Overall a good film but I was disappointed that the villain turned out to be who everyone thought it would be but at least they made him a lot more than just your average two dimensional, over the top super-villain.
Greetings dear reader. Once again we gather so you can hear me talk about myself. Sometimes I wonder what it is that fascinates you about my life but then I realise that my life isn’t fascinating, just distracting.
This weekend is a big anniversary for me. On Sunday, I celebrate 25 years in my current job. Yes dear reader, Sunday marks 1/4 of a century of my life devoted to driving trains for the NSW Government. That’s the longest amount of time I have spent doing anything (other than being alive of course) without getting bored and moving onto something more interesting. Believe me, there have been days when I’ve woken up at stupid o’clock in the morning wishing I had a more stable career, but I figure that everyone has those kinds of days.
Driving trains is actually the one thing I always said I wanted to do when I was a kid. Everyone else wanted to be a policeman or nurse or whatever and out of all the people I still know from those days, only I seem to be doing what I said I was going to do. Sometimes, following a dream does work out.
My eventual permanent arrival into the railway system was actually my 3rd or 4th attempt at it. Back in 1982, I applied to join the railways as a station assistant a couple of times and failed the maths portion of the entrance “exam” – by exam, I mean 5 words that needed spelling and 5 maths problems to be solved.
I am fucking terrible at maths.
So eventually, I managed to overcome this problem and ended up on the railways towards the end of 1982. This lasted a grand total of 4 days, the shortest amount of time I have ever been employed to do anything. My interest in driving trains led the powers that be to place me in a signal box at Enfield goods yard (Enfield South Box) as a telephone boy. My job was to answer the phone when drivers called in to find out where they were going and record this in a register. It also was doing general dogs body work as well. Unfortunately, the signalmen who worked there didn’t care too much about teaching me what my job entailed with one of them simply stating “If you don’t learn what you have to do by the end of the week, you’ll be fucked when you’re on night shift next week”.
Yeah, that’s gonna motivate me for sure. Next stop, unemployment.
Okay, so i wussed out and spent a year unemployed. Fast forward to November of 1987 and I’m working the Department of Social Security (DSS) in Sydney and my section is about to close down and I am expected to go do shift work in the computer centre. I figured that if I have to do shift work, I might as well take a stab at getting my dream job again. The exam was a tad harder this time, but my 4 years of office work prepared me for what they wanted and I also managed to pass the medical and got an interview with a really nice guy called Maurice Johnson who was in charge of the Drivers section of the training college at the time. I must have said all the right things because he told me to turn up at the college on January 27 1988 to start my training.
Side note, Maurice was one of the nicest people I have encountered in my 25 years on the job and I will always be thankful that he saw something in me that told him I’d be an asset. He now runs his own training company.
Anyways, after 2 weeks of initial “safeworking” training with an inspector who may (or may not) have had a nervous breakdown at some stage in his career, and an oral exam with an examiner who actually seemed to answer all of the questions he asked me himself, I was sent off to a place called DELEC which was the locomotive depot attached to Enfield goods yard.
Yes, fate had returned to the place of my defeat in 1982. I also managed to re-acquire my old employee number as well.
18 months of shunting yards, being the second person on main line trains (occasionally driving them too) and being treated with disdain by some of the older drivers because I had the audacity to be regular mates with a “scab” from before I even joined the job saw me ready to take the examination to proceed to acting driver but I elected to transfer across to the suburban network (ETR).
Initially, the ETR was to be a one year gig to get my appointment, then head back to the freight so I could transfer to Dubbo where I had bought some land. Unfortunately, they changed the rules and I got stuck for 5 years. In the end, that wasn’t such a bad thing because I got a social life again and made a lot of new friends. That’s the one thing I found about my time on the freight – I met a lot of people but didn’t get to know them or become their friend. Most of their names were “Mate”.
Now I am what you could call a “Senior Driver”. In my depot at Blacktown, out of 70+ Drivers, I am about the 15th most senior. Nowdays, the only thing that means is that I get to lord it over the “junior men” every now and then (in jest of course) and it allows me to appear wise in the eyes of the newbies should they see the need to actually talk to anyone. In reality, it means that most of the people who are in a managerial position are people I either knew as Drivers or were simple functionaries when I started but have somehow managed to bluff their way up the ladder (sign on clerks and failed guards as supervisors and managers? I’m soooo scared).
So, on this anniversary weekend, I can sit back and reflect on how the past 25 years have changed me in some ways but at the same time, it has reinforced in me the importance of remaining the person I was all those years ago. There is so much bureaucratic bullshit involved in doing the job nowdays that you have to turn off the part of your brain that acknowledges it and just do the job. As I was telling a newbie driver the other day, you do what you have to do today and worry about the consequences tomorrow. At the end of the day, the traveling public is what our job is all about and no management directive will ever change that in the eyes of us career Drivers.
