Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Name Is Tracey And I Am A Left Hander

I went to a new cafe today for coffee and whilst I grumbled at the $3.50 price tag I have to admit that the presentation won me over and the fact that it gave me a subject to write a blog about.

I am always hesitant when it comes to trying out new places for coffee and by that I mean the actual coffee not just the environment, because I am very fussy with my coffee.

Getting myself comfortable and set up for the next 20 minutes or so included moving my small coffee table to the left and my chair facing the passing pedestrians. Soon enough my beverage arrived and I was pleasantly taken aback. I had a fancy cup sitting atop a rectangular shaped saucer. Alongside it was a piece of biscotti and an individual sugar jar. Absolutely lovely it was, given that I was not sitting in Versace Conservatory but at a non-descript cafe at Southbank. However, I do think that 5 sugar sachets plus 2 equal sachets is more than sufficient for one small cup of coffee. The milk looked suitably thick and creamy and had a lovely looking swirly pattern on top, but swirls do not impress me, taste does.

The cup was an eye-catcher in that it had a lop-sided rim and a very roomy handle for me to rest my fingers in without being squished. Now if you think about a hug mug from Max Brenner’s Chocolate House and then add a handle, you have the cup that I was drinking from.

BUT WAIT – something is not right! Whatever could be wrong Tracey, you say? Well let me tell you! This cup was made for a RIGHT HANDER! Bah! How can you tell Tracey? Oh, I can tell, we can all tell!! I wanted to ask my waiter if they had any left handed cups but I refrained as I did not want to deal with the negative answer or the look of “are you for real?”. I hadn’t even touched the cup or put it to my lips for a sip and I knew. The lop-sided rim just screamed out to me, “I am made for a right hander, come on leftie, show me what ya got!” Oh my goodness, how will I manage?

Well, I lifted the cup in my right hand with great confidence and took a sip. Very comfy! As I went for the second sip I couldn’t help myself I had to switch hands, no matter how uncomfortable, no matter how much dribbling was about to occur, I had to defy the right handed domination of the world and prove that I could drink from that cup with my left hand. Okay so I used two hands!

As a child learning to write I was never told to use my right hand. Oh, we have trouble writing because we smudge everything but honestly, that just comes down to the pen that is in use – no? I don’t remember thinking too much about being left handed until I got to high school and our PE classes. We often played cricket or softball which caused me a little bit of confusion in that I never could remember which way to stand and hold the bat. I think I could bat both ways (pun not intended - is there a pun when I am straight?). I was actually quite good at cricket and had to retire one day to let others have a go! For the record I bat right handed and use a tennis racket in my left hand.

Eating is an interesting event. I put my fork in my left hand and knife in my right. This makes me a right hander. My sister is a right hander but uses her fork in her right hand and knife in her left. There is no reason for this, it has just happened naturally. She does look a bit weird, I must say!

Using a ladle is always awkward as the spout is placed for a right hander. Serving soup can result in spillage. Can openers are never easy but they are not as big a culprit as some, although I think in general they are horrid kitchen items. At the end of the day the worst offender and most evil of all kitchen utensils or multi-purpose item are the......SCISSORS!

For a left hander, using right handed scissors hurt. A lot! There is no escaping this pain. Full stop! Well if it’s such a problem why don’t you buy some left handed scissors then?? $16.40 is the reason why thank you very much! From the left handed store I could buy all sorts of goodies and I am here to give you an insight:

There are computer keyboards with the numeric keypad on the left side; boomerangs and cameras; knives and forks; come on, you can’t have a left-handed knife without a partner;

There are plastic rulers for a cool $3.30 for those who read backwards! Apparently it's not just the Chinese.
Best selling multi-purpose scissors - $16.40
Basic steel tin opener - $9.40 ooh yes these hurt too.
Pencil Sharpeners - $7.00 because we find them so difficult to use, we really are a bit useless!

According to Wikipedia, 90-93% of the population is right handed. Left handedness occurs more frequently in those who have neurological disorders – such as those with “mental retardation”. Ah, yes I can hear you laugh from miles away! In many languages “left” symbolises clumsiness (I think that is just because right handers haven’t got a clue). Even my own country, Scotland, believes this and uses the term “corrie fistit”. Other lovely names we get called are “Southpaw” originating from baseball; “Cacky-handed” of Latin or Norse origins; and “Mollydooker” from Australia. From another site we are more "creative but forgetful". Well, I beg to differ there! Yes, I am creative, but forgetful? Well, no more than a right hander!!!!!

Another site dedicated to left handers promotes “annual left handed day”, and “left hander of the year”. The top 2 retail items are scissors and a pen! A pen!

There is a bond between left handers that I am sure you right handers don’t have and you know it. I hear right handers say to me “oh you’re a left hander” all the time and I really do wonder why they feel the need to point it out to me. I already know! What do you want me to say in response? Um, “Yes, I am.” Alright left handers do say it too but that’s because we are bonding as a minority.

When have you ever heard someone say “oh you’re a right hander!”

You haven’t!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Can You Keep A Secret?

When a conversation starts with someone asking you not to say anything or tell anyone, you know immediately that you are going to be entrusted with juicy information. And we all know that secrets are hard to keep. Sometimes we are desperate to tell someone else but don’t because this would mean betraying the confidence instilled in you. In all honesty, everyone at times has then gone on to another person and said, “Don’t say anything, I said I wouldn’t tell anyone”.

I was told something last week that was quite serious in that a person’s reputation was tainted and was causing a lot of angst. I kept the story to myself and then a few days later out of the blue I was told the other side. I wasn’t expecting to hear anything from anyone else but when I did learn more it was quite the opposite to the first story. That generally makes it difficult to know who to believe if the information is conflicting. There was then a discussion as to what was going and who said what to whom. Where this will end I don’t know but I have my suspicions. The thing is, it’s not a secret anymore. I am relieved not to be the only one who knows something about it.

Secrets can be a burden at times and you can end up in a right tizz if you can’t handle knowing a serious one. On the other hand, some secrets are light hearted and harmless.

Growing up, my best friend lived at the other end of my street and one day when we were about 12 or so we were riding our bikes or walking from one house to the other. We were laughing about something and got ourselves into quite a state of hysteria. I was laughing so much I wet my pants. I thought sitting down would allow me to be discreet, although if anyone was watching us from their front window they may have been startled to see the gutter suddenly become wet. Maybe standing would have been a little less obvious. This is what I mean when I say some secrets are harmless and if they get onto to the telegraph of gossip minimal harm will be done.

I begged my friend not to tell anyone. I mean how embarrassing wetting my pants at that age AND in the street like that! Yet, the first fight we had after the incident she gleefully let everyone know. I was mortified and immediately denied it saying, “No I didn’t, you did!” She said, “You did!” I said “No, you did!” And so on!

