An update on life and what-not

Hi guys, hope everyone is well and that life is treating you kindly as it is me.  I’ve just found out that I’ve been admitted into the Grad Diploma in Library and Information Services for next year, so go me!!! One step closer to my ultimate dream: to work in the Death Star. Yes, you read that right. The Geelong Regional Library had a recent facelift (well actually it was completely rebuilt) and now it looks like this:

GLHC

Pretty cool, huh? To be honest though, when most of my townsfolk saw the first plans for the new building, it was fair to say that they were a tad sceptical, especially since it was going to be built where the old library once stood, right beside the heritage-listed town hall. I think a lot of people were worried it was going to look jarring and strange. I just liked the Lucas-inspired design. I still call it the Death Star, and it’s been my personal ambition to work there, or at the very least gain a work placement spot there while I do my Diploma, so that I can continually make feeble jokes about working in the Death Star. I know … I’m a Star Wars nerd. Whatchagonnado?!

Speaking of which, I officially love Eddie Izzard. You may wonder how that ties in. Well, I’ve got three words for you: Death. Star. Canteen. Yes, I’m going to. Don’t complain, you know you love it …

 

Anyhow, lots of stuff going on with me at the moment. My son just had top surgery two weeks ago and finally looks how he’s supposed to look.  Now we can start getting fit by going swimming and cycling and he’s not going to be hampered by wearing a binder, which is terribly restrictive with regards to movement and even just breathing. He seems much happier now that it’s finally done, too. Much more confident in himself and less anxious about how people are going to perceive him. If I have anything negative to say about the whole experience it’s that his father has had very little contact with him in the past few weeks.  You’d think that a person would be concerned that everything went well and that his son is feeling better etc but there has barely been a murmur from him and although I’m not surprised, I am annoyed.  I realise that he’s still having difficultly accepting his son’s transition but for fuck’s sake, it’s just gender. It’s not like somebody’s died, here, or been replaced by a pod-person (if anyone’s been replaced by a pod-person it would be my ex, the one person I thought would be cool and open-minded about stuff like this, but no). Alister’s the same person he’s always been. The way I look at it is, I haven’t lost a daughter. I’ve gained a son. The son I always felt I had anyway, but he was just hidden beneath a social construct called gender.

And that brings me to my next subject. I recently read an article about a female rabbi whose child had recently come out to her and her husband as gender fluid. She accepted him wholeheartedly, which is what any decent mother concerned about her kid would do. And what did she get for this? A fuck-tonne of vicious, senseless, ignorant bile from uneducated hicks, is what. Some of the comments were so bad, I felt like I was having a stroke. What is it with Americans and the transgender community?  Do they really not comprehend the difference between gender and sexuality? I had to block and report a couple of guys who were being particularly nasty toward not only the subject of the article but also myself and another person who chose to comment in a positive vein. Apparently we’re bleeding heart lefties/helicopter parents/politically correct social justice warriors for accepting our children as they are; supporting and loving them. Apparently we’re supposed to disown them, or put them in conversion therapy, or something. I don’t know … perhaps its the rampant religiosity over there that causes them to lack a few thousand fucking brain cells, but I’m over it.  Over trying to explain myself or my child to people. I’m just happy that he’s alive and safe and feeling much more confident in himself. And if people can’t deal with that, then they can go fuck themselves gently with a chainsaw. Over and out.

 

 

Advertisements

A question for fellow writers…

Hi guys…

I’m about to embark on a new story, and I’m champing at the bit to get going, but the problem is, I always start stories with half an idea of what the plot’s going to be and no idea of the ending. The only bit I seem to have fixed in my mind are my characters – protagonist and antagonist. Is anyone else like this? I don’t take the time to fully plot things out because when I have done in the past, I’ve gotten bored with the idea before I’ve even started.  This time I have the main idea, the main characters (even their names and little quirks of personality) but still no idea what’s going to happen. Please tell me I’m not the only one like this.  I feel like a freak.