I have about 14 years to go before I retire and I am sure to see a lot of changes in that time. Judging by the last 25 years, I’m going to see a lot of change that is just going to make me say “what the fuck?”, shake my head and just keep doing what I do best. On the other hand, I can say that I have at least 14 years of doing what I enjoy plus I get to be a pain in the arse to everyone I work with because that’s who I am.
Trivial Fact 222: Due to staggering inflation in the 1920′s, 4,000,000,000,000,000,000 German marks were worth 1 US dollar – yet you still couldn’t get a decent bagel for that price.
So dear reader, we have once again arrived at the tail end of yet another year and the calendar is about to flip over from 2012 to 2013. It has all gone so fast. It seems to me that the older I get, the faster time flows and even though I know this isn’t true, it certainly does feel like I was welcoming in 2012 not that long ago.
Of course, the most anticipated event of the year was the end of the world. A misinterpretation of the Mayan Calendar had people believing that there would be some world ending cataclysm on December 21, but it’s now December 31 and there appears to be no hint of a global apocalypse – not even one containing Zombies. The reality is that if your Mayan calendar is about to run out, you just need to get a new Mayan calendar. Personally, I’m happy it didn’t end because I would hate to end up in whatever version of an afterlife awaits me knowing I never finished the painting project I spent my entire holiday period working on.
I don’t do New Years Resolutions. I used to, but I figured that any changes I wanted to make in my life could be made at anytime. Same goes for everyone else if they really want to make the change. Sure, the first day of the year makes it easy to remember when you decided to make the change, but there isn’t a hard and fast rule about having to do it then. Making the decision to improve your life is vastly more important than remembering what day you decided to do it – unless it’s your wedding anniversary or your wifes Birthday. Forget either of those and you won’t need to worry about next years resolutions.
It’s hard to tell whether 2012 was a success. In fact, how does one gauge how successful their year was if there were no life altering events that happened? From my point of view, I managed to make it all the way to the end without dying so that’s a success for me of sorts – not really much of an achievement since I have relatively little control over life and death outside of being careful and responsible.
On the other hand, a couple of friends gave birth to healthy sons so they’d be looking at 2012 as being a particularly successful year for their families and they get to continue enjoying their success for years to come and one other friend announced that she would be adding a second little bundle of joy to her family mid 2013 so she gets two bites of the success cherry.
This was also the year that I learned a valuable lesson in not assuming everyone knows a family secret before casually bringing the topic up in drunken conversation at 2:00am. While it was a monstrous faux pas at the time, it pretty much seemed to have turned out okay in the end. Knowing me, I will probably do something similar in 2013 so it will be a lesson learned but ignored.
Oh, there was also the whole me “coming out” thing that was a surprise to absolutely nobody.
So with the end of 2012 only a few more hours away, what do I have to look forward to in 2013? Well, for starters, I seem to still have my health despite my love of chocolate and alcohol – neither of which I indulge in moderation. Thank goodness for my gym membership.
Also, starting at the end of January, I will be attempting training as a Les Mill BodyCombat instructor. I may do well or I may fail dismally. Whichever way it goes, at least trying and failing is better than not trying at all. At least I’ll still be able to participate in the classes.
I was once accused of over-planning my life to the point that I knew what I was doing months in advance and was inflexible. I’d like to think that I have improved over time. Yes, due to my work roster, I have a general idea of what I am doing in my job up until at least May, but now I make commitments and work around the roster rather than missing out on things (except when I have to get up at ridiculous o’clock in the morning). That’s a positive to take into 2013 with me I guess.
So, that’s it. My last blog entry for 2012. The usual mingling of words hastily thrown together that sounded a lot better in my head and translated pretty poorly to the screen. All in all, 2012 has been a pretty average year and average is good. My motto has always been “Strive to be average” and I hope I am living down to that standard.
All that is left now is to wish everyone who has made it down this far a happy and prosperous 2013 and hope that you too strive to be your best even if you best is just average. As for success, you’re the best judge of what success is to you so embrace every little win you have throughout the year.
As for me, I’ll see you on the other side.
Trivial fact number 221:- On average, women say 7000 words per day, men manage just over 2000 (when they can get a word in that is)
Hello dear reader, it’s been a while since we last sat down and had a talk about stuff. In fact, reading through my last offering, I found it to be rather tatty compared to some of my efforts over the years and not really worthy of being sent out onto the web even as virtual toilet paper.
Anyways, it’s Christmas Eve in the great land of Oz so that means that, once again, it’s time for my annual musings on Christmas. Of course, we are all very lucky to be still around to celebrate the event considering the world was supposed to have ended a few days ago. Mind you, if it had, I wouldn’t have fallen off a ladder on Sunday, banged up my head and grazed my back on my driveway.
