Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Or how I learned to stop trusting and fear technology

I think somebody working at google is watching me. That’s all I can think of. And it gives me the wiggins.

Allow me to explain.

I have long been amused by the adds my gmail account choses to show me on a daily basis. Sometimes they’re scarily apt as to what I’m emailing about, sometimes they’re just scary, such as the slew of baby product ads I got when I was discussing the pros (?) and cons of breeding with someone or other.

But today someone is taking their job a little too seriously and going on the offensive. For instance, while replying to an email from my brother about UK radio personality Karl Pilkington, no less, I received the following displayed down the left hand side of my screen.

10 Skinny Rules
I lost 9 lbs. in 11 days, just by following these 10 simple rules.

Trouble Losing Belly Fat?
5 Shocking Facts You Need to Know About Losing Belly Fat...

5 Tips for a Flat Stomach
Stop making these 5 mistakes & you will finally lose your belly fat!

Broken Relationship?
Instant Relief From Break Up Pain & Fastest Plan To Get Your Ex Back.

At no point were the words ‘fat’, ‘diet’ ‘exercise’ etc used in my email, or my brother’s. Nor, come to mention it, ‘break-up’, ‘ex’ or anything that could prompt this sort of unwanted life suggestions.

The only solution I can come up with is that someone, somewhere, can see me. They work for google and they know what I look like. Hey, I don’t know much about computers or, you know, technology, so for all I know this is possible. Sure, I know how to MAKE it work but I have no idea HOW it works. As far as I’m concerned the big gmail icon in the corner of my screen is a portal to a US office where google executives lounge about in ridiculously comfy armchairs, snorting at my soft corners and the gentle ripple in my thighs when the wind catches them.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Is this your nipple on the floor, Mommy?

Some of you already know what I think about the new children's book My Beautiful Mommy - a lovely little tome written by a plastic surgeon and aimed at helping 4 to 7 year olds deal with his or her Mum having bits snipped off or other bits blown up etc.

This wonderful publication - sure to be a children's classic - helps said young kiddlewinks come to grips with the fact that their Mum looks like she's had the shit beaten out of her face or has has her nipples sliced off and reattached a bit higher up through razor-sharp dialogue such as this: "As I got older, my body stretched and I couldn't fit into my clothes anymore. Dr Michael is going to help fix that and make me feel better".
Phew, is it cold in here or did someone just walk over C.S Lewis' grave?
Naturally the book has come in for its share of criticism but personally I think it's well overdue. Sure, I mean the society we live in has gotten pretty good over the years at making us all feel ugly but when does that process start? Age 12? 15? 20? Pah, why let them roll about, the fat little guppies, happily believing they're not bad as they are and that what you look like isn't paramount only to burst the bubble in their teens? Get 'em while they're young and by the time they're 12 they'll be lining up for Botox.
And I'm already looking forward to the sequel: Why Nobody Likes Puppy Fat and You Shouldn't Either.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Ho hum

I have just written and deleted a real diatribe of a blog about someone at work. Someone who everyone else apparently LOVES and who is perfectly nice, a good journo and funny except when he appears to HATE me, or at least hate my work, which is a lot.

I was writing said diatribe because I was upset about being given some unwanted advice regarding a story – advice I really wasn’t in the mood to hear. Why does he hate me? I wrote, and what can I do when he makes me completely miserable, even if he’s just trying to be helpful?

Oh woe is me. Anyway, I snapped out of it and deleted the big ball of whine because I had another look at the story and realised his suggestions had made it better. Not much, not enough (in my view) to warrant making me feel so shit, but a bit. I hate dealing with him, I hate discussing stories with him and I hate being given unsolicited advice but there’s not much I can do about it. And, if the net result is that my stories end up a little bit better it’s hard to be too pissed for long.

