29 February 2008

My Life as The Temp
by Mars

Day Four
Today, i witnessed 'Keith' organise himself a date with 'Simon'. They're meeting in 'the villiage' at 9pm tonight, because 'Keith' is doing over-time so doesn't finish work till 8. 'Keith' is bringing some red wine and 'Simon' is going to cook pasta.

'Stephen' also emailed again today. 'Keith' is a man-whore, breaking hearts everywhere he goes... Anyway, 'Keith' asked 'Simon' if he was 'ok for wizz' and 'Simon' said yeah, but 'Keith' said he was gonna score anyway for the weekend cause he used everything he had last weekend when he went to Wales and got so trolleyed he had to call in sick to work on Monday.

'Keith' also has his one month appraisal booked for Monday morning, and he's not happy about it.

Anyway... i may have made a lapse in judgement today, and in my haste to find out who the FUCK 'Keith' actually is, i asked someone. Turns out 'Keith' works in an area completely different to mine, and i would never have reason to come across him, so the question was asked why i wanted to know.

And i was outted. And then outted again later on tonight in the pub when the story got round. So not sure now how long the 'Keith' Diaries are going to be able to carry on for. At least i got to see him though... He looks normal enough.

28 February 2008

My Life as The Temp
by Mars

Day three
It's good being The Temp, i have absolutely no responsibility other than to turn up at 9am sharp, look busy for by 7.5 hours and keep my breaks timely. No one talks to me unless i talk to them, and that's the way i like it. This job could not be any less like my old job at home, and aside from the fairly average pay, i think this new lifestyle might just suit me.

Down-side of course, is that as i am only The Temp, no one has bothered to set me up with personalised computer access and i therefore, don't have email. I log in as Temp2, and until today, i hadn't even bothered to open up Outlook. It was by accident really, that i discovered that someone else in the company is also logging in as Temp2.

His name is Keith and Keith is boarderline illiterate. After going through 'his' (my?) Inbox, Sent Items and Deleted Items, i have acertained the following information about 'Keith'. Keith is gay, and he has the hots for his friend Susan's friend, Max. He's seen this 'chap' on my space (sic) and wants Susan to set him up. Susan says Max is straight, but Keith isn't convinced.

'Keith' also has some sort of a lover, named Stephen, who he likes to... shall we say... re-live special moments with, via email.

There is a woman in the office called 'Caz' (apparently), and 'Keith' and 'Caz' have had some sort of a run in resulting in 'Keith' calling 'Caz' every name under the sun, including, but not limited to; a 'fat arsed nose picker'.

The thing i like most though, is that 'Keith' refers to himself (when emailing his friends) as 'Supertemp'. This is interesting, and i am considering a challenge... i mean, i'm pretty good...

Anyway, 'Keith' talks about all sorts of people i can only assume work in the office too... and i'm dying to know who he, and all the people he talks about, actually are.

27 February 2008

My name is Mars, and i work in The Office in Slough.

There is a David Brent, i have located the Tim and Dawn. Gareth has turned 'Paki' and sits opposite me... and i, am The Temp.

Could my life be any more of a joke? I mean... really?

The parallels are uncanny.

22 February 2008

Backpacking is not what it used to be…

Back in the day all Youth Hostels I stayed in in Europe were very basic, yet boozy. Most people I met were single and poor and slightly cosmopolitan, and everyone wore jeans and looked bad.

I think the first problem is I’m staying at a backpackers in Australia and it’s full of British work-holiday people (they come in sets of two) living uninhibited in the dorm rooms. The room I’m in has junk everywhere; toiletries, food, clothes, that I suspect much of which doesn’t belong to current residents, but has just become part of some 'communal pot' of sharing.

Also, there’s this extreme youth vibe thing going on that I’m not really… hm. I picked this hostel because it has a bar but I had one look into it last night and got scared and ran away. I think I saw Corey. I’m in a weird fashion time warp where fluoro, boob tubes and dreadlocks never went out of style. And all these girls wear so much make-up! And have tattoos!

Okay, I just got old.

