Thursday, 19 January 2017

[ the unbearable lightness of whelm ]


Over beers with my brother during the holiday break, we discussed the unbearable level of whelm*. This is an amusing measure of emotion we both use to gauge how we feel about any given situation, thing, person, or elements otherwise, in our lives.

Cam and I are decidedly different characters all round; where he is calm, contained, and generally pragmatic on the outside, I am excitable, fluid, and somewhat romantic.

It was while discussing whelm that I also realised how similar we are, not just because we're siblings, but because we very often think alike too. Same same, but different. You know? 

In a beautifully mundane moment of magic, I was delighted by the serendipitous duality of this observation. It gave me a buzz that even the Coronas couldn't compete with, and I enjoyed the fact that, though we lead rather contrasting lives, many of the fundamentals overlap.

Back to the whelm.

Any given situation you walk into can make you excited to be there or deflated within a matter of moments. First dates are like that; you walk into the room and see someone you asked out, or who asked you out, and you get a flutter of warmth in your gut. Hey, check out that sexy smile, this is going to be great!

You can also get a feeling of dread like a weight on your shoulders; actually, I'm not keen on this date, this dinner, or this person at all. Fuck. I have 2 hours of mindless small talk ahead of me. Blergh.

Both have a level of whelm. The first is high, say on a scale of 1 to 10, so you'd probably call it a solid 8. The second is clearly low; on a scale of soggy squash to spicy, crispy, oven-roasted pumpkin, this would be brussel sprouts.

But we're talking emotion here, whelm, and that takes on a whole new curve. A high level can push you to overwhelmed (which isn't necessarily good), and a low level can push for underwhelmed (which isn't necessarily bad).

Emotion is a slippery thing at the best of times, and recognising your level of whelm means that you can assess how much you are going to emotionally invest in the situation ahead.

Deeply underwhelmed by being at work on a Tuesday with nothing to do, and your colleagues asking inane questions every 20 minutes? You're probably going to invest way too much time in what that guy from HR randomly said on the way past your desk, then read way too much more into it. Perfect recipe for emotional disaster.

Overwhelmed by how awesome your holiday trip is going to be, full of excitement and adventure and stuff? It's fair to say you'll forget something a little bit important because you've emotionally invested in all the fun stuff, and not so much the practical stuff.

I'm not trying to be a spoilsport here, it's just that how whelmed you are is important. And it gets moreso as you get older.

No, I do not want to go to dinner at 8pm. I am deeply underwhelmed by the prospect of being starving, cranky, and unable to charm due to the formers.

Absolutely, I would love to hang out at your cousins place on the beach next month! Ergh, dammit, slightly overwhelmed by agreeing to spend time at a strangers house somewhere I don't know.

See? Whelm. Whelmed. Lovely word. Very satisfying.

Moving on.

If it occurs to you that I've just built an entire blog around a single word, a strange word with inexplicable depths...

...you'd be right. I never said all these pieces would make sense, and I never said there would always be deep and meaningful lessons learnt.

Made you think though, didn't it? Made you wonder how you feel right now, and how that's going to effect the rest of your day or night, right?

Made you consider; what's my level of whelm right now; brussel sprouts or Best of David Bowie?

~*LTM*~



*Of course we made that up. Did you even need to ask?




















Thursday, 12 January 2017

[ the naming of the critters ]



Lying in bed in the middle of the day the other week, I started vaguely assessing all the random things I've named, starting with the stuff just in the room with me.

Clearly this was going to get interesting; being in my thirties and lying in bed in the middle of the holidays is clearly an avoidance tactic to the stresses of either dating and/or going out outside (both of which are like an action blockbuster, with much less screaming and blowing shit up. Though, not by much). It is however, also likely to give me too much time to overthink things.

Possibly why I starting naming things in the first place...

But I digress. Let's get back to the naming of things.

Starting with what could be seen, on our right we had my stuffed penguin, my stuffed bear, and all my orchids. On my left, my iPod, my laptop, my tablet, and my old phone (basically most of the tech).

