Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lost in Time and Space

On Sunday I drove to one of those large suburban shopping malls. I do my best to avoid them but on this day it dragged me in like a giant space ship opening its claws and my little car was sucked into the car park. Having scored a just empty space I turned in and as I did the car in front reversed out. Lovely! I rolled forward to be facing outward to make an easy getaway. To my surprise a woman in twin set and pearls who mistakenly had come to the wrong spaceship was waiting on this park that I had just utilised. She did the hand gestures and what the *&$%$ mime but I couldn't go back because someone had popped in behind me. She carried on with the gesturing. I politely pointed to the empty space in the next row but she wanted to curse a little longer so I excused myself and left her to do just that. As I walked through the doors of the mega mall my energy and enthusiasm slid down to my feet and was carried away by the travelator. As soon as I enter these places I immediately forget what it was that made me go into them in the first place. And of course there is no easy way out. Once you're in the door the magnetic g-force pushes you towards the escalators and up you go. I ventured into a department store and without much motivation crossed from ladies wear to hosiery and handbags with no particular interest or effort. I ventured up the next set of escalators to the everything else floor only to be confronted by the most hideous display you could imagine. The Christmas Store. Excuse me? Instant reach for i-phone, check calendar and stand in bewilderment (like mad woman muttering at top of escalators, scary lady use the stairs). IT'S MID SEPTEMBER. I have worked in retail and know that Christmas does not 'go in' until the last week of September. That was the unwritten retail law. Like many of these laws this one has been watered down like the rule that you were not allowed to put any sale items out until the night before Christmas. Now they're out all year round. But surely we can put a stop to this holiday season creep. The years go by quickly enough without retailers having us celebrating new year's eve with Easter eggs. So as I left the store in a state of shock at having the remainder of the year flash before my eyes I staggered out into the daylight and didn't look back at the big mothership shopping centre. I won't be travelling back to that universe anytime soon. Time travel is not my thing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Who left their Barbie doll on the pass?

So MasterChef is now Master Creche and the latest television culinary challenges are to both see above the kitchen bench and learn how to dice with a plastic knife. The concept of children as chefs is so far removed from reality we may as well be watching Nemo explain the fine art of sashimi. We all know that with the 'magic' of television almost anyone can be anything but expecting us to buy into other people's special siblings as professional chefs is a tad half baked. By all means get the kids interested in quality food and cooking and they will have a skill for life but don't expect us to believe they have mastered recipe interpretation in the ad break. If you have kids it's a show for kids but it's kids playing in an adult world. Why are we so keen to push them into this world before they can cut up their own food? Master Cowboy, Master Fairy Princess, Master Superhero, weren't they enough? If only half the glowing parents watching this show could see inside a commercial kitchen and understand the reality of ... reality. Being a Chef is more aligned with being in the army and sometimes nearly as dangerous. Fire, knives and extreme temperatures are enough to wipe the cupcake smile of any junior apprentice's face and there would be no supportive 'host' to buck up their spirits over ruined food before a full stock pot was on a fight path aimed at their head. So good luck to these kids if they stick with it but keep in mind reality ain't television and their fame and fortune will only rise as long as the food stylists, technicians, executive producers and masters of the editing suite will allow. And maybe there is nothing wrong with cheese on toast for dinner. It's what a lot of real Chefs eat when they finish work at 2am. And I don't think their parents would be waiting up.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The one on the left is 110 years old

Balancing on one leg. That's all it takes to a long life. Who would have thought? According to an article in today's on line Age newspaper along with the one leg thing, people who performed better at gripping (handshake or walking frame - they didn't specify), walking and rising from a chair, tended to live to a riper age. It tells us that "tens of thousands of men and women across the globe (but not you and not me) took part in the studies, some of which followed participants for 43 years. Of the 14 studies dealing with grip strength, it was found that those with the strongest hand grasps tended to live longer than those with feeble ones". A bit obvious perhaps in that people of a more shall we say, mature age aren't usually the bonecrushing handshake type, however it goes on to say "likewise slow walkers were found to have a greater risk of an earlier death compared to those with a brisk stride". Goodness. I could point out the bit about crossing the road in sufficient time before being mowed down but blind freddy on a galloping horse couldn't have missed that one. But the balancing on one leg has got me puzzled. How could this lead to a longer life? Perhaps you wear out only one leg at a time or those sessions at yoga doing Tree Pose really does make a difference, provided you continue to 'tree pose' throughout the day and hop around on one leg. So some future good health tips from me... the next time you are about to be introduced to someone, leap out of your chair at lightening speed and take a brisk stride up to them, grab their hand like it's a jam jar with a stuck lid and make sure you are only standing on one leg. You might get to live a little bit longer - but you won't have any mates. Weirdo.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere"

