The New Rocking Chair for the 00's

Thursday, December 31, 2009

For Christmas KJ gave me one of these – an iPod touch. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a PC kind of girl, and I’ve skilfully avoided getting an iPhone, even though not having one seems to be a big social no-no these days. However, the iPod touch seems to be like an iPhone in disguise. It does pretty much everything the iPhone does, except make calls. And you can even do that if you’re connected to a Wi-Fi connection and have Skype installed. So now I’ve really been dragged over to the dark side. At least the dark side lets me listen to my favourite music.

The thing that I’ve noticed most about the iPods/iPhones is that while they’re a good ‘social networking’ tool (dorkiest phrase ever) they are completely and totally anti-social when both you and your partner are using them. KJ and I were both sitting on the couch yesterday playing with our iPods in complete silence and it was ever so slightly weird. Somehow, it seemed much more anti-social than sitting and reading in silence.

So now I believe 100% that Apple products will be the new old-people’s rocking chair. When we’re old and grey and have been with our partners for years and years and have exhausted the necessity of conversation, we won’t rock in our chairs on our porches without talking to each other. Instead, we’ll all have our faces glued to our iPods and iPhones and be playing scrabble and crossword apps.

That's not such a big transition from what I use it for now, so at least the slide into old age should be a bit smoother for me. And it's better than rocking back and forwards all day - I get motion sick too easily.

Alcohol = Smart

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Christmas chaos has come and gone in pretty much the usual fashion. Every day leading up to Christmas day was sunny and warm; Christmas day was cold and overcast.
It didn’t last long though – I already have my inevitable and very painful Christmas sunburn – a kind of painful reminder that too many years sitting inside at my desk job every day without a window has left me freakishly prone to burning despite an olive complexion that should make burning more difficult.

Today is the first day since Christmas that I’ve had a moment to myself and it’s really kind of nice. The last week has been an utterly chaotic race to catch up with every family member and friend that I haven’t seen in the last year. It all starts again tonight and goes until the end of this week, but then at least it will all be done and I can start to relax.

Christmas Day this year saw me going a bit heavy on the Christmas Spirits (as anticipated) and it brought something kind of odd to my attention.
When I’ve had a few drinks, I get kind of oddly smarter, while also stupider in the way that can only be induced by alcohol. Let me explain.

I read a lot. By a lot, I mean a ridiculous amount. I’ll read pretty much anything you give me – I’m not picky. If I have nothing to read, I’ll just read the same books over and over.
I prefer fiction and although I did say I wasn’t picky, I absolutely refuse to read anything political – fictional or not. But that’s a whole other story and I’m getting off track. Christmas holidays does that to me.

Anyway....The point I’m trying to make here is that if you read a lot it means that you tend to know more words than people who don’t read a lot. I’m talking more about synonyms for regular words rather than knowing entirely new words - ways of phrasing things that regular people don’t use in every day conversation.

Sometimes, when I’m talking to someone and am trying to phrase what I want to say, a much more obscure than necessary word will pop into my head and my brain will filter it so that I don’t use it, but instead use the word that will be understood by more people. I have enough trouble with basic social situations without being the chick that uses odd words and always has to explain what she’s on about.

What I’ve noticed is that once I’ve had a few drinks, the filter that gets rid of all these unnecessary words shuts down. My brain is suddenly on its own in the vocabulary department. So suddenly, I become this blubbering drunk who, given my special kind of social retardation, says really stupid things but manages to sound kind of brainy (and pompous) while doing it.

It’s a very weird phenomenon that I’ve never noticed before – probably because I’m usually too drunk to realise that people don’t understand what I’m saying. Or maybe I just think that it’s the alcohol that makes me indecipherable rather than the words I’m using.

This would make me ideal to be the loner in the bar who listens to your problem, and then gives you wise drunken advice – the kind that you completely ignore, but that makes you feel better because at least you’re not the drunken thesaurus hanging out in a bar all alone.

Now if only I could get the hang of texting while drunk, I could really have it all.

Christmas Eve

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It’s Christmas Eve, and while I really have nothing much to share, I felt like I should post something, because it will be a few days before I have time to post again, and I hate to feel like I’ve gotten slack about blogging.

I’ve been up since 7am helping to prepare things for the big family lunch tomorrow. It’s a huge traditional meal, and there are usually about a dozen of us there for lunch and 18 or so for dinner. It’s a big day. We spend a lot of time setting up the table in a kind of explosion of Christmas decorations - green tablecloths, red sparkly placemats, coloured crackers and Christmas confetti everywhere. It’s like Christmas threw up all over the table, and that’s the way it should be – festive to the point of tackiness. It wouldn’t be Christmas otherwise.

Santa has already been, dropping off a new 46” LCD TV (I must have been really, really nice this year!) that I will later crank up carols by candlelight on in a last ditch attempt at maximising my Christmas spirit.

Now all that’s left to do is sit back, put on some carols, open a beer and wait for tomorrow to roll around.

I hope that everyone reading this has a Christmas Day as happy and enjoyable as mine promises to be. Merry Christmas everyone!

It's Back!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yes! I’ve found it! My Christmas spirit! Well, kind of. Last night I went out to a late movie – a kind of girls night out thing. Have I mentioned before how Gold Class is the greatest invention ever?

It was about 9pm by the time we left the cinema. The second I stepped outside it hit me. The air was warm - that kind of mild, balmy weather that means you could wear as much or as little clothing as you like. The sky that was still blue, although it was dark outside – almost as though the day was refusing to be turned into night, even though the sun had already disappeared. There were Christmas lights everywhere and the shopping centre was crowded with people – and that was it. All of these things somehow combined to give me that festive Christmas feeling.

It stayed with me the entire way home. It was gone when I woke up this morning, but for a couple of hours, I had it. It’s good because it means I’m not quite doomed to become a Scrooge yet. There’s still hope that by Friday I’ll have found that Christmas feeling.

Christmas Party

Monday, December 21, 2009

Three last, fun filled days of work before we’re on holidays - finally!

I have to say that the one thing I miss about my previous job is the Christmas parties. They were big affairs at trendy restaurants with lots and lots of booze and no limitation on how long the bar tab ran for. If you could ignore the half of the staff that were pure evil, you could have a really good time. I never went to one that didn’t last at least 12 hours.

In the new job they’re a lot different. I’m not looking forward to this one at all. It’s tomorrow night at a cafe in the middle of nowhere, an hour’s drive from home. There is no alcohol, because the cafe is BYO, so if we want to drink, we have to supply our own alcohol. And the place is only licensed for BYO until 11pm anyway.
There are no taxis home if we do drink, because it’s seriously, without exaggeration, in the middle of the bush. Besides which, an hour’s cab ride from the middle of nowhere would probably set me back an entire day’s wages.

So I can’t really say I’m all that enthused about this one. Or perhaps it’s just my increasing cynicism around the festive season that is making me un-enthused. I’ve always loved Christmas, but this year I’m struggling to really get myself even a little bit excited. That could be the reason that the Christmas party isn’t appealing to me as much. Maybe I’m just reaching my Scrooge years.

Double dreams

Friday, December 18, 2009

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible for two people to have the same dream at the same time?

Last night I had a dream about someone that was so incredibly vivid it was almost real. Well, it could have been real except that it was weird and a little disjointed in that way that dreams are.

It wasn’t just visually realistic, it was emotionally realistic too. The emotions I felt while having this dream were so real that when I woke up I could still feel them, as though something had really just happened.

It seems almost indecent to have a dream that vivid about someone and for them not to have had the same dream too. I mean, my brain is putting words in their mouth and having them do things that they might never do under their own steam. It just seems wrong.

I think I’ve probably only ever had one or two dreams that were this intensely vivid, so it sort of stands to reason that it was vivid for a reason, and the only thing I could come up with is that maybe the person in my dream was dreaming the exact same thing at the same time. Is that even possible? It would help to explain some of the random things that I was doing in the dream too.


Glasses - Pros vs. Cons

Now that I’ve had my glasses for a while, I feel like I can make an informed comparison of the benefits of having glasses vs. not having them. It’s only been a little while, but I’ve noticed a few things about them that I never thought about before. So I’ve made a little pros vs cons list, in case anyone is thinking they might need to get glasses and is having trouble making a decision about it.

• Apparently having glasses increases my appeal to the opposite sex. This was very unexpected. Who would have thought that so many men secretly have a thing for librarians/school teachers/secretaries?

• If I were to suddenly develop a super power, my secret identity would be safe thanks to the disguising powers of glasses. I can only assume this disguise would be more effective when used by a female superhero than a male because of point 1.

• Despite the fact that it’s clearly not always the case, people still seem to believe that people with glasses are smarter. As a result, I am taken more seriously while wearing them.

• I can see things properly now. I don’t have to hunch over the steering wheel like an old lady when it rains and squint at the road while guessing (rather than knowing) that I’m in my own lane.

• I keep getting busted looking at people because I’m used to watching people from behind my sunglasses where they can’t see me looking. I still haven’t gotten to the point where I remember all the time that my glasses are clear...

• I am at greater risk of becoming the dispensable extra should I suddenly be sucked into a movie-style action situation. Now that I have glasses, I am more likely to be the person who falls down while running away from the bad guy and has her glasses trampled by the fleeing crowd, leaving me to be picked off easily. Don’t believe me? Watch ‘The Mummy’ and see what happens to the guy with glasses in that.

