Friday, 28 September 2018

[ the great unknown ]

Someone once asked me what I was afraid of in life. We were doing that getting-to-know-each-other thing and asking all the standard heavy questions you throw out to attain depth without shared history.

There are very few things of which I am afraid, and we've talked about this before. I fear the unknown, the lack of information, the aimlessness in direction. I fear not knowing at least some of the details, at least the shape of the picture, even if the rest is hazy.

Most people are the same; they find they can cope with a reasonable amount of life being weird and surprising, throwing strange obstacles in your path at any given time. But they do like to know the path they are on, and where it most likely leads.

The fewer specifics, the more anxious we become. Moreso, the further you travel along the unknown highway, as it were. You lose track of why you're doing what you're doing, why you are where you are. Your fear starts to consume you, colouring everything you do.

When we are afraid, it's always important to seek answers. Chase down leads, search for clues, find out anything you can about your worries.

So it's with some embarrassment that I admit to having been in a holding pattern for months. I've been quietly beavering away at really nothing much. And we all know I don't really do embarrassment. 

Then what gives? What made me spend two months taking meds I didn't need, eating things I didn't like, and taking precautions that saved me nothing?

Fear. Obviously. 

Fear made me weak and stupid, and narrowed my vision to near-constant strain and misery. It does that, because that's what fear is good at; focus. 

Oddly enough, that's where the penny drops. At least it did for me. 

There comes a point when you realise how focused you are on something, how much of your time you're devoting to it - and how little to other things. Happy things, pleasurable things, anything other than your pain. 

Somehow, the intensity of your scrutiny brings alternatives into stark reality; I can't go here, I'm too unwell. I can't eat that, the doctors said so. It can't be anything else, because...

Wait. Why can't it be anything else? If nothing I'm doing now is working, surely I should try something else?

Why can't I eat that? I've eaten it my whole life, and there's no evidence it's going to make me sick now. 

Why can't I go there? No one said I couldn't. No one gave me a reason why. 

When all you do is fear the change, the change may never come. When all you do is focus on the solution, you lose sight of the steps to get there. 

When all you do is listen, you never get answers to your questions. 

Asking questions isn't suddenly going to make you well. It isn't going to make you happy, or rich. It doesn't make the fear go away. But it arms you against it, and gives you weapons to fight it later, tomorrow, next week. Next month. 

Stop treating yourself like a fool and taking your instincts for granted, they're there for a reason. Start wondering if there's a different path, a different way, another solution. 

Maybe there is - and maybe there's not. But won't you sleep better at night finding out? 



Thursday, 20 September 2018

[ mini environmentalist ]

Of the many things I'm obsessed with, I have a small, fairly innocuous fixation with KeepCups.

On the whole, it's a reasonably healthy preoccupation, and much less disastrous than previous ones. In fact, it's pretty constructive if you think about it, and helps in some small way to save the planet.

For those of you still in the dark, keep cups are reusable travel mugs that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours, and now with an assortment of printed logos and themes.

Yours truly has a modest but varied collection, built over years. There's the blue and green one that lives in my car, the Star Wars RD-D2 one that sits on my desk at work, and the collapsible orange one from Port Arthur I have at home. Most recently, I've acquired a Bury Me Standing branded one, from my favourite coffee and bagel place in Hobart, that travels to work with me in the mornings.

As an aside, I've just found out Bunnings are now selling their own branded version. Much. Excite!

Anyway, you might be wondering why all the fuss over a simple cup? As in, many things hold liquid, what's so special about this receptacle?

(Sorry. I've been going really hard on's Word of The Day)

It's no secret I'm a bit of a greenie and think we could all do more to help save the environment, so before you throw up your hands in disgust and write this off as another hippie rant, hear me out...

I'm not going to ask you to read boring statistics or show you pictures of dead whales. I'm not going to lecture you on climate change or list how many species have gone on the endangered list in the last decade due to same (seriously though, it's scary how many are on there).

What I am going to do is ask you to bring it down to your own little microcosm, and reflect. That's all. It's a simple exercise that can lead to simple changes, that can then translate to small differences.

Not what you were thinking? Fair enough. If you're still with me, suspend your belief a little more, and imagine if everyone in your office made the same changes. Everyone in your street. Everyone in your city.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Back to the cups.


Twenty-three years ago, I discovered I liked coffee. Ok, I reeeally liked coffee. And still do.

With this realisation came the conclusion that I'd be drinking a fair amount of the liquid gold over my lifetime, and a modest *cough* mildly uncontrollable *cough* passion for novelty mugs began.

Sometime in the '90's I found my first travel mug, and was able to combine my love of caffeine with an unnamed desire to keep my existence ethically sustainable. Hurrah!

In my late twenties, I did a small calculation; every week of every month, for over a decade, I'd drunk 3-4 cups of coffee. For simplicity's sake, I rounded up to 4 cups, and specifically over 10 years.

4 cups x 52 weeks x 10 years 
= 2,080 cups of coffee

For reference, without liquid, the average disposable cup weighs about 14g (11g for the cup, 3g for the lid). 2,080 cups is just shy of 30kg. 

That's 30kg of purely liquid-holding waste I put into the environment. Just by drinking 236ml of fluid every few days. Imagine if I did what some people do and drank 4 cups a day. That would be say, 16 cups a week, 832 a year. 116.48kg of coffee cup waste a year. And that's just one person.

I'll let you think about that  for a moment, and we can talk about something else...


Way before it was cool, my mother was carrying reusable grocery bags. She'd have two or three of those cheesecloth cottony ones in her hangbag at all times. In later years, when the fashion really started to get going, she got into the printed varieties and their thicker weave, semi-synthetic cousins that last for simply ages, and can be washed at will. 

Mum was crushing it being an ethically and socially responsible, carbon-footprint aware being eons before Woolworths did this and Coles followed suit not long after. And she certainly wasn't the only one. 

Which made this seem the height of stupidity to me. If you thought Pauline Hanson was the queen of backflips, you hadn't seen nothin' yet...

What made this super ridiculous to me was simple, and to understand that, let's bring it back down to the microcosm, so we can all realistically reflect.

Like most people, we use the occasional single-use plastic bag in our house. As waste-basket liners, to carry lunch in, to wrap up crockery so it doesn't break in storage. If possible, we use them 3-4 times, and try not to get any more when out shopping. We've been doing this for years.

