Monthly Archives: March 2018

El Hablador – A Review

Last night, I spent two and a it glorious hours watching Ross Noble dance and twist about the stage, drawing inspiration from the crowd and the poor suckers who came in late for their front-row seats.

 

If you’ve never seen Ross Noble live, or even viewed him on some of his more Ross-ish appearances on programs like QI and Spicks and Specks I would recommend you switch to Youtube now and have a look. Then come back and finish reading this.

 

Welcome back

 

Now you’ve familiarised yourself with the chaotic and logic-less style that is the hallmark of the Ross Noble experience, I can properly explain and review the experience of last night’s show.

 

Explaining what actually happened is beyond my capabilities. Language cannot encapsulate the true nature of the jokes and anecdotes that make my stomach and ribs ache. There were pandas, bird nests, glad wrap, lions, hippos, moleskin phones covers and heroin addicted midgets. There was an Air Force acquisitions person playing King Kong buying the excrement of Top Gun‘s Goose.

 

If none of that makes sense, then you weren’t there. If it does make sense – then you were clearly present.

 

Ross Noble is an experience like no other. I have watched many other stand up comics, and while most of them have made me laugh so hard I cried, nothing has ever compared to the experience of watching Ross Noble and the bag of cats that is his brain work its magic on stage. There’s no need to review this. You just need to watch him.

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#mentalhealth – Self-care: The power of sleep

Everyone knows how important sleep is. How crummy it is to be tired and how good it can feel to look at the clock on a saturday morning, roll back over into the embrace of your feathered doona and whisper

…just five more minutes…

and we have doctors and teachers and our parents nagging us. They tell us we look tired, that we should sleep more, that we shouldn’t stay up until three am watching Netflix.

 

But when we’re not well, when we are under the pump or are suffering from stress, we need sleep more than ever. I’m not going to talk about all the ways you can get more sleep, or sleep hygiene (a topic I’ve skirted a few times but really don’t want to get into. I’ll get to it. I promise.) I want to talk about how sometimes, sleep is both a blessing and a curse.

 

Stay with me here.

 

For me, sleep is a safe place. I don’t have a whole lot of nightmares or stressful dreams. I don’t have a lot of dreams, period. Sleep is about a day ending. Sleep passes time that would otherwise be filled with mental agony. But what happens when it doesn’t have the ‘reboot’ factor that I hope for? What happens when I wake up?

 

Waking up is the flip side to the escapist nature of sleep. It’s the nasty necessity that comes with being able to totally disconnect with the world for a few hours. And it’s my least favourite part of the day.

Waking up is about getting back out of bed, and beginning once again the grind of doing everything that needs doing. And it’s hard.

 

…just five more minutes…

takes on a whole new meaning when I’m avoiding doing the washing, cleaning the cat litter, feeding the cats, looking the messy kitchen, doing the washing up, putting the bins out, starting my uni work, maybe getting to some writing, preparing my room to be vacuumed, maybe visiting my parents, maybe visiting my grandparents, maybe….

 

You get the picture. And I don’t have kids. I don’t know how anyone gets out of bed when they have kids…

 

And then theres the off food in the fridge that I’ve asked someone to clean out three times this week and it hasn’t been done – I should probably do that. And then there’s probably some groceries that need doing. Oh, and I should check if the garden can be done, and obviously I need to shower, which means picking out clothes, and then I have to clean up the floor so no one slips on it and then… and then… and then…

 

It’s easier to stay in bed. But staying in bed doesn’t actually make anything better. It makes it worse. Because I’m thinking all of this while snuggled like a burrito in among blankets and pillows and cats, and it’s ruining a safe space. My bed should be a safe space. Beds are for sex and sleep – there’s a little sleep hygiene for you. Beds should not be for stressing, stressing until you cry, or giving up on life altogether.

That’s why I hate waking up. Not only is it hard, it actually brings everything i have to do, haven’t done yet, and should have done already to the surface and then it doesn’t matter how well I slept. It’s 9am on a Saturday morning and I’m stressed out of my brain and just want everything to be over.



