Archives for category: Life

“So what do you want to do?” asked L’Artiste. Mouse took him by the hand and led him to the window. “You know,” she said, “I realised, we have to view the current situation like a plane crash. The world is going down and the oxygen masks are dangling in front of us. We have to grab the mask and put it in our face first before we can help the others”.

“Are you saying we should be more selfish?” asked L’Artiste. “That is so not us!”

“You are right, but if we pass out we can’t help anyone and there are some who can’t help themselves.” Then she explained that the Dedes have to clean up their own act first. She, Mouse, had made the decision to go largely self-sufficient and pointed proudly to her garden.

“You can’t make the decision for our society!” exclaimed L’Artiste appalled. “You can’t tell me what I can do and can’t do, we are not living in a nanny state. Last time I checked, we were living in a democracy.”

“You are right, I can’t” said Mouse. “I said, I have gone largely self-sufficient.  I can make the decision only for myself. Look, I have read so much about food wastage. Did you know that in the European Union about twenty percent of the produced food ends up in the rubbish tip? Food production impacts heavily on the environment. Apart from that, 815 Million people worldwide go hungry while at the same time 650 Million people are overweight…. Wouldn’t you say something is out of kilter?”

“Right” admitted L’Artiste, “but isn’t that subject too big for us? We little no body puppets can’t change anything.”

“That is only the tip of the iceberg” said Mouse “the next thing is that people eat, but don’t nourish themselves. They eat empty calories, become overweight and their ill nourished bodies becomes sick. Then they have to buy expensive medicine… All along someone makes money…”

“C’mon stop this conspiracy theory!” said L’Artiste and held his hands over his ears.

“It is well documented that in America the biggest drug problem is caused by prescription drugs. Just remember the tobacco industry… It is one thing, if one doesn’t know. But knowing and covering it up for profit, that is criminal in my books.” Mouse talked herself into a real rage.

“So what is your solution, do you want to take on the entire world.

“Quite the opposite” said Mouse. “I want to withdraw from the market as much as possible. I am aware that in certain areas I have to depend on others, and I am also no angel, I have a few vices just like the next Dede, but we can do so much more than we are doing at the moment. I am prepared to learn. Are you?”

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serious trio

The Dedes came accidentally  into being in 2012 and Devil was the very first Dede ever. So he is the wise old man and the only one, who is allowed to say what he likes to their Artist without fear of being reprimanded. Mouse is getting on in years as well. She too is one of the first fifteen and has the reputation of being a hard worker and gossip. At the same time everyone knows she is the good soul who holds everything together. L’Artiste arrived a little later on the scene and is naturally very close to their Artist’s heart. But like their real Artist, L’Artiste has the tendency to withdraw into his own little world when it gets too much. And boy, can it get too much with more than 70 Dedes overall. Though most of them keep a low profile, they are nobodies after all. It’s all in their heads.

Well Mouse and Devil always belonged to the management committee along with Detail. Unfortunately sometime last year Detail went missing. And Top Dog… shall I really mention Top Dog, the narcissistic puppet? I guess I have to, as he was the one that threw the Dedeworld into turmoil. Better leave it at this.

So, Mouse and Devil decided they want to get the band back together. With Detail missing, they want to get L’Artiste on board. The Dedes are very big on communication and finding amicable solutions, even though they don’t always succeed. They believe three Dedes make for  better discussions than two – as one will always have to tip the scale.

“Who do you think is interested in our sad little lives?” asked L’Artiste when Mouse approached him with the idea of a new project. “This is not the right question” Devil jumped in, “we have never done things simply to please the readers!”

“Why would we go through all this trouble, if not for the audience and the likes?” said L’Artiste surprised. “You as an artist should know best,” countered Devil, “aren’t you doing your art, to get your head around issues that trouble you?”

“Point taken” said L’Artiste

“I can count on you then!” said Mouse and moved a bit closer.

Mouse, the busy body of the Dedes, piled up lemons in the kitchen. “We have been quiet for too long” she muttered. “It is no good that we have been paralysed by politics. The world at large is in a grim state, but we are still alive and personally I think the only remedy is a new worthwhile project.”

