Sunday, December 27, 2009

Auld acquaintance should be forgot

No sooner does the last spoonful of Christmas pudding disappear then someone will ask "What are you doing for New Year?" It's like the hungry entertainment beast must be fed. Catching up with friends, going out for a few drinks, going over to what's their faces with the spoilt kids, so on and so forth, are the most popular responses selected. I'm going to the top of mount Kosciusko with a group of cave dwellers who will be channelling the spirits of the ancient druids to rid the earth of all evil but I've got nothing to wear so I don't think I'll go. I think the best of the parties were probably in the 1920's and 30's where there was no risk of someone showing you the great apps on the iphone they got for Christmas or telling you about the great wii game they bought for the kids. New Year's resolutions according to today's paper leaves us particularly bereft of interest if our local celebrities are anything to be reported on. A newsreader who wants to "spend more time on relaxing pursuits" (like reading isn't relaxing?) and a football person who clearly wants to remind people to watch more of him on television and some woman who wants to keep her handbag "free of junk". Gosh, the great philosophers of the world would have been proud. Why don't they just confess they want to drink free booze, trash bars, get arrested and be paid squillions of dollars for doing bugger all. Maybe I will go to that mountain top after all ... "Oh Ancient Brotherhood of Druids, please cleanse our earth from the festering scourge of sporting celebrities who appear on our travel programs. May you rid us of sporting heroes and their apologist managers on our 6pm news stating "they just want to move on" every time they forget that raping, violent assault and defecating in hotel corridors is a little more than boys being boys. Oh Ancient Order I hope you can look upon us with favour... and I hope you like my outfit. Amen".

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's not the present but the gift box that counts

With only one more day to go I am reminded of my girlfriend who is a single mother of two young children, a boy and a girl describing her typical Christmas morning. At around 7am she would hear the kids thump down the stairs and head for the tree to begin unwrapping presents. The sound of tearing paper, opening of boxes and parcels would waft up the stairs. Then there would be a moment of silence. Then very loudly she would hear "I'm not wearing that. She can't make me wear that!". And that would set the tone for the rest of the day. So for most the day of Christmas is already written. For me this time tomorrow I hope to be well appointed with family and a bottle of very good champagne solving the world's problems and putting the world to right. We usually have a hint of Christmas music in the background no louder than a whimper, any louder and I'll want to stab someone. So to all a very merry Christmas and may the day pass quickly so you can get in a few relaxing television hours of Doris, Bing or Bob.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Don't get mixed up with the bad eggs

I'd be lying if I said I didn't cook. I avoid it where I can and I am a master at assembling other people's food on a plate, but of course when it comes down to it, you gotta' eat, so you gotta cook. I loathe and detest fast food and won't eat anything processed with palm oil. I'm sounding like a princess but really I'm just trying to stay alive. I scour the markets and boutique shops in search of real food. When I say real food I mean food that doesn't contain more chemicals than a tin of paint. Recently I discovered a new grocery store that stocked things that the big supermarkets don't. Other people have seen the store and all say the same thing "it's expensive". But then real food is if it takes time to grow and manual processes to cultivate. Cardboard is cheap, plastic is cheap, you can eat your kitchen sponge if you really want cheap but you'll have to lick the kitchen bench down when you've finished.

In my quest for food quality I purchased some free-range, organic carbon reducing, back from Copenhagen raised by nuns eggs. I only bought half a dozen because if I bought a whole dozen I would need to sell my car. When I opened the box a colour pamphlet fell out. It had photographs of the chickens and a biography of a day in the life of one of these hens. Photos of baby chickens, photos of chickens out strolling green pastures, photos with the farm's border collie dogs, Christmas with the chickens, graduation day, chicken birthday parties and so on. So with much pride I whisked my Nobel peace prize winning eggs into an omelet, being of the Elizabeth David school of thought that nothing beats a cold glass of good wine and an omelet. Half way through shovelling the food into my face I realised something was different. Taste. What was that taste? It was smooth and creamy (no, not the wine) and not sharp and dehydrated in flavour like the Alcatraz chooks at the local. Fantastic. I love it when food surprises me when you least expect it. No wonder they wanted to share their photograph album. They have a lot to be proud of. I feel like sending them a thank you letter but they are probably busy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A special holiday edition of not very much

For those who brave the boxing day sales I hope your lists are plentiful and your elbows are sharpened because once those roller doors go up you know it's open warfare. You can approach the counters with a full frontal attack or bring in the reinforcements, send them on a reconnaissance mission and have them report back to you whilst being stationed at a nearby coffee shop. I find these sales a little ugly and the idea of queuing up to try something on just doesn't work for me, to be honest I'd rather do without.

