Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Predictable Male

Like most males, I like talking about sex as much as I like having it, which makes the fact that I don't play well with them even stranger. Perhaps, it's because the hunt tends to dim our wits. The less accessible it becomes, the sloppier the chase. But the real idiocy in the pursuit of the female is that we think we're invisible, and that's the part that gets me: how covert we think we are while casting a spotlight on ourselves with our own dicks.

This reveals itself in two ways we treat hot girls. To us:

Hot Girls are Rockstars
In anything they do, that's what we think. We follow them on the internet, we cheer when they play their hits, and we cry when they speak to us. But if you consider it, there are actually quite a few real rockstars out there, and some of them sound like lobotomies recorded and packaged. Likewise, there seems to be a hot girl around every corner, and many of them are unfortunately a dime a dozen. But because of our dicks, we fixate on a few and then sign up for their Facebook fan clubs. Then every photo one of these girls posts weeds out majority of their male fan-base who either "heart" it or, worse, post some jerk off comment, like they're saying something different to the four guys and one girl before them. I love the ones who comment stuff like "Where'd you get that dresser? Is that real oak or nah?" Or any comment relating to something incidental to her tits jutting out. Those guys are the self-aware. They're my people: people who appreciate the ridiculousness of this whole thing, but still crave the attention.

But photography, I get; it's voyeurism, plain and simple! But it's the witless, non-sequitur tweets with 30+ likes and comments which pretzel my mind. I'm not saying guys should want to fuck a peer-reviewed essay, they're boring, I'm just saying that not everything a beautiful girl says needs a parade. Beauty and interesting are two different things with momentary overlaps, but our penises love anything they have to say, because...well, they're rockstars, and rockstars are interesting.

But the point I'm driving at is that it's usually the same thumbnails popping up underneath these things. You don't need to be the NSA to notice that whenever some cyborg in a bikini posts something on Facebook, that the same dickdroid's name always comments underneath, you just need to be friends with the girl. Everybody can see what's goin' on, Casper! The thing about this is that if a casual observer like me can see, then the chick receiving these notifications has to at the very least suspect something.

And one last thing on this: Even if girls are rockstars and our voyeuristic tendencies are a force - and fuck me, they are - we've seen all the hits and their covers. I once saw a girl chug a bottle of beer in seven seconds while doing a handstand, and it was the hottest thing I'd seen in about five years. Why? Because I've been seeing the hand on the hip, head to the side since I was 16. I've seen the topless from behind whilst outside photo before. I've seen the upside down laying on the bed with a push up bra in a tank selfie from every girl who owns a bed. Yeah, they're rockstars, I don't disagree, but they're all playing the same tune, and the lyrics are "Like my photo now and tell me I'm beautiful, you fucking perve!"

 

Hot Girls are Job Openings
For any attractive girl in a relationship, there is always at least one numptie who wishes it was with him. For a sublime girl, it's a fucking platoon of them waiting on horseback over the horizon! Which means that the moment their relationship falls apart and she falls back on the market, the bids are so immediate that the intention is painfully obvious. I use to work for a phone company, we would usually have to prepare the cell towers after a break up for the rash of "Hey, long time no speak" small talk that's stampeding their way. The worst part: These hot girls know it's coming! Even worse, they sometimes even know who it's going to come from, which is an atrocity to men everywhere!

For me, this impulse to burn up the wires after someone's break up is often pervasive and tyrannical, but it's quickly discouraged by realising what I've just detailed. Putting aside the fact that it's terribly impolite, the realisation is that (1) I'm not the first and I probably won't be the last to message, and (2) I'm not going to be the pretext to a joke whose punchline is her reading a text, turning to her a friend and saying "See? Told you!" For the blatant male, that's fine. But to any dude who think he isn't being ripped apart like it's Sex and the City, you're a fool in a nice jacket.

Don't get me wrong, I would never, never, never blame a guy for swooping in quick. A week is like a month in hot girl years. Got’ta hustle! It's not even the penis masquerading as the heart which bugs me, it's the sloppiness really that makes my stomach churn. If we really were as conniving as we give ourselves credit for, the texts and calls would come before the break up and then smoothly continue after. Like with the social media patterns, it's the changes in behaviour which makes the predictable male stick out. He lacks the forethought. He has tendencies toward reaction and not pre-emption, and that laziness puts all males up for parody. Makes me ashamed to be a man.

Of course, in spite of my cynicism toward my own gender, this isn't about all men, it's just about the predictable male, not to be confused with the blatant male. The predictable male tries to act like a gentlemen while he unzips a girl's skirt, unaware that everyone else can see his hands. The blatant male, however, just asks when he can start unzipping, regardless of who's watching. While I still hate his guts, I prefer the latter guy, because at least he's not bullshitting anyone. You see, he's probably astute enough to realise that any girl by her 20s has seen all of our hits. Yeah, we have hits too! They know who they're fanboys are, and they know what "I'm sorry to hear about you and [insert name]" actually means. Now, I'm not saying that the blatant male is repulsive, I’m just saying he’s not a snotty liar. The male population has been caricatured by the predictable male, because he condescends females with tactics used on 10 year olds in MSN chatrooms and they know it. Whether subtle or forthcoming, the end-game is wrapped up in cellophane for everybody to see, so why waste time patronising one gender while disfiguring another trying to unwrap it?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Prediction by Prescription


As much as I have always loved writing and technology, the world doesn't need anymore tech blogs, the same way that tech doesn't need anymore lame social commentary. Yeah, we get it! The world will one day be filled with socially inept narcissistic wankers whose Camrys will literally fly themselves into drive thrus to pick up their Big Mac pills from evil and possibly homicidal cyborgs. Oh! And the second Back to the Future is a good film; can't forget that. But still, every fifth show or film they give ugly man-birth to either feels like a sleazy Bladerunner update or reads like a Black Mirror episode: dystopian clit-lit for luddites. But what if this is just a chicken and the egg situation? What if while we think we're predicting the future, we're actually just prescribing it?

A few days ago, people started receiving their Nike HyperAdapts: a better looking version of the self-lacing sneakers from Back to the Future Part II. This release follows a PR opportunity last year to try on working prototypes identical to the ugly ones Marty McFly wore in "2015" in 1989. But arguably, these things only exist because Nike wanted a quick money shot and only really had to jerk a 27 year erection for ten seconds to get it. Which begs the question, were these things really ever the future? And are they, even?

The very biased Adidas CEO, Kasper Rorsted, criticised the shoes on the Wall Street Journal, saying that he doesn't think they are a "save-the-world product". Meanwhile, the absolutely biased Nike CEO, Park Marker Mark Parker, on CNBC compared the self-lacing technology to self-driving cars with regards to their mainstream appeal. Funnily enough, both glorified slave-drivers are correct despite being at odds: this is a virtually pointless product which has achieved nothing but make cult fanatics and nerds cum inside Nike store change rooms all over the United States, and that's not the future, nor was it ever.

Any appeal these shoes have is almost the exclusive responsibility of the writers and bean counters behind Back to the Future II, and that's a stark example of fiction creating the future while we naively thought it was prognosticating. Of course, I can't confidently say that they would never have been made. I've known a couple of nice ladies who have nightmares about internet banking and shoe laces: I call them "Nan", and anybody else who has arthritis would know what it means to bend over and tie knots. I'm sure someone would have tapped that market eventually, but it wouldn't have been Nike, and it wouldn't have been marketed this way toward...well, me: an able-bodied 26 year old. It's happening now and it's Nike making it happen because that's what someone wrote in the 80s, not the other way around.

In fact, most of the excitement we feel for the decades to come is a by-product of pop culture, and we need to appreciate how this influences the market. If something we see in the cinema appeals to us and it shows up in market-research, then whomever has the means to make it, will. It's easy money. So, to say that flying cars, pill-form meals, and artificially-intelligent sex robots are our future would be pretty accurate, but only because we've spent the last 100 plus years saying it is. By the same token, to say that space travel, robotics, portable computing, and driverless cars were always ahead of us was just a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, the next time you're watching some piece of shit fiction which is showing you how Mark Zuckerberg will be the new way to spell "big brother" or whatever other manipulative dross it's pedalling, just remember that the warning might just be the genesis.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I've Quit Clapping

This year has been a year of change for me; a shift from being man-child to acting like it's my sweet 16. Some might call that regression, I like to think of it as growth. It's been a year of soul-searching with the beam of a long-handled Maglight, reaching deep down and regurgitating the toxic artifacts of miscarried romance all over the front lawn - don't drink, kids, that's the moral, unless you want to write. But the most important thing I have done, my highest achievement for the mantel is that I've finally quit clapping, and I highly recommend it because clapping is dumber than a salad at a McDonald's.

