Monday, December 29, 2014

Maz Reviews Being Hypnotized

It took me an inordinate amount of time to stop believing in magic. Unlike most children who find out that Santa and the Easter Bunny are not real and come over to the side of rationality and logic, I loitered on the side of the mystical for an extended period of time. And by “extended period of time” I mean that I was doing magic spells well into my 20s. I would collect rose petals and write incantations on blue lined paper and place them in envelopes in graveyards. I would stand in the dark in my bedroom on the Friday night of a full moon and glance over my shoulder hoping to see the reflection of my future husband standing behind me. I watched The Craft at least three times. I even spelt magick with a ‘k’ at the end. I was a total, full-blown witch guys! I even did a spell on Nick to make him like me when he didn’t seem that interested and would just sit and watch the cricket when we started going out. We’ve been married two years though, so no one can say for sure that that one was a bust.

I know this seems like an odd confession and recounting it makes it sound even more ridiculous than it was, but perhaps it goes some way to explaining why I consented to be hypnotized at work one morning. (I mean, it was probably 30% my search for the fantastical and 70% the possibility of a completely legitimate reason to take the morning off work.) Working at a television network means I receive strange all-staff emails most days of the week. These emails often include requests like “Does anyone have a bale of hay that we could use in a story?” “Is anyone allergic to bees and wanting to talk about it on the 6’o’clock news?” So it wasn’t that strange when the email went around asking “Is anyone interested in being hypnotized live on air today?” Of course I responded immediately with a hearty “Yes PLEASE!”

Five minutes later and I was in a conference room with six other diligent employees waiting to meet the famed Peter Powers (surely this isn’t his original name, but a thorough google refused to reveal anything other than this weird fansite). I had to admit I was a little nervous. I’d always wanted to know what it was like to be hypnotized. If it was really a thing, why weren’t hypnotists the rulers of the entire world? Why instead, did they mostly perform this wondrous feat on cruise ships and at RSLs in Rooty Hill to drunken 70 year olds for $15 a pop? Mr. Powers finally arrived and I knew, by the end of the morning, I would have the answers to all these questions.

First things first, he made sure that we were hypnotizable. Apparently, not everyone is prone to being hypnotized. Lucky for me I am incredibly gullible and willing to be hypnotized which are the only qualities you need to succumb to the old “you are getting very sleeeepy”. After the first test (imagining our hands were held together by glue and then trying to separate them) I was top of the class with the stickiest of hands that refused to part. I also breezed through the next test (imagining one arm was tied to a bucket of sand and the other to a balloon) and made it into the group who would be making their television debut shortly.

Peter kept us in the room for the next 45 minutes taking us deeper and deeper into a hypnotic state with his dulcet tones and lots of finger snapping. He never stopped speaking the entire time he was with us. He told us to imagine we were melting into the carpet, then to point out any flaws in his appearance. I told him his teeth were crooked and that he had quite a nose on him and then laughed hysterically. There was lots of tapping on the head and being told to “sleep!” Eventually it was time to wander in an orderly line over to the studio. Now this is the part where I find hypnosis to be the most legit – I’m pretty sure that I would usually be nervous going on live television on a day when I hadn’t washed my hair. This particular morning however, I was completely cool with it. Although, it also helped that for the duration of the time that we were waiting to go on set we got to nap on a couch.

Finally we were led on stage, sat in stools and then tasked with doing a bunch of crap; acting like we were petulant children, protecting the Prime Minister from an assassination attempt, you know, the usual. You can watch every moment of my phantasmagorical experience here (note the 4 minute mark where I nail David Campbell with a cushion.)

It was an enjoyable experience where I felt totally relaxed and had no qualms about doing whatever I was told. The question remains though, does hypnosis really work and was I really hypnotized? And here’s the upshot of it; I’m not so sure it’s a real thing as much as it’s an excuse to act like a dick. It’s the sober version of “sorry I peed on your front lawn, I was drunk.” People always ask me if I was aware of what was happening and the answer is yes, I was. I had a complete grasp of everything that was going on around me. I remember every second of it and did nothing against my will. The only difference between being in a trance and normal life was that I didn’t care if I looked like an idiot. I just felt a sort of happy obligation to do whatever Peter told me to do. But to this day I’m unsure whether or not this was because I didn’t want to make him look like a fool on the tele or if I just love an excuse to be a trick monkey. I guess we’ll never know. I never felt any after effects of the hypnosis, Peter de-hypnotized us after the segment ended and sent us on our way. I went back to the office and acted sluggish all day and everyone was fine with it because I’d just come out of a trance. As an experience I give it an 8/10.

