
For the most part, gratifyingly, people were in full piss-taking mode, which does rather restore one's faith in human nature.
Look, I still had to embed and arrange the tweets, okay? It was actually quite fiddly. That counts as effort.
Our Twitter voyage begins with my morning log in, and subsequent and immediate irritation.
After successfully avoiding the internetz for a few hours, I re-entered the fray when
a follower asked me what on earth all the fuss was about.
Later, this pleased me enough to RT.
Whereupon another follower informed me that a few Canadians had also been rejoicing on the telly. Which led to our contribution to the condundrum of naming the "royal" spawn.
At this point, I remembered that Pratchett usually says it best (no funny yet Satanically evil comments, thanks Jeremy).
Followed, after a moment's thought, by a pre-emptive tweet. There's always fucking one.
I picture them in a raincoat with a train timetable tucked into their top pocket, and a bunch of pens lined up and clipped carefully alongside. "Well, actually" hnaw hnaw "Did you know..."
Yes, I fucking did, and was letting them know I did in the hope of fending them off in advance.
And succeeded by any excuse for a bit of Monty Python:
Along the way I RTed a few tweets that made me snigger.
Although a bit of a cunt herself, she does rather nail it here:
After my inspirational contribution to the worship of a total stranger who will never give a fuck if we peasants live or die, provided we keep sending money, I noticed I had, once again, lost a few followers. This is not unusual. My follower count bounces up and down faster than Tara Reid trying to convince a casting director she's perfect for the part.
As the normals quietly drop away, I am honing my followers into a well-oiled,
inventively insulting, deviant tweeting machine.
And finally, I always like to leave them with something positive and heartfelt.
So there you have it, Constant Reader.
The King is - er, getting really old and might not ever actually make it to be King
because he's been a very naughty boy - Long Live The Third In Line To Be King!
RT - Re-tweet
TL - Time Line
Linking up with The Lounge again this week to have a chat about barbecues. Without other people's inspiration you would have had another diarrhoea post, Constant Reader. Think on that, and be thankful.
The great Australian barbie. This is one time honoured Aussie cliche that holds up under scrutiny. It turns out they really do love charring meat , and yes occasionally shrimp, on a metal plate under the searing sun, whilst indulging in a beer or 19, of a weekend or on a public holiday.
Picture the scene, if you will. The kids playing cricket, occasionally beating one another over the head with the bats, the little screams of agony wafting on the sticky, lackadaisical breeze, the women glugging back the Chardonnay with gay abandon and witch-like cackles, s̶l̶a̶g̶g̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶o̶f̶f̶ discussing whichever one of them happens not to be present at the time, the gentle aroma of DEET wafting over all in an ultimately futile attempt to avoid gallons of our blood being forcibly drained from our itchy, protesting bodies by our ever present pal, the mossie. The giant nets and food and drink covers draped over everything in a bid to prevent the flies enjoying more of our feast than we do. The ants in a conga line, making off with chairs and tables in their tiny clutches. You know how strong European ants are? Well, imagine what these little buggers have to contend with.
