H is for Horrible

Two sides of the same coin.
Two sides to every story.
There are two sides of life, light and dark. And within dark there are also two sides.
Denial and despair.

Denial is the lighter side of horrible. It looks in the face of horrible and says naively,
Everything will be ok. What looks hard is not really hard, it is just different. You’ve done things like this before, no need to stress and worry.

Despair is the darker side of horrible. It knows horrible for what it is (and then some). It tends to exaggerate the horrible and turn it into heinous and often leads straight into hell.

These are the two sides of H that I feel I am caught between, bouncing from one to the other and doing my head in. What I need to do is find a hole to stick it in.

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The third side of horrible (if horrible was some kind of trapezoidal object) is Horrible Histories which has a multitude of handy tips for living life right.
For example if you are a Peruvian

Stay calmer if you want to harm a llama, call a llama farmer.

Made even more catchy by the song

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G is for Gilmore Girls

Only the best television show of all time.

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I cannot express with words just how much I love this show. Suffice to say that when I moved out of home the first thing I had to buy was the box set. Seven seasons of pure bliss. Twenty four episodes each seasonal forty minutes long each. It is television gold.
My Mum and I have watched her set of the discs so often that she we will probably need to buy new ones soon. It doesn’t matter though that some of her discs skip slightly because we could pretty much act it out ourselves now.

Every year we start with the first episode of season one and we watch sporadically (read – any time I go over to her house) until the twenty second episode of season seven (the last episode). And then we start again.

If I am ever feeling sad I just put in the last disc of season seven on and watch Rory be proposed to and graduate from Yale. I always cry, but it’s good crying.

She is another fictional character that I want to be. In fact, I really wouldn’t mind being any of them in this show. I guess what I really need to do is move to Stars Hollow.

My second favourite television show,Smash, even made reference to Gilmore Girls this season. I was in television heaven.

As I was doing some research for this blog (no, not watching the show), I discovered that there are Gilmore Girls memes!!

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And if I’ve learnt anything from the show, it’s

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Logan will always be my favourite.

Coming up on my next blog: H

F is for Fractured

Today was going to be about family.

I spent yesterday evening and this morning at my grandparents house waiting for my Mum to come back from the U.S. I didn’t get there until late, but then spent another two hours listening to my grandfather’s stories. Each time I visit I hear something new, some exploit that I haven’t heard about before. And it was ok that I was up til midnight with them because it meant that I had less time to wait for my Mum to come home. It was kind of like Christmas, all the anticipation.

She brought me back many lovely things including a Beauty and the Beast scarf which is awesome but also this hat for my cat.

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But ever since last night I have felt fractured and conflicted.
I should really take into account what this whole grateful in April thing is about but sometimes you just can’t get over yourself and the petty dramas you create.

F is also for feeding.
And fear.
The more I move into the future (and it turns into the present) the worse I feel. In my household I am usually the decision maker, but normally it is about easy things like what’s for dinner or when to do the washing or what are we doing on the weekend. I hate making the big decisions, mostly because I feel I get buyer’s remorse. I read something this year, I think on Alain be Botton’s twitter, or maybe it was on The Checkout, that the more choice we are given the harder the choice becomes.

Things keep happening that I think I am just a participant in but it is becoming increasingly obvious that perhaps I am the instigator and I’m being pushed out on a ledge and its either jump off by myself or be pushed.

Either way,

It’s just me.

Coming up on my next blog: G<a

E is for (The) Elite

I can’t begin to explain just how much I love this book. Or more accurately, how much I love this new series by Keira Cass, and how if I could, I would be America Singer. It is the best teen fiction of the dystopic genre that I have read in a whole and probably my favourite book of this year (although I have been saying that of most of the books I have read this year).

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The Elite is the sequel to the novel The Selection. The dust jacket of the first book suggests it is

a novel where The Bachelor meets dystopic fiction

And they couldn’t be more right.

I don’t want to give too much away about plots or anything because I would not want to spoil this book for anime and I think everyone should read it, but I will give a basic outline.

America Singer lives in a dystopic American society that has a strict caste system. Her world is ruled by a monarchy and the young and eligible prince must choose a bride from his people. Girls are given the opportunity to enter The Selection, a competition to compete for his affections and the crown. She does. And succeeds in being sent to the palace for the competition (that’s not really a spoiler because if she didn’t there wouldn’t be a book or plot). The it’s game on.

What I like best about this series is that while there is conflict within the plot, and the characters do have hard decisions to make, it is not tortured like most YA fiction, especially dystopic fiction. Yes there are consequences and bad decisions and a love triangle between the boy back home and the new boy, but nothing bad happens for the sake of something bad happening. It doesn’t feel like there is going to be a disastrous ending so that all the teeny bopper girls who read it will end up crying and bemoaning life as it is.

