Shit Buddha forgot to say….

A review by The Online Book Club

Have you ever, at least once, thought about becoming a better person? If so, you will be able to identify with the author of Oh and that’s another thing … . Rose, a pseudonym, (for obvious reasons once you have read the story) chronicles her year-long, well, actually thirty-six week journey to find Karma.

With the assistance (and I use that term lightly) of a host of unforgettable characters, Rose sets out to be “good. Ish.” She admits she isn’t trying to be perfect. And, indeed, she isn’t, but her flaws, her foibles are all fodder for a frolicking tale of adventures and misadventures.

From the moment we begin to read the book, good grief, the title even indicates it, this book promises hilarity. Sadly, too often, books that promise this fall short in my opinion, but Oh and that’s another thing … delivers. But it goes beyond that, within the pages of this book, we learn more about life and, with an open mind, more about ourselves. We certainly learn a thing or two about the illustrious Rose.

For years, I have been searching for someone to fill the shoes of humourists like Jean Kerr (Please Don’t Eat the Daisies and Erma Bombeck (If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?). For the first time, I think I have found an author who could come close to doing that. With the episodic nature of the chapters, they could be treated even as individual short stories, linked with a common theme. This is the stuff that best-selling, well-loved humour columnists are made of. I am not sure what the syndicated columnist life is like now when anyone can have their own blog, but I urge the author to consider looking into it as another avenue for her writing.

While I don’t doubt that some men would enjoy this, it is a book many women will identify with. Men may gain a different insight into women, although, when reading, they should remember that this is humour and characterizes the life and thoughts of women. It is hyperbole at its best. However, the book is not without flaws. There were several instances which could have used some solid copyediting and proofreading. There are not enough to mar the reading pleasure, and some people might not notice them. Another run-through with critical eyes would have eliminated the vast majority of these.

Still, I found this an enjoyable and fast read.  I would not hesitate to suggest this book to anyone. For that reason, I give it a rating of 4 out of 4 stars and hope to read more by this author soon.

Shit Buddha forgot cover pic








A story of love, betrayal…and fish!

deeper2Deeper – a dark, modern fairytale of love and revenge…

Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid (you’ve maybe seen the totally unrelated Disney film of the same name), DEEPER is the story of what really happens when a curious mer girl rescues a self-obsessed writer, living alone in his lighthouse by the sea.  What happens when she makes a pact she can’t go back on, for love of a man she barely knows?  If you think you know how it ends, you probably don’t.

Deeper is available as an e-book on Amazon and now as a paperback If you read it, don’t forget to review it – it helps!

Here’s the latest review – with thanks to the reviewer.

Mermaids. A book about mermaids, for grown-ups. Really?
Really. And an extraordinary book, too, a book full of wonder and sadness and violence. A world under the sea and on its shores so beautifully drawn, realised in such detail that you’re ten minutes into the book and you’re there, with Melur and her sisters, her misfit friend, her brutal father, the terrifying “grandmother”, a mer-cast that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading their tale.
There’s everything here, there’s magic, there’s coming-of-age, there’s clash of civilisations and Robinson Crusoe and humans, too, drawn warmly and wittily and economically and mercilessly – drawn the way that other great Australian writer Peter Carey might have drawn them.
And finally, there’s prose so smooth you don’t even notice it passing through you until you’re caught by some detail, some word or phrase so good it sits there like a rock in a stream, rippling, reflecting, making you pause, and smile, and carry on past.

A wonderful book. Read it.

The Attack of the Dwarf Grandma

So, I’m walking through the night market in Hanoi.  The market starts at 7pm and finishes around 10pm,and runs right along the centre of a long Hanoi boulevard, Hang Dao, until it ends in Hoam Kiem Lake. Particularly fed-up tourists have been known to fling themselves into the lake at the end of a gruelling market-slog, to be willingly devoured by Kim Qui, the golden turtle who is rumoured to still live there.