Unfortunately I did!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


The majority of these posts have been written over the last 2 years

The Curse Of The Crisp

I never used to eat crisps except at parties, bbqs etc but for some strange reason this year I have had an increasing addiction to them. I like to have a glass of wine most nights and a little nibbly such as the potato crisp goes a long way as a complementary food item. Unfortunately this item is LOADED with fat and salt. Therein lies my problem!

I have been a regular exerciser for many years and have luckily managed to avoid the increasing waist line that comes with age. Until now. 2006 has been a crazy year for me with all kinds of upsets and dramas and it doesn't take long before it all just gets too much. Oh don't worry, there is nothing major to report but it does give the story a bit of suspense, does it not?

I didn't really believe in the middle aged spread - not that I am middle aged - but you always hear about women and men who complain that once you are over 30 ish it is harder maintain your weight. I turned 37 in March so I guess this problem, for me, has come late in life. And now I believe it!

Don't ask me how it all started because I wouldn't have a clue but I know that Red Rock Sea Salt Potato Chips have something to do with it. And then I moved on to Pringles and as we all know..."once you pop, you can't stop". How true those words are.

My clothes started to be a little uncomfortable and soon enough I found myself sulking over my skinny clothes as I took them down from their hangers, folded them and put them at the back of the cupboard. I simply couldn't throw them out or put them in the donation bins...not yet...I might be able to fit back into them. Some of them are so nice and I barely got to wear them. Do you know how hard it is to find the perfect pair of black pants? It can be a traumatic experience.
Now I am not overweight by any means and most people will say there is nothing wrong with my figure, blah blah blah but everyone has some kind of issue with their own body whether it be their nose, muffin top or hairy back (oh god, did I have to say that - they really should not exist).
After a long while I managed to cut down significantly on the crisps but tonight I succumbed. I had a shitty day at work and I wanted to sulk over my Houghton's White Burgundy (Classic) and my Pringles. Well actually they are Smith's Stax. As soon as I popped I regretted it. They now sit in front of me, the first 10 or so eaten, my white burgundy next to them, tempting me to put on 2 kg overnight.

But I won't do it, no I won't. I will be good and nibble in moderation. I know, why don't I take them to work for friday drinks? What a great idea! I will let you know if I actually do that. In the meantime, cheers!

10 Things I Hate About Shopping

There might be more than 10 when I finish....

1. Nothing fits me since I have put on weight
2. Everything is made for skinny pre-pubescent teens
3. I have found myself in shops like Suzanne Grae and Katies looking for regular sized clothing
4. Mothers with prams
5. Screaming children
6. People wander aimlessly and get in my way
7. Sales Assistants asking me how I am today
8. Music so loud that I can't hear what the Sales Assistant is saying to me
9. Shops so crowded with stock (like Supre) I can't move
10. The fashion which hasn't changed in about 6 years or more
11. Everything is made from t-shirt material
12. I'm on a roll so I will keep going
13. Target don't stock enough size 10
14. Messy clothing shops
15. I can't find any help when I need it and when I don't need it, I can find it
16. Extracting information from dippy Sales Assistants
17. There is only 1 newsagent at Chadstone and I always remember I want to go there when I am at the other end of the centre and after I have been around a hundred times
18. I buy a netball and a pump but when I get home I find the ball has a hole in it and the pump breaks
19. No one should wear camoflauge outside of the Army. NO ONE!

Not The End Of The World

OH dear!

I had to update my online biographies(resumes)and seeing the facts in cold, hard typeface has dealt me another blow to my body image. "What have I done to deserve this?", cried The Pet Shop Boys!

At 37, do I have to just deal with this or is it a phase I am going through?? Am I denying my age and the body changes that come with it?

Well, I have no issue with my age, never have, can't see that I ever will. My problem is with my state of mind, a lax attitude to exercise when I used to be so disciplined and my love of food/wine. They are the enemies of my body. Love thine enemy, as they say!

To talk about one's weight increase is easy to laugh at and dismiss but when you are asked your measurements at every casting, it becomes a blinding reality. Yesterday I went along to a casting for a TVC and I ran into a very good friend of mine. Since I dyed my hair brunette, I have thought that my look was now very similar to hers (which is understandable given we are going for the same role). Anyway, we made some asides about weight etc, and she is a very busty babe so when I commented on my vitals, she said......"I know, look at these!" Wow! My eyes popped out! We felt each other's pain.

As we continue to age, we continue to grieve for the body we once had. I guess I am lucky to have had a good figure for so long. Mind you, I had to work hard at it! There will always be a friend to console with, that does not take offence when you notice their weight gain and vice versa. The best thing to do is laugh at yourselves, shrug your shoulders and say..."hey, it's not the end of the fucking world, let's go and have a drink!"

You've Got Mail

I love to receive mail in any form but especially in my letterbox at home, the good old fashioned way. There are many times when we get a letter or package that we may not be expecting and we don't know who it is from. There is no name or return address and the post stamp means nothing.

WHY do we stand there turning the letter over and over and over again saying to ourselves "what is it?" "who's this from?" or something to that effect. We eyeball the handwriting on the front, put it up to the light to see if it's see-through, try to guess what is inside, try to feel what is inside and when we can't get an answer we say "well, I don't know what it is!"

Last night was the latest occasion of this happening to me. I did all of the above with a small white paper package which had come from Belgium! I was expecting a package of new business cards that I had ordered via the internet but certainly not from Belgium. Besides, the package looked and felt too small. It had my phone number on it so it must have been the cards - but they aren't coming from Belgium!!!! What the hell is it???

I got inside, put it on the table with my bags and promptly walked away. Well, I don't know what it is, so I don't care. It can wait....

Yes, it was my business cards after all that.

I know I am not the only person who does this!!!!!!

Do You See What I See?

We all see things in our daily life that stop us in our tracks. That can range from a car accident to a magnificent electrical storm. These things tend to make us not want to look away or move on. We are hooked, transfixed and sometimes agog at what we are watching/seeing. We can't help ourselves, try as we might to keep eyes averted, our curiosity will almost always get the better of us.

My Mum relayed a story to me several years ago of a time she was in the doctor's waiting room and another patient was sitting there picking their nose or something along those lines. As hard as she tried, she just couldn't stop looking. It was hilarious when she was telling me. I can't stand it when someone is sniffling and won't blow their nose. I always carry tissues just in case. I was trying to do some research in the library one day and a man sitting opposite me was sniffling like never before. I looked up, went back to my book, looked up and went back to my book but he didn't seem to notice me and eventually I offered him a tissue. He refused!!!! I was absolutely flabbergasted. He soon left the table and I hoped it was to blow his nose somewhere that was private for him.

Children are the classical innocents in this game but where their innocence lies, our blatant "gobsmacked-ness" is. The basis of this could be humour, anger and even sadness. Parents/adults are so worried about what children say to others that it can impact on their inquisitiveness. The most obvious scenario is when a child sees a person in a wheelchair and they ask questions. "Some" adults will hush the child and maybe say "don't be rude", "don't stare" etc.