It seems we do without quite a bit over this season. We do without a fully formed newspaper. The "holiday edition" is code for all the editors are on holidays and we've brought in a couple of work experience kids to cover the desk whilst we are away. Last Saturday I got my "special edition" newspaper which was for the Friday the day before to remind me of how special it was. Next weekend most of the papers will be dedicated to special kids holiday reading as if your 5 year old fights you for the business section every Saturday "Oh thank God mummy, my very own editorial section I'm so delighted"!!! Then the television stations have their own "holiday specials" which are so insipid with false Christmas cheer you go along with the lame gags even knowing that the show was made in April and the second rate celebrities leave you in bewilderment wondering whether you are meant to know who they are. Airline chaos and postal strikes willing if you are not in the holiday mood by now it's just a matter of popping on the red felt antlers and bingo, Christmas cheer.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A much needed break

As I sit here filling in my application form for sainthood I think about the good work that is done over the holiday period. As families tear away with loaded wagons stuffed full of deflated mattresses and enough insect repellent to repel any creature this side of the equator I am actually quite happy to be at work. It's a quiet time. A time of reflection on the year ahead (star sign reading) research and development (Internet surfing) and quiet contemplation (the only emails you get are rude jokes from the other two people in the office). So with empty traffic lanes and vacant seats on trains the workers continue on against the tide of holiday makers stressing their way through the winding roads of holiday hell, the family holiday. Children are no more likely entertained on holiday than you are with a game of naked tunnel ball with the elderly couple in the next caravan. As you slave away in the holiday kitchen of fake wood panelling and stained stainless steel you briefly recall your Grecian marble benchtop kitchen whilst noting that every kitchen draw comes with its own set of matching cockroaches. On Christmas day you drag the family out of bed "to do the right thing" and begrudgingly traipse them off to the local church. They are packed in like sardines as you stand shoulder to shoulder in the doorway straining to hear the muffled sounds of the sermon against the coughs, sounds of children whining and the local hoons cruising up the street with windows down and woofers booming. It's nearly time to go back to the campsite and start to scrape at least 2 years of the barbecue. Meanwhile back at the office the tumbleweeds pick up the afternoon breeze and roll past your desk. It's home time.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Jolly or Jenny Craig?

As I lay awake last night listening to the BBC world news just drifting off to sleep I recall a story about a Melbourne University study that has found that Santa Claus is a bad role model. The study found that Santa is overweight and drinks and drives and is risk taking (the parents of our learned friends must be extremely proud right now). So the nanny state continues on even for those that are fictional. So leaving a little snip of brandy and a few shortbread biscuits at the bottom of .... I was going to say chimney but that is unlikely so let's say dual system heating/cooling unit, is irresponsible in the aid of someone who doesn't exist and is pressured to sober up and lose weight. What next? Easter bunny shouldn't be wearing real fur and tooth fairy can't be trusted with cash. So if santa visits my house on Christmas Eve it's the leftover french champagne and duck liver pate so better loosen the big red pants old man and catch a taxi home.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

'Allo, allo, what do we have 'ere then?

Oh thank goodness. We are being saved from ourselves. The government is putting in place Internet censorship. Clearly we can't be trusted. So don't even think of sneaking a peak at the raunchy web pages when everyone has gone to bed because a suitably appointed government official will pop out from behind your screen and slap you on the legs. Very bad! Our Communications Minister is drafting up a blacklist. "Most Australians acknowledge that there is some Internet material which is not acceptable in any civilised society," all very caring and sharing of our minister but what did we do before the Internet? Did we not have unacceptable behaviours before then and only since the invention of the Internet have we become participants with all things naughty? I think not. So please Mr Minister provide us all with some insight into what the criteria for the blacklist is as I suspect it won't actually be the naughty stuff at all because we all know that naughty stuff is purchased with credit cards and credit card spending is good for everyone yes? So with my new government sponsored filtering device I hope to block out most government advertising (because the acting is so bad and it never has a happy ending), those annoying advertising videos that pop up with really loud volume while you are pretending to be doing work, and in fact most of the crap that finds its way into my in box offering me a once in a lifetime opportunity or a device to extend something I don't actually possess.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The end of the road

Oh, way to go Toyota. Let's completely insult every woman by using words about sexual abuse to SELL A CAR. Warning...the following post contains material that may be offensive to advertisers and auto industry executives who have shit for brains. In today's online Age there, for young and old is an advertisement that Toyota considered using until it was removed following an undetermined quantity of complaints. Why? The video, entitled "Clean Getaways" includes phrases such as "I'm here to take Jennifer's virginity out tonight," "I'm coming", "She can take a good pounding in any direction," "I'm ready to blow," and ends with "I'll have her on her back by 11". Absolute shite and highly offensive to women, what the hell were they thinking? Der, let's have an ad about a young guy talking about sexually abusing his daughter with her father encouraging him and the daughter smiling in the background, and don't forget to use every sexually offensive term known to (especially) man to pitch it. So whomever the deadshit was that approved this piece of revolting crap, I strongly recommend he (or she but doubtful) return to whatever college dislodged him in the first place because not only has he failed on every front of professional integrity but he has insulted 50% of the population who will complain loudly, write about this over and over again and more particularly WILL NOT BUY FROM THIS COMPANY. Now, if you will excuse me I have a letter or two to write and my spell check needs a lie down.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mummy is that reindeer carbon footprints I see?

