When All Else Fails, Reboot!

Talk about excess baggage!

At least it’s not the kitchen sink!

What do you do when life just doesn’t go the way you’d planned? When the job folds; the house crumbles; the relationship evaporates? When you reach that age when you should’ve been living a life completely different to the one you’ve woken up in? What do you do? Do you fall into a screaming heap – like I did? Or do you finally shake some sense into yourself, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and see it as a grand adventure – like I’m doing?

For most of my life I’ve been terrified of ever becoming jobless and/or homeless. I’ve run like the wind from those nightmare concepts and they’ve finally caught up with me; grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and latched on tight. And you know what I’ve finally realized? They’re actually the dream of freedom that I’ve also been chasing for the same amount of time; they’re the big mamma/papa cat, carrying its kitten to a better place – I hope. Weird huh?!

Yep, so I’m a complete and utter failure. Couldn’t cut the mustard. Couldn’t make it work in the big city (and couldn’t make the big city work for me). Failure = freedom in this case, so I’ve decided to go troppo for a spell. I’ve headed up to Big Banana Land for some much needed R&R. I’m switching off my head, switching gears, and switching channels. I’ve packed my life into storage and a small suitcase and am ticking another achievement off my list: #164 – Go vagabonding!

 

Leg it!

Leg it!

Joseph Campbell said:

Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege!! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures, followed by wreckage, were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.

What was the last crisis that you went through? What was your last failure? Are you able to look back at it and see the positive in it yet? Are you going through a crisis or a free-falling failure right now? If so, can you flip the double-headed coin and see the fear as excitement instead? It’s taken me a bloody long time to get to this point, and I don’t doubt that there will be more potential screaming heaps to fall into, but today I’m turning a shitty situation on its head, and turning a bucket-load of loss into a big-arsed adventure.

Will I see you on the road?

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The Wedding Singer

 

Let's get hitched

Your awesomeness just blows me away!

It’s official, you may now start calling me Robbie Hart! Yes, it’s true. Yesterday, I warmed up my vocal chords and sang approximately 12 words at the wedding of the year. My babiest brother, Matt, and his adorable squeeze, Alana tied the knot in the most delightful ceremony ever. Never before have I seen such a wonderful combination of tattoos and flowers and chinos and superheroes. If I ever get married I’m going to be sorely pressed to outdo such a colourful shindig. There was not a dry eye in the house. Nor was there a dry one out of the house. And the tears weren’t due to my pitiful singing ability. They were all thanks to the overwhelming show of love between the gorgeous couple. Thanks team for making me look like a panda before lunch time!

I thought it might be fun to share with you the wedding blessing I wrote for Matt & Lan. It took me weeks of panic and research and typing and deleting, but I got there in the end. I’m pretty sure they liked it. I hope that you do to!

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The Wedding Blessing for Matty & Lan Lan

When Matt and Alana asked me to write them a wedding blessing, I had a small crisis on the inside.

“What do I know about weddings? And what do I know about blessings? Not a lot.” But what I do know a bit about is gods and goddesses, so I’m going to ask them to give me a hand with this blessing today.

Are you listening up there?!

 

May the goddess Aphrodite bless your marriage with true love.
May the old goddess Fortuna rain good luck from up above.
May fat and happy children be delivered by Kuan Yin.
And Hestia bless your happy home whenever you’re within.

When you need strength may Rollins bring reminders that you’ll grow
Closer tiny dancers, for Elton told him so.
When Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes come may Bowie run to keep your spirits up,
Until Dionysus arrives to refill your wine cup.

May Morpheus, the god of dreams, make all your dreams come true.
May Lionel sing it All Night Long that babe, I’m Stuck on You.
Thank the gods above you found such love, and may you bless each other.
Extra special blessings Lan, for marrying my brother!

 

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Congratulations Matty & Lan Lan. You guys sure know how to rock an amazing wedding!

A Wheelie Wonderful Wedding

A Wheelie Wonderful Wedding

(When I get my hands on some of the official photos I can whack them up here on the blog if you feel like showing off!)

Climb Every Mountain – Unless it’s a Bridge, then Climb Every Bridge!

Above and Beyond

Above and Beyond

I was given a wonderful birthday gift from my brother Matt, and almost-sister-in-law Lan yesterday: the opportunity to tick something off my list of achievements. Together, with the added bonus of Xenia (in disguise as Vicky – her coffee name) we climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was cold and rainy and I ended up with jelly legs and it was absolutely AMAZING! We even made it to the summit before The Rock. Take that Dwayne Johnson!

