Monday, April 30, 2012

Fashion and our heroes du jour

I hate buying clothes. There, I said it.

(Ladies who are into fashion, read no further. Save yourself the pain. This is not a post for you).
I find clothes shopping, frankly, traumatic. So when I heard that today marks the start of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week I was filled with a combination of loathing and lack of interest. I’m sure that if I was a size 8, attractive 30 year old I’d feel a bit differently. But I was never that person.

I like to look nice, don’t get me wrong. I think you can really boost your confidence if you feel you look good. Nice clothes are nice to have. And sometimes a touch of retail therapy is good for the soul. But I don't have the cash to splash on a whole new wardrobe every year just because some fashion designer reckons I should.
I don’t think the definition of nice should change each year. This is what fashion does – through commercially-motivated peer pressure it tells us that we need to follow something. To buy more clothes each year to stay with the trend. To spend money.

Can someone please tell me when being an apple of two sticks will be a trend?

Most fashions don’t suit me. Or if they might, they’re only made in impossibly small sizes. It’s true that every now and then someone recommends a clothing line or shop and I weaken in the (usually naive) hope that they’re right and something in there will be one of the timeless pieces I ache for. (One notable example of when this went spectacularly well is when my gorgeous friend LGS recommended the equally gorgeous Te Kiero Boutique in Melbourne. This isn’t a sponsored post – I just love the clothes this lady is importing. Most of the clothes for my age group have something  timeless – even vintage - about their design. Thank you Teresa. You're not a slave to fashion, despite working in the industry. Great work.)

Why do the rules about what looks good change, just because the numbers in the date tick over? Fashion is a sneaky ruse to get you to part with your hard earned cash. Get the hot new look for 2013/summer/winter/spring/autumn/Monday/this second.

I keep a look out for timeless items that I can mix and match, and wear while working. And not have to iron. Oh god, the humanity. No ironing please.

I applaud the piece today in The Hoopla by Rachel Ward on older women and timeless style versus fashion. (Sorry Rachel, not with you on the cosmetic surgery though). Why do so many retailers only push clothes for the young? Thanks to scarcity these pieces are costly so I don’t have many. The rest of the time I’m a slob. I don’t deny it. Cheap t-shirts and jeans, that’s me. A hoodie. No makeup.

So when a large company like Mercedes-Benz gets together with a bunch of retailers to tell me that I should change my look to keep up with all the other women out there, forgive me if I don’t jump up, grab my purse and rush out the door.

Fashion is a first world construct designed to line the pockets of greedy retailers. And don’t get me started on “fashion designers” as our heroes du jour. Fashion designers? Really?

Are you excited about fashion week? If so, why? (And why didn't you heed my warning at the start of the post?!!) 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Honesty, warty frogs and blogging angry

There’s been a lot of buzz in the blogosphere lately about honesty. A few weeks ago I was told by my beautiful friend RedundantMother that I appeared so experienced and published. I hadn’t claimed to be either, and flattering as her comment was, I started to worry.

The fearless Eden Riley blogged about the cost of honesty in her fabulous post here - She talks about honesty in blogging being like putting your best china out there… and risking someone coming along and smashing it.

A few weeks ago my partner, R, suggested I write about how people on the internet produce their “Dinner Party Persona” to the world via Facebook, Twitter and blogging. He feels people aren’t honest about who they are. They only show the good stuff. The stuff that makes them look like mature, concerned, worldly-wise activists/political theorists/insert preferred ist here. Not the tantrums, bad hair days, grumpy arguments, shitty attitudes, and CBF days. They don’t expose themselves, warts and all.

At this point I need to point out that on my Facebook page (the personal one, not the professional one) I AM CONSTANTLY SHOWING THE WORLD MY WARTS. Figuratively speaking. I often whinge and whine on Twitter too. Fess up; you know there are times when my whining is annoying. That’s OK.

People have told me that they keep that stuff off the internet (maybe they don’t have that stuff to start with) as it’s “unprofessional”. That people don’t want to hear about it. That’s not what Facebook etc. are for.

To that I say; bog off. I blather on to express what I need to express. Don’t like it? Unfriend me, or hide my feed. Everyone uses social networking tools for their own reasons and in their own way. You don’t get to tell me how I’m allowed to use mine. Thankyouverymuch.

So, on to blogging. As bloggers, we’re in a quandary, especially if we have professional lives. WHAT IF A CLIENT SEES MY BLOG?! What if they happen across a Facebook comment that shows I’m a human being?! THE WORLD WILL END.

Or not.

I gather that I have a blgging persona. One that doesn’t match my real persona. Or only my Dinner Party Persona. I’m not sure why that is. What am I hiding? Why does R care whether the two things match? I suspect because he feels a bit ripped off that he has to put up with the warts and all version and you readers don’t. I don’t blame him. He has to put up with the warty version of this blogging frog.

So just in case anyone is wondering about the real me, here I am.

I’m almost 44, overweight, my hair is grey. I have chronic health issues that I keep meaning to work on. I drink too much. I have a 7 year old who takes up most of my energy. I hate housework so avoid it. Wherever possible. I hate loud noise. I regularly lose my sense of humour. I get defensive over stupid things that don’t matter. I usually define my self-worth based on the opinions of others. I’m insecure, and sometimes lonely. I have anxiety disorder and have had depression in the past. I’m often angry and irritable.

I’m not a super-experienced writer. I’ve been doing it on and off for 20 years but always dabbling, never putting in the required effort and focus to really call myself a writer. I have trouble dedicating myself to a single idea, for long enough to really do it justice. I’m also lazy.

Most days I feel decidedly UNSPECIAL.

I write because I feel compelled to. Don’t make the mistake of assuming it’s because I reckon I’m fabulous at it.

On days when I’ve felt particularly unspecial I haven’t blogged. I haven’t wanted to blog angry.

I’ve probably missed some smaller pieces of crockery here and there, but that’s most of my china. None of it is particularly precious, so smash away.

Here’s my commitment to you – from now on I won’t self-censor my blog (beyond making sure it make sense and is readable).

I’ll make extra effort to be honest. On days when I feel unspecial, I’ll write regardless.

And Microsoft Word, I don’t care that unspecial is not a word. Add to Dictionary, arsehole.

Have you risked your china lately?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Did you know... the Welsh word for bin?

This is the start of a new blog series, in which I talk about things I know - or things you might like to know.

I'm calling it "Did you know..."

I should be calling it "Blog posts for when I don't really have anything to say".

So to kick this stellar blog series off...

Did you know...

... that the word "BIN" in Welsh means, well, bin?

I didn't. I lived in a Welsh speaking area of North Wales (hello darling Harlech) when I first left Australia. I was adopted by a beautiful Welsh family (cyfarchion Mev, Benji, Beth, Dafydd) who are fluent Welsh speakers. They kindly and patiently explained to everyone we met that I am Australian, and don't speak Welsh. I tried to pick up Welsh phrases here and there and was very excited when I got to use Welsh correctly. I was always asking for translations. I was a big pain.

The gorgeous Mev worked as the projectionist at the Harlech cinema. (Yes I'm using cinema in its loosest term). Harlech is a tiny village, perched on a cliff overlooking a fantastic, pristine white beach surrounded by dunes covered in gorse. Except where it's covered by depressing golf course. It's had to become a specialist in multi-use. The cinema is also the theatre and so on.

Here was the view from my front door - that's Harlech Castle. (Yes a castle... how excited was I?!)

I saw Cats and Dogs there (remember, Dafydd?). Just before the movie started, I looked around. The cinema was empty. Mev's teenage son Daf and I were the only ones there. Daf had been a real trooper, helping me with Welsh to English translations and being SUPER PATIENT. I was always asking him pesky questions about the meaning of road signs, street signs, shop signs...

So when I saw a sign near the exit that said BIN I naturally asked.

"Daf, does BIN mean EXIT in Welsh?"

He looked at me.

"No. BIN means BIN."

Of course it does. The sign was above (quelle surprise) THE BIN.

Boy did I feel dumb.

Although not as dumb as I felt when I saw a placard by the side of the road and asked where Bouncy Castle was.

Hey there are a lot of castles in Wales, OK? I could see one from my front door.

I'll leave you with some more signs from Wales.

Yes you can only have that traditional Sunday lunch on Sundays. Spoil sports.
Got to love the thoughtful way they put their threatening car park clamping sign over the sign saying what they actually do. Noice customer service folks.

Beware, deer narrowing ahead.
Beware, human giving birth to a deer ahead? Ew. Ewe?
Hwyl x

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Food choices, Ghandi and why I can't kill things

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” – Gandhi”
In February I made an ethical choice about the food I eat. I became a vegetarian.
I’d been thinking about it for around six months. Every time I chowed down on a piece of animal my mouth went mmmm but my stomach churned. My brain did flips trying to reconcile my opinions on ethical treatment of animals and my love of eating them. Yes, I love the taste of animals. I love the myriad options for designing meals around animals.
The signs have been there since I was a kid. I can’t kill things (except for the most dangerous spiders – and cockroaches, but that’s another story). I rescue spiders, moths, and silverfish and pop them outside. I don’t kill snails. If I had a suitable house, I’d have a menagerie of rescued animals. We regularly pop down to the RSPCA to visit and give some love to the cats up for adoption (and I fight the urge to bring back 5 or 6 of them).
I’ve always had trouble eating food that looks like it was once alive. I hate touching raw dead animal flesh. As a family we’d moved to eating free range and/or organic dead animal flesh whenever possible.
In February I finally asked myself – if I love animals so much, why do I eat them?
And if I can't kill things, why am I OK for other people to kill things on my behalf?
Right now I’m an aspiring vegetarian, because I don’t always win the battle between mmmm and the churning stomach. At this point I’m around 95% vegetarian. I make no excuses; it’s a work in progress.
You know, it’s hard to be a vegetarian when you LOVE the taste of dead animal flesh.
When I’m tempted to fang an animal, I think about where it came from. What that animal went through, from being raised, to transport, to slaughter, to my plate. That usually inspires me to reach for a mushroom or two instead.
Do you know what your food has suffered? Most people have no idea, and I don’t blame them, because it doesn’t bear thinking about. All that yucky stuff is done by someone else. Animals reared in tiny areas, forced to eat grain laced with chemicals, shoved into cramped trucks and then dragged up to slaughter. These animals can hear, see and smell their fellow animals being killed. They go to their deaths terrified, bred, raised and tortured for their value as “livestock”. See? We don’t even talk about our food as if it was ever an animal. “Meat” itself is a euphemism. Meat is dead animal flesh. Why not call it that? Because it makes us feel more comfortable, to separate our food from the animal that once use that piece of “meat” to walk, run, breath, live.
I’m not going to link here to the countless harrowing videos proving how our animals are treated leading up to them becoming our food. Do that yourself, if you care to. On the animal rights activist spectrum, I’m on the moderate side. People need to come to their own decisions about their food choices. Which brings me to the reaction I get when I tell people I am an aspiring vegetarian.
Laughter. Why? Oh have you thought about your health? What about your iron levels? What about vegetables, don’t they feel pain too?
Why do people feel the need to critique my choice? If I’d said I don’t eat Brussels sprouts nobody would question or challenge me. I don’t judge you for eating dead animal flesh – stop judging me for not eating dead animal flesh. It’s my business, thanks, not yours. I only tell people about it when it’s necessary; at barbecues for example. Well I guess the cruelty-free cat is out of the bag now, eh?!
That said if you’re interested in educating yourself and others about food choices, there are lots of groups out there with information and opportunities to take action. If we can encourage people to make ethical choices about their food, and pressure governments to back these choices, it’s a step in the right direction.
Today, (Sunday 15 April) in Sydney, Ban Live Export is hosting a rally at 1pm on the steps of the Sydney Town Hall. This horrific live export “trade” involves animals being transported alive in obscenely cramped conditions to be slaughtered overseas in equally dubious conditions. Many, many die on the way, after intolerable suffering. I urge you to help us end Australia’s involvement in this barbaric practice:
I wish I could attend. Instead, I bought a t-shirt and am wearing it today:

Coming up this week is the Victorian Farmers’ Federation Annual Conference and AGM in Bendigo. So on 19 and 20 April a group of concerned animal lovers are protesting cruelty to animals including the meat, dairy and egg farming industries.
Premier Ted Baillieu will be there. I’m so disappointed that I can’t be there, to see Ted.
To walk up, shake his hand and then tell him exactly what I think of his government.
I wish I could be there to add my voice to the chorus to stop animal cruelty.
Details of the protest are:
Thursday, April 19, 11am - 1.30pm and Friday, April 20, 10am - 12pm at the All Seasons Motor Inn, 171 McIvor Highway, Bendigo.
If you can go, please yell a rude word at Ted Baillieu for me. I’ll leave the word choice to you (I know I can trust you to pick a doozy or two).
In the meantime, I continue to count each day I don’t eat dead animal flesh as a win for both myself and animals.
Have you thought about your food choices lately?

Friday, April 13, 2012

THREE FREAKIN SECONDS... or how I was upstaged by a Bongo calf.

This morning, I got up late, and booked my son and I in to see the 12.45am session of Pirates – Band of Misfits. I also planned a quiet afternoon of blogging, spending time with The Child, having fish and chips, maybe some wine. Sleep. A simple, slow day with no work commitments before The Child goes back to school on Monday.
The morning went as planned. We bummed around the house for a while then headed out nice and early as I was planning to visit Sussan on the recommendation of a couple of blogger friends (you know who you are!)
Alas, the cape will have to wait.
While driving to Chadstone my phone went, then I heard the burbling of several texts arriving.
I stopped eventually in the Chaddy car park and checked my phone.
Text and phone message from the PR guy: Can you do a phone interview this evening with Ross Greenwood on in-person customer service versus the internet?
Me: Sure!
Text from client: Before you do interview, call me. Business apparel.
Me: Why? It’s radio...
I’ve done a HUGE amount of radio work. I’m a MASSIVE RADIO TALENT.
OK, I’ve done two interviews with a community radio station in Sydney. So I wasn’t too thrown – go see movie, come home, prep, go on radio, get fish and chips, drink wine, and go to bed. Easy. And I knew from my vast experience that my apparel had minimal impact on how the interview would go. (Just as well, since at least one of those interviews was done in my pjs).
Text from PR guy: It’s definitely to camera, and now they need it by 3pm.
Me: Oh… (heart falls through chest cavity, dodges a kidney or two, a large loop of bowel, a femoral artery and enters shoe).
3PM?! I glanced at my reflection in the rear vision mirror of the good ol’ family Camry and nearly cried. It looked like a seagull had pooped down the middle of my head, and I was in desperate need of a cut. I looked at the clock and did some quick maths.

So what do I do? Go home? Disappoint the child? We’d just arrived at Chadstone. I’d paid for the cinema tickets. Gah!
I drove home, handed child to my wonderfully flexible and kind partner so he could take him to movies, rang producer who confirmed they could get a camera crew to my house at 2pm.
Wonderful, I lied through gritted teeth and litres of sweat.
Called Larry from D’Alton Hairdressing on Burwood Highway. TV interview. Grey roots. Unruly mess. Deadline 2pm. Help!
He told me to come down straight away.
Thank you Larry, you worked through your lunch break making me more presentable. I felt so special when he and his assistant were both working on my hair AT THE SAME TIME. TV star, quipped Larry, in a hurry. Funny man.
While I was washed, coloured and cut I was shitting myself. This is me, half way through the colour:

This is me, 45 minutes before the camera dude was due, running down the street trying to get home STAT. Still shitting myself (and trying to take a self-portrait while running down the street. Yes that slight smile is ironic).

This is me, 19 minutes before the camera dude was due to arrive. Shitting myself in my condom dress, and lipstick. Sans seagull poop strip.

The camera dude arrived and was lovely. Thank you John, from Nine News Melbourne, you are a doll. I explained that our house was suffering from end of school holidays chaos so shooting inside was out of the question. So he set up on the street at the front of my house. He rang Ross Greenwood and we did the interview.
I was still shitting myself, while I was trying to hear him on the phone, ignore cars driving by, my cat’s meowing, trying to look and sound knowledgeable and erudite. Jonesy decided to pop over to see what we were up to. I was thinking, that’d be right, my damn cat will upstage me.
As it happened, I reckon a Bongo calf upstaged me. It definitely got way more airtime.
If you saw the clip, hope you didn’t blink or you’ll have missed it. As is common with this kind of thing, a day turned upside down, $125 worth of haircut and colour, a ten minute interview and a lot of angst… 

… became a three second sound bite. It hasn’t been uploaded to the Nine News website yet. I’ll update this post if it gets there.
A story on a Bongo calf got more airtime than me. Did it go to the trouble of getting its hair done? Agonise over an outfit? Know what it takes to delight a customer? 

I don’t think so.
From this day forth, that effing Bongo calf is my nemesis. I don't care how cute it is.
Typical, that’s me, upstaged by an antelope named after a sweet potato.
This was not what I’d planned to do today.
Did your Friday turn out the way you expected?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Kermie, the kid and the Mentos experiment...

It's my son's 7th birthday today, so I put Kermie in a coffin - I mean wrapped him - last night.

Who knew it could be so hard to wrap a friggin' frog?!
Today we were up nice and early to open prezzies. The frog was a big hit (thanks Granny and Grandpa!)

A soft fluffy robe, some books, a tornado Bey Blade, and some parental masochism:

Merle Parish, we made your cake again. Here's the before-icing version.

Then we went to see The Lorax in 3D. I cried, I laughed a little, I totally get the allegory. Great movie.
Then we came home and threw diet cola all over our neighbour's driveway.
Me setting up the experiment

You can see the spout starting. Yes, you guessed it, the diet cola/Mentos experiment.

It doesn't look that great here, as the camera missed the major spout. The wind picked it up and threw it at our neighbour's driveway (the spout, not the camera). Oops. Sorry Brian, the wind was a bit strong! The badly drawn red line shows how high it got.
And now, the iced cake (and a cheeky face).

Thankfully the purple in the icing came out quite delicate. The orange and green swirls however are a bit bright. Sorry Merle. He asked for orange and green cake, with purple icing. Merle, you may want to look away round about now...

Tonight we're off to dinner at the restaurant of his choice. Thankfully, it's a real restaurant and not the Golden Arches of Death, or Kemically F!cked Chicken.
His gymnastics party is in two weeks. The whole class was invited. Send help (or at least catering and alcohol).

What did you do this Easter Monday?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

ADHD and other acronyms...

My son has ADHD. Or maybe High Functioning Autism. Or maybe he's just him.

This Easter has been challenging. His behaviour has been pushing me to my limits. So I thought it might do me some good to revisit something I wrote for another blog I tried to start but gave up on.

If you share your life with a child that has different needs, read on. You'll probably recognise yourself and I hope you can gain a bit of comfort from knowing you're not alone. Ever.

When The Child (TC) started school, he hadn't been exposed to a lot of kinder (pre-school) so we knew it would an interesting time. His experience in kinder was OK, although his carers had mentioned that he didn't seem to understand directions at all. He was already developing coping mechanisms, such as waiting to see what other kids did and copying them, rather than listening and following verbal instructions. Clever boy.

His confidence was terribly low, he hated even attempting new tasks and had regular meltdowns about them. He hated trying to learn his alphabet, or going anywhere near writing. I was concerned, but not worried.

So Prep year began. Along comes his first report.

TC is a quiet child in class.

I'm sorry, which child is this? Not mine? Did his report get mixed up with someone else's? He's many things but quiet isn't one of them. In fact, I'll be blogging very soon about just how much of an UN-QUIET CHILD he is.

We met his teacher and she mentioned concerns about his ability to take direction, to finish tasks, his confidence, his reading and writing, relating to other children, and so on. How interesting none of this ended up in ANY of his reports for the year. He was just "quiet in class".

Lesson No 1.1 - school reports are total bullshit. Don't believe anything they say.

Some internet research later and my partner (R) and I wondered whether TC had auditory processing issues. His behaviour fitted and he also fitted a probable clinical background for it - a child who had impaired hearing during language development (deafness due to glue ear). Off we went to a centre that assesses these things.

The assessment centre assessed him, did loads of tests on him, and generally enjoyed the $550 it cost us. When we met up for the feedback session, we got a bit of a shock.

Nope, no auditory processing issues. Perfecto in that department.

Oh, really?

Yes, but it looks like he has ADHD (Combined Type).

Oh, really? (Quiet weeping from me).

So here's a plan for how we'd like to treat him (feel free to mortgage your house again now to pay for it all).

Lesson No 1.2 - get a referral to a paediatrician before going to anyone else.

We were unimpressed by the response from the psychologist at the centre and even more unimpressed with the report. Unimpressed with a diagnosis given by someone who makes a shedload of money out of treating people with learning issues. Why had we not gone to a paediatrician first? Because we had no clue that was the process. I'm betting this isn't unusual. Off we went to the GP for a referral.

The paediatrician is an angel. She is totally wonderful. She confirmed the diagnosis.


ADHD with a few autism spectrum behaviours on the side. Could have been worse. Could have had comorbid conditions. Ewww. Comorbidity is a terrible term and always makes me think of death. Actually they're just co-existing conditions that relate to each other. In the case of ADHD, it might be Dyslexia, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Conduct Disorder (CD)... you're getting the acronym idea now, right?