Speaking of plots and stories and some-such, I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls lately, from the beginning, and one thing is sticking in my craw like nobody’s business (pardon the mixed metaphor).  And it has to do with Lane’s band. Anyone who lived during the late 80’s, early 90’s and got into hairbands like Bon Jovi, Motley Crue etc would know that Sebastian Bach, blonde lead singer of Skid Row, had a semi-regular part on the show as Gil, Hep Alien’s guitar player.  I wouldn’t normally have a problem with something like this – Dave Grohl has played drums for other bands apart from his gig as singer in Foo Fighters and Anthony and Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers had bit parts in Back to the Future 2 and Point Break. But what I don’t get is, GG had in their midst one of the best rock voices of an entire decade, and he plays second fiddle to Zach?! (Todd Lowe). I mean, come on! You’ve got to be kidding, right? That would be like Freddie Mercury taking a back seat in Queen and letting John Deacon sing Bo Rhap!  (nothing against John, love the guy dearly but there’s a reason he played bass and never chipped in on lead vocals).  I get that Hep Alien weren’t exactly a glam rock band, but Baz was super versatile. He’d have put his own spin on pretty much anything they wanted to play. I felt cheated, let’s just put that out there.  But i do love that the band gave the older guy a chance and didn’t just write him off at the audition because he was old enough to be the dad of any one of them.  Although Zach did have his reservations at first (probably because he knew the guy would upstage him any day of the week). To be fair, Baz did tell US Weekly in December 2016 that Hep Alien never covered any Skid Row song because that would be breaking the fourth wall – he’s not Sebastian Bach on the show, he’s Gil, a guy who plays guitar, has a family and runs a sub sandwich store – but at the very least, he could have edged out Zach and been lead singer. Just sayin’.

 

But then, there was this….

 

 

LMAO… I love that he covered that song, even though I hate the original with a passion.  But that still doesn’t show his range quite like this:

 

 

Let’s face it, the man’s a god.

 

Just an addendum to my previous post…

Hi guys, just updating my review on Bohemian Rhapsody. Someone on Facebook asked me why I only gave the film four stars when I clearly raved about it. Well, yes it was a great movie and I tend to judge that by how many times I look at my watch – the answer for this one was none – but there was one factor I would have changed if I could. I’ve been reading “Freddie Mercury – an intimate memoir by the man who knew him best” by his faithful PA, Peter “Phoebe” Freestone, and it occurred to me that even though Freestone had worked for Queen as a wardrobe supervisor on tour in America from 1979 and then as Freddie’s assistant – even his nurse – up until he died, he wasn’t even included in the movie. For someone who played such a large and important part of Freddie’s life, how he wasn’t even featured is a mystery to me, especially when Paul Prenter was; and he betrayed and was sacked by the singer for leading him down the garden path.  “Phoebe” as Freddie knew him, was a close friend and employee so I just wonder why May and Taylor, as executive producers of the movie, felt the need to leave him out. Just a thought.

 

Bohemian Rhapsody

As a long-time Queen and Freddie fan who took a day off high school in 1991 when I heard Freddie had died, I was excited to hear that there was a biopic in the works some five or six  years ago, with Sacha Baron Cohen attached to play the band’s legendary front man.  Fast forward to 2018 and the movie is finally here – and it’s everything I expected and more.  Sure there have been a few changes in the intervening years – Cohen was dropped (or left, not entirely sure what the situation was there apart from some disagreement about content) and Mr Robot’s Rami Malek was brought in.

Of course, with any Queen-related project the critics were going to be out in force. They’ve always had a hate on for the band, since the very beginning, and there have been a few less-than-complimentary reviews of the film so far, from complaints about time line issues to the fact that Rami isn’t a dead ringer for Freddie. Well, who is, I ask? How many Zanzibar natives do you know, personally, with his pronounced buck teeth, not to mention those cheekbones and hypnotic brown eyes?!  Rami nailed the accent and mannerisms, to the point where Brian May and Roger Taylor admitted to feeling a bit emotional watching his performance.  He also recreated Freddie’s onstage flamboyance perfectly.

As far as the timeline inaccuracies are concerned, it was a minor blight on an otherwise brilliant, enjoyable movie.  Most, if not all Queen fans know that We Will Rock You was written in 1977 not 1980 and that he wasn’t officially diagnosed with HIV until 1987, not shortly before Live Aid in 1985. Sure, he may have had symptoms before then and probably did, but it’s been well-documented that he informed the band of his diagnoses sometime after 1987.  I can however see why the changes were made.  If the film had run chronologically, with all timeline issues corrected, it would have been five hours long. Even for the most passionate and devoted Queen fan, that’s a big ask.

Another complaint is that only the most popular and well-known songs were used for the soundtrack. Well, that’s because they’re the most recognised songs by Queen and will appeal to even the most casual fan.  It’s not entirely true, either, by the way. Love of My Life was featured despite not being an instantly recognised song with constant radio-play.  Now I’m Here, Keep Yourself Alive and Seven Seas of Rhye are among other songs featured that aren’t considered Queen “classics” to the casual observer (although to devoted fans, just my saying that may well be akin to blasphemy).

