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Jun. 9th, 2010

03:18 am

May. 30th, 2010

06:49 pm


Ok, d'y'all remember me talking about the Newtown flat that I wanted to move into with the ginormous cat called Megatron who was a hunting machine and a cuddle slut? Well, it turns out that Megatron's in a spot of bother - he was playing tag with a car and came off second best, and now his Dad needs help with the vet bill. Anything that y'all can spare would be amazing. I know what it's like to have someone that you love in dire need of surgery and the only thing getting in the way of them getting what they need is money; and I was lucky enough to be able to get a time-payment when Gabby got hit and had to have her pelvis put back together.

From the looks of the XRays, he's severed the spine between the fused vertebrae in the pelvis and the start of the tail, so everything will have to be pinned and hopefully there's no nerve damage, but it's between 2 and 3K worth of treatment he's looking at, so like I said, anything that you can spare would be amazing.

Pretty please?

May. 14th, 2010

05:29 am - Idea blatantly nicked from Christa

Sewn in my skin
Your words are in my mouth
Your sway in the way I walk
I'm a tapestry of you all.

And yet I'm still me -
A Frankenstein's delight of ideas
Shambling drunkenly through life
With your thoughts to guide me.

May. 11th, 2010

05:31 am

I sat outside of JJ Murphy's tonight with a couple of my Weta regulars and didn't drink. In fact, I've had the last couple of days sober. It's more than likely that I'm going to spend a large chunk of the next wee while sober. Why's that? I hear you askCollapse )

So why am I telling you all of this?Collapse )

May. 2nd, 2010

08:04 am

May 1st.
Today's the 2-year anniversary of my aunt getting admitted to hospital after her boyfriend set her on fire after an argument*. This ultimately led to her death, after four weeks of being in intensive care in a morphine-induced coma because her body was so badly damaged that the pain was intense enough to send her into shock and kill her.

Her boyfriend poured petrol over her while she was in their bed, set it alight, then ran to the local pub "for help" after they had spent the day drinking and arguing. Apparently their arguments were nothing new though, and although I'm sure that the phone at the bar was a wonderful, high-functioning phone, why he didn't go to the neighbour's** place to call the fire brigade, I have no clue, but this is also the same man that plead not guilty, claiming that the fire was either an accident, or that "she did it herself".

She spent seven years with him, and apparently they fought like cat and dog all the time, often having it culminate in violence, and Lyn was a tiny wee lady, all of about five feet tall, and weighing 5/8 of fuck all. She was much littler than me, anyway.

I kinda have to wonder what was going through her head all those years that would make her stay for so long. From what I remember, she was a lovely-looking girl, in that hard-bitten bogan kinda way - bleached blonde hair, massive blue eyes, with a low-pitched husky voice that owed itself to a lot of smoking and kahlua and milk. I've seen photos of her murderer, and she could have done SO much better. I think the thing that did it was the amount of drinking she did - she became an alcoholic properly after my cousin Shelley died, which is an understandable reaction. Not a wise reaction, but an understandable one nevertheless. I keep making the joke "Drink more so it hurts less", and in Lyn's case, it did. Seven years in Ngongotaha with a douchebag boyfriend with no job and nothing to do and your daughter's died, there's going to be some hefty self-anaesthetising. Which can also make you numb to other things, like the fact that yes, your life is a bit shit, but you also tend to knock out any chance of escape, if you do it hard enough. I still can't quite believe that Lyn died the way that she did, despite the fact that I was in contact with Drew and Dad and everyone in the month from when she went into hospital to the day she finally died. I know that her murderer has been sentenced to spend the next seventeen-ish years in prison for murder and arson, and considering as how he was 44 when he went in, he's going to be an old man when he comes out. IF he comes out. They say you can measure a person's inner worth by how they treat those weaker than them. This man murdered my aunt, however I don't think he'll find any small, weak, drink-sodden creatures in prison. And given that he only has the strength to beat small, weak-willed women, he's not going to last terribly long on the inside. Hopefully.

So with that in mind, I say to you all, you don't have to settle for any of this shit.

Lyn spent seven years taking shit from the man who eventually murdered her. I've had abusive boyfriends in the past, but I LEFT THEM. It doesn't matter how much they say they love you, if they're making you cry on a regular basis, then they don't actually love you, and don't fucking stay with them. THey might not hit you, or hurt you physically, but if they draw you into arguments constantly, or belittle you constantly to make themselves look more important, or won't let you do things like go out of an evening, or talk to your friends without them being present, then it's a fucked situation, and y'all should BAIL. They might say they love you, but believe me, there will be someone else out there that will say the exact same thing, only they'll say it with flowers, not with their fists. They might have the decency to apologise. You may have the grace to forgive them, but this does not give them the licence to repeat the offence. "I'm sorry" should never be followed up with the exact same thing that made you unhappy in the first place.