I'm all for stopping and smelling the roses as you pass through life but I can't dedicate a whole day to it. There was an interesting article in today's online Age on how the Internet make us stupid (making a huge assumption that we weren't stupid in the first place). It tells us "a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the net, with its constant distractions and interruptions, is turning us into scattered and superficial thinkers". It goes on to say that "people who are continually distracted by emails, updates and other messages understand less than those who are able to concentrate. And people who juggle many tasks are often less creative and less productive than those who do one thing at a time." Hogwash. We are all highly capable at being able to concentrate on more than one.... put the potatoes on. Sorry. What was I saying? Oh yes, one thing at a time. The Internet is not a novel. It's full of trashy advertisements and snippets of nothing stories NO NOT MINE, that on their own would not hold the attention of a slab of concrete and therefore only require brief interludes of focus. I think it's healthy to embrace the age of multi-tasking your brain. It brings a level of fitness to the mind and stops you turning into a vegetable. Did I put those spuds on or not? Where was I? Oh yes, the Internet. No it's not somewhere I would go to read Voltaire and yes, with its distractions and advertisements popping up every few seconds makes it behave like a spoiled grotesque child with ADHD. But it's the media era and there are no nights where we all gather around the PC and listen to a speech from our fearless leader with our thoughts on a unified nation, saying we will fight them on the beaches, unless of course it was a text message and it's referring to Cronulla. I'm happy with the pop up, drop down, minimise world we live in, and I can still find time to stop and smell the roses - I think they're growing in my inbox.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

If You Can Read'll wish you hadn't

Generally speaking, bumper stickers are lame. Fortunately these days people are way too precious about their shiny new cars to attach something that was a complete pisser in the pub last night but turns out a bit soft in the light of day. Nurses Save Lives is not really a sticker just more of a statement and completely pointless like saying Kitchenhands Chop Onions. But today I saw a sticker and actually laughed. I was driving at the time and whilst I wasn't exactly slapping the steering wheel and wiping the tears from my face it was a bit cute. It said Improve Your Image...Be Seen With Me. If you had have seen the driver of the attached ute you would have laughed too. It made me think though, who would I want to be seen with to improve my image? Well the first few that I came up with were dead so it wouldn't so much improve my image as more scare the crap out of people because I'm hanging around with dead people. Then I thought about all the great (pulse still active) men that I would like to be seen with. Movie Stars. Obviously. George Clooney comes to mind as the nearest to Cary Grant for a man of style and substance although I suspect Cary might have been more interested in George than me, Pierce Brosnan only if he really is the character in The Thomas Crown Affair and a few others that I think are stars in their own right if not on a big screen. For Brendan Favola, he could be seen standing knee deep in a bucket of stale fish heads and it could only improve his image but wouldn't do much justice to the fish. There is just no bumper sticker big enough to cover that one.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pulse buying

A story on tonight's A Current Affair attempted to identify the psychology behind shopping, women and shopping - of course! This psychologist man on the television was telling us how we shop based on emotion and you could measure the emotional responses women receive in their brains in the activity of shopping for clothing. Clearly this man has no woman in his life because he wouldn't need a nice shiny laptop to do this, he could just go shopping with her. So instead he provides $500 to two women and proceeds to measure their responses to shopping and purchasing for the mere cost of having them wear what looks like a black plastic bathing cap with spikes sticking out of it and a plastic pair of goggles that make them look like something between a scuba diver and a martian. I think $500 was a bargain and maybe he knows more about shopping than he realises. So off the martians go wandering from shop to shop with the probes pulsating from their brains back to our man's receptive emo shopper software. He shows excitement as he reads a spike in the graph as the woman walks towards the counter with her purchase. He relates her increase in heart rate to the purchase. I relate it to, she is in public and looking like a dickhead. So the general upshot of this piece of nothing story was that women only purchase goods based on emotion. What would have been a more balanced view is if the story had also followed the husband returning from the supermarket with 3 pineapples "but they were on special". Same thing, just a different fruit.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Curse of the Kitchen Sponge...coming to a cinema near you

