People Who Think They Can

Recently I was listening to an old Waifs song called ‘people who think they can’. The lyrics go a little something like this…

People who think they can

I want to be just like those who think they can

I want to be

Not so far away

From where I planned to be by now

Time has a bad habit of flying

I was sleeping when it passed me by

I was dreaming of what I would wear when I go there.

With about 14 months until my Thirtieth Birthday (well to be precise 10,739 hours, 4 minutes and 55 seconds but who’s counting) this song struck a little cord with me.

Particularly the I want be not so far away from where I planned to be by now part. You start to think about such things a great deal when thirty is looming. There is something about thirty that is very intimidating. Maybe because it is the official end of youth. Once you hit thirty you are meant to be a proper bonafide grown up with it all figured out…right?

So where did I think I would be by now? Famous film director/novelist/male model inspector with huge mansion etc. When you are in your late teens and early twenties you have that wonderful blind optimism that there are lots of years to come and you will work it out later. But you’re sure you’ll get somewhere good. Your life plans consists of party, party, party, something, something, luxury yacht.

But what about the bits in between? I am coming to the realisation that I have had quite a lovely time in my twenties. Such a lovely time that I forgot to actually get where I planned to be by now. I forgot to write that novel. I forgot to start that business. I forgot to make that award winning film. But I DID remember to have a good time. I remembered to love and lose. I remembered to travel a bit. I remembered to get out of my comfort zone sometimes. I remembered to get a degree.

We tend to measure our own success against the success of those around us and I am surrounded by a lot of high achievers. My sister has a PHD in Marine Science, my step-sister is a Doctor, my best friend is an accomplished orchestral harpist, the list goes on. I also went to one of those schools whose graduates all seem to end up doctors and lawyers and models and architects in exotic cities.

That is the problem with Facebook. You think you can look at someone’s page and know all there is to know about them. What we forget is we only ever see what people want us to see. No one ever posts an Instagram picture of themselves fighting with their partner or panicking about their finances or applying Wartner. All we see is “look at me at the lovely party” or “look at my swish new apartment”. It gives us a very skewed idea of what other people’s lives are actually like. It leaves us with the feeling as we clean out the smelly bin that we are not quite measuring up.


We might see the post about someone’s fabulous new job but what we don’t see is the shit-kicking jobs, tears, hard-work and perseverance it may have taken them to get there. Also a lot of jobs sound good on paper but the day to day reality of carrying out that job is not so glamorous at all.

I guess it comes down to how you define success. It is money? Is it prestige? Is it a friend count? Is it feeling content? Is it feeling happy the majority of the time? Is it overseas holidays? Is it fame?

Well the truth is it is different for everyone. Success is whatever you want it to be. It’s about how you feel when you wake up in the morning. It’s not about whether other people look at you and go “oooo-eeerrr”. No matter what you do or where you are if you wake up in the morning dreading the start of the day then I don’t think that constitutes success. If you wake up with a spring in your step feeling good about where you’re at then you’re on the right track. Find what you enjoy, go with it and stop looking over your shoulder at what everyone else is doing.

When I’m old I think I’m going to be really glad that I smelled some flowers along the way. That I took some time to be young and stupid and irresponsible and lazy and crazy along the way. Now I am reaching that point where I am ready to knuckle down and start achieving my goals.

The problem is I have gotten quite used to my lazy crazy youth. So now begins the process of retraining myself to become a disciplined adult. I have cut out a lot of the boozing although I can probably credit aging with this (every hangover I have now lasts three days). I am eating well and exercising even though I used to throw chips at those kinds of people. And I have written myself a schedule tighter than a nun’s cooch.

I am getting there (mostly). Although I don’t see myself ever giving up cartoons.

Anyone got any more tips for me on how to be a super high-achieving grown-up? Or is there a pill that does that? That would be good.


The New Crap

Like most arts students I majored in something I have never used. Advertising. Well, when I say never used I mean I have never converted the knowledge to income. However, I do use it in the way in that I can no longer passively digest advertising messages. I am constantly analysing advertisements and the reasoning (or lack thereof) behind them.

I am amazed at the lack of ingenuity behind a lot of ads for big companies whose advertising budget I can only assume would make a Rockefeller weep. Who are the creatives behind these ads? They must be on huge salaries and yet they come up with some of the most uninspired drivel. Give me your job please. With no sense of arrogance I will write you a better ad and I will do it for a bottle of wine and a chiko roll.

It’s very easy to piss on the work of others without backing it up, so let me give you an example.

This ad.

