April 12, 2014

Short Story: Food Nazis

I could tell that the Food Nazis had been in my apartment again, although this time they'd tried to hide it. Usually when they'd been, I came home to a shambles with everything I owned strewn about the place. This time, I noticed that several items in my fridge had been moved out of position and a small packet of salt was missing from my pantry cupboard.

The Food Nazis, or as they're better known by most of the population, the Department of Health, probably visits several thousand people in our city. The actual percentage of the population is unknown to most of us, because people with genetic anomalies such as mine, are strongly discouraged from communicating with each other, and the Government will not divulge the statistics about those of us with abnormalities, claiming that it is irrelevant and discriminatory.

My older brother and sister were genetically improved at conception like the majority of the population. Unfortunately, I was an unexpected and ultimately unpleasant surprise for my parents. By the time my mother found out she was several months along in her pregnancy with me, it was far too late to ensure my genes were enhanced. Most women in that situation aborted the foetus, but my mother was one of an old-fashioned, frowned-upon minority who believed that life was sacred. The Department of Health threatened my parents when they chose to continue with the pregnancy, or should I say, encouraged them with disincentives to do so.

My siblings don't speak to me. I like to think it's because they unconsciously believe they'll catch what I have, though more likely it's because of sheer embarrassment. My genetic anomaly is obvious: I'm fat. Some ancestor or two of ours had the audacity to be born with fat genes and passed them down the line to me.

There are others like me. I've seen at least three other fat people, a child with curly hair and several women with overly large buttocks. For others in the population, their anomalies are not so physically obvious such as improperly functioning organs or learning disabilities. Although the law states that we are not to be discriminated against, we are, and often not in very subtle ways.

Our culture has reached a "New Zenith of Health,' (as Government promotions tell us) because when people purchase food using their citizen's cards, they are allowed wholesome options, based on their individual health status. This is 'for our own good and for the long-term good of our society.' For me that means salads, vegetables and lean meats, although lean meats are the only ones available any more. All animal stocks were genetically modified decades ago to produce only lean options.

For people like my cousin Janjhu, it can be quite challenging. When she was modified at conception, a small error crept into the genes and she was born with an exceptionally fast metabolism that makes it hard for her to maintain the acceptable ideal weight. As Janjhu is a close relative and has been a good friend of mine since childhood, the authorities don't stop us from meeting up, as we did last week at the BPlus Government Cafe.

"I can't eat any more. I'm so sick to death of being force-fed," she groaned. Her plate had included a protein-enriched mock-burger, mock-fries, and a calcium and kilojoule-laced milkshake, which was followed up with ice-cream and naturally-sweetened low-fat cheese-cake.

As always, I tried hard not to look at her with envy, or to drool over the remains of her half-eaten meal. No matter how much I ate, I was perpetually hungry.

"Check out who's at your ten o'clock," I said, glancing at him from the corner of my eye.

"I couldn't be bothered," she replied with a dismissive wave of her hand.

"You wouldn't believe the sneer on his face Oh, oh. Now he and his friend are coming towards us," I added. "I wonder what witty observation they'll share with us."

"Hello ladies," the first one said with a condescending smile as he looked at the both of us. He was physically ideal with broad shoulders, a lean stomach and a strongly handsome face. "You girls must be twins!"

Without even looking up from her plate Janjhu said, "Aren't you the guy I rejected at the dance last week? The one who begged me to take him home and cried when I said no?"

Glancing up at him she finished with, "Oh no. You're not him. He was actually good looking."

"Skinny freak," he snarled as they walked away.

Giggling I said, "That was beautifully done."

"Yeah," she replied with a sigh and a shrug of her shoulders, "I've got a million of them."

"Will I be seeing you at the gym after work?" I asked.

"Yes. Oh, the abundant joys of weight-lifting and muscle-building," she replied with a smile.

"And I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to running 10km on the treadmill and the ever-present delight of my daily cardio workout," I said. "And of course, my firm favourite is the weekly weigh-in, followed by the well-intentioned lecture."

"Fat-ass!" somebody hissed behind me.

Turning I saw the culprit and said, "Oh, my ass is not all that's fat. I have an overly large stomach, huge legs and arms and I'm working on a particularly magnificent double-chin. I see you've achieved you're goal of an ugly, fat mouth!"

Swinging back, I linked arms with my laughing cousin and exited the cafe.

"Nice work, Janjhu said. "You are getting so good at that!"

"Only because I've learned from the best!"

* * * * * * * * * *

My cousin was not only a nice person, she was also brilliant with computers and worked in one of the Government's statistical sections. To me it sounded like one of the dullest jobs on the planet, but she had schemed and worked her way there with one ulterior motive: to help people like us.

