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The Archive of Blackframes.com.au posts

Old posts from the original Blackframes site

Filtering by Category: Archive

An open letter to Barack Obama, President of the World

Lach Ryan

Obama President of the World

Dear Mr President Obama Congratulations on being President of the World for the 2nd time in a row. Bad luck however on not making Top 10 in Men's Health "Best Dude's with grey/or flecked grey hair". It was a tough year. There was Clooney as usual, but I saw Richard Gere was back in the list, that dude from Grey's Anatomy and even Clinton got a run. I know how badly you wanted it.

Anyway I thought I would write you a letter as I noticed in a picture on the internet that your White House has a letterbox. I also like the idea that some US Government Agency employee will probably have to scan this post to determine if I am a threat to National Security. I guess as President of the World, you would get lots of letters. Do you know Fred Savage? You must get to meet heaps of cool people!

I also like how you have your own real life set of Lego. You have a full plane, a helicopter, a special Police squad, dragon slayers and even your own farm. If I was you, I would be always swapping the pants of the people that worked for me because that's the best bit about Lego. In one scene a Policeman can be rescuing a cow from a dragon, then the next minute relaxing in a helicopter wearing red slacks.

I notice you always seem to wear suits. Once or twice I saw you wearing a chino pant and some hand gestures, but mostly it is suits. Do you go to Hong Kong and get them specially made? My friend Mick does. He's as big as a basketballer, so they don't make clothes for him in normal land. I think it’s funny that such a big man gets clothes made by such little men.

You like basketball huh? I guess you probably gave up an NBA career to pursue politics. I heard that the Harlem Globetrotters were running your social media campaign and also formed much of your fiscal policy. Do you use lots of basketball terminology in the Oval Office? Like ‘Hey Team, let’s take a time out on this Iran thing’ or ‘That’s a tech foul Hilary! A tech foul’ or ‘Boomshakalaka’ or ‘Rebook Pumps’? I bet you do. You’re the coolest President since Charlie Sheen’s Dad.

I like that you are a family man. Your wife Michelle is doing OK for a lady who’s an ‘Outback Summer’ (definitely over 40). You don't see much of your Mum, Oprah, on TV anymore though. Your Kids look like fun- do they have their own whale like in that movie ‘Free Willy’? If I was President of the World, I would give my kids a whale. My parents never let me have one, mostly because we lived inland but also because we already had two cars and some bikes in the carport.

Your full name is a bit weird! Barack Hussein Obama II; does that mean you are the second version? Are you the slimmer upgrade with bug fixes? What happened to the first Barack? Is he in a draw somewhere? I read that people used to call you Barry. My Dad’s uncle was called Barry. He used to own a swimming pool and spear fish kickboards after hours, whilst drinking cask wine in his underpants.

I also read that you are a Christian. Me too! Does God talk to you sometimes? Once in church I heard God telling me to become a physiotherapist. It was really quiet but clear. It turned out it was just my Mum prayer-bombing me. Do you ever prayer-bomb people? It’s when they are praying and you say stuff in a way that makes them think its God. Dick Cheney used to do it to your friend Mr Bush all the time.

Well good luck in running the world for the next four years. I think that if Aliens or Arnold Schwarzenegger are really true then you should tell everyone. I also think that you maybe you need to take a look at your homeland’s roads. When I was there, I saw lots of road crews fixing potholes. All over the same roads were other fixed potholes. Perhaps rather than just always fixing potholes, they could stop, rip the road up and lay it all down again. But I’m sure you have got more important things to consider than a new approach to roadwork. Let's just HOPE Fred Savage gets onto it or something.

Yours Truly,

Lach

 

Working Out How to Work Out

Lach Ryan

Gym Junkie

Eat less, move more. That seems to be the way to look good. If you need to be stronger do some push-ups, sit-ups and squats. That sounds like hard work doesn't it! Wouldn't it be easier if we could just outsource this effort?Someone to take away our insecurities and guilt? Allow me to introduce you to my friend, Gym. I have recently concluded that Gym's are much like belly buttons and we don't really need them. Both claim to assist your appearance and both will happily debit your account monthly, regardless if you've used them. Here's a tip- never give your bank details to your navel! The idea of working out at a gym can be confusing and scary. It doesn't need to be. Allow me to explain.

I say 'idea' because that is what it is for many people. They happily pay a monthly fee to a place they never visit, just like that year I bought a season pass to Werribee Zoo. I went once, but never again after I felt too anxious around the Giraffes. I still can't understand how their necks can support that weight without snapping.

Your average Gym is divided into three categories- the Ubers, the Machinists and the Sweatsuits. Most of us are Sweatsuits. Average people donning ridiculous combinations of  tight sports fibre garments with old promotional tee shirts, dirty runners and mismatched socks. In this uniform we sweat ourselves into contentment.We have 'exercised'! This process shelves any lingering guilt we may have about our lifestyle and dietary habits, and is our bit to upholding first world mortality rates.

The Ubers are those males who clog the gym floor space, bumping into each other like cattle being herded through a gate. They tend to have gelled their hair just for this outing, and develop close friendships with other Ubers. Often they will coordinate their schedules for example Tuesday session may be back and arms, Wednesday veins and chest and Thursday fingers and neck. You will notice a distinct lack of any focus on lower body, this is because an Uber does not deem leg muscles necessary. Often they will be disproportional small, due to neglected use much like a wheelchair inhabitant.

The Machinists are usually Women, gay or overweight Men.  Dress-code for this crowd is  pure Lycra  This is unfortunately true for the overweight men who resemble a front load washer full of hams, as they plod upon the treadmill. Don't try to get into a conversation with these types about the idiocy of running on a machine at cost in a gym, when the outdoor version is free and superior. They will rebut with well honed speeches about how they "like it better" or "can watch Deal or No Deal  on TV whilst doing it". These are the cash-cows of any Gym, always there, hence while they can clearly exploit the 20 min per machine maximum.

But it is not just the inhabitants of a Gym that can be intimidating. The environment and the elements that make it up can be just as strange. There are the mirrors everywhere that allow the boys-who-can-shave to admire a new vein as they try and curl more iron than Albania exports. There are the paper towel and spray disinfectant for members to discreetly wipe away the sweat version of a body outline left behind after a stretch session on the mats. There is enough sweat based DNA in your average gym that scientists could take a swab from a Swiss ball and genetically engineer the ideal physical embodiment of a human. The may want to head elsewhere to perfect personality and intellect, unless knowledge of protein shakes is a desirable trait.

There are those cards for predetermined programs, set out by some over enthusiastic trainer named Damon. Two weeks in and you are just happy to roll a few hand weights over ,while listening to a band featuring Dave Grohl (how many bands he has actually been in?!) fantasizing your own private sports movie montage. Those cards lay used around the edges of gym, discarded like losing betting ticket after the races. It once promised so much, but delivered so little.

Then there are the communal Gym showers.Nothing builds community than seeing the guy from the fruitshop's cucumber and mandarins after a post-spin class shower. You know the showers have been well disinfected, because even though you bring your own body soap from home you still come out smelling like a freshly cleaned hospital. The smell of the Gym itself has a strong whiff of ambition, mixed with a strange balance of confidence and despair and just a touch of perviness. The musk of money wasted. You go to a gym long enough and surely you'll end up smelling this way.

 

A Celebration of Cheese

Lach Ryan

Wheres the cheese

Some call it the coagulated lactate of the Gods. Asian cultures accuse Westerners of reeking of it. In Holland it is considered currency. Ever since Pier Tellermoncrete discovered the substance whilst hording a selection of Donkey milk in a soggy cloth under his bed in 634AD, people have been asking "Where's the Cheese?" Whatever way you look at it, Cheese is a big part of our everyday lives. Without Cheese we probably would never have gone to the moon, discovered penicillin or defeated the Nazi's. Look at any supermarket in the world, and certainly you'll find whole refrigerated rows dedicated to the stuff. Pizza cheese, sliced cheese, cubed cheese, fancy cheese, party cheese, cheese in sticks, cheese in tubes, space cheese, celebrity cheese, French cheese, Italian cheese, Dutch cheese, Tasmanian cheese and cheese from bags.

