Wednesday, September 15, 2010
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
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
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
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
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
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.
at 7:13 PM
Monday, September 6, 2010
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!!!
at 5:30 PM
Sunday, September 5, 2010
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
How does that song go...you'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.
at 5:19 PM