Sunday, February 15, 2015

Life is like a sudoko until Pete Evans hurts your brain

This week's cast:

Have you made the life changing decision to go paleo? Because if it is you might want to stop reading now before I hurt your feelings by saying mean things about your God, Pete Evans.

I don’t really do new year's resolutions other than ‘drink less booze’ which I think I’ve finally achieved after years of hang-overed failure. Rather than new year's resolutions, I like to be more positive than that so each year I pick a mantra for the year.

My colleague Rosemary’s work mantra every year is the same:

Do as you are told
Go on holidays
Be nice
Eat chocolate.

My mantra for this year was “Just because something is true, doesn’t mean that it needs to be said at that particular moment” and then I changed to be a resolution to eat fewer gummi bears from the gummi bear box at work. Then I ate a bunch of gummi bears on the 2nd of Jan so now it’s back to “Just because something is true, doesn’t mean that it needs to be said at that particular moment”.

Although after my last post, I think I might have as a secondary principle – “celebrate adequate”.

Anyway, what does this have to do with my unhealthy negative feelings towards Pete Evans?

Look it all comes back to the problem with the modern world. Modern day society and its internet is dangerous place for a sensible person to spend time at the best of time. It’s also extremely dangerous for a feminist to spend time. The planet is filled with passionately ignorant people who want to share to their world view.

At times, these people are maddening.

You can’t allow yourself to find it maddening though. Being outraged at the world is not way to live and shutting yourself of from the world is not the solution either. You must leave the house and function without being enraged constantly.

To help me cope with other humans, I have developed certain strategies for protecting myself from the ignorance of the mainstream media by mainly laughing at people and shrugging things off.

My number one strategy is to pretend that the world is giant sudoku, you just do it the way it’s supposed to be done even if there is no meaning to it. A sudoku uses numbers but it is not maths. Andrew Bolt uses words but he is not a sense making person.

“The Aboriginals are to blame for terrorism because left leaning people made up the stolen generation and that’s why the terrorists think that we are ready hate ourselves”. [this is actually what he thinks, like actually]
I counter your argument Mr Bolt by saying, this column needs a 9. I shall now return to my happy place.

Using this strategy, I’ve trained myself to read a whole article by him without getting offended. It’s also, much like a sudoko, satisfying to know that you’ve accomplished it. Increasingly you can improve your skills by taking on more challenging puzzles.

Every now and again though, something slips through the cracks of my Sudoku system and once they’re in I can’t get them out.

It’s when I least expect it that they come my way. The most offensive people I can deal with, it’s the middle of the pack, just kind of annoying people that get me. Earlier in the day I’ve deftly fended off Pro-Life protesters near my work (by ironically imagining that they were a collection of three little 6s in a row ready to be distributed into a sudoku) and then BAM – while watching an innocent cooking show, I’m flattened.

Aren't they cute?

I first realised that Pete Evans had broken through the Sudoku gates over multiple conversations with a friend from work.

Draxela’s daughter has food intolerances to pretty much everything so she’s had to become quite the expert in all of the approaches in food from veganism to paleo, FODMAP to adding butter to your coffee. Draxela's daughter couldn’t sleep because of the mystery intolerances and a completely sleep deprived Draxela survived as best as she could on coffee.

Anyway Draxela seems to have worked out what her daughter can and can’t eat and is now feeling a fair bit better that she’s sleeping. You can read more about her chronic slept deprivation on her blog.

WOW, it’s like the world is in high definition… I can remember details like where I parked my car! This is heaven!

She was still a bit addicted to coffee though, which I supported as a valid lifestyle choice. I have no shame in admitting that coffee is my favourite vice.

I didn’t realise how much I was ruminating on Pete Evans until she suggested seeking help.
Obviously I had mentioned that I hated Pete Evans about 1000 times during all of these conversations about allergies and diets. The Draxela directed me to a (support) group on facebook called ‘blocked by Pete Evans’ so that I could be with my own kind. With their help, I am dealing with my Pete Evans related issues. If you haven't visited the page, please do, it's very excellent.

