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A shift in priorities

Posted in Life stuff, Not good enough with tags , , , , , , on November 6, 2010 by drawingdad

So, it’s been nearly two weeks since my last rant. When starting this blog I had intended to post new entries perhaps twice a week, because, let’s face it, there is so much to rant about. But I’m not going to. Not for a while. Those rants about how only 20% of people consider changing banks despite being routinely screwed by theirs yet will turn against their government before its first term is even over which is so backward it’s ridiculous, or telemarketers, or the overuse of the word “journey” in reality TV contest shows, or Oprah, or those annoying bloody Windows 7 ads, or my inability to stay awake if I sit still for more than two minutes, or Facebook, or fugly room makeovers in lifestyle TV shows that are supposed to champion good taste, or house-and-land package housing estates, or 3D TV and Apple’s hyperactive updating of brand-new products that encourage us to buy buy buy lest we be left behind in the entertainment dark ages, or brain-fucked parents and grandparents who thoughtlessly abandon their child and grandchildren for a romanticised retirement abroad, will all have to wait. Or perhaps never be written at all. I’ll find other things to rant about, I doubt it not, when I return.

I know this is just a fledgling blog, and posting infrequently then disappearing for a while after only five entries is not a good way to start building a readership. And I really would like to build a readership. Eventually, I hope, I’ll do so.

In previous entries, I have been preaching that we should Demand Better. While I completely stand behind those comments, it would be hypocritical for me to do so without demanding better myself. Demanding better of myself.

I have responsibilities. I have three people in my life who need me to be a responsible adult. Who need me to get myself sorted out to be a better partner and a better father. I need to make some changes, important changes, changes that challenge some deeply ingrained behaviours. I need to work towards the life I want to have with these three most precious of people. I need to get my arse into gear and chase the career I want. At the age of 35, it’s  long overdue.

To do all of this, I need to focus. I need to pitch all of my energy into getting myself and my life sorted out.

To focus, I need less distraction. And as much as I enjoy blogging, at the moment, it’s a distraction. I’ve been spending precious thinking time composing blog rants in my head, along with other diversions, instead of thinking about the things that matter most. Instead of meeting my responsibilities. I have more important things to do right now.

The problems I’m facing are what has kept my other blog, Sketching Life, dormant since April. So now The Odd Rant joins it on hiatus, for the time being. I may be back occasionally, when I have something to rant about that I must get off my chest lest I explode.

I’ll be spending less time online in general. I’ll be tweeting, mostly from my mobile phone (username @shirleyschmidto if you’re interested) and if I know you, I might write to you on Facebook from time to time.

I’ll be back, in time. And ranting like nobody’s business. (I don’t really understand what this means, but I’m sure you get the idea.)

Thanks for visiting and I hope to see you here again. In the meantime, keep demanding better. You deserve it.

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A substantial post concerning a lack of substance.

Posted in Bollocks with tags , , , , , , on October 1, 2010 by drawingdad

So early yesterday morning, I found myself in a comfy armchair browsing through a copy of the latest issue of Cosmopolitan magazine while Channel 7’s irritating breakfast show Sunrise played quietly in the background. Not my usual morning and Cosmo certainly isn’t my usual reading material.

As I flipped through the mag I found myself alternately laughing and shaking my head in disbelief at the utter rubbish contained therein. Then, as I was reading some absurdly inane fiction-disguised-as-advice article, perhaps “Why you’ll never eat lunch at your desk again” or “The Perfect One-liner For Every Occasion”, Sunrise host David “Kochie” Koch announced a segment entitled “Which milkshake are you?”

According to Kochie, new research (by the Institute of Complete Bollocks, no doubt) has found that your favourite flavour of milkshake says a lot about your personality. Those who drink chocolate shakes, for instance, are ‘friendly, punctual and obedient’, while caramel drinkers are ‘conscientious and responsible’. One member of a panel that Kochie was discussing this with wisely pointed out that between the milkshake research and the “Which coffee are you?” findings and the “Which handbag are you?” findings and so on, she’s pretty confused.

