Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fish aren’t really animals


It’s kind of universally accepted that while fish are definitely more animal than say, a tree, they’re still somehow less animal than other proper animals i.e. cats, hence the fact that people who are actually just picky eaters (pescetarians) feel ok about calling themselves vegetarians because “Fish aren’t really animals”. I had been brought up with this idea deeply instilled, so deep that it had become an unquestionable fact rather than a matter of debate.

In my childhood I had sort of a tragic history with pets. I was an only child and the natural solution both for me and for my parents to my lack of sibling attention, was instead of buying me lots of toys, buying me lots of animals. These animals eventually included both a horse (which died because we let it eat too many dandelions) and a pony. I had two cats until when I was 15 and my mum gave our sick cat milk to help him feel better. It turns out cats are lactose intolerant and the reason it was sick in the first place was because we’d given it milk. The sicker it got the more milk we gave it. The cat of course died and its death was followed shortly by the death of the other cat. This was very close to the time of the death of my grandfather and I remember feeling guilty because I wasn’t really very upset about the person-death but I really cared about the cats. I’d had a number of mice and a budgie that were eaten by the cats, who kindly left a trail of blood and parts as evidence for the then 5 year old me to discover.
the pet garden, where my dead animals got buried - every succulent is a dead  pet

I had a pet cockatiel (that actually didn’t like me and had just chosen my mum as it’s life partner and all I ever wanted was for it to pay me attention and not my mum who didn’t even want the attention) that I also killed. By accident of course, it had been swimming in our kitchen sink and I decided to wrap it up in a blanket because it was all wet. Then I forgot about it. I remembered maybe three hours later, three hours too late. My parents bought me a new one, which looked identical, the same day and this one liked me better than mum so I was happy. The point is anyway that all of these deaths were quite traumatic experiences for me as a child.

Parallel to these occurrences I also had an undefined number of pet fish. I always named the fish but whereas I could still list most of the other pets that I’d had I couldn’t tell you a single name of a fish that I’d had (possibly Big and Little? I remember this because I remember that I couldn’t tell them apart). Fish deaths just weren’t that sad. I mean nobody was going to suggest flushing the budgie down the toilet but isn’t it really principally the same? Once I had an axolotl that I thought might have grown lungs and climbed out of the tank and into my bed because it literally just disappeared. I was kind of terrified about this. It was really the only possibility I could think of and I couldn’t find the thing for days! For whatever reason I eventually decided to clean the tank and found it sucked up half way into the filter. It used to be a yellow axolotl and all I could see was its now red tail. That was definitely traumatic but only because it was so gross! Fish just aren’t relatable. They don’t even have proper memories. I think ants are more relatable even than fish, at least they are present enough to live systematically. Fish are just chilling out, hanging out, swimming around. That is also mostly what makes them so awesome but only in the same way that a lava lamp is awesome.

In my later life I’ve had a (also undefined) number of fighter fish as pets. I know that they look a. miserable and depressed and b. dead, most of the time but they’re the lowest maintenance pets that you can own. People always came over and were like ‘oh Mary I think your fish is dead’ and I’d always be like ‘oh shit yeah maybe it is’, and then I’d tap it and be like ‘nope still going’. You can literally keep them in a jam jar and feed them once a week and they’ll live for ages! Side note: they also make really good neutral presents i.e. when the it’s the guy you’ve been dating for a month’s birthday. They’re cheap and it’s not like giving someone something they actually have to take proper care of, it’s like giving them a super fun decoration.

This kind of practice (aside from the fact that I have been informed that their native environment is small dried up puddles so a jam jar should be total luxury) is perfectly acceptable in Australia. That’s what you do with fighter fish because that’s the kind of fish they are. If you put them with other fish they’ll kill each other so their life was predestined to be spent in jail. I mean the people breeding these fish and selling these fish are the same people making these little boxes you’re supposed to keep them in. That must therefore be what they’re supposed to go in right? I mean why question it? I didn’t.

Anyway so then I came to Germany and I wanted to get a pet without being so irresponsible as to buy something like a cat (which is what I really wanted to buy) that would live for like 20 years and actually need attention and cost ongoing money. So I found a pet store and went there with 10 Euros and the intention of buying a fighter fish and everything necessary to keep it alive. As far I was concerned it was a flawless plan. If they didn’t have fighter fish I’d just buy a stupid gold fish and although I’ve never had a gold fish live for longer than a month I decided I could just buy a new one anyway.

If I had been in Australia, my plan would have been flawless. Unfortunately I was in Deutschland and the fact that I had not pre-empted any of the problems with my plan, and also didn’t realise that they were problems until it was too late, meant that my fish mission failed avalanche style.

I went into the pet store with my limited German and wandered around for a bit, seeing if I could see any fighter fish without having to talk to anyone. I had no luck and also didn’t see any fish that looked like you could keep them alive without having to spend lots of money on extra equipment. They didn’t even have any goldfish (I was later told that apparently they’re seasonal? Like fruit? Don’t they live for like 10 years and get giant? Whatever). It had taken me a really long time to find this pet shop though and I really was set on the idea of coming home with a pet so I decided to ask anyway. I asked if they had fighter fish and they were like yes sure. And I was like really oh sorry I’m so stupid I didn’t notice the section (looking for the like corner of square mini-tanks that they usually keep them in). It turns out the reason I didn’t find the fighter fish was because they were swimming around both like and with normal fish in this really big fish tank! I’m still kind of confused about how this was possible but apparently it was. I thought they’d eat all the other fish but the lady said they only ate each other or something. Then I told her well good, I want one. I think at this point I stupidly and completely unsuspectingly said something like ‘oh I thought they’d be in those small containers they’re normally in’. The woman just looked at me like I’d asked her why they were selling normal kittens instead of bonsai ones. She was like ‘oh I’ve seen pictures of that on the internet it’s so terrible for the animals they don’t even look alive anymore.’ This I guess is true but I didn’t know! I just thought that was how they were supposed to look! I mean those creatures that live under the sea where there’s no light don’t look very pretty or very happy either and I don’t think that’s any result of animal cruelty. Then she proceeded to tell me about Germany’s laws about animal cruelty and implied that you would definitely be liable for some sort of fine for keeping a fish in a jam jar. I decided to play along – I thought ok fuck it I’ll spend the extra ten euros and keep the stupid fish in a big fish bowl (luxury living for a fighter fish).