The irony is I met Blane at a Youth Hostel in the Czech Republic. Now, five years later I’m in Sydney at another backpackers to get my American visa to go live with him. I’ve come full circle only to find myself older, more critical and still just as poor.

Bleh. I’m just grumpy because I couldn’t sleep at all last night because of SNORING BERTHA. Also, I was paranoid about sleeping through my alarm and missing my appointment. This turned out to be unnecessary as I actually set my alarm wrong and got up at 4.30am by mistake. I was heading out the door to the consulate when I realized it was only 5am.

My appointment is at 8am. It’s now 6am. Maybe I’ll squeeze in a quick power nap in the tv room…

Wish me luck!

21 February 2008

Toilet Talk
with Mars

Those nearest and dearest to me will know that i pee quite frequently. Like all the freakin' time. Pretty much as soon as i get in the car, or leave the house, within an hour, i need to pee. I have to get up anywhere between two and four times in the night to pee... it drives me mental, as well as everyone who has the pleasure of sharing quarters with me.

On the up side, i guess that meant that i was reasonably well hydrated. That is, until i arrived in England and the water tasted like mud. So i stopped drinking. And then not long after, stopped peeing as much. Problem solvered? Not quite... Suddenly, i was peeing what looked like orange juice (enjoy that mental picture!), my skin was all dry and i looked like a hag... Hmmm problem.

And then, i re-discovered cordial. Genius! Suddenly i could get my water intake, without having to taste the 'seven-times-recycled' London water. Problem solvered?

This plan was working wonderfully... i was back to peeing four times a night, life was good. UNTIL, i arrived here in Manchester, and my house has THE smallest toilet room in the all time history of toilet rooms. I'm not even joking, i can't actually stand straight on in this room, and instead have to edge in sideways. The toilet room would have been okay, but they crammed a sink in there as well.

And so i'm back to square one... but worse, cause i'm not sure i can solve the contstruction of the house.

19 February 2008

To hot to blog...

I forget how to do the linky thing and it's too hot to find out. So I'll just be lame and say CHECK IT:
You haven't got much time to submit. It's a writing blogger publish post thing called 'You're Not the Only One'. See how hot I am? Can't write.

After spending the last two Australian summers in America I had forgotten how horrible HOT is. I was actually looking forward to my mini-break in Australia to get some sun and go swimming. I was so naive! One hot day later (and I think it was only about 36C today) and I'm a wretched sweaty mess. I'm not coping!

Anyway, I wrote a list at work today of things to blog about when I got home. 'You're Not the Only One' was the first. The second was write a birthday post for Mars. But she beat me to it.


Tell me where you live and I'll send you something.

Third topic is: life update for the void. I'm going to Sydney on Friday for my green card interview. THIRTEEN MONTHS ago we submitted my application to immigrate to America and I've finally been granted an interview. So, I can't stuff this one up. My paperwork seems to all be in order (medical check... No TB! Police check... I'm not involved in 'political killings and other acts of violence against the Haitian people'). So now all I have to do is prove my relationship with Blane is real and not laugh when they ask me if I'm a terrorist. The lawyer was quite specific on that one... whatever you do, don't laugh!

I am not a terrorist. I am not a terrorist. I am not a terrorist. Ha!
So like, tomorrow* it's my birthday. Again.** And yeah, i've just moved to a city where i know... well, no-one, really. At first, i was all birthday shmirthday, i don't care, i can hack it... but now i'm having a sad sad lame attack.

I mean, there are people around... they're just not my people, geddit?

* which is today in Oz, so as of 3pm EST (4am here) i am technically 'born'... just FYI.
** aside, mexie can you believe it's been a year already? ...it's gone so fast!)

16 February 2008

Mars: On waving the New Zealand flag

I was out and about the other day, and let's be honest, i was being particularly obnoxious. More than usual.

Hard to imagine, i know.

Anyway... i was a tad drunkity and tearing around like a moron (specifics are sketchy) when someone yelled at me, calling me some sort of a name... it may have been an 'Australian dickhead' or the like (as i said, specifics sketchy...).

Now in this day of modern Australian 'pride' i couldn't have myself poorly representing our glorious country... so i called out to whom-ever that i was actually from New Zealand, and aren't they an ignorant fool for not being able to tell.