In Oz they do this odd thing called "Bringing a plate". If you are asked to bring a plate to a barbie do not bring an actual plate. Unless it has food on it covered in cling wrap, that is. They may be apocryphyal, but there are tales of newer imports turning up at parties with crockery, and a confused look on their faces.In Glasgow, at least where I grew up, it would have been considered the height of poor manners to turn up with food to a gathering. Alcohol, certainly, but not food. The implication being that you don't think your host will have enough, or that they cannot afford to feed you. Here, the opposite is the rule. Turning up at a get together without at least a "slice"* will have Noeleen making a snooty comment as soon as you've waved a cheery Ooroo.**Of course, the one great falsehood in the barbecue mythos is that the men actually DO very much. Behind every great barbie is a woman who spent the day before marinating steak and lamb chops, making burger mixture, buying corn and potatoes and salad and various other edibles, stocking up on soft drinks and grog, cleaning the house and generally organising absolutely everything so that her mate can appear to be in charge, on the day. On barbie day, the hunter gatherers circle their fire, poking it with restlessly with sticks and offering speculations as to the readiness of the meat with occasional grunts about sport being offered for bonding purposes. I have been to barbies at the beach, in back yards, in parks, without much variation on this theme. And all jolly good fun too, I might add. Especially if I am not the one driving home.And at the back of my mind, I cannot help but compare each event with the one barbecue I ever ventured to attend, back in Scotland. Actually, the only barbie any of us ever attended, back in Scotland.After the invitation, our first thought was how exotic the very concept of cooking and eating outdoors in a backyard environment might be. Our next was to question what, if anything we should bring? This was uncharted territory, it wasn't a meal, or a buffet - it was a BARBECUE. What was the etiquette? Phone calls were made. Episodes of Neighbours were scrutinised for clues. The word meat was bandied around. I think we opted for some sausages, in the end. Which were met with a slightly offended "Oh, you didn't have to bring anything!" cry. Natch.In the event, it was a pleasant enough day. The lady of the house had recently had breast implants. Her husband had gleefully informed his men friends, who had then passed this titbit (the pun was not intended, what a monkey the mind can be) along to their wide-eyed wives and girlfriends. This was unusual in and of itself in that time and place and we all tried hard not to be caught staring surreptitiously at her plastic breasts, perched perkily on her ribcage. She must have been very, very flat chested prior to the op, that's all I'm saying. Also, it would have served her well to consider a chin implant while she was under the knife. But she was pleasant, in that "aiming to be a social climber slightly hectic and desperate Rose Bucket" way. We all milled around near the back door, clutching our glasses (no stubby holders in Glasgow***) and peering suspiciously at the sky. Here in Qld, we have back patios with roofs, this was not the case in Glasgow. Actually, very few people had back patios at all. And when you come to think of it, a roof over the patio was probably more necessary there than here. The food was cooked. Very, very slowly. Fortunately I was drinking my lunch and was quite happy with the interminable delay. The barbecue in question turned out to be very tiny, so the guests basically took turns eating in groups of four while the unlucky contestants still awaiting their turn watched them sourly with a gimlet gaze. But still, free food, right? (If you don't count the sausages). We all ate with knives and forks. So what? I hear you ask. Well, I'd never seen a burger eaten with a knife and fork before, but due to the many deficiences in my social graces assumed this might be a normal part of barbecue etiquette. They were plastic too. The knives and forks, not the burgers.By mid afternoon I was pished. There's no other word for it. I was holding my drink fine however, as I always did, unlike my arsehole of a boyfriend at the time. A pause to remember S. What a wanker you were. How I hope I get a chance to tell you that some day. 6 feet 1 inches of big girl's blouse. Not only could I drink him under the table, he threw a punch like a toddler having a tannie. Though he was much more likely to be spied hoofing it at full speed away from any fracas than actually engaging in one anyway. He wore jackets with the sleeves rolled up - even for the 80s that was deeply embarrassing - and considered himself quite the catch. Well, someone had to. One of his saving graces, however, was that he was quite a good musician. He could play guitar, piano, bass, a few wind instruments. I actually met him at a gig, where he was on the keyboards. He didn't read the music, had a natural ear for it and could pretty much manage to fake most songs, given time. Except when he couldn't. And, being a conceited arsehole, would not be told when he couldn't. One of my favourite all times songs was (and is) I don't like Mondays by the Boom Town Rats. I had asked him to stop wrecking it and actually learn it, or just leave it alone. Several times. There is a big piano intro at the start of that song which is highly memorable and sets the tone for the whole piece. Without the piano intro, it's not I don't like Mondays. S never bothered his arse to learn the intro, and when he played it just muddled through the famous opening notes, assuming in his arrogance that this was good enough.So S - or two can Dan as I liked to think of him - in his sozzled state, made the unwise decision to w̶r̶e̶c̶k̶ play my favourite Boom Town Rats song. To earn himself some much needed attention, as it had been almost 5 minutes since he'd wheedled a compliment out of someone.
