Monday, 25 June 2012

Where's the beer?

Four weeks in and I've managed to miss two of those Sunday Sesh's. Various reasons, but suffice to say that there have been some distractions (to put it mildly), that have taken me away from both drinking beer, and my writing.

Not good.

Normal services will resume this Sunday.

Because yeh, I've pre-loaded a Sesh, so it'll go up whether I'm here or not.

Friday, 15 June 2012

What's my value?

(Apologies for the length of this post. I really wanted to be brief but once I get started, I just can't seem to stop.)

In Queensland, we currently have Civil Partnership Laws enabling couples (hetero and same-sex) to register their relationships. It's a step down from marriage, and isn't recognised in all states or federally, but it's a start.

The new LNP government has decided to leave the registration part of the law as it stands, which is a sigh of relief for those of us (609 couples at last count) who registered.

The LNP have decided, however, that the bit that upsets the Christians (the Premier's words) is the state-sanctioned ceremony, currently only able to be performed at specific courthouses around the state. They've decided to scrap those ceremonies, but still allow the filling out of forms and the paying of money for the priviledge of having our relationships recognised.

On the surface, nothing changes. We still could have ceremonies, and then fill out the paperwork later, or do the reverse - fill out the paperwork and have a celebratory ceremony after the fact.

We still get the extra legal protections, regardless of whether we have the ceremony or not.

All good, on the surface. Seems like a nice compromise.

I have two problems with the reasoning put forward for the change.

The first is the offence caused by this legislation to various churches and religions. I understand the thought of gay marriage, or indeed gay partnerships, are offensive to some people of faith. But not all religions or churches feel that way.

Using this reasoning sets a precedent for other faiths to lobby the government to demand changes to things that cause them offence. That's their right of course, but should offence be a reason to change laws that in reality only affect those who would choose to use them?

The second is that the government has given a clear indication on where it stands on recognising same-sex couples, and indeed LGBTI people individually, whether it meant to or not.

They can say nice words about how much "we're" respected, but it's their actions that really count. And like it or not, the way they treat people, or seem to treat people, sets an example for the rest of us.

By not allowing a simple ceremony (when the whole point of Civil Partnerships is for state-based rather than church-based recognition) sends the message that our relationships aren't valued by the people we have charged with governing over all of us.

In light of the changes, I sent emails to each of the LNP members (which, incidentally, bounced back, but I don't want to scream "conspiracy" just yet), telling them my thoughts.

It took me a long time to put into words why I thought changing the laws would be a step backwards, but when I'd finished and read it over, one sentence stood out above all others. 

"The new law sent a clear message to those of us who struggle with our sexuality, as most of us do at some stage in our lives, that we are valued."

I have railed against the arguments against gay marriage, from religious reasons to blatant disriminatory reasons, but it wasn't until now that I was able to actually put how I feel into one word - VALUE.

It comes down to how much we value our fellow human beings.

For those of you who are against gay marriage, for whatever reason, or are non-committal, and don't think it affects you in any way, and for those of you who have gay friends or family members and are still against gay marriage, I ask you to consider this:

Think about your sons and daughters, parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and friends.

Are you happy to see them hurt? Would you be happy to hear them called "pedophile", "not fit for parenting", "mentally unstable", and "diseased"?

Would you stand by while someone says they should all be shot?

How would you feel reading comments to articles on gay marriage and civil unions that say things like "the worst thing the government in Queensland did was make being gay legal. they should be put in jail for their perversions." (A real comment believe it or not).

How would you feel to get a phone call or visit from a police officer, informing you that your loved one is in hospital, or worse, simply because someone else took offence to their sexuality? Or because your loved one committed suicide because they couldn't deal with the stress of being gay or lesbian? Because they were bullied for being different. Because they were told they were inferior.

You may think I am being extreme. "These things don't happen all the time," you say. I'm sorry to tell you that they do.

Why? Because those who say and do those terrible things don't value others. They feel they have a right to punish those of us who are a little different.

How will allowing gay marriage change that?

It shows that at the very highest level, we are valued. It takes away an excuse for marginalising and discriminating.

It shows us that we are valued as human beings, and as citizens of our great country. It makes a statement that we are no different from our heterosexual friends and family, and it acknowledges that we too, can fall in love and make the decision to make a formal commitment to the person we love.