Let me rephrase that: Clapping and applause aren't the problem, it's the applause-whores who need to tone the shit down. Please, just...enough with the clapping already! I'm beginning to think that we will clap for almost anything. I've seen people clap for someone walking onto a stage to adjust a mic-stand, I've seen clapping at editorial and staff meetings, in cinemas where none of the crew were present, fuck it, I've even heard a whole theatre applaud a Powerpoint presentation. What are we clapping for? Recycled information? The font?

I realise that society doesn't offer much in the way of non-verbal gestures of mass-appreciation for a performance or a presentation, but this is a matter of adhering to scale. An applause should be reserved for when Jimmy Page strums the last note of a five minute solo on a double-necked guitar or when volunteer firefighters fish a live stockbroker out of rubble. Unless a teacher does a backflip and breathes fire, all they deserve is for everybody to shut the fuck and act like they're paying attention for two hours. The only reason lecture slides should be applauded is because they're over! On the other end of the scale: This is the same way that a funny eulogy deserves a few solemn chuckles, or that the fall of the Soviet Union deserved parades and fireworks in lavish proportions. That's the scale in which we need to conduct ourselves. Applause at a staff meeting is akin to a light laugh at the defeat of a socialist regime which swept a continent for 60 years and an applaud as the coffin goes into the ground; one of those things deserve a stronger reaction, while the latter is not worth applauding, nor appropriate.


To add insult to injury, just when you think you can see Jim Hanson's hand up your arse, you get distracted by how robotic we are, because we don't know what enough applause sounds like either. Some things deserve one applause and that's it. This is more a problem for people like me who have worked and studied in media, and for those in more creative industries, where you spend half the time throwing ideas around as a group. Sometimes you can say just about anything and you'll get an applause, to the point where I begin to feel like I've woken up in a '90s sitcom. You pitch an idea, they clap. Idea, clap. Idea, clap. Idea, clap. Newsflash: When you pitch a possible project, it's an idea, not a completed product. I mean, how low is the bar, really? We all have ideas! A few of them are good, most of them are bad, and majority of them will never fucking happen! Ay! How about a bus, right, which is a hotel, which doesn't go very far, but floats in the sky, defying everything we know about gravity and creating a hazard for conventional aircraft? [cue roaring applause] "You're a genius," one man is heard shouting from the crowd. Five years later. NEWS REPORTER: Quincorporated CEO, Ryan Quinn, was voted out by the board today after spending over one billion dollars on a failed floating bus. 

As I mentioned though, when it comes to gestures of mass-appreciation, there is nothing you could call an immediate step down from applause, but I invite future lectures and so forth to give these alternatives a beta test:
  • Some long humming or mmmm-ing in agreement, like the group are having a conversation with the presenter. 
  • Barking or howling, like what you might hear at wrestling or at a Chris Rock show. 
  • Perhaps, music at the end of every presentation, because I suspect that people might be simply clapping to fill the awkward silence between the end and them climbing over each other for the nearest exit. 
  • Or finally, we just shut the fuck up and leave without doing anything. 
I've honestly given up on 'givin' it up' for people, and I'm already on my merry way to the promised land. I think this year I've clapped on three occasions: Once for a friend's documentary which was excellent, a lot in the span of an eight day music festival, and one time by accident - don't ask, still ashamed. Now, I'm not advocating a complete boycott, just a reset of the bar. That means only clapping for something you feel is innately worth clapping for and truly inspires that emotion in you. This, I think, will engender a domino effect, because a lot of people only clap because others are clapping, and they're probably only clapping to fill silence or to mask tears of boredom. We don't need to copy everyone; this isn't church. Tomorrow the sun is going to rise, as it will the day after that, and then the one after that, the same way that dogs will bark, people will verbalise ideas, and there will be truly awful presentations, mostly from Britney Spears - none of which aren't even worth a throat clear.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Brackets, Bullshit & "7PM"

If you ever receive an invite or a memo that reads "Time: 6:50PM (for a 7PM start)", you might as well just take off your watch, drop it on the ground and grind it into fragments with the heel of your shoe, because time as we know it has ceased to have any meaning! Friends know that to leave me standing around with my thumb up my arse for anything more than 20 minutes without so much as a tweet means that they'll be showing up to nobody; that's just my policy. Hell! I've been perfectly willing to use a friendship like a sacrificial lamb for the sake of saving the concept of time ever since I started penning diatribes about it a decade ago. Well, it seems the battle is only about to get harder as it has now burst forth from coffee with friends to bullshit at the office. Hmph!

Firstly, these ludicrous conference room meeting times; who do these people think they've hired? Children? And even so, time is very ages 11 and up in my eyes. I mean, if a memo says 7PM, I'll be there by 6:59, allowing me the more than lavish 10 seconds I need to take a seat and the 50 seconds I need to silently judge my coworkers. However, a friend of mine has always said that if you're not 10 minutes early, then you're late. While that isn't meant to be taken in the strictest sense, I mention it because I always thought that a 6:50 arrival for a 7 start was implied, wasn't it? I didn't think anybody needed fucking brackets and little tips on how not to be late, the same way that I don't need my boss to assist me in putting on underwear. I've been making appointments for well over a decade now, I think I have it covered, thanks! Also, if you do have employees who can't work that out on their own, then should they really be employees? When it comes to things like these anxiety-ridden brackets, employee bag checks, and CCTV in staff rooms, I've always wondered why employers don't just pop a Valium and hire people they can trust?

Secondly, and what I would imagine is most important is that it wastes a fuck tonne of everybody's time; mine and the companies. To start with, if a memo fails to include the stupid "for a 7PM start" bit on the 6:50 time, I'll probably wind up getting there at 6:40 anyway! Which then means traipsing around for 20 minutes for a meeting which will probably only go for 20 minutes! At one place I worked, I felt like I did this quite a bit. Meanwhile, I could've been doing actual work or getting things organised at home, or...anything else! But na! Na! My bossed preferred to instead pay me to sit in a quiet boardroom reading about what other guys look at during doggy style on Reddit. Now, I know that 10 minutes may seem petty to you and I, but if 20 people are attending a meeting, three hours of collective man hours have been wasted on a meeting probably about how the company wants to save money. Yeah, I have a tip on how to cut costs: Start a fucking meeting when you say it will start; no more brackets and bullshit. Meanwhile, we probably won't start till 7:05 anyway because Deborah's car got caught on the M4 again in a haze of smoke emanating from her hood worthy of a Bon Jovi concert.

It has to stop, guys! Not in ten minutes. Now! Arranging earlier times to compensate for tardiness in social circles is already absurd, but the moment we start doing this professionally means we have real problems. I have very little faith in anyone who either can't keep time or knowingly keeps people employed who can't. Lawyers, electricians, army colonels, my fucking butcher; I don't care who you are, spare a thought for time! She's suffering, she's disrespected, and yes, she's female. We need to start throwing some bodies at her, I couldn't care less who. Please, for the sake of saving time, for the sake of a boy who peers through the window wishing on Rolexs, Tag Heuers and Pebbles, can 7PM please go back to being 7PM?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

She Blew My Mind

A friend once went out with this girl for juuuust too long, around six years perhaps, and whenever she opened her mouth, the words sent tingles down my spine that could make Michael Cera, Michael J. Fox, and any other nice Michaels you know go postal. But I'm not here to speak about how frustrating Frustracey was as an adult and a human being. No. This post merely exists to chronicle the things she said that literally blew my mind. I'm speaking of things she said to me seven years ago that made such an impression on my psyche and the person I've become that I still routinely ponder them in my spare time.

Faux Pas Resulting in Grand Theft Auto
When I worked at this clothing store, Frustracey and her boyfriend whom I actually liked visited me there to say 'hello'. But that's not the real reason she came in, she actually wanted needed to inform me that I was responsible for almost getting his car stolen; that's basically how she worded it. This revelation made me stop folding pyjamas because I knew this shit had to be so good, like just the sweetest, most top shelf, Veblen bullshit that it needed to have my full attention. Allegedly, the night before when he pulled up in front of my home, I got out of the passenger side without locking the door behind me. He then moseyed on home, also got out of the car and did the same as me, only locking the driver's side. Apparently, to her, not only is this a faux pas, but it's also one which can result in grand theft auto and is evidently punishable by bothering me at work.

like the Fbookz

You see, if it's a hot night and I have the car window open, I'll always offer to close it before I hop out, because not all cars have automatic windows and the last thing you want is to realise after hitting the road that you now have to twist and contort your body, trying to fiddle with that window winder with your left hand like it's a bra strap before the lights go green again. I do this with everybody: Friends, relatives, taxi drivers, police officers; it's just manners, I don't discriminate. I, however, had no fucking idea that if I failed to also lock the door and then the driver drove home, went inside without checking if it was locked, and then it wasn't there when he woke up the next morning that it has something to do with me!

