Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Demons are a ghoul's best friend...

It's Halloween week, everybody!  Happy Halloween!  May the costumes be tarty, the horrors B-grade, and the chocolate plentiful!  I hope you're all ready to go out there in your Halloween best and celebrate in the spirit of the season!

Spirit!  Get it?  Get it?

Well if you won't do it for yourselves, at least do it for us poor Southern Hemispherians.  Much to my chagrin, Australia doesn't really take Halloween very seriously.  Sure the supermarkets have started selling carving pumpkins in the past few years but they're stupidly expensive, and trick-or-treaters tend to be the exception rather than the norm.

We are severely Halloween deprived down here, we have to live vicariously through you lot.

But I shall not allow the lack of Halloween spirit in my homeland to bring me down.  I WILL carve my ridiculously expensive pumpkin.  I WILL have chocolate on hand just incase some intrepid tot finds their way to my front door in a home made Spiderman costume.  I WILL wait until it's dark out on Thursday night and then watch Ghost Ship, the absolute best B-grade horror film ever made.

Seriously, if you've never seen it you have to.  It's worth it for the opening scene alone. (careful though, it's pretty graphic)

No?  Bit too gruesome?  Oh well, there's always Hocus Pocus, I suppose.  A talking animatronic cat and Bette Midler as a three hundred year old witch?  Sign me up!

But whatever your spooky viewing pleasure, I hope you all have a Happy Halloween, my dears!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sometimes I'm not sure if I really trust my moral compass...

So ... this is a conversation I had over brunch the other day.  There are times when I probably shouldn't let people know exactly what I'm thinking.
Me:  Are you all ready to go to Mexico?  You're going to have a great time!
Her:  Yeah ... if I can just survive long enough to actually go.  I've got so much to do before then.  Seriously, I need an assistant, someone who's willing to work for about fifty cents an hour. 
Him:  Well you do work with refugees and immigrants, if anyone has access to cheap labor, it's you. 
Her:  That's an awful thing to say!
Him:  Come on, are you saying you've never even considered it? 
Her:  Of course not!  What do you think I am? 
Me:  (mutters) Obviously not one to take advantage of the opportunities offered. 
Her:  I'm supposed to be HELPING them, not turning them into what pretty much equates to slave labor! 
Him:  But if you could, would you? 
Her:  ... 
Me:  I hate to admit it, but I might.  
Her:  ... 
Me:  I'm not saying that I'd do it, just that if things were different, if we lived in a world where slavery was considered "acceptable" ... I can't be sure exactly where my morals would fall. 
Her: ... 
Me:  I'd like to think I'd be all "Slavery is bad, m'kay?" but I know myself well enough to admit that, if the option was on the table and no one was going to judge me for it, I might. 
Her:  ... seriously!!! 
Me:  I said might. 
Him:  (shakes head sadly) Kellie, I'm very disappointed in you.
Me:  Oh, don't come across all holier than though.  I know for a fact that the only thing keeling you from committing cold blooded murder is that you wouldn't survive in jail. 
Him:  Touche. 
Her:  ... how are we even friends? 

I suppose it's lucky I don't live in a world where slavery is considered okay, I'm not sure if I really trust my moral compass.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

My presence in a mall is a sign of the apocalypse...

If you know anything about me, you'll know that I'm not a shopper.

 Actually, that's an understatement ... I'm perhaps the world's worst shopper.  I'm impatient, I lose my temper if I don't find what I want right off, and I've been known to make innocent little shop assistants cry with my sarcastic comments and temper tantrums.  I believe they still tell stories about me at some of the larger centres.

It's like I'm an urban legend!

The reason I bring this up (yes, there actually IS a reason) is because yesterday I found myself with a friend out shopping.  Don't ask me how I got there, I'm not completely certain. All I know is suddenly there I was, wandering through kitchen stores looking for a baking timer! This was completely unprecedented.  And even scarier, I didn't lose my temper once!

