Supermarket Meltdown

Those of you who know me, know I’m a reasonable guy, I mean sure, I might use a spicy word or two once in a while, I can admit to muttering “holy blimmin’ goodness” the other day when a woman smashed into the back of my car at the lights. I may have even clenched my fist briefly when our Orange Hound’o’the home ‘Hula’ chewed my $80 pair of Sennheiser headphones recently.

With that being said in most day to day situations I’m as calm as a Hindu cow, going about my business with a sort of contented detachment that can only comes with the knowledge and expectation that:

Things around you will, at times go wrong

People will say and do stupid things

Life can be complicated and unpredictable

Not everything will always go your way.

May I clarify with you that this is not about being cynical or pessimistic, but rather maintaining a sort of resigned realism that: you win some, you lose some & as long as you don’t dwell on how much you do or don’t have, its pretty easy to plod along quite happily, choosing to find joy, happiness and humour in the parts of life you enjoy, and learning from, and forgetting the parts of life you don’t.

So… hopefully by now I’ve established myself as the happy go lucky ‘everyman’ of this particular blog post. A man whose sense of reason is so profound that he is able to remain as cool as an Emperor Penguins beergut even in the face of bone-jarring incompetence, tooth-shattering misfortune , And shit-chilling arrogance.


Wrong playa’s…

The Achilles heel to my sense of reason, the kryptonite to my superhuman composure, the dark temple whose only purpose is seemingly to destroy my sense of well being is…

Woolworths Robina

And not only that particular location… but any busy supermarket.

Supermarkets are like a pulsating teeming hive of pure human stupidity, greed, and ignorance.

A place where the absolute worst instances of human social interaction are thrown together in a huge bubbling, embarrassing, frustrating melting pot.

“Oh Case!” I can hear you saying, “surely you are overreacting, I rather enjoy the weekly shop, I think you’re being a little dramatic aren’t you?”

Well listen, thanks for your input, but with all due respect, I’m gonna need you to shut your stinking mouth, I don’t look over your shoulder clucking my tongue at you while you’re emailing your uncle Pete about your cat’s ear medication do I? So in the immortal words of Dame Judi Dench: “Fall back haters, this ain’t nothin but a muthafuckin G thang”

Anyways, before I was rudely interrupted by your self indulgent lunatic rantings, I was about to explain what it is about the supermarket that enrages me so much.

It starts from the second you select a trolley… each wheel is weighted and shaped some weird way causing the entire rig to handle like a new born deer taking its first steps on a frozen lake, one wheel has always got a 3 inch chunk of plastic shaved off the rim, causing the cart to make a loud banging sound every .84 seconds, and there’s always some sort of unidentifiable smegma on the pushbar.

You approach the deli and take your spot next to the person being served, out of the corner of your eye you notice an evil looking withered up old crone in fishnet stockings and an ill fitting black pleather skirt/black lace tunic ensemble, who shambles up next to you. She looks like the mummified remains of some sort of zombie-witch prostitute, as she paws through her immense handbag, no doubt looking for some sort of garish coral pink lipstick to finish off her undead hooker chic.

As the deli attendant asks what you would like, her head snaps up and her burning hateful eyes lock with yours

“exkeeyouse moy! I was eckshilloy heeh befoy yo”

You quickly weigh up whether or not its worth standing up for your rights in this situation and decide that this woman has definitely killed before, and will again… you can wait another minute or so for your feta stuffed olives and $2 worth of luncheon if it prevents her sinking her hepatitis infected incisors into edge of your armpit, and decide to let her go ahead of you. “I vuckin noy I’m gowan first y’rude prick, hev some vuckin rispect”

You decide you’ll come back to the deli when the chances of getting stabbed in the kidney with a crudely sharpened nailfile aren’t quite so high.

Winston Churchill once said; “if you’re going through hell, keep going” which is the exact philosophy you apply and decide you are going to attempt to rush through and gather all of your shopping in record time, allowing you to return home and reap the benefits of a shop well done.

This is if course… totally impossible.

The other 600 slackjawed ambling nimrods sauntering around the complex with 3 items in their trolleys muttering to themselves will see to it that you will never leave a supermarket in less than 47 minutes (my current record) no matter how fast you attempt to go.

No, within that vast neon lit food emporium all sense of common courtesy, normal rational thought and spatial awareness goes out the window. In a supermarket, a normally rational man will inexplicably turn his trolley side on, in the middle of a busy aisle blocking any movement both ways to inspect the label on a jar of pasta sauce.

And when you politely ask to get by he will turn and look at you scornfully as if you’d just asked him to come and help you dispose of the body of a dead kindergarten teacher.

Women who don’t know one another will walk side by side towards you with trolleys, allowing no way to get around them and so as you wait to the side for one to naturally take the lead leaving you a gap to get through, they will both just stop and stand rooted to the spot, blinking at you, until after 5 agonizing seconds with furious blood pounding at your temples, you suggest that one of them moves back or forward allowing you through, another 5 seconds passes before one if them sighs dramatically and retreats a few steps, leaving a gap for you to get your trolley thru with 2 mills clearance on either side.

Speaking of Spatial awareness and its importance in a busy supermarket, six year old kids don’t generally have the wherewithal to push a trolley without becoming an infuriating nuisance, however Mothers seem to think its adorable to let little Mitch push the trolley around like he’s a little adult! Just remember Deb, its a little less endearing when Mitchy gets side-tracked looking at a packet of Cool Ranch Doritos and rams the trolley into Old Man Larsen’s pre-historic Achilles tendons, effectively ending his lawn bowls career in a single thrust. Maybe save the trolley training for off peak times.

