Thursday, 30 September 2010

The Tim Show

Tim was the best man at my wedding and the most relaxed

There was this guy a knew when I lived in Canberra, called Tim. He was a pretty easy going kind of guy and not much seemed to phase him. When I was affronted by the smallest snub, he would smile and tell me not to take it personally. My rejoinder was often a quick snap back of "it's happening to me so how do I not take it personally?"

Tim and I didn't really understand each other. We were both a friend of a friend and that node was enough to bring us together regularly. In any other situation, Tim would have driven me insane with his overly-relaxed view of all that occurred around him.

One day over many beers, I asked him to explain to me how he saw the world. Why didn't he seem pissed at anything or anyone, ever? Why was stress never knocking at his door yelling "Police, we have a battering ram!"

He told me in a very matter-of-fact way that was because he was the star of the Tim show. On the Tim show everything was about him. When people interacted with him, they came on to the Tim show to do a cameo. When the characters told him something, he took it at face value. If he went for a job and they said he was over-qualified then he simply took that as fact. When someone rocked the boat in the Tim show, it didn't sink. That was because any negative stuff was more learning of morals on the Tim show.

The way he saw it, each other person in the world has their own show that they star in. Sometimes there are spin-offs and guest appearances. They didn't always remember that other people were on their shows because it was all about them. If a decision seemed mean or affected Tim badly, that was either because they had a lesson for him or they were too consumed in their own show to realise the consequences. People were not bad. They were just thoughtless at times.

I have passed on this tale of the Tim show to many people in my time, when they needed to know that it is all about you, except when it is all about someone else. The world isn't made up of good and bad; right or wrong; or even black and white. It's just a bunch of sometimes mismatched TV shows with egocentric stars who are teaching and learning from each others lessons.

If you have a day when you feel a little or a lot stressed by those around you. Treat it like the Tim show or the Damana show. Don't stress too much. Tomorrow's episode is going to be better.

Scratch That

Last night, I asked the oracle (AKA: Twitter) if copper saucepans were the best kind out there. There were many responses, from which I learned that the base should be copper but the food should never be exposed to it. Copper is an excellent conductor but must be coated or sandwiched between alloys that are not so reactive. Stainless steel will probably be my choice.

Then a Darwin friend Jewel, asked the following question... "Saucepan shopping is fun. Is it sad that I think that?"

My response was not at all. I understand that sentiment very well. At the moment, it is more than saucepans with copper bases that cause that inner tingle. It's the whole nine yards.

You see, I'm starting from scratch. After 2009 (The Worst Year of my Life), I decided to sell every single thing I had and start again. I kept my books, DVDs, clothes, shoes, computers and kittehs. Everything else is garage sale history.

I have never lived on my own. Every decision I have ever made had to be run by another person. It had to be OK'd and negotiated and agreed upon. Nothing was mine. Everything was ours.

Now things are much changed. Everything is mine to choose. Mine to select. Mine to take responsibility or blame for. What a freeing feeling. What an exciting and magical time for me.

Those of you who are not serial killers or kleptomaniacs are invited over to see what becomes of the Mad Den (yes, a play on my last name). It might not be as exciting for you as me but just nod and pretend you understand :o)

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Real Eyes Ation

One of the sweetest realisations of my life was discovering that being alone does not mean being lonely.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

I crave. I love. I've waited long enough.

Am I not pretty enough?
Is my heart too broken?
Do I cry too much?
Am I too outspoken?
Don’t I make you laugh?
Should I try it harder?
Why do you see right through me?

I live, I breathe, I let it rain on me,
I sleep, I wake, I try hard not to break,
I crave, I love, I’ve waited long enough,
I try as hard as I can.

Am I not pretty enough?
Is my heart too broken?
Do I cry too much?
Am I too outspoken?
Don’t I make you laugh?
Should I try it harder?
Why do you see right through me?

I laugh, I feel, I make believe it’s real,
I fall, I freeze, I pray down on my knees,
I hope, I stand, I take it like a man,
I try as hard as I can.

Am I not pretty enough?
Is my heart too broken?
Do I cry too much?
Am I too outspoken?
Don’t I make you laugh?
Should I try it harder?
Why do you see right through me?

Why do you see, why do you see, why do you see right through me?

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Manic Pain

I wish I could find the strength to explain the pain at the aftermath of a hypomanic episode to you.