When I was a personal carer I had my world opened up. I accompanied many people on outings who were elderly or physically impaired and believe me when I say there are more adults who stare than children. Adults just try to hide it. I know because I do it myself. Curiosity gets the better of me. The things I see and learn I use when I need to with acting. Cliched as it sounds, it's true.

Anyway, on to the reason I started this post.

I catch the tram to work every day and if I am running late a colleague gets on the same tram further down the line. We usually sit at the front. So........I was there reading my book and every so often looking up and around. There was a large man sitting on the seat just near me and at one point I looked at him. He had his eyes closed and appeared to be quite relaxed. Although there was something a little bit odd. He had an MP3 player in his mouth. Yes, he did! Just like it was a thermometer! I looked around to see if anyone else had noticed and the young boy across from me had. There was a very slight acknowledgement to each other but where I wanted to burst out laughing, I think his decorum was much more in control than mine.

A few stops later Fiona jumped on and thank goodness it was the first thing she noticed. We did the acknowledgemnent "do you see what I see?" and she sat down. We couldn't stop looking at him. Another lady got on and sat opposite us, we acknowledged with a little smirk and went about our conversations all the while trying not to giggle and sneaking glances to see if he had woken up.

We had to get off the tram but when we quickly blurted out "did you see that?", "what was he doing?", "I was trying not to laugh!", "I couldn't stop looking at him!", "I've never seen someone do that before." I thought maybe he was deaf but then I realised he couldn't be as he had the earphones in. My only theory was quickly thrown out.

If anyone can shed some light on WHY someone would put their MP3 player, IPOD or any other such item in their mouth, please oh please let us know. In the meantime, take a look around next time you are out and about, it may just brighten your day.

Where Is The (Neighbourly) Love?

Neighbours can be the bane of our home life existence, great friends or "other". I have been living in my current flat for nearly 12 months and my neighbours fall into the category of "other".

Most of them are young students (I assume) huddled together in 2 bedroom flats with few overheads. I am still receiving mail for the previous occupants of my place and I have come across about 4 different names. I know that the living room was used as a bedroom because the glass doors were covered up with posters or some such item to block out prying eyes. Anyway I digress.....

I want to talk about how neighbours behave. I don't have any complaints about mine but they are certainly a mysterious bunch.

Number 1: I think there is a couple there. They moved in about 3 months ago and I haven't seen them since. Actually I haven't seen her at all. I know there is a male and a female because of the laundry on the balcony nestled amongst the empty boxes and unused furniture. It is a lovely sight to pass by.

Number 2: This is the home of Mr Bloggs and Mrs Bloggs, both in their 70's perhaps and been renting here for 35 years. When I was moving in they said hello and introduced themselves as Mr and Mrs so and so. I don't remember their names. They say hello all the time and he takes care of the rubbish bins each week after hanging his hankies on the balcony alongside his shoes. He is a mechanic of sorts it seems and likes to work on his rickety old station wagon in the carport.

Number 3: Possibly 2 females, students, door slammers! Keep losing their laundry off the balcony. Hide when they see someone coming up the stairs.

Number 4: Oh number 4!!! The latest residents, about 3 in total but I can't be sure. Male and female - students I expect. I'm not happy with with them as they keep using my carport. Several times I have stumbled home inebriated and have had to scrawl a note of some description telling them not to park there. What the hell is going on? They have their own carport! They thought they could park their bike next to mine also. I nipped that one in the bud.

Number 5: Sydney lives here. He parks next to my spot so introduced himself to me. I see him now and then. That's all I know. I think he lives alone.

Number 6: A family of four!!!!!! They weren't here when I arrived and then one day they were. Parents are probably in their 30's, I don't really know because I only see them from a distance. The kids are about 9 and 7 but I could be way off. Why, oh why would you live in a 2 bedroom flat with 2 kids? Of course I don't know their situation but I have to make up some kind of story for them. The kids are a bit shy to say hello but dammit I said hello to them today and got a response out of one of them.

Number 7: 2 females and 1 male or something like that, students, door slammers. Hide when I come up stairs or out of my flat. I know they are deaf because they have the tv blaring. Why can't it be music? Go away for a couple of days and leave the balcony door open so it bangs and crashes in the wind and rain. In some strange and spooky way, they always seem to arrive home minutes after I do - no matter what day it is and what time I come home. It is absolutely bizarre.

Number 8: Well, that's me and I am perfectly normal. I do not slam doors, park in someone else's space, blast my tv or run away when a neighbour approaches.

What is it with these people? They don't even want to say hello at the mailbox! The last place I lived in was the complete opposite. That was nosy neighbours and gossip! It was so much more interesting.

Back To Black

This week sees me begin a new job, one where I have to wear a uniform. The best thing about that is not having to decide what to wear every day which is what we all complain about. A shirt and belt are provided (for a fee)!!!! On the bottom half we wear our own black pants. Now this might seem easy you think but let me explain this uniform business a little better.

The pants must be smart and professional looking which is not a problem for me, being the stylish woman that I am!! It is a problem for the many pretty young blondes that have been employed alongside me though as I saw from our media launch yesterday. Presentation is an issue for some people. Anyway that is not what I am here to talk about. Back to the pants! The pants must have belt loops and not have skinny or gigantically flared legs.

I have a pair of pants that do the job nicely, however I will need more than one pair if I am going to be working several shifts a week. So today I went shopping for these elusive black pants. I knew I was going to have trouble as most of the pants these days are low slung and tight fitting without belt loops.

First stop was Myer because I have a gift voucher to spend. I knew this was a hopeless cause. I first went to ladieswear rather than Miss Shop in the basement but that was my first waste of time. Across to Sussan where I was lucky to get my current pair. I tried on 2 styles but no go. Next door in Portmans I knew it would be another waste of time but I tried. Then I scooted up to Target where I was quite confident although I had recently done the search for black pants here so I would be scraping the bottom of the barrel here. Target has thousands of pants and I mean thousands, displayed with no form of organisation at all. I tore that place apart and tried on 9 pairs without luck. Okay now it was back to the Basement at Myer. I had trouble because it is so dark down there you can't see what the pants look like. On to Witchery and Jackie E where I thought I would find something quite nice but I didn't. My last option was to head over to DFO at Spencer Street but I didn't really want to go there, time was ticking on. I stopped in a 2nd Sussan store to see if they had any different styles to the other store and I tried on 3 pairs.
Eureka! It took me an hour and a half to find THE pair that "will do". Not perfect but close enough in these slim, skinny, daggy fashion times. And they were on special, thank you very much!

It's not easy shopping for basics.

The Sneeze

As the weather turns cold we start to hunch our shoulders, look down as we walk and sniffle & sneeze. There is no avoiding the winter chills.

On the tram trip home the other day a man walked past me to get to the door. As he waited for the stop he let out an explosive sneeze. He promptly said "oh excuse me, I seem to have some dust up my nose!" As the remaining passengers sniggered, he got off the tram. Very polite of him to excuse himself considering he had scared the wits out of everyone sitting nearby and had left his saliva all over the legs of a young guy sitting with his school mates. You can imagine their horror and comments.