Seriously. If I see one more “this is the new that” ad I am going to scream. This slogan is a cop out. Every second advertisement I see seems to have some version of this as a slogan, brandished without any thought or originality. What does that even mean mini is the new big? Yes I get it is a play on the ‘is the new black’ pop culture reference to express one popular idea over-riding another, but how does it even fit here? It’s just less of the same thing! Did this exec wake up in the morning with a giant hangover and forget that he had the big Hungry Jacks pitch today? And why are there two of them? Surely eating multiple small burgers is pretty much on a par with eating one burger. What I’m getting at here is: where is the benefit? All advertising must include an inherent benefit to the customer to have any effectiveness at all. Perhaps “health is the new obesity” might be more fitting when making the burgers tiny but not so great for the brand. The amount of money probably spent on this cowpat of a campaign makes me shudder.

More examples:


This one sounds a bit rapey…


Enough! It’s been done! No one is allowed to use this anymore. Because I said so. And saying so is the new not saying so.

It’s not just print advertising irking me at the moment either. Social media has given rise to a whole new world of ineffective advertising.

Facebook Integration

Facebook is targeted marketing’s wet dream. Advertisers don’t even need to come looking for us anymore. We put it all out there. What we like. What we dislike. What our interests are. Most companies are jumping on the “find us on Facebook” bandwagon and why wouldn’t they? The audience is coming to them. What a lot of advertisers fail to realise however is that this only works for popular things. Cool things. Things people like. Find us on Facebook does not work for foot fungi cream. That purchase is a necessity and not worthy of a fan club. I actually saw an ad on a bus for Betadine Sore Throat Gargle that had a ‘find us on Facebook’ tab in the corner. I’m sorry Betadine Sore Throat Gargle but why would I want to be your friend? You kill germs in my throat and you don’t seem like you would be very fun to hang out with. And no I am not interested in seeing photos of you getting drunk with your friends nor am I interested in anything you might have to say as a status update

“got poured down someone’s pus covered throat and then spat into the sink ..fuck my life”

No thanks.

Perhaps because the ads themselves are so uninspired it is forcing advertisers to get sneakier and sneakier with the method of delivery.

Sneaky Mediums

Ok so I expect when I turn on the television or read a magazine I am going to be confronted with advertising. And you know what, that’s ok. I’ve come to terms with that. I can turn a page or change a channel. I have options. What I don’t expect is to going into the 2010 ‘starter’ version of word that came with my new computer and have advertisements flashing up at me while am trying to work. And guess what? There is no way to turn them off. Are your serious Microsoft!? How the hell are people meant to concentrate with things swirling around in the corner of their eye while they are trying to write? I am going to go down to the Microsoft office and dress in bright colours and streamers and dance right next to their desks. See how THEY concentrate. I never understood why WordPad existed until now.

I also resent having advertising faxed to me. Not only are they using a totally 80’s medium they are also using my paper to do it. I wouldn’t care if they were selling a bag of orgasms for 50c I would still not buy it for the pure principle that they have used my own paper to advertise to me against my will. Jerks.

So where will it all end? Will advertising keep escalating in aggressiveness and declining in creativity? I am envisioning a future where advertisers knock on your front door, punch you in the face and tattoo “BUYING MY STUFF IS THE NEW ME NOT PUNCHING YOU AGAIN” on your face.

I would follow that on Facebook.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

I have a lazy eye. Yes it’s not enough that I am a lazy person, I have to have individually lazy parts. My parents first noticed it wandering when I was a baby and I had my first pair of specs by eighteen months old. The first week I got them mum made everyone else in the family wear sunglasses so I didn’t feel different. Although I probably would have been right to feel different. The glasses styles of the 80’s coupled with my no-fuss bowl cut hairdo left me looking like a cross between Roy Orbison and Elton John. I was so young my Mum had to tie them onto my head with a piece of wool so I didn’t lose them in the sandpit.

NOTE: Yes the photo above is actually me…

Despite my appearance I got through my bespectacled childhood relatively unscathed. Except for the odd incident like when a ball hit me in the face during sport or a big boy called me four-eyes and made me cry. That was until I reached fourteen. Having just been fitted with braces I developed a Paul-Pfeiffer-from-the-wonder-years complex. I was acutely aware that I was now one of those braces AND glasses kids and this did not bode well for me socially. Around that time my glasses accidently broke and I miraculously found I got by fine without them. All the years of constant spec-wearing in childhood had largely corrected my vision.