Cheese really is wonderful!

So why would someone not want to eat it? Yes, as shocking as it sounds there are people within the developed world who freely choose not to eat Cheese. Sure, there are far flung corners of the world that still haven't heard about the joys of shaving with Cheese or using it as an insect repellent  but to know all this  and still choose not to indulge? Questions must be asked! Lactose intolerant they call themselves. Well, they have certainly got the last part right. If we are to listen to English author Gilbert K. Chesterton they must all be poets!

He once quipped  "The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese." Poets may be silent, but true artists like The Mighty Boosh choose to elevate Cheese to its rightful place through their work. One need only look to seminal 'Cheese Song' from the Mod Wolves episode, to see beautiful rhyming verse celebrating the golden goo;

Cheese is a kind of meat, A tasty yellow beef. I milk it from my "teet", But I try to be descreat! Ohhhh CHEESE! Ohhhh CHEESE!

According to Wikipedia, Cheese is traditionally valued for it's portability, long life, and high content of fat, protein, calcium, and phosphorus. This makes it much like most American 80-somethings on those motorised carts in Florida. Unlike them, Cheese doesn't do too well in the sun but looks great in a two-piece swimsuit. It is said Cheese can be intimidating and that is understandable. Firstly the names like Cottage Cheese are misleading. Fact is it isn't made of cottages, but actually the milk from tents. Then there is the pairing with wine. However, Cheese can be enjoyed with many other liquids such as mythical waters, bears urine and some lighter versions of oils such as  extra virgin and engine.

Despite its high status today, Cheese-making hasn't always been so popular. Only 15 years ago, before the likes of Irish Cheese whizz Ricky St Martin revolutionized the scene, Cheese-making was deemed nerdy and dangerous. It was mostly practiced in garages and cardboard box shacks by gents who look nothing like today's chiseled  LA, cheese-sticks. These geeks gave the practice a bad name, overdosing on their own goods and having such terrible dreams (or Cheese-mares) that separate wings were developed in local psychiatric institutions to deal with the fall out. Nowadays, the whole practice has been polished to present something much cleaner. Which means we can go back for another slice, guilt free.

So, both Peter and I want to know....Where's the Cheese?

 

 

Halls Gap is for (Ice Cream) Lovers...and Kangaroos

Lach Ryan

Halls Gap MAP

Tradition, like an old person, is a dying thing. But just like an old person, that thing can be really great and involve ice cream. This week I passed on a large tradition from my childhood. I packed up Wifey and the Kid and headed for Halls Gap on our first holiday as a proper family unit. It scares me just  how much I now become my own father whenever packing the car. It's a stress, sport, calling and chore all rolled into one muttering bubble. We had 4 nights booked in at a holiday house in the village of Halls Gap, the central community of the Grampians region in southern Australia. Halls Gap is a small town of probably less than 500 full-time residents, not counting the Kangaroos. If Kangaroos were to be included in the official population then the town would instantly become the 4th largest regional metropolis in Australia. The town's Mayor is a Kangaroo along with one of its Police officers, and they can also be found enrolled at the local School. I have been coming to this spectacular place (amazingly picturesque in any weather) since I was a young kid. It has always been my favorite place and full of many great memories and past adventures. It was for that reason that I was quite keen to get my own little man up there and indoctrinated to its charms.

We arrived to above average weather and settled into our accommodation, only to open the living room blinds to a wrinkle of Pensioners (is that the collective noun?) doing Tai Chi. At least most of them had pants on. We then strolled into town past a couple of hundred Kangaroos, consuming more grass than a Queens of the Stone Age tour. It was here I introduced A-man to the first and most important tradition- the Ice Creamery. For years, this has been a place weary bushwalkers would stop and reward themselves for a days active output, instantly undoing that work. As a Kid, the 'Coolas Special' was the Nike of ice creams and I would Just Do It, anytime, anyday I could. Despite this particular day being only an hour off dinner, we needed to indulge. The 'Special' involves whipped cream and nuts atop of 2 generous scoops of you choice of ice cream, served in a homemade waffle cone drizzled in hot fudge. It is like a Sigur Ros song on your taste-buds.

On the way back, we also introduce the Kid to the Kangaroos. I had been talking them up for a month prior to the trip so he was well briefed on the pocketed marsupials. He loved them so much he wanted to hug them, and despite them being very tame, what probably would have eventuated would have been a kickboxing match that would make child fighters in Thailand look soft. These Kangaroos can be killer. When I was little, I was hand feeding them white bread (which is obviously a naturally occurring food easily in the wild), when one lashed out at me with sharp left hook nearly taking my eye. Not again. Their type may now be good enough for our Police force, but are still not going to be trusted with my kids. On the way home we passed the police station and Sgt. Hops was in the front yard. My wife remarked that he didn't look like a Policeman, just a normal Kangaroo. I pointed out he was most likely undercover at the time.

One of the charms of Halls Gap is that open fires are very much accepted. Nearly every backyard has a firepit, the place constantly is perfumed with campfire smoke and firewood seems to just grow on trees. A person could literally walk down the main street on fire, and no-one would flinch such is the acceptance of the naked flame. Except from Holiday House owners...

There we were, enjoying a cheeky late afternoon roarer, when we get a call from the rental company telling us "You can't have a fire. It needs to go out." How did they know? Did they have surveillance on the place? The Bush Telegraph had recently upgraded to the Bush Optic Fibre Wireless Network, and they were tipped off by fellow rental owner nearby. We then retreated inside to the mock gas log fire with our real middle class whiteousness.

A long Australian tradition is to make large, fibreglass replicas of local icons or representative inanimate objects to attract tourists.The Giant Koala is on the outskirts of town near the Highway.  The Koala is one of the better ones, if only for its lame appearance. How can you not love a 30ft sculptured Koala with painted white twigs for ear fur?!

We tried to walk everyday on a different trek. Most of these ended at waterfalls. At one we met an overly friendly Kookaburra, with a penchant for bananas and not making the noise I have been telling my child all of his kind make. We also indulged in the great tourist tradition of driving to a Lookout. Once there, we got out of our car and enjoyed some good old fashion finger pointing. The views themselves were brilliant. From that context, it made me realise how small scale my world, perspective and issues are. I imagine this impression would only be amplified for jockeys, midgets and men named Terry.

If you ever pass through, the local service station sells a local Beekeeper's Honey (his Bees, not 'his' honey...that would be weird) and it is phenomenal! As kids, we always bought a tub for the family every time we were in town. I took the little man and we stocked up, finding out that the same guy still supplies. That's the thing about Halls Gap. Nothing really changes. Maybe a bush fire or flood will force a change here. Sometime Government funded projects will introduce a new building there. But I reckon 80% of the shops are still run by the same people from 25years ago.

Tradition. It just doesn't die. Either do these Halls Gap types (Must be all the honey and ice cream). My love for the place wont ever die either.

 

Melbourne I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down.

Lach Ryan

Skyline_of_Sydney_

Dear Melbourne Something happened this week that I need you to know about.

I want you to know upfront that I've been feeling this way for a little while now. Things haven't been great between us lately. I'm seriously concerned about lifestyle costs, then you go and flare it all up with that whole "most livable city" stuff again!

I need a break.

A work thing came up and I had to get out of town. I didn't tell you too much about it  because I knew you'd overreact. But now I need too.

