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The day I realised my friend was writing articles about our friendship

Thursday November 2nd, 2017 in Writing | No Comments »

The first time I had an inkling that my friend Ben was writing articles about our friendship was when I read his Daily Hail piece titled, “Is it ever okay to tell your friend they’re a terrible person?”

In the article Ben wrote about a friend called “Jenny” who had borrowed his red jumper and returned it covered in cat hair. I decided not to assume his writing was about me. The jumper I’d borrowed from Ben was orange and the hair was Pomeranian. (I didn’t own a lint roller and had done my best with a wad of Blu Tack).

The next article Ben sold to Men’s Daily was titled, “The five ways to dump a toxic friend”. Ben had done extensive research for this article. He had interviewed a real-life celebrity psychologist by reading their book and distilled their advice in between stories of how awful his friend was. Ultimately, it was really only one piece of advice, “Don’t spend time with your toxic friend” but Ben managed to break it up into five parts: Don’t respond to their emails, Don’t respond to their text messages, Don’t answer their phone calls, Pretend you’re very busy and important, and Hide.

I couldn’t help but wonder, am I Ben’s toxic friend? Particularly when I found Ben crouching in the pantry. He said he was looking for a potato and I chose to believe him.

It was when I read Ben’s article in Junkabel, “The day I realised I hate my housemate” that I finally had no doubt that he secretly publicly hated me. Ben included an anecdote about his horrible housemate sending him a passive aggressive email asking if he wanted a puppy. Despite Ben anonymising the email address as horriblehousemate@gmail.com I knew the email he quoted was from me because I had written it and he included my spelling errors. No-one else spells bureaucrat quite that badly.

The scales fell from my eyes and I realised Ben was maintaining our relationship just to write about how awful it was. After a minute of reflection, I calmed down. We all need to earn a crust. Not everyone is lucky enough to own a Pomeranian walking business. I just wish Ben would stop tagging me when he shares the links.

Radio Bacon

Monday October 16th, 2017 in The Pig, Work | No Comments »

Three weeks ago ABC Central Victoria recorded me reading some short snippets about my time working in a bacon factory.

In my first piece I explain that I learned a lot about bacon.

 

I also experienced sexual harassment for the first time! What a milestone in a young lady’s life.

 

It was a difficult couple of months, but in the end, I “turned out alright” (ie, did the over-time and didn’t complain too much.)

Sorry you’ve been living your life wrong, according to Enid Blyton

Tuesday August 29th, 2017 in Enid Blyton, Parenting | No Comments »

Old fashion blue upholstered wing chair with red wings drawn onto legs.

Enid Blyton lived before the age of the blog, internet article or listicle. She wrote narrative fiction for children with paragraphs and no headings, except for chapters. Who has the attention span for that? Not me really, but I’ve come up with some article ideas to impart Blyton’s wisdom in a more accessible modern form.

1. The 5 best foods for a midnight feast 

They are all sausages.

2. Should you be elfing you children? 

There’s a new parenting trend of allowing mythical forest folk to care for children for up to twelve hours each day. Experts quoted in the article are divided but strident on the subject.

3. Why I won’t elf my children

In a follow up personal piece a mother details how her mothers group nearly shamed her into elfing her children. She’s glad she didn’t, because her friend’s fairy-carer turned out to be a real estate agent with no access to the magical realm.

4. Do you know the signs of a toxic friendship?

Is your friend different to you in any way? If so, don’t put up with it. Hit them with a hockey stick until they fit in.

5. These life hacks will change the way you fly your furniture forever

Who knew you were supposed to land the back two legs first! But it makes so much sense now! Share!

6. The 10 worst things about travel and why I won’t stop

Everyone wants to go on adventures and then complain when they get there. This article will validate that instinct.

My hobbies

Monday August 7th, 2017 in Parenting | No Comments »

Floral colouring in with words Wees, Poos, Bum

I’m very busy and important, but that doesn’t mean I don’t make time for hobbies. Here are some of my faves.

1. Sticky taping the flaps back onto lift the flap books

I often delay delving into this hobby, but once I start it’s very satisfying. There are usually a number of flaps scattered around my house. I have to guard these against people who want to put them in the bin even though they are obviously part of an ongoing book restoration project. Once or twice a year I gather up all the flaps and stick them back in their original books. It’s very satisfying and Where’s Spot? makes a lot more sense.