Widening the circle; my dagger - more of a short sword for me - and my bow. My car has a name. In terms of actual people, my brothers and mother have nicknames, my very closest friends have pet names.

I personally have three or so solid nicknames that have been around for years, and are used by quite a diverse range of people.

Right. So what gives? When did I start naming inanimate objects and non-speaking entities as equally as people? I haven't had a pet for years and don't miss it in the slightest, so I'm clearly not compensating for anything. Is this just another creative outlet, or will a therapist have a field day with this in years to come?

Not that it could get any stranger, but a lot of these things have personalities - not just the living items either. You think I'm kidding; oh, that that were true.

Inyssa, my bow, becomes cold and unfeeling if I leave her alone too long. Jack Tilly, my car, thinks he's a motorbike, has an unhealthy dislike of Mazda's made after 2003 (Mazda 3 and onwards), and constantly gets covered in substances best left uninvestigated (I kid you not, I once came home to find the windshield spattered with blood. Wtf).

Jaxx, my short dagger, sends me weird and wonderful dreams, and giggles when I wake in the middle of the night. Admittedly, I should probably not encourage him by sleeping with him beneath my pillow, but that's beside the point. This is not what I pictured when I christened him, and certainly not what I expected of the name itself.

***

The true name of a thing or being is said to be the name that denotes its true nature. It uses the sacred language to state out loud exactly what the thing is, from the inside out. It makes the knowing the name very powerful for both the named and anyone who learns it. 

According to folklore, determining something or someones true name gives you influence over it, a certain magical affect. The same is said if no one but the named knows the moniker; no other being could ever have power over them. Take the story of Rumpelstiltskin, for example. 

Have I named all my things to have power over them? Why would I need power over a teddy bear, or a stuffed penguin? Both of these were given to me when I was very ill, years ago, and have served as great sources of comfort. If anything, their power 'over me' is consensual and very gratefully accepted.

It seems unlikely the desire for power is the case, or that I am attempting to satisfy a deficiency in other areas, such as work or social life. Besides, I know definitively the true name of the twit in IT, and it has no affect on my influence of him whatsoever. 

***

Ancient warriors named their weapons in an effort to bestow the skill of the name's origin. Widowmaker, Heartslayer, and Ironside are perfect examples of what warriors wished to achieve; in battle you need all the advantage you can get, and if your blade can be as fierce as yourself, more the better.

My weapons have neither violent nor savage names. More mystic or cult classic, if we're being specific. Inyssa is half fae, half Viking, and Jaxx is named after a Keanu Reeves character. Neither is ever going to see action like an ancient Celt, so there 's no need to make their names too terrifying.

That being said; why name them at all? Why carefully bestow meaningful titles on them, then interact in accordance with the personality to match?

***

When we are children, we are taught rhymes and songs to give recall to the specific things.

My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pies. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. 

(We are not discussing Pluto's status, ok? We're just not. Which is interesting in itself, as that denotes defensiveness of feelings. For a planet. Hmmm...)

This is a great example of how we give exceptional gravitas to things with names. In all fairness, these are planets; exceptional articles in the grand scheme of human history. 

Still. Has societies routine of naming things to suit our tastes and ideas filtered so far into our lives that we now include it in our microcosm? 

Do we give as much importance to our iPods (Mistletoe, named so because it came as a xmas present), as we do to our heritage locations, such as Martin Place? (Who was Martin, by the way, anyone...?).  

***

It's a curious habit, to say the least, and I've discovered I am not in a minority, not by a long shot. Another interesting element is the things we don't name. 

Why do my bed, my current phone, and the pure bone, skull bracelet that hasn't left my wrist in 12 years, not have names? Do they not have personalities? Do they not see enough action? (Shut up, I hear you sniggering about the first one). 

All of these objects spend just as much time with me as the others that have names. In some cases, moreso. 

It seems there is no way to tell what things we will name to bring pleasure and comfort to our lives. Small delights in this world, such as making a personal connection to a favourite item by naming it, far outweigh the perhaps equally eccentric habit of doing so. 

