Category Archives: Life

Shit I Learned In Bulgaria

This was quite a while ago and as such it is pushing my memory to remember what half of the cryptic notes I took about Bulgaria even mean… but here’s the decipher! Enjoy!

  • The word ‘lev’ in Bulgarian means ‘lion’. You can see that this is the national symbol of the country because lions are literally everywhere and the currency is called the ‘lev’.
Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral
  • In the times of Constantine the Great, the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, was actually called Serdika.  This was one of Constantine’s favourite cities in the Roman empire and was the gateway to Constantinople, now Istanbul.
  • You can find churches in Bulgaria that have amazing frescoes from years 1000 and 1300. They are amazing and some of the best preserved in the world.
Frescoes inside of the Boyana Church
  • Bulgarians are terrible with giving you directions on how to get somewhere. The locals joke and say as a tourist the only solid directions you will ever receive are for the destinations of either vodka or the beach. A couple of people I met in the hostel and I decided to try out our luck with getting to Seven Lakes on public transport. After much research and confusion, we finally made it there for the spectacular hiking and views.
The hazy views over Seven Lakes
  • During World War 2, the Bulgarian government was smart enough to save it’s Jews from Hitler’s regime by telling the Nazi’s that they needed the Jews to do labour work on the railroad construction.
  • The city of Plovdiv lies abound seven different hills.
  • There are huge numbers of incredible Roman stadiums and ruins throughout the country, and are home to some of the most incredibly well preserved ruins. One of the world’s largest stadiums lies underneath the main shopping street of Plovdiv.
The end of the Roman Amphitheatre in Plovdiv
  • They have a tradition of tying these red and white, handmade dolls called Martenitsa from blossoming trees as ritual to denote the arrival of spring.

Other than that I really can’t remember that much more shit from Bulgaria other than I really loved it. The people were friendly, the scenery was gorgeous and the history wonderful! Cannot recommend visiting this beautiful country enough!

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I’ve Just Finished Recording A New Album

For the first time in ten years, something got a hold of me and I set foot back into a recording studio to record some of my own music. I guess a large part of my motivation was that I was starting to forget who I was and music has always been a huge part of who I am so I decided to fully embrace it and set aside time for it to ‘rediscover myself’. I pulled some old songs out of the cupboard that I have been meaning to do something with for years and so it began.

I bought a Groupon for recording studio time and went in to record. Originally I had 2 songs I wanted to lay down piano, ukulele and vocal. But the more I listened to the ukulele the less I liked it and decided to get rid of it. And so the process evolved itself into something else entirely. My engineer helped me start to laydown drums, strings, bass and a plethora of other instruments through a keyboard and the result was something I never expected. In some ways I have felt quite proud of what it is that I have achieved.  I have been challenged both musically and vocally because my ear and my voice muscles are not as well exercised as they used to be. It takes me a while to get things right. What I do know is that I have felt like I have been walking on air every time I have left the studio to walk home and so I have been trying to schedule a couple of hours there every 2 weeks or so.

Recording the vocals to See Ya Later

One morning on the bus stop I was thinking about life and things that had happened recently and for the first time in a very long time I penned a song that I felt worth of laying down in a studio. It felt really good to get back the mojo of writing something that wasn’t totally cliché and shit. A month or so later another song followed.

On my last trip home I pulled out my printer and designed and printed the labels on my CD’s. I have gone to work to investigate printing the covers and had the photos taken also on a super cheap Groupon. It is all coming together nicely….

Production – getting the mix done

However there are also reservations that one has when doing such a project. Despite the fact that I started it to ‘rediscover myself’, I am in some ways semi hysterical about not getting support for it. It is hard to pour yourself into something that expresses so much of who you are to others when they just simply don’t seem to care. I am afraid in some ways that it will fail from a complete lack of interest or that people just simply don’t like it. It is in times like this that I have to remind myself that it is for me and not for anyone else. It was worth it for the floating feeling of the high down the street every second week. It was worth it to have a hard copy of something that I have created all on my own. And if it does fail and people aren’t interested, then at least I have these things. I guess in the long run time will tell.

Printing the labels on the CD’s.

We have now done the mix. And we have done the master. We’ve burned CD’s and uploaded to the web for distribution. The music is out into the world and see where it winds up. Hopefully somewhere it can be enjoyed!