2. Looking in the couch

I take off all the couch cushions and partially unfold the sofa bed. This allows me to more evenly scatter crumbs across the room and find lost items such as pencils, puzzle pieces and bits of Lego. If I find a flap I will put it on a surface to be dealt with when I dip back into hobby No 1.

3. Visiting The Age website and hating myself

I often wonder what’s going on in the world and visit The Age website. Once I’m there I read about parenting trends and celebrities. This happens several times a day.

4. Allowing the furniture to be repainted

I enthusiastically start craft projects with my children, but unfortunately we rarely share a vision. I often think of this French and Saunders sketch when I find myself trying to micro-manage the creative expression of preschoolers. I generally end up ignoring the children while I concentrate on my own project. This leads to a bit of mess and ingestion of craft materials. But paint either washes off or eventually rubs off with the dead skin. It is also quickly excreted when taken internally, I tell myself.

In conclusion, even if you are absolutely flat-chat there are ways to incorporate your hobbies and me-time into your routine. You just need to be creative, flexible and have very low standards.

P is for Phonetic: An English Spelling is Phucked Alfabet

Saturday July 22nd, 2017 in Writing | No Comments »

File:Greek cyrillic latin.png

I’m not one of the world’s great spellers. I blame English.

Below I’ve expressed my frustration (with some swears apologies). If illustrated this could be a lovely baby board book or frieze for a child’s room.

Aa

A is for Art. Apparently. Not R, because that would be easy. Rseholes.

Bb

There are two Bs in bomb. For no good reason. Bumb.

Cc

There are no Cs in sea, or see. There’s one in c***s though.

Dd

There’s a D in sandwich. Stick it up your andus.

Ee

E is for excrement. Not X because it’s s**t.

Ff

There are two Fs in giraffe. FFS.

Gg

G is for gonerreah, making it the most sensible letter in the word.

Hh

H is for hours of my life wasted trying to spell hierarchy.

Ii

There’s no I in eye. I give in.

Jj

There’s a J in marijuana. No wonder people stick to heroin.

Ll

Lolly has three Ls, lily has two.

I want to scream, how about you?

Mm

M is for mnemonic, and you’ll need one to remember how to spell it.

Nn

N is knot for knife. Who new.

Oo

There’s two Os in colonel, but none in kernel. How’s your colon feeling?

Pp

P is for pterodactyl. What ptwat decided that?

Qq

Q is for queue. Four extra vowels, why? Queueunts.

Rr

R is the second letter in are. RUOK? No. I’m aropeable.

Ss

There’s an S is in aisle and isle. Homonyms with no s sound. I’lls be buggered.

Tt

There’s a T in listen, but you can’t hear it. I shi you no.

Uu

U is the last letter in you. nf***ingbelievableu.

Vv

V is for vagina. I have no problem with that.

Ww

W is for write. Rankers.

Xx

There’s an X in box but not blocks. Bollox.

Yy

There’s a Y in why but not where you’d think. It’s ysh**t.

Zz

Z is not for xylophone. F*** off! Zactly.

Five things to avoid when visiting new parents

Sunday June 25th, 2017 in Parenting | No Comments »

Val and Leo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Poo on the carpet

Yes, their carpet will almost certainly be pooed on in the next two years, but that doesn’t mean you should be an early adopter. The last thing new parents want to do in their sleep-deprived state is to dab at your excrement with a sponge until they decide to pretend that it’s clean. If you must do a poo while visiting, use the toilet for once.

2. Set anything on fire

Most modern houses have working smoke detectors because of the law. Even a small bonfire in the lounge room can set these contraptions off and they make an infernal noise. If this wakes the baby the parents will be cross and won’t appreciate the effort you made bringing marshmallows to toast and kindling.

3. Bring the gift of a puppy

It’s political correctness gone mad, but people these days want to choose their own pets and when they get them. I know from personal experience that a puppy presented to the new parents of triplets is not always met with the grateful squeals you would expect. Remember, these people have read many, many articles about how parenting is the hardest job in the world, and they actually believe they’re too busy for a golden retriever.

4. Begin major structural renovations

I know this sounds weird, because they say you should help. However, unless you can stay to see the job through, it’s probably best not to rip up floor-boards or dismantle the portico on your own initiative. Someone will eventually make you a cup of tea, and then you’ll have to stop with the job half done and who knows when they’ll get around to finishing it.