• I have to wear them more often than I would like. If I don’t wear them in the supermarket, I can’t read the little signs that stick out from the aisle to tell me what’s down there. This makes me feel kind of old. I was hoping the downhill slide would start a little later in life than this.

So those are the things that I’ve noticed so far. At the moment the pros outweigh the cons, which is good. I mean, at this stage of the process, it doesn’t really matter, because I already have the glasses, but who knows? My sight could miraculously return to me and then a list like this would be incredibly helpful. You never know.

Fires & Spirits

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We had a bit of excitement here at work yesterday when the factory two doors down caught on fire. To be honest, I had no idea anything was going on until 5 or 6 fire trucks pulled into the street. Then I stood up to go downstairs and see what was going on and a frenzied policeman ran through the factory screaming at us all to evacuate.

We all wandered out into the street where we could see thick black smoke pouring out of the factory just up the street. It was 39 degrees yesterday so it was way too hot to be outside, let alone in the middle of the street in full sun. We took it in turns to stand in the shade of the one small sapling that someone had planted nearby.

20 or so firemen ran around connecting hoses to hydrants and yelling important sounding things to each other, and then it was all a bit of a letdown after that. The smoke just sort of disappeared and the policemen told us we could go back to work.

I haven’t yet worked out how standing in the street was any safer than being inside a big concrete box, but I guess he knew what he was doing since it’s his job and all. Well, actually he was a traffic cop, so maybe it wasn’t his job.

These kind of minor emergencies really do manage to break up the day a bit though. It’s just a shame that I had left my camera at home yesterday. I actually picked it up on the way to work, then thought that it would be a waste to lug it to work where nothing ever happens, so I put it down again.

Honestly there isn’t much going on around here other than that. Christmas is coming up and no matter what I do, I can’t seem to find my Christmas spirit this year. In an attempt to build some excitement, I put 200-odd Christmas songs onto my MP3 player and listened to them in the car on the way to and from work. But that just got annoying when I wanted to listen to something else and shuffle mode kept picking out Christmas songs.

I guess I’m just hoping for a last minute rush of Christmas spirit. Alternatively, if I can’t find any, I may resort to Christmas spirits instead.

Smell Memory

Monday, December 14, 2009

I put my Christmas tree up over the weekend. It’s a fake one, which is kind of a letdown, but we can’t have a real tree for many and varying reasons, the most important of which are that KJ gets hay fever from them and I’m too lazy to clean up after a real tree.

Instead I went to my brother’s house and got my Christmas jollies out of inhaling the pine-ey goodness of their real Christmas tree.
The smell of pine trees always makes me happy because it reminds me of childhood Christmases and the excitement of running downstairs on Christmas morning to find the pile of presents that Santa had left for me. It reminds me of big family lunches and eating so much food that I would feel sick by the end of the day.

This weird kind of smell-memory got me thinking about what other smells had some kind of significance for me. This is what I’ve come up with so far, but I’m sure the list would be much longer if I spent a bit more time thinking about it.

  • Freshly ironed clothes smell like responsibility to me. I can only assume that this is because the smell of ironing clothes was always present at the big events where your mum wanted you to look your best. First days of school, big functions, job interviews – these kinds of responsible moments were all moments where your clothes had that newly ironed smell.

  • The smell of truss tomatoes reminds me of my grandfather. He used to grow tomatoes in his backyard and from memory he had quite the green thumb. To this day, the smell of truss tomatoes always makes me feel warm, safe and happy. It makes making salad a very happy experience.

  • The smell of ‘Acqua di Gió’, while it makes me want to gag, reminds me of a boyfriend I had who was pretty influential in my life, but who acted very melodramatically (I think he thought he lived in one of those generic teen angst TV shows). Similarly, the smell of ‘Joop! Pour Homme’ reminds me of the guy I lost my virginity to.

  • The smell of mothballs reminds me of my grandmother – not because she had that old lady mothball smell like so many old women do, but because she was a dressmaker and used mothballs in the endless bolts of fabric that cluttered her house.

  • The smell of burning rubber reminds me of summer. I know that’s kind of bizarre, but I’m pretty sure it relates to a great summer weekend spent at Summernats many years ago.

I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has any weird smell memories like these.

Super Secret Power

Thursday, December 10, 2009

You know, I think I might have a secret super-power – The power of being unmemorable. In fact, I might just be the most unmemorable person ever.

On Tuesday evening I went along to a car show sort of thing to take some photos. There are a bunch of photo-taking people that we know, a few of whom I’ve only met once or twice. There is one in particular who I met a couple of months ago – let’s call him Jake.

At that time, we had all met up and had dinner at a Vietnamese place in the city before going out to take photos. The place was small and kind of crowded, so the group was split up all over the restaurant. KJ and I sat at a table of 4 with a guy we know pretty well and Jake, who I was meeting for the first time. We were in the restaurant for about an hour. We chatted the whole time. We laughed a lot. Jake taught me how to eat noodle soup with chopsticks (the source of most of the laughter). We left the restaurant and went to take photos. A good night.

Fast forward to Tuesday night, and a group of us were all standing around having just arrived. Jake wanders over and greets the guys that he knows quite well. One of them is unsure if we’ve met Jake before so introduces me and the girl I was standing next to. “Jake, this is Torrygirl & Lara”
Jake reaches out, shakes my hand and says “Nice to meet you Lara”.
What the...?!

I can only blame my social retardation for this really. I assume that my total lack of small talk ability means that I never really say anything interesting enough to make me memorable. That or I overestimate the average person’s memory. I never forget meeting people like that.

This isn’t just a one-off sort of thing, it happens to me all the time. It’s not good for the old self esteem really. I might have to resort to making up things so that people remember me. Or dye my hair bright pink. You don’t forget something like that. Unless this really is a super power, in which case I probably can’t get around it. I might just have to buy some spandex and a cape and learn to live with it.


Monday, December 07, 2009

It’s reached that time of year where I’ve hit my work wall. I need a holiday.
I had Friday off work, so I effectively had a 3 day weekend, and yet it still didn’t feel like anywhere near enough.

This weekend we had a wedding to go to, and it reminded me how much I enjoy wearing dresses. I normally wear jeans every day – I don’t even get to wear summer dresses or skirts to work, because it would make me way over dressed (since my office is attached to a factory in an industrial estate).
I usually only get to wear a dress if we’re going out somewhere special, like a wedding or..... something else that calls for formalwear. Actually, mostly just weddings.

We don’t get to go to anywhere near enough formal events. There’s something about putting on a pretty dress that makes you feel incredibly good about yourself. And you know that statement is true, because it’s not just women that get a kick out of it – there are a hell of a lot of men who are partial to a bit of dress wearing.

So if you’re like me and are feeling like you’ve had enough of 2009, try putting on a dress – it will help, I swear.

Mac Time

Thursday, December 03, 2009

This week KJ got an iMac. We’ve always been a PC household, so this is kind of a big deal. We’ve been PC people because we’re nerds and we like to change around our computers all the time, and PC’s are a lot more budget friendly for chopping and changing than Macs are.
As KJ has told people about his new computer, the whole Mac vs PC thing has come up, with the Mac people banging on about how wonderful the iMac is and how crap PC’s are, and the PC people going “yeah, whatever....hippy.”

To be honest, straight out of the box the thing is pretty impressive. It’s so neat and tidy and spiffy looking and it only has one cable. But then, I guess you expect it to be for what you pay for it. I would kind of like to have one, because my nerdy skill is being able to learn to use any kind of computer program that I come across within about 15 mins, and the idea of a whole new OS seems like a good challenge.

The last time I used a Mac was when I was about 10, and they were still ‘Macintosh’. They definitely weren’t super slick looking then - they were big hunks of grey plastic, and the logo was still that stripy, rainbow apple.

It would be cool to have a bit of a play with a new one, but given the price tag, I think maybe I’ll be sticking with the good old PC.
With KJ being a Mac guy now and me being PC, do you think our family photos will start to look a bit like this?:

Don't listen too closely

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

This morning on the way to work I counted no less than seven songs to which I was singing made-up words. Not just lyrics that could possibly fit into the song, but entirely made up words to replace words that I couldn’t make sense of. This brought me to a very sudden realisation – Because I make up weird sounds and just blab them in time to the music, I have absolutely no idea what half of the songs I listen to are really about.

I think this might be the key to liking all music, because if you get too caught up in the lyrics, it might put you off what is really a great melody. It also explains my dislike of Grunge music, because it all sounds so whinge-ey that you just tune it out like you would a whinging person. But even when you tune it out you know that that dull sound in the background is still someone complaining, so it's just annoying rather than appealing.

After I realised I was making up words, I actually tried quite hard to make out the lyrics in the songs I was listening to. This turned out to be a big mistake.

I turned on the radio and Bryan Adams ‘Run to you’ came on. While it’s not something I would listen to very often, I know the song well enough to sing a few of the lyrics and make up the rest. This morning, I actually listened to the lyrics and decided that I don’t like the song at all any more. What was a catchy tune that I could sing randomly along to turns out to be a song about a guy that is screwing around!! I can’t get on board with the whole idea of cheating on someone you love, so there’s no way I can like a song like that. If it comes on the radio again, I’m going to have to turn it off.