The Vietnamese Lady of the Lake, carrying Excalibur

The Vietnamese Lady of the Lake, carrying Excalibur

Or maybe they’re just avoiding the goblet-eyed English language students, who creep up on anybody Western (big, red in the face, sweating buckets) to see if they’d like to ‘answer a few questions’.

Artistically blurred photo of Hoan Kiem Lake

Artistically blurred photo of Hoan Kiem Lake

Hoan Kiem Lake like it should be..

Hoan Kiem Lake like it should be..

I’m looking for exotic presents to bring back to my family in Australia. I’m thinking silk, jade, buffalo horn tie-pins. What’s this? Tee-shirts with logos on them.  More tee-shirts with logos on them. Hello Kitty. I heart Hanoi.  Jeans which would just about fit an eight year old, watches purporting to be anything but what they are – cheap Chinese name-brand copies. Glittery plastic hairclips, which look improbably good on the locals. Cute little papier-mache cut outs that you burn as an offering to Buddha or your dead grand-uncle.  Flouncy dresses for sitting behind your boyfriend on his scooter in the Russian roulette free-for-all otherwise known as Hanoi traffic.  Pretend brand-name perfume. More tee-shirts.  I guess I could buy a tee-shirt here….if I wore them, which I don’t, and if they were cheaper than they are at home, which they’re not.  The Chinese sell the same stock in Hanoi as they do in Paddy’s Markets, Sydney.

Night markets by Trip Advisor

Night markets by Trip Advisor

My bearded boyfriend dawdles, his eye caught by something striped and gaudy.  He has a thing for tigers. If it has a tiger on it, or if it’s black and yellow, he’ll at least think about buying it – even if it’s just a plastic placemat.  Waiting for him, I’m suddenly shoved violently to one side as a silver-bunned old lady about as tall as my navel charges through with a cardboard box, cussing bitterly. She looks back at me in disgust as if to say, stupid great white whale-woman, go on and move your gigantic Western arse!

Maybe she remembers the war (in which Australians are probably written up as assiduous US arse-lickers, not even there to represent evil capitalist-imperialist-colonialist enemies of the proletariat on their own account). These Vietnamese grannies don’t mess around.  They may be four foot nothing, but they can probably somersault right over your head while delivering a stinging kick to your left ear on the way past.  I saw a film on the bus to Haiphong that lasted all of five hours and featured a fourteen year old princess who vanquishes thousands of grown men by martial-arting them one by one (or sometimes three at a time), her feet spinning around like fan blades as her enemies crunch, gurgle and collapse.  Five hours, no kidding!  If that’s the teenage girls, no wonder the grandmas still pack a punch. The toddlers too. But that’s another story.

Strange encounters

An old woman sits on the floor in a foetal position, in a side-corridor of a public building.  In her hand she clutches a book.  It’s ‘The Peaceful Pill’ by Philip Nietschke, dubbed ‘Doctor Death‘ by the Australian media.  To anyone who approaches to ask her if she’s alright, she announces that she wants to die.

It was my job to go sit by her for twenty minutes while the local mental health team was called. At first she wanted me to go away, but eventually she began talking.  I said my mother had died a few years ago, and I gathered that hers had died recently, too.

“Yes – they wanted me to say ‘passed away’!’ she said. ‘But I don’t have to call it that, do I! She died. She’s dead.’

We talked about her mum – a sweet person who got taken advantage of a lot. A bit like mine, really.  We talked about life.  The woman said she felt as if she didn’t fit in, didn’t belong here.  She said that the world was an evil place, and there were too many bad things and bad people in it – the earthquake in Nepal, Tony Abbott, the men who recently killed four women in my city in separate domestic violence incidents. She said that her mother was all she had.


Tony Abbott – the bad guy

Then the mental health lady arrived, and knelt down, and began to speak softly to her. I left, with tears in my eyes, thinking, there but for the grace (only I don’t believe in god).  Sometimes the capacity of humans for evil astonishes me, and I know how it feels to be an alien imposter in a world full of normal.  I’d sometimes rather not be here – but I’d never suicide.

