Wednesday, 30 March 2011

New Topic

I'm posting this on behalf of Eri for next week's topic.

The new topic will be. "Facebook & Twitter: Serious business tools, or just messing around?"

Please use the topic social media.

Tag, Research Geek!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Four corners of a 60-minute current affair today, tonight, tomorrow and next week

Oh how the answer could be so simple... or so dreadfully complicated, depending on whom you ask.

Let's get one thing straight: When it comes to commerical channels, the main reason these programs exist is to make you watch them. Advertising's big dollars rule the world. The shows on government-funded channels at least have a different reason for being: mainly, because viewers are interested to see them. Sure, someone will cry altruism. All those senationalist journalists pretend they're in the business because they want to do the best thing, that most noble of jobs, telling the people. From the goodness of their hearts. Oh please. This here is for them - it's the world's tiniest violin.

Watching current affairs programs makes me think of car accidents. Most of us don't actually want to look at twisted metal, the Jaws of Life, ambulances and bodies/belongings strewn across a highway in the wake of an unidentifiable people-mover. Those things are all scary and nasty. But we still rubberneck and stare every single time, don't we? Don't we? And for what?

So, are we doing the same when we glue our butts to the sofa and stare at the idiot box to mindlessly absorb Today Corners and oooh-aaaah at that stupid woman/grandfather/teacher/shop doing dumb things? Or are we just satisfying a lust for becoming a regular busybody Mrs Mangel?


Occasionally they have some program for a "good" cause. That (school/hospital/home) which (disappeared/burned down/fell apart) and how the (owner/criminal/government) won't (fix/replace/buy) it. And here's how you can help by donating: just phone 1-800-MAKE-EVERYTHING-BETTERER. In theory, raising awareness gets action happening, and sometimes it does. The problem is that the journos have that same, exact, imitiation sympathetic "sad tv" look on their faces whether they're talking about the horrible three cent price increase on bubblegum, or the five hundred people maimed by a murderous-crayon-wielder on a rampage.

It leaves me with an empty feeling. What was on 60-affairs-current-line last week? Last month? Can't bloody remember? Sounds about right. Vapid, meaningless "entertainment" that still holds our attention with as much pull as Aqua's Barbie Girl played on the radio (but without the humour).

Monday, 28 March 2011

Current Affairs - Exclusive!!!! Keeping Society Stupid

Here we go...... Current Affairs programs struggle with their own propaganda - telling themselves that they are good and decent and concerned only with making society a better place. Only problem is that doesn't rate well and lets face it as much as they believe their own hype it's all about getting viewers AT ALL COSTS. Sure they occasionaly do some good things exposing con man and shonky deals but does the rest of the damaging misbeliefs, propaganda and mistruths make up for all of that - absolutely not. Let me explain. Ever since the Paxtons incident many years ago i stopped watching curre.nt affairs shows, that whole episode highlights how a big TV organisation and a whole lot of really smart journalists can manipulate one innocent family. Could the Paxtons kids have gone out and gotten work, yes of course they can, was ACA interested in helping them find work, hell no. Finding them actual jobs would have killed the story. Then they take a strugglng resort in desperate need for publicity and further exploit these kids who had no real knowledge of how they were being pushed and pulled for the holy grail - Ratings. Take the recent bully story for example. Interview with Casey, the hero in all this, everyone was going to watch and it was always going to come off well for Casey. But the interview with the bully, that was never going to come off other than one way, badly for the bully. His parents should never ever have allowed him to be interviewed. The publics minds were made up about Ritchard, they weren't about to be changed, however TV shows like ACA and TT are experts at convincing people why they should get in front of the camera and tell their side of the story. But did it make a good story, YES, did lots of people watch, YES, did their advertising rates go up because of their increased audiences, YES. What's the purpose of these shows, to sell advertising and make money, but to what expense - any. Let me give you another example - ACA often uses their real estate expert, Neil Jenman, the do gooder of the real estate industry or so he is protrayed. Let me give you a clear picture of who Neil Jenman is. Neil created the Jenman system, essentially a franchise like bakers delight or subway except for real estate. Neil created such fictional classics as Common Mistakes Home Sellers Make, with outstanding facts like, don't list your home with an agent who wears a nice watch... etc.. Neil earnt a portion of the commission of every sale from people who sold using the Jenman System... his entier ethos is to direct people to him Jenman System agents from which he earns a commission however shows like ACA use Neil to comment on the industry so he can target his competition and why do they use Neil, because he make controversial statements that generate negative feeling towards the real estate industry ... it's like getting comments from the CEO of Holden about the motor car industry and he explains why all cars except holdens are rubbish... But he's their indepentant industry expert.... Can anyone spell conflict of interest. My one experience with the media in any form was about 4 years ago. We had two dogs, Mojo and Chilli, Chilli was still a puppy but he was a deadshit, no really he was asw dumb as bat sht and just couldn't learnt the simplist of commands. One day when walking the dogs at 5am I let them off the lead and Chilli spotted a couple wth a germah shepherd and a doberman. Lets just say it didn't end well for Chilli. See the horrific nature of his death really effected me... I was deeply effected and had trouble dealing with it and found solice in writing my feelings and emotions out. I wrote to the local paper. A journalist phoned me and wanted to do a story. During the interview I commented that I felt that dogs like that, in teh context of what I was saying was dogs that for whom will attack and kill another dog at will should not be roaming around a park without a lead. It was reported in teh paper that i said that dogs like that german shepherds should not be allowed. Subsequently receiving threatening calls at home. When I rang the jounalist the editor had editted the story that way... really they deliberately misquoted me whilst using my name because it read better. Imagine how easy it is for news and current affairs shows to manipulate people and facts for their own purposes. In my opinion the good things that current affairs show do exposing con artists etc.. just make a show called Con artists or something..... Current affairs shows appeal to the lowest common denominator and unfortunately Australians generally operate on the lowest common denominator. Current affairs shows keep a dumd society dumb. They operate on a level where the truth is what they want it to be. You can be garuanteed that every thrid week there's a plastic surgery or breast cancer story just so they can show breasts on tele, every three weeks there's a weight loss story and so on and so on.. Good news and great stories just simply don't rate like drama and scandal does. I think that in the end I want to give society more credit.. I want to believe that people aren't that nieve that they can see through the smoke and mirrors, i want to believe that people can think for themselves, I want to believe that people want to see both sides of a story in an impartial manner, but i'm kidding myself what a shame that the chase for more viewers and the almighty advertising dollar can get in the way of facts, integrity, ethics all get in the way of a g0ood story... lets face it, if you increase the intelligence of your audience then current affairs programs won't get away with the crap they produce... it's in the interest of the programs to keep society dumb and dumber. For a great laugh and a real true look behind the scenes of a current affairs program, pick up a copy of the Frontline series, one of the countries best and funniest TV series ever.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