Then I told her I wanted one fish and one bowl. First she freaked out and told me that I couldn’t just buy one fish because it would be lonely and that would therefore be animal cruelty. I had to buy three. Come on that’s like three times the price! I was like ok I’ll buy two and I want this bowl and pointed to some goldfish bowl. I would like to highlight here that when I say ‘goldfish bowl’ you do know exactly what I’m talking about – because that’s what it is. That is the round bowl that is always the same sort of size that you keep goldfish in. The woman’s like ‘that bowl is not for fish its just for plants its inhumane to keep fish in a bowl like that’. How was I supposed to see that one coming it’s a fucking fishbowl not a plant bowl. Nobody buys that shit and puts plants in it that’s boring. She told me that I had to buy at least three fish and an actual proper aquarium, like something that I would have imagined you could put 20 fish in, for these three fish. If this was happening in Australia I would have decided that the woman was just being a bitch and trying to up sell but this was legit. She actually thought that I was a horrible person; I think she probably thought she should report me or something. I also left with the feeling that I had been enlightened to some sort of fish-friendly religion and that maybe I actually was a terrible person for wanting to keep a fish in a jar because I guess if it was a cat and it looked so sad I’d feel pretty guilty. But fish are fish! I’ve realised that the solution is going back and saying that I already have a running aquarium and that I’d a fish to add to my existing collection and also to start a plant bowl. I still haven’t worked up the courage to do this yet, partly because I feel like there may be further unforeseeable flaws in this new plan and partly because the woman made me feel like I would be a terrible person if I did do this and also because I’m worried that my German housemates will be of the same opinion as the pet shop lady and disown/report me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

when i was 17


Hello. Greetings. Welcome. Nice to Meet You.

So the idea of making a zine had been suggested to me and grew in appeal to a level which provided satisfactory motivation to actually do it. The main purpose of this is my own entertainment but if you also are amused by my ramblings and relatively unfounded opinions then hey, we’re all winners. I might first point out that I am not much of a writer; my friend sarcastically accused me of being a linguist, in response to which I asked what linguist meant. I think the above is a relatively comprehensive “introduction to Mary”: indecisive, unmotivated, selfish, winner (yeah!), and not really a linguist. So have fun and good luck to you.



Now that we’re past that, what to put in this thing… that as yet is something I have not really decided on. I can think of a whole lot of rants that I could go on that would take up a whole lot of words and pages but I don’t know how interesting the produced words and pages would be to myself or anyone else, thus my hesitance.



Well, people seem to be rather intrigued by my family so perhaps I will use them as a starting base. Throughout reading this you may find yourself asking questions like who is Mary? Why is Mary? What is Mary? How is Mary? Where is Mary? Ect.

First of all, I am Mary. Since my immediate family consists of 3 people, me being one of them, I think it is appropriate to include myself in the explanation of my family. I’m seventeen, the oh-so wonderful age of nothing except the last year of childhood and it took me a good six months of being seventeen to even work out that it stood for that one. It kind of sucks; sixteen you get to be sweet sixteen and eighteen you can finally get into the stuff you’ve been getting into illegally for the last three years without being illegal. I don’t really see any great appeal in anything beyond 16 to be honest, its all kind of downhill from there, but only a little bit steep, once you hit 25 it’s going down at almost a 90 degree angle. I go to a Christian school and have grown up in a “Christian environment”. I like music and things that I think are good. I’m an only child, which is a pity because I think my brothers and or sisters would have been very interesting people. Consequently I am probably the most horridly spoilt person I know, but I figure it makes up for my parents not having more children. Most of the things I like, eg photography, art, music, ballroom dancing, ice skating I am extremely under-talented at. But oh well, fun is fun, it just means my favourite things pose no career potential. I seem to live an oddly different lifestyle to the other people in my year level at school and I can't really work out why. People have a tendency for finding me fascinating and peculiar and, once again, I can't really work out why, and, to be honest, I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t think exactly what I think.

Next of the list of Mary’s Family would come my mum. Up until just recently I have lived with her out on the “farm”, which I am only referring to as a farm because everybody else does, I personally profess that my house is not part of a farm, which by definition according to the internet (which is always FACT) says: a tract of land, usually with a house, barn, silo, etc., on which crops and often livestock are raised for livelihood.
This disproves the farm theory entirely as we have no barn, no silo, no crops and no live stock except for one horse that is actually like 35 years old and will probably die super soon so, for the purposes of the argument and simplification, doesn’t count as anything. And we are not raising anything for livelihood, unless you count my mum’s recent obsession with growing trees as “livelihood”, but I don’t. Therefore, all arguments of “Mary lives on a farm” have just been put to an end. I would however, allow, without any objections, people to refer to my house, or place of residence rather, as a lifestyle property. I DO live on 47 acres of land out in the middle of sort-of whoop whoop (not boganville, all kids who live anywhere not south assume that anything remotely south is bogan – IT’S NOT) and the people next door do have cows and there are quite often kangaroos in our front garden and on our drive way. Things on my driveway have been shown to front some problems in the past; especially next door’s freaking cows. Arriving to school an hour late and writing “cow on driveway” on the “reason” section of the sign-in-late slip is an occurrence I am still yet to have lived down. I remember at the time not actually thinking it was that an unreasonable excuse or particularly out of the ordinary, but the reaction of the lady at reception and the people around me when she read it out in a cynical tone indicated otherwise.

[Yes that is my mother; yes she is waving a flag in the middle of a paddock with her friends. Yes that is her idea of a fun and constructive situation. And yes she is wearing a drizabone.]








Continuing, I lived on the LIFESTYLE PROPERTY with my mother. Her name is Christine. Yes she is relatively a lot older than other people’s parents, I’m not exactly sure of her age, I think its somewhere around 57 give or take a few years. Her age has resulted in some rather awkward conversations regarding people, mostly hairdressers or people in shops, making comments like “Having a nice day out shopping with Gran?” to which I would smile and nod in response and mum would quickly correct them by saying “mum actually” and they would usually smile and laugh uncomfortably. Such were the years of my early to mid childhood. What good times they were. The perception of my mothers’ identity in the minds of my friends is largely dependant on a small number of outrageous, but completely true, unfortunately for my sake, recounts that they have been told. These, in brief, include horn blowing, moving to China, becoming Jewish, disallowing Christmas trees, chasing me around the house with a tea towel, producing a dance-drama production entitled “The Dance of Psychosis”, Q-chords (don’t even ask, trust me your life is better having never heard one), attempting to cast demons out of an extremely unwilling (and undemon-possesed) 13 year old me, hiding magic anointed hankies under my dad’s pillow, calling the police when my dad drove me to the shops to meet a boy, the police then telling us to tell her to go see a psychiatrist, spending $20000 dollars on getting rid of olive trees from our property because Jesus told us to, even though we don’t have an air conditioner and then complaining about the heat, singing to my friends, singing over the microphone at somewhat inappropriate times in church, flag waving, and horrible fashion sense. She is probably some one I could quite easily write a book about, but that would make me a terrible daughter and also she would probably read it. I do not think that would go down at all well. She could be described as, though perhaps a little (or a lot) crazy, an overall good person.
[At this point you should note that this is a photograph of mum, myself and her two brothers (guess which ones gay!) and that every single member of her family, myself included, this photograph a prime example, has been a victim of the mullet.]