Now I’m too paranoid to listen too closely to my favourite music, in case, like Bryan Adams, they all turn out to be cheating jerks.I think i'll jsut stick with making words up and be happy with that.

Observations from an otherwise dull weekend

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I don’t think you can really name something ‘The Manhattan Diner’ if it’s in a shopping centre food court and especially not if that food court happens to be in Australia.

If you happen to be lucky enough to have a loan of a convertible for the weekend, it will inevitably rain.

75 appears to be the age where you no longer care about what people will think about what comes out of your mouth. This is the age where you start to say it like it is. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s also roughly the age where your family begins to wonder about your senility.

2 days is not enough of a break from work, especially as you head towards the end of the year. I will continue to campaign for the 8 day week.

No Thanks

Friday, November 27, 2009

To the guy who sent me the very explicit email last night:

No, I am not the Torrygirl from ‘Horny matches dot com’.
No, I am not interested in meeting up with you.
No, I can’t do that – I’m not that flexible – I’m pretty sure no one is.

Long Days

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The nature of my job is that the work fluctuates. This means that some weeks I’ll be flat-out, working from 8am until after 6 with barely a break. Then, other days – like today – I’ll be sitting here twiddling my thumbs (however the hell you do that) and trying to think of things to do to keep myself amused.

So far I’ve exhausted all my usual avenues – facebook scrabble, blog surfing, daydreaming etc. – and now I’m just sitting here watching the hands of the clock tick over.

In fact, today is so dull that I don’t even really have anything to write about, but am writing purely for the sake of killing time. So any suggestions for ways to kill time would be much appreciated – otherwise I might have to resort to locking the door to my office and napping under my desk.

The Un-Funny Bone

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I’ve decided to campaign to have the humerus bone renamed the un-humerus. I don’t think there’s anything funny about hitting your elbow – it hurts like hell and the fact that some smart arse named it the funny bone just makes it all the more annoying.

This way, if it’s called the un-humerus, when people hit their elbows they won’t say things like “funny my arse, stupid bloody name.”
Instead they’ll feel a sense of satisfaction because they whacked their un-funny bone and it really genuinely was un-funny.

Making Jam

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Last night I made jam. I’ve been saying for ages that it would be cool to eat more stuff that we made ourselves – the only problem with this being that we would then have to make it ourselves. Obviously that doesn’t fit very well into my lifelong plan of supreme laziness, so it’s never happened.

That hasn’t stopped me from telling everyone for the past 6 months that I’m going to make jam, and as a result, people have been giving me empty jars to use. The pile of them sitting on top of my fridge has gotten so big that last night, after a near death-by-jar experience, I thought I’d better give the jam making a crack so that I could open the fridge again without getting a concussion from falling jars.

It turns out that making jam isn’t as hard as you would think. You basically just cut up some fruit and stuff and boil the crap out of it until it reaches a point where it will set when it cools. It all sounded so much more high-tech when I was reading my little book of instructions and it was talking about measuring the temperature and sterilising jars and stuff.

I made a recipe that wasn’t in that book because I wanted something a bit more basic to start with (apple and strawberry), but I think I’ll try the fig, tomato and red onion jam from that book next.

How 1950’s housewife-ish am i?!

Santa gets a Facelift

Monday, November 23, 2009

What is more disturbing to me in this story about Santa's facelift is not the freakishness of Santa's old face, but the fact that Santa is already up and it's still ONLY NOVEMBER. This whole commercial-Christmas starting early is starting to bug me. It sucks all the fun out of it if you try to drag it on for too long. I'd like to see a blanket ban on all Christmas items until December the 1st.

Bah Humbug.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Last night I went and picked up my glasses, so it’s official – I’m a good and proper nerd.

Everything is super sharp when I put them on. I’m a bit excited about that, so I’ve been walking around with the glasses on reading things that are far away, and then whipping them off to compare, while exclaiming to anyone that will listen for long enough how good it all is.
I’m probably going to strain my eyes and need new glasses before the novelty has worn off.

I can’t believe how many things I just thought I couldn’t read because it was a bit dark at the time, but then found that with the glasses I could see them as though someone had turned the lights on!

I’m pretty sure that being this excited about my glasses well and truly seals my dorkiness. Bring on the pocket protector and suspenders!!

Dodgy Dinner

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Last night I went to a friend’s place after work, and she made dinner. In the past she has always come to my place because she never had a place of her own, so I’ve always made dinner for her. She’s a vegetarian, and since my vegetarian cooking skills are fairly limited, I usually make risotto. So she decided that since that’s what I usually make for her, she would make it for me this time. I was happy with that – I always figure that as long as I don’t have to make it myself, anything is great. I may have to revise that belief after last night.

I make my risotto from a recipe I found in a Jamie Oliver book – it’s the most awesome, creamy, cheesy risotto I have ever had. I’ve made it so many times that I know the recipe by heart, which means when my friend watches me make it, she sees me throwing things into a pot as though I’m making it up along the way, when really I’m just working to the recipe from memory. I think that this might be to blame for what turned out to be the most shockingly abysmal meal I have ever had.

I can only assume that her risotto last night was made based on the principle of remembering what I’ve done before and trying to copy it. When I showed up, she had just started cooking, and as I watched her prepare the risotto, she got everything so far out of whack that I couldn’t watch any more.

She used a carton of supermarket stock (vile, nasty stuff that always smells like rotten vegetables), and she would pour big glugs of wine in at random intervals throughout. She had the heat up so high that everything she poured in just evaporated on impact. Quite bizarrely, she tested it about 5 minutes into the cooking process, when the rice would have still been hard enough to hurt your teeth and said “yep, nearly done”.
And then, in the last, most important stage, where you add butter and parmesan cheese to make it go all gooey and creamy, she put so much butter in that you could see it running through the incredibly undercooked grains of rice.

She then proceeded to dish up a gigantic bowlful for me, which I had to crunch my way through so as not to seem rude.

I felt bad, thinking that she had tried to make something on my account and failed – but I spoke to her boyfriend today, and he told me that it wasn’t just a case of her trying to make something that she didn’t know how to cook – apparently she’s just not very good at cooking in general. And in fact, she is completely unaware of this fact and thinks that her food is spectacular.

Now I feel sorry for her boyfriend, because I’m happy to pretend to enjoy her cooking every once in a while, but he has to do it every day of his life.

The Stupidest Thing I've Ever Done

Monday, November 16, 2009

Last week, I did the stupidest thing that I have possibly ever done while driving a car. I know that makes it sound like I did something dangerous, but no, it was just stupid, and in the embarrassing kind of way.

I have never, ever hit anything while driving. I don’t find it particularly difficult to drive in a straight line and not run into anything. You know, as long as your eyes are open it’s pretty easy not to hit stuff. Those people that take 950 turns to get their license completely baffle me. The whole concept of driving is pretty easy. You point the car in the direction you want it to go, you accelerate to the speed limit and you avoid solid objects. Simple, right?

But I guess that doesn’t take into account what happens when you forget to pay attention.

I was backing out of a friend’s driveway, which is a reasonably tricky one, but not too hard if you pay attention. One side has a large tree; one side has a low volcanic rock wall. A number of people have run into the tree by not paying attention, so I’m always careful to watch out for it as I drive out. This particular day, I was watching the tree in my side mirror to make sure I had plenty of room, but was also thinking about dinner and how I could feed myself at home on nothing but 2 minute noodles and potatoes, because I couldn’t be bothered stopping at the shops to get real food. I was driving slowly, barely even walking pace

All of a sudden, there was a massive hissing noise and I felt the back of the car suddenly drop. Having no idea what was going on I stopped, moved the car forward a little and got out. Somehow, while looking at the tree, I had managed to hit my tyre on the very edge of a rock jutting out of the low rock wall. Not the car, not the rim, just the tyre! How the hell that happened is inexplicable, but not only had I clipped it, it had ripped an enormous hole in my tyre! It was big enough to fit my thumb through.

I can only assume that since I was going pretty damn slowly and since I hit nothing else on the car, there must have just been a sharp bit of rock sticking out. How the hell else do you put a hole in the sidewall of your tyre but not damage anything else?

It’s honestly the most ridiculously, embarrassingly stupid thing I have ever done in a car. And not only that, but I now have to fork out $200 for a new tyre. I could accept this if I was doing something wrong and had learnt a lesson from it all, but no. I was just thinking about 2 minute noodles with a mashed potato topping.

Stupid or what?

Mid Ring

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Have you ever noticed that no one ever picks up a phone mid-ring? If the office phone is ringing, it always gets picked up between tones, never in the middle. Often, my hand will hover over the handset until a ring is completed before I grab it and pick it up. It's a very weird phenomenon.

Mobile phones have solved this problem somewhat by letting us have musical ringtones. It’s ok to interrupt a song mid-beat because it’s just like pausing your CD player.

I’m going to make a conscious effort to break this behaviour. So far I’m failing, because while typing this, I have answered the phone twice and each time I did it between rings. This could take a while.

Try it. I bet you have as much trouble breaking the behaviour as I do.

Photos and a Hot House

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Photo5 finalists were posted late yesterday and sadly, I didn’t make the cut. A couple of people I have met through my photography did though, which is great because if I can’t be in the finals, I’m glad that someone I know is.