A Current Affair to Forget

My memory of current affairs programmes in the 80's and early 90's is that they seemed to be filled with overly earnest TV hosts who almost seemed to lean into the camera whilst they divulged the latest and most disturbing news, some from far flung posts around the world, with bombs exploding in the background and dirt flying up into the lens. Serious debates on current issues. Fodder for the thinking man (or woman).

It's a far cry from the absolute drivel that we see today on ACA (as we are now too demented to remember the name "A Current Affair"), and Today Tonight.
But are these shows reflecting a seriously dumbed down society or are they indeed contributing to it? Does art reflect life, or does life reflect art? When did the move into celluloid begin?

As far as I can work out, and I remember the day, ACA lost their last "real" journalist in Jana Wendt, when she left ACA on principle, because she did not agree to them showing tat - In the form of a pair of decontextualise naked breasts in 1992.

Ahhhhhhh..the memories. Current affairs programmes on commercial channels hosted by professional journalists, with PRINCIPLES - heaven forbid! Now, as far as I can see (and I dont watch them) they are hosted by what my grandfather would have termed "dolly birds" and men that spend more time staring into the mirror than I do, who's greatest achievement is to read someones else words off an autocue.

And what words!
"How to drop a dress size in a week"
"Your microwave could be killing you!" (they are into the killing you thing,for microwave also insert, house, car, vacuum cleaner)
"neighbours from hell" (almost always set in a housing commission environment - ACA and Today Tonight love housing commission)
"landlord from hell" (see above)


I don't watch commercial tv at the best of times. And, hand on heart, I have not watched one of their current affairs shows in years and years. Though I can imagine that I may again one day. There will be a time when I want to watch mindless entertainment and be told what to think on the most mindnumbingly unimportant and completely irrelevant subjects. That day will be the one on which I lost my mind to dementure and seek to be told my opinion, which I will then gleefully push on all of my frightened grandchildren (who are only more frightened by my spiky whisker kisses)and use as fodder to make shouting complaints about the staff in the nursing home.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

New Topic

Seeing as you've all been so slack this week I thought i'd get in there nice and early (but really i don't want to get in trouble with Lisa).
So many topics to choose from, Climate Change, Carbon Tax, Bullying, Neapolitan Ice Cream which is your favourite flavour(strawberry) and which flavour shouldn't be there(chocolate)............. BUT i've decided on a topic that's been something I have had been thinking about for a long time.....

Current Affairs Programs - Benefit to Society or Detriment?

Oh yeah and next week's topic will be courtesy of Rachel

I heart the bus

I just spent a very relaxing 20 minutes travelling across town, on the metro from Helsinki's central train station. The metro was a two minute walk from my train. I used the same ticket at no extra charge. Metros arrive every four minutes; they're clean, safe, quiet and on time. When I got out, I was at a large shopping centre and bus interchange (I'm in the library next door now, and when I leave here I'll go straight to my class, because the high school is just on the other side of the public car park).

I love public transport. Did I love it in Sydney? Yes and no... and I can understand why a lot of people there just find it too inconvenient to bother. Unfortunately changing services in Sydney isn't quite so seamless. But there are also a LOT of people in Sydney for whom public transport is practical, timely, and easy. So why are there still so few people using it?

Be honest, car users: you enjoy walking less than 20 metres in your day. Car in your driveway, and car at your workplace. Mmmm, car. Shiny car, shiny. Hey, it's fair enough. I loved driving when I owned a car in Australia. I loved the freedom it afforded - I could get in it, and I could go ANYWHERE. There are roads going everywhere. There's not a train station or a bus at every place that I wanted to go. Cars made it all easier.

But there's a cost. It's probably far more expensive than people realise. Have you heard this one before: "Well our family 'needs' two cars, and the train to work costs more than the petrol." Um yes... but you've left out a huge chunk of your car costs, honey. We could also add up the price of registration and insurance (now it's looking more like $70 a week, not $45). So every trip to work she drives is $15. Plus tolls. But wait, there's more. Oil, tyres, servicing, road service membership. Parking. Fines. And a car worth $25,000 is losing about $75 every week in value of the car itself.

Seriously? Did you ever think about it like that? Owning and driving your new car to work might be costing you $165 a week - or more. Now, does it still look more expensive than catching the train? If you had to physically pull thirty bucks out of your wallet every time you sat down in the driver's seat, would the train fare of $5.00 each way still seem like too much money?

But then there's the TIME. It takes too LONG. Waaaaah. Well yes. It might take a little longer to train it. But use your thinking caps: surely you've got something you could do. Use that hour to call your friends for your weekly phone catchup (instead of after dinner). Or use your smart phone to Facebook (instead of on the weekend). Or watch a movie on your iPad. Or read your work emails on your laptop (instead of staying late after work). Or write for our blog.

It takes organisation. Leaving on time; allowing enough time for connections; bringing your "homework" for the trip. Organisation clashes with our lazy instant lifestyles, doesn't it? But it's funny how fast you can adapt when you need to. You don't sit there and cry about the fact that you've run out of milk - you just do what needs to be done - you go get more. Now that I don't own car, I don't sit there and think, "I wish I had a car!" every time I need to go out somewhere. I just do what needs to be done. So these days when I go out, all I think about is what time the train or bus will arrive and what I need to take with me.