Circumventing the normal channels, she'd begun quietly accumulating data from government cafes and gyms. From these she'd been able to determine what other people in our city were likely to possess a genetic anomaly from both their food intake and their gym activities. She was unable to access medical data or school records without raising suspicion and so had focussed her initial attention on people like us who had metabolic disturbances and had to eat and exercise differently from the rest of the population.

Once we had a list, we each investigated potential candidates for our secret group. We had no intentions of overthrowing the government, but simply wanted to meet with similar people so that we could encourage and support each other. From the initial investigation of 87 candidates, we'd found 64 who fitted our profile and the group had been meeting in a disused building for several months.

"Does anyone know if Kaelar is coming?" Janjhu asked.

"He said he was going to try and make it to Tonga and try to hide away there until the cruise-airship left," Arien said.

"The Government wouldn't permit any of us to go to the islands," I said. "Not since seven of the island nations refused to become a member of the United Nations Health Taskforce."

"Can you imagine trying to enforce such ridiculous physical restrictions on people who are naturally, genetically larger?" Pearlice, the woman next to me said. "Plus they felt it impinged on their cultural identity."

"I know," I replied. "How many nations are still refusing to join?"

"Fourteen, although I've heard that Greenland is reconsidering its stand," she said quietly as Arien resumed speaking.

"Kaelar felt that because he had a fast metabolism, rather than a sluggish one, the government may not have seen it as a danger to allow him to go where 'fat is beautiful.'"

"Considering how many thousands of tourists go there to gawk at the fat people, he might have been able to slip through unnoticed," Berzra said.

"Does anyone have any news they'd like to share with us tonight?" Janjhu asked.

"You probably know that my sister Berdha is a doctor?" Berzra said, "She said that Merteen Charnigne is going to be euthanised later in the week."

The group let out a collective gasp.

"Three months ago she was severely injured in a transmat accident and ended up as a quadriplegic," he said.

"I never heard that," someone said.

"It wasn't released on the news," he said.

"How can they euthanise her?" I asked. "She's one of the best loved musicians of the last quarter century. Surely she can contribute even as a quadriplegic!"

"We all know that the Government regulations demand that people be classified as a burden on society if they fit the criteria of physically incapable of looking after themselves; quadriplegic and/or mentally ill amongst many other standards. Since the accident Merteen has been depressed and requires both a feeding and breathing tube to survive. That more than fits the government's 'burden on society' category."

"It's disgusting!" I said. "I wish that ....

Several candles fluttered out as the doors smashed open and a squad of officers from the Department of Health burst in.

"You are all under arrest under Section 7A sub-section (b) of the Government Health Act."

January 1, 2014

Blah! I Generally HATE New Year's Resolutions but ...

Blah! I generally HATE New Year's Resolutions but ...this year's resolution is to reduce my size by dieting and exercise.

I've never been a small girl, and I acknowledge that I'm simply not built to be a size 6, but this year I'm aiming to be an 8, or at least an 8½. There are a lot of dieting plans that focus on reducing weight for particular parts of the body, though I'm having difficulty finding one that suits.

You're probably rolling your eyes at this point and thinking "Oh crap! It's another one of those boring diet blogs!" Let me assure you that this is anything but an ordinary diet blog because I'm not talking about reducing my body size - I'm focusing on reducing my foot size.

By the time I was 13, it was evident that I was going to have large feet, and by the time I was 18, my feet had reached a ridiculous size 9½ to 10. I'm thankful though, that I'm not ever going to have obese feet like size 11 or larger though, and I do feel sorry for women who are simply not built to be petite.

I usually feel so embarrassed about my feet, that I keep them covered up most days. Summer-time is hell for me because my ankles tend to swell up and get fat during the hot weather. As I'm getting older I've also noticed that my feet are spreading sideways which is simply unacceptable.

One of the other embarrassing things about my feet is the size of my big toes. First on my list of health "must-dos" is an hour's daily walk on the treadmill which I am hoping will help slim down their roundedness. Additionally I will be searching the internet to find specific eating plans for reducing the overall size of my feet.

Perhaps this exercise and dieting will help to build up and reshape my weirdly shaped little toes. I won't rule out plastic surgery in the future, but I do hope this fitness regime will bring about a long-term toning and overall slimming that will rule out my need to do that. I'm also hoping that as I reduce the fat in my feet, their overall length will shorten to a more acceptable, petite size.

Perhaps by this time next summer I'll be able to wear a tiny pair of cute sandals on my slimmer, smaller and sexier feet. Wish me luck.


Note: This entry is purely tongue-in-cheek, showing the ridiculous expectations there are on us to be a certain size and shape. The reality is, we are all built differently. Some of us are taller, larger-boned, fatter, slimmer, tinier, skinnier, rounder, shorter, bonier or bulkier than others. 

