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Category: Obervation and Deduction (Page 1 of 5)

[raisemagnifyingglass]The place where I examine the puzzlements of life[/raisemagnifyngglass]

The Distance

The space between. Vast and absent all at once.

Something sneaks around in the dark, moving pieces of the world here and there while I sleep. I wake to find I am not where I expected to be.

There was once a silent promise made over pieces of a broken heart, that I would wrap the space around me like the finest of furs, draped in the most exquisite of nothingness. Safe. A promise, both required and abandoned long ago, I regret both making and breaking. No doubt I’d regret having kept it too. There was nobody but me to hold me to it, and when it fell about me, not really anyone to blame. Sometimes it is best for the pie crust to crumble. Sometimes it is safe.

It will hurt. There is no way to avoid it, though I seem to be trying regardless. It will shatter me into a thousand tiny shards and grind me under its heel once more, and yet I cannot regret one moment. A beautiful mistake that I would make over and over again. Grateful, to feel everything all over again.

To feel.

Eventually, I will feel again.

‘Tis a puzzlement

Why is it always the trivial things that run laps around your head in the middle of the night?

You’d think that if I was going to sit and mull over something troubling that I’d choose the latest conflict in the Middle East, the almighty wrath of nature, or some other huge and inexplicable thing. I’d know from the get-go that I’d have no hope of solving in the 20 minutes that I’d bother devoting to it and thus I’d easily reach some sort of slap dash solution that would satisfy my need to put something right in the world.

It is a bit of a puzzle to me then, why I continually feel the need to nut out interpersonal behaviours from dull everyday situations. I have absolutely no hope of ever putting together even a never gunna work but sounds good on the level that I happen to be thinking today solution, because I’d be too determined to test it, thus utterly ruining any illusion of brilliance.

In particular, I do believe my solution for today’s little gem would go down like a certain ill-fated ocean liner. I’m sure it would solve the immediate issue, that is a given, but it might be likened to blowing up a small suburb in order to eradicate a mouse plague from your garage. Mice are certainly gone, but, um… yeeeeah.

Pigeon Holes

I’m not great with people. If I’m honest, I’m probably borderline bad with people. There are few that I get on with and even fewer that I would say that I like. Of those, the ones that I will seek the company of are limited and those that I can trust with the world can be counted on one hand. I probably don’t even need the entire hand.

It isn’t that I don’t like people, I just like them over there. Me over here, people over there. For the most part, even with the ones I adore, that works for me.

It doesn’t seem to work for anyone else though, so I deal as best I can. I organise them into boxes and containers and colour code and label and, well, I have a system. I’m happy, they’re happy, we are all happy. It works.

Until you get a spanner.

They are splendid little gadgets, no doubt about it, but they will not stay in their box. The labels simply do not stick and, even if they did, spanner rules dictate that they must be removed and replaced at regular intervals. Every so often, you get one ripping the coloured tags off it’s neighbour and swapping it for it’s own. When it comes to sorting out what is what you find that today, what was yesterday labelled as spanner01 is now peach cobbler with a smattering of tennis shoe and half of a small beachside condo in Malibu.

How are you supposed to do anything with that?

Just occasionally, it’d be nice to find a spanner who, after a bath in Coke, a wipe down with eucalyptus oil and a damn good scrub with an old toothbrush, turned out to be a silvery, scuffed and dented whole person at the end of it all, not a mishmash of labels and box numbers collected along the way.

Alas, someone in Archive078 appears to be missing their tag.

Here we go again.

The Official Guide to Nerdwatching

Embracing your inner geek is one thing, but taking her out in public is an entirely different bag of chips.

Enrollment day was her maiden voyage into the seas of the general public.

I vastly overestimated the time it would take me to get good old Deathtrap through the traffic and onto the rural roads, leaving me with a solid 45 minutes to kill before the info session got underway. I wandered the grounds and ended up in the hallway outside of the lecture room. There was a small woman greedily reading the patchwork of papers pegged on the noticeboard down the far end of the hallway. I found myself a chair and picked up a copy of the free student magazine that was sitting on a nearby desk.

Soon after, a rusty-haired fellow in his late teens walked purposefully up the hallway towards me, stopping just short of the row of chairs I was occupying the last of. In one deft movement he stripped off his backpack, extracted a dog-eared Stephen King novel and buried himself in it. I buried my nose back in my magazine and realised another young man slipped past me and was leaning on the table to my left. He pulled out a thick notepad and started furiously scribbling down notes.