Complaints aside, the film was well put together and told the story from a perspective that, while being about Freddie, was not Freddie-centric.  It was about the band as much as its enigmatic lead singer.  Gwilym Lee is a dead ringer for lead guitarist Brian May, and Ben Hardy as drummer Roger Taylor was a perfect foil for the more serious Lee. They bounced off each other with perfect comic timing. Quiet achiever John Deacon, on bass, was played by Joe Mazzello, who at times looked so much like “Deaky” that I’d do a double-take.  Simply put, the casting in this film was exceptional. And I just have to give a shout-out to Mike Myers as EMI boss Ray Foster, for that little quip “No teenager’s going to put this (Bohemian Rhapsody) on in their car and head-bang”. I seriously don’t know how he delivered that line with a straight face, considering his Saturday Night Live character Wayne Campbell did just that in the first five – sorry, six – minutes of Wayne’s World!  And the look on his face toward the end, while watching Queen’s legendary performance on Live Aid, was priceless.  Ray Foster, like the boss of Decca Records who turned down the Beatles, will forever be known as the man who lost Queen.

Other villains of the piece were journalist Shelly Stern and Allen Leech as notorious sycophant Paul Prenter, the man who aided and abetted the mid-career downfall of Freddie Mercury (and was at least partially to blame for the partying and debauchery that led to Freddie contracting AIDS).  Michelle Duncan portrayed Stern, a journo who badgered Freddie during a press conference promoting the much maligned Queen album Hot Space, zeroing in on his ill appearance and insisting on asking about his sexuality, while May and Mercury tried to put the focus back on the band.  Stern, whether she was a real person or an amalgam of journalists inflicted on the band, was the embodiment of all the things society at large hates about the press, particularly the press in the UK.  Loud, abrasive, insistent, invasive and imbued with the unshakeable belief that the private life of a celebrity is public property.   In fact, her very insistence that he answer her questions about his sexuality reminds me of the insistence of some Queen fans that the film didn’t go far enough in displaying Freddie’s excesses or their ultimate consequence.   To that I say, who needs to see it? We know it happened. The very fact that he is no longer with us is proof that it happened.  We don’t need a play-by-play, because that would be both perverse and morbid. Also, it’s none of our business. I give the film four stars and recommend it to anyone who likes their rock anthemic … and loud.

Bo Rhap Cast

 

 

Victim Blaming or legitimate concern?

Okay so very recently there was a news story from Sydney about a seven year old girl who was sexually assaulted and stabbed by a 54 year old man in a public toilet block. Another man (who came to her rescue) was stabbed also. Neither male was a relative of the child and there was no mention of the parents’ presence anywhere in the article.  The fact that the child was sexually and physically assaulted in a place where she should have felt safe is bad enough. That little girl will be scarred for life, literally and figuratively.  It shouldn’t have to be said that a grown male shouldn’t loiter around public toilets waiting for an opportunity to get his kicks, but in this world of sickos and perverts, it happens.

So what I want to know is, where in the hell were her parents, and also, is my asking this in any way victim-blaming?  Obviously, a seven year old child cannot consent to sexual activity – hell, most only have a very vague idea of what sex is at that age, if at all, much less interest in it.  But to ask where the parents were in the equation is not, to me, victim-blaming or excusing what he did because she shouldn’t have been there on her own.  The bastard should have his meat and veg chopped off without anaesthetic and cauterised with naked flame.  But I also think that as a society we would be remiss in at least asking why the child wasn’t accompanied by an adult, at night, in a public toilet block.  You can say that a seven year old should be able to use a toilet by his or herself – and you’d be right – but as the child obviously screamed or made some noise that alerted the second man to her predicament, there obviously was no parent immediately outside the toilet block waiting or they would have run in and intervened, surely?  Am I being a helicopter parent in saying that I would never allow a child under the age of ten to use public toilets without at the very least waiting just outside?!  Of course I was criticised for my comment, accused of victim-blaming. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have children if they think it’s quite all right to allow a seven year old to go into a public toilet block at night by themselves. And if you don’t agree with me on that, you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution.

All By Myself… and happy about it.

Recently, I friended a guy on Facebook whom almost immediately PM’d me and requested that we meet face-to-face. This is not an isolated incident. I’ve been in this situation multiple times. it’s as though you mention on your profile that you’re single or separated, and people think you’re fair game. What’s up with that, I ask?!  I’ve considered changing my relationship status – in other words, lying – but then I thought, why should I?  I’m forty-five, with two adult children, and I’m single. There, I said it. I’ve been on my own since 2011. I have a civil relationship with the father of my children (we talk, but I wouldn’t call us close friends anymore, which is sad but not something I can do much about), a few close friends, and I consider my kids my best friends in the entire world.  They come first, always.  Anyone I ever consider a potential partner in future is going to have to accept that, among other things.

