Thursday, February 25, 2010

Today someone actually said “L-O-L” to me after something amusing, as if an acronym is a real word.

Immediately I lost all respect for them. You know, because I’m bitter and judgemental like that.

But then I had the chance to think about it a bit more, and I realised that the use of acronyms in everyday life isn’t exactly a new thing. I mean, how often does someone say ‘FYI’ or ‘ASAP’? And no one ever thinks that’s weird. Unless someone says ‘Ay-Sap’ instead of ‘A-S-A-P’. That’s kinda stupid.

Although I can honestly say that I can’t ever recall using an acronym like it was a regular word myself. It just feels kinda weird, in the same way that it feels weird calling your mum by her given name.

A little while back I was in the changing rooms of a clothing store, and a girl in the next cubicle had tried on a top* and was modelling it for her friend, who was um-ing and ah-ing over it.
“Yeah” said the girl with the top “there’s something NQR about it, isn’t there?”
“What’s NQR?” asked her friend, at which the other girl proceeded into a 5 minute long explanation of how it really meant not quite right. Which kind of defeated the purpose of using an acronym.

So who is the bigger idiot in this circumstance? The girl who attempted to use an acronym in regular conversation, or the girl who couldn’t work out what NQR meant? Maybe the least idiotic thing would be for the girls to know what the acronym meant, but not be so sad as to try to use it in a conversation.

It also made me wonder if people say other acronyms like they’re real words? In particular, stuff that is used in online chat to describe actions that the other person can’t see – like ‘ROFLMAO’. And if you say that as a word, does that cancel out the need to actually roll around on the floor, laughing your ass off? Or do you just writhe around on the ground for a bit before choking out ‘R-O-F-L-M-A-O’?

I’m going to add LOL to my list of things that people have said out loud to me that I don’t consider to be real words, along with ‘Woot’, ‘Supposably’, ‘O-M-G’ and ‘Droll’.

That last one is on there because I think it sounds like it should mean the opposite of what it actually does.

*If you’re a male, feel free to imagine that they were trying on skimpy underwear instead of clothing. It’ll make what is essentially a pretty dull story seem a lot more fun.

Chicken Parma

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This Sunday we’re taking a trip to Alexandra at sunrise to take some photos. It’s surrounded by mountains and pretty dense forest, so should make for some great landscape photography, particularly if there is a bit of mist hanging around as the sun rises.

Afterwards, we’re having lunch at the Commercial Hotel, which is the part I’m looking forward to most because they’re widely known throughout Victoria for having an incredible 30 different kinds of Parma on their menu.

Chicken Parma would have to be in my top 10 favourite meals (which are mostly made up of comfort foods) – as I’m pretty sure it is for most Australians. Parmigiana is a term that’s used pretty broadly here. Aussie Chicken Parma is not very close to traditional parmigiana. Usually in your typical pub, it’s a chicken schnitzel topped with Napoli sauce and cheese. But it’s also been extended so that it really covers putting any kind of topping on chicken schnitzel.

A while ago we stopped randomly at a pub that had a small chicken Parma menu. I don’t remember them all, but I remember that the one I had was topped with egg, bacon and cheese, and the whole lot was grilled so that the cheese was crispy, but the egg yolk was still a bit runny.

It took me about 20 minutes to decide on that one from a menu of about 8 different types – I can’t imagine how long it will take me to decide from a list of 30.

Its’ a tough choice –do I go with safe and innocent, like the ‘Italian’, or do I go right out there and choose something that I would never think to put on top of chicken if I were making it myself, like the ‘Bananarama Parma’? And most importantly, can you pass up something as glorious as the ‘Nacho Parma’? Because if there are two kinds of food that were ever meant to be combined, it was these. Although maybe Nacho Parma is more of a late night drunken food because it combines the beauty of one of the world’s greatest drunk foods with one of the world’s greatest comfort foods.

So any suggestions on which one might be the best choice are more than welcome, and I’ll definitely post some photos of whichever one I end up choosing – it is supposed to be a photography trip after all.

A New Niece

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I have a brand new Niece! She was born yesterday morning. She’s a cute little thing - I even held her (briefly). Usually I refuse to hold babies because they kind of freak me out, but with every baby my Brother & Sister-in-law have, I get ever so slightly less freaked out by them. If only they would have 20 or 30 more so that I could get properly used to them.

