Tag Archives: What I reckon

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!

 

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What I Reckon: About Being On A Diet

*WARNING – Prepare for somewhat rant…..*

A while ago I decided that I was sick of being at the size I was at and that it was time to do something about it. Seven years ago, I was boxing, tiny and felt great about my body. After a glorious bout of pneumonia which cut me out of exercise for a year and then a nice long stint in the bread basket of Canada where everywhere you look is a processed food, I finally found myself in the position to be able to do something about the weight. And so after 3 months of boxing and getting into a decent fitness routine, I started on the Atkins diet (because my body retains water when I even look at a carb). I lost the weight, then under the stress of work and more travel, it happened again and I ballooned. So back on the bandwagon I go. To make myself do it, I booked a cheap Groupon photoshoot for fun.

One of the biggest challenges I have found to weight loss is not even the strictness that is required to stay away from the carbs. I got to that point now where I was 3 weeks in I don’t crave or want them anymore. My biggest challenge to dieting is other people’s attitudes. It is a sad thing to say but for most people, the biggest challenge that they will face is lack of support from other people. I used to have this all the time when I was living at home with Mum and Dad because they didn’t want to eat what I was cooking and I wasn’t being considerate of others. I now cop it from work colleagues who seem to correlate levels of fun with the amount of alcohol you consume. One colleague even finds pleasure in putting carbs under my nose on a daily basis and I want to punch him, not because I want his bread roll (the thought of which now makes me want to puke) but because he is being such an unsupportive turd. Fun also seems to be correlated with excess consumption of not so healthy food also. If you refuse to consume you are then ‘antisocial’.

And so I pose this question… While everybody says that they are happy for you when you lose weight, are they actually? Or are they annoyed that they themselves do not have the strength and willpower to go out and do what they want so they find comfort in bringing you down to see you fail.  And more so, is this not a reflection of society in general and the need to cut down the tall poppy instead of embracing and encouraging the strengths that we have. I see it on a daily basis in the school system with the smart kids getting bullied or attacked for ‘enjoying science’. You will see it in the media with every celebrity attacking each other through Twitter about the clothes they wear or the things they say and do. It makes me angry. And what makes me even more angry is that people tell me that I must be angry because I need a carb. The truth is, it makes me angry that we cannot as people support the positive decisions that others make in their lives because we fear that it somehow makes us inferior or less of a person if we are then not making these same positive decisions.

Truth be told, I don’t want to progress up the chain of command at work. I don’t find the trade off of the title for the extra stress beneficial for me as a person. But I will support those who do because I can appreciate the work and dedication it takes to step up. I don’t want to be an Olympic boxer. But I will support and appreciate those I meet with the natural ability and hardcore work ethic that want to go all the way. Hell, I will support people in whatever positive decisions they want to make in their life. Because it is their life. And whatever makes them happy is whatever makes them happy. Majority of people will support these ventures… but weight loss? Why is this such a different thing for people to come to grips with and support. Why is there such a peer pressure to drink more and eat more rubbish over the peer pressure to avoid clogging your arteries, live longer and be healthy? Is it because we feel less bad ourselves about trashing our bodies if there are others engaging in the activity too? And then somehow we can vilify our behaviour knowing that it is because others do it we can too, guilt free. Therefore anyone who chooses not to engage is labelled a ‘loser’, ‘downer’, ‘spoil sport’ or ‘boring’ and hopefully it will push these people back into the hole of conforming to peer pressure so that everyone can feel good about themselves? So many questions. I don’t know the answers. But what I do know is this….

Please, if you are reading this and you have a friend that is trying to lose weight, please be a good human and support the positive changes they are making in their life. Support the fact that they don’t want to die and early death due to heart attack or obesity. Support the fact that what they are doing is hard. Even if you don’t agree with it. Even if you feel that it imposes on your social life and the things you can do with them. Even if you feel inferior because you think you can’t. Support it. Change your attitude about the idea of ‘fun’ to not include copious drinking and broaden your horizons to include something new. Who knows, you might find something new that you enjoy and feel better about yourself in the process.

And to those on the journey of dropping the pounds, congratulations for making a change! I am with you all the way and we can do this with or without the support of others because we are strong enough and courageous enough to make change on our own. We deserve this. And so we will have it!

What I Reckon: 10 Types of Inconsiderate Hostellers

Now I  am not entirely sure whether this extends from my genetic predisposition to have zero patience for morons (thanks Dad!) or whether I am just getting way too old for this shit,  but the people I am meeting in hostels of late are doing my goddamn head in. And there are particular categories of offenders that I can throw out there that are up there with the worst. Here are 10 kinds of people that shit me.