Mine are usually fueled by drinking for a few days in a row but can come upon me without any help, if they choose. This the opposite to the low of depression. It is not like being fully bi-polar. That usually involves mania and full loss of control.

This instead is like being so drunk or drugged that you have zero inhibitions. The thing is, you don't have to be drinking or drunk or drugged at the time for this to occur. It's just the result or precursor to a depressive low.

You feel invincible, mighty, incredible and bulletproof.

In the same way that a depressive state can drive you to self-destruct, so can a hypomanic state.

Usually, I don't have any idea of how much damage I've done. Usually, to friendships.

The worst thing is the shame you feel after it. The loss at destroying another friendship. The fear of what you've done or said. Although mine are few and far between, they are there.

I'm sorry if you have suffered at my hand when this is the case. I will not blame anyone else for it as it is me. I am it. There is no excuse good enough for the person it happens to.

I am sorry.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Confusion for One

AF: What happened? I thought he loved you.
DM: I thought so too.
AF: I guess everyone but he knows.
DM: I guess.

Surry Hills' Secret Life

The personality of the suburb of Surry Hills is very much a reflection of the people who live in it. Let me explain.

Overwhelmed with excitement at the return of AC from an overseas trip, I was up nice and early (two hours too early in fact) and decided a nice early morning stroll was in order. It's a fresh crisp Spring Sunday morning in Sydney. Most of the streets have road blocks on them for the 2010 Sydney Marathon. Police are loitering at corners ensuring cars don't go where they need to go. Pedestrians are allowed to wander around, and I was.

On the second street I turned on to, I had first the displeasure and then acceptance that my path would be painted with vomit.

You see, by day Surry Hills is a funky little suburb sprayed with cafes, boutiques, neat terraced houses, pubs pretending to slum it and the wide variety of people who frequent those places.

There are the little old ladies who yell at the skeg sk8er boys going clunk clunk clunk passed the late-in-life mothers pushing thousand dollar prams around the 19 year old homeless guy who is calling out names at the gay couple who didn't drop him change. And don't forget the hipsters with their deliberately mismatched aged designer label outfits, who smirk at the try hard bogans as they complain about the over-priced beer.

It's eclectic, to state the obvious.

In the evening on the weekend, she transforms. This funky suburb goes home after a late afternoon lunch with machiatto and puts on her coolest threads, then goes drinking; eating; dancing; prancing; and afterward, vomiting.

As some of us wake early and shower then take in the fresh cold morning during a walk, others are not finished partying. They stagger alone or in rowdy unsteady gangs up the streets. They discuss such topics as "how good was that thing?" and "are you sure this is the right direction?"

Sophisticated Surry Hills had a bit too much to drink last night and she's a little precious. I sure hope those over achieving marathon runners keep it down as they stomp passed her.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

At My Best

"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." — Marilyn Monroe

Which came first - the freak or the egg?

Surry Hills is an interesting place. I've spent 3+ years living here, which is the entirety of my time in Sydney. I've ventured out to stay in North Bondi (NoBo) and Manly lately and this has given me an entirely different take on Sydney.

Just now, I returned home (to a friend's place I'm cat sitting at) after breakfast and a visit to the local grocer. There was a girl power walking with weights, up and down the small street. She was wearing some kind of shiny black plastic tracksuit. I was chatting to the neighbours as she went by over and over again. Finally, I asked what kind of material it is. I only asked. She jumped away from our group and screamed "don't touch me!"

For the record, I had no intention of touching her. I was standing behind two 70+ year old ladies. We all stood there and stared as she swore a few times and walked down the street.

There are these moments in Surry Hills when I wonder if people act like freaks because they are scared of freaks or because they are freaks.

It maybe one of those chicken and egg things. They are all freaks.

Monday, 13 September 2010


A lot of what you read here is the product of conversations that I had with friends and family in real life. We talked about something and it sparked a chain of thoughts that finally came out here, in electrons on a blog on a server in a Google cloud somewhere.

That doesn't mean that I repeat what someone said to me or expose or negate their point of view. Not at all. Instead, I take the final dump of what has developed as an over-think in my mind and place it here. Maybe you can read it and snuff out the spark with a brilliant and enlightened comment or take it with you and think on. Either way, the idea goes on.

A friend asked me recently if I am an idealist. The question is like a bit like the uncertainty principle. Asking me makes me change the way I would answer the question because it sounds a little like a bad accusation. A closed question with only one sane and reasonable answer.

