Someone remarked to me recently that bloggers are all really just self-opinionated geeks who they feel their responses to matters are so important that it is necessary to post them online, to make sure everyone knows how much cleverer they are than everyone else, particularly those who disagree with them. Essentially they're a bunch of whingers with access to an instant medium for publication.

I thought to myself "Well that's not really fair. I use my blog to publish encouraging thoughts and ideas to make people think."

And then I read over some of my more recent post and came to the conclusion that, actually, it really is just an outlet for whinging.

At first I was taken aback by this discovery, and immediately began composing a paragraph aimed at being the most inspiring, encouraging and thought-provoking message of hope ever uploaded.

I got about three words in and decided "Stuff it. Complaining is more fun, easier and more in keeping with the established theme and tone of this blog anyway." So now I am somewhat less than proud to present my latest effort of literary brilliance:

The top ten things that annoy me right now.

Track work

I recently completed a sign language course. The primary school we were using was only a few suburbs away from where I live, so I figured it couldn't be too difficult to get there. I carefully set my alarm every Friday night to make sure I was up in time to make my class.

The course went for four weeks and I didn't make it on time to a single one. Okay, the first one wasn't so much the fault of public transport but more a result of me going to the wrong school (who was the genius that decided having two schools called Homebush Primary School and Homebush West Primary School would be a good idea?). For the other three, however, I arrived at my train station with twenty minutes in hand, only to discover that trains weren't running and I had to go catch a bus, which not only stops at each stop, but also red lights, pedestrian crossings and traffic jams. For my final effort I was determined I was going to make it on time, only to find it took me an hour to get from Ashfield to Homebush, an epic journey of about five stops by train.

Oh well. I suppose if we didn't have track work we'd all just have to put up with trains constantly derailing and killing hundreds of people, which would also be quite inconvenient.

The Phantom of the Opera

It might surprise some people to find this on my list. I'm a bit of a fan of the music, but I went along to see the show in Sydney last weekend, which I'd never done before. I was really quite excited about the chance to hear Anthony Warlowe sing The Music of the Night, which is one of my favourite songs in the world. Words cannot fully describe how ticked off I was when the announcement was made that we were getting the understudy. Ooooooohhhh, so annoyed.

The understudy was pretty good, and the girl playing Christine was sensational. The chandelier was pretty soft though. I really was expecting it to plummet from the roof and smash on the stage, but it just sort of got lowered gently down, only slightly faster than it was hoisted up, and settled lightly on the stage, obviously posing no health and safety risk to anyone. Biggest anti-climax ever. Still, the second half was pretty cool.


Given what we all now know about the effects of smoking, I can't say I fully understand what would motivate someone to smoke. Having said that, I'm not going to try and argue with anyone who says they have a right to inflict it upon themselves if they want to.

I'm about ready to clock the people who think they have a right to inflict the same effects on me however. There is nothing that irks me so frequently as walking through a crowded mall and having the person just ahead of me trail a cloud of noxious gas, like a derailed steam train. Or a flatulent cyanide factory. Just because it's outside and therefore technically legal, does not make it okay to poison those around you while you take in your morning carcinogenic fix on the way to coffee with colleagues. Aaaaarrgh!

Losing at Chess

Maybe I'm a sore loser (maybe I'm just a loser...) but losing chess games has been really bugging me lately. The circumstances haven't really been helping. A week or so ago we had an away game to Rooty Hill. Apparently Rooty Hill is in Western Sydney, but I think it was closer to Ayer's Rock than it was to my house. After travelling all the way out there, eating the worst pad thai I've ever eaten, and finding the obscure room in the hotel behind the club that we were playing in, we got thumped 3.5-0.5. What an annoying night.

And then we had a home game this week against St. George. It took us half an hour to realise that the group of four kids sitting in the corner were our opponents for the match. A family of four little chess prodigies, lining up against a bunch of guys just out for a game and a laugh. Yeah, we lost that one 1-3. It's hard to describe the feeling of losing to a nine year old girl, and realising that it probably wasn't a fair fight, as you were never going to beat her anyway. Good grief.

Winter Rain

It’s been raining fairly solidly here for about a week now. Being from Darwin, normally I quite like the rain. The knock ‘em downs season in Darwin is my favourite time of year. Rain up there is warm, powerful and sounds great on a corrugated iron roof. And don’t get me started on lightning. I don’t think there’s anything in this world that is sexier than a monsoonal thunderstorm. Except maybe a beautiful woman with an Hispanic accent playing the cello during a monsoonal thunderstorm.

Sydney rain by contrast, is completely crap. In fact (to take my admittedly strange imagery way too far) if a monsoonal thunderstorm is a beautiful woman, then Sydney rain is a 53 year old ladies’ hairdresser named Tony. It doesn’t have any force or passion behind it, it just wisps around and makes everything damp, cold and miserable. The rain, that is; not Tony. Tony is probably a really nice guy. Damn metaphorical hairdressers.

Immigration laws

If you’re expecting me to start wailing on my own country here, you’ve got another thing coming. I’m currently most annoyed at the immigration laws of Spain. Specifically the set of clauses which make it basically impossible to legally seek work in the country without a European passport.

I’m sure it does a great job of stopping impoverished foreign factory workers walking in and taking jobs from Spaniards for half the pay. But it also means that anyone who would otherwise employ me as an English teacher has to first take bunch of forms into the government office to demonstrate why they need to bring a foreigner in to do it. And no-one is going to do that when they can just hire some pom to teach them the language. Freaking English bastards. What do they know about English anyway?

Kevin Rudd

Due to funding cuts aimed at making it look like we have some idea how to make working families better off, this paragraph has been abolished.

Australians who pretend to know things about the US elections

I’m all for being informed, and for subjecting a process which will elect one of the most powerful people in the world to a responsible amount of scrutiny. But I’m quite sick of having the intricacies of who said what about whom and what possible ramifications it could have on a primary for a state I can’t point to on a map explained to me by someone who I suspect would also struggle to point to it. “McCain said this week that Obama doesn’t have enough experience at warfare, so that will naturally increase Hillary’s share of the vote in Philadelphia amongst voters who like to wear green.” Honestly!

The fact is that no Australian can claim to understand the American electoral system. In fact, I haven’t spoken to an American who understands it yet either. Just tell me which one wins, and point out which character on the West Wing they correspond to, and that’s all I need.

The ever-decreasing size of ice creams

I bought a Cornetto the other day and was astounded to discover how small the things have gotten. Magnums are even worse. I can remember the time when you had trouble eating a whole one because of sugar overload. Now I have trouble eating a whole one in more than half a dozen bites.

They say one of the greatest geniuses of the marketing world was the guy who told toothpaste manufacturers that they could sell more toothpaste if they made the hole at the top of the tube bigger. Somewhere, some jumped up business graduate has wandered into an ice-cream packaging plant and said with that all-knowing “I’ve read studies about behavioural science amongst primary schoolers” voice of unjustifiable bravado, “you know, you could sell more ice cream if you sold less ice cream per ice cream”. Filthy communists!

The compulsion to come up with ten things for every list

So who ordained ten as the number of items that have to be on a list? Why does “top ten things that annoy me right now” sound so much more convincing than “top eight things that do that thing that I just said?”

I was thinking maybe it is all David Letterman’s fault. He’s always publishing his top ten lists of things. Maybe he’s got it ingrained into our social psyche than lists have to come in tens. But then I realised the idea is actually a lot older than that. It all started with “The top ten reasons to let my people go” closely followed by “the top ten things thou shalt not do”.

Actually I was having so much trouble coming up with a tenth thing that annoyed me, that it started to annoy me. And eureka! There it was. The tenth thing that annoyed was in fact the fact that I couldn’t find a tenth thing. I’m sure there’s a technical term for that sort of paradoxical profundity, but I don’t know what it is. So I’m going to call it Olchiflorianism.

Far from home


Garry with 2 Rs

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