Friday, September 25, 2009

Why Do We Hate?

After a conversation I saw recently on Twitter by the lovely Miss_Chicken, I thought I would talk a bit today about hate and hatred.

Every day you hear the word hate bandied around a lot. People hate foods, they hate music or books or movies, they hate famous people, they hate some douchebag that cut them off in traffic, they hate the green paint in their office, they hate the smell of petrol, they hate decaf coffee, they hate Mondays.

I'm not quite sure that most people quite know what hatred is, or what it does to them. I still catch myself doing it from time to time, though I've cured myself of doing it in reference to people. I caught myself saying earlier today that I hate bureaucracy, and I've had to give myself a little shake.

You see hatred is poisonous. It makes the person with the hatred the most ill. Hatred is also a waste of your energy. As the old saying goes, the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference.

A few years ago, when I was at my lowest point, I talked about hate a lot. I hated myself, I hated my family, I hated how people treated me, I hated my body, I was just full of hate. My psychologist challenged me to change my thinking and let go of all the hate, which in most cases, was anger I wasn't brave enough to express. She asked me to take notice of every time I used the word hate, and see if I could find another word that expressed my feelings better than hate. I found that the more that I thought about it, what I was feeling was not hate. It was anger, fear, irritation, frustration, sadness. Those are all a lot more scary to deal with than hate. Hate is so definite, it's easy to latch onto.

I don't hate peas. I just don't like the taste of them. I don't hate Angelina Jolie, she just irritates the shit out of me. I don't hate spiders, I'm afraid of them. I don't hate homophobes, I am just very angry at them.

The question was asked on Twitter recently if hatred was borne out of jealousy. I think some hatred is definitely borne of envy, that's for sure. People who choose to literally hate other people are sometimes envious of those they hate. Particularly those that can't just leave that person alone. I've never quite understood the concept of "enemies". Why would you want to focus any more attention on a person that you don't like?

The thing is, one chooses to hate. It's not involuntary, and I believe it's something we learn. I am choosing not to hate. Like everything, it's a work in progress, but it's a decision I've made. I seem to have conquered the hating people thing, I don't even hate my family any more, though I'm still angry at most of them. But I still hate stuff sometimes. Because it's easy to hate stuff. I mean, it's just stuff, and it's annoying, or scary (like spiders, I still hate them a bit).

Every time I hear the word "hate" come out of my mouth, or my typing fingers, or cross my mind, I'm going to challenge it. Ask myself what I really feel about the think I'm stating hatred for.

Because I'm pretty sure it's not worthy of hatred, whatever it is.

Monday, September 21, 2009

In My Place

Tonight I want to talk a bit about self identity, self esteem and confidence. It ties into my previous post on depression and anxiety a bit, in that depression and anxiety have always fed my low self esteem and lack of confidence, and now that I am finding that I can have these things while still battling depression and anxiety, I want to share a bit with others my own experiences and lessons, and some things I have come to believe.


I used to have terribly low self esteem. I loathed myself. I thought I was the most worthless piece of nothing that ever existed. I blamed myself for everything bad in the world, and for every time someone was rude to me, or downright nasty to me, I convinced myself it was my fault. I spent far more energy than any human being could actually maintain on trying to please everyone around me.

My whole life, for the first 30 something years, I did everything I could to make people happy, to make them like me. I genuinely believed if there was anything that people were unhappy or angry about, it was my fault.

I was a walking doormat.


Strangely enough, there were plenty of people who told me just that. You're nothing. You're fat, stupid, lazy, greedy, ugly, worthless, pathetic. Some of these were my own family, some were people that called themselves my friends. Some of them were absolute strangers on the street. I believed them. Despite giving every ounce of energy I had to being, doing everything I could to please everyone else but myself, I believed them that I was worthless.


Then I was diagnosed with depression, and referred on to a psychologist who specialises in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Through CBT I retrained my brain to be able to recognise the patterns in my behaviour and thinking that were damaging to me. I learned to like myself. My self esteem grew. As did my confidence. Slowly but surely, I began to actually love myself.

