Fast Food Filosophy

Friday, July 30, 2010

Why do places like McDonald's, Hungry Jacks and KFC have dining rooms in their stores? When it comes to eating fast food in place of a real meal, I have a very firm 'Fast Food Filosophy'* that to me, seems to make these dining rooms defunct.

My 'Filosophy' is that if I'm feeling too lazy to cook myself a meal or even microwave myself something from the freezer, then I'm definitely too lazy to park the car, walk into the restaurant and stand around waiting for my food to be ready. Why do all that when I can get the same end result from the climate controlled comfort of my car?

It seems like a pretty sound Philosophy to me. Long live the Drive-Thru**!

* that's Philosophy with an 'F', because everyone knows that when it comes to big brand marketing, you're able to use phonetic spelling to make things seem cooler to younger generations.

** Another excellent example of embracing bad spelling.

Random Sydney Thing #2 - Crazy Roads

The Sydney CBD is an odd, crowded place. The buildings are crowded right up against the street; people crowd the footpaths in the tiny spaces between the buildings and the road, which is crowded with cars and a never-ending supply of taxis and buses.

All of the streets in the CBD are one way, and because the skyscrapers are so close to the road, trying to use GPS is completely futile. The arrow on the GPS screen spins around and around and eventually it gives up, tells you that Sydney is crap and turns itself off in a huff until it senses that you’re on your way home. At least I imagine that’s what it would have done if I hadn’t thrown it into the back seat of the car in disgust.

You can find yourself driving around in circles for what seems like hours as you try to find your way onto the street that your hotel is on without entering one block too far up and watching the hotel sign disappear behind you as the one way traffic speeds you away from your destination.

On Friday, it took us about half an hour or so after reaching the CBD to make it the 5 blocks to where our hotel was located.
We parked in a tiny little alcove out the front of our hotel and a harried looking doorman (who actually turned out to be the concierge) ran out to the car and tried to explain how to get to the self-parking via a complicated series of one way roads. Sensing that we would need a map, a compass, a full tank of fuel and several days worth of emergency rations to get to the self parking, and since I’d left my hiking boots at home, we opted instead for outrageously expensive valet parking.

Sydney would have to be one of the few places in Australia where it’s possible to spend more money parking your car for the weekend than your car is actually worth. The hotel’s self-parking cost the same as what Valet parking in Melbourne costs, and the valet parking was more than double that. Still, totally worth it in my eyes, because it meant that we didn’t have to try to navigate any more of those crazy roads.

The other strange thing about Sydney streets is that as you reach the edges of the CBD, the roads have a kind of ‘thrown in as an after-thought’ quality about them. They wind in and out of each other, with exits thrown in all over the place. There is an entire series of narrow tunnels that run underneath the city, and there are intersections within the tunnels. If you accidentally find yourself taking a wrong exit and you end up in a tunnel, you have to drive to the other side of the city before you can find a way back. The tunnels are kind of creepy too – they’re very narrow and very long, and at one point we found ourselves in a one lane tunnel with a hairpin bend in it.

This little bit of Sydney is my particular favourite:

People who visit Melbourne from Sydney must find the streets and CBD layout luxuriously expansive and easy to navigate.

Random Sydney Thing #1 - Strange People

Thursday, July 29, 2010

On Saturday night, we had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. During dinner, a group of people entered the restaurant – two couples.

The first couple had a kid of ‘alternative’ look about them – the guy had long dreadlocks and wore a waistcoat and fedora. The girl had dead-straight jet black hair with a super-straight fringe and her lips were coloured fluorescent pink.

The second couple looked like the stars of a trashy Hollywood reality show, but sounded like the stars of a trashy Australian movie. The guy wore a white t-shirt and oversized cargo shorts. Tattoos peeked out at the sleeves and at the collar, where the thickest gold chain I have ever seen in my life hung - almost an inch thick. His head was shaved close and he spoke loudly, calling everyone ‘Love’ and ‘Darl’.

The woman was short and pointed looking, with long dark hair. She wore a hot pink velour tracksuit – but you couldn’t call her under dressed, because of the enormous quantity of diamond jewellery that she wore.