I'm starting to worry myself now. Kellie going shopping and not hating it? Kellie wandering around in a shopping centre for the better part of a day and not wanting to rip someone's lungs out through their nostrils? It's something that's never happened to me before and I'm sure how to deal with it. Am I becoming what I hate? Am I becoming a shopper?

I suppose it's possible. I wandered around that place like a pro. I meandered through shops and checked out prices like I was going to buy something, but without any real intention of buying anything. Isn't that what recreational shoppers do? Oh no, please tell me I'm not becoming a recreational shopper! I might as well go stake out a corner of the food court right now if that's what's happening!

No, it's got to be a one off occurrence. I couldn't become a shopper, not at this late date. Don't most shoppers start pretty young, like in their early teens? I'm not practised enough, I'd never make it into the shopper Olympics. Most of the time I can't make it through an hour's trip to pick up groceries.

Maybe it was just something in the air?  A random occurrence that will never happen again. I'll just go back to the way things were before where I'd perform hit-and-run missions on the shops when I needed anything and looked sulky when other people dragged me there. Yep, it's going to be fine.

... oh god, please don't let me be turning into a shopper!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Scientists may discover some cool things from time to time, but sometimes they're real assholes...

Did you guys ever read about the group of scientists back in the 60's who did experiments on kittens to work out if they could make them blind without doing anything to their eyes [link]?

Yeah, I know.  Uber creepy.  Apparently it's not enough to be able to blind someone by damaging their retinas, you have to use psychological and developmental methods to screw their eyesight up from infancy if you really want to make it as an evil scientist.

I think what they were trying to determine was whether eyesight is an instinctual or learned skill, and they got their answer.  One kitten's eyesight developed normally while the other seemed blind, even though there was nothing wrong with it's eyes.

But seriously, if you're going to do a bunch of weird and highly questionable experiments, why on earth would you choose to do them on kittens!  No matter what results you came up with, people were always going to be appalled by what you did.  If you do them on rats you have a 50/50 chance that someone will be horrified, but everyone loves kittens!

You might be wondering why I'm even bringing it up.  It was fifty years ago, after all.  People did weird things back in the 60's, like building nuclear bomb shelters and wearing flares.  What's a little kitten experimentation compared to that?  But the fact is that kittens are still used for similar experiments, like the ones who had their eyes sewn shut not that long ago to study crossed and lazy eyes [link].

Now THAT disturbs me.

I'm not exactly anti animal experimentation, provided there is no other way that research can be done.  I love animals, but I love human beings more, so I'm always going to be on the side of helping people.  But still...

Kittens!  They're just widdle baby kittens all fluffy and mewling and adorable!  How on earth were those scientists able to do it!  I'd be eating my heart out if it was me.

But I suppose those evil scientist types are made of sterner stuff.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Just call me the cuddlewhore...

I'm totally in the wrong line of business.

No, seriously, why did I decide to be an accountant again?  What with all the numbers and the spreadsheets and the wails of "But I don't have enough money!  Give me more money!", I'm beginning to wonder if I should have thought about it a teensy bit harder.

I suppose you do get to boss people around, so that's always nice.  There's something about being in charge of the money that seems to scare the bejezus out of people.   I'm pretty sure that there are more than a couple senior managers who would do a rousing version of Knees Up Mother Brown for my amusement, just because of how scared they are of having to do their own finances.

 It's just that in some areas the job is ... lacking.

The biggest one?  That would be the lack of cuddling opportunities, hands down.  You get surprisingly few offers of a quick hug when people just see you as "that finance type person".  Work as a psychologist?  Lots of hugs.  As a lawyer?  Well they always seem to hug after they win a case on TV.  As a sporting person?  Hugs galore and the odd pat on the butt.  As an actor?  More hugs than you know what to do with ... and if you're really lucky, a simulated sex scene or two!

But no one wants to hug the person that told them their salaries budget was at risk of going over by more than the acceptable percentage and they'll need to submit a report to senior management.  It just doesn't happen.

Maybe I should have done what this woman did [link] and started a cuddling business.  She actually gets paid for cuddling people AND taking naps, can you believe it?  I want that job!

