Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Love in a modern world

Love in a modern world
In this age of e-mailing, texting, mobiles and picture messaging, it’s easy to overlook one of the oldest and finest ways to a woman’s heart: The love letter. Oh, sure there’s something special about a picture message staring your favorite body part, but can you be sure she wont send it on to all her friends…or perhaps mum or little sisters got the phone at the time? So maybe you should stick with ‘safe’…and safe is the love letter.
Most men are afraid to even attempt one of these, but it’s really not that difficult.
Write about anything that matters to you:
The weather; interest rates; the colour of rain; the size of your hamsters testicles… anything that matters to you...cause you want her to know the real you…right? Shmuck!

Lets face it, the last thing you want her to know is the real you. Do like every other man does and lie your ass off. It doesn’t matter what you write, as long as it sounds sincere and includes the three essential ingredients:
Your name.
A short description of how she makes you feel.
The three words that can change the world: I love you.

Women do like to feel appreciated, and a timely gift or two can make all the difference in how she feels about you.
She, in turn, may reward you with tokens of affection too. Hopefully this will not be socks…
It’s important to keep a sense of proportion here. Don’t get carried away. You really cannot buy a woman’s affections, and there’s always the chance you’ll bankrupt yourself, while she moves to the coast and opens a gift shop.
Flowers, chocolate and gold are always acceptable, but you cant beat a special little something you made yourself. That personal touch means so much more than the gift itself, and she will love that you made the effort… Think twice about sculptures made of motorcycle parts and candles made out of earwax...

Preserve the magic
Just because you’ve known her for two weeks, there’s no need to lose that initial special something.
Do the unexpected, surprise her with wild, crazy demonstrations of your enthusiasm for her.
Jump out of a perfectly good airplane.
Jump out of a cake.
Jump out of your skin if you think it will have the desired effect, but keep her guessing.
No woman will appreciate complacency and even if you make a complete tit out of yourself, you’ll still be notching up brownie points.
Effort is everything.
Be spontaneous.
Make mad, passionate love to her over the table, and ignore what the waiter says.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

HELP! My grandkids are trying to kill me.

Until recently just one of my daughters lived in the same city as me, that and the fact that I was always either at work or fishing meant I had limited opportunity to be infected by the dreaded lurgy.
Over the past year though, my other two daughters, their spouses and kids have moved here as well. That’s three daughters, three spouses and a combined total of nine and a bit kids. (we’re doing our bit to populate Australia)
Ever since then I’ve had one kind of cold, flu or horrible infection after another.
Last year we all went to see a panto right at the beginning of the Swine Flu epidemic…and caught it!
Here in Oz when you have something infectious like that you enter the doctors office and take a medical mask from the little table by the door, put it on, disinfect your hands and take a seat in the corner of the room marked with scull and crossbones so ordinary patients will look at you and scurry away. There we all sit looking bloody miserable and trying to breath through a medical mask, which is no easy task when you’re having trouble breathing as it is. More patients come in, you see their eyes open wide as they spy you all there in the corner, then they sit as far away from you as possible.
Just last week it was plain old ordinary Flu, mild by comparison to the Swine Flu version, just most of the week in bed… that’s all!
I got the clearance from the doc toward the end of the week and so I was again allowed to be seen in public, allowed to rejoin the human race. (If it’s a race…I’m loosing)
One of my first acts after the hunting of food, the gathering of petrol and the paying of bills was to visit family to see how they were all doing, and in particular to see how the kids who infected me were bearing up.
Miss 4 sat right next to me and proceeded to spray paint my face every ten minutes with a mixture of kid spit and disease. Somewhat naturally I complained to her to be met with her usual irresistible smile…and another coating of phlegm.
No surprise then that I was rewarded Monday morning with a dose of the common cold…
Another bloody miserable week.

Do you get muscle cramp? I occasionally do! ...but with this cold I’ve been waking several times a night with my leg or legs cramped tight in screaming agony. I find the only way to relieve it is firstly to stand up and bear weight on the leg, then waddle uncomfortably to the bathroom and run hot water on the affected limb until at last the pain and muscle tension eases. It’s winter here so all this takes place at around 0 degrees…and you have to get out of the shower sooner or later. Of course the searing pain and hot water wake you up about as much as is possible, then the freezing air as you quickly dry and make the goose bumped rush back to bed only make it worse.
Last night it was four times that I woke like that… the last time both legs above the knee were locked solid, in my desperation I finally made it to the bathroom to find I’d used all the hot water…not a drop left! I’ll spare you the details but today I can barely walk, both legs are stiff and very sore.
Between the nine grandkids (currently) the whole family is constantly sick. I’m supposed to go away in a couple of days and again in a few weeks but at the current rate the only place I’ll be going is into a wooden box.
Why are they doing this to me? Is my time on earth nearly up, are they planning to get rid of me?
Before I go I should warn you by virtue of a few things I have learned recently, so when I am gone my sacrifice will not be in vein.