The last person to make the amazing list of three is my dad. He has also developed a rather biased impression amongst my friends that has, yes, also occurred as a result of the numerous stories I have mentioned to them. This impression could also be a result of “his” Myspace which became quite popular amongst my friends. Apparently it was also quite popular with acquaintances. I speak to people who know a surprising lot about my dad and I often briefly wonder why. This Myspace is something that, to my knowledge, the existence of my dad is unaware. My cousin’s discovery of this website lead to me deleting about 90% of any writing that was there in fear of them being like “hey Barry, saw your Myspace the other day, its pretty rad. You’ve got some fair young-looking friends” to which his response would be, “What is Milespacse? What friends?” and that would pose an inevitable downhill situation that would ultimately result in me getting in lots of trouble and hurting dad’s feelings.
Myspace is an extremely entertaining network. I will sadly admit to having gained a lot of entertainment out of simply looking at profiles of different people that I don’t know. Some similar-aged lady to my dad appears to have discovered him on Myspace and now they are friends.

From her space I have discovered a whole network of 50+ women who have and regularly use. This is very amusing to say the least. The best part is that she has left dad an “uplifting” comment every week or so for the past 5 or 6 months despite his continual lack of response. It is also a network that has gotten me into a considerable amount of trouble; take for example the making of a Myspace for my principal. What a simultaneously good and bad idea on so many levels. That, however, was the ending point of my making-other-people-myspaces-they-don’t-know-about phase.

So, back to my dad, he is good. He is most renowned for his apparent phobia of things wearing out. This is something that I, having grown up with, never actually realized for myself. I only noticed this harsh reality when it was pointed out to me by my uncle who had lived with my parents for a number of years. I still continue to notice things I have deemed as normal activities in which my dad engages are actually ridiculous attempts at stopping things from wearing out. My uncle said that dad told him to, when he had a shower and was washing the shampoo out of his hair, to move his head around in a circular motion. Apparently this was so that the water would land on all the different tiles instead of just landing on the same one and wearing it out. True story. He has also taken all the latches off of the pool-fence gates in our house so that they can’t wear out. Once he got angry at me for using the stove “too hot” because “the handle of the pan would get overheated, wear out faster and eventually fall off”. I responded to this that if the handle fell off in 10 years time he could blame me and I would spend the whole $5 and buy him a new one. He has had the same pair of glasses for 30 years. He never folds them when he takes them off, ever, because this would wear out the screws. He won’t use the windscreen wipers when it rains because it will wear out the windscreen. Dishwashers wear out dishes (ours is full of plastic bags, which until not so long ago I thought is what lots of people did), toothbrushes and toothpaste wear out teeth (dad uses bi-carbonate soda), washing machines wear out clothes, running wears out your heart, and the list of ridiculous and useless theories about methods my dad pursues of not wearing anything out, ever, continue.
He also seems to have a phobia of saying no to me and will do anything I ask him to that is within his capability. I have tested this theory out and it has been proven right. Saying this makes me sound like a terrible person but really I’m not, it’s just that dad is a super nice person. I don’t really understand his logic on giving me everything I ask for but hey, I’m not complaining!

[This is a wonderful example of when a “picture says a thousand words” in describing the relationship between myself and Nanna.]


He lives with his mother who is 90. She’s old and has dementia and I don’t know how he can stand it. I stayed there for a week once when I was angry at mum for reading my diary and calling my then boyfriend’s mum, and Nanna drove me to a point where I would rather sleep in the shed outside than inside with her. She is lovely yes, but very very very very very repetitive and forgetful. Dad has put signs up all around the house saying what day it is and whether she has a shower or not that day and when the next shower day is just so that she will stop asking him. Shower day is pretty much the only event that ever occurs in her weeks. I would really much sooner die than live like that. Dad is amazing though, he spends more or less all of his time looking after her. I have a feeling this is the future heading towards me, being an only child and presently having parents who do a lot for me. I have a sneaking suspicion that they are intending that I return the favor.
[Me, aged 12 and my dad aged maybe 15, a terrifying prediction of what is to come]








Basically, put my parents together in some weird and warped mix and you come out with me. How that works I don’t really know. It makes sense to some degree but on the other hand doesn’t really make sense at all. It is possible that I should be a whole lot less sane than I am. But hey everybody has their quirks; perhaps I am just super good at amplifying those of my parents. I sometimes wonder if my parents are aware of their weirdness and thus wonder if people wonder that about me. Because people do often consider me some what of an abnormality amongst other girls my age but I don’t completely comprehend what element of my personality is so dramatically different to everybody else’s. And this, see, is my theory of what my dad is like with his obsession with making things last. He tells himself the rational “nobody wants their stuff to wear out quickly and to have to throw it away” and has taken that to extremities but I don’t think he realizes that this is the case. Thus I wonder what things I have done this with. It was pointed out to me today, the inevitability of my turning out the same as my parents and that even in trying NOT to turn out like them, that was just proof that I was already like them. I find the truth in this a little bleak. Apart from the significance of the above photograph, I recently went sunglasses shopping. I spent a substantial amount of time deciding on what pair of sunglasses I thought was a good idea and made me look the least like someone who didn’t pull off sunglasses well, which is what I am. A few days ago I was looking through some random drawer in our hall way and came across an extremely similar pair of sunglasses that I have since learnt belonged to my mother when she was my age. Ahhh such is the path I have begun to head down.