Next step: learn to stop being a pussy who can’t take criticism. Yeah, I know, good luck with that one…

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Conversation in the back of a taxi

DRIVER: So what's going on here (waving at TV cameras etc)
ME: Oh it's the WA Newspapers meeting, um, with Kerry Stokes and everything.
DRIVER: Ah yeah yeah. So what happened?
ME: (Trying to cobble together 40-50cm in the backseat) Um he didn't get the seats on the board.
DRIVER: Ah hmm interesting.
ME: Yeah.
DRIVER: Right, right, well I think The West's a bloody good paper.
ME: Hmmm. I meant it might have its problems but...
DRIVER: Nah it's great - I've had it delivered for 17 years.
ME: (Distracted, trying to decipher shorthand)Um yeah well looks like enough shareholders agreed with you.
DRIVER: And some of the things Stokes was saying I just disagreed with.
ME: (Still fumbling with a snappy intro) Uh yeah, yeah. Who wants it to become another er Sunday Times, right?
DRIVER: What's wrong with the Sunday Times.
ME: Um...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Smokin' Token Hottie: Paul Newman

It's been awhile between Token Smokin' Hotties. What can I say? There is, sadly, only a certain amount of hotties in the world and I can cover only so many of them. But what better way to reignite the category with a surefire winner?

What is it possible to say about Paul Newman in his prime? That he was a slamming hottie? Check. That his eyes make me want to lock him in my basement? Double Check. The Gravitas? Oh yes - there's that.

There's the other stuff about him being lovely and charitable and responsible for darn tasty pasta sauces and salad dressings, of course. And there's his famous - and adorable - comment defending fidelity ("why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?"). Naturally one can't forget that he is a great actor capable of making the hairs on one's arm stand on end - even with his shirt on. But none of that matters here. This is the circle of token smokin' hotties in which only superficial charms are measured. I'm talking face and eyes and torso and the delicious thoughts they inspire. Luckily for him - and us - he's got them in spades too.


I take back all I said about being excited to cover a big story. I'm actually quietly shitting myself. Or, in Dans words, I actually have to be a journalist. Sigh.

Monday, April 21, 2008

April audit: Lately I have been...

Due to some self-induced illness of the booze and cigar variety I spent yesterday horizontal on the couch watching movies and drinking water. Once the desire to vomit receded it was awesome. I’m a sucker for semi-epic movies starring Meryl Streep so of course I was going to get a thrill from Out Of Africa,even if it was about 40 minutes too long and something of a downer (Syphilis? Come on!). It was, however, nothing compared to the brilliance of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, at least the parts of it I saw before Paul Newman took his shirt off and I passed out.

Going broke
Where is the money going? No seriously – do you have it? Do YOU?

As poor Dans was forced to observe today I’m in a bloody chipper mood at the moment. Who knows why except that I get to cover an awesome/terrifying story on Wednesday to do with a certain paper and a certain person whose name may or may not rhyme with Perry Brokes. Will I still have a job afterwards? Let’s find out…

Getting back into board games
The tension, the competitive spirit, the fighting and the tears – I love it. Even better if the board game you’re playing has an awesome retro cover that looks vaguely like A Soviet Russia proganda posted for… something.

Learning to hate Facebook
Yes it’s still a guilty pleasure and I hop on when I’m in the mood but those ‘compare people’ updates that get delivered to my email inbox are killing my self esteem. According to this thing I am #11 most entertaining, #17 best listener and, worst of all #22 person with the best sense of humour. In other words I am viewed by my facebook friends as the equivalent of the best friend in a romantic comedy: comedic relief without having a sense of humour myself, incapable of listening to others and about as much fun as watching a stone grow. Who cares if it’s true but I don’t want to know about it. My only consolation is that the people who insist on rating their friends against one another are probably doucebags.

Weddings, Parties, Everything

Despite being - as I had to assure about 10 people at on Saturday night - Not the Marrying Kind, I love weddings. I love the dressing up, the festive mood, the copious booze and the combination of a large dancefloor with some cheesy music. I love the way everyone's in a good mood, I love the speeches and, god help me, I even love being thrust together with a bunch of old friends and relatives you haven't necessarily seen (or missed) since the last time you saw them several years ago.

