Two Bloggers Walk Into A Bar….Or Onto A Road

WP on highway

Scene: Two WordPress bloggers meet somewhere on the information superhighway. Or, rather, on the pedestrian section of the information superhighway. We don’t want anyone run over by speed demons. You know, those bloggers who churn out posts at lightning speed, sometimes multiple times a day.

Random Blogger: Oh, hello MOSY! How have you been?

MOSY: Ah, okay, I guess.

RB: Haven’t seen you about much lately. What have you been up to?

MOSY: Oh, I’ve been a bit busy, actually. With the three R’s.

RB: Wow. Have you gone back to study?!

MOSY: Er….noooo. Three R’s? Running, Rowing and Recovering.

RB: Rowing and running?

MOSY: Yeeees. Sometimes I row and then run. One after the other. Hence the third R, of course.

RB: So, you’re telling me you’re insane.

MOSY: I’m not insane. My mother had me tested.

RB: Oh dear. Has it been that bad for that long?

MOSY: Really? You don’t know a quote from The Big Bang Theory when you hear one?

RB: The big what?

[MOSY rolls her eyes and sighs]

MOSY: Don’t you have a photo challenge to write about or something?

RB: Nah. I don’t really like the theme this week.

MOSY: Oh.

RB: You know, I do recall seeing you somewhere lately. On some blog or other.

MOSY: Well, yes, I’ve tried at least to keep up with other people’s blogs. Put my two cents worth in. Although, given the exchange rate lately, it’s more like one and a half cents worth on those Northern Hemisphere blogs.

RB: That’s right. You were making some bizarre comment about banana daiquiris or something. It was kind of amusing.

MOSY: Yeah, well, it’s easy to be witty in small doses.

RB: Witty? Was that what you were trying to be?

[MOSY stares at RB]

MOSY: Are you sure you don’t want to do this week’s photo challenge? I heard they’re offering prizes. [MOSY crosses her fingers behind her back]

RB: REALLY?? Oh, I’d better get right on that! I think I’ve got something from a few years ago that will be perfect!

MOSY: Yes, you’d best get on to that. You’re definitely in the running.

RB: Are you sure you’ll be okay? Will I see you again?

MOSY: Oh, you know me. Always hanging around like a bad smell. Or a bad electronic presence anyway.

RB: But you’ll post something soon, right? I mean, you know that if you don’t post regularly people will stop reading your blog?

MOSY: Right. [MOSY sighs]

Closing scene: The Random Blogger rushes away to trawl through photo archives while MOSY pulls out her laptop, stares at the New Post page for a few minutes, sighs, then puts it away and sticks out her thumb for a lift.

 

 

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The Shock Of Finding Out You’re Actually Canadian

So I just found out I’m Canadian.

I am not a Southern Hemisphere dwelling lover of surfing and cuddler of koalas. Maple syrup flows in my veins and I have a penchant for mooses. Or is it mise?

Canada 1

Nah, don’t worry. There hasn’t been the big reveal of some deep dark family secret. I just took a quiz to discover my “inner nationality”.

The Internet is awash with pop quizzes that will tell you what job you should be doing, what breed of dog you would be or – my favourite – what Sesame Street character you are. (I got Mr Snuffleupagus. Of course.)

Some are a bit more obscure like the one that asks “What 4-letter word best describes you?” (Someone should develop one of those just for politicians with appropriate 4-letter word answers. I have a few suggestions.) Some will try to guess your real age or your middle name. (Actually, that last one is ridiculous…but yes, I still did it. They got it wrong. Duh.)

But you have to be picky. Some are annoyingly obvious and telegraph which answer you’re heading for so clearly, you could engineer the answer you want with your eyes closed. Or at least half-closed because, you know, you still have to see the screen to answer the questions.

Quizzes about your nationality that ask you what your favourite food is and give you options like Pizza or Sushi and what your favourite movie is out of choices including The Godfather and Godzilla are, frankly, a waste of time.

Yes, okay, so they’re all a waste of time, but I have found some of them so pinpoint accurate it’s almost creepy. And I can’t pick where they’re going with the questions either.

I was rather thrilled to be told my inner nationality was Canadian. All you lovely Canadian bloggers out there – no wonder I’ve felt an affinity. And we are soon to have a Canuck marry into the family so that’s all right. Here’s how they describe a Canadian:

Canadian

I’ve never been so proud to wear a knitted jumper sweater (sigh – this could take some getting used to) with a giant maple leaf on the front.

Oh, if you’re wondering which quiz site it is that told me I am a 20-year-old Canadian Writer who is Real and a Diligently good person, it’s this one. (Direct link to Nationality quiz here.)