Anyway, I threatened to kick them both out of the store and that bitch scurried away. But it doesn't end there with Frustracey; it never does.

She Ruined Pizza With People For Me!
I love a good house thing. I don't care if it's a party, shindig or hootenanny. Whatever the occasion, they're just so easy, just like the food you have at them, because it's finger-food, it's pizza, and it's potato crisps. Those are some of the easiest party foods! Why? Well, let's just look at pizza toppings. They're all just so alike really, I mean, there are only so many things you can do with a pizza, that's why they started putting shit in the crusts; they're out of ideas! The same goes for crisps! Most of the time, it's just different seasoning on the same chip in a different coloured bag! That's why they're good at parties, because majority of people will eat most pizza toppings, they'll eat most chips, and for the remainder who won't, there are gluten-free pizzas and finger food, some of which are without dairy or pork. Someone once said "You can't make everyone happy. You are not a pizza". Well, I mean, this is all what I thought for years until I met Frustracey, because even pizza couldn't make her happy.

With her, it had nothing to do with being celiac or lactose intolerant or a Jew, it just had everything to do with being fucking difficult. In a group of 10 or so, if we ordered about five pizzas between us, the one she wanted was always hers and nobody else's. Likewise, if we went down to the supermarket to grab some snacks, the bag of crisps she chose was for nobody else but herself. Her reason: She's fussy with her food. Yes, exactly! "Food!" I’m fussy too! But you simply cannot be fussy about crisps; you either like them or you don’t! You can have preferences, sure, like a preference for chicken and you won't touch salt and vinegar, but you cant say 'I'll only have chicken, the other 1271 available flavours will make me gag!' It's ludicrous.

So, whenever she was around, we could never just lay everything out on the floor so that everybody gets a bit of everything, like a buffet, she would basically sit on her own. This also meant that if she ordered a deep pan Hawaiian and someone else wanted that too, they couldn't have it unless we ordered two Hawaiians, which kind of just ruins the whole fun of sharing pizza with people; why didn't she just stay at home?

But that's not all she was weird about sharing, she also had a thing about sharing toilets too, which confused me on a deeper, human-level.

She Wouldn’t Put Up With My Shit
So, let me set the scene: It's Christmas time. A bunch of us are chilling in a friend's apartment hitting the whisky pretty hard, including my friend and Frustracey. I asked my friend where the bathroom was because this was the first time I'd been to his place. So, I sit myself down and I drop this thing that was so solid and big that I was worried I might shatter the porcelain, but it was all good, so I flush and I stumble out of there. About half an hour later, Frustracey goes in and immediately leaves making a scene, with my friend doing the boyfriend thing, going to her aid, asking her what's wrong. In front of everyone, she begins chastising me for leaving what I assumed was a motherfucker of a gift in the bowl.

I apologised straight away, explaining that I definitely flushed but failed to realise that the water pressure was weak and that I was a little too drunk to remember to assess the damage following what I assumed was me passing a kidney, but the crazy thing here is that my floater wasn't really her problem. Her problem, her entire lecture in fact, was about why I was doing that at other people's houses, to which I was like "What the fuck are you on about? Do you expect me to go on the lawn outside whenever I'm not home?" This very public discussion went on for a very entertaining ten minutes. She started asking me if I'd taken shits at her place and I was like "Of course, I have!" But I only really said that to stir up shit (metaphorically); I couldn't actually remember. Anyway, she made me feel like a total fucking maverick, going to toilet...in a toilet. Say she had caught me in my mate's mother's bed aggressively banging one out to granny porn, then the way she carried on would've made total sense, but instead I was like "I don't get the big deal here?"

And that really sums my many exchanges with Frustracey into a nutshell, what is the big deal? Again, the things she said to me blew my mind, which was weird because I've always prided myself on being polite where it's due and these are faux pas I had never come across in my 20 years! And still haven't come across again since! But the larger reason my mind was blown was because nobody ever came to my aid in these public showdowns. While I sat there scratching my head, I was the only one ever asking what the big deal was. Come to think of it, nor was anybody ever on the offensive. My friend was always present in these things and her friends were around for a lot of them too, which leads me to wonder if Frustracey had just managed to develop an environment where people had to walk on eggshells around her. Was it just a case of everybody no longer being bothered challenging her bizarre ideas and that I was the only one left who still had the energy? Maybe...or maybe I'm the one in the wrong.

Maybe Frustracey is a person I've always said we need more of in society, someone who isn't willing to put up with shit (both the metaphorical and literal kind) and stay silent about it. Oh, fuck! What if I've been unwittingly leaving turds in homes all over Sydney and nobody was ever game enough to bring it up to me at the risk of getting their hands dirty, and Frustracey just assumed that risk? Seriously, I've always said, we need more social-crusaders like her, cleaning up dinner parties, social gatherings, and private toilets everywhere. So, thanks Frustracey! Keep up the good work and I hope that your new fiancé is proud of your nobility and tenacity in this merciless mission to civilise.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Dog Ate My Racism

I'm sick and tired of old being an excuse for bigotry, and this isn't a joke, it's a rant. Hearing someone’s age and upbringing justifying racism is like nails on a chalkboard, because it's use should've stopped like the chalkboard. It's what everybody once thought making prejudice acceptable makes my hands feel gross like I've just used a chalkboard. I'm talking about when your grandmother drops the N-bomb and everybody laughs it off because it was okay when she grew up. That's unacceptable, because even if racism was okay in the first place, we've had decades of progress to learn that it isn't anymore. Age and being a disgusting human being aren't somehow synonymous, no matter how much that sort of thinking helps people sleep at night. Few reasons why.

LIKE THE FBOOKZ

The 'ol faithful age excuse for prejudice is predicated on this notion that it was okay to treat someone like shit because everybody else was doing it at the time. It perpetuates a gang theory that 98 percent of the human race are just livestock with nice cars and fancy phones, and that's grim. That's all I hear when someone says,"well Ryan, that's just how they were brought up". Most prejudices as far as I can see are just a product of one person sniffing the butt of the person in front of them, then that person doing the same to the person in front of them, and so on and so forth; like some sort of voluntary human centipede of morons. If you compare the era and setting I was raised in to the world in which our elders grew up, it sounds like it was just a huge playground where most people bullied this one kid who they all thought was beneath them. Meanwhile, the other fraction of the school who either thought this poor boy was alright or simply didn't have an opinion about him put their hands over their eyes and pretended that dogs didn't exist until they graduated. While admittedly a pervasive school of thought is difficult to rail against, membership of said school and living amongst it's ideologies still doesn't just automatically make that kid beneath everyone, and excusing bigotry from it's alumni in this day and age implies that. To me, not only does it imply that sort of talk is okay now, which I'll get to, but it also sends a message that it was okay in the first place. What it really means, however, is that everybody from that school was either too stupid to think for themselves or too much of a pussy to let everybody know that they weren't part of the zeitgeist; I occasionally struggle to settle on who I'm more mad at.

However, that's just the beginning, because while the prejudice has far depreciated since, the mass-stupidity that let it happen lives on somehow. You see, it's absurd to believe that dogs don't exist just because that's what everybody told you to think, even though one was pissing on your shoe, but it's even more ludicrous to shriek when one walks into the room 40 or 50 years later. That's what your grandmother or whoever is essentially doing when she can't sit a table with lesbians and calls your friend an N-word in 2016. It's what the customer is doing when he automatically thinks you're the manager because you're the only male working that day. That's unacceptable if you consider how well documented and how much of an utter cliché the whole N-word from a white person drama has become in just my 25 years here. Sure, if you've managed to ignore that for this long, then they probably don't make screwdrivers for the screws you need tightening, but it's still the same ignorance as before, isn't it? When we apologise for a person's upbringing and our own inability to change an elderly person's attitude, we miss the point and start sniffing butts again. We just continue the dogs don't exist delusion and take part in the dog ate my homework chain of inaction which allowed prejudice to pervade unfettered in the first place. That chain needs breaking, because I'm tired of the smell.

