16 June 2013

A letter to my friend.

Dear Marge,

Let me just start by saying that i love you.  I dont think i've ever told you before, but i do.  I value your friendship above most and i am always, always on your side.  You can always count on me, and i love the fact that i can always count on you.  You know me better than anyone else and although i often try to keep you at arms length, i can count on the fact that you are exactly that far away, no further.  You are a wonderful woman; clever, witty, charismatic and loyal. You are my sister.  You are my best friend.

So it upsets me so, so much to see you in this ridiculously abusive relationship.  You deserve much better than that and i honestly, just dont get it.  I dont know why you stand for it.  I dont know how you can stand it.  I appreciate that you have a lot at stake, three children, a house and a lot of history.. but i really think you should just leave.

No one gets to raise their voice at you, no one get to call you names or humiliate you in public or in front of your friends.  No one gets to manipulate you, or emotionally abuse you. And most of all, no one gets to teach your children, my god-children, that this is an acceptable way to treat a person.  So i want you to leave him, leave it all.

You can be happy without him.  Your children will grow into better people without his influence.  He does not deserve your loyalty, your patience, your compassion.  10 years are enough, you are my friend and no one gets to treat you with such disrespect.

Let's do this, you have my full support.
Mars x

01 May 2013

I used to work with a girl (woman?) we all affectionately called Beast.  This was her name. She knew it was her name and she lived up to it, in fact, i believe she had it tattooed on her arm in Thai writing on a holiday to Phuket once.  She was a career alcoholic and has been responsible or part of, some of the more... distasteful events which have ever occurred to me.  This woman drank like a man, fucked like a man, you could fry an egg on her hair on any day of the week, and generally was and is, a bit fucking foul.  But she used to be pretty damn fun to go out with, and was the person who introduced me to the concept of a 'blend'.  For this i am thankful, waste not want not.

Anyway, last year I had this dude on the go, who we called Old Greg.  Not cause he was old, just cause he was Greg.  Old Greg was nothing much - thick as a post and a bit mental, but he was pretty fun to party with for a time until one day, he opened up his wardrobe and showed me his gun.  Shortly after that, Mick Gatto's brother turned up at Old Greg's place and it was then i knew that i was in over my head.  No amount of booze or drugs was going to make any of this really ok.  I'm a nice girl from Cheltenham who appreciates irony; not Mick Gatto's brother at the door, or Old Greg's gun in the wardrobe.

Shortly after all this occurred, i got a message on facebook from Beast.  'How do you know Old Greg?!  We used to go out!"

I nearly died in my jocks, sloppy seconds from the Beast?!?!?  That's disgusting.

And it was with this; my whoring days were over.

Not even the romantic text message after i'd backed away slowly and quietly, hoping he wouldn't notice "Y can't we fuk?" would be able to win me back.

Anyway, I was having a conversation with Amazon not long ago about our official count... She's trying to get her number up, feeling ripped off - like she hasn't lived enough life yet and got enough, y'know... dick.  While i (who also feels ripped off on any number of topics), i'm trying to get my number down after what in hindsight, have been one or two regrettable scenarios.  And without really realising it, i've created a system of rules as to what 'counts' and what doesn't count.  You know, for my mind.

Basically, an (ahem) encounter, doesn't 'count' if it meets any or all of the following criteria:

The statute of limitations
This is totally a thing.  If it happened over seven years ago, it's off your record.  I can't be held responsible for this shit forever!  If the ATO can forgive sins after seven years, well, i can forgive myself also.

If it only happened once
And i mean once.  Slipped in, slipped out, no followup - that shit doesn't count.  It barely even happened.

If i dont remember it, it definitely didn't happen

If no one else knows about it, and I want to forget it ever happened... it's gone.  Off the record.  Stricken.

Sadly, I am going to have to wait out the seven years on Old Greg but other than that, i'm down to a pretty respectable number!

23 March 2013

A friend of mine has started doing this thing she calls her Happiness Project where about once a week she posts something on facebook that she's really grateful for.  A year ago, i would have found this completely wank and probably blocked her, but now i think what she's been doing is pretty sweet.  So here's some things i am sincerely grateful for.

My mum.  I though i was going to lose her 11 years ago, and every day since then i have grown to love her more and more.  The thought of life without her is probably the worst thing that could happen so i am so grateful to have her.

I still have two grandparents and i'm so lucky.  They are amazing people who i adore.

I recently started a new job, and i'm pretty happy there. The experience that some of my colleagues who started at the same time as me have had has been significantly worse.

So that's it.  Some stuff is still shit, but that stuff is all pretty good.

