Thursday, November 22, 2012

So you want to be a Lady?

Okay, that title could mean A LOT of things. Including, one of my first and still favourite cartoons:


But today I want to tell you about how you can become an official Lady or Lord without the need to marry into such title, or be nice to the Queen, or provide amazing long-term service to England or whatever ...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Most accurate depiction of future human civilization


In science fiction movies we often see cool depictions of the near future. In many cases, such as Blade Runner (pictured here below), the timeline's are unbelievably optimistic. In 1982 (when the film was made) did they really think we'd be so advanced by 2019?



Whether it be 2019, 2050, or some greater time period - we often see amazing space-age devices and an ultra-cool, chic Earth (at least for the rich guys - there's always an underclass). Minority Report, Gattaca or i-Robot immediately come to mind - three movies I like a lot.


Of course, there are some great post-apocalyptic type movies: Water World (just kidding), 12 Monkeys, Mad Max, etc.
  
However, I think I might have found a movie that is a better depiction of our future as humans on Earth than any other. So accurate, in fact, that it scares the pants off me. But before I tell you what it is, I want to tell you how I found out about it.

HUMANITY 500 YEARS INTO THE FUTURE

One morning I was having coffee with the guys at work and told them about my long-held theory about how people are getting dumber, and not smarter. I was reminded of it because there was a news bulletin about a family in the United States (I'd search it out but I'm currently sitting in an airport lounge and don't want to use the free wifi due to a virus I caught in Malaysia - but that's another story …). Anyway, this couple had just had their 19th child.

Now before I go on, I would like to state that in no way am I suggesting that this couple are Hillbilly's or anything else disparaging like that (maybe they are, maybe they aren't - you can search for it and make your own conclusions I suppose). I'm just saying, if you were to ask the average person on the street, I'm sure there is a fairly negative perception associated with a man named Jim Bob who has 19 children.

So ... I was telling my workmates my, admittedly, offensive, and not well-researched 'Trailer Trash Theory". You know, heaps of kids, even more television, not much education ...

... And how humanity was getting dumber.

Hmmm … don't you hate it when your idea has already been thought of - and made into a movie. And that movie explained my theory better than I ever could have.

The movie … no, really it should be called a documentary, is called ...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Worst movie trilogies

Watching Transformers 3 last night - all I could think of was - "when is this movie going to be over."

The (not so) funny thing was - I had the exact same experience with the first two movies. Even less funny is, let's say that each movie was about two and half hours long, well that's seven and a half hours of my life I won't get back. That's like going to work, except I don't get paid.

Thank you, Michael Bay. Thank you for taking one of my favourite 80's cartoons and making it into the horrible mess that it is ... THREE TIMES.

Stupid me for getting suckered in three times! In my defence, apparently after the panning the second one got, people were actually saying the third instalment was quite good. Well, maybe the reviewers were given frontal lobotomies - because I didn't see an improvement.



Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What's your favourite line?

What did you think when you read the title of this post? Was it, favourite pick-up line? Favourite line in a song, movie line, or something else?

For me, the above question would probably be answered as a 'line in a movie' (I was never good at pick up lines anyway). "Hey baby, you know I'm in a band". "Well, no, we don't actually play anywhere". "Just two of us ... we both play guitar". "Songs? Not really any that are very good."

Funnily enough this post IS about song lines (movie lines is for another time!). What's your favourite, most interesting, thought-provoking, funny, or just plain weird line from a song? "What were these guys on, man?" Well some were on plenty, apparently. Just look at these two below:


My early 90's attempt at a band - KD Gorillas. KD stood for Knuckle Dragging, so no, it wasn't a dig at K.D. Lang (unless her name is Knuckle Dragging Lang). 
I'd probably never even heard of her at the time. Just like she'd never heard of us!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fathers Day

This is just a short post I wanted to write as Father's Day is coming up here in Australia (September 2nd) and I get to re-stock my supplies of socks, underpants and DVD's.

In one of my more serious (and second most popular!) posts titled, "Dads have it Easy(er)", I wrote about the importance of fathers or father figures in the lives of children.

Now, men want practical tips - not airy fairy emotional stuff. You don't have to give us all the background, just tell us what to do.

So I've taken one practical piece of advice that I learned and applied it at my childrens' school - having some of the kids read to me in the morning before class.

