Friday, June 29, 2012

The night before Blogopolis 2012

Can't believe tomorrow is the big day! Blogopolis 2012 is upon us. And I am excited! More so than nervous, which is great. Amazing.

I am currently at my sister's home watching my niece while her and her husband are at a dinner party. All is well so far - I have pizza, Diet Coke, chocolate and three episodes of True Blood to watch so not much actual baby watching going on to be honest. Mala's cried once but my sister insisted I not go in there unless she was hysterical. Little Miss M got herself back to sleep after about three minutes. Such a good bub that one!

I'm blogging and tweeting from this iBook thingie that belongs to my brother in law and keep pressing on the wrong buttons. It is a bit confusing. A bit similar to the anxiety dreams I have where I am trying to play the piano on a keyboard that has had all the notes moved around. I don't even know how to play piano in my conscious life but for some reason that is a reoccurring dream for me. Maybe I was like some famous pianist in past life.

Today I was supposed to blowdry my hair but never got around to it. I'm sure no one is going to notice the frizz (I hope!). And I need a haircut badly... maybe I can talk to Christina from Hair Romance about that. I really need a recommendation for a good hairdresser. I've tried 11 different salons in five years since I've been back from London and never been happy with any one of them. I'm so looking forward to hearing Christina speak. Eden Riley and Mrs Woogs are also high on my list. Crikey! There are so many actually. I feel like I'm going to be meeting real celebrities! 

Well excited.

For the breakout groups I'm definitely going to do SEO Analytics for Dummies. I seriously need to get a handle on that. This subject will also be relevant to my Advanced Web Design unit at uni when I finally get back to it.

For the next break out session I am undecided whether or not to do the Media Kit group or the Creating a Brand For Your Blog group. I need help with both, that is for sure. Maybe I can attend one and get the notes for the other. 

The third breakout session is a choice between Blog Photography and Opportunities Gained. Another hard choice. I'm thinking the latter might take trumps.

I only live about 10 minutes walk away from the venue so I won't have to get up too early but I still need to confirm my outfit and pack my tools for the day. I'm thinking paper note book, pen, iPad and iPhone and charger. Hope that is it. I could always run home if I forget anything, but that would be a pain!

I'm going to get into True Blood now. A little bit of Eric action is just what I need!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Two sleeps to go and URL nightmares

What a busy bloggy 24 hours!

I've managed to create a new look for my blog, make little DIY business cards for Blogopolis and organise myself my own domain name. Stoked! THIS IS STILL NOT SORTED! YES IT IS AS OF 3:03PM!!!

The old .blogspot address still works but I can now be found at How cool is that!? I was going to do a .com address but I love these new .me addresses. So appropriate for a me-centric little blog like mine. Love it!

I've attempted to make my blog look less of a weight loss lap-band blog and more of a general personal blog by removing the weightloss tracker and adding my trademark 'Vanessa' butterfly.

Below is a picture of the tattoo off my left hand. There's a bit of a story behind it. Long story short, when I went through my big breakdown of 2007/08 I basically lost any sense of who I was but the only thing I was sure of was my name. I wrote it over and over again in blue pen on my left hand. My initials that is. This was during a two month stay in a psychiatric hospital. I was one fucked up little unit! When I left the hospital I walked straight into a tattoo shop and asked the bloke to go over the biro with his tattoo gun which he did and now I'm left with this...

My tattoo

Butterflies are symbolic for me because Vanessa is suppose to mean butterfly and people have been giving me butterfly things all my life. When I did my initials on my hand I attempted to make the B of my surname look like half a butterfly. So when I was thinking of how I could personalise the look of my blog I made this little image below (red is my favourite colour) - two Bs for Babbling Bandit.

BB logo

What do you think?


So after my depressing-freaking-myself-out post the other day I'm feeling heaps better about going to the big conference on Saturday. I've been getting around a lot of blogs and it seems that there are heaps of us out there who are worried about meeting people and just how everything will go. I think that now we've all got our worries out there in the open we should feel good knowing that there is nothing to be afraid of.

OMG! It is 3.14PM and my blog just dropped out again. What is going on?

My biggest fear now is that my new URL won't work! Insania just two days out from the big gig. I thought it was going to be so easy but the domain hosting service I chose has turned out to be really crap. The service has been shocking! (Always do your research Vanessa!)