However. Much as I love weddings and almost everything that comes with them not everyone seems to share my sense of How Things Should Be Done. I'm not talking Miss Manners' etiquette or who is supposed to toast who in which speech, I'm talking about wedding faux pas that should never, ever be made but, judging by Saturday night's experience, still really, really are.

Let's start with attire. Now I don't have a problem at all with people wearing black or white to a wedding (so long as you're not, you know, wearing a veil or in any danger of being mistaken for the bride). Black is about the loveliest colour ever invented and if people with more confidence than me feel they can pull off white then good luck with them. Furthermore I applaud those girls who go with fetching pants and a lovely top and manage to look both polished and incredibly relaxed - I don't know how they do it (pants of any kind seem to make me about 2ft 6) and to these people I raise my glasses. But to you - yes you Miss Cleavage sitting in the back row of the ceremony flashing your pink bits and your boobs at the same time, I do not. I'm not sure where you gathered the idea that a scrap of shiny black fabric, slashed to the navel and hiked up to just below your arse cheeks consisted of a good wedding outfit but sadly you have been led astray. Also - and you know I'm telling you this for your own good as it has to be sad - to be frank it makes your behaviour on the dancefloor later look, er, even more suspect.

Which brings us onto Things That Shouldn't Be Said at Weddings. Let's start with black dress who came out with a corker on the dancefloor, shouting in the groom's (and everyone else's) ear while the Choirboys' Run to Paradise was playing "YOU'RE PARADISE (Groom's name)!!" Hmmm. Yes, quite. The same memo should probably be circulated to the wedding guest who regaled those nearby with her own choice of stimulant on her wedding night. Smelling salts and a cup of hot tea it was not, which is all good and fine when it's going on somewhere else but not so awesome when she's cornering you to tell you all about it and you've only got a last gulp of wine remaining in your glass.

Which, again, leads neatly onto intoxication. Drinking, clearly, is encouraged if not mandatory at weddings. It's everywhere, it's a rather good drop if you're at a rather good wedding and it provides the sort of social lubricant that is necessary if weddings are going to end with hugs and tears of happiness instead of fisticuffs and broken collarbones. So drinking is brilliant and even getting so drunk that you have to stagger to the car and spend the following day horizontal on the couch is permissible. Less permissible is being rendered paralytic in the toilets with an equally dolled up friend holding your hair back. Lord knows we've all been there before but at a wedding? Really? You really want to go there? The same caution should be applied to anyone thinking about stuffing cocaine up their nose in the girls' - because, sweetheart, you're probably not being quite as subtle as you imagine you are.

Finally let's talk about Not Going Home Again. I don't mean at the end of the night I mean how you cope with those people weddings inevitably reunites you with. Ex-boyfriends, ex crushes, ex friends - they're all there, they're all drunk and they're all probably exactly like they used to be when you decided you didn't want to hang out with them anymore (or they decided they didn't want to hang out with you). Weddings are, therefore, not the time to pursue old ties. The booze, the romance and the vague apocalyptic sensation that is the unspoken guest of all weddings will either make you look upon this person as The One Who Got Away or will plunge you back into the rage/depression they last invoked in you. Keep it at friendly smiles, polite chit chat and then seat yourself as far away from them as possible and grab a stinky cigar to keep them at bay. Better yet seat yourself next to Slutty Black Dress and trust a cheeky peek at the inside of her womb will keep most pests at a safe distance until the Choirboys fire up and you're ready to go back to the dancefloor.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The necessities of having a perfect night on your lonesome...

  • The house to oneself
  • Engagements to blow off, ideally with no excuse at all bar "I'm sorry, I don't care for it tonight"
  • Booze
  • Nick Drake to play on the stereo
  • A stereo to play Nick Drake on
  • A hot bath standing by with a glass of wine and a book on the side
  • A copy of any of the three most beautifully written books in the world (by which I mean E.M Forster's Maurice, F.Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby or Graham Greene's The End of the Affair)
  • The ability to consume all of the above simultaneously while maintaining a glass in each hand


"Cats, no less liquid
than their shadows
offer no resistance to the wind."
(ASJ Tessimond)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

You know what terror is?

