Sunday, 26 October 2014

I don't care, I'm posting this.

In my quest for a balanced life, I recently spent some time sorting through a whole stack of craft stuff that had been gathering dust on my desk for months. I guess my long term goal is to use this craft stuff to do craft. (Is that even the right way to say it? Do you "do" craft or "make" craft?)

Anyway, as I waded through wads of waxy wrapping paper, I soon noticed that I'd hoarded quite a lot of pre-craft material. Newspaper clippings, magazine ads, buttons, tags, leaflets, labels... even those awesome free postcards that you can pick up from university campuses in Sydney. (Tangent: I'm yet to meet another person who has actually sent a random promotional postcard to someone in the mail. More people should get on this because it's the ultimate snail mail troll.)

I feel as though something should now be said about the inner calm one can achieve by sorting through stuff. Inspecting each item and entertaining its endless possibilities can be incredibly relaxing. I'm still thinking about what great gift cards I'm going to make using that striking piece of gold cardboard I found.

After sorting through everything, I am pleased to report that I had a great time grouping all the pieces of paper in piles according to their colour. The green pile was the biggest. I love green.

Proud of my piles of paper, I then placed each in its own snap lock bag.

So to the obsessive orderers among you, hold back your organisation-induced drool no longer. If you derive some form of pleasure from putting shit in piles before bagging it, don't bag it.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Should we laugh in the face of mental illness?

In Australia, ABC television recently aired Mental As. To anyone hearing about this for the first time, it was a week of prime-time programming on the topic of mental illness.

I didn't actually watch any of the shows when they were aired (read: my priorities were out of whack last week), but thanks to my dad, who is a Foxtel IQ whiz, everything was taped. I watched it all yesterday, so now I can talk about it.

It was interesting to note that many of the fundraising and awareness-raising programs were fronted by comedians. At first I was like... guys, pretty serious issue right here, what's with all the jokes?

The Friday Night Crack Up, featuring a bunch of high profile Australians throwing cakes at each other, was one such example of how comedy has been used to shine a light on mental health.

The response to Mental As in Australia has been really positive. Should we be using comedy to tackle mental illness more often?

Tackling mental illness comes in two flavours. There is helping people who are mentally ill, and there is destigmatising this process in the first place.

For sufferers who are in the darkest depths of mental illness, stand-up comedy and 2-hour variety shows that make light of its seriousness might not be the best thing. I know that when I've been down, a good shoulder to cry on and a couple of sincere listening ears are best.

Outside the sufferers circle, comedy definitely has a place. It can break down barriers and open communication lines, which is what we need right now. Broaching the subject in a light-hearted fashion makes it more accessible to people who have no prior experience with mental illness. Of course, the comedy shouldn't be callous or cheap to the degree that mental illness isn't taken seriously, but it definitely does have a place.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

That's just criminal.

I went to a police museum not so long ago.

Let it be known that museums are not my favourite outing of all time. There's something rather unappealing about standing around for long periods of time, waiting for engrossed family members to catch up. (And to make it worse, I saw at least three kids under the age of five who were holding up WAY better than me.)

Anyway once I decided to GROW UP and focus on the exhibits, things got interesting.

I found a collection of photographs from what is thought to be the largest archive of police forensic photography in the world. We're talking upwards of 130,000 mug shots. Or rather, smug shots, because it would seem that prior to reliable forensic testing, criminals looked less guilty on film.

The photographs featured an array of delinquents, con-artists, loan sharks, drug pushers, prostitutes and murderers. Labels aside, these people look completely normal. If you saw one on the streets of Sydney in 1900, you wouldn't have known they were the head honcho of a large drug ring just by looking at them. And if I hadn't been in a police museum, I wouldn't have known either.

This got me thinking, like most things do.

Firstly, for the sake of argument I'm going to assume that you aren't a criminal. As a fellow law-abider, I'm confident that you don't have murderous tendencies, a drug trafficking history or other illegalities to hide from the world.

Criminal activity aside, I bet there are still non-criminal things you choose not to disclose. Things for which you can't be arrested, but that you keep from others just the same.

It's very common to keep things inside. And sometimes this pays off. (Go to the Police Museum in Sydney if you want photographic evidence.)

But there are plenty of cases where containment doesn't do individuals any good...

I'm trying to challenge this by putting things out there. Because if I've got stuff going on, there is no point keeping it to myself. I talk about it. Explore it. Use it. I'm at this point now where playing it "safe" is not an option.

Being open and honest is worth it. The only downside is that where I live, some people who read my blog tend to give me awkward, knowing looks when I pass them in the street. But even that isn't exactly a downside for me. My only gripe is that I can't give them a look of compassion and understanding in return, because they don't write tell-all blogs for me to read. But I would if I could.

Anyone nuts about dried fruit?

Hi guys,

I was eating dried fruit the other day, and came across these. I've no idea what they are. Does anybody know?

Monday, 20 October 2014


There are some pretty decent trees near my place. At particular times in the day, sunlight illuminates networks of leaves in way more detail than my camera can capture. 

I've always wondered how trees decide which direction their branches should grow in. What makes branches twist and kink like they do? Is it available sunlight? Perceived protection from wind? Is it all just random?