‘What Does It Mean’ Monday #9 “Google”

When saying ‘google’ I’m talking NIL about this…

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

And ALL about this:

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Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

I was thinking today of how this company name has come into our vocabulary in the strong prominence that it has, so frequently, that at any mention of a query or question, we immediately drop the phrase “I’ll google it.”

But, where did Google, get its name?

Turns out, it was a typo. Can you believe it? Google was never meant to be Google…

… it was meant to be googol.

😯

Googol, to be clear, is a mathematical term that means 10 to the power of 100; in other words, that is the number 1 followed by 100 zeroes.

This name for the search engine was meant to represent the breadth and depth of the searches possible for the new web site.

But alas, a misspelling occured. In typing in domain names for googol, Google happened instead.

They liked it.

They went with it.

(And yes I ‘googled’ that). 😂

A Loon-y journey

loonlake

E.L. DOCTOROW – Loon Lake

“You are thinking it is a dream. It is no dream. It is the account in helpless linear translation of the unending love of our simultaneous but disynchrous lives.”

There are so many things to think and talk about when discussing this book by E.L. Doctorow.

It is about obtaining love.

It is about wanting more from your life.

It is about the many forms of isolation.

It is life’s perversion at its finest worst.

And it is a random bunch of episodes, warped and brutally honest moments that are individual and yet oddly parallel to one another, leading to the same universal goal, that somehow makes it an unexpected whole, a whole that makes sense, yet still leaves you scratching your head.

Confused?

Questions abound in the reading of this novel. From the blurb, you know half of what to expect when you begin to turn the pages. Joe is on the run from authorities, and decides to follow a train’s route when he sees a flash of important people in the carriages pass him one night, including a young woman looking at her naked image in the mirror. Drawn to the obvious wealth present on the train, and hypnotised by the woman’s beauty, he follows the train to its resting point at a very wealthy man’s estate.

‘Very wealthy’ doesn’t begin to describe how wealthy this man actually is. The owner Bennett has his initials on everything, down to the cigarette boxes.

“He was very rich. He owned thirty thousand acres here and it was just one of his places. He owned the lake itself, the water in the lake, the land under the water and the fish that swam in it.”

”But not the dogs? (…)”

“Oh, no (…) Those are wild-running, those dogs.”

And here we have present a hint of humour, something also prevalent in Loon Lake. It is hard to focus on any one element in my review because they are intertwined and dancing with one another in sporadic points, but there is definitely some black humour popping up at various intervals.

With the humour often came some interesting life insight, such as this:

“I could tell that each of them felt badly used to be taking care of some tramp who had wandered onto the grounds. It was an affront to the natural order which made service to people bearable because they were higher than you, not lower.”

And this which I loved:

“And as for Mr Penfield I knew in my bones I didn’t have anything to fear from him. He had a way of canceling himself out if you let him talk long enough.”

So back to the story. What I thought would be the basis and location of the story, Bennett’s estate, ended up changing half-way through. I naively had believed this would be the scene of all the action, since that was all that was mentioned in the blurb. However, the story went further and deeper and darker than just wandering around some enormous estate, looking at lakes, and trying to catch the fancy of the prettiest girl there.

Not that those parts weren’t entertaining on their own. I guess the way the story stops and changes pace and moves in a different direction, often taking other character’s points of view, is something you would liken to real life: how sometimes we go here, we stop; we go there – but wait that didn’t work; we revisit this place, but only in our minds; and then we go back to where we started.

My first thoughts of the book were not much. There was swearing in the first page, which made me think perhaps I could do the same in my writings, however it’s something that I think is a bit borderline since my work is geared towards a young adult audience. Still, I was happy to read:

“Streetcars rang the bell on the whole fucking neighbourhood.”

This definitely was not the sole instance of swearing, and the crudeness continued not only in terms of language, but in behaviours (pissing was a recurring one), events, and really, really horrible circumstances that made you question humanity. The crudeness continued in the written word too, with Doctorow placing some really interesting ‘I’ references that jolted me out of my reader-state and ‘broke the wall,’ so to speak. Lots of jumping from one character’s point-of-view, to the narrator (author) back to the character in a matter of paragraphs. Without warning. Also the character never continuously spoke in the first person, with Doctorow often injecting a different narrative voice just to make you wonder what the hell was going on.

