Bad Broadcasting

Today, being the first Tuesday in November, it was Melbourne Cup Day here is Australia. Touted as The Race that Stops a Nation, the Melbourne Cup is easily one of the biggest sporting events on the Australian calendar, with the state of Victoria given a public holiday, and the rest of the nation really not working very hard from about 1:30 onwards.

Our family, like so many others, pore over the racing pages, and become experts on betting for the day. We each have a small flutter, and stop to watch the race if we can. Having always been a horse-lover, I drool over the gleaming coats and rippling muscles of the horses,  taking in the beauty of the animals stretched in full gallop. My mother and I make judgements on the incredible (but not always in a good way) fashions and styles. My father grumps around complaining about how stupid it is…and then sits, glued to the TV for hours. We wait, we watch, we commiserate each other—because we really aren’t the experts on racing we think we are—and we watch the presentations before going back to our day.

This year would have been no different, and I had not planned on posting about the Cup at all, until I found out the fate of one of the horses. Halfway through the race French horse, Verema, fell back after snapping the cannon bone in her leg. Later, while the stable of winning mare, Fiorente celebrated, Verema was euthanised.

Now, while I’m sad that a horse died as a result of the race, and while I am passionately against the fact that they whip the horses, I’m not going to rant about how horse racing is dangerous and inhumane. As someone who willing supported the race by having a punt, it would be incredibly hypocritical of me. What I want to mention however, is the poor way in which Channel 7, the race broadcaster, handled the situation.

The winning stable was paraded across the screen and interviewed again and again, shots of the victorious moment were replayed at least a half-dozen times, and the winning jockey was even shown on screen during an interview, riding past the ominous green screens that go up after an accident on track. However, at no time during the hour of coverage we watched post-race, was it mentioned that one of the horses had not only not finished, but had been euthanised due to injury. For many across the nation (and around the world), the first news of Verema’s death was through social media, with both Twitter and Facebook in uproar at the lack of acknowledgement.

Understandably, Verema’s stable was incredibly upset at having to euthanise the horse. And, just as with the death of a family pet, the death of these horses for trainers, strappers, and all others involved in their care is a very personal and private affair. However, purely out of respect to the horse and her stable, it would have been prudent for the broadcaster to at least make mention of the situation that had occurred, particularly with it clearly being so visible within the live coverage. A simple aside would have been all that was needed to do justice to the effort and energy put in by all involved with Verema’s racing and care.

While I understand the argument that children may be watching the race, that seems a bogus excuse. Many of those same children watch the news at night with their parents, hearing and viewing much more damaging and violent things. To me, not making mention of the incident at all is not only an affront to the injured horse and her stable, but to the whole field. It makes it very clear that for Channel 7 the broadcast of the Cup is not about the race itself, but about the money to be made, and (to be blunt) the arses to kiss to ensure their hold on coverage for the following year. It shows disrespect to the racing community as a whole, as well as the Australian public, by assuming that the only thing of interest is the race victor. A disappointing view from one of our country’s leading broadcasters, and a sad ending for a valiant athlete.

RIP Varema.


The Good Side of Chronic Illness 1.0

You know what? Having chronic illness sucks. Having two or more chronic illnesses sucks even more. But, as cliché as it is to say this, there is always a silver lining—no matter how small—to something that changes your life so drastically. In fact, there’s often several.

I’ve written, and will probably continue to write, the odd post bemoaning my lot in life when it comes to health. It gets me down and frustrates me, so sometimes I vent. Tonight though, I thought I’d talk about a few of the good things that have come of these wretched health dramas. So, here’s a few of the things that aren’t so bad about being chronically ill.

Sometimes I Sound Really Smart
Without studying medicine, I’ve become a veritable expert in the field of specific prescription medications. I can tell you what hormones affect which areas of the body, and how the body responds to specific increases/decreases in insulin, thyroid function, and immune system function. If you ask, I can also rattle off a list of substitutes (and recipes) for special diets like wheat/gluten free, Lactose free, sugar free, and super-food-rich. I’m a one-stop shop for information on both traditional and natural medicine…within limits of course—I’m not going to be lecturing on brain surgery any time soon.

I Have an Genuine Excuse for Being a Picky Eater…but I Don’t Dramatise

Briiliance by Rachael Smith.

Brilliance by Rachael Smith.

I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for many years. I’ve made coffees, waited on tables, and catered for events, and there’s always that one customer that drives you crazy with their order. There’s the half-strength-caramel-shot-soy-mocha-latte-no-foam who also orders cake with a side of ice cream, but icing sugar, because “I’m watching my dairy and calorie intake”. Or the white-bread-crusts-off-no-butter-mayo-chicken-sandwich dude who’ll complain if he finds a crumb of crust left on it. Oh, and the bride who wants four mains options because she doesn’t know if she’s going to feel like fish, chicken, beef, or lamb at her wedding…but she only wants to pay for three. Seriously, these are real customers.
Because I’ve dealt with picky eaters, and because I love food (a little too much), I try not to mess with stuff too much when I go out to eat. I pick something that looks appetising, order it, and eat it. If I don’t like it, it was my bad choice. Now, though, there’s some things my body just won’t accept, and others that it only likes in certain amounts, or on certain days. I have a diva digestive system. So, if I go out for breakfast I’ll ask for gluten free bread, if I’m feeling over-dairied, I’ll have soy milk, or I’ll order the salad without red-onion, to avoid the inevitable headache. I won’t, however, make a big deal of it, or recreate a whole dish just to get what I want. And I certainly won’t complain about the extra cost. As much as it sucks, food speciality items are more expensive, you just have to suck it up.

I Appreciate Little Wins
We humans like to complain. We like to assume the world is against us, that others are inherently bad, and that life is out to get us. We don’t do this all the time, but it seems to be our more common way of thinking. We very easily look at the negative instead of the positive, especially when it comes to our bodies. How many times have you looked in the mirror and thought “Ugh! My arse looks huge” or “why did I have to have a pimple today“, as if tomorrow would have been any better a day to have Mt Vesuvius on your nose.
I’m just as bad as everyone else. I hate that I now have adult acne and struggle even more with my weight thanks to the PCOS. I get frustrated when silly things don’t work out as expected. But one of the things you learn very quickly when your whole body aches to some extent every day, is that those molehills are just that—molehills, not mountains. The negatives still bother me, but I try to focus so much more on the positives. I get excited over having enough energy to spend a whole day out and still being able to cook dinner, or being able to get to sleep within three hours of going to bed, or simply not waking up with a headache. These things are so much more important to my day than whether or not my cheek is covered in pimples, or my arms are looking especially flabby, because they make my day easier and happierSometimes this even means I can brighten someone else’s day in return, which I’d say is a pretty big win.

There you have it: three pretty great things that come from chronic illness. It’s hardly an exhaustive list, but maybe I’ll keep the rest up my sleeve and make this a regular feature.

Anyone else out there with chronic illness want to help with my list?

Mamm it Up, Ladies.

October is Breast Cancer month. Which is the perfect time to remind all your lady friends (and yourself) to check your breasts and get a mammogram. Regular mammograms are one of the best ways to detect breast cancer, and should be something we call encourage our sisters, mothers, girfriends, wives, and daughters to do. But it can be a bit of a weird conversation  to have…unless, like my friends, every discussion involves regular breast and butt talk.

For those of you not quite as Bogan-mouthed as my friends and me, I reckon give mamming a go. I’m totally going to be out there mamming it up for the rest of the month. Pictures shortly.

Ps. Guys with moobs, totally get my respect for doing this too!

It’s Time!

Today the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) legalised same-sex marriage. The first state in Australia to do so, that it is the Nation’s capital is neither here nor there, but I’m hoping it will set about change within other states.

Now, I have a bunch of gay friends, all of whom I love dearly, so I’m so excited for them. But, as a future celebrant, I’m also really excited that this could soon see me participating in ceremonies that are all the more special.

Hurrah for the ACT! And here’s hoping all our other states follow its lead sooner rather than later. It’s about bloody time.

Fun Fact: Australia Equals DEATH

So, Doghouse Diaries created this nifty world map showing the things each country leads the world in. There some really great ones. Like, did you know that Mongolia leads the world in Velociraptor bones? Or that Bulgarians are better at living the American Dream (owning a home) than Americans are? There’s also a bunch of obvious ones. Japan leads the world in robot technology, New Zealand has the most sheep, and Canadians are the kings and queens of maple syrup.

And Australia? What are we Aussies leading the world in? Ah…death apparently. And not just once, but three times over. Come to Australia, where you’ve got the most chance in the world to get killed by an animal, eaten by a shark, or suffer from Melanoma! Cool. Yep. You’ll be right over. I don’t believe you.

Via Doghouse Diaries. For a larger version, click here.

Hold my Hand.

I’m going to start doing real and intelligent posts again soon, I promise. I’m just a bit hectic at the moment with a bunch of random commitments. Like committing to help with uni assignments, bake for school fundraisers, and repair clothing. None are large tasks, but all require a pretty decent time commitment, and leave me feeling pretty wiped.

I’m also feeling a little lost at the moment, and am trying to figure out where I want to take both myself and Heidielka from here. As I start to feel better I tend to have less time to spend/waste trolling the internet for cool stuff, and writing long odes to things I love. Which is probably a good thing for you, as I do tend to ramble. The thing is, while I’m getting busier, and doing more each day, I don’t actually feel like I’m moving forward. I feel kind of like this guy:

Except, instead of needing a hand to hold while driving, I need one simply to get through life. It all seems a little too hard and a lot too scary after being somewhat stationary for the past eighteen months. I don’t know what to tell future employees when asked what I’ve been up to the last two years, I don’t know how to best interpret how many hours I am capable of each week, and I’m not sure I can cope with the pressure of being the new kid on the block.

Five years ago none of this would have bothered me. I’m not saying I was super confident, but I knew I could bluff my way through an interview, push through thirty-and-forty-hour weeks, and fake it ’til I made it with any task thrown at me. I knew how to do life rather than letting it do me. These days, with a combination of being almost thirty, trying to keep a handle on the ME/CFS and PCOS, and being out of practice when it comes to anything other than working a cash register, I’m scared. I’m scared of failing and of looking like a failure. I’m petrified of being incapable of doing things that used to come so easy. And I don’t remember how to act confident in myself and my abilities when inside I feel useless and confused.

This year was supposed to be about building my self-confidence and learning to love who I am no matter what. Sadly, in the euphoria of a brand new year it’s very easy to commit to things you may not really be able to achieve. I’m not really sure where to go from here, or which piece of my current craptastic life-pile I should start with. It’s all just a bit too hard, and I want someone to hold my hand.