Sunday, December 14, 2008

There I go...

Are you familiar with the expression, “There, but for the grace of God, go I”? Quiet a nifty little expression to use when putting one’s life and one’s good fortune in perspective. Generally, we apply this expression to the big things – those large events that can completely alter the course of a life. We think to ourselves how fortunate we are to have been spared certain challenges that may seem inconceivably large and unbearable.

I believe we should also apply this rather useful expression to the smaller things. After all, should we not appreciate the little things in life? For example, you may see someone spill a drink in a public venue – how embarrassing and inconvenient - “There, but for the grace of God, go I”. You might spot a person who has clearly left the house without the benefit of a mirror – “There, but for the grace of God, go I”. Perhaps you’re at the beach and you see someone trying desperately to look cool, young, hip and competent while riding a wave on their boogie board, when they are in fact uncool, old(ish), not hip and rather incompetent – “There, but for the grace of God, go I”...oh hang on...that is me.

Today I had the misfortune to be bitten twice on the foot by a bull ant and it really, really, really hurt, for quite some time and then for even longer. Herein lies today’s lesson for me. When I return to work next year and one of the wee little people runs to me with a look of pained anguish on their face, claiming to have been bitten by a bull ant, I shan’t think, “Good heavens, toughen up would you! Build a bridge and get over it!” I shall instead think, “There, but for the grace of God, go I”! Lesson over.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

30 Rock Rocks!


Jack - Lemon, what tragedy happened in your life that you insist upon punishing yourself with all this... mediocrity?

Lemon - What? Cause I'm eating a turkey sub?

Jack - Your turkey sub, your clothes, the fact that a woman of your resources and position lives like some boxcar hobo. Or maybe it's the fact that while I'm saying all this you have a piece of lettuce stuck in your hair.


video

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Promises, Promises

There’s nothing quite like a summer storm to round off a hot and humid day – the cooling breeze, the slow build up of cloud, the transformation of day to veritable night, the gentle rumble of thunder and the freaky flash of lightning as nature asserts her authority.

Granted, no one wants to experience destructive winds or flooding rains on a regular basis, but I’ve been feeling a bit let down by the weather of late.

Let’s start with the temperature. Ridiculous. One day it’s too hot, the next too cold and then there's one that’s just right thrown in for good measure. Not that I’m complaining – there are worse fates weather wise. It’s certainly keeping us guessing.

As for those promised storms – most mediocre. They’ve come to nothing in my neck of the woods. A wee drop of rain, the odd rumble and an occasion blanket of lightning. Not that I’m after one of those “get the insurance policy details ready” type storms, but how about a decent light show and some soaking rain. Is that too much to ask? Perhaps. One must always be grateful, not only for what one is given, but also for what one is spared I suppose.

May the rain fall lightly on all your fields.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Round the Bend

People driving on your hammer when you’re doing the speed limit – mediocre
Letting them fly past you while spying a speed camera ahead – priceless

People not indicating and cutting you off in traffic (they’re called indicators people, not reflectors) – mediocre
People giving you a thank you wave – priceless

The price of petrol – mediocre
Walking or riding a bike – priceless...but mostly a lot more effort

Me trying to reverse park – mediocre
People who successfully reverse park in one go – bloody annoying

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Just a Moment

All in a moment,
The world stood still.
Life sparkled and glistened
On each drop of water,
In each grain of sand.
Peace prevailed and
Calm was caught on
The breath of air that
Tentatively hovered
In the fading light of day.
All entities relaxed in harmony,
All in a moment.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

From Little Things, Big Things Grow

Growing up
isn’t always
easy to do.

Therefore,
one should approach
this task with
caution.

And a touch of humour...


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Why must all good things come to an end?

What are holidays if not a way of teasing us? A way of saying "This is how life could be!"? We are given a glimpse of a world without responsibility, a world without time limits, only to have it cruelly snatched away, just as we begin to relax and get used to it. If I could, I'd fold up a little piece of holiday and pop it in my pocket, just so I could remember how life should be - a daily torment or a glimmer of hope - you decide.

I recently went on a winter beach holiday, which I've documented below. It sounds dreadfully mediocre, but that's only because I've left out all the good bits.

Saturday 5th July 2008 - Drenching rain. Car got good wash on way to coast. Arrived – in rain. Unpacked – in rain. Welcomed visitors – in rain. FnC’s for dinner – in rain.

Sunday 6th July 2008 – Beach walk – in rain, and for variety, little bit of wind (weather, not stomach). Prepared gourmet children’s lunch. Eaten by adults. Began Lego.

Monday 7th July 2008 – Morning walk. Beat the rain – almost. Rain. Charming. Very wet rain. Finished Lego – too soon!