I flipped a page on the student magazine and was pondering the type of people who buy slow laptops. Two voices tromped their way into my ears as they wandered by the window behind me. A pair of silver-haired gents were talking about their latest fishing down south, and the big flattie that bit the line off just as they tried to land it. Apparently it was thiiis big. I had a quiet little smile on my face as the conversation meandered from increased shark numbers to the famous fisherman’s basket at the local pub. Somewhere around a discussion on seaweed, they were joined by a 70’s style lady with the permed hair and reading glasses on a chain around her neck. If they’d been sold in the last 10 years, they would have had the label of “retro”. She spoke to the fishing men like she was a teacher of something somewhere. Her hands gestured wildly as she talked, punctuating the air and leading you on a merry dance through her holiday tales. It took me some time to put my finger on why she was so captivating. Her movement was jarred, as though the experience was unfamiliar. It was as if she’d read a book or two on student interaction and had grasped the concept but had not yet had the chance to put it into practice. I ever-so-briefly wondered if, given my limited social interaction, I looked the same. I wondered if anyone else noticed. Had I given myself the chance, I would have hoped that nobody cared. The fishing men seemed to accept her movements and cautious phrasing in a way that would have seemed perfectly natural and relaxed had I not been privvy to their previous exchange. They’d donned their ‘lady in the room’ voices and were listening carefully to her every word. She seemed to have that effect.

The small woman that had been further down the hall skittered nervously towards the small crowd and sat beside me. We talked a little and I explained the mystical process of bringing a website into existence. This led to a less romantic explanation of how the internet itself worked (I somehow refrained from the very tempting “series of tubes” analogy) and some light chatter about shoes.

And then it happened. Jesus arrived. He floated past in a little cloud of stolen glances. As all good icons do, came complete with a friend that seemed to take care of the mundane things like talking and questions. He had long wavy hair and a neatly trimmed mo atop a smile that had the potential to go “bling” on the slightest whim. He was the type of soft, spotless clean that gave you the impression that he’d had a quick roll in the tumble dry cycle before he left the house. I industriously fought the urge to pet him.

Teachers arrived and we were ushered into the lecture room. I sat somewhere near the center.

The lecture started and I spent some time inspecting the potential students of the female variety. It was slim pickings I’m afraid, but what it lacked in numbers it made up for in quality. There was a sort of quiet conditional cameraderie there, shared with furtive smiles, that seemingly hinged on the premise that each could hold their own.

As the teachers lectured on, I found myself in a very strange situation.

To my left was the boy who sat up straight and spoke loudly and clearly, using as few a words as he could manage in order to communicate with ‘common folk’.

In front of me sat the quiet industrious girl and the jovial older bloke who you can be sure has taught himself everything from advanced yacht rigging to airbrushing to conversational Mandarin, and is merely here for a piece of paper to hand his employer.

On my right sat the two scruffy lads with 40 types of piercings between them. Their banter consisted of tales about various destructive activities and was snorted and guffed in the manner reminiscent of Bevis and Butthead, only with much larger words.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Well, more like a big pink fluffy ton of bricks giving me an incredibly warm and loving hug. I smiled and I didn’t even try to hide it.

I was home.

There I was, in a bland college room surrounded by every type of geek and nerd you could dare to label and I belonged. I knew them. I knew the bookworm and the frantic note-taking thinker in the hallway. I’d spent many a weekend with the greyed fishing duo and had sleepovers with retro lady’s kids. I wasted hours picking the brains of DIY bloke and exploding and obliterating things with the perforated pair. I’d trekked to far-off libraries with the industrious girl in the front row.

I’d never seen any of them before in my life and yet, in some strange way, I knew all of them.

I was little pieces of all of them.

I wonder what they thought of the awkward girl with her unconvincing impression of magazine reading and her occasional sideways smiles…

 

This I know…

I do try to avoid talking religion here, for it is not a subject area that I am particularly comfortable discussing. I’m even less comfortable simply stating my position in black and white for all to see. While a lot of people can fall back upon a religious childhood of some description, I managed to scrape through relatively untouched. That is to say that I was free to explore on my own, not that I managed to avoid the mindfuck that is religion altogether.

