"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Monday, 30 November 2015

One Night In Sydney

Look, I'll explain on Friday. The main thing is, I'm about to leave for the airport to fly to Sydney. I'll be there for one evening and then flying out tomorrow afternoon. I've been to Sydney a bunch of times and have done all of the touristy things such as seeing the bridge and the Opera House, watching an iMax movie and visiting the attractions at Darling Harbour. I haven't visited Centrepoint Tower yet and I've also been wanting to go to the Hard Rock Cafe for ages. What else should I do? If you had one night to kill in Sydney, what would you do?



Friday, 27 November 2015

A Piece of History 4: Amazing Montage

From December 30 2013 to January 3 2014 I was on holiday at Pine Point in the Yorke Penninsula. I was with the Buttercup Gang. Jason had a camera which had this awesome feature on it - For a few seconds before it takes a photo, it will take a little bit of a video of you guys getting ready. After the trip, he put those little bits of video together to make this amazing, beautiful piece of work.

video

Monday, 16 November 2015

Sliding Doors


Based on the movie of the same name, Sliding Doors is a game I like to play with myself every now and then. I invite you to give it a go yourself. You see, I noticed that there are some big parts of my life that are only present because of a seemingly unrelated chain of events and decisions that ended up falling the right way. If even the smallest detail had been different or if I hadn't taken an opportunity or made a decision, I might never have arrived here. Allow me to demonstrate.

I've made much about my association and close friendship with my inner circle of friends, The Buttercup Gang. But I probably wouldn't have met them - and they certainly wouldn't have become my best friends - if the KFC store in Marden hadn't closed for renovations.

  • I was working at the KFC Marden at the time - maybe 2011 - and they closed for ten weeks to perform a big upgrade. The staff were asked to nominate a different store to which to transfer over those those ten weeks.
  •  I picked the branch in Rundle Mall because it was easiest to reach by bus.
  • The staff there really liked me and when the ten weeks were up, they asked me if I wanted to stay on with them. I liked them as well, but I liked the Marden store just as much. I offered to do half my shifts at Rundle and half my shifts at Marden and both stores agreed.
  • The Rundle Mall branch eventually had to close down. The staff there were devastated, but the managers at head office offered to transfer them to another store in the area so that they weren't out of work. rather than just revert back to just working at Marden, I nominated to be transferred and keep splitting my shifts.
  • On recommendation from the managers at Rundle Mall, a branch called Eastwood got in touch with me and offered me a position in management. It would require me to leave my position at Marden.
  • I accepted the arrangement and transferred fully to Eastwood, where I met three people named Kelsey, Mitchell and Juan.
  • I was never made a manager, but I did make the best friends I'll ever have. And I also don't have to be a manager at KFC.

Have you got the hang of it? Here's another...

My decision to stop drinking when I turned 18 (unrelated) may be the best decision I ever made, but it's also been one of the hardest. While I have far more money, fitness and in some cases, dignity than a lot of people my age, I also find it hampers my ability to connect with them. Anyway, I'm happy with  my decision. But it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't read the book Yes Man in high school.
  • Yes Man is a true story about a Brittish humorist who decided to say yes to any and all requests for the remainder of a year. I read it in high school and was inspired by the insane adventures on which he went.
  • For a few weeks after, I found I was saying yes myself much, much more.
  • One day while walking to work, I was stopped by two mormons on their bikes, who asked if I had a moment to spare. I said yes.
  • They gave me their spiel about how they'd found God through the Church of Latter Day Saints and I listened with genuine interest. Then they asked if there was a time that we could meet to talk about it further. I of course, said yes.
  • I've always believed in a God in some form or another, so everything they had to say fascinated me. They asked for a second meeting, then a third, and then it became an unspoken weekly arrangement.
  • At one such meeting, they brought up the topic of alcohol and why I should give it up. My attitude of "yes" faltered at this point. Like many of my peers, I found it to be quite a helpful social crutch. I initially refused.
  • Fast forward to March the next year, and AC/DC came to Adelaide for their Black Ice tour. I had just waited for 20 minutes in line to pay $6 for a plastic cup of warm beer. At that stage, $6 was like a third of my hourly rate. I thought about the money I'd blown on booze up until this point. I realised that I'd never actually enjoyed the feeling of being drunk and that I'd always hated the taste of spirits. And most importantly, I remembered what the mormons had said about drinking being a sin. I decided right then to finish my beer and never drink again. It was amazingly easy to follow through with it.
  • Although I still firmly believe in God, I don't subscribe to one particular ideology. As such, the religious reasons for my decision have taken a back seat to all the other reasons. When anyone asks me why I don't drink, I'll tell them about the money, my health, my fitness and my social beliefs. But the initial catalyst was my meeting with the Mormons, which came about with the help of that book.
And just for fun, let's do one with a little fork in the road ;)