I know, I know, when you hear the words "love myself" you think of having tickets on yourself, or being up yourself. But when you truly learn what it is to love who you essentially are, it's not like that at all. It doesn't mean you think you're perfect or flawless. It doesn't mean that you think you can't make mistakes, or there aren't things about yourself that you can hone and improve. It means that you respect who you are, are proud of doing your best when you can and see your value as a human being.

Nor does it mean that you're all shiny and groovy forever. Sometimes you forget to love yourself. Sometimes the confidence and self esteem slip a bit. Then you have to rework it, relearn all those lessons and find your way again.

I am a work in progress, and always will be.


One of the big lessons I have learnt over the past year is that it doesn't matter if people don't like me. I don't need them to. What matters is that I like me as I have to live with me 24 x 7.

I spent so many years trying to make everyone happy and get them to like me, but even when I did everything I possibly could to make people happy, there were some that still didn't like me. So here I was, trying so hard, with people not liking me, and I was still unhappy. I have learnt that if I work to make myself happy, then I will draw people into my life that DO matter, and they will be happy because they matter to me and I will show them.


Life is not a popularity contest. You don't need to collect the most friends to win. What you do need to do is value the people that matter to you the most, and give your best to life.

If people don't like me, fair enough. I don't like some people myself. A lot of people really. It doesn't hurt me if people don't like me. All I ask of people who don't like me is to leave me alone. If you don't like me, why are you bothering to expend any energy on me? As the saying goes, the opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. If I don't like someone, I travel in the opposite direction to them, not hang around paying them attention. I don't like them, why would I want to pay them any attention?


But what really matters to me is that I can be proud of myself. I try to ask myself with every decision "What will I be proud of later." Doesn't mean I always make the right decision, but it means that I make a lot more right ones than if I didn't ask myself that question!

There are a lot of people who don't like confident women. Some don't like confident men, but more don't like confident women. Women are supposed to be demure and dainty and humble. Women are supposed to be always giving, to be always supportive and enabling. Women aren't supposed to be proud of themselves. Women aren't supposed to not care if they're not liked.

Instead of walking away from those women, the people that don't like them feel the need to bring them down, to "put them in their place". NOTHING pisses these people off more than a woman who refuses to be "put in her place". What a bitch! She refuses to bow to what I think she should be, to conform to how I think she should behave!

I have a place. That is not for anyone other than ME to determine.


I remove those people from my life who want anything for me other than my happiness. Yet despite the cries of "You selfish bitch, you'll have no friends, you'll die alone and miserable and bitter." from these people who cannot bear the thought of someone simply walking away from them.

Yet here's the funny thing. Since I learned this lesson, the lesson of self esteem and confidence, the lesson of "I am beholden to no man/woman, other than myself." I am happy. And I have more truly wonderful people in my life than I ever had when I was trying to please everyone else. The connections I have made may not be as widespread, but they are far, far deeper. There is a sense of peace in me that I never had before. I feel light and strong and balanced. I carry no burdens of other people's bad behaviour longer than the time it takes for me to disengage from them.

Again, that doesn't mean that I don't still have bouts of self loathing, of fights with the black dog of depression and waves of anxiety, fears and worries. But it means that I can take a deep breath, stop and look around, see the people I love and who love me as I am, and set myself back onto the path again.


I want other people to feel what I am feeling now. I want others to know what it's like to let go of having to have the approval of others just because those others are vocal and domineering. I want to share this peace and strength. The only way I know how is to tell my story and share my experience.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Living with the Black Dog

I was going to write a post on Fat Heffalump about depression, but I've decided to broaden the topic a bit and post it here, because I'd like to talk to everyone about depression, not just my fellow fats.

One of the biggest challenges with dealing with depression is that in many cases, it is a taboo subject. Sufferers or the friends and family of sufferers just don't talk about it. It's demonised in the media as well, which makes it even more difficult to talk about. Ironically though, one of the most healing things you can do as a depression sufferer is to talk about it.