But I’ve kind of shot myself in the foot by reading The Elite as soon as it was released here. I was lucky to discover The Selection only at the beginning of this year and then have just a month to wait for its sequel, The Elite to be released. But now I don’t know how long it is going to be until the third book comes out and I really want to read more! I don’t want to have the problem I did with the novels of Tahereh Mafi when after reading Shatter Me I couldn’t wait for the next novel in the series, but Unravel Me was a disappointment. And I. Really can’t look up when the next one is coming out because there will likely be spoilers attached ad I’d rather read it then get told what is going to happen.

The sad things is is that currently I am able to do all this reading because of my job. And when I change jobs I won’t be able to see as many new books or read as many as I have been doing this year. That is one of the saddest aspects of my choice.

I guess I will be using this blog as an outlet more and more for reviews of what I read as my work outlet will cease to be.

Coming up on my next blog: F

D is for David O’Doherty

Because I love him. Perhaps even more than I love Jeremy Fernandez.
And I would really like him to marry one of my friends (I have one in particular in mind).

And while I don’t want more people to know about him because I want to sit near the front every time I see him, I also don’t want to be hipster and be into things that no one else knows about and think I am superior because of it. Plus, he’s from Ireland and so he needs as many people as possible to go to his shows and give him money so that he can go home and support the Irish economy.

This year is the third time I have seen DO’D perform.
Last year when I saw him he was really sad because he had just broken up with his girlfriend (and I did think to myself that he had let himself go a bit). But this year he was much happier and at a bigger venue.

This is his show this year:

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I couldn’t take any pictures at the show because there is no photography at the Enmore and I was sitting too close to take a sneaky one. This didn’t stop the two guys sitting next to me from giving it a go and DO’D called them out on it. Awkward!

But because people do record when they are not supposed means I can share this with you (it’s not from the show I saw but still good)

the text song

What I didn’t know is that he has CDs too! I don’t know if I can get them here but if I can I probably will.

Anyway, he does more than sing.

He is also the coauthor of two informative and interesting books

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His comedy is also based on stories that he tells and awesome one liner jokes. This is the only one I can remember from his show this year

How do you summon all the dead single ladies?
With a seance-ay

That’s the funny thing about comedy. You go and sit and listen for an hour or two and you laugh until you can’t breathe and the. It’s over and you can’t remember a single thing.

Coming up on my next blog: E

C is for Commemoration

Commitment
Courage
Comrades
Community

Today is one of those important days on the calendar. A day that is celebrated for more than the time off work it gives us.

There are two things a person can do on this day, either get up at five thirty in the morning to stand on the street in the middle of their town or get out at ten in the morning to walk up their main street and then stand around in the middle of their town.

When I was at school (and for a little while after, when my old teacher would still let me and was related to people who still attended the school) I would be in the march.
Now that I am older I like the quiet and sincerity of the dawn service.

Lots of people are up before the sun. We stand in the middle of the street around the cenotaph in big coats and boots and beanies. Silently.
The most important sounds are the birds and the bugle. There is nothing so sad or haunting as the last post played out in the half darkness and cold, nothing as moving as the words

they shall not grow old as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We shall remember them

The serious and sombre tone is reflected in the suits and medals people wear. But it is also about happiness and joy too. Stories of people who did their best and gave their all with a smile and a joke. This year it even included a dig at the council.
It is not a time for drinking and partying as some in the media have suggested this week. Though that does come later for some. A chance to celebrate and perhaps forget.

God Save the Queen.
God Defend New Zealand.
Advance Australia Fair.

Lest we forget.

Coming up on my next blog: D

B is for Bowling

And Buddies.
And (staying up way past my) bedtime.

Today I went bowling for the second time in two weeks, more bowling than I have done in the past five years.

Really it’s all about the shoes.

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And apparently it’s all about the booze as well.

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Thank you Raine for letting me take a picture of your feet and your drink!

Modern bowling seems less about the bowling and more about all the others ways a bowling place can make money. At the centre my friends and I went to there is bowling, and laser tag, and dodgem cars, and arcade games and a bar and a cafe.
Plus now they sell socks too, just in case you forgot to wear (or bring) your own.
It is much more hectic now. Each lane has its own screen above the pins that constantly belts out music hits. It never stops. Too bad if you were trying to concentrate (on something like bowling). And it is so dark in there. All the lights are muted and the tables have coloured light up centres. You can barely see the marking on the lanes that show you where to aim (and I really need to be able to see those markings).
I always thought bowling was the thing you went for. The activity that you were at the venue to do. I don’t need music and coloured lights and all that other stuff to make me have a good time.
Obviously I am wrong though, as the place was packed (and the ratio of men was pretty good if you’re a single lady (you know who I am talking too, all we need now are those short skirts and tattoos)).