Last Wednesday I spent the night with Sydney.

I'm as surprised as you. The first few times we met I couldn't stand her. But this time something was different and we just kind of clicked. For starters she was more open and available, like she has an Airport Rail link! I know you keep talking about getting one, but I dont know how much longer I can wait?!

You should have seen the weather. I was a better man because of it. Sun! Remember that? In the early days things were more exciting and you used to show me sun all the time. Lately the best you can manage is a quick peak in between showers. Sydney is just so hot, and I have to confess...it warms my blood.

The other thing is the water. You know how I have a thing for civilizations built on substantial bodies of water. I can tell you that body of water is far more substantial than your murky bays. Her twin attractions were  glimmering and practically inviting me to visit them! How can you compete with that? Two world class icons in the Bridge and Opera House and all you can manage is the MCG. You know, not everyone cares about sport!

Her people are chirpy. She has friends from all over the world visiting. They pronounce her name right. Do you know how annoying it is to hang out with your uber hip friends, always looking for that next thing that is so uncool, it may actually be cool?  Anyway who are you to talk. You've been getting too close to fringe towns all over Regional Victoria. What about the Mornington Peninsula? You two are so close, you are almost together!

Look, I don't think this thing with Sydney is real. But what it showed me is that you are not the only place in the country with great lifestyle options. Sure she's out of my league, and two times more expensive! Running away to her won't solve anything. I know that. But I also know you and I need a break. I would hope things between us could change and go back to how they were in the early days. But I'm not sure. I mean look at us...I'm still basically sleeping on your couch!

I do love you. I don't want this to end. But that's not my choice...

As Beyonce once sang "If you like it, then you should have been more affordable for young families".

Yours always,

LR

 

The new New Zealand?

Lach Ryan

kiwi bird fruit

Australia is a popular choice for immigration. People have been coming here, welcomed or not, for thousands of years. Much is said of the so-called boat people. Much to my dissapointment, they aren't actually shaped like boats. If they were Boat-like in structure, then I feel both the Government and general public would be more open to them contributing to contemporary Australian culture or our Navy. But as they are normal human shaped, then Aussies arent keen on the 9,000+ of them sneaking onto our land each year. The 53,000+ New Zealanders though? Apparently that's OK. Well not in my immigration book, Bro. It feels like decent, hard working Aussies can no longer get jobs as Barista's, Arts Administrators or Outdoor Educators because of bloody Kiwi refugees.Why would someone need to be a refugee from a lush green land, perpetually covered in clouds and sheep? It sounds idyllic, like living in a kid's picture book. Apparently there is no work or culture there...or anything like the Gold Coast (See: the best thing on Australian TV- The GC) So Kiwis are forced to take advantage of a free trade agreement between our 2 countries. We get Crowded House's music and Russel Crowe, and they get to stay on this country's couch as long as they want.Well I say long enough! It's time to fold up the futon of friendship and send them back to where they came from!

I have many friends and colleagues who are Kiwi's (which on reflection is probably denying some deserved Aussies from those roles) but we cannot play favorites. If we don't round them up like the sheep they are, sooner or later there will be no national differentiation. Already, there are moves to acknowledge Melbourne as the West Island, and a certain part of Brunswick is now known as Little Auckland where you can buy bootleg Shihad CD's at any hour of the day.

The only solution is we finally absorb NZ as the 7th state it really is, before all 4.4 Million of Rugby loving, knitted pullover, jandal wearing  trans-Tasman terrors whale ride their way to Canberra and total social domination. Then we'll be wide open to the Penguins...

Faster, Higher, Stronger, Wronger

Lach Ryan

Nude Olympic

The Olympics are over and that means I can go back to being uninterested in some other form of current affairs. I didn't really viewed too much of the 2012 London experience. It wasn't Channel 9's fault, unlike other things in my life such as repeated Saturday evening exposures to "Australia's Funniest Home Videos" and a disliking of the name 'Karl'. I just didn't engage with 'The Games'. Australia has performed so badly, that our athletes are set to receive a welcome back home that'll make Vietnam veterans think they were given the red carpet. I have no doubt that in 10 years time, scores of bikie gangs will start to emerge, headed by the most bitter and bad ass Australia Institute of Sport alumni this land has ever seen.

Still, I remain unimpressed.What has struck me this time watching the games, and I know a few others have also observed similar, is how loose some of the definitions of 'Sport' are in the Olympic format. Australia's golden moments have been few. In fact there were two great moments- Stephanie Rice in her bathers and the performance of our Sailing team. The fact that we were participating in an event like Sailing, has tipped off a much needed debate. What is Sailing (and other 'Sports' like it) doing in the Olympics?

My basic argument is thus: if you can do said activity for fun, transport or hobby then it is not an Olympic Sport! Below is the shortlist for excluded 'Sports'.

  • Sailing- guys in Boat shoes are not elite athletes, just badly dressed. As interesting as watching an old guy gutting fish.
  • Equestrian- why stop at horses? People ride other things. Where are the camels?The elephants? Off with its head!
  • Cycling- The road and velodrome can stay, because I cannot argue against the force that is Lycra. But Mountain Bikes and BMX? Surely they are in there just so the teenage gymnasts have teenage boys to pash at the closing ceremony? Won't stop Kobe Bryant though.
  • Handball- Naming a game after a logical resting place for its featured equipment, does not make the game Olympic standard. I am pretty sure this isn't played outside of Estonia, much like the music of Russel Crowe's 30 Odd Foot of Grunt.
  • Trampoline- surely this isn't serious? The only logical step from here then is to introduce the 20m Slippery Slide and Totem Tennis. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on this one as it is ripe for Aussie domination judging by the backyards of Australian suburbs.
  • Walking- I do this every day. Most of us do. When I heard that it was an Olympics sport when I was a kid, I thought "Why didn't someone tell me I can be a professional athlete doing this?! Training would be so easy!" Then I saw grown men travel 20-50km looking like they need to badly find a toilet.

Special mentions go to Tennis and Soccer. You have your own things. You don't need the Olympics. Leave. Make space for two events I would like to formally see all the nations compete in- Opening and Closing Ceremony's. The only way I can justify keeping the above mentioned sports is if we go back to the original spirit of the Olympics. The way the ancients intended it-Faster, Higher, Stronger...Nude. But we can still ditch Walking, that's just poo.

 

Batman and Jesus at the Movies

Lach Ryan

Batman Stencil

The thing I like about Batman is he, similar to Jesus, is the extra-ordinary in Human form. Most Superheroes rely on a back-story that is filled with tales of outerspace origin, or freak accidents giving them special abilities. Batman is just a perfected Human using his abilities and gifts for a greater way. As a kid, many hours after school were spent watching the cartoon series the current films are based off, and more hours spent on a Sunday learning the superhero stories of Jesus and his merry men. My observation? Batman gets the chicks, Jesus had the tricks. 'The Dark Knight Rises' is the final piece of the Christopher Nolan trilogy and a modern pop-cultural masterpiece. It is one of those rare films, like Lord of the Rings or Police Academy, where the third film is better than the original two before it. I couldn't help but see a few biblical thematic undertones.

In the apocalyptic Gotham setting we have themes of sacrifice, resurrection, hope and occupation. There is also the battle of good vs evil and the contrast of darkness and light.The film takes place in an environment that is almost End Times for the city of Gotham. Batman is 8 years gone, after his reputation died a sacrificial death for the greater good of the City. The true believers are now awaiting his second coming, hoping he'll deliver them justice and be their Savior from total destruction. True to form, the Dark Knight rises to overcome the controlling forces and free the people from their oppression... but not before a good ol' street fight.

The massive street fight scene looks like what would happen if the Macy's Street parade was choreographed by the maker of 'Braveheart'. Interestingly in this film, Batman does alot of his work in the daylight, which is strange for a Bat. He is helped out by a Cat-burgling woman, (who really deserves a moniker...maybe Stealing Lady?) who is both a help and a hindrance in his efforts. Also along for the ride is Commissioner Gordon who spends most of the film scowling, probably because his Bat Signal got smashed and doesn't work anymore. Just use a torch and some paper, Gordy!

Bane, who is probably one of the best and complex villains ever created, is a creature of the dark, coming up from the ground like a devil out of Hell. The physical stature of the guy, combined with his idealogical masterplan and Transformer voice-mask make for one memorable baddie. The shoes of Heath Ledger's Joker were big ones to fill; due to the intense portrayal of that character and also because the detail wardrobe went to, providing Ledger with actual Clown shoes. Bane delievers on all this. Batman, in continuing his Christlike role, comes from the heavens courtesy of a new Batjet. Obviously Bruce Wayne wasn't getting his value out of the carbon tax, so decided to up his footprint by introducing a jet as his primary mode of transport. I suppose sustainable Batman-on-a-bike wouldn't really work. This film does though.

There has been alot of extra stuff going on around this film, in light of the shootings in Colorado, but I think it is important to remember why people go to the cinema. It's not a place to be feared. It is a place for escapism, where a few pure hours of entertainment can be enjoyed taking in films like 'The Dark Knight Rises'.

It's a place to stretch our minds, to stuff ourselves with overpriced stale, salty corn, to pash with our teenage crush or just cop a casual feel, to laugh and cry and think. Today I went into this film with great expectations and I wasn't dissapointed. I left entertained with a handful of theological musings...but not once did I feel unsafe, and that's just the way it should be.

Fully Sick

Lach Ryan

nurse

The last few weeks have seen pestilence and disease strike my house, hosting more viruses than a teenage boy's laptop. It was almost biblical in scale... if God outsourced his work offshore and cut budgets to the Department of Plagues, Disasters and Lost Things.

All three of Team Ryan (we have warm up tracksuits!) has been hit with at least 2 different forms of virus. I started battling Man-Flu for 10 days before finally succumbing to its charms. I had  returned to work for 1 day, when that very night I was regurgitating like a mother bird feeding its adopted bucket-child.Wifey also has been quite ill, joining me in the early hours of Saturday morning for a romantic session of synchronized upchuck. The wedding vows do tell you '...in sickness and in health'. I reckon though, you won't know the depth of your love until you've gazed upon your beloved whilst tasting that nights dinner for the second time.

As in all good zombie virus/killer plague movies, there is always a host. We have isolated it down to the cute ball of contagion that is our 18mnth old. A-man has been alphabetically working his way through the Big Book of Viruses this last 3 months, being courteous enough to every now and then share them with Mum and Dad. One particular bad fortnight started with an ear infection morphing into conjunctivitis followed by a gastro so violent, even sea sickness tablets would feel queezy. So a few sleepless nights, a couple of changes of clothes and a trip to the hospital has seen us well and truly over being sick. Even as I type tonight, I have a nagging head cold and Wifey is nursing an unsettled stomach.

Beside the obvious benefits of being sick ,the legitimate days off work and easily dropped spare kilos; being sick sux. It makes you realize how much you take your health, and that of those around you, for granted. Luckily we live in a country where government funded Healthcare allows us to book a doctors appointment for the following few days, and we only have to wait 3 hour past our scheduled time to see some bulk-billing, near-death,semi-retired quack refuse to prescribe us medication! I fear this winter is getting the better of most of us. The doctor says the flu season has been quite bad, and many people cant quite shake whatever this is.

Perhaps this post will go down as anecdotal evidence of the first signs of outbreak of the new mega-virus, attributed to babies. No, make that babies-in-daycare! Is there any other type of baby these days anyway? Aren't we are all just outsourcing the upbringing of our children so we can afford to pay for that house they live in 5 nights a week and 2 full days on the weekend?! These daycare centers specialize in two things; supervising of children whilst parents uphold the economy and creating biological viral weapons that would make Sadam look like a pastry chef. These Daycare epicenters will be where this Baby-Flu eminates from, before merging with their Father's Man-Flu and creating the deadly Man-Child Flu strain. Symptoms of the disease will be patchy facial hair, disproportionately large fingers and a desire to dress only in singlets.

If it crosses over to animals...God help us!

The 10 Differences between 20 and 30

Lach Ryan

2 men

This year I turned 30, saying farewell to my Twenty's. Many of my contemporaries are freaking out about their impending transition to Three & Zero. Instead of planning parties, they are booking tickets out of the country in the belief that reality doesn't cross datelines.  So I thought it best if I reflected on what I know now at the end of that wonder decade, that I didn't at the start...hopefully it may save someone a shock in a few years!

  1.  Accommodation: you still want your own place, but your motivations are different. Back then it was because your housemates (Grandparents) were not down with your flow, so you needed to roll. Now you’re all about getting some of your own sweet mortgage action, instead of supporting your landlords. Wouldn't be nice to live in a place where you could either choose to fix the hole in the wall or just punch one in? Depending on how the mood struck you? This would be fine if you owned, but those uptight, negative gearing Baby Boomer land-overlords won’t have either!
  2. Dreams: back then it was about ‘When and if’, now sadly it’s just about ‘If’. People tell you time is on your side when you are young, what they fail to tell you is Reality is sitting on your other side, waiting to introduces itself. This happens at about 30 just as you realise that time was on your side when you were younger. So try things, fail, try again and fail some more. Just know that by the time you are about three and zero, you’ll be wanting to have some idea of what you are doing. If you haven’t already succeeded, it won’t be about when you do, as much as "if I do".
  3. Indulgence: Chocolate, Alcohol and Sleep deprivation sounds like the diet of 23year old Account Exec or Willy Wonka running interrogations in Afghanistan. These were the spoils of youth, able to be indulged on any given night only to spring forward like a young gazelle to greet the new morning. If you try that on at 30, you’ll end up the next morning moaning like a bloated camel wanting to be put down by your Sheikh.
  4. Food: It could be just me, but recently food has become boring. No tastes really excite me. I suspect that is because I have been eating my way through life for too long. It would seem 30 is a great time to try an eating disorder for the first time or take up cannibalism (which in its own way, is a different kind of eating disorder).
  5. Employment: See also #2. A younger version of me saw employment as a temporary state, that would one day be shrugged permanently and deliberately. The older version of me now understands that work is permanent, like tattoo eyebrows and an affection for Ska music. You are more than likely going to have to do it until you die, or thereabouts. The trick is find something you actually don’t mind doing too much.
  6. Style: I remember shopping for a killer new t shirt whenever a new social/formal occasion arrived. Once you are pushing 30, you need the sophistication of a button up shirt. The button up is a garment that looks like it has had a university education and has seen the world, the only problem is you always need to iron it. It also require you to upgrade all other items of clothing around it, to the point that by the time you are 43years old you find yourself wearing full corduroy(including underwear) and becoming camouflaged against a variety of upholstery surfaces. 30 is the time to question that earring and those skinny jeans. Also if you don't have a tattoo by now- keep it that way.
  7. Health: Fitness becomes more of a priority once you leave the magic of Twentyville.  Somewhere that 6 pack lost a few cans and is now looking like a 3 1/2 pack. A focus on keeping it under control will stop you entering the Fat Elvis period,crooning to your former-self  nightly at the Regrets Casino..
  8. Relationships: You should always be open to meeting new people, just realise that by this stage of life most of them are a bit crap. In their 20's they would have seemed aspirational, independant and energetic. With the exception of those that did move forward, they are now more likely to be resentful, lonely and depressed. Chances are you will be too, so you'll have lots in common making it easier to connect.
  9. Money: The good news is that you should have much more money in your 30's than you did when you were 20. You've gone to uni, worked for a few years now and even saved. The bad news is there is more to spend it on. Loans, Investments, Insurance, Children/Dogs/illegitimate Children, Weddings, Divorces, Apple Products, Button Up Shirts and tickets to Band Reunion tours (that happens too). If this is a problem for you, you can always go play in Australia's financial sandpit- the mining industry, where people are paid six figure salary's to park real-life Transformers.
  10. Elders: I think once you pass the age of 28, your realise everyone seems to stay about that age for the rest of their life. Their face and body may decay to the extent its offensive visually, but mentally they'll be partying like their 19+9. So even though you may think 30 is the end of it all, take heart (yours is still working fine) at least you are not 40. You still have another ten years to turn it all around, kick those goals and be ready to embrace the years when lycra suddenly has more uses than just exercise.

I've NEVER seen Star Wars

Lach Ryan

Star Wars

I've never seen Star Wars. That statement tends to shock people more than such sentences as;  "I've only killed deliberately once" or " For Passover, I'm making pork!" But it is true. I have never watched the film Star Wars in its entirety. I've seen snippets, but that's not the whole thing is it? Like just because once in Year 9 I saw Kelly Donaldson's boob pop out at the pool; I never would claim I saw her nude.

Currently I am undertaking a course in Screenwriting, and this film seems to the basis for 87.34% of examples and references. When I pointed out to my insightful lecturer, Mr Tim Ferguson, that I hadn't seen the film, he assumed I was joking. It wasn't until my insistently truthful hand stayed raised in response to his question, that he started to realize the impact of my gesture. The man was obviously passionate about the virtues of the movie, and the look of hurt and disbelief reminded me of the face of the semi-trailer truck driver I sent down our town's only one-way road, when I was 12.

Unlike that truck driver, Ferguson quickly maneuvered around my social roadblock and began evangelizing on the wonderful adventures of 2 gay robots, a kid in a karate uniform with a giant laser pointer, Space Indiana Jones and a creature that looks like Yao Ming if he were Teenwolf.  Darth Vader was is in there too. I recognised his voice from countless lame Stand Up bits I have seen over the years. I also recognised for the same reason, that little green Mr Miyagi charachter Yoga.

I understand this epic trilogy (that spawned a trilogy, that spawned countless toys, that spawned countless nerds that failed to spawn anything because they couldn't find a mate) has its appeal. The story of intergalactic civil war, inter-family dynamics and space lasers could be enticing for some, just not me.

I suspect is has dated somewhat from its original 1977 release. These were the days when budgets didn't extend to professionally trained extras, so right from the start I was never intimidated by the ramshackle Stormtroopers in painted white gumboots. The aesthetic of the film just doesn't speak to any sense of nostalgia for me. Instead it represents a stereotype I have not much interest in. You know that saying "The biggest problem with Christianity is Christians" well the same can be said of Star Wars fans. These people act as if no film has been made since, similar to the way your friend's Dad talks about the Beatles/Stones in relation to music. The fact they are so evangelical is frankly scary and off-putting.

These religious parralels are not  exaggerated. In the 2006 Australian Census, 55,000 people claimed Jedi as their primary religion. I always thought Scientology was the religion of nerds, with all the talk of numbers and spaceships, but I was wrong. I think that if you are going to make a set of beliefs of on a piece of popular cinema, at least base it on something good. Back to the Futurists?

Jedism, like all major religons, will need to engage the youth with its major text if it is to survive. I was not the only person in the class to have not seen Star Wars. Tellingly, two chicks (one 15 and another 20-something) had both not seen it. They like me, must have been too busy doing life...or watching Point Break.  Have you seen that?!

 

Knowing your Writes with Blackframes

Lach Ryan

LAXY
Have your heard the one about the ex-Stand Up Comedian who now just Blogs?
Ooohhh you have?
That's awkward. Can I interest you in a timeshare in a Cow then?
Hello and Welcome to Blackframes.com.au.
It's been said of Comedians that those who can; do, and those that can't end up with successful career in the Media. Sometimes some of them just prefer to write instead. That's me. I have been doing this for just on 3 years now and have collated a selection of my favorite pieces to give you an idea of what this blog tends to be about...
  1. Two things I do often;write and eat. I've been known to get a tad intense on a few products my local Coles stock. Eat my words.
  2. I realised recently that our physical make-up, more often our weaknesses, define us. I decided to celebrate them with three Ode's here, here and here.
  3. Travel is a luxury few can afford...so I go on the company dollar, real close to home and sometimes just in my mind.
  4. Recentley I learnt how to replicate myself. This gives me the cool title of 'Dad' and a licence to tuck my socks into my pants (which I havent exercised yet).
  5. Much of life doesn't make sense...so why should I? I like the stupid, surrealnonsensical and silly.

For now,

Lach

| Melbourne, Australia Follow my blog with Bloglovin

 

 

>One in 45,379,620

Lach Ryan

Just last Tuesday gone, Australia had a Tuesday night OzLotto lottery prize pool of $50million which will jackpot to a Footballers wage of $70million next week (worth around $200m US nowadays I think?). For 99% of the world’s population, this is alot of money. Even about half of the 1% they would agree this is enough to get out of their gold plated hover-beds for.

Australia is a nation of gamblers. Throw a coin in the air and soon 6 people will be betting on which side it lands, what year it was minted, how long it takes to stop spinning and if the picture of the Queen is the one where she has a mullet. For many, the weekly lotto ticket is their chance to dream. A literal ticket out of their current circumstances to somewhere or something better...which apparently seems to be Queensland. “Life could be a dream” promises the advertising campaigns.
Whenever a big prize is announced, conversation turns to how one would spend it. Buying new housing for themselves, children, exotic tropical fish and relatives are popular. So are dream machine cars, boats and zeppelins. Some would spend on trips to faraway lands or majestic horses and unicorns. Others would dress as Mimes, binge on glue fumes and learn Spanish before setting off on all night Steak and Onions bender at Planet Hollywood. When you are rich, you can do what you want.
Another popular talk point around these times is “Would you continue to work?” This is often posed in Media reports on new winners, who still say they’ll continue to turn up to the match factory and paint those little red heads on the stick, just like they have for the last 26 years mostly because they find it rewarding and like the social aspect. I say this is insanity personified. If I was that enamored with my work, with my winnings I could start my own Match factory in Bangladesh and pay pieces of toothpick to talk ‘The Biggest Loser’ with me.  If I had suddenly become an instant millionaire, I would never speak of employment again. My bosses would think I was dead and be making plans for a memorial plaque before they learned of my windfall.
The sad reality is the numbers are against us. No matter how lucky the combinations you submit may be- your birthday, the quantity of men you’ve ear tongued (lotto numbers only go to 49 unfortunately), that sporting jersey, a special shape (I’m looking at you curvy little 8!) or even a culturally significant numeral (16, 81,9,0,1.4 and 23 are all significant numbers for New Zealander's as this is the Prime Ministers phone number). The odds are 45,379,620:1. You’d have more of a chance marrying Ellen De Generes in Australia than that! (This reference works for both males and females.)
So why do so many people hope that this ticket, that costs upwards of $8 ($73 US) for a basic entry, is their way out? You could spend that money on anything. Spinach seedlings. A book. A really nice piece of cake and coffee. A really nice coffee table book about Spinach cake. Those things have guaranteed, confirmed outcomes. Vitamin A, edification of the mind, yumminess and...well something to place on your coffee table should you have one. But all a lotto ticket really offers, except for the very lucky few, is temporary hope.
Hope is obviously something people are willing to buy. There is a need out there for it. I don’t think it’s always about the money, or the things that it could buy...although a million dollar bank balance and a shiny new red,Shetland pony would be nice! I think it’s about what it all represents.
The simple thing is that Hope shouldn’t come as a costly paper ticket, it’s free. Unfortunately unlike Hope, National Healthcare Systems aren’t free hence why we need lotteries.