This is a picture of where I lived. It is taken from the amazing programme known as Google Earth. It has, without debate, provided me and my friends with literally hours (or at least one) of entertainment. I will admit that this was the first time I had tried to find my house for myself though and it did take me a good 45 minutes to get there. This photo is useful because it demonstrates the isolation of my place of residence, I mean how many other houses do you see there? It also demonstrates my super long, speed hump infested drive way. (Speed humps are yet another attempt made by my father to not wear things out). You will notice that there is at the end of the driveway, a continuing road. In the picture you can’t see where it leads to but it actually leads to a dam. Once me and one of my friends thought it would be a great idea to drive down this semi-road. It was not a great idea, not only did his piece-of-crap car get bogged at the bottom, after getting it unbogged, it also had a great amount of trouble getting itself back up the hill. That car was indisputably the worst car I have ever been a passenger in. the door didn’t shut properly so it was, of course, tied shut with a t-shirt. The other door that did shut was impossible to open. The windows, which were automatic – how classy, had ceased to work automatically anymore, and consequentially the effort of moving the, now manual, windows up and down became somewhat strenuous. When it rained the car would fill up with water, the natural solution in my friend’s mind, to this problem was to drill holes in the floor of the car. This car was harbor to many adventures but eventually ended in tragedy, breaking an old man called Clive’s fence and hitting a tree. That was the abrupt and tragic end to that pile of junk, dare I call it a car. I have a secret desire for someone who is driving me home one night to unknowingly continue down the semi-road towards the dam instead of the driveway that leads to my house. The best part of this plan is that once you start going down the road you can’t turn around until you get to the very bottom, and even then it’s kind of hard; making the entire experience more adventurous. Sadly now that I’ve written this the plan will be foiled for any former potential victim who happens to read this.

Roller skates, and any form of movement on wheels that is not a car I think is something that is vastly underrated as well as underused and to some extent frowned upon. I have made it my mission even from a very young age, to resolve this issue in today’s society by setting an example.


I have decided that I am never going to drive. I hate it. My life plan is to move somewhere near town and ride my bike everywhere. If I get super-desperate I will resort to buying a scooter but not a car because driving is scary and expensive, thus outweighing any possible benefits. The only downside of not having a car is that public transport becomes considerably more expensive when one finishes studying, but I expect that in my personal situation that will not be for awhile. I will just cross that bridge when I come to it. At least if I get a scooter I can feel like I’m out of another scene from Garden State. One of my missions in life is to in some way reenact as many scenes from that film as possible. I think that it is an achievable goal (especially since it is very open ended in saying “as many as possible”) but so far I’ve done the screaming-off-a-cliff thing, and the walking past the taps going off thing and the having a garden of dead pets thing and burying one. I’ve ridden on a scooter too and at the time I sort of felt like that counted. I intend to eventually make a list of all the things I want to do before I die. They are all of course, rather useless things but still they’re stuff that I really want to do. An example of these things (along with entire reenactment of scenes from Garden State) is being lifted up and floating away with lots of helium balloons. I have a lot of them but I can never remember any except that one. That makes me sad because if I forget them then I won’t be able to do them! I have also recently acquired a new ambition upon the discovery of the existence of such a place as LEGO LAND. No I am not kidding, it really (apparently) exists. And thus I have decided that I am and will at some stage be going there and riding the Lego boat and going on the Lego rides and walking amongst the real-life Lego men.

Now I feel that you have been sufficiently introduced to me, my family and various other useless pieces of information about me I will move onto other topics.
[This is the back of a flyer I got advertising The Science of Sleep. My friend read it and proclaimed that it didn’t make any sense and that none of the paragraphs actually ended properly and I thought that she was just being picky. It turns out that she was completely correct by no exaggeration. Whether this was intentional or not I’m not sure but it is, I think, an excellent representation of the film itself on a number of levels.]

THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP
So the latest “arty” movie out is The Science of Sleep. I went and saw it a couple of weeks ago. It’s by the same director as eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, which is definitely to it’s credit and perhaps a little to the discredit of eternal sunshine. But despite this I actually really enjoyed it.
Me saying that a movie is confusing is admittedly quite a common occurrence and thus has been disregarded in any significance by most people, however, may I stress to you that this movie truly and honestly DIDN’T make any sense. I think that that was the intention; part of the “artiness”.
Generally not making sense is not a good thing and makes the movie a huge waste of two hours and $15 but this time the lack of seriousness, reality and things that make sense made me feel happy and warm inside. It could be described as simple and childish and if these are elements that you appreciate in a film then you may well very much fancy The Science of Sleep.
I will admit that I am highly biased towards movies which have good-looking actors in the as opposed to movies which have an entire cast of slightly less than fortunate looking people and was quite happily swooning over Gael García Bernal and his hot French accent and boyish good looks for the majority of the movie. It is quite possible that if he had not been present I would not have enjoyed the film anywhere near as much as I did. But his character was generally well built and intriguing.  Actually no, his character was all over the place but he was very very intriguing and Gael played him well. This might however, have had a little bit, or a lot, to do with his mighty fine looks.
It was a pretty film but there was no depth or really story line at all. This was compensated for, however by the granted enchanting feelings generated inside. It provided magical realism minus the general “happy Hollywood” storyline which was why I appreciated it.
Boys, if you are looking for a movie to woo a lovely lady, this is the one. And if she doesn’t like it then she is a boring heartless menace with terrible taste in men. She is also possibly a little less shallow than me.



Coffee. Coffee. Give Me. I Need. Coffee. More Coffee.
I am in town a lot. When I say a lot I do mean a lot with no exaggeration. My school is near town and home is far away from town thus town becomes my home for times when I don’t have time to go home. My monotonous presence in the city has resulted in a number of things such as severe back problems, not very much money, and extensive we-know-who-eachother-are-because-we-see-eachother-every-day-in-town-but-we-don’t-ever-talk basis relationships with a large number of persons who also are frequently spending large amounts of their time in the city. These people have acquired names like “angry girl” “Asian with a ukulele”  “fat guy on the bus” “bum who says he used to be a pilot” “filthy but arguably hot rock star boy in JB” “blind Narnia man” “kid who can’t juggle” and “yoghurt guy”. The truth is to them I probably have names like “raspberry bullets girl” “bald girl” “unsure of gender person” “loud voiced and disruption”.  My frequent presence has also resulted in the development of some sort of routine of food and beverage purchases that has varied over time. For the last six or so months the things to buy have been killer pythons, white chocolate raspberry bullets, mixed berry yoghurt and coffee. The first four are fairly straight forward as there are not too many options there (except for the tough choice between loyalty to killer pythons and the newly introduced starburst Double Headed anacondas) BUT coffee, and finding coffee which meets all the requirements has proven to be quite a dilemma.
The requirements of coffee are:
Less than $3, take way available, comfortable seating options, nice setting, nice atmosphere, good cups,  preferably not part of a chain, interesting chatty good-looking people who work there, prompt service, convenient location, and strong coffee.
To my genuine surprise, these requirements I have found nearly impossible to meet.