5. Remove any parts of the baby

It can be tempting as well as useful for spells and cooking, but this is not the time for souveniring. Think of it like visiting a national park – what grows on the baby, stays on the baby.

If the Baby-Sitters Club was written by Enid Blyton

Thursday June 22nd, 2017 in Baby-Sitters Club, Enid Blyton | No Comments »

BSC by Enid Blyton

I’ve been dipping back into some Enid Blyton stories recently. It’s a little shocking because like most of us, I have been molly-coddled in recent times. Modern kids books are all like, “It’s okay to be different” and “Everybody is a good person really”.

Enid Blyton books are like, “Stop crying or I’ll hit you with my hockey stick again. No-one likes you for a very good reason, you’re different”. And, “These evil goblins are the end. Let’s steal all their stuff and run away”.

You see how much more fun reading was before people had feelings?

So because I can’t stop talking about ‘The Baby-Sitter’s Club‘ I have imagined what the BSC would be like if written by Enid Blyton.

Firstly, let’s be clear, no-one does any babysitting in Blyton’s books. Even Famous Five’s Ann the proper girl was too busy for that. Enid Blyton characters are seeking adventure, or at the very least jolly japes. Snivelling younger children are a hindrance to crime solving, magical travel and midnight feasts and they are barely tolerated let alone sought out through advertising.

The Baby-Sitters Club is a character driven series so my first task has been to nut out how the BSC members would fit into a world of magical adventure, French lessons and pudding.

Character summaries

Kristy fits right in. Whether she’s flying around on the furniture, organising a raid on a cave of jewel smugglers, or developing close relationships in an all girls boarding school. It’s no problem.

Claudia is a jolly good sport who organises sausage sizzles at all hours of the night.

Stacey’s attention seeking fainting and clearly intentional diabetic comas earn the wrath of the other children who tick her off. Eventually Stacey learns to shut up and pretend to drink the ginger beer and eat chocolate buns.

Mary Anne shuts herself in a cupboard after an own goal causes her hockey team to lose again. Her sobs alert the French teacher who gives the whole class detention. The other girls lock Mary Anne in the cupboard and she learns a lesson.

Dawn is very happy to climb trees and journey to magical lands because that is one of her main hobbies in any case. Dawn is an adventure loving traveller who can’t understand why the native fairy creatures don’t always appreciate her visits. When they are horrid to her she kicks them into the river and catches a magical escape route home.

Jessi…I don’t think she’s really in it to be honest. Don’t complain or you’ll be called political correctness gone mad.

Mallory makes the sandwiches.

Netballstrology – June 2017

Monday May 22nd, 2017 in Sport | No Comments »

Astrology chart overwritten with netball positions and with an orange in the centre.

Everyone knows that astrology is rubbish, right? Equally however, everyone knows that you can tell a lot about a person based on what netball position they play. I would go further and argue that you can predict a person’s future based their netballstrology chart. Here are my prophecies for June.

Centre

You’re all over the place and June will be no exception. However, there’s still that pesky matter of the goal circles where other people ruin or validate your good work.  You can’t control everything. Let it go. By which I mean, scream instructions. Remember, the ball will always alternate back to you for the centre pass, and then other people will ruin your life again. In June you will come into a lot of citrus fruit. Eat as much as you want, you deserve it.

Wing Defence

If. You. Need. Let’s think about those three little words. Actually, let’s not, it’s too sad. No-one will need you this month either, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be there. Actually, I tell you what we do need. Someone to wash the bibs.

Wing Attack

Are you living up to your potential? No? Actually, the answer is yes. The truth is, you’re where you are for a reason. And that reason is probably limited talent. “Keep doing what you’re doing” said the man to the tree as if it needed his advice.

Goal Keeper

You’re tall. This gives you a valuable perspective on your surroundings. It’s like you’re standing on your desk all the time without Mr Keating even telling you to. June will provide new opportunities to utilise your lofty heights. At my house. We have a few light bulbs that need changing. Just stick your arms up, we know you can.

Goal Defence

Do you ever feel like you’re doing twice as much work as someone else standing only a few metres away? Remember, rewards come in many forms and some of them may seem like painful broken bones at first but then you realise it’s a blessed relief granting you a break from all the relentless, unrewarding, unappreciated work that you do. So in June I recommend that you let go of the handrail on the stairs, scatter some banana peel around your bathroom and joyfully anticipate the inevitable splat and eight weeks in a moonboot.