But – and let me get this out of the way – I’m not looking. Sure, if it happens it happens, but even if it doesn’t, I don’t care.  People assume that because you’ve been alone for a while you must be lonely.  I’m not.  I don’t even really think about sex anymore. That could be just a symptom of being in my mid-forties and therefore approaching The Change, or it could be that I haven’t had it in a while (seven years and counting) and it’s just not a big deal anymore. That’s odd for me to say because if you have known me for as long as my close friends have known me, I’ve always been a bit man-crazy. For as long as I can remember I’ve had crushes. Hell, I was playing Kiss Chasey in primary school with a little English boy I had a thing for because I liked his accent. I’m still an Anglophile: Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield from The Hobbit) is one of my long-standing celebrity crushes because he’s everything a man should be, as far as I’m concerned. Tall, well-built but not too buff, with blue eyes and a voice that could melt an ice statue.  I love the British sense of humour,  and Queen are my favourite band of all time.  But these days, I find I’m thinking less about the physical attributes of say, Andrew Lincoln or Tom Hiddleston, and more about what I’m going to do with the rest of my life, however long that turns out to be. This is an unusual state of being for me, this lack of interest in all things romantic. But I have to say, I’m relishing it. It’s liberating.  Hell, if this is menopause, bring it on.  But I’m going to call it Men-a-pause because I plan to put men on pause.  I’m thinking ahead in terms of my life and career, and getting educated. I’m already more accomplished than I’ve ever been in any stage of my life, with a degree in writing and literature under my belt as well as being a published author.  I’m going to further my education with a Graduate Diploma in Library and Information Services – something I should have done long ago, instead of wasting my time with nursing and pathology – next year, and hopefully get a job as a library technician so I can spend the rest of my days surrounded by books while attempting to write them in my spare time.

So in conclusion, all I have to say is, if you’re a man and you’ve spotted me on Facebook through a friend of a friend and you’re considering PMing me and asking to meet, here’s a tip. Don’t. I will most likely block you and/or unfriend you. If that seems arbitrary and unfair of me, too bad.  If, on the other hand, you believe you and I might have something in common and could be friends, engage me in conversation via a public forum and we’ll see where it goes from there. Don’t assume that because I’m single I’m gagging for it, because I’m most certainly not, and I don’t appreciate the assumption.

Oh, by the way, don’t bother PMing me unless you look like this:

perfection

Kidding.  Just don’t PM me.

 

Rant over.

Give peace a chance.

I was going to begin this post by talking about the 60+ women who’ve been killed in Australia this year by their spouse/partner/ex-partner, or more rarely, a complete stranger.  But violence in our society is not just being perpetrated against the fairer sex anymore. Just this week in our so-called ‘lucky country’ we’ve had the son of Angry Anderson bashed to death and a Somali immigrant unleash hell on an unsuspecting (but wary) Melbourne street with a machete in broad daylight, murdering a well-liked cafe owner who was trying to help him; and injuring others. He charged at police and was shot dead. Now we find out that he’s been on ASIO’s watch-list for a while now, along with his brother.  The question I’d like to ask is: why are we letting these people into our country?! Other nations would ensure that people like this are not granted a visa or asylum due to their links with terrorist groups. But no, Australia has to be the bleeding heart. Note to self, Australia: not every refugee is legitimately looking for a safer place. Some have ulterior motives. It’s a harsh lesson in life but we need to learn it. And if anyone thinks I’m racist in saying that, or alarmist or whatever that particular ism is, then so be it. I officially don’t care anymore. Along with becoming more violent, we’ve also become a world of apologists. You can’t say anything about a particular group in society without being branded racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, slut-shaming, fat-shaming, ageist, elitist or just plain bigoted. And I’m sick of it. I’m not against any particular section of society but what I AM against is violence, in all its forms. Well, most of them, anyway.  There is such a thing as justified violence, such as when someone breaks into your house and tries to brain you or your family with a baseball bat and you defend yourself. Or when someone’s bullying you at school and you hit back. Or, dare I say it, capital punishment.  Or the action the police took in shooting the Bourke Street killer dead.

These people come into our country looking to cause trouble because of their political or religious beliefs and I don’t care if they’re black, white or fucking turquoise, it’s NOT ON. If you’re interested in mayhem, stay in your homeland and retaliate there. Or form a protest group, but don’t start shit in Australia. Sure, we have a shitty, elitist government at the moment that likes to lock people in detention centres offshore simply because they had no other choice but to come here illegally, but the rest of us are pretty easy-going, laid-back people, willing to give others a fair go.  We don’t deserve to be massacred in the streets in broad daylight because you don’t like our politics or chosen God. Ugh. Don’t even get me started on religion. For all intents and purposes I consider myself an atheist, although I do believe in an afterlife of sorts. And I think that the majority of the world’s worst problems are caused by religion. Not faith, mind you. Organised religion. That’s all I have to say on the subject because believe me, I could write a book or two on just that.