Hudson’s: coffee pricing just scrapes in as long as you get a small one. The seats are comfortable if there is no one sitting in the comfortable ones, however, if there is then you get stuck wit the crappy hard black plastic ones which score a big fat ZERO on the comfortableness scale. Buying a drink from Hudson’s buys you a little bit of status and a little bit of “look at me I’m drinking Hudson’s coffee.” But not really that much as it isn’t all that respectable. The coffee itself is rather mediocre. In my opinion it is way too weak. Never buy a hot chocolate from there either; it’s like drinking poo-water. They do have a rewards system though which is always incentive to come back. I have worked out a way to scam them as well. I have a theory anyway, I haven’t actually been gutsy and conniving enough yet to try it out. It could back fire and that wouldn’t be very good. The staff there are usually really nice but they’re boring and impersonal.
They score: 6.5/10

Gloria Jeans: I may or may not have a slight prejudice towards Gloria Jeans #1 because I tried out for a job there and didn’t get it and #2 because they are owned by Edge Church and I, somewhat ironically don’t like contributing money into supporting their money-scamming church. I personally would much rather invest my money into some small struggling coffee business than a mass Christian-owned chain. Yes this is my way of rebelling against my upbringing. In all other areas they are very much similar to Hudson’s. The staff are perhaps a little more interesting than the Hudson’s staff but still nothing worth coming back for. I often find myself going there in the summer months though amidst the discovery of the VOLTAGE. If you haven’t tried one and you like strong coffee then you definitely shouldn’t die before you try one. The best thing about Gloria Jeans and my only incentive for going there is the sprinkles. YOU GET TO PUT ON YOUR OWN SPRINKLES and they have different colors and it makes anything and everything fun. Nowhere else that I have ever been to does that. If I ever own a coffee shop I will do that and then it’ll be no more customers for Gloria Jeans! Oh and the one next to toys R Us always has a riddle on the black board and if you answer it you get a lollie out of the jar and some of the guys there are cool and tell us the answers so we can have free lollies. The Hindley Street branch is much less impressive so that makes it hard to rate them all fairly.
They score: 6.9/10 (only because of their sprinkles and lollie jar, other wise it would have been a 6.4)

Starbucks: The most horrible and over rated, over priced coffee shop I have ever witnessed. Their coffee is actually bad. It’s not just mediocre, it is BAD. It is weak and the only reason anyone buys any is because of the “look at me I’m drinking STARBUCKS coffee and I wish I was as cool as the American movie stars who drink it too.” They have taken a hold of the “the more you pay the better it is” concept and reaped it for all it’s worth. The reason their coffee is so weak is because the less coffee they have to use the more money they save. But the overall “coolness” achieved by drinking Starbucks outweighs the fact that it is horrible coffee and alters people’s perception of what true good coffee actually is. The amount of customers they get paying $25 just for two coffees and a sandwich is ridiculous. I am astonished that people are willing to pay that much for such low quality. It is such cheap attempt at buying a little piece of social status and ego booster. I do have respect for the person who thought up the whole thing and managed to promote it so well, it’s genius, playing on people’s necessity for acceptance with coffee. Every other coffee chain in the world wishes that they had achieved it first. I have respect for them just like I have respect for the acclaimed atheist who owns Koorong Christian Book store. Of course Christians are going to be willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money if you tell them it’s going to make them closer to God. Admittedly there is one good drink that I have discovered at Starbucks, it is the Strawberries and Cream Frappe but at a good $5 each it’s hardly worth it. I will admit here and now though that I have become a victim many a time to the ego boost achieved by purchasing anything with the Starbucks label on it. The staff are nice but boring and there are always too many desperate customers for them to pay any attention to you, they just want to take you order, your money and then get to the next person in line as quickly as possible. This is fair enough because it is their job but it’s no fun! The setting, lighting, music and atmosphere are all pleasant and their seats are comparatively comfortable and pretty (provided that you get one). The truth is, apart from this they are too expensive and their drinks suck.
They score: 3/10


Bean Bar: is one of my all-time favorites. I don’t recall having ever bought anything from there that I didn’t like. They have a rewards system *which is another thing Starbucks is lacking* and the people who work there are friendly, interesting and nice. They pay enough attention to their customers to be able to recognize the regulars. They have good cups, good seats, quick service, a nice atmosphere and layout and strong coffee. Their only downfalls are not having any music playing in the background and being slightly expensive. Their expensiveness is almost excusable because their coffee is super strong. They make a fine hot chocolate.
They score: 8/10

Chocolate Bean: I discovered a few years back and thought that it was the highlight of my life. It is one of the best, if not the best looking coffee shop in Adelaide. It is very homey, quaint and pretty. It used to be better a few years ago when they had really cool couches but they took them away and replaced them with the dreaded black plastic chairs like they have at Hudson’s. This lost a few potential points for them and is definitely the difference between me going there or to Cocolait, their arch rival. Their drinks are very nice but also very pricey, exceeding the $3 maximum, often by a considerable amount. They do have a large range of chocolaty options (as one would hope with a store called Chocolate Bean) that you can’t really get anywhere else. The staff there are neat, all of them are friendly and meet my criteria for good staff. They are also good because they aren’t part of a chain, which I think gives them a little bit of license for slightly more expensive drinks.
They score: 7.9/10

Cibo: I find Cibo’s coffee to be relatively unmemorable and over priced. It is very much on the same level as Starbucks. Their gelati, however, is an entirely different story. There are just so many flavors and all of them are so good! The only problem is that said gelati is ridiculously expensive. Cibo’s is a place for rich Italian businessmen and women and not really anyone else. I find it a little confusing since everything on the menu is written in Italian instead of English. The Rundle mall one is stupid and I don’t know why anyone would go there because their coffee sucks and it’s not even a shop it’s like a little booth on the side and you’d have to sit next to all the emo kids who hang out next door at Gloria Jeans. The Rundle Street one is much better. Downstairs is super-cramped though, especially if you have a school bag. The seats upstairs are well set out and there is art on the walls but they’re not very comfortable. It does have big windows though which is a bonus. I rather like the atmosphere there. The staff are nice but I feel a little unworthy of their service, me the mere high school student.
They score: 6.8/10