Goal Shooter

I’m seeing a lot of armpits in your life in June. As usual, ignore them. (I’m really talking about relationships.)

Goal Attack

I get that you’re a go-getter, but you didn’t get this far in life without also being quite accurate. So this month, don’t hold back with your opinions. If you see something you don’t agree with in an area you’re not technically allowed in, stand as close as you can and shout encouraging advice. Also, in June you will kill again.

Which original Baby-Sitters Club member are you?

Friday May 12th, 2017 in Baby-Sitters Club, Quiz | No Comments »

BSC

Today I was talking to a friend about which Baby-Sitters Club members we are most like. Why yes, I am very busy and important. With a sinking feeling I realised the answer for me is clearly Mallory. My friend was kind enough to throw Mary Anne into the mix, but it’s grim.

I believe we can change though, so I’ve written this quiz to help answer the question: Which ORIGINAL member of the Baby-Sitters Club are you?

I know I’m not Robinson Crusoe here, but guys, I’m Mallory, you can’t expect much except whinging.

A. What shape are your eyes?

  1. a) Don’t know – I never look in the mirror.
  2. b) Eye shaped.
  3. c) Cow-eye shaped.
  4. d) Almond shaped.

B. What are you wearing?

  1. a) A turtleneck. Very cruel to turtles but so comfortable!
  2. b) Purple high-tops and a silver tent.
  3. c) A cable knit jumper, plaid skirt and Mary Janes. Very cruel to Mary Janes, but so comfortable!
  4. d) All of the above.

C. When was the last time you played sport?

  1. a) Now.
  2. b) When I threw a ball of yarn to my kitten.
  3. c) Does eating candy bars count?
  4. d) I do squats to keep my hair bouncy.

D. Do you have a best friend?

  1. a) Yes.
  2. b) Yes.
  3. c) Yes.
  4. d) I have two and it’s creating conflict. I bet they both answer yes to this question. God. They don’t own me.

E. Are you boy crazy?

  1. a) Do I think liking boys is crazy? Yes.
  2. b) Yes.
  3. c) I have a steady boyfriend, which is crazy because all my friends think I’m frigid. They say “shy” but I know what they mean.
  4. d) No. I am boy mental health episode though.

F. Have you ever saved the day?

  1. a) Dude, I wrote the day.
  2. b) Yes and that’s why my dad decided to let me wear my hair down and I got nits.
  3. c) I’ve handed out a lot of candy, that usually saves the day except for putting my friend in a diabetic coma. Shut up, I am not stupid I have a really high IQ.
  4. d) I’m in a coma.

G. What’s the truth about you?

  1. a) Pretty boring in the end actually.
  2. b) My parents don’t love me as much as my sister. Eating helps. Who cares, don’t judge me, I don’t get zits or put on weight, type II diabetes might be a bummer at some point, but that will just help me relate to my best friend.
  3. c) Sometimes I imagine Mary Anne wearing nothing but a visor and whispering, “I’ve looked in the diary and I’m free for that sitting job.”
  4. d) Sometimes I want to be an Associate Member.

Scoring

There is no scoring system. The truth about you is that you already know the answer. I am Mallory, you are probably Kristy or Mary Anne. You’re not Claudia. You’ll never be Claudia. I’m off to throw myself on the bed and cry about it.

Recap Insiders

Sunday April 30th, 2017 in Politics, Television | No Comments »

Gerard Henderson and David Marr face each other arguing

Yesterday I recapped Episode 7590 of Neighbours. I’m worried that’s left me looking a little frivolous so today I’m recapping Australia’s longest-running political drama, Insiders. The show is about Barry, who invites his friends over every Sunday but none of them get along. The main plot centres on the will-they-won’t-they tension between Gerard Henderson and David Marr. Gerard and David seem like complete opposites, and yet, sometimes that can be so right, like with Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

As per usual, Barry has invited three people over because that’s how many chairs he has; David Marr, Gerard Henderson and Laura Tingle.

The start of the episode shows a tantalising glimpse of the couch where David and Gerard sit beside each other with their arms folded. Barry ignores them, and wanders off, which may be the only sensible thing to do when two people are in a huff with each other. I feel sorry for Laura Tingle who has been left on her own with Gerard and David like a third-wheeling gooseberry.