I thought some of the judges choices were a bit odd, in particular in the close up brief, where they seem to have picked some of the less creative entries, which doesn’t really seem to match with the info from the judges about what their choices would be based on. I guess there’s no accounting for personal taste though.

We’re in the middle of some kind of random November heat wave here at the moment. Apparently this is the biggest streak of super hot weather since 1925 or something like that. It’s been 34 degrees for the last few days, and it will be a minimum of 30 degrees every day for the entire week. I don’t mind hot weather usually, but when it’s consistent for a week like this it sucks because the house bricks heat up and no matter how long the air-con is on, the second you turn it off, you’re in a sauna again.

Also, sadly, we only have one air conditioning unit in the house and it’s on the entire other side of the house to the bedroom. So when it’s boiling hot in the middle of the night, you’re in the hottest part of the house. I might have to take to sleeping on the dining table so that I can keep cool. I also briefly considered replacing my bed with a wading pool so that I could stay cool, but the risk of accidentally drowning in my sleep far outweighs the benefits of being cool all night. Although then again, a wading pool is a hell of a lot cheaper than another air conditioner...


Monday, November 09, 2009

This weekend just past was my 10 year high school reunion. I opted not to go, and instead spent the evening with a friend from high school who I actually kept in touch with. The whole idea of revisiting people that I’ve spent 10 years forgetting about just seemed so....well, stupid I guess. If I really cared what they were doing with their lives and them me, wouldn’t we still be in touch already?

I didn’t really get along with many people in my year level when I was at high school – all my friends were older, so there are very few people that I can even remember clearly. The only ones that stand out in my mind are the bullies, and I can’t say I had any particular desire to catch up with them. High school bullies have this odd notion that no matter how evil the things they did at school may be, time absolves them of all responsibility. I’m pretty sure the saying ‘time heals all wounds’ was made up by a bully who didn’t fancy apologising to 60 or 70 full grown adults with 10 year grudges against them.

I had a look at some of the photos that have appeared on Facebook since the weekend and I still don’t feel like I missed anything. We’re all just fatter and for the boys (and some girls!) hairier versions of our High School selves, so what is there to add? Husband and baby names that I will have forgotten by the 20 year reunion? Jobs and hobbies that you can only really nod and smile about? I’m crap at small talk at the best of times, so I can’t imagine what I would have to say to most of these people. Although judging by the photos, most of the night would have been spent saying “And who are you again?”

You’ll have to forgive me here; I’m having a very cynical day today. I might just leave it there for now and post again later tonight once the Photo5 finalists have been announced.

Corrupt File

Friday, November 06, 2009

I have just worked all day on the biggest project I've done in years, and moments ago managed to corrupt the file so I have to start from scratch.

This is not turning out to be a very good day.

Final Photos

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Photo5 comp ended this morning, and my entries are all uploaded and waiting to be judged. (Tyge, I emailed you the link. If anyone else wants to have a peek let me know).

In the end I never did get around to taking my last photo. I had it all arranged to shoot on Wednesday night, but my model(aka my sister) fell asleep instead and never showed up, so I missed out. It promised to be a good shot, with some levitation involved. Oh well, I might take it anyway just for the fun of it.

The finalists are announced on Monday, so I'm looking forward to seeing what makes the cut. All the entries are on the website so it's been fun looking through them and comparing to see if anyone else had the same ideas that I did.

I'm a bit sad that the photo taking part is over, because it's good fun trying to do something specific rather than just shooting whatever is around me. There's always next year's competition I suppose.

Love by Numbers

If, like me, you thought that there was such a thing as a soul mate or true love, then apparently you’re wrong.

Making your relationship work has nothing to do with soul mates or anything spiritual – apparently all you need is a handy little checklist of things to do/not do and you’re set!

Researchers have managed to come up with a bit of a checklist for what will make a relationship last. It’s a bit of a list of all the things you should share in life that will make for a successful relationship.

You can read the news article here, but I’ve condensed it all down into a simple 10 point checklist that means all you need to do is check a few boxes and you could be well on your way to marital bliss.

  1. The woman should be at least five years younger than the man.
    I assume this works because older men love showing off their ability to pull younger chicks and woman are partial to a man with a bit of experience.

  2. Share at least three cuddles and four kisses per day
    If you don’t touch each other, then it’s just weird that you’re married if you ask me. Just don’t become one of those people who thinks it’s cool to stick your tongue down someone’s throat in an everyday social situation. I’m happy if you love each other, but I don’t need to see it while I’m trying to have fun.

  3. Share two hobbies on a regular basis.
    I don’t think the items in point 2 count as hobbies, so it probably has to be something more like hiking, skiing or some other kind of physical activity that people weirdly seem to enjoy. Does sleeping count as a hobby?

  4. Have two romantic meals a month
    Do you think having a pizza delivered counts? I think I’m probably averaging two per year at the moment. May have to work on this one.

  5. Make at least three calls, texts or emails to each other per day.
    KJ and I work together, so if I were to call, text or email him 3 times a day, he might begin to think that I wasn’t doing my job properly. That maybe I had lots of spare time to do things like chat online to friends or write long-winded blog posts.... hmmmm....

  6. Say ‘I Love you’ at least once a day’
    You can do this in one of the many phone calls or text messages from point 5 if you like. Convenient.

  7. Organise at least one surprise weekend away per year
    Does saying ‘Surprise! I need you to go to Adelaide for work!’ count?

  8. Take one holiday per year
    I could quite happily live with that, as long as I don’t have to go camping. Because no matter how you try to spin it, there’s nothing relaxing about sleeping on the floor and squatting behind trees.

  9. 3 nights per week should be spent snuggling up watching TV or a movie.
    This one is easy, since I’ve decided this could be one of my hobbies. That way I can be sharing a hobby while also meeting the requirements of point number 9.

  10. This is the one that really gets me – You should spend two separate nights away from each other per month.
    What the?! If every month you need to fit in 90 cuddles, 120 kisses, 4 or 5 outings for hobbies, two romantic meals, 90 calls/emails, as well as holidays and surprise weekends away, all while living your regular everday life - how exactly are you supposed to find another two days to not see each other?!

Only Half Blind

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Because I had Monday and Tuesday off, I decided to (finally) get my eyes tested. I’ve been complaining about getting old and not being able to read anything that’s more than 2 metres away for quite a while now, but the prospect of having to try to find glasses that suit me is so horrible that I’ve put it off. Until now, that is. I was doing a bit of window shopping on Monday and as I wandered by the optometrist, I thought – since I’m here and it's free, I might as well!’

It turns out that my right eye is letting the team down. You know how when you have your eyes tested how you do a whole bunch of covering one eye and reading a chart? I covered my left eye and everything was blurry. I covered my right eye, and I could read the chart perfectly! Shame on you right eye. At least I only need to wear glasses for a few things, like driving at night or reading things that are far away.

If only it wasn’t for my embarrassing inability to wink, I could save myself a whole lot of money on glasses by just driving around with one eye closed.

Deadline Extended

Monday, November 02, 2009

I had resigned myself to not being able to get all 5 of the Photo5 briefs finished in time, but because of a site overload error on Canon's part, they have extended the deadline until Thursday! So I may be able to get that last one done after all. I'm on holiday today and tomorrow, so hopefully that will give me enough time to get the last shot finished off and my entries uploaded. Wish me luck!

Drive me Crazy

Friday, October 30, 2009

I’ve uploaded 3 out of 5 of my photos for the Photo5 comp. Nearly there! I have a fourth photo sort of completed, but the fifth....well, I might not make it in time for that one. Oh well.

I’m still a little short of time this week, so I’ll make this a quick one.

On the way to work each morning, there is a section of road that I drive on with a speed limit of 100km/h. But for as long as I can remember, it has been next to impossible to drive at the limit – for some reason, everyone (except me) feels the need to go 20km’s under the limit, and it’s not often that you find yourself with no cars in front of you. It’s weird because it’s a straight piece of road with good visibility, so there is no reason at all to not do 100.

I have this kind of crazy subconscious thing that means if the sign says 100, I need to do 100 or I might quietly go insane. So every day, I spend 5 frustrating minutes driving at 20km’s under the speed limit while I feel the desperate need to put my foot to the floor and just drive over the sloooooow drivers in front.

At the start of this week, a new sign went up on this section of road stating that the limit had been reduced to 80km/h. Traffic continued to move at 80, just like it had done before when the limit was 100. But suddenly I found myself with a profound sense of inner calm. Everyone was going the speed they were supposed to. It didn’t matter that the council had changed the speed limit to make this happen. It didn’t matter that I was driving at the exact same speed as I always did. The magical power of that 80 speed sign had completely removed that 5 stressful minutes of my life.

Does that make me totally nuts?

Liza with a Z

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sunday night was the Liza Minnelli concert – you’ll have to forgive me for waiting until today to post about it, because a few post-concert drinks meant that I wasn’t really feeling up to coherent sentences yesterday.

The concert was excellent and horrifying all at once. You could tell that she is (or was) a proper entertainer of 1950’s influence. I guess with Judy Garland as a mother you couldn’t help but be influenced by that era.

The show was excellent because even at 63 years of age, Liza can still perform and can still entertain a crowd. But it was horrifying because at 63 years of age, the inability to show even the faintest wrinkle on your face is just creepy.