In one instance, the character Warren Penfield is speaking from his point-of-view, and then it changes to this:

“I acknowledge Warren’s lifelong commitment – cancel lifelong commitment – fatal attraction for any kind of communication whether from words, flags, pigeons or the touch of fingertips in hope of a common language, but we must remember how we are vulnerable to the repetition of our insights so that they tend to come to us not as confirmation of something we already know but as genuine discoveries each and every time.”

At first all of this was very jarring, but like the first time you read Shakespeare and needed to get used to the old-style language, or when you read Trainspotting and had no idea what was going on until half-way through the book when their lingo became second nature to you, so too did I eventually become very well-acquainted with his jumpy style of writing.

Aside from this jumpiness in many character point-of-views, changing from 1st to 3rd person, going back and forth in time between the two main men Joe and Warren, and a good smattering of poems, death notices (and one death notice where we are actually introduced to the character whose future death is foreshadowed before we meet him) there is the case of the run-on sentences. This is normal:

“The track went through some woods circled around a small mountain lake and then it started up a grade a long slow winding grade, I was not already in love with her but in her field of force, what I thought I felt like was some stray dog following the first human being it happened to see.”

This doesn’t show the full extent of the much-often absent comma, as the best example is at the end of the book, when Warren’s POV goes a full two pages without a single full stop. At an average of 11 words per 62 lines, that equates to approximately 682 words. That’s a lot of ideas in one sentence. Without googling, this must not be Doctorow’s first work. I’m sorry, but a first-time author would NEVER get away with that (and it kills me that so many things are out-of-bounds for us).

However, Doctorow does it all so well, and so absurdly, breaking the rules that it actually makes sense. He keeps us confused and guessing, up until a certain point before we are about to break with insanity, and then reveals the information we need so we don’t think we are going crazy with misinformation. He keeps us on our toes.

The above quote doesn’t just show how thoughts change abruptly, displaying the real nature of the human mind, but it shows a beautiful element of Joe’s character, and despite the questionable acts he has done in the past, and does continue to do, he has some tender moments. Take this:

“She was happy on the move, alert and at peace, all the inflamed spirit was lifted from her. She had various ways of arranging herself in the seat, legs tucked up or one under the other, or arms folded, head down, but in any position definitive, beautiful.”

And my favourite, this one:

“Her grey eyes shone, her mouth stretched in her tremulous overbitten smile. I danced her out of there out down the corridor doing a fast fox trot full of swirls while I hummed the tune I had heard the night I came ‘Exactly Like You,’ Libby laughing and worrying at the same time, telling me to hush, looking back over her shoulder, giggling, falling against me every other step, brushing my cheek with her lips. And the light lay like a track along the carpet and shone in golden stations of the open doors.”

The crudeness of the novel had rubbed off onto my notes as I was reading, with the following associated with the above: “This guy can fucking do beautiful poignancy!” As another nod to how his themes intertwine and repeat, there is reference here to the terms ‘track’ and ‘golden stations,’ homage to the train he followed to make it to Loon Lake.

Ahh, the elusive Loon. First mention of it comes from a poem by Warren Penfield, before we even meet Warren! This spiked my curiosity, as I didn’t know what an actual Loon was, or even if it was anything, maybe a particular name or place. It is in fact a bird that grabs fish from the lake of the esteemed estate that it’s named after it. This following poem captures the metaphor of the bird, and the story, and the dual nature of things often present in this book, perfectly:

“A doomed Indian would hear them at night in their diving

and hear their cry not as triumph or as rage

or the insane compatibility with the earth

attributed to birds of prey

but in protest against falling

of having to fall into that black water

and struggle up from it again and again

the water kissing and pawing and whispering

the most horrible promises…”

Beautiful imagery is present there. Doctorow makes stunning use of precise details, painting vivid pictures, like this:

“The chief is not cold. He sits at his desk in a short-sleeved shirt. Arms like trees. His wrist watch appears to be imbedded in the flesh. His badge, pinned to his shirt pocket, pulls the material to a point.”

And this, which tugged at my heartstrings with its sadness:

“Warren knew they were poor and lived lives the colour of sag.”

