Hurts so good.

After playing bridesmaid last weekend, I have been feeling more than a little broken all week… so I finally decided to book myself a massage and see if we could smooth out some of these muscle spasms and kinks and things.

The regular guy, Joe, who I used to see out at the little oriental massage salon no longer works there, so it’s always a bit of a risk going to see someone new in case they exacerbate my pain problems rather then help them.  Not to mention that it feels like half the appointment is spent explaining my farcical medical history and chronic pain condition.  You know, I think there’s a tipping point in there somewhere – I have to tell them I’m pretty fucked up from four car accidents, but if I tell them too much they start to get that look in their eyes that kinda says ‘Ahuh, yeeahh… I’m not touching your back with a 40′ pole!’.  Which is understandable I guess, because I’m fairly certain they don’t want their clients leaving feeling ten times worse than they did when they walked in!

Anyway, with Joe gone to places unknown, today I got Emma.  Now, normally I dislike female massage therapists.  It’s nothing personal, it’s just that they just have teeny tiny little hands, that are more than usually strong for their size which means I literally walk out of the appointments with little tiny bruises all over me from their pressing really hard on various trigger points and accupressure points etc.  I imagine this is largely my own fault and very likely stems from the fact that I rarely squeal any more.  I’ve been so fucked in the back for over 20 years now and have seen more specialists than I could possibly count… which means I’m really used to being poked and prodded causing pain responses.  So used to it in fact, that I rarely respond at all… few yelps of pain, no alteration in breathing, rarely tensing of other muscle groups, no clenching my fists or anything.  The result of this appearance of stoicism is that they often just keep going harder and harder with the pressure until they get some sort of response to let them know the pressure is too much – by which point: ecchymosis.  Meh, whatever.

Today, I went in for my massage and half disrobed and went to lay on the table.  Now if any of you out there have… how do I put this politely… tits  🙂  then you will know what I am about to say.  There’s no way you can lay on your stomach comfortably, with your head stuck down a paper lined hole, without squashing the beejeebus out of your boobs.  If any of you work in massage or physio or any profession which might require you to disrobe and lay your clients down unsupported (I’m not questioning your employment choices here…), can I just suggest that a couple of rolled up hand towels (one for under the front of each shoulder) wouldn’t go astray to make things more comfortable for those bustier individuals amongst your clientele.  There is nothing quite so relaxing as the anticipation of the prospect of squishing the living shit out of your breasts for the following hour!

remedial massage techniques pain chronic

Massages always seem so inviting, but when you’re on the table it’s more like a torture rack!?

Anyway, I tried to get as comfortable as possible under the circumstances and subsequently attempted to zone out a bit listening to the Japanese mediation music being played in the massage establishment… but instead all I could hear with this ‘doof doof doof’ from turns out to be the BOSE store next door!  What sort of moronic mall planners put a stereo equipment store right beside a relaxation massage place?  I must have spent the first five to ten minutes of my massage wondering how stoned were the Centre Management when they made that decision?!  Oh well, apply more effort to ignore the addiction to bass going on in the next room… and just try to breathe. Breathe and relax. :/

Emma as it turns out has very pointy hands (as predicted) but I forgot about the elbows!  And OMG did she know how to use them!  By the time she got into my tender spots with her elbows, I totally forgot how uncomfortable my poor abused bust was!  She was digging in around my shoulder blades with her elbows, all up and down my spine in various place, down in behind my hips (fuck that hurts!) and just in with the pointy elbows from hell.  When I finally got some respite from the pointy elbows hitting all my tense bits that I didn’t even know were sore, she did the weirdest thing to my hands and arms… kinda flicked and punched them all up and down both arms.  I have no idea why.  I didn’t ask, indeed, it’s rather hard to talk when your face is shoved into one of those hole-y massage tables which squish your cheeks in a rather indecorous fashion…  but it felt like I was being ‘pinched and punched for the first of the month’ all over the shop!  Wanted to tell her ‘Hey!  Tomorrow is June 1st, lay off, lady!’

