Of Gods and the Godless

The current goings-on in the world are wearying, aren’t they? I always feel an odd sort of exhaustion any time something horrible happens in the name of someone’s omnipotent being called God (or one of His many other names). It’s a weird reaction to have. Most people are terrified or angry. I’m just tired. The tiredness comes from the constant waiting for something else to happen. Expectation of the proverbial muck that is going to hit the rotary blades.

The bombings in Beirut, Nigeria and Paris in recent weeks have been fucking overwhelming for me and I will freely admit that a little of the terror creeps in at the sides of that tiredness. In that small admission, I guess the bad guys are winning. But that’s not really what I wanted to talk about.

A few months ago, I had a conversation with my nephew about God. I can’t even remember why. He ended up telling me about this weird class that his friends were taking.

For whatever her reasons, my sister had the Peanut baptised but is putting him through the public school system where religious education is not part of the regular curriculum. It’s a special class my sister can give permission for him to take.

As a result, the Peanut doesn’t know God. He doesn’t understand anything about the Creator. More over, he doesn’t understand the concept of a higher power at all. God, Allah, Buddha, the Flying Spaghetti Monster… it’s all alien to him. He doesn’t get it and kids like him have no idea why the world is looking down the barrel of what I think will be WWIII – The Religious War.

Back story…

Both my sister and myself were put through the Catholic school system from Prep to (in my case) year 12. From the age of 5-ish, we were taught Faith. We learned about God, Jesus, Mary. We know all the major stories from the Bible. We went through the major ceremonies to cement our membership and ensure our spot on the right side of the Pearly Gates. (So long as we behave ourselves – there’s always that caveat.)

So now… the God question.

To me, God just… is. That’s what Faith is. Inexplicable and fucking insane belief in something that has never been proven and of which there is very little evidence apart from a book of stories written by several different people and translated umptymillion times for the past 2000 years.

PLEASE don’t mistake me for being a Bible-thumping churchie – clearly I am not. Nor are the rest of my family – my parents put us through the Catholic system because they thought the education system was better in such schools. (Pro tip: It’s not.) And my schools were progressive in that while they taught the Word, they also taught stuff like science. Real science. (Like, no, humankind as we are today did NOT walk hand-in-claw with the dinosaurs and that the world was most likely created via the Big Bang and did not actually materialise magically within the universe over a period of seven days.)

But faith. It’s there. I can’t help it. I have it, as disillusioned with it as I may be.

But “it just IS” is not an adequate explanation for those who haven’t been indoctrinated from an early age (or birth) and have absolutely zero experience.

Of course this brings me right back to my initial comment. How do you go about explaining to a kid who has no concept of Life After Death (though he seems to know what ghosts are – probably due to the copious amounts of horror films he’s watched from behind a couch when he should have been in bed) that those nasty people over there in that other country are murdering people in the name of their Invisible Friend because their Invisible Friend is better than our Invisible Friend?

Yeah, it sounds as stupid as it actually is.

I really don’t blame him for the look he gave me.

Yep. This look.
Yep. This look.

Shit my dad says… on Facebook

My father’s been posting some absolute crackers up on Facebook recently. Just thought I would share a few of my favourites because he’s a funny bugger and makes me giggle.

Oh yeah… warning. Profanity and political incorrectness to follow. If you’re a sensitive type, come back on Saturday.


“Went to see my shrink the other day, Bitch told me I had a split personality then charged me $180 fucking dollars. Gave her $90 and told her to get the rest off the other fucken idiot.”

What they should really say on those cooking shows:
“Hello and welcome to ‘Pointless Cooking That Has Nothing To Do With Anyone’s Actual Life’. Today, we are making a very complicated recipe, using ingredients you don’t have, utensils you’ve never heard of, and in a kitchen that is bigger than your whole fucking house”

Women fucking drivers! I was behind one on my way home from work and she indicated to turn left and what does she go and do? She actually turns left!
How am I supposed to prepare myself with these fucking mind games?

“Good afternoon sir, how can I help you?”
“Good afternoon sir, my name is Skhjdfhjnhjgjnmmdjudigih Ghjgiotjiobbkweiobnmflmknvn.”
“Really. Fuck that. Think i’ll call you Fred Smith.”

“So, they have landed a washing machine size hunk of junk on a comet, I am so impressed. Not. Why would you want to study the origins of the universe? Simple. There was this big mother fucking bang, all the shit went everywhere… and here we all are.”

“New commandment.
At work, thou shalt not touch, move, sniff or otherwise interfere with [Dad]’s new chocolate flavoured Macona coffee! Because if thou dost, thee will get slapped in the back of the head with a fucking fire hydrant.”

“That’s it, no more fucking Mr nice guy from now on. Sat down near a guy who looked down and out, asked him if he wanted to share a souvalaki… Told me to fuck off and buy my own!”

Renlish.com - Dad
“Yo, homies!”

Little Lotte, let your mind wander…

“Little Lotte thought, ‘Am I fonder of dolls,
Or of goblins or shoes?
Or riddles or frocks?
Or of chocolates?'”

Introducing the newest member of the Renlish clan, Lottie Elizabeth, my new niece.

And I love her name.*

Renlish.com - Lottie Elizabeth
Lottie Elizabeth. Already all classy.

She was born on February 18, at 10.22am, coming in at a respectable 8.51lb (or 3.86kg) and about 54cm long by c-section. Like her big brother, she’s long but will probably fill out quickly.

And the person probably the most stoked at having a new person in the family is my nephew, Phoenix, who has been wishing for a sibling for a couple of years now.

Renlish.com - Lottie Elizabeth
A very happy big brother.