So. Who are you really?

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The Crumb Wars 5: Terror In The Skies

 

A report from the Central Republic of Kitchen by our foreign correspondent Heath Dempster.

There has been a temporary cessation of hostilities between the government forces of the Central Republic of Kitchen and the rebels from the Northern States of Boys Rooms as they battle a new enemy invading both countries.

The CRK, Northern States and other countries in the region, including the Kingdom of Laundry and the United States of Lounge are under sustained aerial attack from the secretive terror organisation Clothing Moths.

Clothing Moth

Originating from hidden bases inside the tiny states of Wardrobe, the Clothing Moths have been attacking crops of Woollen Garments. While it is currently not Woollen Garment season, the attacks are likely to leave the citizens of all countries in dire circumstances in future months.

Together, the CRK army and the Northern State rebels have attempted to eliminate the threat by targetting individual Clothing Moths, but it is becoming evident that the assault is larger and more extensive than expected. There have been confirmed reports of the decimation of Carpet crops in some corners of the region.

The leader of the CRK, Mother, has called an emergency meeting of cabinet to discuss the possible action of widespread bombing to clear the region of this terror cell.

Even if the terrorists are driven from the region, the countries will undoubtedly require international assistance to clean up the extensive damage sustained by the attack.

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Scene of battles with the terrorist Clothing Moths.

In Related News:

The Crumb Wars: Battle of the Bench
The Crumb Wars 2: Expansion Into The Northern States
The Crumb Wars 3: Abandonment of Civic Order
The Crumb Wars 4: Rice Wars

 

 

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The Crumb Wars 4: Rice Wars

The following report is from our foreign correspondent, Heath Dempster, based in the Central Republic of Kitchen.

Information is just coming in that rebels in the Central Republic of Kitchen – who have for some weeks been waging a toast crumbs guerrilla war in the Bench fringes of the country – are being supplied with higher grade weapons from the subcontinent.

Locals say the first appearance of Basmati Rice was thought to be a one-off but there are eye witness reports of increasingly brazen use of this dangerous weapon in all areas of the Bench.

It is assumed that the weapons are being smuggled into the country via the secretive enclave of Pantry. The CRK has been in trade negotiations with the rogue state to open up trade routes but talks were abandoned last week over the suspected misappropriation of Biscuit Funds.

Government forces have been sent into the region to track down the weapons and to capture those responsible. However, it is feared that should the Basmati Rice supply route be shut down, the rebels may resort to the more lethal Jasmine Rice.

Observers from the United Household Nations are monitoring the situation.

More reports as information comes to hand.

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Evidence of the rebels’ use of the new weapon Basmati Rice. (Image copyright: Fisher Paykel, CRK)

 

In Related News:

The Crumb Wars: Battle of the Bench
The Crumb Wars 2: Expansion Into The Northern States
The Crumb Wars 3: Abandonment of Civic Order

 

 

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The Crumb Wars 3: Abandonment of Civic Order

Central Republic of Kitchen

Our local presenter, Nigel Havenstock, speaks to foreign correspondent Heath Dempster about the latest developments in the Central Republic of Kitchen.

Nigel: Heath, thanks for joining us. Fill us in on what has been happening in the CRK.

Heath: Thank you, Nigel. Well, it seems the situation here has worsened considerably in recent days and there is a great deal of tension in the region.

Nigel: Tension? Why?

Heath: As you will be aware, the leader of the CRK, Mother, attempted to force Clean Up After Yourself legislation through parliament a fortnight ago in order to combat an insurgency in the outlying Bench areas of the CRK. So far this move has been unsuccessful. For the past two days, Mother has travelled outside the country to consult with members of the United Household Nations. It is believed she has appealed for international support for these harsh measures.

Nigel: Yes, our reporter Beryl Maynard was present at the talks. We understood that some support was likely.

Heath: Yes, I believe the news that came back from the UHN Headquarters was that the talks were positive. However, it would seem that the UHN ultimately cannot affect any real control over the situation in the CRK.

Nigel: You said that the situation had worsened. Can you tell us what has happened?

Heath: Well, Nigel, it appears that while Mother was out of the country, all civil obedience was abandoned. Standard civic services, such as Dishes and Hanging Up Towels – that had until now been carried out without issue – were discontinued in the leader’s absence. This has lead to increased chaos and a deterioration in living conditions for residents of the CRK and nearby areas.

Nigel: But who has been responsible for this rebellion?