There are really only two ways to celebrate Christmas. From a religious point of view, it’s the celebration of the creation of Christianity 2000 odd years ago. From a secular point of view, it’s a time for gathering the entire family together to share a meal, catch up and pretend you care about what your siblings have been up to in the last 12 months.
Usually, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, I see a few Facebook posts or get a emails from my Christian friends espousing the importance of “Keeping the Christ in Christmas” due to their objections of people wishing others a Merry X-Mas or Happy Holidays. This has always had me wondering about the way people celebrate Christmas personally and why they would think that by not acknowledging the word “Christ” somehow detracts from their enjoyment of the season.
Now, I will never tell a person that their faith in a higher being is wrong – just because I don’t believe doesn’t give me that right – but at the same time, I shouldn’t be frowned upon because I don’t acknowledge the Christian aspects of Christmas. In fact, I’m fairly certain that other non Christian faiths have a hard time coping with this time of the year (and Easter) but you never hear them suggesting that the Christ should be taken out of Christmas – that’s reserved for the more radical Atheists who hate every religion and they just embarrass Atheists like me who are way more mellow.
Christmas is a word. The word itself is not what makes this holiday season what it is and it isn’t worth making a fuss about. In the long run, does it really matter if we say Merry Christmas, Xmas or Happy Holidays? When you sit down to your big family meal on Christmas day, you will be celebrating in your own way and it won’t matter to you how anyone else is spending their day. If you are of the Christian faith, you will give thanks to your God for allowing you to celebrate the birth of Jesus. If you aren’t, you’ll still be thankful, but you’ll be thankful to the people you are with for being able to enjoy this special time with your family.
As for me, I’ll be spending Christmas afternoon with friends. We’ll eat more than we should, drink enough alcohol to make us say stupid things and probably laugh till our stomachs hurt. How we celebrate Christmas won’t detract from how anyone else spends their day and how other people choose to celebrate won’t bother me.
So, in the spirit of the season, I want to wish anyone who reads my ramblings all the best for Christmas no matter how you choose to celebrate it. It’s almost the end of 2012 which means we can all start winding down so we can start it all up again for 2013.
Christmas Trivia – St Nicholas, the original Father Christmas, is the patron saint of thieves, virgins and communist Russia
I have weird dreams. Most of the time, I wake up and the dream quickly fades although I remember it being weird. Sometimes, when I do remember them, there are people I don’t know but for some reason, we’re acting like best friends. Other times it’s people I do know doing things that are out of character.
My dreams come in colour, black and white and in some cases, repeats – I’m like summer television sometimes. I can recall having the same dream a number of time and knowing it is a dream inside the dream, then trying to change the outcome but that never works. I do remember when I was kid, if a dream started to scare me, I would roll over in the dream and cover my head with a blanket and the dream would end.
Anyway, let me share.
Last night I had one of my weird dreams and it hasn’t faded away. I’m not a dream interpreter so I have no idea if there is any hidden meaning in any of it.
Like most of my dreams, it started out simply enough – it was raining hard and the back yard of my house, which is on the top of a hill, was starting to flood from the rain but the houses around mine which are lower weren’t. Even though the hill runs down to the street, the water wasn’t running away. It just slowly got higher but there was a lot of water rushing out of the runoff pipe in the street. I looked under the house and the water level was rising under there as well, but again, not running off.
Then things changed. It wasn’t raining anymore and I was at another house that I didn’t recognise in front of a garage by myself. I looked up and a guy that has recently stopped talking to me walked up to me and said I should kiss him so I did and he smiled and sat down on a chair that appeared from nowhere and started talking like we were good friends (I don’t remember what he said though). Then the uncle of another friend, who I haven’t seen in years, appeared and introduced himself to the guy for no reason.
Now it gets really weird.
Out of the blue, the actor who played “Urkel” in that old TV show walked out of the garage and they guy looked at him and said “You’re gay” to him and “Urkel” said “why yes I am” and then he hugged me.
The scene changed again and I was in a kebab shop somewhere. The kids of one of the instructors from the gym were all working behind the counter and another customer in the shop was a mutual friend of ours. My instructor friend came into the shop and looked at me and our mutual friend and suggested that we both leave since her husband was coming over. I got annoyed at this and made a point of talking to him when he did arrive.
Then I woke up.
Honestly, it makes no sense to me whatsoever, but that’s the sort of thing that happens to me regularly. Random people, random (and ridiculous) situations. In this case, I knew everyone in the dream – a rarity. Spookily, there are times I will dream something and a while later, a similar portion of that scenario will happen in real life but make sense. Someone once suggested that in those cases, the present was giving me a false memory somehow, but I don’t think the mind works that way – I could easily have some minor psychic ability or just be imagining it.
