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.