After going half a dozen rounds with Pointy Emma, I was quite surprised to find that I could actually still walk at the end of it, which is always a huge bonus in my book!  Now, the proof will be in the pudding… will I be able to actually move tomorrow, or has Pointy Emma left me feeling like I’ve been hit by a 5′ nothing little Asian Mack truck?!

How to: Be A Bossy Bridesmaid and Keep Smiling.

The Bride was so stunning she made Grace Kelly look like an old crone.  The setting in the park amidst the autumn leaves was perfect.  The ceremony was solemn yet intimate and personal and the gorgeous couple were eventually and happily joined in blessed matrimony…. But Oy vey! was there some mad management going on behind the scenes leading up to the moment of wedded bliss!

Picture if you will, one overworked, overtired, overstressed, overwrought, overextended Bride getting ready for THE event of her young life.  Now lets give her a pervasive and persistent head cold of several weeks, a house full of soon to be in-laws and a bunch of absent staff at her pizza shops all experiencing attacks of Life(TM)… suddenly you have a very stressed and fragile young lady who feels like she’s going to cry because she can’t find a car park, and hasn’t had breakfast yet!  🙁    No one wants that.

I’ve been involved in plenty of weddings before, but this one looked like it could turn pear shaped pretty quickly under these extenuating and emotionally heightened circumstances.  Anxious and stressed Bride is a recipe for disaster, so the natural thing for any quick witted Bridesmaid in this position is to run interference, keep any potential wrinkles in the perfect planned silk satin schedule out of the Bride’s immaculately manicured hands, and swiftly fix anything and everything BEFORE it becomes a problem.   Now if only we could have gotten the rest of the team onside with the ‘Keep The Icky Problems Away From The Bride Plan’…

Rental company doesn’t have the required number of ordered chairs?  The Bride doesn’t need to know – sort it yourself.  Finally picked the chairs up and some are of them are dirty?  The Bride doesn’t need to know – sort it yourself.  Unable to set the chairs up by yourself?  The Bride doesn’t need to know – sort it yourself.  Got no where to park the trailer?  The Bride does not need to know – sort it yourself or find someone to sort this stuff out for you.  Keep the knuckle head stuff off the Bride’s perfectly planned plate… because her only job now is to look gorgeous and to make it down the aisle with as minimal stress as possible.  :S

But here’s one I could never have predicted.  On the night before the wedding, we were staying at a friend’s house expecting a quiet night in before the big day…  one of the other houseguests casually mentions that he received a call asking him to bring his sword with him to the wedding, but it was too late, he was already en route to the airport.  With radar already on high alert, all I heard was ‘Arooga, arooga! Potentially unplanned/unknown things afoot that the Bride is unaware of?!  Arooga!’ and as such queried the need for medieval swords at a completely mundane wedding.

Some furious text messaging  between 22:30hrs and 00:15hrs confirmed the worst.  Not only was the Bride’s Father planning a surprise quasi-military ‘honour guard’ with raised steel swords at the wedding in a public park, without consulting his extremely organized Daughter With A Vision, he thought it’d be great fun to have that sword bearing ‘honour guard’ accompanied by some people holding up PIZZA BOXES for the Bride and Groom to walk under.   Hmmm… Yes, she owns some pizza shops and, yes, they are a huge part of her day to day life.  But I was at the rehearsal, I had seen the dresses, I had heard the music choices for the ceremony and had a rough idea what the ceremony text was like, and the whole thing screamed of fine lace, timeless elegance and classy silks… not pizza boxes in the park at twelve paces!

