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DAY 228: Bathing in minerals

16 Apr

THERE’S a particularly hoity-toity neck of my woods famed for its hot springs.

Unfortunately, they’re shut, so we wind up visiting an expensive mineral bath (read: swimming pool) that’s salty enough, but also full of chlorine.

People hang glumly on to the edge of the pool and gaze out of the water-spotted windows at the nice day outside. It’s mainly full of couples, and one couple have matching bathers on. If I ever try and make my fella come to a spa with me he has my permission to dump me.

More fun’s to be had out in the open – we have a picnic in a woodland glen and I go for a wander around the river, where strands of spider webs are hanging everywhere from the tops of the trees, right down to the ground, where they attach to my clothes.

Keeper: Mornington Peninsula hot springs are more exciting by all accounts – you even get to sit in a bucket.

DAY 150: Being silly at a tattoo convention

28 Jan

Dave pretending to study a bottle.

WHEN I ask people what the bird I’m getting inked on my arm should be holding between its feet, suggestions range from a chip, to a worm it has pecked to death, another bird’s head it won in a fight to the death, Nick Cave’s head dangled by its moustache, the same bird holding a smaller version of itself which is holding a smaller version of itself which is holding a smaller version of itself which is holding a smaller version of itself…

Thankfully, by the time I take my arm to Dave Undead, I’ve got it all sorted in my head. Custom king Dave beats off hoards of flapping fanboys with one arm to etch out a beautiful bird holding a compass that points north (since things are no longer heading south) with the other.

It’s a bit of a fiddly job, which leaves three hours to discuss how to tell just by looking who has blood that smells like cabbage, and whether or not there are any men who don’t have a problem with their girlfriends having tattoos, because an awful lot of them seem to whinge about it after a few sherries when seemingly they were cool about it.

We also talk about Hey Man, Now You’re Really Living, which is when he says I should do something epic on landmark days, and I say, well, this is Day 150, maybe you could etch a little 150 into a feather or something, and he says, well, I was thinking more like a speech bubble.

An aside: This suddenly reminds me that my friend Lindsay, on whom Dave has inked a mythical b-owl – half bat, half owl – warned me that I should watch closely if I don’t want my tattoo to end up with a little cock and balls.

Any stupid suggestion like this is like a red rag to a bull, so on goes the speech bubble. It does break the cardinal rule of getting tattooed – Don’t Get Anything That Begs A Question – something that someone with four cover-ups should know by now, but when such an urge takes you, what can you do?

“I always say I was just being silly,” Dave offers of unwanted “why did you get that?” queries.

Keeper? Yes.

DAY 135: Becoming a psycho Chiko chick

13 Jan

I’M going for my citizenship test soon, so I’m keen to immerse myself in as much Australian culture as possible – particularly since a question on this national delicacy is bound to come up in the test.

“A cheeko roll please,” I toothily bid the good man at Wanna Pizza Me on Elizabeth Street.

He scrapes a saturated cylinder off the bain marie, puts it in a little paper jacket and hands it over. I peruse it sombrely, weighing its sinister, leaden mass in my hand. The best thing to come out of Wagga Wagga since the Sturt Highway, this is, and already it reeks like yesterday’s regrets.

Together with two giant coffees, the Chiko Roll is to make up today’s breakfast… but five minutes in I’m like a kid amped up on orange squash. I make a few regrettable phone calls that should have gone well, before realising I’m so flushed with adrenalin-pumping food-rage I actually want to punch on. Cor – that’s after just three inches, imagine what the full seven would do.

I back away from my inbox and telephone for a bit, and instead have a quick Google of the snack. On eBay there’s a Chiko Roll chick sticker going for $76.

There have been some surfy, Roxy-style updates, but you can't really top this ad. The angles are poetic.

Keeper? If I’m planning on making an emphatic point I might snort one of these down first.

DAY 111: Having terrible things done to my head, then getting some badass tools

20 Dec

I AM feeling very glum today, knowing that I will be obliged to make a big joke at having failed my driving test again.

After being shown the door at Vic Roads, I decide to detour to Bendigo Marketplace where I might drift aimlessly and find something new to do; now that ‘Acing my driving test’ is no longer today’s headline.