Tuesday 8th July 2008 – Hint of sun. No, wait. Rain. Stood on bee on beach (unbelievable – yes!) Why me? Why beach? Wearing shoes, so ok. Me, not bee. Bee fecked. Magnificent sunset. Thank you rain-type-clouds. Sky alight with colour. Tried to knit scarf. Watched abnormal TV – Ladette to Lady. Should enrol self. Will try to wake for sunrise tomorrow.

Wednesday 9th July 2008 – Missed sunrise – by 3 hours. Nothing but blue sky. Need sunglasses, even inside. Magestic. Saw dolphin. Did not see me though. Reading in bright light. Saw another dolphin (or could be same one. Did not catch name).Still did not see me. Odd tongue like creatures on beach. Freaky. Will try to see sunrise tomorrow.

Thursday 10th July 2008 – 6.15am – awoke to see sunrise. Sun shy. Took sweet time to rise. Bit cold. Nutjobs walking, running and surfing. Sunrise very pretty, if little bit standard. Early light shows floor very dirty. No matter. Back to bed? Nothing doing all day. Ate. Ate more. Eating exhausting. Regret overindulgence. Sleep it off. Am power knitter – broke needle!

Friday 11th July 2008 – Glorious day. Excellent wispy clouds. Another bee on beach. Did not stand on. Improving. Weather warm. Very warm. Odd. Finished novel. New one? Yes. Eat, Pray, Love. Final evening walk. Sad. Lovely. Sunset pretty. Made dinner. Feel domestic. To sleep, to find strength, to face life.

Saturday 12th July 2008 – All too soon it is done. Home James.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Middle of the Hill - Josh Pyke

When I was a kid I grew up in a house on a hill...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother Stands for Comfort


There’s nothing mediocre about my Mum. She's got the hardest job in the world and there's no early retirement! She has gone above and beyond the call of duty day-in and day-out with calm, care and grace. Happy Mothers’ Day Mum. I'm blessed to have a mother as wonderful as you (even if you are a bit loopy every now and then!) You're the best! Thank you for everything.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Prefection


They say it’s hard to soar like an eagle when you’re surrounded by turkeys. But what about the opposite scenario? It’s difficult not to look like a turkey when you’re surrounded by eagles. Nothing brings out one’s own sense of mediocrity than being confronted with the genius of others. Now of course the mature and grown up thing to do would be to delight in the talent of others and celebrate their success, but let’s be honest – deep down a little part of us thinks, why can’t I do that?! Throughout life we are placated with sentiments such as, everyone has a special talent. Yeah sure! Cold comfort that is when you discover your special talent is the ability to stack books in perfect piles by size or the unique ability sleep for extended periods of time. Yes. Very impressive!


Picture - "Prefection" Traffic Signal Box by Scott (fischer) Moorhead
http://svc189.bne146v.server-web.com/artforce/rating.asp?id=20
To see more of fischer's work, go to:
www.fischer.com.au

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Eye of the Beholder

Art is a curious thing. One person’s mediocrity is another person’s masterpiece. There was a painting hanging in the Queensland Art Gallery that was a canvas painted black. Not subtle shades of black, not different textures of black. Just black. Is that art? Apparently, yes. Is it good art? Well that’s open for debate.

A piece that may appear to one person as “the internal struggle between good and evil”, may look to another as if someone has thrown up all over the place. So who gets to decide what art is all about – is it the artist or is it the art viewer?

Ultimately, art appreciation comes down to personal taste. If a piece (be it literature, music, a painting, or a sunset) speaks to you - reminds you of a place, a time, a thought, a person, a feeling, or asks you to delve more deeply into yourself - then it may appeal to you as valid art.

There are no rules about whether or not something is truly a work of art, although I have devised my own benchmark – if it’s something I could produce, it’s not art. If it exceeds my ability (wouldn’t be too hard mind you, most people above the age of three could do this) then it qualifies as legitimate art!

Some of my favourite works of art, by the likes of Michael Sowa and Quint Buchholz, can be found not in galleries but on notecards (they may well be in galleries too - don't want to sell these talented individuals short!). Check out http://www.inkognito.de/ for some more than mediocre art.

Images:

1 - Peter Anderson - Persons of Interest, Kingston, Norfolk Island, 2006; oil on canvas

2 - The Oozy Scab - 2008; Pencil on paper

3 - On the Rocks, Shelley Beach, Caloundra, 2002; oil on canvas

4 - Quint Buchholz - Title and date unknown; Notecard

Monday, April 7, 2008

List of Delusions

I’m a list maker. If it’s not on a list, it’s most likely not going to get done. (In fact, I wrote a list of things to include in this post about lists). Lists give the illusion of having a purpose, being organised and in control.