I don’t say that to be mean or hurtful, but I honestly cannot think of any other word that could better describe the concept of organised religion as a whole. It is an area where every opinion is correct without doubt and every opposing opinion is bound to doom you some sort of highly undesirable fate. In a world of mere mortals, who do you believe when every new person you ask provides with both salvation and damnation in a way that both contridicts, and is contridicted by, all past information?

I still don’t know the answer*. Somehow, I find comfort in that. I enjoy not really knowing for certain.

When something cannot be proved, and at the same time cannot be disproved, what can anyone do to provide a compelling argument to believe one way or the other? Perhaps a better question to pose would be should anyone try?

Who can honestly say that the version of the bible that is followed today is not just a logical conclusion reached by men long since passed away? Or even that the original scripts not just man’s closest approximation of the events that took place, possibly even far enough away from the point that it has taken on a life and path of its own? Who is honestly in a place to judge something like that? Heaven help us all if that is left to self-proclaimed experts, random strangers, or occasional dining companions!

At best, religious texts written by men are guidebooks, not step-by-step instruction manuals.

*42

Those bloody whales

If I see one more link to that “Save the Whales” petition, I’m going to lose it.

If I get one more invite to “Go Away Japan, Leave our whales alone” I shall spit the dummy.

If just one more bozo says “…and they are killing whales in Australian waters!” they are going to be subject to much ranting and raving.

I’ve had it up to here with people getting all high and mighty over something that they seem to think is so completely simple. This is anything but simple. This is an incredibly complicated and serious matter, made even more complicated by the overwhelming public outcry and their painfully underwhelming understanding. I’m not saying I’m an expert on the matter by any means, no doubt I’m well off the mark on some points, but I’m getting so fed up with being fed garbage and being shouted at to ‘save the whales’ and abused when I don’t fall all over myself to support the cause as they see it that I thought I’d get on my own little soap box and do some yelling of my own.

Japan is killing whales in Australian Territorial Waters!

NO, they bloody well are not. If they were, then something would have been done about it well before now. What they are doing is killing whales in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the coast of the Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT). This maritime zone extends 200 nautical miles off the coast and encompasses the Australian Territorial Waters which only extend 12 nautical miles. It is big. Within the EEZ, Australia has sovereign rights for the purposes of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing all natural resources. While we have some ability to ensure that people aren’t just popping in and fishing us dry or setting up oil rigs willy nilly, we do not have the same ability to enforce our laws as we would within our Territorial Waters.

But that still seems like the government is twiddling it’s thumbs while those nasty Japanese fish us dry, doesn’t it?

So here’s the thing; Japan, and most other countries in the world for that matter, does not recognise Australia’s claim to territory in Antarctica at all. This is a fairly big deal. This is where it all comes unstuck. If they do not recognise the AAT as being Australian, then they don’t recognise our territorial waters or the EEZ and therefore our right to enforce compliance with Australian and International laws relating to such a zone is somewhat limited. To a majority of the world what we call the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary is actually viewed as the High Seas. This means that in the eyes of the world, we can call it Holly Golightly for all they care, we have no claim.

But wait, it gets better. There is also the Antarctic Treaty.

This spiffy document came into play a long time ago and is essentially a ‘play nice’ document for everyone who has staked a claim to a chunk of the frozen continent and everyone who might wish to do so in the future. It specifically does not recognise any claims to territory, and prohibits the making of new claims. As best as I can see, the EEZ was actually claimed (as an extension, but claimed nonetheless) after the treaty was in place so that is, as you can imagine, a bit of a hiccup . It also states that scientific investigation is to continue so, given that the whalers are operating under the guise of research vessels, they essentially have a free pass.

And then of course we have the toothless tiger – the International Whaling Commission. And you know, I couldn’t be stuffed even going into that, because this is really SO MUCH bigger than whales. This is an international incident waiting to happen. What exactly do people think we should do? Try and drag them to court and see if it flies? What if it does, what then? And what if it doesn’t? We can’t very well send the Navy down to defend disputed territory. There’s a word for that, and anyone willing to go that far is barking mad.

But they are killing endangered whales!

This is highly debatable. The Minke whales that everyone seems to get so tightly wound about are not listed as threatened, vulnerable, or endangered. It has even been said that the Antarctic Minke population might well be the most substantial of all baleen whales. The Fin whales are listed as vulnerable, which is problematic for sure, but the collection limit is set at 50. Japan did apply to harvest humpbacks this year also, but has postponed those plans for a year or two, presumably to see if the interest in the matter diminishes or possibly in an effort to save face.

They are terrorists! They’ve taken two men hostage!

For real? I can’t even begin to get my head around this one. The research vessel was boarded in international waters by two fairly pissed off men that had come from a large vessel that was known to be used by what is essentially a militant offshoot of Greenpeace. I’ll eat my left shoe if the two blokes on the zodiac were just going to politely hand over a letter of explanation and leave. You don’t board a ship uninvited to hand over an impotent piece of paper when a) you can be fairly certain they’ve heard it all before and b) you could get the gist of the letter to them another way, like via marine radio, megaphone or even a big banner. Even if they didn’t intend to cause damage to the Japanse vessel or equipment, they certainly intended to cause a scene. If two foreign men from a hostile protest vessel boarded an Australian ship in that way, I’d be more than willing to bet that every Aussie would happily support their detention, if not for the safety of the vessel and her crew, then for the safety of the protesters themselves. Protesters of that level are not exactly known for their careful attention to health and safety. Can you imagine the outcry if one slipped and drowned or was chewed up by the prop? I’d take a punt at unlawful detainment being a label that might stick, but terrorism? taking hostages? After being boarded in by uninvited guests who had absolutely no right to do so? Yeah. Right.

I am just getting so tired of the same old fiery war cry with seemingly no appreciation for the vast grey area that surrounds this issue. You either want to save the whales at any cost, or you don’t care (and are a horrible, gutless, heartless person with no empathy etc). Why is it so black and white when, quite plainly, the actual issues are anything but?

In case there was any doubt, I don’t support whaling. It isn’t because I think whales are highly developed, beautiful, mystical creatures that deserve a chance to live as intelligent beings. It isn’t because some country is sending vessels into our fairly arbitrary whale sanctuary and picking them off while they feed. It isn’t because the science conducted is probably all done with the view to proving whaling is sustainable and lifting the moratorium on commercial whaling. It isn’t even because it all seems to be conducted for the purpose of preserving a tradition that is not even that important to the current generation.

It is the method, pure and simple. You can’t just go around half-exploding animals and waiting for them to bleed out, I don’t care where you are or why you are taking them. That just isn’t a humane method. It isn’t even particularly efficient.

If anyone asks, that is what I’ll tell them.

But given this is largely being played as an ethical issue, I’ve had to make an ethical decision. I won’t be signing any petitions or joining any Facebook groups or putting my name to vitriolic form letters and sending then to various governments. I can’t seem to get past the fact that in doing those things, I’d be willingly associating myself with the fanatical people who have no concern for the wider issues and would be representing my position as being something that it is not.
It just isn’t that simple. It never is.

All For You

It is 3:45 am.

I was just in bed. PSWC was laying next to me breathing quietly and fussing with the doona.

Why is it that the most unsettling thoughts prance across your mind just before you nod off? It is usually something small, like wondering if the front door is unlocked or if you left the chops on the bench. Sometimes it is the big questions about humanity and survival and life and death.

This young morning, my mind bears the footprints of unwanted and unappreciated introspection.

Nobody wants the questions of “what the hell am I doing with my life?” and “is this a dumb choice?” to burst in unannounced when there is no excuse to hand to make them leave. You can’t very well tell your mind that you are washing the dishes when it knows full well that you are doing no such thing. I don’t want to think those thought at all, let alone at 3-something in the morning.

But I did, and so I find myself here, rattling away on the keyboard in the wee hours in a fairly futile attemt at simultaneously emptying my mind and exhausting myself enough to fall asleep.

I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. Worse still, I don’t know what I want to do. I know what everyone else thinks I should do, but as it turns out that isn’t the same at all thing really. Of course, that is a revelation borne of hindsight. There is something to be said for jumping straight out of school, into university and then into a career. It leaves no time for all this pointless umming and arring, and if for some reason it does, a HECS debt and that corporate ladder will soon set things straight.

I don’t want to think about dumb choices. I don’t want to count the decisions that I’ve made that were designed to make others happy, or proud, or just plain aware of my existence. It always feels like the right decision at the time, the right choice to make, but it always ends up the same way. I fret and worry and try to think of ways of extracting myself by causing the least amount of pain to all involved. I never succeed, I end up offending everyone and then bend over backwards trying to make it better again, thus starting the whole pointless merry-go-round ride all over again.