It's really not that hard. "Hard" isn't the reason people don't use public transport. "Lazy" is.

I challenge you to try it for a week. Listen to your iPod, watch the scenery, or close your eyes and relax, and think about the extra coins in your wallet.

PS. We love comments!
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Monday, 21 March 2011

The Metal Tube

My piece for this week is running a bit late (sorry people - but in my defense it is totally still Monday in Finland...)

So here's something I found on Youtube, which will hopefully tide you over until I write my piece tonight after class.

Ode to the 7:06

I just couldn't put my post in late.
So I re-wrote my poem and it's hard to say if it's better or worse...
Sometimes the funniest things come out of 15 minutes...

Ode to the 7:06

Oh Gleaming Silver Horse of dubious hygiene Your endless silver skin shines
a light so fierce my sunglasses are rendered redundant

Yet it is with such delight
I wait for you, then alight
and ride with you on endless lines

under conditions so repugnant
windows filthy, made redundant
and weirdos seeking conversation
that don't dismount till Redfern station.

iPods pounding non beseeching
music, fighting with you screeching

of madness from the drunk
who spews his words within his funk
and strewn across a three space seat

the stander will admit defeat.
at this
and this only.

Not a laptop bag, or ladies purse,
or walking frame or extra girth

Yet I would not miss your small delights
florescent lights
the loud phone-fights
and people who like to carry kites
in rush hour.

Public Transport

Hmmm..... Whilst it's easy to dismiss as I refuse to catch public transport myself, however I very selfishly want everyone else to catch public transport.

I dunno I've never really thought about it and now i am I'm drawing a blank.

My entire secondary schooling wouldn't have happened without public transport and i used it regularly. So here's things that have happened to me on public transport;
  • A nice old man talked to me on the platform about the war etc. then sat next to me on the train. Then he put his hand on my leg and started rubbing my inner thigh with a nice old man i'd like to play with your penis face. I left.

Everything else seems a little braggish and really not that interesting once I wrote it out so really i got nothing.

Catch public transport people and get off the roads..... I'm in a hurry!


You coloured my black and white world just a little bit.....

Friday, 18 March 2011

Clink Go The Coins!

Cash or Card...

Being brought up with a piggy bank, I always used to have cash with me.

When I turned 15, I got my first KeyCard and have never gone back.

In my purse (oh yeah, I am a guy with a purse), I carry an American Express, two Visa cards, a MasterCard, an Access card and, finally, around my next I wear a PayPass enabled MasterCard.

To me, cash will always have a place in society, but it's place is progressively getting less and less significant. I send money to people through my iPhone. Has worked wonders paying "rent" to Mom. I then also have a record of how much I sent, when I sent it and when the payment was accepted.

My bank statement to me is like a diary. I know where I have been, when I was there. I have found missing emails and documents by being able to know when I paid for something.

PayPass has been a blessing to me, I have my PayPass enabled card in a RFID blocking case, on a lanyard around my neck. It is much more convenient for me to squeeze two tabs together and tap my card as opposed to getting my purse out, finding the correct change and handing it to the operator. Some may call it lazy, I call it quick. Customers are wanting faster service, I believe that using card for the majority of purchases, payment times will be shortened and there is less chance of losing your cash.

I work at a supermarket chain as a register operator and occasionally supervisor. It would make things so much easier and quicker if we had cashless checkouts. No drawers to count. No investigations on drawers that are running low on cash. Much more convenient.

Customers have been educated and the majority of people have changed from old style cheques to newer payment cards. It's only a matter of time until customers are educated that you can transfer money electronically, you don't actually have to hand cash over to someone...

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Public Transport - Love it, or hate it?

I thought this one might get the adrenaline pumping in people. It seems to provoke heated debate, so I'll provoke it too: Bring on the opinions, people!

Please use the label public transport.

Posts are due anytime Monday, AEST (here's a link to click for those who are chronologically-challenged).
Next week's topic will be posted sometime Tuesday, by T-Bone.

Monday, 14 March 2011

convenience or curse

I could be the one who had a machine randomly spitting notes into my palms when I used my card:
Mmmmmm, convenient!!!
Unless, of course, ALL cash was replaced with cards, nationwide, in which case would it spit cards into my palms instead? Curses!!!

With apologies for the Very Short Post :)

Cash or Card

"How much for I pay cash, f#*king" - One of my most common questions selling houses to the public - Ok maybe not so much with the F-bomb on the end but in this instance it helps emphasise the direction of where the question comes from. The irony being from a sellers point of view cash or credit the end amount that hits the bank account if exactly the same so it's a redundant question.
Removing cash from our society would for many cultures and ethnic backgrounds like removing long flowing side burns from traditional Jewish men or taking the Burka of Muslim women or taking the rosery beads down from the rear vision mirror of a god fearing Christian. It's that strongly engraved in so many cultures that Cash is King. I remember travelling to the outer West with my flat mate in 1994 to sell his Ford Capri. He had sold it to a young lady for $11,000 and grandma comes out of the house with a shoe box open it up and takes out $11,000 Cash and hands it to us. It to me and her cousin four times to count it to agree that the amount was correct. She had many more bundles in that shoe box. We were left to catch the train home - shitting ourselves with that much cash on us - a bank cheque would have pleased us more.
It would be impossible to remove the value of cash from these sociaties I see it every day with dealing with all sections of the public. Ours is one of the few cultures that doesn't have the same revered respect of the almight dollar in it's purest forms.
Card is convenience however card is dangerous and deadly. It's easy to use the card, it's also comparitively as easy to forget what you're spending on the card. Card sepnding almost holds no value. It's easy to test out, simply take $100 cash out and see how long it takes to spend it if it's your last $100, leave $100 in the account and go out and exclusively use card, it's easy to forget and spend too quickly or too much.
Cure there would be benefits, less theft, but then the theives would simply get better at card fraud. I've been skimmed and had to change my key card. My old boss had $8,000 taken out of his credit card at 3am on tuesday night after his card was skimmed. Card fraud is in it's infancy here is Australia but it's coming and getting more and more sophisticated. Keeping the cash in the shoe box under the bed might be old fashioned but there's sometimes something to be said for old fashioned things.