Café Blanc: this is the golden gem of Adelaide that no one except me appears to have discovered. Up until last week they had $1.50 coffee take away which was a dream come true. I don’t know what the price will be now that they’ve decided to take away the special and I must admit that I do feel a little bit betrayed. They get you all in and attached to the place and then they take away the thing that drew you in in the first place. The guys who work there are very laid back and chatty. I do recall having a rather extended conversation with a particular staff member about the uselessness of high school and how he dropped out in year 10 and look where he is now (in a coffee shop riveting! He did mention something about doing something else as well though). He also offered to come to my school and give the students a similar talk but I failed to suggest this to any authoritative member of school as I didn’t think it would go down as well as he seemed to think it would. Anyway the cheap coffee and the highly entertaining staff have won me over for good. They meet all the requirements by and by far: setting, which consists of amazing booths near windows that look out onto the streets, service, music, prices, strong coffee, and convenient location. The open hours can pose a slight problem as they seem to shut a little earlier than usual. They are not part of a chain, always a good thing. Their cups aren’t so good; they’re ok, just nothing special.
They score: 9.5/10

Cocolat: my favorite thing about Cocolat is that they have paper on top of all their table cloths and down the front of the shop they have a big container full of crayons that you can take and you can draw on your table cloth while you sit and drink your amazing classy hot drink. They are very very good; they have the best atmosphere, and the most comfortable seats. Their staff are a little bit interesting, same level as Gloria Jeans. They have Kinder Surprise flavored ice-cream which was a very quick way to my heart and my approval… and my wallet. And there comes the issue: they are the most hugely overpriced out of any that I have mentioned. Also, if you want take away you might as well just go somewhere cheaper because all the appeal is in the setting. If you want to meet someone for coffee or hot chocolate though then Cocolait is the place for it. I wish I was rich enough to go there all the time.
They score: 8.5/10

In conclusion, it seems that there is no perfect coffee service in all of the Adelaide City. I have searched long and I have searched hard and I have found none. Disagree? Prove me wrong. Go on. Do it. You can’t, can you?
Why? Because it’s cheaper to be cheap.

  
What is This World Coming To?

Today my mum came home with her bags full of new shopping. This is always an exciting event in the life of Mary. The sight of shopping bags is forever coupled by the hope of finding something exciting and unexpected like Nutella or Hot Chocolate or cookies and cream ice cream or a cheese cake inside. I was, as usual, mostly disappointed by the general contents of the bags, consisting mainly of mundane groceries such as cat food and butter. The highlight was a box of Coco Pops. Mum proclaims Coco Pops to be an abomination to the name of food itself and says I’m better off not eating at all than eating them. Despite this she continues, on occasion, to buy them for me. She also appears to be under the impression that a better solution to Coco Pops is Nutrigrain. I really don’t see the logic here at all. Just because they’re called “nutri” grain doesn’t mean they have beneficial nutrients in them.

Upon seeing the inviting yellow box of delicious cocoey poppy filled Coco Pops I was feeling feelings of overwhelmedness and excitement. I was instantly intrigued by the advertisement on the front telling me that I would get some kind of space gadget if I bought this particular box of Coco Pops, which my mum had done. My natural assumption was that inside the box would be the space gadget. This, to my dismay and great disappointment was not the case. I searched the box, including inside of the packet of Coco Pops incase it was like on the movies where you are pouring out your cereal and out plops your amazing toy, but to no avail. THERE WAS NO SPACE GADGET. Upon closer inspection of the cereal box I discovered that in order to obtain the space gadget you had to purchase another box of Coco Pops (more like coco poops) and then send in the “space gadget tokens”, like it was a good and exciting part of the adventure of getting the space gadget. For the next five or so minutes my day was completely ruined.

So I ask you, what is this world coming to? Don’t you remember the days when the toys were in fact inside the cereal box? When the toys were cool things like Tazos and you could collect them and they had specific uses like playing Tazos? Whatever happened to that?

And what about the neat stickers under Nutella lids? Or the Nutella jars that you could reuse as glasses once all the Nutella was gone. I’ll tell you what happened: they realized that they could conduct exactly the same advertising scam by implying an instant reward that in reality doesn’t exist, e.g. “space gadget tokens” Who on earth wants tokens?! And by not including a special prize inside that means they only have to pay for the very small majority of people who actually bother to send in their tokens. Because for a crappy space gadget it’s really not incentive to go to all the trouble of collecting and sending that is required and they very well know that. They also know very well that if they put the pictures of the space gadget on the box poor, young, naïve people like me will assume that they have already won them and they are inside the box. Really all that they are doing is making money by spoiling people’s days, not to mention jading them for life.

Kinder Surprises; what the heck is the business with freaking CYBERTOPS. They are the worst toys ever invented and I have never ever met a child who has been like WOO I GOT A CYBER TOP its more like oh no I got the crappy jippy toy that I don’t even get to put together but OH it has a light and a special name so that’s supposed to make everything better. There seems to be a reoccurring trend in selling things to kids and selling things from space. Well I’d just like everyone to know that they haven’t sold me yet. I don’t care where it came from I just want to put it together and have fun!

My final observation of disapproval in recent child marketing scams is Happy Meals. What happened to the days when the toys were just toys; completely unrelated to the latest crappy new Disney movie that their lack of ideas had forced them to stoop to. WHAT HAPPENED? Where did the string that you twisted around your fingers and made into shapes like the Eiffel Tower and bridges go? What happened to those alien eyes that did nothing except sit between one of our fingers and transformed your hand into a real, live, talking alien? How did mini-Bratz dolls ever seem like a better idea? I hate Bratz dolls. At least Barbie is pretty, man, those things are ugly!