Heath: Nigel, that is the surprising thing. It was expected that there could be some trouble from the rebels who have been waging a guerilla war of crumbs in the Bench areas of the country. However, it would seem that much of the rebellion has been orchestrated, or at least been allowed to occur, by the former Deputy Leader.

Nigel: Oh yes. Father was ousted from his position as Deputy Leader recently by Mother, was he not?

Heath: That’s correct, Nigel. It is thought that his demotion from the Cabinet may be behind the recent encouragement of civil disobedience.

Nigel: I imagine that did not go down well on Mother’s return?

Heath: [laughs wryly] No, Nigel, it certainly did not. Mother immediately invoked her emergency powers of Clean Up Now which caused considerable tension in the region, particularly among the rebels. Order is slowly being restored but we are keeping a watchful eye on proceedings.

Nigel: Do you think there will be a need to evacuate?

Heath: It is difficult to tell at this stage. Things are reasonably quiet at present but the clean up is still underway in the outlying areas and, of course, the Northern States are still a problem. It is possible that the rebels could step up their campaign in protest at the compulsory National Cleaning Service currently being invoked through Mother’s emergency powers.

Nigel: Thank you for joining us, Heath. I suppose things will depend on Mother’s success in forcing through the Clean Up After Yourself legislation?

Heath: Yes, that is certainly what the international community is wondering. Thanks, Nigel.

Nigel: That was Heath Dempster reporting from the Central Republic of Kitchen. It certainly seems that order may yet be established in the region following Mother’s return from the UHN but we continue to monitor the situation.

 

 

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The Crumb Wars 2: Expansion Into The Northern States

The following is a transcript of a radio interview with our foreign correspondent in the Central Republic of Kitchen by our local presenter Nigel Havenstock. It follows on from recent reports about The Crumb Wars on this same station.

Nigel: We recently reported on an unsettling development in the Central Republic of Kitchen where the leader, Mother, has recently declared Dishcloth Law.  We have just received news from our correspondent Heath Dempster in CRK that there has been corresponding developments in neighbouring states. Heath, tell us what is happening in the region.

Heath: Yes, thank you, Nigel. As listeners are no doubt aware, the leader of the government in the Central Republic of Kitchen recently declared Dishcloth Law in response to attacks by rebels in the bench fringes of CRK. It now seems that the CRK may be attempting to invade nearby states in an effort to gain control over Housework Laws in the region.

Nigel: So where exactly does the CRK hope to take control?

Heath: Well, Nigel, the key problem areas seem to be in the northern states of Boys Rooms. While the media has been warned from entering the states for security reasons, reports from local residents indicate that the situation is truly out of control. It is thought that the laws of Vacuuming and Dusting have been abandoned completely and it is uncertain when exactly social order was last enacted in these states.

Nigel: What is the international community’s response to this, Heath?

Heath: It’s difficult to tell. Until now, it seems that the international community and particularly the United Household Nations, has allowed the situation to continue as things have seemed stable. While the conditions in the countries in question have not been ideal, it has not been deemed sufficiently dire to warrant the introduction of suitable sanctions.

Nigel: And just what would those sanctions involve, should they be introduced?

Heath: The most obvious is, of course, financial sanctions – the cutting off of all financial support to the leaders of the states. That would be the first option. Should the northern states still not respond, it will be brought to the UHN for consideration of further restrictions on the supply of technology support, food aid and the provision of transport services.

Nigel: Heath, is there any hope for peace?

Heath: Nigel, from my view, peace is only likely in the event of a voluntary reinstatement of the laws of Vacuuming and Dusting by the leaders of the northern states. Of course, this will not be possible until General Tidiness is restored in the region.

Nigel: Thank you, Heath. That was Heath Dempster reporting from the Central Republic of Kitchen on the suspected expansion of troubles into the northern states. A spokesperson for the United Household Nations was approached but refused to comment on the grounds of being locked in negotiations in the Kingdom of Laundry.

Battles have extended to the northern states of Boys Rooms.

Video: Battles have extended to the northern states of Boys Rooms.

 

 

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The Crumb Wars: Battle of the Bench

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Scene of the latest outbreak of hostilities.

In what can only be described as an outbreak of domestic tension in the Central Republic of Kitchen, the leader of the country has declared Dishcloth Law.

Mother, until now generally viewed as a benevolent dictator by the international community, has stated that unless all citizens implement the Clean Up After Yourself legislation being forced through parliament tomorrow, food supplies will be restricted and all citizens will be required to report daily for compulsory dishes duty.

A small rebel contingent in the country has for some time been waging a guerrilla war of toast crumbs in the bench fringes of the country.

Yesterday, Mother sacked the Deputy Leader, Father, as Secretary of Cleanliness. An anonymous source close to the leader said the Deputy Leader was found to be in line with the rebels. “He’s just as bad,” Mother is reported to have said.

The United Household Nations is monitoring the situation. At present, they advise there is no cause for alarm and it is hoped that the rebellion will be quelled peacefully and the country returned to its normal state of General Untidiness within the month.

 

 

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Not Touristing In The City Again

Do people who live in countries that drive on the left side of the road automatically walk on the left? And does the reverse apply for those who live in countries that drive on the wrong right side of the road? And is that why people kept walking into me on my city walk today?

I was back in the Big Smoke to do the hospital run for a friend and while I waited I took myself off to a different part of the city.

Warning: This is another ‘I am not a tourist’ excursion so there will be no photos. Well, maybe one. If you’re lucky.

I didn’t walk any great distance today because I was wearing my holy socks. No, they do not help me walk on water! What are you talking about? Oh.

Take 2: I didn’t walk any great distance today because I was wearing my holey socks.

Kids, spelling is important.

Anyway…

Lygon Street – known as Little Italy – is the mecca for Italian food and good coffee. Well, one of the meccas. There’s one thing to be said about this city – you can always get a good coffee pretty much wherever you go.

It was too early for the restaurant spruikers to be out so I had a peaceful walk down the street.

One of the last truly independent bookshops is on this street. Overheard inside:

Father to Young Son: You don’t need a bookmark. Just bend the page over. That’s what everyone else does.

Some people have no business having books. Or children.

I went to Brunetti’s café for coffee and cake. It’s almost illegal not to go to Brunetti’s if you’re in Lygon Street. Unless you’re a student at the nearby university. Then it’s a) boring to go all the time and b) you can’t afford it anyway.

Brunetti's - Cake Mecca

Brunetti’s – Cake Mecca

From Lygon Street I headed into the city proper. This is where I encountered the walking directional problem. Maybe we need arrows on the footpath to show tourists where to walk.

For a little while, I followed a small group of four women and one man. The women were carrying music stands but only the man carried what looked like an instrument case (but I can’t say what the instrument was).

“Singers,” I thought.

“Or harmonica players,” said Musician Me.

“What?”

“They could have them in their handbags. Or piccolos. Tin whistles.”

Sometimes I worry about Musician Me.

“They could be a Kazoo Orchestra,” said Always-Takes-Things-Too-Far Me.

Actually, when you think about it, there are all sorts of instruments you could hide about your person or in a small bag.

Ooh! There could be a Hidden Orchestra! No, listen, stay with me. Picture this:

One of the world’s great concert halls. On the stage are the seats and music stands of a great orchestra. As the lights go down, musicians in all their penguin-suited finery walk in and sit down. The audience is confused. Where are the instruments?? The conductor walks on to hesitant applause. She steps up to the podium, raises her hands and, as one, the musicians reveal from about their persons, small instruments – harmonicas, mouth harps, maracas, etc – and start to play.

Cool, huh?

I’m claiming copyright so no stealing the idea.

It was another warm Spring day but there was no lying in the sunshine today. I got my first quota of sunburn for the season last week so I was avoiding the UV. But a walk is always an endless source of writer’s fodder, eh?

And one last observation for the day:

It is very hard to watch a friend struggle against enormous odds and know there is nothing you can do to make it all right.

 

 

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Tourist Eyes In The Big Smoke

I always find it fun to put on my “tourist eyes” even when I’m walking around places I know very well. Heck, I even do it around my own neighbourhood. You never know what you might notice.

Yesterday, I was willingly helping out a friend by transporting her to appointments at a hospital in the Big Smoke. (I know she reads this blog, hence the emphasis in that sentence.) While she did what she needed to do – and as it was a beautiful warm Spring day – I went for a walk.

I decided, as I walked, to put on my ‘tourist eyes’ and pay particular attention to the things around me.

Hm. Here’s where I make a confession. I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a lot but here’s the shocking thing: I hate taking photographs. (All the photography bloggers reading this just went GASP!) I take them because, let’s face it, one does like to have a visual reminder of where one has been, but whenever I do, I feel like such a tourist.

“But you are a tourist.”

Pedant. Well, yes, technically, but does the local populace have to know that? Can’t I pretend for a while that I’m a local? (Or, in some ethnic areas where I clearly am not a local, at least an ex-pat or migrant?) My favourite things to do when travelling is to jump on and off public transport, or go shopping at a local market or just sit in a park and watch other people. I do the ‘tourist’ thing because I feel I have to, not really because I want to.

So, when I say I put on my ‘tourist eyes’, that means the ‘no photographs tourist eyes’.

no photographs

Instead of stunning photographs of where I went and what I saw on this walk (not that you would get them anyway because I am a very ordinary photographer at the best of times), here’s some observations in word form instead.

It will be fun, I promise.

************

Why do souvlaki shop owners put pictures of fluffy lambs on their signage and call themselves things like “Lamb on Chapel”? I’m sorry but this does not entice me to enter your shop and buy a lamb souvlaki. In fact, I may never eat souvlaki again.

There were a number of swanky clothing shops on my route. I only window-shopped because I was dressed in jeans and sneakers and didn’t intend to re-enact the Rodeo Drive scene from ‘Pretty Woman’. The first one, not the follow up “Sucks to you” one.

I passed a rather swish Reception Centre right next door to an Anglican church. I was thinking the church must get good business when twenty metres further down the road I passed a Catholic church. Then I wondered if they competed for Reception Centre customers and what that might look like. “We have incense! Make your wedding smell great!” “Free confession for every guest! Start your marriage guilt-free!”

A truck reversing in front of me was playing a tune, rather than the usual ‘beep beep beep’. I don’t think this is very effective. I mean, if I hear ‘beeeep, beeeep, beeeep’, I get the hell out of the way. If I hear a tune, I’m likely to think it’s an ice cream truck and come running only to result in getting run over.

There was an Indian restaurant called “Hungry Nights Indian Restaurant”. The rest of the sign said “Delivering happiness beyond darkness”. What does that even mean?

I was walking through a park and a young blond American woman was ‘face-planting’ or whatever that ‘talking at the top of your voice to your phone while it’s at arm’s length’ procedure/app is called. This is what she said (and I kid you not):

“So, like, I’m saying ‘How are you supposed to signal here because, like, I’m used to driving on the other side of the road?’ and they’re, like, ‘You just signal the way that you’re going, you know, left, right’ and I’m, like, ‘Seriously??'”

My apologies to my American blogging friends but this just screams “typical American”. Don’t take it too hard, though. I know you’re not all like that. I mean, we Aussies are frequently portrayed as Fosters-swilling bogans. Let me tell you, nobody in Australia drinks Fosters. Unless they’re a tourist. But we do have bogans so, you know, fair due.

***********

Part way through my walk, I stopped to sit under a tree in one of the many massive parks we have in the Big Smoke so I could listen to some friends’ mad radio broadcast on community radio. Let me just say, this was actually an incredibly difficult thing for me to do. I was going to sit and do nothing but listen for an hour. I was not to do anything else while I was listening. It took me a good 15 minutes to relax and allow myself to do just that.

Laughter and sunshine – a cure for all ills.

Well, except for the result of whatever it was that bit me at some point and resulted in a large, itchy, red lump on my arm. Oh, don’t worry, it’s gone now. I just have a bruise. (The things I put myself through to be supportive. Honestly.)

By the time I got back to the hospital, I’d walked well over 10 kilometres. Add it to the 6km run the previous day and needless to say the old leg muscles are a bit unhappy today.

Okay, I said it would be fun with no photographs and if you’ve made it this far, maybe it wasn’t so boring for you. As a prize, I’m going to offer you my one and only photograph from the day. I felt I could get away with this one on a ‘selfie’ standpoint in lieu of the tourist.

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How was your day?

 

 

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Everybody’s Writing A Memoir But Me

Memoirs. I’ve always been very impressed by my fellow bloggers who have written – or are in the process of writing – their memoirs.

It’s not something I’m ever likely to attempt. I believe I have made it clear already that any memoir I tried to write would be very short and exceedingly uninteresting.

I can't even design a decent book jacket.

I can’t even design a decent book jacket.

I’ve not had exciting jobs or met fascinating people. I’ve not dined with opera singers or hung out with rock stars. I haven’t even had a riveting childhood. Don’t get me wrong. I loved my childhood, but it certainly isn’t filled with tales of deprivation or neglect – the usual stuff of memoirs.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover that my youngest son is writing his memoir. He’s only twelve but I am sure – from what I have heard – that he is writing an account of his Life So Far.

How do I know this? He keeps coming and asking me for vocabulary advice.

“What’s it called when someone punches their fist into their other hand?” (I couldn’t answer that one. What is that called??)

“What do you call it when you say something and the other person completely overreacts and how you then react to that?” Shocked? Surprised? Stunned? Stunned. That’s the word he was looking for.

I can’t wait to read it.

 

I’m joking about it being a memoir. Please don’t call the Child Protection services.

 

Pardon? What is he writing, then? No idea. He’s writing. That’s enough to know, don’t you think?

 

 

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