>Singaporela

Lach Ryan

My most recent of travels brings me to the orient. I find myself docked in the port of Singapore, the island state that is a city, which is a nation. This land has been held by the English, the Japanese, various multinational banks, some noodles and is now home to a hot pot of cultures.

I’m here on a work trip into the wold of coffee. Myself and fellow traders come in the name of caffeinated commerce. Whilst here I have been breathing in all that is fragrant about Singapore. To be blunt, this place smells like a wet towel which is more to do with its near 100% humidity rather than the fact it hangs around with the Asian kids.
I have been working a trade show all week, dealing with people from all over the world who interact with coffee. This could be cool Italian’s who drive the Ferrari of Coffee machines, through to Hillbilly Indonesians trying to get me to drink their Coffee Luwak. Coffee Luwak is a coffee variety sourced from the poo of a cat native to Indonesia. The animal naturally processes the coffee cherry into a bean, and the passes it on. It is very low yield and high process, so costs approx. $50 per cup. It tastes as you would expect- nutty and crap. I wonder what the guy who discovered it was actually up to when he stumbled upon this.
Singapore is very clean, reserved and safe much like its people. The Government is fairly stern, like a Grandparent forced to raise an abandon Grandchild cos its parents died in a Balloning accident over the Yarra Valley. Chewing Gum is banned here. I cannot tell you how much I wanted gum whilst here. Maybe it was the lure of the forbidden, but my gums were tweaking like a Smith St junkie in the 90’s. I suspect this lack of gum chewing by the populous has led to the development of Singlish, a term to describe the use of ‘la’ and the end of random sentences.  It is a well-known fact that vocal warm ups for Singaporean singers tend to go along the lines of “Lal Lal Lal Lal lal lal lal la la.”
Singapore is an underrated city. It is a little bit New York in its business, a little bit of Dubai in its initiative and a little bit Las Vegas in its showmanship…literally a ship. This ship just happens to sit atop three 50 storey towers at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. I was up there on Wednesday night along with 100 or so other wannabe’s that looked like extras for a Sex in the City episode. It was actually ‘Ladies Night’ but they should have called it ‘Sleazy Businessman’s Night’ as there wasn’t too many women around. We went to the bar called Ku De Tah, which in Thai means expensive drinks. The view was free (amazing!) but the beer was not (at $20 for a Corona).
China Town, much like many other incarnations around the world, is a place where Chinese people own shops selling their cuisine and plastic.  Early on, we stopped by for a meal and enjoyed some fiery Hunan dishes, where everything was chilli served with a side of meat or vegetables.
One night I was at a dinner hosted by the Victorian Government. It was about as good an event organised by a public servant could be. The night was made better towards the end; one the guys on our table regaled us with tales of life as an all importing, gun shooting, contracted kill CEO in the Philippines’. It left mine and Lincoln from Tullamarine’s tales of the seedy world of plastic cups and portable plumping equipment, for dead.
Singapore is weirdly wonderful city whilst trying very hard not to be. How else can you explain a country that bans gum, fines you for sitting on public seats, is growing in land mass, has a ship on a set of towers and soccer pitch floating on water, plus has amazing, cheap food found only in shopping mall food courts? Beats mela!

>Turning Frozen Japanese with Gyoza

Lach Ryan

Every Easter Sunday I go on a cocoa bender like some sort of hybrid Tony Montana-Willy Wonka from the non-existent film "Scarface and The Chocolate Factory".  So it was no surprise to me this morning when I opened my laptop to find melted chocolate all over the keyboard, from which I was snorting up lines of Red Tulip bunny flakes the previous night. I feel the best way to celebrate the resurrection of Christ my savior is to gorge myself into a chocolatey coma like Augustus Gloop at Communion. The body of Christ doesn't always have to be communion wafers, sometimes it can be a Chocolate hot cross buns. This brings me to the day of repentance- Easter Monday. In an attempt to undo the excess of the previous day, I set out a menu of crisp vegetables and cleansing juices. Today I will be employing my most recent treasured find from Coles, the Vegetable Gyoza.

In the tradition of the Coles Strudel, comes the Coles Vegetable Gyoza. It is part of their frozen Asian delights range, the type normally served up at parties by people who live in house and land packages in suburbs whose names have more syllables than they do residents. But the Vegetable Gyoza is a real stand out, like a University Masters graduate from a family of Beetroot farmers.

This is a phenomenal eat. For something to come from the frozen food section and taste this good, NASA somehow had to be involved . This heat & eat treat is 16 pieces of pure perfection. I tend to throw them in the shopping trolley as deep freeze deposit. There they will sit along with a hillbilly-like arsenal of post-apocolyptic frozen treats, however unlike the bags mixed vegetables and Captn Cutlass Crispy SeaChicken Bits, these actually get consumed.

The Japanese Gyoza, much like Japanese women, is small and alluring and best served with dipping sauce. It came to prominence in 1940's Japan, as soldiers fresh from the invasion of China bought home an array of things including venereal disease, mental scars and recipes for dumplings. These dumplings were wholly embraced by the nation, unlinke the dirty fornicating crazy ex-soldiers, and today are one of Japan's best loved delicacies. They differ from the Chinese Dumpling in that they are only contain the ingredients listed on the menu and never contain traces of Cat. The best thing about these Coles ones is that our animal-patting Vego friends can enjoy them with you the next time you are catering the West Wing Marathon at your thirty-something sharehouse.

Working out at just 43 cents each, this eating is affordable to all and will kamikaze the taste buds of the most sheltered Caucasian palette. War-era Grandparents will gladly lay aside past bitterness at the bayoneting of relatives, and admit that something good can truly come out of Japan. Steamed or Fried, these are the best thing from a supermarket since sliced bread.

>Boys who Cry Woof Woof

Lach Ryan

Back a few years ago, during my stint as a moderately successful stand up comedian, I had a 'bit' about children being much like dogs in their behaviour. I would muse, my audience enthralled as I romped across the stage like a commanding Where's Wally at a Ben Sherman fashion parade, that there a many obvious similarities between a child and a dog and the way they are treated by thier parent/owner. I would then observe comedicly (its an art...don't try it at home kids!) that you toilet train and immunize them at young age, you talk down to them in silly voices, both can be walked on a leash and you shouldn't keep them in a hot car....particularly at the casino.

As you can see from the above piece of writing, I was promptly contacted by the Australian Mint and asked if  I would sell them that joke to be melted down, as they were running short on gold stocks. And that Kids, is how I came to own a hovercraft at age 26. Impressive huh?
But the real reason I push the keyboards today, is that this insight was more than mere comic fodder. It has proven to be an actual, applicable concept that could revolutionize approaches to parenting. I call it the Purebred Ultimate Parent (PUP) Technique TM.
In developing the PUP system I have taken my simple understanding and experience of canine behavior from my roles as dog owner, show judge and freelance dog whisperer and applied it to raising my son. I first saw the potential of this method when questioning why parents complain of changing a soiled nappy of their child, yet will happily scoop a handful of steaming excrement from behind Uran the Labradoodle down at the park.  That insight helped opened the gate for my conceptual chihuahua to the dog park of my mind. I remembered my all-time favourite YouTube video and knew that I was onto something.
I saw PUP could be applied to scenarios such as eating; my son, much like a Labrador, will eat anything put in front of him or others, even if dropped on the floor. In entertainment; a simple ball can be turned into hours of fun by fetching and returning until the point of exhaustion. In bedding; a few blankets and a secure run is all that is required. In commands; simple hand gestures and changes of tone can imply all that is needed. In activity; a daily walk is a must and they'll always welcome a visit to the park and the opportunity to sniff the bottoms of their friends. In bathing; a regular wash keeps the fleas at bay. In diet; a balance between meat and veg, soft and dry is best plus the occasional egg to keep the coat glossy.  In cafes; a constant source of attention from passersby and perky waitresses. In disease; a susceptibility to kennel cough from sharing closed environments with others. In socializing; comparing bloodlines and breeders amongst other owner's will be a constant source of gossip. In celebration; can be easily spooked by the presence of fireworks.