I’ve lived in and around Sydney for most of my life, and the Bridge was there standing strong and steady every single day. I drove over it. I walked over it. I bused over it, and trained over it. And I took for granted how connected it made us all in the sprawling city that is Sydney. Like everyone else I’d get the shits when traffic flowed too slowly, when someone  had an accident and prevented me from getting where I was going on time. I never really gave a thought to the people who built the Bridge. The ones who worked 7 days a week for 4 years to give me easy access to the city. The ones who hammered in the 6 million chunky rivets by hand. The ones who scaled those heights with no safety harness; no PPE. The ones who fell from it and died a terrible death. All so I could get to the city on time to tick something off my list. To all of them I thank you – and I’ll try really hard not to get the shits with the traffic again. If it wasn’t for you, I couldn’t have made a wish of mine come true.

So what about you? Have you been getting out there and ticking things off your list? Is there a mountain out there that you’ve always wanted to climb? What about a bridge? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do that you can do for yourself today? Or even a step you can take towards something that’s going to take a thousand steps to achieve? Go on, what are you waiting for? Permission? OK, I give you permission. Go have some fun!

And while you’re at it, stop in at Jamie’s Italian and do what we did yesterday; follow Flora’s advice and get yourself some cake. The Epic Brownie with salted caramel popcorn is something you should tick off your list.

Thanks again Matt and Lan, Xenia and Sarah for an Epic birthday. Who needs The Rock with friends and family like you?

In case my 8 seconds of fame doesn’t appear in your email, you can check it out here. Thanks “Vicky” for letting me steal the limelight!

Let Them Eat Cake

Carve it up!

Carve it up, sista!

Last night was the final instalment in my Wednesday night excursions to the Art Gallery of NSW for the Vengeful Ghosts, Ghoulish Demons film series. The third film in the supernatural Japanese trilogy was Ring. It was good. The American remake was better.

As I sat down in the back row of the theatre a tiny little lady came and asked if I minded if she sat next to me. She said she’d been looking for some big, strong gentleman to sit next to in case she got scared. But there weren’t any and I looked like a nice alternative. I told her to pull up a seat and I’d happily be her protector for the evening.

The little lady gratefully sat down next to me and told me that her name was Flora. Flora had a very thick accent, which she’d imported all the way from Peru in 1973. She was worried that I wouldn’t understand her. But I understood most of what she said. And what I didn’t understand didn’t matter, because I got the gist from the way she smiled and laughed and patted my arm. Flora was joy in Peruvian packaging. She told me how much she loves Australia; that it has opened the doors to so many great opportunities for her. It allowed her and her Brazilian husband to have a much better life with their three beautiful children than was possible in South America.

She told me that Wednesday night movie nights at the Art Gallery were her treat to herself; that since her husband left and fell in love with an Australian woman, she’d really been living life to the fullest.

“Miss Kylie,” she said, patting my arm again. “You only live once. So make it count. Do what I do, eat cake every day!”

Can't talk... cake...

Can’t talk… cake…

The theatre darkened and the movie rolled. It wasn’t scary and Flora didn’t need protecting.

“It was so nice to meet a lovely person like you, Miss Kylie,” she said as we filed out the door. “Will I see you next week?”

Yes, you will Flora. But it’s my birthday today, and tonight I eat cake. Tonight. And tomorrow. And the day after that. And the day after that. I’m gonna shovel it in, and make it count. Every. Last. Morsel.

Flora’s right. We don’t need birthdays as an excuse to celebrate our lives. Get some damn cake into ya!

Get Back on the Damn Horse!

Get off your arse!!!

Well, it’s been another one of those weeks. You know the one: The one where you walk out the front door and a bird craps on your jacket. So you go inside, get changed, check for collateral damage, head back out into the thick of it and the little bastard craps on your head. Yeah, that one. It was also the one where you’re desperately groping around in the dark for the exit because some comedian thought it’d be funny to switch off the exit sign. But nobody’s laughing!

Yeah, so I’ve been sick and I’ve been miserable. But it’s a new week, the exit has miraculously appeared and I’m moving onward and upward. Enough about that though, let’s reflect a little on last week’s adventures instead.

Top of the list was my trip to The Art Gallery of NSW for another black and white Japanese flick. This time, it was Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood. Now, with a name like Throne of Blood, you’d expect something akin to the wonderful Game of Thrones. Sure, there were supernatural elements, there were sword fights and powerful warriors. But I couldn’t get over the feeling of the uncanny when Toshiro Mifune graced the screen. Could Mifune be the long lost Japanese ancestor of Deadwood’s Al Swearengen?