First time I tried to call I was on hold for half an hour before the line just dropped dead. The second time I was on hold so long I ended up having to hang up because it was time to pick up Noo and then finally at about 11PM last night I got through and the person just deleted my DNS hosting service I paid $18 for and switched me to email hosting (taking another $12 from my account) and I didn't even want a new email. I just want my own website address!

By this morning I was getting some dodgy looking message from Blogger about being redirected and so called the service provider back only to be told I needed to add the four Blogger ISP numbers even though I'm sure the chick I spoke last night did that already. Anyway I gave the numbers to the dude and he said "all done. You're site will be up and running in two hours". That was at 1PM! It is now 3.22PM!! And still nothing!!!!

I'm in a very exclamation mark type of mood! I swung from the excitement of seeing the BB up and running to back to fuck, what the hell is going on here? I just want it to work!

Ugh!! Got to distract myself from this madness...

So I went to my shrink (let's call him Shrink from now on) today and had another kind of all over the shop session talking about this and that and sex and relationships mainly but I also chucked in that I'm going to this conference and he thought it was awesome that I was getting out of my comfort zone. Everyone seems to think it is awesome, except my mum, because I told her that the attendees would be predominantly women and she thought, well what is the point of that? To mum, everything has to be a fucking opportunity to meet a man. For fucksakes woman!

I told Shink today the story about how my parents picked my VCE subjects for me to prepare me to become a secretary in order to get a job in an office to meet a man to get married and have kids. He was amazed. I mean this was only back in the early 90s not the fucking 50s!

They made me do secretarial studies and home economics. I wanted to do IT subjects (which I did as well) and graphic design.

Ah, whatever! 16 years of working as a secretary in offices in Sydney, Melbourne and London and I never went out with anyone I worked with!!! Too drunk probably! Married to the bottle, I was!

Well enough of that jibberish. I'm on a high this arvo. Such a moody bitch I am.

I'm actually going out for dinner tonight (cue woohoo sounds now) with my mate from London so I better go and think about what I am going to wear (from the fat clothes side of the wardrobe!). We are checking out Luke Nguyen's joint in East Sydney. To drive or not to drive? Parking is a pain in the butt over there. And crossing the city to get there for 6pm will be a nightmare. Whinge, whinge, whinge, whinge, whinge!

Ciao for now.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Nerves about Blogopolis 2012 and blogging in general

Ok, so I wrote the other day that I want to get back into blogging and yes, that is true (I think), but I am really still unsure, and not feeling confident about it at all.

I've signed up and paid for this blogging conference which I'm quite excited shitting myself about. From reading the class schedule it sounds like a beginner's course to blogging which you know, isn't that intimidating at all. I've been studying for the last few years, so I know how to be a good student and pay attention and write notes and learn shit. What I am bad at though, is meeting people. Going to events on my own. Small talk. I'm feeling nauseous just thinking about it. But the ticket was about $117 so I'm going. That's like half my weekly food budget right there! I'm going. I'm getting out of my comfort zone and going.

These are the things that are worrying me:

1. I'm shy

I'm terrible at going up to someone and saying hi, I'm Vanessa... My son, Noo, on the other hand goes up to everyone and says "Hi, I'm Noo. What's your name?" and then goes on to refer to that stranger by name at every chance. For instance, he always introduces himself to our waiter if we go out for lunch or a coffee. He even says "thank you [insert waiter's name here]" (eg Daniel, the name of our waiter recently up at Katoomba) as we leave the cafe. Noo is three and a half.

He amazes me all the time. He always introduces himself to other kids at the park, at the shops, anywhere. Mostly they are too embarrassed or shy to respond but it doesn't bother him. I, on the other hand, would be mortified if I tried to talk to someone and they turned away. My kid has the knack. The knack of meeting people. He was born with it!

2. I'm shit

I've been reading a lot of other blogs out there, especially a few of the big super star blogs with over a million hits, and while I realise these bloggers are fabo writers and they deserve all their hits and success, it makes me feel small and silly and like I don't have a place amongst them at a conference. My writing feels juvenile and irrelevant by comparison. Does the blogosphere need my voice?

3. I'm unorganised

I don't have business cards, I don't have my own domain, I'm not even sure if I want to continue to be the Babbling Bandit. I looked up those words on Google the other day. Babbling is something that a baby does and a bandit is a thief. I'm a baby-talking outlaw!