Is it just my BS detector or is there an increase of ads on the television telling me that my house is full of germs? Florescent blue and yellow graphics of prickly slugs grouped together with a woman and a sponge "eeuuwww!!". She's going to kill us thinks the family as she waves a raw chicken leg menacingly near a small child. I'm thinking does she really have a pile of what looks like cat vomit on her kitchen sink or is that another simulation from the graphics department. I'm told I need to spray every surface because they are full of harmful bacteria that will cause my children to break out in scabs that look like something only the graphics department could design. My house apparently has odours so I need to disguise it...with more odours and when I've sprayed the bins, couches, cat, dog and ideally the husband we can all relax given the odd fit of emphysema but at least the bench will sparkle. I'm not an obsessive compulsive kind of cleaner but I do get distracted with it. A bit like in the middle of stuffing the roast chicken when you drop the sprig of thyme on the floor and all of the little leaves fall off so you bend down and pick up the sprig. Then you need to get out the dust pan and broom and sweep up the leaves but there is a stain there from the raw chicken so you need to wipe that off with a paper towel (because the sponge is a weapon of mass destruction remember) and now there is a clean spot on the floor amongst the grime that means you really need to go and get the mop out and give the floor a good going over and by now it's 9 o'clock and too late to put the chicken on anyway. So this week I will put my chicken on and ignore what's on the floor...before I run out of thyme!!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fun for all the family

Did the toys you played with as a child have any effect on what you turned out to be in adult life? This question is bound to arise after reading on the 'Huffington Post' article on the 14 Worst Toys for Girls which includes photos of such santa sack delights like Pole Dancing Dolly, Totally Tatoo (doll) and my absolute favourite, My Cleaning Trolley complete with Wet Floor Sign or was that a wet parents sign. Would a pole dancing dolly convert an innocent toddler into a 'call me' late night pole polishing princess or just prove to be a toy with a very limited scope of entertainment given that dolly's legs don't actually bend (a much needed requirement for doing the mambo with a metal pole). And WHO WOULD BUY THIS ANYWAY? I question if toys are capable of significant life changing direction I would have found myself living in a tin house with only 3 walls and my only friends would be people that resembled eggs weighted at the bottom so they don't fall down. Little girls and boys whilst liking to imitate mums and dads surely can't make life choices based on playing with a mere plastic item. Or perhaps these items really are sophisticated early learning tools. And for the boys, how about an early learning beer can set or a boys own practice divorce filing kit? Just because the baby likes playing with the saucepans don't make him masterchef. Don't make his dad that either come to think of it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Happy people just take more drugs

How does that song've got to accentuate the positive, latch on to the affirmative? I tell you, it's gettin' harder. With a weather forecast predicting flash flood warnings and television images of people in bright orange jackets filling sandbags those who are avid watchers of better homes and backyards will be out there Ark building as we speak, "Honey where are we going to get two swallowtail butterflies from?". Being a positive glass half full person requires effort. I have tried this week. I let slip that I would sooner cut my own head off than watch anything about Ben Cousins which deposited me straight to the weirdo category along with tennis haters and non MasterChef fans. I failed again at the hairdressers today where my efforts to be enthused about my hair was falling fasting than the whisper thin shards falling down my black plastic kaftan. I don't get the whole pampering thing. It's all too poodle parlour and painful. With enough chemicals pasted to my skull to kill off more brain cells than any vodka bottle could do, the ever so bubbly hair washer seemed somewhat insulted that I didn't want her chicken bone fingers massaging more nuclear waste into my brain. When I have to go to the hairdressers I read the newspaper cover to cover in preference to the magazines providing me with snapshots of people I don't know photographed stepping out of a darkened car wearing something they've slept in holding a plastic coffee container. This makes you a celebrity. There I go again. Being negative. Oh to hell with it. Empty that damn glass and don't wait for Mr In-between.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Road to Style

As another week whizzes past my window I see another fashion festival launch in the rear vision mirror. Spring Fashion Week brings with it a glimmer of hope for style and glamour but unfortunately it's more likely a week of children wrapped in a swatch of tiny shiny fabric and a synthetic bird bit stapled to her head. What ever happened to style? A few tips from Lorna...

1) If you are a man, try not to wear the same style of clothes that you wore when you were eight years old.
2) If you are a woman, try not to wear something made of the same fabric that is used to wipe down the kitchen bench - even if it is great that it doesn't need ironing.
3) If at the launch party you need an extra pair of hands to hold the prawn on the stick AND hoist either the top of the dress up or the bottom of the dress down - stay at home before you do yourself a mischief with the cocktail stick and;
4) Style doesn't come easy and will never come with studs - ever!

So be brave this week, put on your party frock and say frock the rest of you, I have style!!!

Party on.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Alone and immobilized

How many Roadside Assistance vehicles does it take to change a battery? It takes 3, now I know. Approximately 100 metres from my place of work in a suburb we shall call Armageddon my car has a major coronary and dies. Fortunately it has enough gasp to weave into a nearby driveway before the queue of major haul vehicles behind me turned me into bitumen naan bread. After a 40 minute wait my first "roadside assist" man arrives and if I use that term any more loosely it will fall off the screen, opens the bonnet and scratches his head and says "battery hot". Well at least that's all I could understand of him other than "car no good" and "bye". Another 50 minutes later and the sun is sinking into the earth like my despair and the second man arrives. He parks behind me and rings me, "where are you?" he says. I say "I'm in front of you", waiting for the pantomime audience to join in and say "nooooo he's not, yes he is". He places his traffic cones strategically and sets up his flashing light while dedicating another 5 minutes entering information into his hand held. By this time the cones have been sent flying by a procession of lawless ten tonners. Fresh out of the call centre he struggles to open the bonnet. More head scratching and eventually decides a new battery might be worth a try. He can't get the old one out and then can't get the new one in. Eventually he connects it up with much pushing and poking, and .... nothing. So he takes it out and turns it up the other way and puts it back in....still nothing. He says I need another man in a van to fix the immobilizer and takes off at a rapid speed. Almost 3 hours have passed and the suburb of hell is in darkness and I sit and wait. I pass the time delivering a tirade of abuse over the phone to a Frenchman, and so is the make of my car so therefore he must be to blame, you can't make good cheese, great wine, and cars what the hell were they thinking, Concorde anyone? Third van arrives. No language barriers this time, and man number 3 clearly knows his way around this car...and he's never worked in a call centre. He puts the key in the ignition and it starts. The car had decided to mobilize itself. So a little roadside assistance banter and then I'm home nearly four hours later. So the next time my fantastic car insurer offers me the opportunity to pay extra for all the buckets of service they offer like car hire, free taxi or pony ride whatever is cheaper etc., I will suggest I would be happy to pay extra if they just provided an experienced, trained mechanic in the language of my choice. If I went into hospital I wouldn't expect to be examined by a truck driver, then a baker and finally if I wait on a trolley long enough a medical professional, so wake up insurer either provide sufficient training for your staff or get the mechanics off the phones. Weekend whinge now complete, immobilizer mobilized.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

*&%$# it's cold

Why is it so bloody cold? In Melbourne right now it's 8 degrees. And if you answer that question by saying "well it is winter ACTUALLY" I will come through this computer and slap you about. I had work colleagues down from Sydney yesterday and we had to cross the road to go to the ever greasy truck stop cafe for lunch. I found myself apologising for the freezing climate and non stop rain. I shouldn't feel responsible for weather but it really has been a wet one and to make matters worse a night by the fire or more likely standing under the Fujitsu screaming "heat you useless piece of plastic, heat!", leaves us left with the god awful television choices of the moment being whatserface and whatsisname in red - select a) hair or b) speedos. I WANT MY TELEVISION BACK you painful boring trollops that think everyone buys into this electioneering crap that is so highly processed and manufactured it might as well come in a subway sandwich. Why don't we talk about the drought anymore...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Humourless Empire

And a warm welcome back to the Victorian era where punishment reigns supreme and any touching of bra straps shall be at the judgement of the masses. For those who have been fortunate enough to embrace a life free from media intervention it appears that the retailer David Jones is to punished for the actions of the former CEO who allegedly did something stupid involving failed attempts to attract and bed an employee and the touching of a bra strap. But that aside, let's also punish all those who dare to make a joke of such alleged naughty event. Fashion designer Alannah Hill made a joke about it and was forced to publicly apologize. Why? And when did we ban humour? And for the high pitched hysteria and public statements of "I won't shop at David Jones in the foreseable future" by Laurel Papworth social network strategist (which is what exactly?) in today's Sunday Age firstly I don't think punishing the employees of this organisation through reduced sales resulting in job loss is a well thought out strategy and secondly does "foreseable future" mean up until the Boxing Day Sale? Had the former CEO kicked a football for a living it seems the story would have been and gone without appearing as constant wrapping of every newspaper. Where was this temperance movement in punishing Rugby League and AFL after reports of gang rape...(insert sounds of crickets chirping). The figure of $26 million is about maximum publicity and who knows what motivations sit behind this but to be sucked in to a culture of humourless hysteria sends us back to a darker era. When they gave women the right to vote it was meant to be for government and not about department stores. I'm going to shop at David Jones, in fact I will be going straight to the lingerie department and asking for the CEO special. Shock, horror. Off with her head!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Just saw me in half before the coffee

I just got back from a 2 day industry seminar in Sydney whereby each day is fun filled with my own games of sleep wake and bullshit bingo. When your facilitator leaves before the end of the seminar you know it's a lost cause. And just when I thought I was done with the butchers paper and commitment to do nothing 'calls to action', I'm faced with the industry dinner. I'm in it for the free food yes, but when the lamb holds up better than the sole of your shoe the night turns to time watching over sticky date pudding (or was that the leftover lamb in a butterscotch sauce?). Mostly women, I listen to tales of how smart the children are and I have no reason to doubt that very fact given because I've listened to not one but three witty tales of exactly how smart the children are. There needs to be an unwritten rule on this one. You get one witty tale tell time or two if you spread it over dinner. Three without an interval or subject change is just plane rude when your audience have either lodged the prawn skewer through their hand to escape or are pretending to take a call from an important person when we all know it's message bank. Towards the end I began to lose a grip of politeness and like a car accident happening in slow motion I could see myself rising from the chair, handbag in hand making a beeline for the door as soon as I heard the words "I know my mother never wanted me as a child..." wooooosh and I was gone. In hindsight I know that would have appeared rude and I feel very bad about that but after a day of useless acronyms and fake management speak I had worn out the polite buffer zone. If only I could just disappear without anyone noticing. Poof. Gone. Hotel room, pyjamas, tv, bed. Why can't we have technology for that.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Survival of the thickest

I was speaking with a person who has a job that is to ensure everybody is safe and healthy in their occupation. Well I think that was the original concept anyhow. We were talking about speeding fines as I was telling him about the ever changing speed limits on my route to work which includes a 40km zone on a freeway at certain times of the day in case of some kid who might choose to avoid more than 3 sets of traffic lights and 1 pedestrian overpass to hurl him or herself in front of 4 lanes of traffic before being worked over by a tram, in which case they probably deserve it. The OH&S guy said "Oh you are another one of those reverse Darwin theorists". Apparently someone had said to him that because of his occupation (this was one of those 'the trouble with you people is...' type of conversations) his industry is causing us to eliminate all of the common sense thinkers therefore creating a species of non thinking beings that would step out like zombies into 4 lanes of early morning traffic. But is it really about safety? Having never been one to drive above the speed limit I must admit even I was pretty pissed off to see two high viz wrapped traffic police pointing their speed camera gun at me in the hope that I wasn't sure when the 40 zone ended and the 70 zone started, which I wasn't. If speeding fines can be issued on the basis of trickery they might as well dress up as cigar smoking Mexicans in ponchos and point rusty AK47's in our face and say 'give us your money you dirty scumbag'. Because doing 43 kms instead of 40 kms (or let's just say get out and push) is not about the possibility of running over the school children, it's about, well you know the answer to that. I didn't give much more thought to the reverse Darwin theory, until I turned on the television of course. The species is doomed.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Unemployed love