The 6am packers

In what fucking world did you grow up in where it is OK to turn the light on while 8 other people are still sleeping at 5 or 6am so you can screw about packing all your junk into a bag because you have an early flight. Here’s an idea! Pack the night before so you don’t need to wake everybody up and piss everybody off while you are trying to fit everything in your bag. Nuff said.

The 2am shaggers

I get that you’re drunk. I get that you’re horny. But hostel bathrooms are there for a reason. Not just for showering and doing your hair. Be a gem and disappear now because I am pretty sure that most people don’t want to be subjected to your too loud moaning or your bed rocking. Especially the bed rocking. This also applies to masturbation. One time in  El Salvador I woke up with a shocking hangover and thought I was in the middle of an earthquake. After 2 minutes I thought to myself “hold on a minute?? They don’t usually go this long” then got up to go puke only to discover the moron in the bunk above me was jacking himself watching porn….. hello! Anyone can walk in at any moment and I am right there!!! Have some dignity! Shake that shit elsewhere.

The food stealers

There is nothing worse than coming home a) hungry b) drunk c) hungover d) broke or e) all of the above to find that some arsehole has decided to take it upon themselves to steal whatever lovely snack you had set aside for yourself in the fridge all and eat it all for themselves. In a land where few of us actually have a lot of money, this is the lowest of lows. God help you if I ever catch you because my hangry self will probably krav maga your arse back to the supermarket to buy me another dinner you tight arse lazy fucker.

The plastic bag rustlers

There is nothing more grating in this world than the sound of a million rustling plastic bags while you are trying to sleep. Now I am all for plastic bags because they are useful. But fifty million of them!?! All on the go between 11pm and 7am. Are you fucking kidding me. Control yourselves. Organise your shit. Stop being a disturber of the peace.

The loud fuckers

There is jovial.  And then there is just too fucking loud. Two days ago whilst lying in bed with a sinus headache I was subjected to a fucking hyena laughing her head off in the bedroom at 8am whilst drinking her tea in bed. You know what?! Nobody cares to listen to you talk shit at this time of day and laugh about it. Who the hell is this fucking happy in the morning anyway? Maybe if you’d have done us all a favour and shared whatever drugs you were on I may not have had such an issue with your ear piercing ridiculousness. Better yet, just take it outside.

The ‘Wayyy too drunks’

Now we have all been here at some point in our travels. Even I will admit to being somewhat of a menace at 5am coming home to find an equally drunk fucker in my bed, getting disoriented and trying to figure out if I was in the right room and then having a cry about Goldilocks being in my bed and the pizza all being gone (granted, the guy was blonde. And the pizza was my tasty snack left by my sober self on my bed in foil for my drunk self. He managed to throw it on the floor and the cats had gotten into it.  You can understand why I was upset here….) anyway… I am getting off point (always good in a rant). The point is, we will allow for this on some occasions. What is at all times completely unacceptable are the following. 1. Puking on people, beds, or on people’s luggage.  2. Same goes for urination. 3. Climbing into bed with strangers. I had to wake up to a guy doing this. I shoved him out on the floor. Serves you right shithead. 4. Doing this every night of the week when you are the only person in your room doing it. If you are going to be a menace in a quiet hostel, book into the party hostel down the road. Don’t be an arsehole.

The complainers

I don’t know if you noticed. But I’m enjoying myself right now.  I’m having a great time. If you are not, remove yourself from people who don’t really care how shit your day or your life is. I’ve just met you. I don’t care.

The comparers

If everything at home is more awesome than it is here, why the hell are you here? Either shush, enjoy yourself and the new experiences or stay at home. Same goes for food. I don’t care if they don’t have a tofu burger with fries in Vietnam. Eat a goddamn noodle for fucks sake and enjoy it.

The ‘I know everything’s’

There’s being helpful, then there’s being a fucking know it all. Nobody likes a know it all. Even if you’ve been to a million countries and the rest, you don’t need to weigh your expert opinion in on every single conversation had in the hostel. Stop trying so hard and actually listen for a change and maybe you’ll learn something new. Like the fact that you don’t actually know everything and that other people have interesting things to say too.

The unwanted sexual advancers

Here’s a novel concept. We’ve just met and that means your hand should not be attached to my arse. Or my waist.  Or any other part of me. And I don’t give a shit if you don’t understand my language. No is pretty easy to understand. As is me removing your hands from me and glaring at you like you’re a fuckwit. Get the hint.  Not interested.