A sign for Chinese acupressure massages draws me in. I like massages. They’re all soft and soothing, and the head ones make me want to roll over.

Not this one. Tissues, sinews, muscles, fat… nothing gets in the way of this dude’s digits in his mission to grind my bones into a fine powder. I feel like I’m being filleted like a fish by his elbows, knuckles and any other pointy appendage, and he works over my spinal cord Wolf Creek-style.

The head massage is worse. I slice my fingernails into my palms as he literally punches me about the skull, sculpts me a new fontanelle, tries to separate my head from my neck with his thumbs, and comes close to gouging out my eyes as he mulches the sockets.

By the time I’ve handed over my twenty-five bucks I’m even tenser, but I get the inspired idea of buying some badass tools. Tools are great – they get stuff done in the country, and at times like this you can bash the crap out of things. Plus I’ve been meaning to practise my axe / pickaxe / sledgehammer swing so that I can help Keith properly on the railroads.

At a hardware store I buy a hammer, an axe and a wrecking bar, which, between them, should be able to destroy anything. When I go to pay for the haul, the bloke refers to my “little wrecking bar” – a phrase that could deflate anyone’s balloon.

“I suppose it’s how you use it that counts, isn’t it?” I put to him.

“It’s a lady’s bar,” he retorts.

Anyway, off to vent some spleen – being very mindful of my non-steel-capped-tootsies.

Keeper? The smashing, not the massaging.

DAY 99: Getting Bette Davis eyes, or at least Kim Kardashian’s

8 Dec

Not my head.

CONTINUING my efforts to be a proper girl, I decide to get falsies. I’m talking about eyelashes, of course (not being a fan of cricket ball boobies), and there’s a brow bar in the city that does everything from the Jezebel look to Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.

First, I have my eyebrows threaded, which is pretty clever, but feels like every hair in your body is being ripped out at once, from a two-inch-square patch of skin.

Then I lie flat and the beautician sets about glueing in 15 lashes per eye, which takes about forever and I’ll let you be the judge of whether I ended up with a full 15.

My head.

You wouldn’t want this job if you had anger management issues – it’s a painstaking process, all right. Eighty minutes! For my part, a combination of unexpected horizontalness and an endorphin rush from the threading has me falling into a semi-coma on the table and hallucinating like a good ’un.

I stagger back to work like a newborn, long-lashed colt and show the team what I’ve gone and done.

“What? They used your eyebrow hair for fake eyelashes?” gasps a confused Ben.

Now, on to the eyeballs themselves. I like the world blurry, but apparently that’s not the done thing when you’re learning to drive, so I finally get my eyes tested (yep, fucked), and get me some contact lenses.

Unfortunately, bringing things into focus also sharpens the effect of the head injury I got from an errant shopping trolley a few years back, which gave me double vision. Now, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I’ve got it again. You think you know where the ground is by now, but you don’t. I’m walking around like the Furry Freak Brothers, which just adds to today’s trippy feeling.

Keeper? The lenses are going to have to go, but how does one remove them without removing one’s falsies? Buggered if I know. And I’ve got a feeling I’ll have a right scare in the morning when I wake up with an eyelash spider on my pillow.

DAY 95: Getting electrocuted by reiki

4 Dec

I’LL draw up a couple of DON’T TOUCH stickers to put on the two inexplicably intense points on my body that people should steer clear of, because even when I warn a New Ager not to go anywhere near them for risk of a knee to the nose, they do.

I’ve never explored reiki before. I’m given crystals to hold and there’s some touching and waving going on. The practitioner has very warm fingers and it feels kind of nice. Then she sends me shooting 10ft in the air by craftily going for one of the verboten points while I’m lulled into a false, floppy sense of security by the Native Indian chanting and wafty smell of jasmine. It’s like Luke Skywalker being electrocuted by The Emperor.

“How’d you go?” I ask her after, when I’ve climbed back off the table and regained my composure. “Can you feel anything when you’re working on someone?”

“You can feel blockages of energy,” she replies… And there’s a bit of a pause.

“Did I have a blockage, then?”