Sneezing comes in many forms: there are explosive ones as mentioned; suppressed; coughing; snotty etc. Some people are extraordinarily loud allowing the release to affect their entire body. I am a bit loud but only when I am in the company of friends and am being a bit silly. My sister says my sneezes are like a cough which, come to think of it, is quite accurate.
The sneeze that bothers me the most is the suppressed sneeze. It sounds like it is more of an effort to hold it in than to let go. It is also very bad for you. Without consulting Google right now I remember reading somewhere that a sneeze can be expelled at approximately 60km/hour!!!!! Can you imagine suppressing that and having the force reversed into your body? Why would you do that to yourself? An ex boyfriend had this type of sneeze and it was very worrying (no, actually it was frustrating).

In my last job a young lady who sat next to me would sneeze and it would immediately be followed by a sound I can only describe as the "cuckoo" chime that you hear from the unique cuckoo clock. Funny, kooky and just a little bit odd!

How do you sneeze?

Not Happy Jan

Is it not enough that I have accepted the swallowing of a pill each day to try and control my depression? Do I need to change my actual personality to make things easier? If so, I really don't know how to do that. Apart from the fact that it is a ridiculous idea I don't believe it's the answer.

My constant striving for perfection and the highest of standards with everything I do sets me up for regular slides down the proverbial hill. I have a very strong personality which can sometimes be interpreted as being a "bitch". I work hard with the attitude that I can muck around when the job is done or things are quiet. When I don't take part in the mucking around before time or I show professionalism when others don't, it is seen as negative. That just doesn't make sense.
I stand up for what I believe in and do not fabricate lies to get myself in or out of situations. Time and again I have been spokesperson for people I work with and have been betrayed when things come to the crunch. I understand it is difficult to be honest with grievances but when someone has done the hard work why not come forward and say your peace. Being left to deal with the backlash and accusations of causing problems makes me wonder why I stand up for people in the first place.

Workplace harrassment can destroy you.

Last year I was in a very fragile way due to harrassment in my day job. No matter how much I fought it, eventually taking it to the right people, I was betrayed. Betrayed by my colleagues and by the system. I couldn't believe it was happening to ME. It's a very nasty thing to get caught up in, just like Workcover is and I have been there too. "Systems" protect the guilty rather than help the innocent.

People tell you things that aren't true and they say these things so many times that you doubt yourself and start to believe them. You think "this can't be happening to me, I'm too strong for this, I fight for my rights, I don't take any crap from anyone, people come to me for help all the time, they like and respect me."

Cracks appear in your armour, you start bitching to anyone who will listen, people notice you are not your usual happy self, you don't join in conversations because you doubt you are welcome and are worried that they will run off and tell someone a distortion of what you said. It goes on and on until something gives and it's always the one trying to do the right thing by everyone. The stress is unbearable.

The end to this story is me quitting the job. 'They' won. It's not worth it for me to continue working in an environment that isn't going to change. I really enjoyed the job too, except for the uniform - too formal. I really struggle with day jobs. Get me out of here please and give me a starring role.

Friends and family tell me to lighten up, chill out, don't be so hard on yourself and I try, I try so hard but after a good cry I steadfastly and conscientiously work myself back up to the top of that damn hill because it's so good up there and it's what I believe in.

Doughnut Dalliances

Today I bought a doughnut from Walker's. Who? You might well ask. Has anyone in Australia heard of Walker's? In my opinion they are the poorer cousin of Krispy Kreme.

A couple of short years ago if you wanted a doughnut you would go to Donut King - herein known as DK. I love their doughnuts and to find an outlet that has caramel icing is a bonus. When Krispy Kreme - aka KK - arrived in Sydney the people went crazy. Not just in Sydney but in Melbourne and I am sure around the countryside. It was like no one had ever had a doughnut before in their life!!!

I was working at a designer pyjama business when I first tasted KK. Much to my surprise and delight we had them couriered in from time to time. What a treat! I had in fact already written to KK to ask them when they were coming to Melbourne such was my desire to taste the elusive ring. My taste buds were not disappointed by the melt in the mouth combination of yeast and sugar. I now understood the craze.

It was to be months before the first sighting of KK in Melbourne was to happen and months later again that purely by chance I found the Collins St store - on opening day no less. Serendipitous! Not long after there was a store in Melbourne Central. I have only tried a few flavours and that is enough for me as the Original Glazed hits the spot. The others are over rated.

I popped in to the Walker's store today as I thought "I really ought to try their doughnuts" and I have time to sit with a coffee before I start work. When the sales assistant said it cost $2 I was surprised as I expected it to be more. A KK doughnut is over $2 although I do not know the exact cost and a DK one is under, I am pretty sure. Walker's looked remarkably like KK so the expectations were increased a little.

So sitting in the staff room, doughnut in one hand, tabloid magazine in the other and coffee nearby, I was ready for my sugar and celebrity fix. With the first bite not even bitten off I could tell this was an inferior doughnut. The dough was doughy and did not melt in my mouth. There is nothing else to describe about this sweet treat. Of course I finished it but I have no memory of it being enjoyable.

This means that my loyalty lies with DK. I can get a simple cinnamon doughnut (hot or cold) or one with icing of caramel or chocolate. I even get to choose the colour sprinkles I want. I know other yummy doughnuts they have are the custard and apple or their own glazed. Viva Donut King!

As my free time came to an end I found that I was wincing each time I flipped the pages over to reveal yet another perfectly formed and tanned body. My haunting lack of respect for my body these days is disturbing. Let's face it, I was jealous. But wait! These women may not eat doughnuts and write blogs about them but they could be jealous of me! Yes, they could! After all, I do not have the paparazzi in my face all day every day hoping to catch me on celluloid with said doughnut in my mouth.

King Lear

I am going to see Sir Ian McKellan in King Lear and I am ecstatic!!!!

I don't go in for Shakespeare much, I have never seen a performance in the gardens and there are only a few of his stories that I will make an effort to go to. The only live productions I have seen are Much Ado About Nothing, Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest and Julius Caesar with Robyn Nevin. I think I got free tix through work!! I can generally do the movie versions and the following I have thoroughly enjoyed: Hamlet (Laurence Olivier, Mel Gibson & Kenneth Branagh), Much Ado About Nothing, Titus (Jessica Lange) Romeo & Juliet and King Lear (tv version with Ian Holm - amazing).

I have never performed in a production of Shakespeare but I did have to learn a monologue for an audition years ago. I chose Phoebe from As You Like It. I did a good job but it's not a style of performance I enjoy too much.

Anyway, ever since I saw Ian Holm as Lear I have been waiting and waiting for a major production to come to Melbourne. When I saw the notice that it was coming to the Arts Centre I knew I would fight tooth and nail for a ticket. I had to see this show!

