INTERROBANG

Musings on life, the universe and an elephant named Flobo

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Each of us wear different masks throughout our lives. Some are off and on with frequency, set to protect us in social situations and work environments. Some masks, we struggle to remove.

I have discovered that I generally wear a number of masks on any given day, depending on the situation I am in and it is only those that I am closest to who get to view me without this added protection.

Now, I am not saying that I am being dishonest by wearing these masks. No, they are more to assist me with manoeuvring the social intricacies involved with each of my roles.

Masks may be situational, Emotional, or simply to hide identities.

One of the masks I hide behind, along with a lot of people, is a name. All you will ever know me as is Inkwell. Not only for the safety of my identity as well as the simple fact that I am not a fan of the name on my birth certificate.

The main thing to remember with these masks is not to hurt others or yourself. It is all well and good to hide but do not hide from your own truth. Pain lurks in the darkness of those that hide from their personal truths.

Hide all you want from others, but do not hide from yourself.

If you are a boss for instance, don’t get caught out hiding behind the mask of an all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful “Boss”. You are not the Wizard of Oz and even the great Oz was eventually able to admit that he did know actually know much at all.

No matter how many masks you wear, I hope that you find at least one person who can see you without them. Someone you trust enough to bare your soul to. It is something that many of us strive for and all too few of us seem to achieve.

 

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I will be the first to admit that one of my all time favourite movies is that holiday favourite “Love Actually”. I love watching the interwoven stories unfold and yes, I do find myself screaming at the Telly every time a certain character is about to stray from his charming English wife – the friend basically stalking his best friends wife I am a bit less invested in…

Something strikes me each time that I watch this film or come across a particular word.

Actually.

Seems like a rather inconspicuous word to me.

According to the Oxford Dictionary: (Adverb)

  1. As the truth or facts of a situation; really.
  2. Used to emphasise something some has said or done is surprising.
  3. Used to introduce a new topic or to add information to a previous statement.

All seems rather simple enough, until you realise that it also means: Used when expressing a contradictory or unexpected opinion or correcting someone.

Yes, correcting someone. I can see how that can be rather negative (depending on the manner the correction is given). I know we are all guilty of correcting each other but have found that when someone uses the word “actually” they are really saying – “Actually, you are completely wrong dumb ass”.

As well as this, I have found that it is most commonly used, to give a negative tint to good ol’ Number 2 (no double entendre intended) . Used to emphasise that something someone has said or done is surprising can end up sounding like one of the most negative statements you can hear.

For example:

“Honey, you actually look really good in that”.

Does that mean I usually look like a piece of shite or you were certain that the outfit I chose was hideous and were simply too tired to be my wardrobe assistant for a couple of hours while “we” selected the perfect outfit?

“I actually really love the present you got me”

Hmmm, this could either be complete and utter BS to save face, or to save the other parties feelings (both quite understandable) or you are in fact in complete shock that this person actually knows you well enough to get something you like instead of something that you will attempt to return to the random shop it was purchased from, without a receipt.

Tell me. Am I just over thinking this word? What words do you find some what negative?

 

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All of us are different colours, different backgrounds, dreams and hopes. However, there exists a couple of universal truths – something I am sure would actually be universal if intelligent life anything like ours does in fact exist.

Each of us stumble through life with a major nagging thought ringing through our heads. It is our own little alarm clock which keeps us awake at night and seeks to destroy our peace. It is simply this: Are we on the right path?

I don’t mean for this post to be spiritual or religious in nature. Each of us are on different paths in life and I am not about to tell anyone else how they should be living. I am talking about the lump that we each get in our bellies that weighs us down with the constant questioning of “Have I done the right thing?”

Should I leave a job that is unfulfilling and perhaps try my hand at something else – what if the job market is as bad as “they” say it is and I end up unemployed? Or the company I end up at turns out to be just as bad as the one I’ve left?

Should I save up my money in case everything starts to fall apart or spend some and enjoy life a bit? 

Did I send my child to the right school? Should I have allowed them to take that music class even though it is expensive and they probably won’t follow through with it? 

We all live in a constant state of uncertainly, wishing that someone had the answers and could either tell us what to do or tell us that we have made the right choice.

Free will seems all well and good until the day that you really don’t feel like adulting and wish someone else would make all the decisions for you. I used to think that kids had it easy. They had parents and teachers and others to tell them what to do and largely, how to handle the day. However, on reflection I find that I was wrong. Yes we may have all been told when to have nap time but whether or not we actually did was up to us. Thinking you have any real control over a toddler is a massive delusion.