I’ve mentioned crudeness, but the other notable theme is that of poverty, something both of our protagonists share in. Going back to the beginning, we discover Joe has had a fairly pathetic upbringing, and learns to become street-smart in order to get by. He is an interesting protagonist, because he makes choices that would normally make him a very complicated bad guy, only slightly worthy of redemption, rather than the man we are rooting for. Despite the fact that he is on the run at the beginning of the novel due to theft, we come to like him because we see that he’s clever.

He tells the story of how in his early years he stole a cart full of groceries from the fat delivery boy, and instead of taking the groceries for himself, delivered them to all the intended customers, brought the trolley to the store man, and gave him all the money down to the very cent. He scored a job out of this, and it is this event that we start to see, hey, this isn’t some ratbag kid chasing short-term goals. He is in it for the long-term… until he steals the wrong person’s property that is.

He has many ‘save the cat’ moments. There is much I want to say, but I’ll refrain for spoiler’s sake. Let’s just say that he ends up at a carnival, and there are a lot of really sordid, sad scenes. One scene that comes later in the book during a kind of flashback, was really, really distressing to me. I remember finishing that section late one Sunday night and just feeling so low, so crap. Knowing that somewhere in the world, not perhaps that particular thing, but something of the sort, was happening, and had happened, and maybe even would happen again, just made me so sad. Joe is an explosive kind, and despite his own very, very dubious actions, redeems himself in key moments.

“I wanted to do to her what had been done to the Fat Lady, I wanted the force of a hundred men in unholy fellowship, I went at her like a murderous drunkard.”

The whole reason I had sought out this book in the first place is because I had heard of a quote by him that really grabbed my attention:

“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

When later that week I was in a library, I went in search of some of his name and found Loon Lake. I hadn’t really looked into much of his work, or even been recommended any particular book, but seeing the mysterious tones mentioned in the blurb it seemed within my field of interest.

Despite my initial confusion with almost ALL elements of the novel, I still revelled in it, as I like going out of my comfort zone and exploring different forms of storytelling, be it in movies, music or books.

Confusion abounded in Loon Lake: Joe and Warren’s point-of-views were eerily similar, with similar heartbreaking backgrounds, had travelled similar paths to Loon Lake, and later, were in love with the same girl. Their personalities were so different, yet their journeys so symmetrical, that until they actually met each other, I was convinced they were the same person, just bipolar. However the events leading to their meeting, the events that unfold, and the things that happen after Loon Lake are truly fascinating.

The story felt goal-less when Joe was on the run at the beginning; I realise the enticing incident was the authorities chasing him, making him move on, but there were many pages and many continuous moments of crossing land where I just thought “what is pushing the story forward? What is Joe’s motivation?” I guess this story does mimic real life, as I mentioned earlier in Joe’s jumpy thoughts, where sometimes things just move along, move along, and then BANG! you’re given a reason to run.

Just like life, this story has everything: it has the ultimate goal, searching for love, searching for the one, and searching for the life that you believe you deserve. It does this in a perverse way. It has humour. It has sadness. It has desperation, and it has manic moments. It has frightening insights of bleak honesty, so harsh and eerie that it makes you shiver. There are scary moments – scary from humans, and scary because of life. Some things feel like a dream, things go back and forth, and you question many, many voices that are presented throughout. Like the Warren quote mentioned above where Doctorow ‘breaks the wall’ and begins with “I acknowledge Warren’s lifelong commitment…” this passage is also telling in the random thoughts and flashbacks of Warren’s, including one of his repetitions which is identical to another but refers to two separate incidences. When you read it, you’ll know what I mean. But it had me flipping wildly to the start of the book, muttering “I’ve read this before!”

Still, despite the frequent bleakness, and the fact that I probably won’t read another Doctorow book until I read a few really happy novels first, I did enjoy it, and it did have enough humour and insight that I appreciated. I would read another book of his. Just after a blindingly cheesy-happy one.

The ending is not really an ending: not to me anyway. It definitely isn’t one in the Hollywood movie-ending scheme of things, if we’re talking karma and what not. You don’t have very many answers as you go along, and it kind of just ends there, just kind of like life. Some things are tied up, and sometimes, some things are not.