If you want to check it out, go to  https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/DanniThomas

 

Parasites and I are like total besties

This morning, much to my horror and disgust, I went two doors down to the pharmacy after just getting off the overnight bus and wandered into the hostel bathroom to cheekily message my mum and get frantic with my newly acquired nit comb. You see, after a couple of days of itching like a fucking mad woman and thinking “fucking wool hats” I then lost my hat somewhere in Stuttgart and continued to itch like a mad bitch. This coupled with a few welts here and there had me thinking…. now I remember my younger sister getting them when she was about five.  But I never did. Until now. I am a grown arse woman with nits. And I don’t know if this has to do with high school age children sending them my way or the arseclown I sat next to on the plane.  Either way I am somewhat and somewhat not amused.

I am amused because I am a 32 year old childless spinster with nits. I am amused because in this whole trip, in which I usually encounter bed bugs and have to do full eradication upon return I haven’t yet seen one. I am not amused because I am so goddamn itchy!!! This wasn’t exactly how I planned things to go and now I suffer sheer paranoia.

So of course at every moment I get I am secretly crawling into toilet cubicles to comb handfuls of hair out of my head and no more nits. I am pretty sure that I got them all first go which wouldn’t be surprising considering I combed every direction for about 3 hours instead of seeing the sights of Berlin. But this still didn’t stop me. My room is clad with lavender and tea tree oil and I smell like an essential oil factory lathered in all of my oil.

My forearm looking like it swallowed a tennis ball after a bed bug bite

Despite all of this I was oddly calm. We can get rid of these. I am not allergic to these to the point where I welt and shake like a demon fiend. I don’t have to look in every nook and cranny of my luggage for the little buggers hiding.  You just spray it all with lavender and tea tree and get out your comb and you are pretty well done. Easiest parasite I have ever had to get rid of in the end. Much easier than bed bugs, giardia and all the other horrific shit I have had to deal with on the road. Just please God let there next time be no more bed bugs… or fleas……. or mosquitoes. I hate those things too! I went to Milan one weekend and woke up the first night with a swollen eyelid from a mosquito bite. The next night I woke up and the other one was swollen shut from yet another mosquito bite. Oh the joys of having such sweet blood! Ugh…. so yeah…. can I please, travel gods, go at least one trip without being mauled by something? Just pretty please?

What I Reckon: Being Single In Your 30’s.

Being single in your 30’s is shit. Let’s be real here for thirty seconds. You’re at that age where everybody expects you to settle down and get married and have children. And you are confronted with two realities…

  1. You don’t want to get married and have kids because you are perfectly happy on your own and couldn’t care less. (In which case you are going to cop it from all of your friends and family about what is wrong with you because God forbid you want to be on your own, and God forbid you wanting a life without those ankle biting, life sucking midget’s they call children).
  2. You want to get married and have kids but you just can’t seem to find the right person to be with. (In which case you are still going to cop it from all of your friends and family about why you are still single, and why you can’t find a man and how your ovaries are going to shrivel up and die and you will be like Bridget Jones, alone, found dead 3 weeks after passing under a tub of Ben and Jerry’s you were cracking into on your death bed with your body half eaten by Alsatians).

Now while there is a possibility that I will reach the point where I decide option 1 is the way to go…. (give me a few more years of dealing with arseholes on the dating circuit and this will happen believe you me), I would like for this blog to mostly address point 2.

Hello dear friends and family,

I know you are all well and married with kids of your own and have been that way since you were in your early 20’s. The rest of us however are left to suffer with the ridiculousness that society has dealt us.

Dating today happens through online websites and Tinder. Great. Swipe right, meet up, shag, go home with a probable STI. On to the next. Never get called back.

Go out on an actual date with a person. But don’t stress, he has 7 other dates this week and while he is trying to figure out if he can get the super hot boring girl in the sack he isn’t messaging you for a month and ooop! There it is, the message 6 weeks later that says ‘you were not my first choice but since I have exhausted all other options I thought better looking or funnier than you I figured I would be kind enough to message you now’.

And then there is the guy that loves a massive challenge. And so you provide one. But as soon as you take that next step, bam, he is outta there faster than The Flash and on to the next challenge cause why would you want to revisit the destination you have already been when there are a whole world of destinations (vaginas) out there to explore?

And so we rinse, lather, repeat.

In this world of instant gratification that we live in people expect that they will have Hollywood butterflies all the time, every time and if they don’t, oh well, it’s over. People don’t want to work at their relationships. A friend of mine said to me the other day ‘he said this and that isn’t respecting me or my feelings. I asked her how many times in our 17 year old friendship I have said shit that has disrespected her feelings and we’ve managed to yell at each other and get on with it. ‘Fuck loads’ she says. I am like ‘well why is this any different? It is about how your partner behaves after you call them out on something that upsets you and whether they then try and avoid it’. New relationship teething period. But people give up, freak out. Too hard basket, move on. People are too afraid of investing any part of themselves into anything anymore for fear of getting hurt, fear of making the wrong choices, fear of the thing that most people in the entire course of human history have spent their entire lives endeavouring to find.