After what seems like an eternity of navigating mazes of idiots, selecting items and leaping out of the way of crazed larricans, you are almost finished, but what supermarket journey would be complete without an encounter with the “drama mama”

Y’know the Mother who wants to make damn sure that the entire world knows how badly she is coping with motherhood, if her son so much as touches a chocolate bar she will wheel around in her acid wash denim jacket and loudly berate him, shrieking like a flaming harpy, and creating a huge scene.

As you pull your trolley up to the checkout, she will then choose to ignore the express lane and duck in to a regular checkout with her basket, cutting in front of a nice elderly lady who was literally one metre from pulling her trolley in beside the conveyor belt next to yours.

This denimclad lunatic will then unload her 6 six items, then mutter something about forgetting something and you, the old lady and the checkout operator will watch in shocked disbelief as she then meanders, (and I mean slowly) down the entire length of the supermarket, leaving her filthy son, clad only in his underpants swinging on the bar dividing the checkouts, only to return several minutes later with a single ear of corn, she will then put it on the counter and then make a halfassed apology before schlumping off in the other direction to bring back a tub of polyunsaturated table spread 3 minutes later. Even her son glances up at you with a “can you fuckin believe this bitch?” look on his face, before she roughly grabs his forearm and whips him away in a frenzy of bitter yammering and cheap denim.

Your operator is of course totally uninterested and proceeds to pack all of your canned goods on top of your bread, and your household cleaning products in with your meat.

You pay $55 more than you were expecting to, thank god you have made it thru another trip and pump your fist in triumph, safe in the knowledge that the whole nasty business is over for another week.

But somewhere unbeknownst to you, deep in your reusable shopping bag, there is a hole where your feta stuffed olives and $2 worth of luncheon should be.

And somewhere, in the distance an undead hooker cackles to herself.

So there u have it, this was a recount of a particularly mild journey to my local woolworths. And I hope I have shed some light on my reasons for disliking supermarkets. And as I’m sure you’ll agree, in such a succinct manner.

Stay fresh.


Please if you enjoyed this give it a star rating in the comments section, cheers 🙂


Turn your Head and Coffee

Do you really know Coffee as well as you claim?

In a world with a thousand different combinations of Roasts, Milks, Syrups and none/one/two sugars I’m gonna go out on a limb and tell you that unless you are a Nicaraguan mountain peasant (shouts to my man Paolo) who has been raised since infancy sucking on the finest coffee beans in the world I’ll hazard a guess that you are just a big phoney when you smugly whisper “oh this is such a rich smooth blend”.

Even now I’m sure at least one of you has just scoffed “Nicaraguan coffee isn’t the best in the world, it pales in comparison to a Bolivian plateau morning roast”

Well I’m here to tell you, you were born in Morningside and you know as well as I do that you don’t know shit.

I’m certainly not saying that you are not entitled to your opinion, and I’m sure the Starbucks vs. Zaraffa’s debate will rage on for many years to come, but next time you say:

“oh I wouldn’t clean my toilet with a Gloria Jean latte” ask yourself if you were blindfolded would you seriously be able to tell the difference between that and a Muffin Break Latte or a McCafe Latte or even the Latte you get from whatever boutiquey little corner cafe that you rave about to your pretentious mates?

Again, I know it’s difficult to hear the truth, especially when it hits so close to home, there will be people reading this thinking, “well Casey obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about, I live in a city for god’s sake! I have been drinking coffee since I was 16 years old! How dare he claim, that I would lie about my Coffee appreciation skills?”

I’m sure there are many of you that do know the difference between a great coffee and an average coffee, maybe 21% of you, but all I’m saying is that there is a much larger percentage who just say they do to be part of the conversation or to appear chic or urbane.

The truth is, everyone is a coffee connoisseur these days, an in “the coffee culture” everyone is out to outdo one another:

“Oh a hazelnut Latte? Isn’t that a bit pedestrian? I got a Half-Caff Brazil nut macchiato in a hollowed out Alligator egg, but I have been into Coffee for a while”

I will be the first one to put my hand up and say, I am not a Coffee aficionado, the Coffee I like best, is the kind of coffee that tastes like a coffee that I like.

I’ll drink it black, white, filter or fancy, hot or cold, but what I don’t do is mock people for enjoying a chain store coffee when they could have just driven for 15 minutes more to buy a Dante Van der Graffe camels-milk and nutmeg frappuccino.

“I only drink Dante nowadays; I can’t stomach that other swill”

Growing up, one of my favourite story’s was Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes” I have referenced it in this blog before, and if you are not familiar with it, you should really hunt it down and have a quick read, the gist of it is this; Just because a lot of people say something is good or important, doesn’t mean it’s true.

The world’s most exclusive and expensive coffee is Kopi Luwak, a Malaysian coffee which is made from the dried droppings of the Asian Palm Civet; a native cat that looks more like a rat or stoat.

These hyperactive little Ratcat bastards exclusively eat coffee berries all day long and steam out perfect little coffee bean shits by the bucketful, which are then collected, cleaned, sun dried and roasted and sold at US $500 a pound.

If you honestly think that gulping down a steaming cup of Ratshit makes you more intelligent and exclusive than everyone else, then I’m off to crack the Nescafe Blend 43 and put the fucking jug on.