Talking about depression (both that I suffer and the experiences of others) has been one of the most healing activities for me, so I'm going to cast that onwards and talk about it some more here.

My name is Kath and I suffer depression. Some of you who know me may think that I am a confident, outgoing, bubbly woman. I am, sometimes. These days I am that woman a lot more than I used to be. However, I do suffer depression and anxiety, always have and always will. I am a lot healthier than I have ever been, but I have suffered severe depression and been suicidal in my past. I used to carry a lot of shame about my depression, but thanks to some really good cognitive behavioural therapy, I am not ashamed any more.

One of the hardest things to deal with when it comes to depression is the "Depression for no reason." That's when life's fine, there are no dramas or serious problems, but you get sucked into a quagmire of depression that is just there for no apparent reason. In my case the reason is usually a flood of whatever brain chemicals it is that cause my depression, but outwardly there is no "reason".

When you have depression, and are in the middle of a bout of it, your thinking is not rational. The judgements you make on yourself and the world around you are not clear and unbiased. Things that would normally not cause you to even think twice suddenly weigh heavy on your mind and your confidence, and affect your thinking more than they normally would. Then this feeds into a spiral, where your depression can get worse and worse, unless you do something to break the cycle. My rule, when I find myself in a bout of depression (which I have now learnt to recognise pretty quickly) is "Cast no judgement." I do my best to not make any decisions other than the bare necessities of living, make no judgement on situations, people around me or myself and to put any critical thinking on hold until the depression has passed. I find that if I just put one foot in front of the other and do what I need to do to maintain my daily life and take care of myself, I prevent myself from getting into a depression spiral.

Sometimes the people around you don't know how to deal when you are depressed. I see this a lot. People are frightened by depression. It's hard to know what to do or how to act when someone is depressed and you don't suffer it yourself. Some even worry that it's catching! In my case, when I am depressed I look like I am physically ill. So people will often ask me if I am unwell. I used to just say I was feeling sick, but now days I tell people that I'm unwell with depression, because I used to get upset at hiding how unwell I was with it. But you need to be careful because sometimes the reaction people have is very hard to deal with. Some people try to "fix" you. Others avoid you. Many say "Cheer up." as if you can actually just do that. Most people do mean well, but it's difficult to live with people's discomfort about your illness.

Depression is not imagined. It is real and it's as physical as any other ailment. Of course it's a little less easy to spot because you don't get a rash or a cough or a sniffly nose. But it is an illness that hits you for whatever reason (there are many different types of depression) and I find the best way to initially approach it is as though you have "come down with depression". When I am depressed, I am unwell, and I take care of myself in the same way I would if I had a flu or a virus or an injury. I take some time off work if I am unable to work, I rest, I eat foods that are good for me and drink lots of water (hydration helps everything, I am sure of it!), I see my doctor and I take care of myself as best I can. Sometimes depression is brought on for me by other illness. If I get a flu, depression is not far away. When I got shingles, depression came to visit too. Same as when I got a tummy bug of some kind. In fact, sometimes when I get depression, the first warning sign is a bout of sinusitis! I think for me, a low immune system brings on both sinus infection and depression.

Another thing I find really helps is to write a "cheat sheet". I have one in the front of all my notebooks (I am a notebook keeper) and now in the notes application of my iPhone. Basically, it tells me what to do to function through a day. It's as basic as:
  • Get up
  • Shower
  • Brush your teeth.
  • Dress (with makeup)
  • Wear sensible shoes.
  • Eat breakfast
  • Go to work, try to do repetitive "automatic" work (oh my databases and record keeping do well when I'm depressed, it's easy, it's formulaic and I can just get into it without having to tax my poor depressed brain.
  • Eat lunch.
  • Go outside at lunchtime.
  • Remember your tea (I keep peppermint and chamomile tea special for when I'm depressed, it does help)
  • Read or watch DVD's that make you feel good.
  • Go to bed by 9.30pm at the latest.
Pretty basic isn't it? But it really does help me focus when I am depressed. I actually do have certain clothes and shoes that I make sure I wear when I am depressed. They are comfortable and I feel nice in them. I can cope with things more if I'm not in shoes that hurt or worried about my outfit.