In the opening numbers, I was horrified by the skeletor-like grin on her face - a woman shouldn’t be able to smile and show all of her teeth without creating even a few tiny wrinkles. Then after a song or two, Liza seemed incredibly breathless and was panting heavily. I became increasingly paranoid that she was going to keel over on stage. I was convinced that I had come to the show where Liza was going to drop dead on stage, and while that would have been memorable, it’s not something that I wanted to happen.

I guess it was a weird concert for me because her age, illnesses and show biz lifestyle have taken their toll, and I think a lot of what people enjoyed about the show is what they remember of Liza at her peak. For someone who hasn’t followed her career right through, it was more like an echo of something better. A lot of her high notes were lost and her lisp a lot more pronounced than I ever recall it. But she still knows how to keep a crowd entertained, and in amongst it all there were a few fantastic moments – in particular when she sang ‘New York, New York’ to a standing ovation.

It was a chance that I’ll never have again, so I’m glad that I went along. Sometimes it’s nice to go to the sorts of things that you wouldn’t have gone to on your own.

In unrelated news, entries for the Photo5 comp are due by the end of the week, so I might be a little absent this week as I rush around taking last minute shots. I've only finished 2 out of the 5 briefs so far, so I have quite a bit to do still. Wish me luck!

Fire Mania

Friday, October 23, 2009

We’ve just started to slip into summer weather this week and it’s caused this kind of fire prevention mania. Last year’s bushfires have everyone freaked out. Everyone is (understandably) paranoid about another Black Saturday since they’re predicting that the weather is going to be even hotter this year than last year.

As a result of this excessive paranoia and because of the fact that I live very close to where last year’s bushfires were, not a single day goes by when I don’t get a brochure in the mail for some kind of fire repelling product or service.

This means that I now have a house full of paper – just the thing I need to fireproof the place – a nice big pile of good old fire friendly paper. Thanks, anti-fire product suppliers. You might have sold me fire gel, mesh and roof sprinklers, but you have made the inside of my house a fire’s best friend.

In un-fire-related news, this weekend is the party that I was dreading. My problem has been solved (sort of) by the fact that we aren’t able to go. It turns out we had already planned to go away for the weekend, so we won’t be around to go to the party. Really this just pushes the issue back for another time, but at least for now I can forget about it.

The Bee Slayer

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Last night, when I got home from work, I parked my car in the garage as usual and closed the door behind me. The garage opens into a downstairs room and the main part of the house is upstairs.
As I opened the door to the downstairs room, I heard a dull droning hum that I immediately recognised as the horrifying sound of a very large swarm of flying bugs. Inside my house.

Bees, to be exact.

Between the window and the curtains there were about 40 or 50 bees flying around, buzzing like mad. From the crazy buzzing going on I could tell that they were worked up, which didn’t really do anything to put me at ease with having a swarm of bugs in my house.

I slipped carefully past the window, trying not to draw attention to myself – you know, in case the bees saw me and decided ‘this window is dull; let’s sting that person over there just for the hell of it’.

I crept up the stairs and began looking around the house to see if the downstairs room was the only place infested. I found one or two bees in the bathroom, but nothing in any of the other rooms until I checked the spare bedroom. There was a very loud but distant humming that told me they weren’t in the room – they were in the walls. I opened the curtains and outside, there were hundreds of the little suckers flying around and in and out of the vents on the side of the house.

At this stage try to imagine me doing a little freak-out dance, jumping up and down as I suddenly imagine I can feel bees crawling all over me.

As I stood in the room listening, the covered, domed light shade began to fill with dark, buzzing shadows. I flicked off the light, slammed the door shut and ran to the other side of the house, as though 10 metres of distance would save me from death by bee sting.

Several hurried phone calls later we had found someone to come out and take a look - a mighty Bee Slayer !!! (pest control is such a boring name don’t you think?)

An hour or so later in somewhat of a letdown after the excitement of a stinging bug infestation, we were bee free and I had learnt something about bees that I thought I might share with you.

Bees are not as bad-ass as they want you to think they are. Sure, they have that stinger; and that creepy buzzing they do makes your skin crawl. But the truth of the matter is they’re stupid. The reason that the bees were buzzing around in the window and didn’t fly out to sting me to death was because when they get stuck somewhere dark, they freak out and try to fly somewhere where there’s light. They try so hard that they panic, and fly around until they exhaust themselves to death. That’s right – they fly around and around until they die. Not so smart now, are you bees?

Regardless of their stupidity, I’m still happy to be Bee-free. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a big fan of bugs invading my house.

Crazy Over CCTV

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A week or so ago, this horrible and kind of odd thing happened here in Australia where a woman on a train platform got distracted for a second, and the pram with her 6 month old baby in it rolled onto the train tracks just as the train came into the station – and the baby survived without barely a scratch on it.

Yesterday I finally saw the CCTV footage of it happening and I must be going crazy because I had nightmares about it all last night. I’m not sure what it is about it that bothers me so much given that the baby survived – I think it’s the fact that I’m a bit weird-ed out by babies and their fragility. Maybe it was watching the mother freak the fuck out after it happens (understandably). Or possibly it’s because of that hopeless feeling you get when you’re watching something horrible about to happen and knowing that you can’t stop it. Either way, who wants to see that happening no matter how fortunate the outcome was?

I’m pretty sure that what makes me even crazier than having nightmares is that my other thought on seeing the footage was ‘Damn that must have been a super strong pram, I wonder what brand it was?’

Life is a Cabaret

Monday, October 19, 2009

In a giant cliché, this Sunday I am going with a gay friend to see Liza Minnelli in concert.

This isn’t something I planned to do – Liza Minnelli wasn’t exactly top of my list of entertainers to see in concert - but my friend bought himself a couple of tickets as a birthday present and his partner is currently overseas, so I’m taking his place.

It should be good. I don’t mind music like this. In fact I’ve yet to come across a form of music that I don’t like – with the exception of some grunge music (in particular Nirvana, who I think are the most over rated band in history) and that weird rainforest/pan flute/bird noise sort of music that is supposed to help you sleep but really just induces a subconscious fear of being eaten by large carnivorous birds.

We had to watch Cabaret back when I was at high school and I quite liked the music – it was catchy – it made you want to kick your legs in the air and strut around. That’s pretty typical of show tunes-ey type music I think.

Luckily, I don’t think there will be room at Rod Laver Arena for that sort of thing.

To Work Or Not To Work

Friday, October 16, 2009

There is a guy I work with who I’m pretty sure only works so that he doesn’t get bored. His wife seems to be the main income earner, and I guess his wage is so insignificant to their overall income that he didn’t even notice that for 3 weeks there had been an error with the wages transfer and he hadn’t been paid.

This is the second person I’ve come across in my life who didn’t need to work, but chose to anyway. Quite a number of years ago, while I was still at uni studying, I worked at a Mrs Fields store with a girl who came from what appeared to be a reasonably well off family. She came to work one day after doing a bit of shopping, and was showing me her new perfume – she’d bought a new fragrance because, she told me, she thought that it was nice to have a different scent to wear out in the evening than she wore during the day
It seemed to escape her attention that she was telling this to someone who wasn’t wearing perfume because hundred dollar bottles of perfume didn’t really factor into the finances of a full time uni student working 12 hours a week for minimum wage.

As the course of this conversation went on, it came out that the money that she made at the store went into a savings account because she had a weekly allowance from her parents that was more than what she made by working there. I didn’t know what to say to that.

We never did get around to discussing why it was that she had taken the job if she didn’t need the money. At her age it can’t have been the same as for the guy I work with now, because I’m pretty sure his reason is just boredom.

What other reasons could a person have for working when they don’t need to? Outside of boredom, I can’t think of any, because if I had a whole lot of cash and time, I can think of plenty of things that I could be doing other than serving people coffee and cookies.

Highlights of a Coma

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It’s nearly 6pm and I’m still at work. I’m waiting for KJ, whose very expensive 2000 model luxury sports car has broken down yet again. That car is the biggest money pit ever. It has broken down more times than my 1970’s car ever did.

So just to cap of the coma-inducing day that I’ve had, I get to hang around here for another hour or two while I wait for the car to be towed back. Yay for me!

Is it possible?

Is it possible to have a day that is so dull that you might actually lose consciousness? Because if it was, I think today would be that day.

An Angry Dilemma

Monday, October 12, 2009

There is a girl that I have been trying to avoid now for some time, because any meeting between us would require some kind of volatile reaction on my part – definitely verbal and most likely physical as well.

I’m not going to go into all the details of why it is that this girl elicits a strange desire for physical violence from me. Suffice to say that this girl has behaved around KJ in a way which resulted in circumstances which left me feeling hurt, angry, a little embarrassed and with a very unusual but enormous desire to break every bone in her body.

I’m not usually someone who wants anything to do with that sort of thing. In fact, I’m not a very confrontational person at all. I think it’ something to do with deep subconscious guilt – I can’t be cruel without feeling bad afterwards, no matter how deserving the person might be and no matter how much I might want to. I don’t even like watching TV shows where people argue a lot, so needless to say; meeting this girl again is pretty low on my list of priorities.