Terror is realising at 3pm, after fricking about all day and avoiding work, that you are not just supposed to be gathering a few quotes for a big story your boss is working on – you are supposed to be WRITING that story. As well as the other stories you’ve been putting off all day Fawwwwk.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I can't disagree...

Some of you have already seen this but it makes me snicker.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I never met a lentil I couldn't learn to love

Believe me or not I do try not to be one of those people who goes ON about vegetarianism. I mean I’m a flipping vegetarian and I loathe these people.

If pressed (or, okay, even just asked) I am happy to talk your ear off about why vegetarianism is the way to go but I do try awfully hard not to be one of those people who corners you in parties to ask if, with a certain drunken sincerity, if you know what the colon of a meat-eater looks like.

All that said there’s a bloody interesting article in The Guardian today which looks at the effect of the carnivore lifestyle on the rest of the world, by which I mean the third world, as well as the environment.

“Never mind the economic crisis. Focus for a moment on a more urgent threat: the
great food recession that is sweeping the world faster than the credit crunch.
You have probably seen the figures by now: the price of rice has risen by
three-quarters over the past year, that of wheat by 130%. There are food crises
in 37 countries.

One hundred million people, according to the World Bank, could
be pushed into deeper poverty by the high prices. But I bet that you have missed
the most telling statistic. At 2.1bn tonnes, the global grain harvest broke all
records last year - it beat the previous year's by almost 5%. The crisis, in
other words, has begun before world food supplies are hit by climate change. If
hunger can strike now, what will happen if harvests decline?
There is plenty of food. It is just not reaching human stomachs. Of the 2.13bn tonnes likely to be consumed this year, only 1.01bn, according to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation, will feed people…

While 100m tonnes of food will be diverted this year to feed cars, 760m tonnes will be snatched from the mouths of humans to feed animals - which could cover the global food deficit 14 times. If you care about hunger, eat less meat.”

It goes on here and it's actually pretty interesting. It's also written by a wishing-he-wasn't meat eater so the chances of getting corned by him at the fridge when you're really just looking for your beer are pretty minimal.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Not mentioning any names...

Have you ever been in a fury, a real fucking fury with someone who doesn’t even know it? I don’t mean when the daft bint in front of you in the line for the ticket machine at the train station is gaping gormlessly at the display with no understanding of a)what it is b)where she is c)what a train is and you want to push her onto the tracks, I mean those situations where, as far as you’re concerned, you’re giving someone with cold shoulder while, as far as they’re concerned, everything’s all fine and dandy? Like that? Yeah of course you have. Don’t you fucking HATE that?

Friday, April 11, 2008

The week that was: a recap

The week that was did not go entirely to plan. Oh sure I did, in theory, finish draft number two of TCNTDNSIN, I did have a Swedish massage, I did watch some old movies and get drunk improbably early in the afternoon but I don't feel I have actually achieved much. The number of museum or gallery visits, for instance, are not so much low as non-existent, while the number of books read is smaller than the number of books reread. I have also managed to spend entire afternoons flaked out on the couch eating crisps out of my belly button and calling (to nobody) for more wine. All in all though? Fucking fabulous. Barkeep, another of your finest ales, please.


The ladies men admire, I've heard,
Would shudder at a wicked word.
Their candle gives a single light;
They'd rather stay at home at night.
They do not keep awake till three,
Nor read erotic poetry.
They never sanction the impure,
Nor recognise an overture.
They shrink from powders and from paints.
So far, I have had no complaints.
(Dorothy Parker)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

And don't get me STARTED on internet porn...

First it was amazon - now it's my computer that's trying to run my life for me and make me into a better, more efficient person or something. Bastard.