And don’t forget, if any of you wants help with some incantations or magick spells; feel free to hit me up. Please be aware that I will charge you and results are definitely not guaranteed. Also, you’ll have to bring your own map of the world, black candle and strange personal item pilfered from the person you’re interested in bewitching.  

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Day Taylor Hanson Finally Got To Meet Me

Taylor Hanson was the first person I ever imagined having sex with. Before Taylor, my fantasies about boys (captain planet and the red power ranger in particular) encompassed them being injured in some way and me taking care of them. In my weird little daydreams I would make them soup and serve it to them in the single bed where they lay in the spare room of my house. But the ultra-effeminate Taylor Hanson changed all that. He was the perfect pre-teen crush. His girliness was non-threatening and it didn’t hurt at all that he sang stirring songs about girls whose names sounded similar to mine (hello Madeleine!). You could close your eyes when listening to that breathy voice of his and imagine those songs were about you. And I never quite got over him.

So you can imagine my excitement when a month ago I was awakened by a text from my parents that read:

Hi Marion. Dad says “down with Bruce, Hanson forever”.

It turns out, Hanson were going to be playing live in the studio AT MY PLACE OF WORK. Bless my mum and dad, they know how excited I get about Hanson and thoroughly encourage me. I think I actually heard tears in my mum’s voice when I called her to tell her about the Hanson experience which ensued.

When I arrived at work the following week, I had a skip in my step. Other people were excited that Hanson were going to be in the studio, but they were excited about seeing a band they perceived to be one hit wonders from 1997. I was Maz seeing the first boy she ever loved excited. I was frothing with excitement. I was over the moon. I ripped my closet apart. I washed my hair and agonized over the flyaways that wouldn’t lie flat. I couldn’t eat my dinner. I felt weepy. I woke up at five and lay in the dark, rehearsing what I was going to say. I wanted them to know that I was a long time fan, but not a weird obsessed fan. I had devised a series of witty, yet endearing stories, which would demonstrate both my charm and sense of humour. Stories that would resonate with them to the point where they would undoubtedly ask me about where they should go out tonight and would I care to join them. Taylor would realize that we actually belonged together and beg me to leave Nick for him. I would decline but not before we shared a lingering kiss.

To be honest the only story I had come up with was that someone stole one of my Hanson CDs from my car once. But I was sure I could spin it somehow.

Finally the moment arrived, and at 7.30am on a Friday morning I went down the rabbit hole – also known as the little side door of studio 22. And there he stood. Shrouded in a halo of light, his perfectly quaffed hair framing that divine face, just as I’d seen in so many adolescent daydreams. There were other people around, but all I could see was him and me, forever and forever. By the time the first notes of Mmmbop washed over me, I was in a state of what can only be described as mild hysteria. My chin was quivering as I sang along and did my best not to cry. And when the song drew to a close and the show cut to an ad break, it became apparent that this could well be the moment I had waited for all these years. It was zero hour. Taylor time.

After a few awkward, shuffling moments of lurking and loitering at an uncomfortably close distance he turned in my direction. I requested a photo. He introduced himself and I ignored him, forgetting to tell him my name. All intriguing and titillating stories left me and I was a simpering mess.

“I’m coming to see you tonight” I said twice. And then oh god oh GOD, he had his arm around me as we took a picture.
“I’ll see you tonight then” he told me, and strode off.