What do you think of the office romance? It's fun for the participants in the early days of a shared touch on the green photocopier button or perhaps a not so secret email (IT are always watching) but in the light of corporate policy and policing the affair is lost somewhere between conflict of interest and your integrity falling fasting than your trousers. In this country there is a collective euwww at the moment the colleague hook up becomes public. When a once trusted mate who could be relied on for Monday morning tales of wild weekend debauchery that could only half explain his appearance resembling an over baked sausage roll, has gone and hooked up with the chick from accounts who everyone thought was a little bit weird, he is off the funny email list faster than deleting the deleted. Mate no more. In some countries the office romance is encouraged like in Japanese organisations which have a sole department dedicated to assisting you in finding a lifelong partner without ever having to go passed reception. Do we need to adopt a more welfare like approach similar to the jobless. A person without a partner for say, more than 6 months could be a long term unenpartnered and could qualify for various financial assistance for speed dating nights, online dating subscriptions and a New Start allowance for those who have been through bitter divorce. Just because you have become redundant in your partnership doesn't mean that there isn't another partnership out there recruiting furiously. Hopefully not so much that they develop a rash. I once was advised to recruit 2 colleagues that were required to get along because there were sitting side by side in the Purchasing Department. I was successful in my quest and recruited 2 who not only got along well (well done to me) but became engaged and got married (what was I thinking) soon afterwards. Apparently I did a little too well on the order. But it goes to show that we are all romantics at heart. Just not in the workplace.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Put more pork on your television

You can't stop people doing dumb stuff. No matter what laws, rules and guidelines we hand out there will always be those to whom common sense will not prevail. Apparently it even happens in the animal kingdom. According to today's ever reliable Northern Territory News a group of wild pigs plunged into croc infested waters with a nearby crocodile sunning on the very same banks 'Intrepid porkers run croc gauntlet'. The 66-year-old Aussie Adventure Tours guide was on a jumping croc cruise with one of his groups when he witnessed the unexpected show.
"The pigs were just about to scramble up the bank into the undergrowth when the croc came into the water," Mr Pettit said. Fortunately no pigs were injured in this event but there was a great 6pm news story wasted here, we should have heard from eye witnesses and there should be at least a police commissioner around to give a quick 5 second statement about how disappointed he is with this type of irresponsible behaviour. Speaking of pigs, tonight we are told is the finale for a cooking show that really doesn't have a lot to do with learning how to cook but judged by a bunch of porkers who clearly should be moving towards the biggest losers for their next television appearance. It's not that Master Chef is a great television show, it's more about there is stuff all else to watch. Or if you want real porkies, you know what comes on after that???

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tell 'em they're dreaming

Vintage House
I'm interested to see how people decorate their homes. Actually, let me be honest here. I've developed a new addiction for watching home reno shows. Location, Relocation, Dislocation whatever, so long as I get to peer inside the front door and cast a critical eye over the floating floors, occasional rugs and those weird gourd looking things that just seem to appear in a corner -I'm glued. The makeover shows are the best. Particularly the ones from the UK where resident hosts include a man who just needs an excuse to go to the local pub to talk about location and a loud woman in a bright coat bursting through the front door shouting knock this through, push that out, open up this room until their home resembles a warehouse and some poor person a few years later needs to put all the walls back in again because it's so damn cold. With heritage listed buildings Ms Knock That Wall Down has to keep her mouth shut while the poor purchasees have to build a dream home with not much more than a Roman wall and a bit of grass. Pass the Tim Tams this stuff is priceless. This week Mr and Mrs I'm a Clinical Psychologist and my extra good looking husband who has no say in ANYTHING is apparently a GP and they both earn so much money they can afford to buy most of Wales and a smallish apartment next door to the Queen. All was going according to plan until they came across the mansion of her dreams and Mrs Psychologist is filmed jumping up and down waving her arms on a trampoline that doesn't belong to her, yet. There goes that career. So many homes, so many duck egg walls. So very few pool rooms.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gold Logie for the silver wig