If anyone has a crystal ball which could help me with my decision making, please send it my way. Thanks 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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*One of my favourite quotes by a brilliant Australian novelist, Garth Nix.

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The battle with the bulge continues. I will be “good” for a couple of weeks (okay more commonly a day or so) and then something will drive me crazy and I will go reaching for a chocolate bar or start dreaming about hot chips and other yummy foods.

In order to get trimmed down for my wedding (it is the main focus at the moment since I have my dress alterations at the beginning of next month) I have undertaken a 4 week challenge with my fiance, his mum and sister.

4 Week Challenge

  • No white bread
  • No Soda or Juices
  • No Ice cream – sigh
  • No candy
  • No Fried Food
  • No Fast Food – gasp
  • No Cookies
  • No chips or fries – faint
  • No cakes or doughnuts

 

I am two days in and already I feel my usual calm demeanour (it’s my blog I can lie if I want to) is slowly being replaced by a crazed lunatic.

I go for walks during my lunch breaks at work and attempt to avoid all the yummy smelling food places (isn’t easy when I work in the CBD).

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My work days are also full of plans for socialising and I suspect that my team is trying to slowly kill me…

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

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I have found that I have becoming increasingly annoyed by things as I get older. Grumpy Old Woman? Hmmm… well I don’t think I quite qualify for that distinction just yet – I’ve got 5 grey hairs but not ready to pack it in and give up on youth just yet.

I find that some things make me so frustrated or angry that I literally get squinty while thinking about the violence I dream of inflicting. (note: I am actually a rather non violent person and do not advocate violence however, I certainly dream of slapping people at times).

I do not know if my pet peeves are the same as everyone else’s so I figures I should document those that come to mind and see if anyone agrees with me.

People who are late  – yes we all run late at times. Nothing we can do about it but it drives me mental when some people just assume the rest of the world is going to wait for them.

Loud chewers and those who masticate with a wide open gob  – I do not want to see the food slosh around in your mouth and I certainly don’t want to hear it. Yes, some foods are virtually impossible to chew quietly but you can still try.

“No Offence” – Yeah you can say that all you want, however, if you then proceed to say something intentionally offensive you can go jump.

Lack of basic grammar and spelling – I signed up for a couple of groups on Facebook and after 2 months, want to either tear my eyeballs out or delete them. Yes, everyone makes typos and errors however I would love to see at least 30% of posts on social media that don’t look like they have been written by a 5-year-old. Actually, I know 5 year olds who could construct better sentences than what I keep seeing.

Speakers instead of headphones – Not everyone likes your choice of music or wants to listen to the somewhat racist comedian you are listening to. If you are around a group of people (especially if you are crammed into public transport) please use headphones.

Public Grooming – This both irritates and fascinates me. I do not know why people can’t “get ready” before leaving the house but I really draw the line at someone cutting toe nails on the train.

Food photography – Wow, good work. You are eating. Congratulations. I am honestly happy that you have been able to find food. I do not need to see pictures of it, every single day.

Smelly food in the office – Tuna, microwaving fish or anything smelly in the communal office kitchen should be outright banned. It is bad enough when you are trying to lose some weight and can smell yummy food, it is worse when you have to meet deadlines and are being forced from the office by the putrid odours coming from colleagues food.

People who complain that they are too busy and then sit and do nothing – Okay, everyone is busy. You are busy, I am busy, we are all busy. Do not claim that you are busier than everyone else. Do not ignore everyone else because of this abundance of “stuff” you have to do and then sit on your backside and not actually do anything.

What things annoy you?

 

Straphanger Chronicle

The life of this commuter is almost back to normal now that both school holidays and the Commonwealth Games are complete. With Anzac Day and May Day around the corner, you can already see the desire for a mid-week break or long weekend in many commuters eyes (although I am sure some of the parents are breathing a sigh of relief that they have survived another set of School Holiday Hell and not looking forward to the next one, and the search for ways to entertain the minions on a budget).

Rain continues to plague the city of Brisbane, although we are having some respite with a couple of days in amongst the showers. We tend to have one hot day, a couple of cool and potentially rainy days (not great if you want your pool warm so you can get as much out of it as possible before Winter kicks in) so face some confusion regarding what season we are in.

The thongs and singlets have started to be replaced with coats and scarves, making full trains all the more fun when you are forced body to body with someone who resembles a marshmallow.

Bags seem to have the suspicious rattle of multi-vitamin containers and Brisbanites start to prepare for the flu season, since we are lucky enough to have a flu named after our city. Hopefully I am able to avoid all germs although within the close confines of the trains, I don’t like my chances.

