Thursday, 21 June 2012

The eternal irony of existence a.k.a. things never work out quite the way you think they will a.k.a. Seriously?!? What the F&%???!!!

Not much been going down this week so I have dedicated this rambling and disjointed post to the randomness of life in general and just some dumb stuff I've thought this week and I ask what does it meeeaaaaan?

But first a digression into vocabulary to set up the post appropriately:

Ever since Alanis released her song in the 90's I've been a bit confused about the meaning of the word irony. The Macmillan dictionary defines it as follows....

Irony [UNCOUNTABLE] a form of humour in which you use words to express the opposite of what the words really mean
‘You’ve been so kind,’ she said, her voice heavy with irony.
a touch/trace/hint of irony: His writing contains a cheerful touch of irony.

[COUNTABLE/UNCOUNTABLE] a strange, funny, or sad situation in which things happen in the opposite way to what you would expect
tragic/bitter/cruel irony: By a cruel irony, General Franklin was killed at the very moment of his army’s great victory.
the irony (of something) is that: The irony is that it would have been faster to have taken the back roads after all.

(FYI this is versus sarcasm which is defined as... the activity of saying or writing the opposite of what you mean, or of speaking in a way intended to make someone else feel stupid or show them that you are angry. No, really????)

An intellectually superior (this is sarcasm) ex-boyfriend once told me that the Alanis song (which I liked at the time) misused the word irony. If the Macmillan dictionary definition is correct then Alanis wasn't far off... unless she actually changed the use of the word ironic... (p.s. he was a dick - this is neither ironic nor sarcastic.. it is merely accurate!)

So here we go - things recently that have made me go Seriously!?! WTF???!!!

1.This year I was going to study film-making but I thought... I want just one year of not being totally broke so I'm going to work this year buy a new car, pay off some debt, enjoy my life, and then next year I'll study.. .nek minnit... Lost job (recession)... car costing fortune... more broke than ever before  (can't do anything that costs anything )...WTF?

2. (This contains Game of Thrones season 1 spoilers so skip if you don't want to know...) The irony of watching Sean Bean in a program and thinking 'at last Sean Bean has a part where he gets to live to the end of the series and isn't a traitor of some sort' (see Boromir and the rest of Mr Beans body of work...) Well... Game of Thrones viewers know how that one ended!

PS below is a link to the Sean Bean death reel... Interesting fact "Sean Bean dies' comes up as one of the top searches on Google when you type in the name Sean Bean - maybe I was being a little naive thinking he would make it to the end of G.O.T.

3. This morning I got aggressively cut off from entering the motorway by a Christian radio and television sales rep. (Really - he had Rhema  and Shine TV logo's on his car and everything!) He gave me the dismissive sour face and almost drove me off the road anyway.... DUDE??!! WHAT WOULD JESUS DO!!

4. Don't know if this is ironic or not but it was a comment on the effect of media, film making, reality vs fiction in the modern world and gossip magazines on simple minded people like moi... the other day I was walking through a book store and saw a back cover of a book with a photo on it. "Hey" I thought to myself, "that looks just like those photos of Ashton Kutcher I saw where he was dressed like Steve Jobs in the 70's" When I got to the front of the book I realised that it was the autobiography of.... Steve Jobs. So it was actually Steve Jobs in the 70's looking like Ashton Kutcher dressed to look like Steve Jobs in the 70's... how did it come to this? Why didn't I just think 'hey that looks like Steve Jobs?' When did fake real become more real than real. (another relevant question ... when everyone is starving on Survivor island... what are the camera crew eating? I have visions of all these people on one side in their loin cloths fashioned from animal intestines and what's left of their sleeping bags, eating bugs and drinking their own urine and on the other side there's a camera man eating a burger chilling in a comfy chair under an umbrella next to the catering table. It kind of takes the whole... survival thing out of Survivor. They should call it "SURVIVOR" (refer to sarcasm/ irony definitions above)

5. Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis. Why why why? How will I ever have a long lasting relationship when they couldn't make it. They've got an island dammit!!! How did this happen? When did hope die? It feels like  finding out that Snow White has been dumped by the prince after being discovered videoing herself involved in light bondage and MMF action with Doc and Sneezy in the palace pool house... it's just plain WRONG!