But there’s a downside to list making – the abject feeling of failure when you reach the end of the day, weekend, week (or whatever your timeframe), and you find more items on your list are not crossed off than are crossed off. This feeling of mediocrity can easily be avoided, however. The trick is to be more expansive in your list making. Add, add, add. Everything should go on your list, especially things you’ve already done. These can then immediately be crossed off. “Get out of bed” – check! “Eat breakfast” – check! “Breath in” – check! “Breath out” – check!

In this way you are far more likely to shift the balance back to having more items checked off than not. It doesn’t matter that you may have only succeeded in merely existing and your thesis on procrastination remains unwritten. You have climbed from the ranks of list mediocrity to that of list mastery!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mediocrity at Work

Clearly mediocrity is everywhere. For a perfectionist, it can be very hard to accept mediocrity, particularly in their work. Now obviously, there are some occupations where mediocrity is a no-no. For example, an Ambulance Officer should always strive to eliminate mediocrity, as should a pilot. A chef on the other hand, while aiming for excellence, may get away with a little mediocrity every now and then (where’s the harm in a little food poisoning?).

Teachers, who obviously would like to be all-knowing, can use mediocrity to their advantage – “Yes I did spell that word incorrectly Jimmy, but I did it deliberately to see if you were paying attention!” On the flip side, it’s probably not good for a teacher to confuse “Naturalist” and “Naturist” when presenting student awards before the entire school and parent body. Similarly, they may need to think twice before announcing into the loud haler that, “All those boys with balls should be more careful!” And telling a four year old to, “Stop acting like a child,” frankly doesn’t make much sense.

Then there are those professions where mediocrity is a prerequisite. Journalism for example. Imagine if all the journalists suddenly became literate and well-informed! We would no longer need editors or talk-back radio!

So before beating yourself up for being mediocre at what you do (I’m not saying you are, you may be a flaming genius at your job), stop and think about the fact that perhaps your mediocrity is the very thing keeping you, and those around you, employed!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Imperfection Still Works

It deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteers are in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihngs dno't hvae to be pfrecet to sitll wrok.

Taken from "Walking Tall - Overcoming Life's Little Challenges" by Anthony Gunn.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What's in a name?

Here's a classic case of mediocrity lending itself to magnificent humour. In this case, the author's knowledge (or lack thereof) of animals makes for quite an interesting "Lost" poster.


Text reads:


  • Cat found!
  • Male
  • No collar
  • Light tan with grey & black
  • Not very friendly, I think he might be scared.
  • Not house broken :-(
  • Found Jan 23 on Sydney Rd
  • If he is yours please call...
And the picture is of...well...not a cat!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Diagnosis: Mediocre

Warning: If you do not wish to know what happens in Season Three of Doc Martin, please discontinue reading this post NOW!

I have cast the final episode of Doc Martin, Series Three, into the realms of mediocrity for two reasons. There is, of course, the obvious reason - a not so happy ending. But more mediocre than that is the following exchange of dialogue:


Martin: I thought if I just ... sat there, it would be in your best interests.

Louisa: Humiliating me as I stood in the church alone would be in my best interests would it?

Martin: Well you weren't going to be in the church.

Louisa: Well at least I had the decency to write you a letter.


Louisa's final line there bugs me no end. Surely, honestly, the scene should have played out like this:


Martin: I thought if I just ... sat there, it would be in your best interests.

Louisa: Humiliating me as I stood in the church alone would be in my best interests would it?

Martin: Well you weren't going to be in the church.

Louisa: You didn't bloody well know that!


Let's hope the mediocrity of the Series Three finale paves the way for greatness in Series Four.

http://www.docmartinseries4.blogspot.com/

Friday, March 21, 2008

Zero Punctuation

The English language is a complex beast. One false move and you've completely misrepresented your meaning.

Would you apply for the following position? "Wanted - person to wash dishes and two waiters". I guess it depends how good looking the waiters are!

Would you let this firm mow your lawn? "Don't let lawn mowing kill you - let us do it for you."

How quickly a Board Secretary can become a Bored Secretary.

And who hasn't struggled with a sentence like, "Over there is where they're going to build their campfire".

I'm certainly no expert in the field - I was at University before I learnt the difference between its and it's - but now that I am well on the way to mending my own mediocre spelling and punctuation efforts (well maybe not spelling), I find I notice the errors of others much more readily.

One can never be too quick, however, to cast nasturtiums. For it is from mediocrity that greatness is often born.

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, a game reviewer for "The Escapist", uses a complete lack of punctuation to great effect. You can check out his reviews at (infrequent course language warning):

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/zeropunctuation

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Goodbye to the Normals

Children are odd creatures. At times they seem so stupid and yet at other times you can only marvel at their brilliance, their wisdom, their innocence, their insight and their thoughtfulness. Children are great advocates of mediocrity ("So what if the person in my picture has two heads, one arm and a tree growing out of their bellybutton? I think it looks great!") and great challengers of its use also ("You seem to have put those peas rather close to my potatoes. I therefore cannot eat either unless you re-dish my entire dinner, including my cup of milk!").