Originally I came up with the name Babbling Bandit because of the fact that my writing is like babbling ramblings and the bandit part is a play on the term lap-band. I'm too afraid to change now because I've synced up all my other social networks to the BB so I kind of feel committed to it now... but anyway, this is an issue I'm hoping to get advice about from Blogopolis if when I go.

4. I don't want to be hated

I stumbled across this amazing blog the other day called Tune Into Radio Carly. God, this chick can write! I found her blog particularly interesting because of her studies in communications, particularly in reference to her research on blogging. I have studied (nowhere near to the same extent) some of the same material for my Internet Comms BA. But it was her post talking about "Keyboard warriors" that really got me having second thoughts about diving back into blogging again.

My blog so far has been a personal account of my weightloss failures journey since getting my lap-band in 2009. There are also smatterings of stories about my struggle with depression and anxiety, my recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and a big dose of detail about Noo. There's plenty of ammo there for someone to have a go at me about my life and my choices but in the two and half years or so I've been blogging no one has ever said a mean thing to me. But if I try to push a bit harder and get more exposure for my blog, from learning about that at this conference, am I going to make myself a target for these so called anonymous haters?

There has only been one comment since I started that stopped me in my tracks. It can found on this entry and was an anonymous comment but I knew who it was when I read it. Fuck, it completely freaked me out! Knowing someone from my old life, my pre sobriety life, had read my blog felt weird. I felt exposed on such a strange level. I wrote a response about it here. The thing was, he didn't even write anything nasty. It was actually a lovely comment, but it felt WEIRD! I actually thought about giving up this blog and moving to another name.

Now what if other people I used to know came across my blog? I tried so had at first to keep my real name and my blogging handle separate but with all the cross over of social networks it got so complicated trying to maintain more than one identity. Should I care about this?

In real life I will tell anyone that I am in recovery, I have mental health issues and I have a lap-band. These are just facts. Whatever. It's the feelings I write about in here that expose me. That make me feel raw but which I feel I need to write... but do I really want anyone to read them?

Going back to Carly's post regarding horrible comments she talked about and linked to one particular blog that had experienced an enormous amount horrific bullying. Despite having an hugely successful blog with well over two million hits, appearances on prime time TV and a book published, Sandra Reynolds at The $120 Food Challenge had been victim of what sounds like a vicious hate campaign.

What I don't understand is, why? Why are people so horrible? I am not going to go into the specifics of Sandra's situation, because quite frankly I don't know enough about it, but what I just don't understand is why people hide behind anonymous comments and spew forth such hatred and judgement. Even if they do use their name, what is the point? Move on! Don't read! I mean, for fucksake, her blog is about cooking on a budget. She's providing a service. My blog is about whinging about my fat lazy arse, about being anxious and fearful about some of life's everyday challenges tasks, and about when I can't go to the toilet! I mean REALLY! Reading that last sentence over just makes me think I should pull the whole fucking thing from the interwebs and save anyone from ever having a chance to read it, let alone time to be horrible and mean. Like Hannah from Girls said in season one's final episode... there's no one who can hate me more than I already hate myself. But do I really want to give the haters a platform to show me their bile? Or maybe I'm getting too far ahead of myself to even think a hater would read my shit.

The Hipstamatic has caught my mood quite well.


For godsake woman! Lesson number 1 in meeting people has got to be have a positive and likeable demeanour...

Lucky I've four days to work on that.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Project obsessions

Scratch that itch...

I'm feeling the itch for a project coming on and when I get into something I really get into it. Madly, passionately and obsessively into whatever my brain has decided it wants to occupy its time with... and then I get over it in a flash. The obsession is over, my brain switches off that channel and flicks over to the next, or simply turns on stand-by to wait for the next wave of inspiration. I never know how long each project will last but I go into each one with the veracity and intent that it will become a life long habit.

Like this blog for instance. Fifty-two blog posts from August through to December 2010, a paltry 19 for the whole of 2011 and so far only nine for 2012. But that is going to change. I'm planning a big return for the Babbling Bandit. Well, this is the return. Don't know if it's big or not, but I'm hoping to really make it a part of my life again.

Some past obsessions...

Go Blues to Blues who?

I once had a two year love affair with the Australian Football League (AFL), namely the Carlton Football Club. I was the maddest fan around through the 1994 and 1995 seasons. I was living in Melbourne at the time, right near the Melbourne Cricket Ground. If you're from Melbourne or know anything about Melbourne, you'd know they love their AFL. Its a religion, in fact. They worship the game. So you really can't live there and not take up a team. Unless of course you want to feel completely left out in the office every Monday morning when all your colleagues are milling around the kitchen talking about who got the biggest mark or what team is currently on the top of the ladder.

