30,000

Is it tomorrow already?

Only one more sleep until the Rabbit Hole challenge begins.

Three days. 30,000 words. 60,000 red bulls (okay more like six).

I’ll be working on my novel Fly. I have no outline, plan or anything. I hope the words show up to the party.

See you on the other side comrades.

Oh and remember the team motto…

the mostly dos and five do nots of riding a bicycle in sydney

An informal guide loosely based on some of my observations from using a bike for professional transport reasons as an adult yet still riding it like a child who has been let loose on a wide footpath.

1. DO look adorable. It is statistically proven* that if you appear to be a miniature sized person on an oversized baby blue bike, cars will think twice before ramming into you.

2. DO thank the Mayor of Sydney for her efforts in making the city more bike friendly by naming your bike after her (Clomo).

3. DO say goodnight to your bike and stroke it lovingly.

4. DO ride to parks and circle them for a good ten minutes, letting out a ‘weeeeeeeeee’ at periodic intervals before passing out on the grass in the sun.

5. DO convince your boyfriend to buy a baguette. When he says that baguettes are not the most useful of breads in the world, proceed to explain how you need it so you can place it in your front basket. Stand resolute in this mission against all odds and any laughter you may encounter. This is one cliché that must live on.

6. DO embrace the bike lanes. After trudging up hills at the breakneck speed of ‘the world’s slowest animal that crawls with a house on its back’ (how my German boyfriend described a snail), and doing so while puffing, panting, sweating and simultaneously trying not to get in the way of the cars that get up those hills so effortlessly, you will no doubt welcome the change of pace and the way you can mindlessly and aimlessly peruse the rather flat lanes on leafy, bike-friendly streets.

7. DO smile at fellow bike-riding comrades. You are part of the two-wheeler army now and you need to stick together. Give each other the salute by way of nodding solemnly, gangster-style. You’ve got their back…wheel.

8. DO ensure your seat is worn in before riding it all over the city. If not, the next day will result in cramps and bruises in places you never even knew existed. Namely your crotch muscles.

9. DON’T buy a helmet that matches your bike. You’re taking number one too far. TOO FAR I say.

10. DO get recognised on the road when passing by friends. Stop ever so casually and be all like ‘gotta wheel away now friend’ and then zip back off again while staring at them ominously, optional exit music as you play yourself out of the scene.

11. DON’T overload the front basket with heavy bags, jackets and scarves because the basket will take its revenge on you out on the road. It will team up with gravity and together they will show no mercy as you drunkenly zig zag down the road trying to keep the scarf from flying out.

12. DO lap up the attention your bike receives by shouting out ‘thank you!’ as you pass by the people dispensing compliments.

13. DON’T crash into a pole while attempting to let others know about the compliment you just received.

14. DO wear a sticker on your helmet that says ‘baby on board’. This can go either way. Either you are with child or you are the child. Keep it vague.

15. DON’T scream ‘ENVIRONMENT KILLERS’ at passing cars.

16. DO pedal faster if you cannot resist the urge to do 15.

17. DON’T let your boyfriend steal your glasses and clean them while waiting for traffic lights to turn green. Without your glasses you have been known to mistake humans for wheelie bins.

18. DO keep trying to take the longer route so you can get lost in tiny streets and laneways and pretend you’re in a Melbourne commercial.

19. DON’T expect others to follow you on your whimsical and lengthy journey.

Most of all remember that the world is now your oyster. And everyone loves to eat oysters. Especially me. So go on and eat the world with your bicycle.

*Statistically proven in one day from my experience as a smaller human being managing to escape the road unscathed against all odds.

beirut dreams

I’m 24-years-old. I’ve been to many countries. I’ve lived in some of them, learnt the languages of others but I’ve never been to the country where my grandparents were born. I’ve tried to go, lift my feet from the ground and fly, but every time the declaration is made, a bomb is dropped, a bullet is fired, people die, violence springs up and I can’t seem to will myself to go.

There are clashes in Beirut now. I planned to go in September. I keep thinking about what I’ll do if I ever get there, but my dreams are marred by bloodshed.

eat me

One of the greatest pleasures in life is, without a doubt, eating. If you can afford to do it, you should probably enjoy it, or something, I don’t know, I’m not a food eating expert*. Some examples of strange eating behaviour from the female, and sometimes male, species, if you will:

1. ‘I better not try that chocolate fudge tart, I’m watching what I eat’.