When there is massive dissonance between word and deed, then it's not Love as it should be, it's not healthy, and although you might not wind up burned to death like Lyn, or bashed, starved and nearly drowned in a bathtub like me, there's a high chance that it will negatively impact you and your ability to love and trust freely. I freely admit to being a headcase, but like I keep saying, it's cute when I do it; and quite frankly, it's much better to have had that experience and be a bit fucked in the head from it, than to be still having it, and be even worse.

Then there's the "This is your fault. I wouldn't hurt you if you didn't make me so angry" line. This one really fucks me off in quite an exquisite manner. I fail to see the leap of logic that goes from a minor misdemeanour, such as having dinner late to the table, to getting punched in the face. NOBODY deserves to be beaten as a result of someone else's anger, and the fact that they're trying to justify it by saying things like "Well, if my dinner had been on time, none of this would have happened" makes me wonder exactly what is firing in their brain, and whether or not it would be ethically correct to surgically cure this behaviour with a brick.

From the inside, it might look like there's no way out - You might not have any friends, or they might have gotten your head so fucked up that you can't actually conceive of life without them, or you think you have nowhere to go. That's simply a seeming thing, and not a reality thing. There are people in place to look after you, even if it is just the cops. No-one can make you return to the horror that is the other person's control over you, and that's what it is, it's a control thing. Their need to feel strong and powerful in the face of the world, and you're the fuel for their fire, so to speak.
If you stay with the other person because you have children with them, then not only are you doing yourself a disservice, but your own offspring one as well. They learn behaviour from their parents, and if they learn that punching the other person in the relationship is an acceptable way of behaving, then that's exactly what they're going to do, without even thinking about it. You want to give your kids a happy home? FUCKING LEAVE THEN. You think they're going to be sleeping well while you're arguing? Hell fucking no. And don't think that just because you're doing it behind closed doors in the privacy of the kitchen/bedroom/wherever the hell the kids aren't, that they won't pick up on it. Kids are terrifyingly astute when it comes to visceral things like emotion, even if they can't cognitively process what's going on. They know that something bad is happening.

We are fortunate enough here to have a system that will look after you, should you decide to bail from a bad situation. You're not going to starve, you're not going to be homeless. There are havens for people all over the world precisely so they can remove themselves from harmful situations. There are therapists and cops and doctors who will pick you up, put you on your feet, and punish gently instruct these people in the error of their ways and re-educate them in correct deportment as a human being.

Things don't have to be this way.

* For those of you new to this, the most recent newsclipping is here:
**Yes, the neighbour was home, because she wrote a fucking terribly-written story for the Woman's Weekly, whoring out my aunt's death for a bit of publicity. There are times when I am sickened by my species. Other times, I sleep.

Apr. 28th, 2010

04:20 am - Relevant to my interests.

So the blether du jour is whether or not the drinking age should be raised again, and whether or not booze should have the price hiked again.
Geoffrey Palmer has his head on straight when he said "One of the consequences of alcohol being promoted and sold at pocket money prices is that we risk losing sight of its status as a legal drug, capable of causing serious harm to others."
Given the fact that Kiwis binge-drink like it's going out of style, there is definitely harm caused. I worked in a couple of bars before coming happily to roost in the one I'm in now, and I've seen some godawful things happen because people have been wasted. There's the loss of inhibitions which leads to all manner of retarded actions, from dancing on tabletops like an unco stripper to picking a fight with the biggest, ugliest, angriest motherfucker in the bar. One of my fellow barbitches who works in a pub-type place down the road from us told me about a girl who showed up off her face in the middle of the evening of a week-day in a bikini, which would have been totally cool, had she not proceeded to vomit all through the bar.*
It has been postulated to me by young Will that such reactions to alcohol may be caused by social conditioning. If someone is led to believe that they'll start behaving like an ass after half a dozen beers, then they'll have their half-dozen beers and act accordingly. If they're led to believe that they can sink their half dozen and still behave like they're a civilized example of humanity, then they'll do so.** SO maybe we can educate the anti-social behaviour out of them?

