Self portrait wand instrument

Do you enjoy rubbing every inane moment of your life in other people's faces via social media but struggle to take a good selfie because your arms are the same length as those of a T-Rex?

At the same time, is your crippling shyness rendering you utterly incapable of asking literally any member of the public to take your photo?

Do you also happen to live in an an edgeless world where there are absolutely no ledges, corners or level surfaces suitable for positioning your self-timer-loaded mobile phone?

Luckily for you, the boffins over at the International Centre for Narcissism have released the perfect implement to keep you uploading like the Z-grade celebrity you've always wanted to be.

Proudly adopting the recent endorsement of "The Wand of Narcissus", the selfie stick operates in much the same fashion as an extendable bionic arm to which you can attach your phone to get the perfectly-angled selfie.

Wave goodbye to the need to interact with a fellow human forever with this ingenious device that will in no way lessen your level of self respect or dignity in the eyes of those who follow your social media accounts.

How to be friends with a journalist

Congratulations. You're friends with a person whose occupation was this year ranked number 42 in a list of the 50 most trusted professions in Australia, pipping the likes of sex workers and politicians. Being friends with a journalist, however, is something that should probably come with an instruction manual. If it existed, that manual might include the following.

1. We know stuff. Probably about you.

There are more than a few passing similarities between stalkers and journalists. If we're not friends on Facebook, chances are I've already found all of your social media profiles, plus some old ones you'd forgotten about. Putting an alias on them just makes it more of a challenge. If we have mutual friends I will probably have information-mined them too, on or offline. The reason why we're so good at finding stuff out is because it's basically our job. Unfortunately, tracking people down for work purposes translates into an awkward and misunderstood talent for finding out stuff about our friends too. Consider it flattering that I'm taking an active interest in you.

2. We have short attention spa-

Sorry, an ambulance went past as I was typing. Spans. Short attention spans. While I'm on it, if you hear any kind of emergency services siren in the background, it's best to press pause on our interaction because I'm going to be darting my eyes around the street like a dog in front of a postman. I'm working out where the vehicle is going, what it's doing, and then probably checking Twitter to work out what I'm missing. It's not that you're not interesting, it's just that I have to know everything. All. The. Time.

3. We will accidentally interview you.

Ever been in conversation with me and realised you're doing a whole lot of the talking after being prompted by a series of questions? Yeah, you're being interviewed. Sorry about that. It's all off the record though. Can you say that last bit again, but clearer?

4. We are addicts.

If I'm driving and it's the top of the hour, there needs to be five minutes of quiet time while I listen to the radio bulletin. At 6pm the same principle applies with the TV. No talking please until I've got my hit.

5. Our sense of humour is offensive.

When there's a barrage of spin, politics and tragedy coming your way on a daily basis, you tend to get desensitised to it. If you hear me talking about something in a way you deem particularly blunt or void of emotion, it's not because I'm a heartless bastard, really. Speaking like this in the workplace saves time and acts as a coping mechanism. In a major design flaw of the journalist brain, there is generally no off button.

6. You might become a source.

If I'm aware that you work for a company, have a hobby or know someone that happens to one day be thrust into the media spotlight, expect a phone call. I'm probably not calling to catch up. You just became a source. It might get awkward. Sorry about that.

7. If you're in PR:

We might not be able to be friends. But yes we did get your email.

8. Best keep the plans fluid.

If we have plans after my work day, it's very much a gamble that they will actually happen on time. The news cycle is relentless. If an MP gets caught in a scandal or there's some kind of major accident, I'm drawn to it like a moth to a flame. If this happens on my day off, there's a good chance I'll be checking my phone every few minutes to follow the developments. Yes, I realise how unreasonable this is.

9. We'll correct your spelling and grammar.

If we text each other regularly, keep in mind that a spelling or grammar mistake is basically like waving a red flag in front of a bull. I might correct you. It's going to sound patronising and there's nothing I can do about it. Also don't be alarmed if I let out a giant groan when I'm listening to radio or watching the TV. While it might sound like someone has just waved rancid meat under my nose, it's probably just because someone has allowed lazy writing to go to air.