The guests all gathered around the piano, as he plinked and plonked away. I sat there quietly seething, as he warbled through the melody upon which he was so earnestly crapping. I bided my time. The last notes were still faintly echoing in the air and S had turned with a smug smile of complacency towards his admirers, ready to receive his adulation, when I stated firmly in a loud, clear voice "That was absolute shite." With all the venom I could muster.
It's still one of my favourite memories. The look of complete shock replacing his pretence of humility, the gaping surprise of the guests. My little smirk of triumph. Their hasty retreat. His angry remonstrances. Moral - don't fuck with me when I'm on the piss. Or any other time for that matter, but add cider and we get a somewhat volatile mixture. The day ended much as many of our days did, hurling abuse at one another in a taxi back home and wakening up the next morning with a murderous hangover. I recall him turning to me, as we peeled our eyelids open and uttered a heartfelt morning groan, and asking "Did ye get the number?" "The number?" I croaked. "Of the bus that ran over ma heid."**** Fortunately, that relationship didn't last more than a couple of years. Unfortunately those included the chicken throwing months when we lived together in Cartside St. Another story. Clearly, a match made in heaven.
I seem to have diverged again from the beaten path. My apologies. I suppose the moral of the tale is that Aussies know how to barbecue, and despite battling the privations of the deadly outdoors, usually have a hell of a good time doing so. Also, whenever possible, don't date wankers.Until the next time, Constant Reader.
* Basically, flat cake. I am guessing they call it a slice because one slices it.** It means see you later. Really.
*** Stubby - bottle of beer. Stubby holder, little foam jacket to keep your bottle of beer cool.**** Another saving grace. He was actually quite funny, much of the time, when his head wasn't stuck too far up his own arse to speak.
If you have harmed someone and wish to apologise, and genuinely believe that it might make the person you have harmed feel better, please do so.
However, please keep your apologies to yourself if:
- You continually repeat the same behaviours. Your apology now means nothing. Either change the behaviour, or leave the person in peace.
- You are apologising as a way of trying to get off the hook. Just because you choose to OFFER an apology, this in no way signifies that anyone else must accept it. If the person you have wronged chooses not to accept your apology, that is their right. If they still want you to go away and stay away, do so. If you are actually sorry, you will listen to what they want, not increase the harm you have done to them by trying to ensure the outcome you desire.
- You are hoping to be reassured that your behaviour wasn't really so terrible, after all.
- You are in any way fishing for compliments.
- You are not really apologising, just vaguely saying you feel bad because your behaviour has had nasty ramifications. How YOU feel is irrelevant, if you are genuinely sorry for a wrong doing.
- Your apology is intended to bring you attention and you wish to be seen as the good guy, rather than actually caring about reparation.
- Your apology is passive aggressive bullshit such as "I am sorry if I upset you." or "I am sorry if I inconvenienced you". Also, any apology followed by the word "but" is not worthy of use as toilet paper.
Oliver Wendell Holmes had it right. Or at least this is what I take his quotation to mean:
What deluded narcissism leads you to believe that anybody apart from you places any great importance on your actions? Perhaps you should stop imagining that everyone thinks about you and your effect upon their life, incessantly. They don't. You're just not that important.
We are all narcissists to some extent or another. Some of us just hide it, or manage it, a bit better than others. But a self-aware narcissist is so much more palatable than a manipulative or passive aggressive one, wouldn't you agree, Constant Reader? Perhaps you have more comments on apologies you would like to add. If I missed any, I'm sorry. (Not really).
This is your Captain, Ace Ranty Pants McRanterson, thanking you for flying Righteous Airlines, where we right ALL the wrongs (or at least bitch about them), signing off for now.