I suppose I could start an on-the-side business at work.  I could put up one of those little signs ala Lucy's therapist sigh in Peanuts, declaring that "The Cuddler Is In".

I wonder if I'd get many takers.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Late 70's hard rock is my comfort music. Yeah, I'm weird, I know...

I'm not really a music person.

That's not to say I don't enjoy listening to music, I do, it's just that I don't have the same burning, all consuming love of it that some people seem to have.  I have friends who can name every song or album by a particular artist.  Who can name any song just from hearing a ten second clip of it.

I'm not that person.

When I love a song, it's usually because it's linked in my mind to something.  I'll always love "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" thanks to an ex-boyfriend who serenaded me with it (and by serenaded, I mean warbled all the bits he could remember in a decidedly off-key manner ... but it was still sweet).  And there definitely more songs that have a place in my heart thanks to their connection to a TV show or movie than I'm entirely comfortable admitting to.

See that's the thing, I really only love a song if it prompts an emotional response in me, and that emotional response usually has nothing to do with the song itself.  And the songs that have the biggest responses?


I know, it's a weird choice.  Late 70's early 80's rock.  But for some reason in my mind they're connected with being little.  I'm guessing they played on the radio a lot when I was a tot and I've subconsciously linked them to being safe and contented.

Because nothing calms a scared toddler more than a good dose of "You Shook Me All Night Long", don't you agree?

So what are your go to comfort songs?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Are we taking zero tolerance too far...

Sometimes I really do think our society no longer has a functioning sense of proportion.

Alabama teenager, Christian Adamek, committed suicide earlier this month after he was caught streaking at a school gridiron game.  It's hardly the stuff hardened criminals are made of, and yet he was threatened with legal action and the possibility of being added to the sex offender's registry for indecent exposure. 

[Continued here...]

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Naughty authors, Goodreads will smack...

Holy crap, guys, self publishers have finally done it. I mean, I know that authors, and writers in general, have the ability to be obnoxious little jerks with the mental maturity of twelve year olds, but they've finally gotten to the point where they're being so dreadful on Goodreads that they're forcing them to go all "bad-parent" on their asses.

Naughty authors!  Goodreads will smack!

Thanks to a spate of "revenge ratings" on Goodreads, usually organised by a rival author and their cronies, that the social cataloguing site has decided to change their T&C's and start deleting ratings and reviews that are obviously not aimed at the work itself [link].  That's kind of pathetic, isn't it.  We can't be grown ups so they have to supervise us.

Although I have to think that the phenomena has less to do with the fact that they're self published authors and more with the online nature of the catalogue.  As I'm sure we've all been witness to at least once or twice, people can be little bastards online.

There's just something about the anonymous nature of online interactions that seems to make people believe they can be as rude as they'd like.  No face, no consequences.  It's all ridiculous, and so 7th grade, but it is what it is.

But I have to admit it makes my soul weep a little when I hear about self published authors doing it to each other.  I love the current self publishing trend.  It's opening up the industry in a way that's never been seen before and allowing all sorts of wonderful works to be put out there.  It's a true revolution, and we're getting to watch it happening.

But instead of supporting, or at least tolerating, each other through it, authors are doing things to each other virtually that they would never dream of doing face to face.  All because they don't think anyone will notice and call them on it.

Well, Goodreads has noticed.  Consider yourselves grounded.

Monday, October 14, 2013

I've become that one person on my street that all the parents tell their kids not to talk to...

I think I'm just going to stop answering the door altogether.

I know I told you all a few weeks back about my run in with my neighbour who accused me of catnapping [link].  At least in that particular situation I wasn't at fault.  This time, however, I really only have myself to blame.

I decided it would be a good day to put on a face mask.  No real reason, just that I'm home and have no particular plans to leave the house today.  It seemed like the perfect opportunity to deep clean my pores.  So I broke out the tube of goo, smeared it all over my face, and waited for it to dry.

That's when there was a knock at my door.

Here's a little tip from your Auntie Kellie, kiddies.  If you're going to answer the door, best to make sure you're not wearing a cosmetic face mask ... and if you are going to answer the door wearing a cosmetic face mask, perhaps you should make sure it doesn't make you look like Al Jolson.

