Friday, May 20, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things: man flu

Everyone is well aware that man flu is one of the greatest medical afflictions known to man. The severity of the symptoms mark this illness as a dangerous scourge, and one with which I am now suffering.

A week has passed, and although today I have been out of bed for several hours, I have not yet fully recovered. When I finish this post I plan to return to a horizontal position under my doona, but I am making progress.

I didn't even leave the house for the first four days, during which time I had some lovely ladies providing assistance, demonstrating love through practical care.

My thanks today go out to my mum, my sister and my fiance, and as I am reminded of Paul's injunction to give thanks to God in all circumstances, I also express my gratitude to Him. I'm not thanking him for the man flu which kept me home from work, stuck in bed, and generally unproductive (a condition I detest) for a week, but I am alive, and I am not alone.

Photo sources:
http://www.magic1059.com.au/breakfast-show/matt-and-gracie/breakfast-podcasts/46685-a-berrie-new-strand-of-man-flu-gracie-s-valentines-day-story
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2796123/man-flu-isn-t-myth-men-sick-don-t-sex-hormones-boost-women-s-immune-systems.html

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Give me less

In the tradition of the great Charles Dickens, I present to you a tale of two television shows. 

I'm watching The Voice Australia season 5, and although I am well versed in the ways of modern television vis-a-vis self promotion and cross promotion, I still find it irritating to have to endure the 'coming up after the break' previews, and the 'before the break' reviews. At the beginning of the show, there's a recap and a preview and then a review and a preview at the end of the show. It's hugely repetitive, and for people like me who watch it all rather than dipping in and out, it's maddening. In my opinion, it minimizes a lot of the potential drama, and diminishes interest and excitement.

Classic case this week. All the advertising for the upcoming blind auditions on The Voice featured a dramatic moment when a singer collapsed on stage. Every single promo, both during the program and between episodes, showed her falling down. I had seen her fall down 47 times before I actually saw her full audition. There was no shock or surprise, no drama at all really. Had I seen it not knowing what was coming I would have been stunned, as were the coaches and the live audience, but I was only relieved that I would not have to see it anymore. Not for a while anyway. The Voice Australia 2016

I was reminded of a time I was watching The Footy Show (NRL). They held an arm wrestling competition which featured some current and ex players. Ben Ross and Wendell Sailor met in the final, and during the struggle, on live television, Sailor broke Ross's arm. The audience fell silent, horrified, as were the show's hosts and the television audience. Producers quickly cut to a break. I could not believe my eyes.



No one knew that was going to happen. It was an incredible and horrific moment. I've seen the accident a number of times since, and each time it has less impact, as was the situation with the Iranian singer who collapsed. I was ready for it, and she was perfectly fine not long after her fall, which I knew was the case as well because if she wasn't, we would have heard about it. The event was pre-recorded and as I said, I had seen her crumple on to the stage 47 times already. 

I think the way shows like The Voice are produced and presented to us as viewers, as consumers, says something quite poignant about us as people. What do you think?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Celebrate the Small Things

I teach English to adult migrants. Last Thursday I was asked to relieve a colleague for the day to allow her to catch up on her paperwork. Her class is a mix of native and non-native speakers of English at all levels from pre-level 1 to level 3. Such a class is not conducive to effective learning, but due to the numbers of students involved it is necessary. It was an interesting and stimulating challenge, and quite a different experience from my class which is a level 2/3 class of non-native speakers. I'm thankful for the opportunity.

Two days ago I posted my reflections on the A to Z Blogging challenge. I'm glad it's over, but also glad that I participated in it.

Four days ago, my fiance got the results of a needle biopsy which showed no evidence of cancer. Needless to say, I am very thankful for that.

Twelve days ago, I started a sexual integrity course at my church. The decision to do this course was the best decision I have made in the past two years.

Thankful? You bet.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

A to Z Blogging Challenge: Reflections

My three reasons for participating:

1.    To increase traffic to my website. I am an author with a low profile (almost anonymous) and therefore see the challenge as a way to introduce myself, and my work to more people.
2.    To network with other bloggers, especially writers. Each year I gain new blog buddies and I like that.
3.    To challenge myself as a writer.

The three most popular posts were AmoreHaunting and Trust

Although they are too numerous to mention, thank you to all who visited Square Pegs and took the time to comment. In particular, I thank the following bloggers for visiting and commenting more than once.


I wonder if the A to Z challenge should be divided into two major categories: serious stuff and fluff. Maybe it should run backwards too, for something different Z to A instead of A to Z. Maybe the challenge has become too big for its own good. Maybe it’s good the way it is.

I participate in a weekly blog hop called Celebrate the Small Things. My weekly contributions attract twice as many, sometimes three times as many page views as any of my A to Z posts did this year.

Ongoing interactions with previously acquired blog buddies, comprising me receiving emails with new posts and me commenting on said posts occasionally, and the writers of these blogs not replying to my comments (usually), and never commenting on my posts. The number of people following my blog has not increased as a result of being involved in the A to Z.

Searching through the list of blogs is time consuming and frustrating, as there are many bloggers who list but don’t post, a number of whom haven’t posted anything for months, let alone any fresh content for the A to Z. It’s hard to find blogs that actually appeal to me, and I also find it frustrating that those blogs, which are pretty ordinary or even rubbish i.m.o, get more comments than mine.

My topics are clearly not what the majority of readers want. Too heavy, too serious. Blogging is yet another form of escapism, something fun to do but if I never read another food blog, or fluffy animal blog, in my life, I won’t be upset.