“You actually had a guardian child standing at your Sacral Centre,” she chuckles. “She had her arms folded and she was saying, ‘Nup,’ so I couldn’t get to it. I thought I’d just sneak around the side, but she wouldn’t let me. That’s when you jumped.”

I respond with, “Mm, that makes sense,” which is my default thing to say in these situations.

“It wasn’t like she was sitting in the corner crying,” the practitioner says. “She was quite feisty. In the end I persuaded her to take down your natural shield, and together we put up a pink shield with gold sparkles in it. You’ll find that it protects you, but it will get a bit ragged if you have too much emotional stress – and that’s when you’ll find you need another session.”

Keeper? I thought it was a touch manipulative. Still, having someone gently touch your head is always nice. I’d pay for that.

DAY 76: Creating a ‘Quit Smoking or Die, Fool’ plan

15 Nov

I've always wanted to be able to do that - flick a cigger in and out of my mouth.

I DON’T really like cigarettes; I mean I’m a bit princess-y about them. I feel obliged to scrub my fingers and brush my teeth after every one during the day, while during bouts of evening faggery I chew gum. If I really loved them I’d want to roll around in their nicotiney badness, and to hell with the brassy tone they give my highlights.

Ah, but the packaging is so crisp and the filters so pure. The neat, snowy casing, perfectly packed to regulation density, rolled pertly between your thumb and forefinger. Each virgin cigarette perches delicately between your lips, checked gingerly by the tip of the tongue. Yes, still there.

It doesn’t help that I’ve only just discovered Ice Chill (of death); the latest line by Marlboro. They’ve made them especially for us Australians, so it seems churlish not to smoke them… although if you were a cynic you might compare them to Marlboro Ice Blast (Singapore), Marlboro Cold Mint (Spain), Marlboro White Menthol (UK) or Marlboro Ice Fresh (Brunei). I’ve always been a menthol smoker – it’s way classy – but these take the minty biscuit. One inhalation ushers in cleansing, Arctic winds that refresh and stimulate the dusty recesses of your maw and light up your brain like a Christmas tree.

But basically, now that I’m really enjoying life, I’m going to be right pissed off if it’s cut short. That Dead-By-Thirty deal I had going with myself… it’s had its day. So here’s the plan of action.

1. Hypnotise: Didn’t work with the “only two glasses of red wine after six o’clock” ruse way back when, but apparently asking for help with total abstinence is much easier. I’m booked in for next week.

2. Allocate all existing smokes to filthy smokers: And that’s a lot of smokes, as I buy a pack whenever I’m stressed and then “quit” and leave them at home. Anyone want 80 packs of slightly soiled menthols? Oh.

3. Visualise: Recall, if you will, the self-flagellation smoking of morning three of a bender; singed lungs; Dot Cotton from EastEnders’ pursed lips; faggy fingers… Ugh, right?

4. Erect a Jar of Stench: I’m going to fish that olive jar out of the rubbish and fill it with the soggy fag butts lazing around outside my front door. And lukewarm water. This will sit on my desk.

5. Reward: Tricky, this one. I’m already rewarding myself for no booze with unlimited cake. Masturbation’s not convenient at work, and all my money’s going on the new adventures every day. I’ll have a think about what the reward might be.

You might notice, I’ve made an acronym. All good self-help plans have an acronym. Mine is ‘H. A. V. E. R.’ , as in “havering to you” in The Proclaimers’ paean to persistence, ‘500 Miles’. Would have been better if it was ‘S.T.U.B.’ or ‘A.S.H.’ but people are paid millions of dollars to come up with those sorts of things, while I’m just sat here on the train losing my shit with my internet connection.

Keeper? The quitting, yeah. Not the ciggers.

Marlboros were originally marketed at women (“mild as May“)… which is why when Philip Morris wanted to branch the smokos out to men, they had to go down the ultra macho Malboro Man route, to overcompensate.

There's an awful lot of framing of the crotch going on here. He's also kind of a swastika shape.

They’re better than eating olives at keeping your lipstick on, though, which is why Marlboros started life in the 1920s with a bright red filter, so that ladies didn’t leave unsightly lippie marks on them.