Did I think that the Bride would see this ‘surprise’ of her father’s and think, ‘Oh, Daddy, how very sweet!’, or did I think it more likely she would smile through gritted teeth thinking ‘WTF?’.  Strangely enough, with Our Bride as stressed and sick as she was, I was leaning towards the latter.  By the time I heard mention of light sabres as well as swords and pizza boxes, I was pretty sure my fellow BrideWrangler… err, I mean Bridesmaid, would agree with me, that this was potentially a tacky disaster in the making and that we were at risk of being the Bogan Wedding in the park that afternoon after all!  As it turns out after a quick consultation consisting of about ten words which included the terms ‘pizza boxes’ ‘ honour guard’ and ‘light sabres’…. yes, yes she most certainly agreed with me!  Messages flew furiously back and forth to stop the so-called ‘honour guard’ from being part of the ceremony. More messages to ask Father of the Bride to consider moving it to the reception (after the stressful part of the day was completed and also fortuitously avoiding the illegality of having steel swords in public for no legal reason).  Even more insistent and urgent messages were flying around to STOP THE PIZZA BOXES AT ALL COSTS!!!   They were completely incongruous with the elegant affair we knew the Bride had spent months planning!

wedding disaster conflict resolution

The Near Pizza Box Honour Guard Disaster saw myself and fellow Bridesmaid keeping up a constant flow of smiles, light and fluffy conversations about hair and make up, over champagne bubbles at the hairdressers on the morning of the wedding… while madly SMSing each other (sitting barely 1m apart), the Bride’s brother, the Bride’s father, some of the Groomsmen, various others in the know and the designated organizer of the ‘honour guard’ – all the while desperately trying to make sure that the Bride didn’t notice anything amiss!

The whole thing felt like a bad joke to me… Who on earth wants to surprise the Bride with what feels like a prank?  On. Her. Wedding. Day!?  I didn’t understand how the concept was even remotely appropriate, but by the time the Bride’s elegant french twist was all pinned and sprayed solidly into place, the dastardly pizza box plan was well and truly quashed and the honour guard was moved to the reception venue where steel swords indoors were less likely to run us afoul of the local constabulary, and definitely less likely to mess with the carefully coiffed elegance planned by the Bride.

But in the end we made it!  The weather was spectacular, the Bride looked absolutely stunning, the exchanging of vows and rings brought tears to the eyes of soft hearted onlookers, wonderful romantic memories were made, and the all round the day could not have turned out better!

So, the moral of the story for any Brides To Be?  It doesn’t matter whether your Bridesmaids have ill fitting frocks, are covered in tattoos or have two left feet… just make sure they are accomplished at Disaster Management and Conflict Resolution!!!


The real difference between France and America.

I’ve always thought it was language, cuisine, fashion and culture that separated these two geographically and culturally disparate nations.  But after this week… I think there’s way more that separates these two diverse countries than just 5,500 miles, interesting fashion choices and a differences of opinion about cheese being a major food group!

Yesterday, Dominique Venner eminent French author, historian and journalist, shot himself inside Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral allegedly in protest of recent ‘vile laws’ legalising same sex marriage and adoptions to same sex couples.  Just prior to his interesting choice of political statement, he had published an article on his (extremely right wing) website encouraging other activists to ‘take measures’ to protect French and European identities from being eroded by such laws as these.   Why would a seemingly intelligent  well read, often published, historian and essayist choose to top himself in such a public manner, in such a public place and in what looks like a misguided attempt to martyr himself for a decidedly outdated cause?  On the surface it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense… wouldn’t the more prudent academic choose instead to use his reputation to publish his vitriolic sentiments and engage the law makers of the day in relation to the laws he found so offensive? After all do not the intelligentsia believe the pen is mightier than the sword?

france french vs america americansIt’s such a bizarre thing to happen in France, and of all places in a national monument such as Notre Dame Cathedral.  Now, as we’ve seen time and time again, disgruntled Americans don’t take themselves to an iconic places of religious worship and shoot themselves in the head leaving behind a clear and concise (however nutty) explanation for their actions… No.  The American way to express displeasure at the establishment is usually manifested by the disenfranchised by taking themselves to various educational institutions and shooting numerous random strangers and students that have the misfortune to be in the vicinity, leaving only vague hypotheses for their actions.

Neither course seems very appealing, or even practical, if one’s aim is to change the society one has the happenstance to find oneself born into and participating in.  Personally, I can’t say I identify with either course of action to deal with dissatisfaction with my country socio-political direction.  But where do either of these extreme behaviours come from?