10. Beware the pack of journalists.

If you ever get stuck in the middle of a planned or chance gathering of journalists, prepare to feel left out. It's going to inevitably deteriorate into a work conversation. We're opinionated. We interrupt. We talk over one another. It's what we have to do at press conferences when the order of speakers isn't decided by logic or manners, but who has the loudest voice and keeps yelling their question longer than anyone else. There will also be in jokes. You probably won't get a word in. 

Overly wordy complaints

Dear Sir/Madam,

Lately I've been thinking about what I enjoy most about getting cabs around Brisbane.

At times I consider it might be the delightful customer service from drivers who gruffly ask "where to" before spending the duration of the trip whispering on a hands free phone kit like some kind of sneaky teenager who's staying up past their bedtime chatting to their best friend.

It might be the glaringly obvious technique of taking backroads or a longer route to ever-so-slightly bump up the fare. I particularly enjoy this when I hire a cab for work purposes and am on a tight timeframe.

I'll admit I enjoy the sassy attitude I receive from a driver who sighs and rolls their eyes when I pay with a note they deem to large for the transaction, though this is probably not in the top three. What cheek I have for attempting to use legal tender to pay for goods or services in Australia.

After Sunday morning, I am convinced my favourite things about your Brisbane cabs are the drivers who refuse fares based on distance.

For prompting this epiphany I must thank the driver of Black and White cab number 465, which I attempted to hire for the 2.1km trip from Fortitude Valley to Teneriffe at 2:30am on Sunday, but was refused.

When I asked why he would not perform a duty which is literally his entire job description, the driver admitted it was because the distance was too short.

He persisted with this refusal even after I informed him that rejecting fares based on distance was illegal.

I suspect this kind of pig-headed, overly-choosy approach to driving is at least partially behind why passengers are increasingly snubbing the taxi industry in favour of the competition Uber.

I was however impressed with his steely determination to secure a fare that was worth the effort of doing his actual job. So impressed, in fact, that I've decided to adopt the mentality in my everyday life.

From now on, I will only be answering my phone at work when I am guaranteed the conversation will be worth my while.

I will not interact with colleagues unless there's something significant in it for me.

I'll be paying my rent yearly because I assume the agent would prefer to only bother with large transactions.

I anticipate exercising will also be much easier as an annual but lengthy outing because clearly doing things in shorter, more frequent bursts is ineffective according to this logic.

I predict my life will be much easier from now on and, just like the driver of car 465, I will be enjoying the fruits of this life-hack in no time at all.

Despite the flippant undertone of this letter, yes I am expecting a response and explanation of the actions you have taken to rectify the problem.

Yours Sincerely,

Get too excited during storms

I don't know what it is about that moment when the Bureau of Meteorology flicks off a severe weather warning, but it causes some people to absolutely lose their shit.

Terms like "damaging winds" and "possible flash flooding" do little to calm their growing paranoia, and once they look at the radar and see the weather system might move across their region, they're hyperventilating through a wave of mild hysteria. It's too late.

Before you know it every weather nerd in your suburb is power-walking down to their local supermarket to panic buy all the bottled water they can carry. Any reasonable person would think the apocalypse was imminent.

What comes next is an assault on social media. The rain sets in, there's fumbling for batteries and candles and the sound of hundreds tuning their radios before the power's even gone off, and every person in the affected area begins to snap countless blurry photographs of a dark skyline.

Can everyone just take a deep breath, have a cold shower, and consider maybe this weather event isn't really such a massive ordeal, it could very well be a relatively predictable and typical occurrence given your location and the time of year?

Room for rent: would suit idiot

Remember that feeling of freedom that swept over you on grade four camp, after the teachers had declared lights out, when you and your classmates scoffed snakes, played truth or dare and smoked crack by torchlight? 

On offer is an entire sharehouse bustling with that same childish excitement that comes with knowing your parents aren't watching.

You'll share this responsibility-free wonderland with a mixed bag of misfits and the socially challenged, each boasting their own unique quirks that are amusing and infuriating in equal measure.

The room is big, the walls are thin and it borders onto not one, but two other bedrooms, significantly increasing the chance that you'll be woken by the awkward fumblings of drunk, careless, idiot sex.

The house comes with a stringent dish washing policy of do-it-only-when-you-can-be-bothered ... once a week, once a month, whatever. Feel free to leave your shit around the communal areas, where it will more than likely be used by a drunk random who's helping form the impromptu house party on a week night. Expect those same randoms to burst into your room and angrily slur "this isn't the toilet."

