Blogs are like Tequila. They should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Monday, July 29, 2013


I've been reading up on a fairly intellectual topic today (just while I wait for Kung Fu Panda 2 to download) called 'semantic change', which is the process of words changing definition over time. 'Semantic change’ in itself is such an awesomely dramatic term that it makes me think of the Grand Canyon forming (seismic change?) or glaciers moving (Atlantic change?) or Jewish money (Semitic change? JOKING, geddit?). Semantic change is when a word's meaning develops over time into something completely different from the original meaning, which I think is incredibly cool. One that I've been told many times is that  ‘cute’ was originally defined as ‘ugly but interesting’ (there's actually no evidence from my lethargic Google search of that one being true, but who cares? It’s funny...). Some of the original definitions are really surprising:

Awful – Inspiring wonder, full of awe... awe-full.
Nice – Silly or foolish.
Gay – Pre-1960's, it meant happy or bright and showy. Post-1960's, it means homosexual. Basically the same, but more sequins (thanks to my friend Pip for that brilliant explanation!).
Bully – An affectionate term, like ‘darling’. I imagine this one changed in the same way us Aussies are slowly interchanging the use of the word ‘mate’ – “Look, back off, MATE” – with the c-bomb – “Good to see you, c**t!”.

And so on. There are heaps of them. And now that I think about it, I can actually see semantic shifts during my existence. I got called 'wicked’ by Nan when I was five and sneakily cut my fringe with her scissors, and yet 5 minutes ago I just sent a text that said “Wicked!!! Awesome!! I’ll meet you there at 7!” (probably an overenthusiastic text on my behalf, but it is in reference to meeting a friend later for a parmy. I love parmies.) I remember absolutely pissing myself laughing when Mum once told me that when she was a schoolgirl, they used to use the word ‘bad’ in the same way we use the word ‘wicked’. As in, “Oooh, look at that skirt! That’s baaaad.”. For some reason, I find that totally hilarious. But then there are some words that I used in my school years that I am already finding equally as hilarious – i.e. “off-tap”, “the bomb” “phat” and so on. (I don’t think I ever realistically pulled off a single use of these bad-ass words, but that never stopped me.)

Words evolve for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that people are simply mistaken on how the word should be used. I am not some kind of language Nazi (though I am a spelling Nazi - there is no fucking ‘a’ in definitely, alright??) who corrects everyone's grammar during conversation. If a word is being regularly misused, then it is heading for seismic change, and like I said, I think it is incredibly cool (cool! Seismic change example! Ta-da!) that words evolve over time. But – and finally, here is my point - there is one word that I am watching evolve, and it’s kind of starting to annoy me.


I don’t know how it started, but the use of the term ‘awkward’ became very popular. I use it quite often. Because it is the only word that perfectly describes a moment that is uncomfortably... awkward. No other word does it better. But I’ve noticed among the young generation (and unlike some older generations who love to blame the next one for all the world's problems, I don’t have any problem with Gen Z – they were born surfing the net and holding smartphones, and probably know a shit tonne more about politics than I do) there is an epidemic of ‘awkward’ being misused. “That awkward moment when you realise you missed your alarm”. That’s not awkward. That sucks, and you’re gonna be late, and maybe you need to get a louder alarm tone to avoid this mess again... but it’s not awkward. “That awkward moment when the Doctor tells you you've got the 'flu”. That’s not awkward. It would be awkward if you had just told the doctor you got it from making out with your sibling. But the mere fact that you have it is not awkward.

The 'inconceivable' Inigo Montoya sorting shit out.

So, kids, let’s sort this one out. This is the plainest meaning. Awkward is when a moment is so extremely uncomfortable, you feel kind of sick. Well, at least I do. No one can really tell when I'm feeling awkward, because I will just talk and talk and compensate with extra giggles until the moment has passed. But on the inside, I am feeling sick from awkwardness. And it doesn’t have to be some big dramatic bombshell moment either (such as telling a doctor you’ve made out with your sibling*). An awkward moment is more likely to occur in an average conversation that has momentarily stalled. The most awkward moment I have ever witnessed happened earlier this year, and I wish that all of Gen Z was there so they could understand the true meaning of the word 'awkward'.

I was working at a café - living the dream, clearly - and it was very empty. One woman sat at a table waiting for her friend, and once she arrived, they made the usual fuss that us awesome lady types do when we haven’t seen a friend in a long while. They sat down, swapped a few super smiley “What have you been up to?”’s and “How is work?”’s and they caught up on each others lives for three minutes and then.... nothing. Long silence. One of them said, “ We have so much to catch up on!” and the other said “I know..... soooo much to catch up on”. And then... still nothing. Longer silence. First lady repeated “sooo much....... to catch up on............”. Silence. “Yep.... soooooo much...................”. And then they gave up and stared out the window.


It was also unhelpful that I got the awkward-sickness giggles and kept covering it with loud coughs...

So although Gen Z say lots of funny intelligent things on Facebook and are actually a bunch of little smarties (who I’m sucking up to now because they will be successfully running the world from their smartphones reallllly soon), they're getting this one wrong**. And despite the fact that semantic change is cool, let’s all work together to try and preserve the real meaning of the excellent word ‘awkward’ and what it is really referring to – two women sitting in a cafe, with abso-bloody-lutely NOTHING to talk about.

*Despite the fact that I mentioned making out with a sibling twice, I swear it’s never happened. To me, at least. And if it has happened to you... awkward.

**They also randomly get the use of that random word 'random' wrong too. Which is totally so random.

By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on Twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She's probably watching Kung Fu Panda 2.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Just The Wrong Amount Of Cool.

Recently, when a nice hipster girl heard me ask a stupidly lame question about how a record player needle works, she asked me with surprise “Do you not own a record player?”, as though it was a more essential thing to own than two functioning lungs. My initial response was “Fuck off, do you own two cans tied together with a piece of string? No, you have an iPhone”, but that was much too rude to say to a nice hipster girl who asked me an innocent question. So instead we discussed how cool record players are (which I know they are, despite the fact that I don’t own one, because they make a unique, inimitable sound that you don’t get with modern technology. As does a string-can phone...) and I wished very much that I had one, and even more that I WAS a nice hipster girl who knew that a record player is just something one should have, and not my daggy self who still owns a Discman with anti-skip function and heaps of tapes but no tape player. And once again I was forced to grudgingly acknowledge the glaring truth, as I have had to so many times over the past two and a half decades.

I am, and always have been, just the wrong amount of cool.

You see, this is how it works:

Cool People – Those who are always in the right fashion, at the right bars, with the right technology (or old ironic versions of it), listening to music so up-to-date that they are Facebook-ing about a song on Spotify before the artist has even written it. If you don’t understand that sentence, you can’t be in this group.

Uncool People – Those who have no idea what ‘Spotify’, ‘Snapchat’, ‘Espresso Martini’ or ‘Fashionably Late’ mean. And generally have no idea/concern for what is considered cool. But not in an ironic I’m-too-hip-to-care-because-I’m-so-effortlessly-cool way. In a lame I-genuinely-don’t-know-because-I’m-busy-with-World-of-Warcraft-and-soup way.  

Me – A fairly good recognition of what is cool, but consistently unable to pull it off.

And just to complicate shit further, today’s cool kids have thrown a spanner in the works by suddenly making all this traditionally uncool stuff cool, like knitting and chess and regrowth. So now, some lucky folk are so naturally uncool that they come full circle and are suddenly considered cool, because of their impressive knowledge of 1980’s video games and range of argyle socks. I call them the ‘Accidentally Cool People’. And then there are the ones who work too hard to be cool, and their hysterical obsession of current trends negates the all-important effortlessness of being cool. They are known as ‘Try-Hards’ (think of the dude from ‘Pretty Fly For A White Guy’). From all my run-ins with nice hipster girls, I have finally understood that I am (along with many other people, surely) somewhere between all of the categories. I don’t care enough to be a Try-Hard, I don’t know enough MarioKart cheats to be Accidentally Cool. I am just the wrong amount of cool, because I’m definitely not cool enough to be considered Cool, but I fluke it just often enough to be cooler than Uncool. Get it?

Nerds Vs Hipsters: Cool People blurring the lines but still excluding me.

The thing is, I've never really been good at trends. No, actually, that’s a lie. I’m good at trends, I’m just really bad at timing. I’m either a few years too early, or a few years too late. I was shopping at Salvos when I was 12, because I was buying singlets to make me look like the cool kids in Roxy and Stussy clothes, but I was saving my hard-earned pocket money for my rock collection. For real. Though I prefer the term ‘Precious Gem Collection’ (which a decade later is still worth zero dollars, despite all my purchases at National Geographic and childhood hours spent trawling the beach). Shopping at Salvos* is now cool, and for all I know so is rock-collecting (again, PGC sounds cooler). But they sure as hell weren't cool when I was doing it in secret.