Maybe. But there's also the physical side of things to consider, not to mention the fact that the teenage brain is still developing. I think I've proven my nanna-hood on my massive rants about kids who are barely in their late teens wandering the streets pilled out of their trees. Drugs might make you feel like you're ten foot high and bullet-proof and totally in tune with the absolutely gorgeous world around you, but if you fuck with your limbic system with MDMA/LSD while your brain is developing, there's a chance that it could stay fucked. Don't gurn until your brain's stopped growing, darling, the wind will change and you'll be stuck that way forever. The same goes for booze. Because the teenage brain is still creating the neural pathways that will allow for thought/motor skills/standard adult brain functions, the excessive use of alcohol hits it a lot harder than it would a fully-functioning adult brain. Kinda like driving a car into a sand-wall instead of driving it into a concrete one. The concrete wall of the fully-formed adult brain can shrug off said sidecar cocktail, give it the finger, and go back for another five before the cracks start to show. The sand-wall of the adolescent brain collapses and takes ages to reform.
There are also links between youth boozing and abnormalities in the frontal limbic system, which creates what the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University call "blunted emotional reactivity", where impulsive/aggressive/impulsive AND aggressive behaviour/poor self control is displayed. The sufferer is aware of their actions, but the reaction to their action ceases to be important. There is also an untested theory that the reason that the actions of these particular sufferers is because the central limbic system is being stifled, the emotions/feelings that are being processed by the brain need to be stronger than people that aren't suffering from this in order to "register"*** on the individual's psyche, therefore they are more prone to thrill-seeking**** which can express itself as bad decision-making.
Young boozers also suffer more from blackouts because their brains are still developing. If an 18-year old hippocampus gets hammered on once a week by vast amounts of booze, and let's face it, student bars do make that happen rather easily*****, then by the time the individual hits 30, their autobiographical memory, which the hippocampus is responsible for, will be pretty much fucked and only be able to record a small amount of information.

So do we raise the drinking age? If the drinking age goes back up to 20, then the people sneaking into bars using their older sibling's ID will go from being around 15 to being around 18, because I have yet to see the 15 year old that can pass for 20 without drag-queen-level makeup, and even if they look the part, you can pick their behaviour. They're the ones asking for the sweeter-tasting drinks and complaining about the price. They're also the ones that tend to drink until they vomit and/or pass out because they haven't learned how to hold their drink yet.

But this is another problem. WHERE are these kids going to learn how to hold their booze, if not under the watchful eye of bouncers and bar staff? How are they going to know that they've had enough if they don't have a slightly amused bar tender giving them a massive glass of water instead of their redbull vodka and saying "I think it's time you went home, love." When I was their age, longer ago than I'd care to mention, we had house parties, where you'd go to a friend's place, drink Horrible Punch [TM]/Peach Schnapps******, vomit over your friend's mum's begonias, fall asleep in your clothes, and get woken up by your hangover just after dawn, then go home for a shower and go to bed. By the time you were old enough to hit the bars, you knew exactly how much vodka you could have before you broke into a Charleston, or managed to embarrass yourself in a new and unique manner, and thus avoid a night in the cells. Also because the amount of booze was severely limited by what was available/would not get you into too much trouble for stealing in your parental's booze cabinet, you couldn't just keep going and going and going like you can in the bars, and although I can honestly say that the bar that I work in now is fucking amazing at controlling intoxication levels, I've been in bars where someone's been passed out and covered in their own vomit and the bouncer hadn't even noticed because it's been par for the course*******; and if the individual is doing shot after shot after shot, then by the time they're starting to feel a bit iffy, their body's still got two or three shots to process, and by the time that happens, then they're completely fucked up. Bar tenders and bouncers aren't paid to party, although that's what it might look like from the outside. We're paid to make sure you're ok while you party, and although we might seem like a pack of bastards by cutting you off when you're telling us that you haven't touched a cunt all night, drinkstable; the slight hangover you may have in the morning is much better than drowning in your own vomit while passed out/getting picked up by the cops for drunk and disorderly after fighting/throwing small things at larger things/climbing on construction sites and pretending you're Batman etc.