In 2011, I started performing stand-up comedy. That led to both my work at Fresh 92.7 and my trip to Canberra in July to study and perform improv theater.
  • I started doing stand-up in 2011.
  • In mid-2012, I was out the front of a comedy club chatting to some other comedians and one of them told us about the course he was doing at the Australian Radio School. I decided to check it out myself.
  • I joined their introductory course in September.
  • I finished that course with an award for excellence and decided to stay on for the master class in December.
  • One of the students in the master class mentioned Fresh and the induction night that they were holding to get new members. It seemed like an obvious choice.
  • A while later, I was back at that same comedy club when I made a new friend named Alicia (read her fantastic blog). Alicia told me she does improv and invited me join a series of workshops she was attending.
  • I went.
  • That workshop finished and I inquired about the next one.
  • From there, I was in with both feet and would attend rehearsals two times per week. It led to a lot of work during the 2015 Adelaide Fringe Festival.
  • After the Fringe finished, a fellow improviser got in touch with me and asked me if I wanted to go to Improvention - Australia's premier improv festival. After a lot of thought, I decided I did.
  • It was a fantastic trip that provided a lot of great stories. But it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't started doing stand-up four years prior.
Try playing it yourself! I find it easiest to pick a part of your life (your job, your friends, your hobbies, your partner etc) and figure out the thing that directly led to it. Then figure out what led to that and work backwards as far as you like. If you have a blog, write a post about it. It'll make great content. Let me know if you do :)


Friday, 13 November 2015

Friend-Zoned (Not That Way)

Cherdo (visit her) has signed her papers, passed the votes and declared my blog a Friend-Zone. It's the term used to describe a blog that's family-friendly, non-offensive, a place where everyone can go for wholesome entertainment.

I don't like this image. I want to be the bad-boy of the blogosphere. So I'm going to remake myself. Here are a few things that should fix that nice-guy image right up.

  • Your child isn't as good at that thing as you think it is.
  • Don't tell me you're busy. Just tell me you don't want to come.
  • If you think the last three Star Wars films were so bad, what makes you think this next one will be any good?
  • If I meet you for the first time and you're wearing a suit, I'll find it 3-4 times harder to trust you.
  • You know you don't HAVE to study law or medicine right?
  • Wearing sneakers with jeans is not weird.
  • I wear a baseball cap inside quite often. Sue me.
  • If you're studying at uni, I probably have more money than you.
  • Speaking of which - don't complain to me about your money problems while you're buying a $40 bottle of Vodka.
  • Make a decision - are you a couple or not?


Monday, 9 November 2015

Jerida


This is the fifth post in the Buttercup Gang series

It was November 2012, one of the most turbulent and eventful periods of my life. I was on a week-long trip to Perth. I should have been happy, but that wasn't the case. I was working for a door-to-door sales company and was there with dozens of other men for whom I felt contempt. They were business men who only cared about money and had no time for anyone who felt otherwise. I'd taken this chance to organise some stand-up comedy gigs - I was very keen to try performing outside of Adelaide. I organised two gigs. Both of them went terribly. Not only was my job giving me a terrible case of low self-esteem, but my aspirations as a performer had just taken a huge hit. I was in a pretty low place and needed to talk to someone.

The person I chose to call was Jerida. Looking back, I can try and analyse why I made that decision... Maybe it was her incredible capacity for empathy. Maybe I felt unusually comfortable with her. Maybe I selfishly knew she would listen. But it doesn't really matter. After knowing her for just two months, Jerida had shot right to the top of the list of people I could turn to for support.

I think with daylight savings, Adelaide was four hours ahead of Perth at the time, so it was almost midnight when I called her.
'It's okay, I've finished my exams now. I'm on holidays,' she said.
'Oh great! How'd you do?'
'I did well, my biology exam was a bit...'

We talked for six hours. My whole life, I've never talked to one person for six hours. And this was over the phone from another state. I couldn't even tell you what we talked about, but I do remember that for the whole time, all the crappy circumstances that had built up over the last few weeks had ebbed away. We talked for so long that my phone went flat and I had to plug it into the one powerpoint I could find in my hotel room - in the kitchen three inches above the floor. I was lying there on my stomach while my phone charged, still talking to her. The significance of this wasn't lost on me.
'Man, it's almost two o'clock here,' I said.
'Yeah it's almost six over here.'
'I've never been able to talk this easily to anyone. It must... mean something. Surely.'
I was trying not to admit it, but we both knew what I meant.
'You let me know when you've figured it out,' she replied slyly.
'I'm amazed you're willing to stay up this late for me.'
'Of course I am. Especially since... Well okay, you know what I said before about having finished my exams?'
'Um... yes?'
'I lied. My last exam is tomorrow.'

My mood did a complete 180. I went straight from feeling excited and content to feeling ashamed and furious in a nanosecond. How dare she lie to me like that? How dare I keep her up like that? These were her year-12 exams, these marks would affect her entry into university next year! She was putting that at risk to chat to some loser? And it wasn't just her, I was the loser putting this girl's future at risk just because I'd had a bad gig. That was just not on.
'Oh, fuck off...' I said.
I'm not proud of that.
'Really, it's not a big deal,' she replied, slightly panicked.
'Goodbye,' I said shortly and abruptly hung up. She rang me back and I cancelled the call, so she texted me.
"I knew what I was doing, please don't be mad at me," she said.
"Go to bed!" I replied. Then I realised that this rough departure might cause her more stress, so I feebly attempted:
"Good luck tomorrow."
She told me later that it didn't help.