Most of all, go easy on yourself. Be KIND to yourself. Treat yourself with the same kindness you would treat other people. We are usually far harder on ourselves than we are on people around us.

If you suffer depression, let us know in the comments any tips or tactics you have learned to help you cope.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Why I Became a Librarian

A couple of days ago I was having a conversation with a friend about my boss and why I admire her, and I said something about "She reminds me of why I am a librarian and am passionate about libraries." He asked me exactly why I am a librarian and as I thought of my answer, I decided that perhaps a blog post could come of that.


So.... why am I a librarian?

Well, when I was a little girl, the library was always a haven for me. It's no secret that I come from a pretty screwed up family. Things at home were usually pretty crap. So when we used to go to the library of a night time. I think it was Tuesday nights the library was open late in Rosewood. We'd go in our pj's and I had that whole building full of books at my fingertips, I was happy.

My school teacher-librarian when I was little was a lovely lady named Miss Stubbs. I thought she was amazing. She was pretty and had long straight blonde hair, and read books to kids at her job. She had a soft, clear voice and a sweet smile. And she was always really gentle and nice to me.

I remember her encouraging me to choose anything I wanted from the library to read. Even when I sometimes chose a book that was too young for me, or that I'd read time and time again, she never suggested I should choose something else. Sometimes she asked me what I liked about that particular book, and would offer something else that I might like for the same reasons. She was usually right.

When I returned books, she would ask me what I thought about it. She never judged me if I didn't like something that she had recommended, or if I liked it for silly reasons, like it was funny or it had rude characters in it. I loved Roald Dahl's books for the naughtiness of some of his characters. There was a Robyn Klein book called Penny Pollard's Diary that looked like an exercise book and like it had bandaids and polaroids and stuff all stuck in it. It looked all dirty and Penny Pollard was a bit of a naughty girl. Miss Stubbs thought it was totally OK that I loved that book, even though my mother thought it was stupid.

Once there was a competition in the library to name the mascot for the reading programme. It was a little pink water dragon, kind of like the Loch Ness monster with humps up out of the water. I nominated the name "Serendipity" and won the competition. I got three books, one of which was a Pippi Longstocking book by Astrid Lindgren, and one of Enid Blyton's Naughtiest Girl in School books. One day I will get that little dragon tattooed on me, along with the word Serendipity.

Miss Stubbs used to let me look in the box of new books first when they arrived, because I'd read pretty much everything in the library. I always remember it being like Christmas when those boxes would appear, it wasn't very often from memory, but there were always new friends in that box for me.

Whenever things were really bad at home, there was always a book to escape into. I could hide in my wardrobe with a torch and read whatever library books I had. Sometimes I would find a corner down in our yard, far away from the house, where I could read or just daydream my own stories. There was a jacaranda tree I would climb up and read in too. When I was a little older, I would get on my bike and ride across town to my school and I would go to the library. If it was closed, I would sit on the sort of verandah outside in the shade and read there. It was always so peaceful and calm there, compared to at home.


A few years ago, I was standing in line at a Michael Palin booksigning, when I thought I recognised the lady in front of me. I couldn't quite place where, but she turned and said to me "Excuse me, is your name Kathleen?" The minute she spoke, I recognised that soft, clear voice. It was Miss Stubbs. I was thrilled to tell her that I was now a librarian, and almost totally because of her. I found that she was still a children's librarian in the area where I grew up, and still passionate about her job. I'm not quite sure she knows how much she meant to me, either then or now.

After Miss Stubbs left our school, I was a little older, and the new teacher-librarian came along. Her name was Miss Browning. She was really cool. She was more extroverted than Miss Stubbs, and had a fat red cattle dog called Bear that used to sleep around the library. Miss Browning let me help out at the library a lot. Especially when there were bullies around. I would shelve for her, or get things ready for her classes. She was always so funny, and I remember laughing with her while we talked. She taught me to cover and mend books, as well as how to catalogue. I already knew Dewey really well when I got to High School because of her. She gave me a t-shirt with sunglasses on it once, and I wore that thing to rags.

I often wonder what happened to her.

Once I got to High School, the librarian was Mrs Scott. Or Ms Whittaker. Or was that the other way around? Mrs Whittaker/Ms Scott. I remember she changed her name while we were there, because she got divorced. At first she really scared me, because while she was only a little lady and I was already my adult height, she had this ENORMOUS voice. She shouted at the boys a lot. Miss Stubbs and Miss Browning never shouted.

But one night I went to the library after school (again, they opened it one night per week to the public) and I asked her timidly if there were any books like the one I had read, The Root Cellar by Janet Lunn. You see I really loved the American Civil War setting, and wanted to read more about it. She gave me The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. We were firm friends from that day on.

She too would let me help in the library during lunch time and after school, mostly to keep away from the bullies and avoid going home. Later the school built a fantastic new library, state-of-the-art with one of the first fully automated barcoding systems in Australia. She bought badges for me and two other girls that said "Library Monitor". Nobody had them before that. She taught us how to use the barcoding system, which had a pen shaped barcode reader. She taught me more about cataloguing and processing books. I could cover hardcover books with the thick plastic covering like a pro. I still can do it, beautifully neat and perfect.


And she encouraged me to read anything I could get my hands on. She had travelled a lot, and she told me about places she had been and things she had done, and gave me books to read about those places. Once she went on a big world trip and we had a substitute teacher-librarian. She sent me three postcards while she was away, to my house. I felt so special that she sent them to my house, not to the school like the ones she sent to the teacher's aide that worked in the library, Mrs D. One was of the Sphinx in Egypt, another was the Oracle at Delphi and the last was the Colosseum in Rome. I still have them nearly 25 years later.

She put up with me all those hormonal years when I fell in love with so many Senior boys. She would understand on the days I didn't turn up when I said I would, because I was behind the Home Ec building with Senior boys. She liked my friend Peter from Senior, who was called Fraggle because of his Robert Smith style hair. She sent me a card years later when he died of a heroin overdose, because he couldn't face reality in life, being gay in a small town. She also tolerated my very camp friend Marcus, who wore pants so tight that he split them in the arse squatting down to give CPR to a dummy. Marcus who also didn't know he was gay, but experimented with me behind the Home Ec block to find out if he liked girls.

She left when I went into Senior at high school and we had two teacher-librarians then, because they needed two to be as good as her. A man and a lady, who were nice, and let me stay a library monitor, but they didn't talk to me about books or places around the world like Ms Scott/Whittaker did. They didn't show me how to do new things in the library. They just wanted me to shelve and tidy up.

They let more people be library monitors, and some of them were boys. One of those boys was my boyfriend for a while, I can't remember his name but he had blonde hair and a cute bum and liked to talk about books. He could also programme games into an Amstrad 464 computer, which we had. He would sit on the tennis courts of the school with me when things were shitty at home, and I would bolt to be out of the house. When we moved to another house to be away from my father, he came to visit me one Saturday morning, the first person who came to visit me at my house for a lot of years.

The library wasn't the same after Ms Scott/Whittaker left. Then I was forced to change schools in Year 12 and went to Beaudesert, and the school librarian there was a dragon lady, who just screamed at the kids and made the library horrible. But I never forgot Miss Stubbs, Miss Browning, and Ms Scott/Whittaker.

Because of them, I'm a librarian. Because they showed me that no matter how screwed up my family and home was, I could always read and learn and dream about more. They told me that girls could put their mind to anything, and books were the doorway to that, even if the books were fluffy or silly. They taught me that reading would always elevate me out of whatever pit I was in, be it depression, a violent home, being broke or lonely. They taught me that so long as I could read, life could be better, that it would be better. If people in books could sort it out, I could. Sometimes that lesson was all that got me through parts of my life.