This is what i call 'waving the New Zealand flag'... think i'm gonna make an entry in urban dictionary, trademark this shit and try to make some money out of my own appalling behaviour.
We have a problem. (<-- worse than usual)

After extremely minor encouragement from OMel today... (in fact, i wouldn't even call it encouragement, it was more along the lines of mentioning this particular topic, and i've just run with it...) the topic of ex-boyfriend(s?) on Crackbook came up.

She mentioned that she had a few on there, and then i started with The Stalking. Again.

We all remember the love of my life! the married dude, right? Yes, well up until recently, he wasn't on Crackbook. And i know this, cause i checked. Often.

AND NOW HE SUDDENLY IS. And i've checked his profile, which has remained unchanged, approximately 76 times in the last 4 hours.

I realise that everyone has Crackbook moments like this, and it really isn't a big deal... but it kinda is in my small little life thing.


In other news... no mention of the wife type person, at all. Interesting.

13 February 2008


At the moment I’m a temp. I do mail. I’m in it for the money. It's fine. Although, I have this strange feeling I'm not meant to be there. I arrived on Monday to replace a girl called 'Dot' (another temp who was sick)... so I sat at her desk and did her job and nobody seemed to notice 'Dot' had changed people (yet kept the same name). I asked if they wanted me back on Tuesday and nobody was sure WHICH Dot was meant to come back. So the next day I rang them up and they said they didn't want me. Fine. But then 30 minutes later they called to say actually they did want me. So I went into work again. Then on Tuesday when I was leaving I asked if they wanted me back on Wednesday. My supervisor literally said to me, 'Which 'Dot' are you? You both look the same...'. I told her I was the replacement Dot. She said she wouldn't need me then. But then the temp agency called and said I AM THE RIGHT DOT. So I'm meant to keep going to this work. But I'm not sure... I honestly think I'm the wrong 'Dot'. This other 'Dot' has left personal things all over the desk so I think that she thinks she's coming back. But because she is sick, and her desk is empty, and I have the same name as her (and apparently look the same), I seem to have ended up sitting in her place, using her login, doing her job... and nobody seems to have realised. I have had no induction. I have had no tour. I haven’t been introduced to any one. I have had no training beyond ‘sort this’ and ‘file this’. I am nobody. Nowhere.

And the reason I’m telling this story is because I’m trying to convey the mind-numbing zone of bland in which I spent this historic day. I was jiggling in my seat all morning wanting to say something to someone about reconciliation. Anything! But nobody said nadda. And it was really depressing because I started to wonder if this little apathetic office represented the bigger picture of ‘not care’ going on in Australia.

But then, thank god, I started getting emails from friends and family (Thanks Mars, Kiki, Sister and Blane!!!!). Which made me feel better. And I’ve been feeling better and better all day. Because saying sorry is about feeling better. John Howard thought apologizing was a negative act focused on guilt and opening old wounds and compensation and division. But it’s about feeling better. Didn’t everyone, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, seem so happy on the tv? It’s a happy sad though, because it’s about remembering the past so we can do better in the future. So while ‘sorry’ is just a word, a mind-set, a philosophy, an idea, it is real. I can see it working. I can feel it.

I worked on an Aboriginal community in the Top End for a few months last year. It is a unique place for a community in that its history of settlement isn’t one of forced removal, rather the ancestors of the community’s current residents migrated to the region looking to trade with European buffalo hunters. Over the years a camp grew into a settlement and then eventually, of course, the missionaries arrived. And, of course, the missionaries set up shop and got to work ‘civilising the natives’. To start with this was a brutal process that sought to strip people of all traces of their traditional culture, and fill the void with petticoats and Jesus. You know, the horror stories. It didn’t work. However, eventually the missionaries adopted a more cooperative approach, recognizing that Bininj culture and Christianity might work quite well side by side. The missionaries weren’t idiots, they weren’t evil, they were just plain (na├»ve) do-gooders...

