The New Year's Eve Hermit

Friday, December 31, 2010

I'm pretty sure that my brain has switched off now that it knows that the end off the year is here. For the last few days, i've been thinking and acting like a person who may have dropped a few IQ points and forgotten to pick them up again.

I have never spilt so much stuff on myself, tripped over so many things or struggled to understand so many jokes in my life. It's a sign that I need my holiday.

Hopefully the trip to Tassie will be a kind of reboot for my brain, otherwise 2011 is going to be a very long (and messy) year.

Even though it's New Years Eve, and usually i'm keen to head out to a party or something, this year I just want to stay at home and pretend it's any other night. I usually relish the excuse to get out and have a few drinks with friends, but this year not so much. Maybe it's my slow brain, or maybe it's the fact that I have been making a valiant attempt over the last week to replace my body's entire fluid contents with alcohol and it's so full to the brim with booze it can't take any more. Either way, I'm just not feeling up for it.

And I know this makes me old and boring, but today, for once, I don't really care. For NYE 2010 I am an alcoholic, mentally challenged hermit and I don't mind!

Bring on 2011!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 is drawing to a close, and to be honest, I'm glad to be done with it. It's been a pretty average year for me. I spent a very nice chunk of this year being very, very ill. Actually, to be fair, I spent about 3 weeks being very ill, and then about 4 months recovering. I've worked harder and longer this year than I can remember doing for a long time, and I am tired.

The year has redeemed itself a little as Christmas has rolled around, but I'm more than ready for 2010 to be over and done with, and for 2011 to bring better health and more importantly, my first real holiday!

I've been on trips before, of course, but this will be my first trip as an adult that wasn't my honeymoon. The only other trip I've been on was to Queensland a few years back, and I got so sick while we were there I had to fly back home and KJ had to drive the two day trip home alone.

It's sad, really, considering that I'm 28 years old.

We're heading overseas - to Tasmania. I like to call it an overseas trip, because to be fair, we do fly over the sea, and the mainlanders kind of deny that Tasmania is a part of Australia. Sorry Tassie.

We'll be spending 6 nights touring the south east region, staying in heritage accommodation and giving our cameras a serious workout - they've been locked away at home more often this year than I would really like.

I've booked all of our accommodation already, and for our first night in Hobart we'll be staying in the 'Presidential Suite' at Rydges. Now, while that may sound swanky, at the price we paid for it, I highly expect that 'Presidential' might refeer to the president of the local show committee, or maybe the President of the local fishing league. Either way, I can only imagine it will be memorable in its tackiness.

We'll be visiting the Cadbury Factory, Touring the Cascade Brewery, shopping Salamanca Market and visiting the Port Arthur Historical Site and I can not wait.

I've wanted to see Tasmania for quite a while now. The only downfall of a trip to Tassie is that even though we're heading over in the middle of Summer, the maximum temperature will be around 22 degrees celcius. Probably lower considering what a cold, miserable Summer it's been so far. Couple this with the fact that Tasmania is right underneath a gigantic hole in the ozone layer (thanks people of Earth!), it makes being outdoors a chilly, but high burn risk experience. I think you need to have experienced the sun in Australia to truly appreciate the effects of the high UV levels. A nice sunny day in Australia will have even a resident of the hottest desert turning fluorescent red.

But I guess if I was after a warm, pleasantly sunny holiday I wouldn't have picked Tasmania - After all, it's about as close to Antarctica as you can get.

I picked it because I wanted a sight-seeing holiday, but one that was low stress. For six nights we'll be staying in B&B's, driving around in our comfy Audi A4 hire car, and seeing the sights at whatever pace we choose. We have seven days to do a total of about six hours of driving, so it should be relaxed and pleasant.

And the absolute best part? Our airfares, accommodation and car hire are all being covered by our Boss as a thank you for busting our butts to make his business run better than ever this year. I can't think of a better start to the New Year than that!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Friday, December 24, 2010

You know what one of the most awesome things about living in Australia is? (and there are many.)
We get Christmas before most of the rest of the world! In only 2 short hours it will be Christmas day here, and soon I will be eating a gigantic roast lunch while most of the rest of the world is just waking up to the very early beginnings of the day.

Don't feel bad that my celebration starts early though, because sadly, this also means that Christmas Day is over for me long before it is for everyone else.

So while this might be a little early for some of the visitors to my blog who live on the other side of the world, I just want to say that I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas full of good food, lots of laughs and happiness and that like me you're lucky enough to be able to spend it with those who mean the most to you.

Merry Christmas Internet!!!

We Wish You A Swingin' Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It’s the 21st of December, and while I’m still at work, I’ve spent my time trying to pretend it’s the Christmas holidays by listening non-stop to Christmas carols. Unfortunately, I only have one Christmas album on my iPod – so for the past week I’ve been listening to the same 14 tracks over and over and over again.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because as far as I’m concerned, it’s the best Christmas album around. It’s a compilation that some friends made up and gave to me a couple of years ago, and every Christmas since it’s been played non-stop.

So given that I don’t have a lot of time for writing at the moment, I thought the least I could do would be to share this album with you so that you can enjoy the same swingin’ Christmas soundtrack that I do every year.

I have to admit, that the album is very 'snowy christmas' heavy - which isn't really relevant in Australia, however this year, for the first time, it seems appropriate because we are having the coldest, rainiest freaking summer in about 50 years.

So here it is - 'We Wish You A Swingin' Christmas!!'

Jingle Bells - Natalie Cole

Happy Holiday - Peggy Lee

Winter Wonderland - Ella Fitzgerald

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas - Johnny Mathis

Sleigh Ride - Ella Fitzgerald

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - Dean Martin

The Twelve Days of Christmas - Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters

Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt

The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole

White Christmas - The Drifters

Jing-A-Ling, Jing-A-Ling - The Andrews Sisters

Jingle Bell Rock - Amy Grant

Jingle Bells - Diana Krall

You know you're too tired to go to your work Xmas party when...

Friday, December 17, 2010

You jump in the shower quickly to wash your face and shave your underarms and you get out after what you think is 5 minutes to find it's actually been 20 and you've shaved one armpit, one leg and washed your hair instead of your face.

A Note

Today is supposed to be my last day of work for the year and I have ZERO spare time for writing at the moment, despite the fact that I have a tonne of things to write about. I've stolen this moment while I really should be sorting out a supplier stuff-up to just pop in here and say that I'm still around, I have plenty to say, and hopefully I'll be back to saying it all in the next few days.

Sadly, I may have to come back to work next week, but at least that gives me a quiet opportunity to write.

Back to being yelled at by customers for someone else's mistake! Fun, fun, fun!

Three is my lucky number! (I Hope)

Monday, December 13, 2010

I woke up this morning, dragged myself out of bed and into the bathroom. I looked into the mirror to find my face covered in blood. After a momentary freak out, I realised it was just a bloody nose. Bad start to the day, especially since I haven’t had a blood nose since I was about 4.

Fun start to the day # 1 – Cleaning up blood.

After I cleaned myself up, I headed into the kitchen to make a coffee - and stood straight into a giant puddle of water. The bench- top water cooler had been dripping all night and emptied its entire 8 litre contents onto the kitchen bench and floor.

Fun start to the day # 2 – Cleaning up water.

I headed off to work, and first thing I started to prepare a package of info for some installers. It had details on flights and cars that I had booked for them for an upcoming trip to Perth. As I was putting the pages together, I noticed that the flights were booked for the 20th of December and the car for the 21st. No problem - it’s easy to change a car booking. Only it wasn’t the car booking that was wrong, it was the flight booking. Thanks to my typo, it cost $180 to change the flights to the right day.

Fun start to the day # 3 – Cleaning up work mess.

I’m hoping that bad things only come in threes, and that’s the end to the weird bad luck my day has started off with. I’m not sure it will work that way though because while typing this I reached across the desk and managed to accidentally stick my thumb into my piping hot cup of coffee. Maybe I’m better off hoping that the day just goes more quickly.

Post Office Conga

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Yesterday I headed down to the post office to buy some stamps to send out Christmas Cards to our customers. As usual, the line in the post office was just about out the door, so I joined the end of the queue and hoped it wouldn’t take too long.

My back was almost to the door, so I felt when it opened, and I turned to see a morbidly obese man waddle in behind me. He was a strange kind of obese, sort of large all over with a huge, almost pregnant-looking belly that his shirt didn’t quite completely cover. A pregnant with triplets kind of belly. Possibly even quadruplets.

Two things struck me immediately as he joined the queue (other than his enormous size). Firstly, he reeked of stale wee. Not stale urine, which is the medical and incontinent old person smell; but stale wee, which is the odour of ‘I wee my pants because I’ve not quite got the hang of using a toilet and I just let my pants air dry without washing afterwards.’
It’s a very specific kind of stench.