The worse thing about my current train is the “couple” that I used to spy on are not using this service so I am unable to see whether the gum exchange is still in progress. Oh well, more characters will present themselves…

 

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I have always believed in the freedom of belief, as long as those beliefs and the actions taken due to said beliefs are not negatively affecting the lives of others. Seems simple enough. Over the years, I have been asked many times what my religious beliefs are. It seems that a lot of people are not happy unless they can stick a label on you and call you either friend or foe.

So, for the purpose of this post, I have decided to outline the only label I wish to be known by and this even corresponds with how I answer the religion question on census forms.

In case you are interested, I call myself a Moon Worshipper. The moon (yeah, should say OUR moon to be specific since there are between 173 and 181 moons in our solar system depending on if you count those in orbit of dwarf planets or not) certainly gets a bad rap. People blame the Moon for changes in just about everything from behaviour to menstruation. The Sun doesn’t get of easily either however I will leave it to a Sun Worshipper to defend.

I am not saying that I pray to the Moon. That would be a lie. I do love to lay on the grass, well actually blankets, since I am actually allergic to grass seeds, and stare up at the moon while pondering everything. Some may be quite content to ponder belly buttons or the mathematical fascinations within flowers however I will generally stick to celestial bodies.

I do not know how much sway the Moon has on my life in particular. I do know, that the heavens would look rather empty without it and I suspect I would feel rather empty without it.

Some may choose to pray to different omnipotent beings.  I don’t see the point in praying to the moon, or talking to it at all really. I do not believe that it sits in the sky just waiting to listen to the bullshit that comes from my mouth, wondering how it can serve me and improve my life. That being said, if it had any sway over the results of the lotto and could improve my odds I wouldn’t go telling it not to.

I think most people pray or worship to find a piece of well, peace, in this rather empty and lonely world. Seek out whatever it is that brings you comfort. For me, I will continue to look skyward at night.

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On Saturday, I became the proud owner of a new guitar. A Squire Affinity HSS (Fender) stratocaster to be more accurate. I must say, I am absolutely in love with Gigi (yeah I tend to name things and it took me a while to figure out what to call this sexy little, Candy Apple Red coloured beauty).

I originally picked up a guitar when I was around 14/ 15 years old and going through my somewhat angry teenager stage. I took some lessons from 2 different teachers at the local music store and enjoyed plodding along on my trusty old acoustic. Then, I was introduced to my first Electric and my life changed. Suddenly, I could play more of the “cooler sounding” rock kind of music that I loved and better still, my smaller girly hands fit around the neck so much easier. All seemed to be going well for a while and I enjoyed tinkering around with my instruments. Then I had to focus more of High School when my grades dropped due to A) medical condition and B) Horrible environment. I survived High School and was forced to hock my precious electric to pay for text books for college. Sadly I parted ways and it didn’t take long before someone else snatched up my piece of music from the shop. My acoustic lasted a little longer until I developed viral arthritis (the flu can really be mean at times) and passed it on to my brother. Unfortunately, being newly initiated into the realms of teenage-hood, he still stored most of his life on the floor and the acoustic died a disturbing death when he put his foot through it.

So, it has been quite a while since I’ve picked up a guitar and I thought all hopes of being able to make music had faded. I have always loved music. It is the one thing in life that can change your day so completely. Finding that right track, or noting how you hum along to an unknown melody at the most random of times. Music is all around us. It is in the rustling of the leaves and the beats of the thunder storms.

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I have decided not to have “lessons” this time. With Youtube and the bit of prior knowledge of Guitar Tab and muscle memory that I somehow retained despite the arthritis, I have decided to plod along solo for the time being.

I am currently working through chords (could remember C, D & G) as well as the Major scale and practising strumming, alternate picking etc. I have a long journey ahead of me however it feels so good to be able to come home after a long and frustrating day in the office and slip away with my guitar for some personal time. I will no doubt continue to chronicle my trials, and hopefully triumphs as I go.

 

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It has always astounded me with just how much stock people place in horoscopes.

I have known people who refuse to date others based on star signs. Some also wait to read the weekly horoscope in the paper before making any decision more important than “what shall I have for dinner tonight?”

Some important things to note when considering horoscopes:

  • Planetary positions are constantly changing so even if you happen to share the same birthday as another individual, the celestial bodies will be different.
  • You may have been born at the exact same time as another person however, due to time differences your birth dates are different. What if one of you is on the cusp and the other slightly more in a star sign?
  • Twins – even if they are identical looking, don’t always have the same personalities. Which is living life as assigned by the stars?