And yet here we are. 30. With limited choices. A bunch of scared bratty, ungrateful morons hanging about until the next shag because heaven help us if we actually have to feel anything more than guilt, confusion or a slight amount of disappointment at the end of the day. We are a product of technology, society and too much choice. And we are also our own downfall. Until we decide to make some hard choices, we will never find what we are looking for. And even worse, when you are ready to make those hard choices, you then have to find someone that you have that romantic spark with that is also at a point where they are also willing to make those sacrifices and hard choices. Very few people are. And so back to the drawing board we go.

What I do know is this. I am not afraid to be alone if this dismal fucking dating scene cannot offer me anything more than a cheap weekend ride that won’t call me back later in the week. I don’t want games. I don’t want a disrespectful arsehole. I don’t want someone who is only going to message me once a month to see how I am going because their other shags on the go are busy. I don’t want someone who cannot consider my feelings and my time and treat me as a person they adore.  I am not afraid to instead go and invest my time into my friends who will be with me through my whole life and support me through whatever I need because those are my people. It is these people that will stick by me through thick and thin. And if I can’t find these qualities in a romantic partner then there is always the Rabbit and Duracell and the odd Tinder right swipe to keep me occupied.

 

 

 

What I Reckon: Housemates

I moved out of home when I was 18 and into the Halls of Residence at Monash University. Since this time I have lived in so many different places with all myriads of people. I have had some incredible housemates and then I have had some absolute doozies. So here we go. The worst of what I have seen in shared housing. (I will remove backpacker hostels from this equation because I would be writing, literally, forever).

Sprayers

I will start with the most recent. After coming back from Australia, I walked into my current house to find new housemates. “Oh hi, isn’t it nice someone told me about this’. Anyway, my first morning of getting up to go to work and I roll into the bathroom and not only are there a few drops of piss on the seat. But it is like the guy was dancing and not even holding it. There was piss everywhere.  All over the seat. All over the floor. All over the wall. I was so disgusted I decided I would rather go to the toilet with the junkies of Turnpike Lane down the road at the station than clean up that so I left a nasty note and hoped it would disappear before I returned. It did. Thankfully. I mean, who the fuck in any world thinks that this is acceptable.

Since then I have also discovered he doesn’t just like to spray his urine. He also likes to spray watermelon all over the benches and up the cupboard doors. His cleaner wife clearly hasn’t taught him hygiene.

Noise makers

Last night at 11pm my housemate decided that it would be an appropriate time to vacuum. So I got mad and knocked the door down to tell her to shut up. I’ve also had to do the same with other yelling housemates at 11pm while I have been trying to sleep as they have been having screaming matches with each other (don’t live with couples). Add to this the trance music at 3am from the high, and we have ourselves a trifecta. Respect people. Between the hours of 9am and 10pm, shut the fuck up and let people sleep!

Feeders

Once upon a time I lived with a guy whose girlfriend was always there. I mean always. She never left the room and he would wait on her. And when the 6 foot something active man cooked a pizza, he would eat half himself and feed the other half to his sedentary five foot something girlfriend. Over time she got huge. And over time the room they were in started to smell for the lack of moving and cleaning. One day, back before the days of wireless, my other housemate and I had to paper rock scissors to see who was going into his room to find the internet cord under piles of shit and I lost. I donned the gas mask I used to wear at the smelter because I just couldn’t handle the stench and a giant pair of dishwashing gloves for good measure.

Bacteria Lovers

There was share  house I used to live in that had 2 psychos. I will address the first here. I got to the point where I started cooking everything I cooked in the oven because the arsehole couldn’t figure out how to work it. It was one of those ones you had to light at the back with a lighter. Anyway, he would come home, peel onions all over the bench and not clean it up. Eat his tandoori chicken and then leave it on the bench overnight…. I repeat, leave it on the bench overnight!!! Chicken!! And then EAT IT for breakfast the next morning. And I wondered why the toilet always looked like someone’s digestive system wasn’t working properly. I also in this house had to resort to wearing shoes in the toilet and the shower because of the piss on the floor and the general lack of cleanliness in the shower. The guy who owned the place got a cleaner in to clean the house. She refused for a conventional fee and charged more because she said it was some of the worst she’d ever seen.

Psychos

So the other housemate was friendly enough. But his wife lived back in India. So upon the discovery of him having friends at university to study with that are women, she started sending ‘stay the fuck away from my husband messages’ . Great….

