Monday, February 23, 2009

21 is not always a card game

Birthday parties are meant to be the most fun you can have, with or without your clothes on. (At the early years it is a lot more acceptable that at the later ones) And they often are with the exceptions happening when people start to get depressed or compressed by thoughts about age, especially if it changes the last number from a nine to a zero.

Often when you start off being the most excited about getting past the age of ten, every age question is not a matter of how old you are, but how old you will be. If a child happens to be turning twelve in June, five years from now, he’ll adamantly say he’s turning 12.

And I have to congratulate the children on wanting to get to the teenage years so quickly. I enjoyed my angst-ridden years of wearing black outfits and complaining that everyone was out to get me. Who wouldn’t want to step back in time. And it’s not until you turn 18 that it starts to get a little better. The world is your oyster, which at the time you hate due to the fact that you’ve become a vegetarian.

But 18 leads you happily onto 21, the magical figure where the party is probably the best you’ll ever have, the presents are only matched by wedding gifts and the speeches people make actually make you proud of your achievements up till now(which include being the chip fryer manager at the local unrespectable eatery).

After this date, everyone now starts to fret about being old. Regardless of there actual age, people still live as though they want to be 21, and compare there lives to this magical figure as though it will make the flab they happen to be holding in there pinched fingers magically disappear.

But you are only as old as the verbal abuse you send out. To give you a fair idea of how this system works, you are about ten years older than anyone you want to tell off in a condescending fashion. If you hate school kids on the train and tell them that they should wear their slap bands correctly. If you complain about the young executives for talking loudly on their phones or not letting you sit down, you’re probably at least pushing mid 40’s. If you start complaining about elderly people over 90 you probably should be classed as an idiot and locked up especially if you’re under 30.

So don’t worry, just use the same stationary as you’re 21’s birthday. Don’t stop being 21, just never let your actual age past it. In that way, even when your children are 40 you can trundle out in your three wheeled scooter as people hand you happy 21st cards. It’s a foolproof plan. I’m still following it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Friends, Romans, Countrymen. Lend me your emails.

In my years of surfing the Internet, checking emails, watching bad viral videos and even making some money on the side, I have been amazed by the stupidity of the Internet and the fear of the unknown people are when they enter into this world of negotiable knowledge.

I am meaning, of course, about the proliferation and scourge of the chain emails.

Chain letters, once the social outcast of the physical mail system managed to get from one communication option to another. Bouncing around the red letterboxes of life until one, if not all, were scanned, typed and dictated into a computer to be sent on an endless quest of annoyance(If you can't tell, I'm not a fan). I am an opponent to them in all senses, in fact I have got to the point of sending chain emails back to "friends" of mine threatening wanton destruction of property, but that is taking the whole hate aspect a little too far. These fearful people, friends and acquaintances among them, are only worried about their health and safety. I think it only natural that you believe that a south American orphan will kill you if you don't send the email onto 12 of your closest friends, especially as that orphan has now got access to a computer. This orphan, who might or might not be a spirit has enough time and worry to want to look through email logs on her computer, just in case you sent the email off to a dead end of some sort or do the opening of emails emit a placating spiritual essence to fend off such a spirit.

As well as the gory warning about such a happening there are also the luck emails that inspire you to send them on 'as luck will follow' if you send them to 25 of your friends. Each one contains a wealth of testimonials, each about a person in a long distant location who has benefit ted with finding enough gold or winning enough money to give their dead wife's prized gold fish a heart transplant. A tear comes involuntarily to my eye as I read such badly worded drivel but I think it can be assumed that only the 'unlucky' ones are the smart ones. The unlucky ones are mentioned that fail miserably in life over the next 20 years, or lose their entire family in a freak golf ball incident if they do not send on the emails. I'm still waiting to be attacked by golf balls and, short of walking through a driving range wearing a target I have my doubts.

But, and this is the important thing, if these people are right then we should really be worried. If, at current trend, people are sending these emails out continuously with spirits, luck, poltergeists and curses attached to them we may need to rethink our application of computers in the home. Internet fridges were just a warning but I'm worried that in the future our toaster's could be imbued with the spirit of a cranky pirate who only will cook toast if you call it a scurvy dog or the light switches hexxed to flicker when certain people walk through the room imbuing them with .5% more UV radiation than anything else. Who knows how many items will now need to be exorcised to keep them from being harnessed. We may see it as beneficial if our alarm clock bounces emails around making luck shine from it's bright red LED's but do we really need it to turn evil and not wake us up in the morning for work.

Anyway, that's enough of a scare campaign from myself. I can't think that this docuement is providing you with zero luck whatsoever. But should you not send a message out about this blog to anyone a rock will fall in the Andes in Argentina that will roll into a snowball, be flung at a poor defenceless orphan who will make a vow of revenge to start a revolution encompassing the world that will destroy all computers and electronic devices.