I don't think I will be watching "Hawke" tonight. It would take more than a silver perm and a remake of the America's Cup to get me to tune into another cringe worthy Australian DRAMA (and the word drama needs to be in capitals because so many of them are so very HIGH DRAMA). A large proportion of Australian drama series consist of scene after scene of screaming hysterical women (followed by big fire and loud explosion) and very serious men with deep voices who say mate a lot and only use one side of their mouth to speak. The highlight of tonight's HAWKE DRAMA will no doubt be the too often repeated quote of the day of the America's Cup win. I think at that point you can turn off if you haven't all ready, it's a bit like watching ELVIS, the life story until the part comes where he dies - there is no point continuing on. Apollo 11 they land on the moon. Show's over folks, nothing more to see here. Significant events in history have been largely lost on me as I can vividly remember the collection of so called milestones and exactly what I was doing and the little reaction it registered with me at the time. I was in the backyard swimming pool when I heard that John Lennon had been shot. I remember saying "Oh" and doing another lap. Considering I was quite a fan of him at the time it was an underwhelming response at best. I remember being at school when someone wrote on the blackboard that Elvis had just died. I don't think I said anything and thought oh that's that guy in those bad movies wonder what's in my bag for lunch. Looking back I have a glimmer of guilt on my lack of reaction to such events in history and hope that when another one pops up if I could get a reminder email or an SMS to tell me 'significant event - take notice' and I might make sure I'm doing something more memorable or that my reaction is a better effort that 'oh ... right'. Perhaps I just need more DRAMA (insert large fire graphic and loud explosion noise here). Or call more bosses 'bums' or something.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

High fashion versus high viz

Do you remember watching the opening ceremony of the last Olympic Games with the parade of athletes by country walking towards the camera, waving, one with a big flag? Do you remember what they were wearing? Probably not, and for very good reason. The national Olympic fashions are generally not worthy of keeping for a repeat season. Looking somewhere between a road sweeper and a lollypop man the athletes walk into the stadium wearing something that is looking a size too big for them and is usually so bright can probably be seen from space. The UK have announced the appointment of designer Stella McCartney to be creative director for the London 2012 games according to today's Herald Sun. Smart move. I recall the Manchester Commonwealth Games where the uniform of choice was a brightly coloured vest that was made from old sofas and a funny hat that gave you the impression that they might start a funny dance any minute or wave a stick of black pudding around. It was a bit too culturally significant for anyone to get I think. So well done UK. I just hope the Olympic track won't be too damaged by the high heels.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Please ensure all passengers are locked into an upright position

Dannii Minogue had a baby. Apparently we care. That's Dannii with two i's (you can see where this is heading can't you). She called the baby Ethan as in Ethan Hawke and not short for Ethanol. I was a bit worried there that he would have two e's or worse, they actually meant to call him Ether which came in so handy during the delivery they thought they would name the baby after it. You just never know these days, and yes I hate to say it but when I went to school if you had a name that was anything outside the little book of Saints you would probably get your head kicked in at some point. Times have changed. Or have they? Budget airline Ryanair is to offer vertical seats for those people who are happy to stand strapped into something that resembles a cross between an ironing board with restraints or an upright sun lounge that wasn't properly assembled. I remember a time not so long ago when you could actually stand at the back of the plane on long haul flights and smoke and drink there for as long as you liked. Some of the best parties happened somewhere over an ocean near the rear exit door, you met the most interesting people and you could still watch the movie at the same time (one descending screen for everyone remember). The drinks flowed and the exit door had a teeny tiny ashtray - at least I think that's what it was meant for. Now it's all changed and they are going to charge you to go to the loo. "Michael O'Leary, the Irish airline's chief executive, will fund the controversial move by charging customers to use the restroom during flights, reports the UK’s Daily Telegraph". I don't believe Ryanair do long haul flights but knowing some passengers as soon as that seat belt sign goes off they move that fast to the bathroom you'd think it was an olympic sport. So how exactly do you charge someone to use the bathroom? Do you need to prebook? Is there a rate difference between intended purpose and time required (mile high club could get very expensive). So when I next fly a budget airline I now need to pay for my own food, drinks, luggage carriage, in-flight entertainment and the dunny. It's only a matter of time before we pay extra for flight attendants, come to think of it, do we really need them anymore. Oh sorry, the life jacket and whistle are extra too.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Freshly baked sole