You know what else we've been doing for years? Prepping for the end of single-use plastic bags. Swapping out the plastics for reusables, stocking up on natural fibre ones, brushing off the nana-trolley (bloody love that thing).

So did a lot of friends and loved ones. So did neighbours, and random strangers whose nana-trolley you admired at the shops (they also come in funky styles and colours now).

But apparently, the other half of Australia went a little batshit, and started assaulting checkout tellers, like they had anything to do with the bag situation at all.

I hate to break it to you Oz, but you need to lower your caffeine dosage, 'cause that's just crazypants. And you know why?

Because we all became aware of 'climate change' with Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth in 2006.

Because the first big businesses who got involved in plastic bag bans happened in Tasmania in 2003.

Because the term 'carbon footprint' was coined by Professor William Rees in 1992, and quickly reached common vernacular soon after.

And because the first mention of sustainability, or 'sustainable development', was used in a report by the United Nations in 1987.

What I'm saying, if you haven't already caught on, is that all those people who claim they hadn't been given enough warning about the impending bag situation, are lying through their shiny white veneers. And using that as an excuse for shitty behaviour is really quite abhorrent, but also, it makes you look insensitive and foolish.

When did we, as a nation, become so involved in ourselves, our personal needs, that we forgot about the planet we live on, the air we breathe, or even just the resources we use every day?  Surely, surely, no one was under the impression it would all last forever??

(That was rhetorical. If you actually thought the resources of this planet were supportable at the current rate humanity is going through them, please stop breathing the same air as me and go away)

Anyway. To be fair, not everyone understands how quickly we are using up natural assets and how we might go about replenishing them. Fair enough really; no one wants to get a degree in biochemistry or clinical research, and then specialise in native resources. 

Firstly, it's hard, and secondly, it's boring. Especially if you have to study it for six years.

That being said, everyone could do with a little more learning in common sense, but no one wants to do that either. Even though it's cheaper and it will 100% help you and this planet live longer. Oh well...


Here's the thing; saving our planet isn't hard. But no one - i.e. big business - wants to do too much about it because it doesn't make any money. If you think that sounds conspiracy theory, it is. But not in a secret society, action thriller, government cover-up sort of way. It's much more mundane than that, and much more ordinary.

You see, because it doesn't make money, government and big business are crafty in how they deal with this, you've got to give them that. They distract us with the newest, shiniest things which, as the consumerist culture that we are, we love - and totally get immersed in. 

And then we forget all about that pesky bag situation. And the landfill problem. The fact that China will no longer accept the lions share of our waste and we now have a disposal problem

We gloss over those things by assuring ourselves we are doing our bit in eating organic or throwing our non-biodegradable coffee cups in a recycle bin or buying 100% natural fibres, and calling it altruism. 

Don't mistake me here; these are still partially helpful things. But they are a bandaid solution to a endemic problem. 

What I'm saying is this; these actions are much like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted. Where once they may have assisted to stem the tide somewhat, industry is so far gone that we need to be a little more rigorous in our approach, a little more savvy, a little more circumspect in our choices. 

Let's be clear here; no one is asking you to join Greenpeace and start chaining yourself to trees. We're not asking you to hop onto Sea Shepherd and sail the open waters of the Coral Sea. Both are outdoors in the elements and mean many hours of nothing much. Plus hippies are weird. 

We're just asking that you step it up a bit in the sustainable department. 

We're asking that you make yourself a little more aware of what's happening in our world, even if you only make yourself a little more aware in your own little microcosm...


Stop getting single-use plastic bags, buy a nana-trolley. Support farmers by eating local - it's already organic, trust me. Take a moment to think about where all the packaging and plastic and other random waste that leaves your house goes. 

Buy a travel cup.

Look at this way; eventually Gucci will do what Balenciaga did and design something like this, but ethically responsible. That way, you can still be the self-involved, fashion-forward, high maintenance wanker society is accustomed to *and*  help save the environment. 

Everyone wins. 


Saturday, 25 August 2018

[ recap ]

I wasn't going to write this for a number of reasons.

Firstly, while I do, in fact, watch reality tv shows, I try not to let them colour my ideas or experiences too much. Mainly because they are based on fragmented, heavily collated, and frankly biased versions of events, events often portrayed by people who have no idea what they look like to the outside world.

To be fair, why would they? In their world, there are just double the amount of people standing around while they do their thing, half of whom happen to be holding cameras, make-up kits, lighting grips, and what seems like other useless crap.

The second reason is that journalists like James Weir and Isabelle Truman are way funnier than I am, and even Genevieve Rota has a slick recap going. However, this season has presented me with waaaaaay too much ammunition, and we're only a few episodes in!

No, I'm not talking about Masterchef, which is above reproach and I won't hear a word against it. I mean, of course, The Bachelor.

If you're already rolling your eyes, stop reading now - it only gets more gossipy from here. For the rest of you (read = 98%), let's carry on, shall we?

Much like Sophie Monk (whom I know personally*), this season's Bachie is a real person with a real personality and a plethora of adorable dad jokes, rhyming slang phrases, and brilliant one-liners. I mean, of course, the Honey Badger himself, Nick Cummins.

In all honesty, I was a bit vague on who he was when I first heard of him a few years ago. I did recall the football connection, but I certainly couldn't name the code, let alone the team (Union and the Wallabies respectively, for those playing along at home).

However, any man with a great smile and the ability to crack out a metaphor like a stockwhip at any given moment is going to have hearts aflutter. Or maybe that's just me.

Also. Have you seen those abs? *Swooooooooon*!

Nevertheless, it's not just the hilarious side-jokes and snappy remarks. Nick has a genuine and honest nature that conveys itself in pretty much every situation you see him in. He's a very ocker, Aussie bloke and it's hard not to take an instant liking to him, much like we all did with our Sophie.

Which makes this season so tantalising. Barely a week in and half of Australia is already #TeamNick and voting on who they think is good enough for him.

(No one, by the way. None of these bitches deserve even a sideways glance at that magnificent mo. Just saying)

Anyway. The dynamics of the Bachelor Mansion are always a little intriguing at any rate; you've just stuffed 24 agile young things into a house together and told them to compete to be the last one standing. Only the strongest remain, and even then, there's no guarantee of the prize. You could leave the dubious safety of the competition, having given up your whole life and have it come to nothing, and no one, returning to a world completely changed by your experience on the inside. And people volunteer to be tributes for this! Knowing they may not survive...