Wait a minute. That might not be such a bad idea.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Office Jungle

In many ways the world of the office can be compared with life for a wilder beast in the, well, wild. Some might say that it is a little too uncanny that offices are like a desert with only the kitchen and water cooler as the veritable oasis (that aren’t always safe, they just contain supplies)

But this was brought to my attention by the role of the work Meerkat or, to the uninitiated, the habit of peering over the edge of cubicles with both hands on the edge checking out the surroundings. After observing the cubicle habits, over many years, of the average office worker this isn’t that far off the truth and, unfortunately, these are not the most dangerous creatures roaming the walkways of your carpeted halls.

The first creature that springs to mind is the parrot, a role that should not be confused with the vulture. In the jungle of the office the parrot, whether female or male, often wears bright outfits that scare the living daylights out of any predators and perch on the edge of a cubicle or on a door frame. They’ll repeatedly ask you about last weekend or next weekend before laughing about things you say that aren’t even really funny then move to the next office to have the exact same conversation. Infuriating people with their repetition they may laugh in a fake manner throwing a hand around like a grenade to ward off any other parrots. No one actually knows if they do any work.

The next character is the elephant, not the worst kind of creature, but not really the greatest. Often it’s a larger or taller person but characteristically they move through the office bumping into everything and grunting excuse me occasionally, and the most obvious trait is that they only want things from the furthest destination. At this point they will reach past whatever is in their way, including other people, and pick it up lightly while apologising the whole time. Often hard working they can be useful to know if you want to get anything without personally upsetting people. They also can clear a path to the cakes on the breakfast morning tea.

A third is the vulture, a creature similar in nature to the parrot but without the conversational tone. They might tend to mingle around offices of those people who, in this time of upheaval, decide or are pushed to leave there jobs. Don’t try to get too close because they’ll swoop on anything left in the office, such as chairs, coffee cups, even administration staff. Best advice is to put out bait for them, maybe leave the occasional unowned coffee cup glued to the desk and watch them try and surreptitiously try to get it off with a staple remover.

The last, for this short list, is the alligator. Not really known as the highest of workers they tend to hang around the safe places of an office; the kitchen, the water cooler and even the toilets. But these can be seen as the most dangerous of all of the office wildlife. They’ll latch onto you, often with bad hug greetings, to get you to help them with some favour or other. Sometimes it can be a quick ‘toner replacement’ for the copier but it can verge on the ‘helping them move house’ to take you entirely away from your day. And they will drag you under if you give them half a chance. Better to struggle back, pulling yourself back with the all important lie ‘I have a meeting with finance’.

So all my advice would be to move in packs, to keep these creatures away from you, but if you want to be really sure best keep a blunderbuss at your desk and find a good safari guide to get you out of there.

Monday, February 2, 2009

For the love of coffee

It has been commented by many through the years of my life that in the morning my movement and speed is matched only by a pot smoking turtle. I think that the amphibious narcotics community would be severely hurt by that kind of an allegation as I move at pace that is only discernable in a time lapse video. My own and many other peoples reason for this is that the morning does not begin until we’ve mixed some brown powder into some boiling hotwater. Until this appears in our hands we should be classed as the walking dead, moaning occasionally as we lumber through the rising sunlight.

I know that I’m not alone in this legal narcotic addiction. Friends, family, unknown strangers all suffer from this heaving post caffeine haze that can be matched, in pain only, by a hangover from a heavy night of tequilas. These other coffee addicts of the town can be seen lining up on street corners or curled up in a ball on a train to the city.

Since this is such a wonderful drop that has kept me going I won’t listen to a bad word against it. I know it yellows your teeth, can give you heart palpitation and is not recommended by either the doctors on the TV or the Heart Foundation, but I still like it. It’s just so comforting to know that in my hands I carry a substance that can enable me to finish off a gruelling day of work. Some people need chocolate to calm them down but I need coffee to keep me awake.

Needless to say, this city of mine runs on caffeine. They can limit the water in times of drought, food in times of war and electricity in times of those eclectic massage chairs(which are fun) but the whole city will grind to a halt should the caffeine level be stopped. Having an Espresso isn’t just having a drink it’s a way of living. Even on 45 degree days (celcius) people, including me will ask for a cappuccino or mocha in preference over a nice cool milkshake.

And Melbourne loves it as well, with it’s abundance of coffee shops, bars, even Laundromats with espresso machines you can’t escape the smell or pleasure of a cup anywhere. You’d need to hide yourself in a cupboard with eucalyptus stuffed up your nose and chewing gum the whole time.

Now before I do fall asleep at my desk I have to dash to the coffee shop to get my second fix for the afternoon.
Would anyone else like a cup while I’m there?
It’s nice and hot.