How Much I Hate Milk

One of the great advantages of being a blogger who writes a personal blog, apart from all the paid writing gigs,* is that I never need to be stuck for an answer again, when  filling out a survey, updating my CV, or just making polite small talk, as to what my interests and hobbies are. Of course, I can readily answer that blogging is one of my hobbies, but I don’t need to stop there, the way that a non-blogger might have to if they can’t remember any other interests right at that moment – and let’s face it, that has happened to all of us in a job interview.

If I draw a momentary blank at the phrase “so Blathering, tell us a bit about yourself,” I don’t end up creating a long and awkward pause in the conversation while I rack my brain to try and think of something, just to prove that I am, in fact, a well-rounded person with lots of varied interests.

In a matter of seconds, I can whip out my phone or iPad, pull up my blog, and, barely missing a beat in the conversation, reel off a wide range of interests. Hah! That’s because all I need to do is glance over at the Tag Cloud at the right-hand side of my blog. Displayed there for all the world to see, are the topics that have interested me the most, in the six years (where did all that time go??) that I’ve been writing this blog for.


A super quick guide to my interests, if not so much my hobbies.

A super quick guide to my interests, if not so much my hobbies, on August 16 this year.

Instantly, I impress my aquaintances with my broad range of interests. “Music!” I announce confidently. Great – everybody in the world says they like music, whether they do or not, so I can’t go wrong there. “Cats.” Seems worth a go, with the slight risk that they may be a cat hater, or have a cat allergy.  I scan the list of other topics frequently written about. Insomnia? My brother died? These may send the wrong message in a job interview. Time? The Universe? These may make me sound too much of an abstract thinker for this executive role in the Pest Control industry. Hmmm. “Yoga….mats?” *grins weakly*

The Tag Cloud is a constantly morphing thing; a ‘real-time’ guide to your latest passions, if you like, since Tags, and their relative sizes (in this particular style of Tag Cloud), are based on how often a topic is written about and tagged. Readers can click a tag and be taken to posts about that topic.

In the beginning, the major topics on this blog, and therefore reflected in the Tag Cloud, were moustaches, eyeballs, rhinos, avocados, and Samuel Beckett, which I felt nicely captured my enjoyment of the absurd. In order to present a more rounded picture of myself,  I naturally progressed to writing a few posts about Nietzsche, and existentialism, just to add an appearance of high-brow intelligence to the blog, and show that I could write about more than just a few common nouns (and Beckett.) Nietzsche pops up every now and again since he is such a funny guy to write about.

Oh alright, in all honesty, the prominence of Nietzsche on this blog only began because of his utterly ridiculous moustache, and from there it developed a life of its own, which I feel barely responsible for. As Kierkgaard once commented, when you combine a dour philosopher and a massive comical moustache, the material just writes itself!

This is where the Tag Cloud can be misleading, because it would make me seem a tad more intellectual than I really am. You could, for example, see his name there and assumed that I’ve written a doctorate on Nietzsche. (I have actually sent an application to the University of Melbourne to write a post-graduate thesis on his moustache, but they have so far not allocated a supervisor for this project.)

Similarly, Air Supply (an Australian band, big in the 1970s-80s) is not really a particular interest of mine, but was for a short while a few years ago, when I read a strange line about them on their Wikipedia page (since removed), and wrote a post about it. As I am a student of post-modernism (thank you to Art School), I then made the self-referential move of referring to that post in other posts, which had the end result of causing Air supply to be a highly searched term on this blog for a while, and I guess must be how they are still retaining their status on the Tag Cloud.

Based on this Tag Cloud, Technology also appears to be an interest of mine, however I’m far from a “tech-head.” I’m not anti-technology, and it can be interesting, but I’ve probably written more about old technology or, even better, imaginary technology, my favourite kind. These are probably what that tag refers to. Although forced to deal with it on a daily basis in my job, my ability to understand current technology is not high, for example I don’t really even understand what a server is or does. So that is another misleading Tag.

Of all the things still popping up in that Tag Cloud, it is probably most strange that rhinos maintain a position there, when I can’t recall having written about those cuddly critters for quite some time now, possibly since this attempt to describe myself for readers, and that was written a few years ago.

But the reason for this post today is because I feel there has recently been a gaping absence in the Tag Cloud. A topic that was there for some time has dropped right off, and it’s something I feel is an integral aspect of my identity. It’s clear that I have not written enough about it lately. That is, my hatred of milk, or, as it was previously spelled out in the Tag Cloud, How Much I Hate Milk. My hatred of milk stems right back to my childhood, and I’ve written about it in detail here.