Oops. Sorry. Wrong show. Back to the mansion.

As much as it pains me to say this, and though still rife with drama, The Bachelorette and a house full of testosterone-charged lads still presented much less spite than the same but opposite, and a gaggle of femme-fatales.

With the gents, you got enough posturing to make a peacock feel inadequate, and a level of bullshitting my brothers would be proud of - and they can talk nonsense with the best of them.

The Bachelor seems to bring out the cattiest of lasses Oz has to offer, and make you wonder if high school ever really ended. Or if it just follows you everywhere, hiding in the bushes like a stalker, waiting to pounce and expose it's, well, ugly bits.

There's Cat, who states she's 'from Bali' despite the glaring fact of how white she is, and Alisha, who just will. Not. Shut. Up. Maybe she thinks she's on the wrong show? Did they hire a narrator and the producers got confused when she showed up in a ball gown?

Then we have Romy, who completes the mean girls trip with the above, and manages to convince all the girls that a random slobber on Nick's neck was a 'very romantic' and 'not tacky or forced' ' kiss'.

Hon, we're I'm from that's called something else, it bears no resemblance to what you're calling a kiss. Just quietly.

There's Vanessa Sunshine. Remember Donna Chang from Seinfeld? You know, the woman who kept introducing herself in full, and George kept losing his shit because, you know, SHE'S NOT ASIAN. That's Vanessa Sunshine.

Except with Vanessa, it's that there is no sunshine. I've seen better temperaments on pissed-off Pomeranians. She never laughs, never says more than 6 words, and I'm pretty sure her facial muscles aren't programmed to do that upward tilt thing that most of us know as a smile. Or maybe she has, and I just had flashbacks to Jaws and blanked it out...

Anyway. To be fair, they're not all complete harpies. There's the pint-sized Brooke, an instant favourite. She's a youth worker from WA, who also deals in mental health issues. For a 24 year old, there's a maturity combined with a sense of fun that's quite refreshing.

Brittany, born on the same day in the same town at the same hospital - nice little bit of serendipity there - also seems to have a lovely natural vibe about her, and comes in close as a favourite with Brooke.

And Cass. Darling, sweet, fragile Cass. She met the Bachie a while back, they dated for about twelve seconds, and nothing came of it. Or so we believe.

However, in Cass-land, we've stumbled on the ultimate kismet, and a situation that means they were meant to be... meeting again on a show with a horde of other women, also competing for Nick's affections. Nevermind it previously didn't work out in the real world, where there's much less pressure than being trapped in a mansion for 6 weeks, living purely off champagne and resentment...

That being said, you've got to give the girl a break. We've all been there; heed-over-heels for someone who barely registers our presence, clinging to the possibility that it might all come together again.

In any other situation, you'd drag her out for dinner and drinks and lay it all out, help her forget what's-his-name and find a way to move on.

But this isn't the real world and these wenches aren't here to make friends; they're here to win. So sadly, we're left to watch Cass' freewheeling emotional rollercoaster, and quietly beg the gods she gets kicked off soon, for her sake more than ours.

But finally, we come to the real star of the show, the reason we all tune in every season, the drawcard that seduces us year after year. That hair, those eyes, that smile, his way with roses and maths...

Yes, of course, I mean Osher G├╝nsberg.

The perfect man in every way, his hair gives David Tennant a run for his money, and season after season we are treated to his distinctive, inimitable wardrobe; variously tailored suits to the ultimate in grandad cardigans.

He's funny, he's cheeky, and damn, has he got swagger. Osh is well in on the joke that Channel 10 have created an entire show based on people trying to get laid. But he also genuinely cares about the contestants as well as the Bachelor/ettes, and adds a marvellous positive and even-tempered element to the ordered chaos of the show.

All things being equal, we wish we could all have our own personal Osher, standing by before romantic interludes, gently murmuring encouragement, holding out the requisite cheese platter and red rose, congratulating or commiserating as required.

Apparently though, this is not how you make ratings.

So, in the meantime, we're left with some buff beefcake and a gaggle of pissed-off swans - ehem! - women, looking for love, a real connection, and the key to the mini bar.

Pass me a cracker and some more bubbly, will you?


*read = I helped her break into her car with coat hangar one time in the '90's when we lived on the same street and I found her crying outside it in her pajamas one morning at 7am. That counts as a real connection. Right?

Friday, 6 July 2018

[ bibliophile ]

At the end of June, I made the declaration that I'm giving away the bulk of my books. For some of you, it was a rather underwhelming announcement, and for others it was rather a shock.

After moving house in May, I discovered I have twelve plastic crates, four heavy-duty cardboard boxes, countless hessian bags, and two shelves of books.

It's mainly sci-fi and fantasy, but there are a large amount of cookbooks, a scattering of 'self-help' books, a decent stack of comics and graphic novels, various textbooks, and a plethora of esoteric tomes.

There's the To Read section in my room which, to be fair, only has around twenty or so volumes on it, but does take up a whole shelf to itself.

There's the fairytales section, which is completely dedicated to any and all copies, retellings, and fractured fairytales. I have German, French, and Norse tales. I have graphic storybooks by Neil Gaiman, and wondrous reworkings by Sarah Pinborough. I have dusty texts and sparkling new volumes, and everything in between.

Still, I collect. Still, I hoard. Still, my appetite for knowledge and stories and words is insatiable.

Nevertheless, suddenly, I'm starting to question why I'm keeping them all. The limited editions and special classics need no real explanation; they are keepsakes and worth quite a bit.

But the random paperbacks, the mass-produced chronicles, the twenty-seven books in a series I just read to get through a season or because I was too lazy to find something new at the time...

What the fuck are they all doing but moldering away in boxes and bags or in storage, where I sure as hell won't read them again? Why on earth am I keeping things that not only take up so much physical space, but mental space as well, stressing me out with where to keep them and how to store them and where to drag them to next...?


The School of Life recently starting running this, and it coincided with an episode of the Living Room where the king of decluttering, Peter Walsh, helped a guy who was basically an older version of me; all the books on all the shelves and sideboards...and in the cupboards and under the tables and on the floor...

It got me thinking about the psychology of hoarding books. Because it is hoarding for me. Obviously, there are some I am 'collecting' - aforementioned limited editions and special volumes - but the rest definitively fall into the hoarding category. 

Consequently, I started to wonder why. I'm a curious and inquiring animal by nature, and generally up for some self-reflection, so the question of why someone who, I like to think, is reasonably self-aware, would do this, really started to intrigue me.