I remember about 7 years ago dressing in all my baggiest clothes with slouchy boots and putting all my hair on one side, and thinking emphatically ‘Wow, I look cool’. And I walked out of my room, and my housemate said ‘Wow, you look... cool’. The same thought that I had had, but it was clear by her pause that she meant ‘Wow, you look.... weird’. She was right, I did look weird, because ‘over-sizing’ wasn't around yet – a current fashion that means skinny girls wear baggy jumpers and jeans with big loose bangles and look heartbreakingly cool (and even skinnier). Turned out I was bit early on this fashion, which you think would’ve got me a bit of street cred... but it only got me weird looks from my housemate. (In her defense, I did look fucking weird!)

Years before the maxi skirt came in style, I bought and wore a floor length skirt until someone told me I looked like Ol’ Mother Hubbard. That’s because the only floor length skirt I could find in shops was a maroon number with a gathering of material at the back that resembled a bustle. Although the maxi skirt is now in (Is it? At least it has been in the last few years at some point), I can’t imagine my disastrous early version of it is. But I still have it just in case. I also beat the boat and got left to drown with onesies. I remember a discussion with my awesome dance teacher about a decade ago about how much we secretly wished someone made onesies for adults. Because it was not a concept that existed, I had the grand idea of lying on a piece of folded polar fleece, asking my sister to draw around me, and then I’d cut and sew the two halves together to make a fabulous for-my-eyes-only onesie. My sister kindly pointed out to me - as I lay on the material, starfished and ready to be outlined - that my garment would be fairly uncomfortable and I wouldn’t have the room to lift my arms or sit down properly. Ten years later, I still don’t own one, but not because I can’t find one in stores.... because they are so damn popular that I can’t afford one.

I’ve used the few examples I have of being ahead of the times, in the hope that it is making me sound like some kind of accidental fashion icon (If you are thinking that, I like you especially. But I guarantee you that all above cases left me looking like a massive dweeb instead of an unappreciated legend). So for the sake of balance, I will give you the less flattering examples of me missing the point like a blunt pencil.

  • I have just started drinking coffee, so that I can order a skinny latte like the cool kids always have. Except just as I am jumping up on this bandwagon, it has driven off and started ordering pots of green tea.
  • For an embarrassingly long time, I thought it was the ‘Hot Red Chili Peppers’... and I still occasionally get it wrong.
  • Up until this year, I had MySpace.
  • I bought The Sims Livin’ Large last year, 13 years late.
  • I try to take cool, hippy, old-fashioned photos of leaves and raindrops, but they are always out of focus (How and why is this generation of Cool People so fucking good at photography?! I use Instagram too, but I always look like a posing phony rather than a bohemian flower-power love-child of the world...).
  • I had my first ever Pho on Monday. Apparently, Pho has been 'in' for two years.
  • When I’m in a situation where I have to use my own iPod to play DJ (like on a roadtrip), I always choose the same playlist from a mixed CD that was given to me by someone with cool taste... because all I have on my iPod is Michael Buble and hits of the 90s. (It works until someone asks ‘who sings this?’ ...and I change the subject.)
  • I used to think that smiling showing all of my teeth was really flattering. ALL of my teeth.
  • I faint when I get overexcited.
  • On more than one occasion, I have been trying to pose leaning on a bar like a sexy cool girl, and my Nanna tissue** has fallen out of my bra.
  • I’d still kind of like to get a Pandora bracelet.
  • Or maybe a Nomination bracelet.
 And apparently, most damagingly...

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to keep track of whether crocheting is now cool or sad, if elbow patches make me a dork or a stylist, if that hat means that guy is hipster or homeless, and whether I should have modern technology or a phone with Snake and an aerial. I just don’t know. But you can bet your sweet bottom dollar, I’m going to be here, in my floor-length skirt with my Nanna tissue showing, jumping towards the bandwagon, and missing it by a record-player needle.

Ol’ Mother Hubbard, over and out.

*More on this touchy subject of op-shopping another time – mainly, screw you hipsters for making it too trendy for me to be able to afford it anymore.

**Nanna tissue – a tissue kept tucked inside the top of my bra on a daily basis for emergencies. Cool emergencies only, of course...

By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on Twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She's probably at Salvo's.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I F*cking Love Television.

Some people don’t watch much TV, which is fine. If they are nice about it. But more than once, I’ve had to bite the hell out of my tongue when ‘Oh, I don’t watch television’ comes with a condescending little smile. Or even more shockingly, ‘I don’t own a television’. As Joey from Friends once put it perfectly (as he did so many things, sigh)... “You don’t own a television? What’s all your furniture pointed at?”.

But you know what, you smug-faced, self-impressed, patronising tool? I don’t mind that you think I’m an idiot for just comparing your legal case at work to one that was once on Boston Legal, because I’m going to come right out and say it. I didn’t say it to your face at the right moment, because I was busy obeying your belittling little smile and feeling exactly how you wanted me to feel - like a square-eyed, uneducated dickhead whose legal knowledge is limited to only that of Denny Cranes’ pearls of wisdom. But now is my chance to be out and proud, so here goes.

I fucking love television.

Television has been a wonderful parent to me. Unnecessary, indeed, as I have two wonderful parents already. But nonetheless, it has guided me, educated me, entertained me, embraced me and consoled me like a rectangular parental figure. From the small square grey box with the fishbowl screen we had when I was a kid watching Widget, to the heavy brown set with retro built-in legs and an inability to show the colour red (so the patients on Chicago Hope had a particularly awesome queasy green tinge), to our current fancy flat-screen with USB capabilities and a warm goodnight hug (just kidding. I don’t hug my television... ahem...). The television has always been the beloved fifth family member, growing and evolving with us and always demanding we spend quality time together.

Thanks to television, I am abundant in qualifications. It may not be on my résumé, but I am actually a highly qualified surgeon. I could do an emergency tracheotomy with my eyes shut, thanks to Grey’s Anatomy. Except of course, I call it a ‘trach’, because there is no time to be using the full term when you’re in the ER. Speaking of which, ER also contributed to my medical training. I know what a Hemopneumothorax is and how to fix it. You just stab a tube into the intercostal space and drain the pleural*.  I didn’t even have to look that up – I KNOW IT WELL. And I also know that repeated myocolonic jerks can mean a blocked brain ventricle. Cheers, House. You may be a grumpy bugger, but you gave me a degree in Diagnostic Medicine. Dr ‘McDreamy’ Shepherd, hottest brain surgeon in Seattle, has the same fearless approach to surgery as I do – ‘inoperable’ is just a word. He and I can carve any damaged brain into a masterpiece.

Speaking of carving like a master, I am the best chef in town. Thanks to Masterchef, My Kitchen Rules, Ready Steady Cook, and a million other culinary classics that television has brought me. I know how to make a mulit-coloured Croquembouche, and cook dinner for sixty people in three hours using only the ingredients I could grab from an industrial fridge in thirty seconds. I’m sure it will come in handy, and why do I have such faith? Because television taught it to me.

My supreme experience in finding a new angle to advertise health-damaging products. Mad Men. My ability to summarise a legal argument into a ball-busting, uplifting closing statement. Boston Legal. My skill at extracting accidental confessions of defaming truth from secretly evil interviewee subjects. Newsroom. My recipe for cooking crystal meth**. Breaking Bad. I can blind-date, renovate, mediate, epilate, meditate, investigate, and lose weight. Television has taught me more valuable lessons than my entire teenagehood of private school education. Okay, that’s not strictly true – school taught me a lot. But if I took the same hours I spent staring into space during Yr 11 Chemistry lessons, and replaced them with episodes of The Big Bang Theory... I’d probably be a ground-breaking scientist by now.

My favourite, most life-affirming moment of television appreciation was last year on a Contiki tour.  As our tour guide talked to us about the incredible history of Washington DC, we all interjected our impressive collective knowledge of the memorials, the Presidents, the Constitution, ‘Amendments To Be’...  a solid and informed (and sometimes musical) history of America, garnered entirely from episodes of The Simpsons. And then when we got to the Lincoln memorial, and our tour guide pointed out the Gettysburg address, I realised that I could cite the first four lines from memory, thanks to Channel Nine and their regular showing of Kindergarten Cop. In fact, my knowledge of American History was right up there with that of the tour guides’. Thanks to The West Wing, The Simpsons, and a square-eyed childhood.

The Simpsons - Educating children since 1989.

So, douchebag who gives me a pitied smile for being able to quote every episode of Friends ever made (which means I will never have to Google triskaidekaphobia, the capital of Colombia, or the Mastodon from the Pliocene Epic)  - just because I watch a lot of TV, it doesn't mean I don’t love reading, because I adore it. Just because I watch a lot of TV, it doesn't mean I’m a dim-witted dunce, because I’m not. I just fucking love television. TV has made me laugh with Ab Fab and Cheers, made me cry with Grey’s and Toddlers & Tiaras, taught me how to be smart, how to be sexy, how to be rich, how to...

I gotta go. The Block is on.

* Relax, my Med friends, I will not do this. Not without my Attendings’ supervision and permission from the Chief – I wouldn’t want to get in trouble.

** Relax, cops, I will also not do this. Not without Jesse Pinkman.

By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on Twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She's probably watching Scrubs.