I’ve seen the Penrith Panther

IF you grew up in the outer fringes of Sydney or in the Blue Mountains, at some point you’ve likely heard the story of the Western Sydney Panther, or ‘the Lithgow Panther’, ‘the Richmond Panther’ or, well, you get the gist.

Like Bigfoot or the Abominable Snowman, the creature is largely viewed as legend, mainly because, well, what would a big cat be doing completely removed from its native habitat, stalking around the Australian bush and remaining pretty much unseen?

There are a number of possible explanations;

Some suggest the fact that a big cat has been seen infrequently and over such a large area is indicative of aliens. It’s not hard to understand why people scoff and mock alleged witnesses when a theory like that comes to head.

Some suggest the Panther (or its predecessor) was released by visiting military, who had brought the animal to the country as their mascot and then couldn’t be bothered taking it home.

One of the more popular theories is that it was an escapee from the now defunct ‘Bullen’s Animal World’ and ‘African Lions Safari’ that used to exist in Wallacia – right in the heart of the area in which the animal has most commonly been seen. The parks closed in 1986 and 1991 respectively but still housed the large animals afterwards, and a herd of lionesses even escaped in 1995.

Then there’s the belief that the alleged ‘Panther’ is just a HUGE feral cat – the byproduct of decades of breeding and aggression, perfectly evolved to live in such a vast and densely overgrown setting.

Last but not least are the large majority of people who simply think the whole thing is bullshit. All the theories are out there and easily finable on Google, but ultimately, despite dismissal and speculation, there have been over 600 sightings of the cat over the past two decades.

Actually, make that 601 – because it might surprise you to know that I HAVE SEEN THE PANTHER. Continue reading

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Lessons from losing my wallet… again

Lost wallet

Stock image. Filled with far more valuable things than my own wallet, no doubt. 

AS anyone close to me will know, I’m no stranger to losing my personal effects. I’m not talking about random bits either. I’ve lost my phone at music festivals and other events and I’ve lost my wallet more times than I care to recall. That includes the time I lost it on the bus and chased said bus all the way to the other end of the main street, only to find my wallet had vanished in the space of 20 minutes.

Upon checking into my Melbourne hotel room on the weekend, I realised that I had lost it once again. It could have been in any number of places, too. It could have been at the airport in Sydney, it could have been on the plane, it could have been at Melbourne airport, it could have been on the bus we took from the airport to the city, it could even have been sitting somewhere randomly on the side of a Melbourne road, catching the eye of a human statue who could do little but stare.

Despite having not even a faint idea of it’s whereabouts, instead of getting frustrated and admonishing myself I remained oddly hopeful and unworried. Sure, it had all my bank cards, my drivers license, even my EB Games Membership Card (Level 2 and all!) and my membership card to the local leagues club, but all of those things can be replaced, right?

I called the airport, I called the airline, I lodged a lost property claim with the bus company, and I waited. No one had seen it. Still I wouldn’t let it bother me. I called the bank and had my cards temporarily suspended instead of cancelled and I went about having a great weekend. The only time I thought of my wallet was when I would do my pre-leaving check for personal effects.

On the morning of our return I thought I’d try one more time. I called the airline in Melbourne and they told me that in fact my wallet HAD been found, and turned in, BACK IN SYDNEY. My relief was palpable, despite being pretty sure it was all going to end for the best anyway. Somehow the wallet had made it back to Sydney on board the plane and been recovered by staff. Happy ending. My thanks to the people at Virgin.

What I realised during this time is that I DIDN’T NEED MY WALLET (or its contents) ONCE! Thanks to being able to check in digitally on flights with no ID, I got on the planes easily (what terrorism threat?). Thanks to cardless cash and being able to pay for things with your phone I didn’t need any of my cards either. Thanks to having a beard and looking older than already I am I wasn’t carded once. Not one time during the weekend was I left frustrated by not having my wallet.

I guess that just proves that there’s always something to learned, even if its relatively useless information and even a slightly sad indictment on modern times. I know we’re moving towards a cashless society and all our personal info is on a huge mass of various databases. I’m not naive.

