Sunday, 25 November 2012


This time next week I'll be sitting at the airport, waiting to go to Nepal.

I'm remarkably calm about this.

Calm for me I mean.

I used to get unbearably jittery the closer I got to leaving on a trip but at the moment I'm feeling good.

Part of that will be because I'm a bit older and a bit more confident.

Part of it will be down to the fact that I've been preparing physically and wrapping my mind around this trip for a while now, and have finished the bulk of my equipment shopping.

The rest of it... I've no idea.

I keep prodding at myself, like someone with a tooth they think might be sore, trying different angles, waiting for the pain.

If I'm not worried maybe it's because I haven't thought of this or this or this?

I've had to stop myself from doing that because it is not a particularly helpful thing to do.

I've had plenty of people wanting to tell me the stories they've heard about things happening to people in Nepal specifically or at altitude in general.

A few months ago this would have sent me into a tizzy.



This is going to be a completely new experience, I don't know exactly how it will go and I like that.

We're going with a good company, I'm going with people who care about me and I'm going to be sensible.

I don't want to be worried.

I'm enjoying being excited! :-D

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Just In Case You Haven't Seen It Yet

Public safety campaigns usually go the 'ominous music, harsh photographic filters' angle to scare you with the idea of what could happen if you are cavalier with your person or short of attention.
These tend to be shocking the first time and then either annoying or - for some people - traumatising after that.

Metro Trains in Melbourne decided to go in completely the other direction and I don't know about you but this message is sticking with me a lot more successfully than the 'OMG YOU'RE DOOMED!' style campaigns.

Plus the animation is adorable and I've had the song stuck in my head for days now :-P

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Glossy Habit

I never thought this was a sentence I would type but...

I can't stop buying magazines.

I don't mean fashion mags or gossip mags or entertainment mags.

I mean house design.


Interior decorating.

I haven't even read all the way through the last one before I'm buying the next.

I don't know where this has come from.

I guess my frustrated 'must... build... lovely... home...' desires are bubbling over into an uncontrollable acquisition of house porn to gaze at covetously.

Some of it I look at and know that I would rather walk face-first into a cement pylon without flinching rather than have it in my home but it gives me ideas.

Even if it's ideas on things I never want in my own house.

Those ideas are just as, if not more, useful than ideas of things that I do want in my own house.

Ruling things out makes your vision clearer.

It's a bit of a bugger because the mags themselves aren't what you'd call super cheap and the seeds that they're planting in my mind will probably fruit into an incredibly expensive crop if I go through with some of these design ideas.

But I can't stop.

They're just so pretty.

Thursday, 15 November 2012


When you came into the house, I scratched you.

I screamed.

I pushed you as hard as I could.

I ran around in that confined space, desperate and scared.

I bit you.

But you brushed me aside.

You swore at me.

You were sarcastic.

You asked what the fuck was wrong with me this time.

But I couldn't answer.

And you didn't see him.

And I couldn't stop him.

Just as I couldn't tell you that he was there.

Because I'm just a cat.

And now you're dead.

And I'm sorry.

And I miss your warmth.

And your touch.

And the food.

And it's been days now.

And no-one has come.

And I'm hungry.

I need the meat.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Causality Not Fate

I've never been one of those people who believe that 'everything happens for a reason' or that '[insert name of your deity of choice here] has a plan' because of what that would mean.

If it's true for us, we people who are well off enough to have access to the internet which argues that we're probably doing OK on a couple of levels, then it would have to be true for everyone and that just does not work.

It's OK to try and be positive as you consider the challenges in your life and to to try see the opportunities for growth and change that they can offer you but saying God has a plan for everyone would mean telling a child that God wanted them to be molested because it's part of His 'plan'.

Anyone who genuinely believes that, ugh.

Johnny Citizen can lose his job and have a crisis and have to work out what his strengths and priorities are, almost lose his house, get a better job and feel that 'Wow, that hardship happened for a reason'.

But if you tell me that someone planting subsistence crops standing on a landmine and losing a leg is going to teach them to be a better person, I will fistfight you.

If you try to say that people suffering from malnutrition in third world countries are learning important lessons, I will put my foot to your genitals.

What would be even worse is if the 'reason' these things are happening is so that some sanctimonious jerk in a suburban house can tell their fretful, sulking children 'There are kids in Africa who would be very grateful for that food!'.

Yes. There are.

Anyway before I start ranting in earnest, back to my point.

I don't believe that things happen for a reason but once they have happened, they change what happens afterward.

That's simple cause and effect in linear time.

Nothing mystical about that*.

If I hadn't got sick, I wouldn't have started walking every day in an attempt to feel less powerless and to help improve my health and increase my chances of recovery.

If I hadn't kept walking every day, I wouldn't be in what is probably the best physical condition that I've been in for years.

If I hadn't been so mad keen for walking and feeling pretty good about my physical fitness, I would never have even considered saying yes to the Nepal trip.
I wouldn't have had any confidence in my ability to train up for it, let alone attempt it.

It didn't happen for a reason but because it happened my life has taken a different path that it would have and who knows how far those two paths will diverge from each other over time.

Disclaimer: Yes, I am aware that I am still super privileged in being able to consider my situation in this light after receiving adequate medical attention, support from my family and being in a financial position to go on a trip overseas.
But at least I'm not saying that I deserve it or that a divine being changed the course of history so that I would get to go on a trip because it is my destiny!!!

*Unless you think linear time is an amazing construct/mass hallucination.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Going Wild

For the last year or so, my brain has obviously been developing some new neural pathways or mutating for maximum efficiency of getting really excited about random stuff because every couple of weeks it seems to bail me up in the corner like a cheerful drunk at a party and go 'HEY, YOU REMEMBER WHEN-' and just won't shut up about whatever it is into at the moment.

One of the things it's been yammering about recently is camping.

My family hasn't been camping for years.

The last time I remember was... 2004, just before I had my wisdom teeth out and was consigned to the scrap heap with the rest of the unwise.

And I haven't got any friends who go camping regularly - if at all - so I haven't gone on any exciting non-family camping trips since then either.

But at the moment it is all I can think about.

I want to go camping.

I want to put a tent, an air mattress, a sleeping bag, a handful of clothes and a bucketful of bug spray into my car and piss off somewhere camping.

I know that there is a nostalgia factor.

That there are things about camping that are extra annoying in any setting and things that are extra annoying in specific settings*.

I like the simplicity of only having what you brought with you.

No paralysis of choice on what to do because you've only got what you brought with you and the location you're in as options.

I like waking up going 'Jesus Christ, it must be like 10am! I must have slept in like crazy because it is BAKING in here!' and getting out of your tent to find that it's actually 7:30am and pleasantly mild once you're not inside a synthetic chamber of temperature amplification.

I like not having electricity because you have to REALLY want to finish that chapter in the book to sit there holding a book in one hand and a torch in the other.
Or with a torch clamped between chin and neck.
Or with the torch stuck in your mouth like the world's most unsuccessful pacifier.

I like being able to sit around in a folding chair or flop around in a hammock and not having to think 'I should get up and do that housework/shopping/organising/mending' because you've left all that bullshit at home.

I like the food, even when you cock it up.

It's handy that this trek in Nepal is going to have a camping component so I can calm my jonesing body down and get it to focus on other things that its sudden resurgent camping addiction**.

And when I get back and it's all summer and lovely, I might somehow manage to fit in some camping.

Though I'll be fighting the rest of Australia to find room anywhere decent at that time of year...

*In specific settings this will either relate to the terrain, the weather, or your fellow campers (e.g. drunks staggering home loudly late at night or tiny children running about screaming ridiculously early in the morning. Though if the kids run screaming around the tents of those shitty drunks while they're getting over their hangovers... Heh heh.)

**In Nepal I'll probably be distracted from my camping addiction by how tired I am and how my feet don't love me no more.