Now to the more immediate problem of domestic violence, and sexual violence. As I mentioned earlier, some 60 women have been killed this year by men, whether it be their partner, ex-partner or a complete stranger. Those are some disturbing statistics, especially if, like me, you’re a woman. The murder of aspiring comedienne Eurydice Dixon by a stalker (and yes, he stalked her from her place of work so technically, he’s a stalker) is a case in point. As are the murders in the recent past of Jill Meagher and Masa Vukotic, who were just going about their lives when they were raped, sexually assaulted and killed by complete strangers in Melbourne. Yes, Melbourne. Not New York, Chicago or the East End of London in 1888. I travel to Melbourne on a regular basis, usually with my son, to attend appointments with his surgeon or concerts, and next year I’ll be commuting to Footscray – a mere train station’s ride away from the city – for uni. So this statistic is relevant to me, and worries me. A friend of my son’s was recently assaulted in Melbourne.  It’s becoming an epidemic, people, and it needs to STOP.  I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, why oh why can’t some men KEEP THEIR HANDS (or other parts of their anatomy) TO THEMSELVES?!  For fuck’s sake, it’s not that hard, surely!  If you’ve been single for a while (or all your life because you’re a sad sack with no social skills), save up some money, and see a fucking prostitute. Don’t assume that just because the girl down the street said hello to you or simply smiled in your general direction, she wants to go to bed with you. She may be just a happy person in general, and she doesn’t deserve to have her peace of mind destroyed because you wanted what you wanted. Now, some may argue that rape is not about sex, and sure, sometimes it isn’t, but sometimes it is.  For those times it isn’t, when it’s about power and control and anger etc, those are all issues that can be worked on in therapy, or anger-management classes.  Sadly, most of these men decide in their infinite wisdom that such help is not for them, and then they take it out on those closest to them – or a total stranger.

I’ve talked about my own situation with my father in a recent post so I know a bit about domestic violence. I know why people stay with violent partners or spouses. It’s to do with self-esteem, or lack thereof. These people work on your self-worth until it no longer exists. They tell you  you’re ugly, fat, stupid, etc, until you begin to believe it. You think there’s no way anyone else can love you and that this is as good as its ever going to get. I have countless memories of hearing my father tell my mother she’s stupid or that no one else would have her. Its a way of ensuring that the person you supposedly love will never look elsewhere. Perversely, it’s often these men (or women) who are looking elsewhere, and are projecting their own faults onto their faithful, long-suffering partners.  Then there are the former spouses and partners who go looking for revenge on past loves by either committing violence against them personally or even worse, the innocent children born of their ill-fated union. Sixty women have died this year because some man, either known to them or not, has erupted in anger and resentment and killed them. It’s time the courts stopped pandering to these arseholes and handed out the sentence they deserve. Life without chance of parole, because that’s the sentence these killers impose on the families of their victims.

 

 

 

 

Dads… why we need them. And why we don’t.

Fathers. Like arseholes, we all have one, whether we acknowledge them or not. Sometimes they’re our heroes growing up; the men we measure all others by.  Sometimes they’re largely absent throughout our childhoods because they’re busy working to support the family, which is also completely admirable albeit sad when you look back on your life and realise Dad was never there for your big moments. Some are terribly unlucky in that their father died young and they never really got to know him, except through the stories told by family.  And some grow up never even knowing who their father was.

You’re probably wondering why I’m ruminating about fathers now, considering that Father’s Day was back in September (in Australia, at least).  Well, for a few reasons, really. First of all, a friend recently lost hers to cancer. He was her rock; a decent man and wonderful father who lived for his family.  But isn’t it always the way? My kids lost their Pa (paternal grandfather) back in 2007 of pancreatic cancer. He was also a lovely man who couldn’t do enough for his sons or their families. He was diagnosed in July of that year and died only four months later.  Totally undeserving of his fate. I remember thinking at the time, why is it always those who least deserve it that lose their lives like that? A case in point: my uncle Craig adored his two little daughters, but he never got to see them grow up because he was shot dead in 1993. He’d be so proud of them if he could see the beautiful young women they’ve become.  And he would have been about to become a grandfather for the first time, too.  Still, I just know that somehow, he’s watching over them. I don’t believe in a Christian heaven but I believe that there is some kind of afterlife. There has to be, doesn’t there? Otherwise, how can you account for the hundreds upon thousands of stories (and even photographic and video evidence) of the existence of ghosts and spirits?

But that’s a whole other blog post.  I guess the main reason I’m writing this is because with friends’ fathers dying, I can’t help but think of how lucky they were to have had caring, decent fathers figuring prominently in their lives.  The father of my children cares about his kids, but he can barely look after himself let alone be there for them (he has Schizo-Affective Disorder and has been in and out of hospital since 2003).   At least he has a legitimate reason for not being front and centre for their important birthdays (my son’s 20 this year; my daughter 18).  My own father (and I use the term loosely) has no such excuse.  To this day, I cannot think of one positive thing he has done for either myself or my brother (although he did donate some money to my son’s GoFundme Page for his top surgery, so thanks for that, Dad. It is appreciated). I haven’t heard from him on my birthday since before I turned 40. Mind you, not that expect a present or anything. A simple ‘Happy birthday’ would be nice.  And on my 30th, he hit on my best friend. Yeah, that’s right. A girl he’d known since she was ten years old.  I didn’t even find out until about a year later. She didn’t want to tell me at the time because it would have ruined my birthday, and my relationship with my father. But I knew something was up. She was very quiet the day after, not herself at all.  To say I was disgusted was an understatement. Disgusted, ashamed and embarrassed. I apologised profusely but she said it was okay, it wasn’t my fault my old man’s a creep (although she didn’t use those exact words).

He must have a thing for 30th birthdays, because he tried to ruin my brother’s as well, kicking up a massive stink because he was asked, by my brother’s wife (fiance at the time) not to smoke inside the house. She asked politely and she had every right to – it was her house – but he carried on like a prize bag of dicks, swearing at and insulting her and everyone who tried to intervene.  My brother didn’t speak to him for years after that.  He wasn’t invited to their wedding and to my knowledge, never met his grandchildren. You might think that’s an overreaction, but when you consider what the old man put us all through growing up, being violent toward my mother on occasion and beating up my brother in 1993 (shortly before my uncle died), it all begins to make sense. And I haven’t even gotten into how he’s ripped off my mother over and over again, wrecking one of her first cars, forging her name on loan applications, and lying about her to practically everybody, insinuating that he was the victim and she the villain in the marriage. Apparently he’s even implied that she was the one cheating on him! Well, I ask: when would she have had the time? (much less the inclination, being a busy working mum, doing practically everything herself)   But as we know, sociopaths have a way of projecting their own faults onto others. And of appearing glib and charming on the surface. When I told some of my friends what my dad was really like, they had trouble believing me, because he’d been so friendly to them. And that’s how he is. Charming and accommodating on the surface, or when it suits him, and a vicious, spiteful prick in private.  Every time I read a list of personality traits of a sociopath, he’s the first person I think of.  Because sociopaths aren’t just serial killers, people.  They can be businessmen, your mother-in-law, or the guy next door.  Many are con-men running scams, embezzling and stuff like that.  In short, they’re intensely self-absorbed people who can’t feel empathy for others. The only time they get upset and shed tears is when they’re caught out and punished for bad behaviour. Any other time they manage to show regret for their actions, its all a studied act for sympathy.

He was married recently, my father. To his third wife, whom he met on one of his jaunts to Thailand.  I’m not going to say I hope this marriage ends like the other two – that would be lowering myself to his level. All I’ll say is that I hope he treats her better than he treated my mother, if only because I wouldn’t want someone else to go through what we did.  Nobody deserves that.  And in a time when domestic violence is at the forefront of the news, with six women being killed throughout Australia in one week recently, I believe it’s the duty of survivors to tell it like it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I knew it! We’re surrounded by assholes!

I don’t know what it is, but my area seems loaded with utter mouth-breathing morons who either don’t know how to control their animals or don’t care (I’m betting on the latter).   A week ago I took our white German Shepherd for a walk around the block and a Rhodesian Ridge-back came gallivanting up to us from its front yard and started sniffing around Booker excitedly. Booker, being as docile as he is, barely seemed to give a fuck. Oh he had a sniff, but then it was like, “okay, that’s done, so can we keep moving?” but the dog wouldn’t let him leave. The owner, standing on his front lawn, eventually looked over from his conversation with a friend and said, ‘Oh, don’t worry about him, he doesn’t bite.’  Hm… but what if mine did? What would you do, then? Blame me for your dog getting bitten despite the fact that he had no leash, was not on his property and you didn’t bother asking me if Booker was snaky around other dogs?  The mind boggles.  He eventually came over and dragged his dog away by the collar so we could be on our way. But it could have been a completely different scenario had my dog not been such a laid-back sweetie.

Then today, Al and I were heading down to the local shops for some fish and chips.  We had decided to leave our dog behind because Al is still only a couple of weeks post-surgery and couldn’t have hung onto him while I was in the shops.  A block or two from our house two small dogs had managed to escape the flimsy wire fence out the front of their property.  I think they were both Chihuahuas crossed with something else. Anyway, one ran straight onto the side road and Al tried to usher it back off the road but it started barking at him. We called out to the house we knew they came from, to let them know their dogs were on the loose but no one responded. So Al decided to walk over and open the gate to let them back in, and that’s when the one on the road leapt back up onto the nature strip and launched himself at Al’s leg. He didn’t hang on or anything, but he did puncture the skin and cause a graze-like mark with his other teeth.

