The Dissemination of Thought

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

Posts Tagged ‘thoughts

Come as You Are, or you think you should be

with 5 comments

When I told several Sydney-based friends I would be living in Newtown when I arrived in the New South Wales capital, they gave verbatim responses about how I would find it.
 
“Newtown’s pretty out there,” one told me as I packed up my life in south-west Queensland.
“It’s different but I think you’re gonna fit right in.”
 
I wasn’t sure how to take the comment at the time, but ever since my maiden stroll down King Street almost three weeks ago, it now makes sense: Newtown is a place you really can come as you are.
 
In 1992, I was an angst-ridden, overachieving 11-year-old. Like thousands of others, I honestly believed a subdued Kurt Cobain was singing about my life when he slurred the lyrics of “Come as You Are”. At the time, I thought it was my personalised theme song. I was wrong. The song is a musical tribute to the inner-west suburb in which I currently reside.
 
At a cursory glance, Newtown strikes you as a place where downtrodden creative types come to escape the judging stare of the real world. In the past week alone, I’ve spoken to two unemployed journalists, a musician preparing to busk her way to dinner and a dishevelled, 50-something writer who has been working on a manuscript since 2002. Everyone here has a story, from the well-dressed corporate type frantically hailing a bus, to the barefoot bohemian couple who seem to be celebrating a 46-year Summer of Love as they walk their Labrador.

image

In Newtown, even graffiti is attempting to discover itself.

It doesn’t matter what you look like, how you dress or how oddly you behave here – the grand Lady Newtown has seen it all before on her bustling main thoroughfares and narrow, terrace-lined backstreets. She won’t judge you and, because of her unique allure, neither will the people who call her ample, culture-filled bosom home. If you don’t believe me, just ask the bearded, tutu-wearing guy who was sobbing hysterically on King Street last Saturday.
 
Even the non-human aspect of Newtown is a multifarious mix of calm and chaos. As I write this from the relative silence of my courtyard, it’s hard to believe the lights, sounds and manic pace of Enmore Road are only 200 metres from here. Only the constant, near-deafening whine of descending planes overhead reminds me I’m sharing a city with almost five million people.
 
To me, it’s Newtown’s ability to offer both solitude and a strange sense of community and belonging that makes it so appealing. You can walk along the street wearing flippers and a tin-foil hat if you want to, safe in the knowledge you’ll retain relative anonymity.
 
Despite offering an eclectic range of cafes, restaurants and stores, as well as a vibrant lifestyle that is probably unmatched anywhere else in Sydney, the real lure of this historic suburb is that it provides a venue for people from every corner of the globe to listen to Cobain sing their personal theme song.
 
Within the invisible, council-determined boundaries of Newtown, you can be anyone you want to be, even if you aren’t sure who that is.
 
Just don’t try to be anyone you know you aren’t. If you do, the eccentric, welcoming old dame will eat you alive.

Advertisements

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

with 9 comments

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.

Five things I’ve learnt about Twitter: Observations of a fully-functional Twit

with 7 comments

I’ll admit it. I’m addicted to Twitter.

Since begrudgingly signing up six months ago with the intention of only using it for intelligent, professional purposes, my tweets have descended into random thoughts and occasional nonsensical ramblings.  Damn it. I’ve become one of them.

At any rate, let me share with you five things I’ve learnt about the 140-character marvel of social networking.

Source: socialmediatoday.com

1. A hashtag can never be too long  

Let’s face it. Hashtags are cool. They are the 21st century equivalent of a one-liner and there’s no message or thought they can’t convey effectively. However, unlike the one-liner, which is renowned for being easy to comprehend, the hashtag has developed into a beast of unfathomable proportions. Apparently, it’s okay to use a 122-character hashtag that takes people 17 minutes to decipher.

Got a question about accommodation at a New York hotel? Use a #howmuchisyourdeluxesuitefortwonightsincludingbreakfast hashtag.

Planning a big night out and want your followers to know about it? Whip out #iamgoingtogethammeredtonightanditsgoingtobefreakinepic and set the tone for 13 hours of drunken tweeting from the depths of clubbing hell.

Would it be inappropriate to create a #fivethingsivelearntabouttwitterthatidliketosharewithyoutoday hashtag when I post the link to this article on Twitter?