There are good people around too, I said.  ‘Look at Tim Costello, head of World Vision’.  Well Tim, I only hope you don’t beat your wife!

costello tim

Tim Costello – the good guy

Partying in the One Party State

So, We’re being tooled round in our own personal houseboat, complete with king-size bed, deck lounges, thrones (in case we feel the lounges are a bit declasse) and a dining room.  As in any self-respecting third world country, we have a boat captain, a cook, and a tour guide to attend to our every need, and to disappear when romance beckons. As it ought to on Halong Bay. 2015-06-25 13.20.57

We can’t believe our luck.  Mind you, we have paid about $400 US dollars – but who’s complaining.  The boat is delightfully wooden, the sea is green, the limestone karsts are sticking out of the water like peaks out of Noah’s flood, all grey stone and Jurassic jungle. In short, it’s nice. 2015-06-25 13.21.01

At one point we hire canoes, which are towed around behind the boat.  We follow the tour guide literally under the islands, gliding into semi-darkness with stalactities reaching down for us from the squeaking caverns above, then emerging open-mouthed into lagoons of startling, still green beauty.  We skim over a school of jelly-fish, which are apparently a great treat.  The guide picks one up and I hold it (it doesn’t feel that delicious), then give it to my man. He drops it into his lap and panics – hilarious! 2015-06-25 13.24.26

In the blue day we dive off the boat and swim, then eat seafood (in my case, tofu).  At night, we lie out on our deck lounges and stare into the starry sky, and hold hands, and quarrel a little, and make up.  We stop at a ‘floating market’, essentially a fish n vegie store on rafts lashed together on top of plastic barrels. The guide drops a piece of seaweed into a sort of netted-off piece of ocean containing a group of small sharks, and they leap up like Jaws into a jet-ski.  That too is pretty funny.  I try to replicate it for my man but the sharks have got wise – we know it’s only seaweed, they sniff. 2015-06-25 13.39.03

This looks like one hell of an easy life.  Maybe it’s a bit of a bother when a hurricane stops by – but otherwise, there you are, living in paradise, eating fresh fish, swanning around in your rowing boat…We spot an official looking house-boat moored near to a white sand beach.  It’s the Department of Halong Bay Monitoring Station, says the guide.  It owes its existence to the fact that some party official had too many kids, and one of them needed a sinecure. It doesn’t actually do anything. 2015-06-25 17.11.15                         2015-06-25 17.12.59

What many tourists don’t seem to realise (including my man, who isn’t much into politics) is that Vietnam is a one-party Communist state.  All the most magnificent and immaculately manicured buildings are of course government offices.  Staffed, says the guide, by the stupid kids of party officials.  They don’t try to control much here – not like the party in China – because all they really want is money, and that flows in nicely, from bribes and payments for anything which requires contact with officialdom.  So the Vietnamese are merrily, not to say crazily, capitalist, and their government sits on top of it all, rubbing their hands.  Of course, if you have ambitions, you had better save up and join the Party, because good jobs are the currency of office. My man says it’s much the same in Australia.  Look at the boss’s daughter, he says – on the payroll of his coach company and she can’t even drive one. Look at all the rules we have – don’t park there, wear a helmet, immunise or perish.  At least the VIetnamese don’t have rules.  Or perhaps, just one – don’t meddle in what doesn’t concern you or you just might find yourself getting re-educated at the State’s expense.

My father’s ghost

I’m in a park – green, big trees – and I turn and suddenly I see my father, standing there under a tree.

I can’t believe my eyes. It’s been so long since he died – ten years or more.

“Dad! Dad!” I call, running towards him, holding out my arms.  I feel such joy, such relief, such love for him.

He looks at me – and is gone.

I wake up.  I find myself crying in the arms of a man who’s ill-treated me, with whom I’m in the process of splitting up.