Babies are cute and stuff, but it would be great if you could skip that whole first bit where they’re so small and breakable and smelly and goo-ey, and skip right to the bit where they can go to the toilet on their own and tell you if they want something instead of just crying. I can barely look after myself let alone a little person who needs things all the time and can’t tell you what they are.

I guess what I'm saying is that babies are really so much nicer when they belong to someone else.

Learn a Language

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I’ve decided I’m going to learn another language. I’ve wanted to learn to speak another language for as long as I can remember. At school we studied Italian and I was quite good at it at one point, but then the distractions of high school took over and now, like every other Victorian student I can pretty much only remember how to say one or two things, most of them related to the fictional characters from our text books.

My first choice was German. It’s a bit similar to English and I like
the way that everyone always sounds angry when they speak in German. I thought it would be a good language to know because I could express my thoughts aloud in an angry sounding way as a sort of stress release – and people wouldn’t bug me about it, because an angry person speaking the same language as you is just an angry person – a person cursing in German is angry and possibly dangerous, and people don’t mess with that.

Sadly, I couldn’t find anyone who wanted to learn german with me, so that kind of killed that idea. There’s no point learning another language if you have no one to speak to.

After German, I didn’t really have a preference. I debated learning Italian again because it would be a lot easier to learn having some idea about it already. Then my sister expressed an interest in learning Greek - so I think that’s what it will have to be.

My mum’s side of the family is mostly of a Greek background, so pretty much all of my relatives on her side speak Greek in some form or another. Sadly, Mum never thought to teach us the language while we were little, so none of us speak it. It kinda makes us the odd ones out at family events. We’re like the family that went wrong. In fact, if you’ve ever seen the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” you’ll know what outcasts we are – my mum basically went through the whole secretly dating an Aussie thing with her Dad with very similar results – although not as comedy-movie weird. That pretty much sums us up – we love our family, but we do things a little differently.

So later in the year when the courses start again, we’ll be heading along to ‘Greek level 1’. And if I’m lucky, soon I’ll be able to say something in Greek other than “Nice Flowers” or “Say hi to your Mum for me”.

My Fantastic Idea

Friday, February 19, 2010

A while back I had this idea. It was about a year ago after I paid the final bill for my wedding dress. I was feeling mildly cynical about weddings and how you spend so much on your dress, and then you only get to wear it for one day. Then I had this fantastic idea – what if I just wore it again anyway!? What if my friends and I all wore our dresses again? What if we had a party and got dressed up like we did on our wedding day?!


I mulled it over for a while, and I thought – this is such a good idea that everyone is going to want to get in on this. Maybe a party for my friends and I is just too small. Maybe I need to think bigger. This would be a great opportunity for a charity event! Maybe I could organise a kind of gala ball and sell tickets, with all the profits going to some kind of charity.
It was an awesome idea, but the thought of trying to organise something on that kind of scale was pretty daunting. So I went back to mulling things over, trying to work out how I would go about something like this.

And then this happened.

They stole my idea damn it! And not even for a charity! It’s purely 100% about self gratification.
I always thought of my laziness as a highly developed skill, but today it seems like a bit of a curse.

Damn you laziness and damn you idea-stealing radio station!!

Further to my earlier post...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How weird is not eating red meat but not being a proper vegetarian. It really removes the best parts of being a carnivore.

Bring on the steak!

February - The Blah Month

February is such a Blah month. That’s right – Blah with a capital B. Nothing good ever happens in February, hence there is never anything to write about.

The highlight of my month is that my mum is cooking a roast for dinner tonight. She’s promised me lots of vegetables as well - this should go a long way in ensuring that my horribly low fruit and veg intake doesn’t give me scurvy or something.

Mum makes an awesome roast. She always has, but ever since my brother and sister-in-law moved back to Australia, it’s been even better. My sister-in-law doesn’t eat red meat, so that means that when we have a roast we have either lamb or beef as well as roast chicken.

Mmmm, I’m drooling just thinking about it.

I like dinners like this, because it’s good to see all of my family. My niece is 5 now and is an absolute crack up. She’s at that age where she’s still cute and little, but she’s starting to become an independent person which means she comes out with some hilariously grown-up sounding things. You don’t realise the stupid grown-up turns of phrase that you use until you have a 5 year old repeat them back at you.

Sad, really, that this is the highlight of my month.
The only good thing I can say about February is that there is only 2 and a half weeks of it left. Then we’ll be in March and the year can really kick off.

He's Back

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

He's back.

Damn it.

Internet Withdrawl

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My internet connection at work has been dropping in and out for the last two days, and when it is working, it’s super slow. This is a very bad thing. The days are incredibly long when I don’t have the wonder of the internet to entertain me while I wait for my computer to complete processor-heavy tasks.
I don’t even have solitaire on my computer, so every 10 minutes or so, I find myself staring blankly at the screen while I wait.

I notice lots of little things that I didn’t before. For example, the guy who sits opposite me clears his throat at least 15 times per minute. The guy who sits next to me has a mouse that clicks really really loudly. The guy sitting opposite me often sings along with the radio at a volume which I’m pretty sure he thinks no one else can hear, but which allows me to hear that he’s bordering on tone-deaf.

These are all things I’ve blocked out by using the internet to distract me. The big question is, once the internet is working again, will I be able to go back to ignoring these things? Or am I doomed to slowly and surely go crazy from the constant “Ahem, click-click, La-la-la”?

And even more importantly, what the hell can I do to keep me amused without the internet?!

A Trip to the Airport

Monday, February 15, 2010

On Thursday night I had to head to the airport to pick up KJ. His flight was supposed to be in at about 4pm, so I was planning on leaving about 15 minutes before that to make what should have been a 20 minute drive to the airport. At about 3:30, an enormous storm hit Melbourne. The lightning seemed to be almost nonstop and the rain was so heavy that I was soaked to the bone just from running from the building to my car 10 metres away. I had to drive in that. There was so much water streaming down and sitting on the road that for the 10km of highway I drove on in the pelting rain, I could barely see a thing. Traffic was crawling along at about half the speed limit and every time a truck passed by, visibility was reduced to pretty much nothing.

10km’s up the highway, the traffic came to a halt and I spent the next hour creeping inch by inch towards the airport. I thought that when I got to the airport everything would be ok, but a tree had fallen onto a car on the road that passes the airport exit, so the police were diverting all traffic through the airport. It took me another 10 minutes just to get in, and even longer to get out.

All in all what should have been an hour round trip ended up taking about three hours. It spins me out that some people drive to and from work in traffic like this every day. How can they stand it?! It’s just wasted time. You can’t do anything constructive, because you have to pay attention to the constant creeping forwards. And all to travel a distance that should take less than half the time! Your job would have to be seriously rewarding for you to want to waste 2-3 hours a day in transit. Either that or you would have to be paid well enough to justify sacrificing that much personal time in order to get to work.

Personally, my limit for travel is about 35 minutes in either direction. Any further than that and I can’t imagine it being worth it. Maybe it’s my laziness talking, but if I had to get up for work more than 2 hours before I started, I can’t imagine I’d last long in that job.

Noodles for One

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

You know what? Cooking for one sucks. Honestly, if I had to cook just for myself every night, I would probably starve to death. It’s hard to get motivated to prepare a healthy, nutritious meal when it’s just for yourself.

Don’t get me wrong – I love to eat, and I enjoy cooking; it’s just that when you have to put all that effort into making dinner just because you're supposed to have an evening meal, it’s hard to get motivated.

KJ is away again, and right now I should be preparing myself dinner, but in all honesty I can’t be bothered. Do two-minute noodles and a cup of coffee count as a healthy dinner choice?

Probably not.



Last week I had a full blown argument with my boss, because he yelled at (that’s right, yelled, not asked) me to do something not by the book, despite having asked me never to let him get around the systems we have in place. When I reminded him that he told me not to let him, he went on a screaming tirade like a shitty teenager whose mother won’t let him go out on a school night.

Today his ‘sound reason’ for screaming at me and cracking the sads turned out to be a load of bullshit, and his incredibly inappropriate tantrum and insistence that we do things out of order has come to be totally unnecessary and has cost a lot of money.

I feel vindicated.

It’s incredibly petty of me, I know; but he was such a prick about it all that I don’t care.

So, Ha! I say. Ha!


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Why do leftovers always taste better than the original meal?
If you could make an original meal taste as good as leftovers, what would the leftovers of that meal taste like?


This morning I woke up to a bad hair day. Which isn’t really that unusual – I have hair that requires a lot of maintenance in order to keep it looking presentable. I like to call it 80’s hair, because I can capture that fantastic fluffy 80’s look simply by waking up. My morning hair basically epitomises the pinnacle of 80’s hair styling.

My whole body was born for the 80’s really. I could carry off the whole fluffy hair, bra-less, leg-warmer look without even trying. And I’m an awesome 80’s dancer – I have the shoulder action down pat.

The trouble is that it’s not the 80’s any more. It’s the 00’s (or is it the 10's now?). And because of that, it means that every day is a massive effort of preparation that I could totally avoid if it were, say, 1985.

I have to straighten my hair so that it’s smooth and shiny instead of fluffy and fly-away. My awesome 80’s moves have to be toned down so that I don’t look like an extra in the Wedding Singer movie. I’m cool with the removal of the bra-less style aspect of 80’s fashion, because if you walked around now looking like you had no bra on, people would spend all day staring at your chest instead of getting on with life. Honestly, between the bra-less look and the whole bustier/underwear on the outside thing, it’s a wonder anyone could concentrate in the 80’s. Although maybe that explains the rest of 80’s fashion – everyone was too distracted to pay attention to what they were wearing.

It’s a shame, really, that the only aspects of 80’s fashion that have made a come-back are the stupid ones. Bring back 80’s hair, I say. I know there are a hell of a lot of women who’d be grateful for that.

Remembering Black Saturday

Monday, February 08, 2010

Yesterday marked one year since the Black Saturday bush fires that killed 173 people.

I have to say, it’s left me a little on edge. There’s a lot of hype about fire safety and preparation this year and it’s given me a kind of quiet paranoia. We live about 20km from the edge of where the Kinglake bush fires reached last year. A lot of our friends lived in badly hit areas, but thankfully they all managed to survive, and most of their homes did as well.

We were lucky last year. The suburb we live in is basically the first real, densely populated suburb before all the proper bush areas start, and the fires didn’t spread that far. They easily could have though. So I’m quietly a little tense at the moment while we hit the hot period that caused so much trouble last year.

On what ended up being Black Saturday last year, we knew it was going to be a hot day so we headed into the city before sunrise to take some photos. I shot this one at about 6:30am, and even though the colours are pretty wild, it doesn’t really do justice to the intense colour of the sunrise. Everything was bathed in this incredible red and yellow light. The whole city was glowing.

It’s really just odd how a day that started out with something so beautiful could turn into something so nasty. I shot this one at about 7am, and not long after this, it had gotten so hot that we had to head home.

I think in the end it reached about 47 degrees C (117 F) and the wind speed was about 100km/h plus. But at 6am it was a beautiful, balmy, calm morning.

So you can’t help but be a little paranoid when you wake up to a beautiful morning and the forecast is for high temperatures and you just want to close all the curtains and turn on the air conditioning so you can’t see what’s going on outside. I suspect it will be a long time before the paranoia subsides.

La-Di-Da Date

Friday, February 05, 2010

Tomorrow night KJ and I are going on a hot date to a very fancy restaurant. We wouldn’t normally head to somewhere as posh as this place is, but we were given a gift certificate as a present a little while ago, so we’re going on Saturday night.

We booked online – you know, coz we’re nerds, and that’s just the way nerds deal with dates – and when they emailed back to confirm the booking, they also sent a copy of the menu. It’s probably a pretty good thing they did, because after a quick browse through the starters, I realised it would require some translation.

Ordinarily, If I wasn’t sure what a food-related term meant, it wouldn’t really bother me. I like most foods, so a bit of mystery in a meal isn’t a bad thing as far as I’m concerned. But in this case, I came across a menu item that made me decide to do a bit more research just in case. That item was ‘Caramelised Sweetbreads’.

‘Sweetbreads’ is a term that I’m familiar with. I know that it’s trick terminology designed to make something really un-appetizing sound more appealing. If they wrote ‘Caramelised animal glands’ on the menu, people might be slightly less likely to order them. It’s a little bit evil if you ask me, because if you forget what it really means, sweetbread sounds like something really tasty.