I didn’t see Pete ‘Immagoodperson’ Evans coming, I didn’t have the guard up and now he’s in my mind and I can’t get him out. I already knew what quinoa was when Pete Evans came along so I was all like “what can you do to me hey? I know what foods are high in omega three so you don’t even need to go there man.” Also I was generally only knew of Pete Evans on My Kitchen Rules and Manu was there talking about homemade puff pastry so I thought I was in safe hands.

I take issue with Pete Evans and his shameless smug promotion of disordered eating to vulnerable teenagers who are eager to learn how to hate themselves.

I honestly don’t care if you want to eat paleo or vegan or even a diet entirely of watermelon and Fanta. It’s your life and it’s largely boring. But if you’ve ever known someone with anorexia nervosa or what a lot of people refer to as orthorexia, you’ll know why I feel the way I do about Pete Evans. He has also suggested that our diet is responsible for the number of people who have mental health issues which is extremely ignorant and perpetuates the stigma that mental health problems are the failing of the individual. Also he’s friendly with a lot of anti-vaccination folk from the North Coast. Massive frowny face.

Also and he’s criminally smug. That smiling son of a bitch has set up camp in the middle of my happy silent space in my mind. He’s smugly making a fucking salad which he is smugly calling chakra –omg it has bacon in it. Most hindus don’t eat bacon how can you call a salad chakra when it has bacon in it, do you think paleo is a more balanced lifestyle than Hinduism, do you think paleo is a religion, oh my god, oh my god I’m coming undone!

And suddenly the Sudoku system has fallen apart. I’m spiralling into a cycle of realising the depths of Pete Evans’s stupidity. It’s an internal reinforcing cycle of logic and anger.

The strict structures of the sudoko have been replaced with this:

Once I’ve escaped the spiral, I am left broken and overwhelmed by a sense of betrayal and despair. I direct this anger to the person I hold most responsible, the only logical person to blame, a Frenchman.

Manu, how could you? I expected this of some hipster white Australian guy with suspiciously white teeth… but you, you are French. The French talk of vegetarianism like it’s a disease. You cannot eat a meal without providing analysis on le sauce for 20 minutes! How could you stand near someone who suggests that we cut cheese out of our diet?

Anyway I may be able to forgive Manu for his crimes by eating my way back into safe sudoku territory.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Summernats and lattes do not go hand in hand


Once again it’s that time of the year where tumbleweeds roll through the main streets of Canberra. Canberra is empty because its people have fled to the beaches of the sapphire coast.

Most of people in my team decided to work on the 2 of Jan (I think because we all know that it’s the crusiest day of the year not because we are particularly dedicated public servants).

All of the carparks are available

This silence is altogether not a surprise. After all my plan to stop people from visiting Canberra was going really swimmingly at the end of last year. There was United 870 flight from the US sat on the tarmac at the Canberra airport all day on the 12 of December and they didn't let the people visit Canberra. That’s my birthday and it was a wonderful gift.

Sadly, with Summernats being on, people visited Canberra.

In stark contrast to the silence of the ghost city is the soothing sounds of Summernats. Suddenly the tumberweeds are violently blow into the lake by the exhaust of hotted up cars.

Needless to say, I do not partake in the Summernats festivities. All cars look the same to me from a distance. I have this fear that I’ll be a witness to a serious crime and the police will have to deal with my total car dyslexia when I'm useless at describing the get away car.

"It was black. And smallish. I think a hatchback? Wait, the roof was a bit slopey in places but flat in others, what’s that called? The number plate had a 7 or an F in it I think."

For the first four days of January, the city is overrun with car enthusiasts. They do burn outs, they drink beer and generally have a good time (assuming that volume is the measure for fun, I think they have a great time). Last year I saw the most sunburnt human being I’d ever seen at the Dickson shops. I swear that guy was going to have one jager bomb at Suburban and would have to be hospitalised. He was purple. Truly. But through the purple he was smiling.

So, at this time of year our sleepy city, manned by a couple of public servants checking their emails, is loaned to the nation’s noise-loving car enthusiasts.

The perfect example of this contradiction is the coffee/car paradox. You can either be participating in/trapped by/watching a car parade or asleep at your desk. Those are your choices.