Ride and/or Die

Last year during some incoherent drunken blathering, I mentioned that I wouldn’t mind getting a bike to start riding early in the morning for fitness and to try and make some cardio headway on the unbecoming “approaching middle age” midsection/back-fat combo that is starting to develop on my torso. Only pigs need crackling after all.

Sure enough a few weeks later, on my birthday, my awesome de-facto brother Paulie Martin presented me with his old (but barely ridden) mountain bike. We’re talking sexpanther-black, mint tyres, and shocks that I will literally never have occasion  or (lets be honest) athleticism/airtime/basic motor skills to ever need. He also bought me a perfectly acceptable (we’ll go into this later) helmet to wear to avoid “The Man” and his waggling finger and little yellow note pad.

A very generous and functional gift that I appreciate greatly, but here’s the rub… Now I feel obliged to actually ride the fuckin’ thing.

Riding a Bicycle is something that I haven’t done in years, almost so long that I’m scared that the old saying: “Just like riding a bike” may actually no longer apply to me.

What if when I finally do climb back on, I end up catapulting myself through the front window of a fishmongers? Seafood buying punters scrambling to get out of the way as old Case comes bellowing and hurtling through the glass shop-front, ice, squid tubes and Deep Sea Dory flying everywhere?

Just for the sheer halibut


Well, actually in truth I am relatively confident that I have the skill to remain upright and avoid any really major mishaps or macabre abrasions. But perhaps more terrifying is having to make the decision of what kind of cyclist I want to be. When you were a kid it was socially acceptable and some would say endearing to just ride on the footpath, especially around the sleepy beach town of Tindalls Bay, where I spent most of my youth (Kia’ora-cations to Jess Mills), whereas adult cyclists who ride on the footpath are scorned and put in the same category as people who ride Donkeys through shopping malls or Segways through graveyards.

Thing is, if you are riding a bike and you are over 16 years of age, it appears there is no such thing as a happy medium, you generally fall into one of of three categories:

Category 1.

Hardcore: Spandex clad Lance Armstrong wannabes, travelling in packs often riding 3 abreast with no regard for the vehicles around them, the only group in society aside from hair metal bands in which Oakley M-Frames never went out of fashion. Riding with a sort of Napoleon complex constantly complaining about how they are not respected on the roads and how they should be  thought of like any other vehicle, even though they are unable to travel even a fraction of the normal speed limit and are given their own lane in which they refuse to ride. Taking pains to proudly thrust forward their bikeshorts-clad Moose-knuckles while waiting cock-legged next to you at the lights, rubbing their Spandex quads and grimacing as if to say “Its a deep burn, oh its sooo deep”

Often riding arrogantly

Way I see it is if you are a 85kg cyclist riding on a road where your maximum speed is 35kph and you’re sharing the road with large metal vehicles travelling at a minimum speed of 50kph,  it would seem nothing more than simple logic that you do everything you can to minimise the risk to yourself.

I’m not saying that cyclists should have any less right to ride on the road than motorists, but if you are a cyclist who refuses to acknowledge that you are slower and often harder to see than cars, and have the attitude that you are a vehicle too and have the same rights as everyone else and pig-headedly refuse to ride defensively, guess what? When an accident happens, no matter who is in the wrong.


You can argue about who had the right of way all you want, but it sucks to try and do it 18 weeks later in court when your jaw is wired shut and your “colostomy bag full” alarm keeps beeping.

Yes the age old battle between pride and skin grafts silently rages throughout the hardcore cycling fraternity.

Category 2.

Dark Rider: Usually wearing a stained singlet/ripped hoodie and ultra-loose blue jeans worn low enough to expose a minimum of 6 inches of satin boxer short. Either riding hell for leather towards you on the wrong side of the road, or careening from side to side in huge slow loops with a crate of beer over one shoulder.

Usually bogans who have lost their license due to multiple drunk driving offences, or just had to make a choice between gassing up the rust-bucket falcon or buying “a slab o’ vuckin voyboy”

“I’ll just tayke the vuckin pushie dan’the boddle-o, toowoyzey”

(for kiwi readers, the Bottle-o is the liquor store)

Usually wearing a helmet, unfastened on their head, presumably so that if they see police they can do it up and avoid a fine, don’t even get me started on how fuckin idiotic this is.

Okay you got me started…

If you think you’re too cool/tough to wear a helmet, then don’t wear one, if you do wear one, do it up. If you don’t, you might as well wear a T-shirt that says

“I am a Cocktard, please punch me in the balls”

Category 3.

Fixie riding Neo-Hippie: The whole new-bikes-that-look-like-old-bikes phenomenon has really caught on in recent years, and has given rise to a whole new breed of cyclist, usually girls wearing cut off denim shorts, leather braid headbands, and crochet vests. Riding a bike that looks like a prop from Anne of Green Gables, and looking like they are on their way to an MGMT video shoot.

Usually only riding 5 houses down, to a mates house.

But do you see what I’m getting at? Its very seldom to see someone just out riding a bike, its like it either has to be a way of life, a last resort, or a fashion accessory. This is what has been stopping me from just getting out there on the road and riding for fitness, I almost feel like I want to distance myself as much as possible from a category so this weekend I’m gonna throw caution to the wind and  go out for a ride wearing a bright brown cape, oven mitts and a latex wolf mask.

Wish me luck

Hip Hop and me

Its the early nineties… Stanmore Bay New Zealand.

I’m a snowy haired undercut-rocking class clown, obsessed with NBA Basketball, making mixtapes from the radio and making my friends laugh.

The school disco reigns as the highlight of the form 2 (year 8 ) social calendar, kids would give their eye teeth for a Aqua and Purple Charlotte Hornets Starter jacket and a pair of rusty coloured Origin Jeans, Reebok pumps were a status symbol, and a having Shaquille O’neal rookie card was looked upon like owning a Rolls Royce Phantom.

Relationships were simple, ask a mate to write a note on paper, give it to the girl you liked, asking if she would go out with you, if she said yes, great, you had a girlfriend… and it wouldnt be at all unusual to not say a word to one another until your friends pushed you together at the disco, where you would share an awkward bonafide (double entendre) hugdance to “I swear” by All 4 One or “One Sweet Day” by Mariah and Boyz 2 Men.

(It was c00l 4 b&s to abbrevi8 with numbers back th¥)

Those were the days where Hip Hop and R&B reigned supreme, Montell Jordan told us how he did it, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s “Boom Shake the Room” cassingle was played 35 times on repeat at lunch time on a shiny black Teac Cassette player (with auto rewind and twin tapedecks; *Ugh* *What?*) and TLC were at the top of their game, even your Dad had a copy of Crazy Sexy Cool in his car and your Nana knew all the words and dancemoves to “Waterfalls”

Kids would form a circle at School disco’s to worship other kids dancing to “Whoop there it is” by Tagg Team and “Sweets for my Sweets” by CJ Lewis, it seemed like the only white artists around were Michael Bolton and Kenny G and since I had never seen a slam dunk montage on NBA action cut together over the sweet sounds of an Alto Saxophone, I was having none of it.

It wasn’t until the release of Greenday’s ‘Dookie’ in 1994 that I can really remember anyone I knew listening to anything aside from “Black Music”, Nirvana’s classic ‘Nevermind’ had been out a while and was just starting to gain momentum with some of the kids I hung out with, and many of them started taking up the guitar. But not me. I stuck with what I knew, I had no time for “That head banging music” as my mum would call it, I didn’t trust it, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” seemed so angry and depressing to me and the kids who had always listened to that kind of stuff seemed to come from the wrong side of the tracks, and it seemed that it made them want to either beat you up or commit suicide.

I think at the time I was having too much fun to really buy into what the grunge/punk scene stood for, I would have felt like a fraud, brooding and listening to Bush, and it probably wasn’t until the 1997 release of Foo Fighters “The Colour and the Shape” that I really gave any form of guitar-centric music a try.

But in the meantime I was forming a bond with a close friend that has stayed with me until this day: Hip Hop
Now, as I have mentioned in one of my other blogs, it can be shaky ground being a hip hop fan when you’re a middle class white guy, I’ve always been aware of the type of dudes labeled “Wigga’s” who have adopted the Black American culture so much that they have warped into this bizarre characture, rocking silver-blue Wu-tang Jeans and stocking caps and talking using MC hands at all times, (gesturing like Busta Rhymes in “Woo Ha” even when asking Nana if she wants a glass of Cordial)

When you’re from a sleepy beachside retirement community like Stanmore Bay, saying something like: “Im’a fuck yo bitch ass up Homie” sounds as out of place and unnatural as I would have sounded asking for a “pineapple fritter and two dolliz chups” in a Bodega in Brooklyn. So through my Hip Hop appreciating career, I have been very conscious of not being one of “those” white hip hop fans.

I always thought my obsession really started with the release of 2pac’s “All Eyez on me” I used to listen to the Album on repeat for hours at a time, and I’m a little embarrased to say i could still probably recite “Ambitionz as a ridah” from start to finish in it’s entirety. There was something about 2pac’s lyrics and flow and the way he seemed to spit rhymes angrily, deep from the chest that struck a chord with me, which was strange because as a 12 year old white kid from New Zealand, Makaveli and I didn’t really have much in common. Nonetheless I was obsessed with the East Coast/West coast battle, and DeathRow record’s rocky last few years; Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre’s controversial departure from the label. And of course Pac’s death.
I remember seeing it on the evening news and going completely numb, I must have played “I ain’t mad atcha” 50 times that night.

As time went on and popular culture lurched its way through the 90’s many forgettable and sometimes frankly embarrassing phases, music began to change with it, and after a while I began to appreciate Rock Music, I remember seeing Foo Fighters perform Monkey Wrench on the MTV video music awards one year and really losing my shit, I mean I’d been aware of them but that was the first time I can remember thinking:

“Wow! Its like Grunge, but not shit!”

And so for the next few years I dabbled in some other genre’s

Dig Your Own HoleHomeworkMezzanineYou've Come a Long Way, BabyOK ComputerTravelling Without MovingSublimeOdelay

It was with the release of “Hello Nasty” by the Beastie Boys that I started to take notice of Hip Hop again, they were very popular at the time and “Intergalactic” was getting regular rotation, however one afternoon after school, I sat down to take off my filthy popcorn smelling school socks, and saw this:

The Roots ft Erykah Badu- You Got Me

There was something about this song and video that made me sit up and take notice, these guys had something different about them, from the other Hip Hop I had listened to in the past, an intelligence and an honesty that sat well with the person I was growing up to be. Within a few days I had their CD “Things Fall apart” and found out that they were actually a band, rather than the usual MC/DJ combination that had was common throughout Hip Hop. I dug out their older albums Do You Want More?!!!??! and Illadelph Halflife, and also their live album “The Roots Come Alive” and began to listen to them whenever I could, finding a deep appreciation for the fact that there were a group of skilled instrumentalists (lead by the now legendary Questlove) crafting the beats, and consistantly being blown away by the skillful wordplay and deeply poetic lyricism of Tariq Trotter (Black Thought) The Roots mainstay MC (and in my opinion the best MC ever).