Let’s just say that when, as a child, your introduction to milk is the freshly frothy, still warm stuff that has just been squirted out of a cow’s udders, into a bucket, and then tipped into some old sherry bottles (of dubious sterilisation) that still retained a smell, or taste of sherry, it’s a wonder if you can hold your Weeties down in the morning.

Of course, I realise that I am able to manipulate the Tag Cloud by writing posts about, and tagging, specific topics, but what blogger would let their Tag Cloud guide what they choose to write about? If I was going to do that, I’d write a whole post based around the concept of how much I hate milk, just to see if I can get that tag to appear on there again.


*Paid writing gigs: 0 so far. If you need someone to write about rhinos, eyeballs, moustaches or any other common nouns for your newsletter or website, please indicate your interest and rate of renumeration in the comments. All offers considered.

Metamorphosis, again: more morph, less…..milk???

Well, time goes by, and before you know it, it’s more than a week since you last wrote a post on your blog. Where did the time go? It seems like only yesterday I  was reminiscing about how I read Metamorphosis in one sitting, while I sat on the floor of an empty house.  Let’s see…..thinking back over the past week I have blurry memories of being at work… the local swimming pool…at the airport waving goodbye to my sister… a yoga class…. at home trying to write an essay….assisting my daughter make white chocolate brownies (“blondies”), (my god, they were good!)…….and ending the week at a friend’s house playing table tennis after a few glasses of wine!

But through it all, there was a tiny voice nagging at me, saying “surely you could have written more about Metamorphosis? That post you wrote about sitting on the floor with boxes and books around you as twilight descended on a suburb you’d never spent time in before……what did that have to do with Metamorphosis? It was nothing like Metamorphosis! No-one woke up and found they had changed into a large insect overnight! No-one found they could no longer bear the taste of milk but now enjoyed crawling on the walls of their bedroom! No-one morphed into anything different! Your post was a travesty, that shouldn’t be linked to Kafka’s book!”

Oh alright,  I haven’t heard any voice, but hey, writing a post means successfully procrastinating on writing a 4000 word essay on community arts management, so there’s motivation for you! Anyway, just for the record, I’ve always been repulsed by the taste of milk. If that signals metamorphosis into a cockroach, it’s taking a long time, since I was first repulsed by it at the age of about 5, which was quite some time ago now, and so far I don’t see any other signs of becoming a cockroach. I still only have 2 arms and 2 legs, for example, I’m no good at crawling up walls, and humans usually seem to understand what I’m saying to them.

Of course, the reason I was repulsed by milk as a kid was probably because my dad used to get the milk straight from the cow on his brother’s farm (bleh! warm, frothy, unpasteurised milk!) and then funnel it into great big old sherry bottles (retch! sherry-tainted, warm, frothy, unpasteurized milk! Why not just stick a finger down your throat instead and save time?) and then bring it home, in a nice warm car with no airconditioning – this was the seventies! –  for us to pour on our cornflakes the next morning. We may as well have vomited onto them, as far as I was concerned. It would have been just as pungent. At the very least, pouring sherry straight onto them would probably have been more appetising to my 6 year old tummy than that putrid milk was!

Sherry on cornflakes for breakfast

Sherry-flavoured milk on cornflakes for breakfast. Why not have a glass of it as well?

But wait a moment….I’m getting off the topic again. It’s so easy to do. My posts seem to accidentally illustrate the idea of metamorphosis, by starting off as one topic, and then gradually morphing into some other totally unrelated topic! Perhaps a blog is an example of metamorphosis in the written form, since one post sort of leads into another….so a post about cockroaches slowly morphs, through a few other posts, into a post purporting to be about Metamorphosis, but really turning out to be about drinking sherry-tainted milk.

So there you go. Sorry, Kafka. For the second time I meant to write a post about the book, Metamorphosis, but here it is instead – a post about drinking sherry-tainted milk.


Sean Penn in Milk

Sean Penn - he loves milk! Clearly NOT a cockroach!

Creme Caramel: a recipe for disaster?