PERFUME. SMELLS. SMELLY. SMELL ME.
I have discovered in recent years that the number of existing horrible perfumes far out weighs the number of existing nice perfumes. Some of you may be away of the existence of a perfume by Demeter called Dirt. Upon discovery of this perfume entitled Dirt I recall making some remark along the lines of: “why would you make a perfume called dirt? Then everybody would think it smelled like dirt and no one would buy it because who wants to smell like dirt?”
Turns out that Dirt title is also dirt scented. The question of why anyone would want to smell like dirt still remains unanswered. I didn’t even think that dirt had a smell but trust me, it does and if you smelled Dirt you’d know it was Dirt straight away. It appears that Demeter aren’t particularly creative with their names basis. They have a rather extensive range of perfumes. Just a few of the titles: rain, lemonade, chocolate chip cookie, salt air, grass Laundromat, jelly bean, baby powder, play doh, rainforest and one of my personal favorites, sex on the beach, which is apparently their best seller. It interests me also, that Laundromat is their fourth best seller. It also makes me wonder just how many sales they get.
I would at this point direct you all to the David Jones perfume section to go and see for yourself because it really is quite amazing, (It is so amazing in fact, that I have on numerous occasions been very close to purchasing Dirt purely for the gimmick and only declined because it costs $40 and that’s $40 I don’t really have just to buy Dirt.) however unfortunately, and I cant imagine why this would be so, but David Jones are no longer stocking any Demeter products. Keep it in mind though, if you ever see one, go and have a sniff. You won’t believe your nose.
FACIAL HAIR ISSUES
My recent trip to the small and wondrous place commonly known as Tasmania brought forth numerous concerns around the issue of facial hair, on both males and females. I spent the week with my Great Aunt Patricia and her lovely friends, most of whom were aged somewhere generally on the higher end of 60 and 90. It made me ask myself questions like:
What is ok?
How much is too much?
Do people notice when girls have moustaches?
What if they’re really light; is it ok then?
Is it acceptable for an old lady to have a moustache?
What age exactly defines old?
Does establishing the title of old give you permission to stop caring about your appearance?
Is this point perhaps defined by when you reach a point at which your appearance is below the point of valuable improvement, where even drastic methods such as plastic surgery are of little benefit?
What if you start growing an excessive amount of long grey thick chin hairs?
How would you go about removing said chin hairs?
Would it hurt lots?
Would the achieved dignity be worth the pain?
Could you ever make female chin hair cool?
If you had disgusting chin hairs wouldn’t you be a little self conscious about readily kissing friends and relatives? (Apparently not)
Why do people with moles on their face so often fail to pull out the long thick black hair that grows out of them?
Why do old men feel the need to have hair on their face when clearly there is none on their head?
Do they think it will draw attention away from the previously mentioned lack of hair?
Does it?
Are there actually people in the world who genuinely feel that they look better with a moustache?

These are some important questions that we will all be forced to ask ourselves at one stage or another in our lives.
My personal feelings regarding this issue are that all people should go to great lengths to ensure that they are free of any and every sort of facial hair*
Boys seem to have some kind of unprecedented fascination with growing beards, and moustaches and goatees and other monstrosities formed with the hair on their faces in what appears to me to be an attempt at increasing their manliness. This is something which I struggle to understand. IT’S HAIR ON YOUR FACE. So what? You have lips on your face that are different to a girls lips but no one feels super manly about that do they?! And around that point, the manly chest hair thing – no. Bad. Chest hair is quite possibly worse than facial hair bar its less frequent visibility. Perhaps it is like growing a beard to hide bald ness, growing chest hair to disguise their lack of toned abs. And this is similarly ineffective.

Another issue of facial hair which I find greatly distressing on both the womanly and manly members of our population is eye brows, and more concerning mono-brows. How can you get up and look at yourself in the mirror and not notice the giant furry caterpillar crawling across your forehead? I remember seeing an Italian boy, maybe 7 or 8, at the train station who from a distance I though had a mask lifted above his eyes, but upon closer inspection I realized that it was in fact solely his eyebrow hair. This greatly concerned me. Admittedly it was somewhat humorous, but shame on his parents. Just because you have super hairy children doesn’t mean that you can convince them in the days of their youth that this is normal and that having a mono-brow is acceptable just so that you don’t have to go through the pain of plucking their eyebrows for them. Seriously, have these people never watched Bright Ideas? Don’t they know about the hair zappy thingy that, although you have to zap the hairs hair by hair, once they’re zapped they never come back! They could entirely change the outcome of their child’s with that zappy thingy. They have the power to alter his nickname from caterpillar or, brow-boy, or mono-jonno to coolio-pete or jo-nie.

What Movie Did You See This Week, Mary?

This week I saw the fantastical mind-blowing abomination that is TRANSFORMERS. Perhaps it wasn’t quite as enjoyable for me as it was for those whom watching the film brought back sweet childish memories. I had no previous connection with the concept of Transformers apart from a blurry memory of a show I wasn’t allowed to watch and a McDonalds toy which turned from a soft drink cup into a robot that my parents, after a great deal of their pondering and my crying, deemed acceptable for me to possess despite its’ strong correlation with the forbidden television show. I can say almost undoubtedly that I went into the cinema unbiased and open minded.

The entirety of the film made my head hurt. There was pretty mediocre action for about three quarters of the film, at which point I was bombarded with so many explosions and bombs and shooting and robots that I felt that my own head was about to explode. They need to work out a way of making story lines that don’t climax all at once for the entire second half of the movie, movies need to go in pleasant waves of action and gentle love scenes. Speaking of love scenes, that girl would never have gone for that boy, he is disgusting and nerdy. And she was stupid anyway, she was like a big ugly Barbie doll.[1]

My primary observation of the film is that if the robots didn’t talk, and didn’t have such awesome voices and awesome lines like “I am Megatron.” And “I am Optimus Prime.” Then the movie would have totally sucked. But given, they did talk so it really wasn’t so bad and as much as my arty farty prestige disallows me to do this, I must say that I quite enjoyed the film overall. Somehow I managed to miss some vital plot information points but that added to the mystery and intrigue so not to worry.

I think that Optimus should have died at the end. Then Christians could have used it for a lovely analogy of Jesus in Sunday school and at youth group. Perhaps the people who made the film thought about that and didn’t want their film to be the victim of the many Jesus analogies that has become so many others such as The Matrix, The Tigger Movie, and Bambi, and more or less any other movie ever. Playing the make-up-an-analogy game is always fun. It feels slightly blasphemous but also slightly Christianly justified as we are only making correlations between two truths in a potentially humorous manner, nothing wrong with that, is there?
That is not really the reason I wanted Optimus to die though, the real reason is because I am sick of happy endings. Nothing in real life ends as nicely as that, in fact it doesn’t end. Everyone always gets married and the plot implies that they live happily ever after, but no, the truth is apart from that they wouldn’t have gotten married in the first place, they probably would get divorced within a year of their crappy beautiful romantic marriage.
If I ever make a Hollywood movie everybody is going to die and break up and be miserable in the end. The audience will be left dissatisfied and offended that their pleasant escape from reality didn’t work out as they wished it had but I don’t care because that’s how things really are. At least it’ll give a lower comparison for them for their own lives and they will later find themselves feeling potentially better about their own lives.

But back to my main point, Transformers was fun. You should go and see it just so that you can hear Optimus talk. It is totally worth it, even just for that. You will get the added bonus of witnessing youthful angst, explosions and alien robots making that cool noise they make when they transform.



