31 March 2011

Reason, season, lifetime poem

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thank you for being a part of my life,
whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Author Unknown

Cop a feel, save a life?

THERE is an event taking place right now and if you are not involved you should be. The event is simple to partake in - all you need to do is feel your boobies, or those of a friend or family member (with their permission of course). Now before you run off into the street and start sexually assaulting women (or well endowed men), the event is not for fun or to cause offence. It's to check for lumps to attempt early detection of breast cancer.

For Australian women, breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death.  

Breast cancer is also the most prevalent form of cancer in the world with statistics showing 1 in every 4 women diagnosed with cancer have breast cancer.

The colour pink and the pink ribbon are worldwide symbols of breast cancer awareness, hence this blog being pink today, and why the event's picture has the pink ribbon on display. Not quite sure why the image for the event is Christmas themed, but at least the event is getting well deserved attention. 

Word Chic interviewed “Feel a Boob Day” founder Jade Edith Sargent to find out some background into the event.

Why did you start the event?

I started this event because my Nanna is losing her battle with breast cancer. She is my rock. After speaking to people and hearing how common it [breast cancer] is, I wanted to do something, anything even if it was only small.
[Feel a Boob Day] seemed like a good idea to get people checking and aware.

Did you expect so many people to partake in the event?

I definitely did not. I would have been happy if the event had of reached only one person as that's one more person who would have been aware and able to potentially save their life by early detection.

Will this be an annual event you will host?

After the response I have received I would definitely be keen to make this an annual event. I would like to do whatever I can to help fight breast cancer.

Is this event for women only?

I cannot stress enough how important it is for not only women but men to check themselves regularly for any changes in their breasts.

What do people do if they do find a lump or abnormality?

Don’t be scared because it's better to find it early, as we all know. If you're at all unsure on what you should be looking for please go see you GP.

Any final thoughts?
Breast cancer does not discriminate! So please don't think you are too young or too old to check. And a huge thank you to everyone who participated in this event - keep up the good work and keep checking.

There are over 200,000 people “attending” the event on Facebook right now. If you haven’t RSVP-ed yet, DO IT! If you weren't invited, it is a public event so you can invite yourself. Worst case scenario either way, you will spread awareness of the event.

Will you feel your boobies today?

Time: life's enemy

 THERE are moments in our life that, for one reason or another, stick with us forever and continue to shape our thoughts and actions. One of the most resounding conversations of my lifetime was with a dear friend, over a wine or three, as I was about to head on a round the world trip.

My friend assumed the most exciting part of my upcoming travels was going to be the adventure of experiencing foreign countries, people, customs, and food, making amazing memories and seeing first hand all the monuments or places we see on tv or learn about at school. But she was wrong, and very surprised to hear so. The best part was going to be living without the interference of time. Let me explain.

Think about your day. Think about all the things you need to do and how they always have a deadline. Does the following sound remotely familiar?

Wake up - look at the time, work out how much time you have to eat breakfast and get ready before you have to leave for work. Make a coffee/breakfast, sit down to eat/drink it, check the time, knowing there is a particular time you need to be in the shower to ensure you are ready to leave for work on time.  Finish eating breakfast, check time, decide to have shower. Have shower, check the time. Get dressed, check time knowing you must do your hair/make-up or shave (if male) by a certain to time to ensure you leave home on time to get to work on time. Apply make-up, do hair, check time -  knowing you still need to pack your lunch/work gear/whatever and leave for work as soon as possible to fight traffic and get to work on time. Pack stuff for the day/work, check time - now it's time to leave for work. Check time – with good traffic you will get to work on time. Continuously check time while driving (regardless of whether traffic is good or bad), wondering if you will make it to work on time. Get to work, log on to computer, check time. Wonder if you can sneak in a quick coffee? Decide to try. While making coffee, check time. Get back to desk, check time, it’s time to work.