This afternoon my 10 year old daughter wants me to help her make creme caramel! All I can say is, Junior Master Chef has a lot to answer for. Creme caramel is the kind of dish I would never attempt if it wasn’t for her requesting my”help” with it. Thanks to the fervor the show has sparked amongst kids, parents like me are now in the position of  supposedly “helping” their children prepare and cook dishes that they would never contemplate making otherwise, because they consider them to be far beyond their capabilities. So it’s questionable as to how much “help” I will be to a child whose culinary ambitions have already surpassed my own.  I just can’t wait until she wants me to “help” her debone a rabbit and turn it into a sauce to be served with snail porridge. (Snail porridge was recently cooked up by a 12 year old on the show.)

Looks like a recipe for creme caramel, but it might be a recipe for disaster with me at the helm.

Now, I do ok at whipping up  about 6 different meals for 3 people every week – preferably meals that can be made within 45 minutes, and even better if only one pot is involved. Occasionally I put a bit of extra effort in, and sometimes I give a new recipe a whirl. I am not a bad cook, but neither am I an amazing culinary whizz in the kitchen, willing to spend hours in lengthy preparation of intricate and complex meals.

But all other considerations aside, creme caramel quite simply comes under a category of dish that I accepted a long time ago that I just simply can’t do.  I have given my daughter fair warning: I can not do custards or white sauces.  Any dish that requires stirring milk until it reaches exactly boiling point and then magically thickening it up with either the addition of corn flour, custard, (or some magical spell that I was never granted access to) at exactly the right moment and to exactly the right consistency for exactly the right amount of time, obviously contains a lethal combination of 2 things I can’t abide: milk and exactness. Bleh!

So I don’t do white sauce, and I don’t do custard.

(In this case the recipe requires that the custard is immediately taken off the millisecond that it starts to boil, and then the baking is done in the oven, as with most baking. So it sounds deceptively easy, but I just know that with me involved there is great scope for failure.)

But I am embarking on making creme caramel with my daughter, and looking forward to it, because she wants to make it, and it will be a lovely way to spend this sunny afternoon in the kitchen doing something with her. Some things are more important than whether the custard sets or ends up as a revolting curdled mess. (that was my last attempt) So if, after we’ve spent the afternoon together making it, it doesn’t work in the end, what’s a few eggs and a cup of milk wasted?  I hate milk anyway.

Competing Moustaches

As so often happens, it seems as if I unwittingly tuned into the Zeitgeist, and grotesque moustaches are the latest must-have item. The Age must have got wind of my high rating, crowd pleasing* posts on Nietzsche’s moustache, and decided to compete with me, by featuring a different but almost as hideous moustache on the cover of the A2 this past Saturday.

When I saw the face of Mark Twain and his grizzly looking moustache,  it seemed uncanny, that right after my recent post about Nietzsche’s facial hair, The Age had also decided that some old guy with way too much unkempt hair on his face was worthy of an article.

Of course I could have posted a picture of Mark Twain, to illustrate the moustache, but really, there comes a point where you don’t really want your blog full of pictures of mouldy old men from the 19th Century with moustaches taking up half of their faces. (You don’t really want to be writing about them endlessly either, so don’t ask me why on earth I am still doing that.) (I swear this will be the last time.)

I think in the year 2010, Mark Twain’s popularity  is probably best summed up by the fact that when I looked up The Age website to find the article again, it says on the side bar, “You are the only person reading this post. Tell your friends!” Hmmmm. Maybe I hang out with an illiterate bunch of no-hoper generation Xers, but somehow I imagine If I was to alert my friends that I’m reading an online article about Mark Twain, they would probably de-friend me. And that’s without even being on Facebook. Yeah, that’s what I like about my generation.

If you would get a kick out of being the only person reading Don Watson’s article on Mark Twain, here it is. But don’t get too excited, there is no picture on the online article. That treat was saved for people who actually paid to get the paper, so that they could eat their breakfast while they looked at it. 

Mmmmm…milk! Some people have it for breakfast. (I can’t stand the stuff, but it’s better than another picture of a hairy moustache))

Anyway,  I realise that perhaps I am just making an unfair and discriminatory judgement on Mark Twain based purely on his facial hair, and perhaps he has a lot of fans out there.

So rather than spend any more time pondering how little I know about Mark Twain, instead I made a picture of how Nietsche might have looked if he’d had his moustache trimmed.

Nietzsche’s smile courtesy of The Age Good Weekend magazine

See – much happier!

*( in a crowd of imaginary people) (obviously all with moustaches)

%d bloggers like this: