The Real Hollywood Diet

Are you feeling sluggish and pudgy? Do you have a deep, vague distrust of most diet and exercise regimes? Do you spend unhealthy amounts of time sprawled on the couch watching movies?

Never fear! Your days of feeling like Jabba the Hut are over.

Simply follow these handy tips from your favourite iconic blockbuster films, and you’ll be feeling svelte and slinky in no time!

In the words of the mysterious old man in ‘The Gremlins’, don’t feed after midnight. If you are cute and cuddly, and you eat after 12 AM, you will soon be unsightly and homicidal.


Instead of eating regular meals, consider compacting rubbish into a small cube and then depositing it in a warehouse. You too can achieve Wall-E’s enviable figure.

Nobody is less curvy than Wall-E!

Nobody is less curvy than Wall-E!

Instead of jogging on a treadmill, consider running away from explosions without turning around. This fun exercise tip from John McClane is sure to improve your running times.

A Good Day to Diet Hard

A Good Day to Diet Hard

Use your friends to help you lose weight. Simply invite them to participate in a grisly, televised fight to the death in an arena where the only berries you’ll find are definitely poisonous. Your friends are sure to thank you for it!

dont do it katniss

Diet pills! Take the red pill, leave the Matrix and eat nothing but nutritious grey gloop for the rest of your life. It also won’t be long before you magically know Kung Fu. Thank you, diet pills!

matrix red pill

And there you have it! Soon you’ll have that Hollywood movie body that you’ve always wanted.

Posted in Humour, Movies | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I smell trouble

I picked a seat on the train and sat down. Seconds later, I realised that this was a grave mistake.

Gradually, gradually, I began to get little whiffs of it.

Then I began to get big whiffs of it.

A smell.

‘Smell’ is too flattering a word for the thing assaulting my olfactory sensibilities. This was a stench.

I peered around suspiciously at my fellow commuters, who all seemed totally oblivious. Maybe they were just being a lot more mature than me about the whole thing. Or maybe, one of them was the culprit.

Keeping my eyes peeled for anyone dirty or furtive, I swivelled my head around a bit.

That look you give when you're trying to work out who did it.

That look you give when you’re trying to work out who did it.

Was it you, hoodie-clad youth with an itty bitty fleshie? Did our carriage stink because of you?

What about you, green-haired hipster, innocently reading a Penguin classic? An obvious attempt to cover up your guilt.

Was it you, overexcited toddler down the far end of the carriage? Based on media stereotypes, this does seem like something your kind would do.

Or were you all in on it – youth, hipster and infant? Were you all contributing to that otherworldly stench?

I attempted some mouth-breathing, and learned that the stench also had a taste.

I want to make something clear: I spent three months living in Phnom Penh, which quite often smells like garbage threw up garbage. Plus people eat durians over there. So you can be sure that this train smell was the kind of stink that punches you in the face and takes your lunch money.

I spent 55 minutes on the train with that stench. I probably deserve some kind of medal for this.

To my fellow commuter – I might not know who you are, but you sure do. Don’t think that nobody noticed, because I absolutely did, and I salute you. Up until that train ride, I had been pretty sure that you would have to be a dead thing or a sewer monster to make that kind of smell. But you proved me wrong. If you achieved nothing else yesterday, you created of the worst smell of all time.

And I bet, deep down, you’re a little bit proud.

Posted in Awkward, Humour | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Just Girly Thingz


A short list of girly things which I do about as successfully as someone’s dad.

  1. Walking in heels: I generally base my walk on my idol, Godzilla. When I wear heels at nice events, this tends to make people think I am on the rampage. Or that I have as much practice walking in heels as a prehistoric, Japanese lizard monster. They would be right.
  1. Using a straightener without starting a small fire. Can’t do it. Nope. On the bright side, I feel that this could be a useful skill when the zombie apocalypse comes.
  1. Giggling coquettishly: The following video simulation accurately portrays my best coquettish giggle.

  1. Plucking my eyebrows: I have never intentionally pulled a single hair from my eyebrows. I know what you’re thinking …


But actually, my eyebrows are blonde, and are therefore invisible to the naked eye. If they met in the middle and were plotting to conquer the rest of my face, you’d never know and neither would I.

  1. Doing my nails:

My adorable friend Alyssa has fingernails like works of art. She will paint an intricate snowflake design on each finger and it invariably looks fantastic.

I, on the other hand, am the sort of person who would lovingly paint an intricate snowflake design on a couple of fingernails, get bored, tell myself I’ll finish later, go eat something while the varnish is still wet, smudge the varnish, and not clean it off my nails again because I accidentally bought four chocolate bars instead of nail polish remover.