Of course the months have gone by and all of a sudden it is July and I remember that I must buy this ticket. Oh god, will it be too late, sold out, crap back row tickets?? I searched online for my ticket, willing to the gods for a half decent seat on any night at any cost (within reason)...........N33! Yes, yes, yes, I want it!

Christopher Columbus! No credit card. I must go to the box office in person. I knew I had to do that anyway, I just wanted to add some drama to the story! So off I went to the Arts Centre and purchased my ticket. Naturally the one I wanted had been sold but I got one just a few seats away and I am still very very happy. And how much did I part with? $119. I have never spent that much on a ticket before but I know it will be worth it. I really am beside myself with anticipation.

Oh god, I just thought of something.....I can guarantee that when Ian McKellan walks on to the stage he will receive an arousing applause. Whilst it may be well deserved it is a premature and interruptive presumption that I cannot stand.

Stay tuned for my review next weekend.

Melbourne Film Festival 2007

I love this time of the year in Melbourne. I love it because I work at the film festival and I am surrounded by movies, movies, movies (free ones!!!).

Wednesday 25th is the opening night of the festival and the film to have this honour is "Sicko", Michael Moore's latest stab at the US medical system. Of course, the best part of the night is the party with the free booze, even if we do get kicked out at 1am.

I have been working at the festival for 7 years and always had a fantastic time. I have seen some amazing films that have never been released, some atrocious ones that have and vice versa.
I'm not sure that I like the diversion from the opening night film being an Australian premiere - to select a film that will generate it's own publicity by director alone seems to be a bit of a cop out. Did we not have an Australian film strong enough to qualify?????

Anyway the party is what I want to discuss. It's a strange feeling for me. I want to network but I find it inappropriate in this particular social setting. I could be wrong, thus wasting many opportunities as I am not one to booze and schmooze, hence my place in the acting world. I don't want to be a groupie or someone that sidles up to a celebrity or "important" person and says "hey, I'm a great actress, can you give me a part in your next movie?"

Which, in the end, means I will just get drunk with my friends!

So, while I soak up the free champagne and pink grapefruit juce - not together, but I might just try that - everyone chases the waiters with the platters of food. There is NEVER enough food. I have been known to sit at the kitchen door with hunger, scratching at the swinging door, fighting off other guests!

I will have time to eat dinner before I go to the opening but I want to leave room for some nibblies so I can't eat too much if anything at all. Honestly, why am I worried about that? Once I start supping the bubbles my hunger will rise up, and out of the darkness of "satisfied" will come "starving", and I will hunt those waiters down.

I have arranged to have the following day off from one job and as luck would have it I have a late start for the other. The sleep in will be most welcome regardless of the success of the night.

The problem now is.....What am I going to wear!!!!!!!!!!!!

King Lear Review

Okay, I went to King Lear last night and I am disappointed to report that I was underwhelmed. I nearly didn't go back after interval but that was because I was ridiculously tired from working 2 jobs.

Needless to say though Ian McKellan was out of this world. I didn't expect anything less but what an absolute inspiration to watch. He does insane brilliantly! I was mesmerised!
I don't have actors names for the other roles and I haven't investigated their biogs but I imagine the whole cast to be seasoned professionals.

The guy playing Edmond was atrocious. EVERY. WORD. WAS. IT'S. OWN. SENTENCE. OTHER. WORDS. WERE. EXXXXTENNDED SOOO MUCH that he sounded like a stuck record. It was excruicating!

The women did the same for the most part and I had to wonder what the hell went on in rehearsal. Cordelia walked around half bent over and every time she spoke her arms stretched out accentuating her bent over posture. Regan took on an almost psychotic state when Gloucester was having his eyes poked out and while it was a fantastic performance it was over done and seemed like it came from another play.

Edgar was sensational but needed to have more distinction between the accents he was using to hide his identity from his blind father. That's a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things......well not really....we are talking about the Royal Shakespeare Company!!

I did have trouble understanding some of the actors at times with poor enunciation. Quite the opposite to the times they were overdoing it. I don't think the sound was terribly good and trying to understand Shakespeare language is difficult enough without having to strain your ears. I'm glad I knew the story (well, what I could remember) as I don't think I would have had a clue what was going on. I did have the feeling that I was being spoken to as if I didn't understand English very well.

The costumes were great and the ladies dresses stunning. I loved the set and the entrances/exits through the audience.

As I said I almost didn't go back to the 2nd act but I'm glad I did. I rarely walk out of a show and this one certainly didn't warrant that. I did expect more from RSC but at the end of the day I finally got to see a major production of Lear with an incredible leading man which is what I wanted.

Time To Pull Your Pants Up Boys!

Fashion statements come and go but one that has outstayed it's welcome is the one for men that says "I can wear my pants lower than you!" This has been around for a few years now and I don't understand the attraction.

Why do you feel it is necessary to show us your underwear and worse.........You look ridiculous with the crutch hanging down below your knees almost tripping you over because your legs get caught up in the slack (pun intended).

Yes, women can wear their clothing many different ways and have a lot more choice in the matter but note that we do have our own serious fashion faux pas. The puffy skirt should never have been brought back from the grave, in fact anything puffy or 80's should be allowed to rest in peace. I have seen a few stores now stocking chambray items which horrifies me to say the least. I was never able to wear this soft denim style fabric in it's heyday and I will not be attempting it this time.

The flourescent colours are back which is probably a good thing if you shop in Supre as it's the only light you will get. Has anyone been in the new superstore? It's as black as night and you cannot see a thing. Supre is known for squashing in racks upon racks of clothing making it almost impossible to move around. Add to this the lack of lighting and you need the glow of the flourescent oversized t shirts to guide you. Quite the opposite to the bright lights and bland colours of stores like Country Road and Cue.

What are the designers thinking? Oh I see, they aren't!

RACQ shoot

The shoot for the RACQ ad went extremely well and I am very happy with the bits that I saw on the computer. The honchos from RACQ were happy so I guess I have to be too. Everyone loved my laugh which features at the end of the ad. I don't quite know how to describe my laugh but some words that come to mind are cheeky, evil, sarcastic but above all else one that comes from within. Isn't that just beautiful. Blurrhhh!!!

Thursday, depart Melbourne 2pm. I am stuffed up with a head cold and not happy. Take drugs. Arrive Brisbane 4.05pm sniffing and sneezing and in pain from the pressure build up in my ears. Take more drugs. I had hooked up with my fellow actors before departure and we journeyed by taxi into the city to the production company to have a wardrobe check. The driver was thrilled to have passengers that were happy, chatty and a little bit silly. It was lucky as the traffic into the city was awful.

Once we got to the apartments we made plans to meet at the bar for a drink before dinner. 2 drinks later and on to the hotel around the corner for dinner where we proceeded to get a little bit merry. The conversation flowed freely as did the wine and of course we needed to continue our bonding session so given that Rowan was the one who received an upgrade (although I was on the 17th floor), it was back to his apartment with some wine, chips and nuts. 3 seemingly quite different people who have so much more in common than our first impressions might project - retired, berry farmer and customer service. It was one of those nights you would like to keep going but unfortunately a higher priority than drunken soapboxing and raucous laughter called. Take more drugs before bed. Did not sleep well. Oh, I might add that the boys had hangovers!!!!