I would love to be that person for someone. If my being a librarian contributes to one person raising themselves out of the shit in life to be something better than they thought they could be, or others thought they could be, then I've given something back to Miss Stubbs, Miss Browning, Ms Scott/Whittaker.

Three ladies that saved my life.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

On Raising Literacy Levels in Australia

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 46% of Australians are sub-literate. (source)

This means that 46% of Australians do not have the prose literacy skills needed to meet the complex demands of everyday life and work. This not only includes people who cannot read at all, the illiterate, but also includes the rather large number of people who can read individual words, or simple sentences, but do not have the comprehensive skills to understand an average sentence or longer, or a paragraph.

At first this revelation shocked me. But on more recent experience, I understand it now, and can honestly say I can see the evidence of this in my day to day life. Even in online services and tools that rely solely on the written word (ie blogs, Facebook, Twitter, forums etc), I am noticing how many people struggle to comprehend what they are reading. It's not that they cannot read each individual word, it's that they are unable to comprehend the words together in the form of sentences and paragraphs. And what often happens is they compensate by taking in what they think the sentences and paragraphs say, and not what they actually say. I would say it's easily a good 20 - 25% of people I read daily (and often interact with) would fit in to the sub-literate category.

Never has this been more evident to me than recently. If you like, go and read the most heated comments in some of my earlier blog posts. How often do you see me respond with "You are not reading what I have written." or "But that is not what I have said."? It's alarmingly frequent.

As a librarian who believes deeply in literacy being the one thing that will better our society, I sometimes wonder how to contribute more to raising people's literacy in not only Australia but the world.

One popular school of thought is that writers should simplify their writing, take it to a more basic level.

I believe this is "dumbing down" and I believe it makes the problem worse. Can you imagine if we dumbed down brilliant wordsmiths because some people don't have the literacy skills to read them? One of my idols in language and writing is Stephen Fry. He plays with language, constantly tweaks it and polishes it. I can't imagine not having writers like this, who are not afraid to really get their teeth into words and language to read. Not to mention the fact that I dream to have the skill that he shows with language.

Newspapers are traditionally written for an 11 year old reading ability. Let's leave it to them to keep that level, and let's gently encourage people to practice their reading by finding writing that they LOVE. Recreational reading is fun and relaxing, or it should be - there's another whole blog post on forcing or guilting people into reading what is "worthy", which I may write in the future. If someone has found the subject matter interesting enough to pick up the book, or click on the link, or open the magazine/newspaper/comic, then that is the first major step to improving their literacy. The more someone enjoys reading, the more they're going to strive to do it, to expand what they are reading.

As writers, I feel we should all be honing our skills, not just opting for the easy road out and going for that approach that newspapers take, of sticking to the 11 year old reading level. As our writing gets better and better, so do the skills of our readers. At least this is what I believe.

The best way to improve your writing skills? The same way in improving all skills... practice. It doesn't matter if every piece isn't a masterpiece, but if you're doing it, and polishing it as you go, then you'll get better and better at it. You want practice at it? Then keep doing it.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Think About That Ink

Any of you who know me, know how much I love tattoos. I have three, two of which are in highly visible spots, and I'm very proud of them all. If you want to look at the two most recent, you can find them on this blog post here. Recently I made the decision that I am planning to get both sleeves done, full sleeves down to the hands, as well as both legs from the knees down and on to my feet.

I probably won't get them done all in one go, because I'd love to collect ink art from truly great tattooists. Besides, I don't care WHAT I have to do, I am getting a piece by Chris Garver (you may have seen him on Miami Ink) if it kills me.