It's mostly gone well - and has been a lot of fun.  My "regulars" have come to enjoy reading to me - you can tell. One boy actually told me he wanted to read to me every day. That was nice. I think it's because, being a Dad, I'm naturally much cooler than the Mum's. I can't help it - that's just the way it is.  It's like the sun always rising in the East and setting in the West. Dads, by definition, are cooler.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The real Olympics medal count

Well the Olympics have come and gone for another four years and, surprise surprise, the United States finished first again, and China second.  And of course Australia once again showed their sporting superiority over New Zealand (which, after all, is all that really matters, especially when Great Britain has kicked your butt).

I've included the official top 10 ranked countries below:



# Republic of Korea is South Korea

But are these countries really the best Olympic nations? Does the medal tally truly reflect the sporting worth of a Country?

I think it's time to put some parity back into the medal count, and I did more research than I usually care to do for my blog on the matter. But before I tell you which nations are truly the best...

Some interesting "facts" I discovered

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What's in an anthem?

With the Olympics on pretty much all day and night, you may have heard the occasional National Anthem being played (except perhaps the Australian one).

Fortunately Australia's national anthem isn't all that good, so you're not missing out on much if you haven't heard it. Our old anthem was much better than the current one anyway. It was about a guy who stole a sheep. The new one has Australia "girt" by sea.

And before you ask, yes, "girt" is a real word.  It means "to encircle", though I prefer the Urban Dictionary definition - "to leave quickly out of necessity".  Somehow that seems to fit.

But some anthems actually sound good - well the music anyway. Who knows what the words are. Well, dear reader, I do - some of them at least. And boy, do they make girt look good.

Speaking of looking good ...

This image and a few more can be found at Digital Spy.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Friday (3 days late) Funny

Hey, the Olympics are on so 'excuse me' for being three days late.

I do have some other posts in the wings waiting to dazzle and amaze, but I'm still researching some bits and pieces (yes, this blog occasionally does have some factual matter amongst the dribble).

It also has some highly intellectual humour, such as the cartoon below ...

COPYRIGHT
Creative Commons License
Journey into Stuff by Jeff Bilman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Please note, visitors to this website are solely responsible for the information they post. Any posting of copyrighted material is strictly prohibited and the owner of this website shall not be responsible for any copyrighted material uploaded by third parties.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fifty Shades of 'What the ...?'

The phenomenon is common in medical science. Researchers know that a particular medicine or compound works for a particular condition, but they often don't know why it works.

The same can be said about Fifty Shades of Grey. We know that it works. But we don't know why.

And by "works", I mean ... as an aphrodisiac. No longer do men (notably under-sexed husbands) have to go searching the internet for products making wild claims - Spanish Flies, Oysters, etc - in the hope that it will boost their partners sex drive (towards them).

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fortnightly Funny


COPYRIGHT
Creative Commons License
Journey into Stuff by Jeff Bilman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Please note, visitors to this website are solely responsible for the information they post. Any posting of copyrighted material is strictly prohibited and the owner of this website shall not be responsible for any copyrighted material uploaded by third parties.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Good Oil

Recently I turned 40.  I don't feel 40 - not emotionally anyway - I still feel like a 20-something. Sometimes I even act like a 20-something but with the added advantage of experience. I've made the dumb mistakes before, and have hopefully learned from them.

But although my mind still feels young, the bodies definitely not keeping up with the programme. It just knew - Jeff, you're coming up to 40 - it's about time we start giving you some middle age problems. And don't get me wrong, it wasn't all rosy before that - I have various ailments, but they weren't necessarily AGE-RELATED ailments.

It certainly makes you want for the younger years, and even makes you feel a little jealous of those dopey younglings ...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pre-Fortnightly Funny

Okay so it hasn't been a fortnight since the last cartoon, but here it is anyway...

I'm unashamedly a fan of Gary Larson. This cartoon took inspiration from any one of a thousand of his better drawn and funnier, darkly humorous pieces.  This was drawn in the days where you used paper with black dots for shading rather than the oh so easy paint bucket you have now, which may be why there's those weird horizontal lines in the image (or it could be the scanner - I don't know):


COPYRIGHT
Creative Commons License
Please note, visitors to this website are solely responsible for the information they post. Any posting of copyrighted material is strictly prohibited and the owner of this website shall not be responsible for any copyrighted material uploaded by third parties.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

How to get him to help with the housework

I always wanted to make this blog a helpful resource, and I think you'd have to agree that, so far, it's achieved that goal with flying colours.  So please keep reading if you want another gem.