You see this week I've dragged the ol' desktop out of retirement and set it up in the living room with the dim hope that it's constant presence might inspire me to do some proper writing. And it certainly does inspire to me to log on in, though lately 'writing' has been replaced by 'browsing blogs' and 'looking up random terms of wikipedia'. And apparently the computer has had enough.

Always a temperamental beast for the last two days it has been randomly closing internet browser windows at random. Or perhaps not at random. My word document, for instance, is never touched. Neither does it seem to interfere if I am quite genuinely looking something up for 'research purposes'. However, open an innocent window to google some gory celebrity deaths (I got no further than Jayne Mansfield... ouch) and the fecker is closing things down all over the place.

What's more it doesn't even give me the courtesy of an error message, just whips one window closed and transports me into another. Then when I try to return to the gory celebrity death window it blinks at me winningly, thinking, (I assume) I can't do that, Dave. It's almost enough to inspire one to, um, work, or something.

Daily displeasures

The sick feeling in your belly when you realise you have inadvertently and possibly under the influence sent someone an email which which seemed, in your mind, terribly witty, but which reads, in the light of day, like a drunken insult. The real displeasure comes when you read the (insulted) reply.

UPDATE: I may be, on occasion, a drunken mess but better a drunken mess than an uptight fuck, no?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Daily Pleasures

Sitting on my lonesome after my luncheon companion has gone to work to have a drink and read Martin Amis' compelling London Fields at The Queens. Ahhh.

We'll file this under 'nutbar'...

A friend of mine likes a boy. The boy likes her. However recently she received a double-digit number of calls from him over a two-day period when she had said she wanted to be on her lonesome. The word 'fruitcake' was used and my first instinct was to agree.

Then I started to remember some of the frankly batshit crazy things I have done over the years because I liked a boy just a little too much. In my case the difference was that these boys didn't (I hope) know about any of it but does that really make it any better? Well why don't you be the judge. Because I'll tell you right now I have done more than one but less than five of the following to the objects of my affection over the years...
  • Photocopied a boy's photo from his yearbook, cut it out and stuck it in my diary.
  • Googled him mercilessly until I believed I had found a sort-of blog written by him. Turns out it was someone completely different with the same name but I read it religiously for several weeks.
  • Visited his place of work unnecessarily on a regular basis.
  • Pretended to live about 20ks away from where I lived so we could catch the same train.
  • Drugged, kidnapped and had my way with him.

Monday, April 7, 2008

She said, consumed with jealousy

Since my last giddy post about The Crappy Novel That Dare Not Speak It's Name things have gone, er, downhill. If I'm honest I could say that while the first three or four chapters are quite decent the rest is a huge pile of slush with more plot holes than plot and generally squirmingly bad. I can barely look at the thing at the moment. So that's all pretty depressing. But although my 'writing' 'career' may appear to be a pipe dream, for any other would-be writers out there The Australian/Vogel Literary Award is now accepting entries for 2008. If you don't know this is the richest award for an unpublished manuscript by a writer under the age of 35 and ol' Mr Winton is among its former winners. Anyway deadline is May 31 so if anyone has a manuscript collecting dust or reckons they can finish one off my then check the details out here and good luck.

Mission accomplished?

Things I had told myself I would do but have not actually done on the first day of my lovely week off...
  • Worked super hard on The Crappy Novel That Dare Not Speak It's Name
  • Brushed up on my almost non-existent Italian (spiacente)
  • Gone for any sort of invigorating run or, indeed, done exercise of any kind.
Things I have done on the first day of my lovely week off..
  • Eaten a jam doughnut
  • Had an (awesome) massage, even if it did involve a little unwanted arse-crackery
  • Spent a good hour prone on the couch watching Black Books and drinking wine at (cough) 3pm (cough, cough)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Quotable Withnail