Anyway, as someone who loves their ink and has spent a lot of time learning about it and the culture around it, I want to give any of you who are thinking about getting tattooed some advice. Because despite the fact that it is fairly obvious that tattoos are permanent, people don't always think about what they're doing before they get one. And I will tell you now people, laser removal is not only expensive and painful, it also doesn't work that well. So here are my tips.
  1. Think about it. Sleep on it. Make sure you are really comfortable with the design you are getting. The longer you've thought about it and talked about it, the more perfect it will sit with you.
  2. A cheap tattooist will give you a cheap tattoo. Cheap = nasty.
  3. Ask people who have tattoos that you admire where they got their work done. You'll notice the same name come up on the stuff you really like again and again. Go to that tattooist.
  4. ANY good tattoo artist has his/her name as their best guarantee. They plug their name relentlessly and a quick Google search will bring up their work and reviews from their customers. We tattooed not only like to talk about our tatts, but we love to plug our tattoo artists too.
  5. If a tattooist has books or walls with stuff that you can walk up and say "I'll have that one please" - you're going to the wrong tattooist. Quality tattoo artists do not do "catalogue" work. Every piece is original for each customer. They may have lots of reference books to give them starting points and help you pick a look or style you want, but that's different to catalogues.
  6. Never choose a tattoo while inebriated in any form. You WILL regret it.
  7. Remember that tattoos spread and thicken with age. This means that anything too detailed will end up blobby.
  8. A good tattoo artist will guide you in the design, fit it to the contours of your body and tell you if something isn't going to work long term.
  9. Take reference material. Google image search the things you want done, print out a whole bunch IN COLOUR and take them with you.
  10. Check out the tattoo shop before you get your work done. Does it smell like a hospital? Bingo, that's what you want. You want to smell disinfectant, see lots of rubber gloves and every thing they use on you should be sterile. Only the very best of tattooists can work "remotely" to high quality, so beware of getting work done outside of tattoo shops themselves.
  11. Are you Celtic? No? Then don't get a Celtic tattoo, you'll only look like a dick. Same goes for Maori/Pacific/Polynesian/Native American designs.
  12. Ladies, please don't get a fairy.
  13. Getting genitalia tattooed on yourself is not classy.
  14. Nor is getting your genitalia tattooed itself.
  15. Get some good quality tattoo magazines. I love Post-Modern Ink.
  16. If the tattooist is rude, dismissive or makes you feel stupid, then they are not the tattooist for you.
  17. Any tattoo artist worth their salt will provide you with the artwork BEFORE you get anything done to you. They'll ask you to approve it before they go any further. If you want to change something, say so straight away.
  18. Be aware that certain tattoos don't go on certain parts of the body, and that tattoos need to face a particular way. A good tattooist will tell you this, and explain why he/she wants to mirror image a tattoo, or change the design a bit. It's for your own good!
  19. If you have made a mistake with a past tattoo, and you want a cover up, be aware that whatever you get to cover it has to be darker and heavier than the existing tattoo. Therefore if you have a big black tribal piece and you decide you hate it... there ain't much you can cover that sucker with.
  20. Don't get what everyone else is getting. Cos you'll end up hating it in a year or two. Get something that means something to YOU and that isn't a fad or trend.
But most importantly... THINK ABOUT IT! This is something you are going to have for the rest of your life, and you will want to love it every time you look at it. You'll want to show it off and talk about it and be proud of it. Don't get it until you've really thought about it.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


I think it's time for some fun on this blog. Something to give the haterz a rest.

I think I'm in love. Not with some bloke. Well... a little bit with some bloke. You see, I've rediscovered Winston. Smooshy faced, cranky, fluffy, he'll-eat-anything Winston. He's the most fun kitteh on the interwebs. Followed very closely by Maru, the fat Scottish Fold from Japan that likes boxes a little too much.

But you know why I really like Winston? Cos he has a cute boy who is his human. Check this out:

See? He's a hottie. And he likes cats. No he LOVES cats. That's adorable!

Why don't more blokes like cats? I must admit, I never used to be a big fan of cats. But I seem to be getting more fond of them as I get older. And I find it really cute when guys like cats. Especially if they have wacky cats with lots of character like Winston:

Yeah ok, I'll admit, I really like Winston cos his human is cute.