To recap what happened in the last year: The Dedes moved to the countryside and into an old dilapidated house that needs a lot of attention. They are as happy as Larry in their new little environment. Around the house they have an acre with some fruit trees and three acres they lease out to the next door neighbour to graze his cattle in return for half a beast for the freezer. The first year they were busy establishing a vege garden and planting a banana grove and simply watch what ripens when. Thrifty as they are they don’t want to spend any money and they are learning a lot about how to make use of everything. Long gone are the days of only flour and water that led to the “Artist’s Survival Cookbook” project. They still make their own bread on a daily basis, but graduated from industrial yeast to sourdough.

As the Dedes are nobodies, who would be interested in their happy life? No-one, they simply assumed. However the other day someone asked what they are doing with the bones of their beast. “Broth” Mouse said, thinking that everyone makes broth anyway. “No, no” explained the person. “I make broth as well, but I envisaged you hand-grinding down the used bones to make bone meal for the garden or something!”

“Ah, right” said Mouse, “They contain a tremendous amount of phosphate you don’t want to waste. Here is what I do: First I make broth. Once this is done, I put the bones into the chicken pen for the chooks to clean up. When they are picked clean, I dry them and then I chuck them into the fireplace. In the end the go out with the ashes into the garden.”

“Do bones burn?”

“Well,” explained Mouse “the word bonfire comes from ‘bone fire’. They might not burn to ashes, but the become very brittle and are easy to break down. Your garden will love you for it.”

That night Mouse went home and discussed with Devil that, maybe they still have some tidbits to tell. Devil said, “yeah, you are right, it is definitely better than sitting around and moping about the rise of Top Dogs.”

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The Dedes are the reflection of their Artist and truth be told they struggle. When they first popped up, the Artist was still working and had to deal with different personalities on a daily basis. As an educator it was the Artist’s intention to find win-win situations where possible, or if not possible, at least come to an understanding of the thinking of others.

The puppets provide an excellent tool to investigate any issue in an non-threatening way and from many different angles. Like in human society, different puppets have different opinions derived from their own individual experiences. While these, on scrutiny, often don’t even exclude each other, they often result in major disagreements – even animosities, when everyone stubbornly insists on their own position. The key to understanding is careful and sincere listening. A skill well worth developing.

Then Top Dog showed up in their little society and everything changed. All of a sudden there was this knifing, lying puppet that twisted words and didn’t care about reason, truth or the well-being of others, but only about his own advantage and power. In typical Dede-fashion they took it lightheartedly at first. Sadly, what happened to the Dede-society was mirrored big time in the real world shortly after.  Over night, the Dedes were no longer funny! And the struggle began: The Dedes’ life philosophy was challenged to the core, if not endangered.

Meanwhile, the Artist in her typical fashion is sitting on the fence. Should the Dedes die, or should they come out fighting? While there is no definitive verdict, the Dedes are still potting around on Instagram. So the Artist kept the Dedes alive as she believes coming back from the dead is arguably more difficult than coming back from sick-leave. While the Dedes were convalescing the blog was somewhat neglected. They really should be out of their sick-bed by now.

Well, of course I am the Artist and the Dedes reflect my own struggle. Personally, I am blessed beyond my own belief, and live an extremely rich and fulfilled life (not in the monetary sense, though). I haven’t always, and like everyone else I have my ups and downs. I invented Top Dog, when I had to cope with a bullying work environment. Writing Top Dog’s adventures helped me tremendously externalising the issue. Though in the end the real Top Dog and her antics did grind me down and even worse Top Dogs popped up everywhere in the political world, like mushrooms after a nuclear fall-out.

My solution was to withdraw back into the privacy of my own life and onto a 1.5ha lifestyle block being as self-sufficient as possible. It suits me to a tee, as I always had hermit-style tendencies (hence the first puppet book ‘Hermit’s Web’).

The Dedes on the other hand are public figures, they like an audience and once again, they complain that I am not doing enough for them. They believe they have a message worth hearing. And there we are…

Do they really?

The Super Dede Competition is well and truly over and the puppets have to find a new project. But before the next thing, they had to post the Artist’s Survival Cookbooks to the winners. Foxy Lady volunteered to go to the post office in town. As this is quite a trip nowadays, she made a real day out of it.