It's more than a little depressing. I just have to keep on reminding myself that it can also go the other way... e.g. Woman about to get evicted from house wins lottery or finally giving up on love and then meeting your soulmate in a parking garage. 

Case in point - I was having a poor me moment re. relationships a while ago and as I lay on my bed in the starfish of despair (this is when I lie in the middle of the bed on my back in a starfish position and yell 'why? why???' at the ceiling - normally I alternate between the starfish of despair and the clam shell of despondency - which is more like a foetal position and which, in opposition to the starfish,  involves whimpering and muttering of "why why??" rather than the full volume raging at the injustice of it all of the former), so as I lay there I thought - "I don't want to be Jennifer Aniston - always dating the John Mayers of life while the Angelina's run off with our Brad Pit (note to self:  avoid combining self pity and alcohol with online tabloids in future) Within a few weeks  of this this thought she was dating that super yummy Justin Theroux (who I have always had a serious crush on) I REALLY want to be Jennifer Aniston right now. You just never know when it's going to turn around.

Is it karma? I don't know, but it's good to remember that sometimes things just don't go your way for no good reason and not because of anything you've done... but then sometimes things do go your way for the exact same lack of reason. So be ready for it!

Below is a picture of Justin Theroux - metaphor for the week - sometimes you lose a Brad but sometimes you gain a Justin! (I am soo deep... yes that's also sarcasm)

Friday, 15 June 2012

Mug Wars

We human beings are territorial. While we have evolved to be able to play words with friends during the completion of important work tasks (neurosurgery and the like) and support a child in Africa for only $1 a day, the grumpy little banana hoarding monkey inside us all just won't go away. One place we can see this is in the work place in a game I have come to affectionately call 'Mug wars'.

 You bring in a special mug to work. Possibly it was a gift with 'World's greatest mum' on it or maybe it's exactly the right size for your morning coffee. Whatever the reason you chose it, you chose it and it's yours and then one day you arrive at work. Hmmmm, you think to yourself... I could do with a coffee/ tea/ chai latte / insert hot drink of choice. You mosey on down to the cupboard, open the door and BAM! no mug. The horror... the fury. Some bastard has taken your mug! The first time this happens there's a strange feeling of being violated. Who would do that to you? Why would they do that?

The second time it happens you get angry. And indignant! And... angry. Seriously, if someone doesn't want to drink out of the dodgy looking pint sized work supplied mugs then why don't they bring their own instead of taking something that ISN'T THEIRS! You leave scathing notes on the work notice board or take to hiding your special cup behind or even under things on your desk. Anything to preserve the sanctity of your special drinking vessel. You give co-workers the beady eyeball. Was it you who took my mug? You try to work out who you can trust. If someone can use your mug what's to stop them from permanently 'borrowing' your special pencil from the $2 shop with the plastic  eraser on top shaped like a bowl of noodles. Work relationships sour and paranoia abounds.

I used to be really judgemental of mug guarders. Ha ha ha I would laugh smugly to myself. It's just a stupid mug - who gets that upset about a mug? LOL, ROFL etc.

Except it appears that I do....

A couple of weeks ago I rolled up at work - tired from the night before (I might have been to see a band - the details are hazy) and desperate for a coffee. I got to the cupboard and what do you know... no mug. Everyone knew which mug was mine. It was pretty noticeable. Anyone who had taken it had to know that it was mine.  I felt a wave of anger and resentment with a hint of betrayal. Who would do that kind of thing. Especially now when I needed that mug most!

Grudgingly I made myself a coffee in one of the substandard work supplied mugs. Obviously this abomination of a cup was way too small so I would have to go back for a second helping - annoying. I was grumbling to myself as I went to my desk. Across from me was a reliever who I'm particularly fond of. He inquired about my well-being. I said I was feeling a bit grouchy. He said 'oh dear, sorry to hear that' and then he took a sip of tea from... MY MUG!

Me: THAT'S MY.... (I realise I am yelling and try to tone it down a bit).... mug
Hapless Reliever: Oh is it? (looks at the mug nods approvingly) It's a great mug (takes another sip)
Me: (low growling tone... think wolf mama protecting cubs) That's my mug.
HR: Oh....(HR is being a bit slow on the uptake here - part of me wonders if this is on purpose to prolong mug abduction) ... oh sorry ( HR looks genuinely sorry - hmm liar??) I can use another mug if you want...

At this point I realise that HR probably doesn't know it's my mug (being a reliever and all) and I start to feel a liiiiitle bit like a crazy psycho.

Me: It's ok (I say in high strangled tone that clearly indicates that it's absolutely not ok but I'm trying to pretend that it's ok so that no one thinks I'm weird - it may be too late other people are starting to stare. I try to smile. It's hard. I have to force it. I think it might look more like a grimace... or a snarl... I stop smiling immediately)
HR: No really, I can get another cup - I didn't realise that people had special mugs.
Me: (aloud - in a strangled high pitched voice) That's ok, you didn't know... ( (inside) - Oh come on, you can't tell me you didn't notice the 20 shitty 1970's smokey-glass half-size coffee mugs interspersed between noticeably expensive full size mugs that are obviously lovingly chosen to suit the individual drinkers needs and personality!!)

The hapless reliever looked at me,  eyes wide with what I think might have been fear, and then drained the tea and handed over the mug. I felt a little bad about my outburst, but not so bad that I didn't take the mug, wash it out and immediately make myself a cup of coffee in said special mug. The coffee tasted good. It tasted like victory.

Later that day I hid the coffee cup behind a the pen holder on my desk. (I managed to stop myself from leaving a scathing note on the board - only just though)

After 'mug-gate' I had to take a long hard look at myself. Decisions were made. I would never judge someone's ridiculous behaviour again - well I would try not to  it would depend how ridiculous it was ( eg. cycle shorts will never be immune to my ridicule and people with giant fins on the back their car to improve road holding in a country where the maximum speed limit is 100 km per hour and ...) and I would be less possessive of things because they're only things after all. But, having said that, God help the person who 'borrowed' my twink pen and didn't give it back... I'm off to write a note on the notice board about it right now....

p.s. this is a picture of the mug... I'm sure you can understand what the fuss was about...

Friday, 8 June 2012

The least chilled out person I know....

I am officially one of the least chilled out people I know. For years I have struggled to be have that cool I don't-care/what-ever-ness about me, but the time has come for me to admit that I'm not cool and I'm not calm. I'm bossy and neurotic and, occasionally, mildly agoraphobic and I don't deal well with change.

People who know me are probably L-ing their F A O at this statement. They know it's true. They know I'm in denial. The revelation came this weekend when I went on holiday with my lovely friends on a bit of an impromptu kiwi road trip. It was hard to get me out of the house into the car. "But  I have 15 episodes of Game of Thrones to watch... and my cat will miss me" I cried as darling friend (who for the purposes of blogging and privacy will be referred to as Darling Friend) expertly wrangled me into agreeing to go with. Our accomplices on the journey will be called NZ's best lasagna maker (NZBLM) and her flatmate NZ Guy.

The lack of plan, however, bothered me the most. I felt unsettled. "What do you mean make it up as you go along???" the tiny little stressed-out person inside me yelled. ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN! To qualify this - the 'anything' that could have happened in the far north of NZ would most likely have been getting a flat tyre or running out of chips before we got to the next gas station. Yet there I was, neurosis at the ready, prepared for anything... the battle of the car door locking being a perfect example

The scene - stopping off somewhere to go for a walk in a magnificent Ancient Kauri forest...