Call me old fashioned, but I still like the feel of a fat leather object stuffed in my pants, so heavy with useless receipts, old cards, a guitar pick and other random shit that I have to make sure I’m wearing a belt just to stop it pulling my pants off. The days of the wallet might be slowly fading, but I’ll do my best to ensure it goes out in a blaze of slightly-warped-by-my-asscheeks glory. Vive le Wallet.

Pokemon Go and get stuffed

3dp_pokemongo_gameplay

‘That’s the last time I take acid before using Google maps’

On my walk home from the train station the other day I passed through a nearby park, as I do every evening. It’s normally dark at the time I’m making this journey, and the park is so poorly lit that it’s practically pitch black, even just after 6pm.

Previously, I’ve seen a person urinating, I’ve seen a guy presumably passed out (but possibly dead) against a fence, and I’ve also seen teens making out on the play equipment. What these people have in common is the preference for darkness and the anonymity it creates, and I’m always fine to leave them to their activities, marching on and listening to music as I think about what’s for dinner, and why it’s not always tacos.

So you can imagine my surprise when I happened across what looked like the disembodied head of an Asian girl about 14 years old standing in the middle of the darkness. What the fuck was she doing other than being terrifying? Why was she unsupervised in an unlit park at night? Was she a ghost? Was she doing a Peter Dutton impersonation?

No. It turns out her face was lit up by her phone screen, as nearly all kids faces are these days, and she was wandering around, completely oblivious to me, looking for something. I let her be. Continue reading

Life Stories: Getting High

ONCE again I can only sit here shaking my head at another unsuccessful attempt to get this blog back on track. After building up plenty of momentum with my contempt for society and public transport rants and averaging hundreds of hits a day I’m back to a trickle thanks to massive inactivity on my part. I blame the NRL season.

And getting high…

me
Continue reading

ON FATHERHOOD #1 – What Goes In…

babies

None of these are my children

Those of you who read this blog regularly (all three of you) will know that halfway through last year I became a father. Surprisingly it’s taken nearly six months to write a blog about it, when I’ve been more than happy to rant about pricks on trains and the latest things I’ve seen on Netflix in the meantime. I guess I figured there were enough Dad Blogs out there already.

Henry (my son) and the entire act of parenting is a mind-blowing experience. I’ve learned a lot about life and myself, and in these semi-regular segments I’ll share some of these lessons (if you can call them that) with you in a (hopefully) more engaging way than the multitude of sites out there that think having ‘mum’ in the URL makes them a legitimate source of information (but more about them another time).

Let’s begin; Continue reading

Assholes on a Train Part II: Assholier Than Thou

pennoI honestly didn’t expect the first instalment of my contempt for pricks on public transport to receive much attention, but it got more than anything else I’ve written for about a year. It helps to know that I’m not alone in my unabashed hatred for these public transport pricks.

Did you honestly think that there were only two types? Ha! I present to you now the long-awaited (2 days) sequel, featuring even more of those fuckwits we all love to hate.

Continue reading

Assholes on a Train (and ways to deal with them)

train

The gates of hell (Photo: Daily Telegraph)

It’s the start of a new year, and after a decent break I’ve re-entered the joyous population of commuters forced together in the close confines of a train to get to the jobs that Clover Moore doesn’t think exist for people from the Western Suburbs.

Living a further 20-30 minutes out West than I used to both sucks and has its advantages. Yes, I get a seat, and the ride gives me a bit of extra time to go on rants such as these. Sometimes I’m even lucky enough to get the single seat so I don’t have to endure the constant struggle for leg and arm space we all enjoy when sharing a seat with someone else.

But of course, this return has seen a re-invigoration of my contempt for people at large. It’s only been a week but I’m already painstakingly aware of these people and why it is they should be put to death, or at least heavily sedated.

I don’t want you to think I’m just a petty whinger. I am, but I’ll also offer solutions to the problems if you feel remotely the same as me. Continue reading