We’ve all been there, right?

But I am at peace with my eyebrows and my fingernails. And there are many other girly things which I get exactly right.

There’s no one out there as bad at opening jars as me.

Or at borrowing other people’s clothes and never giving them back.

Maybe needlessly worrying about fulfilling every female stereotype isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Maybe I should find different life goals besides learning to grow darker eyebrows so I can then pluck them out again.

Although, as someone wise (me) once said: never trust an eyebrow.

I should probably ask a boy for his opinion, just to be sure.

Posted in Awkward, Friends, Humour | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Bribe Yo Self

Do you ever have to bribe yourself to do something?

Literally the only reason I went to one of my uni classes today was because there was a café nearby where I could get a decent hot chocolate on the way.

This morning I crawled out of bed at 7am to Skype my friend Inge, who lives in an inconvenient time zone. I like her a lot, but I have to say that the main reason I dragged myself out of bed in the end wasn’t so I could talk to her. It was because I remembered there was half a Cherry Ripe in the pantry downstairs.

Maybe you’re sensing a theme here.

Simply put, with a little leverage, I can turn my weakness (for chocolate) into personal triumphs (turning up for a boring class on a cold day, getting up at an ungodly hour).

Which is a flattering way of saying that I waft through life banking on the fact that my intense greed will generally overcome my ingrained laziness.

Honestly, I’m just a little ashamed that my main motivator in life is so clichéd. There must be a million fridge magnets and coffee mugs in the world emblazoned with messages about how great chocolate is.

Laugh, laugh, laugh,

Oh, the hilarity!

Why can’t my tastebuds be more original? Why don’t I wish for Wensleydale like Wallace from ‘Wallace and Gromit’? Or hunger after honey like Winne-the-Pooh? Why can’t I be more like Winnie-the-Pooh?

My idol.

My idol.

And actually, why can’t my tastebuds be healthier? I’d love it if the only way I could bear to get out of bed in the mornings is so that I could instantly satisfy my insatiable craving for kale.

The sad and ugly truth is that if you want me to do something – if you really, really want me to do it – you’d better have a chocolate bar ready to dangle under my nose. Or more likely, over it, since I prefer to spend as much time as possible lying down.

Posted in Food, Friends, Humour, Uni | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

The Risky Business of Smiling at Babies

The baby gawped at me and I nodded at it politely and looked away. When I glanced back, it was still staring at me at me like I was Lady Gaga, so I gave it a smile. My bottom lip cracked spectacularly and I realised that I hadn’t actually flashed anyone a grin yet that day.

To be fair, it was my dreaded morning commute.

To be even fairer, I am a student and my dreaded morning commute took place when most people in Melbourne were starting to get excited about lunch.

To prevent further lip splittage, I decided not to smile at anyone or anything for the rest of the day – no matter how adorable or hilarious. This lasted precisely from the time I finally broke eye contact with that gormless baby at the station, to about 30 minutes later when I realised The Beards were performing at uni.

This is possibly the greatest beard propaganda song ever to be written:

All that bearded hilarity did not do good things to my cracked lip. Please send me all the sympathy.

It’s not like I hadn’t already learned the hard way that smiling at babies is a risky business. Am I the only one who’s ever grinned at a baby or tried to play peekaboo with it, only to have it just stare at me like I’m wearing shoes on my hands. (Which, incidentally, I have done. If you know a better way to kill spiders, I’d like to hear it.)

Then there are those awkward times when you try to give a baby a high-five and it just leaves you hanging. A message to the babies: This is soul-destroying.

Of course, there are far worse things a baby can do when you annoy it with your friendship.

When I was in Sri Lanka, I went to a festival with some travel buddies. I don’t remember what it was called but I do remember that there were elephants and people doing interesting things with fire. A bunch of locals travelled to Kandy from rural areas, and we were stuck in this huge crowd.

That was when the baby saw us.

Its gummy little mouth was hanging open and it couldn’t stop staring. Forget fire and elephants. Obviously, we were a bigger deal than all that.

My Middle-Eastern friend smiled at it, and it smiled back at her angelically.

It swivelled round to gawp at me so I smiled at it too. Still staring at me, the little baby’s eyes bulged, its mouth quivered, and all of a sudden it started to howl and howl.

Its wails followed us down the street.


Luckily, the baby’s parents found this absolutely hilarious.

I would bet my chocolate stash that I was the first super pale white person that baby had ever seen. (Well, I would if I had the willpower to not immediately eat every speck of chocolate that ever comes my way).