If society told you that to be sexy, desirable or simply worthwhile, you must have feet that are no larger than a size 6, and no wider than 7cm, would you believe it? of course not! BUT If society told you that same message every waking moment of the day from the minute you were born, the brain-washing would eventually sink in - and you would come to believe and accept this as a "truth."

So why is it that you believe society's message that you must be thinner or a certain body shape and size to be sexy, desirable or worthwhile? Have you considered the possibility that you have been brain-washed?

Let me tell a real truth. You are an ORIGINAL - there is no-one else like you. You are amazing just the way you are. You are worthy of a standing ovation! Your heart is worthy of a symphony. 

Now go out there and LIVE that truth! Tell society to go taking a flying leap because as you are, right at this very second, YOU ARE WORTHWHILE! You are beautiful.


July 7, 2013

The Creative Process: Frustrating, Rewarding and Still Fun!

I remember that when I first heard the phrase "the creative process" I thought it sounded just a little pretentious. Now that I'm older and wiser, and having to had create either images or written articles on a regular basis for a number of years, I now understand it more clearly from my own personal experience, and realise that it is a step-by-step process.

Sometimes it is filled with frustration, especially when the pressure is on to get busy and create something by a particular date. As the creative mind doesn't work to a schedule, putting that kind of pressure on to produce something inevitably leads to blocks, or to the production of something that lacks spark. This then leads to disappointment and even further pressure to be better next time.

Strange as it may sound, I'm thankful that I've never gotten paid for my work. My written articles were for both my weekly newspaper column and my on-air radio program, both of which I volunteered for and were connected to the other. While there was pressure to produce by a particular date, I was not relying on producing items for an income, so to a degree, I was able to relax and let the thinking takes its creative course.

There were other difficulties: because I worked elsewhere for my income, it left me with much less time to put into the creative process. One way to get around that was to take pen and paper with me everywhere and jot down notes, observations and thoughts as they popped into my head. Whenever I had a spare ten minutes, I would take the opportunity to expand on those concepts a little further.

I have also been writing short stories and books for over a decade now, which is another process altogether, and one I won't discuss here today :o)

The creation of graphic designs has been a later development in my life and one I have only recently been able to market - though I'm yet to make any kind of income from it. While it would be nice to earn an income from my graphic designs, I enjoy the fact that I don't have to work to deadlines and my mind can take as long as it wants to develop the ideas. Often, I have several concepts jostling for position in my mind at the same time.

When I was young, I wanted to study art at university, but my parents insisted that I undertake something which would enable me to have a "reliable" income. For years, that has lead to my creative side being rather frustrated. Imagine my delight as I grew older, that computers and programs have developed to such a degree that I can now finally allow the blossoming of the stunted artist in me.

Here are some of my latest designs, some of which are a little on the quirky side:



June 12, 2013

And May I Say "Ugghh!"

If you can hear me snoring from where you are, then you probably won't be surprised to hear that I have worn myself out, setting up the new European/UK store. In just one week, I uploaded/created almost 2,300 items in the store, and it was one of the laborious, most uninteresting and frustrating process I've had so far in any of the shops I've set up.

BUT, my best images are now available to anyone in Europe and the UK. Yay! From this point onwards, it will only be one or two images to upload to the various products at any one time. So, for the first time today, I was able to get back into the more fun aspect - creating! Following is an image that I designed which should be going into the shops in the next few days:

Galaxy Voyage by Miss Terry Woman
(Small image)
One of the other things I've been looking for is images of buildings, cars etc that were very futuristic looking at the time. There's some amazing stuff out there, though it can take a while to sift through hundreds and thousands of images just to find one to use.

I loved the shapes and the perspective in this old pedestrian bridge.

Then there was an amazing old airport terminal building. While I had to edit and repair the image somewhat, the end result was worth it - remarkable shapes and design flow:

And finally, I spotted this gorgeous old Porsche Spider - isn't it amazing!? I almost expect to see Batman jump out!

Catch you next time...

June 4, 2013

Lucky I Love My Work

It's lucky that I love my work, because I have been crazy busy setting up my old and new designs in various online stores in Australia and the USA.

And just in the last few hours, I've set up a European store and have been laboriously adding one item at a time. Each country's product manufacturer/supplier has their online businesses set up very differently - some are much easier to use than others, and some are very time consuming and sleep-inducing procedures, lol.

Here is the link to the new store:  Miss Terry Woman (Eur/UK)
Australia: Miss Terry Woman (Australia)

USA: Miss Terry Woman (USA)

Following are just a sample of some of the varied products available in the stores.

I hope you can drop by and check them out some time. May I also encourage you to let your friends and family know about my special designs. ... Thanks!

Miss Terry Woman (Eur/UK)
Miss Terry Woman (Australia)

Miss Terry Woman (USA)