All in all, this novel is a f*^ked up accomplishment of sorts. It has everything, as it had me feeling, and thinking, long after I finished reading. Well done Doctorow. To make a reader feel and think so hard, is testament to your form. Also, to read a book that has so many analogous yet confusing elements in it, yet still giving enough that allows the reader to make sense of it all, is an achievement. If you only like shiny happy things, you’ll walk away screwed up. You’ve been warned.

I’ll end on this page 76 quote that interestingly foreshadows the future of the story while also painting a terrific metaphor.

“…a loon was coming in like a roller coaster. He hit the water and skidded for thirty yards, sending up a great spray, and when the water settled he was gone. I couldn’t see him, I thought the fucker had drowned. But up he popped, shaking and mauling a fat fish. And when the fish was polished off, I heard a weird maniac cry coming off the water, and echoing off the hills.”

Please let me know your thoughts on Loon Lake in the comments below, I would love to discuss with you. 🙂

‘What Does It Mean’ Monday #8 “Stage 5 clinger”

LOL, ROFL, SMH. We are going modern day peeps, and today are looking at a term that has become prevalent in the last couple of decades, becoming a current part of our everyday vernacular, more so for those that actually say LOL ROFL SMH.

Let me explain.

A ‘stage 5 clinger’ is someone from the opposite sex that will not give up, presents themselves as too clingy or attached, to the point that it becomes either uncomfortable, embarrassing or just downright awkward to the person of their affections… or anyone watching.

Someone who becomes overly attached, too quickly.

Someone who is on the rebound or an emotionally fragile person, who thinks they have found the love of their life after only one date.

For further explanation, watch this edited clip from the 2005 movie The Wedding Crashers. Many claim that this is where the term originated:

LOL.

It might be unfairly assumed that the term is exclusive to the female sex… it is not.

Some Aussie mentions abound here so apologies to those abroad… but in our first Aussie run of The Bachelor back in 2013, the stage 5 clinger to the main man Tim Robards was Ali… who so very awkwardly tried to kiss him before leaving the mansion without a rose.

Oh dear. SMH.

Funnily enough years later Ali Oetjen became a Bachelorette herself set on finding true love… and karma has a funny way of finding you again doesn’t it? Because this time she got her very own stage 5 clinger.

The current 2019 season of The Bachelorette shows the leading lady Angie battling with a very keen stage 5 clinger… and if you are watching the series you will know EXACTLY who I am talking about. But it goes to show that the clinger-vibes aren’t reserved for chicks only.

As for the phrase itself… we can see where the ‘clinger’ comes from in the term, but why the ‘stage 5?’ I can only assume it is like when you have a hurricane… you might have a stage 1 hurricane (not so bad, some harsh winds) or a stage 5 hurricane (argh! the end is nigh!)

ROFL.

The same applies to the stage 5 clinger. Either they are getting weird on you with those 3 missed calls in 5 minutes… or they have just driven 3 hours ONE WAY to get you that vanilla slice that you liked… on insta. And they have delivered it to your door. Personally.

UGH. Take it easy.

And that folks is my Monday meaning today…

IMHO.

L8R.

😉

 

 

 

Things that shit me… #17

(Is that bad, that I am up to 17?!)

Things that shit me…

Swimming parents who steal your spot in the change rooms.

Please, LET ME EXPLAIN.

And if you are this swim Mum or swim Dad, I HATE YOU. You deserve a bunch of soaking-chlorinated swimmers thrown in your face.

This happens more times than I dare to count. If I start to count, God help me.

When baby girl goes to her swimming lesson, it is at a peak after-school time.

When I take her to the change rooms straight after for a quick dry and change, it is still peak after-school time.

Do you know what happens almost all the time?

Breathe. Phew…

We walk in. Baby girl has to go to the loo, immediately.

So I put her change bag and shoes down. At a free spot. One that is a-v-a-i-l-a-b-l-e. One side of the change rooms is all benches and places to hang your towels and bags, and I pick one that doesn’t have anyone else’s stuff around it before quickly heading into the toilet with her.

I head in with her, because while in there I pull off her sticky swimmers and wrap her in a towel.

We are out in 2 minutes. Sometimes less.

And as we walk back over to the benches, I take a deep breath, knowing…

someone has taken my spot.

They are literally changing their dripping child into fresh clothes. They are practically in my spot, almost standing on baby girl’s shoes, practically nudging her change bag, and anyone else walking in would be totally forgiven in thinking that baby girl’s stuff, is theirs.

