Sunday 28 April 2013

First of the Month Fiction - May

That time again already - First of the Month Fiction is short stories - less than 30 words or 100 words exactly - see examples here.

Add your offering in the comments, then link your blog to the linky thing so we can see how sensational your work is when you don't have a word limit.

Mine is of the 100 words:

The Phone Call

“You had lunch with her again?”

“If she’s causing trouble in our marriage, why do you keep talking to her?”

“If she’s not important to you, why do you drop everything when she asks?”

“Why would you tell her things about me, when you know she likes to use them to cause trouble?”

“Are you fucking her?”

There was silence and then my mind went black. Something snapped. Calmly I replaced the phone in the cradle. In a daze I picked up the large carving knife and slowly walked out to pay someone a visit.

Please join in and add yours to the comment section below and the link to your blog so we can see your excellent other work...
Hope everyone had lovely holidays and here's to a new month and a new school term....

Thursday 11 April 2013

Gone fishin'

I have been without the internet or a computer for the last 10 days. It has done my head in, proved many night time visits to the library necessary for the high schooler and all sorts of inconveniences...Which is ridiculous but a reflection of our lifestyle these days.
School holidays are approaching and we are off and away (more adventures for the travel blog).
I will be taking a break from all things electronic and hopefully enjoying a more carefree and relaxing existence. (Read Feed* everybody!)
So have a wonderful holiday, those of you with schoolies, and treasure the fun ahead.
Back in May, and I apologise if my lack of computer access means I didn't swing by your blog. It's not that I'm not interested, I'm banished.
Good luck to everybody on Monday for the announcement of the Voices of 2013. I'm hoping to see the list before I I'll raise a glass to those that make it, and if you don't, I'll raise a few more. At least 500 of us will be in the reject list#, so we'll have someone that we can say "If they didn't make it either, I can't feel that bad about it" ;)

PS I'm sitting at a terminal in the library next to a guy who's going nuts because a library social group is talking too loudly. I don't know whether to butt in and tell him that they're does make me feel like I'm not the highest strung person in the room...HA! (gramatical error intentional - it sounds better that way).

Linking up With Some Grace for FYBF

*M.T.Anderson. He wrote it for teens as a warning about all the interconnectedness, making us better consumers, rather than better people. Brilliant book people.
#Surprisingly, I'm assuming I'm not through with either blog. How can that be possible??? It's like the Oscars really...or footy tipping.

Sunday 7 April 2013

Nothing sweet about this unfinished business

Sorry to publish without a purpose, but I need some help to pin this down. I read this over a week ago, and every day it gnaws at the back of my brain, needing me to process it and compartmentalise it, find my stance on the issue, if you will. But I can’t. It’s flummoxed me, and I can’t remember when I last read something that challenged me this way.
So the very, very brief version:  I was reading the very interesting Bitter Chocolate by Carol Off. She covers the long and horrific history of abuses that makes up the cocoa bean industry. I had seen a documentary on it a few years back, so as I read, was tut-tutting along at the lack of humanity in the world. I got up to the part when Congressman Engel tacked on a rider to the bill before congress saying that big chocolate had to prove they weren’t exploiting children and labels were to state they were ‘slave free’.  I thought to myself “Well, about time. How easy was that!” yet a few paragraphs on, I came to this, and was literally stunned, as it had never occurred to me that it wasn’t a simple solution and my boycott came at a price.
“even the threat of such a boycott sent a chill through industry worldwide and had devastating consequences, particularly in Bangladesh, where the country’s garment manufacturers abruptly dismissed about fifty thousand child workers. Most of the children had been supporting families and were subsequently forced to turn to other more dangerous and less lucrative employment – some in rock crushing and many others in prostitution.”  It had never occurred to me there were terrible unintended consequences in a seemingly straightforward move to make things ‘right’.
Later in the chapter, it is pointed out, that we need to face facts that in some parts of the world, children need to work. Anita Sheth of Save the Children said “What we wanted to do was take the hazards out of the work and not the child out of work.”

This is the crux of what has led me into confusion. I don’t know where I stand on it. I’m confused about what is the right thing to do. We in the West live very sheltered lives, and make decisions sometimes that are not based in the reality of the rest of the world.
I’d be interested in anyone who has an opinion on this, as I need to box down my thoughts, which I realise may not be possible, due to the complexity of the issue.
There is something so terrible that these abuses go on in the world, and yet poverty may be a worse existence.
I guess ultimately everything is not black and white, but my brain needs it to be, and I swing back and forth over this issue, confused at my own naivety and the lack of sense in this world that we’ve created.
I’d love some clarity, so all opinions, or views are welcome, for me to mull over and decide...
This is a fascinating book with engrossing stories from around the globe. It was quite an education for me and I really enjoyed the thought provoking issues. 

