INTERROBANG

Musings on life, the universe and an elephant named Flobo

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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.

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To put pen to paper, or to sit in front of a screen as a blinking cursor highlights the white page. People, including world-famous authors like Stephen King right down to people who have never actually written a thing in life (apart from the assignments that no one can avoid during school) all seem to have opinions on how it should be done, the right environment, the right head space – hell, even the best beverage to be consuming as you bring your vision to life.

I have heard just about everything by way of advise.

  • Figure out every minute detail of your characters, environment and plot before writing a single sentence.
  • Don’t tell your characters what to do, they will figure it out on their own.
  • You should only write in the morning when you are entering your day fresh
  • Write at night, after your day is done it will be easier to figure out someone else’s.
  • Always name your work as soon as possible, referring to something as “Untitled” is just soul destroying.
  • Name your work near the end, once you know exactly what it is. Just like naming a child, it is always best to see what it looks like before slapping a name on it.
  • Be prepared to murder your darlings
  • Never throw out a single piece of writing, you never know when that random line is going to fit perfectly into something else.

 

I think one of the reasons that there are so many conflicting pieces of advice is because writing really is a solo, highly personal experience. You spend hours, days, months or even years drawing words out of your soul. Your experiences, thoughts, feelings and idiosyncrasies form words which if lucky, will form worlds and characters. Even the driest of texts which seemingly has nothing personal in it, for instance a training manual for staff, will still have the essence of the writer within.  We are unable to craft something without giving up a part of ourselves. It is our gift and our curse.

I have written a number of novels, the occasional poem and lyrics and even the most outrageous of my work has an element of me within it. Some people will never understand the writers life. If you are lucky you will be surrounded by some who share an element of this life with you. Whether they are writers, artists or musicians, they will understand what it is like to surrender a piece of themselves in the creation of something else.

I have my own challenge for this year, in amongst the wedding planning, work and every day living. My goal is to finish a novel I started 6 years ago. It may seem like a long time ago and in some ways it is, however I can still remember first putting pen to paper as the world was conjured up. Some things crave life and will do whatever they can in the quest towards it. For me, this novel is one of those beings quietly making its way towards the light, willing me to imbue it with breath.

My only piece of advice for anyone want to write is this. Just do it. Don’t allow yourself to be your own worst critic (guilty), don’t allow everything else to get in the way. If it is something that you want to do just do it. Put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard and let the words flow.

Another brilliant poem by my friend Robert Hayes. Please let me know what you think.

 

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OLD MAN

A man’s reflection tells no lies
Scars and wrinkles worn with pride
His youth betrayed, a life now lived
Left with nothing more to give.
His wife’s long passed, his children grown
All has past him, he longs for home.
Days now spent down by the pond
The ducks he once fed, have all but gone
A simple book, his one possession
Yet, it leaves him with one question
How am I to fill my days?
As all I love fades away
Too old to work, too young to die
To search for purpose, and ponder why?
Each day a gift, yet bares a cost
With out his loves, it leaves him lost
His dues now paid, his lies now lived
Left with just one thing to give
His life surrendered, his affairs in order
He takes three steps, into the water
One quick breath sees him gone
The church bell rings, yet no one mourns
At peace at last, his angel found
His mortal body placed in the ground.

 

© Copyright 2018 Robert Hayes

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Well Weddings sure can bring out some interesting sides in people. People who I barely know have become good friends and have shared so many useful tips and tricks without trying to step on my toes and those that I thought would be by my side to assist me or at least share in my happiness have for the most part, turned out to be massive disappointments.

Luckily I have a wonderful fiance who is helping with the planning and seems to be sharing in the excitement – this is one bride-to-be who never thought a wedding would be cause for excitement. I am determined to enjoy our special day and not let anyone spoil our happiness. At the end of the day it isn’t going to matter if some people aren’t present, those who want to be witness to our marriage will be. It won’t matter if some people have less than ideal hairstyles and have made zero effort to look nice on the day, assuming that everything will just fall into place.

Some people will always find issues with the happiness of others. Schadenfreude is all too common. Through it all I know that a select few have my back and will always do what they can for me. If wedding’s are good for one thing, it is figuring out the friends from the fakes.

Oh well, this is one woman who isn’t going to go all Bridezilla. Shake it off and when it all comes down to it, dance it off…

 

 

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I absolutely love the rain. I love the sound of it, the smell of it and the greenish hue it casts across the world. I love the silence before the storm which is almost deafening and the anticipation of Mother Nature’s displays.

I live in the “Sunshine State” so you wouldn’t expect much in the way of rain. Well, at the moment rain seems very much a part of day-to-day life. My pool has been dangerously close to overflowing for the better half of a month and my body seems all set to get on board and sympathise with the weather.