I also saw another article this week discussing inherent differences between French and American parenting habits.  The Readers’ Digest version of that article is that the French are very strict and raise their children to be self regulating and well disciplined from an early age.  So much so, that the French DSMV doesn’t recognize ADHD as a neuro-biological disorder, rather they consider ADHD as having psycho-social and situational causes… meaning that they do not believe that ADHD is something that people are born with but instead believe it is largely due to parenting habits, food and dietary problems and  underlying social problems.  This refusal to admit that children have a problem has resulted in less than 0.5% of children in France being diagnosed with ADHD and being treated with Ritalin or Adderall.

Compare this with 9% of school aged American children diagnosed with ADHD and being treated with the same drugs.  Are American children genetically predisposed to neuro-biological conditions?  Or are American children riding rough shot and externalising and acting out all the time instead of being encouraged towards self discipline at an early age? Maybe this is ultimately why a disgruntled Frenchman decides to make his political statement by ending his own life instead of the Americanized version of extreme political activism which usually results in the ending in the lives of others!

Abhorrent phenomena #472: My Family Car Stickers

Many moons ago I had a wee rant about frangipani car stickers, and I thought I’d be glad to see the end of them.  Indeed, there are now hardly any of them getting around town and those that are, are badly faded into roughly flower shaped white blobs now.  Still an eyesore but seeing their proliferation had died away, we shan’t complain too loudly about it.

However, had I foreseen what the slow dying off of the frangipanis heralded, perhaps I would not have been so quick to deride them… for in their place we have now been inundated with My Stick Figure Family car stickers.  Positively inundated!  They are EVERYWHERE.  Ranging from the nuclear Mom, Dad, two kids and a dog family to this… I don’t even know what you call this!


Yep, sure.  When driving around town, what you really want is to tell the world is that you have eight kids and you’re wife’s fanny is as well used as David Attenborough’s passport! (Thanks Profanisaurus)  OMG… Way more than I ever needed to know about anyone I’m overtaking on the freeway.  And of course the spoof versions have popped up all over the place.  Because if you’re going to tell thousands of fellow motorists about the size of your family, the gender and approximate ages of your children and whether or not you have guard dogs in the family, you want to be sure to share as much personal information as humanly possible by letting them know what your hobbies and reading habits are too!

For example:

The Indiana Jones Family: This one says ‘Hey, we are products of the ’80s and we like to think we are adventurous but we probably have very boring mundane lives.’ The Indiana Jones Family prefers escapism and travel is high on their list of priorities, but the closest they’ll get to an archaeological adventure is the Indiana Jones Adventure ride at Disneyland!  They represent both of the people who saw that Crystal Skull movie and thought it was awesome.

family indiana jones

The Twilight Family:  OMG.  Is it not bad enough that this drivel exists in novel form and that someone has seen fit to inflict it on the movie going public by turning it into several movies (incredulously… several financially viable films too, what’s with that!?).  Is it not bad enough that these same films have spiraled a talentless git like, (shit, whashisname… hang on, Google to the rescue), Robert Patterson, to stratospheric super stardom earning him a salary that exceeds the GDP of a small Micronesian nation?  Do you really want to smuck that shit all over your car and drive it all around town informing all and sundry, that not only to you have terrible taste in films, but also that you have no idea what literature is either?
family twilight-family-car-stickers

The Star Wars Family:  Yep, because sharing how many of you there are just isn’t enough… what you really want to tell them, is that you’re monumental geeks too.  I bet you have all the movies on VHS, DVD, BluRay and have watched the directors cuts, can quote the films and y’all hate Jar Jar Binks.  Oh and by the way, your stickers say ‘Our house will be completely empty during every comic conference that comes to town.’  Well done there.  family starwars

This Star Wars Family is sharing a simliar sentiment, but they’ve also decided to let us know that they regard one of their offspring as akin to a short, scavenging rodent-like creature.  Nice going Mom and Dad.familyVanSample