This also lead me to finding other incredible Artists like: Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Common, Jurassic 5, and reintroducing me to A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, who I had missed on the first time around.

To be honest my opinion of Hip Hop in the last few years is very much love/hate, it can be difficult to own up to being a hip hop fan at times, especially with the amount of horrendous horseshit spewing forth claiming to be Hip Hop music. I’m not surprised I sometimes get sideways glances when I refer to myself as a fan of the Genre. I always feel I need to be ready with a disclaimer: “Nah, not what you’re thinking I mean, good Hip Hop, ever heard of Chali 2na? P.O.S? Brother Ali? dudes like that! guys with skill”

But alas by then its too late, in their head I’m at home, fashioning some Grills for myself out of my grandmothers bracelets, badly photoshopping myself into a Photo with Master P and throwing on the latest Big Bear CD:

Big Bear really took an interesting direction with this cover, he was lucky to find such a pimpalicious group of Blunt smoking Silk Robe-wearing Grizzlie Bears, but you gotta hand it to him. He made it and now hes living the dream.

The Tin Can Bay Dolphin Experience…

So, about a year ago, My Girlfriend Sarah and I went up to the Sunshine Coast for a bit of well deserved R&R, we were planning to do all the tourist stuff, Underwaterworld, Australia Zoo, and a lesser known attraction which was recommended to us called “the Tin Can Bay Dolphin Experience”.

The Idea behind the aforementioned experience was that tourists would take the bus up to Tincumbah, which is the Aborigine name for the area, (simplified by Xenophobic white settlers to “tin can bay”) and would feed and “interact” with the Dolphins which frequent the bay.

Sarah, like most girls, loves dolphins, and I guess I’m quite partial to our Mammalian brothers of the ocean myself, so when we saw the ad for the “Tin Can Bay Dolphin Experience” (which will be refered to from now on as: “TCBDE”) I said hey, where do we sign up?

Now, the Price for TCBDE was $100 per person, which included: the bus trip, Breakfast and coffee, TCBDE itself and a visit to a turtle lagoon on the way back. Relatively pricey, but when you look at the features of the trip, one would presume that an outlay of a hunge per person would be great value for a nice romantic day out.
When I thought about TCBDE: my visualisation would have been something like this:

The Airconditioned bus crests the rise of the hill, revealing the unrivaled beauty of tin can bay as it opens out before us, the ocean glistens in the morning sun like a thousand diamonds and the salty smell of the ocean spray permeates the air.

The bus starts its winding descent to the beachside and parks in the shadow of a huge and impressively designed facility which is built out over the shallows of the Aqua lagoon.

As Sarah and I exit the bus we are greeted by two beautiful tanned young women in specially designed revealing wetsuits, who introduce themselves as Angelique and Cassandra, and present us with matching expensive wetsuits and kiss us both on the cheek, Cassandra’s soft hands linger on my muscular shoulders, and Cassandra whispers something in Sarah’s ear and they both giggle.

Sarah and I laugh and skip gaily down to the Jetty as Angelique and Cassandra explain to us what the morning will entail, “A meet and greet with the dolphins, where you will be able to feed them fresh fish, followed by a 3 course champagne breakfast, followed up by a 2 hour dolphin swim, with acrobatics lessons and dolphin riding”

“oh here come the guys now”, giggles Angelique as we see majestic familiar shapes leap out of the water just beyond the breakers, three sleek and flawlessly smooth bottlenose dolphins propel themselves toward the Jetty, one has a red rose in its teeth (Romeo) and he tailwalks next to the Jetty and presents the rose to Sarah. “oh it looks like Romeo brought you a present Sarah!” says Cassandra as the two other dolphins leap into the air and curve their two streamlined bodies together and hang in the air for what seems like an impossible amount of time, bringing their tails and noses together to form a heart.

Nothing is as Beautiful and exciting as Tin Can bay is in my mind.

So that brings us to the reality of the TCBDE, so stand by…

Sarah and I wake up at 5:30am as the bus will be out the front of the hotel at 6, we go down to find a rusty old Bongo Van, with the Tin Can Bay Dolphin Experience logo hand painted (with questionable skill) on the back.

The awkward bird-like ginger driver Noreen welcomes us into the van, which already contains an elderly couple, Sarah and I attempt a few little jokes to break the ice, which the driver doesnt understand and the elderly couple cant hear, so we awkwardly take our seats.

The Driver explains that we need to drive a little further north to Noosa to pick up the other couple who will be joining us, which would take about 20 minutes, and then we’d be on our way…

After we picked up the young Swedish couple we found out what “on our way” actually meant: a 3 and a half hour van ride thru rural Queensland, wow I thought New Zealand had some depressing little towns! Yandina Creek makes Moerewa look like a trip to Disneyland with Scarlett Johanssen.

But I digress… After 3 and a half long hours with little more in the way of tour guide comments than the occasional “this is Yarrawarnumbool, on your right you’ll see their famous Corn Plantation”, and “You’ll notice on your right a Scarecrow that the guys dress up…  at xmas, they dress it up like Santa, sometimes its standing in a paddling pool, its very funny…. Oh no… wait… it looks like they’ve taken it down”

We arrive at Tin Can Bay (“you’ll notice Bonita Street on your left, all the streets in Tin Can Bay are named after sealife”) and pull down the mainstreet, (Williams St) the day is overcast and there is a smell of Fish in the air, we drive to the Dolphin*ahem* area which turns out to be little more than an Oily boatramp, and a batch converted to a cafe next to an old Yacht club. We exit the Car and Noreen tells us to meet at the cafe (Shack) at 10:30 for Breakfast.