Once you get passed 25 years old, you should be more cynical and less idealistic. Ideals are for university students and tree huggers who don't use deodorant. Not for hipsters that frequent trendy bars and discuss the lives of the middle class, as if they were concepts from a Steinbeck novel.

That's not how the question was asked though. This person was just asking, in order to approach a possible explanation for why I no longer believe in love.

The theory was that an idealist young woman grows up believing that her prince will come. He will be a knight in shining armour and take her away in to a sunset filled happily-ever-after.

A realist probably thinks that it is going to happen more like Shrek crossed with Reservoir Dogs.

As for who is right, I think it isn't so much a case of right and wrong but of how you look at things. Yes, yes, that's the typical Damana with her "perspective changes perception" outlook on life. I've even been told that I am delusional for believing that there is a silver lining to every cloud and it's probably 925 sterling.

Whether it is delusion or not, I do believe perspective builds perception and perception is reality. Does this mean I was shattered by my marriage because my prince was a complete tosser? No, I still think marriage vows mean something to me that they did not mean to him. If I get a chance again, I would still strongly believe in commitment and love.

Do broken friendships and abandoned promises make me think that people are junk yard dogs, waiting to go for my jugular? Nope. I think the majority of people are good. They have different priorities to me so they may not choose a path that satisfies my life needs but it is their path.

Will I ever fall in love again? Not easily. Maybe never. Does that make me feel incomplete and less idealistic? Again, no way. I think there is a prince out there for every princess. I don't want the dude to save me. I'm a self-rescuing princess. I don't need anyone saving me. That doesn't mean there isn't salvation to be found with a partner. Someone you can share your life with and who completes you.

It's quite possible that all my possibilities have passed but I will remain idealistic. Instead of uncertainty, the friend who asked has reinforced my resolve to continue to be idealistic. To believe that the world is mine to form with my perspective as the building blocks to giving me my preferred perception.

Who knows? Maybe some day, my prince will come.


There is an odd kind of lost that a person can be, even when they know exactly where they are. It is the kind of feeling that leaves you wondering your purpose, whilst the whole time seeking it.

When I think of being lost, there are flashbacks to childhood. Wandering off in a supermarket while my parents were doing grocery shopping. Wondering if I would ever find them again. The gaining panic as each aisle revealed they still were not there. Going to the last place they were and not having the relief of finding them. There is that panic that comes with being lost and thinking you may never be found. It is not the most rational feeling but it feels real. Of course, you will escape this currently black hole. You'll climb out from the bottomless pit with dirty fingernails and all the wiser. You will be found again.

The trick is hanging on to the knowledge that it won't outlast you. That you are stronger than the darkness. That you aren't trying to find the light and that's because you are the light.

Hold on.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

My Emily

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

by Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength” -- St. Francis de Sales

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Analytics Fail

For those who are using blogger and change their theme: Don't be a n00b like me and forget to re-add the google analytics tags for your blog. I forgot and lost at least a week of data. That's not the end of the world on my personal blog but it could be if you are out there and care.

The Carriage

This is pure awesome. xkcd mashed with my favourite angsty girl poet. Love it!

Are you anyone outside of the Holodeck?

Everyone knows what Twitter is. My sister described using it as similar to watching TV - a form of entertainment. She isn't on Twitter. I doubt she ever will be. She likes to live in the real world and although she understands others do use it, it simply isn't her thing. My sister is highly educated, articulate, extremely driven and a very secure individual. There are many days when I turn to her for advice, support and sometimes a good slap of sense. Social networking simply isn't her thing. That's good with me. I'm not quite sure whose thing it is.

After this conversation with my sister, I started wondering if there is a type of person who embraces this online world. The mostly intangible, often unreal, sometimes ephemeral locked-down self-controlled utopia that is an online life.

There are many people willing to discuss this idea online. I got many reactions to questions about what drives us and makes us live partly at least, an existence made up of electrons and the perception of only two degrees of separation. People I asked on Twitter sat in two camps - those who didn't see themselves as living that life; and those who were quite defensive about me analysing it. I myself, have frequently fallen in to the latter.

My whole life, being a geek has been a bad thing. To want to spend more time with a machine than a person is often looked upon as lacking social skills or not valuing human interaction. Of course, that is complete bull. Me wanting to write code all night or spend hours reading about niche areas of interest does not a freak make. In fact, it should be clearly delineated that being a geek is not a term interchangeable with freak, misanthrope or anti-social. Often these are labels thrust upon other members of society that do not portray a normal expected exterior.

An author of a book I read when I was 22 years old, which changed the way I saw people said it best: "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal." -- Albert Camus

Geekdom has changed of late. Maybe it was the dotcom boom connecting geekiness with brains making money. Lots of money. Money is good. If you make it then you are good. Simple logic. We are simple creatures. Money makes a lot of behaviour acceptable. Paris Hilton is the poster girl for this argument. In fact, Paris Hilton has so much money that what she does is not just acceptable but a cool thing to emulate.

So being a geek became more acceptable. Then, social media came along and every Steve, Bill and Ada who could use a computer to create a Facebook, Twitter and tumblr account started to identify as a geek. As a geek this became quite confusing as I did not identify with this new crowd. They spoke lots of buzz words and made that good stuff - money - off of talking about web stuff but they thought a left fold referred to to something to do with their dry cleaning.

At first I screamed and accused them of masquerading as geeks. I wanted my gang name back. They should wear their own colours. Slowly, I realised that the meaning of geek had changed and the gang was bigger. Thing is, it's not really a exclusive group you can identify with when everyone is allowed in. Maybe Groucho Marx was right when he said "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members."

It may feel like a tangent but there is a point here. It wasn't geeks that I was looking at when I entered a room of Twitterati. Yes, this is a real term. Online definitions define it as people who use Twitter but it's more than that. The Twitterati is the upper echelon of those who frequent that social networking site. In each town, city, country and even the world, there are people who tweet as celebrities. Without the use of bots or follower gathering tools, these individuals have amassed a pipers worth of loyal followers. These followers listen to what they say and agree or disagree publicly depending on the emotive response required from their leader. Followers follow and he or she leads. They copy and retransmit what this powerful person says over and over again so that other followers will see and join the fold. This is called Retweeting. In fact on Twitter, the power of your retweeted voice defines the span of your influence.

Notice how I did not say depth? I used span because I believe this is a shallow and fleeting power when it is removed from it's context. Next time you think of retweeting someone, instead stop someone in your office and say "blah blah said this" and see what the reaction is. Is that power? Is that deep and lasting influence? I'm not sure. Not saying it isn't but it would be interesting to explore the idea.

I'm a geek and in most situations there exists a Star Trek episode or analogy that will help explain any complex idea. If that fails then Hitchhiker's Guide of the Galaxy has everything. In this case, the best comparison to Twitter and it's power that I can find is that of the Holodeck on the Enterprise-D, in Star Trek: TNG. The holodeck uses replicator technology to create things that a real person can touch, feel and interact with. Those things can be mere everyday objects to complex life forms like human beings. Anything that can be replicated is fair game on the holodeck. With enough data giving a simple description, an item to an entire mapping and generation of a planet can be created. Real people enter the holodeck and interact with other real people or fictional characters. They can take on any persona and interact with the environment in any way they choose - be that actively as a participant changing the environment; passively as a watcher; or either at different times.

The thing is that the tangible things, creatures, objects and people created on the holodeck only exist there. Real people can come and go but once the hologram attempts to leave the holodeck, it will cease to exist outside of the range of holo-emitters (those things that create the hologram).

Twitter and social networking can be like this. This is not to say that real friendships, business and other real life rippling effects can't come of it. In fact, there is plenty real that happens in real life (IRL) that is created in the intangible and unreal world of online social networking.

What I think is fleeting and not as solid without it's holo-emitters is how powerful a Twitter person is in the real world, outside of Twitter. People get upset when I say it but unless you really have thousands of people following your every move when you walk down the street like a quasi-Michael Jackson (RIP) then you aren't "all that" outside of your tweet stream.

There have been many occasions when I've met people who are shocked when myself and others have not heard of them on Twitter. Several men have told me how many followers they have and waited for me to ooh and ahh with glee. To be honest, most of the people I follow on Twitter are either people I know IRL, people I want to know or those who amuse me. Sometimes, they are all of these things.

It means little or nothing to me if you are big on the holodeck. I don't have a Twitter status to brag about so that might be thrown at me. That's fine. What I do want to know is if you guys see it as important and real.

Does your Twitter status and ranking follow you in to the real world? Is the line between the two blurred or non-existent? Is who you are online, part of who you really are?

I'm interested.