There's a school of thought going around that the hoarding of books is about the hoarding of knowledge. That, by keeping the physical text near or with you, you're keeping the knowledge in one place, and therefore also in your brain. 

Surpassing the minds' unbelievable capacity for education and information, we can somehow store all the learning we've attained in a stack of paper, and never lose it from our minds.

Which, to be brutally honest, is pretty weird. I've forgotten more things than I've had hot dinners, and I've retained twice as many. Having a concrete reminder only noticeably made the difference when it was actually something I wanted to remember in the first place. Make sense?

Let me put it this way; I have a well-thumbed, hardcover copy of Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, given to me by one of my brothers' girlfriends when I was a child. It's one of my treasured favourites; I can remember the whole story, the watermarks on the pages, and the inscription written by said girlfriend. 

Conversely, I found a textbook for a literature class I did only a few years ago. It's a great volume, consistently popular in the curriculum, and full of great little snippets of knowledge on general flick-through.

Until I do though - flick-through, that is - I can't really recall those snippets. I can vaguely allude to them, make educated guesses, and even some discussion...but I can barely remember that I read it, and only in context to that class. Still, it's a really, really good book.  

If it all still seems a little unclear, and that I'm generally only keen on children's books over textbooks (who wouldn't be, really?), then there's this; I can remember what happens, in chronological order, in each of Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles, including the New Chronicles.

But I can't recall where all my copies of them are exactly, or why I don't keep them all together, or even in mint condition.

What I'm trying to say is this; if the knowledge is that important to me, why am I not keeping them in a climate-controlled  environment? Why am I not insuring them like my coin collection, my Doctor Who paraphernalia, my heirloom jewellery? Why do I not have them by my bedside at all times?

Curious, right? I have a theory, backed up by a lot of reading...

In life, there are a finite amount of things we can control. Our diet, our hair colour, what reality tv shows to watch, and what sort of car to buy. We can't control the weather, traffic conditions, or politicians, but we can control these. There may be a few others, but you get the picture.

Anyway. In a world mainly out of our control, we want total dominion over what we do and don't learn, what knowledge we keep and what we exclude. In many instances, this is an achievable goal. 

But life isn't simple or straight-laced, and your little grey cells couldn't care less if you want to remember that one great line from that average book, or that amazing cookbook with the yellow cover.

It's filtered out the important stuff, and let the rest fade out like lights at the end of a stage show. You've retained all the stuff you think is important, everything else is irrelevant. 

You see, your conscious and subconscious made a deal; the former deals with the day-to-day, the latter with all the quiet stuff, the emotional stuff, the underlying threads of your life. The former acts, the latter records. 

And here is where the fight began; because I basically stopped ignoring what my subconscious was saying, and started listening to a third, and clearly nutty, voice that said; Keep All The Books! All of them! Leave not a one! 

(It's totally ok if you're hearing that in a Monty Python voice. I know I am)

Which is how I ended up with twelve plastic crates, four heavy-duty cardboard boxes, countless hessian bags, and two shelves of books....


It's not like I don't have access to books every single day of my life. I mean it; Every. Single. Day. I could buy a new book from a different store every day for a year, and still not have got through half the resources at my fingertips. 

Further, in relation to this, a very clever lady made another interesting point; it's almost selfish of me to keep all these books when there are people who can't afford to buy a new book every month, let alone the hoards I buy weekly.  

And she's right. If I'm highly unlikely to ever read this or that volume again, why am I keeping it? I can *literally* find a new copy, buy it, and have it in my hot little hands within hours of giving the last one away.

For someone who treasures knowledge and stories as much as I do, I've clearly veered off the path in terms of respecting that knowledge and sharing it with as many people as possible.


Every book I've ever read has a life of its own, a personality. And really, it's starting to feel like I'm holding them to ransom for all the history they have. Like I'm terrified that I've read every story ever written and there will be no new stories for me to read. So these ones must stay. Forever. 

But, like people, you can't make someone love you back or imprint themselves into your life, not unless the feeling is mutual. And even then, sometimes it doesn't last.

So, here we are. I'm getting rid of around 90% of my library because, in the end, it breaks my heart more to think of all those books wasting away in darkness than it does to think of them in someone else's hands. Someone who might love them or hate them, someone who might treasure them or gift them to someone else or read them and just let them go. 

It's the end of an era for me, but a beginning too. One full of old discoveries and unusual goodbyes, and hopefully the space for a whole new lifetime of texts and tales...

Plus, with the invention of things like Goodreads, I can act like a benign dictator, keeping all the personal details of my subjects, in case I want to call them back to me someday...

Which is completely healthy, right...? 


Saturday, 16 June 2018

[ moving house ]

There was a gorgeously long and winding piece I wrote on the Vietnam trip, which I promised several friends ages ago would be forthcoming, and which you've now all seen.

However, about five minutes after we got back, we went into moving house mode, and the world has only vaguely stopped spinning recently. So, this got mostly written while I was mimicking the little girl in The Exorcist. Brace yourselves.


Divorce, death, and moving house. They say these are the most stressful things you can go through in life. All things being equal, I'd take a divorce to be honest. Because I think, somehow, I have blotted from memory the utter dreadfulness that is moving. 

I mean, we all know how appalling it is, but you somehow forget the endless ridiculousness that comes with packing all your crap up, moving it, then unpacking it. 

To be fair though, moving house is a massive way to demonstrate evolution in your life, moving onwards and upwards, etc. etc. It's the main reason that, after seven years, I've swapped the funky hipness of Newtown for the cool stylings of lush and leafy Epping. Here are some things I learned along the way.


We all hoard things. All of us. Even in the smallest way. You can go years at a time and never really notice how many patterned tablecloths or novelty tea spoons you have. Until you move house.

Nine bags of clothes, three rubbish pick ups, four weeks-worth of recycling, eight billion old shoeboxes, and a partridge in a pear tree later, we had cleaned the house out. 

Mum is a million times better at this than me. She's clear, decisive, and ruthless. Sadly, I spend 20 minutes staring forlornly at a dress I haven't worn for five years, pondering the possibility of it ever matching any of my other clothes, let alone actually wearing it. 

Let me give you some advice in advance; if you haven't worn it for more than a season (as in, if you didn't wear it last Winter, you probably won't this Winter), toss it. No amount of wistful looks or attempted pairings will suddenly change that. 

This goes for clothes, shoes, bags, linen, and basically anything else in the fabric department. Bag it up, stuff it in a charity bin, and be done with it. You then get to have the added bonus of feeling smug about your goodwill towards society. Win. 

Small side note; books. Some people can read, appreciate, and release. Some people cling like the pages of every book are the notations of their soul, and every page is a crystallised moment, floating in sea of memories, following the lives of complex characters, weaving in and out of storylines... sorry, where was I? Something about throwing books out I think...

Anyway, guess which one I am... 


Packing is stressful because all your things are all your things. These things, no matter how much society tells us they are only things and not lives or people, are still *your things*, and therefore special because you worked long and hard for them. 

So when you have to pack them up in boxes and zip them into bags, where you can't see them or feel them or use them, it's hard and a bit sad. 

And also really, really confusing. 

Where the hell is my hairbrush? Have we packed the toaster? How is it that I can find two pairs of animal slippers, but not one pair of shoes appropriate for work? FFS, where is my bag with my security pass and my keys and my good lipgloss...dammit...

Anyway. You will lose stuff, you will find stuff (pfft, no, of course not straight away, who are you kidding?), you will buy stuff you already have. Which means you have two options. 

If, like yours truly, you have low-level, high-functioning, constant anxiety about pretty much everything, try not to worry too much; your OCD will be able to pinpoint pretty much any item you can think of, at any one time. You may not be able to get to it, but you know where it is. Try to make peace with that.

On the other hand, you could develop a system the Federal Police would proud of, that basically involves a forensic-grade approach to packing; with layers and labels, packing then stacking, and the option of unpacking then repacking a box if needed. This option requires a will of iron, spreadsheets, and the patience of a saint. 

To be clear; neither is pleasant and neither will work 100% of the time. Soz. 


Movers, much like real estate agents, are vague, dodgy, and require regular instruction and monitoring. They're like the hamstring injury you got in high school; simple enough to take care of most of the time, but a right pain in the ass when they flare up. 

Ours showed up early. At any other time, in almost any other situation, this wouldn't be so annoying. Turn up early for a meeting? Hurrah, time for a coffee! Guests turn up early for a dinner party? No worries, have some wine, hold my kid, I'll be in the kitchen. And let's not mention how great an early train or bus would be.

However, the complete opposite is true when movers turn up early; you haven't disassembled the beds, emptied the fridge, or got out of your pyjamas yet. Just because you've been up since 4am chewing your fingernails and wishing it was all over already, does not mean you are ready for people to just rock up. 

I'd also mention how it feels when they turn up late, but I'm breaking out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. Moving on.


When someone offers to help move house, say yes. Even if you think they may have nothing to do, say yes. Nothing is worse than you and your loved ones (the ones who live with you), sitting there in mutual horror watching the movers try to manoeuvre your grandmothers' antique sideboard with all the delicacy of a drunk sloth, and wondering which one of you will break into tears first.  

Relatives, friends, random work acquaintances - all these people can buy coffee, smile reassuringly, and make pointed comments ('do you think we might try it the other way?') without making it sound like a threat. Say yes; other people create a squishy boundary between you and the seven hours of hell you have ahead of you. 


Book in advance. Book. In. Advance. BOOK IN ADVANCE. WEEELL in advance. Packing gear, movers, cleaners, internet, phones, cable, leave days off work (you will need them, trust me), friends and helpers, anything you can book early, do it. 

I had a friend once who did a move within a fortnight. We're no longer friends, not because of this, but definitely as a contributing factor. 

She bought boxes on the Sunday and worked a 60 hour week. She then packed her kitchen first (*shudder*), her precious items last (jewellery, keepsakes, etc.), and then worked another long week. On the Friday before the Saturday of her move, she did the rest of her packing. 

If it seems like I'm being harsh, let me explain further; she had a 2 bedroom, fully furnished apartment, with enough stuff to compete with even my maximist sensibilities. 

On the day of the move, her best friend and I were there to help. Not her brother (she didn't want him to see her stuff. I know, weird), not her parents (both fit and able to lift), not her boyfriend (she thought he might be busy. I'm sorry, what?). Nope, just us. To say we were surprised would be an understatement. 

The movers were ok, if a little dopey, but that was to be expected. The day was clear which was good, and we were only going a few suburbs over, so it's not like this was going to take all day. 

Yea. About that. 

Somehow, between us arriving with coffee, planning the route to the new place, and getting halfway through packing the van, the wheels started to come off the bus, as it were. 

Said ex-friend had her first - of several - meltdowns for the day, and it just went downhill from there. I can't quite recall the entire day, but the gist centred around four boxes going missing, the power not being on at the new place (I didn't even think that was a thing), a missing boyfriend (I think we found out later he went skiing. Hmmm, smart man), a dented fender in a brand new car, and some suspicious circumstances surrounding some keys. 

PLAN. IN. ADVANCE. Things will go wrong, that's a given, but nowhere near as many as if you treat moving house like a military operation to a foreign country. 


Pick two sets of hardy clothes, a sturdy backpack, and scope the local takeaway for healthy options.  Treat moving house like you're auditioning for Survivor. 

No clean clothes. No fresh veggies. No way out, but onto the next 'burb. Survivor: Domestic is coming! Dum dum duuum!

Hair will be greasy, fingernails will be chewed. Socks will be worn not twice, but thrice, and all the things you usually put in a folder, key holder, basket, or hall table? Now in one, feels-like-a-rucksack-fuck-I-hate-camping bag so you don't lose it. 

On the bright side though, this stage only lasts about two to three days, tops. But - repeat after me - think ahead; that one bar of soap and that one store that doesn't lace everything with butter will be like the coloured flags on the end of that 70m flagpole over the cliff-face that is moving house. 


Lest I have made this entire endeavour sound like it's without merit, there are some good parts (besides the fab new locale).

Your ability to stay awake through pretty much any other activity will become preternatural; with the heightened anxiety of getting everything done, all other events, no matter how hectic, become almost relaxing by comparison. No major meltdown at work can compare to trying to recall if you packed the HDMI cable in the loungeroom tech box or bedroom tech box. 

Your body will also develop an uncanny ability to process caffeine and sugar. Seeing as your heart spends half the day pumping its way through stupid phone calls with tradies, service providers, and real estate agents, it never really slows down.