Finally teaching our kids the value of money, my son hoards cash, he has a healthy level of respect for it, infact he still hasn't spent his birthday money because he likes the sense of opening his wallet and having cash in it, he'll forgo the cheap thrills of a new toy for a few weeks whilst he feels rich. My daughter has no respect for money spending what she has when she has it. It's harder to make her respect the value of money but more so when it's in her account than when she has cash in her hot little hands. Her philosophy of 'take some more money out of the bank in the wall dad' doesn't help her with her understanding of value, bank balances and expenses. Looking at a bank balance and checking your statement is boring for a child, looking in your wallet and seeing you've only got $10 left and three bags of lollies means you won't have enough for an icecream later seems to have more impact on them with their decision making. Financial responsibility is not a lesson I was taught and one I needed. There's a lot to be said again for the old bank book system, is old fashioned but I think more powerful that an automated bank balance from the ATM.

It's Cash for me, Card is convenient but it could not and can never replace Cash.

The Payment Rant...

In Australia I was "one of those" annoying smug bitches who didn't carry cash ANYWHERE. All my bills were paid online. AND I'll have you know they were scheduled IN ADVANCE whenever savings levels permitted. It was stupidly satisfying to log into my trusty Online Banking and see a nice tidy list of what was coming out next, how much, and when it would be automatically transferred. No stupid queues at the post office, no carrying around embarrassing phone bills or hideously high electricity accounts, no fiddling with cheques, stuffing of envelopes or traipsing to the post box, and definitely no licking of stamps (can you imagine if the stamp had someone disgustingly ugly on it? And you had to lick the backside? Ewwww....)

When it came time to pay my council rates in Australia, I was just furious. The stupid council was back in the dark ages and only allowed payment by cash in person, or by sending a cheque. Cheque - cheque - seriously? What is this, 1955? Who the hell uses such an antiquated system like handwriting and a signature, in this day and age? Isn't that just asking for forgery and emptying of bank account, via some enterprising thief with an eraser and a few extra zeroes?

I can't jam a 20 euro note into my disk drive to buy that new computer game that looks cool. I can't magic overnight presents to family in Australia via a few notes in my purse. There's no practical way to convert that huge jar of loose coins into becoming a mortgage repayment. But I can buy a drink from a machine, pay for a bus fare, grab a movie ticket, or check in for a flight, all using cards - indeed I could do all these things simply with an old and crappy mobile phone, if I wanted to. No smartphone required.

So why do so many of us still insist on whipping out cash, when we have had electronic payment systems a while now? The fact that some are so old shouldn't stop the newer ones from being used - if anything, the recent "skimming" events in Australia should serve to highlight just how many people, and businesses, have failed to keep up with new technologies like chip & pin, rather than the lame old magnetic swipe (now an ancient 51 years old!!!). We're consumers, people: stand up and demand these businesses give your money more respect. And I don't buy the "privacy" argument. They don't have the right to record your photo and personal details when you hand over cash. Why let them by card? There's a Privacy Act in Australia, people: apart from marketing trends such as how many hamburgers were sold in your suburb last Tuesday, they can't, and don't keep track of you without your permission. If you have objections to what they do track, then rather than switching to cash, stop handing over that "rewards" card before you pay. That's where they are recording personal info about your shopping habits.

These days, I really dislike it when I must carry cash for something. First I have to worry whether there's enough cash in my wallet. If there's enough, I worry it will be stolen or lost. I simply don't like carrying it - it feels "unsafe". If my wallet goes AWOL, I can cancel a card. I can't cancel a cash.

And my view has been strengthened by living amongst arguably the most tech-savvy population in the world (Finland). Finns of all ages learn do pay online as easily as sending email. Most of them pay by EFTPOS as the norm. I no longer find it amazing that cashless is normal, and I get a rude shock each time I remember that Australians often have no option. It's 2011. Almost every household in Australia has a computer; technology covers the entire globe. Isn't it time we moved away from silly old round tokens and bits of paper?

One last request: If public toilets here in Finland can't be made free, I'd like them to invent a fast and easy card system please. I don't wanna have to jangle just to jingle.

Coins are Shiny Delicious!

A Cashless Society! In this, my brain dump, initial thoughts are:

1-Putting a Key Card out of your bra is nowhere as impressive as cash!
2- It would be very difficult for strippers to dance with EFTPOS machines strapped to their??? - not so sexy. (this is your chance to be first to market with cunningly designed transacting knickers)
3 -Will the homeless actually start taking up your offer of a McDonalds feed - instead of turning their noses up at it in?
4 - I misplace my keycard at least twice a week - where does that leave me? (see picture at the end of this post - not posed..thanks Corrine for the evidence)

Perhaps the answer is a microchip. But that could have its own problems. Would bag snatchers become murderers, set to dismember and remove the chips of wealthy folk? You cant just pull off you arm and throw it at them as you run away can you? It'd be a real pain in the.....arm if your chip malfunctioned and needed replacing.

But seriously. I remember there being a movement against barcodes, say about 20 years ago...maybe it was more. Hazy memories of strange looking folk handling out flyers in the street and notice thingos taped to telegraph poles. I thought they were nuts and couldn't quite work out what their problem was.

Perhaps they were projecting into the future? Perhaps they were worried about the day when we would be all issued with National ID cards (as in Nazi Gemany). Perhaps with minds like crystal balls they could see the day when we would all be FRIGGEN MICROCHPPED like our pets and the very last semblance of privacy would be torn from us.

OK, so a little dramatic, and let me put my calm, professional and reasonable hat back on and say, completely flippantly:

1. I like cash because when it comes down to it, as involved in technology as I am, I am at heart a luddite who has a sentimental attachment to the cash economy. As well as books in print (mmmmm..,..breathe that smell in)
2. Coins are shiny delicious and Notes are crunchy.
3. I can not be trusted to retain cards of any description and am at this moment waiting for a replacement of mine, for the 2nd time this year (yes...already)
4. Recently I was walking down George Street and a $20 note blew into my shoe...unexpected thrills are far and few between.