This girl’s brother and KJ have been friends for a long time, which has made it hard to avoid her. They’re a close family, so whenever there is an event thrown by this friend – let’s call him Flavio (because it’s so obviously not his name, but so very cool to say) – his sister is always invited. It’s made it difficult, but so far, we’ve missed most of these events because we’ve had previous plans. No need to make awkward excuses – luck has prevented a confrontation.
But now Flavio is having a house warming party and we are not only free, we don’t have any excuse whatsoever to get us out of it because prior to this business with his evil sister, we were the ones who encouraged him to have the party. And now thanks to the magic of Facebook, I know that his sister is definitely going to be there.

I haven’t seen her since her disgusting behaviour came to light, and I’ve spent a very unhealthy amount of time thinking about the things that I would say and do upon seeing her. But never in these evil fantasies did I imagine it would happen in front of all of her family. It was always a moment that would embarrass her in front of people that I know, but not ruin KJ’s friendship with Flavio.

I thought about not going to the party at all, but we can’t avoid every single event Flavio invites us to or he’ll start to think that we don’t like him. Besides, I can't give her the satisfaction.

So now I’m confused about what to do. If she’s there, should I confront her? Should I try to avoid her and only confront her if she tries to talk to us? Should I give her a quiet warning to stay the hell away from us and save the real tirade for another time? Or should I just hit her as hard as I can and run away very fast?

Inspired by Maurice

Friday, October 09, 2009

Recently I watched an episode of Northern Exposure in which Maurice’s brother dies, and he begins to worry about who will become heir to the Minnifield empire. He tries having Chris as his new ‘son’, but it doesn’t work out. Later in the episode, he has a conversation with Joel that really stuck in my mind:

MAURICE: The Minnifield empire will not bear fruit in one man's lifetime.
JOEL: Yeah. I heard it didn't work out with you and Chris.
JOEL: I'm sorry. You know, maybe you can start a trust. The Minnifield foundation. It worked for the Rockefellers and the Gettys.
MAURICE: No. I've come up with something else, Joel.
JOEL: Really, what's that?
MAURICE (deadly serious) : I've decided to live forever.

I was thinking about this last night and it struck me that Maurice might be on to something. Like Maurice, I could protect my empire simply by living forever. Ok, so I don’t have an empire yet – but when I do, it will need protecting, and eternal life seems the easiest way to go about this.

Let me tell you why this is going to work.

Firstly, it’s a well documented fact that I am inherently lazy. I don’t exercise unless forced to for some reason. The most amount of voluntary exercise I like to do is to walk from my car to my office and back again. While this might seem like a lifestyle choice, I maintain that it is, in fact, my body’s innate nature. In fact, it’s entirely possible that my body is so lazy that it will never develop a deadly illness, never be bothered to age, never muster up enough energy to cause me to do any of the things that lead to a body’s death. So as long as I don’t get hit by a bus, I should be fine.

Secondly, I eat a lot of foods with preservatives in them. Surely this can only help to stem the flow of old age and prevent my body from decaying. If it doesn’t work quite like that, at the very least I’ll be the best preserved corpse around.

Thirdly...ok, so I can’t think of a third reason why. But no one said that explaining immortality was easy, so I guess two will have to be enough. Now all I need is my empire and I’ll be set. Although if I can’t manage to come up with an empire I guess I’ll just have to settle for living to a normal age like everyone else.

Not Listening

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Obviously Harry paid no attention to yesterday's post and was in fact upset by it, because not only is he still there, he looks a little bigger than he was yesterday...

Go Away Harry!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

You may recall that a while ago I admitted to an embarrassingly girly phobia of huntsman spiders. Well, since then we haven’t had any in the house (thankfully). However, recently one of these hairy little monsters has crawled out from its home behind the illuminated exit sign above the door to my office.

I work in an office full of men, all of whom have refused to get rid of the spider, and have instead named it Harry. Harry is only tiny, which I think prevents a total meltdown on my part, but every day I’m forced to walk underneath him and every day I get that strange chill up the back of my neck thinking that he might just choose that very moment to let go of the wall and free-fall onto my head.

Why is it that these little beasts always choose to loiter above doorways? Will he leave on his own, or will i have this horrible feeling every time i walk in and out of my office for the rest of my life?

Go away Harry!

Embarrassing Illnesses (not mine, luckily)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Because, thanks to the magic of Foxtel, we have a hundred and something TV channels, last night I was able to watch a lovely show called “Embarrassing Illnesses”.

The gist of the show was that people who had what would be considered embarrassing illnesses went to see doctors who helped them out while explaining how they shouldn’t be embarrassed because these sorts of things are so common. I got to see wonderful things like bad breath, ingrown foot warts, a penis with an almost 45 degree bend (!!), a woman with a prolapse (yet another possible joy to having a baby that I didn’t need to know about) and a man with a third nipple.

Obviously the people on the show can’t have been too embarrassed by their illnesses, because they allowed themselves to be filmed and broadcast worldwide – and in particular the woman with the prolapse showed waaaaay more of her problem than I wanted to see. And yet, the man with the wonky what-not had his bits pixellated out. Odd. Maybe it was personal patient choice.

You have to wonder what kind of TV producer comes up with this stuff. Was he a man with an embarrassing illness of his own? Perhaps the entire show was an elaborate way for him to find out about his illness without actually having to see a doctor himself. And what kind of audience were they trying to cater to? It can’t just be people like me who are channel hopping and left it on while waiting for something good to start. Surely that isn’t a valid category of viewers that people try to cater to.

Perhaps I shouldn’t try to think too far into the reasoning behind it – after all, I think the quality of the program is summed up by the point where the buff and bronzed ‘Dr Christian’ took it upon himself to inform beach-goers about the risk of skin cancer and proceeded to slather sunscreen all over two young bikini clad girls.

Quality programming.

Up in 3D

Monday, October 05, 2009

I’ve been sick all weekend and now that it’s Monday and I’m back at work with more stuff to do than I have time for, I’m feeling pretty grumpy - but I’m going to blog anyway. So forgive what will most likely be a short and very dull post.

In Friday’s illness, I forgot that I had promised I would take my 5 year old niece to the movies over the weekend, so on Sunday afternoon I dragged myself out of bed and went to see ‘Up’ in 3D. I haven’t seen a 3D movie since I was about 7 years old and you had to wear those weird cardboard glasses with one red and one blue cellophane eyepiece. This was pretty different to that. Instead of the old cardboard glasses, you got to wear these weird Buddy Holly looking things. And the 3D stuff was way cooler than I remember it ever being before.

I have to say the whole thing was pretty cool – once my eyes adjusted to it. During the previews I thought that it was entirely possible that the movie was going to make me motion sick because my eyes couldn’t focus fast enough to keep up with it all, but once we got into the movie itself, it was fine.

The only thing wrong with the entire movie was that I had to pay so much bloody money to see it! Somehow it just doesn’t seem right to have to pay more than what a regular adult movie ticket costs for a 5 year old’s ticket. But then I was sick and grumpy, so maybe it’s not all that bad.


Friday, October 02, 2009

I have a cold. All I really want to do is crawl into bed and sleep until I’m better, but unfortunately it’s a proven fact that the second you start to feel even the tiniest bit sick, work suddenly gets ridiculously busy and you don’t even have time to think about sleeping, let alone do it.

I’m losing my voice too. It’s not so bad, because luckily I’m a huge computer nerd and can just chat to everyone online or via text message. In fact, if KJ was away on business, I think I could probably go a good two days without actually talking to anyone if I really tried. Although it would probably involve a lot of avoiding phone calls and hiding when the doorbell rings, so instead I think I’ll go with the ‘dope-myself-up-on-drugs’ approach and spend the weekend in bed watching more Northern Exposure and trying to signal KJ to bring me more orange juice without actually having to speak.

Actually, I heard somewhere that drinking whiskey or bourbon is supposed to help get rid of a cold, so maybe I'll ditch the OJ for some JD or JB and see how that goes. If nothing else it should definitely help me sleep!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

You know that the government’s water saving message is getting through to you when you’re watching the shower scene from Psycho and your first reaction is annoyance that the shower is left running after she’s dead.


Apparently it’s now possible to live in a CSI-themed house by having your DNA sampled and printed onto a canvas. They’re pretty cool looking, and I’d almost considering hanging a canvas like that in my house, but there’s just the tiniest little voice deep inside me that has watched too many sci-fi shows and is whispering in my ear about government conspiracies and how I should never lick envelopes if they have my return address on them.
It would probably make dating a lot easier too - just take a quick look at your date's DNA and if you don't like what you see, just make a hasty exit.

I quite like the fingerprint art too – it would make it nice and easy if a crime was committed in your house for the detectives to separate your fingerprints from those of the criminal, because it would be magnified right there for anyone to see(can you tell I watch too much crime TV?).

The lip print art I'm not so sure about, because really - no one has lips that look like that. At least, not without the kind of surgery that involves injecting your butt into your face.