So, basically anything below jackrabbit-on-crack doesn't really register - hence your sudden ability to down four cups of coffee instead of one, and eat cake six times a week. Nice, right?

But a small word of warning; when you start to come down off the runaway rollercoaster of activity, the crash is hard, and you won't know it until you've tried to drink your new routine fourth latte before midday, and all of a sudden you have a raging headache like a hangover from your twenties.

The other thing moving house does is demonstrate your unbelievable strength of will and endurance. Even when you think you can't take any more stress, any more sleepless nights, any more silly, unsatisfactory phone calls - you can and you do. It brings out the best and worst in people, and you will sit there, for weeks even, afterwards, slightly stunned by your own fortitude. Well done you!


To anyone who is about to move house, I say this; take a big deep breath, strap yourself in, and just roll with it as much as you can. 

There are no real enjoyable parts until the end. There are no funny moments you will recall with fondness. It's hectic and brutal and you'll wish you had thrown even more money at it than you got swindled out of in the first place (movers, service providers, don't get me started again). 

But there is this; you are a badass at everything else you do, and this will be no different. 

Oh, and mentally mark a bottle of rum for consumption the minute the last thing is done. 


Tuesday, 29 May 2018

[ midnight in the orient ]

There is a place, far away but not too far, where the lights are always on, the kitchen is always open, and the music is always playing.

The streets are perfumed with exotic spices all day, and stream with lanterns and lights all night. It's vibrant and dangerous, mystical and historic.

Welcome to Vietnam, the pearl of the far east.


If you've never been to South-East Asia, firstly; go. It's another world entirely, far from anything you've ever experienced before. 

Ho Chi Minh, or Saigon as the locals still call it, is a little like Sydney before the lock out laws. But with less idiots, more booze, and no real sense of time. Except, perhaps, for a short gap between 2am and 7am when the city appears to sleep. 

Saigon is fast-paced, hectic, and full of life. Everyone owns a scooter and you can find pretty much any item you can think of in the endless market stalls lining the streets. From bags and perfumes, to exotic fruits and unusual meats. 

This is also where I caught my first glimpse of the coffee stalls in Vietnam. You may be surprised to learn they are the second biggest exporter of Arabica in the world, not least because opinion of Vietnamese coffee isn't that great. 

To be fair, Eastern fare on a Western stomach takes time to get used to; dairy isn't a major part of the culture over there, and lots of their packaged milk has sugar added. The coffee is usually accompanied by condensed milk (skip it, trust me), though you can get 'standard' milk, it's just going to taste a little funky. 

Drink your hot drinks black, or head to Starbucks, is the recommendation. However, don't miss a chance to at least try the coffee there; these people aren't messing around when it comes to their caffeine. Alternately, just drink the booze; it's cheaper than coffee and the Vietnamese are all over a good margarita. 

Traffic is a new and enlightening experience in Asia, and Vietnam is no exception. When I said everyone owns a scooter, I wasn't kidding; not a lot of people can affords cars, so this is the main mode of transportation. Waves of them flood the cities everyday, and you take your life in your hands just crossing the road. 

Horn-beeping there isn't like horn-beeping at home. Whereas we use it mainly as a way to advise other drivers of our displeasure - move please! you cut me off! oi, idiot, watch out! - not so with the Vietnamese. Beeping can indicate anything from turning and swerving to move-out-of-the-way and you-can-go. It's conversational and unnerving, but by your third or fourth day you get used to it. You have to; they don't care if you can see them or not. 

It's loud there, and it's not just traffic noise. Saigon is around a sixth of the size of Sydney with a population about four times the size, per square kilometre. To say it's crowded would be an understatement, people are simply everywhere there. If you came into Sydney during the height of Vivid or at xmas, you still wouldn't quite comprehend the density of Saigon, let alone Vietnam, because the whole country is like this, not just the cities.

Speaking of light shows, Vietnam is a twinkling jewel of a country from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi. Made up of mainly Buddhist, Confucist, and Taoist belief systems, to a Westerner the decorations look like xmas come early, every day of the week.

Restaurants and bars, massage parlours and boutiques, all decked out in glimmering lights. Sharp and intense during the day, the lights become a fairy wonderland of a night, shimmering a rainbow of hues over the landscape and everything in it.

Before leaving this city, stop at one of the many parks in Ho Chi Minh and watch the locals do Tai Chi early in the morning. Or you could wander down to see the Opera House and Union Square, and treat yourself to high tea at the Caravelle, a truly luscious treat. Don't forget to take a moment to survey the impressive statue of President Ho Chi Minh in Nguyen Hue Street, which sits in a pavilion with nothing between Uncle Ho and the river but exotic gardens, a testament to his achievements. 


Next stop on the tour for us was a short, domestic flight to Danang. Here again, I'm going to relate the countryside to something in Australia, but don't be mistaken; it's a vague similarity at best, and you are better experiencing it for yourself.

Danang appears a little like what the Gold Coast was in the '90's; long stretches of beach, edged as far as the eye can see with resorts and golf courses. Pools and spas are standard, and the general atmosphere is relaxed.

The bus trip from Danang to Hoi An isn't long, but our tour guide had forgotten we all need to eat, so I made an executive decision and talked him into stopping at a roadside noodle house.

It's probably as close to and the safest version of 'street food' you can try, and they make quick and tasty pho, which is basically the national dish. Soup-like fare, consisting of a slow-cooked broth, vegetables, meat (chicken, beef, prawns), spices, and noodles. Which really doesn't convey quite how moreish it is. If you try nothing else in Vietnam (for whatever bizarre reason), don't miss out on a traditional pho. I guarantee you'll be left wanting more.

Travelling on, you'll glimpse the Dragon Bridge spanning the Han River, which lights up of a nighttime. Nearby, you can also see the Bridge of Love Locks, where people have taken engraved padlocks and fastened them to show the strength of their emotions.

Further on the way to Hoi An are the Marble Mountains, five large limestone and marble hills, named for the five elements (in Taoism); metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. You can stop at any number of marble shops/factories, where the people carve extraordinary pieces with only base tools to work with.

7m elephants stand trunk-to-hip with Buddhist gods, while thousands of pieces of polished jewellery line rows of glass shelves. The craftsmanship is exquisite and the skill phenomenal. You could walk around for days, studying each item, and have not seen half of the work done there. These are people who, aside from large-scale infrastructure, make everything by hand, and here is one of the best places to observe it.