But the stealer of space is not forgiven. They have invaded my space and they and their child and stuff is all in my face! If I did go to my spot to change baby girl, we would be hugging (or I would be strangling them) THAT’S HOW CLOSE WE WOULD BE.

You haven’t heard the clincher, wait for it…

I look around, and there is available bench space around that doesn’t include my bag.

?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

LIKE WHAT THE ACTUAL F%$K????

They have room to change their child elsewhere, and these morons continually pick a spot where my stuff already is!

And you know what I do? Like today… I head over to my stuff, snatch it away and walk off… to a free spot.

FACE PALM.

I am at swimming every week having these knocked-around-like-Beyoncé moments:

The woman no matter who she is, will NEVER say anything. I should park my car so close to hers so she can’t get into her driver’s side, and just stare at her when she has to climb in through the passenger and accidentally lodges herself on the parking brake.

Not pissed much.

This riles me up soooo bad. And I know I am all glass half-full gratitude gal over here… but do not be surprised if one day you hear a news report and it goes something like…

“Chaos today on the Peninsula as a woman is pelted with swimming noodles after taking the spot of another in the change rooms… full details after the break.”

That will be me.

‘What Does It Mean’ Monday #7 “Boxing Day”

It’s the day after Christmas, where a good majority of people spend the aftermath of the festive day either shopping it up and trying to get the best bargain, or drinking VBs and turning lobster-red at the cricket with their best-est mates.

So why do Australians call December 26, Boxing Day?

It occurred to me that I did not know, when I discovered just last week that the next Frozen movie was not arriving in our cinemas in late November like the rest of the world. No… we had to wait until Boxing Day.

As I said the words out loud to baby girl, I realised she would be baffled.

“What is boxing day?

Honey I have no clue. But I am going to try find out for you.

Oh, and that is another thing we Aussies tend to get the day after Christmas… the box-office blockbusters.

The term originated in the UK and therefore the story of it lays there, so it comes to reason that several countries part of the British Empire (i.e. Australia) would therefore celebrate the 26th of December.

One popular theory hails from the 1800s, and the Oxford English Dictionary explains it as: “the first weekday after Christmas day, observed as a holiday on which postmen, errand boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas box”. 

It was a day in which the rich gave to the poor, whether it was to those less fortunate, or their own servants. Also servants were deemed to have the day off after Christmas, and went back home to their families with ‘boxed presents.’

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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

While the exact origin is unknown, the European tradition of giving to those in need dates back to the Middle Ages. And it is one that certainly should not be forgotten. At a time of year when consumerism and spending is rife, we should definitely not forget this time-honoured tradition and try to give what lot, or little we can, to someone in need.

Whatever the reason be, perhaps the most exciting thing for us Aussies is that it’s a public holiday. Spend the day as you will, shopping it up, watching a movie, or going to the cricket. Or something else… how do you spend your Boxing Day?

I can almost guarantee we will be getting Frozen this year… shiver.

Is there a phrase or quote you want me to investigate?

Let me know, and I’ll give it a go!

 

Life Rules by SmikG #2 About always moving and celebrating your small wins

Keep this list handy…

#2 Celebrate the small things. Forget that which does not serve you. Keep moving and looking forward, no matter how small your steps may be.

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Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Explanation: I’ve had a new approach of late, and didn’t realise how much I had implemented it, until I saw it happening in each part of my life.

I have been trying to eat healthier and more naturally, using healthier sweet alternatives when I feel I need them, instead of any processed forms of sugar.

I am generally a healthy eater. And I am highly realistic about what I can and can’t do. Each time I make the right choice for a meal I give myself a quiet pat on the back.

And each time I indulge in something considered ‘naughty’… I still enjoy the snack fully. I let myself appreciate each bite. Then I forget all about it, while reminding myself that I am being normal.

Be kind to yourself when you are trying, when you are learning. If you can’t forgive yourself and move on for not making the ‘appropriate’ healthy choice, then how do you expect others to forgive you for anything?

I am very realistic about these things. I don’t believe in limitation and diets. If you focus on those words, well no one is inspired to do better for their bodies. But focusing on health, vitality, energy and enjoyment, with treats when your body truly wants it, not just because you reach for it by habit… that is important.