I believe PUP is a simple outlook that can provide parents, and those yet to be, with a tangible framework for raising children for the difficult first 4 years. Then once they are no longer Pups, you simply send them to kinder and let the Government approved education system turn them into Wolves. If a Dog is truly Man's best Friend, then a Kid is simply Man's best. PUP is the best chance, besides de-sexing, of you keeping them from becoming a stray. But always get them micro-chipped just in case...especially the Girl ones.

>Running Hands through Air: An Ode to Baldness

Lach Ryan

To complete the trilogy, I turn my attention to my defining attribute; Baldness. A much loved topic of Blackframes reader's, and one that I am well qualified to expand upon. People like to to tell me that I have gone bald quite early, however I look at it differently. I feel my hair has done really well for itself and was able to retire early.
Growing up, Children often know that one day an inheritance awaits them. This informs  their character as they anticipate the day when that fortune, family business, talent, vintage car, property or throne will be theirs. My character was injected with fear, stress and an acute need to make the most of the time I had, as I was due to inherit my family hairline...or lack of it. Here is the Geneology of Baldness in my DNA. Dad - Bald at 28. Papa- Bald at 22. Uncle Ross- Bald at 24. I made it to 24.
It was a sweet 24 years we had together. Good times! I often look back on old photographs and the memories flood back. There was that time just into Primary School, when I discovered hair gel. It was the 80's and this stuff wasn't carefully balanced, it was pure hair glue mixed with a light paint gloss. My young locks looked like a wet, electrocuted echidna. Then in high school, it went to another level. The natural waves of puberty crashed upon my scalp, causing a hormonal impact that took my previously straight follicles into thick dark brown waves. I fought it hard in bad-taste, punishing myself through side parts and bowl cuts which helped to highlight my mild acne...even my old friend Gel and his Euro cousin Styling Mousse couldn't help during this period. It seemed to hit rock bottom sometime around Year 8 with the Undercut. The undercut was among the worst things the 90's produced alongside Riverdance and bum-bags/fanny packs.
I clipped it back to a classic short back and sides around 15, and enjoyed 4 golden years. We would flirt with a newly released assistant called wax, which was a modern and tame version of Ol' Gelly. The barber treated my head to cut after cut of excellence. My hair was alluring and proud like a tini-peacock upon my head. It lured ladies like a lighthouse of locks, with many pairs of hands coming to ground upon its shores. These were the Samson Days for me. From my hair I drew strength and inspiration and did great things! I kissed my first girl, won games of football drenched in sweat, fronted a garage band and headed overseas. Then when I was 19 it all came to a sudden halt. My hair and I didn't click the way we once did. To the casual observer it all seemed the same. Maybe longer but more mature and contemporary. What they didn't see was that it was all coming apart at the edges. My hair was thinning and so was the facade.
I went and saw the doctor. He told me there wasn't much I could do. There is a drug, called Rogaine (its like Re-gain...get it? Pharmaceutical puns are just the best!), which is used by  middle age, middle class types and actors and sportspeople. It works to slow the balding process if started early enough, but also has potential heart related side effects. So I resigned myself to the inevitable, and enjoyed the last moments with my hair.
I created a hair bucket list. First off was to dye it peroxide blonde. Then I died it black to cover the regrowth. This was also around the time I started Uni and Emo was getting big. I tried to move with the times and grow out my bangs...but it didnt quite work. I ended up with thin long bits, and a thicker back patch...kind of like a wavy, upward mullet. During this time as a student, visits to the hairdresser were both embarrasing and costly, so I started cutting my own hair like a crazed hermit. I was also using a product that was big at the time with the young bucks called clay, and kind of putty, and I used it to fill the gaps by pasting strands over the blank bits. Still, not many casual observers would pick the grunge mess on my head for the thin lie it was.
At about 22 it came to a head (pun not intended). I was due to appear on a national breakfast program live, for a Comedy Festival show I was promoting. I needed a TV ready head. So I bravely indicated to the stylist what needed to be done, and she shaved it off. It didn't look bad at all- just sleek. I got away with it! No one still suspected my impending baldness. Filled with a new confidence this could go longer, I grew it back into the most current style- the Beckham Fauxhawk. It looked great...for a month. Then my genes decided to graduate, around the time I did, and my hair follicles moved out and got a real job.
I held onto a version of the fauxhawk until the last days. I believed it was the best choice for the following reasons; it was contemporary, was a nod to punk culture and it acted like a modern comb-over for my front bits. My goal at this stage was to be married with hair, before I gave into the inevitable shave for a cure...a cure for my receding hairline. I got there. I limped across the line for my wedding day, at 24 years old, before shaving it on the honeymoon. Looking back, knowing what I know now about the power of the shaved head, I wish I had have gone the shave before the big day. I look, like most of the men in my family did in their wedding photos, silly. We were all hiding something, and you can tell by our faces that we didn't quite think we were getting away with it.
Today at nearly 30 years old, I am OK with my baldness. I don't think, given the choice, I'd go back. I admit I often browse the hair products section at the Supermarket and fantasize about the possibilities of the new hair lubes and pastes. But those days are gone. I now love the routine of taken my Salon grade Wahl clippers to my head every fortnight and giving the scalp a good going over with a #1. Some people talk about the great feeling of the wind going though their hair, but I swear you haven't lived until you've felt a chilly blast over your freshly shaved scalp.

>No Small Feet: An Ode to Being Tall

Lach Ryan

I stand here (well I'm actually sitting but go with me) at 193cm or 6'3 in the old measure. It is called 'old measure' as only Old people use it. According to the standard definition, I am what is classed as 'Tall'. That is, I am above the average height range for my species. With the average Australian Male (there is alot of average ones!) standing at 179.84cm, that gives me nearly 14cm of free air to breathe and a unique perspective on the topic of height.