2. Sometimes 140 characters just isn’t enough

Okay, I’m going to say this slowly. The whole purpose of Twitter is to send short, succinct messages no longer than 140 characters in length.

If you need to include any reference that your tweet is the first in a series that make up a full message you are doing it wrong.

140 characters maximum. Got it? Source: Twitter via @LyndonKeane.

3. Twitter can make you feel like one of the popular people 

One of the big attractions of Twitter is that you can follow celebrities, sporting stars and people a hell of a lot more interesting than you are.

Unfortunately, one of the downsides of Twitter is that you can follow celebrities, sporting stars and people a hell of a lot more interesting that you are, and users go nuts replying to these people in the hope that Johnny Depp will respond to their message or Lady Gaga will give them a retweet to her 25 million followers.

I know it happens because I’ve been guilty of doing it myself. Ricky Gervais didn’t retweet something I found witty and Seth MacFarlane broke my heart when he didn’t find my concept for a new animated series amusing.

I thought this was amusing. Seth MacFarlane didn’t. That bastard better not steal my idea. Source: Twitter via @LyndonKeane.

4. People will tweet about anything

People, Twitter isn’t Facebook. Tweets are meant to be – as far as I’m concerned, at least – informative or entertaining. Telling the social networking universe you are late for your bus or eating an apple is neither informative nor entertaining.

Contemplating unleashing a tweet about how blue the sky is today? Please cancel your Twitter account. Right now.

Not happy with your latte? Go and get another one instead of tweeting about it. Source: globalberdy.com

5. Inane sentences to no one in particular are the norm

Twitter had provided a virtual worldwide audience to users. Unfortunately, a disproportionate number of the aforementioned users have decided that means they can tweet boring, obvious sentences to no one in particular.

The referees don’t agree with you. Source: Twitter via @BuzzRothfield.

If these people’s 140-character revelations were amusing it would be a different story, but they aren’t. They’re dull and generic. Actually, they kind of make me wish I’d never started using Twitter in the first place.

To the person who tweeted Did you see that? #wow: Who the hell were to talking to and what was the Twitterverse meant to notice? If you were referring to your nonsensical tweet, I saw it. We all did and are now stupider because of it.

The odds of the person who this is directed at actually reading it are $1081. Source: Twitter via @bazarazzi.

Now that I’ve enlightened you about my Twitducation and bagged the hell out of Twitter, I’m going to whore myself out to the masses and suggest you all follow me at @LyndonKeane. If you prefer the Facebook touch, The Dissemination of Thought Facebook page can be found here.

Apologies, excuses and the verbal finger

with 8 comments

It’s funny how a seemingly innocuous action – or in some cases, actions – can compel one to do something they hadn’t planned on doing.

For me, the aforementioned actions were those of the rude, irritating woman who tried to cut in front of about seven people at the supermarket this afternoon.

I hadn’t planned on writing anything on my day off, but the behaviour of the woman – let’s call her the Bitch with the Handbasket – made me question at what stage people stopped apologising altogether.

When did ludicrous excuses replace sincere apologies as a response to fucking up?

I watched the Bitch with the Handbasket creep into my peripheral vision while I was waiting to be served in the express lane. I saw her eyeball the queue and stood stunned as she nonchalantly pushed in front of me and acted as though she’d been there the entire time.

After subtlety suggesting to her that she needed to move to the back of the line, I couldn’t believe her retort: “Huh? Oh, I didn’t see you there. Is there a line?”

What the hell? What part of my handbasket-carrying, six-foot-five frame didn’t you see? Did you fail to notice the half a dozen shoppers behind me who are now scowling at you?

As I asked myself what her problem was, it dawned on me that her excuses and ignorance were representative of the attitudes of many: we’ve become a society that accepts reasons why in lieu of apologies.

People seem to have forgotten how to apologise. In the rare instances where an apology is offered, it’s seldom genuine. Somehow, offering a feeble, disingenuous explanation has been deemed socially acceptable.

It’s got to stop.

In addition to the Bitch with the Handbasket, I’ve recently witnessed first-hand another example of society’s proclivity to throw out a thinly-veiled vindication instead of an apology.

Without going into specifics, the players in question were out of line and exercised poor judgement. Whether or not a private apology has been offered to the women involved is a matter for them. All I can comment on intelligently is that publicly, the only responses from the individuals at the centre of the allegations have been excuses. Lots of excuses. A few of them have even suggested that it’s me who needs to apologise for writing the story.

How hard is it to admit that you have erred?

I’ll admit it when I screw up. When I do make a mistake, it’s usually a big one. Like when I referred to the wrong team as last season’s premiers in a recent grand final preview. Oops. I could have made excuses, but what would have been the point? I made a mistake; it was as simple as that. The newspaper ran a correction and the earth continued to turn on its axis.

An excuse is not an apology. An apology conveys regret, remorse or sorrow, while an excuse tends to indicate the person blabbering it isn’t genuinely contrite. To me, an excuse is the verbal equivalent of giving someone the finger after you’ve wronged them.

If you’ve done something you regret, show some intestinal fortitude and admit you were wrong. If you aren’t remorseful for your actions you shouldn’t feel compelled to apologise, but please don’t offer up some idiotic excuse for doing whatever it was that you did. The best excuse in the world will never trump a simple, sincere acknowledgement that you screwed up.

Source: wba.theoffside.com

I’m not going to apologise for this post because even though you’re sorry for reading it, I don’t regret writing it. As for excuses, where would you like me to start?

————————————————–

If you spend way too much time supporting Mark Zuckerberg’s lifestyle, check out and like The Dissemination of Thought Facebook page.

In other relevant blogging news, I’ve entered The Dissemination of Thought in the Best Australian Blogs 2012 Competition which is run by Sydney Writers’ Centre.

I will provide more information about the competition over the next few days, but voting for the People’s Choice Award opens this Friday at 5:00pm. If you like this blog as much as I think hope pray you do, please visit the competition website and cast a vote for The Dissemination of Thought.

If you’re a Twit, you can track the progress of the Best Australian Blogs 2012 Competition by searching with the #bestblogs2012 hashtag, or you can follow Sydney Writers’ Centre (@SydneyWriters) for updates.  To follow yours truly on Twitter, click the button below.

Why your privacy will be replaced with t-shirts and belt buckles

with 16 comments

It’s about time I pulled my finger out and wrote another guest piece for Magnificent Nose. This post looks at privacy, and how we aren’t helping ourselves by sharing every aspect of our lives publicly, either via social networking or by failing to adjust our volume knobs when we’re out and about.

"So, it's definitely herpes? Can you speak up? Yes, I'm on the bus right now." Source of original photograph: sohaveyouevernoticed.blogspot.com

Here’s a snippet from Magnificent Nose:

Social networking has conditioned us to share absolutely everything about our lives; it’s as if we’ve adopted a policy of “if it’s happening, it’s worth announcing”. We’re so absorbed in our own self-importance that it doesn’t occur to us the people at the adjacent table have no interest in being subjected to a vivid description of our rash and the doctor’s prognosis. We don’t seem to care when there is a privacy breach because of our own lax stupidity, but if someone found out about our rash because of loose lips at the medical centre, we’d be livid. Isn’t that just the slightest bit hypocritical?

To continue reading “There’s nothing private about full disclosure couture”, you should point your cursor here and click the left mouse button.

See, the t-shirt idea works. Now you can cross diseases off the list of things that may be wrong with him. Source: vegasarrowstore.com

Since “There’s nothing private about full disclosure couture” is a thinly-veiled jab at social networking, it would be remiss of me not to use it as a hypocritical segue to plug The Dissemination of Thought Facebook page. Magnificent Nose also has a holiday house in Zuckerbergland, and you can find it by clicking right here.

Facebook friends and the end: will our obsession with social media make face-to-face contact a memory?

with 19 comments

Today’s post is another guest piece on Magnificent Nose, this time about a Facebook application that allows you to update your status after you have become earthworm food.

Source: technmarketing.com

It’s simple: I tempt you with a few lines that make absolutely no sense, and then you click here to zip across (is that the technological term?) to Magnificent Nose to read the full article.

The tagline on the “If I die” application’s website asks, “What happens to your Facebook profile if you die?” I always assumed that when I died, I’d be too busy being dead to consider what the world was doing without my status updates. While still in the land of the living, wouldn’t the time invested in planning our final broadcast be better spent rekindling relationships that have lapsed because of our fixation on maintaining hundreds of virtual friendships?

If you were disobedient and didn’t click on the above link like you were told to, try this one to read “The Final Check-In”.

While we are on the subject of social networking, remember to check out The Dissemination of Thought Facebook page. For every person that likes it, a unicycle-riding circus bear will be sent a cheque for $2* and a bag of Doritos.

* Author’s note: cheques will not be honoured. What the hell do bears need money for?

Upon escaping from the circus, Yogi pedalled like fuck and headed for the hills. Source: iphonetoolbox.com

It’s time to call game, set and match on airtime for Margaret Court

with 22 comments

Sexual abuse can cause innumerable physical and psychological problems to those subjected to it, including homosexuality, if you subscribe to the views of tennis racquet-waving representative of God, Margaret Court.

In her interview in today’s The Sunday Mail, the three-time Wimbledon winner suggests that one of the things that causes gays and lesbians to be as such is sexual abuse, because, from her experience, “many, many of them have been abused.” Them? They’re people, Margaret, not carnivorous plants intent on overtaking the planet. As well as sharing this nugget of genius, Pastor Court has previously alluded to a belief that homosexuality can be cured, as if it was some influenza-like affliction.

As twisted and ludicrous as her views are, we shouldn’t be surprised: after all, this is the woman who tells us that the Bible “is our TV guide to life”. Really, a television guide? Can it tell me what’s on at 8:30pm on Monday? It is The Simpsons or Dexter?

I recently published a piece called ”When should free speech and personal beliefs take a back seat to the greater good?”, in which I defended Margaret Court’s right to free speech. That post was about freedom of expression and when the line should be drawn, not what she actually said. This article is about her opinions and what she’s said. Game on, my serve.

Television guide, or bible in disguise? Does the Bible show cleavage and have a crossword? Source: adrants.com

Why are the mainstream newspapers continuing to devote so much column space to this woman and her skewed views? Not only are they continually reinterviewing her and getting updated comments (Author’s note to media: her views will never waver, even in the face of evidence and common sense), the Herald Sun published her 975-word rant that’s about as balanced as me attempting a handstand. It isn’t an insightful, engaging piece. It’s nothing more than a sermon: a one-dimensional, religious vociferation that should have been trapped inside the walls of her church, and serves no benefit to the wider audience than to demonstrate just how unaccepting and uncompromising Margaret Court is. To the editors: are the increased sales and website hits generated by the controversy that she spews forth worth making your publications look like the personal journal of a bigoted, Bible-wielding sexagenarian? That’s right, Margaret, I said sex. While I’m not married. I also masturbate and count several of them homo folks as my friends. Strike me down.

In her article, she affirms that “a person’s sexuality is a choice”, and that the Bible states “homosexuality is among sins that are works of the flesh”. Is that the same Bible that says women shouldn’t speak in the church? I guess one way around that little doozy is to start your own church. Is there a chance I’ve misinterpreted the scripture? Yeah, the Bible’s funny when it comes to interpretation and ignoring the parts that don’t align with your personal agenda.

Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 (New International Version)

My favourite part of the piece is where she suggests that, if Australian society continues on its wicked path (a path that apparently includes wanting to treat people equally, regardless of their sexual preference) into damnation, “God will take his hand off our nation and the lights will go out”. No, Pastor Court. The Almighty doesn’t make your lights go out: that’s the lovely people at Synergy when you fail to pay your electricity bill.

With this publication in the Herald Sun, Margaret Court has gone beyond expressing herself freely. She’s now publicly preaching to the masses, aided by newspapers that seem happy to print narrow-minded, prejudicial and discriminatory opinions in the guise of newsworthy stories.

Here’s the thing, Margaret: you aren’t the self-appointed beacon of light for humanity. Those of us who believe that someone’s sexual orientation or lack of religious conviction doesn’t make them less of a human being are sick of you using your public profile pulpit* to continually tell us we’re all damned. Sure, we recognise your right to voice your opinion, but please use your inside voice. Inside your church, where people want to hear your views. Hell, I’ll even throw $10 at the Victory Life Centre if you just shut the fuck up.

* Author’s note: try saying that five times quickly while drinking vodka and juggling kittens.

Yeah, that's the face of someone with a rational perspective. Source: Herald Sun