Likewise with movement, and exercise. I am not doing near enough what I wish I could do. But I have a health app on my phone. It tracks my steps, my sleep, and my daily movement.

Some days I hit my target. Other days I smash it. Some I am not even close.

And still I move on, telling myself that each step, regardless of when and where it falls, brings me closer to health.

And then… there’s books. My love. ♥ The online book club I am part of reminds me on a daily basis how much I am not reading. Readers post books they are reading over the weekend, discuss their favourite authors, and what didn’t work in that last outback romance they just read in a 6 hour free block…

And I sit there bemoaning the fact that I have so much to write.

Hubbie reminds me of this. “You are writing a book! They aren’t!”

Sure. He is right. But still I try. A page here and there, a chapter a night, sometimes…

Then there are all those book reviews I have to do. And like I said, ALL that writing. Sure, I don’t have to write those reviews… but I promised myself when I started all this that I would, and if I break my promise to myself, what chance do others have to depend on me?

Harsh yes. Hard definitely. But one day I will be more caught up, when word by word, bit by bit I reach a stage I consider socially acceptable for a writer to be ‘behind’… LOL.

And despite all this… I keep moving forward. I don’t stand still. I may only do the tiniest thing every day, but I am still doing something. I am still, moving forward.

It’s the only way to go.

Note rule number 2!

Strong Arms in old Richmond town

The Richmond Arms
42 Bridge Street Richmond TAS

(Visited August ’18)

This was the first place we dined out for a meal, properly (bar takeaway), when we holidayed in Tasmania in late August of 2018.

Firstly, they had said it would be cold. So cold. I was preparing, you know, for the worst.

We brought our jackets. For sure. We were from Melbourne after all. If anyone knew, it was US.

But instead, sunshine shone so much that day, we left our jackets in our car.

In Tasmania! True story.

Secondly. We had heard a bit about this old-fashioned Richmond town. It was nothing like the inner-city suburb that Melbourne knows so well, home of the yellow and black footy supporters. No.

This was something else entirely. Sure it held a lot history much like it’s sister city back in Melbs…

But unlike Melbourne’s Richmond, Tassie’s Richmond still looked like it was in the 1800s.

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After a wander up and down, into Sweets and Treats, Richmond’s lolly shop, for coffee and what else, lollies, we really needed a bite to eat. It was our second day in Tasmania having arrived the day before, and really, our first proper spot of sight-seeing.

What a place to start on.

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We had travelled approximately 30 minutes from Lutana where our accommodation resided. The scenery was striking and beautiful. What immediately struck me was the constant views. They were all the same, yet so different and continuously beautiful. That’s because largely, there were hills, and water.

Hills and water.

Hills and water.

HILLS AND WATER.

It was very picturesque. We started to understand quite quickly why people said Tassie was such a beautiful place. We went up Grasstree Hill Road and then back down it, winding around and around to finally reach our destination at Georgian-style Richmond town.

And of course when lunch time came, we really had to go old-school too.

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At The Richmond Arms.

The interior certainly matches the exterior. Where the outside shows the age of the building and the time it came from, we found not much was changed inside. Though perhaps slightly updated, the rooms are definitely of another time and place, so don’t go expecting anything life-changing here. The room we sat in was away from the area that housed the bar where Hubbie went up to order and pay at, and in one way it felt like we were sectioned off into a room that may have very long ago been a lounge room.

The Richmond Arms Hotel also has accommodation, something to consider if you want to spend more than a day in Richmond. There is plenty to do and see, and considering the history and beauty of the town, why wouldn’t you?

Despite the age of the tables and chairs, I really was quite taken aback by one feature wall within… it had a quote so beautiful, so treasured and meaningful, and also so close to my heart, as it was a sentiment confirmed to me as the years have gone by, a written manifestation of what I had known all along, but never really verbalised… that I had to photograph it:

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‘An opal-hearted country,

A wilful, lavish land,

All you who have not loved her,

You will not understand

though Earth holds many splendours,

Wherever I may die,

I know to what brown country,

My homing thoughts will fly.’

– Dorothea Mackellar “My Country.”

WOW.