I was dumbfounded. I already knew, of course, that the show has, for the most part, the substance of a ball of fairy floss. But this, on top of the magazine I had in my hands, was just too much.

Which milkshake are you? Seriously? This warrants expensive airtime on national television?! Based on research? Perhaps their own research, looking up time-sucking quizzes on Facebook. You know the ones: Which fruit/Teletubbie/Smurf/human organ/Bejewelled jewel are you? All of these made up, of course, by vampiric morons with nothing better to do with their time than leech off yours.

Cosmo, meanwhile, was sucking my time and lowering my IQ with journalistic gems like “50 things to try… just because you can!” This article, written by one Katherine Bebo, seems to be composed of a mish-mash of the bucket lists of perhaps half a dozen different women, four of whom are of the Eat Pray Love ilk. The other two would be aged somewhere between 13 and 18. The Carpe Diem-encouraging article contains such sage advice as:

11. Get a map of the world, close your eyes and point to a place. Wherever your finger lands, book a holiday there. [Never mind if it’s, say, Baghdad.]
30. Kiss a celebrity. If you really can’t find one, anyone who has ever tried out for Australian Idol counts.
34. Blag your way into a VIP party and say “Don’t you know who I am?”

I suggest number 51. See a doctor for your mental diahorrea.

While reading Cosmo, of course, you can’t escape reading the sex advice. This issue promised “Sex Moves That’ll Rattle His Thoughts For Days!” What you actually find inside is “The real reason it’s called making love” which is a mild article based on a pop-biologist’s understand of body chemistry. The apparently long-awaited return of the famous Sealed Section contains no more than a match the face to the boobs/bum activity and some advice on oral sex. The front of the sealed section promises “The new oral sex techniques that’ll keep a good man down!” New oral sex techniques? Wow! Alas, the piece itself is a page of Q&A with a panel of four sex “experts” who do not impart any advice you won’t have read before if you’ve ever read Cosmo or, indeed, ever given or received oral sex.

The real kicker for me was the horoscopes. Dodgy and unreliable at the best of times, but Cosmo has ditched the vague platitudes that can cover a great variety of events in favour of some very specific predictions. At the same time, they have ditched all pretence at any kind of authority or authenticity. Take, for instance, this month’s predictions for Gemini (my sign). Bear in mind these are written for women…

The social Moon has you organising a black light party near the 23rd. Replace your bulbs with black lights, hand out highlighters and cheap white tees, and let guests write messages on each other’s shirts.
>>Dating tip: Put your seductions skills to use after the 17th, when Venus sends an onslaught of male attention your way.
>>Love advice: Passionate Saturn compels you to treat him to a commercial-break BJ on the couch around the 8th.

Other planets apparently will urge other signs to so all sorts of naughty things. That’s urge though, as opposed to being compelled like Gemini. What. The. Fuck?!?

More and more, I’m finding that entertainment is becoming even more vapid. A mag such as Cosmo, which claims to be offering good advice on all matters love/sex/fashion/health/cosmetics is as convincing as Weekly World News. At least with that tabloid, you know what you’re getting.

The proliferation of completely meaningless programs and periodicals is increasing faster than the locust population that is apparently going to blight most of Australia this summer. And like locusts obliterate crops, they eat away at your time and intelligence. And we accept it. We promote it. We tell the people who make and peddle this bollocks that it’s okay, we like it, we want more! How else can Cosmo continue to be published, month after month? How else could a show like Australia’s Funniest Home Videos have survived for 20 years? How else could a show like 20 To 1 exist at all?

How else would the Wayans family be able to make a shitload of money for making such shithouse movies?

We should demand better. I know entertainment is mostly for the purposes of escapism. Believe me, I do like my escapism. However, does that mean it has to be so utterly devoid of substance? And so fucking condescending? Because that’s what it comes down to. We are being treated like idiots and for buying into it all, we are idiots.