My neighbour was very nice about it, but you could tell he was a bit disturbed.  I thought about telling him that it was just a face mask, I wasn't "blacking up" or anything, but I thought maybe that'd just make things worse.

Yeah ... definitely going to stop answering the door.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The difference between victims and survivors...

I read stories about rape and sexual assault all the time.  It is, unfortunately, a part of our world.

Usually I read, shake my head sadly, then move on.  As important as they might be, I really don't have anything worthwhile to say about them.  Rape is awful and horrible and despicable and people who do it deserve to have their bits chewed off by rabid squirrels, I think we can all agree on that one.

But I had to pause at the article I read today and give it a second look [link].

Not because it was any different to the myriad of other rape case news articles, in fact it was pretty much the same thing.  Man attacks woman trying to kidnap her, rape her and murder her.  Luckily woman gets away and man get arrested.  All pretty straight forward.

But that's not what got my attention.  What I focused on almost immediately was the mug shot of the guy that was included in the article.

He looked like he'd gone seven rounds with a feral cat ... and lost.

I don't know the details of what he did to that poor woman but, if his face is anything to go by, it certainly looks like she put up a good fight.  It must have been terrifying, but she managed to scratch up his face like nobody's business.  I'd imagine he'll have a hard time if he tries to claim it was consensual.

I can't help thinking it's the perfect reminder that women and men who've been raped aren't just victims ... they're survivors and battlers ...

... and, if that picture is anything to judge by, rather vicious fighters.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Losing Twenty Seven Grand Because You Were Gullible Enough To Trust A Psychic? Awkward...

Would you give a fortune teller twenty seven thousand dollars "just to hold onto" because she told you that you were too attached to money and needed to learn how to let go of it?

Yeah, me neither, but apparently that's what one woman did, worse luck for her.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

It's either a really thoughtful or really creepy ... and I have no idea which...

As a public servant, I have to admit I'm feeling a lot of sympathy for all those government employees in the US who've been furloughed.  I'm sorry, brothers and sisters, I know this is a hard time for all of you.

But as with any time of great hardship, some people step up and show just how dedicated they are to helping their fellow man.  No, I'm not talking about giving food, shelter, or temporary employment to those poor unfortunates who are currently sans paycheck.  The hero I'm referring to is giving them something much more ... intimate.

A Detroit sex toy manufacturer, out of the goodness of his heart, has decided to give away two hundred vibrators each day to people who are affected by the government shutdowns [link].  That's right, if you're one of the unlucky civil servant who suddenly has a whole lot of time on their hands, you now have something to fill that time ... and those hands.

Isn't that kind of him!  It's a stressful time, I'm sure you'll all agree, and he just wants to help everyone relax.  It's not like you've got anywhere else you need to be, so why not take advantage of his complementary buzzy gift?

But as generous as his offer is, I'm not entirely sure it's in everybody's best interests.

We all know how easy it is to get used to a new routine when we're on holidays.  I always make sure I don't take naps when I'm on a break, the last thing I want is to go back to work and then every afternoon at two feel like I need a bit of a kip.

Can you imagine how awkward things would get if everyone got into the habit of doing ... that ... half an hour after lunch, and then they're all called to go back to work?  Seriously, we can't let it happen.

The lines for the bathrooms are bad enough as it is.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Gen X versus Gen Y: The ultimate grudge match...

I'm a member of Generation X.  I've always been rather proud of that.  We were the edgy ones, cooler and more open to change than our parents, the Baby Boomers.  We worked hard, had fun, and didn't worry about too many things ... possibly because we didn't have to live through any real hardships.  We were the cool ones!

Then the bloody Gen Y'ers arrived with their "I'll have exactly what I want and I'll have it right now, please" attitudes and their demands to be slotted right into senior positions rather than starting at the ground floor and working their way up, and spoiled it all for us.

When you see these twenty something's being put straight into senior roles in the workplace it can be a bit gauling.  We used to be seen as the go getters who were still hard working and diligent, now we were just the one's without any ambition who didn't get promoted to the role of senior executive by the age of twenty five.

