The Dissemination of Thought

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's intelligent…

Posts Tagged ‘life

Hallmark cards, shopping fear and a TDoT dose of Christmas cheer

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If the lovely people at Hallmark are to be believed, Christmas is a time for giving, indulging and sending out vibes of goodwill towards all men, women and house-trained animals.

The reality of the festive season could not be further from the clichés, corny poems and pictures of goofy-looking reindeer the marketing gurus expect us to embrace every December.

Cheesy cards are the reason disillusioned people are stressed and angry by December 25.  Source: hallmarkcards.com.au

Cheesy cards are the reason disillusioned people are stressed and angry by December 25. Source: hallmarkcards.com.au

While the David Jones catalogues and Coles billboards depict well-dressed shoppers with Joker-esque grins peacefully perusing the aisles, apocalyptic scenes are playing out on the ground.

Is there a get-your-fucking-hands-off-that-last-trampoline-before-I-lose-my-cool card?

It’s all well and good to espouse the spirit of season but the fact is all textbook theory about appropriate Christmas behaviour takes a back seat to retail guerrilla warfare in the lead-up to December 25.

Those who doubt me should have been in the Townsville bottle shop I happened to be in at midday.

As I was filling my trolley with enough vodka and cider to anaesthetise a three-year-old gelding, I witnessed two women swap the Christmas spirit for a verbal stoush over spirits.

Basically, the second woman – let’s call her Little Miss Swear Jar – objected to the first woman – who we’ll call Mrs Three Bottles – taking what appeared to be the last three bottles of an unidentified dark rum off the shelf, even though the former obviously wanted to buy one of them.

Unfortunately, it was at this stage Little Miss Swear Jar forgot all about those warm Christmas card messages and launched into a tirade that would have made both elves and seasoned sailors blush.

Bearing in mind that I made a beeline for the opposite side of the store when the argument started, I’m pretty confident it went something like this:

Little Miss Swear Jar: You’ve gotta be fuckin’ kiddin’ me.
Mrs Three Bottles: What?
Little Miss Swear Jar: Why the fuck are you takin’ all of them?
Mrs Three Bottles: We’re having a party and I need three bottles.
Little Miss Swear Jar: Fuck off. Everyone’s having a party tomorrow. Give me one of those fuckin’ bottles.
Mrs Three Bottles: Get fucked.
Little Miss Swear Jar: Fuck you, moll. You’re ruining my Christmas* and you can go and get fucked right up.

* Author’s note: Apparently, spirits really do maketh the occasion.

What were those morons at Hallmark saying about goodwill and compassion towards our fellow man?

After witnessing what should have been a pay-per-view event, I left the bottle shop thinking the advertising boffins should forgo the soft, heartfelt approach to Christmas marketing and focus instead on promoting a range of retail rage cards and light battle armour.

It could be worse. He could be snorting cocaine and texting strippers while having his photo taken with your child.  Source: news.com.au

It could be worse. He could be snorting cocaine and texting strippers while having his photo taken with your child. Source: news.com.au

In 2012, it seems the key to Christmas is just surviving the supermarket skirmish.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you have a fantastic festive season and stay safe while enjoying the company of friends and loved ones.

I’ve got a strong feeling my name will turn up in Santa Claus’ naughty book this year but the fact you guys and girls –this blog’s raison d’être – keep coming back day after day negates the lump of coal that will be stuffed into my stocking* hours from now.

* Author’s note: This is not a euphemism.

Caffeine, fast food and a lackadaisical mood: a blow-by-blow of a boring day

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Today’s The Dissemination of Thought piece is the result of an unusual combination of writer’s block, laziness and a simple yet incredibly amusing blog post I read last week. More specifically, it was this piece from Miranda Ryan of The Naked Envelope fame.

The concept is simple. It’s a blow-by-blow account of how she spent a day in her life. Nothing overly exciting happened to her on during the 24-hour period but it was fascinating to see how someone can make the seemingly mundane entertaining by just looking closely and taking notice of what goes on around them.

This is what happens when you mix three espressos and an energy drink before 9:00am…

I’ve decided to follow suit. I want to be able to sit back and reflect on how much time I actually waste in a normal day. Hopefully, you’ll find my minute-by-minute account of June 25, 2012 at least slightly engrossing.

Yes, I draw in my diary at news meetings when I should be paying attention.

6:21am – Open my eyes and try to figure out what day it is. When I determine it’s Monday, I contemplate staying in bed all day and wonder whether I’ll be missed in the newsroom.