Hmmm..not the most well constructed blog entry. But I love a little SOC every now and then.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Quick Gatecrash...

I've widgetised a Facebook thingy over there ---->

Please caress the "Like" button lovingly to make this website appear on your Facebook walls. It helps us get more readers (good thing). Other things that help get more readers: asking your friends to come and read the blog. Asking your friends to post it on their walls, too. ♥

There are also five stunning little buttons at the
end of each post to help you (thanks to Lisa). If you scroll down and click the pretty buttons after *your own* contribution, they'll post *your* part into email, your own blog, Facebook, Twitter or Google Buzz. Pretty cool huh? Huh? YES.

Obnoxious Facebook-style loveheart ♥

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Topic 2...


I have been selected by Lisa to choose the topic of week two.

Last week a computer glitch caused Commonwealth Bank automatic teller machines to spit money out even if the customer didn't have money in their account. On that note, I wish to announce my topic.

"Week 2. Replacing cash with card, nation wide, convenience or curse?"
Please include the label cash or card

For week three I choose.... *drumroll* Elisa!

Have fun! Looking forward to responses!



Admin - Using labels

When you're putting your posts into Blogger, there's a little box at the bottom, Labels. Feel free to add any labels you like that you think describe your post. But if we can all also add the label for the week, it will let us sort them by topic later. This week I'm suggesting we all add cash or card as the one of the labels.

Then, we can quickly read every post about that topic - look over to the left and you will see a list of topics. Clicking on the first one brings up all the posts about last week's topic. It also lets visitors to the blog choose what to see - they might want to see all the poetry, or all the artwork, and so on.

If I haven't made much sense, talk to me and I'll try to explain a bit better. Email me (saucywench ät gmail dòt com) or message me in Facebook,

Cheers all!


Eek! Late.

Hi all

Sorry I could not contribute on time last Monday... so here is something I threw together this morning:

A choice or hardwired you ask?
As something that some want to mask...
I don't think you can choose
Who to love or to lose
And is something in which you should bask!

Hope to be able to get some time to contribute next week.

Peace out :D

Sexuality - Choice or Biological Blueprint?

Good Evening Fellow Bloggers,

My opinion on this puzzling question is twofold (being homosexual myself I feel fairly qualified to have a stab in the 'darkroom' as it were...)

Human sexuality is very 'fluid' like the blood and water that courses through our bodies with every breath we take. It is never set in stone, sometimes we are born with chemistry leaning towards a particular path i.e. heterosexual, bisexual, transexual or homosexual and at other times that chemistry can be fundamentally altered by something internal within us (falling in love with someone of the same sex or opposite sex or something external (sexual abuse or torment, bullying, negative upbringing, loneliness or lack of love).
I don't believe that any of these contributory factors have to be sexually based although sometimes they maybe so.

When it comes to biological blueprinting, ie you come into this colourful world already attracted to one sex and not the other, if this is a homosexual attraction is it 'Mother Nature' using her powerful ways to limit population growth? It happens in the animal world every day.

Dolphins and primates - some of the most intelligent mammals on the planet often pair up in same sex unions as well as for them this is seen as completely natural and you dont see isolated dolphins shunned from the 'school' and forbidden from being part of dolphin society because of this. The same goes for Emperor Penguins, often seen pairing up in same sex unions on Antarctica pretending to incubate an egg.

It seems that only humans, oft referred to as an intelligent species find it so hard to comprehend that one individual can be sexually and emotionally attracted to the same sex - it seems we have a long way to go before we have fully 'evolved' as a species.

and so the evolutionary clock ticks...and I am so patiently waiting.

There ain't no choice about it!

I am a girl. I am 3. I have an older sister who is a few years older than myself, and from all accounts until now, I have had a 'normal' life.

There is a boy who lives next door to us. He is a few years older than me, and he is (what I now know to be) Fijian. His name is Johnny, he is my friend, and we play together at any given opportunity. One day whilst outside playing, Johnny takes off his t-shirt, and runs around in just his shorts. I'm hot too, so I do the same.

When my mother appears at my front door and sees me topless, she quickly runs over to me, and forces the shirt back over my head, much to my dismay. My sister is not far behind her, and repeats what she has clearly just heard prior to coming outside. "Only boys take their shirts off! You're a girl! You have to wear a shirt!"

Why do I have to? I want to be like him!

I am 7. My sister, mother and I have travelled out West to my cousins' place. One of my cousins' is a year younger than me, and is the girliest girl I have ever met. She is all about skirts, shoes, and any popular man on television is her 'boyfriend.' Along with my sister, they quickly discuss Cabbage Patch Kids, the latest craze at the time, how cool they are, and how many they would like. I hate CBK's. I don't understand what all the fuss is about.

Not long after arriving, my mother, aunt, sister and my 2 cousins head off to the local market. Whilst at the market, we come across a store that is selling fake CBK's. My sister and cousin go nuts, and there starts the chant of "CAN I HAVE A CBK?? CAN I HAVE A CBK?? PLLEEEEAAASSSSEEE?????" I am still bewildered.

My mother and aunt give in, after they realise that spending $5 on a fake CBK is far better than the going price tag of $50 (in the '80's!!!). I eye off the other tables around me, and spy a small black remote controlled car. Yeeeaahhhhh!!!!!!!!! That's what I want!!!!!!

"Which CBK do you want?" my aunt asks me.

"I don't want one. Can I have that car instead?"

"You can't have a car! You're a girl! Only boys have toy cars! Here, I'll pick you a CBK."

I am heartbroken. I cry uncontrollably. I don't want the damn doll! I want that car! WHY CAN'T I HAVE THE CAR?

I am 9. It is my birthday. I am having a birthday party with about 10 friends. A close friend of the family is over, along with her 2 girls, who are about the same age as myself and my sister. They are considered family, my cousins and Aunty, as I have known them all my life.