“‘No – what I love best,’ Lotte said,
‘Is when I’m asleep in my bed
and the Angel of Music sings songs in my head…
The Angel of Music sings songs in my head…'”

*Yes, her name is taken from Phantom of the Opera.

**Because I would have killed someone if they called her Arizona.

Dadisms, again.

Dad just posted this ripper on Facebook:

So, they have landed a washing machine size hunk of junk on a comet.
I am so impressed… Not.
Why would you want to?
To study the origins of the universe?
Simple.
There was this big mother-fucking bang, all the shit went everywhere… and here we all are.

(His words, I just corrected the grammar.)

It’s made me laugh far more than it was supposed to, really.

Letters to My Younger Selves

Dear 12 year-old Ren,

Two important things.

First, don’t be wagging school. You will get caught. And you will be stupid and get caught twice.

And not only will you get caught twice but the risks you take in going all over the western suburbs of Melbourne by yourself are just stupid. No one knows where you are (they all assume you’re at school), anything could happen to you. You’ll also put yourself in a position of being dangerously behind in school after being away for almost an entire term and live for months under the threat of having to repeat Year 7. I know you’re very unhappy there but I promise it will get better. Hang in there. Good stuff will happen by the end of the year.

Secondly, Mum and Dad’s separation had nothing to do with you and absolutely had nothing to do with your sister’s issues. You will bear this grudge for a very long time. Please don’t. It’s not worth it. You’ll come to understand why Dad did what he did. Be patient. Love your sister, she needs it.

Love, 35 year-old Ren.

Renlish.com - Family
Walk like an Egyptian… homie!

Dear 13 year-old Ren,

Being utterly unable to learn Spanish or Italian will have no effect on your life in any way, no matter what your Italian or Spanish teachers tell you. You have no real interest in visiting Italy or Spain at any time of your life anyway.

Love, 35 year-old Ren.

(PS – It wouldn’t hurt if you practiced some key Japanese and Chinese phrases. You’ll be going to Japan and China. It’ll be your first trip out of Australia.)


Dear 14 year-old Ren,

Me again! Just a quick note… PAY ATTENTION IN TEXTILES CLASS!

You will discover cosplay at the age of 35, and that you actually do need those “stupid sewing skills” and you will have to rely on your poor mother instead. And she’s retired. She needs a break.

Cluelessly, your 35 year-old self.

(PS – Seriously girl. You’re going to DragonCon. You need this shit.)

Renlish.com - Steampunk Costume
Costumey glory that your mother will sew for you!

Dear 15 year-old Ren,
They shouldn’t have done that. You were not “asking for it”. You were taken advantage of. Don’t be scared. Please, tell someone.

Love and many hugs, 35 year-old Ren.

(PS – You will eventually learn that not all men are horrible, scary creatures. Most are perfectly nice. You will also learn that you like girls too.)


Dear 16 year-old Ren,

Remember the hard work you put in in Year 8 that impressed your English teacher so much that she insisted you go to that workshop with John Marsden and made that happen? Remember that? Your story was poignant and touching and just plain well written. You did extremely good work in the years that followed that. Until Year 11.

IGNORE MRS BELL.

She is a haggard old bitch who is so unsatisfied with her own life that she will bring other people down for her own amusement – unfortunately those people were her students. Even more unfortunate is that she specifically targeted creatively minded students like you. She will tell you that your work is awful and average and kill any enthusiasm you ever had for creative writing. It will take many years for you to get that back. It’s not worth it.

Love, 35 year-old Ren.

(PS – You will get that desire to write back while writing X-Men fanfiction with a friend in your mid 20s. You’ll also write a 50,000 word romance novel that involves time travel. And pirates.  You dag.)


Dear 17 year-old Ren,

Maths is not your greatest subject, accept it.  Move on.

Love, your 35 year-old self who knows you’ll end up working in finance anyway.


Dear 18 year-old Ren,

Yay! You finished highschool!

Yay! You got into uni!

Here’s a tip – GO TO YOUR CLASSES.  Get your degree. Finish what you start.

But you’re 18 now so you’re not going to listen to anyone anymore because you’re an “adult”.  So here’s what you’re going to do instead:

You’re going to waste days and days in the computer lab playing in chatrooms for eighteen hour stretches. You will fall for an American guy who is *cough*eighteen*cough* years your senior.  You’re going to ignore your lectures and start hanging out with your friends in the Student Union.  You’re going to support a friend who ends up working in a brothel. You’re going to drop out and start the long, arduous search for employment.

The next ten years are going to be pretty crap.

You’ll wish you listened to me!

Sincerely, your 35 year-old self.

(PS – Actually, it’s not all that bad. Lots of good stuff happens too.  Like you’ll meet a whole bunch of new people through blogging who become some of your best friends in the world. You’ll get into photography. You’ll become an aunty. You’ll rediscover your artistic talents. You’ll travel to places you never thought you’d go.)

Renlish.com - Ren and the Peanut
Peanut (aka the nephew) and me.

Dear 19 year-old Ren,

You know that really nice guy from WA you were introduced to?

Yeah, him.  You’ll marry him one day.  Just sayin’.

Love your 35 year-old-and-still-married self.

Renlish.com - Ren and the Manbeast
True love, several years later.

Dear 29 year-old Ren,

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

You know how you’re getting married and you want to get married in THAT RED DRESS?

Do it.

Don’t give a fuck about what anyone else thinks.

That dress will look awesome on you.

Cheers, 35 year-old Ren.

(PS – The dress you get will be gorgeous anyway, but definitely get your first choice. Regrets suck.)

Renlish.com - Wedding Dress - Trash the Dress
Trashing the dress, medieval style.