The second thing that struck me, and this was the most disturbing of them all, was that as he joined the line behind me, he stood so close to me that I could feel his giant, fat, faux-pregnant belly brushing against the loose folds of my shirt. He was so close that as the line moved forward a little and we stepped forward, I stood on his foot.

There is nothing worse than having to stand in a long queue of people in front of a person who has no sense of personal space - except, that is, when that person is obese and smells of stale wee.

Thus began 10 minutes of ‘queue dancing’, in which I would stand to one side of the queue until he moved behind me again; then I would shuffle my way to the other side for a few brief seconds of freedom. I could have grabbed onto the person in front of me and kicked my leg out to the side with each shuffle and the post office queue would have become a conga line.
Sadly, instead it was just 10 minutes of awkward shuffling in a small space while trying to see how long I could hold my breath without passing out.

Same Old Problem

Monday, December 06, 2010

At the start of January, KJ and I will be going to Flavio's other sister's wedding. It almost goes without saying that Flavio's evil sister will be a bridesmaid, which brings me back to the same old problem I keep finding myself with at party after party. To punch her or not to punch her?

Obviously given that it's her sister's wedding and she will be one of the main participants, I can't just go punching her in the face. Not only will I be surrounded by her entire family, many of whom are cops; but punching her in the face will ruin her sisters wedding photos, and I have no problem at all with her sister.
But the urge to hurt her physically is so great. And yet again I find myself feeling guilty about wanting to hurt someone, which is completely unfair.

What has been hardest for me at the moment is that in the back of my mind I'm very aware of this upcoming event and my total inability to be nasty to her without feeling guilty. As a result, it's making for many varied and disturbing dreams in which my mind tries to play out the scenario ahead of time and let me tell her how I really feel.
They're all sort of the same - either I hit her and suffer the consequences, or I find myself screaming at her at the top of my lungs calling her a whore and other such niceties, only to have everyone stare at me as if I'm mentally unhinged. In one of them I'm pretty sure I killed her and then fled to another country. I may or may not have been watching too much 'Dexter' lately.

I wake up from these dreams every morning feeling angry and disturbed, and holding a grudge against KJ for his dream behaviour. Which I guess isn't so silly since his dream behaviour is just an exaggerated version of his real life behaviour. But to be fair it was quite a while ago now, even if I was only dreaming about it last night.

Men are stupid. And cruel. They know exactly how to completely derail a woman's self-confidence using nothing but their stupidity and their dicks. If they weren't so handy to have around for stuff like killing spiders and taking out the rubbish and... er, 'stress relief', surely we wouldn't put up with their bullshit.

So is my life from now on just going to be randomly made excruciatingly uncomfortable by having to attend these events where she will be? Am I going to feel shit about this forever? I don't want to be reminded of this stuff all the time. I want to move on and forget about it, but every time I see her or even hear her name I get so damn angry! And the only way to avoid her completely is to cut all ties with Flavio and the club in which KJ and all of Flavio's family are heavily involved. Demanding that KJ do that isn't going to make anything better. I'll just feel guilty and he will be annoyed. Which is pretty much the same result I would get if I just hit her.

So it seems like the best solution might actually just be to punch her and live with the guilt in aid of getting some closure.

At the very least I'm going to tell her exactly what I think of her. I swear I'm really going to do it this time and I'm not going to feel guilty about it at all. Or at least, not much. But I'm definitely not going to be nice to her like the last time I saw her. I am a woman of steel this time. I can do this!

Yep, I'm pretty sure I can do this.

The Birthday Scrooge

Last week, KJ turned thirty. So being the wonderful, birthday-loving wife that I am, I threw him a gigantic, no-expense-spared, everyone-invited birthday party. Which was more effort than your standard party, because KJ doesn’t quite feel the same way as I do about birthdays. In fact, he would prefer to spend his birthday pretending that it’s just another day and hiding under the bed when anyone tries to give him a gift. He’s the birthday Scrooge.

But I know, deep down, that everyone has to love birthdays. It’s just not normal to pass up the chance for a celebration. So with that in mind, I organised a massive spit-roast lunch at our place. We had about 50 or so people come by over the course of the day.

I’m not going to go into in-depth detail about the party, because all parties are pretty much the same – food, drinks, laughs etc. But there were a few things that maybe rate a mention.

In the chaos of running around trying to get things done, I totally forgot to have breakfast, and the first thing I had for the day was a beer at about 11:30am. Probably not the best way to start a long day in 32 degree weather.

The place was overrun with kids. Kids freaking EVERYWHERE. There were kids from 4 weeks old right up to about 16. It was weird. And people with babies love to pass them round at parties. As soon as someone showed up with a baby, they would throw it into my arms without a thought as to whether or not I actually wanted to hold it.
Watching me holding a 4 week old baby is like something out of a slap-stick comedy skit. Trying to cope with their floppy, flailing heads and their super-humanly strong arms is beyond my capability. And every time someone would thrust one of these little bundles of chaos at me, people would run in from all sides with cameras, saying things like ‘Awww, Torrygirl is getting clucky!’ or ‘Oh, you’ll be next!’ and clicking away as if they were recording some huge historical landmark.

I ran around to a heap of different cake stores until I found one that still made the cherry ripe mud cake that KJ thought was no longer available so that I could surprise him with it. I am an awesome wife, if I do say so myself.

Because there were so many people, we couldn’t hold the party in our backyard. We have a big open area out the front of the house, and a double garage that opens onto it – so we used that space. Our house is on a pretty steep block, so the bulk of the house is upstairs with the garage downstairs. This meant that I ran up and down the stairs to the kitchen about 500 times an hour. For around about 8 hours.

Now, I’ve made my thoughts on exercise pretty clear over the years, so anyone who read regularly knows that this much running is not a normal event for me. And man did I pay the price for it.
I ache in places that I didn’t even know I had muscles! I did so much food preparation and lifting and carrying things that even the muscles in my hands ache. My legs ache, my arms ache, my shoulders and neck ache. Even my eyelids ache!

It was all worth it though. We got to spend the day with good people, eating good food in good weather. And even KJ enjoyed himself – which has to be a first.

Maybe it’s actually possible to trick someone into enjoying birthdays.

You too?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I feel that it requires another mention today – just because I’ve heard so much about it this week.

I think I am the only person in Australia - possibly even the world - who doesn’t really like U2. They’re playing in Melbourne at the moment and it’s all I have heard about all week.

So while I know no one is going to agree with this, I just want to put it out there that I think U2 is well over-rated. And Bono is really annoying.

Being a grown-up is also great because...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You can have cake and wine for dinner and no one tells you off.

Being a grown-up is great because...

You can eat cake for dinner and no one tells you off.

Not-So-Nameless Newbie

So I did a bit of sneaky detective work and it turns out that the new guy's name is (spelt phonetically) Lay-oof.

Anyone care to take a punt on the spelling? It's probably not something that I should just try to guess, I suppose.

Nameless Newbie

Monday, November 29, 2010

A new guy started out in the factory this morning to give us a hand in the lead up to Christmas.

The boss came in after lunch and asked me to print out an invitation to our staff Christmas party for him. The only trouble is, the new guy has a very unusual, very foreign name. In order to print an invitation for him, I need to know how to spell that very unusual name. Given that it’s such an unusual name, there’s no problem with simply asking him how to spell it, right?

Except that his name is so incredibly foreign and unusual, that I can’t even remember what it is. I can’t very well say ‘hey you! How do you spell your name, er... mate?’

I’m sure that it starts with ‘L’ and that it has a weird noise at the end, like ‘oomp’ or ‘oof’, but that’s no help to me. How exactly do you go about finding out someone’s name without letting them know that you don’t know it?

A Different Kind of Cake

Friday, November 26, 2010

Today I ate a mint that tasted like what I imagine an un-used urinal cake would taste like if someone was stupid enough to eat it.

Not that I spend a lot of time imagining those sorts of things, but the texture and the medical flavour just had a certain kind of quality about them that said ‘when I grow up, I want to be a urinal cake’.

Afterwards, I felt as sick as I imagine you would feel if you really had eaten a urinal cake.

To summarise:
Very bad mint.
Don't eat urinal cakes.

Random Childhood Memory #4

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My grandma used to have this liquor cabinet that was chock full of liqueurs, spirits and things with foreign labels that I still don’t even know the names of. I was always curious about them, because my parents drank pretty much every night, and at family functions the booze cabinet got a pretty good work out.
As a little kid at those family functions, I would hop from lap to lap, having my cheeks pinched, giving the old ladies the attention that they loved, and in return receiving sips from their glasses. Port, Ouzo, Brandy, Scotch, Wine, Beer – every glass was a new experience, a new taste.

My grandma, being a big softie, knew that I was intrigued by the endless bottles of mysterious alcohols in the cabinet, and so when I stayed there she would often let me taste tiny little bits from one or two of the bottles.