They give me a present. I am giddy with anticipation, so excited, cause let's be honest, it's all about the presents. I rip the paper away, and it's aaaaaaa..... Rainbow Brite doll.

Is that it? Why would they give me that? I force out a 'thank you' and rush off to be with the rest of my guests.

That afternoon, after the last of my friends depart, I go to my bedroom with my 'cousins' to go through the presents I have received. I come across the Rainbow Brite doll. I still don't understand what they think I am going to do with it? I don't want it, it looks like a girl. I want to give Rainbow Brite the opportunity to be a boy, something that I would like to be.

The decision is made. I take to Rainbow Brite with a pair of scissors, and cut all of her hair off. Much better! My cousin dobs on me to my mother and aunt. My aunt instinctively gives me a lecture. When asked why I cut her hair off, I explained that I wanted her to be a him, and that I didn't like dolls.

"Pfft! Of course you like dolls! All little girls like dolls!"

Why do I have to like things that girls like? Why?

I am 11. I am due within the next week to go on a year 6 camp. I am excited, and decide that it would be a good time for a hair cut. I convince my mother to take me to the hairdressers. I have my hair cut short like a boy. I love it!!!!!

The week goes by, and I turn up at school to attend the camp. I am pointed at and laughed at by friends and teachers.

Why are they laughing at me?

During the camp, along with 3 other schools, we are playing some kind of wet weather game. We are all seated in a circle, and for whatever the reason of the game, every second boy, then every second girl must get up and take their turn. I am seated between 2 people from other schools that I don't know. I have counted out around the circle how many turns it will be until my own.

Then without warning, all bar a few of the kids are screaming at me that it is my turn. I am confused, and I stand to take my turn, only to be ushered back to my seat by one of my own teachers.

"hahaha! it's because you look like a boy! That wouldn't have happened if you didn't get your hair cut!!!"

So what if I look like a boy? So what if my hair is short? Why do I have to look like what all the other girls look like? Why?

I am 12. I am a champion netball player. I go to my first training session of the year, and we have a new coach. Kate is 18, gorgeous, smart, funny, and I am immediately attracted to her.

I have an unbelievable year on the court. This is mainly due to receiving so much attention from the coach, which spurs me on even more. Towards the end of the year, nearly 13 years old, I am acutely aware that I am infact a lesbian. A secret that I will hold onto for the next nearly 10 years, just because society says that it isn't acceptable or the norm. All my life I have searched for the answer as to why I was different. It has a name. I'm a lesbian. I'm gay.

There's no way I am sharing this with my friends!!! I've heard what people say about them! I'm in year 7 at school - my social life will be crucified!!!!! Surely I can be 'cured' of this disease! Nah, I'm a teenager - I'll just do what the rest of the girls do - I'll blend. I'll talk about 'guys' the same way my friends do. No body will ever know.

Throughout high school, I am neither popular or not. I have developed a smart assed attitude, and will do anything to make people laugh - anything to take the focus off what I clearly am. I am considered a funny girl, and school is merely a time wasting mechanism to get through my teenage years. I hate myself. I hate that i am uncomfortable acting in this manner, all to please everyone else. I even sleep with a few guys, just to prove to myself who I am, and also to make sure nobody finds out I'm gay.

I am 23. I have developed a tight circle of friends, and we party every weekend and any given opportunity. I still don't have the guts to openly tell them what I am. I start a career within the government. I love it. It is a male dominated environment, and I meet alot of girls who are gay. The job exposes me to every facet of life - gore, humanity, mental illness but to name a few. I quickly realise that life is too short. I need to start living it the way I have always wanted to. I need to start being honest with myself, and be open with my friends and family.

When told I am gay, my mother has no expression. During conversation years later, she admits that originally when told, she thought it may be a phase. With more thought however to stories such as examples given above... Yeah, it was fairly obvious. My main circle of friends I had back then I no longer associate with. It was too uncomfortable. Although they said they never had an issue with it, I found myself being left out of events and even simple conversation.

I am now 32. I am gay. Or a lesbian, carpet muncher, lezzo... Whatever you want to call me. I am who I am. I didn't wake up one day and decide to be this way. I was born this way. I have many gay friends, along with straight - (not that it matters). I cannot change who I am.

I don't doubt that some people choose to live as a gay person, due to the lifestyle, society tag, or whatever reason. But those of us who are openly honest about our sexuality? Yeah, we had no choice whatsoever that we turned out liking our own.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Sexuality - Hardwired or Choice

Hardwired - is there any other answer.. the fact is most young teenagers have to deal with the fact that they are gay.. not deal with the fact that they have to make a choice. In fact most of them 'want to be normal' and have to then accept the fact they are gay... All these bible bashing loonies who believe it's an abomination on god need to get a grip.
Sure many young people are curious about their sexuality and may engage in casual homosexuality to find themselves, that's their choice but I believe that you either are or aren't there's no real in between. Homophobes are just insecure about their own sexuality.
As for bisexuals well that again is more hardwiring than choice... you can explore and try something sure but to engage in homosexual activity on a long term basis or feel a need for it is hardwired.
I'd be very surpirsed if there could be any other answer.

Actually though I did have an experience many years ago with a young women who was lesbian but not really by choice - or hardwired.

She had been repeatedly sexually abused as a child by her father and could not be intimate with a man as the sight or touch of a penis was so painful that to feel and express love she could only do so with with a women as the female body didn't offend like a man's did.

The one time she became sexually curious with a man ended in disaster and further degressed her recovery from her childhood experiences.

It would be unfair to say she chose her sexuality by choice because a child who is abused has no choice.

Ultimately this means she was hardwired but not in the conventional sense. Her horrific experience as a child hardwired her emotions and feelings in a way that the only possible way she could love to feel love was with a women. But it's not really hardwiring but programming that brought her there.

I don't know where she is or what she's doing today but only hope she's ok.