I've noticed in my chats with the ladies during school drop-off and pick-up that there's a common issue or gripe that they have with their male partners.  Housework.  The whole "man goes to work and woman stays home to look after the kids" scenario has been long gone.  However, whilst the ladies have gone back to work it doesn't seem that men have picked up the slack on the home front.

Well ladies (and men), I have the solution...

Turn those chores that your men don't like doing into EXTREME chores.  Disappointingly, this is not my idea, but has been going on for a few years now in the form of Extreme Ironing.  Yes, this is a real phenomenon (phenomena?)


Friday, June 15, 2012

Fortnightly Funny

I've been so busy lately that I haven't had a chance to post - nor have I had the energy.  Why? Well apart from a bathroom ceiling that is no longer where it should be due to some storms we've had recently, I've been spending a lot of time on a writing website called Authonomy.

I've put my children's book Super Ninja Alien Robot Monsters on there.  It's free to read.  In fact, there's a lot of books on there of every genre.  Mostly they are unpublished, so you may never see these books anywhere else - and if you do - you can say you saw them before they were popular.

Anyway, as a cop-out, and to ensure I post at least fortnightly (until life slows down), every two weeks I'm going to post one of my favourite cartoons.  They may not always be the funniest, but for some reason I really like them.


COPYRIGHT
Creative Commons License
Journey into Stuff by Jeff Bilman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Please note, visitors to this website are solely responsible for the information they post. Any posting of copyrighted material is strictly prohibited and the owner of this website shall not be responsible for any copyrighted material uploaded by third parties.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A quick update: Amazon reviews

In my post Fun with Amazon I researched a lot of weird products and even weirder reviews. It was the most fun since ... well ... actually ... yesterday I bought a wooden broom stick - that's turned out to be a lot of fun. I get to pretend to be either Monkey from Monkey Magic, or Robin Hood's main merry man, Little John.

But once again I digress. The point is, now that I've spent all that time on Amazon looking up some of the things you can buy online, the good people at Amazon (or I suppose more correctly their "cookies") have latched on to me.  I received an email from them the other day with some interesting choices. Would I like to buy that Mountain three wolf moon t-shirt? Or how about some fresh whole rabbit? Mmm yummy. I'm sure that mail-order rabbit will be extra tasty and just as fresh after the 3 weeks it takes to get from the West coast of America to the West coast of Australia. I particularly liked their suggestion of the Accoutrements Yodelling Pickle and the Bacon-shaped adhesive bandages.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Demise of the Dinosaurs: A new theory

I don't know if you've heard, but there's a new theory about how dinosaurs became extinct.  But before we get to that, I'd like to go over some of the old theories.

So dinosaurs existed for about 150 million years.  Depending on your definition of success, some would say that's way better than humans - though of course we're still going.  But it would take a supreme optimist to believe that we'll last that long (having gone about 500,000 years depending on your definition of "human").

From a sci-fi perspective, humanity existing for 150 million years would be really cool - we might finally get flying cars.  As for other definitions of success, we invented potato chips - enough said.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fun with Amazon

MORE THAN JUST BOOKS

You all know that Amazon isn't just about books anymore.  You can buy anything from movies, electronics, gardening tools, toys, groceries, clothing - even automotive parts. Most of us love Amazon because - even with postage added - whatever product we're buying is probably still cheaper than what we could get it for elsewhere (in my case Australia).

It's fun searching for an almost limitless number of items, satisfying our deepest (or is that shallowest) consumer wants. Not sure if you can get these though...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bored(?) Games

I played board games a fair bit as a kid.  Usually with my brother and sister, sometimes - since I was the youngest by nearly 6 years - alone (or left hand vs right hand). Hey, I grew up in the 70's and early 80's where there wasn't as much stimulus as there is nowadays - we had to make our own fun, people.

Old favourites were Scrabble, The Game of Life, Chess and Monopoly.

Board Games wained a bit as I got older, replaced by computer games, sport, women, education, drugs and alcohol (okay, probably 3 of those aren't entirely true). Sure there was the occasional game of Scrabble, or if there were a few people over - Pictionary, Balderdash or Trivial Pursuit. But board games went right off the radar.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mickey: Protected species?

Recently my family and I went to Hong Kong Disneyland. It was a magical place of unreality - not a bad thing for a couple days. We stayed at the Hollywood Hotel, a Disney Hotel located within the Disney precinct.