A civil partnership is not marriage. It's the furthest a State may go with regards to legal recognition of relationships, but it's a start.

So I ask you:

How much do you value your friends and family?

How much do you value me?

Sunday, 10 June 2012

An offer almost too good to refuse

This week's Sunday Sesh brought to you by Montheith's Black Beer.

As you can see, I'm trying out a new format this week. Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Also, I should put a language and content warning on this one for those of you sensitive to words containing asterisks.

The Review

We all know the rivalry and the brotherhood we have with our cousins across the ditch. It's always been a love/hate relationship. We love them for giving us Russell Crowe (most of the time), Keith Urban, Rebecca Gibney and lesbian icon, Lucy Lawless. We hate them for taking the Bledisloe and World Cups.

We forgive them for beating us in the second test in Tasmania last year, if only because they hardly ever get close to us, and we also have a soft spot for Dan Vettori, Richard Hadlee and the Crowe brothers (the latter tearing us up in the 1980s).

I'm happy to report that they've given me something to crow about with Monteith's Black Beer.

It smells sweet and fresh in the bottle, and pours like sars. It tastes immedediately of coffee and caramel, but gives a slight aftertaste of burnt toffee. I have a mouth full of sweet teeth, so just writing that makes my mouth water.

It's another of those beers that isn't overly gassy, so it tingles your tongue. I like how you don't feel like you're drinking a mouthful of air as well as the beer.

Although not quite as sweet as Engine Oil and a little drier, this would make a great winter session beer because it's not as filling as the UK brew I tried last week.

At $3.60 a bottle ($52.99 a carton), this is a mid-shelfer.

The Post

I've been wanting to do a post on the shit that comes into my email box for ages but most of it's been relatively boring. Things like:

  • offers for replica Rolexes (as opposed to those nasty fake ones)
  • Gambling offers ('Free $300 credit when you JOIN NOW!')
  • Free viagra (I read it as "free vagina once" and almost clicked through)
  • College f*ck books ('Two hot college girls want to sleep with you this weekend.' Such a pity I'm always busy - with my Wife!)
  • Fifty Shades of Grey alert from Amazon. Oh wait, that was a legitimate one. (And literary fiction? Seriously, Amazon?)
But one that landed in my inbox this week looked pretty legit. It was from facebook with the subject 'Re:'. Now anyone who knows me, knows I just can't go past an email with the subject 're:'. I mean, 're:' what? It could be anything, right?

So I took a look.

(The email in italics, and my comments underneath).

BABE... i guess your not getting any of my email huh? ive been tryign to email u so many times but this dam laptop is such a piece of garbage and keeps freezing.. anyways how u been? In case u dont know who this is its ME TORI.. we used to chat a bit on facebook and then I think u deleted me :(

First things first - I live in Australia. The only Tori's we have here are imported. I have never, ever in my 36 years, known a Tori.

Oh, but I've been good. Thanks for asking. And I hate to be pedantic but you know me - I'm a writer so spelling's kinda important. It's 'trying' not 'tryign'.

anyways guess what... I got 2 things to tell u..  1) im single now.. yup me and my bf broke up about 3 months ago... and 2) guess where im moving?

Oh see, now that's really unlucky, because I'll be moving soon to a small town far, far ,far away. Sorry about your break-up though. That's sad, right? (By the way, there's the reason for your content warning right there - I hope no-one's offended by Tori's use of 'effing', especially since she YELLED it).

I remember when we chatted u told me u thought i was cute and u wanted to chill so now we finally can HAHA! ...maybe even help me move my shit in...

I don't drive so you'll have to move your own shit in. Sorry.

And I tell so many people they're cute, I've lost track. You'll have to remind me who you are.

ok so more info about me.. well im 23.. virgo.. love the outdoors and love to socialize, go out for drinks, restaurants, movies etc.. travel.. i have a lil kitty named BOO and i luv her to death... uhhh oh im a super horny gurl too but every gurl is they just wont admit it. so ilove watching p0rn and all that..

You should have mentioned your kitty earlier. I totally would have clicked through right then. I also love how you evaded my filter by using 'p0rn' instead of 'porn'. That show's you're smart. I like smart women.

i hope u remmeber me and still wanna chill and arent married yet lol..

Does it matter if I am if I tell you I'm not?