Anyway, I think that is my rant just about covered. But if you have anymore that you would like to add, please sign them up in the comments box below. Peace out!

 

What I Reckon…. About Selfies

A couple of months ago while I was roaming around the streets of Sofia, I met a young English couple and we got chatting. Somehow we managed to get onto the topic of his mum constantly being on the soapbox about something. Add to this another conversation about words that people hate. Many women hate the word ‘moist’. I personally hate the word ‘flannel’. My Canadian ex-boyfriend hated the word ‘reckon’. No matter how much I hounded him about saying it, he just wouldn’t.

So from here the English couple and I started throwing around the word ‘reckon’. It was agreed that the words ‘I reckon’ are usually proceeded by a massive rant, in agreeability to the statement of another, or is usually proceeded by a dumb activity and the phrase ‘hold my beer’. We decided that this should become the foundation of a blog post and here it is. The first ever ‘What I Reckon’.

The first thing I want to get on my soapbox about is selfies. I absolutely LOATHE selfies with the fire of a thousand suns. While I can appreciate that there is the odd occasion where one might take a photo of oneself to say ‘I was there’ or ‘this was a special occasion’ to family, friends or not yet thought of grandchildren, there is absolutely no need to take a million photos of yourself and post them to the internet.

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Classic Duck Face

I sat behind a girl on the bus who was dolled up to the nines and took about 25 selfies before she chose one to put on Instagram. ‘Hey guys! Look at me! I’m on a fucking bus! How cool am I???’

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Aren’t I Sexy? Face

I was also warned by the hostel worker in Croatia about taking selfies on the boardwalks at Plitvice Lakes. A person died there falling off the edge of a waterfall being a dumb arse trying to take a selfie. Fact. More people have died this year from selfies than from shark attacks. Most of these people are doing dumb shit trying to look cool for the people of social media. “Hey, I am on the roof of a train! And whoops, I just got electrocuted!” or “Check me out on the edge of a cliff! And oops, I just went over the edge of it!” or “Don’t I look cool posing with this loaded gun! Oh I just shot myself or my friend in the head with it! Oops!” Wouldn’t it be nice if people actually stopped to think about safety first instead of how cool they will look on Facebook.

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“Like, I am so excited!’ Face

While I was at Plitvice, I came down the hill and saw a massive line. Thinking to myself ‘this cannot be the boat queue, I haven’t walked 5km yet’, I asked about it. The woman couldn’t tell me what the queue was for, so I started pushing in along the side. Turns out the queue was for selfies. And there they are, hundreds of people lined up trying to get a million pictures of themselves on their selfie sticks. Here is a novel idea. JUST TAKE ONE and then move the fuck along.

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“I am being silly because I am bored and have nothing else to do” Face

Arseholes everywhere are harassing you about buying their selfie sticks. I personally relate to that Cyanide and Happiness cartoon where the guy stabs the other guy with his own selfie stick. This is how much I hate selfies and selfie sticks.

from http://imgur.com/gallery/ffbbcrj
from http://imgur.com/gallery/ffbbcrj

Other selfie related loathing comes from boys. No I DO NOT want to take a selfie of myself or my tits and send it to you. I HAVE BETTER SHIT TO DO WITH MY TIME. That and I don’t need to be putting that shit out there to the world. I have seen what happens here. Ask all the celebs who’s t and a wind up stolen off of iCloud. I loved it when I had a smashed front camera on my phone. Couldn’t even selfie if I tried and what a great excuse! Stop pestering me about sending you a selfie. I look the same as the last time you saw me and if you want to look at my glorious face, find a picture of me doing something cool on Facebook. Because I am not sending you a picture of my tits.

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Boys, this is the only picture of ‘my boobs’ you are going to get!

And of course to all of you out there who have nothing better to do with your time than take a million photos of yourself, GET ANOTHER HOBBY. I once taught a 14 year old who told me she had amassed 10,000 selfies of herself. I told her the same thing. I am pretty sure everyone knows what you look like by now. Stop jamming up my newsfeed with your face.

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Sullen Face

Anyway, like I said before, time and place. I am not saying that you shouldn’t take any photos of yourself. What I am saying is take one or two, put the lens away and enjoy the moment you are in. Enjoy actually living in the real world. Because in the real world, nobody cares about what the fuck you look like this hour. You look the same as you did ten minutes ago. In fact, wouldn’t it be nice if we could actually celebrate the minds of people and the intelligent thought processes they have instead of how well their eyebrows are groomed. I am getting quite fed up of all of the selfie bullshit. Might be time to move to a village where people don’t have phones.