Then one day when I was about 11, I decided I wanted to see what it was like to have more than just a little sip. I snuck in and filled half a drinking glass with port, and the other half with coke. Turns out 11 year olds aren't that great at estimating a standard drink.

Needless to say, the results of that little experiment kind of diminished my enthusiasm for the mysteries of the liquor cabinet. And now, at 28 years old I have only recently been able to drink port without getting a little pang in my stomach at the smell.

Slutty Old Me

Monday, November 22, 2010

Apparently, I'm slutty. In some stupid survey, my name made the top ten in a list of girls names that men think are most up for sex.

Since I don't use my real name on here, I'm not going to say exactly where my name came in the top ten, but given the thousands and thousands of female names in the world, it probably doesn't really matter which name it is. Even coming 10th would be pretty much almost as bad as coming first. Maybe I should change my name. I wonder which name came 2000th...

My Natural Selection

On the weekend, while channel surfing, I came across a documentary with one of those boring, garden-gnome-bearded scientists pontificating about natural selection. One of the points he was discussing was whether modern medicine constitutes an interference to natural selection, or whether it should be considered as part of the natural selection process.

It got me thinking about the times that I’ve relied on medicine, and how my life would be different without it. And I realised that if it weren’t for modern medicine, I’d already be dead. If natural selection is really being hindered by modern medicine, then I have already been picked off by nature. Which is disappointing, because I always thought I was stronger than that. And to add insult to injury, not only have I been sick enough before to have died without medical intervention, I’ve been that sick twice. Does that mean the universe is trying to tell me something?

When I was about 18, I got glandular fever. While that’s pretty common for people around that age, and not lethal, it sent something out of whack in my inner ear, and I got so dizzy that I couldn’t even blink without throwing up. I was so dehydrated and malnourished that they had to cart me off to hospital. I was stuck there for a week until I was well enough to be able to go home, where it took me a good 3 or 4 months to get better. Natural selection averted.

Then earlier this year, I got really sick. What I initially thought was the flu turned out to be a virus that attacked my thyroid, and it made me so freaking sick that I felt like I was on my way to a slow and excruciating death. When it was finally diagnosed (after 3 separate visits to the doctor), I had to take a total of 12 pills a day for over a month to get better. In the middle of my illness, I had a resting heart rate of around 120-130bpm. A heart attack in the making, I’m sure. But modern medicine managed to avert a bit of natural selection there too.

Courtesy of that shitty illness, every day of my life I now use modern medicine to keep me alive, because the virus damaged my thyroid quite badly and now I have to take a pill every day to stop me from getting sick again. Fun times.

So I think I’m going to side with the people who say that modern medicine is a part of natural selection, just helping the weaker links to become stronger. And I’ll always be grateful that I live in the 21st century where I didn’t have to croak just because of some stupid random virus. Or from something that is commonly referred to as the ‘Kissing Disease’. That would just be embarrassing.

Home Alone

Thursday, November 18, 2010

KJ is interstate again tonight, as he quite often is. Usually being alone in the house doesn't bother me at all - in fact I usually enjoy having the time to myself. And I've never been one to get scared just by being alone.

But tonight, for some stupid reason, I decided it would be a perfect night to get a start on watching season one of Dexter. And I have to admit that I've managed to freak myself out a little bit. Home alone at night is not the best time to watch a TV show about a serial killer that breaks into peoples houses and chops them into little pieces.

It's just that little bit creepy, and while horror stuff doesn't freak me out, creepy stuff does a bit.

Probably should have watched something else instead.

If I don't ever blog again, look for me in a garbage bag (or two) at the bottom of the ocean somewhere.

When Good Games Go Bad

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We’ve finally been having some nice weather, and while I was sitting in the sun today I was reminded of something that happened to me about 7 or 8 years ago.

It was the middle of summer and the weather had been that kind of disgustingly humid sort for about a week or so. It was late in the evening, and there were four of us just sort of laying around, talking and moving as little as possible. We were bored and looking for something to do.

We had confiscated a laser tag game from my boyfriend’s 8 year old nephew earlier in the day, and someone had the bright idea that we should play.

Since it beat sitting on our arses doing nothing, we chucked on the head gear, picked up the guns and headed out into the street to play.

After ten minutes of franticly pelting around the street it became apparent that there just wasn’t enough cover there to make the game worthwhile.
Then one of the guys had the genius idea of heading down to the local primary school to play. It was the middle of the school holidays, it was dark, and the school was a big space with lots of hiding places. It was only a five minute walk, so we headed down there. We split into two teams, and headed off into the darkness.

The next half an hour was hilarious as I jumped out of bushes to surprise the others; creepy as the others jumped out of bushes at me; and exhausting from all the running.

After about 40 minutes or so, Evan and I found ourselves only needing one more shot to win the game, so we hid together behind a clump of trees near the basketball courts to wait for the others to show themselves.

After five minutes or so, a movement on the other side of the basketball courts caught my eye. Without a hesitation I leapt from our hiding place and pelted at full tilt into the darkness, waving my little yellow plastic laser gun like a crazy person.

Out of the darkness, two figures emerged, and in the fraction of a second before I could see them clearly, I felt a fleeting moment of triumph, certain that I would win the game for us.

Then they appeared out of the darkness, and I found myself pointing my toy gun into the faces of two adrenaline charged Policemen. Hands on holsters, ready to draw their weapons, they shouted

‘Stop right there!’

I dropped my gun.

‘What’s going on here!’ they demanded. I was speechless and more than a little embarrassed.

Evan appeared behind me and spoke up.

‘Um, we’re just playing laser tag’

‘Jesus Christ, you’re a bit old for that. My 6 year old son plays that!’

‘Er, yeah. We were bored...’

Their faces registered that strange look of adrenaline forced excitement realising it has nowhere to unleash itself.

‘You can’t be in here,' They told us grumpily. 'It’s private property. You’ll have to go play somewhere else.’

They escorted us off the school grounds. That was the end of laser tag for us.

The Possums

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On Saturday night, Kate and I walked through Flagstaff Gardens on our way to a bar. It was about 1am. As we passed the big old trees that line the pathway, she pointed out a pair of possums sitting at the base of one of the tree trunks. Then she pointed at another beneath the next tree. And another. And another. And another.

Everywhere I turned possums were climbing trees, sitting in branches or by the path. As we walked by they just watched us, no fear; not scurrying away like possums usually do.

Their beady little eyes glittered in the street light in an eerie kind of way and as a group of them approached the path, I was suddenly struck by a horrible feeling that maybe I was stuck in some horrifying Australiana version of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ – only with possums instead of birds.

I think it was the way they were staring at me. We get a lot of possums around our place, but they’re proper feral possums that make that horrible hacking, hissing noise – and they never look at you, they just run away. These ones were so fearless that even one of the possums which had a baby wasn’t afraid as we walked within a metre or so of it.

I wanted to get my phone out and try to take a photo of them, but I was a bit worried that if I did it might anger them, and then the crazy Hitchcock style attack would begin. So instead I just walked a little faster, trying to keep an eye out on all sides.

I always thought the creepiest thing in a city park at 1am was the perverts. Silly me.

Saturday with The New Pornographers

Monday, November 15, 2010

I had the most amazing weekend. Saturday night’s gig was truly awesome – one of the best nights I’ve had in a really long time.

It started at my best friend’s place, where, after the obligatory hour or so of changing into different outfits and finally ending up back in the first thing I put on, we headed outside only to find that it was pouring with rain. We sprinted to the street, trying futilely to cover our hair to prevent the sudden and unwelcome sprouting of a moisture-induced afro. My friend (who we’ll call Kate for the purposes of this story) waved her arm into the road like a crazy woman, and although the rain was much too heavy to see anything, somehow, only seconds later we were seated in the warmth of a taxi, wiping frantically at our hair to stop the explosion of frizz.

The taxi ride was short, but as we neared the venue my excitement grew to a point where I was literally bouncing up and down in the seat like a little kid who knows her birthday presents are about to be handed to her. I guess I’m dorky like that.

As the taxi pulled up outside I was ready to bounce right out of the door, and my insane excitement levels had me tipping the driver way more than a 5 minute car ride deserves – although to be fair it was partially so that I wouldn’t have to carry a bunch of stupid coins around in my jeans pocket.

We headed for the door, but found two burly bouncers blocking the way.

‘Can we see some ID please girls?’ The one that looked a little like Tony Danza on steroids asked.

Slow smiles crept across both our faces. This was a very pleasant start to the night. I can’t even remember the last time someone checked my ID! It was probably about 9 years ago.

‘Thanks’ said buff Tony Danza as he handed me back my license. He gave me what I can only assume he thought was a winning smile.

‘No,’ I told him. ‘Thank you!’

We wandered downstairs, grabbed a couple of beers at the bar and headed towards the stage. Two steps led down into a lowered section right in front of the stage, which was about 5 ½ feet above the floor level. We took up our place on the very top step so that Kate would be able to see over everyone. She’s pretty short and usually finds herself spending an entire gig staring at the back of someone’s head – or in this case it would have been the wall in front of the stage.