All the coffee shops are closed the week after Christmas (usually one coffee shop does the huge community a great service and stays open. This year it was Superfine, thank god for them). The panic inducing reality of this situation is that Superfine is on the OTHER SIDE OF NORTHBORNE FROM MY BUILDING!

If you cross Northborne at the wrong time you will likely be stranded and unable to get back for well over an hour. If you don’t leave to get coffee then you are stranded without coffee and fall asleep at your desk.

I think rather than pitting the sleepy public servants against the cars, we should find a way to come together. My colleague Rosemary suggested that we should have another car festival in June. We shall call it Winternats.

At Winternats, people drive boring cars at a safe speed. In lieu of the tattoo competition, there will be a demonstration of the latest in kiddie car seat technology. Instead of setting the world record for the largest number of burn outs, we’ll attempt to set the record for the largest number of roof rack installations in a day. All entrants will get a discount at their next visit to Ray’s muffler repair.

The coffee shops will all be open in winter so we won’t have a repeat of the coffee zone cut-off debacle of Friday. Also because the festival will be held in the middle of a Canberra winter, everyone will be appropriately dressed. No southern cross bikinis here – sensible shoes and a parka.

This is the car festival for real Canberrans – driving a fuel efficient car at a slow enough speed that you won’t spill your latte. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Rowbi did not break my heart, he was killed in a tragic spider accident


It is with great regret that I have to kill off a character. This is a tale of death and one spider’s dream.

Most people do not love spiders, let’s face it. Some people love them and keep them as pets sure but mainly we tend to want to squish them when we see them. Because they are different from us and make us feel uncomfortable.

It seems like humans like things with 4 legs the most (horses, cats, dogs). Then things with 6 legs (ladybugs, ants, bees) are a bit of a mixed bag. 8 legs is 2 legs too many for a good time.

There are some exceptions to the more the legs, the less we like theory. For example raccoons with rabies are less popular than butterflies, slugs aren't adored and centipedes aren’t as scary as fire ants. In general though I think it’s the fact that spiders have so many legs with which to chase me that makes me hate them so much.

Their webs are also a problem for me.

A few years ago I was in Shepparton for a subject at uni. We were going for a bush walk and I had my hair in a bun.

I must have accidentally backed into a spider web. It was as if the bun made a perfect magnet for the web. The web coated my bun within a split second. Like a hairnet.

Over the course of the day, my thoughts about the spider turned me into a nervous wreck. I tried changing my hair into various arrangements but I couldn’t kick the feeling that there were spiders crawling through my hair.

It was a tough time for me.
Unexpectedly walking through spiderweb results in you having a sort of arachnileptic fit. You flail around arms waving but to the people around you it looks like you’re responding to nothing at all. You’re just some crazy loon freaking out over the air being too repressive.

My brother once had an arachnileptic fit when after shaving he looked to down at his handtowel to realise that he’d just dried his face on a spider.

So what do spiders have to do with my exboyfriend? Good question!

There was a spider that lived in Rowbi's house and every day this spider would build a web in the corner of his doorway. In the morning I would pop downstairs and out the door no worries. 

Rowbi, being above average height would walk straight through the spiders web and start the morning ritual of blind flailing.


Every night the spider rebuilt his web. It was amazing. Such dedication!

The spider could have given up. His web was being destroyed daily. Rather than just admit that he was attempting the impossible, he set about reconsidering his web design so that he could catch Rowbi. He realised that he had a unique opportunity to catch the largest fly of this life. The big one – the white whale.

And so tragically in 2011, Rowbi was trapped and devoured by a overachieving spider.*

We could mourn him but I think we should also acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of a simple spider with a dream. So there is no need to panic guys, Shelley’s OK.


*I may have chosen to remember this event slightly differently to what happened in reality.


I have a 'new' man, and by 'new' I mean we've been together for two years. I am too scared to show him to the blogisphere, for I am but afraid that making a paper puppet of your boyfriend is like getting a tattoo of his name – curses your relationship.
Get sensible tattoos people, for the love of god. Get a tattoo of something you know you’ll love forever, like the Tim Tams logo.

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