OH YA also..

i need to find a job when i get there.. do u have any hookups or know anybody hiring? id LOVE to work in a bar or osmehting like that...really anythgin cause my current job is fun and all..

and technically i CUD keep doign it but i want a change.. i currently work from home and well thats cool but i need ot be out meeting people.. oh wait. i dont think i ever actually told u what i did? hmm shud i......????

Wow, you really don't ask for much, Tori. And there's that spelling thing again. You seem to have trouble with where the 'n' and 'g' goes in 'ing' words.
But yeh, why don't you tell me what you do.

ok WELLLL... and dont get all weirded out on me.. i work on a webcam chat community site and i get paid to chat with people

A webcam chat? Like skype? Cool. I like skype.

and get naked HHAHA...

Oh, riiight. THAT type of webcam.

anyways i hope u dont look down on that and NO THATS NOT WHY IM CONTACTING U RELAX URSELF lol... i actually need help once i move and i remembered u live there so im reaching i said before this computer is a complete piece of CRAP and freezes NON STOP..

I'm so happy you're only contacting me because you want my help, and not because you want my business.

I do think you should get your laptop fixed though, otherwise your webcam chats could end up looking like they were filmed in a nightclub with strobe lights, all jumpy and pixelated.
ANYWAYS.. heres the deal....every month (my boss) gives each of us 3 VIP codes to give out to whoever we want.. so with this code u can lgoin to watch me at work for free and dont have to pay like everyone else...

I love freebies :) Where do I sign?

i only get 3 a month and she gets pissed if more than 3 people use them so DONT SHARE IT MISTER...

Oh no problem. I don't like sharing anyway. Plus, it's Ms, but whatever.

 i figured u cud always email me back instead but my email account doesnt even let me login half the time.. so the bets palce ot chat me is my chat room...

Freakin' email. It sucks when you can't log in. I'm glad you can still log in to your webcam chat account though. Such a relief.

Freakin' email Sucks when you can't send any. Just like this one. Must have gotten its little self through before it wigged out on you, huh? Lucky me.

anyways ive rambled on and on now and ur probably soooo annnoyed with me so ill stop now.. im gonna go start work..

k babe im out for now... chat ya soon..

kisses xoxo

Wow, I think I've got a good one here. What do you think?

On the up side, at least her english is readable, even with the bad spelling.

One question though, who wants the free codes?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

What I learnt about writing from my dogs

When Wifey and I decided to get our first dog, we knew we wanted to adopt one from our local RSPCA.

There's no doubt it's a huge choice and we even used their website survey to work out what breed would be best for us (a beagle, which is exactly the opposite of what we got). Then we hit their website and trolled through the photos, oohing and aahing over the online profiles.

We spent a few weekends going in to the kennels, walking past the hopeful adoptees and walking out again, unsure about what we wanted. Everytime I walked out without a dog, it broke my heart to think that there were so many in there looking for new homes - a home that we didn't think we could give.

We continued this for weeks - me checking the website, emailing profiles to Wifey with "Could this be our Lola?" (the name Wifey was determined to call our dog, so we were predestined to get a girl).

During this time, a little 5 month old kelpie-cross came up. We glossed over her profile for weeks - she was gorgeous, but we figured we preferred a more sedate type of dog. Kelpies are working dogs, and notoriously hyperactive.

We came close with a golden retriever called Magic, but when we took him for a walk he was more interested in being out in the park than he was in us. We also found out that he was a master of escaping yards. Thankfully though, he found a home with a family with kids, which was perfect for him.

Finally, after a few months of looking, I opened up the little kelpie's profile, and had a really good look at her picture. She was a tiny, skinny little thing, and jet black. Her tongue lolled out the side of her mouth and her ears pointed straight up and alert. 

I suggested to Wifey that we might get her out for a walk when we went back to the RSPCA that weekend. Wifey agreed, because it was the one profile she kept coming back to as well. What could it hurt?

That weekend, we walked straight up to her kennel and spoke to her. I can't remember what we said, but Wifey probably said something like "Do you want to come home with us?" We should have known right then that she was the one - she leapt at the wall and flipped off it. Wifey and I stepped back and said "whoa!" We knew we might have an excitable puppy on our hands. We also wondered what she'd be able to do off our six-foot fence.