Paul Pfeiffer

All was dandy until my mid-twenties when I started working full-time at a publishing company. I soon learned that office work kills a lot more than just your spirit, it also kills your eyesight. I had to work in front of a computer for eight hours every day. They recommend to protect your eyesight in these situations that you look away from the screen at something far away every ten to fifteen minutes. However I worked in a cubicle and the only way I could access distance was to turn right around in my chair and stare at a patch of wall behind me. Unfortunately there was a co-worker who I didn’t know very well sitting right in front of that bit of wall and things got rather awkward. I had to stop this practise before they complained to human resources about my creepy behaviour.


By the time I left my eyesight had decreased by about half and got steadily worse over the next couple of years until I could no longer see a metre in front of me. I kept trying to get by without glasses. At the bus stop I became one of those annoying people that asks other commuters when the next bus is coming, rather than just looking at the timetable. Whenever people I knew saw me on the street I would just frown and keep walking. When I went out I would always wait for people to say hello to me first. All because I couldn’t see! I was a modern day Ms Magoo.

Finally I bit the bullet and went to get glasses. Even though I am a ‘sophisticated’ lady of twenty-eight the old schoolyard mentality came flooding back. I don’t want to be a four-eyes. Glasses just didn’t go with my outfits! But now I had another option. Contact lenses.

I sat down for my contact lesson brimming with the enthusiasm of the ignorant. Pfffft stupid lesson this will be a piece of cake, just bung em on my eyeballs I thought.

I was wrong. Oh so very wrong. The thing about contacts is you have to have your eyes open to put them in. The thing about eyes is when you put stuff near them they close involuntarily. This is the conundrum. The nice young optician sat across from me all smiles and enthusiasm and encouragement.

“Ok so you hold your top eyelid like so, then pull the bottom one down like this and then pop the contact in.”

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

“Never mind just pick it up. Hooold your eye like this. Put it on the very tip of your finger. And pop it in.”

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

“That’s ok it takes everyone a few goes. Now just pop it in.”

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

“Yep ok make sure your finger’s not too wet.”

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

I started off very polite and upbeat. “Oh golly gosh silly me I seem to have dropped it. Never mind. One more go and I’ll have it.”

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

I began to feel the pressure.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

Meanwhile a small child that looked pretty much like me circa 1986 (see above) had been plonked in the waiting area about a metre and a half from where I was sitting. And boy could she stare. Fascinated by my constant attempts and failures she stared unflinchingly at me through her coke-bottle lenses like I was santa doing the hula.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

I began to feel the rage welling.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

I laughed nervously.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

“That kid’s staring at me” I whispered.

“Mmm haha yep ok now pick it up and try again” said perky optician.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

I began to lose my cool. “Jesus does anyone ever just give up and go home?” I asked.

“No, no everyone gets it eventually.” Cooed upbeat optician girl.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.

I wanted to cry. No wait that will make my eyeballs too lubricated. Don’t cry you halfwit. Just stick it in! The more determined I got the less it helped. I began launching my finger at my face like a javelin, hoping that if I did it quick enough I could get it in before my eye closed. After about 20 minutes perky optician girl ran out of helpful tips and began reeling off lacklustre encouraging phrases.

“You can do it…. Almost had it that time…. Keep trying.”

Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail. Contact. Eyeball. Blink. Fail.


Finally she called over the optometrist and after another ten minutes of trying he finally got them in for me. Then with much ado we had to get them out again. I have always hated not being able to do things so by the time I left I felt like a complete failure. Lots of people I know wear them. Some of them are not even very smart why can’t I do it?

I was sent home with about fifty disposable lenses that I now feel obligated to wear because I paid for them. They sit on my shelf and taunt me daily. I have had them a month and only attempted to wear them a few times. Those who live with me know when I am trying to get them in because of the yelling, swearing and door kicking that can be heard throughout the house. But I will persevere. I will learn to get those bastards in even if I blind myself trying. The price of not looking like Roy Orbison is a high one.