For those first two days when we didn't step out of the "Disney Universe" we had no inkling that we were in Hong Kong - except perhaps the humidity - but then again, we could have been anywhere nearing the equator.

Everything we saw and heard was Disney related and, of course, the chief image was of Mickey Mouse. It wasn't really even Mickey per se - it was that iconic shape of his head and two ears. Everywhere we went we saw the big circle with the two smaller circles.

The train windows and hand holds were Mickey shaped, the light fittings, the mirrors, the food, even the tomato sauce.


AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH.

Okay, it was cool at first. It still sort of is. Later on today I'm going to try and make Mickey-shaped pikelets (we had them too).

But Mickey is a big brand and one that is fiercely protected. I found that out when, at a breakfast titled "Breakfast with the Stars", I tried to stick two fingers up behind his head to do the "rabbit ears"(something I am well known for doing - and something my wife loves me for... NOT). 

From above us a SWAT team rappelled down from the ceiling. Luckily I saw them. I dive-rolled out of the way just as they unleashed the firepower from their Uzi 9mm's. I kept running, diving and rolling as the dining area was obliterated. Children were crying, the floor was red with... Mickey-shaped tomato sauce.

Okay, so that wasn't quite what happened. But when I tried the rabbit ears I was told to put them down. Mickey was off limits. I bowed my head in shame (not because I had tried, but because I had failed) and put on a smile for the camera.



I consoled myself by eating a Micket shaped pikelet...



...content with the knowledge that I had already earlier managed to get Goofy.



COPYRIGHT
Creative Commons License
Journey into Stuff by Jeff Bilman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Please note, visitors to this website are solely responsible for the information they post. Any posting of copyrighted material is strictly prohibited and the owner of this website shall not be responsible for any copyrighted material uploaded by third parties.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Love your job

This post has come about because a few people I know have recently expressed to me their dissatisfaction with their jobs. Not always the work itself - often it has been the people, the processes or the environment.

For those who know me very well (ie. wife) - they know I've never really liked any of my real jobs. Ironically, for me it's always been about the nature of the work that's left me unsatisfied - the people have usually been a positive (sometimes the only one).

My jobs have all essentially been about paying the bills. I've never been able to hit that sweet spot of enjoyable job that actually pays okay.

The problems start early - when at the ripe old age of 16 we're asked to "choose" possible careers...


And everyone's different. Accounting at the time was not for me. I know people that absolutely love it - they get excited by it.  Freaks you say? Weirdo's?  Good on them I say.

Obviously, I've tried to make a career from artistic endeavours, but that's proven a difficult beast - and in reality - whilst we all see the success stories they are like the tip of an iceberg. The rest of us (and there's a lot of us) are underwater and not able to make any sort of living from those pursuits.


This hit home to me the other week when I was at a writing seminar. One of the statistics given was that the average Australian Author earned about $10,000 per annum (these are published authors and considered successful in a publishing sense). I've spent two years on my current book - at nights after work and on the weekends. I probably work harder than most - for $10,000 pa that seems a bit stupid - and yet I still do it.

Whilst culture and art is really important, and we all want books, movies and music, etc I don't think the world is willing to pay much (or anything) for them. Plus there's always the middlemen who make more money from your product than you do. That's why I like this digital age - no middlemen are making any money from my blog! We'll gloss over the fact that neither am I... and you'd have to agree - this stuff is GOLD people - GOLD!

So, it's actually a lot easier to go to work everyday in whatever job it is you do and pick up a pay check (or Electronic Funds Transfer). Still, it's a big plus if you actually enjoy the work you do.

My favourite job was when I was in my early 20's. Just finished Uni - in a recession and unemployed - I got a 'very' part-time job working as the equipment manager at the local State athletics centre.

The centre was very run-down (now demolished) and on competition days I had to drive this really old wreck of a car around the track to set up things like the hurdles, high-jump, etc. The car was an absolute rust-bucket and had obviously been vandalised many times. The (very) old guy I was taking over from, told me to take out the distributor cap and battery every time I left so that the hoons wouldn't be able to start the car up and do bog laps around the track.

It's weird how age changes you.  That athletics job has less appeal to me now than accounting. Maybe my parent's were right when they told me to finish that accounting degree - except for the fact they were right 20 years late.