It's not okay to be bigoted or prejudiced, but we all are in varying degrees. It's innately human to make note of changes and differences. A blonde dude is not a blonde dude until you've seen a brunette chick, the same way that a song which is just one tone for three minutes is not a song, or how a blue car is not a black Harley, or a black US president is not the slew of white presidents which preceded them. For me, my prejudice comes out whenever they send a crew into space, because let's face it, the folks at NASA choose they're crews like they're either ticking boxes in the Handbook for Political Correctness or casting for another horrendous Fantastic Four film. The difference is that we haven't deluded ourselves into a dogs don't exist fairytale universe, and for the majority of those that have know to keep it there next to the cyanide slides which end in an Aryan utopia. It's 2016! So regardless of what we believe, we all should know by now that the only valid excuse for using the N-word for instance is if you're black, a rapper or if you've been in some fucked up Kimmy Schmidt situation where you've missed the last 40 years of pop culture and literature. So, unless your grandparents have been dropping club hits featuring Flo Rida which I'm unaware of, give them a smack over the back of the head with a calendar the next time they say something bigoted, because hopefully it might either knock them out or knock them into being amnesiacs; whichever shuts them up first.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Quinn Gene

Anybody who has ever proclaimed that life doesn't come with a manual just hasn't looked hard enough, because you can get one from Amazon for a cool $7.88. But more to the point, life actually comes with something so much better and more tailor-made than that: a stupid, stupid family. When I was a teenager, 98 percent of what left my mouth was so sarcastic and so dry that it could leave your kids crying in a Sea World parking lot. In the presence of the non-initiated, my mother would simply excuse my humour on my behalf as something I acquired at birth from my father, aptly referring to it as "The Quinn Gene". I'm only now fully realising how on point she was. Quinn men are so alike that I think we were all baked in an oven like cookies. You see, by that point, Mum had spent two decades leafing through the pages of my life manual, from chapter Wed Only Within the Motherland to How to Lift Heavy Rugs, and now, so have I. Here's a sneak peak at The Quinn Gene chapter.

Quinn Humour = Sahara Desert
There's no question, us Quinns think we're regular, natural comedians, and sometimes maybe we are. But to everyone else, it can get annoying quick, especially when we we're failing to pull on the strings we endeavoured to or simply trying to stir up shit. Our main problem is that we lost the recipe to dry humour circa World War I. While it should be 10 parts dry, one part water, we seem to forget the water part. You know what I mean: A wink, a subtle smirk, a nudge of the elbow, a punchline to button it. Which means that nobody around us can ever be sure of what's actually a joke and what's not. So, being around us is like living in the Matrix in that you start to question reality a little bit.

The take away: When preparing to execute a joke of non-wet properties, please maintain a straight back, bend your knees and put the dry humour recipe to use.

The reason we have a penchant for this sort of humour is probably because the only place it's really any good for us is with the opposite sex. Why? Because a dry sense of humour is rocket-fuel for banter, and that's really handy because the Quinns are ladies men.

Professional Ladies Men
If there's anything we want to do in life, it's not erect sky scrapers, cure cancer or serve our country. Na! Na! It's much simpler than that: We want to take you out to dinner...please? And it's all of us; we're basically just a bunch of walking ids. We can be loyal husbands, I think, but we can never quite put blinders on, because Quinn isn't something you can just shut out or turn off; it's omnipresent.

The take away: Think about something else. It's almost like girls are the only thing in a Quinn's head, which might be why none of us have ever done anything particularly commendable or great. There is only so much female-centric thought you can fill your mind up with until you start pushing important shit out, like carrying the one and how to write an active sentence, the words appeared on the screen as the keys were struck by the lone gentlemen.

However, these aren't terrible qualities to have by most measures. I mean, I believe this quality makes us drug sniffing dogs for romance and for a laugh, which are the makings of a fun night out. Tragically though, they tend to be the first things to fall by the way side due to the next few qualities, the first of which is that we don't fucking listen.

We Don't What?
We have notoriously bad communication skills, to the point where a search for acknowledgement risks becoming a deep exhibition you didn't pack the correct footwear for. You mostly just get silence following anything you say to a Quinn. Sometimes it's because we have other things on our mind, sometimes we are so hell bent on being right that we just don't want to hear it or we are listening and we just don't know that a simple 'okay' here and there is a conversational-must; not particularly remarkable or ground breaking. What is remarkable in this is that any man or woman would understandably struggle to be be funny or an effective ladies man when they aren't taking in what people are saying.

So, what good is a Quinn if one of his worst qualities cancels out his best two? What good are we if the only conversation to be had and the only jokes to be made will be ours and ours only? You can't banter with someone who doesn't listen because it takes two to banter, and therein lies the struggle of baring the Quinn name in your veins.

The take away: Listen.

But Quinns Think That Nobody Else Listens
If a person calls you, gives you some instructions or advice, accepts that you've heard them out, and doesn't call back five minutes later to reiterate everything that they just said, then that person is not a Quinn. An instruction said once by a Quinn is an instruction said three times, the same way that a single call from a Quinn is actually two consecutive calls. What's terribly ironic with this one is that Quinns too seek acknowledgement; the kicker is just that we hold little faith in it because we don't believe you're actually listening, so we ask for additional re-enforcements.

Take away: My suspicion here is that this is the result of years spent dealing with other Quinns and their aforementioned conversational ineptitude, something I'll aptly refer to as "The Quinn Cycle" when I have my own family. So, the take away here is to not fall into this irritating vicious cycle one can fall into as a Quinn by reserving it only for family gatherings and then shaking it off like sticky mud the moment I leave.

To add insult to injury, when a Quinn does acknowledge, the responses often make no sense, leading me to wonder if I've ever gotten a straight answer from one.

A Quinn Answer is a Myth
There's a reason why a Quinn has never run the kids story time at the local library: Because we would read the book like we're trying to fit it into a tweet! Which only leaves the listener with questions, which a Quinn will either again not acknowledge or answer in another tweet which will create a set of new questions secondary to the initial line of questions. A conversation with a Quinn is like doing mind pretzeling circles with a rubix cube; it's a scene.

The thing is, us Quinns, for whatever reason, have little to no appreciation for detail. If we were artistic painters...we just wouldn't be, we'd paint houses; that's the extent to our detail - paint only this room Honeymilk White and rub the paint we get on the carpet out with the tip of our boot. This is in stark contrast to my mother however who will often opt to include way too much detail! I have no clue who she got that from, to be honest.

To give you an idea, let's say my mum had to go back to the store to replace some expired milk she mistakenly purchased, she would make sure that I knew whatever activity she had to finish beforehand, the weather outside, what counter she went to in the store, how many people were in line, what the shop girl looked like before she refused the exchange, and how the subsequent mid-supermarket showdown went; it would take five minutes to tell the story. Now, say this happened to my dad, he would say "I went down to the store with some milk and got into an argument with a teenager", making you wonder whether or not you had a stroke in the middle of the story somewhere or, you know, you sneezed.

The take away: Find a middle ground between my mum's storytelling abilities and my dad's, because they both reside on bad ends of a scale. Sure, details are important, and long stories are fine when appropriate, but one should ensure the listener along the way that the details which seem boring and worthless are actually integral to an interesting conclusion. After all, the last thing you want is for someone to hear the punchline of a story and then not get it because you either didn't provide something important or they spent the whole time wondering when it will be over; all suspense is lost at that point.

 

Now, there are a few reasons why I really wanted to write this and it wasn't because I wanted to make a joke out of my family, nor did I want to act as if none of this applies to me or that I'm somehow above it all. My point is that this life that I have here is for me to make my own mistakes, learn from them and hopefully teach those after me in the bloodline a thing or two. Families are literally a made to order, living education, and this life would be a waste if I just went ahead and didn't learn from this vital life manual I've been given. Anybody who feels lost only needs to look to their family to reset the bearings. It would be like if tomorrow you worked with asbestos without a hazmat suit or poked a beehive with a stick expecting to be okay. I'm not ashamed to be a Quinn. Admittedly, the times I've caught wind on the grape vine of my 60 year old father's philandering with thirty-somethings, a small part of me wants to shout the guy a beer, but that's not who I want to be. The last few generations of Quinn men in my eyes have been facsimiles of each other. Sure, they're different people who have done a lot of things from the heart, but there are so many things they've also done where they've neglected to look to their elders for direction, and I'm not continuing that ancestral chain. As someone in their mid-twenties, I won't ever pretend it's not in my blood, but I refuse to get churned through this genetic-machine and spat out as a carbon copy of what preceded me; that would be a wasted opportunity.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Whose Crime is it AnyWaze?

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Five years ago when the law man had me bent over a table Catholic-style, I was summoned to court a couple of times. On one occasion, a well-presented gentlemen was listed before me to appear in front of the judge in the hopes of having a drunk driving charge reduced, probably using the ‘But I'm Rich’ Defence. His articulate lawyer presented to the court that his client had been at a work event where waitresses walked around serving him glasses of wine on trays, impeding his ability to keep track of how wasted he was getting. Cut to later on in the night, he apparently got behind the wheel of his Mercedes Benz, or whatever car poncy fat cats drive, and upon spotting the random breath testing stationed up ahead, he drunkenly attempted an illegal 'U' turn manoeuvre like a modern day John Wayne. This attracted the attention of the police he was trying to avoid, for which he was caught, breath tested anyway and booked accordingly. Of course, had he simply downloaded an app and exercised some of what is commonly known only by me as 'nice guy law evasion', he would've been in the clear and I wouldn't have had anything to chuckle about later that night. What's more bizarre than funny is that not only is it getting easier to evade the cops nowadays, it's also becoming more socially and legally accepted; is that not strange?

There was a day when if you were in a car that had a police radio scanner installed, it either meant you had shifty friends, you were balls-deep in some shady Nightcrawler shit or you took shrooms and got butt-naked in the middle of a McDonalds again, but nowadays we all kind of have police scanners in ours cars, do we not? They're just in the form of GPS units and apps like Waze. When I bought my first GPS navigator and it kept telling me where all of the speed cameras are, I was like "What the? Why do I need to know that? Shouldn't I just be going the correct speed all the time?" As a general rule, whenever I get behind the wheel of what can essentially become a weapon with a twitch of the hand, I just do this thing where I go the speed limit, that way I can worry less about being photographed by the state and focus more on updating my Twitter feed with my free hand. #about2die. This was five years ago as well, and just when I thought that was bad, Waze entered the scene and took it to a whole new level!

Waze is a navigation app which uses crowd-sourced information to set itself apart from less sinister apps like Google Maps and Navman. It's basically the Wikipedia of the road. For example, if there's a crash where you are, tap the crash button and the app will warn other nearby users that two or more idiots have caused a traffic interference up ahead. More importantly, if you spot a cop, just tap the cute little man with the police hat and users nearby will literally hear "Police reported up ahead". How is this shit legal? It's the technological advancement of flashing your high beams at cars on the opposite side to warn them of the fuzz hidden behind the trees up ahead. Oh! There are cops nearby? Well then, let's slow the fuck down, throw the weed out the window, close Tinder, and pretend that we care about safety for a minute.

However, the larger question is: How is everybody else so okay with this? I mean us, as citizens! Nobody seems to be batting an eye lid at the fact that all of us are essentially racing around the streets like Michael Schumacher, doing metaphorical 'U' turns whenever there is a speed camera or a police unit nearby, just like that well-to-do drunk driver was being charged for that day. So again, why the fuck was he being charged really? Was it because he was committing a crime, or because he didn't have an app? I'm confused.

Let's be real, to us, speeding and driving while fatigued or under the influence are these tiny negligible crimes; they're nice guy crimes. It's like disobeying bicycle regulations or embellishing on your tax write-offs; insignificant, victimless offences. "Ten dollar slacks for work. Pshhht! Let's say they were thirty and plan a trip!" But actually, those things are really only as nice as we are morons, because speeding is a nice crime which can rather quickly become very dark, like what your prsion cell would be, or the inside of a coffin, I suppose. The ABC reported 348 road deaths in NSW last year, attributing "speeding, fatigue and drink and drug driving" as the main causes to fatal road accidents. We do some of these things the same way that we underestimate our earnings in our welfare paperwork because we see our stupid friends doing it, but those two things reside in such different ballparks, they may as well be in separate fucking universes. The only way you can die from one of them is if you're walking to the welfare office and a piano falls on you! Australian television once ran welfare ads primarily shaming those who make "mistakes" on their forms, little did I know that while we were busy thinking about that, companies like Waze and Navman were paving the way for the normalisation of dangerous driving, which is what this is, let's not lie to ourselves.

So, we can all prance around and say things like "When I drive stoned, I'm more alert", "Blogs are stupid" and "Stop making a big deal over 15 kilometres", but the reality is that numbers still have meaning. Numbers of road fatalities due to dangerous driving mean something. The numbers authorities put on speed signs mean something (most of the time, see point four); believe me! Have you seen Sydney traffic? They want us off the road as quickly as possible and yet, they're still asking us to go 50 kmph in residential areas. Why? Because 50 means something different to 60. So, the day that either numbers become irrelevant or become low enough that we can be trusted to govern ourselves is the day we can ignore being only 15 kmph over what's posted. But if we continue on this path of allowing things like Waze to fly under the radar while it breeds an acceptance of police circumvention and speeding, those numbers won't be going down and we'll be just as bad as that fat cat in court with his silver Mercerdes or whatever the fuck he drives; mark my words.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Chocolate Cake & Dishonesty

If heartbreak and break ups were an Olympic sport, I'd be the little league coach in some one-horse town, who would subsequently be fired for being so shit at it. Parents would complain. I'd respond by calling them morons and their kids creeps; it would be a mess. The very worst part of heartbroken Ryan is not my behaviour, not my lack of maturity or my wealth of melodrama, it's actually a part that nobody really sees: I lie a lot, and that's not good, because I've been heartbroken a lot lately.

Honesty, believe it or not, is something I pride myself on among most other things. I don't care if I'm funny, likeable or fuckable, I want honesty to be the trait others revere in me. I want the people around me to feel like they never have to question what I say, even when they want to punch me. I'm not just talking about veracity, but forthrightness too. However, the passed 12 months has seen my romantic life dragged through the mud, and I've managed to take these two qualities along for the ride. What's scarier is that the lies I've been telling aren't at all calculated, they're just knee-jerk reactions, where my mouth is saying words and my brain is screaming at it like "what the fuck are you doing?" Consequences, be damned! There are two reasons why I do this.

Rebalancing Power
I've always found that where you find successful romance, you find equal power. There’s none of this who wears the pants bullshit. There isn't a person who's only in it to fend off desperation or only for good chocolate cake and nothing else, nor is there someone who thinks they can get better chocolate cake elsewhere.

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Since my foray into lying started a year ago, the problem's been that my love affairs keep being with girls who find my cake eh, okay at best, even after I've slaved over it all day. So, when one of them finally tells me she's found better, more delicious cake elsewhere, power shifts out of my favour. In order for me to immediately restore the balance, I too will say that I've been getting chocolate cake from somewhere else too, perhaps one with exquisite white chocolate sprinkles! The saddest part is that this is despite the actual truth that I've just been eating my own shitty cake alone in my room in front of saved episodes of The Food Channel! Rewinding through my favourite parts with my free knife hand.

So, from then on I have to exhaustively act disgusted whenever she sees me cooking my own cake. I also have to plant crumbs from the other fake girl's cake around my kitchen when she comes over to pick up her things I've practically been holding hostage. It's a layer cake of lies that I can bake myself into in a matter of seconds, but then it takes months to begrudgingly eat my way out of it! Also, I'll rarely ever actually have the balls to come right out and just admit "yeah, I'm not just lonely anymore, I'm also a liar, you got me!"; two very attractive L words to the opposite sex. But there's also something else here too. 

I'll Never Starve Though
A fear of mine in any non-exclusive casual fling is looking like someone who can't get cake elsewhere. Now, I'm not saying that I'm not desperate, nor am I admitting that I am, but I certainly don't want to be seen as such, so I lie to make sure! I lie through my teeth about how much of other people's cake I've been having, acting like I've had heaps. But it's not so much about feeding my Brad Pitt complex as it is about ensuring that people know the place they hold in my heart. Need more?

Well, I've had arrangements with people where I'm just killing time 'til the next sweet serving, and then on the flip side, I've had other things which have made me never want anybody else's cake again, but ultimately didn't work out. I don't want the latter to think they're just the former. Despite this, even in the loosest of unions, I have a tendency to shut out other cakes, which actually makes it seem to the other person that I am in fact desperate; they don't see the rejection, just the outcome. So, when I dishonestly say that I've had other's, I'm basically just ensuring that I'm with them because I chose to be with them, not because I felt like I didn't have a choice. You see, to me, the beauty about wanting be with someone is that it stops being about how good the cake is and how good other cakes might be, and it starts to be about cake you know you'll be happy with for the rest of your life. It's not about settling for the first girl who comes along or wanting the most popular chick you know to touch your dick, it's about finding something in someone else which makes something in you crazy, no matter the time, no matter where you are in the world.

While I can't exactly blame them, I don't really like desperate, hungry people; they don't date people, they date concepts. That's bad news for you if they ever come across the sample counter down at the local supermarket, because they'll keep the concept they care so much for, but they'll swap out your cake for that one, fucking guaranteed! You see, everybody wants to be the star of their very own little romantic comedy, myself included. We're brainwashed into ideas of perfection, which is a fucking mirage, but people will still leave you for it. So, I don't want to simply fill in the blank in someone else's bullshit concept, nor do I want someone to think that they're filling my blank, more importantly. So I lie. I know, I didn't make myself this way, it just sort of happened.

Anyway, it needs to end, the lying. I've ended it before and I can do it again. Up until my mid-teens, exaggerating the truth and making up stories had become a nasty little habit of mine. They weren't particularly bad or malicious, they were just little embellishments of the truth, but it was nonsensical and exhausting. I hated myself for it. Eventually I decided that no matter how boring the details and no matter what colour they painted me, I had to ignore that little liar who lives in my ear, and it was a monumental realisation. I just think this last year and a half I've been at my weakest, perhaps - immature, bad temper, health in decline, insecure, lonely - and in that I've let some old habits resurface in order to protect myself. I know I can be better.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Things I Learned About Denmark

A semester in Denmark I spent 10 months planning, stressing about and trying to attract girls with is coming to a close. I also spent 10 months reading the same thing over and over about the country. Ahhh, it's so cold; it's flat; they bike heaps; they drive on the other side of the road; the Danish language is not the prettiest, nor easiest thing in the world to learn; the sun sets at 4PM in the winter, 9PM in the summer. Honestly, there is nothing to really call home about when it comes to differences between Denmark and Australia, but here are some I wish more travel sites and blogs would start writing about instead of putting me to sleep.
         
hair-1It's really easy to date a girl who looks like your ex
Tall, blue eyes and blonde; that's most of the girls here. If she's brunette, she's either a mix or a Scandinavian-anomaly you need to put on sunglasses for and observe like a solar eclipse. Black jacket with black skinny jeans to match seems to also be a bit of a trend here as well, or just black attire in general really. So basically, be prepared to always bump into your Danish female friends on the street, only to realise it isn't her after you take a closer look. I've learned by now just to keep moving; it's probably not her.
         
Danes aren't sure what "hygge" translates to in English
Hygge, pronounced hooga, is one of those many Danishisms you'll catch onto if you speak to enough people here. You may have even read about this one elsewhere, but I still included it because it might be one of my favourite things about Denmark. It might not be even be something you understand immediately. Some will tell you it means "pleasant". An attractive girl whose number I forgot to ask for described it to me once as 'just happiness'. But I think the general consensus is that it means "coziness". But it's not exactly cozy in the English sense of the word. What I've gathered is that it's more of a concept of the niceties in Danish life than something which can be summed into words, especially English ones. It's a feeling. It's blankets and candles in the dark, cold winters, and then friends relaxing around a grill in the warm summer. Or at least that's my tawdry understanding of it.
         
DSC_1169
         
thumb__0003_marshall_major_ii_black_rgb_highres_10Everybody uses these Marshall headphones
It's almost like the hype of Beats by Dre that is so abundantly present in Sydney didn't quite make it to these shores. Instead, it was these babies which made it, and thank God for that. They're way better than Beats, but it's random. I would've expected Sony, Bose, Senheiser or even a more local brand like Bang & Olufsen, but Marshalls? That's weird. Was there a sale or are Danes just a good judge of quality?
         
 
Bicycle laws make sense
By law here, you must have front and rear bike lights, use bike paths and roads, obey traffic signals, and indicate with your hands otherwise the law man will wrap shackles around them, which all makes sense. Thus, ending this point.
         
2631332565_ec90c1a348_bHang on just a sec. Notice how I didn't mention anything about helmets? Unlike NSW, you don't have to wear one here. Why? Because if you take a tumble and knock your head, it's your problem. Danes believe that it's up to you if you want to kill yourself, not them. Helmet laws to me are like any rule you had in preschool. Wear a hat outside; don't pick your nose; only use plastic cups; don't fill them with Melted-Crayola Cosmopolitans. The rules make sense and then the moment you apply them to an adult, it's stoopid. Now I'm sure it could be argued that a head injury becomes the responsibility of the health care system and thus costs money, but how much of a strain can bicycle injuries be putting on it really?
         
Zebra crossings may as well not exist
They are literally a waste of paint. In Sydney, a zebra or pedestrian crossing allows a person to cross a road which doesn't have a traffic signal close enough, and a person has right of way the moment they stand near or on one; we follow this. In Aarhus, however, they paint them at all the traffic signal crossings and when a pedestrian gets the little green man, it's car-dodging time! Instead of those little beeps for the blind, they should just sound a God damn starters pistol, especially for traffic turning into your street. Cars are basically legally allowed to pass through whenever they are turning left or right and there isn't a person in front of them, that's the rule, which is fucking common sense! I don't need paint and a green light to tell me not to mow someone down with my car in Sydney! You have right of way here as well, sure, but let's just say that I get less frightened jaywalking in this country than I do using the designated crossings.
         
The buses operate on a strict honour ticketing system
I think I know why Danes are the happiest in the world, because they don't have to speak to grumpy bus drivers, or in yellow Aarhus buses at least. Why? Because ticketing is left solely up to automated machines and, of course, the passenger's own sense of right and wrong.
         
bus-top
 
Also, while Sydney only last year started letting passengers enter through the back door using their Opal Cards (which are actually made of plastic, by the way), that's nothing new in Aarhus. So, you don't even need to so much as look at a Midttrafik employee, you just have to watch out for ticket-inspectors. Tip: they wreak of justice, bare little sympathy but large standard issue jackets, they loiter in packs of two or three, and you can spot them from a kilometre down the road.
         
Danish Supermarkets aren't hell-bent on polluting the earth
Woolworths, Coles, IGA, Franklins and the one plastic bag per tomato policy; that was Australia in the 90s. We were giving out plastic shopping bags like they were free, because that's what they are!
         
Then German-based Aldi came to our shores and Australians were flabbergasted. Discount supermarkets a fraction of the size of ours predicated on the notion that if you really need a plastic bag, pay for it and bag up on your own time, we have customers to serve. We were all like "Whaaaat? No plastic bags? How could this be?" I remember all of the adults in my life having an existential crisis in 2001 thanks to Aldi. They all roamed the streets hugging their groceries like new-borns, utterly unsure of what to do with themselves; it was hilarious. Over a decade later, I've come here and realised that most supermarkets are like Australian Aldi, including the Aldi here. Why? Because Danes, and I suppose Europeans in general, like the earth and they know that there is one thing that can combat laziness, and that's making people pay for it.
 
DSC_0000 (19)Danes don't understand why any Australian would go to Denmark
Because they are dying to go to Australia, apparently. Why? Because Danes hate the cold, and they aren't shy about making sure everybody knows it. It is the one thing they all love to complain about; it's what unites them.
 
 
 
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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Letters For When I Get Hit by a Bus

One day I'm going to die, and it's either going to be my best day or my worst. I think it's probably going to be the latter, but an optimist might argue that it will be the greatest day of my life, so fingers crossed. My most anxious thought about my death is the people around me not knowing or not being totally sure of how I felt about them. When I was 14, I had a Catholic Studies teacher whose name escapes me; it was something long and Maltese, Mr. Gali-something. He was an olive-skinned, clean yet unshaven middle-aged man with a long salt and pepper pony tail. He had an avuncular heftiness that you'd imagine seeing at a family barbecue or a local ten pin bowling championship. But looks aside, he was a funny yet dead-pan bloke and a very deep thinker. I'd always disliked religion in school, but he taught it like he wasn't following a syllabus and I liked that. To better get in touch with ourselves, in class one day he made us write a letter to someone about all the things we'd want them to know if we were to die suddenly. They were goodbye letters, and this one single day in a small Sydney classroom had such an impact on me that I'm still writing these fucking things 11 years later.

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When I was still in school, I never really thought anything of it; writing these letters, that is. I would go home, type them, date them, hide them, and I never thought that it was strange or particularly worth mentioning to anyone. In fact, at the time, my death still wasn't a real thing to me. I thought I'd live forever. I lived everyday and slept every night like there'd be more of them, even though there was no guarantee on the side of the box. Standard for a teenager, I suppose. At the time, I guess I saw the letters as more of a safe place I could be at my most honest and my most blunt than I had the guts to be in person or on the internet. I was a shy kid who was less than forthright with most of the people I came across. I had a lot of strong feelings for people, both good and bad, and yet I was so afraid to share any of them as much as I was itching to. But at the same time, I couldn't bare the thought of dying and those thoughts dying with me, with no means for someone to salvage them. But I figured as a teen that there was something so honest in death, especially when one feels as if they have nothing left to lose and nothing left to hide, and I wanted to see if I could channel a bit of that myself. That's why you never want to speak to someone who thinks they're dying, because if they've always thought you were a dick, they might finally tell you.

But I think that was what appealed to me as a 14 year old. The first batch of letters I penned weren't pretty, so much so that they could've become what caused my death had they gotten out. They were dark, horrible and extremely vindictive. They were filled with such resentment that at the time I relished the thought of my death just so that people would read them and realise that they no longer had the chance to make amends for the ways they'd wronged me, they would just have to live with the guilt of receiving a scathing letter from a dead guy for the rest of their lives. I was an angry, angry kid who carried around a lot of pain, and the thought of offloading some of that, especially from the grave, made me fucking giddy with joy.