Druggos

Out of my bedroom window at 3am I could often hear the sound of spray cans as my artiste extraordinaire housemate made his new pieces. Not often being a fan of smoking joints outside in the cold, he would get back to his fifteen year old roots and smoke out of his bedroom window. Which is great when the fire alarms in the whole entire house go off at 3am on multiple occasions when you need to go to work. Grand. He used to lose his phone all the time, didn’t know how to use an implement of cleaning, rode a bicycle for transport everywhere and took all of his food from outside of the EAT store every night. Oh and if he did cook anything he would leave in in the pot on the bench for the next week. Didn’t these people’s parents teach them anything???

Landlords

NEVER, EVER live with your fucking landlord. The one I have currently is a slimeball. After taking 2 months to remove the mold from my room, and 6 weeks to fix the broken oven because he ‘just has no money this month’ but just bought himself a new motorbike, threats to go to the counsel were made. “Oh no, not the counsel!! Oh look I have money now to fix things! Surprise!” He also engaged other such activities as cutting the cord off the dryer when he left for the summer because ‘its summer’ and 6 people living in one house in England where it rains all the time don’t need a dryer in summer. He is also a fan of removing people from the electoral roll illegally and getting into screaming matches with people. Most of the time he is screaming with other tenants but this one special morning at 5am we woke up to a woman half his age that he’d bought home after a night out screaming at him to get the fuck off her and leave her alone. Oh and when I told him I was leaving with four months in advance, he told me it wasn’t convenient for him and asked for me to kindly move out when it suited him. I, less kindly, refused. Not my problem.

Thieves

There is nothing worse than coming home to find your milk gone. Or something else you wanted to eat, gone. Because your housemate has just decided to help themselves. When on res, my friends kept getting their food stolen. So one day I am in the kitchen and they are cooking up a mean curry and loading it with laxatives to teach the damn thief a lesson. I dare say they will shit themselves even looking at another curry. I have also threatened to put laxatives in my chocolate milk because that would also get thieved.

Naked models

My friend lived with 2 models. She used to complain about them all the time because it seems that they also couldn’t pick up after themselves, were fond of stealing and smoked loads of drugs in the house. They also had an aversion to taking keys out when out on the town. They would come home at stupid o’clock and knock until someone got up to let them in. However, one of their redeeming qualities, in my eyes anyway, was that they liked to shower with the door open so everyone could see them naked. Cheers boys.

Anyways, if you have any horror stories, feel free to share below!Otherwise, peace out!

What I Reckon: Bullfighting in Spain

Last year when I visited Spain I found myself in Seville at a special time of year for the locals. I found myself there during the bullfighting time. Many people told me this is a vulgar and awful practice. Many of the locals defended it saying that it is not a disgusting thing and that there is a lot of respect for the animal and that it isn’t cruel. Not being one to back down from things that are confronting, I weighed up whether I should or shouldn’t and decided that an informed decision was better than an uninformed decision and that I wanted to go and experience it for myself and make up my own mind.

Admitting this to people was a rather difficult thing. Some of my friends abused me for doing it because they felt I was supporting maltreatment of animals, others were not really understanding of why it is that I would want to go there to begin with. But as they say, when in Rome, and so I went. With reservation, but I went.

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The parading at the beginning before the fighting begins

I found myself sitting in the ring next to a couple of people that spoke enough English to be able to explain some of the things that were going on to me. Between this and the information that I learned from the museums I visited up until that point I could figure out what was going on.

I could imagine that the whole affair resembled a similar scene to that of the Roman Gladiators. There was a lot of pomp and circumstance with brass bands playing loud music and horses parading around. Each matador gets to fight 2 bulls each over the space of the evening. There are generally 3 matadors per bullfight.

So the bull enters the ring. The matador waves the cape and assesses the bull for aggression. After that they get the guys on the horse to come out and they lance the bull in the neck while the bull locks its horns into the side of the horse. For the first bullfight I ever watched, the bull actually knocked the horse over and the bullfighters assistants had to go in and distract the bull to get the horse safely up.

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2 of the horses in the initial proceedings

After they have checked out the bull with the horses, the matador’s assistants go in to face the bull. They have these pom pom like sticks that are decorated in streamer type material with sharp ends on them called banderillas. The aim of these is to weaken the muscles around the bulls neck and to agitate it. After they have had a go sticking about four rounds of these things into the bulls neck, in which the bull is now bleeding enough to see, the final stage begins.