Valentine’s Day


Well it’s that time of the year again, the day that polarizes the community like no other, Valentine’s Day. Or as I like to call it ‘Couple’s Gloating Day’. Don’t get me wrong I like the idea of celebrating love but why is it only couple love that we celebrate? This whole day is designed to make anyone not in a relationship feel like the last kid picked for the tee-ball team.
Whether in a relationship or not, I have never been very good at Valentine’s Day. My first ever Valentine was written on the back of a flattened out ciggie packet. This was to colour my experience of Valentine’s Day for years to come.
I had my first Valentine’s Day in a serious relationship when I was 18. My then-boyfriend and I were in different states, and, knowing he was about as romantic as Athlete’s foot, I rang him a week before to remind him. I warned him of the dangers of forgetting me and, bless him, he took my threats seriously. Sure enough on Valentine’s Day a dozen red roses arrived. Unfortunately I had forgotten it was Valentine’s Day. I was awoken from a particularly nasty hangover by the sound of my dog going mental at the front gate. I dragged myself out of bed, ran outside, threw the dog in the house and angrily opened the gate.
“Um…I think these are for….you?” the flower delivery man said, looking at me like I had just crawled out of a drain. I caught sight of myself in the reflection of the window. I did look like I had just crawled out of a drain. My hair had gathered into some sort of demented flock-of-seagulls-bouffant-gone-wrong. I had bags under my eyes the size of dinner plates and a streak of miscellaneous food down my shirt. The delivery man kept looking behind me, as if expecting the rightful owner of the flowers to emerge from the house and pry them from my undeserving grasp. I quickly thanked him, grabbed the flowers and ran inside to hide my shame/face. The flowers themselves were completely overshadowed by the delivery man’s judgement.
 After many more disappointing/uneventful/downright depressing Valentine’s Days, this year I have found myself in the most stable, loving, and dare I say romantic relationship I’ve had for years. So perhaps this year will be the year that saves Valentine’s Day for me?
Alas no. My beloved has been sent 300km away for work.  His boss offered to give him the day off but only one, which would mean spending six hours each way on a bus to come home and spend twelve hours with me. No one loves anyone that much. If Romeo had been given that option I’m sure he would have said ‘parting is such sweet sorrow that I will see you in a week because I’ll be fucked if I’m spending twelve hours on regional public transport’. And besides, he has just happened to breakout in an all over allergic rash and I have just happened to break out in the worst acne of my adult life just in time for today. If he did make the journey back our night together would probably resemble some sort of romantic version of connect the dots rather than a Hollywood movie.
So alas another lonely Valentine’s Day for me. When not in a relationship I have spent Valentine’s Day looking around at all the loved up couples feeling like my life was missing something. When I have been in a relationship I have spent Valentine’s Day wondering why it didn’t look like the hallmark card moment I imagined in my head.
So today am I going to sit around feeling sorry for myself because I’m not at a fancy restaurant? Hell no. Not this year. This year I’m going to thank my lucky stars that I have found a great man who is working his arse off 300km away so we can have a better life. I guess my point is, whether you’re in a relationship or single, spending the day focusing on what other people have and what you don’t have is a futile exercise. Today you should embrace the people and things you love, whether that’s in a romantic relationship or not.  If you have found that special someone then cherish them. If not then grab your single pals and go and have a pint. For you this can be I-don’t-have-to share-the doona day. Or I’m-free-to-do-what-I-want-any-old-time day. Or that-great-first-kiss-with-someone-new-could-be-just-around-the-corner day.  Just embrace love in all its forms with all its lumps and bumps and imperfections. It’s never going to look like ‘Titanic’ anyway. And thank fuck because that movie sucked.

Procrastinator of the Year

“The fatal flaw in procrastination is the expectation that tomorrow I will be less of a fundamentally lazy person than I was today” …Me

Soooooooo anyone who has read this blog before might have noticed that I have not posted anything for a year. A whole year. You might be wondering what have I been doing in that time. Did I lose my arms in an accident and it has taken me a year to whittle new ones from a piece of wood using my feet?  Or perhaps I had amnesia like Harold from neighbours and was lost at sea only to return a year later with the inexplicable ability to play the tuba. Or perhaps I landed some high-flying dream job that takes up all my time and leaves me with just 15 minutes to do air-punching affirmations in the mirror before rolling into bed.
Alas the reason is none of the above. I have been procrastinating. It started as a mini self-rebellion after the last blog. I really should write another one I really should right another one .NO! I’m going to eat this pie instead. You see writing would be constructive and exercise my brain. Eating an entire pie would make me feel sick and fat. Well that’s a no-brainer. I’ll go with the pie!
I don’t know where this tradition of self sabotage comes from. Probably from my ingrained need to rebel. When I was a child the only things my Mum would categorically never let me have were bubblegum and Coke. When I was about eight a family friend gave me a fiver that my mum said I could spend as I wish. I went straight around to the shop and bought two litres of coke and ten packets of bubblegum. I didn’t even like it that much but it tasted like freedom.
But now I’m a ‘grown-up’ and absolutely the master of my own destiny there is no one to rebel against….except myself and all the things that I know are good for me.
Procrastination is not just about doing things that are fun. It’s about doing ANYTHING except the thing that you are meant to be doing. And the more pseudo-productive the better. I have always hated and been very, very bad at Maths. One time in University instead of doing the assignment on media analysis that I was actually interested in I picked up my high school algebra textbook and did three chapters. I very much doubt I ever did that while in high school. Why, why, why do I do this?
Even now I have stopped writing to go and write ‘greetings from the kitchen’ on my housemate’s facebook wall . I am procrastinating from my blog on procrastinating. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has a lot to answer for. He is the ultimate enabler for procrastinators. He is to procrastinators what Pablo Escobar was to coke addicts. As if stalking exes to see if they look happy and bitches from school to see if they’re fat wasn’t enough. Now we have the timeline. We’re now expected to enter every bloody event in our mundane lives into our facebook timeline. If not you have a timeline like mine where it appears that I was born and then straight after attended a beer festival. That’s not far off really.
So how does one discipline ones self? I don’t have my mum here to pry the pie out of my hands like she did the coke and bubblegum all those years ago. I could ground myself but my house is full of DVD’s and booze so that’s not much of a punishment. Maybe I could write “I will be a productive member of society” over and over again on a blackboard. But I don’t have a blackboard. I could send myself to bed without any dinner but I know where I keep the cookie jar. Yep once you hit adulthood rebelling is about as satisfying as a lettuce sandwich. Perhaps it’s time to let go of that inkling I have always had that I’m not a proper grown-up but just a big kid playing dress up. Maybe I should just grow the hell up..or maybe I should eat this pie….

Googled Wisdom

There is a Real Estate Agent near my home that I have to walk past everyday and I hate them. I’m sure this is no surprise to anyone. It is safe bet to hate Real Estate Agents. They are a soulless evil money-grubbing profession who have served me nothing other than frustration and annoyance in my life. Every day they insist on putting a new motivational saying on the sandwich board outside their office. Every time I walk past I have the overwhelming urge to kick it down. I don’t know why it bothers me so much. Is it because the quotes themselves are so old, tired and lame? Freshly googled by some blonde 18 year old receptionist whose experience of life extends to playboy seat covers and the best brand of hair straightener.

“There is no such thing as failure. Just early attempts at success.”
This is a lie. I am certain that my attempt at a home Brazilian wax was nothing but pure unadulterated failure. It seemed like an incredibly clever and thrifty idea to begin with but after I glued my lady-parts to the bathroom floor with hot wax it began to seem not so great after all. There was nothing about this experience that led me anywhere near success.

“Complaing is a devastating disease” (I assume they mean complaining).

No fucknut AIDS is devastating disease. Illiteracy while not a disease is also devastating. Particularly when it makes your clients realise they have put their million dollar properties in the hands of utter morons. Complaining on the other hand is a natural reaction to being wronged. When you raise my rent $50 a week in one hit with a weeks’ notice it is my god given right to complain. Are we meant to just eat the fly in our soup and say ‘Thank you Sir may I have another?” There are many, many circumstances where it is completely legitimate, nay essential, to complain.
“Doing less than you can is the beginning of erosion”.

I’m pretty sure I could eat two pizzas if I applied myself. By choosing to eat only half am I setting myself up for some sort of downward spiral? Why do we always have to push ourselves? Sure there are times when you should strive to achieve but I am a great believer that there are also times when sitting on your arse eating chip crumbs off your chest is equally as good for the soul. Also unless my geography teacher lied to me I am pretty sure erosion is caused by wind and loose soil, not by underachievement.

One day I will kick it down. One day I will have one of those days where everything goes wrong and I hate the world and Grand Master Flash’s “don’t’” will be swirling around in my head and I will come across a sign telling me that ‘happiness is where I find it but rarely where I seek it’ and I will kick that motherfucker down.

Anti-Panda Propaganda

My mate Ray loves to rant. In fact he is the king of rants. I learnt long ago not to try and argue with him or stem the rant in any way as this usually results in partial deafness, a light sprinkling of saliva on my face and a very long night. Nowadays I just smile and nod and let him burn himself out. He slowly becomes less and less animated until he grinds to a halt like an angry little wind-up toy.
He mostly rants about the usual things: speed cameras, politics, the fact that everyone is stupid except him. However I couldn’t help but be taken aback at the target of his latest rant. Ray hates Pandas.
What kind of demented individual could hate a panda? I hear you cry. What else does he hate? Puppies? Babies? Scone-wielding nannas? I have to admit though, after half an hour of ranting, I began to think the man had a point.

(Disclaimer to any panda experts out there I have not fact-checked Ray’s rant and welcome any feedback relating to incorrect pandaganda)
Ray: “Pandas are omnivores, they could live on pretty much anything but what do they choose to eat? Bam-fucking-boo. The least nutritious food source on the planet. Only slightly more nutritious than hair. So they have to eat tons and tons of it. But not just any piece of bamboo it has to be the baby shoots. So they completely desecrate their own food source before it can even grow. AND they can’t even fuck. They’re randy like three days a year. Useless fucks. Fuck saving pandas, they should go extinct. Fuck Pandas!”

I was naturally taken aback by this initially but it got me thinking. What do pandas have going for them except their looks? Perhaps Ray is the one person that is not totally superficial when it comes to animals.
Maybe some animals are meant to go extinct. Maybe some of them just don’t have the evolutionary goods to carry them through the 21st century and beyond. If we judged humans by the same criteria as we judge animals we would call it being superficial. You never hear anyone say “you know what, I really admire that ant’s ability to carry an object ten times its body weight.” I have never seen an annoying cutesy badly spelled slogan on a poster of a cockroach.

The cockroach is an amazing creature! They thrive in all conditions, can go a month without food, can live a week without a head and the females can even reproduce without a male. Go team cockroach! From an evolutionary and survival perspective the cockroach is a far superior animal to the panda.
When there are so many animals going extinct it’s not fair that some animals get all the publicity just because they’re good looking. Imagine the uproar if we adjusted cancer treatment waiting lists to give preference to the attractive people!
We all know about orang-utans, pandas and tigers but did you know the spotted newt is endangered? No you didn’t… because the spotted newt is about as attractive as Bert Newton.

Okay so I am never going to be able to hate a Panda. They are fucking cute. And of course we should save them. But next time you come across an animal you don’t care for try looking beyond the surface and giving it some props for something other than its looks. Let’s hear it for the hagfish for being able to tie themselves in a knot. Big ups to my man mole for being able to dig 300 feet in a night. Kudos to turkeys for being able to run 40 kph. Respect to ugly animals everywhere!

***Names have been changed to protect privacy***


I am now, at 26 years old (yes please direct your shame-wagging finger in my direction) learning to drive.  My official excuse is I don’t drive because I am an environmental crusader, preferring to use my god given gift of legs rather than a gas-guzzling-global-warming-causing car. This is part of it. Not driving renders my ecological footprint quite impressive. I like to whip it out at parties and let people ooh and aaahh about how awesome and aware I am. This, unfortunately ,  is only part of the reason.

The unofficial and much less publicised reason is I’m absolutely terrified. It’s not so much the driving but the other cars filled with fist-waving jerks that concern me. When the road is empty I glide along seamlessly switching gears like the Stig on Top Gear.  However, as soon as I am surrounded by other motorists something happens to my brain. Suddenly driving DOES NOT COMPUTE. Clutch.. brake..which one? .. which gear? ..I thought I was in second.. aahh …help..bunny hop.. rev..PANIC..stall..
I used to think the purpose of L plates was so other drivers knew to go easy on you. L for lenient. This is a lie. The purpose of L plates is to publicly humiliate new drivers. It lets the other drivers on the road know to laugh, jeer, beep and manically speed up and overtake you in a dangerous manner. One guy beeped me because of a two second delay in taking off at the lights.
What is it about human nature that makes once pleasant people turn into jerks upon entering a vehicle? You would never behave like that without one. Can you imagine yelling “FUCK YOU STUPID OLD BAG GET OUT OF MY WAY” at a slow old lady who walked in front of you on the street? I think not. Being at the helm of a big hunk of metal with wheels does something to our brains which eliminates all human decency and that is why I’m afraid of driving.
Perhaps this is why my instructor was such a ‘character’. Here’s something I think all middle aged men need to know. Jokes involving sexual innuendo do not ingratiate you to young women. It does not make you seem young and hip. It makes you seem like a dirty old man.

When I asked driving related questions he would respond with comments like ‘whatever turns you on’ or ‘whatever gets you off’.  Hmmmm.  He called the point where the clutch and accelerator engage the ‘rubbing point’ which resulted in chants of ‘rub rub rub’, anytime we went around corners or took off at the lights. He also bestowed upon me the nickname ‘bub’ and its various manifestations ‘bubby’, ‘bubba’etc. This would be weird from someone I know well, let alone a driving instructor I had known for all of thirty minutes.
I know what you’re thinking. “I would never stand for that. If someone called me bubba and made seedy jokes I’d be all like ‘Step off man, put your manners back in your pocket’”. You’d think that wouldn’t you? But I didn’t. I just laughed. Granted there wasn’t much conviction to the laugh but I laughed all the same.  And why did I laugh? Because the only thing that scares me more than driving is the awkward silence that follows a non-laughed-at joke from a stranger. By not laughing you are basically telling the other person you are offended and unimpressed. I would laugh at a joke about my dead grandmother before I would sit through one of those awkward silences. I suddenly realised that this was the reason people like that existed. They keep making their seedy, sexist, racist jokes quite comfortably without any awareness of how offensive they are because people always laugh!
 I wish there was some way I could just say “I am neither amused nor offended. Let’s move on.” In fact I think I am going to put that onto a T-shirt.
After white-knuckling it through three manual lessons with him I decided to be a giant piker and go for my automatic license instead. I asked my instructor if he could recommend a good auto instructor in my area.
“Just don’t go with ****** Driving School. It’s full of blacks” he said.
“Ok then, thanks.” I said smiling sweetly and got out of the car.
Next time I’ll say something. Next time…