To say that I don't still have that thought would be a bit of a lie, but following school I would eventually better channel the habit more positively toward the people I love. As much as I wanted my foes to know how awful they were as human beings, I wanted my friends and family to be sure of the opposite too. I wanted them to know what it was I loved about them, how they enriched the time I was alive, the changes they made to the people around them, and how I hoped they would live their lives after I was gone, essentially reminding them to hang on to the values and traits that I so revered in them. I most importantly would put my deepest desires in there. The letters I've written to the friends I'd fallen out with are about how much I wanted to ask them to coffee and start a fresh, but was ultimately too stubborn to do so while I was alive. Some are to girls I liked but never had the courage to tell them that I visited the places we first met or kissed and secretly hoped they would serendipitously be doing the same too, even though that would never happen. For over a decade, I have essentially been reverse-eulogising my friends. Instead of them going up to the podium and talking me up as I go into the ground, it was the opposite, I was talking about them to them, albeit in a less sugar-coated and more authentic fashion.

More importantly, the greatest thing to me about these letters, the most vital and character-moulding lesson that Mr. Pony Tail inadvertently laid the groundwork for that day at school was that these goodbye letters are ridiculous. At first, I didn't have the audacity to say half the shit I wrote, that's why they were necessary at the time, but not anymore really. The more I matured, the more I realised how silly it was that I wasn't just coming right out and saying these things. I've written them less in my 20s because now I know that I could die, and I'm driven by that a little. I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and would never have actually asked you out for a beer, and who the fuck am I to deny myself of that while I still can? That would be stupid. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm still writing these things regardless, it's just that more often than not, I've started to actually give them to people, just edited as normal letters. I'm not afraid anymore. Of course, I never told them that they started out as death letters and I would omit anything that implied it, like all the now that I'm gones and all the past tenses. But…some people have them.

What that means is that at the core of all of these words my friends, family and ex-whatevers may never read, they made me a more forthright and honest person; not just with others, but with myself. Some might say that the letters made me into an arsehole, but I say that they made me more transparent to most on the outside and they helped draw a clearer path to my heart for a select few on the inside, transforming me from a hardened-boy into a better man. Fuck, imagine if I'd called in sick or jigged that day; God knows who I'd be right now!

To my surprise, I've written this blog for nine years now, and some of these letters still predate its very first post by a long time. This also isn't the first time I've tried to write this post, nor is it the second, or the third. The letters were one of my deepest secrets, and that's not hyperbole. Sure, they live in a folder more hidden, more secured and more deeply nested than...well, you can guess, but the secrecy wasn't exactly intentional. There's not a lot that I keep close to my chest, and anybody who's known me for longer than an hour would be able to attest to that. It just didn't come up, and how could it? Like five people know. Perhaps it was because somehow I felt like they were almost symbiotically attached to my death, like they were the only thing I had saved for my funeral, and if I let that go, what else would I have just for me? I also didn't want people to feel hurt, weirded out or, most importantly, curious.

So, why write about it, and why write about it now? Well, last year I had a four and a half year relationship fall apart. I thought I'd be with her for as long as I lived and I trusted her in ways that I never knew existed, so I told her about them and deputised her into distributing these things in the event of my death. It was an unfair and fucked up request, but it meant a lot to me and brought a guy with no religion quite a bit of comfort. I don't have someone like that anymore and 11 years is a huge chunk of time for a 25 year old. It's time people knew, I think, not because I've been itching for them to know, on the contrary actually, I'd rather it stay a secret. Nor is it because I want people to come looking for them, or that I want everybody to expect that they have one waiting for them, because not everybody does. It's because - and this is the only reason - it's because I want people to know that these fucking things exist and that they will continue to be written, because when I'm no longer around, no body is going to let these people know for me and the letters will probably be lost. This post is my only hope, really.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Logic in Love

In an effort to better understand why I behave the way that I do, I've had to identify that there are two Ryans: there's the logical one and there's the no questions asked, down on both knees, will you marry me now, emotional Ryan. Put the two together and out pops the strange love child I call "me" - the real me. If you asked the emotional side, he'd tell you that I've fallen in love with every girl I've ever met, and maybe even some of the guys, which is a problem. That's where Logical Ryan swoops in and saves my ass.

I've told five people in my life that I'm in love with them; one of which I regret because I was twelve and the other four I actually loved with varying degrees of vigor. As for the rest of the general population however, I was never actually in love with. But be that as it may, something just so palpable and so striking would still pass over me in a moment while in the presence of others. Sometimes it was the way they looked into my eyes, sometimes it was a hint of grace in their actions or the way that they cleaned the peanut butter jar with their finger; other times it was something as simple as a brush of the hair, the gentility in a kiss, a graze of the hand, or just their beauty which would encapsulate me so, but it was Emotional Ryan at play and that dude is a fucking barbarian.

Meanwhile, Logical Ryan then has to take his emotional counterpart infront of an advisory board to state a case as to why the real me shouldn't be in love with that person. Sometimes it means months of arguing, recesses, referrals, deliberations, and appeals to rationalise the thing out. Having said that, often one can just rationalise it out in an instant. As I mentioned though, there were times where Logical Ryan couldn’t prove to a reasonable doubt that I wasn’t genuinely Play Misty for Me, in love with the person, because I was.

Thankfully what it does mean is that every single I love you, not just the romantic but also the platonic, is so carefully considered that it's like planning a trip to North Korea. The ultimate take away here is that love for me has become more of a logical concept than an emotional one. It has to be that way in order for me to make heads or tails of the emotions which flood through me on the daily. Without Logical Ryan filtering out all of the dirt and grit, there'd be no clean water to drink when someone I actually could love comes along. If I didn't apply a logical process, I wouldn't know love, nor would I know myself, because I would just think I'm in love with everyone. More importantly, it's why every I love you is such a big deal to me, and something worth announcing.

The question is: can there really be logic in love or have I just finally reached the pinnacle of romantic-hysteria?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Plane Tickets Like Granny Porn

like the facebookz I've faced two new concepts in the last year: being single in my 20s and always being within six months of skipping the country I'm in. What this means is that now every romantic affair I have, every kiss at a party, every two night stand, every classic graze of the hand I have at the vending machine as we both serendipitously reach to press E3 for that Snickers Bar is followed by the same two absurd conversations no matter the girl, no matter her nature, no matter the continent. It's like a doll with a string, pull it and it says one of two things: "but you're going in x months" and "what are we?"

But you're leaving in x months
To me, having a conversation which starts like this is akin to meandering around a ticking time bomb discussing how it will blow us up as opposed to trying to defuse the thing or enjoying our final moments before our impending doom. "Do you reckon the g-force will, like, propel our bodies across the room, will we just barbecue or is it going to tear us to shreds where we stand? Let's ponder this in silence for a moment or two while I sip this camomile." The second I hear the words leave a girl's mouth, the entire operation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We just ruin the moments we do have together by worrying about the moments we won't and the point becomes moot. It's a lot of chatting about how we won't be able to fuck any more, where "any more" becomes redundant. This line of questioning got to a point back in Sydney where my move to Denmark went from something I thought girls would find mysterious and attractive into this dirty little secret I hid under the mattress like granny porn.

The truth is that you can't have pain without pleasure, and vice versa. Without the sting of pain, we wouldn't know the delight in pleasure, we'd just be bored all the time. So, I tend to see tears at an airport as less of an emotional-anvil and more of an indication of how well we filled the preceding months, and I don't intend to fill them with redundant yacking. So if pain means fun, then I'll trade boredom for pain on any day of the week! If this last year has taught me anything it's to appreciate the time I have left with people, to be a little more economical with that time and to most importantly embrace the fact that it will bring both the most painful yet beautiful goodbyes. It's ying and yang, people!

What are we?
But there's another mantra that can really rattle my chain, because you know how you sometimes use words you can't exactly define when people ask you to, well since my break up I've been having things with people that I can't define, and believe me, that's way more frustrating. The question is the watermark of a woman who has grown weary of referring to me as this guy or that guy we spoke about to their friends and hope to shorten it or add a second part. "This guy I'm dating" or "that guy I told you I slept with" or just "boyfriend". And look, that all sounds lovely...but - and shoot me for saying this - but I'm leaving in six months! The only thing you should be labelling which will leave that soon is canned tomatoes in aisle seven, not a romantic affair!

Not only is it too chatty, but It's also entrapment with less sexy Zeta Jones and more old saggy balls Connery. Asking anybody you're involved with what you two are when one of them has an exit on the horizon is like forcing them to tell you that they're only in it to bang. There is no subtle or charming way to say that you just want to go with the flow but continue the romance. In fact, the more you talk about it, the more both of you realise just how much of a paradox you're in. So, before you ask this question, you might as well just take whatever it is you both have out the back and put a bullet in its brain; it'll achieve the same thing.