Random Facts as Promised

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yesterday I said that I would share something random about myself that most people wouldn’t know. At the time, I hadn’t really thought of anything, but thought to myself - really, how hard can it be to admit that I’m a weirdo? Apparently not that hard at all, because it turns out that I’ve already shared most of the random things about myself that other people might find odd, such as:

  • My freakish and totally inexplicable love of Eurovision
  • My embarrassing inability to wink
  • My extreme dislike of exercise (yes, apparently that makes me weird, although I’m still not sure why)
  • The fact that I might possibly be the only person ever to admit that they enjoy painting their house
  • My high level of social retardation and the fact that I’m incapable of making small talk

But I did manage to think up another couple of things that I’m willing to confess to that might make you laugh (at me, of course – not with me). I can’t, however, make any guarantees that they’ll be any more interesting than my previously confessed random facts. But then again, I never promised anything interesting, only truthful, so here we go.

Random Fact #1
I don’t wear socks. Ever. In fact, I rarely ever even wear shoes that require socks – if you don’t do any exercise you never need to wear runners, so it’s not really an issue. I’m not even sure if I own a pair of socks at all.

Random Fact #2
I am hopeless at learning song lyrics. For a period of about three years I sang loudly along to ‘April Sun in Cuba’ with absolutely no idea what the words or the title of the song were. Since ‘April Sun in Cuba’ doesn’t actually sound like any other sentence, I just sang nonsense words. I was actually a little disappointed to find out what the lyrics were in the end.

Random Fact #3
I can fold an origami paper crane without any instructions. Also an origami hat, but that’s not quite as impressive. It’s as a result of reading ‘Sadako & the Thousand Paper Cranes’ when I was about 7 years old. I remember that reading the book made me immensely sad in a very un-7-year-old kind of way, and to this day whenever I fold one I still get a little teary.

There, now don’t you feel like you know me a little better and like you might want to confess to a few random facts of your own?

Coincidence & Sharing

Monday, September 28, 2009

Coincidence is a weird thing. How weird is it that of all the blogs that I could be reading worldwide, one that I read regularly and happened to be reading on the weekend is about the same totally random TV series that I had just started watching that exact same weekend? Freaky. Ok, maybe not that freaky, but it was still kind of surprising to me to see someone else talking about an almost 20 year old TV series that I thought everyone except me had forgotten. You have to admit that’s kind of a weird coincidence.

Life is full of odd little coincidences like this, where you discover that some completely random thing that you like and think that no one else could possibly like too is an interest shared by someone you never would have expected.

I recently discovered that an acquaintance of mine shares a similar and equally sad passion for Arnie Movies - in particular ‘True Lies’, which I have seen a very embarrassing number of times. This led to him lending me ‘Pumping Iron’ which I had never seen before. And despite the fact that I probably won't ever watch it again, if we hadn't discovered a common interest i would never have even known it existed. Body building is a sport that no matter how frequently and fondly I hear it described in that fantastic Austrian accent, I will never understand.

Maybe these kinds of things happen more often than we realise. Maybe secretly, everyone is a big Arnie fan or loves watching Northern Exposure but everyone is just too embarrassed to talk about it, because they think they’re alone in the world. We might be missing out on all sorts of cool stuff because we never told anyone that we liked out-of-the-ordinary things.

Having said that, I’d like to encourage everyone to share a random interest this week on their blogs or maybe in their everyday lives, because you might find out something interesting about someone you know. Tomorrow I’ll share something completely random about myself. That’s not a promise that it will be very interesting, of course, but it will most definitely be random.
And possibly embarrassing.

Premature Congratulations

Someone from an opposition company just rang up to congratulate me because he heard 'on the grapevine' that I'm pregnant and about to give birth!!!! What the...?! This is news to me since I'm not pregnant and as such NOT ABOUT TO GIVE BIRTH!

I didn't speak to him directly, so I'm not sure what kind of messed up grapevine he got this info from, but I'm very tempted to call him back and yell down the phone 'Are you calling me fat?!!!' Just to see what reaction I get. I think he would be so horrified that he would forget that we've never actually met in person so there's no way he could possibly have anything to say about how I look.

V8 Longing

Friday, September 25, 2009

I miss my V8. Even though I know that saying that probably makes me seem like a bit of a Bogan, I’m willing to accept that, because my car was like a member of the family. I still have the old car, but recently I upgraded to a new one – a little 4 cylinder i30. It was the sensible, grown up thing to do, but all the same, I can’t help but miss driving my old car. It was a beautiful 1977 Aussie muscle car with all sorts of completely endearing old-car faults that were all over-ridden by the joy you get from driving a classic car with a whopping big V8 motor.

Last night I was driving home in my i30 (wondering if it was still running because it’s so incredibly quiet) when I came up behind a slow moving van. As I put my foot down to overtake, I was suddenly struck by an incredible sadness and longing for my old car. In a 4-cylinder, overtaking is a chore. In my V8, it was fun. Every drive was a joy because you could feel the car sticking to the road. You felt every bump, every curve and you didn’t have the luxury of sticking on the cruise control and zoning out completely.
On a hot day, you would wind down the windows and drive as fast as you dared because there was no air conditioning. On cold days you would have to wipe down the windscreen every time you stopped at a light so you could see out because there were no demisters.

I guess it sounds like a bit of a pain, but I was very attached to that car, and I guess that’s the reason it’s still living in my garage instead of being sold off.

I wonder if I could fit a V8 into the i30?

The Soppiness Machine

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Super-Facebook-Soppiness makes me want to vomit into my handbag and mail it to the guilty party with a note that says “since we’re sharing...”

How do people not understand that Facebook is a public space, not a private place for them to spew fountains of gushiness at their loved one?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-affection – everyone gets a little gooey like that on occasion (whether they’ll admit it or not). It’s just that I very firmly believe that it’s a private thing between you and the one you love – not you and the 400 people you’ve added as friends because you might have brushed past them in the hallway of a random building somewhere once back in 1972.

I have one particular friend whose girlfriend churns this stuff out as if she were a purpose built sop-machine. No matter how obscure and unrelated to her my friends status updates may be, she invariably comments in some way about how much she loves him and misses him and wants to kiss him.
If he comments on the football, she tells him she loves football as much as she loves him. If he comments about being tired, she gives a long winded speech about how she hates it when he leaves her in bed and that she’s cold and lonely and wants him to come back and hug her. And everything is followed by xxxooo – as if she can’t string a sentence together if it doesn’t have a big line of hugs and kisses trailing off the end.

Someone really needs to explain to her that Facebook’s real purpose is to keep you amused and distracted when you should be working and to give you the tiniest sense of satisfaction when you ignore a friend request from some girl who was an evil bitch to you in high school.

I'm Not Alone

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

So a while back I blogged about how I had no idea what any hand signals meant, and how if I was in the army, I would probably get shot pretty early on because I have no idea what all that hand signalling rubbish that you see in movies is all about.

Well according to my site stats, my page was recently found by someone from a US Armed Forces computer who was searching for ‘army hand signals’. Turns out even the people who use them have no idea what they mean. That, or there’s some person in the Army out there who, like me, is concerned that understanding hand signals might be important at some point. Good luck with that, Army person. Let me know if you work out what the hell all those weird gestures mean.

Some excuses to start the week

Monday, September 21, 2009

So you’ll have to forgive me for being slack about posting last week, but it’s been quite a busy one. It was my mother-in-law’s wedding and a friend’s 30th birthday - and to top it all off, I got a fantastic almost-migraine that had me in bed all through Friday and Saturday and left me feeling ill all weekend. Fun times.

Ahhh, there’s nothing like starting the week with excuses. But I’m trying to make up for it by posting twice today. Does it count as twice if one of those posts was supposed to be Saturday’s?

The wedding was a Sunday night thing, which is fine, but in all honesty, I am absolutely stuffed this morning. It finished up early – about 10:30 – but a wedding is still a long day, even when it’s shorter than average. And because I’m still not well, I was kept up all night by these crazy dreams about running around the airport about to miss my flight because I’d lost my bag with my ticket in it. Perhaps the headaches mean that I’m going nuts.

After thinking the dress dilemma through on Friday/Saturday, I decided on the pretty one rather than the sexy one and it was definitely the right choice. I had a whole lot of strangers tell me that it looked really nice, so that’s got to be a good sign. Actually, they weren’t strangers; they were relatives-in-law. I think. To be honest, I have no idea. They’re the kind of people you see maybe once a year, and when you do, you can’t ask their names because they all remember your name and you’re stuck in that kind of awkward conversation that goes exactly like this with every single person:

Them: Hi Torrygirl!
Me: Oh,, ah...(giving up on trying to remember their name) How are you?
Them: (as if we’re long time friends) I’m great! How have you been, I haven’t seen you in quite a while!
Me: (not quite believing we’ve ever met before) Er, yeah, it’s been ages hasn’t it?
Them: How are your parents? And your brother and sister? And that cute little niece and nephew?

And that’s about where I give up and try to sneak away from the conversation without them noticing - which mostly ends up with them thinking I’m really rude, but since I only ever see them once a year, I’m not that fussed about what they think.

Except, of course, for the bit where they tell me I look nice ;)

I Missed It!

Oh No! In the chaos of the wedding weekend, I didn’t get around to blogging on my absolute favourite holiday of the year!!!! Saturday was International Talk Like A Pirate Day and I missed it!!!

I was going to blog like a pirate today using this tool

and Google stuff in pirate speak here

But instead we ran around all day preparing for the wedding and going to a 30th that got rained out (actually hailed out to be more precise).

What I had been hoping to share with you on International Talk like a Pirate Day is a little insight into accents that I had. Despite the fact that I missed the day, I’ll share it with you anyway, because let’s be honest, Pirate stuff is interesting every day.