There were 2 other ads being filmed on the day which the guys were doing so I wasn't on set until the afternoon. My checkout was at 12pm and I was going to my sister's office to kill time beforehand. We went to lunch and I decided to get some more drugs from the chemist. I ended up with 1 a day antihistamines. Well, let me tell you that 3 of those, 2 Nurofen + and 2 paracetamol later my nose was clear and my eyes had stopped watering. It was all in good time as I was then ready to do my thing and I didn't want any cold or hayfever symptoms making a mess of it/me!

The shoot was very straightforward and there were no dramas, no stress and my co-star was no problem (the client's son). We all had a good time and did the job well. I won on the number of takes for the day, not that I was counting but they were. I couldn't wait to get out of my costume as I could not breathe normally, I could not sit down or bend over without trouble. The top I was wearing was a little...tight...and I needed assistance to get it on and off so as not to put my neck out!!!!

When it was all over I went off to my sister's place for the night, then to my Mum's the next night. Boozy affairs they were with much giggling over Pictionary and Articulate. I love it when my Mum gets a fit of giggles, she goes all high pitched and girly, it's quite hilarious and infectious. We all know someone like that and it's such a joy to watch.

I'm still a bit sick with headaches so drugs are close by. That's about it really. Not that interesting when you have to condense it all but I know some people wanted to hear about it so this was the easiest way.

I must mention the weather seeing as it played such a central role in the shoot. It was perfect, just what you expect from Qld.

Baby Talk and the Elusive Home Ownership

It seems that the government wants to throw MORE money at those who want to have (more) children. I have just read somewhere that adding another child to the family will earn you $1000 or something along those lines. Why should they be GIVEN money for doing something that they CHOOSE to do.

I know the government is all about procreation and trying to make our population "younger" because we are living longer and that is fine but hang on a minute. Surely my taxes could be spent on something useful to me!!!!!

I don't want children and haven't for a very long time. No partiuclar reason other than I have no biological clock and no desire to have any. This does not mean I don't like children, contrary to what most people ASSUME when they learn this piece of information about me. I worked in childcare for a short while and enjoyed it very much but it did not induce clucky thoughts. What insults and angers me the most is when people say to me "oh, you'll change your mind"....Ahh, excuse me? NO, I WON'T! End of story.

Phew! I really needed to get that last paragraph in print. Back to the $1000. Or rather on to the $7000+ that the government would like to give 1st home buyers. That is a great incentive and with advice coming to me about buying the elusive home I started to consider this purchase seriously. A few months down the track and reality knocks on my door to say, "it ain't gonna happen, sweetheart!" And I am okay with that. It's just another one of those things that is not a priority in my life. Something else I don't desire. But it's convincing other people when conversing about these things. Just because you want it and a hell of a lot of others do, it doesn't mean I do. I'm not going to drink Scotch because you like it. It really is that straightforward.


Why can't I have the $7000 to put towards my rent?
Why can't I have the $1000 to put towards a holiday?

I know that is ridiculous and not the purpose of the handouts but I get a bit put out when lifestyle choices are rewarded with our tax money.

Things Happen For A Reason

Some people have a lot of good luck and some seem to attract bad luck. I have always felt that I attract the bad. No matter what I do and how positive I try to stay, things just don't seem to go my way. Now that, of course, is all within reason as I have had some great acting jobs this year and a lot of other good stuff has come my way.

But this story is not about me for a change!!!

When shitty things happen to us we curse, cry, laugh, have a meltdown, fire up and react in all kinds of ways. The religious pray to their saviour, the non religious pretend to pray to someone. Isn't it funny how that saviour more often than not doesn't answer our prayers?

A couple of weeks ago my friend – L – took her canine best friend – E – to another friend's place in the country for some well earned rest and relaxation. L has had a hell of a lot of shitty things going on for her of late. She is a smart and generous person who has more than once helped me in a crisis and has dropped everything to do the same for other friends in need.

While L and E were strolling around the shops they came across a little dog with a collar but no identity tags. The dogs became best friends immediately and everyone was having tons of fun. The new dog, let's call him Topsy, followed L and E everywhere for a while and L was considering taking him home as no one in this small town seemed to know who the dog belonged to. Soon enough it was time to part company and as Topsy ran on ahead he inevitably ran across the road and L witnessed him being collected by a car. Thankfully the driver stopped and she was in a terrible state of emotion. L picked Topsy up and took him to the side of the road and patted him until he closed his eyes. After a while L took him to the police station and they said they would bury him.

About an hour later L and E were driving along choked up with what had taken place and the car in front of them ran over a rabbit. L stopped and went over to the rabbit writhing in pain with blood everywhere. She rang her friend to find out the number of the vet and wrapped up the rabbit as carefully as she could. With the injured on her lap and E sitting in the back seat wondering who this stranger was getting Mum's attention, L drove to the vet. After giving the rabbit a check the vet said the best thing to do would be to put it down. She was very kind and said don't worry, I will look after things.

L went to the shops and bought some treats for herself and E and some booze. They went home and had a wake for their 2 new friends. The whole day was bittersweet with the absolute joy of the 2 dogs playing together and the sour turn of the deaths.

HOW do you walk away at the end of all of that in one piece? Your heart breaks with the first part of the story and then it is stomped on with the second. I cried when I heard the story and I have tears in my eyes now.

Bad things (or good things) happen in three's they say. Is it coincidence or just pure bad luck? No amount of praying is going to help in some situations so we tell ourselves things happen for a reason, it was meant to be, etc. Unfortunately sometimes they are empty words of solace and the intended effect does not last long before we spiral into a teary mess of woe.

Surely a person that is on the receiving end of the wrong type of luck so often does not deserve it. How does one deal with it on a regular basis? For myself I don't really know. I allow myself to feel what I have to, let it out (that may take a while) and take the time I need to to get over it. It may be an hour, a day, a week, a month and I don't deny the need to feel sorry for myself if it helps.

What about lady who ran over the dog? She was completely distraught as it was unavoidable. The remainder of her day would have been a rollercoaster of emotion too. And the driver who ran over the rabbit? Well, there was plenty of time to avoid the death but the driver didn't care about that and needless to say didn't stop. Karma affects everyone sooner or later.

Like Seeks Like

As I was travelling home on the tram tonight, I was sitting opposite a group of 3 people in their early 20's, 2 females and 1 male. One of the women was holding court with the conversation and very loudly at that. A superficial description of them would be thus: HER: pretty, blonde, overweight, confident and loud, with the emphasis on loud. The 2nd female was pretty, brunette, petite; the male can only be described as a "geek". I use inverted commas because the word itself summons up an image that I do not need to describe – but for the purposes of this blog and my own satisfaction I shall do just that – tall, thin, disproportionate features. He sat goggle eyed at the speaker laughing at her every laugh regardless of what she had said adding a few words here and there. The 2nd female sat quiet as a mouse nodding at the appropriate times. They all held tightly in their hands "grande" cups of coffee from Starbucks. I could not help but think that "she" initiated the purchase of that size of coffee which would have been required for the trip.