Mifune

Swedgin!

Al

Cocksucker!

Throne of Blood is a reworking of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which in itself is nothing to feel uncomfortable about. But seeing “Swearengen” in a samurai suit was absolutely off-putting. I kept expecting to hear filthy expletives flying from Mifune’s mouth. But there were no cocksuckers. No whores. No pissing or farting or demands to know who cut the cheese. Not from the actors, anyway.

Calamity Jane wasn’t there to save the day or protect me from the dirty animal sitting in the seat behind me, who burped his way through the entire film. His belching was so bad, I was seriously concerned he was going to vomit all over the back of my head. It was a truly terrifying experience! And to top it all off this supernatural Shakespearean Deadwood samurai tale ended with a Tolkien-inspired Ent attack. Seriously, what was Kurosawa thinking?! It was too much for me to handle, so I raced off into the night, my (thankfully) vomit-free hair flapping in the wind, and made the ferry home with seconds to spare.

But I can’t complain. An adventure is an adventure. As the wise Bill Shakespeare once said:

 There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

And my thoughts on the rest rest of the week are pretty good. There was a trip to Chatswood to overindulge in Yum Cha with my wonderfully funny and highly decorated brother, Matt and his beautiful and forgiving (when it comes to chocolate thievery) bride-to-be, Lan; a healthy dose of multi-tasking as I did the Spit to Manly walk-and-talk (and brunch) with the delightful Sarah; a fabulous farewell to Cambodia-bound Ronan over a much enjoyed mulled wine. And I even had a small lottery win!

So there you go, proof that when life looks tough and you feel stuck in the mud, if you get off your butt and get back on the horse, there’s always another sunset to ride off into.

Who Doesn’t Love a Good Demon Hag?

Where’s my damn coffee???

It’s been a beautiful sunshiny weekend in Sydney, and I’ve been stuck in bed with the flu. Thank you to all of the filthy disease carrying commuters on Sydney buses who coughed or sneezed on me last week. And an extra special thank you to the drivers who insist on blasting us with air-conditioning in this bitterly cold winter, recycling other peoples germs and farts so I can breathe them in. This one’s for you.

So, I rolled out of bed today (at noon) and looked in the mirror. Sure enough, I looked exactly like Onibaba, in the picture above. Before I was so rudely infiltrated by the latest flu virus last week, I took myself off to the Art Gallery of NSW for a delicious post-Ramadan glass of wine with my friend Sarah, and a screening of the 1964 Japanese horror flick, Onibaba (literal translation: Demon Hag). I’ve got to say, I am very partial to a good black and white Japanese horror flick. These guys really knew how to create good scary movies. And still do. You’re lying if you tell me you didn’t have nightmares after you watched The Ring or The Grudge!

But back to Onibaba. In a nutshell, it’s a simple tale of vengeance, and what can happen to you if you let it take over your life. During 14th century war-torn Japan, a woman and her daughter-in-law murder samurai soldiers and sell their possessions in order to scrape together enough money to eat. When the daughter-in-law starts running off in the middle of the night to shag one of the neighbours, Mum tries exacting revenge by scaring the bejesus out of the girl by chasing her through the creepy reeds in a terrifying demon mask. But the ugliness of vengeance soon deforms the heart and face of Mum.

No Children of the Corn in here

Onibaba is visually stunning. I loved the haunting shots of the reeds swaying in the wind, the close ups of the actors, and the frightening Hannya mask. The Hannya mask is supposed to represent a hideous demon, but I found it quite beautiful. So, when I rolled out of bed today and looked in the mirror, I didn’t run screaming. Instead, I greeted Onibaba with a smile, blew the snot out of my sinuses, and felt beautiful in my own hideous hag-like way! Mind you, I was probably delirious thanks to being drugged up to the eyeballs. But I think it still makes for a lovely lesson. At times there’s beauty to be found in the the hideous, the sad and the ugly. Just take a look at it from an alternate angle, or put it in a different light.

So if you’re disease-free and looking for something to do in Sydney this Wednesday night, the Art Gallery is screening another black and white Japanese horror flick. This time it’s Akira Kurosawa’s adaptation of Macbeth, called Throne of Blood. Come join me. Just remember to leave the germs at home. I don’t want to be waking up on Thursday morning and having an “out, damned spot” moment!

Onibaba Image

Reed Image