What I think I like best though are the things you can do after you have been bowling. Like eat star shaped donuts dipped in chocolate.

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Who knew that the night before a public holiday is busy at bowling and at San Churro?

What I did learn today though is that I need to get much closer to the ground when I bowl and that I am equally as likely to pull a muscle when doing real bowling as when doing kinect bowling (though I am much better at the latter).

Coming up on my next blog: C

A is for Abhorrent Hypocrite

A was supposed to be for Alphabet Savant.
This post was going to be about my mother and her apparent ability to find words in random letters like in number plates or crazy word games and anagrams out of names and stuff.

But

I’ve had a crisis of conscience that can’t wait until C.

I have become everything I abhor. About social media, exclusion and left out ness.
It’s funny because that is what seems online media is all about at the moment – our inability to navigate social media in a polite and moral way.
An article in the SMH about Electronic Etiquette suggested that people are less likely to censor themselves online because it doesn’t feel like the real world. And we all know that lots of people hide behind the anonymity of the online world to say things they wouldn’t normally say or say to someone’s face.
I know at least that I will say it to your face. Most people that know me know that I am not backwards in coming forward.

But all that becomes a lot harder when what you have to say will hurt someone else and perhaps it is better not to say it at all, or when the moment for what should have been said passes. And this is where the whole cross over from real life to online life becomes hard.

This is why social media makes friendship tricky (and the end of friendships even trickier). A while back Mia Freedman wrote an article about how to end a friendship – either with the giant blow up, or the slow and gradual cessation of contact. As much as I like the dramatics and finality of a blow up it really isn’t healthy for anyone and so I agree with her when she says that the slow euthanasia is best.
But how can you cut off all contact with all this electronic connection? Can you just let a friendship die a slow death in this social media age?

I guess it’s not that you can’t, but that it is harder to sever ties when everything anyone does goes on social media. If you don’t invite someone to an event or get together, likely they are going to see info about that event on Facebook or twitter. I don’t even have facebook and yet I look at it almost every day. Anyway, I have had that happen to me and I didn’t like it. And I called out the people who were doing it to me and we ended up having the blow up anyway. But maybe I should have just got the point? Maybe I should have just realised that it was over and held up my end of the slow death bargain and let go out

not with a bang but a whimper

The hardest thing about etiquette on social media is that while there are many people out there who I don’t know, there are also many people out there that I do know and who I know do read what I write here too (I think). What is put out on social media cannot be personal or anonymous when those who you like know it is you and what it is you are writing about. That is why I feel the need to censor myself so often. I care about the feelings of others and I care if I offend them. So I try not to do things that will hurt them or make them sad or angry or embarrassed. But what happens when you don’t care anymore? When you are self censoring for people whose opinion you no longer value?

How do you balance the quiet and hopefully painless and sensitive euthanasia of a friendship and being true to yourself in the digital sphere?

Coming up on my next blog: B

I before E except…

Who invented the English language?
I mean seriously? Who decided that the oiation part of negotiation would make a shhh sound?

I’ve just finished reading a book where the male lead likes words for words sake.

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What I really like about his use of language though are all the words from other languages he uses thy have no English equivalent. Long words whose meaning is best expressed in a short essay.
Had I been clever I would have taken pictures of these pages and phrases while I was reading but I didn’t so you’ll just have to trust me that he uses them because I am not skimming through the whole book just to find an example.

The Germans are pretty good at creating words like that though. Hard to pronounce and hard to spell, they have words that capture the essence of a fleeting or hard to define human emotion. It’s cool. English doesn’t really have words like that. Rather it steals those words from other languages and passes them off as its own. Like ennui.

Where I work I put up a new word everyday. I write out the phonetic pronunciation and definition which I get from The Oxford Dictionary Online. It’s about building and extending vocabulary. Because while you may read a new word in book and get a basic understanding of what it means, you don’t really learn how to pronounce it or use it in a sentence. For example, one person I know used to pronounce epitome eppi tome and that just really doesn’t fit with the stylishness of its definition.

Really I love words.
When I first read Dracula by Bram Stoker I sat with a notepad and dictionary by my bed and each word I didn’t know I would write down and look up. There were lots. Collecting words for work has helped give an outlet to this obsession. Now I can share windward and fastidious, machinations and sage.

When I leave this job I am going to need a new outlet. My guess is that it will be you dear readers.

Coming up on my next blog: I will try to start that alphabet thing.