After ordering Hubbie brought over our drinks, a beer for him, and of course a local for me – the Richmond Arms Sauvignon Blanc

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Considering it wasn’t awfully busy it still took some time to receive our meals… I used this time to run around the old-fashioned shops within the street, to find out of all things, a mobile phone car charger! It appeared that my phone was just not coping with all the photos I was snapping, and I couldn’t bare to waste all my battery and go home having not photographed all of Richmond-town. Oh, the horror! My prayers were answered at the large convenience corner store kinda opposite the Richmond Arms.

Exhale.

When the food did arrive, we were very hungry, and it looked delish. Well worth the wait.

I had the Asian vegetable and Hokkien noodle stir fry

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Hubbie had the Chicken schnitzel – served with chips/salad or vegetables and your choice of sauce (no salad, with sauce)

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And baby girl had the Macaroni cheese

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Firstly, Hubbie was so jealous when he saw my meal! I guess the thing with being married to someone is you have to give each other bites of your meal… for better, or for worse. I for one know Hubbie is hanging to have a bite of whatever I order when he starts offering me bits of his… in an attempt to subtly hint “hey, I want some.”

Ha ha.

The sauce was very flavoursome and the noodles and vegetables all combined well to make a delicious dish. There were bits of all kinds of veggies, and the presentation really was up there, not what I expected from the kitchen of that hotel… I was surprised. Pleasantly so.

Hubbie enjoyed what he had ordered. He was happy in that it was a hearty pub-style meal, and to be honest, simply what he had expected… it was chicken with vegetables after all. He was full, let’s just say.

Baby girl’s macaroni was overwhelmingly cheesy – hence the mac and cheese – so she struggled with it. She was not hating it, but wasn’t so much a fan as that was during her ‘plain’ phase. And this cheese-dripping-over-every-inch-of-macaroni meal was as far from plain as you could get. We fed her that, and chips and vegies from Hubbie’s plate to satisfy her lunchtime requests.

No fault of the meal’s… it was all her tastebuds that decided for her. It was an especially cheesy meal, not for the faint-cheese-hearted.

When it was time to go, we left happy and satisfied. We had been venturing through Bridge Street, and next… to Zoodoo Zoo it was!

It ended up being a most wonderful day 🙂

Food: 8/10. It was hearty, tasty, presentation was great… it ticked many of our boxes for good old-fashioned fare.

Coffee: N/A. We can’t put all our food and coffee eggs in one basket can we? We like to try out as many places as we can when we’re someplace new, meaning food and coffee don’t tend to happen at the same place. That happened over at Sweets and Treats earlier! I hope to one day be back at the Arms, and then I will know.

Ambience: Quiet. Lunchtime in Richmond tends to be a calm affair, even with the fact that it is a destination… it may pick up on weekends?

Staff: Almost non-existent, other than to bring our food over. If you need them, you know where to find them… up at the bar.

People: Pensioners pensioners pensioners. You know there were a lot of older people wandering around the street, clearly tourist-minded, however considering what there is to see, do and appreciate, I am surprised there were not a lot of younger families? Perhaps we came during off-peak season, which come to think of it, is not a bad thing.

Price: $69.00. Is that it? For food and drinks? Crap I am moving to Tasmania now…

Advice: Go when you’re not yet overly hungry, so you don’t mind waiting that extra bit for that steaming plate of love that comes out of the kitchen some time later.

In a nutshell: A really authentic and memorable lunch experience. The food is not average or out of date in any respects, despite what the interior and exterior may look like. The surrounds are interesting and reflect the nature of the street and town as a whole, which make the whole experience that much more pure and relevant. In my mind, legs and ARMS, it’s the only place to go.

The Richmond Arms Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

‘What Does It Mean’ Monday #6 “Lunatic”

Did you know that we are currently in the full moon phase? Although that shiny orb in the sky has appeared to be glowing in a circular fashion for a few nights now, the official full moon time was this morning at 8:07.

Do you get affected by the full moon? Do you find those around you getting cranky, emotional, irrational even? Is traffic more trying? Random upsets with friends occur? An annoying hiccup at work? Your pets go ape-shit?

I’ve started paying a lot of attention to the moon cycles. Ever since I started going off-kilter because of them… and my cat too.

The moon. Lunatic. Lunar. How did the term evolve to how we use it today?

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Photo by Guzmán Barquín on Unsplash

Let’s first look at the word ‘Luna.’