I'm still aiming for that job that both earns enough to pay the bills with a little left over, and I enjoy. If everyone had that - whatever that job happened to be for them - we'd all be in a much better space.

And for those of us, like myself, who don't yet have it - I leave you with this final (timeless) message...

COPYRIGHT
Creative Commons License
Journey into Stuff by Jeff Bilman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Please note, visitors to this website are solely responsible for the information they post. Any posting of copyrighted material is strictly prohibited and the owner of this website shall not be responsible for any copyrighted material uploaded by third parties.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Brink

We made this short film a few years ago now. I think I was complaining about the effort required to make an 8 minute film - the long hours, the early mornings, etc. I remember Torstein, the cinematographer, saying to me, "There's a lot easier ways to make a living."

Sage words. A little more about this on my film page. But for now, I hope you enjoy The Brink.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chicken or Clown? Part 2

The purpose of this post, and the last, was to look at some irrational fears. In the last post we established that, no, we should not be afraid of chickens. We also solved the age old question of the chicken and the egg.

In this post, we will try and answer the question of whether we should be afraid of clowns. I know what you're thinking - of course we should be afraid of clowns - there needn't be a debate. But before we jump to conclusions, let's look at the problem in more detail.

Let's face it - a lot of people are scared of clowns. There's even a name for this type of phobia: Coulrophobia. Then there's the people that hate clowns but are seemingly not scared of them, such as the "I Hate Clowns" website. I think fear and hate often go together, but I'm not about to start a fight with the I Hate Clowns people - they have logo'd t-shirts.

I don't blame the clown fearers or the haters. I've always found the aspect of someone hiding behind a mask both fascinating and creepy. I've written two short stories about clowns; one was for "tweens" called Clown Town, and the other an adult story called The Clown. If you keep reading my blogs you'll also see quite a lot of clown cartoons.

On the clown side; dressing up in disguise can be quite liberating. It allows you to be another person - to let go of inhibitions (or so I am told). Okay, I'll come clean - I have a thing for novelty wigs - there, I've said it - admitting you have a problem is the first step ...


And further support for the impact parents can have on their children:


It warms my heart.

So anyway, clowns have also had a bad wrap in the world of story. Take for instance; Killer Klowns from Outerspace (1988). And now, 25 years later, I hear there is a new movie; The Return of the Killer Klowns from Outerspace in 3D set for release in 2013. Stephen King didn't help the cause when he wrote the book "It" featuring "Pennywise the dancing clown". Unfortunately Pennywise didn't just dance, although that would have been creepy enough. I could go on, but a quick search of the web will give you more than enough information, if you really want to go there.

So, it's looking bad for clowns. But what about the good clowns? The ones that do make us laugh and generally don't creep us out. Jerry Lewis for instance - my favourite "clown". Ben Stiller. Robin Williams. Jim Carey. You know what - they don't usually dress up. Neither do chickens. I want to know who I'm dealing with - and although you can't always be sure - it's easier when you can look someone in the face - and it's their face you're seeing - not a mask. We often hate things we fear, and fear things we don't understand.
So is fearing clowns irrational? There are many real risks in life that we seem to easily dismiss, and attach greater risks to stuff that's highly unlikely. That was the point of the original post in Part 1.  Things such as smoking, drinking, eating too much junk food, driving in cars, etc are all reasonably high risk activities that cause untimely death. Yet, we all partake in at least some of these activities. Clowns, on the other hand, probably rank in the very low risk category along with being struck by lightning.

Therefore, should we fear clowns?  The answer is yes ... but only a little. Much like with lightning - where you don't go out in a storm carryng a metal object - if you see a clown coming toward you, either cross the road calmly, or decline their offer politely.



COPYRIGHT
Creative Commons License
Journey into Stuff by Jeff Bilman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Please note, visitors to this website are solely responsible for the information they post. Any posting of copyrighted material is strictly prohibited and the owner of this website shall not be responsible for any copyrighted material uploaded by third parties.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chicken or Clown? Part 1

So what's your irrational fear? I know some people are afraid of chickens - they get creeped right out by those squat, feathery, beady-eyed, lipless egg factories. I know a lot more people who really, really, really hate clowns (and fear them even more).

We have two chickens at the moment, and I had lots of chickens growing up. I'm not afraid of them. Chickens give me eggs and eat scraps that otherwise would go in the bin. They are sociable and sometimes amusing. I like the fact that their ancestry goes back to the dinosaurs - they're like little mini T-rex's (here's the proof). The thing I like least about chickens is that they are poop machines. That begs the obvious question: were T-rex's poop machines?