Thursday 4 April 2013

Oh you can color my world with happiness all the way (part 2)

I am linking up an old post for this Sunshine Sunday on Colour. The Colour of fun!

Way back in December I added the Color Run to the Torshlusspanik list and back in February I did it, but have yet to conclude the experience. On the eve of the Gold Coast event, here's a little tempter (other dates around the country are listed here with some more photos capturing the day).
I'm not a runner, and needless to say, neither are the kids but with 6 or so weeks training (which was more for us to exercise than actually needed), we were ready as we were ever going to be. Which was not very ready as we are not the fittest family on the block.
We woke that morning and got in our gear - all white, and headed out to join the thousands in line.
As one with an aversion to crowds, I was amazed at how civilized and well organised it all was - the vibe of the people corralled in the queue was more of a party (and eager anticipation) than anything else. The music blaring and cheering on cue helped.
Then the countdown to the first wave of runners went, and we all shuffled forward. Eventually it was our turn and off we ran.
There are a few runners with paint guns on their backs to chase you but the majority of the paint is as you run through a colour station.
Seemingly innocent enough, you say. But let me tell you, as the music changes to the theme of the colour you're entering, and you see the paint clouding on the road ahead, you can't help but smile in anticipation.
In the thick of it:
The paint throwers would go for the kids every time, and even for the pram but I was barely covered (obviously they didn't want to upset the old lady...hmmm). However, my partner went up to one thrower, grabbed and handful of paint and got me at close range. As you do. In the mouth.

This continues for every station so you are quite the rainbow by the end - and I learnt not to run too near partner.
Then for the big party finish, the colour throw. We all have little bags of powdered paint, and once you pass the end, you are again corralled up to a stage and all throw your paint into the air on cue to the music. My photos don't capture it but it's so exciting and beautiful and joyous, all rolled into one.
Slowly it all fades away, and then the next group are gathered up for their turn.
All that's left is a great feeling, and the washing.
So all that's left now, is a happy memory that still makes me smile when I talk about it, the knowledge that I'm not interested in taking up running unless it's the Zombie Run or something with a pay off for me - achievement and pushing my limits don't cut it for me. Too lazy and it's too boring (but good for all you marathon runners out there).
The good news, Sydney peeps, is that it's coming back for a second round this year - August 25 is the next date, and this time around Centennial Park. So if you missed out on the last, get in to the next.
I have, on the other hand, been rather neglectful of my list - for the last 2 months I've done nothing to get the ball rolling on anything else on the list. I need to have lost my focus and the torshlusspanik needs to kick in a little more. Clearly I need to start something to get my mojo back. Just not today...

Torshlusspanik List (exactly as it's been since February):
1. Shooting (check)
2. Fencing (check)
3. Play croquet at Croquet Club
4. Laser skeet
5. Off road buggy driving
6. Play Assassins Creed
7. Jetpacking (check)
8. The Color Run (check)
9. Invent something
10. Cooking Masterclass (check)


Monday 1 April 2013

I'm not a racist, but...

I got my husband a racist shirt and didn't even know it. Let me explain. I'm intolerant of racist comments. I visibly bristle so needless to say I am shocked at my own ill thought out actions.

A little background.  We love, love, love Dave Chappelle. While hunting for something online, I came across this shirt and thought it would be perfect for my partner for Christmas.

I got it, it's well made, and it's funny. An homage to this bit he did (you will need to google 'what is juice dave chappelle' to see it, as utube is not letting me link it)

Anyway, long story short, we went out the other night, and the bouncer sees the shirt and said "I don't know if I should let you in in that racist shirt". My partner said, "It's not racist, I'll explain it later". To which the bouncer replied "It's from the Chapelle show? I think it's racist". And it hit me. He was absolutely right. Like the N word, it's okay if Dave Chapelle says it, not ok if I say it. And the shirt is the same. In the Chapelle skit, it doesn't seem racist because he's saying it. But it is a bundle of insults to the black community (implying poverty, ignorance, bad nutrition - whatever). I'd just not made the connection. I thought I was showing how much we like Chapelle (and we do miss you, if by some chance you read this) and alluding to his humour.

So racism in this case, really did stem from ignorance. As the only people who got the joke on the shirt were white & Australian, no harm was done. But I am now in a quandry as to what to do with the shirt. It's a great shirt, but maybe for just around the house...All I can say is thank God there wasn't a shirt from his "I know Black People" sketch.

I'm not a racist, but...apparently I am.

PS My husband still thinks it's not racist, as he grew up in a large family and they had Orange drink, not juice, so he says it's about being poor, not being black, thus is still wearing it. I on the other hand, am wondering what is wrong with me that I have recently purchased both this shirt and the shirt that gets you thrown off a plane for being a terrorist (or making people uncomfortable that you're a terrorist). Remember I also got this shirt? Apparently, in my subconscious, I'm just looking for trouble....