The lesson we can all take away from this is that I make babies cry. And today, when I smiled at that other baby and ended up with a split in my lip the size of one of those festival elephants, the babies finally got their revenge.

Posted in Backpacking, Childhood, Friends, Humour, Sri Lanka, Travel, Uni | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment


This is how most of my conversations went in the early days of my travels in Asia:

‘Hello, lady, you want buy?’ The man brandished pairs of sunglasses at me. Or maybe that time it was a woman angling her basket of dead crickets so their little fried legs caught the light. Or an old man shoving an impressive hoard of gaudy, woven bracelets under my nose and nodding confidently.

And me, ‘Errrrm, not right now. Maybe later? Thanks though.’

The problem was that I have spent much of my life being one of life’s yes-men. (Or yes-people, if we’re being politically correct, which I generally am not.)

But if you spend all your time saying yes when in Asia, you will quickly spend all your money on cheap designer handbags, cheap paintings of pondering monks, and cheap local delicacies with too many legs. All for a generously inflated tourist price.

So like most travelers, I quickly went from being someone like this:

To being someone like this

And before too long, in my interactions with hawkers, I’d become a bit of a Leslie ‘Nope:

(I just really miss Parks and Rec okay?!)

It is kind of magic the way a polite but firmly delivered ‘no’ can halt vendors in their tracks. I lost count of the amount of times that I nooo-ed decisively, and watched street vendors turn their attention to another tourist, who said ‘No?’ rather than ‘No.’ You can bet your last riel that everyone will hear that question mark, and won’t leave you alone until it has suddenly turned into a whole lot of exclamation marks.

When yet another local offered me my choice of Malaysia’s finest diamonteed fedoras, I fantasised about responding with a string of four letter words.

But here is a profound epiphany which I definitely had and which I saw a bunch of other travelers have as well in Asia … ‘No’ is not a four letter word.

Posted in Backpacking, Humour, Language, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Reading over Shoulders

The sweet old lady in front of me had her sweet old nose buried in a book. She was totally absorbed. The ticket guy had to hover and clear his throat awkwardly to attract her attention. I, on the other hand, handed my ticket over with a flourish because when you are on the train for an hour, a good flourish can help a few more seconds to pass.

The other way to spend your time, if like me you were not smart enough to charge your iPod, is to read over the shoulder of the person in front of you. I craned my neck discretely, although I don’t think even a ‘Snakes on a Train’ scenario would have disturbed this old lady again. And this is what I read:

‘… rugged chest. She was only in her corset. Her heaving bosom …’

I felt my eyebrows run for cover up in my hairline. I don’t know what exactly I’d expected, but it hadn’t been this. It was like looking for a dollar you dropped and finding a solid gold penguin. I spent the rest of that train ride texting choice phrases like ‘his chiselled jawline’ and ‘the lava of their passion’ to a friend, who almost definitely had more important things to do. I’ve had worse train rides.


I have no words.

This was all a few years ago though. These days I’ve found that most people on my train chip away at that hour-long commute by playing whatever people are playing right now instead of Candy Crush, which I find even more boring to watch than it is to play. Flappy Pirate? WalrusVille? I just don’t know. I’m not down the kids I guess.

All of this means I’ve had to start bringing my own damn book. But I can be pretty sure that whatever I am doing, the person next to me will at some point quit playing Dragon Accountants and for a little while at least, have a cheeky snoop at what I’m reading.

The thing is, what I’m reading is not always the kind of thing that an incurable word-nerd such as myself should be reading. I like to think I have eclectic taste when it comes to books but the truth is that actually I don’t really have any taste at all. I’ll read ‘The Master and Margarita’ and ‘Fahrenheit 451’ and enjoy them, and then I’ll read ‘Warm Bodies’ and enjoy that too. I personally am more than happy for the world to see me reading ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (which might make me look like I HAVE some sense). But I’m pretty sure I’m not the only literary snob out there who might get a little irrationally embarrassed about reading trashy books in public.

... Yeah. The tagline says it all.

… Yeah. The tagline says it all.

Which brings me to my idea. A dustjacket of one of the world’s literary classics, which will fit around the cover of most post-apocalyptic YA fiction and generally any books where the cover features a swooning wench and a burly doctor (which you are reading for the plotlines of course).

Imagine the thoughts that will go through the head of the person sneakily checking out that dorky book you can’t seem to unglue yourself from:

‘There are a lot more teenage vampires in the book of Animal Farm than there were in the movie …’

Posted in Books, Humour | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment