Sunday, 27 December 2009

Climb Aboard The Train O' Thought

I have a habit of dropping strange and seemingly unrelated topics into conversations and then looking puzzled when the people I'm talking with are puzzled by this. This is because in my happy little head the connections couldn't be clearer.
Of course when I sit down and map out the path that lead me from topic A to topic Z this does not turn out to be the case...


START! Something about someone being upset Might have to give them a comfort hug I am bad at hugs, I always feel like I might be squishing a part of them that I shouldn't be but they're too polite to let me know I'm crushing their tapangas Why did I just think 'tapangas' instead of breasts? Wasn't that girl in 'Boy Meets World', the hippy one, called Tapanga? I thought that was quite funny when it was on but I was probably 12 and would hate it now There must be a time when your brain is geared towards particularly corny and obvious acting Like that show on Nikelodeon with the two brothers and the intelligent but socially 'goofy one' is mysteriously more ethnic looking/acting that his simple blonde popular brother which was sort of not so bad when the series started and they were younger and about the same size but then a few years on you think 'did he get fatter because he knew he'd always be cast as the comedy relief so he just stopped caring and put on like 20 kg or is he just a big teenager?' Once you're in a show like that your career is pretty much screwed Like that guy who played Harvey in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I've never seen him in anything else, he's too clean cut looking, he'd never get in anything good unless he did something really weird to get cred Man it would be funny if Ashton Kutcher Punk'd him and they got footage of him screaming 'Don't you know who I am? I was in Sabrina b*tch!' ... How the heck did I get to that thought? [backtrack backtrack backtrack] FINISH!

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Step Back Citizen, I Have A Certificate!


But, Ow!

Guess what I spent the last two days doing!

No, not that!

Dirty little internet monkeys.

A first aid course!

At this point you might be wondering two things.
Why Ow?
Why Yay?

Well, Ow because over the course of the two days of classes I managed to give myself what I've dubbed CPR stigmata*.

And Yay, because now I feel like I'll actually be able to do something useful should anyone be hurt.

If you collapse I can roll you onto your side like nobody's business, if you are cut I will apply ten kinds of pressure and bandage you up like Imhotep, and if your heart stops I guess I'll give you CPR but no tongue!

Since the last time I did any first aid training** they have completely changed the timings for CPR and a lot of DOs have become DON'Ts!
My lawyer has advised me not to list any actual medical advice here but I can tell you this.

Blue-ringed octopi are tiny!


The size of a child's fist at most!
Do you know how much time I could have saved as a child if I'd known this?
All the hours wasted running in and out of the water at the beach every time a piece of seaweed touched my leg just in case it was a blue-ringed octopus!

Tiny poisonous sea creatures aside, knowing the basics of what to do during an emergency is both comforting and probably the most practical thing I've added to my skill base in years, I recommend it to you all***.
There is no time, place or stage of societal breakdown where first aid skills will not be useful.
Think about it.
Also stay still, I need to practice my slings.

*A bruise in the centre of each hand from overlapping the two hands and going at that first aid mannequin's solar plexus hammer and tongs.

**Coff 1995-ish.

***Warning: You will temporarily be convinced you are capable of diagnosing and treating people. Sure you're only diagnosing them with dehydration and mini-strokes but you'll still sound like a pompous jackass.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Ratio Of Birds To Stones

I am going to open a day spa.

The treatments offered will consist entirely of the client throwing a rope toy for a dog - or therapist, if you will - over and over again in a muddy field.

As the mud and the dog dribble coat their hands they will find that the moisturising effect of the all natural earth supplements and butt-enhanced mouth enzymes will greatly improve the elasticity of their skin.

Various grades of gravel can be added to the muddy field to achieve an exfoliating effect.

A scented wash will be available to complete the treatment and is best applied via the medium of soaping it into the dog's coat and washing it out along with the residual exfoliating supplements.

The natural oils in the dog's fur and the massaging effect of the hairs will gently coax the best possible outcome from the clients' skin.

Tell all your friends.

Incidentally I'm also opening a dog care and grooming service around the corner.

For a quite reasonable price I can promise that your dog is exercised, washed and pampered and returned to you bright eyed and bushy tailed...

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Also, The Grassy Knoll Shot JFK!

Every now and then for no discernible reason I get a little 'conspiracy theory-ish'.

I'm never quite sure what brings it on and it never lasts long enough for me to start a website, lobby my local member of parliament or fold an aluminium foil hat but one thought leads to another leads to suspicion leads to a brief spike of paranoia leads to this blog post.

Want to hear the current theory before it evaporates? Of course you do.

Here it is.

I think some religious group has bought out the contract to fill the vending machines in ladies public bathrooms.

What? You think that sounds outlandish?

Used to be that the little vending machines in public bathrooms would offer you the opportunity to purchase three emergency items: tampons, sanitary pads and condoms.

Now they still offer the tampons and sanitary pads but any extra vending space is taken up by toiletries.

Even if the unit has six items for sale the other four will - instead of holding useful contraceptives - be stuffed to the gills with perfume, hand lotion, toothpaste, lip gloss and other such items.

I don't know about you but I can't imagine too many scenarios where a woman might be desperate to buy some emergency $1 perfume or moisturiser out of a toilet vending machine.
I can imagine a scenario where a woman might need to buy an emergency condom.

The questions about how dependable a vending machine condom might be aside, there are some women out there who might be too shy to buy condoms at the chemist or supermarket.
The vending machine option might have been their only chance to buy a contraceptive discretely and take charge of the night's activities and their sexual health.

So what do we have so far?
  • Condoms gone
  • Cheap perfume, moisturiser and lip gloss provided
Conclusion? A shadowy religious group wants us to lower our standards, tart ourselves up and get pregnant!

Yeah, it all comes together now doesn't it?
You once were blind but now you see!
The truth is before you and can never be concealed again!

Now I must go speak The Truth to The People before The Truth starts to look a bit crazy and I back away from it like an electronic monk backs away from the belief that everything in a valley is a uniform shade of pink!

PS. If I mysteriously disappear it will be because this one is actually true and the cabal involved is a lot better funded than anyone would expect and more prone to overreacting than a prudent financial plan would advise.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

And Knowing Is Half The Battle!


Missed it again.

But I still feel like I learned a fair amount from this year's attempt and here in my foggy and slightly twitchy state I want to share some of these wisdom nuggets with you.

  • It Is Important To Try And Write In Voices Other Than Your Own
    This year was the first time I tried to write a prolonged piece in a character voice significantly different from my own, specifically my main character was a teenage boy.
    I am not and have never been a teenage boy. I didn't entirely understand what made them tick when I was their peer and certainly don't claim to have deciphered their mystery now but in trying to write in this voice I had to work a few things out.
    I had to have a proper think about the behaviour of different friends and relatives during that time in their life and try shape actions, dialogue and thoughts around this framework. I had to consider the different set of motivations that would drive my character, especially as I decided to give him a spectacularly messed up family life just to make it more eventful and provide an opportunity to work in more adjectives.
    I realised that the best way for me to write a character that seems genuine is to keep things fairly simple, pick a few issues or behaviours to highlight and just let the character grow.

  • The More I Write The More I Realise I Need To Write
    Whilst NaNoWriMo is great for getting people to attempt writing a novel at all, you can't just write furiously for all of November and then do nothing else during the rest of the year, or at least I can't. I write all year round but don't confront my shortcomings as a writer or challenge myself with longer pieces and I really should
    Without constant practice I will never improve and oh do I want to. My brain delivers ideas on a strange schedule and oftentimes I get my best stuff out when I'm just wittering away and letting it happen. I don't often have inspiration strike complete with a plot and character bios, it usually just grows as it goes like a watermelon vine in the stomach of a child who has swallowed a seed in summer*.

  • Sometimes Show Don't Tell Takes More Effort Than You Think
    It is a treacherous and thin line to walk, that barrier between explaining too much and completely losing your reader by being too subtle. The tricky thing about being the writer is you know the characters' back stories and motivations** and what you think is a vital and gripping clue might be missed altogether by a reader who is not you. If you have someone who's judgement and taste you trust who is willing to read your work and critique it without being unkind or - even worse- too kind, you love that person and you never let them go!
Ah well, the world spins on and there are more words to pin lovingly to the page but first - sleep.

*You know it's true!
**Or at least you have your suspicions...