Me: (attempting chilled out tone) "Hey man shouldn't you lock the door"
NZ guy: (in infuriatingly laid back NZ guy fashion) " don't worry, this is the country"
Me: "I really think you should lock the doors"
NZ guy: (looking at me oddly but still annoyingly chilled out) 'nah man it'll be sweet"
Me: (starting to get worked up)"shut up and lock the doors"
NZ guy: "but it's the...."
NZ guy: (look of fear in eyes) "ok..... " 

So we proceeded, along an amazing wooden walkway, through the magnificent trees so old when we touched them they felt more like stone than like wood. The whole scene looked like it had snuck off the set of The Hobbit for a quick smoke break and decided that it didn't fancy going back. (Right now I'm sure Sir Peter Jackson is yelling at a lowly forest wrangler... "HOW DO YOU LOSE A WHOLE FOREST. And what am I supposed to do with all these elves now!)

As I walked through the trees I was worrying about the bags in the car and my current financial situation and WTF I was going to do about my work situation (I contract as an English Language Teacher and work is thin on the ground at the moment. Really thin). I looked around and thought "Oh Trees" and then I stopped (I was absent-mindedly videoing said trees for posterity) and thought - "These trees have been here for hundreds of years... and I'm here now... and I think I'm missing it."

So I hung out with the trees for a bit and tried to hang out with the moment too, this is not easy for me. I also realised that I'm not going to change... thinking about every angle and wanting to be prepared is part of my personality and the years of trying to be someone different haven't made a dent in my intrinsic behavioral patterns, but have succeeded in making me dislike myself and have made having 'fun' seem like a whole lot of hard work.

So what to do... maybe the secret would be to accept that I'm neurotic and a bit odd and try to do things anyway. To stop fighting what I am and maybe work with it for a change, being organised and responsible isn't a terrible trait (it's not a sexy trait either but I have an electric guitar that makes up for it). As I thought that I became aware of the trees, really aware of them and I just wanted to laugh and laugh. It was a moment's revelation that will probably result in a lifetime of having to deal with myself.

The rest of the weekend turned into a blur of awesomeness...  we drank tequila, I sang ACDC with the pub band (didn't know the words but with ACDC does it really matter if you can get through the chorus), we did carpet synchronized swimming (don't ask) and my fellow travellers turned our lounge into an epic blanket fort.

The next day we ended up at an awesome place called 'Action World' where you can try out tight-rope walking; trapeze; rock climbing but to gain entry to these you have to go on the super slide, which looks fine from the ground but at the top it's like a nightmare tower of terror (especially for me with my epic fear of heights)

I didn't want to go. I really didn't. I was terrified but in keeping with my new plan to accept myself I decided not to try to convince myself that I wasn't terrified. I waited for my turn, feeling terrified, I went up the weird, wobbly stairs, feeling terrified, I sat at the top of the slide in the awkward half pillow case thing you have to sit in, really really really f&#@ng terrified and then I went down the slide. And then I knew really terrified! When I finished I waited for a bit and went again. And then I went again. By the third time the terror was turning into excitement and anticipation. "New Zealand's best lasagna maker" mentioned the same thing when she went on the trapeze. She said she had fallen off so many things that by the time she went on the trapeze she just didn't care anymore. (She fell off the high tight-rope about a hundred times but in the end she made it across... you always do)

As sit here writing this I don't feel like a different person. I feel the same, if anything in some ways I feel more stressed and more scared about the future not because it's going to be terrible but because I know that I just have to keep doing the things that scare me until they don't scare me anymore. And because now I have no excuses not to do things just because they're scary. All I can do is be as prepared as I can be and then be prepared to jump or to fall off... and get back on again.

Which is a metaphor for life I guess. Just keep falling off and getting back on again... and like the trapeze instructor lady said "don't look down - that's when you fall. Look up at where you're going and you'll make the jump"

This is me going down the slide from the tower of terror!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

meaningful stuff and not so meaningful too

When I started this blog (a week ago - it's sounds profound to begin with "when I started this blog" but really it was just a week ago so yeah anyway) I wanted to write about things that I was thinking about - possibly meaningful topics and deep philosophical conundrums that confront the modern woman in a ever- changing society. So for this week I've been pondering - 'what oh what shall I write about?'

I, of course, then proceeded on to have a full-blown Virgo moment... this blog... it must be the best blog ever written... it must be PERFECTION... when people read it choirs of angels should sing "aaaaaah thiiiiss is the beeesssst blooooooog evaaaaaaaaah aaaah"

This piece of super-rational thinking was followed by the inevitable.... complete inability to write anything lest it fall below the standard of awesomeness I wish to set for myself (and in fact all blogs ever written ever ever). So I've fallen back on that good old writers trick... just write whatever.

Keeping this in mind, I'm going to try to do one thing a week I haven't tried before and then write about it and also tell you about all the shit my friends said when we were drinking (it's going to be AWESOME). Since most of my friends are pretty smart and articulate (even after a couple of glasses of wine) I'm sure it's all going to end up o.k.

So to the task at hand. This week I went to check out the Auckland Playback theatre group. Playback theatre is a kind of improvisational theatre where the audience tells stories and moments from their lives and then the company of actors perform it. The actors are great!

So anyone can tell their story - so this is both the awesomeness and the not so awesomeness of the experience. When the stories are good - they're great but when they're bad.... well the lights are all on and you have to walk past everyone to get to the door, which is normally where the storyteller sits sooooo if the story's bad then you're not going anywhere. And not everyone is Steven King. Trust me...

One story was about the change from analogue to digital television in New Zealand and the process of getting a new television vs getting a special 'freeview box' for the current TV set which was nearly impossible but story teller 1 didn't want a new TV because the the old one had sentimental value so she would have to get a loan to pay for the changes to the current sentimental TV and because of the playback theatre format this meant the audience got to sit through the story being told and then watch the story of the analogue to digital including the telephonic loan application process being re-enacted by the intrepid theatre company. It was GREAT!

Writing the above makes me sound like a total beeeyatch - as I write it I feel bad. I feel mean and judgemental. I can see the value of the form. I can see what they were trying to do. I totally understand the process and how it's good for people to have their stories heard... but part of the way through the woman with her harem pants and bandanna discussing her aid work in India (the story involved scintillating details like a rundown of how many shock absorbers they damaged on the drive to the mountain school), I started to get that horrible feeling of claustrophobia not unlike the sensation created by the breathing-in-space noises in '2001 A Space Odyssey' (I've never watched the whole thing, I couldn't get past the breathing) or in ocean liner based disaster movies when the water is hitting your upper lip and you still haven't found a way out of the ballroom.

However there is a silver lining to all this I learnt a new word .... intersex. As in "this girl I know said that she was intersex but when she showed me her vagina she clearly wasn't. Even though my friend and I both said she looked normal "down there", she didn't believe us and so my friend had to show the other girl HER vagina to prove that there really was no difference."

Yes, this was also one of the stories.

Weirdly enough, I think I'll probably go back again. The same genetic quirk that makes us all addicted to the Big Brother Shower Hour and the Jersey Shore makes me want to go back and see what happens next. Will story teller number 1 finally get digital TV in time for her "New Zealand's Got Talent" audition? Will 'Bandanna-wearing philanthropist" get those shock absorbers fixed? What will happen to the red-head with the fear of lifts and how did  two guys with highly unlikely randomly matching fro's end up sitting on opposite sides of the audience? Are they related or is it just some kind of weird synchronicity??

There's only one way to know....

Go to see some Playback theatre near you - let me know what you think....