So off I went every weekend to the game, in the freezing Melbourne winter, with scarves, footy jumper, banners, navy blue ribbons in my hair for two whole seasons. I knew all the players names, numbers and stats. I read the sports pages and watched the Footy Show. Yes, you heard me! I read the sports section of the newspaper! From the analysis of the previous weekend's games to the review of what matches were to come the following Saturday and Sunday. Obsessed.

In 1995 I even won the office footy tipping comp which really pissed off the blokes. And not because I am a woman but because I am from Sydney. Or actually, probably a combination of the both.

I was about to fork out a wad of cash to become a CFC member when out of the (navy) blue (pun intended) we moved back north to Sydney. In those days the home team, the Swans, were still pretty shit and Sydney hadn't got on the AFL bandwagon yet making it pretty hard to follow from that distance.

So I gave it up. Just like that. Now I still consider Carlton my team but I don't go to games or even watch it on the telly. I have no idea where they are on the ladder or who their captain 
is (actually I think its Chris Judd... maybe?).

I don't follow any sport now.

A so-called lifestyle change...yeah, whatever

I've been on many diets in my life but there was one diet back in 2003 where I totally became obsessed with every calorie I put in my gob, every minute I did of exercise. I refused to see my friends or eat anything that wasn't within my allotted WW points allowance. I was even more focused than I ever have been with my lap-band. I lost a stack of weight and became the fittest I've ever been but I was miserable. Depressed and obsessed with my body and my weight.

Along with dropping my friends I quit drinking, cigarettes, sugar and chocolate. I read diet and exercise magazines and nothing else. It was madness. This lasted about four months. I got down to 70kg but I actually felt so shit about myself that I didn't believe anyone who mentioned all the weight I'd lost. I was just so focused on the losing the numbers off the scale that I couldn't see the results through the eyes of others. That is until I finally decided to venture out and drink again. 

One drink at the races turned into about a dozen Bacardi Breezers (yeah, classy, I know) and I was running around the place proclaiming to the world I'd got my mojo back and flash my lifestyle flicked back again... who cares how many points are in a Breezer?

That's me on the left holding a Breezer, with my arm around my sister.
There's no bulge around my tummy!

Another "phase" done and dusted.

School's out for summer and winter... but will I ever go back?

2010 saw me complete half a diploma of web development. In 2011 I continued to study for a Bachelor of Arts Internet Communications degree. I really enjoyed studying, putting all I had into it and I actually got great marks which was a huge boost for my confidence and self esteem after such a long period away from work. That was until last year my anxiety won the battle and I withdrew through fear of failure. I enrolled again this year but my health issues made it almost impossible to study again. So many doctor's appointments and feeling crap (which I've talked about in a lot of detail here and here). A lot of that is slowly resolving now but I've lost my study mojo for now. The thought of assignments and deadlines just terrifies me.

Looking for inspiration - Nuffnang Blogopolis here we come!

I'm becoming mildly obsessed with the 'mummy blogger' phenomenon and Aussie bloggers in general. There are so many cool chicks (and blokes) out there sharing away - talking serious, talking mundane, just talking, or writing I should say, some really tops stories. Some of them even had tea with the Prime Minister (for the record if I had been invited, I would have turned it down, based on the fact I probably would have ended up in the lock-up for bitch slapping the woman across the mouch) which must mean people are reading. 

So I've been thinking this is something I can do, blogging that is, not assaulting the PM. (Which I wouldn't really do anyway! I'm not a violent person.) I can do it from home, there's no deadlines, no pressure, there's no right or wrong answers. People may read, or they may not. And I've always found blogging to be a release. I'm a chronic oversharer (see here and here for examples) and I think I may have a story or two to add to the Blogosphere, especially because there is at least one project that I picked up a few years ago I still have. One little part of me that is never going away... my boy NED! The love of my life. My gorgeous little creature who brings me more joy and happiness and surprises me everyday with his smarts and beautiful nature. And then there's my lap-band. It is still here. I'm just bored with talking about it (although I'm sure I will continue to give the gory details).

So there it is. The Babbling Bandit is back. Let's see if I can break the cycle of unfinished projects and get this thing back on the road.