17 March 2013

One of the reasons i'm really enjoying my job at the moment are because of the people i am meeting each day.  It's not all roses and I do still meet an extraordinary number of absolute dicksucks, but i try not to waste too much time on them and give each person the benefit of the doubt that they're going to be awesome... and sometimes, they actually are!

Yesterday i had an old guy come and sit in front of me with barely discernable English... i tried really hard, listened really carefully... but i just had no idea what he was saying to me.  So i took him over to the map on the wall and got him to point where he wanted to go and worked out it was Barbados.  Sweet... So i set about trying to find a fare with reasonable connections straight through to freakin' Barbados, kinda skipping over the 'conversation' part of the sale process.

It was taking ages cause what d'ya know, it's neither cheap nor easy to get from Melbourne to Barbados but i found something i could offer the guy which posed the next problem; trying to get his name out of him.  I asked him if he'd booked at the store before and after a while finally understood that his wife had booked here before when he added 'but she died'.

Then he just kinda kept repeating it... 'my wife, she died... now i got no one'.  Meanwhile i've stopped looking at the computer, as every time he said this, he was getting more and more upset.  'My wife, she died... now i got no one'.  And he's starting to get visibly distressed, and well up... so im starting to well up too, then he starts crying, so i start crying as well.  He just kept saying it like he couldnt believe it - couldnt believe his wife had died and that he's been left here, with no one.  Suddenly, i understood him perfectly and it was so fucking upsetting i cant even begin to express it.

He said he had no family here and had to go back to Barbados.  I agreed, he should go to where his people are.  The store is full and people waiting to be served, he's crying, i'm crying and i cant find a routing with reasonable fucking connections.

So that was pretty fucking... real.  Not the funnest day at work ever, but definitely proof that i am actually a human.

05 March 2013

Dear Dottie.

Interface is hard. I am reporting in from my phone - try that, it's pretty simple.

I ate some fruit.

05 February 2013

Are you there Mars? It's me, Dot.

It's been a very long time since I blogged. Things have changed. I've moved to San Francisco. I've gotten a full time job. My hair is short. I wear glasses. Blogger's interface is all different. I've started using the word 'interface'.

So, wanna start blogging again?

This is where I live now...

08 July 2012

Earlier this year, I made the decision to regress in life somewhat.  After over two years of living alone, I decided to move in with my friend, Amazon.  We looked and looked for houses, it took ages then we finally found our house and we absolutely love it.  I love the house, love the area, love her.  Love love love it all.

We have three rooms in this Oasis that is our home, so got another person in... We didn't love him quite so much (think: Emo), so he has been eliminated, and we are back to having our love-in with the house.  I would add her to the blog, but Amazon & Mars doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it?

Anyway, Amazon is an inspirational lady and there's no doubt about it, she Gets Shit Done in life.

Last night, she (and her mum) made the curtains and all these cushions.  

And I love them.

08 June 2012

Now operating on my second passport means I left Australia for the first time just over 10 years ago, and on this trip, a number of things have become glaringly obvious on How Times Have Changed.  

I'm trapped!  Like a teenager in an adult's body.

Arriving at Heathrow this weekend for the umpteenth time in my life, alighting from my first business class cross-hemisphere journey, I proceeded as one does, to the train.  Realising with annoyance, but resigned expectation that i had forgotten my Oyster card, I paid my 22 pounds (outrageous!) for a ticket on the Heathrow Express, waited stagnant on said express for 30 minutes at the station (due to driver shortage, we were informed) before arriving into Paddington.  I then shuffled out, along with all the others to stand in front of the tube map, laden with far too much luggage, and proceed to work out where I needed to get to.  Two changes on the tube later, I emerge, beaten, at Liverpool Street station.  

I am taken aback to my first arrival at Heathrow, 10 years ago, and am not 100% sure, but I dont think the Heathrow Express actually existed back then.  If it did, I didn't get on it, and instead, caught the Tube the entire way to Earl's Court, where i was staying - paying my 18 pound 50 for the ticket, horrified that this trip was about to cost me almost $60. I struggled on the tube, with my brand new $500 Kathmandu backpack I'd made my parents buy me - I needed an expensive one - the one made out of the special material, that (in the very likely circumstance) pickpockets couldnt cut through with a knife.  I didn't want to get robbed!  So with this backpack, loaded with 20kgs of life's most valued possessions, so large and heavy I couldn't actually lift the thing off the ground, and when I eventually (with assistance) did, it looked as though I was carrying a body bag complete with dead body inside it, on my back -  got onto the over crowded, and infernally heated Tube.  It was a different time - the dollar was worth around about the same as a peanut (a small one), and when it came to spending my own money, it was all about economy, with no option, I persisted with this journey and have done ever since.  

