Cover your cans!

Back in the Eighties, Australia was gripped by “European Wasp Fever”. As I recall, it was a pretty small window…but they had us primary school kids running scared of these yellow-backed devils.

I recall the whole school gathered for an information session. How to identify and protect yourself from European Wasps. Teachers were hung up on the fact that these menacing creatures liked to hide in soft drink cans. What a way to strike fear in the heart of children. Hit ’em where it hurts – their Fanta, Passiona, Creaming Soda.image

Cover your Cans! For the love of God, cover your cans.

Ha! We weren’t allowed to drink soft drink in our house. These wasps were sent to seek justice for sugar-free families.

Hell, I was just hoping to see one. I love a bit of danger. Now I’m lucky enough to have a couple of nests right outside my loungeroom window.

Not a Fan of Halloween

Halloween has got to be the ugliest of “holidays”. Christmas can be tacky, Easter can be schmaltzy – but at their best there is a lot of room for beauty. Twinkling lights and golden bells, holly wreaths and shiny baubles. Pastel colours and fluffy chicks. Scampering rabbits in the dewy grass.

Take a walk through any $2 shop and you will come across the most butt-ugly, offensive to the eyes, cheap and nasty collection of utter shit that you would never willingly bring into your house at any other time of the year. All in the name of Halloween.

Severed hands, floppy rubber-masks, plastic bats and spiders and messy, tangly cobweb stuff. I often try to imagine the factory where these products were made. Rural immigrants in big industrial Chinese cities reporting to work in a horrible factory.

“Today you are on the floppy rubber skeleton line”

And after tomorrow, when all the people are de-Halloweening their houses, do they store all this finery to be used again next year? Or are severed hands disposable?

But in  the interest of full disclosure, we paid $27 for this pumpkin.


Shut Your Face Or I’ll Eat It

Best insult ever. I heard this one when I was around about ten years old and it’s stuck with me ever since. When I was a kid, my family were friends with another family who had 4 kids. They were very different to us and I was always noticing things, making mental comparisons. Their house was so much cleaner. We used to call fastidious neatness “ducky”.

“Their house is so ducky”

What the hell does that mean? Every night the Mum would set the breakfast table for the next morning. I have to admit, I thought that was a nice touch. The tablecloth looked so bright and cheerful, all the bowls in place as stand-ins for their human counterparts. They had an in-ground pool. Upstairs was an enormous red-carpeted rumpus room.

One day I was visiting and the two sisters were doing something in the kitchen. Pouring cordial? They were squabbling and jostling. Then the older one said to the younger one:

“Shut your face or I’ll eat it”

This stands out as the first time I ever started noticing things that people said and filing them away as word-combination-gold. I do it all the time now. I like to catch words that would otherwise disappear into the ether. I repeat them, write them down, replay them in my head.

Some favourites:

Don’t do it, Tracksuit


Stop farting and breakdance

Thank you to all the brilliant people in my life who say funny shit. As an aside, after first hearing of the Miami Zombie case (which is still possibly the most horrible thing I have ever heard of), I couldn’t help but think of “Shut your face or I’ll eat it”.

I don’t believe in Santa Claus, I believe in New York

Let’s take it as a given that I’m not religious. But we all want something to believe in. When I was a child, I was a fervent Santa-believer. I felt his presence, no doubt about it. That palpable excitement, the feeling that he’d just left when you walked into the room (I got the same vibe off the Easter Bunny). The whole of December was atingle.

When Santa left, he left a big hole.

For me to go on, I needed to know that there was something big and bright and sparkly and full of novelty and promise and excitement. I needed to get back that Christmas-Eve feeling. There has been other Santa-substitutes, but right now the only star I follow is the one that is guiding our way to New York.

I am building this place up to legendary proportions, but somehow I think it warrants it. I live in a big enough city, a famous enough city. But it’s not big and famous enough to fill that Santa-sized hole in my heart.

I like checking out what other humans are up to

This morning I was chatting to Danger Coolidge on our morning walk. I started telling him about an idea that I had for a short story (as an aside, this isn’t the kind of thing we normally do. I don’t want to paint the picture that we stroll about discussing art and literature). Anyway, it came up in conversation and I remembered a little note that I’d taken down in my phone.

I started explaining the set up: “You know how when you’re on a train or a bus and you read over people’s shoulder?”

Straight away he stopped me. Nope, I never do that. Hmmm, I thought everyone did that? I argued for the cause. Sure, everyone does that. I mean, you can’t help but catch a newspaper headline or check out a story in a gossip mag. I wasn’t proud when I admitted that I try to read people’s texts. No?

So it dawned on me. I like checking out what other humans are up to. Just casual observation stuff. I like glimpses inside house windows, I like to see what’s in a bag when it’s opened up. I like checking out what people are reading on the train or bus. Everywhere we go, everything we do, we reveal facets of our personality. Sometimes people are watching.

I am an unemployed anthropologist.

Forcing Myself

I like starting new things before I finish old things. So I’m starting a blog in direct defiance of my 2014 New Year’s Resolution:

Stick To The Plan

This was not in the plan, but I just decided today that it might be a fun idea. I am going to force myself (gently).

This is not my diary. My diary is handwritten. This is a computery creative thing. Because I’m sick of my job and that has become a computery uncreative thing.

I hope this lasts!