I am the Phoenix

Broadcast Transcript

Jonesy: Hey guys, this is Jonesy here for the Drive Time Show here on Brisbane community radio 4GEN-X.

Voice Over: We put the “great” into the greater Brisbane area!

Jonesy: Today we’ve got a special guest for our Local Legend celebrity spot!

It’s The Phoenix and he’s here with his manager Dax Darkson…

Phoenix: Yeah, hi it’s me The Phoenix here…

Jonesy: Now for our listeners at home who may not be familiar with your legendary status, maybe you could tell us a little bit about yourself?

Phoenix: *whisper* … Jesus who is this ass clown? I thought you said he was a professional. Yeah, yeah I know I need this gig. But jesus Dax, all the same…

Well I’m THE Phoenix. You know, the one that rose from the ashes? Yep that’s me.

The Phoenix - from his official portfolio

The Phoenix – from his official portfolio

Jonesy: Wow rising from the ashes! That must have been quite an experience; how was it for you?

Phoenix: How was it? Well… it was… hot.

Jonesy: He he he, I’m sure it was! But seriously… such a huge transformation must have had an impact on you… (lowers voice to “sincere” setting) How did it make you feel?

Phoenix: Well Jonesy, to be quite honest with you and your *snigger* esteemed listeners I’m kind of pissed off.

Nobody actually asked me if I wanted to be a phoenix. And for the record – I didn’t.

I mean, why would I? I basically live for somewhere between 500 to 1000 years then suddenly my time is up and I have to build a nest out of cinnamon.

Jonesy: (pause) Cinnamon? As in the spice?

Phoenix: Yes you heard right. Fucking cinnamon – as in the quills not that ground shit. As a nest buidling material cinnamon quills would not be one of my top five choices, in fact it wouldn’t even be one of my top 25 choices!

They’re so tiny I pretty much had to raid every supermarket from Cairns to Coolangatta to find enough of those little Masterfoods packets to do the job. It sucked!

In a recent survey it was found that 9 out of 10 Phoenixes rated cinnamon quills as "very poor" as a nest building material.

In a recent survey it was found that 9 out of 10 Phoenixes rated cinnamon quills as “very poor” as a nest building material.

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Jonesy: Sure, I can see how that might not be fun.

But Phoenix, you’re immortal. There are probably plenty of listeners out there who’d think that building a nest of out cinnamon is a pretty small price to pay for being able live forever…

Phoenix: Dude…I was ON FIRE!! And totally NOT in a good way. It fucking killed man! And as if that’s not enough, during this hideously painful experience because I also have to give birth to myself.

Yeah that’s right. And to make sure you get the fucking significance of exactly how much fun this WASN’T I will spell it out for you…

Giving birth.

While on fire.

The real kicker is that I have the pleasure of doing this over and over again at regular intervals UNTIL THE END OF TIME!!!

If that is not the most fucked up shiz you ever heard then I don’t know what is.

Does this look like fun to you?

Does this look like fun to you?

Jonesy: Ok I can see we hit a nerve there Phoenix but let’s just keep those f-bombs for later…

Phoenix: I thought you said you wanted to keep it real. You said that to me 10 minutes ago in the pre-interview briefing. That was me keeping it fucking real OK?

Jonesy: … because after the show we’ll be heading on down to Flannery Flanagan’s Irish Bar at the Pleasant Hills Tavern!

Yep that’s right folks, Phoenix and I will be hosting the Pleasant Hills region karaoke semi-finals from 7.00pm and we’re inviting all you listeners to come on down and say hello. We guarantee it’s going to be a night to remember!

Phoenix: Uhhmm sure…

*whisper* … Dax you fucker you did NOT say anything about a promo appearance. I refuse to be seen in public with this douche-bag and I am certainly not going anywhere near Pleasant-fucking-Hills!

…There’s an extra five in it if I go? Well why didn’t you say so? Shit, I’ll go to hell itself for 5K. Which I can’t obviously because I’m immortal but you know what I mean…

…What? You meant a $5.00 drink voucher? What the shit? What drink can you even buy for $5.00 these days? After we get through this we need to have a serious talk about where you see my career going because I DO NOT think we are on the same page

Jonesy: OK our time’s nearly up but before we go there’s one thing I’m curious about. Phoenix, I may be out of line here but would you mind telling the listeners when was the last time you … ahh … gave birth to yourself?