A few seats away a group of 4 (2 couples) sat happily conversing away, every so often eyeballing the whacked out guy pacing up and down the aisle for no apparent reason. The younger of the 2 couples looked very similar – a visual image may allow you to think, for this scenario, Librarians. Soon enough the 2 groups were competing for my aural attention as a female from the 2nd group started talking a few decibels louder than necessary. I can't remember now what either group was talking about but neither was of great interest and it's not relevant now.

There I was, leaving work 3 hours later than expected, sitting quietly trying to read my book that is taking me months to get through because of the detail – it's too late to give up now and I am still interested in the story – and all I can think about is my, probably harsh, judgement of these people.

Which brings me to: Like Seeks Like. By that I mean; geeks seek geeks, beautiful people seek beautiful people, artists seek artists, accountants seek accountants – don't they?? My name is Tracey: I am a misfit and I seek misfits. I have called myself a misfit (to myself) for a long time now and I have just realised that it is other misfits that I seek out, within reason. Anyone I meet who shows a slight tendency away from the norm or hints at the raw honesty that I project, attracts my attention. I will question them or pursue a friendship where possible because those qualities interest me and they are not attached to everyone. It can alienate me at times but that is something I continually learn to deal with when the time comes.

Why do I think this of myself? Well, we describe ourselves and everyone else, including our friends into groups, the titles of which are usually generated by the media/society. I don't think that I fit into any of the clichéd social groups that society fit us in to and I probably never will.

I am not a geek – I don't even have broadband
I am not one of the beautiful people (such as those who saunter through Chapel St boutiques and eateries watching people watching them)
I am fashion conscious but not really savvy
I cannot do the schmoozing thing that an actor may be required to do
I am not gay so I cannot be pigeon-holed by society for that alone
I am not an accountant!
I am not one half of a couple and have no/do not want any, children

Okay, the last statement isn't fair. Oops, I mean the second last statement! My point is that I tried to think of what "group" or "type" of person I could be described as, rather than just the ordinary "nice", "great fun", "stubborn", "opinionated", etc, which I might add, is ssooo boring! I am single which can put me into a category, but that is not the focus of this blog. Moving on...
Back to the tram ride and as I was thinking how annoying these "loud" people were but at the same time captured by how much their audience was captured by them, my thoughts went like this:

She is so annoying;
Shutup, I am trying to read;
He/she is watching her every move;
They all have huge coffee cups, I bet she organised that, I can tell;
Lower your voice, I know I talk loud but when I am on a tram I hold back;
She isn't saying anything of great interest but they are hanging on every word;
What brought these 3 people together;
They are an unlikely match, oh maybe not;
Oh, those people down there are talking loudly now;
So what, shutup, I am trying to read;
I could never be friends with her!!!!!!!!!
They are all so annoying! Shutupppppp!!!!!!!!!!!

Initially I classified the 3 as "geeks" but the combination wasn't quite right for it to be exclusive so I went for "nerds" which is basically the same and just as awful but slightly different in a technical way. How do I know that? I don't, it's just my JUDGEMENT! I was horrified at myself for what I was thinking but I couldn't help it.

What if I am like one of these people I describe and I don't know it? My natural voice is very loud, just like these people, although when I am in public I DO TRY my best to keep it down (someone will usually tell me if I don't notice it). And so what if I look like a Librarian? What does a Librarian look like anyway?

I try and try to imagine myself as one of the "types" of people I have described or even one of those that I have not commented on – I must fit in there somewhere, surely. I have been trying to describe my inner/outer self for a while now for various reasons and it is very difficult to remain objective but it's something that I constantly think about for various purposes.

Oh, I can definitely "turn it on" when I need to, I don't deny that "show off" aspect of my personality but I label myself a misfit and that's okay, I quite like it because I don't want to be like anyone else. But what does misfit mean to someone else?

The Sound of One Man Spitting!

WARNING: Face pulling, nausea and "oh, gross" comments may occur from reading the following material.

As I was heading to work today I was in my usual state of focus; I.E: walking with intent at a swift pace whilst my mind races through a hundred ideas at once. To the passer by it may have appeared that I was oblivious to any goings on outside of my world. But they were wrong!

My reverie was broken by an expulsion of saliva that made the earth shatter and the clouds shake.Hccaaahhhcch.....tssstt!

This is not a variety of the sneeze, which I have blogged about this sound and I give you the sound of one man spitting.Why, oh why do men spit? Yes, I know women do it too but in all honesty it's the men who are the main offenders. It is one of the most disgusting habits that humans have and I am constantly repulsed by the visual and aural assualts that are forced upon me when I am out and about.

I have recently discovered that a friend of mine is a spitter. We were walking somewhere from A to B and whilst the spits were regular, they were void of the usual preparation and build up of the volcanic eruption about to take place. All I heard was the "tssstt" of the saliva passing through his teeth and the "splat" when it hit the ground. Upon our return, I felt it was my duty as a short tempered woman to ask "Why do you do that?????" His response was innocent and candid, "I just produce a lot of saliva." Or words to that effect.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and it is perfectly understandable, however, wouldn't you just swallow? I don't know, I do not have this affliction.

Anyway, his is not the type of spitting I find that offensive. I'm talking about the snorting, guttural gathering of saliva from the depths of your throat that have been sitting there ready to be discarded at any opportunity available, I.E. the ground, anywhere, anytime. I'm also talking about the mucous gatherers such as those you hear on the train. A tissue short of a blow job and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a pig sty at dinner time. People with colds/flu, hayfever or just a need to rid themselves of the excess walk our streets every day. At the risk of sounding racist, here we go; older Asian men and women are prime examples. I do understand this is part of the culture but it doesn't make it any less offensive for me and that's that.

So think twice next time you are about to spit please. We walk on it everyday trudging along the footpath which is no big deal but think about this next time you are in a busy park and decide to take a rest. You sit down on the grass, put your arms back to support you and your hand touches something wet............


The following posts have all been pubished on myspace in the last 2 years. I am now posting them here so it is easier for people to read and because myspace is bothersome to me nowadays.

Are You Talking To Me?

Most people know that I have been using the internet for dating purposes for a long time now and many have heard my tales of success, failure, frivolity and boredom. My success stories have been few but memorable and enjoyable. There was one that got away. In saying that, if he got away then he couldn’t have been the one. I don’t really like the expression “the one”. I think it leads us, well me at least, to have false hopes and expectations that can’t be met. “What!!!” I hear you say, “Tracey, you have those things.” I know, I know and I can’t change that. I have tried to change my ways, not necessarily to lower my standards and expectations but to merely give guys a decent chance, in turn giving myself a better chance. I have tried against my better judgement and failed. Well, failed isn’t really the right word, it’s more a case of “I knew better.”