"I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame the earth seems to me a sterile promotory; this most excellent canopy the air, look you, this mighty o'rehanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire; why, it appeareth nothing to me but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.
What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, how like an angel in aprehension, how like a God! The beauty of the world, paragon of animals; and yet to me, what is this quintessence of dusk. Man delights not me, no, nor women neither. Nor women neither."
(Withnail's final speech to the unimpressed wolves in
Withnail and I - obviously originally Mr Shakespeare)

So's your face

Generally speaking I'm not the beauty industry's biggest fan. I think there's something a bit messed up about any industry that thrives from making people feel bad about themselves and pretty much has to make people feel unattractive in order to thrive. In my book Naomi Wolf's brilliant The Beauty Myth is pretty much on the money. I don't want my face to be one uniform colour and I don't think every 'flaw' has to be covered up or concealed.

But at the same time I'm not walking around in a hemp sack rubbing my face with a papaya or anything. I don't think cosmetics and things that smell nice and come in jars are the worst thing in the world and I don't necessarily think the industry that surrounds them is responsible for everything from eating disorders to body dysmorphic disorder. So I have a fair collection of wee bottles of gloop in my bathroom cabinet. '

Even so because I'm a tree hugging hippy I generally buy my gloop at somewhere like The Body Shop - it smells pretty, it doesn't come with a hideous marketing campaign involving supermodels suggesting with a wink I could look like them if I tried hard enough and it doesn't involve squeezing shit into fluffy bunnies' eyes. Plus, I like to think, it has more of a positive vibe than the clinical white floors of, say, the David Jones cosmetics counters where hungry-looking wenches with severe hairstyles try to spray stuff in my face.

But today I had an experience that made me both angry and paranoid and I have some stupid bitch at The Body Shop to thank for it.

The scene starts when I pop into pick up some moisturiser, having run out of my last bottle. I know what I want so I avoid making eye contact with the shop assistants, grab the bottle and head to the counter. Then Blondey McFuckface comes up to serve me, all too-much-make-up and suspiciously perky tits. Naturally she immediately puts me offside both by being an insecure, patronising cunt to the middle-aged woman standing next to me ("Oh honey you do NOT have to wear make-up - you're so BEAUTIFUL") and by bullying me into trying out some shiteful crap labelled 'tester'.
Even so I was doing okay until, somewhere along the line, this happens...

HER: Tell me, what kind of eye cream do you use?

ME: Uh, I'm not sure. Some random brand.

(This was a lie. Since an incident several years ago when my face blew up like the flipping Hindenburg my undereye skin has become super sensitive and I don't put anything on it. In this case, however, I didn't want to have to tell her the story and I didn't want her to try and pimp me some under eye stuff.)

HER: Well you know those little white dots under your eyes?

ME: Uh... yeah? (Thinking: white dots?)

HER: Well those dots mean that the stuff you're using your under your eyes is too rich.

ME: Hmm...

HER: So you should use something a bit lighter...

ME: Right...

Immediately I felt insecure and hoped nobody around me was trying to check out my under eye skin and/or reeling in horror. I bought what I had come for and got out of there but the whole experience brought me down in a big way and I spent the next hour or so trying to catch a glimpse of my under eye area in the reflection from shop windows.

Part of me thought the stupid bitch must be out of her tree because surely there's nothing 'too rich' about, you know nothing but the other part of me thought white dots? And then, of course, I started to think that perhaps I really ought to start looking for an under eye cream that doesn't react with my skin to avoid looking like some sort of white-dotted eye freak.
The issue is not whether or not I have white dots or something under my eyes it's why some stupid shop assistant thinks nothing of pointing out the facial failings of complete strangers under the guide of, I don't know, helping out I suppose. Maybe I want fucking white dots. Maybe I love the way they make my poo-brown eyes pop, or something. It's none of your business you white trash fuck. Would I tell an overweight stranger with a bun in her hand that it'll make her fat? Would I tell the blonde Body Shop tool that her makeup looks like it was applied by a cement mixer? No and... well probably no.

The net result: I felt paranoid, insecure and in need of a fancy cream brimming with the blood of the animals it's been tested on to make it all better. Score another one for the beauty industry, I guess.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Most of you probably know the plot even if you haven’t seen the film: The charming, kind of womanising editor of French Vogue suffers a stroke and wake up in hospital three weeks later. He can see, hear and think completely normally but he can’t speak or move his body at all. This is so-called ‘locked in’ syndrome and it’s the premise behind The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, a film based on a book of the same name.

The book was written by the editor in question one letter at a time by blinking one eyelid – his only mode of communication.

It sounds like a right-old sap fest but I saw it the other day and it’s fantastic: funny, beautifully shot and painfully sad, by which I mean everything a movie should be. I wept like a bitch but it was brilliant. See it. No, go on, do.

NOTE: The film's not in black and white. The above picture, I understand, is of the actual editor.

I think James Franco MIGHT have the upper hand but it's only a matter of time...

I tend to read Sam Britton’s All Men Are Liars Blog from time to time. And from time to time I want to blog about something he’s blogged about but somehow I never do it. But his most recent blog, on whether it’s better to be the one in the relationship who loves the other more or visa versa is something that has always interested me so I thought I would actually get around to it this time.

To hear his arguments, which are more amusingly put and far better articulated than mine, you should go here. Among his points is the interesting one that ‘who cares less, wins’ – meaning the more ambivalent partner inevitably has the upper hand. Which is pretty much true.

I’ve been on both sides of the fence and it might fly in the face of popular opinion (I’m not sure what everyone else thinks) but I think I prefer to be the one who is more into the other person than being the cool, slightly distanced one. Perhaps this is some sort of weird flaw in my character or something but I’ve tried both and this one makes me happier. Er, I think.

When you know the other person is just that leeetle bit more into it than you spend half the relationship feeling guilty. At least I do. I wonder if I should break up with them so I don’t lead them on, I find myself being a bit cruel just to dampen their expectations and I have found myself saying things I didn’t really mean just to please them.

Being the one who is more into it, however, isn’t so tough. Sure sometimes you might feel a bit neglected or wish you could have their cool detachment but at least you’re not swamped by guilt and having to poke them away with a stick. Granted you get sporadic flashes of rejection and wind up wondering what’s wrong with you but at least you don’t waste time rehearsing ‘I’m just not that into you’ speeches. I'm not talking about being madly in love with someone who couldn't give a shit - I'm talking about being so crazy about someone you sort of suspect they can't feel quite the same but, even so, in your head you're going to be 2Getha4Eva.

And there is hope. Again: er, I think. At least I’ve found, over my many years and (cough) extensive experience with relationships (cough, cough) that the dynamic can change. While, in my experience, it’s fairly rare both of you are at exactly the same level of lovey-doviness at the same time, in a good relationship you tend to switch roles: one of you goes through a ‘eh, whatev’ period while the other is sketching potential engagement rings. This sounds a bit wrong and destructive but I think it’s a good thing: you get to try both sides of the equation and one of you is usually sufficiently invested in the relationship to keep in on track when things get a bit bumpy.

In an ideal world this is how I would live – not always on the top, not always on the bottom but sort of jumping about the place and in a constant state of either insecurity of ho-huminess. Healthy, yeah, I know.

But what about you readers? Am I talking tosh? Has the pressure gotten to me and I’ve finally cracked? Do you think anything but being on top, so to speak, and in control is wrong? Please, do tell.

Mt Efexor

Just looking at this picture could help cure depression, apparently.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I'm not going to go all magniloquent and suggest the daily email is supererogatory but HONESTLY...

Some time ago I signed up for some handy little daily email that sends me a word for the day. The idea being to increase my puny and frequently inaccurate vocabulary. Mostly this is good. Oh okay so I ignore the fast majority of them and can remember exactly um… one (but that one is “jollification” which means what it sounds like and it brilliant) but still. Even so, I’ve started to suspect the system has run out of words I can be reasonably expected to use in conversation or writing and is now just taking the piss.

Take today’s word: deus ex machina.

Okay it’s pretty, yes, but what’s its meaning?

“In ancient Greek and Roman drama, a god introduced by means of a crane to unravel and resolve the plot.”

Great, that’ll come in handy, then. Can't think how many times I've been at a loss to describe just that.

And I hear Heidi Klum is aching for cowlicks like mine...

As I lay in a hot bath at an ungodly hour this morning watching an episode of America’s Next Top Model (shut up) on a laptop balanced (not at all precariously, Andy) on the toilet seat I found myself overcome with jealousy. Not, as you might imagine for the long legs, bellies you could bounce a coin off and jagged cheekbones but for the ability some people have to become BFF with others apparently immediatley.

You know what I mean: the girls move into the house, they spent about 2 days flounching around performing whatever ridiculous challenge Tyra has cooked up and then they’re all braiding each others hair and having pajama parties.

It’s not just on the show, of course, or any of these sorts of reality shows where people are thrown together – it happens all the time and I’ve always envied the easy familiarity some people seem to have with others even as it shits me when people waltz in only to become on nickname terms with people I, by virtue merely of our longer acquaintance, am still on ‘hey how’re you’ terms with.

It’s not that I’m not awfully happy with the lovely friends I have right now thankyou very much but I’d love to have that feeling, if that’s what it is, that every stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet and be self confident enough to blithely assume everyone is just dying to come over and have a pillow fight in their underwear with me.

And, I mean, CLEARLY this is the only obstacle not only preventing me from being a more well-rounded member of society but preventing me from being on America’s Next Top Model myself. Because round heads and soft corners are in, right? Um, right? Yeah So Is Your Face.

Have you read my book The Great Gatsby? Yeah just took me 3 weeks.

I don’t understand how anybody can bear to intentionally plagiarise anyone else's work because today I sort of (inadvertently) took credit for what someone else had done and it made me feel completely sick. It was a matter of a story that should have had a triple byline but instead just had one (ie: MINE) and it was one part a cock up on my part and one part someone else’s but I felt truly wretched and guilty, as though I had run about and done it on purpose.

So I just don’t see how people can do this kind of thing intentionally, or perhaps repeatedly through laziness, and not feel terrible. Because people do. A surprising amount. Ripping crap off press releases, or off the wires, and putting your name on it does get done and it’s embarassing to see and painful for those who have their stuff ripped off. Maybe the people who do it do feel bad about it, as I do, but... eh, I don't know. Personally I’ve learned my lesson (proof EVERYTHING and if in doubt proof again) but to would be plagiarises out there: gah, just say no, kids.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It is not enough for us to succeed, others must fail

Between you and me I’ve been feeling pretty sorry for myself over the past 24 hours. Nothing exciting, I'm afraid, just a sttupid string of reasons: bit stressed/depressed at work, yet to tackle my complicated and stupidly all-my-own-fault wisdom teeth related woes, having vague flashbacks to events of the weekend I only just remember and facing the fresh possibility I will NOT be seeing The Jesus and Mary Chain this weekend I have been stewing in my own juices at approximately 180 degrees.

And then I went to The Guardian website for some light relief and read this story.
“For most of his life John Smithers was a respected family man who ran a successful business. Then he started paying for sex. Now, in his 70s, he explains how his behaviour has left him broke, alone and tormented… “I am 70 years old and used to be respectable. I was a magistrate for 25 years, and worked hard to feed my children and build up the family business. I was not the most faithful of husbands, but I tried to be discreet about my affairs. Now I seem to be a liability. Over the last two decades I have spent a fortune on prostitutes and lost two wives. I have made irrational business decisions that took me to the point of bankruptcy. I have become an embarrassment to my nearest and dearest.””

It’s pretty grim stuff and compelling reading. And while I wouldn’t say I’m not completely aware of just how sweet I have it and determined never again to feel sorry for myself I am feeling distinctly perkier, with a bounce in my step and a sort-of smile on my mug. Or is that the diet coke speaking? Ahem, you be the judge...