Did you get sick of reading the word time? I sure as hell got sick of writing it! And herein lies my point - this is what I was looking forward to avoiding when I traveled.

The way I saw it, I was about to jetset around the globe, and there was nothing to hold me back. I would wake-up when I wanted, head to wherever I wanted, enjoy/see/do whatever I wanted, all the while without contemplating "in [x amount of time] I need to be at work/friends/family/gym/class/etc." Sure time would prevent me from going to places after they closed, but no one was going to be telling me where I had to be and when.

The happy part of this story is that even after I ran out of money and started waitressing I never felt like time ruled me. Work wasn’t a chore because every shift I did meant I could experience more. I crammed as much as I could into every day. Sure I was where I needed to be when I needed to be but because of a different outlook on life I felt in control. Time wasn’t going to get the better of me. And time didn’t, for a few years anyway.

The sad part of this story started as I did some archiving over the weekend I came across a card from said friend [above pic] and realised time is destroying my world because I'm too conscious of it. I'm not making the most of my time. I never go with the flow. I'm usually not enjoying every  moment for what it is. I check the time constantly. I'm always thinking about the next thing to do. Wake/Eat/Work/Gym/Walk dog/Eat/Sleep My life would be a perfect BCF ad because when you look at my life day to day, "That ain't livin'."
In that past life, before I traveled the world, the company my friend and I worked for had the motto, "Make the most of now." That's the new plan, from here forward. 

I will accept that there are things that need to be done at certain times, that I have responsibilities I can't ignore, and take solace in the fact that we are all in this together, all fighting with and for time.
When I can, I will ignore time. It won't exist. All that will exist will be the moment I am in. When I can't ignore time, I will look forward to my timeless moments and hopefully these moments will come to fruition and become timeless memories, just like my last drinks with the friend mentioned. That was not only a timeless conversation and moment I will no doubt never forget but the first time I truly lived in ignorance of time.
As another birthday approaches, still un-decided on how to celebrate, there is one thing I have decided on. Any celebrations at my home will involve every clock/watch/time reference will be removed or covered and banned from conversation.  I might be a year older but the celebration will be timeless (in one way or another).
You can’t stop time but you can ignore it.

Does "time" rule your life?

30 March 2011

Do you REALLY know the road rules?

SIX weeks ago I pitched a story to a local, community website about Queensland road rules and the apparent lack of understanding around them. I figured that with all the crazy, ignorant and arrogant drivers I see making stupid, careless mistakes there must be a story in it.

No matter who I have ever spoken to, drivers young and old, male and female, on L's, P's or Opens, all get pretty worked up and have multiple stories to tell about bad, inconsiderate and law breaking drivers.

Well The Courier Mail has just published a story on the matter after the Queensland Police Service launched a quiz to test drivers' knowledge of the road rules. For those of you playing at home I recommend you take the test – it’s only 10 questions and may be an eye-opener. You can take the test online here.

I found the comments under the story as important and interesting as the story itself. The main thing I took away from the story was that I have been indicating wrong on roundabout. Before you start throwing verbal darts at me, let me explain.

I took my driving test and obtained my license January 2010, with a perfect score. I was definitely NOT marked down for incorrect indicators. In my test I went through three roundabouts, two of which involved exiting via the second exit. I was under the impression that the rule was as follows: 
As you enter a roundabout, unless you are taking the first immediate left exit you must indicate right first. Then, just before reaching your exit, indicate left to let other drivers know you are leaving the roundabout.

I was taught this by my driving instructor and by family and friends who had lost points in their examination in previous years for NOT doing this. Furthermore, the assessor watched me do this on two of the three roundabouts and did not mark me down. This confirmed to me that it was definitely the correct roundabout procedure.

WRONG! I have been indicating incorrectly for over a year thanks to an ill-informed driving instructor, an ill-informed driving assessor and ill-informed advice of friends and family. Imagine all the drivers who thought I was a jerk!

I guess I can take solace in the fact that I’ve never wondered if it’s okay to drive barefoot (it is in Australia, but not in New Zealand). I might just do a quick re-visit of the road rules in general to be safe though.

So are you as good of a driver as you think? Take the test and load your results/comments here!

P.S. I scored 9/10

Don't diss Double Down

OKAY so it might not be the poster item for healthy living but all the hype around KFC's Double Down "burger" is a bit excessive. Yes, it's high in kilojoules. Yes it's high in fat. Yes it's nutritional worth is low to non-existent. But it's fast food - why is anyone surprised? Order a burger or sub from any other take-away chain and you risk consuming the same (or more) amount of fat and kilojoules.  

Despite all the publicity, many will be un-deterred to try the Double Down. Chicken, bacon, cheese and barbeque sauce lovers will see this as mouth-watering temptation. Those who criticise the "burger" will no doubt still wonder if it is as delicious as it is being advertised to be.

Worst case scenario all the publicity has ensured a much higher public awareness of the Double Down. KFC need not waste any money on advertising their product; the national media has already covered that.

Food for thought (excuse the pun): have you eaten a Wicked Wings Snack Box at KFC? Marketed towards teenagers as a quick and easy snack, not meal, it will cost you 2242 kilojoules (kj) and 30.4g of fat.

Eaten a McDonalds Grand Angus? Marketed as a fancy take-away alternative, this burger, with the expected burger inclusions of lettuce, tomato and onion, will add 2630kj and 33.2g fat to your daily dietary intake. The Mighty Angus is worse with 2870kj and 35.7g fat.

Fancy a Wagyu Beef and Tomato Relish sub from Subway? It’s not going to help you or your waistline. If you're a mayonnaise fan too and add 30mL to the Wagyu Beef sub (because who doesn't add mayo to their sub??) you're facing 2298kj and 28.6 g fat.

Examples could be given for Hungry Jack's/Burger King, local take-away Works Burgers and other fast food but you get the point.

The Original fillet Double Down bun-less burger is packed with 1939kj and 22.3g fat. However the Zinger version of the Double Down is 2515kj and 35.7g fat. Yes, fatalicious. Order an Ultimate Burger Meal instead and your meal will cost you up to 5083kj and 61.9g fat before you even take a sip of your drink. Makes you wonder if the Double Down (sans any sides) may be the better option in this case.

When you order fatty take-out you expect a kilojoule and fat laden meal. The real issue with nutritionally void food like those mentioned is that they offer no benefit to the eater besides the fullness felt after consumption. This fullness is often fleeting once all the sugar and fat wears off, leaving consumers to look for further fulfilment elsewhere. But like speeding and risking the consequences of a fine or worse, we run the consequences of weight gain, lack of fullness and sometimes feeling/being ill when we eat fatty fast foods like the Double Down.

So knowing all this, my friends and I are headed to KFC for lunch and yes, Double Down is on our menu. You can find us at the gym tonight working off our lunch - estimated work-out time is three hours.

29 March 2011

Boo hoo shopaholics

THERE are mixed emotions regarding major shopping centres closing over Easter on the Sunshine Coast this year. The four major shopping centres* will be closed Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Anzac Day (Easter Monday).

There are a multitude of brilliant arguments supporting both sides of the debate. What if people want to work (what about those who don't)? Employees are paid double time to work public holidays so why wouldn't they want to work (not all staff get double time for public holidays and what about those who value time with family more than money to work)? Retailers still have bills to pay so let them open if they want to (well let them close if they want to also).

Who can't survive a mere three days without the shops being opened? Shopaholics (the same people who will cause an influx of "panic" style shopping at each shopping centre Easter Saturday). While the shopaholics whinge and moan, many locals and tourists alike just don't understand what all the fuss is about. After all, tourists don't come to the Sunshine Coast for shopping.

Comments on the Sunshine Coast Daily website and the Sunshine Coast Facebook page have highlighted the mixed opinions that abound. Perhaps the most unfounded was the question, "What will tourists do if it rains over the public holidays?" Really?