* with the exception of boys who can pull off the “I don’t need to shave; I even look sexual with stubble” look.
[1] Or should I say; a Bratz doll.

unfinished, untitled


Writing is an incredible thing because somehow more than speaking aloud, it allows for something to be described in a way that the reader feels themselves in the situation. When writing fails to achieve this it loses its purpose and its value.

Five years ago, when I was 17, a series of events occurred which I have always felt compelled to write about and more than anything always wanted to write about, simply because of the incredible feelings that these events provoked. I have struggled to write about these events not because it is painful for me to write about them (as they were painful events and it is painful, or at the very least sad, to write about them) but because I have found it completely impossible to find the words to accurately communicate these situations and the feelings associated. By feelings I don’t really mean feelings that I felt personally but more a feeling that was in the air. 

There is something about death that for the few weeks surrounding its occurrence causes everything to change. It changes back again after a time. And after that time the feeling that was there, this intense, quiet, empty feeling disappears and just like the person who has also disappeared becomes hard to remember in any kind of clear detail.

Memories are all that can be relied upon to analyze what this feeling is and as much as human beings’ instincts are to trust memories the truth is that memories are false. They are created by us and distorted by our perception of events and we will never be able to objectively analyze what really happened or what we really felt unless we feel it again.

This change that I have never found the words to describe, this feeling in the air, affects everybody who knows about the death, not just the people who know the person who died. That is the extraordinary thing about it. It is something very human and very scary that we seem to find easier to ignore and, as I myself have found through trying to write about this over and over again, this change in the air is something very hard to even recognize exists.

When we loose somebody ourselves we are reminded of our own humanity and still when somebody we know loses somebody this reminds likewise alerts us to our own vulnerability. But I don’t believe that this is the reason for the change in the air. I think the reason is that death holds the implication that people, the most essential things in our lives and our world, can be lost completely out of our control. We live in a world where everything else can be controlled and replaced but we cannot control ourselves, or the people who surround us. This idea that something – someone - can simply be ‘lost’ is incredible. Something can just go away and we don’t know where it went. That doesn’t happen with anything else and it doesn’t really fit comfortably into the way that we think about all of the other facets of our existence. 

a single man


The Festival State


Post-euro trip impressions of Adelaide:


So after purchasing a plentiful amount of postcards whilst overseas I was lead to wonder what kinds of postcards had been created for little Adelaide, my own home town. It was a curious mystery and my quest proved quite worth while. It turns out Adelaide, though the 3rd biggest city on the continent, doesn’t have the greatest tourist industry. Not really that surprising.


The people who work in that tourist info box in the middle of the mall are all old, probably bored and retired. People who work in the shops selling ‘Adelaide’  tourism items, are all Asians or at least not your ‘typical’ Australian. I will, though, admit that this is true of almost every tourist shop I entered around the world. We don’t really have any history. We don’t really have anything particularly outstanding or worth while to show anyone. There are a lot of suburbs. I guess it’s pretty good if you want to get drunk ‘wine tasting’ at the Jacobs creek quality winery but someone’s got to drive all the way out to McLaren vale and that’s always a down side. We have a mall with some mediocre chain shops in it, personally I think that the Giant Rocking Horse is the best thing we’ve got going for us – mind you, I couldn’t find a single postcard for that.

I wondered what we’d do if there was a free tour – where we’d take people, what on earth there was in the city centre (the rocking horse is inconveniently located in Gumuracha and if you wonder where that is you’ve pretty much just answered your own question) to take a tour to. There are lots of chain stores, but I’m sure they have those at home. There’s the botanical gardens… and the torrens. It probably made a better tourist attraction when there was no water in it because it was funny and there were lots of things like bikes and cars in the river. And then there’s the pop eye and those paddle boats, they’re pretty good – but you couldn’t really take a walking tour on the paddle boats. We have a zoo… you could tell them that story about the guy who impaled himself on the zoo fence. And of course there’s the malls balls (yes, two big silver balls in the middle of the mall, wow), but once again I swear more people took photos in front of them when they were off being polished! And the council had the bright idea of putting a fence with a big picture of what the balls normally looked like. Genius.


So on Adelaide postcards, the #3 most repeated image was that church that they just spent like 3 years covering up and fixing near Victoria Square. You know, it’s all old and big, every city is supposed to have one so I guess that they’re excited that we’re not left out anymore because you can finally see ours!

#2 was probably a draw between a ‘sky view’ of the city – not very interesting if you ask me, but there are always people looking to buy boring things and I guess its an accurate summary of the city. And the good old Torrens/torrens and the popeye/torrens and the paddle boats and the pop eye etc received similar attention. I guess its our only river, even if it is full of carps and only 1 meter deep – the tourists can’t see that through the algae so let them believe something better! Oh and I did see a few postcards of the ‘old glenelg trams’ and I’m sorry but I highly doubt that any tourist would have even seen the trams because they NEVER use them! What are the chances of one of our few tourists getting on the exact one and only tram that they use, what, once a week? And they’re supposed to be up there in our history and tourist promotion!

And the #1 postcard for Adelaide city was THE PIGS. My personal theory is that this is the government’s way of trying to justify spending such a ridiculous amount of money on them. There was even a postcard saying ‘look at our $70 000 bronze pigs’ – they actually want people to know that this is what they have decided to invest their money in!! a poor attempt at reverse psychology, and so if they print a bunch of postcards then they will give the impression people actually are coming to Adelaide to see the pigs. The best postcard was one with a side shot of the pigs and right behind them is this old lady with grey hair sitting by herself on a bench. But seriously, of all the things you can build a statue of to ‘improve the city’ why would you choose pigs? Why not ducks – something, anything! a little more savoury. There’s actually one going through a bin! Admittedly I have seen a relatively large number or asian tourists and their small children posing on top of them. But I still don’t understand how pigs ever came through the council board as being a good idea.

There wasn’t a single postcard of the mall’s balls and I really think that they are a much better tourist attraction than a bunch of pigs! And ‘city art’ attractions, well, we’ve got the balls, the pigs, there are those big pieces of twisted metal poles on light square – possibly made by the same uninspired person who made the malls balls. Then there’s the weird origami things they put on the torrens, they’re quite pretty really – probably the best thing we’ve got going for us on a poor basis of comparison. And then there’s the moderate obstruction nearby the festival theatre, that big colourful chimney and all those blue cubes. What is that! What were they thinking! It’s massive and would have cost a fortune and is kind of okay because it looks like we’re stuck in the 80’s which is kind of funny but I’m not sure if it was intended as a joke. There’s a wall covered in different match box cars down a little alley way in the city which I am sure no tourist will ever find but it is the only art I would ever desire to recommend someone take the time to look at.