Maybe it was a visit from the other side.  More probably, just a dream.   I think at some primal level, I needed a protector at that moment.  I wished my dad was still around, so he could stand tall over that evil man, tell him sternly ‘You just stop hurting my little girl!’ – and maybe punch him in the nose so he’d fall down snivelling and bleeding, and then creep away never to disrespect me again.  Or maybe it really was Dad popping in to say, it’s alright, I’m still here in a manner of speaking, and you’ll be ok.  But then, he wasn’t any more, so I had to stand up for myself, and I did, as ‘orphaned’ adults must.  I miss my Dad but!

Have you ever had anything similar happen to you?

Why is life like having Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Cause sometimes you just gotta stop trying so f*****g hard.

Like for instance taking a crap.  This poor cow I know, she grew up with chronic constipation.  There was always some reason she had to hurry up when she was on the dunny, say the taxi that took all the weird kids to school – sorry I mean kids with disabilities and shit – was waiting out the front door and her mum was yelling where the fuck are you they’ll leave you behind if you don’t come out of that bloody bathroom.  Or she’d be sitting in the loo trying to do her business and there’s two bloody rugrats screaming and clawing at the dunny door like she was in there suiciding instead of just taking a shit like any normal person right?

So now when she sits down to take a dump she’s either all plugged up or the other thing and when she’s plugged up that’s when she comes whingeing to me!  And this is what I tell her!

What you need to do is CHILL, sista.  So the boyfriend’s in the next room and you don’t want him to hear you carrying on like a sow in labour.  So it’s only an ensuite and lavender and farts don’t match whatever they say on the spray can.  So the bitches at work probably think you’re in the toot having a smoko or wanking or something.  Relax, honey. Read a book in there, take some booze, turn up the ACDC, make yourself a party.  The right kind of shit happens when you’re not trying – in life as well as in the can.

Have problems in the dunny?  What gives YOU the shits?  Tell Aunty Violet – I give everyone the shits, guaranteed!

From Violent Violet: the Unexpurgated Spray.  She’s mean, crude and she doesn’t give a fuck..and she inhabits the pages of Shit Buddha Forgot to Say.  Don’t head over there without your wellies.  Alternatively, you could tell King Midget what it’s like to be a girl on the other end, so to speak (analysis of the similarities between proctoral exploration and the female experience of intercourse notwithstanding).

Too many straws!

How do you feel about straws?  Do you have a final one?

I have a lot of straw right now, in my life.  Here’s how it is…

On Monday I SAID I would visit a little old lady. But work threw up an unexpected two hour teleconference.

On Tuesday I SAID I would take my teenage daughter for a driving lesson.  But the boyfriend had car trouble.

On Wednesday I SAID I’d go for a long walk with the dogs.  But I felt sick at the thought of the stuff I didn’t do on Tuesday.

On Thursday I SAID I’d get a research proposal off to the powers that fund.  But I went to see the little old lady instead (and you can’t hurry 85 year olds).

On Friday I SAID I’d get some damn exercise.  The Write Transition says I’ll die if I don’t.

On Saturday I SAID I’d promote my book (that thrilling saga of do-goodery and occasional malice). I have – it’s free on Amazon for three days from March 31st to April 2nd.  If you look to your left, you can see a flattering review of it (it didn’t cost me much to get it, either).

On Sunday I think I will run away to sea.  I don’t like obligations – stuff you have to do because you SAID you would, or because someone needs you to, or because you will get in trouble if you don’t.  I’m good at making promises and only half-good at keeping them.

What do you HAVE to do that you wish you didn’t? Tell aunty Rose..

And meanwhile, if you have nothing better to do, you can watch Kurt’s apocalyptic vision of walking his dogs.  I know Kurt, believe me, I know!


Love, actually?

On the first day of Christmas my truelove gave to me…

One big red ‘powerstation’ camping battery – but hey, it’s not Christmas any more, it’s Valentine’s Day (which just happens to be two days after my birthday – kinda awkward romantically but whatever).

So my honey gave me not one but five presents – and they all had hearts on them! And he made me pancakes in bed with berries on top.  That makes up for a lot (and sometimes, there’s a lot to make up for, but that’s another story).

But this is why I love him like no other.


Well technically the man-in-the-moon incense holder didn’t have a heart on it…