Unfortunately, that will have to be the topic of a future post. The real question is: are chickens something to be feared?




Incidentally, as a bonus to my loyal readershp, I shall also answer the age-old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Clearly it's the egg.

The chicken had to hatch first, didn't it - so it was inside the egg. The egg therefore came first. At best you could say the chicken and the egg came at the same time, because from its most embryonic stage the chicken and the egg were forming at the same time. But then it's still the egg then isn't it - because it's an egg before it's a chicken.

But what if the egg wasn't a chicken type egg?  What if normally from that particular egg a chicken-like creature usually came out - but this time, through the miracle of evolution/mutation/transmogrification a whole new entity (ie. the chicken) arose. It was a chicken, and then from that point on that chicken began laying chicken-like eggs, from which more chickens came out. Okay, this is getting confusing.

... though I still think the egg came first.

See, in this instance Humpty came after the chicken, but at the dawn of the chicken, I think it was Humpty's ancestors (ie. the eggs) that were first.


What's my point? Anyone ... please.

I heard on the radio the other day a guy talking about how people often fear highly unlikely events more (and equate a greater likelihood of the event occuring), than they do for more likely events. The example he gave was the Western world's fear of terrorism (people fear and percieve the chances of injury from this event far more than the real risk) versus their (lack of) fear from, say, driving whilst sending text messages on their phone (there's a far greater likelihood of injury).

Curious, I had a little surf around the web to see what I could find out. Barring some extreme activities like, perhaps, base-jumping, the riskiest thing you can do in life (ie. leading to premature death) is regularly smoke. It's literally 20 times more dangerous than the next most dangerous activity - being in a motor vehicle. These two risks are classified as "Extra high" and "high" risk respectively.

The next rung down was "elevated risk", and that included things like being a frequent airline passenger, a regular skier, a moderate drinker, or a pedestrian. It went down from there: Moderate (background radiation), Low (cycling), Very low (Saccharin?), Extremely Low (Lightning).

This data was twenty years old, so I'd love to see something more current. For instance, where does eating processed meats, or highly saturated fat food products, sit on the risk scale? My guess would be, fairly high up. However, based on the above data, if you're a smoker who drives a car, enjoys drinking moderately, walks, lives on Earth and (adding my own) likes a nice salami every now and then - then you're in a lot of trouble. That fear of chickens is soon becoming pretty irrelevant.

By the way, maybe the cartoon below with help with those still confused about the whole chicken/egg thing:

Okay, I'm glad we got that sorted. Now stay tuned for Part 2: Should we fear clowns?


COPYRIGHT
Creative Commons License
Journey into Stuff by Jeff Bilman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Please note, visitors to this website are solely responsible for the information they post. Any posting of copyrighted material is strictly prohibited and the owner of this website shall not be responsible for any copyrighted material uploaded by third parties.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Dads have it Easy(er)

The Fathering Project

A friend of mine asked if I was interested in going with him to a seminar titled "Helping Men Become Better Dads." I had a look at the website, which is here, and decided it was worthwhile for the price of admission (plus you got a drink and a fairly decent snack!)

So I couldn't see too many downsides. Men want practical tips that don't take too much effort - it was also a chance to legitimately get out of the house and away from the wife and kids ...



But seriously, blokes (defined as your ordinary no-frills man) want things to be kept fairly simple, and not too touchy feely ie. no man hugs. This seminar hit all those marks. It was great to see the diversity in the Dads - white collar, blue collar and everything in between - there were no stereotypes - just a group of guys wanting to be better Dads.

We also received a 40 page booklet small enough to fit in your back pocket titled, "The Blue Book of Tips for Fathers and Father-figures". Just by implementing a few of the very practical tips in this booklet, a Dad can go from useless to being ahead of the pack (and for the single Dads, or the really bad husbands, this may also attract the attention of some of the Mums).

The Dad Effect

My Dad would be mortified if he saw this cartoon. Of course it's not true. I, however, did once dress up as a girl - but it was all my sister's doing. I was about 10, and for reasons I can't remember she put me in a very nice pink one-piece dress, a wig and some horribly large sunglasses (that might just be back in fashion). We went over to my Grandmother's house and apparently fooled her into thinking I was one of my sister's friends. Did I really fool her? I can't be sure. My Grandmother only spoke Polish and I barely understood a word she said. For all I knew, she was probably saying, "Stupid boy, get out of that dress, or you'll turn into a homosexual."