It was a fantastic spot, only about 6 metres or so from the stage with a completely unobstructed view. I would have like to be a bit closer, but I can’t complain since Kate agreed to come along not knowing any of the band’s songs.

It was about 9pm, and we had arrived just in time to see the support band, Little Scout. They played for about 45 mins, but although they were really good and the lead singer was adorable, I was eager for them to finish so that The New Pornographers would come on. After Little Scout finished we had to wait an excruciating 30 minutes before they took the stage.

As they all wandered on you could feel the excitement levels of the crowd rising. Everyone pushed forward and I found myself looking down into the massive, crazy hair of what I thought was a guy – until the man next to him grabbed him on the bum and I realised that the he was actually a very strange looking she.

Neko Case took her place on stage looking like she had just gotten out of bed; hair tousled and fluffy, wearing jeans and a hoodie. It made me love her just a little bit. She’s so normal, and her wild hair made me feel a lot better about my own crazy rain-ruined locks. Aussies generally make fun of rangas, but Neko would be the exception to that rule.

And Carl Newman was a lot bigger than I thought he would be. I don’t mean that he was fat; far from it. He was just taller and less weedy than I had imagined him.

They jumped straight into it, and the next 2 hours were filled with the most amazing live music I think I’ve ever heard. Maybe it was just that I like their stuff so much, or maybe it was all the wine and beer I had drunk, but it was just phenomenal. They mostly played their newer songs, but included the more well known tracks off their older albums too. There wasn’t a single song that didn’t have my foot tapping or my body moving.

Part way through the show, an audience member yelled out for them to play ‘Myriad Harbour’. They said they couldn’t, because they didn’t have Dan Bejar there to sing it. Later, when they came out for their first encore, they offered to play it if someone from the crowd would get up on stage and sing it with them. After a couple of moments of waiting, and it looking like no one would do it, a voice yelled out from somewhere behind me

‘Ah fuck it, I’ll do it!’

A cheer went up in the vicinity of the anonymous voice and spread slowly around the room. A guy pushed through the crowd, too short to be seen until he jumped up on stage. After a quick request that someone film it, he sang the entire song with the band – and pretty well, too. The crowd went wild, and cheered so loud and so long that the band came back out and played a second encore.

After the gig, we went to a bar where Kate’s roommate works and had a couple of drinks. Some random Canadian guy bought me a drink because I managed to guess where he was from and because I’d just come from seeing a Canadian band. A drunken Mexican hugged me repeatedly, and a guy who has been trying to hook up with Kate tried continually (and very obviously) to make a good impression on me. Which was wise, after all - because if the best friend likes you, it goes a very, very long way. Especially when it comes to Kate.

At about 2am the bar closed, and I was absolutely exhausted (you know, like I’ve said before - because I’m old and boring). Kate, on the other hand, pretty much never sleeps (because it gets in the way of all the drinking), so she stayed out while I staggered off home, to fall asleep and relive my awesome night over again in my head.


Friday, November 12, 2010

On Saturday I’m going to a gig at the Hi-Fi and I’m pretty damn excited about it! I don’t go to a lot of shows – mostly because I’m trying to save my money to get rid of the hideous 70’s brown shag carpet in my house, but also, you know, coz I’m old and boring.

I’m going to see The New Pornographers, a band that I discovered while reading The Neon Lounge.

Despite the fact that I couldn’t find anyone who knew any of their songs all that well, my best friend agreed to come with me, because she’s almost as desperate as I am for something interesting to do.

The beauty of convincing her to come with me is the wonderful convenience of her apartment being within staggering distance of the venue. So it promises to be a good weekend. If only I didn’t have to spend Saturday cleaning out the garage, it would be perfect!

This is one of my favourites off The New Pornographers’ latest album ‘Together’.

Why kids are bad for the ego

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Yesterday I was out on site seeing a customer with KJ. The customer’s son, a 3 year old who in typical toddler fashion talked without stopping, turned to talk to KJ.

Kid: (pointing at me) Is that your brother?
KJ: Er, no, that’s not my brother.
Kid: Yeah, I think that’s your brother.

His dad apologised, telling us that he understands what a brother is because he has one, but isn’t quite clear on the whole concept of a sister.

We left the appointment, and headed to a friend’s place to pick him up for dinner. He wasn’t home yet, so we went inside and chatted with his wife who had to stay home and look after their 3 and 1 year old sons. The 3 year old was running around telling us all that his balloon wouldn’t blow up because it had a hole in it. Eventually, his mum went to the cupboard and got him a new one in order to shut him up for a bit.

Kid: I need two Mum!
Mum: No, you only need one
Kid: (pointing at me) but I want to give one to him!

She laughed and told me that he always gets his ‘he’s’ and ‘she’s’ mixed up.

Not a good day for the old self-confidence.


Sunday, November 07, 2010

I am so worn out this year. I need a holiday.

Is 28 too young to retire?


Friday, November 05, 2010

This month KJ is taking part in the Movember challenge. For all of November he will be cultivating some kind of creepy pornstar-inspired moustache to raise money in support of men’s health.

Having a Moustache isn’t a big deal for him because for as long as I can remember he’s had a full moustache/goatee kind of thing. What was a big deal was shaving that off. Well, it was a big deal for me anyway.

He looks so different that he keeps startling me whenever I see him. Every time I round a corner at home and see him there, I freak out for a second because I think a strange man is creeping through my house.

KJ is getting a bit sick of this as well, because every time I see him, I go from happy wife to trauma victim in a matter of milliseconds. It’s bad for his ego.

He’s been interstate since yesterday, so my heart has gotten a little rest from all the sudden jumping out of my chest through my mouth, and I’m hoping that when he gets back his moustache will have grown enough that he looks somewhat like his old self. In fact I’ve donated $50 to support the cause - oh, and also partly to support the whole men’s health thing too.

Photo5 Finals

Thursday, November 04, 2010

So today the finalists were announced for the Canon Photo5 competition and....

I didn’t make it. I must admit that I’m a little disappointed. I felt certain that this little beauty was going to make the cut:

It's a fish! Swimming in a droplet!

But then I’m sure everyone else felt certain that their photos would make it too. There are quite a few good entries, so I’m not too disappointed, although I do think that the finalists for the incense brief are really average, especially considering some of the entries that were passed over for the finalists.

I’m pretty happy with the photos I took though, and it gave me an opportunity to take some photos that I otherwise would never have attempted. There should be more photography competitions like this one.I guess I'll just have to have another go at it next year!

The Phantom of the Couch

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

This past four day weekend should have been a great opportunity to get out and do a few things that I’ve been meaning to for a while; a chance to have a few drinks with friends and maybe have one of the first barbeques of the year. Instead it turned into what I’m now calling my ‘Phantom of the Opera’ weekend.
It’s less of a musical weekend and more of a ‘being too hideously deformed to go out in public’ kind of thing.

I had a bad reaction to some medication, and ended up swollen and rashy (lovely, I know). Of course as luck would have it, the reaction was limited to my face and neck. So not only did I have to live with the irritation of side-effects, but they left me looking like an obese, pimply 16 year old.

I sulked at home on the couch all weekend, refusing to leave the house and making KJ go out without me whenever we needed something. I have watched so much television that I’m finding real life kind of strange – I can’t understand why there isn’t canned laughter whenever I make a joke, or why bizarre and amusing things aren’t happening to me in mundane situations.

Now the weekend is over and instead of sulking on the couch at home, I’m sulking in my office, trying to avoid talking to anyone or drawing attention to myself until I’m totally back to normal.

At least I have virtual me – my online presence that is much more well spoken, swears less, is about 3 inches shorter and most importantly, looks less like the Phantom and more like the chick that the Phantom fancies.

Career Choices

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lately I’ve found myself running into a lot of people that I went to high school with – mostly while they’re working.

It’s weird to see people that you knew in their awkward teenage years holding down serious, grown up jobs. To see that the guy who always wanted to be a pilot now flies commercial airliners. That the weird and artsy girl is exhibiting her paintings in a well known gallery. That the class valedictorian has become a lawyer.

To find that the quiet girl who always sat at the back of the room is the person sticking a needle in my arm to take my blood. When that happens, you find yourself hoping to hell that the person with the sharp implement aimed at your veins was someone you were nice to, and not one of the people who became bitter and twisted about their high school experiences (like me).

I guess I feel kind of weird about seeing some of those people with full-on careers. Mainly because when we were at school, I was one of 10 students out of a couple of hundred that got high enough scores on their final exams to do anything they wanted. I could have studied anything I wanted at pretty much any university in Australia - only I never knew what I wanted to do. I’m 28 years old and I still have no idea. So I feel weird when I see these people because it feels like that freedom to do anything was wasted on me.

I like my job – I like that I get to do a wide variety of things – but when I see my sister graduate as a qualified physiotherapist and start working in a hospital, or my brother as head of a web development firm, I feel as though maybe I’m missing something by not having that same certainty in my life as they did when choosing a career.

That’s not to say that I didn’t explore a whole lot of options. I started three different university courses – but I never finished any of them. All I got out of it was a bunch of tuition bills that took me ages to pay off.

I started working while I studied, and found that I enjoyed work more than school. So that’s what I did. I sort of just fell into this job and stayed there. It pays the bills, and it’s not too bad – and with no idea what else I’d rather be doing, there’s been no incentive to think about doing anything else.

But sometimes I think of ‘The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ and wonder - if I was one of the Golgafrinchans, would they have shipped me off with the hairdressers, phone sanitisers and insurance salesmen? Maybe I should have attempted to do something a bit more worthwhile. Or challenging. Or something. I don’t know.

And I guess that’s the problem really. I don’t really know what I should be doing. Or if I want to be doing anything at all.

Life was a hell of a lot easier when I’d only just left high school and was still attempting to find out what I wanted to do – back then the only classmates you’d run into were the ones who had to quit uni and get a job because they were pregnant.

Now they’re all lawyers and doctors and TV personalities. Being 28 is crap. Bring on my 40’s when statistically at least half of them should be divorced and miserable because their high power careers have eaten up all their time.

Did I mention I’m bitter and twisted?

Broken Dreams

Monday, October 25, 2010

For as long as I can remember, I have woken up every morning after having a very vivid and usually bizarre dream. Some dreams are more vivid and realistic than others, but it’s very rare for me to wake up without remembering a dream I was just having.

On occasion, like everyone does, I’ll have a nightmare or one of those dreams where your partner or a friend does something so irritating that after you wake up, you stay annoyed at them for the rest of the day. But mostly they’re just random events strung together in amusing and interesting ways.

Earlier in the year, I was taking some medication that made my dreams even more bizarre and vivid than normal. That was weird, because I kept dreaming that I was having conversations with friends and they were so vivid that later I would remember them as almost real, except for the fact that we would be talking about something totally crazy – like how the best bait to catch fish with is strawberries, or why I decided to paint my house with Clag.

Last week, I started taking a different medication, and as with the medication from before, its only side effect has been to affect my dreams - only in a completely different way to last time.

For the past week, I have had the longest, most mind-numbingly dull dreams I have ever had. I’m surprised that my brain can stay awake for them really. Last night, I had a dream that stretched on for what felt like an eternity in which I taught my sister how to play Canasta. In great detail.
The night before, I dreamt that I was typing an email. And it wasn’t even an interesting email! Just a ‘please find your files attached’ sort of thing.

Do you have any idea how long a day feels when before you even wake up you’re doing something incredibly dull and monotonous? Why can’t drugs have regular side effects on me, like headaches or nausea? Then I could just take some aspirin and be done with it.

You can’t take anything for boring dreams. You just have to suffer through them, and keep on playing canasta with your sister. Or dream an entire, dull day at work, right before waking up for an entire dull day at work.

It seems kind of weird to wish that your brain would be more crazy, but I do. Because well organised and logical dreaming is just weird. I get enough of that stuff during the day, I don’t need it at night too. Night-time is for floating through the air talking to a ladybug in a room that is your Lounge room but looks like your Nanna's kitchen.


Friday, October 22, 2010

So after a month of slogging away trying to get my photos done for this year’s Photo5 competition, I’m DONE.

This year I set myself the task of taking all 5 photos, no matter how uninspired I felt. I did pretty well with them I think – I only really had trouble with the confetti brief.

Now it’s just a matter of waiting for two weeks to see if I made the finals – although in all honesty I’m so happy with the photos I’ve ended up with, I wouldn’t mind at all if they don’t make it.

Now I guess it’s time to get back to normal life. I can’t spend the next two weeks obsessing over my photos the way I have for the last month. Well, I could give it a go, but I’m not sure I have the stamina for that kind of obsession. I’d never be able to become a stalker. I’m too easily distracted.

In fact, I’m so easily distracted that I’m having a lot of trouble concentrating on work at the moment. I think it’s a combination of the Photo5 distraction and the fact that I am just 8 weeks away from wonderful, glorious, magnificent holidays. I’m choosing to forget that this also means that Christmas is only 9 week away. I love Christmas, but I’m not quite prepared yet for the chaos that it brings.

Instead I’m focusing on the fact that for the first time in as long as I can remember, I don’t have to work right up until Christmas Eve. I have the entire week off before Christmas, which never happens. I feel that it should always end up this way. For me, Christmas is a bigger signifier of the end of the year than New Year’s Eve. It’s symbolic of making it through another year, the way NYE is for so many other people. Plus it works out better as an end of year celebration, because there’s no such thing as a Christmas resolution - which means you don’t have to make a heap of resolutions that you will ultimately end up breaking anyway.

The only problem with Christmas as an end of year event is that when you work right up until Christmas Eve, it feels a lot like you’ve worked right through the entire year without a break. So naturally, having a week off work pre-Christmas is ideal. Or I imagine it will be. I’ll let you know in December.

Thank You GFC

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I haven’t had much time to write over the last week, as I’m smack bang in the middle of the deadline for the Photo5 competition. Every spare minute has been spent thinking how I’m going to manage to make confetti look interesting, or how I’m going to translate a sound into a still image.

One thing I do have time to share is this:

Just posting this photo is making me drool.

How did I ever live without this before!?! It’s the best chocolate bar I’ve ever had. It’s like a Snickers bar without the chunks. And it has only been brought into my life because of the falling American dollar.

Now I know that the GFC is supposed to be a bad thing. It’s supposed to be causing a lot of problems. But it has also allowed me to discover a world of food that might otherwise have been beyond my grasp.
I should have guessed that American candy would be the best I’ve ever had – years of stereotyping should have told me that. How could they not be the best when the number one ingredient in their chocolate bars is ‘sugar’? Not chocolate, like it is in Australia, but sugar, followed by chocolate (whose main ingredient is also sugar).

And now that I’ve discovered this incredible, wonderful chocolate bar, I have to try others. I have to work my way through that entire imported candy shelf until I’m so hyped up on sugar that I’m shaking like a dodgy Elvis impersonator.

Thank you, GFC. You're good for the taste buds (if bad for the hips).

Being Anti-Stalked

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I like Facebook. It keeps me amused when work is slow. It feeds my scrabble addiction. It lets my best friend show me what her new boyfriend is like before I meet him.

What I don’t like about it is the school yard politics of it all. The controversy of deleting or rejecting a ‘friend’. The things that people post that they seem to think the rest of the world can’t see. The light-weight stalking that can go on.

I think I am being anti Facebook stalked. There is a girl who is a Facebook ‘friend’ who has added every single one of my friends that she has met for more than 15 seconds to her friends list. Now she is sending them all public wall posts, trying to make plans to go out with them. Without me. On Facebook. Where I can see.

It’s like the opposite of Facebook stalking. Instead of stalking me, she’s stalking all my friends and making it very clear that she is specifically not stalking me. Which in a lot of ways is more irritating than actual stalking. Because it’s hurtful rather than obsessive.

To be honest, I think she’s gone slightly crazy. She dated a friend of mine, and because of that, she thought we were best mates. She would ring me all the time and make plans to catch up without her boyfriend - which seemed slightly odd at the time, but I put it down to her just wanting to get along with his friends.

Then for a little while, she suddenly stopped calling or texting me. I didn’t think much of it, until I found out later that she was angry at me because I didn’t invite her to be a bridesmaid in my wedding. Because apparently you’re supposed to invite people you hardly know to be a part of stuff like that.

Then she and my friend broke up. That’s when the weirdness started. She rang my phone at 2am one morning and with barely a hello, demanded to speak to KJ. She demanded that he go and get all of her stuff from our friend’s place, and harass him for some money. When KJ said he couldn’t, she demanded to know why, as though he owed her an explanation for not jumping when she asked him to do something.
The next day she called me again, and when I told her that I didn’t think the phone call was appropriate, I got accused of being a bad friend. She said a lot of really mean things, and then she told me that I should be on her side. As if I want to take sides in someone’s relationship breakup!

And now the Facebook weirdness is starting. I’d like to just de-friend her, but I’ve said it before - I’m no good with confrontation. I would feel guilty about it for months.

I can’t understand people who cling to petty arguments or hold grudges for juvenile reasons. I’ve come across a few people like that in the past couple of years and I just can’t deal with them. They’re high on drama all the time. I don’t like drama ever really. I might be a little tightly wound at times, but never dramatic. And I don’t have time for people who want to turn everything into a big production.
But I always come back to this problem where once they’re in my life I can’t just cut them out, because the guilt slowly eats away at me until I feel sick from it.
I’d like to just go on with life only knowing people who are so laid back they’re almost horizontal. Instead I keep coming across these people who make everything into what feels like the script of a bad sitcom.