But I don't think the topic is controversial at all to me it's pretty clear cut, maybe that's because i don't follow any religion although not an athiest... confusing I know... my belief structure is just that a belief but not a religion... does religious belief prevent us from seeing what is extremely obvious to the rest of us?

Bottom line hardwired or programmed - but not by choice.

Sexuality: choice or hardwired


The problem with hardwiring
I find
Is that it has so little give.

Even the word:
So many edges,
Spiky vowels;
the curvaceous, sensuous ‘g’ merely tagged on like an afterthought.

So much for being
And Game
(thanks, Dan Savage)

It might be good.
It’s a computing metaphor, so it’s got to be game.
But giving?
I’m not feeling it.

And I like (to be) a generous lover.

On the other hand
Is round
With a lingering
like a tip-of-the-tongue caress

Perhaps it depends on whether you want to be whipped

Or swallowed.

Let’s choose…to embrace it all
To dissolve the binary in the mess we make.

Sexuality - Choice or Hardwired?

It's kind of difficult to put my feelings on this matter into words. I may have a small mountain of screwed-up paper on my desk, each one covered in expletives and scribbles. Maybe.

I must have re-wrote this post at least 4 times today. And then, at one point, I decided; "Screw it," and re-wrote it from scratch. My mum read some of my drafts, and then said one of the most awesomest things I've ever heard; "I don't think that's how you really feel. I've spoken to you about this sort of thing before, and your opinions were much more extra cleverer than this." Psssh. I dunno about that.

So, my ever-helpful mum began to ask me the questions vital to this post, and I found myself answering them in ways I did not expect possible from me..... so, I'll write them here.

The first thing she asked me was "Is sexuality unavoidable, or is it something you choose for yourself?"

I have always felt that how you live is a choice, but who you are is not. You cannot help who you are. Your own sexuality is not determined by you, your life and your actions are. You can pretend to be whatever you like, but your actions alone will not change YOU.

You are stuck with your sexuality. Being stuck with it and not being able to deal with it are two seperate things, however. If you are, but don't want to be, say, bisexual, you have the right to act straight if you want to, but you will still be bisexual. Even if you deny it with all your heart.

You can't help what you feel.

Sexuality - Choice or Hardwired?

Sexuality - What is “normal”?

Unfortunately the topic of sexuality is so controversial I can barely think of another that people taking surveys would be more likely to bend the truth about. Making “normal” or “average” almost impossible to gauge.

My personal belief is that sexuality is a fluid concept, and that though most people identify themselves as completely heterosexual, or completely homosexual for that matter, the truth is more likely to be that they fall somewhere on the spectrum other than completely heterosexual – or completely homosexual.

This does not necessarily make them bi-sexual. And most likely doesn’t come anywhere near Pan-sexuality (some guy told me he was this once and I had to look it up). As far as I can fathom, one can be bisexual and have a general preference for one sex. Pan Sexuals claim not to see gender at all and thus also dig transgendered types.

So why am I carrying on about all this stuff…well…. To make my point which is;

Sexuality is all about how you Identify yourself.

Unfortunately there are people like me that don’t believe that you should identify yourself at all.
You see, I believe that it’s possible for me to fall in love with and be attracted to a person of either sex.
Does that make me Bisexual?...Well only if we have to stick a label on it peeps!

What about a person’s experiences? Is that the thing that defines their sexuality? In that case is the preference they have shown for in terms of sexual partners or in terms of love affairs? In this case stacking up my stats gives me a 98 percent chance of batting for team hetro. :P

Born this way?
I do think that people are born with a propensity to be attracted to either a member or the same sex OR the other one (somewhere on the aforementioned spectrum). And I do think that a WHOLE LOT of people have a feeling, in a society that is geared towards heterosexual relationships that something “aint right” from a very very early age.

My Uncle I think is a good example of this. He died of HIV Aids before I could ask him in more detail about what it had been like grown up in the 1950’s “not quite fitting in”. He kept his sexuality from his parents and brother and sister until the last moment, until the HIV tuned to Aids. He could never have a relationship in the daylight. And when he died my beautiful, gorgeous loving Catholic Grandmother, who meant to do the right thing, told everyone that her son had died of Cancer. She told the family that it was just something he “tried” and “look what happened”! We knew better. But that story, in its entirety and my feelings on that whole matter, are a story for another time….stay tuned.

My Uncle was born that way. He never had a girlfriend. He found himself attracted towards the same sex, as far as we can fathom, from the beginning.

In THIS way I believe that sexuality is there from birth and not a choice one makes, as if choosing between the 1.25ml “Full Strength” Coke and the “Zero”

Are there “things” that can happen in a person’s life that make them swing more in one direction than the other?

Sure, I think so….but it’s hard to know.

I have known quite a few women who identify as Gay, who have been sexually abused by men at a young age, sometimes repeatedly. Did this experience turn them off men so much so that they looked towards women instead – I think there’s a feasible argument to be made here, but for a minority of people.

Then again, I also know at least 2 gay men who were sexually abused by men as teenagers. Did the fact that they were exposed to sexual concepts that may not have otherwise crossed their radar make them more likely to consider these things, where they may not have before? Maybe. But in all I think that this is a considerably less convincing argument than the former.

Where the “Choosing” comes in
So, we’ve gone full circle now and ended up where we began…sorta.

The choosing comes into the equation because unless you’re living in some sort of sectarian sect, or other repressive situation YOU get to choose your own Identity.

Let’s not be the ones who repress.

Sexuality - Choice or Hardwired?

One or the other. Is it actually this simple? I'm not so sure. There's evidence for both sides of the debate, and that's even if we think sexuality is that black and white.

Natural selection would seem to prove that it can't be hardwired. After all, wouldn't the homosexual "genes" have bred themselves out of existence? Gay couples don't produce children by natural means.

But what about bisexual people? And what about women and their careers? In many cultures, the only real work available for an unmarried woman was to become a prostitute. Perhaps then, bisexual people and lesbian prostitutes have passed down some "gay" gene.

If this were true, wouldn't it be a difficult gene to avoid? Yet most children of gay parents aren't gay. Nor the grandchildren... scientists surely would have identified a pattern of inheritance by now, if it existed. They have traced far more elusive "conditions".