I am open to suggestions…..
Greetings dear reader,
There are a couple of physical attributes on people that I have a preference for over anything else – red hair and eyes. I bet you thought I was going to say something rude…
I like red hair because it’s different to what we are normally exposed to and people who have red hair, generally have freckles which I also like (red haired child with freckles? Oh gimme gimme gimme!!!). Also, I would have loved to have been born a ginger myself but, unfortunately, my genes are too imperfect for that.
Despite my love of red hair, I am really into peoples eyes. You can show me a one armed man with a prosthetic hook, and I’ll look at his eyes long before I notice he’s wielding a potentially lethal piece of arm candy.
I like eyes for a couple of reasons. Some come in amazing colours, some are shaped either just right or totally wrong for the face they are on but my biggest love of eyes is because they are probably the only part of a person in which you can see the truth of who they are. If you’re not looking at someone while they are talking, they will find it easy to lie to you – look into the persons eyes when they are telling the same lie, and you’ll know right away what’s going on. It’s even easier if they’re avoiding looking at you – don’t believe a word of what’s being said if the speaker can’t even look at you while they’re saying it. I know when I used to lie to my parents, I never looked directly at them.
There is a saying that goes “the eyes are the window to the soul”. Since I don’t actually believe in souls, I’ll say that “eyes are the window into the person” instead. It may sound a bit out there, but even if I see a photo of someones face, I can generally tell if they are a good or bad person. I remember looking at a photo that I took of a friends nephew and I commented that he must be the evil child of the family – my friend was surprised I saw it but confirmed my conclusion.
Sometimes, I think people are blind to what they see in a persons eyes because they concentrate on other aspects of them. For instance, someone entering into a new relationship might be more concerned about the physical appearance of their new partner or the physical side of the relationship rather than looking deeper into who that person is. A guy/girl might have a great body, a good sense of humour and the same interests as you, but if the eyes are all helter skelter, they might be one to avoid.
Sometimes I wonder what people see in my eyes. Without blowing my own trumpet, I know I am generally a good person so I hope that shows. Of course, sometimes I’m angry and I’m pretty sure that shows when I am in that particular zone. What about when I’m feeling down? Do people see that even though I try to give the impression that everything is alright?
I don’t see what’s behind my eyes because I don’t need to. I already know everything there is to know about me. I do need to know about you though – can I trust you or should I run very fast away from you? If I look into your eyes, I’ll definitely know.
Greetings dear reader,
If you are confused by the title of this blog effort, I suggest that you read this blog entry from the start and keep going till you get to the end because it’s going to be the most personal blog entry that I have ever written.
In short, I am gay.
I was gay yesterday, I’m gay today and it’s highly likely that I will be gay tomorrow (pending the apocalypse/return of Jebus of course).
In fact, I have been gay for as long as I can remember. Girls have never really interested me outside of people to talk to. The earliest that I can remember being interested in boys is way back in my history – somewhere around 2nd grade when I was 7 years old. I won’t go into the details of how I realised that I liked boys at that age but suffice it to say I liked the bits of the boy involved a great deal – wish I’d stayed his friend through my school life.
Yeah, it’s been hard being gay and pretending to be straight (or str8 if you are hip and cool and 12 years old) but I’ve been living that way for a long time.
I am 46 years old right now. I have been pretending to be heterosexual for over 30 plus years. That’s a long time to keep a secret. One or two people have guessed that I have been playing a game but most of my friends still think that I am a “normal” heterosexual man. Believe me, I haven’t been out to discourage their theories.
This is what fear does to you – it causes you to deny your true self and it makes you try to fit into a lifestyle that doesn’t match how you really feel just so you can make other people feel comfortable.
What I am may possibly be worst kept secret at my workplace – I was once informed by a workmate that I don’t do a good job of hiding my sexuality – I always thought that I was doing a great job of hiding who I was. I’m a pretty smart person (I think) and I think that I would have noticed people treating me differently from the norm if they had an inkling of my sexual preferences. I may be terribly naive if I missed any signs along the way. On the other hand, if my workmates have been totally oblivious to which way I swing, then I really must work with some blinkered people.
At the end of the day, I am still the person I was when I woke up this morning. and I’ll still be the same person tomorrow when I wake up (albeit, a very hungover me). I just figured that if a friend of mine had the courage to come out at such a young age then I should also be as courageous as he was at my age.
Being gay is not a choice, a sickness or a protest against traditionalism. It’s just people being the same as you but a bit different in the people they like. Tomorrow, I don’t want to be treated any different to how people treated me today when I got out of bed. I respect people for who they are, not how they feel and expect nothing less in return.
All I ask is that you look at me tomorrow the same way you looked at me yesterday – is that too much to ask?