As Sarah and I approach the ramp we realise our ‘exclusive dolphin encounter’ is about as exclusive as ‘showing up to a boatramp at a certain time’ is exclusive, the carpark and ramp are lined with Tourists and ragtag locals, one man in his 60’s with a yellow beard and no shirt was already visibly intoxicated and was holding a can of VB he sauntered past and mentioned to Sarah he liked her top, (it was a plain white bonds singlet) so I can only assume that would loosely translate to “I like your breasts” and we made our way down.

It was now that we cottoned on that the TCBDE is a completely public dolphin experience and that the price we paid for attendance strictly covers the extensive journey north to view these… Bottlenose Dolphins?


These were Indo Pacific Dolphins, the ugliest and stupidest of all the Marine Mammalia, there they sat in the murky water, waiting for the fish they knew were coming, Scarred with Pink scabs and deep outboard motor marks, noses too long, teeth too pronounced, all droopy dorsal fins and bugged out eye’s, the kind of Dolphin you could imagine smoking a cigarette. The retarded inbred cousins of humanity’s beloved bottlenose.

As I lined up with my greasy pilchard on that dreary September morning, standing knee deep in oily water, a fine rain beginning to fall, I thought, how could this have all gone so wrong? And as the biggest one (mystique) snatched my fish thanklessly from my hand and I was told by the attendant to move along, I thought: F**k you dolphin! You got me out of bed at 5am just so I could drive 4 hours to feed your Bull Shark eaten arse? and then Mystique looked up at me from the murk with smugness in its eyes, as if to say “thanks for your patronage chief, come back back again sometime, we’re here every morning from 9am.”

The Breakfast ended up being cold thick cut toast with hardly any condiments and filter coffee, (a quick tally would have put the cost of breakfast at around $1.65 per head), and we sat trying to make awkward conversation with two people who couldnt hear us, two who didnt speak english and the driver who only muttered and hooted quietly from time to time.

We then set off, on the next leg of the mission, the “Turtle lagoon” ( those are the biggest speech marks WordPress currently offers), as we drove back thru bundaberg, the driver stopped at a general store to buy a loaf of bread to feed the turtles, (I was picturing majestic leatherbacks, impossibly green) by this point Sarah and I were finding the entire trip rather hilarious, so we were of course looking forward to seeing what new wonders the turtle zone would deliver…

We drove thru yet another small country town, the type that would have a really high suicide rate and finally pulled up to the local park, and exited the Van, and there is was, sprawled before us in all its overcast, windswept glory:

A duckpond!

We stood there for 25 minutes feeding Ducks, Geese and a few scungey Turtles, at one point a large blue eel popped its head up and snatched a chunk of wholemeal which was the most exciting thing that happened that morning, but it didnt come back.

And then we got back in the van, barely able to contain raucous laughter (we could see the Swedish couple were in the same mind as us as there was alot of chuckling and head shaking going on) we drove for a further hour and a half back to the hotel and thanked Noreen, the whole day was almost too pathetic to really complain about, and it actually ended up being so funny that it has become a cherished memory and a story to tell…

A shout out to the Social Misfits

Christ on a crusket there are some strange people out there!

Why even as you read this I’m sure you could look around and see an oddball absently picking lint out of his belly button in a packed Internet cafe, and was that woman scratching behind her ear and then trying to subtley smell it without anyone noticing?
Yes it’s not difficult to pick out weirdos by their outlandish little habits and styles, the 25 year old guy with what looks to be a home-screenprinted Michael Bolton hoodie, that you are quietly confident is not being worn ironically… and of course anyone, ANYONE wearing crocs.

But what I wanna talk about in this juicy little series of paragraphs is the other type: the undercover weirdo’s, the ones who seem totally normal on the surface, who seem pleasant enough until all of a sudden BAM! Straight jacket time! Knights of Columbus! call the men in the white coats, because this ones as mad as a gas powered rocking chair!

I’m gonna list a few that many of you may be familiar with:

One of my favourites is the compulsive liar, you know the guy at school whose Dad who lived in Thailand and had the Playstation 3 four years before the Playstation 2 started being developed? his Dad always lived in a 50 bedroom house but it was always on the other side of the world giving you no chance to ever verify whether he really did have a helipad or a robotic unicorn?
Well these guys grow up and continue lying, but the lies usually manifest themselves as things they have done which will always trump what you or anyone else in the room has done.
Any time anyone discusses:
Music? They’ve been the lead singer of a successful Alt Rock band (sort of a cross between Creed and 3 Doors Down).
Cooking? they worked for 3 years as a Head chef in a five star hotel.
Cars? They’ve owned a Holden Commodore, an Audi Quattro, a Ford Fairmont, a WRX, a Mini Cooper S, and of course they’ve done any number of out of control stunts in them all (drove the mini thru a police cadet graduation ceremony hammered drunk, playing NWA’s “F**k the Police at full volume! Imagine that!) and of course they’ve shagged more girls than you, drank more alcohol than you, and held more high paying positions at the age of 24 than most will in their entire lives!
I absolutely love these types, especially when with other likeminded people, I enjoy being able to trade a knowing glance across the room as the horseshit starts to flow… and I’m always mortified when someone calls the liar on the fact that if they spent three years on a Guatemalan oilrig, how did they find time to release a platinum trip hop album and train their pet howler monkey to sing “sweet caroline?”
When cornered however, the liar gets that slightly unhinged gleam in their eye and a creepy half smile, as they try to explain themselves,
“we had a lot of downtime on the rigs, especially when it rained and shit, why? don’t you believe me?”
but inside those words you hear an underlying phrase, I’m gonna fucking cut you for this, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day… And you won’t see me coming.