The matador enters the ring to face the bull alone with his cape and a sword. He hides the sword under the cape and uses the cape to assess how the bull is moving and the kinds of passes the bull makes. After a few passes, the matador drives the sword into the neck of the bull. If done correctly, the bull will usually sit down within the space of 30 seconds and the matador’s helpers will come out and sever the spinal cord so that the animal doesn’t suffer anymore.

The first bull I watched was excruciating. The matador missed where he was supposed to put the sword. It took three passes and three swords through the neck for the bull to go down and it made me cringe every time. This part of bullfighting is most awful. The thing that I did find utmost heartbreaking though was the utter confusion of the bull in the ring for the ten minutes it is there to fight for its death. Sometimes the bulls look around and don’t want to fight. Sometimes they are so confused about what is happening you can actually read the confusion on their faces. Sometimes they get angry and they just charge and charge and charge. Despite making the decision to go here, I cannot say that I really enjoyed it. However I did now feel that I could make an educated opinion on what I felt about bullfighting. And my decision was that it is in many ways barbaric and cruel. At the same time I cannot say that it is any better in abattoirs where they slaughter animals for food. The entire thing left a bad taste in my mouth.

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The matador with cape and sword preparing to kill the bull

One thing I will say is that despite killing them, the matadors seem to have a great love for the animals. Despite meeting a horrid death, these animals are kept in really good environments with good standards while they are alive. They are well cared for. And their deaths also do not go in vain. Every bull gets sent to the butcher and used for meat. Many of the restaurants in Seville have bull meat on the menu during the bullfighting season. In this sense I have respect for the process. However I don’t think I will be going again. I just don’t think I could stomach any more of it and call it entertainment. Best leave me to a chick flick or something less morbid. But if the movie boys could wear pants like those of the matadors, that would be great. Their butts look hot in those things!

 

I Don’t Know Who I Am Anymore

It’s not my usual style. But at the same time I felt the need to share. Especially for those who also don’t have a clue who they are right now either.

The truth is, I am too tired to even know who I am anymore. The only thing I seem to enjoy in this world right now is sleep because I am so damn deprived of it. And even when I manage to get loads of sleep, I still feel like I am roaming around like a part of the zombie apocalypse that modern society is creating with its “work ethic”. I get up tired. I go to work tired. I deal with children all day who have behavioural issues and many of whom don’t want to learn. I sit through meetings asking us to do more. I get given more work and then I go home. Once I get home I am too tired to cook dinner so in goes the microwave dinner discounted from Sainsburys. I then sit like a vegetable, take in some semblance of a story line from Law and Order, churn out some more work, then attempt to sleep while my brain still stirs with stressful thoughts about work. After 6 or so shitty hours of tossing and turning and dreaming about stressful crap,  the whole thing resets itself and on goes the Groundhog Day. I get to the weekend and all I dream about is sleep to try and catch up on what I have missed.  The truth is a weekend is never enough. And if I do go out and try to socialise I feel even more exhausted for trying to have a normal life. I took some time to go home and rest and was confronted with a whole lot of things that weren’t great and quite emotionally confronting. It didn’t allow me to get the rest that I needed. I came back feeling numb and unable to process any of the feelings I had about anything.

And with that, I decided that something has to change. When all you do is the daily grind and you are too tired to even remember what you like anymore let alone do any of the things that you like then your life isn’t about you, it becomes about feeding into the system. A system that I always said was not as important as my quality of life. And yet somehow I find myself swallowed so deeply in this system that I am not entirely sure how to get out. It makes me question how society teaches us our value as a person and how to foster our self worth. Because everyone trying to make a buck on this earth will have you believe it is proportional to how hard you work for them. Which is a load of shit.

I know right now I am not the only person on the planet that feels this kind of exhaustion from being abused in a system that doesn’t love you and doesn’t want to help you. I have to remind myself constantly that nobody’s gravestone ever said “was awesome at their job and spent loads of time working”.  In the end of life people value who you were to others and whether you were a kind and good person. It’s hard to be these incredible things to others when you have no time for yourself. It is hard to be amazing and kind when you’ve given so much of yourself to your work that you have nothing left for yourself let alone others. It is hard to remember how to be excited and how to feel anything when all you feel is tired.

And with that I made my decision.  I quit. I gave my notice, I booked my bus to leave. Then I booked a flight to the place I dream of. And so I plan to go and find myself. To remember who I am. Remember what I like. Remember how to go and have fun. Remember how to be loved fiercely. Things I barely remember right now, but know deep down that these things are so very important. Because this life is short. And I choose to live it. For myself, and for those that can’t anymore. I’m taking back life.