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After she had run the errand she visited one of her favourite places, the old Stone Store in Kerikeri, which is the oldest surviving stone building in New Zealand. Looking across the river she had an idea: “Maybe we should show our readers more of where we live” she said. “People in other parts of the world will yawn” said the Artist. “A building from 1836 is not something to write home about. Where I come from, there are building half a millennium old and older!”

“It’s not a competition” huffed Foxy Lady. And the readers agreed, they would like to see more of where the Dedes hang out.

Though not all Dedes agree.

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“I don’t think it is a good idea to show our readers our dilapidated realm” said Snotty Nosed Prince to his father Benevolent King, when he heard about the suggestion. “Why not? It is refreshing! Everyone on Instagram shows a picture perfect world.When we open our castle, people realise we are just as average as the next person.”

“I’d rather like to keep up appearances,” said the prince and walked away.

“One day you will realise, one-up-man-ship doesn’t get you anywhere!” said the king calmly and the benefit of old age.

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“No one is interested in how you personally live” laughed Court Jester and tickled Snotty Nosed Prince with the tip of a fern leave. “I understand our readers want to see more of New Zealand, our beautiful country!”

“Not quite” a reader responded. “We are interested in both.”

Some of the Dedes are still not convinced. Calamity admitted that seeing all these beautiful pictures on Instagram make her depressed.

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“We live in a beautiful environment, true, but seeing all these nice landscape images depresses me when I have to go back to work on Monday.” Some did understand her concerns, but others believe he should try to live in the moment. Well, good advice, but it is not that easy with her predisposition.

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Calamity found a supporter in Rob D Light who said he totally understands her. “Cheerful pictures on Instagram drag you down big time. It makes me so aware I never will be on the sunny side of life. I’ve tried and tried and tried!”

Now the readers started to get concerned that the Dedes are so down on their surroundings. Most of them are actually not! It is just that the sullen ones spoke up loudly and skewed the opinions so the world got the wrong impression.

You never will please Calamity. She puts a negative slant on everything and is terribly envious of anyone who has a better live than her (in her judgement). While Rob D Light is tired of trying to break down walls, busily put up by others to exclude him.

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“Sadly these two puppets have a point” admitted Philosopher to L’Artiste “the real Dedeland is a place in the mind. When you lack positive imagination it must be an extremely dreary place.”

 

 

It has been a long competition and it would be beneficial to summarise the contestant’s performances. Here is what the contestants did throughout the three weeks of competition:

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In the beginning it didn’t look like Cool Cat would make it into the competition, but when she did and had to talk about herself, she admitted that she is bulimic. She overeats and then she gorges grass to induce vomiting, so she will still look her best. In skills week she presented a self-made dress to look different than all the other Dedes in their dreary black robes. Sadly in the last week, when it was her turn to answer a question, she allowed Top Dog to push her aside and answer instead of her.  Her coolness seems to be just skin deep.

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Push Push, the elephant, revealed in the first week she is a sponsored puppet. She had intended to make her owner proud by showing off her new ballet routine, but the idea was squashed by the tiny stage, and Push Push was in tears. Luckily when asked whether the Dedes will ever make films, she dug out the footage of her old routine and got accolades for it.

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Court Jester, doesn’t take much seriously and laughs about those who can’t laugh about themselves. However, when he was asked how it feels to be poor he got very serious and said feeling rich or poor is primarily a state of mind.

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Skeleton Edeltraut was never entirely sure about her participation. On one hand she believes it would be good to come out of the closet, on the other hand she deems keeping secrets her most valuable skill. Though she was quite happy to blurt out the Dedes’ secret. She revealed they had invented the Artist so they could communicate with humans. And it is by no means the Artist who teaches the Dedes, but rather the Dedes are educating the Artist.

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And finally Monkey, who wants to be a comedian, but sort of failed. In the first week he touted the ‘Artist’s Survival Cookbook’ because he features in it with a banana pancake recipe. His skill of juggling a banana on his nose didn’t float anyone’s boat. In Q&A week he explained the Dedes’ two native languages: ‘Dada’ and ‘No Evil’ and lamented the demise of ‘No Evil’ lately. It seems to be the more difficult language to learn.

And this was it for the competition. The readers had the weekend to vote and Mouse, as always when a big event comes to an end, fell ill. For two days she had to stay in bed and Devil brought her hot cups of tea and bowls of chicken soup.

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And then the winner was announced. Drum roll….

The Super Dede 2018 is PUSH PUSH

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The little elephant couldn’t believe it. There were too many stumbling blocks along the way: first she nearly didn’t make it. Remember, Foxy Lady forfeited her ticket in favour of Push Push.Then the stage was too small and she couldn’t perform her ballet routine she had prepared for skills week. Luckily, someone asked whether the Dedes will ever make films, which gave her the opportunity to present an old performance on tape. One excellent skill Push Push certainly has: perseverance!

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The next thing was to draw and notify the lucky winners of the cookbook. Mouse still isn’t quite recovered from her after-event depression and while they were packaging the cookbooks she asked Devil: “Now that this is done, what’s next?”

“What do I know” he answered and shrugged his shoulders, “We have to answer this lazy Artist!”

“Mhm, we no longer can blame the Artist for our demise” Mouse pointed out “since Skeleton Edeltraut revealed she is only in our imagination. We do have to find another scapegoat!”

To be continued next week…

 

 

 

The last week in the Super Dede Competition is question week. The readers can ask anything and one of the contestants will have to answer.

@francisvalela asked if the Dedes are ever making a video. “Funny you should ask,” said Push Push and ran off the stage to grab a tape.

“We used to make films in the old days. This one is footage from my first talent show!” she cried and waved the tape around. Then she added quietly “sadly I failed back then. I have worked so hard to improve and this is the reason why I am so annoyed about the size of the stage.”

The readers thought her dancing was tremendous and no one could understand how she she failed last time.

The next day @gulayse56 asked “When you are not interacting with humans and are offstage totally by yourselves, in which language / how do you communicate?” Monkey was very keen to answer that one. In lieu of enough monkeys he had to ask Mouse and Devil for help to demonstrate. “We have two native languages” he said

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“Firstly of course ‘Dada’ and secondly ‘No Evil’. Unfortunately ‘No Evil’ is spoken less than Dada and is on the verge of dying out. We really should start a programme to remind Dedes how it is spoken properly.”

@gulayse56 thanked Monkey for his response and believes ‘No Evil’ should be revived to exceed the boundaries of Dedeland. It should be taught to all humans as well.

We then had a question from our off-line friend John Doe, which Court Jester found interesting and was keen to answer. “You are nobodies and you even have to share your robes. How does it feel to be poor?”

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“We believe” said Court Jester for once seriously “rich and poor are comparative terms. Poorer than who? Richer than what? Okay we don’t eat caviar, but we eat well because we grow our own food. I have less possessions than the king, but I consider myself richer because I am free!” And on and on he went with his examples until Devil interrupted: “Is this leading somewhere or are you simply waffling?”

“Okay in this day and age feeling rich or poor is mostly a mental perception” summarised Court Jester, “and we Dedes feel rich despite being nobodies!”

This answer obviously brought on a flood of new questions and Mouse found a way combine some that were related: ” @angelcorpuschristi wanted to know about the Dedes secret language, @wizened_gnome was keen to find out whether the Dedes get all their knowledge from the Artist or also from other sources and @showtiart wanted to know if the Dedes were actors or real.

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Skeleton Edeltraut who knows all the secrets was the right puppet to answer. “Of course the Dedes are real, but they can’t talk to humans directly. Therefor they had to invent this Artist figure who communicates their story to the rest of the world. The Dedes do not learn from the Artist, on the contrary, they learn from observation and then educate the Artist.”

The last question was directed at Cool Cat, as she hadn’t answered so far. It was @theblanche who asked “If a Dede is stuck in the rain, what next?” Cool Cat got a big fright, as she knows ‘Self-regulation‘ lives with @theblanche and of course she immediately feared this ex-pat Dede had an accident. But no, @theblanche confirmed it was a more esoteric question.

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After this was cleared up Cool Cat set out to answer, but Top Dog came on stage and pushed her to the side. “I am the only one who can answer that, as I am the only Dede, who has lived through this ordeal!” and then he told the story again, when this horrible Artist left him out in the backyard for two weeks around Easter time three years ago. Only after the insistence of a kind reader was he pardoned and let back into the house.

“Didn’t we learn yesterday, the Artist is only the figment of our imagination.” Cool Cat pointed out. “Obviously someone is lying!”