There is another kind of hardwire to consider. Perhaps all gay people have a gene mutation. I'm sure a lot of gay people would get a good laugh out of that - but our knowledge of genes so far seems to suggest that being gay is far too common to be a mutation. And what of the people who bat for both teams? Are they just partial mutants? (And isn't that a "nice" concept...)

So, we're left with choice. But, really? Wouldn't we have somewhere along the way figured out why gay people choose to be gay? What sort of idiot would choose to be shunned by society, spat on, teased mercilessly, treated as an outcast, and so on? Gay people certainly aren't the dregs of the intelligence pool; I'm yet to see any evidence that they could all be so stupid.

Let's assume there are people who don't see any bad side to "choosing" homosexuality. Imagine you were walking down the street and saw the most perfect, attractive human being that ever graced this earth. Everything about them is exactly what you like; nothing is what you don't; a complete image of your wildest dreams come true. Do you think you could choose not to like them? To not find them attractive? Is there anything that anyone could say to you to change what you feel? Or does attraction usually just happen without much control? Who, seriously, can turn to the complete opposite, and convince themselves to drool? Anyone? If you hate anchovies, will they start to smell delicious if you sniff them long enough?

So maybe we're being too exact, and we should ask whether it's in the upbringing. Not so much a choice, but an influence. It's true that some gay people find it "easier" to embrace who they are, thanks to a supportive family. But it's a stretch to think that it could be upbringing alone. Especially considering there are twins in this world with different orientations. And there are enough of them out there to conclude that the parents probably aren't "turning" their kids gay.

What about morality? Well, morals change according to culture, too. There's nothing wrong with cannibalism in some cultures, after all. It's certainly true that the Christian bible denounces homosexuality, but it's also true that children raised Christian still sometimes turn out to be gay - did the parents fail in their teachings? Unlikely, when they usually have hetero children too.

It is such a complex discussion, and it branches in so many directions. Nobody can hope to cover every facet in one post, or we'd be here for a decade. And I've even left a glaring chunk completely out. There are some of us who wonder why anyone has to be defined by a gender in the first place. Who don't feel that any particular gender even matters. Inevitably we all have parts of us defined by our pants - since we all grew up in some kind of society - but why should we? I don't find people physically attractive based on gender. I married my husband because I love him, and I love him for his intellect. So what am I? I have to use the label "bisexual" because people understand it, but I daresay "omnisexual" is a better word - when it comes to whether people possess a Y chromosome, I simply don't care.

Personally - and not particularly scientifically - I believe it's a combination of All Of The Above. I think it's far too simplistic to make a one-or-the-other call. I can appreciate that a person's experiences of the world influence their attractions. And I can also appreciate that all of us are individuals with different tastes and desires which (who knows) might simply be differences in how our brains are structured. After all, none of us thinks in exactly the same way as the next person.


Image: Nikki Kaye

Sexuality - Choice or Hardwired - Discuss

First things first. I can't "discuss". I tend to ramble. Ramble with strong opinions...

Anyhow, appropriate topic considering the GLBT Mardi Gras parade was on last night.

If I had a penny for every time I was told that homosexuality can be "changed" or "cured" I would be a multi-millionaire.

Although there are arguments both ways, I strongly believe sexuality is hardwired.

Ex-gay programs (also known as reparative therapy) have been around for years now, promising a either a "cure", "helping you out of the homosexual lifestyle" or "freedom from homosexuality". These have been pushed by churches as the best approach for individuals who are "struggling" to essentially help them "pray away the gay".

There have been many studies each way, but to me to evidence and numerous seem to push that sexuality is hardwired. There is a long list of cognitive and physiological differences referenced from different studies available at

On the other hand, Scientists have been trying for years to discover if there is a "gay gene" with no success. There are also beliefs that sexual orientation can be caused in guys by having an overbearing mother and a distant father, hearing from lots of my gay friends and from personal experience, this is often far from the truth.

Scientists have been trying for years to discover if there is a "gay gene" with no success.

To me, sexuality is as much of a choice as eye color, skin color, and being left or right handed. It may or may not be genetic, but you have been assigned it.

There are plenty of things I would like to change about myself that I have been assigned (genetic and non-genetic), however I know most of them can't be changed. You need to make peace with it, and move on, making the most of what you have.

In the end, I believe we are all children of God. And should all treat and be treated with respect. No matter what life assigns us.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Topic 1: Sexuality - Choice or Hardwired?

Hi Guys,

This weeks topic is "Sexuality - Choice or Hardwired - Discuss".
Posts are to go up on Monday 04/03/11 and NOT before (no one wants to be unduly influenced).

Shanon P will be choosing the next topic - which he will post up here on here on Tuesday evening. Shannon will also let us know who is to provide the next topic.

So that is......
Monday- Submit you contribution for the week.
Tuesday evenings - Look on the blog for the new topic & to see who has been asked to provide the following weeks topic.

I just can't wait to see what you will all write in all your different styles!
Remember that you may write in ANY genre or sub genre you wish.
There is no limit on length. However, remember that overly lengthy posts may lose the readers interest.

Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Intro Info for Contributors

Hi Guys,

This post is for those of you have been invited, and accepted the invitation, to blog in our group.

There are a few procedural issues and even fewer rules. Here's how it's going to work.

1. There will be a topic chosen each Tuesday, and your submission is due on the following Monday. So keep an eye on the blog to find out what you'll be writing about next.

2. Each contributor will write on the week's chosen topic. There are no rules as to the form (poetry, fiction, non fiction etc) or genre or length of each post (within logical reason) - although Haiku could be interesting.

3. The only rule that I can fathom at this point is that ugly, slanderous and discriminating text aimed at any group will not be tolerated. Including at other contributors.

We label the posts to organise them - if you need help, this link explains how.
If you want to put your posts into Blogger before a Monday deadline,

Thanks and invite friends you know with a literary bent to join us! Just inbox Lisa or Elisa on Facebook:

Stay Tuned.....