I’m sorry did someone just say the words ‘better not’ in the same sentence as ‘chocolate fudge tart’? Did someone just use the verb ‘watching’ right next to the sacred ‘eat’ verb? WHY ON EARTH. Okay sorry, I’ll calm down. Why on earth is someone watching what they eat and not devouring it with the gravitational force of the earth aiding them? The tart (heh) is saying to you ‘there’s nothing to see here folks, keep moving, please make way for the genuine humans who eat’. And then when someone like me arrives the choc tart proceeds to sing Al Green: ‘here I am baby…come and take me, take me by the hand, show me, here I am baby’.

2. ‘I better go home now so I can sleep early and wake at an ungodly hour in order to exercise because I really enjoy that’.

Nobody enjoys that.

Nobody.

If you enjoy that, I don’t want to know about you.

I am informed that insecurities to look a certain way empower this guilt. That’s the worst reason I’ve ever heard for not eating. Sometimes I skip a meal because I take my lunch breaks to write these blog posts or write article pitches or work on my novel. I’ll starve doing something I love, I’ll starve for my craft, but ask me to starve so I can fit into a dress? Meh. The dress can fit into me. Shut up Dress.

Truth be told I rarely see myself in my natural state of nakedness – in all the fleshy glory (or gory?) that this may entail. Why do I need to see it when clothing does a perfectly good job of covering it? This is especially true during winter, a time reserved for dressing myself by way of not leaving the bed, a process that involves a few manoeuvres from underneath the sanctity of my blanket until the jeans are on; proceed with t-shirt, exit bed fully clothed and nobody has to get hurt.

But on the odd occasion that I do look at myself in the mirror, I often stare at my body and wonder how it came to be the way that it is. I think to myself, ‘those bits weren’t there before…’ or ‘oh, I’m not really the same size I was when I was 13. Man, didn’t see that one coming!’

Then I go and eat a burrito like it’s nobody’s business.

Because what is that whole thing re: guilt tripping over what we eat? Why can’t we damn well enjoy the food in life if it’s enjoyed in moderation and with a side serving of discipline?

Nothing makes me happier than seeing women content with the way they look, eating a burger or a steak while their boyfriend orders a salad and they laugh when the waitress gets the order mixed up because the waitress is a sexist bitch who can’t pick up a chocolate bar without checking the calories first.

Calorie checkers. Why do you exist? For what purpose exactly does your existence serve?

I have a wedding this Saturday and I am on the bridal party, so I have to be the same size I was when I first tried on the dress AND then somehow manage to look good at the same time. It’s like a juggling circus act out there. Admittedly I ate an unexpected package of Krispy Kreme donuts last week with the rationale that I couldn’t possibly let them go to waste. One fellow colleague suggested I put them out in the kitchen for people to take. I stared at her like she had just suggested I put my first born out on the kitchen table too and wait for someone to collect him or her. I then ate all my donut babies so no one could make any more crazy suggestions. Problem solved.

I appear to have no understanding of watching my weight, unless this means actually staring at it in the mirror and making it do funny things like jiggle around. My understanding of eating healthy includes forcing my legs to walk to the pitiful tiny health food section and giving myself a pep talk that I am invisibly barricaded within this aisle and cannot leave because the world is ending and I have to buy all my food from this aisle right this instance, GO! Five minutes later I am cruising the junk food aisle while wearing sunnies. I don’t buy anything. I just like to have options.

I have no self control either. Only this morning I was too lazy to take my sandwich to the fridge at work and I didn’t want it to go bad. So I ate it. At 10.30am in the morning. I then spent the next two hours thinking about how conflicted and angry my stomach was going to be at lunchtime.

But yesterday, in a proud moment for everyone involved, I didn’t eat that complimentary marshmallow with my coffee. That’s my idea of healthy good times! I don’t know about carbs or being healthy or diets or waking up at 7am to run in the freezing cold and I don’t plan on finding out about them either.

Let’s just enjoy these minutes doing what we love. If you have to say no to the occasional marshmallow, you can. But if you don’t want to, fuck it, eat the god damn ball of sugar.

SUGAR BALLS YEAH!

*not currently a food eating expert but if the role ever exists in the near future, I would like to apply for it, thank you and good night.

‘thank you for choosing me’

I have become somewhat of a taxi hailing maverick, having lived in a trendy inner city area for over a year now. This is also related to the fact that I do not own a car, nor do I have sufficient paperwork that allows me to manoeuvre a machine so much larger than myself. I made this choice a few years back when I decided that cars were evil. I am more than happy to walk everywhere or catch the light rail, bus or train or soon to be bicycle (prepare yourselves for a plethora of ‘I have a bicycle!’ posts once my little baby Clomo arrives). Yet due to the slightly difficult nature of walking around late at night and out of sheer laziness, I am often found hailing taxis like a real pro.

Occasionally I forget that I’m not in New York and can’t simply say ‘1st and 5th, and step on it will ya, I haven’t had a hot dawg yet with disgusting black coffee, so I’m not in the mood for chit chat, you got that buddy*?’

My real strategy comes out when I’m walking on the wrong side of the road. Suddenly, like a hawk, I spot the yellow light flashing in the distance. Hand goes up, body simultaneously begins to cross the road, I’m in the back seat in less than five seconds, declaring where I need to go and giving acute directions as to the fastest way to get there, while successfully applying lipstick and acting as a double agent. Easy.

On Saturday night I was flustered, already so ridiculously late to an important event and not being able to locate a taxi on this part of the road, due to road works. I walked further and still struggled to find a taxi, when suddenly, a taxi appeared out of nowhere from the wrong direction. Normally I would do the ‘hand up thing, cross road, jump in’ manoeuvre, but it was a busy road and the taxi driver knew it wouldn’t work. But being a taxi hero, he did an illegal turn to get to me (I did look fairly smashing, I must say, I would illegal turn for me too).

Then something ridiculous happened.

Another taxi just behind him spotted me (WHERE WERE YOU ALL WHEN I WAS STRUGGLING DOWN THE ROAD, TOTTERING IN MY HEELS IN A FLUMMOXED STATE?!?!) He saw how taxi driver number one was already doing an illegal turn to get to me. So what does this little genius do? He proceeded to cut in front of the first taxi driver, also attempting an illegal turn, arriving right in front of me before the other guy even has a chance to give him a stern head nod. My heart went out to taxi driver number one when I saw him looking perplexed at what quickly became a comedic situation. I didn’t even hesitate for one moment before running to him.

Taxi No.1: ‘Oh you came to me!’

Me: ‘Yes, I hailed you first and you turned for me despite the odds! It’s taxi 101 man’

Taxi No.1: ‘That man so sneaky, he nearly kill us all’

Me: ‘I know, we sure showed him’

Taxi No.1: ‘Yes we show him!’ – then he paused before saying, ‘thank you for choosing me’.

Maybe some cars (and their drivers) aren’t so evil after all.

*based entirely on sitcoms and films I’ve seen. When I was in New York and hailing cabs it was just a series of me pointing at things.

who run the world? (hint: not girls)

Who is really running America?

The president of the aforementioned country (and, let’s face it, the whole world), has voiced his support in favour of legalising same sex marriage, a motion that must be applauded, for this is most definitely a human rights issue. Ironically though, if anyone has (or should have) the power to make that happen, wouldn’t it be him?

So why all this dancing around the issue? What’s taking so long to make it happen? Why do the conservative people call all the shots when it comes to things that denigrate and deny people their basic human rights? How can the religious, right wing minority continue to enforce homophobic and archaic views with horrifying consequences, and everyone just takes it with a side serving of inaction and indifference? How is it just accepted that when the majority call out with their one inoffensive demand that we refrain from launching unjustified war, that they are ignored, their demands spat on, and then forced to sit through a decade of senseless war.

Is this not the year 2012? Do we not live in a so-called fair, democratic and modern society? Or should we all just resort to the stone throwing of the patriarchal, biblical world we take cue from?

This is a VERY good start from Obama and he should be applauded for this move (it does make me very emotional). But why has it taken so long and who is really calling all the shots? And if he loses the election, what good will it do to have a conservative, right wing homophobe at the helm?

Something is not right, has not been right for a long time.

And you should be angry about it, angry enough to do something, something that puts you on the right side of history.

face to face with the sky

It’s best to let the words take you wherever they want you to be.

“Again and again, however we know the landscape of love

and the little churchyard there, with its sorrowing names,
and the frighteningly silent abyss into which the others
fall: again and again the two of us walk out together
under the ancient trees, lie down again and again
among the flowers, face to face with the sky”

– Rainer Maria Rilke