I’m a “Survivor” addict. I love the show. I love the strategy, the characters (loving to hate and hating to love), I love the comfortable place that is JPro’s Southern drawl and unflagging rhetoric. But I know if I were ever a contestant on “Survivor”, I would, with disappointing certainty, be the first person (or even worse, the second) to be voted out. Guaranteed.
People get on Twitter to connect, but I’ve seen it happen where people end up feeling radically disconnected instead. Twitter is the social media equivalent of “Survivor” – an intriguing microcosm of society where one is thrust into a random “tribe” of followers, a tribe you ostensibly “belong” to and seek to make alliances within, but the politics within the tribe can sometimes be tricky:
- It’s a social game. On Twitter, just like “Survivor”, you are meant to engage and be entertained in real time. But engaging can trip you up if you think about what’s going on too much. Twitter may be a social game, but if you are the kind of person to have a continuous raging internal dialogue, the interpersonal politics could eat you alive. But if you don’t treat Twitter/”Survivor” as a social game and acknowledge the critical nature of making friends (I’m looking at you, Russell Hantz, although I really would prefer not to), you will NEVER win that million bucks. And you will probably piss off a nation of people.
- There are alliances within the tribe and like any good alliance, there is an outsider. Or outsiders. I’m not writing this purely from the perspective of someone who has felt like a Twitter outsider, but also as someone who has been the offender. There are times when I accidentally stumble onto a fragmented Twitter exchange and wonder if I’ve stumbled onto a group who is talking about who to vote out; “Um yeah, hi. I have something incredibly interesting to say. Include me. Pick meeeeeeeee. Don’t vote me out. We can go to Final 3″. The exchange is clearly not directed at me, but I’m reading it, tweavesdropping if you will. It’s weird. Like “Survivor” pixellating bum crack during muddy challenges. You know it’s there and you can kinda see it, but you know you’re really not supposed to.
- You can be whoever you want to be. You can make up stories about your grandmother dying to get sympathy votes (why you would want to I’m not entirely sure), you can pretend not to be an ex-Mickey Mouse Clubber but to a less dramatic extent you can present whatever persona you want to get you further in the game.
- You can find real love and friendships on Twitter/”Survivor”. And Love and Friendship are better than a million bucks. Aren’t they? AREN’T THEY? If you are Rob and Amber, you can even have both and turn yourself into a million dollar reality game mega-juggernaut.
- You always have your family to go home to at the end of it. Some days I launch Twitter and find myself getting twisted up in knots, trying to ascertain the big players, the smaller players with interesting things to say, trying to work out who is with who, who knows each other in real life, who is doing what with who. It’s how my mind works – it’s always looking for patterns, for associations, for the big picture. Then I take a deep breath and realise that whilst Twitter can be a remarkable tool for connecting (including in real life), I have friends outside this hotbed of fragmented conversations with people I may or may not connect with when Twitter connections spill out into the real world.
Twitter IS a Social Game and one I enjoy a lot of the time. Most of us want to engage with other like minded dudes. In real time. We like to discuss the spunk merit of redheads. We like to vent about the shitty day we are having. We like to get people excited about our philanthropic causes. We like to talk about touching our panties when watching “Homeland” (you know, the important stuff). We can filter the people who see our feeds to an extent, but there are tribe politics, that much is undeniable. I don’t know how people who follow thousands of people keep up. So many tribes, so much information. A Brain Fry waiting to happen.
Tribal Council on crack.
Are you ready for a trip down Amnesia Lane?
Remember, I did warn you.
1. Pillowslips on the bedpost. My favourite part of the year was waking up on Christmas morning to a throbbing pillow case on the bedpost (get your minds out of the gutter, please). We didn’t even have a special pillowcase, whatever was clean on the night (and mum is a Virgo so there were lots).
2. Construction Christmas books. They were cardboard, you poked figurines and houses out and constructed them so that you had your very own Christmas 3D scene. Every year, my brother and I would alternate between the snow-drenched European street scene and the nativity scene. I’ve been looking for them for years but they just don’t sell them anymore. Not even The Google knows about them. I type in searches and it gives me the white screen of WTF.
3. The smell of a freshly opened Barbie. Like the smell of a new car but with boobs and hemmed vaginas. I don’t know why Barbie dolls smell different now – as far as I’m aware they’re still made of the same stuff (i.e. a whole lot of cheap Asian plastic). In fact, it was any plastic toy fresh from the wrapper (the Bionic Woman of 1979 springs to mind) that smelt to me like Christmas. Even more than live pine trees and shandies by the lake.