The Spiderman, Wolverine and Iron Man Families: These ones also say ‘Hey I’ll be out of town at every big geek conference in the district, so please feel free to come rob our house of all our precious, mint-in-box, comic book collectables and movie memorabilia!’  Just don’t, people.  Keep your proclivities to yourselves!Screen Shot 2013-05-18 at 9.58.43 AM

The Monster Family:  These guys are working hard to show that they are non-conformists while, you know… falling right in line and conforming to the My Family sticker trend.  But, Brownie points for bringing some colour to the party, I feel.  Nicely monsterstickers

Another of the non-conforming conformists: The Zombie Family.  We are also going for the anti-establishment vote and like to think that we don’t conform to the ‘normal’ religious, social, or moral principles of society… but we will conform enough to get us some My Family sticks for the family car.  Zombies are so mainstream now they barely fit the bill anymore anyway.

family zombies car stickers

The 19th C Re-enactment Family:  I… just… why?  For the life of me I can’t understand why anyone would want to be driving along in the family car and displaying symbols of dead babies/children to their fellow motorists.  I’m somewhat perplexed and vaguely disturbed by this idiotic concept.  It’s as though over sharing through regular stick figures isn’t weird enough, let’s add a dose of morose history to the mix.Familly 19th-Century-Family-Car-Stickers

The Lego Family:  Slightly more circumspect, this mob WANT to follow the trend but are attempting to give away as little as possible.  Mom, Dad and gender indeterminate kids.  Very little additional information conveyed here, because well EVERYONE loves Lego… they could be accountants, janitors or rock stars.

family lego

Then there’s the Hyper-Personalized NAMED Family:  OMG!  These people need their fucking heads read!  Mom and Dad get to maintain their anonymity but why, why, oh why?!?! would you put your children’s names on the back of your car?  Maybe I’ve watched too many episodes of Criminal Minds, but I see a creepy guy, in a tacky Hawaiian shirt, approaching little Grayson with a chloroform rag, and telling him that Mommy has sent him to collect him from school today because she was at the dentist and it’s bye, bye, dead in a ditch with little Grayson (unless it’s Ohio, in which case he might resurface after a decade of abuse in captivity). S/W Ver: 97.04.2BR


family single mom

This one is like is a bit like its predecessor but even worse.  It may as well say ‘Hello, I’m a single Mom with low self esteem and small children you can prey on.  Call #1800FUKTARD to apply’.  I have actually seen a couple of ‘single mum’ my family stickers and all I can think is – how fucking stupid are you to drive about telling the world that 1) there’s no man in the house and 2) you have small children!  Why not just pain a ‘come hither’ pedo-target on your back?
Single Moms take note:  This is the My Family sticker you should have on your car!  Even if it’s not true,  A great big Fuck Off Vibe seems more appropriate.  Then again, you could get taken for local militia and see your car being broken into regularly by people from Breaking Bad looking for random handguns left in the glove compartment!family guns

Yeah, so I guess it’s pretty evident I’m not a fan of the My Family sticker craze and every time I see them I can’t help but wonder what people are thinking as they put all their personal details out there for the world to see.  I can’t fathom it for the life of me.  I assume it stems from two human instincts.

family minivan

The first, and most obvious, is overwhelming pride in their family and a desire to share that pride in a misdirected public fashion, and I say misdirected because seriously – no one else really cares.  The second is that people can’t help themselves but want to get in on whatever the latest fashion trends might be – whether it’s the latest gizmos, the new seasons fashion or in this case, public displays of familial associations – and they don’t always think about the repercussions of blindly following what seems like an innocuous fad.  This theory has been solidly demonstrated by the latest summer’s fashion trend of pockets hanging longer than one’s shorts… obviously ZERO thought applied by those hapless, but dedicated, followers of fashion!

family utah

But at the end of the day, there is one unarguable and invariable fact about My Family stickers which shall hence forth remain a truism for the ages – absolutely no one other than the bearer, gives a fat rats arse about your stupid family stickers.

family wpid-jet-fighter-bomber-stick-figure-family-car-decals