The Things I Would Invent If I Were Smarter

At the moment I am ‘between jobs’. I use this term because it sounds better than unemployed. I am also between men, between exercise regimes and between detoxes. I love the power of language to turn lemons into lemonade. I think I got this from my Father who always insisted he was not a chicken farmer but a ‘poultry magnate’. I spent the first half of my childhood thinking this meant he attracted birds.

Anyway not having a job or car meant that during the 5 days of torrential downpour last week I was essentially housebound. After making a pillow fort, organising the ‘miscellaneous stuff’ draw and creating the best I-pod mix of all time I started to get cabin fever and resent being trapped inside the house.
This made me wonder why nothing adequate has been invented to shield pedestrians from weather. Our options are essentially a plastic coat or an umbrella. Umbrellas are the crappiest invention known to man. They are great if there is a slight sprinkling and no wind but completely useless in any other scenario. Why in 2010 have we settled for a piece of canvas on a stick that gives you wet legs, blows inside out and potentially blinds anyone within a two metre radius of you?
I’m terribly sorry madam I hope you weren’t attached to that eye but it is imperative I get to my destination with dry hair.
These days we can reattach limbs, send man to the moon and make walking, talking robots but we can’t do better than an umbrella? I want to start a foundation dedicated to the research and development of something better than an umbrella. So far all I have come up with is a man-sized perspex cylinder with arm and leg holes. Unfortunately I think that just opens up a whole other can of inconvenience when it comes to sitting, interacting etc. Clearly I am not much of an inventor. Someone out there has to be though ….right?
So before we upgrade our I-pads to be able to detect 45 mins before you are hungry that you will want a pizza and order it for you, we should fix some of the more basic things we have.
Top 5 inventions that should have been improved by 2010 (apart from umbrellas)
5. Personal Computers
Modern computers can do almost anything yet they can’t make one that just works. I know how to turn my computer on. I know how to turn it off. I know how to type words. Beyond that how my computer operates is mystery to me. I don’t want to know that “A fatal exception XX has occurred at 00457:000040B1”. I don’t want to hear about data errors or illegal operations. None of this means anything to me. Stop bothering me with your trifling problem and fix yourself. You’re the computer. Why can’t they invent a computer with nothing but letter keys and a big blue button say ‘FIX’ in the event of any problems.
4. Voice Recognition Automated Phone Systems
They really should have made sure these things worked before rolling them out across every business and firing all the call operators. Please state the name of the business you are trying to reach “Stone’s Pizza”…”You have selected – Australia Zoo”. Arrgghhhh. Luckily I have figured out a loophole that gets me through to a person. With most automated systems I have discovered if you say “FUCK!” loudly while they are talking it cuts off and you go through to a person. I discovered this completely by accident.
3. Television Reception
Ok so this one is just for Perth because I’m sure there are places in the world with perfect television reception. But why why why when I live in the inner city and have both a set top box and digital aerial do I still get crappy reception. Just when they are about to reveal if the curry contains turmeric on Masterchef the picture disappears and is replaced by the ‘weak signal’ message. This fills me with murderous rage. Also why does the digital aerial work best when placed in the least convenient position such as in front of the door or right in the eye poke zone.
2. Pimple Cream
With the exception of the hard core medically prescribed stuff there is not a single pimple cream that works. Smear it on and within a week your pimple will vanish. Well I’ve got news for you that’s how long most of them take to vanish naturally. It’s like saying ‘Buy this magic hair growth cream and within six months your hair will have grown up to an inch”. It’s all LIES. The Emperor’s new pimple cream. When they invent one that can oust my blemish in 15 minutes THEN and only then will I be impressed.
1. Broken Collarbone Treatment
When I was about 17 I broke my collarbone. After hours of waiting around, x-rays, waiting around and disapproving looks (it was an alcohol related mishap) I was given a sling and sent home. A sling. Basically a piece of material and some safety pins was the extent of my treatment. I hazard a guess that this treatment has not been improved since cavemen wrapped bit of mammoth skin around themselves and were given 6 weeks off hunting duty.
There are many, many more but I am a lazy, lazy writer. I would be interested to hear about the things you would like to see improved (NOTE: you have to be following me to comment).
If you would like to donate to the EMFISBTU (Emily Marshall Foundation for Inventing Something Better Than Umbrellas) please don’t hesitate to contact me.