Whenever you watch documentaries about movies and stuff, Actors are always saying how an Australian accent is one of the hardest for them to imitate. In fact, I have yet to hear a convincing Aussie accent from anyone in Hollywood. Thinking about talk like a pirate day, it struck me that the American accent is a lot like a pirate accent. All of the ‘r’ sounds are pronounced like a pirate style ‘arhh’, whereas an Australian ‘r’, on the other hand, is pronounced more like a terrified yelp - ‘ahhh!’

So basically, if you’re an Aussie who wants to sound American, try a bit of a pirate accent and if you’re an American who wants to sound like an Aussie, just sound a bit terrified when you speak and that should do the trick!

Happy belated Talk Like A Pirate Day everyone!

A Two Dress Dilemma

Thursday, September 17, 2009

With my Mother-in-Law’s wedding coming up this weekend, I find myself presented with a bit of a dilemma. It is a two dress dilemma.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a dress to wear to the wedding. It’s a short-ish, halter neck, figure hugging sort of thing that would most definitely fall into the category of being a sexy dress. It’s not slutty sexy by any means - it’s tasteful sexy, but a bit revealing and short none-the-less.

I had a bit of time to think about it after getting home and began to wonder if a sexy dress like that would be appropriate for the wedding of my Mother-in-Law to a Church Minister. Is there an expectation of a certain dress code dependent upon the type of people getting married? What sort of people would be at the wedding of a Minister? And what will my family-in-law think of me if for some reason they’re all wearing full length turtle neck dresses and I’m wearing an incredibly hot little dress?

With this little seed of doubt planted, I found myself shopping for another dress. The second one I ended up with would fall more into the ‘pretty and girly’ category of dress. It’s a floaty silk dress, still only knee length, but definitely appropriate for any occasion.

The dilemma I face now is that after trying them both on one after the other, I’m torn! The first dress is definitely more revealing, but it’s HOT and in turn makes me look pretty damn good.
But then the second dress is pretty too and will be comfortable to dance in. It also has the benefit of being a nicer colour than the first dress – it’s a deep aqua colour, where the first dress is a pale pink-ey/beige-ey colour.

What to do? Pretty vs sexy. Which should it be? If I was single it would be an easy decision – sexy would win hands down. But I’m not, and to be fair, if I was I wouldn’t be going to this wedding.

Am I missing anything here? Is there a valid reason to choose one over the other? If I can’t come up with something, I’m going to have to make a snap decision on the day and possibly risk making the wrong choice. Maybe I should return them both and just buy something else.


You can tell someone is getting old when they waste half the day banging on about the answer to one insignificant question. I think it might be time to get a new job.

Gold Class

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

On the weekend, we went to the Gold Class Cinemas to see ‘Funny People’. The movie was kind of blah, but I love, love, love, LOVE Gold Class. It’s like watching a movie in your lounge room – if you had a cinema sized screen and waiter to bring you food intermittently throughout the movie. We had a three course meal, plus the mandatory popcorn and coke. The chairs are these big reclining suede seats which you can incline back until they’re almost horizontal.

It’s a pity it’s so bloody expensive, or I would go more often. We pretty much only go when someone gives us vouchers, because it’s a bit hard to justify forking out that much just to see a movie – especially since you have to pay for your food and everything on top of it.

There was only one thing that put a bit of a downer on the experience - I really can’t watch Eric Bana in Hollywood movies. The reason? Poida.

Poida was a comedy character that Eric Bana played years ago, and ever since he made it big in Hollywood, I can’t watch him without thinking of Poida. How can I take him seriously when I keep imagining him with a mullet and a packet of cigarettes up his sleeve?
The character he played in this movie reminded me of Poida even more than usual, firstly because he was playing an Australian, and secondly because he was playing it up quite a bit, so he came across as almost comically Australian, which is very much what Poida is like.

This is the main reason I have never seen movies like ‘Hulk’, ‘Troy’ or ‘Black Hawk Down’ and why I am very upset to find that he is playing Henry DeTamble in ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife' which is being released later this year. I read the book not long ago and loved it, but how can I ever watch the movie when all I will be able to think of is this...?:


Friday, September 11, 2009

I'm watching a guy try to weed the empty lot next door in 100km/h winds. Quite unsurprisingly, he's not having much luck. Did you know it was possible for a person to be standing up while almost horizontal?

Photo5 has arrived!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Photo5 box arrived last night! Woohoo!

Because I’m a giant dork, I got very excited and did a little dance when I discovered it in the mailbox. It was such a cute little box with a whole bunch of flaps that folded out to tell you what each brief was. You can check out what the box looks like here (not my photo).

There are 5 briefs all up (hence Photo5), each with a focus on a specific aspect of photography.

1. Shutter Speed –Paint Powder – take a photo of liquid in motion
2. Close up - Hundreds and Thousands – all about taking a macro shot
3. Bokeh - Star Lens Hoods – getting awesome star shaped bokeh
4. Portraiture – Spectacles – pretty self-explanatory I think.
5. Open Brief - Low light – taking a photo in a low light situation while still maintaining details.

I can’t wait to get started on it. At the minute I’m just trying to come up with some clever ways of using these things to take some great photos. My biggest issue at the moment is that I don’t really have a proper tripod, which makes the bokeh effect and the low light image difficult to capture. I have a crappy little tripod that is a bit of a hassle to use, so I think I’ll either have to mess around with that or borrow one from somewhere.

From what I can gather, the creativity of the photo idea is equally as important as the quality of the photo, so I think a lot of brainstorming is in order. I’m lucky that the two lenses that I own are pretty well suited to the tasks, one is a super sharp 85mm f/1.8 and the other is a macro lens, so at least I have the versatility to take the low light and macro shots. The 85mm takes an excellent portrait shot as well.

Time to start the brainstorming – butchers paper and textas at the ready!


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The release of the Beatles’ remastered Albums has meant that all day today it’s been non-stop Beatles music on the radio, which has been awesome. Since i got into the car to come to work this morning it’s just been one big Beatles-fest. The only problem with this has been that since I arrived at work and put the radio on, the guy who sits opposite me has been whistling along to every single song from start to finish.

Not cool. If there’s anything that could ruin a day of the Beatles, it’s being trapped in a 4m x 4m room with a man who whistles incessantly. Seriously, who whistles the ‘Na Na Na Na’ section of Hey Jude? And what kind of person can whistle for six hours straight without getting some kind of mouth cramp?!?

This new release of CD’s seems like as good a time as any to replace my copy of the White Album, which I lost in a bet to a friend quite a few years ago. It wasn’t even an interesting bet that I could blog about; it was just something stupid that I can only vaguely recall now.

Even better, I might go home and listen to the record, because no matter how cool digitally remastering something is, nothing will ever sound as good as that scratchy old record noise that somehow makes the music all seem more real.

It's here!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Finally, Finally, FINALLY after years of waiting I have it! Fast internet at home. Those of you who scoff and say that fast internet isn’t especially exciting – you have never had to pause a download so that it doesn’t kill your regular internet browsing. You have never had to wait half an hour to receive all of your emails. You have never had to go and make a cup of coffee and still have time to bake a cake to have with it while you wait for a YouTube video to load.

Now after 3 years of messing around, we are now in the fast lane instead of driving in the emergency lane like a confused old lady who can’t see the road ahead of her. I don’t know what to do with myself. Where to start? The internet is a vast and magical place filled with large files waiting for me to download them. It is a wondrous place filled with videos to stream and games to play.

Where to begin...?

Pirates, Salami and Walking to Work

Monday, September 07, 2009

Apparently last Friday was National Walk To Work Day. Now as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not particularly fond of the whole exercise thing, so I can’t say that the idea of walking 25km to work was something that appealed to me in any way. At all. Even a little bit.
I do, however, have some nutty friends who think this kind of thing sounds like a fun idea. In fact, one particular friend walked about 20km to get home from work. Craziness!!! When he mentioned that he had walked that far to get home, I didn’t have the heart to tell him that Walk to Work day isn’t actually until October.

This ridiculous act of madness (and also this blog post) got me thinking about the crazy holidays that people invent. My particular favourite is International Talk Like A Pirate Day (coming up soon!) Which I intend to celebrate in the most piratey fashion I can think of - or to be more accurate, in the most piratey fashion that I am willing to commit to in public.

**Can I just interrupt this post at the moment to say that my spell/grammar check just wanted to change the words ‘most piratey’ to ‘pirateiest’?! I didn’t realise that spell checkers made up words the same way that people do. You would think it would have suggested piratical, which is the correct word, but in my opinion (and obviously the spell-checker agrees with me) piratey is a more suitable word.***

More on International Talk Like A Pirate Day on September 19th.

Every day is a bizarre holiday that has been invented by a random stranger, and the fact that a day is already taken by a wacky holiday doesn't really seem to stop people coming up with more. Today, for example, is ‘Salami Day’. Wednesday is Wonderful Weirdos Day. I wonder if there’s an ‘International Invent a New Holiday Day’? I’m thinking of inventing my own holiday, but I’m not sure if I could come up with something wacky enough to catch on. Although ‘walk to work day’ is a very simple, yet totally insane idea, so really it couldn’t be that hard.

Happy Salami Day everyone!