There is an unwritten rule somewhere about what food you must serve for Christmas day. It's a rule that is embedded in each family's DNA. Regardless of taste, culinary skills and outsourcing opportunities serving a roast turkey that is moist and flavoursome is about as likely as Jamie Oliver stepping out of the pantry wearing your crusty baking apron saying "hello darlin' here, let me do this". This season brings more cooking catastrophes than an episode of master chef using only power tools. Every year families seem to be working at break neck speed to up-size from the previous year, a bigger barbecue, a new beer fridge, a seven piece lounge for the decking, a tree that produces pine cones with a squirrel that leaps out on the hour to sing Oh Come All Ye Faithful as we hurtle towards the shopping malls with roof racks and hatchbacks to fill. The pressure is on to please the world on Christmas day, don't forget auntie's Cinzano as you slam another slab of mixers into the trolley tray at the liquor store, better make sure there is enough waygu to go around and we must remember what's her face who's gluten intolerant and goes into anaphylactic shock if she eats anything round. With all our trumpeting on about less carbon footprints, reduced emissions and sustainable anything, when it comes to Christmas, Santa Claus doesn't do green or recyclable. The only thing re-used year after year are Christmas carols with their sole purpose on Christmas day being to drown out family arguments or worse still, fill in the silence until we can all turn on the telly again and get back to normal.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Take your cougar and jam it

As a female too young to be making jam and too old to be awesome, am I expected to be looking at younger men? If it's one derogatory word that I hope dies a speedy and painful death it's the word "cougar". Once again we seem a label for women far less than flattering implying old, lonely and vicious. Having lived a life as a woman I can give an educated guess that most women have far better motivations in life than stalking young men and would dedicate as much time prowling for the junior male species as they would discussing mag wheels and gelling their hair. It's a myth. I suspect Maggie May was an anagram for gay man as I can't possibly imagine any woman sticking around with some spotty teenager who plays pool all day long. The temptation to march into the pool hall, slap him on the legs and tell him to get home for dinner embarrassing the crap out of him in front of his mates would be too great. Give me older, wiser and less likely to be distracted any day. Now where did I put that jam jar.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pooh Pandemic

As I was driving alongside the park I saw one of its rangers walking along at his place of work and he was accompanied by his dog. Wouldn't it be great to take your dog to work everyday? I know there are tradespeople who toss "Bluey" in the back of the ute to bite off anyone's face if they try and nick the tools but wouldn't it be nice if dogs were allowed in all places where people went? Unfortunately we live in a sensitive country where dog pooh is so evil we feel the need to scream at complete strangers and force them to become pooh removalists. I'm not sure how many people died of standing in dog pooh or how it is deemed more offensive than bird pooh, fast food pooh (wrappers) and advertising pooh, particularly the type that drive around in motorcycle packs with billboards attached adding to overall greenhouse emission pooh. When I am in France I notice that dogs are welcome in all places. From what I have witnessed, they appear well behaved in banks, shopping centres and in contrast to many children under the age of 40, will sit quietly in a restaurant. So by all means let's get all hot under the collar about the increases in plastic packaging, lack of recycling and the reduced amount of garbage bins but I must say, I just can't get that excited about dog pooh.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Road Rules and Wrinkles

You can tell you are getting old by the amount of time you dedicate to the Royal Auto magazine. There was a time when for me, it never got out of the plastic covering. Then it started as a quick flick and then into the recycle bin because caravans and camping are for other people's grandparents. Road rules are for people who wear cardigans and Great Ocean Road drives are something you did feeling very hungover coming back from the Apollo Bay festival. But before you know it times have changed and you linger a little longer on the membership discounts page and then suddenly one day you are making those "tsk tsk" noises out loud reading about people parking in disabled parking bays. AAAHHH!! I've become one of them. I swear I have no interest in self contained holiday villas or anything called a Motor Inn that can only bring up images of a blinkering neon vacancy sign and the shower scene from Psycho. Caravaning trips are for people who have no homes or have a fondness for shared shower facilities and foot fungi, and camping should have been left to those who hadn't evolved past grunting and making their own tools (which actually describes a lot of people who appear in home improvement programs). So in a conscious effort to force back the effects of ageing, I will slip the motoring mag into the bin with the yellow lid and regain my youthfulness by resisting to be caught up in a world of child restraint seats and roadside assistance. Put the kid in the glove box and catch the bus.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Glue like symptoms