4. Eating Butter. Another in the “Don’t try this at home” annals, I tried this at home every single Christmas of my childhood. You see, my family were of the Meadow Lea and powdered milk variety throughout the year, but every December, we would have real butter and real milk. I would steal to the fridge and sneak chunks of butter, with fresh milk chasers. It was heaven in a cow udder.
5. Bing Crosby’s Christmas Album. It was released in 1955, before I was an itch in the itch in my daddy’s pants, but this is seminal stuff. My parents had this on repeat on the record player all Christmas Day. It should send shivers of terror down my spine just thinking about it, but it doesn’t. It is very comforting. Like knowing I never have to listen to Alan Jones’ voice on radio again.
6. The annual Pine Tree reconnaisance mission. About a week before Christmas, dad would take my brother and I to the pine forest near Dora Creek and cut down a clandestine pine tree. I can’t bring myself to cut down a live tree these days, but that’s right, dendrocide is something I miss from my childhood.
7. Window Advent Calendars. We never had chocolate advent calendars as a kid. We had the ones that you put on the window – they had a tissue-paper back, and when you opened each window, a different picture would shine through. It was all about the picture. It was probably just as well we had non-chocolate calendars, given the amount of butter I consumed.
8. Watching the Santa Tracker on local TV. The precursor to NORAD, it was seriously analog – every ad break on NBN3, a basic world map filled the TV screen and little sleigh “blips” indicated where Santa was in the world. Excitement, wot.
9. Silken thread ornaments. Oh ho ho, that does make me sound very posh does it not biatches? These were balls that were covered in really fine silk thread and are now classified as “vintage”. When I was a kid I just liked to stroke the sh*t out of those balls. It was very calming. Trust me on this.
10. Being home. All our family lived in Newcastle, so Christmas Day was unfailingly spent with aunts, uncles and cousins. Now we’re Christmas nomads. Since Scout was born, we’ve spent Christmas in Adelaide, Newcastle, Mount Gambier and Melbourne. I don’t mind the travel, but don’t like feeling like a Christmas Orphan when we’re actually home. With family fragmented all over the country, it is a hard pill to swallow. Which is why I like to dissolve it in a retro Pimms. Don’t mind me, will you?
What do you most miss about the Christmas’s you had as a kid?
Very happy to have “From where you live” featured as one of the Photo a Day Fab Four. Clearly, that Fatmumslim (not Fat Muslim, I think we’ve already established that) has taste.
Now, I stumbled onto this little number last season and I honestly can’t say how it’s any different to your standard cosmo. But do you care? Neither do I. Bring it.
30ml Cointreau, triple sec OR for a festive treat, Stone’s Ginger Wine. Everyone’s favourite bogan drink.
30ml Cranberry Juice
20ml Lime Juice
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with some ice. Pour into cocktail glass and garnish with Lime peel, ginger stem or float the top with fresh cranberries (a tough ask in this sundrenched Christmas town)!
I am letting go. This year’s Christmas tree was brought to us by Scout’s “Disco Tree” concept, little bunches of disco ball ornaments concentrated in only one part of the tree. I like an aesthetically balanced tree and started to “educate” her about the mathematical concept of “balance” before I thought, F*ck it, this is joy. OCD to Joy.
Linking up with My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday. Well, I had the best intentions of a Wordless Wednesday, but I opened up my keyboard pie-hole and just couldn’t stop. Happens to me all the time.
Just in time for the stupid season, here are some easy (and often cheap) ways to sass up an ordinary glass of sparkling wine:
- Wild Hibiscus flowers in syrup - you can get this in many liquor stores – Dan Murphys definitely sells it. The flowers open up when you pour in the bubbles – delicious tipple AND party trick in one.
- Sugar cube drenched with bitters – a classic champagne cocktail.
- Shot of Cointreau or orange curacao/triple sec.
- Shot of chambord. Freaking awesome, although not particularly cheap.
- Orange Juice. Pour half and half bubbly and orange juice for a Formosa. But don’t stop at just the humble OJ. There are so many juices on the market – try something exotic like mango, guava or apple, pear and strawberry (above).
- Liqueur randoms. Try this. Walk into a liquor store and go to the liqueur section. Close your eyes. Pick a bottle at random (being careful not to mow down the entire shelf. Apparently this happens when you choose liquor with your eyes closed). Add a shot of whatever you choose to your bubbles. No wait, if you choose creme de cacao, maybe put that back.
- Peach Syrup. This makes a brilliant Bellini. For the can’t-be-arsed mum who doesn’t want to blend her own peaches (who knew one of those existed?), drain a can of peaches in syrup and use that (of course, putting the drained peaches into your child’s fruit break, as we are all that organised).
- Blueberries and fresh basil. Sounds weird but is delish. Muddle the two ingredients together and top with bubbles for a lovely fresh drink.
- Candied fruit. Last year I made a massive batch of candied cumquats from the tree in our front yard. A piece of candied cumquat with some syrup made for an amazing little champagne cocktail.
- A strawberry. Simple but effective.
What is your favourite ingredient to add to sparkling wine?
November Photo a Day is DONE. Like George Hamilton on a Winter’s Day. Loved it. December Photo a Day list is here, if you want to join. Let the shutterbuggery begin!
For the next 4 weeks, Friday Cocktail Hour will be brought to you by a rather drunk elf. I can’t imagine the stress of being elf (aka slave to Mattel, Lego and Sony). Every elf needs a bit of R&R. Every elf needs to be as tipsy as f*ck on Christmas eve. Hell, Santa drives the sleigh – no need to go teetotal on the most festive night of the year.
This drink is one of my seasonal faves – pop it in your Christmas Arsenal (or, if you’re anything like me, your Christmas Arse). With a fair slurp of Cranberry juice, you can even convince yourself it’s a health drink.
15 ml ounce Cointreau
90 ml cranberry juice
Put the Cointreau and cranberry juice in a champagne glass. Stir and top with champagne. Merry Hicmas!
You know what I love about blogging more than blogging? Connecting with other bloggers.
I love social media, but when those connections spill out into the real world, it can be even more valuable.
It doesn’t always happen, of course. In the parenting blogger niche, just because two people are writers and parents doesn’t necessarily mean their characters or interests will be in sync. And it’s often an awkward proposition, meeting a blogger whose work you know only remotely. There’s that “I know you, but I don’t know you” element that can be disconcerting.
I find meeting new bloggers at once exciting and terrifying. Walking into a situation where bloggers have already split off into established sub-groups is overwhelming for me. I felt it at both Problogger and Bright Delight. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be my blog (as it is such a true reflection of me – to raise George Calombaris and see him one – “it’s me on a page”) and sometimes I feel like it is becoming larger than me if that makes sense. It’s much easier to chat to someone who you know has never heard of you – there is no expectation to live up to.
I often walk away from those real life situations feeling frustrated at my (self) perceived lack of social shesizzle. For someone who ordinarily has high self-esteem it is an uncomfortable place to be.
The first time I met a fellow blogger was in 2003. I’d only been blogging for about a year and got to know Kat online through her knitting blog Pinku. She also lived in Tokyo at the time so we invited her and her then boyfriend over to our little apaato for a beer. Poor Kat (sorry Kat) was nervous and a bit shit scared that we were going to be serial killers. She’s still alive, so fairly good odds that we’re not (just in case you were wondering). We consequently spent a lot of time in Japan getting pissed on chuhais and singing bad karaoke. She and Daz have now moved to Melbourne with their little boy and we are friends to this day.
In 2003, the blogging world was relatively new and there was no natural blogging community to fall into. There was no Twitter, no Facebook, no Instagram. I thought my Tuka mobile was the BOMB because it flipped open. So young. Now I’m constantly hit over the head by ways that bloggers can connect in real life. For me, I’m a one-on-one kinda gal. I love me a pahtay, don’t EVER get me wrong, but if I’m meeting up with someone for the first time, one-on-one is easier. Not as intimidating. Less option for distraction (read: they can’t just run away when I start rabbiting on about the good ol’ days).
This week I had coffee with two wonderful local bloggers, Ros from Sew Delicious and Lily Mae from Berlin Domestic (not at the same time). More than being engaging bloggers and artisans, they are brilliant people. I feel like my life is just a bit richer because I met them. I feel like that a lot – not just with other bloggers, but with people in general, whether they read my blog or not. But I love that I can write some random shit on a website, then squeeze more random shit into 140 characters linking to my other random shit, and with a sprinkling of social media fairy-dust, I can make a friend. The Twitter is not always so magical for me (that’s another story), but the odds are still good.
And I’m a betting woman.