Life is hard and weird. Name things. Name all the things. 

And if anyone ever makes you feel odd for doing so, come hang with me and Inyssa. 

Neither of us will judge you. We will love you anyway.


~*LTM*~







































Thursday, 5 January 2017

[ Goodbye, Hello ]


The first post for the new year was going to be deep and meaningful. It was going to be witty, insightful, and full of great ponderings we could discuss at a later date. We were going to muse over it together, and even, perhaps, marvel at my wisdom in reflecting on this life...

Then I remembered I'm still me - Bridget Jones* with better hair, better clothes, and more sarcasm. And so, obviously, we got this instead.

Enjoy!

***
 
As discussed, I don't really do new years' resolutions. Clearly, I'm all about constantly bettering oneself personally, professionally, mentally, spiritually, etc. It's just that I don't see the point in picking the end of a calendar year as time to start doing so. Mainly because, for me, it leaves waaaaaaaaay too much time to think about whatever it is, and possibly avoid doing it at all.

That being said, the end of the year is a really good time for our society to put a marker on things that may have happened before or after it. For example, if we all spent too much time drinking coffee one year, the first time the option comes up in the new year, we could all refrain, or even change the habit - maybe order chai instead.

Unquestionably, this is a completely imaginary situation and should be treated as such. No one drank too much coffee in 2016. Except maybe Trump, and that would explain a lot really...

***

Moving on.

There's a variety of things I'm glad perished with the last sunset of 2016, things that really went on too long or definitely needed kicking much earlier than new years'...

The inordinate amount of checking out on the celebrity front, not to mention some of our favourite personal heroes, is one.

Natalie Cole, Steve Broom, David Bowie, Alan Rickman. Ronnie Corbett, Doris Roberts, Prince, and Muhammad Ali. Anton Yelchin, Gene Wilder, Leonard Cohen. Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds.

And juuuuuust as the year was about to close...William Christopher. Unnervingly, by no means an exhaustive list.

The gods basically put together their best of the best party list, and the invites got sent out. Some took up the offer and others didn't. I think it's always going to be deeply unsettling when someone passes, even if their time may seem to be up, but the hits just kept coming last year.

People die, that's how life works. But sometimes it seems as if all our heroes are heading off somewhere we can't follow, and a little bit of our innocence vanishes with that knowledge. Being a grown up sucks. But at least there are more positives than negatives.

***

Politics got weird in 2016. I mean, real weird, as opposed to the usual dog and pony show we're used to here in Oz. For example, there is now an actual clown in the White House.

This time last year, if you'd asked us all - if you asked America - what could happen to the Presidency, this would not have been the answer.

This would not even have been close to what we could have come up with.

Here's something we all need to keep in mind however; we don't live there. Of course, this will impact us, but (BIG BUT) we can't really bemoan how awful this is going to be, because there are people who are going to have it worse.

So, to be honest, in 2017, let's all try to be thankful we're not Americans of any race, living in America, wondering what tomorrow will bring.

Turnbull may be a rich idiot, and Abbott was (ehem, is) an embarrassment, but neither of them is a tangerine, racist, sexist, mouthy twit with a guinea pig for hair. Perspective, right? 

***

Speaking of odd political situations, another word comes to mind; Brexit. I'm not sure if this is more or less depressing than the above, due to it also being something the people voted for, but there it is.

Without completing overexplaining why this probably wasn't the best choice the UK could have made, let's narrow it down to a few minor points; exchange rates won't be great, expats here and there will find things difficult, the price of living will fluctuate, and things will basically go to pot.

And this is all before the two-year period it takes to actually implement the full exit of Britain from the European Union.

And so it will come as no surprise then, that most people are treating it like a joke. Even if a clever one at that...


***

Before we get back to the tongue-in-cheek funny stuff, I'm going to say a few of these real quick, in the hopes that we don't all get deep and meaningful existential despair with the absolute craptastic state of the human race...
 
PulseOrlandoShooting.BastilleDayTerroristAttack.IstanbulNightclubShooting.BombinginBrussels. 