Barry stands by himself in the middle of the lounge room and performs a soliloquy about a budget. Then he puts on a video showing lots of men in suits saying “good debt”, “bad debt” over and over again for two minutes. To make this bearable there is a catchy song about fresh eyes playing in the background.

Back in Barry’s lounge room Barry is talking to himself about a really funny video his friend Huw Parkinson made. Barry is obsessed with Huw Parkinson, and is always going on about how funny his videos are, which is sad because Huw never comes over and I suspect they’re just Facebook friends.

Barry then remembers he’s got visitors and tries to make conversation by asking if they’ve read anything interesting in the Sunday papers. He doesn’t sit down, probably because he wants to leave as quickly as possible if the Minister for Anything turns up for a chat.

Barry talks to Laura Tingle first. She looks at a piece of paper and says something quite sensible, I think, I’m not sure because it’s hard to follow when you’re typing.

Barry then asks David if he has any thoughts about something, and it turns out that he does. Gerard gets a turn talking next, because Barry once read a magazine article about how you should include all your visitors in the conversation even if you don’t like them much. This gives David and Gerard a chance to disagree on something, which brings a little sizzle. Actually, Laura Tingle doesn’t agree with Gerard either. In the end they all agree that everyone is allowed to disagree.

No-one touches the lovely coffee on the coffee table. Barry is clearly hurt by his visitors’ rude behaviour because he wanders off to take a Skype call from his friend in Adelaide, who he calls the Shadow Minister for Energy.

Barry is gone for ages. I’m not sure what Laura Tingle, David and Gerard are doing at this point, but I suspect they’re absolutely killing the Sunday crossword.

Rudely, the Shadow Minister for Energy person doesn’t ask Barry any questions about himself and eventually Barry gets jack of it and wraps up the call.

He then plays the funny video his friend Huw Parkinson made. There are no cats, but it’s okay if you know what Star Wars is, which I don’t. When we go back to the lounge room Barry is pissing himself laughing. It would nice if Huw could occasionally Like some of Barry’s tweets that he’s not mentioned in.

Barry wanders back over to his friends for a chat, and this time he sits down. It all goes terribly well until David prefaces a comment by turning to Gerard and saying “I don’t want to be disrespectful to you…” We hold our breath but Gerard does not appear to be offended and they’re no closer to make-up sex because they haven’t had a proper fight yet.

Barry is frightened of awkward pauses, so he keeps showing his visitors YouTube videos and then asking for their opinions. This strategy works, and everyone has lots to say. It gets a bit tense when Laura Tingle and David disagree with each other. This is confusing because I don’t think they’re supposed to get together in the end.

Next David and Gerard argue about fracking. Now we’re getting somewhere; David is gesticulating and Gerard is hunching. Barry changes the topic back to the budget. Sometimes I wonder what Barry’s agenda is, and whether he’s the right captain for this love ship.

Soon though Gerard is accusing David of being inconsistent and David says that Gerard never listens. David says Gerard has friends, and Gerard denies it. Gerard admits to going to a party once and Laura Tingle pisses herself laughing.

Barry changes the topic back to the budget. I’d be calling for his sacking if it wasn’t his lounge room.

Later, they chat about airports. Miraculously, no-one tells a story about the time they nearly got upgraded to Business Class. Gerard tells a story so funny that he chuckles. Later, David makes a joke and then explains it to Gerard, which is kind of him.

Then they have a disagreement about refugees and I start to doubt whether David and Gerard have shared values. Maybe they shouldn’t get together because shared values are really important in a relationship.

Barry changes the topic again and David and Gerard force themselves to share another laugh. Barry clearly wants them all to leave now probably because he needs to get on with his laundry and is going out for brunch with Kerry O’Brien.

Barry goes to put on a load of woollens, leaving his guests with “Talking Pictures” otherwise known as “a video”. Screen time in Barry’s house is out of control. By the time the video is over Barry is done with the wool wash but his visitors are still plonked on the couch not taking the hint. Barry gives the ultimate it’s time to leave signal, asking them pointedly for their “final observations”.

So, at the end of this episode I’m more firmly than ever in the “No, they won’t” camp when it comes to David and Gerard but top marks Insiders for keeping us guessing.

PS Insiders seems significantly less diverse than Neighbours.