Are people that short-sighted and narrow-minded that in the rain their only forseeable leisure option is shopping (or movies)? Sunshine Coast Tourism's 50 Must Do's on the Sunshine Coast is a great place to start for the un-imaginative. Shopping up a storm still makes the list, and many of the activities wouldn't be ideal in the rain, but there are definitely things there that are worth a try for something different, rain, hail or shine. The list also highlights that (provided Mother Nature is kind) tourists come to the coast for all the natural beauty on offer (parks, beaches, rainforest).

Another argument is if the major shopping centres were open, the sales would help boost the local economy. True, but shopping at the big four* is not the only way to boost the economy. There are many retailers worth a browse/spend along, for example, King Street Buderim, Currie Street Nambour, and The Esplanade Coolum (just to name a few). And who doesn't enjoy a stroll through the streets and shops at Montville and Maleny? Or more obviously, what about all the amazing restaurants and cafes spread across the coast? Rain is a perfect excuse to sit back and gorge on delectable tasties.

Maybe we should just take a moment to remember what these holidays are for. Whether you are religious or not and whether you buy into the commercialisation of the Easter, holidays are for family. If you can't spend one (or three days) with your family without the distraction of shopping, maybe you need to explore why?

As for Anzac Day, we wouldn't be having this debate about whether to open the stores or not if it weren't for all the men who bravely fought for our freedoms. Shopping shouldn't even be on your agenda on Anzac Day. Your day should be Digger's Breakfast** then Dawn Service  then Gunfire Breakfast*** then few games of Two-Up. It would be un-Australian to do anything else.

*Sunshine Plaza, Noosa Civic, Stockland Caloundra and Kawana Shoppingworld
** Rum and milk
***Rum and black coffee

Do you think shopping centres should open all Easter and Anzac Day?

25 March 2011

Fines, friends and fraud

LARA Bingle has landed herself in strife, admitting to taking demerit points for her friends in a radio interview. She later recanted via Twitter saying the comment was said "in sarcasm" but the New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) are investigating regardless. Worst case scenario could see Bingle face court for fraud charges and receive up to two months jail for each offence.

The RTA's investigation was reportedly started after a member of public called in and told of Bingle's confession in the interview. Yes, Lara Bingle was dobbed on. This begs the question:

Would the busy-body who dobbed on Bingle have made a call to the RTA if a non-celebrity/everyday Aussie happened to confess to taking their friends demerit points?

Furthermore, who doesn't know someone who has taken points for their friends or family?

Talk-back radio today will no doubt be filled with debate over whether it is right/wrong to take your friends points or if you have ever taken the blame for something you didn't do and so on. Safe bet would be no one who calls in will face the repercussions of their actions though.

Maybe the lesson here is a reminder to think before you speak, especially if you've been naughty.

What do you think? Did Lara do the wrong thing?

24 March 2011

Who does size matter to?

MAKING news today is an unverified report of world penis size. Seriously.

It's debatable whether the bigger issue is the publishing of an unverified study or the fact that world penis size could possibly bear any importance to anyone.

The study breaks down their "findings" into two bar graphs: penis size per country and penis size per race.

Surprise, surprise, the findings highlight the age-old racial stereotypes that "black" is biggest and our "East Asian" cousins are the least endowed.

The study uses two methods of measurement - measured penises and self-reported penis sizes. No surprises the self-reported measurements came in at least an inch longer than the measured results for all the study respondents.

Surely you don't have to be too smart to work out what a fraud this study is. Along the top of the page states:

"This website provide (sic) statistical information offered by trusted research centers and reports worldwide."
Who are the trusted research centres? My assumption is the “trusted reports” are the list of academic references to books and articles on the site (much like is required at university when doing an essay). 