I met an old lady at a bus-stop in Darwin who had worked as a nurse on a mission in Croker Island. She told me how shocked she was when she first arrived seeing naked men and women. She told me how they had to lock up all the food in the mission because otherwise “wild ones” would steal it. She told me of “dressing” people as they walked out of the bush for the first time. I think it’s remarkable, this time of ‘first contact’ is in living memory. It’s such a short history of contact. So much change in such a short period of time. It couldn’t be controlled, and it was inevitable there would be violence.

Today, in the community where I worked, there are only a few of these old ones left. Men and women in their late 70s and 80s and maybe older (there is no record of when they were born). They speak multiple languages, many lost to all but a handful of speakers. They know English too, and can tell the story of when they were teenagers and they first saw a white man. But they don’t write, and they sign their name with an X. In contrast, the children of these old ones grew up in the mission system. These middle-aged men and women sign their names in a flourish of cursive script. This is the legacy of the mission. These people have skills, they can read and write, they work in the community bank and store, they are artists, they are mechanics… But the mission is gone now, and I was so confronted to meet people in their 20s who can’t read and write. I met teenage boys who can’t even spell their own name!

And I met alcoholics and alcoholics and alcoholics. Sick people who are ruled only by their next drink. Young people whose teeth are falling out, whose bodies are scarred from gaol fights, whose siblings are dead.

I’m saying this on Sorry Day because the ‘stolen generation’ is not everyone’s story. However, reconciliation is for everyone. Something has gone tragically wrong in communities. They are not healthy. Even the healthy ones (like the one I visited) are not healthy. History tells a story of government sanctioned abuse; forced removal, slave labor. But even after the 1967 referendum and ‘equal rights’, a new abuse of neglect and denial crept onto the record. The missions and other agencies stuffed-up when they stole people from their families and cultures. Actually, they did more than stuff-up – they fucked-up. But they also did good. It is possible to 'do good' and it is possible to measure. Today was the best day ever, because even as a nobody sitting nowhere I still managed to feel inspired and optimistic and believe in this, as Rudd said, "future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia."

Reconciliation is the start. It’s about recognizing everyone has the right to live in peace, without violence and hunger and sickness. All Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people have this in common. And if we can all be equal in this, then we can truly start celebrating our diversity.
I never thought this day would come...*

We, Dot and Mars, say sorry too.

K-Rudd is already living up to my expectations... i haven't had hope like this in a government in... well, ever.

* Oh-so typical i'm not even in the country to relish every second of it
I saw this rad wall...

And that rad castle...

And then i ate some pudding from a can... which was foul. Now my life is ruined.

12 February 2008

subject: trapped
Mars to me
8:46 pm (14 minutes ago)

dot, i thought it might be nice to talk to you, and i was gonna call.... but it appears i'm either locked in this house, or out of it. given that i'm in my PJ's at the moment, i'm thinking that locked in is the better option. thus and therefore... i can't go get a phonecard... SO... if you happen to be reading your email tonight, maybe you could call me? landline number is ___________ waddya think?

Awwww, that's so sweet, you're making up excuses for me to call you.
Are you reading this now in your so-call 'PJs'?

But yes, I'll call.

ZOMG... i just spent the last 5 hours in this tiny shit-box death-trap of a car driving back from Newcastle to London tonight through mother-fucking THICK fog.

As in, we couldn't see two feet in front of the car, or even the lines on the road for some part of the journey.

I was (as they say...) brickin' it.


09 February 2008

Internet has proved somewhat difficult to come by in Durham... the friend i'm staying with doesn't have it in her house, and there's no Starbucks within cooee. That said, i am now a member of the Newport City Library (even though i'm back in London on Monday).

Needless to say, i'm kinda regretting putting up all those pictures of those stripper chicks.

You'd think i could have just waited till Monday for internet, huh... yeah, you'd think that.

08 February 2008

Part of your world - Give us your voice contest Nick Pitera

I'm also feeling a bit reflective...

Kim Jong Il - Ronery

I’m back in Australia to hopefully sort out last of green card details. It’s nice to be back, but I must admit, without Mars in town, I’m feeling a little...

06 February 2008


Dear Hillary,
You are already commander-in-chief of my heart.
Love Dot xx

05 February 2008

Ever wanted to know what Dot and i actually look like...?

Woot woot?