Another thing that I found really odd was that a lot of the starters seemed to include items that people don’t usually want to eat - things like ox tongue, sweetbreads and snails. Do they do this because their superior culinary skills can turn these somewhat unappetizing items into something spectacular? Or do they do it as a secret in-joke, just to see if people will eat it because it’s on the menu in a posh restaurant and they don’t want to seem un-sophisticated?

The great thing about this particular restaurant is that their specialty is steak. According to their website, they “showcase Australia’s finest beef from Victoria, Cape Grim Tasmania and the Clare Valley South Australia”.
So I’m looking forward to seeing what a $60 steak is like. The only thing I’m not looking forward to is working out what to drink – their wine list is over 30 pages long. I might just have to stick with beer, otherwise by the time I’ve selected a wine, the kitchen will be closed.

Kookaburras at Work

Thursday, February 04, 2010

I think it’s kind of funny that it took a court case to decide if Men at Work’s song ‘Down under’ ripped of the kids folk tune ‘Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree’. It’s pretty damn similar. And considering that the video clip for the song features a guy sitting in a gum tree playing the riff on a flute (check it out on the video, about 55 seconds in), I can’t imagine it took the judge long to find them guilty of copyright infringement.

It’s also odd that it took them 29 years to realise the song had been ripped off – especially since ‘Down under’ was such a massive number one hit, and not just in Australia. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Aussies are essentially super lazy, and so I’m guessing they probably just couldn’t be bothered until now.

I say they did us all a favour by turning an irritating song that we were forced to sing over and over in primary school into something that we can all enjoy listening to again. Thanks Men at Work!

Survival Skills

Monday, February 01, 2010

Yesterday we went bed shopping. Bed shopping would have to be the greatest form of shopping possible. I say this because it is the laziest form of shopping possible, and I’m all about maximum laziness.

Basically, bed shopping involves sitting in the car until you get to the bed shop, then lying down on lots of super comfy beds for extended periods of time. Finally, after lying down all day, you pick whichever bed was the comfiest, and then you go home where you either sit down on the couch, or go to bed. In my case I decided to nap on the couch, because it’s way comfier than our bed, which is completely stuffed. Stuffed in the broken sense, that is – not in the full of stuffing sense.

Can shopping really get much lazier than that?

The worst part is that after picking the most comfortable mattress our budget would allow for, we had to come home to our crappy mattress with all of its lumps and dents. The new mattress won’t arrive for about 4-6 weeks. So last night my body threw a tantrum at having to sleep on the crap mattress after spending all day on something that is so much better. It knows that something more comfortable is coming along.

The sales guy that helped us pick out the bed was a mattress guru. He knew everything about mattresses. I always wonder about people who have become experts in their field, especially when it’s something so specific. I mean, this guy knew everything possible about mattresses, posture, spinal alignment. He could also tell how much we both weighed by looking at us - but that’s a whole other story (suffice to say that as far as women are concerned, this is not a desirable skill for a man to possess).

It strikes me often how random it is to be such a specialist at something that is so entirely non-essential. I’m exactly the same - I know bucket loads about playgrounds and playground equipment. I know about standards in different countries, entrapments and safety surfaces. I know about materials and UV ratings of plastics and all sorts of completely random junk that is specific to one tiny industry. What I’m getting at here is hard to explain, but I guess it just seems kind of odd that such a level of expertise can exist entirely as a result of consumerism.

Let’s say, hypothetically, that we suddenly found ourselves in a ‘Tomorrow When The War Began’ kind of situation, and the country was taken over by some nameless foreign army. Everyone had to stop working and our lives just became all about surviving. If we had to rate the usefulness of each person’s skill set in a survival situation like that, I’m guessing that skills like ‘supreme playground knowledge’ and ‘mattress guru’ are probably going to be pretty low on the list.

If we were in a ‘Lost’ kind of situation and skills like medical training and weapons use became essential, a computer nerd like me would probably be one of the first to die a horrible death in aid of setting up the story.
Although, I guess to be fair I would kick arse at the whole computer/button pushing thing. But after that my days would be numbered.

I guess what I find the weirdest is that there are so many people who are exactly like me – and we far outweigh the people with the essential survival skills. Maybe I need to learn some kind of useful survival skill that would make me indispensable in an emergency. But what would that skill be? Is one useful skill enough to override a plethora of absolutely pointless knowledge? And most importantly, can I learn this new skill without compromising my supreme laziness?