The truth in the cartoon is that Fathers, or Father-figures (uncles, grandfathers, coaches, etc), have a profound effect on children - this is what we are told and I'm not going to argue. To quote from one of the information brochures:
           
                       "The Link between good fathering and the outcomes of children is so 
                        strong that it is estimated that if all Australian fathers spent an extra five 
                        minutes a day with each of their children, $5 billion per year would be 
                        saved in the areas of law (less juvenile crime), health (less drug taking),
                        education (more engaged) and industry (greater productivity)."  (1)

Assuming you can transpose these Australian figures across the world (or at the very least to Westernized countries), then these statistics are staggering.


What is that look? Are you staggered, bemused, unimpressed?

Let me just say this ... I've come to believe my own Dad is a great guy. I know that he loves his own children and grandchildren as much as I love my children. But growing up, as a kid, I didn't know that.

I'm going to generalize here - The 70's Dad seemed to be almost stereotypical - the unemotional bread winner. The Father was the guy who went out to work - often before you woke up - came home in the evening, then put his feet up to watch a bit of TV with a couple beers before it was time to go to bed and start the routine all over again. Generally the Mum did all the other "stuff" ie. parenting.

The first time I really knew just how much he cared was when I was about 15. We were at a Christmas function for his work and I was speaking to one of his apprentices (who was about 18). He told me what a great guy my Dad was. I was a little surprised. Then he told me how proud my Dad was of me - how Dad was always talking about me at work. I was floored.

You see, it would have been nice to have been told by Dad himself. But he was a 70's Dad. I know for a fact there was a lot of them around.

Page 1 of the "The Blue Book of Tips for Fathers and Father-figures" says "tell your kids you love them often". That's a pretty easy thing to do - especially if you start when they're young. And it's not the 70's anymore.

Why Dad's have it Easy(er)?

Okay, again, I'm generalizing, of course. But let's face it - when it comes to parenting - the women still do the majority of the work - and with less of the accolades.

Mum comes to school to pick up the kids - child saunters over to her, "Oh, hi, Mum."

Dad comes to pick up the kids - child sprints with joyous grin on face, "DADDY!"

Put simply, and I don't know why, but the Dad doesn't have to do all that much to get the adoration of his children. Sometimes I feel a little guilty even ... but only a little.

There's so much more I'd like to say on this subject but, for now, if you're interested I'd direct you towards the The Fathering Project website, or there are many other good websites that offer advice to Fathers or Father-figures. I'm already using a few of the tips I learned - I don't know if my kids have felt the difference, but I certainly have.*


(1) taken from "Making time to be a Dad," information brochure from The Fathering Project.
* I have no affiliation with The Fathering Project.





COPYRIGHT
Creative Commons License
Please note, visitors to this website are solely responsible for the information they post. Any posting of copyrighted material is strictly prohibited and the owner of this website shall not be responsible for any copyrighted material uploaded by third parties.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Unrealized Potential


I wrote this cartoon about 15 years ago. The sad thing is, I still feel like it applies to me as much now as it did back then. Some (ie. my wife) would say I'm being too hard on myself. I agree - I always have been. But the idea of this massive gap between what I feel I could have achieved so far, and what I have achieved still gnaws at me.

Do you think George Clooney feels like this? "Man, I wish I'd done Water World instead of all those Steven Soderbergh movies." Okay, maybe that's not the best example. George has probably got close to his potential - but that's from an outsider's perspective, maybe he feels he hasn't?

Then there's the people who seem to have miraculously obliterated their maximum potential as perceived by class-mates, family or friends (from now on known as PPQ - Perceived Potential Quotient). Whether it's a great career, a really hot partner, or an amazing sense of inner peace - I don't know how to feel about these people that seem to be so obviously punching above their weight...



That's an egg by the way, not an egg-like depiction of me. I have no idea what he's doing up there, why, or his chances of successfully diving into that glass of water.

But I digress ... I think one of the problems is I tend to assign a value to myself based on my achievements. It's kind of like a "what you do" instead of a "who you are" focus. There's probably many reasons for this - but I blame (and there - I've said the word - BLAME) - yes, I blame the time I was in U8's Little Athletics. I won a Gold medal at the State Championships in the triple jump AND broke the State record (I also won bronze in the long jump). The following two years I made the finals but no medals, and it's been all downhill from there. Every time I hear Bruce Springstein's "Glory Days" it takes me back to the good old days. Imagine how a real athlete must feel.

And before I go any further, I want to acknowledge how lucky I am. Just by living in Australia I am better off than most people in the world when it comes to health, education, government, financial, etc. Ask someone in a poor country about unrealized potential. That's the real tragedy.

WHOA BOY! Hang on a minute.

I have a confession to make. I spent countless hours writing and re-writing the rest of the post after this point. It kept changing, and it kept getting bigger and bigger, and more complicated. I've trashed it all.

At one stage I thought I was on to the Holy Grail - so profound and far-ranging where my thoughts - they were coming together better than those physicists attempting to find a unified theory of everything (my calculations ruled out string theory - Strings - Seriously! Theoretical Physicists are on another planet man).

I was ready to print my enormous blog out, take it to the nearest University, dump it on their desk, and ask, "Can I have my PhD now please? Just call me Dr Jeff."

But I was also losing sleep - and I was beginning to have doubts. I began to ponder whether my thesis was actually making sense - occasionally it might even be contradicting itself. And even worse, I began dreaming about the damned thing. I woke up, disturbed, and knew I had to make a choice. I could spend the next 20 years refining my theory, or I could let it go. I soon realized that, to be honest, I wasn't that smart. And the last three nights I'd barely said a word to my family - so intent was I on refining my discovery. If it went on like this I could miss out on 20 years of their life, as well as my own. So I let it go.

I will definitely come back to this topic one day - let's face it,  there's at least another 4 blogs worth of material. But I will say this: the cartoon at the top of this page was written by a guy in his early 20's. As you get older things change, priorities change. And it was based on a very narrow focus - CAREER. So maybe I've not achieved all I've wanted to in that realm of my life (and hopefully there's a lot of years left if I choose to pursue it), but as you know there's so much more to life. And in many of those aspects I think I've done okay.

So with that in mind, I'll leave you with this totally irrelevant and unrelated cartoon.







COPYRIGHT
Creative Commons License
Journey into Stuff by Jeff Bilman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Please note, visitors to this website are solely responsible for the information they post. Any posting of copyrighted material is strictly prohibited and the owner of this website shall not be responsible for any copyrighted material uploaded by third parties.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Meaning of Stuff

Welcome to my first blog. 'Stuff' is a great word. It's so general. It can mean anything.

"Where'd you put my stuff?"
"What stuff?"
"You know, my stuff?"
"I didn't touch your stuff! Why would I want your stuff?  Your stuff sucks."
"No, your stuff sucks!"

So does anybody know what these two people are actually talking about? No...? Come on, of course you do - they're talking about stuff. And like the conversation above, I hope you get just as much knowledge and insight from this blog - my Journey into Stuff.

It's a collection of stuff from my past and the present, as I attempt to make some sense out of, well - please don't say it again... stuff.


Creativity
I've tried a lot of creative pursuits. I think it's been my way of trying to figure out stuff. The first thing I tried was cartooning. And since it was where I started - way back in the early 90's when Grunge AND Jeff Buckley ruled (a testament to how good Jeff Buckley was) - I think it's a good way of starting out here too.

These are some of my early cartoons.  Many were self-published on a now defunct website I called "Elephant Tales" - predominantly focusing on a quirky elephant named Eric (any emotional likeness to me is purely coincidental - and besides - it was a long time ago). I'll try and put at least one of these old cartoons up with each blog.

The first "Eric" I drew properly:

Another early cartoon.  This was one of my favorites.  I had it made into a t-shirt in the days when you actually had to go to a screen-printer to get it done.

I always felt like the black sheep, especially in my late teens/early 20's - ditching an accounting job to draw...

... and attempt to play music.


I still play (very poorly), and still harbor ambitions of writing at least one song that I actually like. I once wrote a song called Soul Destroyer - it was about somebody I used to work with. It was a hard rock style of song, but not very good. I tried several variations - one being acoustic - it still wasn't very good, but somehow it was sort of funny.

Until next time ...



COPYRIGHT
Creative Commons License
Journey into Stuff by Jeff Bilman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Please note, visitors to this website are solely responsible for the information they post. Any posting of copyrighted material is strictly prohibited and the owner of this website shall not be responsible for any copyrighted material uploaded by third parties.