* Oliver Wendell Holmes
Dear Constant Reader,
I should point out, in the interests of full disclosure, that I am too monumentally and cataclysmically indolent to properly edit any of the 25 drafts in my folder into a real post, and Slapdash Mama is talking about bacon over at the lounge. Apparently we have to find a way to relate bacon to our post in order to add our link. I like bacon. And making bacon - yes with all the pervy sub-text. Does this count? Also, it's flog your blog Friday over on Digital Parents, and I plan to :)
Moving swiftly on. On Twitter, I am often ridiculously, some might say cringe-inducingly, honest and have been known to over-share. If you have been playing along at home, I suspect this will not shock you too much. A recent tweet RT'd into my time line led to several trouble-making tweet bombs being lobbed into the fray by yours truly. Every now and then, because I am a shit-stirring bint, I like to crank the key and wind folk up a little. Again, I imagine the Constant Reader gasping in surprise. Basically, somebody had mentioned manscaping and was trying to promote the removal of male pubic hair.
Not on my watch. Note - I have already spoken on the subject of women's baldy snatches here: Grooming tips for the girl who just doesn't care. My opening salvo on this apparently controversial topic was:
Thanks to the re-tweet I then received a brief volley of total strangers of the desperate variety trying to explain why THEY only shave their gonads because (insert ridiculous excuse here). My response to this was:
A few more serious tw@tters later, I felt compelled to add:
And during a brief chat on the topic with one of my favourite twerps (a big scary bloke with the cold dead eyes of a serial killer and the heart of a big soft puppy) I couldn't help but point out:
I will admit that my conditioning as to what is masculine has certainly been affected by my upbringing. Just look at this way, if I think you're manly, there's a good chance nobody else would disagree. And you are perfectly entitled to have a dissenting opinion. You'd be wrong, though. What is manly, define it, explain yourself? I hear the keyboard warrior cry. Nope. Is this a psychological study? A thesis? No. It's me rambling on again. Love it, loathe it, yell and shout about it. But don't bother arguing. It is what it is. If you want to be considered masculine, don't shave anything that's not on your head or or face. That's it. I know sport's people make the excuse they do it for sport. I don't believe them. I know some men say it's to please a woman. I don't believe them. I know there's a few out there claiming it is for hygiene purposes. I don't believe them. Men are designed to be hairy. There is something exceptionally off-putting about the idea of a man spending that much time grooming, regardless of what he is getting up to in there. Good hygiene, yes. Metrosexual - no thanks. And there is something blatantly effeminate about men removing their pubic hairs.
Of course, my poor offended princess, you can yell at me for being sexist and go right ahead and shave all the bits you like. They're your bits, after all. Just know this. I think you are a big girl's blouse. I don't know what you like about it, but I know it's got nothing to do with being masculine. If, for whatever inexplicable reason, I am ever confronted with a man's baldy tadger I am going to wait till he's passed out drunk and then superglue little pieces of his head hair/beard hair all over his pubic region in protest. Be warned. No matter what your excuse for removing your manly hair - I don't believe you. You might like to read my recent academic treatise on offence, before you start the waahmbulance too.
We're not discussing Hypertrichosis here. Or if YOU are, you're on your own. And I should also point out I can only speak as a heterosexual woman. Because I have only ever been a heterosexual woman. So spare me your rants on gender specificity and stereotype enforcement (or not, your choice). I don't care about that either. Just man up and leave your pubes in peace. In other news, my heart is being stopped and started on Tuesday morning. I am considering telling them to kiss my arse as they knock me out - just so those can be my famous last words on the remote offchance something goes wrong. But am slightly afraid that they might, as who the hell knows what goes on when you are unconscious? I bet there's a Youtube channel dedicated to it.
, I'll b̶o̶r̶e̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶d̶e̶a̶t̶h̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ fill you in on the gory details upon my triumphant return. Or Tan will update you on my behalf with my final post from beyooond the graaave. Either way, I leave you with this inspirational comment:
"People think it must be fun being a super genius, but they don't realise how hard it is to put up with all the idiots in the world." [Calvin/Bill Watterson].* Or, to put it another way "There are two sides to every question. My side and the wrong side." [Oscar Levant]. See you in the soup. xxx xx x * With thanks to Lynn, for this heart warming book of quotations