While there are vague noise restriction rules in place, they're more accurately described as guidelines. Something you should loosely adhere to, kind of like not wanking on an aeroplane. You kind of shouldn't play gothic screamo music after a reasonable hour, but if you've got friends to impress, go for it.

If you're the kind of sad loser that enjoys wargaming, you'll fit in well. Before you know it, you'll be holding LAN parties in the bedrooms and fapping off over a sexy WoW character that's probably a sniggering 60 year old man.

Bills are split in four but rarely paid. There's one bathroom and one toilet, the cleaning schedule of which often turns into a standoff of who can endure the filth the longest.

In short, the weirder, the more sociopathic, the more irritating, the more irrational, the more inconsiderate you are ... the more likely you are to fit in.

Apply within.

Occupy somewhere [without an occupation]

The Occupy Wall Street protests have a point. Income inequality in the states has exploded and the volatility of the economy means social equality is up shit creek.

They are an organised, articulate group of lobbyists who have a specific objection relevant to the country they're protesting in.

But what would happen if you removed the articulation and organisation, shifted the group to a country whose issues are similar but not as dire, and added a few bongs?

You would get Occupy Brisbane ... a group of jobless, hippy wannabees yearning for some kind of conflict to spice up their whimsical lives, whose demographics are a bizarre cocktail of the rebellious, the self-proclaimed free thinkers, the melodramatic attention seekers and the homeless.

Occupy Brisbane has fallen victim to the same brainwash mentality associated with cultish church services. Protesting looks fun, and the cause is general enough to translate into whatever language you want. You can even add a long list of your own beef with society. If anyone questions it, shit bro... they're part of the machine. To someone with a mental age perhaps slightly younger than their physical age, with more than a little time on their hands, an appetite for civil disobedience, and a general defeatist attitude about participating in society in some kind of meaningful way, the Occupy movement is irresistible.

Added to that is the negative reaction from the police and political figures, which has reaffirmed, in their own minds that they're onto something.

It could possibly be the most disorganised, disunified, mixed bag of a protest in history.

Just don't make the same mistake of too many journalists have already this month, by asking them what they're protesting about. Unless you've got a spare five hours to stand there with nothing to do but stare off into the distance while your sense of trust in authority is unnecessarily raped by an earbashing that Fred Phelps would consider over the top.

Every person in the group has a different take on it. For some, it's about the greedy corporate hand. For others, it's about climate change. Some rant about the illuminati. Others believe it's about Aboriginal land rights. And some think it's about Gina Rinehart.

I would argue that for most, it's about getting attention, but not quite knowing what to do when the spotlight is switched on.

It strikes me that the group has presented us with a microcosm of what would probably happen if the world they aspire to create ever came into being. It's like democracy on steroids, where there are no leaders, but 'organisers' ... yet, all power corrupts.

Arguments broke out, in-fighting reared its head, many grubby hands started reaching for the megaphone all at once, and it became difficult to reach a decision about what park to squat in next. In a group that is unhappy with the social order presenting themselves as a better alternative, they sure aren't arguing the case very well.

In a climate of job cuts to the state's police service, where the police union is constantly warning us of how thinly their front line is stretched, this group sure did waste a hell of a lot of resources. And as the officers struggled to boot the group out of Queen's park, and I watched as a young man yelled "this is NOT a policeman ... this is a corporate employee!" I couldn't help but scoff.

Maybe he was just a policeman, trying to deal with time-wasting dickheads without agitating the situation and giving you what you so desperately wanted ... resistance to your ridiculous whinging.

Sticker Your Family

Ever feel the uncontrollable urge to advertise you familial demographics to complete strangers on the back of the unnecessarily large 4WD you use to get around the city?

Before you go posting the answers to your Census on your car window, think about the more generic option that endorses the artistic ability of a four year old. There's no better way to boast about how unique your close-knit unit is than to plaster the back of that petrol-guzzler with stock standard stick figures that represent each member.

According to The Sticker Family's website, stock is moving fast, suggesting the number of idiots in the general population is on the increase.

And while the site rightfully points out "families come in all shapes and sizes" ... I fear there may be some shapes and sizes they may have overlooked, and I've taken the liberty to fill in the blanks.

Sticker Family - Cat Lady Edition

Sticker Family - Obesity Edition

Sticker Family - Journalist Edition