The next day, I called her to apologise and she apologised in return. I admitted that I'd reacted that way because I cared about her and she said she felt the same. We became a couple that day, much to the delight of our mutual friends. But they also asked us never to repeat that story to anyone. Sorry guys.

It's probably the weirdest, most unremarkable getting-together story I've ever come across, but it's a great example of what our relationship has been like ever since. We haven't done anything the way the rest of the world expects us to. We were each other's first relationship, and yet we were more willing to make it work than a lot of married couples. I fell in love with her family and learned a LOT from them - her wise, highly-educated mother, her affectionate, loyal, dutiful father, her ambitious, self-confident, no-nonsense sister and her excitable, passionate, intelligent brothers. When we fought, it was always constructive. We never felt like we were just shouting at brick walls, we always listened and adapted as best we could to what the other person needed. And most importantly, now that we're not a couple any more, we seem to have maintained the best friendship I could possibly hope to have.

Jerida remains my best friend and closest confidante. She knows more about me than I do myself and I don't think that's an exaggeration. She has so many qualities that I deeply admire including her compassion, her sense of duty, her commitment to her family, her outstanding empathy, her moral compass, her ability to change her position if new information arises and the way she can connect with anybody she meets on quite a personal level. I haven't yet met a single person who didn't love her upon meeting her.

With the possible exception of my Dad, nobody has had more of an effect on the person I am today. She'll tell me the hard truth if I need or want to hear it, even if she thinks it will hurt my feelings. She does it because she's one of the few people who understand that I appreciate that kind of honesty. She challenges me and forces me to grow. And she's not scared off by the haunted mansion full of demons, dark hallways and trap doors that is my mind. She actually wants to be the one who's there for me when I need help and I take a lot of joy in returning the favour.

There's been a few key moments where we could have gone our separate ways and never spoken again, but our friendship has survived. This Saturday just past marked exactly four years since that day in Perth when I apologised and asked her out. I guess that moment oddly represents the way I feel our relationship is now - "Hey Jerida, I'm sorry for being a jerk. I love you."




Friday, 6 November 2015

Beyond Blue


In January, I wrote about a friend of mine who we found out was silently suffering from depression. Nobody knew what was going wrong, right up to the point where he took his own life. It still saddens me that this happens. Depression in my opinion is the biggest demon we can face. One reason for that is that it makes us feel like we're facing it alone.

That's why I'm once again raising money for Movember. I'll be growing a moustache throughout the month of November to help raise awareness of men's health issues - one of which is their high suicide rate.

Beyond Blue is the charity of Movember and it's my favourite charity for all these reasons. I'm aiming to raise $500 to help them in their fight against depression and other Men's health issues. If you have the money to spare, i'd love it if you could kick something my way. $20, $10, $5, a buck. It all helps.

Here's the website:
http://mobro.co/michaelgd
And thank you.


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

TED Talk Tuesday: 10 Myths About Psychology, Debunked

A really simple talk from which I learned many valuable things. My favourites are the differences between men and women's brains and the one about auditory/manual learners.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Question of the Month (November)


Each month, we do this awesome thing called Question of the Month. It’s totally da coolest thing eva. You’d tots love it. We like, totally answer this question and it’s like, a really cool question and all. This month the question is “Are you an introvert or an extrovert?”

This one’s hard for me to answer. There are many reasons why I could make a case for being both.

Introvert:
I find it hard to talk to people.
I tend not to feel comfortable around people.
I’m always trapped in my own head, thinking about myself and not noticing what’s going on around me.
I don’t really have an interest in other people (that probably sounds worse than it is).
While all of my jobs require me to be in front of people, they’re all solitary, autonomous work.

Extrovert:
I don’t like going places or doing things on my own.
I often outstay my welcome at places because I don't want to go home.
I have the necessary social skills to get on anyone’s good side.
I like to have shared experiences with people.
I love spending time with the people I love.
I can’t handle spending evenings at home, I always have to organise something.

But the answer came to me recently when I was listening to a podcast. Australian comedian Wil Anderson was talking to a guest, who gave this definition of what introverts and extraverts are:
“When you’re an extravert, being around people gives you energy, while being alone saps your energy. Vice versa when you’re an introvert.”

Well, using that definition, I’d have to say I’m an extravert. I don’t often feel comfortable around other people, but I think I'm better off in company. If I’m alone for a few days, I get antsy and unproductive. I’ve found myself recently to be able to get more work done at a friend’s house than I can at home. So my answer is extrovert.

If you like, totally wanna join, we'll be doing it again next month. Just put your name on the list below.

XOXO
Gossip Mike.



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