6:22am – Ask myself why it’s so dark. Fumble aimlessly for my BlackBerry, check the time and realise it’s stupidly early. Throw aforementioned device back on the bedside table and curse my stupid body clock.

6:23am to 7:18am – I have no idea. I can only assume I drifted back to sleep or was abducted by aliens.

7:19am – Check BlackBerry again and die a little bit inside when it dawns on me that I’ve got less than 60 seconds before my alarm goes off.

7:34am to 7:45am – Mentally check off possible jobs I’d enjoy in lieu of being a journalist while having a shower. Hot shower tester is high on the list, as are professional bed warmer and drunken, disgruntled novelist. Notice I need to buy more body wash.

7:51am – Realise I had an 11-minute shower and consider the negative impact on the environment.

8:03am – Walk into the newsroom with my first latte of the day and loudly sing the first lines of ‘Peace Train’ after confirming I am alone.

8:06am – Stare at a blank page in my diary. Consider the benefits of being more organised. Reassure myself that organised people aren’t any happier than me and continue to drink my latte.

8:21am – Start writing a story about golf and stop to check Twitter.

8:28am – Close the internet browser and tell myself I have to avoid social media and get my work done. Pat myself on the back for being so assertive.

8:30am – Check Twitter on my BlackBerry. Quietly swear to myself about social networking and its addictive qualities.

8:31am – Notice my latte is gone. Think about writing a piece investigating the electronic heroin that is Twitter as I wait patiently for the espresso machine to provide me with another caffeine hit.

8:32am to 10:02am – This period of time is a little bit hazy because I forgot I was compiling a blow-by-blow account of my day. Judging by the number of empty cups in my bin, I had another latte. Judging by the random doodling in my diary, I wasn’t paying attention in the news meeting. Again.

10:31am to 11:06am – Interview a 12-year-old tennis player who is the number one seed in his club’s A grade competition. Watch him serve and feel ridiculously inadequate about my ability with a racquet.

11:19am to 12:48pm – Do boring journalist stuff. This includes checking emails, adding finishing touches to the doodle from the news meeting and contemplating what to have for lunch.

1:37pm – Send my final story for Tuesday’s paper to the sub-editor. Mentally fist pump the sky and refocus on what’s on the lunch menu.

1:39pm – Decide on something healthy for lunch.

1:44pm – Find myself placing my lunch order at Red Rooster.

2:03pm – Finish off the last of the chips and congratulate myself on a fantastic choice. Almost burst out laughing when reflecting on the fact I was contemplating a healthy option.

2:11pm to 2:28pm – Have a hot chocolate while sending witty text messages and wonder why there are so many boring people on Twitter.

2:31pm – Check my latest mobile phone bill.

2:34pm – Try to figure out how the hell it’s physically possible to send more than 5200 text messages during a one-month billing period. Send a text message to a friend asking them how many they send. Quietly thank the mobile phone gods that my plan includes unlimited SMS.

2:47pm to 5:03pm – Do a few interviews and complete the sports stories for Wednesday’s paper while scoffing Turkish delight and drinking another latte. Wish I bought more than one Turkish delight as I stare sadly at the empty wrapper on my desk.

5:04pm to 6:10pm – Forget once again that I am meant to be documenting every minute of my day.

6:16pm – Excitedly throw my leave application at the editor as I scurry from the building.

6:41pm to 7:03pm – Eat dinner and drink the best part of a bottle of red wine while contemplating the universe.

7:06pm – Decide opening another bottle of wine would be a poor option.

7:07pm – See no issue with having a beer in lieu of wine.

7:49pm – Put the three empty beer bottles on the coffee table beside me into the bin.

8:01pm to 8:39pm – Type up my hastily-scribbled notes and wonder who the hell will make it to 12:00pm without wanting to bang their head against a wall.

8:41pm to 8:43pm – Try to figure out why <i>The Dissemination of Thought</i> hasn’t had a new subscriber in more than a fortnight. Was about to blame WordPress for a technical glitch but then remember what I am actually blogging about.

8:44pm – Feel genuinely sorry for my subscribers.

8:49pm – Realise the intricate filing system on my laptop is nothing of the sort. Contemplate doing something about it but dismiss the notion as requiring too much effort.

9:16pm to 10:34pm – Listen to Blunderbuss for what feels like the sixth thousandth time. Wish I was Jack White.

10.37pm – Check my bank balance and wonder why they don’t advertise for ‘people who like being poor’ when seeking journalists. Make the executive decision not to go near eBay and bid on things I don’t need until I get paid.