Gun Control

I will quickly point out, right off the bat, that I live in Australia. Our last major mass shooting took place in 1996, the year after I was born (more information can be found here). The Port Arthur Massacre was a pretty bloody affair, and up until the 2017 Las Vegas Mass Shooting, it held a record for the highest number of deaths in a mass shooting.

 

At Port Arthur, a beautiful spot in Tasmania, Australia, 35 people were killed by a man with a history of mental illness and decidedly odd behaviour. After the shooting, our very conservative Prime Minister at the time, John Howard, did the greatest thing he could have ever done. He put into motion the comprehensive gun control measures and laws we have in Australia today. There was a huge buy-back. Guns and munitions were destroyed. Farmers and gun owners were furious. There were court cases and protests. Between the shooting in April of 1996 and the beginning of the buy-back, there was six months. After the buy-back, over a million weapons were destroyed.



 

To say that this solved the whole problem is of course ridiculous. Australia, like anywhere, still has citizens who are not law abiding. There are still people who want to hurt others. Like outlawing drugs, laws in and of themselves don’t solve the whole problem. We have however not had any mass shootings of that magnitude since. I’ve attached a link to a list of massacres in Australian history – the list starts in the 1620s so you’ll have to scroll down a little to get to the more modern stuff. You can tell from he list that Australians can be a pretty violent and murderous bunch. But pay attention to how many shootings of more than three individuals, not in family situations, we had after 1996.

 

With that kind of context in mind, I watch the chaos unfolding in America and all I can do is despair. To have mass shootings anywhere is tragic. To have them in schools is beyond reason. I’ve watched conversations between NRA representatives and the survivors of the Florida school shooting (Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to be specific, in case another one of these happens before you read this), and apart from feeling great pride at the strength of the students and teachers, I find myself hating the NRA person sitting across from them.

 

I listen to the NRA representative tell the student that OF COURSE this poor ‘crazy’ person should not have been able to get their hands on a gun. And OF COURSE the NRA opposes ‘crazy’ people being able to buy guns and the government should expand the Baker Act. But of all the news coverage I’ve watched, isn’t the NRA the group that lobbies the government and squashes bills every time a politician in the GOVERNMENT tries to do anything? Every time someone wants to allow the CDC to do research into gun violence, it gets squashed. So how do the NRA representatives have the gall to stand up and say the things they do, straight into the faces of brave teenagers with tears streaming down their faces, as they desperately ask to be heard and make a difference?



 

I actually don’t have an answer to that. I don’t know how the NRA can even show their faces at events with the survivors of these sorts of horrific moments.

 

When the representative, who insists on calling the perpetrator ‘crazy’, stands up and says that ‘he passed a background check’ and that it’s the fault of the government for not communicating on a state and federal level, how do they not then see that maybe what needs to be done is an expansion of the background check system itself?

 

The whole system needs an overhaul. No one needs a semi-automatic weapon. Not unless you are in an actual war zone. And while, emotionally, it might feel like a school and a war zone aren’t that far apart; they’re not the same thing.

 

For other comparisons with Australian gun laws and the changes we’ve undergone in the last 25 years, please see the Say What?! Part 1,and Part 2 from Australian Television.



Some beautiful cats to ease the strain

It’s hard sometimes to remember that it’s okay to take a second and relax. Do you know who doesn’t have that problem? Who just takes those five minutes, half an hour, or whole day to just breathe and chase dust motes to their hearts’ contents? Cats. So let’s look at some right now. Just to have an excuse to breathe and smile.

That one with me in the pink shirt is actually my background on my phone… I really needed to get up and do stuff, and I was busting to go to the loo, but he really just wanted to to snuggle. Sometimes they just make you slow down.

And slowing down is important. People move too fast. Deadlines come at us too fast. Everything is too fast. Slow down.





 

I like this one because Benji is such a snuggle-bug.

He just doesn’t want my to stop rubbing his chin. That’s all. I envy the relaxed and simple life he leads.

And there you have it folks; just a little bit of my boy #Benji to make you smile.