After Cool Cat had expressed her concerns for ‘Self-regulation‘ we received a picture from the puppet, showing her on an outing to Mt Hood. Not sure if she really enjoyed her outing, she looks pretty uncomfortably cold.

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The Artist also confirmed the truth of Top Dog’s story. He had indeed spent two weeks outdoors as punishment for bad behaviour. Much to the disappointment of everyone, he weathered all storms and survived unscathed. One of our readers suggested, next time we should try three weeks.

Charly, the unicorn Dede who lives in New York, wanted to be the judge of the competition, despite he is currently suffering from a cold. He had read somewhere that in the old days judges put a white cloth on their heads when they read the verdict. So he popped a cloth on his head and begged “let me be the judge.” Francis Valela had a hard time convincing Charly that he is by no means the judge and anyway it might be wise to wait until all the summaries have been published this week.

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“Fair enough” conceded Charly “but I can tell you now, I was very impressed by Court Jester’s response re rich and poor!”

To be continued next Monday.

 

 

The last week was skills week in the Super Dede Competition and Cool Cat had to present first.

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“I am sick of sharing these dreary old nobody bodies” she said pointing to the black robes they all forced to wear. “When can a pretty girl like me show cleavage? I made this dress so I can stand out from the crowd.”

Well the Artist thought she looks like a housewife from the fifties, though the readers loved the dress. One reader, @spoons_and_friends reminded Cool Cat, that ‘it is not important what you wear or will garner your attention… and if it does, it is really the kind of attention you want?’ That definitely got Cool Cat thinking.

Next day Skeleton Edeltraut had to come up on stage. Poor thing, having lived in the closet for such a long time she was a bit confused.

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“What is a skill” she asked Devil. “Something you are good at” he replied and shoved her into the lights without further ado. There she stood like a little possum and couldn’t move. “We don’t have all day” reminded Devil impatiently.

“I think I am best in keeping secrets” the skeleton said finally and quickly slinked off the stage.

Some readers felt sorry for Skeleton Edeltraut that she had been pushed into the limelight, while others confirmed that she has a valid skill indeed. @theblanche reminded us that ‘loose lips sink ships’ and commended Skeleton on her talent.

Monkey of course has no problems with being centre of attention and showing off.

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“Look” he said “I can balance a banana on my nose…. oops” and it fell off.

Devil shook his head “There are skills and there are useful skills” he sighed “where on earth did we find these contestants?”

The real skill here, and some of the readers agreed, is that Monkey can make others laugh, right?

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Court Jester seems to have a very similar skill as Monkey. He came on stage and proclaimed “I have the skill of making fun of everything.” Devil of course couldn’t withhold his comment: “That is not a skill, that is a nuisance!” Court Jester wasn’t flustered at all “I totally disagree,” he said with his trademark smile “Nothing is more rewarding than to see people laugh about themselves!”

The readers were divided on this one. One said both Dedes spoke the truth, while others said he should keep up the good work. It shows that everything has two sides.

Last, but not least Push Push had to show her skill. She has been practising for month, if not years. Ever since she took part in another talent show and failed.

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She swooned onto the stage donning a tutu and… started crying inconsolably. “I worked so hard on my ballet routine, but the stage is too small for me.”

Isn’t the management committee disorganised this time round? Push Push had in fact complained about the size of the stage last week, but nobody took notice. We are missing Detail so much.

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And then Devil realised they stuffed up big time. They had forgotten to tell the readers that next week is Q&A week. Mouse looked bedazzled. “I never though I would say that,” she admitted “I really miss Detail. With her in the management team this never would have happened!”

To be continued next week….

 

Last week the competition started in earnest. And the contestants had to talk about themselves. Push Push was first up. But she started with a complaint. The stage was too small for her.

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Devil reminded here that she should talk about herself and why she wanted to take part in the competition. “Well,” said Push Push “it is a little known fact, that I am a sponsored Dede. That means I have been sold to a collector. Since I forgot to send my sponsor a Christmas card last year, I felt obliged to take part in the competition to push my value up”

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Cool Cat was taken by surprise that she made it into the competition and she let us in on her secret: “I am a fashion girl and want to look my best. When I first didn’t make it into the competition I was so upset I cooked myself a huge meal of mouse, my favourite. And then  when I heard I made it, I had to eat grass to throw it all up again. What a waste!”

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“Who likes Mouse pie?” asked Monkey. “I like pancakes with banana and I think the committee should announce that any comment in the competition goes into the draw for the ‘Artist’s Survival Cookbook’.” He showed the readers the page with his recipe in the book. “Stop it!” said Devil from behind the curtain “tell us something we don’t know!”

Monkey took a deep breath and said proudly “Once, an old lady said, I looked like Obama!” and then he added with a lower disappointed voice “but I think she wasn’t wearing her glasses.”

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Skeleton Edeltraut wasn’t too sure anymore, whether her decision was right. “Everyone said I will feel so much better, when I come out of the closet” she said while she was tightly holding on the curtain. “Now I am no longer sure, whether I can do it. You know, this is a point of no return. Once I am out, there is no going back! The door will be closed forever!” The readers were very supportive and encouraged Skeleton Edeltraut to continue.

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Court Jester was taken aback by the whole event. “OMG” he sighed, “are my competitors really taking it  that seriously? Where is the fun in their lives? What the heck, I dress up as Leprechaun and have a pint of Guinness. Cheers!”

And that was the end of the first week.

Now the next day Mouse had to make good for her omission. “Monkey is right,” she admitted very embarrassed dragging a copy of the Artist’s Survival Cookbook on stage. “I have forgotten to mention that any comment during the competition goes into the draw to win our flour and water recipe book. I so wish Detail was here, she certainly would have reminded me, but she is still missing.”

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The competition is always very stressful, so on Sunday Mouse and Devil needed to have some time out. They went to the beach, sat on a bench and didn’t talk all day.

To be continued next week….

Well, it should have been all easy peasy. But you would not believe what happened last week. As usual, the readers voted who will take part in this year’s Super Dede competition.  To give all contestants the same chance, voting closed on Tuesday, two days after the last contestant was introduced. Unfortunately the management committee gave an example on how someone could still affect the temporary result.  If someone wants Eve L. gone, they could leave a comment on Cool Cats post. NOT COOL at all. Sure enough two people followed that ‘advice’ and left a comment on the cats post, with the result that Cool Cat passed Eve L.

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Of course Eve L was not taking it lying down. As we already know he was working on a complaint but miraculously he also got a comment from St Petersburg, Russia. (Truly, I could not have made this up!)

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No idea what it says**, but nifty as Eve L is, he figured out the rules mention comments but don’t stipulate the language or whether the comment makes sense.

The next day Mouse, the organiser, wanted to chuck it all in after she looked the the revised vote count.

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“This competition is such a mess.” she said. “Now Cool Cat and Eve L. both wiggled their way into the competition and they pushed Push Push, the elephant out. ”

Devil had enough of the kerfuffle “I am making an executive decision here” he said firmly “Eve L is under suspicion of colluding with a foreign power and should be barred from this year’s competition!” Does anyone dare to disagree with Devil?

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Meanwhile Push Push was so anxious whether she gets in this time, that she did her own recount and had to find out that Foxy Lady did better than her as well. Honest as she is, she admitted the fact to Foxy Lady “nobody seemed to have noticed that you have a point more than I as well.” Luckily, Foxy Lady absolutely hates talent shows and patted the elephant sisterly on the back while she replied: “And we won’t tell anyone either. With your colourful circus personality you will do so much better than I. I am just a cranky old liberal academic. No one seriously wants to see me in a talent show!”

Well, she hadn’t reckoned with our readers. Sure enough someone said “I do!” But by then voting had closed.

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Finally the group picture of the five contestants was released. Not a particularly happy bunch, I must say. Who can blame them. After these two chaotic weeks, they were totally exhausted and they were allowed to go off for a weekend of golfing to get a good break before the competition starts in all seriousness today.

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Problem is, the Dedes can’t play golf at all. Gifting them a golfing weekend just sounded good. So, how do the Dedes relax? They went to a spa anyway. Sitting in a hot tub is no good either, as they are not water tight. To make the best of it Cool Cat treated herself to a massage by Chance. Pity the Dedes have no bodies and a massage is somewhat wasted on them too.

…To be continued next week.

**PS: We tried to find out from enders_production what their comment meant. While they responded, they didn’t engage with our request. It happens that we have Russian friends of our own and even though we did not get a direct translation from them either, we were told it is a word of encouragement. And we opted to believe it.