Taylor Hanson touching me

And that was it for me. I dissolved. I had to leave the studio post haste to cry in the car park. Wracked with sobs I ran into one of the children from the Voice Kids. For some reason he thought I was super excited to see him and wrapped his pudgy little arms around me. I brushed him off; horrified that someone could ruin the fact that the last person with his arms around me was Taylor Hanson.  But I had to suck it up, because they were playing another song in two minutes, and I’d be damned if I was going to miss an opportunity to stand in the front row of my own private Hanson concert and pretend Taylor was singing and banging that tambourine just for me. I scuttled back into the dark, wiping the joyous tears from my eyes.

After a stirring rendition of Get The Girl Back (I was the only person in the studio who knew all the words, other than my boy Tay) more photo opportunities arose. So again, I approached the holy trinity. This time Isaac introduced himself to me and shook my hand. And again, I forgot what my name was because his hands were SO SOFT! However, I did have my wits about me enough to tell him

“You are my husband’s favourite Hanson brother. Whenever your parts come on in the car, he always says ‘sing it Isaac’ hehe”

Isaac looked at me, nodded and responded “ok”. We took a photo and I walked away satisfied, knowing I had to leave the studio before I ruined this perfect moment. I didn’t quite pull off the mystique I had been aiming for, but fuck it, Taylor had put his arm around me and he’d smelt even better than I’d always imagined.

A very flattering photo of me in a Hanson sandwich

The rest of the day people were laughing about the queue of girls who had lined up outside the studio hoping to get a glimpse of Hanson.

“As if we’d let those crazy obsessed girls in!” someone proclaimed.

Little did they know, one had slipped through the net.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Four Reasons Bogans Are Happier Than You Are

People are unnecessarily mean about bogans. Sure they sometimes err on the side of being a bit yucky with their Southern Cross tattoos and their ridiculously broad Australian accents, but they also have a zest for life that to be honest, most corporate, conservative, clean-shaven types do not have. I would know this because my pedigree is roughly three quarters bogan. I pronounced yellow like “yallow” until I was at least 20, I would give my right arm for a turbo charged diesel Toyota Land Cruiser with a snorkel and a two inch lift, and my favourite drink EVER is a passionfruit UDL. Whenever I get too stressed out by corporate or classy life, I take a breath and remember the four bogan commandments…

Thou shalt not be too precious

When I was 11 we visited a wildlife park in Tassie. They had animal feed which was sold according to an honour system. Unlimited bags of feed were piled into a bin with a moneybox attached into which you were supposed to pay 50c per bag. Being 11, I had very little money or regard for rules, and the temptation to become the ruler of these animals with an unlimited supply of feed at my disposal was just too strong. My parents must have noticed that I had more feed that the $2 they gave me would buy, but just let me go about my business, as they were always wont to do. Ten minutes later, tiny arms laden with feed, I was bailed up against a fence by a donkey that was ferociously snapping not just at the food but at my clothes and hands too. My parents thought it was hilarious and took as many pictures as my supply of feed and their 24 exposure film would allow. At no point did they try to intervene. I’m still scared of donkeys.

Thou shalt have no shame

I went to a high school where my dad was a teacher. Most people I know whose parents taught at their school kept a safe distance. Not my dad. Every December my school would see out the year with a concert called “lip sync” where everyone mimed to pop songs. Usually reserved for cool girls with crimped hair and boob tubes singing Brandy and Monica “The Boy Is Mine” my dad and I broke the mold performing a duet together every year. Over the course of my high school career dad and I mimed in full costume, to the entire school, the following hits:
-       Sonny and Cher “I Got You Babe”
-       Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow “Cruisin’” (in which I mimed Huey and he mimed Gwyneth in drag)
-       Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers “Islands In The Stream”
-       Sandy and Danny “You’re The One That I Want”
-       Jasmin and Aladdin “A Whole New World”
Sometimes people would ask me why I was performing duets with a teacher. My dad maintained that I should have told them that he was my boyfriend, just to freak them out. That’s another thing bogans like – incest jokes. And let’s be honest, they are hilarious.

Thou shalt never be subtle

Sometimes my dad would decide that he would like to do our clothes shopping for us. For months afterwards my brother and I would be getting around town in hideous shirts, emblazoned with “AUSTRALIA” featuring cartoons of koalas bouncing on trampolines, purchased for five for ten dollars from Go-Lo. In a further attempt to win “father of the year” my dad would take out his false teeth (he only has a couple of missing teeth, so don’t judge him) and would chase me around the house, gnashing his good teeth and growling. I’ve never asked my dad why he’s missing teeth, but I certainly enjoyed all the laughter it brought me. And never let it be said that stereotypes aren’t accurate.

Thou shalt always observe the rule that bigger is better

My parents would scrimp and save every dollar they had. They worked hard, but they worked even harder at squirreling away their cash. When I was tiny my dad would smuggle the bladder from a wine cask into Pizza Hut so that he and mum could top up their wine on the cheap.  Once dad even claimed an abandoned car, which had been left out on the street – which is apparently a thing you can do. It eventually burst into flames while he was driving it. And good on them, because with the money they saved we always had the BIGGEST TELEVISION EVER. We may have had cheap clothes and basic food but we sure could see every detail of the news. Other items that expounded the bigger is better/more is more principle in our house included: the four separate entertaining decks we had, our super loud outdoor sound system and our endless supply of dried beef snacks and smoked almonds.

To conclude, bogans live a magical life. A life where children like their parents enough to make a dick of themselves in front of all their peers, a life where you’re taught to shake off injuries that probably need stitches and a life where laughter reigns supreme. So let me say boldly and unashamedly I AM BOGAN, HEAR MY V8 ROAR.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Let's Talk About Sex, Baby.

“STOP IT! YOU’LL SCAR THE CHILDREN!” is a sentence very rarely heard before the child version of yourself is mentally scarred. When your parents want to tell you about sex for example – no one is ever there to stop them. When someone sits on your guinea pig and it dies slowly in your arms while yellow stuff dribbles from its mouth – no one is there to shield your eyes. In my experience, the only time anyone actually intervenes on your childly behalf is when they want to stop you doing something fun. Like watching R rated films, using a homemade slingshot or eating an entire tin of sweeten condensed milk - all of which I was personally denied as a child. And, of course, the one time I really could have done with an adult running in screeching their head off and covering my ears with their hands, not a soul arrived to stop the mental scarring which is still evident on my psyche today…

This may come as a shock to you, but I was in a “gifted” year six class. We were treated like little savants; given algebraic maths problems and acting out our own mock versions of parliament, debating the pros and cons of genetically modified food. We were such little geniuses in fact; that I think our teacher would often forget that most of us still had majority baby teeth. This was never more apparent than during our daily “Reading Time”.

I’m sure most children’s experience around “Reading Time” is immensely pleasurable. Sitting calmly on the floor, tummies full of lunch, as the teacher enthrals you with tales of Charlie and his Chocolate Factory, Charlotte and her web or perhaps even Harry Potter and his Philosopher’s Stone (or “sorcerer’s” stone if you’re a stupid American). This is pretty much the exact opposite of what reading time was like for my class. Cue the horror.

The first book we were read for the year was called Pink Balloons. It was about a charming little five-year-old girl. She was kind and sweet and beautiful. Oh, and she was dying of AIDS. A true story, the book chronicled her slow death. The sentiment “don’t judge a book by its cover” has never rung more true – book cover: shiny pink balloons. Subject matter: agonising death of a child.

Pink Balloons however, paled in comparison to what has to be the most age inappropriate book I have ever been read - Night John. Night John made Pink Balloons look like a romp in a field with some fucking gerberas. Our teacher obviously felt that 11 was definitely the age that we finally learnt about the Jim Crow south. Night John followed John, a slave in the Deep South during the 1800s, as he attempted to educate himself under the cover of darkness. Throughout the novel I learnt the following things:

  • Racism is a thing
  • Sometimes slave owners raped their female slaves to produce baby slaves. This was done with the aid of a clever raping contraption – a board with shackles nailed to it for holding lady slaves in place 
  • Lynching is the practice by which black people were dragged through the town naked, beaten and then killed – then, quite often, hung from trees. All to the glee of the white town folk
  • Scary shit as per the above makes baby Maz feel not very good inside

So that’s the story of the time I learnt what rape was. Comment below and let me know about your own induction into the world of sexual assault :)