I think my best bet is to employ a front man - like the corporate face of Torrygirl. Someone to have all the awkward and angry confrontations for me, so that I’m just kept in the dark. That way, I can be crazy person and guilt free.

The things I don't know

Friday, October 08, 2010

Sometimes I’m surprised by the things that I don't know. It’s interesting that you can live for 28 years and not know about simple things that other people consider common knowledge.

For instance:
I am a total caffeine addict. I can’t function after 9am unless I’ve had my morning coffee, and a 3pm coffee gets me through those last, slow two hours of work. It’s been like that since I was about 18. So if we do a little bit of nerdy maths, we can estimate that I’ve drunk roughly 7300 cups of coffee in the last 10 years. About half of those would have been instant coffee, the other half barista made coffee.

And yet, after 7300 cups of coffee, I only discovered the existence of this nifty little doo-dad today:

It plugs up the hole in your coffee cup lid so that you don’t spill coffee all over your car! How is it that in 10 years of solid coffee drinking, I’ve never come across this before? And why is it that every single person I’ve told about it alredy knew they existed?

It amazes me. It also makes me wonder what other things everyone else knows that I don’t.

Photo5 2010

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Daylight savings is kicking my ass at the moment. I feel as though if I rested my head down on my keyboard for just a second, I could be asleep instantly. I want my hour of sleep back!

I’m hard at work at the moment on my entries for this year’s Canon Photo5 contest. I’m determined to get all 5 briefs completed this year – last year I only completed 4 of them – but so far I’m not having much luck, and the deadline is in 10 days. I have a couple of ideas, and I’ve spent a pretty large chunk of time trying to get brief one completed without much luck.

The brief is to take a close-up photo using an eye dropper, but since I don’t have a real macro lens, I’m using an 85mm lens sticky-taped in reverse to the front of my 50mm lens to get really close to my subject, and it’s starting to give me a headache attempting it. Also, because I’m sort of going blind in my old age, it’s pretty hard to focus properly since I need to do it manually. What I wouldn’t give for a proper macro lens!

The biggest problem I’ve come across so far is that by the time I get home from work, there really isn’t enough daylight left to do much happy-snapping in the outdoors. I’ve pretty much only got this weekend left to take all 5 photos, and since I’m busy all day Saturday, it might be a bit of a struggle. I may have to give up on my ideas and just aim for getting any photo at all done.

Wish me luck!

Happy, Sad, Hungover & Healthy

Monday, October 04, 2010

This past weekend was both immensely fun and incredibly sad.

On Saturday night I had dinner with Liam (the fun part), because on Sunday he left the country to head to England for at least the next three years (the sad part).

We met for drinks first and I had a couple of beers – the kind which some crazy foreigner told me cut it as a longneck in other parts of the world. To me a longneck is a 750ml bottle that nowadays is mostly reserved for getting drunk as quickly as possible at weddings, not a 375ml bottle. But I’m getting off track.

As it usually goes with Liam, dinner involved a couple of bottles of wine, although I managed to stay coherent enough to remember the next day that we went to a Dumpling bar – where I ate some very odd things, like soup dumplings and chicken ribs.

Given the size of a chicken I wouldn’t have thought that a chicken rib would be much more than a tiny little bone with nothing on it, so I felt that it was important to order them to see what they were like. Oddly enough, the dish ended up being a plate of very small fried chicken pieces amidst 7 or 8 cupfuls of dried chillies. Very weird and random.

The soup dumplings (Shao-Long Bao) were one of the strangest things I’ve ever had. They were like regular dumplings, but instead of just the regular meat filling, they had soup in them too. I’m not sure how they got it to stay in there, but it was an incredibly strange yet awesome thing to eat – you pretty much had to eat them whole, and then they sort of exploded in this mass of intense flavours in your mouth. Bizarre but soooo good.

Dinners with Liam are always memorable ones, so the copious amounts of alcohol never seem to do any real harm to my memory of the nights events. The problem with this particular dinner was that KJ and I had committed ourselves to finally getting off our fat lazy butts and attempting some exercise on Sunday, and unfortunately a night out with Liam does not lend itself well to things like Sunday exercise.

Fortunately (or possibly unfortunately), the day turned out to be one of the nicest we’ve had in months. The sun was shining, but not too hot and the air was cool. I wore shorts for the first time in what feels like an eternity. I wore a t-shirt without having to put on a jumper! How could I turn down the chance to get out an about in a day that was so damn annoyingly gorgeous?! I’ve been pining for weather like this since May.

We had a couple of bikes for the weekend, so we thought we’d give them a bit of a go and see how they went. I didn’t realise it had been quite so long since I’d last been on a bike. I’m sure they say that riding a bike is something you never forget, but with my last bike ride about 10 year behind me and a killer hangover telling me to get off the bike and drag myself back to bed, it seemed possible that I may not remember how it all worked.

Luckily, after a slightly shaky start, and a scary moment in which I found myself going the fastest I’ve travelled in years without two tonnes of metal and several airbags to protect me, I managed to get going and all the enjoyment that I used to get out of riding came back to me. Within about 5 minutes I had lost sight of KJ, but that didn’t seems to matter because it was a nice day and it felt good to be outside.

We only rode about 3km, but considering how I feel about exercise, that wasn’t too bad. And I was wary of doing myself some kind of injury by pushing myself too far to start with.

I was pleased to find that while I could feel the burn from the work my muscles were doing, they were still up to the task. Sadly, I couldn’t quite say the same for my lungs, which have endured several years of smoking, quite a few more of passive smoking and a lot of lack of exercise since my last bike ride.

I think I’d pretty happily go riding again, although I’m not sure how I feel about riding with someone. I kind of like the solitude of it, and it feels different having someone else there. I’m not sure if it’s different good or different bad. At this stage it’s just different.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. It could end up like a lot of other things we do – something we keep meaning to get back to, but never quite manage to make the time for.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I'd just like to give myself a big pat on the back for using the word 'eschew' in yesterday's post. Normally I can't use words that obscure unless I've had a couple of beers. It's one of many strange words that I've managed to use in regular conversation in the past week, including 'ergo', 'judicious' and 'fervent'.

I think my brain is stuck in thesaurus mode.

Retail Therapy

Monday, September 27, 2010

I have been known to eschew a lot of stereotypical 'girly' things, but one thing I will never doubt is the therapeutic benefit of retail therapy.
After what would have to be one of the worst working weeks I have ever had, I spent Saturday and Sunday emptying the contents of my bank account on a myriad of new clothes and shoes.

Minutes after getting home, I felt completely relaxed and at ease. It's something I don't think men will ever understand. You only need to look at all the boyfriends and husbands who have been dragged along to the shops by their partners to realise that the benefit of retail therapy is something that will always elude men. Moments after enter the shopping centre, they're already bored and desperate to leave. They just don't get the same kind of thrill from the shopping experience as women do.

Women, on the other hand, understand the true value of shopping. Its not just about spending money - although something about that does provide a kind of release. It's about feeling good about yourself. It's about walking in to a store and putting something pretty on, or trying on a pair of jeans and having a sales assistant, some random person you've never met before, telling you that you look hot. And it doesn't matter one bit that they're paid to say those kinds of things even if you look like a sausage that has been stuffed in to a skin two sizes too small, because it feels so damn good either way.

It's been so long since I went shopping for clothes, that once I started, it was hard to stop. Saturday I went alone and it was like a warm up for Sunday, when I caught up with a friend and did the most damage to my bank balance.

The benefit of retail therapy with someone else there is that they suggest that you try on things you otherwise wouldn't. In this case, it happened that I wanted a new pair of jeans for when I go out - something a bit dressy but still casual. My friend suggested that I try on a pair of black skinny leg jeans - something that I've avoided up until now.

I was sceptical, but I tried them on anyway - because that's what retail therapy is all about. Good move. They looked awesome in every way. They made me look thin and tall, they made my butt appear perfectly shaped. When I tried on a pair of heels with them, I felt like I could have stepped right out of a catalogue. Well, my legs did, anyway.

The overly effeminate salesman gushed about how wonderful they looked, and so did my friend. For five minutes I felt really damn good about myself. And that's what it's all about I guess. Taking a week worth of crappiness and putting it behind you in five minutes of retail therapy.

Friday Night Plans

Friday, September 24, 2010

KJ is away for the weekend, as he has been for most of the week, and with no plans tonight I have well and truly managed to exhaust the list of things I'm capable of doing to keep myself amused.

So far I've watched tv, read the end of my book, eaten the entire contents of my fridge (which sounds bad, but was basically just some leftover pasta and a box of chocolates); slid up and down the kitchen in my socks 'Risky Business' style, straightened my hair, played several mindless iPad games and beaten both my mum and my sister at online scrabble.