I am continuing, from the previous post, the series analyzing my physcial identity . Perhaps this reflection has something to do with the slow creep of age down the hallway of my body, or maybe I am just stuck for topics. Either way, being Tall has defined me for fairly much all my life. In fact, for much of my early years in Kindergarten and Primary School, it was THE defining character.
All kids have a base defining character when young and my school was no different.There was the rich kid, the smart kid, the sporty kid, the smelly kid, the foreign kid, the slightly out of town kid, the kid with pirates for parents and the kid who sees dead people. All very common. I was the Tall kid. This had many advantages. I was picked early for most teams, could wear my Dad's clothes (how many other Grade 5's wore a business shirt and tie to the afternoon disco?) and act as a sun dial if positioned right in the playground. The disadvantage was that I was typecast as a bully, something which was entirely contrary to a child who was charming, personable and with a worrying solid knowledge of the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. I remember returning to school from a family holiday to Queensland when I was swooped upon outside the classroom by an aggressive magpie of a mother. She proceeded to peck at me, call me a 'Big Bully' and ask why I was harassing her son Gregory (I didn't know him, but assumed her naming of him was the cause of alot of his problems). It turns out Greg had joined the class while I was away, and despite us having never met, he had obviously heard tales of my height which caused him great distress. I was simply singled out due to my tallness, which is possibly what the teen modeling agency/scam saw in me also.
This concept of height attracting aggressiveness would continue to pop up throughout my life. More often than not, it was sufferers of a unique disease called Smallman's Syndrome (SMS). The disease causes the Male sufferer to overcompensate for their lack of height. One of the best ways to express this was for them to attack me in some effort to reclaim valuable centimeters of my frame in an attempt to add to theirs, thus reducing the effects of SMS.
I was never on a Guinness Book of Records scale of freakishness, being tall does comes with its own unique struggles. Here, in no particular order, are some things you may wish to consider before asking the Genie for height, thus potentially wasting one of your wishes.
  • Most seats have backs designed for those of average height. In 29 years, my upper-back has never known the supportive caress of a chair.
  • With a size 13 foot, I have trouble finding shoes. I cannot decide whether I am on the bad side of shoe manufacturers production runs or there is a Size 13 Phantom who enters footwear stores purchasing the exact shoes I would want to buy, before I can.
  • Ties are made for people of a certain body length. Exceed this length, and you will be short tied like a 1980's Computer salesman.
  • You learn far too young, that anything is NOT ACTUALLY possible. When you are 6ft at 13 years of age, being a Jockey quickly disappears as a career option, thus highlighting the reality that an individual's capacity is often determined before it is fully formed.
  • People always assume you are really good at basketball. Which is actually a good thing, if you want to play basketball.
  • Flying is not for the above average, with the exception of the A380, big things aren't meant to fly. You will constantly be extra charged for your beloved legroom, whilst fatty's overflow free of charge all around you.
This is the plight of the Tall. Sure you can see everything at music festivals and find great bargains on the top shelf of the supermarket. Yeah, you probably will save hundreds of dollars in a lifetime on ladders. If you happen to be dark and handsome, adding this ingredient will make you irresistible to ladies but intimidating to men if you happen to be a woman.

I would much prefer to be a tallish poppy than to be standing in its shadow. However, from what I can tell, it is always those in the shadows that are responsible for the cutting down. But then I guess if the poppy wasn't so bloody tall, it wouldn't be blocking the sun and angering the Midget Albinos named Gregory, who are just busy being jockeys and dreaming of basketball success.

>Sweet Lady A: An Ode to Asthma

Lach Ryan

With the changing of seasons comes the threat of new attacks. Autumn (or Fall, for those readers who live in the country that is doing exactly that; Hi! America) represents a particularly dangerous time for humans. Falling leaves, corduroy pants and reckless overuse of the term 'Autumnal Hues' all have the capacity to maim and even kill.

Perhaps a more serious and 'real' threat (as Doctors keep trying to tell me) is the encroaching chill of the weather. This represents DANGER as I am a sufferer of Asthma. Good Ol' Asthma isn't the sexiest of afflictions. In the medical condition car-park, it is a Toyota Corrola with a baby seat, to the BMW X5 with personalized plates that read "CELIAC"
To further get your head around how prevalent it is, consider these startling facts:
  • Asthma Affects 14% of people under 20 and 11% of Adults, and 100% of people who play in their sports teams.
  • Like an unwanted erection, it is more likely to affect boys (15%) than girls (12%).
  • Asthma is also the leading reason children visit hospital, besides their parents making them.
  • Once I ate Yoghurt from a tub that I accidentally threw in the bin.
Shocking aren't they?
My battle started young. I was diagnosed with a nasty bout of croup ( a gateway lung affliction that builds you up for the hard stuff...Sweet Lady A), which quickly saw me visiting hospital for the first time outside my Mother making me. This later develop into full blown childhood Asthma. I graduated rapidly from the standard Ventolin Blue inhaler. It should be mentioned that the Ventolin inhaler is to an Asthma sufferer what a sturdy six shooter is to a Cowboy; a matter of life and death, at all times by your side and sometimes in a cool holster made by your Mum. I graduated from the baby blue reliever into the hardcore world of preventative, steroid based inhalers. These things came in colour gradings, and I can remember during my bad years between 8-10 moving through them like Karate belts, as well as developing perky breasts and a temper from the 'roids. The highest I got was a brown one after a series of test at the Royal Children's Hospital, but I once saw an old Asian man with a black one.
I have now officially "grown out of it". Like fingernail biting or wetting the bed, the doctors said I would. However, I still get the odd attack when the weather seasons change over and the air temperatures tend to fluctuate like a woman. The feeling of restricted breathing, like your lungs going on strike and shutting down, is something I won't miss. The worst times felt like concrete air was being poured into your chest and then squeezed out with every breath. I think the real issue with most Asthma sufferers is that their lungs are depressive, and have a tendency towards suicidal behavior. Exercise does them good because it gets them moving- that's how I became such a champion swimmer.
My big fear now is my child. He's 1 years old and just starting to get some sniffles and wheezes (not to be confused with Weezer, who we actually like). I made my Wife take him to the Doctor at the first sign of a chest issue. It was just a common infection, but that week I hovered over him like a CPR student on a dummy, checking his airways. I really hope he doesn't get his father's lungs and the subsequent visits from Sweet Lady A, but then I'd rather he inherit that than baldness!

>Another F Word

Lach Ryan

'The Other F Word' is one of the best documentaries I have viewed in some time. Punk Rock and Parenting are in my top 10 of discussion topics so the only way this thing could improve itself itself the subject matter were to also touch on food, AFL, the supremacy of dogs, coffee, modern masculine identity in a post-feminist culture, God, the art of comedy and tips for enhanced tomato growing.

The premise of the film is thus "What happens when a generation's ultimate anti-authoritarians -- punk rockers-- become society's ultimate authorities -- Dad's?" I wont tell you exactly. That would be the films job, but I did enjoy it...did I mention that yet?
It made its debut at SXSW last year was well received. What I thought would be a funny insight into the challenges of parenting, was actually a slightly deeper look at how ideals change over time,with the complexities of life. Sure you may have had to consider whether the Ford Capri was the best choice for a family car, but as you're "that type of Guy", you'll be damned if the guys at the badminton facility see you turning up to Saturday's tournament in some sports wagon. You have a lifestyle to maintain! The decision was made in the 1990's and you will see it through! It is timeless, just like those suede boat shoes you wear. Your child will understand your ways, surely. Daddy is just a bit different. He's a Badminton-er and that is the way it will always be! Well, this film is talking about that. Except rather than agonising over whether the car fits in with the shuttle cock set, it's reflections on should Dad have got a face tatt, and similar dilemmas.
We follow Jim from Pennywise, a band that has been fueling the 'gnarly, shrelking sessions' of skaters/sufers/snowboarders/and other s-something-board-somtheing-ers from Jan Juc to San Dieago for nearly 20 punkin' years. Their's is a frenetic, tight, distorted sound fulled by semi-sociopolitico-up-yours! angst. 17 year old me loved it! We find Jim in an interesting place. The band is 20 years old, whilst most punks shouldn't live this long, making them somewhat of a specimen. Not quite the Mick Jagger of Pop Punk, Jimbo is a hair dying, hard touring family man trying to pay the bills. The wrong side of 40 sees him and his Pennywise bandmates hanging on to what was- or never will be.

The movie explores the role fatherhood has in changing the world views of some of the most uniquely minded citizens of society. It is an insightful, challenging and at times sad discussion of Dad-ing from such figures as Mark Hoppus (Blink182) Flea (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) Tony Hawk (Skateboard stuff) and Fat Mike (NOFX). It highlights the struggle to maintain pre-child identity, but also the need to let go of past lifestyles. Children can be a great thing if you let them, but then so can hanging over the pit at 11.43 at night, swearing like a sailor while your friends strangle their instruments. The moral of this story is; if your partner/wife/girlfriend wants to start a Punk band, you'd better adopt out the kids....and vice versa.

See it if you're thinking of selling out to Parenthood.