We all go on about chemistry and connection and without those things there’s not going to be a relationship. I agree that sexual chemistry can develop over time and I don’t expect to have that with a guy on the first date. I do still, however, need to be physically attracted to him. That could be through his smile, an idiosyncrasy or just because he is a big spunk. Apart from the physical attributes, I need to be intellectually attracted to him. I am not completely superficial.

The internet profile I have set up so guys can check me out is very much true to its word. I don’t lie about anything, I tell it like it is and don’t carry on with a lot fluff and bubble. I let them know upfront that I can be a bit intimidating (or arrogant as some people see female confidence) and out of context that may seem like the wrong thing to admit to but I know, for me, it is right. There is a bit of humour to lighten things up and show them that I can be fun and funny. For those of you not familiar with this form of dating set up, think about the personal ads you see in the newspapers and expand on that or better yet, just check them out and see for yourself. Unfortunately a lot of people who find it difficult to write about themselves copy other profiles, then someone will copy theirs and so on until everyone’s profile reads the same. It becomes incredibly boring and no one sounds interesting, least of all dateable. They are all financially secure and have spent recent years in a marriage or concentrating on work, consequently not having a social life. And that is all going to change now.

Let your imagination take you away from reality for a moment while I present to you a possible day spent together with your new interest, going by the information in his profile. (This is not the first date, maybe the third)

You are wearing a summer dress and heels, he is in a casual suit and tie. Take off in his sports car for a long drive, listening to tunes from his eclectic cd collection until you reach his favourite fine dining restaurant in the country where he can impress you with his knowledge of local wines. After lunch it’s down to the beach for a long walk. This is both relaxing and healthy as we all know walking on the sand is so good for the calves and the fresh sea air good for your lungs. Next you find a cafe that has the best coffee in town and hang out for a while getting to know one another a little bit more. He is telling you so much about himself and you think “wow, he must really like me.” You are listening intently but your only input is to agree and show understanding and interest. It’s not important for you to talk although he will at one or two points stop, laugh and say “oh, I’m talking too much!” before continuing on his merry way of talking at you. Things are going marvellously, he is charming and witty, you are laughing in the right places and there is a hint of physical contact. It’s getting late and you both don’t want the day to end so after watching the sun set he suggests heading over to his place and ordering a pizza to eat with a lovely bottle of cabernet sauvignon from his cellar. You get to choose the DVD to watch from his extensive collection and you simply cannot go past The Shawshank Redemption. It is, after all, your favourite movie and it just so happens to be his. You notice there are no horror films amongst the vast compilation and he lets you know he doesn’t mind the odd chick flick but would rather leave that to you and your girlfriends. While you attend to the entertainment for the evening he slips into his trakky daks and a t shirt as the suit is getting a little uncomfortable and he wears both styles so well that you need to see this cool side of him. The weather has turned a little chilly so you get snugly on the couch while Tim Robbins requests his poster of Rita Hayworth (spoiler alert!) to cover up the giant hole he is digging for escape. He reminds you he is not a player and has no baggage hidden away. You simply can’t believe this is happening and let him win you over. The end of the night is inevitable and what happens next is......

Now this does in all honesty sound like a fantastic day if you really are attracted to someone. Forget the specifics but a day filled with great company, good food and wine, some kind of activity and relaxation is something we all love, especially if it’s a date with a new love or old for that matter. But let’s get back to reality where I can expand on just one of the dynamics of a good date....good conversation!

What am I looking for, what’s my type? I don’t have a “type”. Everyone has a different mix of qualities but a very important one that I look for is conversation skill. As someone who was extremely shy talking to boys growing up I have always wanted to be around someone who can drive a conversation. I am glad to say that I have since learnt how to converse without being self conscious although I have my moments. I am, after all, human. I consider myself a good conversationalist these days. Now, being a good talker does not a good conversationalist make! Herein lies the big mistake that some dates make when drafting their self description.

I judge people very quickly. Yes, I can be wrong sometimes but as far as dates go I think I get it right with the first impression. Today I had a date and I was pretty certain it was not going to go far. I knew by his voice when we spoke on the phone. Harsh, I hear you say. Yes, I know it is but I was right. So now you are asking, what was it about his voice? It was the clipped sentences and young, slightly nervous tone, simple as that. I matched the voice with the photos and I had my man. But of course I had to meet him and give him a chance because he may simply have been nervous on the phone or wait for it.....I was wrong! We got to a cafe and we were chatting comfortably enough....because I was asking questions....and I was trying to back off with the judging. I learnt about his job, house that he co-designed, house mates, employment history and exercise habits. His profile had already told me he was an investor of sorts and liked to take risks. I didn’t like this piece of shared info because I think it is pretentious and unnecessary at this point. In person he let it be known that he lived below his means. I was getting to know him and I didn’t really like him. All his conversations were focussed on money and me, me, me!

Now, he knew the following things about me before we met: I am an actor, I had been practicing tap that morning (because I delayed the date time, in truth to avoid the lunch request because coffee is more than enough with some – however that backfired) and various other things from my profile. There were a lot of subjects there on offer just waiting to be talked about. The only question he asked me (twice!) was “So what about you, Tracey?” This is far too general a question to answer simply. So, it was then that I tried to use my time wisely in the spotlight but it wasn’t to be. I was interrupted a few times and swiftly had the conversation turned back to him. When this happens I will just stop trying. Oh that’s right, he asked me twice where I lived! He already knew that from our location choice.

This is how a number of my dates have gone. And frankly, they don’t get a second chance. If they can’t ask some simple questions in return, especially when prompted, then it’s all over. Come on, it’s a two way street and I am sick of going one way. If I have hardly said anything throughout the date or they haven’t learnt much about me, then how can they possibly be attracted to me and want a second date? That’s a part of the dating game I don’t understand. (I remind you that this has nothing to do with sex).

Conversation can be hard. We get so worked up about it that we can’t utter a coherent sentence sometimes. I don’t think it’s too much to expect my dates to ask me questions so they can get to know me. I can’t just offer information about myself all the time. That is awkward and unnatural for me and a lot of the time comes across as egotistical. I have no doubt that in my younger days my lack of conversational skills was a big factor contributing to my single status. These days I have no idea what the problem is. I have been told it’s my confidence and forthrightness (I’m a bit scary. Oh sorry about that, I will try to be a little meek for you).

Of course there are many reasons why we don’t get along with others and many reasons for a lack of attraction to a date. My date actually commented that I sounded tired when talking about “dating” and I am. I’m bored with the inane questions and clichéd so called ice breakers. I try to avoid things like, where do you work, what do you do, what do you like to do in your spare time? Oh please, what decade are you in? I know how difficult it is to get momentum with some conversations and I accept that I can be brutal with my opinions but I need/want that intellectual stimulation pretty much straight away. That is not negotiable for my relationships and I don’t think that is too much to ask.