Phoenix: Last time was 1989. So I’m still a spring chicken in this lifetime. I won’t start to peak until abut the mid-200’s – that’s when we Phoenixes really hit our prime. But that’s not to say I wouldn’t be up for some lessons from a mature-age lady bird. I could totally dig that…

Jonesy: Oh I see! So that makes you a GEN Y Phoenix. Well that explains everything…

Phoenix: Huh? What do you mean?

Jonesy: Well let’s just put it like this. We may put the “great” into Greater Brisbane, but you GEN Ys put the “whine” into “whiny little fuckers”…

Phoenix: What the fuck? You can’t invite me on your fucking show and then just insult me like that…

Jonesy: And that’s we’ve got time for today folks! Don’t forget to come on down to the Pleasant Hills Tavern – Phoenix and I will be doing “I got you babe” as a duet and you DO NOT want to miss that!

Phoenix: *mutters* oh for the love of God please don’t make me….

Inappropriate: Thoughts from the first few months of parenthood

It’s a big week for us this week, because tomorrow we’ll be celebrating my eldest son Jack’s 10th birthday!

The day itself will end up becoming a birthday “festival” that stretches through until the weekend and will involve a sleep over with his best mate, copious amounts of cake and a Super Mario Bros chess set.

If you are 10 this is possibly the most awesome present ever

If you are 10 this is possibly the most awesome present ever

But amongst the presents and the excitement I will also be celebrating a small but significant milestone. The 27th February will also be my 10 Year Mumiversary – because it was on that days 10 years ago that I officially became a mother.

In that singular moment my whole life turned, completely and irrevocably. I still remember the feeling of vertigo as the possibilities of my new life opening up before me, while simultaneously the foundations of my old life fell away beneath my feet.

What I thought having a baby would be like

What I thought having a baby would be like

I was reminded of this feeling recently when I had a chat with a new Dad of my acquaintance. His little fella is 7 months old and after some polite enquiries about how things were going it quickly became apparent he was in “that place”.

And by that place I mean that sleep-deprived, mentally and physically exhausted place where you seriously question whether this reproducing thing was such a good idea.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s lots of awesome stuff in “that place”.

There’s joy, pride, wonder, and overwhelming love as you get to know the amazing little creature you’ve created. There are delicious baby cuddles, beaming gummy smiles and magical moments as they start to develop and discover the world.

But there’s also uncertainty. Different ideas about how things should be done. All you want is to do what’s “right” for your precious baby – if only someone could tell your poor addled brain exactly what that meant.

There’s less time, but suddenly 10 times more things that need to be done. Hobbies, individual interests and a social life don’t even get a look in.

There’s not much sex. Maybe not any sex.

And all this combined with a relentless, bonecrushing, forced-march-through-hell people like to call “sleep deprivation”. Such a civilised term – but as any new parent can tell you, extreme tiredness can turn you into a person you don’t even recognise.

And suddenly it feels like you might never have any fun ever again.

BABY IN BED

These feelings are somewhat acknowledged in parenting books and in the sympathetic grimaces of friends and family members who have been there before you.

They mean well. “Things will get better” they say or, “I’m sure he’ll sleep through the night soon”.

And you nod and smile and agree because you’ve been well brought up and it’s the right thing to do. Even if on the inside it feels like you’re being ripped apart by the sheer enormity of the change you’ve been through.

Oh yes indeed. I may not have been to “that place” for at least 4 years but it doesn’t take much for the memories to come flooding back.

What having a baby was really like

What having a baby was really like

It’s still hard to admit the less than rosy aspects of new parenthood.
The reactions you get can range from out and out horror to pity. But on the rare the occasions I found someone with whom I could be completely honest with about the shitty parts of having a baby, I remember the sheer relief of being able to admit that things weren’t sparkles and rainbows all the time.

So for anyone who’s ever struggled or felt bad becuase they weren’t ecstatic during every minute of their new motherhood experience I’ve put together a list of inappropriate thoughts that I had when I was in “that place”.

Then if you happen to agree with any of these you can nod, fist pump or holler “testify motherfucker!” in the privacy of your own home and know that someone has else has had them too. And the best part is that no jugdey-judgers will ever have to know!

Your welcome.

1. “I am so BORED”

Many aspects of having a new baby are exciting and magical. We’ve covered that.

But some aspects of having a new baby are decidedly NOT exciting or magical. They are in fact boring, dull, repetitive, monotonous or unfulfilling.

Endless changing – of nappies, the babies clothes, your clothes, sheets, blankets.
Endless feeding – breast or bottle doesn’t really matter, in this context as they can both be pretty boring.
Endless worrying, soothing, burping and trying to get them to sleep ANY TIME THIS SIDE OF NEXT CENTURY.

It’s just endless really!

2. “I feel like every one in the whole world is having fun while I’ve been wearing the same vomity shirt for theb last 3 days”

The fairly average lives of your friends and family without children suddenly take on the sparkly lustre of an episode of “Revenge”.

Everyone is so much better dressed. Their hair is brushed. They go to parties, see foreign films and have stimulating conversations about politics over cups of single-origin espresso in laneway bars.

There is surprisingly little vomit and the only poo they have to deal with is their own.

Not much you can do about this one except to allow yourself to acknowledge that you miss that part of your life. It doesn’t mean you don’t want the life you’ve got – it’s just part of processing the massie change you’ve just been through.

3. “I am so sick of having the same conversation with every stranger at the shopping centre”
It got to the point where I just wanted to hang a sign around my neck with the folowing information on it

Sign

I have no idea how parents of multiple births manage – I imagine everyone asks all the above info and then tacks on “Were they IVF?” and “Do twins run in the family?”.

4. “Please don’t give advice as a punch in the mouth often offends”

Your Mum does it. And your Mother-in-law. Your aunty, a couple of your friends and the old lady in Woolies. Even the random guy in the newsagent has a crack at it too.

Advice is everywhere – some of it great, some of it awful, and some of it just plain nuts. You know that most of them mean well (especially female relatives) but sometimes you’d just like them the STFU so you can THINK! This is all about confidence and learning to trust your own judgement.

Like Rachel Hunter used to say in the old Pantene shampoo ads “It won’t happen overnight but it will happen”.

And I guess I’m proof of that because despite all my those inappropriate thoughts Jack and I have made it to the 10 year milestone.

So happy birthday to my lovely big boy. It’s a proud moment for both of us! ❤

Jack 4 months old. This photo was taken at about 5.30 am and we had already been up for an hour by that time!

Jack 4 months old. This photo was taken at about 5.30 am and we had already been up for an hour by that time!

Jack now, growing like gangbusters and eating us out of house and home :)

Jack now, growing like gangbusters and eating us out of house and home 🙂

Mid-life Crisis?

I love the drive to work. It’s a peaceful 20 minutes alone which allows me to change gears between the world of family and the world of work.

My mind attends to all sorts of business throughout this journey, from composing a shopping list to dreaming about the fabulous career I’ll have after I (eventually) enrol to do my masters in communications part-time.

Side note: this also seems to be a very productive time for coming up with ideas for blog posts. These days I’m often found in the carpark at work madly jabbing at my iPhone to try and get these ideas down in Evernote before they fly off into the ether.

But today I had a bit of a mini-revelation.

I’ve been thinking for a while that I’d like to get a tattoo. Actually I’ve always been interested getting a tattoo but a combination of inertia and a vague sense that it might end up being more of a hassle than I was prepared to accept held me back.

Anyway this morning I was thinking about how I’d really like something pretty and decorative on my shoulder. Maybe a pattern, or maybe something like this which is my current favourite…

Pretty peacock <3

Pretty peacock ❤

Almost immediately all my sensible thoughts woke up inside my brain and started sending messages like….

The Sensible Thoughts

The Sensible Thoughts

“Aren’t you too old to get a tattoo? Will people think you’re in the first stages of a mid-life crisis”

and…

“I’ve heard people refer to tattoos as ‘tramp stamps’ recently. I definitely don’t want to look trampy – is this what people will think?”

Luckily the feisty Ms Bad-ass , leader of all the NON-sensible thoughts, woke up around then and shut down most of those sensible thoughts with a well-timed “Do you really give a fuck what anyone else thinks?”.

Thanks goodness for Ms Bad-ass!

Thanks goodness for Ms Bad-ass!

But the thought I couldn’t get away from was….

“You’ll have to make sure it doesn’t show for work”

This immediately brought up a mental image of one of the ladies I work with who has a large tattoo on her back which is clearly visible when she wears sleeveless dresses. She’s very conscious of keeping it covered up, although I haven’t worked there long enough to know don’t know whether this is her decision or whether it’s part of some dress-code that I don’t know about.

Either way the result is the same – having her tattoo on show will negatively affect people’s perception of her.

And suddenly it hit me…

Maybe

The impact of this one thought was so profound that it felt like a mushroom cloud had exploded inside my brain. Thankfully I was pulling up to a red light when this happened because I otherwise I am certain I would have careened off into the guard rail.

So where does this road-side revelation leave me?

Well it’s made me realise firstly that about 10 years ago when I decided what my definition of success was I defined it very narrowly indeed. Corporate job, decent dollars, promotions and a tan leather Louis Vuitton briefcase (I don’t actually have the LV briefcase but it HAS always been on the list).

And it’s made me think about options – are their other kinds of success that might fit me better these days? So while I’m not rushing out to make any major changes to my job or my life at this stage, I do feel like I’m awake now after being asleep for quite a while.

So watch this space! In the meantime I’m going to give some more thought to getting that tattoo after all…

Ms Bad-ass teaches The Sensible Thoughts who's boss...

Ms Bad-ass teaches The Sensible Thoughts who’s boss…

We need to talk about …

We need to talk about wait-staff

Howdy folks!

I’ve recently noticed a worrying trend among the cafes, bars and restaurants in our fair city, and I feel it’s something that needs to be addressed before it get’s totally out of hand.

To put it bluntly…We need to talk about wait-staff.

The easiest way to demonstrate what I’m talking about it through this little photo sequence I’ve put together…

Back in my university days in the early 00’s I was a waitress at an exclusive, members only gentlemans club. And just to clarify, it was the type of club that was full of stuffy lawyers and politicians, not the other type that’s full of hooters and lap-dances… but I digress.

Anyway when I was a waitress I looked something like this

Just kidding! Butter knives are a way more effective way of taking out annoying customers...

Just kidding! Butter knives are a way more effective way of taking out annoying customers…

Thankfully I’m now on the customer side of the equation when I go out, and on a good day I look something like this.

This is me about to go and see a band last year. As you can see sometimes I even hire a wind machine to make sure my hair has that 80's film clip look ;)

This is me about to go and see a band last year. As you can see somtimes I even hire a wind machine to make sure my hair has that 80’s film clip look 😉

So what’s the problem you ask?

The problem is that these days my wait-person will more than likely look like this…

Hipster waiters: definitely cooler than thou...

Hipster waiters: definitely cooler than thou…

I’m not sure when this happened or where it came from. Is it some misguided attempt by restaurant owners to make us feel like we’re actually at some “rilly awesome” house party? Is it just that “hipster” culture has finally made it to our rather mainstream city?

I don’t know the answer and quite frankly I don’t care, because result is the same no matter what the cause.

In short, there is nothing quite as intimidating, quite as soul-destroying, as getting dressed up and going out somewhere only to find that your wait person is hipper, cooler and more fashionable than you have ever been or ever will be.

In this moment all your hard-won self-esteem and “damn, you’re a sexy minx” affirmations die a slow horrible death. It’s over amigo.

Now I’m a 35 year old woman with 3 kids and a partner who works weekends, so when I get a night out I want it to be fan-fucking-tastic. I can’t afford to take a hit on this issue, people – and to put it bluntly you guys are wrecking my vibe!