We managed to get through the winter free from the various barnyard viruses only to succumb to the worst virus of all. Craft flu. It spreads to pandemic proportions from November onwards and the season doesn't wind up until well into January. Craft flu seems to affect mostly the female population and syptoms include making own christmas decorations, trawling through store after store looking for the perfect table runner and the tell tale signs of glitter and ribbon pieces in the strangest of places. Looking through this month's magazines would have us think that our families were being neglected if the table isn't decorated with at least 45 different styles of crockery, enough glassware to be drinking at least 7 different beverages at once, matching pressed linen napkins dressed with more jewellery than Dubai airport and the all important stuffed small bird to sit on the arm of each chair. What drugs are these people on? And who has the time for this stuff? Women are most likely the workhorses when it comes to Christmas. Men have cleverly promoted themselves as useless in all aspects of tinsel and have successfully retreated to the back shed. Now that we women are told we can have it all, do we interpret this as becoming a State Premier and having an affair with Tiger Woods whilst whipping up a passionfruit, lychee and coconut buche de Noel? So unless some pharmaceutical company can come up with a nasal spray that substitutes the effects of PVC craft glue we should all be on heightened alert. If you suspect a friend or family member has fallen, do not attempt to pick up the pinking shears without latex glove protection or the virus could spread and before you know it you are sitting on a chair in the waiting room at Spotlight waiting to be called. Next.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Here comes Santa Claus, Santa Claus, Santa Claus

It's Christmas time so it's time to make lists. Here is one to start with.
Ten reasons not to go to the office Christmas party:
1) You don't like the people you work with
2) They don't like you
3) You can't stand your boss's wife
4) Your colleagues are so dull you always end up out the back drinking with the catering staff
5) The accounts payable girl always gets smashed and thinks she can sing
6) The operations manager arrives three sheets to the wind and says something along the lines of "gee, I think your an interesting person" three centimetres from your face which is drunk speak for I am coming onto you because everyone else got away
7) The finger food couldn't be anymore unappetising if it were actual severed fingers they were serving
8) Serving chicken and champagne (as if) on the roof of the building only makes you consider hurling yourself off but no one would notice
9) If one more person asks you what you are doing for Christmas you will tell them that you are growing a beard and joining the Taliban
10) You joined them last year, have a full beard and no longer celebrate Christmas.
So there you go. If anyone asks. I will be home for Christmas and not at the party.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

L plates should be for Loser

Forget emissions trading schemes, we need to rid the planet of bad drivers. They are more harmful than carrying around a plastic bag full of spent nuclear fuel rods (A PLASTIC BAG..AAHHH!!). Nothing converts cool environmentally friendly drivers into steaming hot air carbon emitting road ragers than the great motoring moron. Very soon car manufacturers as a new optional extra will be providing driver warning systems of bad driver alert at the rear. As they slam the gears into "D" for dickhead they come screaming up behind you. They sit wedged somewhere in between both front seats with one hand resting on the top of the wheel whilst somehow managing to be driving forwards but looking everywhere else at the same time. To them indicating has become extinct and knowing no more about what to do at a roundabout than knowing about the virtues of crop rotation. They come in fashionable coloured utes, four wheel drives (think school run?) and can infect any motorist watching Top Gear and believing IT'S NOT STAGED. It's a car. It gets you to the shops and back. No part of your anatomy will grow bigger if you get a noisier engine. And you know what? Girls do not give a shit about your car particularly if you spend more money and attention on it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tall and tan and young and lovely...

One of the side effects of apartment living means that when you look out the window you can guarantee you won't be looking at a back fence and more likely looking into someone else's world. My last apartment fronted onto an office block with at least 12 floors including an eye level call centre complete with breakout rooms and staff ping pong table. Having no great interest in either I happily drew the blinds and left them to ping pong away. Now I look out from my desk into another apartment building, similar to what they must be looking back at. As I sit at my keyboard I see an apartment with a desk and a person sitting at a keyboard. I feel like waving but that doesn't seem like the right thing to do as opposed to communicating via email. When it comes to apartment living neighbourly stuff falls by the way at the security entrance. No leaning over the back fence for a chat, more likely a few seconds before the elevator arrives then silence until ping (not ping pong) your floor has arrived. Lift travelling requires silence, an opportunity for quiet reflection or some meditation to the tune of 'The Girl From Ipanema'. The person in the building across the way has left his keyboard. For some reason I think I should too. I wonder what he wrote about? Bet it wasn't the Girl From Ipanema, that would be too weird.