When I find people posting just pictures or very short articles I think, why the heck am I busting my gut every day to write something significant. People don’t want significance. Fluff rules!

Next year if I do the challenge, I will go all out on fluff. I’ll do the A to Z of Australian animals, and this will be a winner, and if it’s not, I’ll probably quit the A to Z. The other thing I could do is simply post excerpts from my current WIP without any commentary.

I sound grumpy now. I am. I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed that I didn’t elicit more reaction from what I thought were pretty interesting and in some cases controversial topics to which I reckon most people can relate. Evidently, I’m just not connecting.


The A to Z is still good for me as a writer. I take it seriously and it’s definitely worthwhile in terms of strengthening my writing skills, but is that enough for me to do it again? Hmmm….

Photograph source:
http://dogsinthecle.com/best-of-the-dog-blogs/
http://petthreads.com.au/pet-care/8-tips-for-koala-dog-safety/


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Nose on your Face

How many times have you walked into a shop, and made your way to the counter, searching the 'impulse buy' shelves surrounding it, before asking the lovely smiling face behind the counter 'Do you have any...?' Fill in the blank for whatever it is you were looking for, then chuckle with me as you remember being told that the thing you wanted was right in front of you.


Same goes for the video store: reluctant to ask for help, as many of us pride riddled humans are, you search for the film for ten minutes or so, then finally surrender and ask for assistance; only to then be shown that it was exactly where you were looking. Right there. As plain as the nose on your face.

If this has never happened to you, I offer hearty congratulations, but when it happened to me again recently, I was struck by how often we are blind to the bleeding obvious. It's very weird. The thing we want is often the hardest thing to locate. Consider your handbags ladies. Have you ever found the thing you wanted sitting right on top of that vast and eclectic collection contained therein?

When it comes to our faults, most of us find it even more difficult to see what is often conspicuous to others. Naturally, our personal character flaws, and especially any honest examination of them, are nowhere near as desirable as a Snickers, or Spectre on DVD, so our blindness in this case can mostly be attributed to a lack of willingness to see.

One final thought. Have you ever considered the irony of the expression 'as plain as the nose on your face'?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

000 #atozchallenge

"‘How does that sound?’ said Cassy. ‘Is that what you want? Will that prove that I care? Will that be enough for you Angus? What else can I do?’
Those were probably rhetorical questions, but even if Cassy expected him to answer he wasn’t going to attempt to fight her fire with fire. He needed an extinguisher. He thought about calling triple zero. He thought about hugging her. He thought about running away. His head pounded. He knew he would have to allow her to fully expel her rage, but he feared what extra vitriol may spew out.
‘Is that what you want Angus?’ His silence was addressed tersely. ‘Is it? Is that what you want from me to show that I care. Isn’t this enough?’ She gestured to the pot, then threw her arm towards the living room. ‘Isn’t this enough? A home. A family?’ Then she started to cry.
Still in shock, Angus watched the warrior disintegrate into a little girl. Cassy shrunk right in front of his eyes, shriveling into ragged grief. ‘What happened to us Angus?’ Explosive sobs. ‘Where did we go?’"
Lovesick chapter 9

Triple zero is the number for emergency services in Australia. Dialling 000 will connect you with a person who will ask whether you want the police, fire brigade or an ambulance.

Unfortunately, I had occasion to call triple zero for an ambulance last year, on successive nights no less. My problem was severe abdominal pain which was eventually diagnosed as being the result of a kidney stone. It was subsequently removed by the champion urologist, Dr.Paul Kovac.

Emergencies are frightening and disturbing, but at least in the case of a crime, a fire or an accident you can call for help and it will come. Emotional emergencies aren’t in the scope of triple zero services, except when they escalate into violence. I wonder how many of the calls the emergency services receive stem from emotional emergencies, or mental flip outs. The guy who was arrested near Braidwood in NSW, two days and 3 hours drive away from Bundeena where his partner had been found dead courtesy of being beaten with a cricket bat, was probably having some sort of emotional crisis.

Our emergency services generally only deal with problems, but I wonder how can we prevent such problems in the first place. Is it possible? Maybe triple zero should also give people access to crisis prevention services.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Yearning #atozchallenge

"Angus finished typing and leaned back on his chair, a huge sigh deflating his lungs. It had taken eight months for him to conclude the story he had initially begun on a whim. Perhaps it had been a subconscious yearning to try to make sense of his feelings. A reflection on the greatest mistake he had ever made: cheating on Cassy. Tyson had read his first chapter and almost exploded with anger, shocked and bewildered not only by the content but also by Angus’ stated intention to publish this record of his opprobrium.  What was it exactly, that Angus was attempting with these disturbingly honest words?"
Lovesick chapter 55


To the best of my knowledge there are only three words in English which have the ‘earn’ combination of letters; the sound of which is more typically represented by the letters ‘urn.’ Due to the fact that the A to Z Challenge is nearly over, and I have run out of deep philosophical musings and profound metaphors (at least for the time being), I am going to attempt to link these three words. I may be about to draw a very long bow, but it won’t be the first time.


Yearn means to want or desire. It is stronger than want, and probably more forceful than desire as well. The other two aforementioned words are ‘earn’ and ‘learn’. Both of these words suggest work. In the case of earn, we have to do something to get something, for example we have to work to earn money, and we have to work to gain knowledge, that is, to learn.



So how does yearning relate to work? I don’t know. Maybe you have some ideas. If so, I’d love to hear them.