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!