Wikipedia says, Luna: a Spanish, Italian and Romanian name of Latin origin, meaning moon.

How does this differ to ‘Lunar?’

The Collins Online Dictionary says, Lunar: of, or relating to the moon. 

We are clearly talking ONLY about the moon here. So where did the -tic come from, and how did this evolve to people going crazy?

The Online Etymology Dictionary says Lunatic is a late 13th century word meaning “affected with periodic insanity, dependent on changes of the moon.”

Origins are from Old French ‘lunatique,’ meaning “insane,”

or directly from Late Latin, ‘lunaticus’ meaning “moon-struck.”

Ok, so the moon can make you crazy, we get it. But is there any proper evidence to support this long-held superstition?

The Lexicon Orthopaedic Etymology says that the first uses of the word were related to epilepsy rather than insanity. It was believed that epileptic seizures were triggered by moonlight, therefore the term lunatic was reserved for those patients.

Epilep-tic.

Luna-tic.

Hmmm. 

However the very first known entry is in the 5th century Latin version of the Bible, where a father asks Jesus to cure his son as he is “lunaticus” – that is, suffering from epilepsy.

“Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick…”

Have you personally felt the effects of the full moon? Have you ever felt like going a little ‘cray cray’ at a certain time of month? (And no women, I mean the other time…)

I know a medical professional who sees 6 independent women from the police force, and they all concur that on the night of the full moon, they are much, much busier than usual.

Take that as you will. But today, tonight… beware…

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Photo by Drew Tilk on Unsplash

Is there a phrase or quote you want me to investigate?

Let me know, and I’ll give it a go!

‘What Does It Mean’ Monday #5 “Choking the Chicken”

Yep. You read right.

Today I am doing something a bit different. Sure I am going to be exploring the above phrase and its origins, but rather than basing my research on online google searches, I am going to say right now, what I am about to say can’t be found on google.

I AM GOOGLE TODAY PEOPLE. You won’t find this info anywhere.

I am going to bring forth a theory based on someone else’s fact, and so if you disagree with me, I’d love to hear it… but I think it’s pretty darn good.

Since I talk about origins, of course I can’t proceed without talking about what my Monday phrase first means. So, how do I put this…

‘Choking the chicken,’ diplomatically speaking, is the act of pleasuring oneself, intimately…

With the term specifically reserved to men. For good reason.

Think similar terms like “taking the dog for a walk,”

“spanking the monkey” and

“bashing the bishop.”

And if you still have NO IDEA what I am talking about, you clearly should not be on this blog.

Onwards for those that do.

With the phrase well and truly explained and the image clear in our minds (sorry!) I will now go onto the fascinating story of HOW I CAME TO FIND OUT ITS ORIGIN.

And guess what? Real chickens are involved.

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Photo by William Moreland on Unsplash

Some time ago we were visiting some family friends, who had backyard chickens at the time. Baby girl being the age she is, was fascinated with the chooks, and our friend caught some for her to pat.

As he held one, he was telling us about the chooks, and how he had to sometimes… choke them. Not choke as in strangle, but massage the area beneath the hen’s neck which is called the ‘crop,’ which if it became watery and squishy in nature, might mean the food they had eaten had not emptied fully, which could lead to an infection for the hen.

To keep this from happening – he laughed – he had to “choke the chicken.”

At first I stared in awe. I mean, the term kind of went over me, as I stared, watching him massage the neck of the hen, up and down, until something, slowly and quietly, spewed and dribbled out from the hen’s mouth.

Oh God. Then it hit me. 

CHOKE. THE. CHICKEN.

The official term used is ’emptying a chicken’s crop.” Look it up on youtube. Hell, I’ll give you the link that I watched. Go to 4:20. There you go, easy peasy pumpkin easy. And then watch as the chicken… well, you know.

I must advise, only those that know what they are doing should perform this manoeuvre. You can fatally harm a chicken if you don’t do this the right way. But as you can see in the video… OMG. Like it looks, the same! Oh God. I feel sick. Please don’t vomit guys, don’t vomit.

And there you have it. Choking the chicken. Bet you didn’t see that one coming.

Okay I will stop now.

Is there a phrase or quote you want me to investigate?

Let me know, and I’ll give it a go!