Just when you thought team building activities had disappeared off the motivation radar it appears that in Italy, taking off your Ferragamo shoes for a quick (and I do mean quick) stroll across some hot coals for team building is still in fashion. Unfortunately when it goes wrong and the corporate event participants are running on the sides of their feet to the nearest reporter then companies should sit up and take notice. According to today's online Age newspaper 'a motivation day organised by one of Italy's biggest real estate agencies ended in tears and scars when nine staff had to be treated in hospital after walking barefoot on a bed of hot coals'. Well what did you expect if you go around stomping on a barbecue, isn't that the point? I detest corporate team bonding events and still bear the scars of one too many blind folded guided walks across a team made paper cup and pipe cleaner bridge whilst Japanese drumming and writing down my 'barriers to success' using brightly colour pen on shiny butchers paper. They are pointless. I once met a woman who had been working in the UK and she told me about a team bonding event that required all of her department to jump of an oil rig platform in the north sea or somewhere. She was relentlessly pressured by both activity leaders and colleagues to the point of any decent relationship she had with these people being reduced to name calling and bullying. She stood firm and didn't strap an inflatable life raft to her head and also didn't stay with the company. I think losing employees over these one size fits all activities is often understated. Who are these people who are so devoid of interest in their lives that they must act out their GI Joe fantasies with the assumption that it's good for everyone. If you failed scouts then you move on! The next time someone requires a team motivation activity I am going to suggest either a day of shoe shopping or if that doesn't grab you, go off on a peacekeeping mission to Afghanistan where you can get you dress up and jump out of any number of moving platforms screaming "yes, I am the man" until someone takes a pot shot at you - and may or may not miss. The whole point of these exercises is to take people out of their comfort zone. Well yes, they leave their comfortable homes every day to come to work in a place with people they may or may not like knowing the company may or may not continue to keep them and pay them to be there. That's enough action for me for one day. As for the hot coals, I prefer to use them for the baked trout and potatoes, not corporate stinky feet.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Holidays by the hour

Vintage Retro Bathing Caps Pool Bathing Suit Girls Women

In the hope of spending a toasty Saturday night in front of the telly, I made the brave decision to turn it on only to find a pseudo advertising/travel program along the lines of Australian destinations. As per the majority of travel programs in this country it was served up by the now too old and fat for footy guy and the stick thin vacuous model who gets excited about eating a piece of cheese. I was horrified to see on another show recently the main presenter after almost an hour of "tucking in" to at least 3 full meals, various cakes, wines by the vat load and chocolates only to interrupt the program to tell us he had been diagnosed with bowel cancer and we should all go and get ourselves 'checked out'. If he keeps doing this show he will be checking out permanently. Last night the thin on personality model was attempting to tell us that she came to this spot just for the scenery (yeah right and flew out within the hour). She was wearing some spray on shorts and a brightly coloured band-aid wrapped around her top and we all had to suffer through the quintessential shots of her diving into the camera ready clear waters - I swear I have a bracelet wider than her. As usual there is little regard for what else there is to do in these remote locations. We are given the impression that bringing the family along to pat the wildlife will bowl them over with excitement and standing atop a lookout point will gladly fill at least half a day. Unfortunately a lot of these places come with poor standards of food and accommodation that proprietors have been riding on the coastal spectacular for too long. Just because your faux fish sticks comes served with a cracking smile and a cheerful 'there ya'go love' don't make it edible. Motels are less than basic and transport around the town other than bring your own is none existent. So while Mr former sporting hero and Ms I've got my own line of lingerie put on their smiley faces and do their very best to convince us they've stayed in these places for more than a few hours, some how I just wasn't convinced. So there ya

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How many circus acts does it take to get a job?

Having recently performed the big top acts of finding a job whereby I have jumped through the required hoops whilst standing on top of a horse swallowing a sword and smiling at the same time, I thought I had come to the part where I take a final bow and sign on the dotted line until it hit my inbox. The psych test. Personalty assessment and numerical reasoning (pahh!!). The first 100 questions of repetitive 'do you prefer to be alone or be with friends' questions gets regurgitated and presented again in the next 100 questions only to find you are so bored by the whole exercise you start to develop a twitch and begin answering questions that infer you are either trying to skew the results or actually do have the personality of a body snatcher. After 50 minutes of a) prefer to be alone b) prefer to be with people c) like conflict and d) have an extensive collection of surface to air missiles in my garage, the end can't come soon enough and your personality is now only a shadow of its former self. The numerical reasoning provided a mere curiosity for a short time where I would ponder the scenario of 'if Nigeria's current monthly rainfall for November exceeded its GDP then how many tonnes of grain does it take to change a light bulb?' but only briefly as I selected 'b' for all questions to be followed by Next, Next, Next and Finished. What a waste of time. Suspecting that Nigeria has probably been in drought for years I put as much credence in these assessments as I would my horoscope. Psych tests tell me more about the interviewer than the candidate. Make a decision or just line up the candidates and paint letters on their foreheads from a to d or none of the above. Next.