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 GiĆ³’, 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.