So in an attempt to restore balance in the equation between wait-person and patron, here is my ultimate code of conduct for wait-staff…

1. Uber-cool attitude
In fact, scratch that. If there is anything about you, whether its your level of coolness, stylishness or avant-gardeness that could be accurately described by the prefix “uber” then do us all a favour and leave it the fuck at home.

Especially if you happen to be an uber-asshole.

2. Normal person clothes
If I can’t distinguish you from any of the other legions of Gen Y dudes and dudettes in the venue then you’re out of line, punk!

3. “Statement” accessories
The following accessories are on my personal shit-list for waitstaff, and for very good reasons too…

"Statement Accesories" Shit List

“Statement Accesories” Shit List

4. Over-friendliness
If I happened to see a friend or a colleague in a restaurant or bar I might ask them to take a seat at my table. If you are my wait-person for the day then you are neither of those things so get your ass of that chair/bench seat and take my goddamn order like a professional dammit!

I hope after reading this you’ll see the value in making this code standard operating procedure for all wait-people within our fair city. Don’t wait until the first person chokes on a face stud or is accidentally strangled by their own braces.

Act now.. before the uber-fatalities begin.

Product Recall Notice: Opinions

The Department of Public & Official Opinions (DPOO) would like to issue the following decree effective immediately…

Product Recall Notice: Opinions

The department would like to recall the following outdated opinions as a matter of urgency and public safety.

We understand that these opinions have been in stock for many years however they are now well and truly past there “Best Before” date and are at high risk of causing societal, environmental or personal damage.

Opinion 1. Climate change isn’t real
We’d actually like to apologise about this one. This one started as a joke at the departmental Christmas party in 2005 and suddenly before we knew it things had gotten way out of hand.

Climate Change - Party

Next thing you know it’s being bandied around by major oil & gas corporations as a justifiction for coal seam gas mining!

There was only one man who could see the lasting implications of this mess, and for the record we’d just like to say…

Climate Change - Al Gore

… we’re sorry Al.

Opinion 2. The moon landing was fake and other associated sub-opinions. Look this one was a lot of fun – we’re not denying that. But that whole “It was all simulated in the backlot of MGM Studios in the 60’s” thing is really past it’s best.

The most common sub-opinion is that the moon landing had to be a fake becuse in the picture below the US flag appears to be waving in the breeze – an impossibility on the moon which has no atmosphere.

However DPOO has been given access a classified statement from Neil Armstrong himself which explains this phenomenon once and for all…

No wind on the moon - Neil armstrong said so.

No wind on the moon – Neil armstrong said so.

3. Same sex couples should not be allowed to marry.

DPOO believes that all men and women are created equal and should therefore enjoy the sames rights of marriage regardless of the gender of the parties involved.

Marriage is for everyone - love is all you need!

Marriage is for everyone – love is all you need!

This department will fight anyone who says that same sex couples are not entitled to exactly the same amount of joy that marriage has brought to millions of heterosexual couples worldwide…

Marriage

4. It is possible for women to have it all.

We think we’re at least due a little bit of credit for good intentions with this one. We just got a little… carried away.

It started off with that whole Melanie Grifith “Working Girl” thing in the 80’s, and then spiralled with Madonna during her “Express Yourself” phase. By the time the Spice Girls arrived we had already drunk the kool-aid so to speak.

Madonna & Friends

What we didn’t realise that “having” it all actually turned out to mean the same as “doing” it all. Which meant a full time job AND the majority of the house work.

We also didn’t realise that the “all” part meant that women were also supposed to be gorgeous, fit, well-read, well-dressed, and full of scintillating opninions.

AT THE SAME TIME!!!!

This is terribly unfair as I’m sure you’ll agree. Especially in light of the fact that men are often given a standing ovation for simply doing ONE of the aforementioned activities for a sustained period of time!

DPOO is now in consultation with womens groupswho are lobbying to replace this opinion with something more appropriate. Current work on this issue has been sumarised to date below…

It's a work in progess...

It’s a work in progess…

Conclusion
The opininions listed above must cease to be held immediately. Penalties for failing to comply with this notice may include DPOO suspending or completely revoking your license to hold opinions.