Though on my most recent surfacing at Liverpool Street station, over-tired, sweaty and peeved at having to lug this suitcase I had ridiculously over packed for a two week holiday, up a malfunctioning escalator, it occurred to me that I really didn't need to be subjecting myself this this unpleasant scenario every time I arrived in London, and probably, at age 31, could afford a taxi from Paddington to Liverpool Street station if I so chose. 

There was a time I never thought I'd travel without a backpack (mind you, there was also a time I never thought I'd listen to a radio station other than Triple J too), and every time I come away, I torment myself - not wanting to sell out too early, and also not wanting to admit that my backpacking days may well be over, I agonise over this decision; backpack or suitcase, backpack or suitcase.  I sit there, on the edge of my bed with my ever-patient housemate, looking at both vessels laid out on my bedroom floor, discussing the pros and cons of each, agonising over the decision. The last two trips, the suitcase has won for one simple reason - no rolling.  When one happens to wake up, hungover, and needs to move on out in a hurry, with one broad stroke of the arm across any surface, the suitcase is packed!  And it's this that appeals to me.  Although, the backpack was invented for a reason!  And not an altogether silly one - they are highly mobile, and much easier to manoeuver with, so i guess each has their benefits, and which ever I end up taking, there is a reason why the other would have been a better choice.  So far on this trip, more than once I regret to say, I've cursed choosing the suitcase over the backpack.    

So you see, it's almost as though I have graduated.  Travelling by taxi, packing a suitcase…

10 years ago, everything I had to do on that trip needed to be done in the cheapest way possible - it was the way all my friends had done it, I'd listened to their stories, taken their advice, and I was off - Lonely Planet Europe 2001 in hand - on a middle-class white girl adventure* of a life time!  I had taken the ill-advised method of funding this trip by taking out a personal loan, which would go on to cripple me through-out the remainder of my 20's.  Where my contemporaries were reckless with drugs, booze, sex and even their hearts during their early 20's - I was reckless with money.  I don't know what I bought during those years - I assume much of it went of clothes, food and Smirnoff Ice, but I really couldn't tell you for sure - anyway, I needed my ill-gotten-gains to last as long as possible, and if that included staying in an 11 pound a night 12 bed lice-ridden dorm in Earl's Court YHA, well that's what I'd be doing.  

Hostels in those days were basic.  There was no Trip Advisor, potentially destroying your business within 24 hours, there was the Lonely Planet.  If a hostel was shite, there was no real consequence until 12 months later when the next edition of the LP was printed.  Many hostels then didn't have computers, and you'd instead trudge off in the middle of the night to phone or email home from some starkly-lit Internet cafe.  These days hostels have computers and wifi, as almost everyone is now travelling not with a Lonely Planet, but with a computer.  What wikitravel and google can't tell you, I don't need to know.

The idea of a hotel still seems indulgent to me, I don't need all that.  So here I am, arriving be taxi, travelling with a suitcase, in a private room in a hostel.  But I don't know why I'm bothering - I have no intention of using the kitchen to cook my own food, or going out into the common room to listen to people natter in languages I don't understand and the incessant door slamming is sending me very quickly, into a fit of rage.  In my mind when planning this trip, however, that was of course what I was going to do!  Sit out there and meet new and interesting people, make new friends and go to the pub across the road - new life friends!  People to visit some other time.  

But… nah.

And so it's with this half in, half out attitude that I am existing.  I'm not a full adult on a holiday, doing laps of whatever nondescript city I'm in on a topless red bus, but I'm also not that interested in making strained conversation with someone I really don't care about, either.  And I know that's a bit shit.  I feel like i've seen it all / heard it all before - I talk to these people all day every day at work - they're tedious at home, and they're tedious abroad.   I've just listened to a 20 minute conversation through paper thin walls, by some Australian girls who are going to complain to the front desk as their showers were cold.  In my day, that was a given - you were lucky to even have a door!

* Not too much adventure, it's important to be sensible

19 July 2011

There are some things in life, i have no intention of ever being a part of... and it's become pretty clear this week how many of these things there actually are, after the MANIA surrounding the last Harry Potter. And thus, a list:

Things I hate and will never get involved in:

Harry Potter - books and/or movies
I hate this shit, i dont even really know what it is other than a kid who does spells or something. I imagine it to be a bit like Sabrina the Teenage Witch (which i also hate). I hate the word 'Hogwarts' - what is that?! Sounds like quite a bad STD.