10:45pm to 11:03pm – Have a shower while thinking about the awesome left-handed bass I want to buy on eBay.

11:05pm – Realise my excess water usage is probably destroying the planet.

11:09pm to 11:32pm – Bid on stuff I don’t need with money I don’t have on eBay. Judge an original Rubik’s Cube from the 80s – still in the original packaging – to be worth $40.

11:33pm – Decide $40 probably isn’t enough to win me the colourful little piece of nostalgia.

11:35pm – Grab another beer and ask myself why I’m bidding on a Rubik’s Cube. Secretly hope I get outbid in the closing stages of the auction.

11:41pm – Increase my maximum bid to $45.

11:44pm – Go to Google to try and figure out what a mint condition Rubik’s Cube from the 1980s is worth.

11:59pm – Post this piece and realise I’ve wasted a day. Look at the time and realise I’m tired beyond belief. Laugh manically when I remember I have Tuesday off, unlike many of my reader who will waste 10 minutes reading this post in its entirety.

So there you have it. A day – or what I can remember of it – in the life of me. If you haven’t abandoned reading mid-sentence or thrown your iPad against the wall in a fit of enraged boredom, follow me on Twitter or like the Facebook page. Hell, if you really liked the nonsensical gibberish that is The Dissemination of Thought, you can do both. Or send cash.

Opinions and ink

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For a change, I don’t have much to say. I’ve spent my day off avoiding words and opting instead to draw. It was ridiculously refreshing not to have to think about sentences and conveying a nonsensical message.

I’m getting a tattoo – my second – when I head back to Brisbane in September and have come up with a rough concept I’d like to share with you. Obviously, the tattoo artist will work their magic in coming up with the final design, but I wanted the opinion of my readers about the original scribbling.

So, what’s the verdict? Do you have ink? If you do, what and where? If you don’t have any tattoos and find the mere thought of them repulsive, why?

Written by disseminatedthought

June 19, 2012 at 21:17

Black, white and the flashing red light‏

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When you’re a view stats junkie, all you focus on is your next hit. That feeling of euphoria that comes about by seeing someone comment on a post. That rush that can only be achieved by releasing site views and search terms into your bloodstream. For me, the quest for a fix involves pawing at my BlackBerry every eighteen seconds, day and night, yearning to see the flashing red light that indicates someone has liked, subscribed or felt compelled to comment. I know constantly looking for the light or feeling for the vibration (I do occasionally remember to put my phone on silent) isn’t healthy, but it’s what I do as a stats-addicted blogging strumpet.

Just to clarify, this is NOT the type of flashing red light I’m talking about. Source: stopthetraffik.wordpress.com

In this obsessive state, tunnel vision takes over; there is no middle ground: you are either black in your constant quest for hit after sweet electronic hit, or you are white: throwing your BlackBerry and laptop into the river before curling up fully clothed under a shower, attempting to go cold turkey from the compulsion to check your blog statistics every six minutes.

Irrespective of whether you are black or white, this battle against blogging makes you lose sight of things: time; ensuring that you have more than an orange and soy sauce in your fridge ; what point you were trying to make with the confusing colour metaphors; and, most importantly, the grey area.

The grey area is the demilitarized zone of opinions and personal beliefs. It’s a part that’s usually forgotten about when we judge, argue or write someone else’s opinion off as wrong. While it’s easy and self-serving – albeit incredibly naïve – to assert that our opinion or belief is the right one, it’s critical that we recognise there’s a lot we don’t know and can’t see from black or white. As we’ve discussed, coming from either corner tends to see us have blinkers fitted; this inadvertent narrowing of our perspective results in an inability to see more than about ten feet in front of our specifically colour-coded noses. Isn’t it about time that we accept that between the absolutes of right and wrong, there’s a lovely shade of grey? I hear they have wildflowers growing there. And pancakes.

While I’m adverse to making resolutions of any sort – especially on New Year’s Eve – I think we should all resolve to try and spend more time in the grey area from 2012 onwards, especially before judging others and condemning them for thinking black instead of white, or vice versa. Just remember: mixing black and white produces grey; therefore, the grey area is the location from which to listen, learn and debate. Colours don’t lie.

See, I told you there’s a grey area between black and white. Source: ianfitter.com

Tolerance and Twitter: why God doesn’t care about hashtags

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Tolerance. It’s easier to say than to practically apply. A piece today on Impassioned Rantings of an Unbalanced Mind looks at religious types who are demonstrating impressive levels of intolerance toward the Twitter hashtag #godisnotgreat following the death of Christopher Hitchens. Like many who push hatred and narrow-mindedness, these God-fearing, allegedly benevolent individuals are doing so via the safety and relative anonymity of the internet. After reading it, I have to question whether for some, it’s a case of “do as I say, not as I do”.

Isn’t it ironic that those who are often the least tolerant of difference are the same people whose beliefs preach compassion for others and the acceptance of their flaws and misgivings? Let’s face it: regardless of what you believe, what form your deity takes or whether you have the spirituality of a cardboard box, we’re all pretty fucked up.

Without getting too deep and philosophical (because that’s so not me), we need to remember that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs, and just because someone doesn’t have the same religious persuasion as you doesn’t make them wrong. Someone isn’t any better or worse than you because they’ve made different life decisions. At the end of the day, we’re all just living. If we can accept that and accept others, it’s a step in the right direction.

Would a “peace out” in closing be too much?

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Pondering life’s big questions, 375mL at a time…

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There are a myriad of questions in life that beg to be answered.  Will I ever find true love?  What’s the meaning of life?  Why do I keep reading The Dissemination of Thought?  Today’s TDoT post seeks elucidation on another of life’s mysteries.  A conundrum that has never been examined until 9:47am on 12 December, 2011.

Exhibit A: the can causing me the confusion.

This can of Coke is seemingly identical to the dozens of others that have resided in my refrigerator over the past 11 months.  It holds 375mL of sugar-saturated liquid and reminds me that had I purchased it in South Australia, I’d be entitled to a 10c refund.  The characteristic that differentiates this can from those that have gone before it baffles me.  It’s empty.  Logic would dictate that I must have put it back after I’d finished it, but my motive for doing so eludes me.

Why the hell is there an empty can of Coke in my refrigerator? 

What’s the strangest thing you’ve found somewhere that it shouldn’t be?

Written by disseminatedthought

December 12, 2011 at 10:29

Changing plans, and a tribute to the lady with the sandwiches

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I was going to write about search results tonight. At some stage today, someone clicked on TDoT  for the 1,000th time, so I figured it was the perfect opportunity to cogitate about some of the more amusing search engine terms that have led people here. While some of them were no doubt trying to find me, a mass seem to have inadvertently ventured into the middle of my ramblings while looking for something totally different, and often questionably disturbing. Exhibit A in support of the latter would be “boobs in a puppets stage”, while the second piece of evidence presented to the jury would be whichever of “badwrap sex” and “tattoo back 40cm dick” won a pistols at dawn-style shootout. Seriously people, I’ve googled some pretty strange shit in my time, and even I couldn’t image what these individuals were thinking – or hoping to find – when they let their fingers do the walking.

At 6:13pm, as I was scribbling notes for the piece that I was planning on writing, I got a call from my father, advising me that one of my grandmothers had passed away earlier in the day. At that moment, discussing how people had stumbled across my blog became irrelevant. Two hours later, as I try to gather my thoughts with a glass of Scotch, all I can do is write, as well as try to comprehend the numbness I that feel. Sure, there have been tears, and I’m saddened that she’s no longer with us, but there aren’t any clear emotions per se. Every idea that forms seems anaesthetised, as if the universe is using my introspection as a punching bag.

My favourite memory of my grandmother is sitting with her on the back steps of the house in East Ipswich, eating mashed banana sandwiches. I have no idea exactly how old I was, nor do I recall what we used to talk about for hours on end. What is vivid in my mind is the feeling of contentment that I had each time we sat down on those narrow timber steps for a chat. That, and how much she loved the colour green.

I’ve written about plans before, and while they’re undoubtedly important, it’s critical that we don’t lose sight of the bigger picture at their expense. I guess my grandmother’s passing reiterates that point: you can spend all the time you want planning, accumulating and wanting more than you already have, but life won’t stop while you do so. From the moment we are born the clock starts counting down. Call it a very unromantic view of life, but the stinging reality is that everything continues around us, and not usually to script. Make the most of every second, because the most ambitious, well-orchestrated plans in the world aren’t worth a pinch of shit if you’re not around to execute them.

So there you have it. The Dissemination of Thought for 25 November, 2011. A post that reflects upon the first thousand hits on my blog, and celebrates the life of a woman who made one hell of a sandwich.

Patricia Joyce Morgans, this post is dedicated to your memory.

requiescat in pace

Written by disseminatedthought

November 25, 2011 at 21:44