Writing this next part from a male perspective, I apologise if it comes across as sexist but I’m sure most girls would be able to draw a direct parallel on their side but for now, gentlemen let’s hear it for the gorgeous but insane chick!

You know the girl that you see from afar and think she’s pretty fine until that moment when you’ve talked to her for more than 5 minutes and realise she is 100% certifiably batshit mental?
It’s funny how quickly that shit can turn around huh?
Far far too often, when that girl in the miniskirt gives you the glad eye from across the room, that self assured sexy confidence you see is secretly masking the type of insanity that can send a grown man howling and jabbering into the night with nothing on but a pair of chuck taylors and a rubber dinosaur tail.
Say what you want about painfully attractive people, but in many cases they certainly have it easier than your average bucktoothed Joe Schmoe on the street… since a young age, they have often lived a charmed life, held in awe by doting parents, eager to please classmates, and drooling members of the opposite sex, many will never learn the lessons or develop the important social skills that are required to become a balanced functioning adult. Take this mix of social obliviousness and sense of entitlement, add some crushing insecurity, and tack it all on to an ass that won’t quit, legs that go all the way to the top and a rack that would make Hugh Hefner drop to his knees and weep salty tears of Joy, and you’ve got yourself a very dangerous volatile situation on your hands mister!
The most obvious analogy that springs to mind is this: it’s like a rabid Barbary Ape driving an Aston Martin DB9 down the main street of Surfers Paradise, I mean from the outside it looks amazing, but what sort of damage is it going to inflict if left unchecked!?

I think R Kelly said it best, in the intro to his 1994 smash hit ‘bump n grind’ when he said: “my minds telling me no, but my body, my bodieeeees tellin me yeeeeeeesssss!”

But we all remember R Kelly filmed himself urinating on an underage girl, so I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in any advice he’s giving you to be honest. What? Were you just gonna do anything R Kelly told you? Rookie mistake!

So do yourself a favour as soon as any signs of insanity bubble to the surface, listen to your mind rather than Captain Winky and get the the hell outta there, she would have just ended up screwing around on you with a low rent Trance DJ anyway.

Next up is the self professed bitch, you know the girl that says things like: “this is me, I say what I think, and if you don’t like it then fuck off?”
Lame, and a complete cop out, you saying your a bitch, doesn’t make you a bitch, you making the choice to say bitchy things is what makes you a bitch. Every time you say something you make a decision about what words will come out and the tone in which they are spoken, and if you consistently choose to say whatever you’re thinking without any regard for peoples feelings or social morality, then look forward to a life of failed relationships and bitter unhappiness.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with shooting from the hip from time to time just don’t feed me that
“I am what I am” bullshit, take some resposibility for your actions.
(Again this was focussed around the girls, but obviously guys can be just as terrible at this kind of thing)

There are several more characters that spring to mind,but the last I want to discuss with you is The Scenester.
You know the people who become so obsessed with an aspect of pop culture that they completely change themselves into this weird stereotype?

Word to the wise kids, alternative culture does not exist anymore, getting your lip peirced does NOT make you an individual… Dressing in all black and listening to hardcore music is just as mainsream and run of the mill as listening to Matchbox Twenty with a Harry Potter novel in your hand. Stringing together a bunch of adjectives and putting them on the front of the words “house music” doesn’t make you sound cooler eg: filthy industrial house, loose progressive house, lazy experimentalist house etc. Watching UFC on TV does not make you any tougher. Edward Cullen will never marry you, it’s not because he doesn’t like you it’s because he is a mythical creature, and is a work of fiction. Indy rock is no better or worse than any other genre, so stop being such a smug beardy wanker. And bearing in mind that since not even Ghostface Killah wears XXL silver Wu-Tang jeans, so if your a skinny white dude, maybe you should reconsider your wardrobe choices.

And before you get all up in arms, I know people have a certain sense of style that may make them loosely fit into one of these catagories and that’s fine, just as long as you’re wearing what you wear and doing what you do because you enjoy it and feel comfortable, not pigeon holing yourself as one thing or another so that you either A: fit in with others or B: Make a conscious effort to appear as if you don’t fit in

With being said, if you are looking for an alternative style: Wear the top half of a Gorilla suit, Riding Jodpers, flippers, and one of those Caribbean hats with the tropical fruit on top, drive a Toyota Prius but convert it to a V8, walk around with a Thompsons Gazelle on a lead, and eat nothing but grated cheddar out of the inside of half a basketball. That, my friends is what alternative looks like in this day and age

The Difficult Question of Opinion (The opinionation proclamation)

Opinion is the ultimate expression of subjectivity, its what makes social interaction interesting, its a way for us to define ourselves as people, and every day we consciously and subconsciously use our opinions as a type of ‘social divining rod’ to seek out like minded others to form relationships with. Its hard to deny you are naturally drawn to people who share your interests and passions.

So what is it about Opinions that gets people so fired up? And why is it that the individual will hold their own opinion as truth and feel they must defend it so passionately? I could talk about the kind of Opinions that polarise Society: Pro Life vs Pro Choice, Liberal vs Conservative, People who Like Ricky Gervais’ Masterpiece: “The Office” vs the socially retarded Fuckwits who dont. But I won’t delve into anything too heavy for my first blog as I don’t want to scare anyone off… So here goes…

Let me lay it all out for you from the start, when it comes to the realm of media appreciation, (that is; Music, Movies, Video Games, TV Shows, books etc) I can be an arrogant bastard… Its not that I would ever be overtly rude to you about your tastes, but I may well be silently judging you when you ask me if I saw the latest episode of “The Mentalist” or “Gary Unmarried” in fact I would rather get my junk caught in a chain digger than ever watch either show.

I have very specific tastes in what I enjoy, I feel my appreciation of Media Sits nicely in the cut between, Alternative and Mainstream (if I have to specify), with allowances being made on both sides, for example I have for a long time been a hip hop fan (shaky ground for a middle class white guy) and I enjoy artists in the genre most people would probably never have heard of, while on the other hand I also guiltily partake in the odd smattering of Michael Buble, or John Mayer from time to time.

Most Australians love Good News Week, Host Paul Macdermott was recently nominated for a gold logie (Australia’s equivalent of an Emmy) but there’s something about Macdermott’s smarmy, stunted delivery and Mikey Robbins desperate lame uncle humour that makes me want to chew bile soaked tinfoil everytime I see it.

I love a well made Indy film, whereas I firmly believe David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” is an exercise in Pretense and ‘Emperors New Clothes’ Style Wankery, where fans can go: “Well you obviously didn’t get it, the old Jewish man eating skunk shit out of the Chinese takeaway box while putting on the doctor Quinn medicine woman DVD signifies the struggle for pay parity amongst female Eskimo gas station attendants, the last two thirds was the future nightmare of the narrators unborn child… It’s not hard to understand if you look beneath the surface… Would you like another chamomile cigarello?


but I digress.

One thing I do know is this: if I like or dislike something, I’ll always be able to give the reason behind why I feel a certain way, I attempt to not be cynical about something until I’ve given it a fair shot, likewise, I won’t just blindly buy into the hype about something until I’ve experienced it & digested it myself.

Which brings me to my first question… Are you believing the hype? See also: Are you falling for bullshit?

I always wonder, what makes something popular? Is it the fact that the human race tend to follow one another like sheep? Have you ever stopped to wonder, why Ed Hardy T-Shirts are $175 a piece? The Ed Hardy Brand has only been around about 5 years, they aren’t as established as other expensive fashion brands like Gucci or Louis Vuitton, their designs aren’t anything special, and their shirts are no more well tailored than several other brands a third of the price.

So what’s the attraction? it’s the wankery of it all… at least in the beginning, the brand decides to back itself, release the tshirt at a price 300% higher than it’s competitors, Tools with more dollars than sense buy one as a conscious or unconscious status symbol, and the whole horrible game starts, humanity’s bleating hivemind kicks in and furiously buys anything with the words Ed Hardy emblazened on the front, Gold Coast Steroided muscle men start wearing shirts with pink roses covered in sequins and everyone is caught up in one great big multimillion dollar practical joke… Until of course, the Thai counterfeiters get ahold of a few screen prints and start selling them at the markets for $2.20 each and suddenly once again another brand goes the way of Von Dutch (Ed hardy money man Christian Audigier’s last project, I fucking shit you not) and it becomes impossible to tell what is “genuine Ed Hardy” and what was screened and sewn by a one eyed Taiwanese lemur smoking a cigarette.

The point I’m trying to make here is, is your opinion really your opinion? Or are you falling hard for every little marketing gimmick, that comes around batting it’s colourful eyelashes at you?

(gimme a sec I just have to plug this iPhone back in)

With all of that being said, it is always important to keep things in perspective, if one looks too often into the maw of the gigantic neon marketing clown that currently rules our society, it is easy to drive yourself into a feverish rage of cynicism, firing scathing quips and biting sarcastic remarks at any new romantic comedy or middle-of-the-road Fiction Peddlar scrambling their way out of the Marketing ooze clawing madly for it’s 15 minutes of fame.
No friends, I have come to realise, being a critic of everything that doesn’t meet your standards can be fun, (especially for one such as myself with overly developed sarcasm glands) but slowly but surely will turn everyone you love against you. Thus it is important to remember that everyone is different, we all have a unique banks of experiences and tastes that help dictate what we enjoy and don’t enjoy, and this is what makes our world exciting and surprising.

And if having shitty sitcoms like ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and ‘Rules of Engagement’ around to make shows like ‘Eastbound and Down’ and ‘Curb your Enthusiasm’ seem that much sweeter, then I can live with that.

And if I have to keep my mouth shut about how horribly contrived and shamelessly overacted Greys Anatomy is to save myself from the ire of my female coworkers, hell! I can do that as well, and I’ll do it with a smile on my face.

Thanks for reading this babbling, incoherent rant, the first of many I hope I will write over the coming months, I thought it would be important to start with the subject of opinion to give myself a small disclaimer so that when I do express my opinions on this type of forum, if they differ from your own you can see that opinions are just our OWN truths, but that no one has to agree on any one thing, that’s what living in a democratic free thinking society is all about…

Unless you’re a fan of either Bono or David Spade, if you like either of them there’s no hope for you. (in my humble opinion of course)