A fine example of children challenging mediocrity can be found in the short film "Goodbye to the Normals". Enjoy! (Mild language warning).

Mother: Um, banana sandwiches.

Son: Are they Fair Trade?

Mother: Well, they're organic.

Son: Is that what I asked you?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Talk to the Hand

It can be challenging to accept mediocrity in yourself. It can be more challenging to accept it in others. After all, we know we ourselves are only human and prone to the occasional error. But what excuse do other people have!?

Mediocrity in manners may be the one area where I struggle to find reasonable justification for its acceptance. And I'm not alone.

Lynne Truss's book "Talk to the Hand - The Utter Bloody Rudeness of Everyday Life (or six good reasons to stay home and bolt the door)" is a wonderful affirmation for all those people who have found themselves annoyed by any of the following:

  • people who can't say please and thank you (is it really that hard?)

  • people who talk too loudly in public

  • people who talk too loudly on mobile phones in public

  • people who talk on mobile phones when they are supposed to be talking to you

  • service industries that make you serve yourself (to lodge a complaint about this service, press 9)

  • people who believe the universe exists solely for them (oops, I ran over your kid, but they did get in the way of my Hummer and my life)

  • people who don't give a thank you wave in traffic, when you allow their needs to precede your own (thereby forcing you to behave in a despicable manner yourself)

  • people who don't clean up after themselves (little piggies)

  • parents who believe their children are born knowing everything they need to know about life and therefore (a) get cross with them when they don't know everything (b) fail to correct poor behaviour

  • people in general

Find out more about the utter bloody rudeness of everyday life at:

http://eatsshootsandleaves.com/talk.html


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Near Enough is Good Enough

It's not good enough to accept mediocrity merely in the things you do that are hidden from the world. To truly set yourself free from the stress of perfection, it is necessary to be mediocre in all you do, including those things on public display. No one has embraced this notion more whole-heartedly than those in the "translation" business. Haven't we all had a little giggle at those crazy knife packages that contain a warning to "Keep out of children"?

You can explore the stellar mediocrity of translators at the following site:


http://www.engrish.com/


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Curl of a Wave


Nature is a powerful force and frequently we are at her mercy. Dylan Moran once commented that when Australians aren't barbequing, they are throwing themselves into the ocean, which is full of things designed to kill you. I was once asked what the point of going into the surf was. The questioner postulated that, more or less, you are trying not to die - trying to beat nature at her deadly game of throwing you to the ocean floor, dragging you out to sea, or sending you hurling back to shore.

That may be true, but only on a bad day. On a good day you are at one with the ocean. There is great pleasure in riding your boogie board in on the curl of the wave. It doesn't have to be fancy trickery. Just grab a good looking wave and make a bee line for the shore. Cap this off with a fine dismount. I find struggling to stand in ankle deep water is always impressive. If you can grind your boogie board into the sand, centimetres away from the towel of a horrified 5 year old, this is also good. Perhaps my finest moment (most mediocre moment), however, was on my very first outing with a boogie board (prior to this I enjoyed body surfing like a demented turtle, once a year or so). Looking down the barrel of a wave about to crash (too late to catch it, too inexperienced to duck roll under it), I stared it down, board in front of my face. The wave then taught me a lesson. It smashed the board into my forehead with the full force of angry nature. I was fortunate to leave the beach that day with an egg and not concussion. Lesson learned. Perfection in boogie boarding - never to be learned.

Read about Caroline Catz's (Doc Martin) boogie boarding experience at:

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/entertainment/film_and_tv/s/1015833_catz_makes_waves


Photo: http://www.bootsandpaws.co.uk/pics/portisaac/portisaac7b.jpg

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Beauty of Cut Grass

There are few joys in life that can surpass the pleasure of surveying the lush green of a freshly mown lawn (well actually there are thousands, but let's not be nit-picky) - the rambling mess transformed into millimetre perfect uniformity. It's only as you remove the dirt from your ears and the clippings from your eyes, while simultaneously reinserting the folds of skins that have been mercilessly torn from your bones by rocks propelled from the mower blades at the speed of light, that you notice there amongst the beauty lies a rogue blade of grass standing centimetres above the rest. Mediocrity.

http://www.wikihow.com/Cut-the-Grass


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Welcome


Welcome to the "Middle of the Hill", a blog designed to celebrate all that is average, ordinary and mediocre. Too often we spend our time striving for perceived excellence, expending energy in the search for perfection, when in reality, true brilliance is already right before us, not at the top, but in the middle of the hill.