Undeterred by her acrobatic abilities, we asked a volunteer if we could take her out to have a play with her. When we first stepped into the yard, the volunteer took off the leash, and I knelt down to the kelpie's level. She walked straight over to me and put her head under my armpit, resting her chin on my leg.

I looked up at Wifey and smiled. This kelpie was the one. We played with her for awhile, but in all honesty, we didn't need to make our minds up - she'd picked us, so we figured we better just formalise the adoption and take her home.

While we were there playing with her, we had a few of the volunteers and staff come up and say how happy they were that this little kelpie had found a home at last. She'd been in the kennels for nearly three months, and no-one had shown much interest. They all fussed over her and said she was a beautiful dog.

We can certainly attest to that.

So, after signing the paperwork and paying the adoption fee, Daisy became the first addition to our family.

Wifey and Daisy the day we brought her home

I always say that Daisy chose us, rather than the other way around.

I'd like to think that she waited until we came along to show us her best side so that we would be the ones to take her home.

So, what does this have to do with writing?

Early on when my writing was just a hobby, I wanted to reach the world. I wanted 'everyone' to read and love my work.

Since then, I've realised that not everyone's going to like what I write, and that's ok.

My job is to be my best self. To write what I'm passionate about. To write in my own unique way.

Sure, lots of people might come and have a look, but they'll keep smiling and walk right by, knowing my stuff just isn't for them. But just like Daisy, if I'm true to myself and write what I love, the right people will come along.

We always knew we wanted two dogs, because we didn't want to have a lonely dog on our hands, since both of us work full time. Our other dog, Ruby, is a rescue pet from the same RSPCA we got Daisy from.

Rubes (front) and Daisy tuckered out after a tough day
I'll tell Ruby's story in a future post, because she taught me things only a Labrador could.

And if you're after a dog, cat, rat, chook, or other type of pet please consider your local RSPCA or shelter.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Harviestoun Brewery Old Engine Oil

It's been perfect weather up here on the Ridge for getting stuck into a few dark ales - cold, windy and rainy.

So, welcome to the first winter Sunday Sesh, brought to you by
Harviestoun Brewery's Old Engine Oil Porter. 
Something I drained out of the car earlier

Well, this certainly looks like engine oil, but it does have some carbonation, hence the short, creamy head. Tastes a little of burnt caramel, and sweet like a good porter should. There's a hint of chocolate, but there's a most interesting aftertaste - vegemite. I guess that's because vegemite is a yeast-based product, but it was funny being able to taste the stuff I used to eat by the bucket-load for breakfast when I was a kid.

Anything that tastes like an Aussie staple is alright in my book. I really like this beer, but would maybe stop at two or three. It's quite heavy to drink, as in thickish compared to summery lagers, so fills you up quite quickly.

A side note on this, as I mentioned in an earlier post, the Porters were named after the transportation workers (porters) who enjoyed this type of beer in 18th century London. Apparently, they used to make a meal out the beers. And I can see why, as these types of ales fill you up fast.   

A great beer to kick off the winter Sunday Sesh's.

A couple of things caught my eye this week.

The first was this news about swing bowling in cricket.

Apparently some scientists discovered that it's not moisture in the air that causes swing.

I think those scientists haven't been to a test match in Brisbane. When the humidity's high at the Gabba, that red ball is practically moving 90 degrees as can be seen by the very first ball of the 2006 first test delivered by Steve Harmison.

One commenter on this video said that maybe it was a tactic by England - to get the ball to Freddy Flintoff as soon as possible. It's a shame that tactic didn't quite work. We won that series in a white-wash.

The other thing that caught my eye was this mash-up from youtube. It's a very clever look at the goal celebrations in football (that's the round ball game), and adding in some Hollywood-style FX.

Some of the world's best players are known just as much for their celebrations as the goals they score. So I'll leave you with this little piece of brilliance to finish of the Sesh.

My favourite is the accordion playing 'keeper.

Next week, I'm trying out Monteiths Black Beer, a drop from our cousins across the ditch. The last time I had a Kiwi beer, I wasn't impressed. I have had a Monteiths before when I holidayed in Queenstown and it wasn't too bad. I'm looking forward to this one, since it promises lots of caramelly, chocolatey, nutty, and coffee goodness.

Until next Sunday's Sesh,