That doesn't include me of course ... I never had any ambition to start with.  But it's a bit hard on my fellow Gen X'ers out there.

The one thing that makes it a little less annoying though is the fact that, while so many of them seem to end up in those positions, their tenure on average doesn't last long.  They come and go so quickly that you barely get a chance to work out if they're actually any good at their jobs or just managed to schmooze the interview panel.

A small, beligerant part of me wants to assume the latter.

Still, I suppose they have their good points (she says begrudgingly).  I've no doubt that computer and internet technology wouldn't be anywhere near as advanced as it is unless it was trying to cater to the "McDonald's Generation" who want their instant gratification entertainment, their focus on money and benefits in the workplace have benefitted us all, and I can't help thinking that it was mostly due to them that we finally moved away from the "age of the sitcom" and towards more conceptual television shows.

So, on behalf of the Gen X'ers out there, I'd like to say thank you, Gen Y'ers.  You might annoy us sometimes, and occasionally we might want to give you a shake and tell you to take a long hard look at yourselves, but you've done us a few solids.  We owe you one.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

How did the hipster burn his tongue? He sipped his coffee before it was cool...

I don't get hipsters.

I means sure, I understand what they are.  You see them everywhere these days dressed in their carefully constructed thrift store style ensembles that probably cost more than any article of clothing I own, drinking coffee in edgy little hole-in-the-wall coffee shops that seem to exist only to serve that particular portion of the population.

But I don't get the motivation behind it all.

The only reason I'm even thinking about them at the moment is because my brother and I were talking about them the other day.  I told him I couldn't even really explain what a hipster was, and he defined them perfectly.

"Hipsters are people who spend a fortune so that they can act like they're poor and miserable"

It just seems so strange to me to expend so much effort just to seem bored and uninterested all the time.

And I think that's the main problem I have with understanding hipsters.  They don't seem be be able to get excited about anything!  They're always so unimpressed by whatever it is going on around them, and even when they do like something it's with that frustrating touch of irony.

I'm sorry, but I like to get excited about thing.  Like, jump up and down and wriggle around in your seat excited.  Sometimes it will be about something important like human rights victories, and sometimes it will be about stupid things like the most recent storyline on Glee, but the excitement and enthusiasm for my topic will be the same.

It kind of makes me feel sorry for them.  A life where I can't squeal with excitement because Kurt and Blaine got engaged?  Yeah, that's a life I don't want to have to live.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

She can get herself a husband and all she needs to do is make him a few sammiches? Wow, he must be quite the catch...

I like to think of myself as a relatively liberated woman.  I was lucky enough to grow up in an era where girls were told "You can be anything you want to be" and constantly reassured that we were just as good as any boy out there.

Of course, the fact that reassurances like that were still necessary probably dates me more than I'd like, but I still count myself lucky...

[Continued here...]

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I'm not sure if I'm a literary snob or the classics equivalent of a Belieber...

I know that it's not exactly fashionable to admit it anymore, but I have to confess something to you all.

I love Pride & Prejudice.

I know, I know, liking Lizzie Bennet and lusting after Mr Darcy is so 1995, but it's the truth.  I love P&P, always have, always will.

I remember the first time I read it back in high school, before it was synonymous with Colin Firth trudging sexily out of a lake.  I just adored it, and not in that "Ooh, it's Jane Austen, so everything of hers must be amazing" kind of way.  Truth be told, P&P is the only one I've ever been able to stand to read all the way through more than once.  Maybe that makes me a literary Plebeian, but I don't care.

But the point of this little rant to to make a recommendation to you all.  Go and check out the web series below, or mainline the whole thing by watching the playlist here [link].  It's a modern retelling of the story, with Lizzie as a media student who starts a video blog.  It's low budget, done completely in the style of vlogging, and is so clever!

It's actually finished now, and with 100 episodes at between three and four minutes each, that's almost six hours of viewing.  Honestly, if you like Pride and Prejudice even a little bit, you're going to love The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

You're welcome.