 

Now, I agree that horoscopes can be damn entertaining. And some people do seem to embody the essence of the star sign, imbued with the essential quirks and characteristics they are supposedly meant to have.

Let’s look at the traits.

Aries – Eager, dynamic and competitive. Expect them to all be called Max Power.

Taurus – Strong, dependable and creative. Ferdinand is obviously a Taurus. 

Gemini – Expressive, curious and kind. Sounds like a kitten before it has turned full evil on you.

Cancer – Protective, intuitive and sentimental. Protective, that’s coz of the shell right?

Leo – Dramatic, outgoing and self-assured. The king of the jungle will think he is king anywhere.

Virgo – Analytical, practical and loyal. How much analysing is too much? Is analysing my analysis simply a waste of resources?

Libra – Social and diplomatic. United Nations here we come!

Scorpio – Passionate, creative and stubborn. Aren’t all creative types stubborn? Watch out for that tail!

Sagittarius – Extroverted, optimistic and generous. I wonder if Richard Branson is a Sagittarius…

Capricorn – Disciplined, serious and independent. Remember, Jesus would have been a Capricorn…

Aquarius – Imaginative, deep and uncompromising. The “Water Bearer”… oh deep (insert facepalm for lame ass Dad joke)

Pisces – Affectionate, wise and artistic. So an owl that likes to paint (with the blood of the mice it has just “hugged” to death with its claws). 

I know quite a few people who fit into these star signs. I am a Virgo (could you tell), engaged to a Scorpio and bestie is an Aquarius – was also married to an Aquarius so still confused whether these signs are supposed to be compatible or not…

Chances are, due to the number of people who would fall within any of these star signs, some of them have to possess (or think they possess) some of these “traits”.

How many people have let star signs determine portions of their own identity from being inflicted with this “knowledge” from the heavens at an early age?

At the end of the day, we are what we are. I don’t personally think that some random person hiding behind a laptop churning out horoscope predictions to be printed in the paper (or published online) can really take credit for anything groundbreaking. Reading your daily horoscope is about as useful as checking the weather forecast: Today – it may rain and it might not. The sun might be out or it could be behind clouds. Equally, you are going to have a rather average day. The person in the cubicle besides you is secretly wondering whether to start an affair with your pencil sharpener since they have recently discovered they suffer from objectophilia.

If you are going to believe in horoscopes, go ahead. I would never try to stop you. However, DO NOT TELL ME THAT I AM ANALYTICAL… YES I SPEND TIME DOING REPORTING DURING MY DAY. IT IS MY JOB, NOT BECAUSE I AM A VIRGO!

 

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In a world of sensory overload brought about by the glare of smart phones, fitness bands and a fully “plugged in” society, it seems to have become increasingly common for us as a society to throw the blinkers on when faced with something that we don’t wish to view.

I have covered the topic of “Ignorance is Bliss” in another post however a number of news stories have grabbed my attention of late, as well as the lack of coverage they seem to have gathered. Sadly today it was reported that a man was killed in a local lane way when he was run over in his sleep by a reversing garbage truck. I tend to read to news stories of the day during my morning commute so I noticed this story. I mentioned it at work to see what others thought of this horrible event and not one person had heard of this unfortunate death. They could however tell me in minute detail about what the current brand of reality TV “celebrities” were up to.

When did it become more important to hear about what some imbecile is doing on a reality TV show (not that I think any of those shows understand the term reality) than things that are happening on our streets? When did it become more worthwhile to share countless pictures of the food we are about to eat (one of my pet peeves) than it was to check in with another human being and see how they are going?

In my attempt to escape the office and my computer screen for a bit of time each day, I like to take walks around the city during my lunch break. Sometimes I walk into the heart of the city, sometimes I go and sit by the river. I am always struck by the large array of people who I see and come into contact with. I have found for the most part that the people I meet on my little travels around the city are generally friendly. I do not know if this is because of the type of people they are, or because I, unlike some, am not looking down my nose at them. It is possible for any of us to end up on the streets and ignoring the “issues” do not make them go away.

It is a shame when we can care more about characters on television shows and celebrities than we can for each other. At the end of the day none of us is getting out of here alive so why not try to make the most of it. Smile and ask how someone is going?  If you have a dollar to spare, than give it to someone less fortunate. Even if you can’t help in any monetary way, at least stop ignoring people.

 

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Ignoring problems does not make them go away. It just shows that our hearts have been corrupted.