~ ENDS ~

The rise and fall of…. Semi-Dried Tomatoes

Brisbane is a funny place. It’s coming out of a prolonged and ungainly adolescence to become something of a late bloomer in the cool cities arena.

This journey has often been mirrored by the popularity of particular ingredients or dishes. They come from no-where, gather a cult following and are then suddenly and gloriously ubiquitous. Only to crash and burn soon after because they have been forced down our necks so often.

No better example of this phenomenon exists than the semi-dried tomato. It’s rise to the dizzy heights and subsequent fall from grace can be plotted like the points on a graph.

So I did…

Semi-Dried Tomatoes: The rise and fall

Semi-Dried Graph

As you can see the semi-dried tomato only arrived in Brisbane in the early to mid 90’s. While I have no doubt that their popularity had long been established in Melbourne and Sydney, things were different up here.

In those days you couldn’t get a cappuccino after 4.00 pm in the afternoon because the very few cafes that served them were shut. Perhaps even more distressing is the fact that these beverages were often self-consciously ordered by asking…

Could I ploise have a Cup-of-chino?”.

Prior to 1990 tomatoes had one use, and one use only.

They were cut into wedges for use in the traditional 80’s green salad – where they nestled innocently next to their illustrious neighbours diced tasty cheese, sliced hard-boiled eggs and possibly tinned Golden Circle pineapple…

Tomato cut into wedges? Check! Diced tasty cheese? Check! Puke-worthy hard-boiled egg? Double-check!

Tomato cut into wedges? Check! Diced tasty cheese? Check! Puke-worthy hard-boiled egg? Double-check!

Then in the mid 90’s we started the develop a cafe culture.

Now don’t ge me wrong – the coffee was still almost universally shite, but the food had definitely started to improve.

There’s a distinct Mediterranean influence, as Brisbanites are introduced to items like pesto, ciabatta and prosciutto. And of course, our friend the semi-dried tomato.

We start off slowly, sprinkling a few on “safe” options like salads and open grills (a fancy way of saying cheese on toast)…

Baby steps - semi-dried tomatoes on an Open Grill (AKA cheese on toast)

Baby steps – sundried tomatoes on an Open Grill (AKA cheese on toast)

By the late 90’s and early 00’s things are getting wild.

We’re well on our way to becoming foodies and we finally have a few decent restaurants to go to (thanks to cheap house prices that have seen refugees from the southern states pour into Brisbane like the rats into Hamelin).

Semi-dried tomatoes are at the forefront of this brave new culinary world. We enjoy them stuffed them into chicken breasts, and select them daintily from antipasto platters…

Ooh la la! Very sexy antipasto - with semi-dried tomatoes of course daaaarling xx

Ooh la la! Very sexy antipasto – with semi-dried tomatoes of course daaaarling xx

Ironically, it was the sheer popularity of the semi-dried tomato that was to be its undoing.

By the mid 00’s we’re starting to get bored.

The supermarkets sell semi-dried tomatoes now in huge slurry-filled trays. More often than not you’ll get your little plastic tub home only to find that they’re at least partially fermented – and you really haven’t lived until you’ve tasted a sei-dried tomato that’s on the turn….

Are these on the turn? You won't know until you get home...

Are these on the turn? You won’t know until you get home…

A few chefs try resurrect its former popularity by creating things like semi-dried tomato ice-cream. Needless to say this only hastens it’s decline.

By 2010 it’s over.

Semi-dried tomatoes can’t get arrested in this town let alone scrape a place on a menu.

And, up until recently, if you’d asked me whether I thought they’d ever make a comeback I would have laughed in your face!

Except that the other day – out of nowhere – I got a craving for them. Call it nostalgia, call it dementia, I just really wanted some.

So when I happened to see some glistening in the display window of a local deli I thought to myself “Why not?”.

They were absolutely delicious, and what’s more they brought back all the memories of my taste-journey over the last 20 years.

So in my final analysis? I think semi-dried tomatoes may just be ready to make a triumphant come-back. Like me, they’ve seen a few things in their time and they know how to roll with the punches.

They’re survivors goddammit!