I want to be completely selfish. I want that to be OK. I want people to stop asking me for things and I want to stop offering. I want to shake this force that needs for me to be everything to everyone.

And I can’t.

Because once upon a time, someone called me selfish and meant it.

(and yes, I’m fully aware of the whole ‘nothing and nobody’ flipside and that I am an ‘everybody’ and that being selfless for less than selfless reasons – assuming such things exist – is merely selfishness in sheeps clothing, but there is being aware and then there is applying such thoughts and reasoning in a way that doesn’t cause a fairly major mental implosion. Completely different moo-cows, if you know what I mean.)

<cuefairgroundmusic>

It is now 4:51am, and I still don’t know what I’m doing with my life. I’m about to make another dumb decision, I’m almost certain of it.

For now though, the trespasser has moved on, and I can sleep.

And all I got to say about it…

“No, you are doing it wrong. Look, give it here. You are obviously too stupid to have that. You’ll just ruin it.”

I am sick to death of it.

Where did all these infallible demigods spring from all of a sudden? Why wasn’t I informed that I’d be expected to lick the boots of the chosen few and take whatever arrogant, self-righteous crap they felt inclined to dish out? Where was the memo, huh?

I am not stupid.

I just felt the need to point that little fact out as there are several people that seem to believe otherwise. I am, in fact, pretty bloody smart. OK, so I haven’t been to university, was never taught grammar, have an irrational fear of arithmetic and, when nervous, have the verbal skills of a freaked-out guinea pig BUT that does not mean that I am unintelligent.

And even if I was dumb as a pile of rocks, that doesn’t give anyone the right to puff up their feathers and strut.

The arrogance I’ve seen these past few weeks is driving me to dispair. What happened to a bit of common decency, and the understanding that regurgitating booksmarts and the ability to articulate concepts with copious quantities of unimaginably long and cumbersome words arent the be all and end all of what it takes to be deserving of a little respect.

What about showing a bit of simple kindness? Maybe giving the benefit of the doubt?

Maybe I’m too soft.

Judgement

You see it all the time.

Don’t judge me, man!

I’m getting so tired of it. Is almost as tiresome as Oh, I don’t judge anyone or the infamous judge not lest ye be judged.

Its all a load of bollocks.

I feel the need to point out the glaringly obvious. There is a somewhat staggering amount of hypocrisy in having someone chastise another for judging. I mean, really.

When you get right down to it, life is just a series of judgements. Every day we make dozens of them, one after the other. Little consequential choices based on available information. We don’t do it to be righteous or to scramble further up that social ladder by flattening those around us, we just do it in order to get through the day.

Over and over we put on our little judge hat and our little judge robe and we gather all the available evidence. We think about past cases and their eventual outcomes, how it affected us and those around us, and we make our ruling.

Simple.

It is much more socially acceptable to call this thought process choosing or making an informed decision. When you use those names, the same thought process is encouraged. It is only once controversy and emotion weasel their way into the picture that people bring out the branding iron and condemn these things as judgements.

For example, it turns out that you can’t make an informed decision about someone being an arrogant prat, no matter how much evidence you have to back it up. Making that statement would plonk you squarely into the category of being judgemental, especially if said arrogant prat was the aforementioned plonker’s second cousin or some such.

It isn’t the judging that people take issue with, it is how you choose to behave once your decision is made.

The Church Casino

We live near a large church. Ordinarily I really like churches. They are gorgous community hubs with a sense of purpose and unity. They have history, life, belief. I don’t have to believe in any god to believe in the good that churches do.

But this church is different.

This one has a very large landscaped fountain.

And a two-storey shopping centre.

And what I believe to be a fairly substantial concert hall.

I didn’t know until Thursday night, when I was sitting outside our local hamburger shop.

First boy: hey, have you been to Hillsong recently?

Second boy: nah, I’ve never been. I’ve been thinking about going.

Third boy: Have you been recently? Was it good?

First boy: yeah, not bad. I won $30.

Third boy: I never win anything.

It was such a natural conversation. So natural that I think it can be safely assumed that winning money at church is a perfectly natural thing. I waited on a little to see if there was a jackpot night, but the conversation then turned to emo life and the general suckiness of some random pop star.

I wonder what it would be like if the church was found to be broke. I’d like to think that all the true believers would stick around and support them, but after hearing that, somehow I’m not really convinced.

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