I have found it incredibly hard to find a comfortable medium between feeling too hot and too cold. I know, I know… first world problems – aircon, fan or blanket…

I do not know if it is due to the sudden change in weather or the supposed change of season (I don’t agree to seasons starting with calendar months but whatever..) however I have come down with a head cold. They are one of the most evil things known to man (in my opinion). The constant headache from the blocked sinus sends me around the bend and quickly into a state of fatigued annoyance where even the slightest thing will drive me to wanting to commit murder. I also do not know why colds are called colds. I tend to get colds during the warmer months – don’t know if this is considered abnormal, and they do not make me feel cold. All the blood rushing around through my head and mingling with the lovely fluids gushing from my nose make me feel hot not cold. However, I suppose having the Hots just doesn’t sound as miserable as having a cold. On a brighter note, the guys I work with have been kind enough to tell me how horrid I currently look. So go to take the positives…

 

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There are many things in this world that are toxic and the worst thing, in my humble opinion, is people.

I try to be a good person and stick by trying to be nice to people, regardless of how they are treating me. Not because I always think that these individuals deserve to be treated well. For all I know, they are going through a tough time and acting out in the hopes of someone asking them the simple question “are you okay?” other than that, they may actually just be d*cks (not that I have anything against that particular piece of anatomy, however most derogatory terms do tend to stem from our nether regions) and being nice to them will just confuse the hell out of them. Personally, I would rather confuse someone into thinking I am a bit thick and be silly enough to underestimate me, than to waste my time sinking to a lower level to be nasty.

Although I try to live like this, we all know it ain’t easy. Some people are just experts at pushing all the right buttons or you have such a long, complicated history which is unable to be suppressed completely so the negatively continues to flow.

I have a couple of toxic people in my life and they have only remained in my life this long, because there are innocents caught in the crossfire. I do not like pulling others into my life, my arguments or my troubles. Misery may love company but in times like this, I prefer to go it alone. I do not know if this is because I am empathetic and know what it is like to feel others pain. I do know that I don’t want to bring others down with me.

Perhaps others have better ways of dealing with toxic people. For me, all I can say is:

  1. Avoid them wherever possible (which can be difficult depending on relationship with this person whether they are family, colleague, boss, neighbour etc).
  2. Try not to sink to their level
  3. Breathe
  4. Don’t forget to smile. Toxic people always have a way of undoing themselves. Sit back and wait.

 

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Wedding plans are in full swing and so far, not casualties. To date, we have chosen wedding bands (picking them up this evening from Jewellers…eek), organised venue, picked dinner menu, organised DJ – so glad I work with one… made things a lot easier and found a photographer with the help of Airtasker since neither my fiance or I could justify spending a small fortune on photography when a lot of the best pictures usually taken at events are the sneaky pics snapped on phones and tablets.

I managed to find a hotel within 3 minutes walking distance to our wedding venue and have now booked 2 rooms for the night before and night of the wedding. It will be strange not going to sleep with my fiance next to me but I think it will add to the day a little bit with him not seeing me til the ceremony. I for one plan to relax and partake in some wine and perhaps a pedicure before the mad rush to be ready on the day.

The main point of concern will be finding a dress that I like. That, and hoping the celebrant that we want confirms soon – I really don’t want to find someone else.

With this being my second trip down the aisle, I have found myself making comparisons. Yes, I know that humans do tend to compare events and people to see how things stack up based on past experiences or in some cases, others experiences, however I have always attempted not to do too much comparison. Everyone has a different life and things happen at different times. That being said, this time round certainly takes the awards. Last time (and no these memories aren’t tainted by the knowledge of how that marriage turned out) it was horrible from start to finish. My family caused issues, his family caused issues, I was completely left out of all decision making and talked into wearing a dress that I absolutely hated. To top it off, on the day my makeup made me look like Mimi from the Drew Carey Show, my mother turned up late to help me get dressed, my older sister wore white (thanks sis… yes we get you have to be the centre of attention) and the bridesmaid turned up late and stoned.

This time around, I am not taking any shite. My older sister is off the guest list so has zero say in anything that is happening. My bridesmaid won’t turn up late or stoned and I am able to plan the day that my fiance and I deserve. It is a joint effort (although I am taking lead on the logistical stuff) and we are both going to have the day that we want to celebrate our love and start of the rest of our lives together.

 

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For better or worse, I have found a man who can handle both my craziness and the added craziness that he is stuck with (my family). He listens to what I want and does what he can to make all my dreams come true although, as long as I get to be with him – my dreams are set.

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Well, the wedding plans are in full swing and I have 6 months to get my butt into shape so I am not rolling down the aisle.

Easier said than done. Yes, I know that I am certainly capable of weight loss. The thing that concerns me is the maintenance. We office is considering taking part in a marathon (I draw the line at 10 km) a couple of months before the wedding. What happens if I randomly drop a bit of weight in noticeable areas after a dress fitting? Yes, I suppose this all depends on me having selected a dress by this date but it is still worth the thought.

The main struggle is that when I get either a) bored or b) too lazy to eat properly since I am distracted by other things I either skip meals or eat too much. It is a vicious cycle.

At least I can make sure I get my butt out of my seat during the day and go for a long walk during lunch. I attempt to use as many of the hills as possible in Brisbane, however on a scorching summer day I do have to force myself.