The website has no other studies and does not explain how the study was completed. Nor does it outline the purpose/scope of the study or what findings they expected to find. It does, however, outline  there were 800 subjects (not exactly a statistically significant amount for a global study) and the study was completed in New York City.

There are numerous countries missing from this "global" study (shall I assume these men merely have a stub?) which casts further doubt on the validity of the subjects actually measured.

Of what significance is this study to society?  In all likelihood the study is probably a poorly attempted school or university assignment. Whatever it is, my thoughts are it must be a slow news day for “staff writers” at news.com.au?

Do men really care how their length stacks up against the rest of the world?

Why would women care at all?

23 March 2011

RIP Knut

KNUT, arguably the most popular polar bear to ever grace this earth, died suddenly on 19 March 2011, alone and without warning. A necropsy (animal autopsy) has revealed the Knut suffered distinct brain changes that may have led to his drowning death, however the full results are due Friday.

To die so young (aged four) when polar bears normally live well into their thirties has ensured Knut's life story ends just as tragic as it started. There will no doubt be numerous documentaries released to showcase the celebrity bear's life.
Today at Word Chic we remember some of the headlining Knut stories that were reported around the globe.

The spotlight was first shone of Knut when his mother rejected him after birth to ex-circus bear Tosca, in December 2006. Zoo keepers decided (against the advice of animal activists and other zoo keepers) to bottle feed him and within months he was a celebrity capturing the hearts of animal lover’s world-wide.

In March 2008 it seemed all the fame had gone to Knut's furry head - he was labelled a “publicly addicted psycho” when black ice prevented visitors at Berlin zoo, allegedly leaving Knut angry and upset due to lack of attention. This wasn't the only Knut event to gain global media attention in 2008.

The zookeeper who hand reared Knut was found dead in September and a lonely fan jumped into Knut's cage in December, and was prosecuted for trespassing over the matter.

 2009 turned out to be another tumultuous year for Knut also. He was involved in a bitter custody dispute between Berlin Zoo and Neum√ľnster Zoo and when introduced to a new female polar bear Gianna (also known as Giovanna) in September she slapped him.

Having personally viewed Knut myself he was like any other polar bear in captivity (albeit dirtier than I expected). Yet with all the media attention over the years it felt like he was more than just a bear. Maybe even an honorary human?  Some may disagree, even I do on some level, but the truth of the matter is everyone loves an underdog, especially a cute fluffy one that’s paraded across global media.  

Rest in peace Knut, you will forever live on in our hearts and minds, and probably a Disney movie or two.

Hello! Bonjour! Hola! Ciao!

YOU would think the easiest thing to write would be the introduction to my blog. Yes? No. Well here goes:

Welcome! The plan for this blog is to put pen to paper (or more accurately to tap keys and watch letters appear on screen) about life in general - news, events, trends and opinions.

Why, you ask? Well the story goes a little like this:

In 2008 I completed a Bachelor of Communications, majoring in both Communications and Creative Writing. I then set off to travel around the world and get some priceless life experience under my belt. Upon returning to Australia I stepped back into a retail sales role, needing to gather funds quickly to get my life back on track. Before I knew it years had passed, I am still in sales, but my desire to do something in the writing arena has become insatiable.
I always loved to read and write as a child – this passion has never wavered. I’ve kept a daily journal since I was 13. I love to waste money I don’t have on magazines but rather than drool over the fashion and beauty sections I always skip straight to the features. Reading novels is a favourite pastime but has fallen by the wayside of late.  My thirst for knowledge lately has led me to predominantly online media. It is for this reason I have decided to contribute to the online arena, using this blog to utilise and expand my writing and research skills.
Being based in Queensland on the beautiful Sunshine Coast means I will probably end up writing a lot of stories that impact or affect m region but I hope this will still carry relevance to those outside of South East Queensland.
Thanks in advance for reading my blog (and saving it as a Favourite, and liking and sharing it on Facebook and other social media, and telling your friends about it *wink*wink*wink*).