Monday, April 18, 2016

10 Childhood Disappointments

Several years ago, I penned a list about disappointing realizations.  Those were pretty true, but there is a different class of disappointments that happen when you are a kid.  You have no baseline for things that make up the world around you.  For a long time you take your Mom and Dad's word for everything.  Whatever they say must be true.  Thats fine if you want to ask them about EVERYTHING all the time.  Some stuff you figure out for yourself and it's pretty disappointing.

-  Entertainment isn't real - Kids love kids shows because they show kids excited about being friends with something weird.  Usually some kind of purple dinosaur, or strangely clad dancing semi- adults or kindly old people that are willing to take the time to talk to you.  Kids assume that the things they see on TV have some kind of basis in reality.  Even they can't quite explain it, but they believe they could go visit these characters.  If they ever get to, it's just a strange feeling.  Adults often feel this same kind of strangeness when they see TV/Movie Stars in real life.  They just don't quite look the same.

-  There is nothing to be afraid of - Some kids actually don't get over this at all, but most do.  It's a bit of a disappointment that there is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to ghosts, aliens, vampires, etc.  Because the existence of these creatures also meant the possibility of pretty fantastic other things.  When you find out that they just aren't there and are just stuff of stories, it's simultaneously a relief and a disappointment.

-  Laser Levels are not very cool at all - When you are a young lad and you hear about a laser level, you conjure up some pretty fantastic ideas about what it is.  When you realize that it just projects a line on a wall that represents a level surface it's kind of a downer.  It's much cooler to think of something that MAKES things level.  yeah, much cooler.

-  You pretty much do everything wrong - Most baby's first words are thought to be ma ma,  that might be true, but a close second might be NO.  That's all you hear pretty much all the time, NO NO NO NO NO.  You feel like you can't do much of anything right.  Bummer.  But chin up buckaroo, if you can't do anything right it means you are still learning.  It's preferable to doing everything right.  Because then you feel like you can't do anything unless you can do it right so you stop learning.

-  TAXES??  - As a kid, pretty much everything is provided to you.  then later you are told you have to do some 'chores' to earn an allowance.  This is to teach you the value of money and the good feeling of earning.  Then you get older and you get your first job.  You get that first paycheck and you look at it.  What is that federal withholding?!?  Do they take this out every time?!?  This sucks!  What a rip off!  Yes it is, Yes..It..Is.

-  Mom and Dad are liars - Mom and dad tell you about all kinds of mythical creatures.  They also say things like 'they are making fun of you because they are jealous'.  They also talk about things that are against the law for kids to do.  'If you get out of bed, you are breaking curfew, I'll have to call the police and turn you in'  Lies lies lies.  When you are young, mom and dad are absolutes.  They are the authority. Later on you realize that mom and dad are just people trying to do the best they can and sometimes they are ill informed and sometimes it was an outright lie.  Usually that lie was for your benefit so I'm sure we can let it slide.

-  Your body requires a lot of maintenance - When you are a kid, you are a superhero.  You can run fast, you can jump high, you can do it all and you get tired for about 10 minutes and you are ready to go go go again.  You are what every adult wants to be.  The first clue you have that this might not last forever are trips to the dentist.  You didn't brush your teeth because you just didn't feel like it had anything to do with anything.  Well those cavities in your teeth are proof that's not true.  You don't exercise?  You don't shower?  There are all kinds of things you kind of need to do if you are going to keep your body in good condition in a way that is acceptable to those around you.

-  Santa isn't THAT great -  This is a special parental lie that you get that is most disappointing.  When you realize that there isn't a benevolent man that gives toys to good boys and girls but instead it's your parents, you feel just a bit ripped off.  It's not that you don't get presents, you do, but you also know that you have this owness to your parents.  There will be no source of presents that come from outside that you can count on.  In other words.  Santa won't be able to help you if you run away from home.

-  Everything you thought was free isn't - I remember thinking a few things were free.  Water.  Roads,  TV.  There were a bunch of these.  Later you find out that none of them are free.  They all have costs.  It's always disappointing to find that you have to pay for something that you once had for free.  It just doesn't feel fair.

- Vanilla tastes like THIS?!? Bakers Chocolate? - These are a few of the things you can get a shot at tasting when your mom isn't in the kitchen.  You go looking for some kind of treat and you see the bakers chocolate. snap off a piece and it seems pretty hard, but that's ok, it's gotta be good.  It says chocolate!  YAK!  it tastes like some kind of tar!  It's horrible!  well thats ok, you spy the vanilla over there on the shelf.  you LOVE vanilla.  you open the bottle and take a sip.  Vanilla isn't supposed to taste like FIRE?!?  What kind of kitchen is this?!?  People actually cook with this stuff?