From there, head into the heart of Hoi An, and what a feast for the eyes you're in for. A personal favourite, Hoi An reminded me somewhat of Seminyak in Bali; the village feel, the people wandering and wheeling about on scooters, the soft, warm breeze just inviting you to go for a swim. We were especially spoiled by the opulence and warm welcome at Palmy Villas.

In the old town part of Hoi An, you must walk the streets there, not drive, but you'll enjoy the wander. Be wary of your tour guide saying it's a short walk from the hotels to the town itself however, as getting to old town is actually more like 45 minutes, and not pleasant in the heat.

Once you get there though, stop for a cool drink and a peruse of the local wares. Quaint little stores and shacks flow through the streets all the way to the river, where a fresh food market sits selling crisp, raw ingredients, enough to make your mouth water.

Hoi An is famous for their tailors, and for good reason; these are some of the fastest, most efficient, and cheapest places in the world to get quality goods made. From suits and shoes to formal dresses, belts, and accessories, if you can imagine it, they can make it. And at a fraction of the cost than in the Western world. Ask for recommendations before you go, or try Yaly Couture or BeBe.


Saying goodbye to lovely Hoi An, you head into the mystical mountain heights of the Hai Van Pass. Here, our trip turned misty and mysterious, and the temperature drops surprisingly.

From a tour bus, you can view the winding road through the pass, surrounded on all sides by dense, green vegetation. The roadway is generous at nearly two-cars wide, but traffic up there is the same as anywhere else in the country; buses trundle around bends with no care for the bare arms-length between you and the mountainside drop, while scooters whizz past at breakneck speed, unfazed by the proximity to other vehicles or the aforementioned drop.

Trust the locals and make peace with the dizzying heights, and you can then enjoy the wondrous sight of the hills rising up around you, with occasional glimpses of the ocean. At some point, you'll pass the beautiful little fishing of Lang Co, which nestles like a piece of forgotten history in the depths of the Hai Van Pass.

Next stop is Hue. Busy, but not quite as much as Saigon, Hue is home to the Forbidden Purple City inside the Imperial enclosure, which was almost entirely destroyed during the Vietnam War.

However, on a rain-drenched day which lent a suitably eerie air to the tour, we saw the remaining ruins, and they are truly breathtaking. Intricate lanterns and wall hangings nestle inside structures decorated with fantastical creatures such as dragons and unicorns (in Vietnam, unicorns may look a little more exotic than you're used to, so keep your eyes peeled and get a guide to point them out).

Around 3km from the citadel sits the Pagoda of the Celestial Lady, which towers 7 storeys above you, and it is said to be good luck to take a turn around it's base. You can also marvel at the enormous stone turtles with stele on their backs surrounding the Pagoda.

Head up the hill to see the Perfume River in all its glory. Again, on a drizzly day such as we had, the captivating sight of seeing the river from one length to another was simply astonishing. High up on the hill, surrounded by verdant forest and the graves of monks, made of stone and shaped like lotus flowers, it's worth the trek.


To get to Hanoi, we took an overnight train, and here again is an experience that surpasses words. But we'll give it a go!

Quarters were tight and facilities almost non-existent. Take rolls of toilet paper and hand sanitiser - in fact, that's a good tip for the whole trip, and you can thank me later. Drinking during the ride is 50/50 a good/bad idea; considering the situation, do you fare like you did when you were 20 or are you a Cadbury's kid? Keep in mind the sometimes bumpy tracks and you do eventually have to try and get some shut-eye, even for a few hours. Choose wisely. 

All that being said, an overnight train in South-East Asia is a brilliant adventure and we wouldn't have skipped it. The endless countryside can keep you mesmerised for hours, and armed with enough snacks, a good book, and a decent squishy pillow, you're all set. 

The 5am arrival isn't going to thrill anyone, as it sucks no matter where you are in the world, but the day ahead has lots to offer, so buck up and get ready to be charmed by the sights of Hanoi city. 

Vietnam's first national university is there, and encompasses the Temple of Literature which is a temple of Confucius.

Small children in graduation gowns flood the area, as part of the process is touring (read = running) through all the temples and paying homage before you get to move on. It's quite a delightful, though somewhat overwhelming, spectacle, only somewhat marred by the realisation that the speeches being delivered in a bark by teachers and older students alike are akin to a good brainwashing.

That being said, this is an entirely different culture, with a different set of values, ones that have survived for a very long time. If you can suspend your disbelief, even briefly, you'll enjoy it for what it is; kids being kids in a great centre of learning.

Onto a short break away from Hanoi, and you're in for some real luxury on an overnight boat tour of Halong Bay.


After another bus ride to the rather extensive wharves and harbour leading out to Halong Bay, you take a little skiff out to your junk

Like the ships of old, they are a cross between an over sized yacht and a pirate ship; lounge chairs on the top deck and curlicues a rapscallion of the high seas would be proud of. The quarters are cozy but by no means cramped, and look out onto famous emerald green water of the bay. 

Surrounded by mini-mountains of limestone and piles of shrub-covered rocks, you float gently with a variety of other ships. Lie back on the deck with a cocktail and enjoy the scenery while watching the light change colour on your surroundings and the horizon. 

The staff of our junk were friendly and the food delicious. A truly talented chef can make amazing creations like flowers and stars out of vegetables and a peeling knife. Even when we bumped into the side of another ship to dock, ours had hands that were rock-steady and calm. Should you get a chance to see the chefs in Vietnam produce the food creations they are famous for, pay close attention; Masterchef would be all over this if they knew. 

During your sojourn, you might take a brief trip out to the caves nestled in the mountains. A note in advance; if, like yours truly, you are mildly claustrophobic, you may wish to think twice about downing 4 glasses of wine and going on the one-way hike through them. Thinking happy thoughts is great, but you can always just lie on the beach at the base and wait for the tour to come back down.

Sleeping on a boat is pretty great. Just saying. Try it at least once in your life, and maybe try it in Vietnam. It's quiet, surreal, and a little mystical. The rocking motion is hypnotic and the sound of the sea is undeniably soothing.

By the end of the trip, you'll probably be feeling a little sad to leave Halong Bay, but know that there is more in store for you back in Hanoi.

Our tour ended with dinner at a place called KOTO, which stands for Know One, Teach One. It was opened by a Vietnamese Australian, Jimmy Pham. The concept is to give at-risk and disadvantaged youth a place to learn and thrive, and here, he has done wonders. 