The Atheist God Botherer

God and me, we‘ve always had a weird relationship. Mostly because I don’t believe in him so it makes it awkward when we run into each other. My parents are both Atheist and thus I don’t recall hearing about religion at all until I was about five or six years old. I had just moved to Perth from Adelaide and all the other kids in year one seemed to know each other from pre-primary. I used to sit on my own and eat my play lunch. The only time I remember interacting with the other kids was when I did a snart (simultaneous sneeze and fart) and they all pointed and laughed. Then out of the nowhere a little girl emerged. “Do you want to come and play with us?” she asked.
She was the nicest little girl I had ever come across. Kind and generous and never joined in when kids were nasty to other kids. We became the best of friends.
The first I noticed that something was different about her was when I went to her house. She seemed to have a lot of pictures of puppies and fridge magnets all referencing some dude called God. He sounded like a nice guy.
The first time I went there for dinner I was halfway wolfing down some bangers and mash when I looked around and saw everyone else had their eyes closed. They were saying grace. They thanked this fella god for bringing them the meal. Wow, I thought. Not only does this guy love and support you, he also brings food!? Sweet!
Soon enough my friend and her family told me all about God and his son Jesus. They sounded like stand-up kinda guys. They gave me my own bible with pictures for ‘little eyes’ .
Then came the bomb-shell. If you don’t believe in God and go to Church you’re going to hell….. Huh? What?! …I didn’t know much about Hell but what from I did know it did not sound like a place I wanted to be.
“Am…am I going to hell?” I asked my little friend.
“Yes,” she said bluntly, “but I pray for you every night”.
Well that was it. She had put the fear of god in me. I started pouring over that bible for little eyes with more zeal than had ever been reserved for my other favourite book ‘There’s a monster at the end of this book’.
I started praying every night. I asked my Mum if I could go to Church. Not wanting openly encourage or discourage my newfound spiritualism she said , “Sure…if you get yourself there.”
She made this offer in the full knowledge that being six and living in the middle of the bush this was not going to happen. That’s when I started to rebel. I had been talking to this guy every night and not once had he replied. Rude! I reasoned if I was going to be condemned to hell for circumstances beyond my control at six years old maybe he wasn’t such a great guy after all. This is probably when I started embracing hedonism. “Screw him” I thought. I threw out my bible for little eyes and went outside to torture ants and throw melons at cars.
God and I had little to do with each other after that day. That was until I thought I was going to die. It was about 18 months ago and I was on a little Island off Thailand called Koh Phangan. I was there along with many other tourists for a night of unbridled partying known as The Full Moon Party. I had a great time and all was going well until the next morning. Whilst making out with a Swedish tourist under a shower I accidently ingested some of the Thai water. Big, big mistake. I felt ok for a few hours even cracking open a few more tiger beers to help with the hangover.
By the afternoon the tables had turned. It started with a modest upchuck. Ok big night and too many beers, that’s to be expected. Get it out and it’ll all be ok.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. A couple of hours later I had exploded out of both ends with the force of a fire hose. When the explosions started to be filled with blood I realised I might be in big trouble. Luckily the bathroom was just one big shower because after a while I couldn’t decide which end to point towards the toilet so I just lay in the foetal position on the bathroom floor feebly clutching the shower nozzle. 8 hours later I was in the same position. Having never heard someone so sick and also fearing for my life, I could hear my friend plotting the tuk tuk route to the hospital. I refused to go, figuring that Koh Phangan hospital was probably nothing more than a few chicken crates and a packet of bandaids. No! If I was going to die it would be in the privacy and dignity of my poo-brown tiled hotel bathroom.
So where does the atheist turn to bargain in times like these? That’s right. I came crawling back.
“God”, I said through my delirium, “if you make this stop I promise I’ll believe in you”…
Eventually after about 12 hours the exploding had stopped and I collapsed in bed thirstier than I had ever been but too scared to ingest anything. I slept for four days.
So it did stop. And I survived. But did I keep my promise? Sadly no. When the fog cleared and my near death experienced passed I still couldn’t quite wrap my head around the idea of believing in God. I believe there is something bigger than ourselves but that is as far as I can stretch. I also believe there must be a hell because that’s where they pump Thai water from. I guess this upgrades me from Atheist to Agnostic. If God does exist he is no doubt pissed at me for lying to him. I better look after myself from now on or I will become the girl who cried religion.