Let me ask, why can't it just be, you know, fun? This is coming from a dude who wants a relationship, who wants to date, who has eyes for wife-material, but it would be foolish of me to seriously seek out any of those things while I'm also applying for visas. I know this, she knows this, so why does she want me to spell it out? It's one hell of a buzz-kill.

 

To be perfectly honest, to say that none of this is my own doing would be a bit of a lie. I never quite got the hit it and quit it memo that all other guys seemed to have researched and studied like it's the cure to cancer. I always hang around after, which I trust is what opens me up to questions. It must seem like I want a relationship, while at the same time I'm leaving; makes no sense to people, but not completely inaccurate. I suppose I do want a relationship, I just don't want to talk about it. I can mull over, dissect, over-think, and over-analyse anything until I'm a nervous wreck, but that's not who I am at the moment. There comes a time when people just need to shut up and enjoy themselves. Ironically, I say that not because that's innately who I am or because I'm the proud owner of male genitalia, but because of the very reason they're asking these questions - because I'm out’ta here soon.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Suber Grapes

I love Uber, but not the service itself, I more love the pack of sharks which has circled it since its inception. People yammer on about it like they're allergic to good ideas and it just makes this guy right here chuckle, because I know that everybody thinks they're saying different things to eachother, but they're really not. No matter if the discussion takes place in a regulation, safety or economic discourse, all I hear is I'm old and I don't like change, no matter how much sense it makes. In my opinion, it's all that's been said so far and I'm bored. There are two things here.

like the bookz

The Taxi Drivers
Fuck these guys! If it were up to them we'd be living in some weird utopia where you can't own a car or legs. I would take literally any complaint of theirs with a grain of salt. They're really the only reason we keep having this discussion and they're the reason that what is being said is the same shit every time, because there is so much sour grapes here that Uber in the media has become a fucking abandoned vineyard. Cabbies are just all super worried about losing their jobs, it's that simple, which is fair enough, I empathise, I really do. How are you going to feed your kids or cheat on your wife if there is some 19 year old out there doing what you're doing an easier way and for less money. But they need to accept that when you continue to work in an industry which planted its feet decades ago and continued to use a 1930s model in the thick of a digital age, you're going to get fucked. This was bound to happen; I would've bet a testicle on it! And don't tell me that they didn't have time! There are probably a million cab drivers sitting at taxi ranks around the world as you read this playing with their dicks, and none of them could've spent a minute in the eight years since the first iPhone was released rethinking the laborious task of waiting and paying for a licensed-cab? Please.

But why does it matter that they're whinging, Ryan? Let 'em, right? Wrong, because they drive these discussions about regulations and virtual-abolition of Uber. Not just that, but they have strength in numbers and regulatory bodies to back them. Uber has nothing but money, a bunch of people with driver's licenses and a CEO the media treats like a crook. Cabbies have the potential to send this thing into irrelevance, meaning they are not only choosing to hold onto archaic-methods, but they are now making conscious efforts to annihilate new ones, making sure we remain in the quasi-50s. I mean, God forbid they take this as a cue to reinvent the industry. Na! Na! Let's pour those efforts into destroying something good instead. And why? All because they were too brain-dead to come up with it on their own.

But there's an alternate argument that often fuels the fire a little.

 

The Idiot Uber Customers
My parents used to tell me that if I talk to strangers or get into a car with a stranger, I'm an idiot. Well, I've embellished a lot there; they just told me not to do it. Sound advice I think, a little confusing though if the dude with the cleaver is on the outside of the car, but I digress. So by the same token, I think that anybody who's ever gotten into an Uber is an idiot, because both an Uber and a stranger's car are one and the same. A kid from my school got into a car and went missing when I was about seven. It was a rookie-move, but if that had been today and we put an iPhone in his hand and the creep had Uber installed on their phone, it would've made total sense. Ah, but luckily, now we have someone other than the victim to blame: Uber!

In November 2014, it was tumultuous times for Uber for a number of reasons. Governments around the globe, both local and larger, were discussing regulating it as they always are, in a weird twist one of the Uber executives threatened a smear-campaign against nay-saying journalists and most importantly a lot of people were coming out with sexual assault stories relating to Uber drivers, triggering countless articles from several publications amalgamating every "Uber horror story" into a nice little package to scare the living shit out of you. It was dumb times for the humans, because you know, you just know that if you wiped the fog from your glasses, you would see the nay-saying for what it really was; the skeptical-journalists looking for a story; the politicians looking to regain control; the taxi drivers looking to keep their jobs; the victims with nobody to blame but themselves. It's all just nonsense surrounding the same shit we've always done. We've always paid for rides with friends or hitchhiked, but now there's an app and thus a target behind it who isn't me. Rape and Uber aren't synonyms, I'm sorry.

To bring it back around, the London taxis went on strike today calling for proper taxation of Uber in the UK, which is fair enough, I suppose. Why shouldn't they be properly taxed in the countries they operate? And I understand the importance of government regulation, I do, I'm not paying for a communications degree for nothing. So, I suppose they're right. Maybe The Guardian's opinion piece is also right, maybe this makes Uber "unfair competition" and that Uber lacks "respect" for the Brits. Or...maybe, it's a fucking app! And maybe we should stop thinking about it as anything more, because does anybody understand that the moment Uber is taxed accordingly, it ceases to be just an app, it ceases to be Uber and becomes more like a taxi company, and will therefore have to charge like a taxi company in order to keep the fucking lights on! One of the very things setting it apart. Then by this time next year, nobody will care about it, we'll uninstall it and we'll all just go back to waiting on the side of the street like knobs, unsure of anything. Either that or we'll just Airbnb a room in lieu of heading home; that is of course until Hilton or whatever ruin that operation as well.

 

You know what, I hope taxi drivers kids starve. Yeah, I said! Because this is a nice little lesson in the predicament ignorant people often find themselves in. You can plant your feet and say that you won't change, which is your prerogative, but stubbornness has a cost and you should be prepared to pay it in fucking silence. I'm stubborn too, I know. I want to send mail without the NSA reading it, but I don't like regular mail; have you ever seen a blog on here bitching about Gmail? Uber is an app, and getting into a stranger's car, or it being an improvement on archaic business models, or it dodging taxes, or its CEO being misogynistic are all separate issues entirely and should be treated as such. So please, please don't ruin it for the rest of us just because the taxi companies did nothing to prevent the inevitable; that's just not cool.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sydney Can’t Do Temperature Well

I'm in my second week of living in a country vastly different to my home in Sydney. It's Denmark and it's colder than a snowman's nutsack here. My number one fear in the lead up to the move was the indoor heating. You see, the natural cold I can handle, but not the artificial heating, and it was because Sydney are shit at doing temperature. What?

Sydney, and I guess Australia, are spoiled by the sultry-climate, which means that whenever it dips below 20 degrees Celsius, we run the heaters like there are fucking camels on the bus! Not just there, but trains, buildings, cafes, outdoor dining. We treat cold like it's noxious gas. Which means a good looking fella wearing three layers, a scarf and gloves with a 15 degree chill on his cheeks comes down with a fever the moment he walks inside a place. He then has to shed layers like a snake and haul his clothes around like an awkward piece of luggage. I'm not claustrophobic, but twice I've had an anxiety attack on a peak hour Sydney train brimming with hot flesh because the drivers don't know how to account for the volume of people.

Conversely, in the summer, which Sydney has a surplus, everybody holds a competition to make it snow inside. They say it happened once in the 60s, but I think it might be bullshit. There's nothing quite like wearing next to nothing, being drenched in sweat and then having to walk through an 18 degree chill coming from the south-west of the supermarket you're in.

So when the prospect of moving to a cold climate came about, I was concerned. I thought it would be like this around the world! I didn't want any more anxiety attacks, or sweaty armpits in the freezing cold, or cheeks I can't bring back down to room temperature. Since arriving however I realised that it's just that Sydney is just full of morons! They just don't know how to do temperature well. Oh, they can turn a train carriage into a sauna and my underwear into the adjoining pool, making it a full hotel package! They can fight one horrible temperature with an equally horrible one, but they have no clue how to make people comfortable. This country does. The Brits know how to as well. There's comfort inside and snow on the window and I have no complaints.

It's all about the tools though. Australians use harsh heaters; these cold countries use subtle radiators. They emit heat, don't pump it. That's all Aussies know how to do, pump heat out of our air conditioning units, or turn the chillers off in a concrete building and let the residual heat do it's job.

Anyway, Sydney just can't do temperature well.