Twilight - books and/or movies
This also extends to True Blood. I will never have anything to do with any vampire shows. I never watched Buffy, and I'll never watch these; they are shit.

I also have no interest in Game of Thrones. I dont understand it, therefore I dont like it.

Any cartoon move
Shrek, Nemo, that horse movie, Penguins, Ice Age. The more people go on about how great they are, the more sure you can be that i will never watch any of them.

Masterchef, the Block, the Renovators, Design team
Any of these 'reality' shows currently being whored. I will never watch any of those either.

Can of Worms
Stupid man's Q and A. I will never watch it. I include in this category that horrible show called My Generation or something. The show is vetoed on the grounds of Josh Thomas (insipid), Amanda Kellar (boring) and Charlie Pickering who is an actual idiot. This also extends to the 7pm project. Carrie Bickmore is also on the list of TEDIOUS individuals with nothing to say - this leads me to Rove and any Rove-related production. I hate them all.

So in conculstion (for now):
No wizzards, dragons, witches, vampires... no vampire porm, no medievil knights, no 'reality tv' with bogan contestants which is just one giant advert. Nothing to do with Rove, Shaun Micalif or anyone related to them. No cartoons. No Family Guy, Southpark, American Dad. No Shrek, Nemo, Ice Age. But mostly, no wizzards or vampires.

Harry Potter; i shit on your face.


08 June 2011

Did you know, Internet, that i am a travel agent? I dont know if you do know that, i havent spoken about work (or anything really) for a while.

ANYWAY, some times my job is pretty fun... though most of the time, it's a total pain in the arse with not all that much of a reward. People working in Safeway earn more than most of us. You see, we get to do all the boring bits for people... and then they get to go off and do all the good stuff. The greatest irony of all is perhaps how unfortunate it is that people who love travel soooo much, actually can't afford to go anywhere ever again, once they start working in the travel industry.

Everyone thinks... ohhh, you're a travel agent, you must get heaps of free holidays... Hmm, not quite. Occasionally you will win an incentive, and get a free holiday... but because we work on commission, the time you take off to go on said holiday, ends up costing you more than you physically spend. You end up missing the majority of the month you're away and therefore, dont make budget and wont get a bonus that month.

So, it's easy to get a but cynical about the old job... a bit jaded and perhaps even bitter. This may surprise you, but people are MEAN when they're going on holidays! They're mean about money, they speak to you like shit and threaten 'legal action' (my favourite) when you tell them they can't do something they want to. Nothing is ever their fault. They complain. They want compensation. And it really takes the fun out of everything...

Oh, so you want to go do your working visa in the UK?
Oh, so you want to backpack around Europe?
Oh, so Cambodia changed your life?
Oh, so you're going to Vegas to party?
Oh, so you're going to price beat me? On what, a Virgin Blue flight to Cairns?
Oh, you're going to go work on the ski fields in Canada?
Oh, you want a package to Phuket?
Oh, you want a ski package in Queenstown?
Oh, you're doing the Inca trail?
Oh, you want to go to NYC on NYE?
Oh, you're going to Carnivale?
Oh, a full moon party!
Oh, you want to go from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh?
Oh, you're a student going back to Delhi? You want it what...? Cheap?!
Oh, LA!


I'm yet to meet anyone who's not passionate about travel. Everyone wants to go somewhere, it'd have to be pretty rare for someone to go somewhere, hate it and never leave home again... But, like anything good... when you're around it all the time, it gets a bit shit.

HOWEVER! Every now and again, I get a glimmer of the passion I once had for the whole deal. I get a little bit excited about a destination... I realise I dont know it all, haven't heard it all before and something really tickles my fancy. And today, it was Africa.

I don't even like animals, but the thought of going on one of those 4 wheel drive trucks and camping in that Ngorongoro crater thing, and seeing the rhinos and elephants and zebras and giraffes n shit got me all keen. I looked up flights, worked out how I was gonna get there and where i was gonna go.

3 weeks teaching English in Tanzania, a week or two at an orphanage in Mozambique, a trip to Cape Town, a safari, see the colourful Masai Mara, hear the animals at night, as i live amongst them, see the pink flamingos things and just be in awe of nature. Witness a cheetah chase down an antelope, see a baby elephant following its family along, hear an elephant trumpet, watch a giraffe gallop with its buckled legs... and at the end, 5 days in Zanzibar. It was going to be great!

Then I got a call, and it was some fuckwit who'd missed his flight yesterday... and i was back to being bitter again.