So, back to the initial question. Should the drinking age be put up, and booze be made more expensive to make it less accessable to people that are studying/not in fulltime grownup jobs?
From a physiological standpoint I would say yes, bring the drinking age back up to 20 because of the effects that the teenage binge-drinking has on the brain. I look out onto Courtenay Place of a Wednesday/Friday/Saturday and think to myself "That dude passed out in the gutter in his own piss and lovely Hallenstein's shirt will be a lawyer one day..." and I must admit that I'm feeling a little bleak about the state of the Nation's future.
Raising the price of booze isn't really going to have that much of an effect on booze consumption by teenage drinkers because they'll be looking for the nights where there are student deals and so forth where they can get large amounts of booze for not much, and bars will keep doing nights with deals on because they're cash-cows. It'll piss off a lot of people, but I don't think it'll have any real effect on the consumption of booze by teenagers. As the Facebook page says, "I've turned my student loan into vodka. Your move, Jesus."

I should also note that these are my bletherings on the topic, and are in no way linked to the opinions of my bar, managers, or co-workers. Just me.

*Stay classy, Chick. Stay classy.
**Myself, I haven't read the research on this, so I'm taking his word for it. Will cite sources as they appear.
***For want of a better word
****In the psychological sense[1], not the AJ Hackett IMMA JUMP OFFA BRIDGE WITH A RUBBER BAND 'ROUND MY ANKLES WHEEEEEE!! sense. Although that shit is just plain stupid anyway, so maybe we can claim that. I reckon.
*****Wellington Student Bar Who Shall Remain Nameless and your $3 vodka/gin/tequila Wednesday, I'm looking at you, and your ilk.
******I was 16, and it was the 90s. Don't you judge me.
*******I've lived in both Hamilton and Tauranga. Let's just say that what has been seen cannot be unseen.

[1] When the brain is used to a certain amount of stress, and then the stress is removed, the brain is confused and in some individuals, can't quote process the fact that there's a bit of peace and quiet going on, so it finds things to create the high levels of stress that it needs to feel normal. It might be going back to a thoroughly unpleasant situation (abusive relationship, Friday Night Fight Club on the top level of the local car park, etc.), but it's what the brain has come to accept as normal, so being without it causes distress unless there's a whole lot of ground-level psychological reprogramming going on.

Apr. 5th, 2009

08:55 am

My dearest and most beloved friend died this morning.

Greven suffered from a blood clot in his aorta at the juncture where it splits off to feed the vessels in his back legs, causing him vast amounts of pain. Unfortunately, this is also something that is inoperable. At first I thought that he had fallen and broken his back because he was lying on the path outside when I got home this morning, and when I checked his back legs` and tail for a pain response I got nothing. To be honest, I would have much preferred he had broken his back - at least he could have been pinned up and surgerised and we could have been arthritic old bitches together in winter for a few more years.

I got home from work this morning and after a while I could hear him crying out, so it must've happened within moments of me getting home, because that level of pain isn't the kind you bear quietly. We got him to the vet's as quickly as we could, and Awilda was generous with the ketamine, so I know he wasn't in pain long, and spent his last few moments stoned as a motherfuck.

I think it was fitting that he die with me there, considering as how I was there when he was born, and possibly throwing water at his parents while he was being conceived. We had eleven beautiful years together, him and me, which is pretty good innings for a cat, or any kind of relationship, really. I never really considered life without him, and now it's smacking me in the face.

He taught me what it was to be chosen, not just liked. Greven hated people, by and large, would tolerate some folks, and actually quite liked Rachel and Chris, but me, he loved. Because of him, I know what it is to be loved completely and unconditionally, to have unstinting affection without it being clingy and suffocating, even when I couldn't afford to feed him, thus disproving the theory that cats only love with their bellies. This solid, steadfast love of his is what has kept me from jumping off buildings on more than one occasion. I knew he'd miss me. In that cold time after Lynn's murder, his insistent sweetness reminded me that I could actually feel something other than rage and veangence. When I was sleeping on the couch while Rob and I were fighting, he'd curl up with me, reminding me that I was the one he chose. He was also the one who gave me a look of absolute disgust when I called him Kitty-Kitty and made kissy faces at him. I like to think of it as him reminding me not to be a patronising bitch.

For eleven years, I've fallen asleep listening to him purr and felt the weight of his head on my shoulder and the warmth of him curled up against my side. He was my comfort and my joy and the one thing that could make the bleakest things a tiny bit better, even when he did shove his paws up my nose while we were asleep.

I honestly don't know what I'm going to do now.

Actually, I do. I'm going to finish the vodka I have, then have more vodka, and lather rinse repeat until I fall over. I should go to bed and sleep, but I don't want to. Bed is where Greven and me would curl up while I'd read myself to sleep and he'd stick his cold paw-pads on me and purr most gleefully.

My son is dead, and I am heartbroken.

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