Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The new troop ships

I've been looking at Cruise travel brochures. I have this romantic notion that I can recreate the transatlantic journeys of the Lusitania or the Normandie without of course the sinking part. I have visions of gin and tonics below the grand mahogany staircase in oyster silk and a fox something thrown about the shoulders. Reality sets in when page 4 of the brochure refers to kids clubs and all you can eat buffets. My grand staircase resembles something you would see in the local shopping mall complete with fake palm trees and conference centre chairs. Too many Evelyn Waugh novels later I'm longing for art deco furnishings and the walnut cocktail cabinet to display its grandeur when I invite my sophisticated fellow travellers of artists and entrepreneurs to my cabin for a gin sling. Instead I'm looking at bunk beds that I thought were only available in prisons and furniture with replaceable covers that I don't dare to think about. Alas I'll move on from my voyage of style and leave it to the schoolies to enjoy the oceans in peace to party hard and puke over the balustrade.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No frills for a fee

On reading in today's paper about a no frills airline removing all check in desks from the airport one wonders where the anti service culture will end. We are told as passengers of this airline you are required to print your own boarding pass and pay a fee for doing so, you pay a large fee for any luggage that you dare to leave in an allocated "bag drop" location and who knows what fee will be incurred to collect your baggage should it miraculously arrive at the other end. Airline travel is being squeezed into a two class system, the first class being for those who have the ticket paid for by someone else or they themselves have more money than God. And then there is the rest of us. Before long we will be paying for an on-line application form to fly on a shared bench on a plane where we will pay extra for seat belt, a pressurised cabin and the mandatory carbon offset tax for the pilot to plant a tree when he lands (I think that one might be in already). Cargo holds will be opened up for budget travellers who are able to go for long periods of time with small amounts of oxygen and are happy to just hang on. No frills, no thanks.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The balancing act of moving

When one moves house one finds oneself doing extraordinary things. Like reducing your living space to about one metre squared surrounded by hired boxes which contain all of your worldly possessions. Similar to camping (I'm told) as the move date grows nearer you are reduced to the barest of essentials such as one spoon, a knife and fork, a cup and cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The wine collection is sacrificed in order to pack one less box and you find a new culinary adventure in bananas and weetbix accompanied by a crisp 2006 Chablis. When the day finally arrives you are relieved as the furniture items are up-ended and stuffed into the truck. And without fail there will be a shameful pair of undies in the space where the bed was, lying there in the dust smiling up at you as the removal men drag the mattress away. You stare blankly into the back of the truck with homeless people's blankets protecting your sad home comforts for their journey to the new premises. And then you throw yourself into your vehicle and drive like a lunatic to beat the truck to the new address. Then after everything is unloaded, once again you are surrounded by boxes and are living in one metre squared of space. You look for that spoon, fork and knife and hope to god you remembered to move the undies.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wholly law

Under changes to the states Equal Opportunity laws, "religious groups will no longer be able to discriminate on the grounds of race, disability, age, physical features, political belief or breastfeeding. But they can continue to discriminate on grounds including sexuality or marital status if it is in accordance with their beliefs" as reported in today's Herald Sun. Phew, what a relief that must be for the men who dress up on a Sunday in gold frocks, who don't actually marry themselves and who's sexual behaviours have sent their own senior clergymen into much liturgical back peddling and cover up. Ah there is nothing like having laws resembling Swiss cheese for those who will not comply. So from a church point of view, all men are equal including the deformed left leaning, breastfeeding migrants with a very large exception to anyone with a personal life choice involving not being married or forbidden from being married then they are not equal and therefore not welcome. How very sad. Unlawful discrimination we were told was about removing inequality for all as described by the attributes in the Act, which applies to all employers. Or not!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Things to do that are better than watching football

1) Shopping. Clearly. Even shopping for a new kitchen sponge is an outing!

2) Watching television. Two hours of Danos Direct would be more beneficial, at least you would be able to organise your life in 3 easy payments including postage and handling.

3) Looking out the window. You'll be dry!

4) Putting several pots of water on the stove and watching them boil.

5) Being staked out on an ant-hill naked.

6) Driving around Melbourne counting the good parking spots, "there's one, there's one..."

7) Watching re-runs of Magnum PI.

8) Going to the airport and watching the luggage carousel go around.

10) Learning how to count.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Buy buy baby

I made the mistake of asking to see a photo of the new born and then called him a her when she was a he. I was soon corrected. It was a little hard to tell from a blurred mobile phone screensaver with Optus favourites all over his face. Someone had collected the money and put together a basket full of goodies for the new baby. The blue basket was full of a selection of various socks, singlets and assorted soft blue things all carefully chosen by someone who likes shopping for baby things. Babies are difficult to buy for when a) you don't know the sex, b) you don't know the parents or c) just don't know anything about babies. Falling into the c) category my suggestion of a bike was not greeted with much enthusiasm. Neither was the ipod, skateboard or satnav for the pram but I gave it a shot. In fact I am so bad at baby present buying the last gift I bought for a baby was a small t-shirt which said "shut up and go to sleep". I wonder if it worked? So the next time someone announces a new addition to the family they'll have to be specific, because some of us are not qualified in this stuff and if left to their own gift buying devices they may just end up with another toaster. In pink or blue.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Is there anybody out there?

What is wrong with people? Will the person who invented voice recognition for call centre routing please stand up so I can smack you on the legs with a four by two with a rusty nail sticking out of it. "I'm sorry, I didn't recognise your address, please state your street name again". Of course you don't recognise it you useless piece of shit you are not a person. This basically was the format of the conversation with myself and an telephone avatar today. Has service so obviously disappeared to the point that we no longer want to speak to our customers? No they only want things and they just take staff away from their work. "Did you say your name was Porno Driver, press one if this is correct?" And the worst part is knowing that by hanging up on them, you can't even ruin their day and how do you complain about someone who doesn't exist. Come to think of it, you can't complain to people who aren't actually there. Now I'm scaring myself.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Glamour

September in Melbourne. It's all about the glamour. The parade, the hours spent grooming and preening. Does everything look at its best, is there a flaw that needs to be covered for this big event? Hair dryers are swirling around, there is teasing and fluffing, nails are attended to with the finest of detail. It's all so exciting for the big event. Yes folks, the Royal Melbourne Show Clydesdale Horse Parade is on. Oh, and apparently some footballers wives somewhere doing something similar, but back to the horses, and the sheep and the cows, oh the glamour!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

This Post Contains Language That May Be Offensive to Some Readers...

Well today's barbecue stopper is that Kevin Rudd uses the "f" word. According to the Age online today, News Limited reported "Mr Rudd said in the presence of three female MPs: "I don't care what you f---rs think''. Personally I'm not concerned about what Kevin Rudd calls his cabinet members but what staggers me is that the presence of three female MPs was mentioned as if they might faint or something. As women of today's world are we fainting at the "f" word? Or any word for that matter, are we so delicate that the smelling salts are stuffed into our handbags should we come across someone cussing in the street? Heaven help us should Gordon Ramsey appear on the telly we'll all have fainting fits all over our kitchen stoves. I'm going to try an experiment, right now...Fuck. Are you still with me? Didn't come over all funny all of a sudden? Well gosh there you go, haven't we come a long way. Now I can go back to darning my goddamn motherf...r socks.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Couch Couture

I'm thinking. I'm thinking about fashion advice. Do you ever take it, give it or even believe in it? When Cate Blanchett chose to put her arm through nanna's crotchet knee rug and walk down the red carpet she either knew exactly what she was doing or it was laundry day. Just like Bjork many years ago arrived on the red carpet dressed in a swan dress, even if it did look like one that had been through the engine of a 747, did she stand at the foot of the walk-in asking herself couture or chicken? Where do you draw the line when you reach into the wardrobe? Is it a little bravery or is it the whole, go to hell in a hand basket I'm wearing my pyjama top and I'm calling it fashion. Desperation will drive dressing decisions on many a morning with the basket tipping over with un-ironed every day wear as we reach desperately into the evening section of the wardrobe. Can I get away with it if I down dress it? Surely a bit of fishnet stocking is about being bold and they'll never guess it was all that was left in the bottom draw. But if you have exhausted absolutely everything including the weekend casuals, the big event big skirt and special occasion special pants, and are left with nothing at all to wear, feel free to look no further than the ol' crotchet square throw. Just make sure it's not the one that ended up in the dog basket!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Australians all let us rejoice.. for we are late for an appointment

I failed the Australian Citizenship test. You can take a practice test on line. You need to score 75% of answers correctly. I only achieved 1 out of 5 for the last group of questions. I'm not sure if this makes me a dumb arse or I'm just not very knowledgeable about the intricate powers of our Governor General, the details of State Government constitutions and the finer points of legislative royal assent. Are they serious? Should our new migrants spend their days watching Parliament Question Time? Actually better not, they might wonder what the hell kind of people we have here. Australian Citizens need to know many things. Aside from judicial government powers perhaps a more useful approach to our Citizenship quiz should be offered. Questions like where to buy the best cup of coffee in your state? That it is not compulsory to go to an AFL game and speaking our language doesn't necessarily mean you have to talk without moving your lips (Kevin Sheedy??) Having worked with refugees I know one of the more common misunderstandings is why the western world is so obsessed with time and clocks. Some more useful questions might be if you are asked to meet a prospective employer at a certain time do you a) bump into your friend and spend the day with them instead b) think that tomorrow would be better and turn up then or c) make sure you turn up on time. In some cultures a) and b) are perfectly acceptable. And you know, maybe they are right, 'he who lives by the clock will always remain one of its hands'. I never did understand that saying!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This Side Up

Packing for a move. I'm surrounded by boxes. Empty unfolded boxes waiting to be assembled. I've made a start. Books are always the first to be packed. When you pack your books you feel like you have achieved great things. Except that you've stopped to read half of them before you could put them in the box. Now it's time for the crockery. How does someone accumulate so many plates. You can only eat one plate of food at a time but I have enough plates to cater a dinner party for the population of Shanghai. But alas for my convenience, I have my trusty complimentary keyring box cutters to deal with packing tape so in case I am out on the road and I need to cut packing tape, I will be ok. Times like this you consider converting to Buddhism and rejecting all forms of materialism and therefore just throwing everything in the bin but the couch doesn't fit down the shoot, so I'll move on. I'm grateful for small moving mercy's like that fact I never had the clothes dryer mounted to the wall, I never bought a grand piano and I never got that stripper pole put in the middle of the loungeroom.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bring on the dancing conference bears

With the onset of the global financial crisis we can take some comfort from one thing, the demise of the company sponsored 3 day conference. I wear the scars of many a conference of bad food, powerpoint eye strain and thin red marks on my wrists from trying to sever an artery with a sheet of butcher's paper. When that email arrives it stares right back at you like confirmation of a cancerous growth. A conference has been scheduled it says, and it is compulsory it says. What it should say is if we have to go to these stupid bloody things then so do you. You pack an ever so small suitcase for the journey to the lost valley of conference hell to join your fellow cell mates for three days of organised group think. Surprise activities it says, all nominated in the name of fun. The fun soon dies away when the company logo printed polo shirts arrive and yet another afternoon is spent doing things that are so far removed from your everyday life you wonder if this was some kind of reality series you were on but didn't get the memo. My all time favourite was one where we had to embrace the new organisation structure (which resulted in job losses of dear friends might I add) by making puppets and putting on a show to demonstrate our endorsement of the new way forward. I'm still in therapy for that one.

You suffer through another motivational speaker, this time a coach or somebody associated with a sporting team of some sort. He tells you all about the strategies for the game and for the people. In an attempt to be down to earth, because everyone saw his Lamborghini parked out the front, he says things like "we have a no dickhead policy". I wanted to point out that if someone on his team is called Spider then clearly the policy isn’t working, but I decided to remain silent as I saw some in the room lapping up this stuff. The days blur into a haze of coloured whiteboard markers and 'let's break into groups' syndrome leaving you with an unexplained craving for more bain marie hash browns. At the end of the 3 days you come back feeling more motivated than ever. More motivated than ever to look for another job. God bless the GFC.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cradle in the wind

Elton John is wanting to adopt a 14 month old boy from the Ukraine. The report in today's Australian newspaper tells us after the recent death of his keyboard player Elton said "what better opportunity to replace someone I lost than to replace him with someone I can give a future to." Is that what it said on the warranty Elton? Of course it's that's simple! Just sign the forms and pick up your parcel and you're a father before you can say Dnyeprodzerzhinsk. If I was a boy I'm not really sure I would really want to be adopted by Elton. Madonna perhaps, but Elton? The songs around the piano would be ok but if he put you in one those outfits he likes you would never hear the end of it at school. And do we really think our Elton would be washing the poohie nappies and wiping the mashed banana off the walls anyway? Ah, no some poor (well probably well paid actually) nanny would have to do that well in time for the next Elton birthday bash where everyone has to dress up as tropical fruit...again. At 62 years of age it's time for a fluffy white dog or a painting class. Step away from the child Elton.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The big un-freeze

I've been served with a notice to vacate my premises. Well actually they are not mine but let's not quibble over a minor technicality. Packing is loathesome let alone finding somewhere new to live. I spent the weekend looking at shoeboxes with a window and front door cut out of them. These apartments utilise every possible inch of space including one which had a washing machine and dryer in the shower. It was advertised as a new lifestyle opportunity. This might depend on the results of your ECG after the electric shock. Having resolved myself to the move I now need to start emptying out the freezer. This week will be a week of dinners with the word 'surprise' before each meal. The frozen lumps only reveal themselves at the very last minute when you are standing there with the door open saying out loud "chicken, fish?" Or large lump of solid mass that looks like a severed head. Was I really going to cook rolled calves head soup? There would be nothing worse than on a cold winters day you find yourself fresh out of heads. The pizza dough that could serve as a garden paver may not be worth the thaw but the plastic container with the tomato something might be worth the wait or then again might just be something that was meant to go with the concrete paver. So as the freezer winds down to a supply of nothing more than ice cubes the next cave of mystery will be the pantry to re-discover a forgotten trail down the old spice route. I wonder when I ever needed Elderflower water and how many bottles of fish sauce does one person need, not to mention the bucket of honey that is so big I feel compelled to give some back to the bees. No room in the shoe box for this.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I'm bored

It's Brownlow medal time. The excitement is building for the red carpet celebrity scrum. And the media is already in a frenzy telling us nude tones will be favoured this year. Must be a spray tan colour. And lots of fake, fake and more fake. And WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? Am I supposed to know who they are? What have they done? What are they famous for? We are too quick to congratulate these people for doing very little. We make them famous first, and then we give them a cause. It's very boring when we are told to celebrate Australia's most famous model as if she has done something more than walk up and down a plank and remember to turn around at the end and not fall off. This event is nothing more than a display of tits and overpaid thugs. By all means celebrate people who have changed lives, and I don't mean the televised garden makeover variety of changing lives but the people who are quietly making a difference to people lives and who would have better things to do than sit in a room and count votes about who has the most mates in their industry. So brace yourselves for wall to wall reporting of another fake and feathered gala(h) event.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

If I have to, I can do anything

A heated debate has erupted over a new defence plan for women to serve on the front line my newsreader tells me. A heated debate? About what to wear maybe? Bright colours will be in this season. We'll be landing on the beaches in the latest Jets fun in the sun swimwear line and completing our basic training in a matching set from Lorna Jane active wear. What are they worried about? Too many problems being solved perhaps. Osama Bin Laden, found. His kids were playing with a friend of her kids at the same Tuesday play group, or worse peace broken out in the Middle East after a luncheon and pamper session with goodie bags to take away for everyone. All too scary for some, the thought of combat line replaced by compact and lip liner, the SAS outmatched by PMS and everyone home in time for dinner. If women weren't meant to be in combat, then they wouldn't have given us hormones. Hand me that grenade.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wishin' and hopin'

10 things to wish for. The Australian Newspaper's Travel and Indulgence section has done all the hard work for us - like we would have strained ourselves? Number 1 to wish for in the Wish List photo gallery is a tub of Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey icecream. Ok stop right there. I have no wish to put anything in my mouth called a chunky monkey. What else have you got? A men's cotton shirt, yawn. Next? Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion book. Maybe, but you generally don't wish for stuff that you would probably get for Christmas anyway. What else you got? A Bulgari necklace that is so full of colourful gems and stones it looks like someone has thrown up diamond chunks. I wouldn't wear it but I would sell it on ebay. Next. A men's sneaker. There was only one pictured so I think you have to join a waiting list to get the other one. It's only available in New York so maybe one shoe is the fashion there, moving right along. "Astro Boy" the animated movie is coming to town. Wish list or advertising vehicle? Next. Hong Kong hotel room in a new hotel that hasn't opened yet. Modern square furniture that looks like it would come in a flat pack. Not for me. More please. Wish number 8 is a book about Australian Vogue. If I'm eating chunky monkey icecream, I ain't reading Vogue. Number 9 please? A Louis Vuitton tie case. Do they do a bra case as well? Lucky last, number 10, the Audi R8 fast and luxurious but don't leave it in the multi deck car park because it won't be there when you get back with the groceries. So apart from the fact that it appears women don't wish for much, I can only suggest you come up with your own more appropriate list of dreams and desires. And by the way? What happened to world peace?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Masters in Multi Tasking

It's official. We are no longer allowed to multi task. Texting, twittering, and tuning into the ipod are deemed the work of the devil if distracted from life (and as I say this I jump up to turn the chicken over). Being distracted is bad particularly when driving, and it would be hard to argue with this to a certain degree. But should we be so quick to take the blame when technology clearly is the biggest multi-tasker of all? They gave us this stuff that does everything, everywhere and anytime. They encouraged us to watch multiple televisions in multiple rooms and use our phones for multiple activities, now that we have multiple jobs, multiple partners and with any luck multiple orgasms too. We want to do it all. If we didn't have multiple things on the go we'd rattle around lost in our multiplex mansions wondering what on earth we are meant to be doing. So if I'm not juggling the multiple balls in the air and I only throw one up at a time, I may reduce the risk of being hit in the head by one of them, but if I keep doing it, maybe I'll just get better at it! So let's all get out there and sign up for Certificate IV in Mobile Motoring skills and embrace our new ability to multi task on the move.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Man in Black...skivvy?

Tex Perkins plays a mean Johnny Cash in The Man In Black show at the Athenaeum Theatre. Having not seen Tex since his Beast of Bourbon days he hasn't changed a bit, well not much anyway. Fantastic show and full credit to Rachael Tidd who plays the role of June Carter with backing by the Tennessee Four who are outstanding. Now that I've had my moment of cool, I need to step out of the dark and admit that I went to the Matinee session and yes, I should accept that at this time of day there will be people who will push you face down in the aisle and trample over you to be the first out for a choc ice at interval but that wasn't so much the problem. My problem was the creche going on in front of me. Far be it from me to say that any 2 year old should be deprived of the opportunity to hear about death row in Folsom prison or to add the word motherfucker to their new ABC learning book but Jesus, did these parents really expect that they would be up for sitting quietly in this sort of environment? I don't crash Wiggles concerts and start distracting everyone, mainly because there is not enough Chardonnay in the world to get me to go to one of those but that's not the point. But anyway, the point is if you are in Melbourne, I recommend it, just don't expect Tex to break into 'Hot Potato, Hot Potato'.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Somethin' Stupid

What if today someone caught your eye? What if that person smiled at you like it seemed that they knew you? Just say, for example that this person made contact with you and made an excuse to see you again. This person is a bit younger than you. You meet them and meet them again. You talk about life more deeply than you have talked to anyone before in your life. This person tells you things about yourself that in all your years you never knew, it's like they can see clear into your soul. You start to think about them more and more. The arranged times to meet become more frequent as you begin to look forward to them to feel some sanity and to laugh at life again with a new sense of living. You've fallen in love with this person. Every song on the radio is about your love. You begin to think about them every moment you can and when you do, you feel a warm feeling of sheer joy that you know has never happened in your life before or was so long ago you had forgotten it. You can't believe how alive you feel with this person when you are around them, you can feel yourself smiling inside and out. You are glowing with this feeling of being loved unconditionally. What if you were married and this person wasn't your partner? What if you were a politician?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

One day in September

Ah, September in Melbourne. Spring fashion, hay fever and football, football and here, have some more football. I love the Grand Final. It's the best shopping day of the year. It's the best day to get the best seat at any restaurant in town. There are no traffic jams and when you park your car out the very front of your favourite restaurant, the staff will be waiting to give you the best service you have ever had. It's like swimming upstream to get the best trout.
Shopping for anything is easy on Grand Final day. Better deals are done just before the match because the pressure is on to get to the television, you can just about negotiate the sale of a fridge down to the price of a pie if you time it right. You can see that exhibition at the gallery, you'll be the only one there and the 3 staff at the ticket counter will fight over taking your money. The open for inspections have real estate agents who will ask you how you are and will make eye contact with you and the movie theatre seat in the middle row in the middle of the screen will be vacant just for you. So enjoy this day like the city is your own just like Charlton Heston in the movie The Omega Man but remember...once you hear that siren go, make a run for it. That's when "the family" come out.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

B-pay from heaven

Today I stayed home and spent much restful time in front of my television and I have learned many things. I didn't realise that I needed insurance to cover my bills when I died. So now I can pay Telstra from the grave, what joy. I also purchased some exercise equipment that will give me a suntan and reduce my body fat to about 4% just by using a fast twisting action that will probably rupture at least 3 discs in my lower back but boy what a tan I'll have. And after 3 easy payments plus postage and handling costs equivalent to transporting a Monet, I can use my new battery operated rotating sweeper to clean up those pesky crushed light bulb accidents that happen everyday. Not to mention I can cook delicious healthy meals by putting them in a turbo steamer and kappow, out comes a roast beef and vegetables, a serving of pasta and an iced sponge cake as well. I'm going back to work or I may just go for a hike and wait for a spy plane to come and get me.