Ok, 15 days till turnover.  The last one was a record low bunch of readers.  Nature may be telling me to knock it off.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

10 Things about Australia and New Zealand

I've noticed that there is more attention paid to countries like Australia and New Zealand these days.  I've never been to either country.  I know they are very south and very west of where I currently am in the United States.   What I'm saying could be very inaccurate since I don't know much more than my steriotyped views of both countries.  Ok, lets get this over with.

 - AU is big.  NZ is small - Everything is relative sure.  If you are talking a about LIVABLE space, maybe they are closer to the same size, but as far as basic square miles The Aussies have it.    In fact, Australia is considered the largest Island in the world.

 - AU tries to kill you  NZ likes you to live -  Australia has this thing called the OUTBACK.  Its an actual place and your life expectancy drops dramatically when you go into it.  That doesn't mean you'll die immediately, but it does mean you should probably be mindful.  New Zealand certainly has wild areas, but they appear to be fairly welcoming for the most part.  The volcanic region to the north being most like Australia's outback, but not really even close.

- AU doesn't like nukes  NZ hates them - Pretty much speaks for itself.  New Zealand will have no,that is NO form of nuclear.  Weapons or energy, their answer is noooooo.  Australia has 30 % of the worlds Uranium.  That's quite a bit.  As yet they still don't have any nuclear power but they are still debating it.  As far as weapons of the nuclear persuasion Australia will likely allow a US nuclear submarine pick up some Vegemite, but Australians don't want any of their own (nuclear weapons, not Vegemite, they like that)

- AU Strange dangerous animals everywhere you turn  NZ sheep - There are over 120 marsupial species in Australia.  120.  Before I started this list I knew of about 3 and could name two:  Kangaroo, and the Koala.  Of course they also have the Platypus, the worlds only venomous mammal.  They also have loads of snakes and spiders that will curdle your blood while you stand.  On top of that they have Kane Toads and any number of other strange animals that help/plague Australia.  Australia has so many strange animals that it makes you wonder how serious they are about that nuclear thing.  While I'm sure that New Zealand has other animals, like the Kiwi bird, what they are known for is sheep.  Sheeeeeep. For quite some time, it was said that New Zealand had more sheep than people.  Not sure if that's true now, but it's still a lot of sheep.  New Zealand is trying to get rid of all the non native predator mammals.  Apparently they aren't very New Zealand-y.
- AU Mad Max and Crocodile Dundee.  NZ  Lord of the rings.- Australia has a rich film history that includes Mad max and Mick Dundee.  New Zealand has Lord of the rings.  Trilogy or Hobbit flavor.  Strictly Ballroom is a fantastic movie about ballroom dancing in Australia.  If you haven't seen it, you should.  New Zealand has Whale Rider that's a coming of age story about a girl in native New Zealand society.  You can go visit the hobbit town.  It's a thing.  I don't think you can visit Mel Gibson in Australia but I'm pretty sure crocodiles are available for a consultation.

- AU Kangaroo  NZ Kiwi bird - Both Countries appear to have a distinctive animal that represents them.  The Kangaroo is found In Australia only in several varieties and is the largest marsupial available.  The Kiwi bird can only be found in New Zealand and is related to the ostrich but is much smaller.

 - AU Loves Australian Rules Football.  New Zealand loves Netball - Australian rules football is pretty different when compared to American football.  In fact, the only thing they have in common is the fact that the word football is in the name.  Pretty rough and tumble but that's about it.  Netball is basketball without a backboard and the Women's game is MUCH more popular than the men's game. If you get a chance to watch it, the first thing you will say is 'How come nobody is jumping?'  I'm not really sure.

 - AU likes steaks so much, they made restaurants in America.  Nz Also has Outback Steak houses - Obviously I don't know a lot about either of these places since Outback steakhouses originated in Florida.  I'm kind of surprised that they exist in either country, but especially in Australia.  Kind of like seeing a Taco bell in Mexico I imagine.

 - AU started out with British Prisoners as a penal colony.  NZ started out as a new destination spot. -  Loads of trading happened in New Zealand Loads of prisoners were sent to Australia.  Likely because of the poison animals previously mentioned.  Both countries of course had inhabitants prior to the British crown deciding to show up with various diseases, but the countries as we know them are thanks to the Brit's interest.

- NZ appears to believe in magic.  AU doesn't; draw your own conclusions. - New Zealand has a Wizard.  Known as the Wizard of Christchurch, he does a daily rant in the public square.  He looks like Gandalf on a ladder (yeah, he gets on a ladder).  Australia doesn't have that.  Come to think of it, I don't know any place that has that.

If you have intimate knowledge of Australia or New Zealand, and know that this is all crap for one reason or another.  Thanks for reading this all the way to the end.   I really wrote this because I feel like New Zealand and Australia are synonymous.  You know, like the United States and Canada.  Come back in a couple of weeks and it will be about something else that I know just as much about possibly more.