Now, Al acknowledges that he probably should have let them be because they were obviously territorial about the house they’d just escaped from, but he’s an animal lover and didn’t want to see them get hit by a car. After the dog bit him though, the owner came straight out and said, ‘Aw, yeah, he’s like that, he’s a little shit,’ referring to the white Chihuahua. No apologies, not even an ‘Are you okay?’ He just herded the dogs back into the house and shut the door.  Rude! At the very least, if  your animal has caused damage, you ask the person if they’re okay. That’s what any normal, law-abiding, non-sociopathic person does, right? Or am I expecting too much from my fellow human beings?!

Both stunned at the owner’s response (or lack thereof), we walked back to our place and cleaned up Al’s wound. Now he really does look like the walking wounded, with his pressure vest still on after surgery, and now the gauze patch on his calf. I took him to the local medical centre and he got it looked at and had a Tetanus shot just in case (we don’t get rabies in Australia).   He has to be careful of infection for his surgery incisions but now also the dog bite.  It is pretty safe to say that I was not impressed. We called the RSPCA and they suggested we call the council and have a ranger come out and take our statements so that the owner can be issued with an infringement (fine).   So we did that, but I’m not convinced that a fine alone is going to ensure the owner cleans up his act. People like that don’t change overnight because of a piddly financial inconvenience.  I don’t want to say that I hope he has other complaints against him (so the fine will be more substantial) because then that would mean he’s a repeat offender, and who knows how he treats his dogs in private?! AAARRGH… it just makes me so mad!  It isn’t hard to provide animals with a safe, loving home.  It’s not fucking rocket science. If you can’t look after your pets for whatever reason, give them up to the pound so that someone else can. I’d hate to think what might have happened had Booker been with us (I think we would have seen a rather rapid change in temperament after the dog bit Al – in fact, i think Booker would have had that dog for a late lunch). Or worse,  had my niece or nephew decided to join us for a walk. Even if they hadn’t been bitten, it would have frightened them (they’re seven and four years old respectively) and made them even more wary of dogs than they already are.

Oh, just because I can, and for your viewing pleasure, here’s our puppy:

 

 

Well, he’s not technically a puppy (he’s almost 12 years old) but that’s my name for him because as you can see, he’s adorable.

Anyway, I’d just like to add that I know most pet owners are conscientious, caring people who would do anything for their pets, including ensuring that they don’t attack other people and wind up being put down, but at the same time, there are those who continually flout the law and don’t seem to care what their animals do to others.  It’s those people I think should have a lifetime ban from owning a pet (there should be a three strikes and you’re out policy)  because their attitude toward their animals tends to reflect back in the behaviour of their pets, particularly dogs. They’re the ones who end up having their dogs taken away and/or put down because they’ve attacked a human. And in my opinion, that’s way too late to start caring.

Rant over.

Getting to know you …

Copy and paste then add your own answers, and let your readers get to know you better as I’ve done here.