An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.
It's not hard to meet expenses...they're everywhere.
The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.
Old people shouldn't eat health foods. They need all the preservatives they can get.
On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the Escape key.
The first rule of holes: If you are in one, stop digging.
The only time the world beats a path to your door is if you're in the bathroom.
Madness takes its toll. Please have exact change.


Friday, August 20, 2010

So many years

The best photo I have of my mother...she's smiling! OMG

Uncle Alf made good and returned to the family farm with his flash new seconhand car.

I don’t want you to feel bad, it’s not sad, it’s just the way it was, the way it is, and the way…well, who really knows!

My dear old mum has been dead and buried a full year now… I’ve had time to reflect on the person she was.
Actually when I was a kid she was one mean old bitch. Things that would be considered child abuse in today’s liberal society were common place back then. Not just in our house but every kid I knew had it pretty much the same at home, many of my school mates had it way worse than we did.
As a kid during the 1920’s Great Depression my grandfather made the family to walk 100 miles from the coast, inland to virgin bushland they then had to clear and plough by hand. They ate what they caught or grew and they wore clothes made of wheat sacks. She never talked about it much but the one line comments she occasionally made painted a picture of hardships I could not imagine. Boiling Nettles for food, going months without meat, walking ten miles to school…uphill both ways.
Because of these things she could never bring herself to throw anything away…just in case we might need it sometime.
..and what do I mean by her not throwing ‘anything’? ..well, anything and everything.
Every jar we ever emptied, every ice-cream pail and lid, every butter container, every newspaper, book, greeting card, plastic bag…everything.
It all found its place in a saved cardboard box under every bed and on top of every cupboard, until every nook in every room was filled.

God help you if you broke so much as a jam jar and just because something was broken did not mean it could be thrown out, oh no! Plants in leaky kettles or saucepans, buckets or bowls, precariously balanced on that in which a plant could not be grown.
I remember when I was about 10 and doing the dishes, I very nearly severed a finger on the chipped rim of a glass, I nearly got a slap for being clumsy but she decided the pain and blood loss were probably enough. It needed stitches which it never got, a week later bits of it were going white and dead looking with other bits going green and bubbly. Rather than have mum ‘fix’ it, I cut the rotting flesh off with nail clippers each day and doused it in peroxide until the specter of gangrene faded… not something a ten year old should ever have to do. But still that glass could not be thrown out. I later broke it…deliberately! (There! I said it!...)
As a kid none of this was the least bit funny and I never understood what the hell it was all about....but now, knowing her past I see why she did what she did and why she was so damn hard.
I’ve always had a sick since of humour, I find funny in the smallest of things. I once laughed until I had tears in my eyes when the Ant I was watching tripped over… I didn’t inherit a sense of humour from mum, but rather in spite of her.

Mums house was so full of things and trinkets that… now completely honestly here folks.. you could walk into her house with a coffee cup and not be able to put it down anywhere…anywhere!
I know what you're thinking.. Yeah, yeah, very funny! Overstating the truth… No really.
You might be able to find space for a matchbox.. but that’s about it.

When she died we waited a few weeks then started throwing things out with abandon. I felt guilty every time I threw a box of crap out, it was like I could feel her breath on my neck. We recycled almost all of it. Tons and tons of it, as paper, glass, steel, plastic etc.
1940’s Womens Weeklies, canned food with shillings and pence handwritten on the labels, (Australia went to dollars and cents in 1965. anyone want to eat that?) The plastic ice cream and butter containers were so old they were crumbling to dust…and just who keeps sackfulls of hay string*. I laughed loudest of all when I found wheat sacks full of…wheat sacks! “For the love of god!... Aggh!”

I’d like to say that it never affected me at all…but that would be a lie.
There's 7 of us kids. (Apparently she ‘saved’ the condoms too) Several of us are what you would call Minimalist.
I truly don’t own a single statuette, framed picture or anything like that. If I don’t have a real use for something, I give it away. My girls give me nice things, so I have to keep them, but everything else…
Yeah, so maybe that’s a bit weird but I feel claustrophobic when I'm in a cluttered place, to feel relaxed I need space...lots of space.

My three beautiful daughters are pretty much normal, they live in normal houses with normal husbands and normal largely delightful kids. How that happened I just don’t know…but I’m grateful.
You see I have much to be grateful for, life’s pretty bloody good after all.

* The string hay bales have around them


Saturday, August 14, 2010

I was thinking...

We Australians have a joke especially for when tourists ask why we’re not afraid to swim in the water with the giant sharks that live here.
“I don’t have to be able to swim faster than a shark.
I only have to be able to swim faster than you!"

Recently while reviewing Charles Darwin’s work on the Galapagos Islands something occurred to me….
As you know the Galapagos Islands have a huge array of very strange animals and it seems obvious that they have evolved from the standard versions of the creatures which have long ago become extinct.
The extinction itself is a given…some natural event caused a great lack of food, most of the animals died out, probably quite quickly. Some survived… the oddballs which had evolved very different ways of getting food. These creatures had that edge when food became very scarce. Whether the original extinction was caused by a fires from lightning strike or perhaps a year without rain matters not at all…what’s important was the fact that it shows evolution and natural selection can be fast and furious.