I am so incredibly bored! I think I might sit down with a glass of wine and watch a movie before I get tempted to do something really crazy like ironing or cleaning the house.

Long Bad Day

Do you ever get that feeling where a bad day turns into a bad week? Nothing seems to go right, everything makes you unhappy and you just plod along through it all, wishing life would just go back to normal?

My bad week seems to be turning in to a bad month. I can’t wait for it to be over, but I suspect that maybe it won’t end until after Christmas, when I have the chance to be away from work for an extended period of time.

In all honesty, I think I just don’t like my job, and that’s why the bad day has gone on for so long. My boss is kind of a tool, and coming to work each day is making me miserable. But I don’t really know what else to do. Sadly, even though I’m almost 30, I still don’t know what I want to do for a living. It’s been a problem for me for as long as I can remember, because I had the opportunity straight after high school to study pretty much whatever I wanted, but because I had no idea what I wanted to do, I never really studied anything. I just sort of fell into this job. And I enjoyed it a lot in the beginning because it used to be really challenging and I was free to do a lot of different things, but now it’s kind of sucky because my boss is a control freak so I have no room to move. Also, he’s kind of a sexist, so he doesn’t give me anywhere near enough work to do – he just farms it all out to the guys.

Damn it, why couldn’t I have married some really rich guy who’s never home?! Then I could spend my days doing things I enjoy, like reading books, watching tv, shopping and playing scrabble. Then this wouldn’t even be an issue.

Jellybean Power

Monday, September 20, 2010

There are two small-ish things that I was going to write about today, that I originally considered to be unrelated to each other.

The first is the giant jar of jellybeans that I have on my desk. We were going to use them for a work promo - a 'guess how many jellybeans in the jar' kind of thing. We didn’t end up using them, so instead they’ve been sitting there, staring at me, waiting for me to devour them in sudden moments of sugar craving weakness.
I don’t eat a lot of sugar in general, so I’ve noticed the difference in my moods after slowly working my way through the jellybeans.
Initially, there were 568 beans in the jar, in a rainbow of colours. Now I have a giant jar with a handful of black and purple jellybeans and not much else.

The other thing I wanted to write about was that I’ve read 6 books in the last week and a half, despite having very little spare time. I was very impressed with myself for that, until I put the jellybean story and the book story side by side, and all of a sudden, the book thing seems to be slightly less impressive.

I’m beginning to think the two things may be related. I am a jellybean powered reading machine.

TLAPD is coming!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Another year has passed, and here we find ourselves about to celebrate another International Talk Like a Pirate Day. There remains little for me to say about this awesome holiday, so instead here are some helpful ideas so that on September the 19th, you can celebrate it too.

Celebrate with your kids by having a Pirate themed party.

Blog like a pirate using a translator.

Twitter like a pirate.

Post on Facebook like a pirate.

Change the language on Google to ‘Pirate’ (click on the language tools link) and search the web like a pirate.

Work out your Pirate Name. Mine is 'Red Ethel Kidd'.

Take a Pirate Personality Test. (I’m the Cap’n!)

Or do what a real pirate would do and get blind, stinking drunk and slur your speech in a way that no one understands – then call it ‘Pirate talk’.

Super Show

Tuesday, September 14, 2010




The superbox experience may well have ruined me for regular concert-going. We watched the entire concert in comfort from our very own couch, complete with big squashy cushions. A huge glass window covered the entire front of the box, and it slid open and closed so that we could see and hear everything clearly.

An attendant stood by and topped up our glasses whenever they started to look a bit empty, so that half an hour into the show I had no idea how much I’d drunk – although from the difficulty I had making it through the hall to get to the bathroom I’d say it was a fair bit.

And in the bathroom – no lines! I didn’t waste half the night lining up with a hundred other women, which was great because with the amount of booze we consumed, we made quite a few trips to the bathroom.

The music was incredible too – JET and Powderfinger were both amazingly good. I’m more of a JET fan than a Powderfinger fan, so I could happily have listened to another couple of hours of JET, but I was surprised at how familiar the Powderfinger music was to me, and they're fantastic live - probably even better than they are recorded.

The only down side was that the superboxes are pretty far removed from the stage area. It was pretty dark in the Arena, but I managed to grab a few photos on my phone that show how far we were from the action:

Looking out over a sea of people

Watching Powderfinger with 10,000 of my closest friends

So obviously it wasn't quite the same atmosphere as it would have been if we were on the floor, but it was still pretty damn good. I definitely wouldn't turn down tickets if the opportunity came up again in the future.

Super Friday

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tonight I’m going to see Powderfinger play at Rod laver Arena. Yep, I’m all about the concerts lately. No dodgy arm stamps at this one though.

The best thing about this concert is that a friend got us tickets for a Superbox – so instead of being shoulder to shoulder with lots of loud, drunken fans; waiting in queues 100 people long to get a drink or use the toilet; I’ll be sitting up high in my soft, comfy chair having drinks brought to me with a wave of my hand. Or something like that.

Mmmm, corporate goodness

I’m not actually a massive Powderfinger fan as such, although I don’t mind them; but what I am excited about is that the support band is JET! At first I just agreed to go to the concert because KJ really likes Powderfinger, but now I’m actually pretty excited because JET are playing for about an hour as well.

I’m not really sure how the Superbox thing will affect the atmosphere of the concert – it’s about as far removed from the reasonably intimate Whitlams show I went to as you can get. Rod Laver Arena seats about 15,000 people, so it’s a hell of a lot different to a room with a couple of hundred people in it. And I’m not sure if sitting up high in a corporate box will mean that some of the atmosphere of the show is lost on us. There’s something about being in a throng of people all swaying to the same music that makes a show special. Having said that, it’s Friday and I’m incredibly tired because I’m old and boring, so the idea of standing up for 5 hours straight isn’t something I’m all that keen on – atmosphere or no atmosphere. So bring on the comfy chair and drinks service!

My other concern for the night is that we have to leave straight from work to get there, so I need to get ready here before we leave. The problem with that is that there are no mirrors here. Not one single mirror in the entire building. I will have to spend half an hour trying to do my hair and makeup while peering into a tiny little hand mirror. That leaves a lot of room for error. I could find myself with flawlessly straight hair except for one afro section in the back. I could do my makeup perfectly then find that I’ve missed an entire side of my face. Ok, these things are unlikely, but still. It’s pretty damn hard to get ready in a hurry without a mirror.

Because I think it’s nice to share my experiences, here’s a little of what I’m heading to tonight. Close your eyes, stand very close to someone else and sway a little while you play it. See if you can’t fake a bit of the atmosphere that I may miss out on.


Monday, September 06, 2010

I’m really excited that we’ve finally made it to spring after having the coldest, rainiest winter since 1996. We’ve been in this drought for so long now that no one is accustomed to cold, wet winters any more and we’ve all had enough.

Personally, I’ve had enough of the cold, although I’m not too fussed about the rain. I miss the sun, but most of all I want the cold weather to end because I don’t think I can handle another day of having to wear shoes.

I hate wearing shoes. More specifically, I hate wearing closed toe shoes. I would wear sandals, thongs or go barefoot every day of the year if I could. Real shoes are like a miniature prison for my feet. They're uncomfortable and constricting; and that is why I still own the same pair of runners that I had when I was 20 - because I wear them so infrequently that they're practically brand new.

Like any woman, I own way more pairs of shoes than I could ever possibly need - however there are only two or three pairs that are closed toe, and unsurprisingly they're all in as-new condition.

I have one other pair of shoes that remain unworn - an embarrassingly stripper-esque pair of heels that I bought one evening while very upset, when the purchase was more about therapeutic shopping than shopping for something I would actually wear. I gave in to a very clever saleswoman who preyed on my weakened state to sell me something that no one in their right mind would buy unless they were shopping for an outfit for a Bar 20 audition. Black vinyl stiletto heels are definitely not my thing. Needless to say, they sit in the shoebox at the back of my cupboard gathering dust along with the closed toe shoes, which I am forced to drag out every winter and wear against my will. It’s either wear them or freeze my toes off.

But with the temperatures looking like they’re on the way up again, I think it’s time to tuck my runners back into the far reaches of my wardrobe and break out the sandals again. Bring on summer!


Friday, September 03, 2010

Ahhh, Barbie car. 25 years of waiting for a childhood toy desire to be satisfied, taken care of in a single hour of play.

Oh yeah, I think my Niece liked it too.

Birthdays & Barbies

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Today is my Niece’s 6th birthday. There are positives and negatives to celebrating a sixth birthday I guess. The positive is that she can actually tell you what she wants for her birthday; the negative is that she may not just be happy with any old thing like she would have a couple of years ago.

I asked her about a week ago what she wanted for her birthday and she rattled off a few things, the main stand out being that she wanted a toy cat. That seemed pretty straight forward, so that was my purchase of choice.