  1. Where were you born?
    Geelong, Victoria, Australia
  2. Who did you look up to growing up? My cousin Kylie. She always seemed so much cooler than me.
  3. What are your best characteristics?  Sense of humour, caring, imagination
  4. What has required the most courage of you in your life so far?  Probably going to uni at the age of 41 (four years ago) and attempting a Bachelor of Arts degree alongside over 200 people half my age.
  5. Who is your favorite musician?  Freddie Mercury/Queen, John Lennon and Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance
  6. What is your favorite childhood memory?  Going to the old Corio skating rink with my cousin Ngari; summers at Norlane Pool working at the kiosk.
  7. What is your favorite color? Dark purple.
  8. What is your favorite holiday destination?  Haven’t been out of the country yet but if I could it would be New Zealand to check out where the LOTR and Hobbit movies were filmed, or the UK so I can do the Jack the Ripper tour in London and visit the Cavern where the Beatles started out.
  9. What is your favorite ice-cream flavor?  Macadamia
  10. What is your favorite song?  So hard to choose, there are so many, but if I had to it would be Silent Lucidity by Queensryche; Everybody knows by Leonard Cohen, or I want to break free by Queen.
  11. What is your favorite way to pass time? Reading or writing fiction; bingeing Netflix
  12. What is your favorite candle scent?  Prefer oils really, I like blends like Lavender, Rose geranium and Bergamot.
  13. Are you scared of heights?  Depends where I am. Can deal with a  Ferris Wheel but you wouldn’t get me jumping out of a plane.
  14. Are you high maintenance?  No
  15. If you could eliminate one weakness or limitation in your life, what would it be?  My tendency to be antisocial. I hate getting on the phone.
  16. Who has left the most impact on your life?  My kids. They’re my very best friends and I would be nothing without them.
  17. Can you do a split?  A banana one, yes. A physical one, no.
  18. Can you whistle? Yes
  19. Can you dance?  No I specialise in the Rick Astley shuffle
  20. Do you remember your dreams?  Only the bad ones, or the really really weird ones.
  21. Do you save old greeting cards and letters? Throw them away? I’ve kept some of my kids’ birthday cards from when they were little but I don’t keep mine anymore.
  22. Do you sing in the shower? No. Bathrooms have a echo thing going on. You don’t want to be there when that happens. My brother got all the singing genes.
  23. Do you have a whole lot of acquaintances or just a few very close friends? Why?  A few close friends.
  24. Do you have any allergies?  Boysenberries bring me out in hives, copha gives me migraines.
  25. Do you believe in love at first sight?  No. Lust maybe, but how can you know someone’s soul on sight? It’s the whole of a person you fall in love with, not just the looks.
  26. How far away from your birthplace do you live now?   Roughly 8-15kms
  27. Have you read any of the Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Twilight series? Which one is your favorite? I’ve read all the Twilight books, a couple of Harry Potter and the first Hunger Games. Seen all the movies. I’d have to say Harry Potter’s my favourite of the three.  Probably Goblet of Fire because there was so much going on in that movie.
  28. What is a strange occurrence you’ve experienced but have never (or rarely) shared with anyone? Hm… nothing stranger than thinking about a song I haven’t heard for a while and then it plays on the radio, stuff like that.
  29. What is the scariest movie you’ve watched?  JAWS. Without a doubt. Installed a phobia in me from age seven, when I saw it for the first time. Oddly, my brother watched it at the same time and he was five. Never affected him.
  30. What was the first concert you ever attended?  I don’t know if anyone born and raised in Geelong, Victoria will remember this, but Southern Sons came and played a free concert at Norlane Waterworld back in about 1989. My grandparents ran the kiosk at the time and I worked there that day, had my breaks sitting on top of the amps (well, not really, but close enough) and swimming afterwards.  Everyone I knew was there, it was epic.
  31. What are some of the different jobs that you have had in your life? Mostly retail, first job was at my old man’s donut shop for about three or four years, the kiosk at Norlane pool, trained as a pathology collector but it didn’t work out, a few temporary admin positions here and there, and my longest job as a typist/synopsis writer for World Wide Entertainment/Switch International/Meadow Media (ten years this year).
  32. What app do you use most?  Facebook and Spotify
  33. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, rate your fashion sense?  Fashion? What’s that? 5
  34. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, rate your driving skills?  6
  35. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, rate your cooking skills? 7
  36. Which animals scare you most? Why? Sharks (I should think this would be obvious),  rats (they’re unhygenic and they bite) and cassowaries because of their giant front claw on each foot. Word is they can gut you with it.  Eeeek.
  37. What are some of your bad habits? Leaving the dishes on the drying rack overnight, not dusting my room enough, and I think my family would say my tendency not to be able to hide my irritation at times is a bad habit, or is that a weakness of character? Correcting people’s grammar according to my son.
  38. What is something most people don’t know about you? I failed my driving test five times.
  39. What pipe dreams do you have that you wish could come true?  To own a bookstore like Ellen’s on her old TV show, with a coffee shop attached where people can sit and read the books they’ve bought.
  40. If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be? Freddie Mercury. 70’s Freddie, though, not big on the moustache.
  41. If you could give your younger self any advice what would it be? Forget nursing and pathology. Do your BA in writing and become a librarian and write in your spare time.
  42. If you could meet any one person (from history or currently alive), who would it be? Stephen King or Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies).
  43. Do you see the glass as half empty or half full?  If it’s beer or wine it doesn’t stay half full for long.
  44. Pick one, cats or dogs?  Normally I’d go with cats because I’m a cat person but our white German Shepherd is a total sweetie so dogs.
  45. Pick one, chicken or beef? Chicken
  46. Pick one, Halloween or Valentine’s Day? Halloween, and the Day of the Dead.
  47. Pick one, meat or fish?  Meat. Not a seafood fan.
  48. Pick one, vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate
  49. Would you rather be a lonely genius or an idiot with a lot of friends? A genius. but I’d never be lonely because most geniuses are eccentric at best and wildly mentally ill at worst, so I’d always have company.
  50. Would you rather have a friend who’s very blunt with their words or a friend who tells a lot of white lies? Blunt people because you know they’ll tell you the truth. Fuck sparing your feelings. I’d rather know if I had a booger hanging out my nose, thanks.