KOTO is a funky little place with bright, bubbly staff and heavenly food. It was a personal favourite of mine, as I got to see how encouraging of young people it is, as well as a glorious fusion of our cultures. A must for any foodie traveller if you can make it!


I'd be lying if I said I wasn't glad to slow down a little after the whirlwind pace of the last two weeks. After spending so much time with a big bunch of people, it was pleasant just to be with my main gal again and cruising around the city. 

Hanoi's Hoan Kiem Lake is a picturesque spot to sit and do some people watching. Plant yourself somewhere with a view into the old quarter and down into the city, and marvel at the unnerving traffic acrobatics you thought you'd got used to. 

As a last minute treat, the Sofitel Legend Metropole does a simply splendid high tea with the option of their chocolate indulgence bar. Pretend it's 1920 and swish your way through the tea room to lounge in plush chairs while being served by immaculately dressed waitstaff. 

Wander into the Old Quarter in Hanoi and get your hair done, your nails scrubbed, or your aching muscles soothed. Pick up some jewellery, a nick-of-time gift, or just some yummy tidbits to tide you over. 

As you leave the city for home, keep your eyes peeled for the endless light shows you've come to expect from Vietnam; the Nhat Tan Bridge (only completed in the last few years) bathes you in ever-changing colours as you whizz over the city with all your treasures - both real and memorable - tucked away to pore over later.

Don't say goodbye, say see you later. Knowing you'll be back for more gems someday from the pearl of the far east...


Wednesday, 28 March 2018

[ this is not sex ed and I'm not Ron Jeremy ]


Let me preface this piece with two things, well before we get started;

Firstly, I've been in open relationships. I've dated multiple people at once. I've dated girls and couples and people who 'don't like labels'. I've heard all the stories, been in some, and gladly not in others. So I'm neither naive to the world nor a prude.

The other thing is, I've been watching a lot of When Calls The Heart. Like, a LOT. It's Hallmark, obviously, sometimes painfully slow in plot, but infinitely suspenseful and heartwarming. Basically, just a really nice - and really drawn-out - story.

You've been warned.


On that note, let's get rant started; please, please, *please* stop telling me about all the people you and your partner are having sex with. Or trying to have sex with. Or fantasising about having sex with. Or any combination of the above.

I know this may seem out of the blue, but I've just read four articles in as many days on the sex lives of the 'modern and adventurous', and really, right now, I just need a bucket.

Again, we know I'm not a prude, but I've reached the point where I'm well and truly fed up with people oversharing on their sex life. Just. Their sex life.

It's getting weird. And a little bit sleazy, in the creepiest way.


An acquaintance has been in a loving relationship with her primary partner for nearly a decade. At the same time, her longest, ongoing secondary relationship was around 2 years. She also had a fling with a girl in Perth a while back that just fizzled out due to distance. 

These are not the dominate topics of discussion. They're not even the secondary. She's a big human rights activist, an animal protection advocate, and a philosopher. If asked, she might tell you about her loves, but it's not high on her list of things to randomly gush about. 

I have another friend who spends a lot of his time equanimiously trying to figure out if he's gay or not. He regales me with hilarious stories of disastrous dates of varying degrees. 

This friend is an actor, a literary fiend, and a creator of epic costumes. The dating stories are shared over wine, have an intro, and only 50% involve actual sex.

There are lots of people I'm associated with who are like this. In variations of the same interpersonal relationship equations; single, loved up, figuring it out. None of them bang on incessantly about threesomes and Tinder, Grinder, or 4square (I may have that last one confused...anyway).

Why then, do I keep reading about Zack and Miri* and their 'fantastic exciting sex life'? Or Jeremy and Annabel** with their 'secret, naughty, other lifestyle'?


Before we go on, let's not mistake me here; I'm not adverse to the odd relationship article. Current dating trends, ways to communicate, sex and you, etc. I may get nothing constructive personally out of them, but it gives me a gauge on where society is at present; what we like, what we think, what's (still) taboo.

However, how many 'articles' can a journo possibly write about open relationships, with absolutely no context or substance? 

Seriously, I'm actually asking here.  

Dave and Sharon have 'dinner' with a new couple every weekend! Right...

Alina and Parker have a girlfriend, but are committed to each other. Yea, ok...

Genevieve and Michael like to shake it up once a month, but these aren't your usual parties... And? 

At first, I thought there was a new trend sweeping the dating world. Much like when I learned what ghosting and phubbing meant,  I was trepidatious but curious and open-minded. Like any good writer should be. 

I shouldn't have been. Research has produced - and continues to produce - whats seems like badly-written, thinly-veiled porn. And bad porn at that. Ergh. 

As Kitty Flanagan said recently, if we could just stop making porn, right now, there would still be enough to go around for decades to come. And really, that would still be enough.  

Where did our sense of occasion go? When did the art of suspense drop off, and our flair for mystery in relationships fall by the wayside?  

What on earth is possessing people to give interviews revolving *entirely* around their bits interacting with other peoples' bits? 

Why? Why??

I'd really love to hear about Helen's three-hour session with her kids' teacher, where she couldn't figure out if he was mad at her, mad at her kids, or trying to crack onto her.

Please, tell me more about your accidental roadtrip to the 'burbs, having to get directions from the hot barista, and how long it took you to decide if hanging out in a 'small town' with said hottie was worth being lost for. 

Because you know what these stories have in common? 

A PLOT. Character development. Thought-provoking questions, even if those questions are only, *wtf am I doing here?!*. 

Honestly folks, we all know where peoples' bits go. We've been given the talk about how different people are wired different ways, and a cursory overview of some of the more unusual tastes.

So, I say again; please, please, *please*, stop subjecting me to articles full of, frankly, boring smut and a lack of anything even vaguely resembling sex advice.


If your story has more body parts than a Ruth Rendell mystery, stop talking.

If the plotline involves this goes on that, and we're not discussing a Sussans jingle, please stop talking.

Journo's; if you get even halfway through an interview and your interviewee has emoted nothing more noteworthy than lust, stop talking. Stop writing. Rethink your piece.

And for those of you perpetrating this lack of suspense, killing the mystery, and basically sucking the sheer bliss out of anticipation - for yourselves and everyone else - Stop. Talking.

This is not sex-ed and we're not making a porno. Save that stuff for your therapist, and maybe watch a little more Hallmark.


*names made up to encompass a variety of stupid articles featuring cardboard cutouts of pretty much the same people every time