Naturally, me being me, I forgot about shopping for her present until today, so at lunch time I headed over to Kmart, which is the only decent sized store anywhere near my work.

After 15 minutes of scouring the shelves for a toy cat, I was forced to concede that they didn’t have any, and that my laziness had left me unable to fulfil her birthday wish. This left me with the dilemma of what would make a suitable replacement for a toy cat.

Another 15 minutes of window shopping still had me drawing a blank, so instead of trying to find something that she would approve of, I decided I would just give in to my inner child and purchase something that I had always wanted for myself when I was her age. It seemed slightly selfish, but sensible – after all, don’t all six year olds like the same sort of things?

Having an older brother, I spent most of my time playing with toy trucks and running around in our sand pit, so there weren’t a lot of girly toys that I wanted. But what always stands out in my memory is the yearning I had for my very own Barbie car. I think it was a combination of the older brother influence with the car, and the girly side of me that wanted something for my Barbie dolls. Plus, back in the 80’s, Barbie had some seriously good taste in cars. I dreamt of owning this awesome corvette:

To go with my Dream Glow Barbie & Ken Dolls:

Ah Ken - what a Dreamboat!

So with that in mind, I headed to that one toy aisle that smacks you in the face with its pink sparkliness, and found the Barbie dolls.

It took me a little while to realise I’d found them, because I kept looking past the trampy, hooker-ised dolls to try to find Barbie - It took a minute or two to twig that they were the Barbies. Sadly, 20 years have not been kind to Barbie. I guess after the divorce with Ken she got a little desperate and has had to whore it up a bit. I chose the least whore-ish Barbie, but even she still looks like she bought her shoes at a stripper supply store.

Those moveable joints must
make pole dancing a breeze

Sadly her car isn’t quite as cool any more either. She’s gone from a shiny metallic Corvette to something that looks a lot like a hot pink convertible Smart Car:

I can only assume she had to sell the Corvette to pay for her many, many surgeries.

Despite my disappointment in the changes to Barbie since my childhood,  I grabbed the doll and the convertible and headed to the checkout. After all, little girls love dolls, and they love the colour pink, so what is there for my Niece not to love?

As the check out chick was scanning my items, she said to me 'Oh, someone's a Barbie fan!'
'Yeah,' I said  'Aren't all little girls Barbie fans?'
'Not these days.' she told me authoritatively 'No, not anymore.'

So it appears my theory on all little girls wanting the same things may be slightly flawed.
I guess we'll know at 6 o'clock tonight. On the plus side, I might find myself in permanent possession of a Barbie car, thus fulfilling my childhood dream (if in a slightly sluttier way than I imagined at age six).

Power Napping

You know what’s annoying about sharing a bed with another person? It’s all nice and cozy when you’re cuddled up together, and you can get all comfy and sleepy; but then just as you’re on the brink of sleep, the other person will move and you’ll be woken up. Getting to sleep after that is next to impossible, because it’s like you’ve given your brain a little power nap, and suddenly you’re not quite as sleepy as you were only seconds ago.

This happens to me all the time. I think if KJ didn’t travel so much it would drive me insane. I don't really sleep all that much to begin with, so that tiny little power nap can mean that I'm lying in bed awake for a good hour or so. The week or so per month that KJ is away lets me enjoy getting to bed without a power napping incident. I imagine that he'd probably be a little put out if I told him that though, because telling someone that you enjoy your nights without them probably doesn't rate highly on the romance scale. But just between us, last night I had the best sleep I've had all week.

Inked Up

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

On Saturday night a group of us headed out to the Corner Hotel in Richmond to see The Whitlams play. I went and saw them a little while back and they were incredible; such a fantastic band to see live. So when the opportunity arose to see them play one more time before they go on an extended break, I jumped at the chance. It also doesn’t hurt that Tim Freedman is pretty hot.

When we entered the venue, they stamped our wrists with a purple ink stamp of some cute little Snork-like creatures. Nothing unusual about that in itself. What is unusual is that it took me until this morning’s shower to get the damn thing off. I’ve been walking around for 3 days with a smudgy purple Snork couple tattooed across my wrist. I’m not a tattoo kinda girl, but if I was to get one it definitely wouldn’t be a couple of excessively cute cartoon creatures smeared across my wrist. It would probably be something useful, like a couple of lines for a to-do list, or maybe a small map of the city. Possibly some emergency phone numbers, but definitely not a dolphin, rose or random Chinese symbol.

Basically it looked like I’d been to a club and not showered for 3 days.

I’m not entirely sure why my stamp wouldn’t come off, because the two friends who crashed at my place that night woke up next morning with little purple Snorks all over their bodies from where their wrists had touched against them in their sleep. My skin must have some kind of magical ink-retaining properties that other people lack.

Combine this smudgy night-out remnant with the bruises and pin prick marks all over my arms from the hack job of a blood test I had on Saturday morning, and I looked like I spent the weekend at a rave rather than a Whitlams concert. Which is obviously not the case, because I can actually remember my weekend and it was totally drug and techno free - but still lots of fun.

Dear Internet,

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I need to tell you a secret, but you have to swear that you won’t tell anyone. At all. This has to just be between you and me. Do you promise not to tell? Ok, well here goes then.

You know how I really hate exercise? How I like to drive everywhere instead of walk? How I prefer to watch TV than go to the gym? How I loathe running unless I’m being chased (and even then I would only be running if it was life or death)?


I’m thinking about doing some exercise.

I know! It’s horrible! It’s terrible! It’s an awful guilty secret that’s been eating away at me inside for a while now, and I don’t know what to do! It just sort of sprung up on me in the last day or two. I blame the first sunny day we’ve had in forever. I blame finally waking up feeling good again for the first time since May. I blame the weird dream I had in which I went for an early morning jog with the guy from the TV show ‘Chuck’ (who freaks me out a little because he has the exact same hair as my brother. It’s like he stole his scalp). In the dream I was jogging and it felt good, and it made me happy.

I don’t jog! And it’s not just because of the dislike of exercise; it’s because of my other exercise related secret. What? You want to know that one too? Oh well, I’ve come this far, I may as well get it all out there.

I have a spazzy run.

No, that’s not a typo. I don’t mean that I have a snazzy run. I truly mean that I have the most uncoordinated looking run you’ll ever see. It’s like my arms and my legs get confused at having to all work at the same time, so my legs take over and there’s not enough coordination left to keep my arms from flailing around wildly. It’s a lot like when you see a kid trying to run after having a massive growth spurt, and they’re not sure how to cope with all the extra length in their body.

It’s genetic, I think. My sister runs the exact same way. I’ve never seen my Mum run, but I can only assume that’s because the run came from her and she’s avoiding running so no one will know.

That’s one of many reasons that I’ve avoided exercise, but now I have this strange, restless feeling that is telling me I need to do something. I’m not sure what to do about it. Exercise just for the sake of exercise isn’t something I’m interested in, because basically...well... it’s dull. If I’m going to get suckered into some form of physical movement, it has to have a secondary purpose so that I don’t feel as if I’ve given in to something that I really don’t enjoy. But what can I do? I can't go back to dancing, although I would still like to take swing dancing classes. Obviously we can count out anything that involves running - or even very brisk walking. So what does that leave?

I need your help internet. What can I do? Or even better, how can I make this weird urge to exercise go away?

Yours sincerely,

Not Cool

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Technology, specifically the internet, has made the world a much smaller place. It's not uncommon for people on opposite sides of the world to chat regularly, and romances spanning tens of thousands of miles are no longer a rare occurrence. Video web chat means that you can now look someone in another continent in the eye when you speak to them. The internet has created a virtual world which is practically borderless. I adore this virtual internet world that lets me buy foreign products, avoid supermarket chaos and indulge my scrabble obsession with other people the world over.

So why the hell is it that when I find something online that I really want, I can't bridge a mere 13,000kms to the USA to get it!? Outrageous!

I want these:

they’re cut out for action

But there isn't a single place in Australia that has them, or a single place in the USA that will ship the stupid things to me. Damn you international postage and you internet retailers too lazy to use it!

I feel a little let down. This tiny little world has suddenly become very vast and isolated. And it’s not just the cookie cutters that I have been denied by my beloved internet.

For the last month I’ve been counting down the days until the release of a new album by a band I like. August 16th arrived, and it was with immense excitement that I logged into iTunes and typed the name of the band into the search box.

Nothing. No new album. Confused, I went to the band’s website – yep, new album released today. I clicked through to iTunes to buy it and what did I get?! An arrogant little popup that told me I can’t buy the album because I don’t live in the UK!


What happened to the amazing, practically borderless virtual world that I have come to love so much? You’ve let me down, internet. I’m so disappointed. I thought you were cool, but you’re not – you’re just telling people what they want to hear so they’ll like you, and now you’ve been caught out in your lies. I love you a little less today because of it.

And don’t point out the irony of me writing about my disappointment with you on my Weblog, because no one likes a smart arse.