Yea. Ok. That was still pretty awful. I don't suppose we could try to give peace and love a chance in 2017? Anybody? 
 ***

To ease the sting of the above and take things on a truly bizarre turn, I've got two words for you; killer clowns. No, that's not a typo. Sorry.

The creepy "craze" began in the US, spread to the UK, and finally hit Aussie shores in the latter half of the year, like some horrifying, red-nosed, big shoed, walking, talking Ebola virus. 

It looks like fandom took a distressing turn, when talk of the remake of Stephen's King's IT inspired a variety of freaks and horror geeks to dress up and terrify all and sundry with pranks, scares, and even violence.

Fans weren't impressed. Authorities weren't impressed. Nobody fucking laughed, ok?

When I was 13, I punched a clown. We won't go into the wherefores and whys, except to say that clowns of all varieties (even harlequins on occasion) still creep me right out.

So let me make something crystal clear, right now. When the remake gets released in September this year, I'd like all you sick fucks to know one thing; my right hook is nasty as hell, and I'm not afraid to use it. Repeatedly. You have been warned. 

***

Alright, without listing all the other disappointments of 2016, they were the major upsets. Some years are good, and some can just take a very long walk, off a very short pier.

It is however, unfair to say that the entire year completely sucked. Sure, we haven't been so glad to see the back of something since Nickelback's She Keeps Me Up (even I couldn't get past that one), but it wasn't all doom and gloom. Really.

Let's look at some good stuff, and the even better stuff to come.

***

The tiger population experienced a 22% growth level, hurrah! This didn't quite take them off the endangered list, but it certainly looks promising. 

You know who did make it off the endangered list? Giant pandas and manatees. Look at them! Look at their awesome, smushy faces! Hurrah for nature, right?! If humans can't take care of themselves, at least we know beings who deserve to be here will eventually inherit the earth. 

***

There's now a vaccine for Ebola. I KNOW RIGHT?! One of the deadliest diseases of our time, something we made sci-fi movies out of, now has a vaccine. 

Also, the ALS ice bucket challenge - you know the one we all rolled our eyes at in 2014? - led to a breakthrough for sufferers of motor neuron disease.

Which means, as long as we try to stop killing animals, other people, and ourselves, the human race actually has a chance at long-term survival. Hold my beer and watch this...

***

Three words; Joe. Biden. Memes. Follow the link. You're welcome. 

***

Two more words; The Obamas. Barack, Michelle, Malia, and Sasha. 

So...if y'all in America don't want them... can we have them? 

***

A part of Sydney's heritage was saved by an unlikely (mainly because he's personally a bit of a prat) hero, in the form of Justin Hemmes; The Alexandria Hotel
The oldest building in the area and shockingly not on the actual heritage list, Hemmes purchased it just before the wrecking ball could do irreversible damage. 

Which renews our faith a little; he may be a tool, but he knows real estate, he knows hospitality, and he will show The Alex the respect it deserves. Nice one, Hemmesy.

***
In the microcosm of yours truly, notable events include seeing Rob Thomas at the Opera House forecourt, finding a bar dedicated to espresso martinis, and punching it up on the efforts for a mini faerie. 

I drank more coffee, found my spirit animal (read = it found me. In a BIG way), and got to spend more time with my Mum. 

There's a new job, a new social scene, and some new faces here and there. Some things left my life that I don't know if I was quite ready to say goodbye to, but it was definitely time and I'm the better for it. 

This year is still pretty young, with lots of unknowns, seedlings of plans we can't be sure will work, and hopes we have no way of ensuring. 

Here's the thing though, as a final thought, something to keep in mind whenever you feel insecure throughout the year...
If Leonardo DiCaprio can finally win an Oscar, you can do anything. Trust me. 


~*LTM*~






*So, after some research in Australian statistics, I discovered what the most popular female first name and the most popular surname were last year.

From now on then, we know exactly what my Aussie version of Bridget Jones shall be referred to as; Charlotte, Charlotte Smith, right here.