TC has ADHD Combined Type - so that's Attention Deficit Disorder, Hyperactivity Disorder (both together). This means that, compared to other children his age, he cannot concentrate, cannot sit still, cannot take instruction, constantly interrupts, cannot control impulses, has uncontrollable rages , talks constantly, cannot stand loud noises, must touch everything around him, forgets and loses everything, has hyper-focused periods, and so on.

At least now we know why as parents, this job seems harder for us that for others. I keep remembering snippets that now make sense.

Wow, he's the Energizer Bunny, isn't he?!

TC was about two and a half. Yes, he IS the Energizer Bunny.

Gosh, he's quite full on, isn't he?!

Ha! Yes.

Here's one thing I've learned in the last year and a half. When people stop, stare and point at you while your child bashes the crap out of you at SeaWorld...

Lesson No 1.3 - you are neither a crap parent, nor alone.

So then came Grade 1. We were dreading a new year. TC kept telling us how much he hated school. I told him not to peak too soon and wait till he’s 13 or 14 to get his hate on.

And then we were blessed with the most awesome teacher in the world, who we’ll refer to as Saint Mary. Saint Mary turned him around completely WITHIN THREE WEEKS. Saint Mary somehow got TC into Reading Recovery.

Holy crap my child can read!

Lesson No 1.4 – communicate with your child’s teacher at every opportunity and give them a chance to do right by your child.

Saint Mary got him talking in front of the class so well that he’s now a star example of how to do it. It was about time we managed to find a way to use his constant talking for good rather than evil.

We received THAT call: “Your child has been touching other children inappropriately.” I panicked and had a “shit my child is a sex offender” ten seconds or so.

Then I realised I know my son – he would have thought touching up another kid was HILARIOUS. Like a bum or poo joke in 3D. Thankfully that hasn't happened again.

Thanks to the gropeage we were asked to take TC to a shrink. More money... and now this expert disagrees with our paediatrician, and has diagnosed him with High Functioning Autism with a side salad of ADHD.

One good thing the shrink visit did - we found out that his IQ is normal. TC’s been told he’s not allowed to call himself stupid anymore, the doctor said so. Ha!

Lesson No 1.5 – don’t assume your ADHD kid is dumb just because they can’t perform tasks the same way as other kids.

By some miracle (and the grace of Saint Mary) TC completed Grade 1 almost on par with his peers. Big frigging sigh of relief. He's in Grade 2 now and has another good teacher so far. Phew.
This is the short version of life with a child with ADHD. It's really just the start of the journey. I hope it gives some hope to other parents of kids with different needs. It never gets easy but it often gets better.

One last thought – Jamie Oliver, amazing chef and TV personality, was in special needs programs at school and has ADHD. Awesome, huh?!

Ask me about my Attention Deficit Disorder. Or pie or my cat or a dog. I have a bike. Do you like TV? I saw a rock. Hi.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Dungeon, anyone?

Here is the latest in my "Yes, this is a real photo" series...

Last year I was working in an idyllic little town in New Zealand called Napier. It's nestled in Hawke's Bay, a stunning wine-and-outdoor-pursuits area on the East coast of the North Island.

The town centre is two minutes from the beach. There are some beautiful hills nearby. The town has a fascinating history, having been destroyed by an earthquake in 1931 and subsequently re-built in Art Deco style. A huge part of the land Napier now stands on was under water before 1931.

Those of you who are interested can read more here,_New_Zealand.

Some happy snaps for you to enjoy.

See? Idyllic.


I had a lovely, lovely time there - so lovely that I wish I could move there.

Well I did until I came across this large sign, on the door of a large building in the city centre.


So many questions. Why did you build a dungeon?

Why are you not using it all the time, that you can rent it out?

Couldn't quite find the time in between working at the bank, looking after the kids and playing golf to be Drago the Dungeon Master full time?

Is Madame Lash of Napier running short of cash?

And WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND would want to rent a used dungeon? Ew. Brand new dungeons only thanks. No second-hand-off-the-shelf manky dungeons for me. Bespoke creations only - Grand Dungeon Designs are holding for me on line two as we speak...

OK back to reality. Seriously. WTF?

You know, I should have guessed Napier was more than it seemed when I saw some of the shop names. King of Swords... the possibly related Headstone World... and my personal favourite... Florist Gump.

I wish I had the guts to phone Drago the Dungeon Renter and ask him/her those questions.

Maybe you're brave enough.

If you are, and you do, can you let me know what they said?