The breeding up may have taken many thousands of years, these strange animals pretty much already existed by this time and were thriving with many other similarly bizarre creatures. It was a time of plenty and they all did well until that one event… like a flick of a switch the evolutionary choices were made. The day before the catastrophe there would have been a great many animals of all variations, in natures wonderful way.

It suddenly occurred to me, that is right where the human race is right now!

We humans are all kinds of mixed genes in nature’s wonderful way.
We have bred up in a time of plenty. (The last ten thousand years since the end of the last ice age)
We are now well over populated.
The seas are nearly empty of fish for us to eat.
The forests and other natural reserves are now at their most depleted EVER.
Wild animals (for food) are at historically low numbers.
Even fresh water is getting hard to find.
…and nature is handing out population stresses each and every week. Not to mention what we are doing to ourselves with war, pollution and poor health choices.

I thought that environmental change was slow and that evolution was slow as well.
Now it occurs to me that creatures breed up in an uncontrolled manner to uncontrolled numbers when times are good…and that evolution itself is fast, furious and unforeseeable.
Natural selection suggests that when there is a catastrophe on Earth, those who find themselves already naturally selected to suit the new environment will be the ones to survive.

Am I right? Wrong? Or what do you think?


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cache me if you can!

Do you see the Geocache clearly visible in this photo?

It's the small plastic fake stone in that Saltbush.

This small cache was just tucked under a corner of a huge rock and covered with small stones.

Another average sized cache for in the town, in this case tucked under the edge of tin flashing around animal cages.

I haven’t been Geocaching very long but already I can see some of the things that make some caches and some cachers quite special.
Each cache is memorable in its own way, some you hate with venom, some you don’t like doing at all and still others are moderately joyful, indeed there's a lot in common between those few really good caches.
I've found that I really don’t like micro caches*. Most but not all of these seem to have been placed by people who want no one at all to ever find them. Ever!
Maybe this is what happens when you Geocache in a bad mood? I can see them there, hiding the smallest object with military precision, muttering something about “Find this you ********…..”

Most caches though, seem to follow the gentleman’s formula of being hidden in plain sight, an all together more civilized form of caching.
Ordinary people walk by caches all the time without ever stumbling across them, but those who know what they’re looking for, with GPS stashed on their person, can go straight to them and retrieve them without being noticed.
A little cloak and dagger, a little James Bond but certainly none of your thrashing through the undergrowth like Bear Grills** subduing his dinner.
It had even occurred to me that the City Council had placed many of the local caches to save on their gardening costs.
Most of our local new caches are first found by the same few names and I’m bound to wonder how many of those few work for Local Council gardening dept. Hmmm!...

I prefer larger caches, small to lunchbox sized, and have really enjoyed some of the even larger ‘Ammo box’ style caches, but of course those are all out of town, in the bush or up a dirty great hill usually in the middle of a prickle patch or ants nest.
There are lots of great dry creeks hereabouts but when it does rain enough to fill them… (every 20 -30 years) all the caches would be swept away with the abandoned cars, unlucky campers and startled roos.
Here at least, all of the out of town caches are at the top of hills or way, way out in the bush. (read: Press marching through prickles, thorns, spikes, booboo’s and having the crap scared out of you by disturbed rabbits, emu and roos) Consequently these Geocaches don’t get many visitors, witch kind of defeats the purpose somewhat.

I’m quite sure you can guess what happens to larger caches foolishly hidden within the city.
It’s children, of course that cause the most caches to go missing, my own grandkids use everything outdoors as their play gym. I've taken to observing them in the hope of finding somewhere that small kids can’t go. I'm telling you folks, such a place does not exist within the city…
As I watch the kids use a park bench as a gym set there does not remain one area they do not use…yes, even under!
In fact the last time we were at the local park, miss 6 went exploring into the largest cactus patch in the whole city, over the safety fence and wondering in among the huge thorns and threatening giants as casually as going for a walk anywhere else, how could you hide something that kids wouldn’t stumble across? ..and having found it, they are SO curious.

This, I think is the main limiting factor on geocaching within the city limits.

It’s a stark choice. Either you make small annoying micro caches that most people hate… or you make larger caches and hide them somewhere that no one ever wants to go.

It comes down to this I think.
Some people put out caches for the ‘fame’ (such as it is)
Some like to make a challenge or problem for us to solve. (sadists)
Still others are trying to teach us something. (those that can, do! Those who cant, teach)
Others just do it to personally piss me off. (that’s not my opinion, it’s scientific fact!)
For me? I do it for the cache.

* Think smaller than the message tube they put on carrier pigeons. (yes, really!)
** Action man, bound to go the same way as Steve Erwin.