They sat at the back of the restaurant, talking loudly and laughing a lot, requesting things that weren’t on the menu and knocking back copious bottles of expensive wine as though they were cheap beer. At the end of a three course meal, the trashy guy paid the bill from a gigantic wad of $50 bills that he then stuffed back into the pocket of his shorts.

Thinking back on it now, I feel as though I imagined them, because you just don't see people like that in real life.

Digging A Hole

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Every day on the way to and from work, I drive past two really unpleasant things. The first of those is a wholesale compost place. So basically every morning while I’m still struggling to come to terms with being awake, I get to breathe in the lovely, heady aroma of animal crap and rotting dirt. The scent is particularly unpleasant on a cold, wet morning. On those days you can often see the mounds of compost steaming in the crisp morning air, and the pungent aroma of organic poo burns your nostrils as you drive past. Then after a hard day at the office, I get to have the entire experience all over again on the way home.

The second place is a tip/quarry. It’s not as stench-o-rific as the compost place, but it’s dirty and dusty and there are often stray bits of plastic bag or paper floating around.

The thing that really stumps me about a tip is that no one has yet come up with a better idea for waste disposal. Despite all the amazing leaps and bounds that are being made in every scientific field, not a single person has come up with a better idea for rubbish disposal than digging a great big hole and chucking the trash in there. That’s right, a hole. It might be a very big and impressive hole, but it’s still just a hole. Surgeons have been able to transplant entire faces onto other people. A man has walked on the freaking moon, and yet we still can’t come up with a better idea than digging a great big hole and turfing all our junk into it?

I think the problem is that claiming that you’ve invented a way to dispose of rubbish isn’t nearly as impressive as claiming that you’ve cloned a sheep, or that you’ve invented a bionic eye. And because of that, a dirty big hole in the ground has been deemed sufficient as a means of rubbish disposal. Instead of coming up with a better idea, we just call it 'landfill', as though taking out all the dirt and filling the hole back up with dirty nappies, plastic bags and coffee cups is actually a good solution. I can almost imagine the person who first filled an old quarry up with trash giving themselves a pat on the back and saying "Well done! We've killed two birds with one stone with this! We've filled up a hole and we've disposed of our trash!"

I think our scientists need to re-prioritise.

And I'm not saying all this because I'm a hippy, greeny type person. I'm just a regular person who thinks a hole is a very unoriginal and un-inventive way of getting rid of rubbish. In fact, the idea of digging holes and hiding things in them was something I came up with on my own when I was about three.
That's all I'm saying.

Sydney - Take Two

Thursday, July 22, 2010

On Friday KJ & I are headed to Sydney for the weekend. You may recall me mentioning Sydney before, and how it’s a cornucopia of convenience stores, gun shops and erotic book stores. Fun place.

The last time I was there was a little over a year ago for an annual work function, and this Friday night we’re headed to the same function – so it’s a mini holiday, but on the company’s dime.

This time I demanded to be left in charge of hunting down our accommodation as I’m a compulsive internet bargain hunter and figured I could find us somewhere extra nice to stay that was still within our budget. Last year KJ made the arrangements, and while the place we stayed was nice enough and very centrally located for visiting Darling Harbour, I wanted to stay somewhere where I could ring for room service 24 hours a day. Somewhere I could demand that someone do something about my mattress being too hard or to come and fluff the pillows. Somewhere that I could pick up the phone and have someone arrange my entire trip for me while I sat in bed drinking miniature bottles of booze and eating overpriced Toblerones.

Of course I never actually do any of those things (except for maybe the 24 room service), but it's nice to know they're available to me if I want them. Even though I’m the queen of laziness, I don’t like demanding that people do things for me, even though in this case I’m paying them to. I don’t even like having someone carry my bags to my room for me, because although it’s part of the whole 5 star experience, I feel bad that someone else has to do something I could just as easily do myself.

But despite all of that, I still really like 4 & 5 star hotels - mainly because the beds are bigger and more comfortable and because someone will park your car for you, which can be a pain in those tiny, cramped city carparks.

So I managed to book us a room at the SwissĂ´tel Sydney that was well within our budget and includes free breakfast and internet – and best of all, it’s right in the middle of Sydney, so everything will be within easy walking distance – including Circular Quay, where the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House are. I’m hoping we can spend our Saturday having a bit of a look around there, because last time we were in Syndey we were so tired when we visited the Opera House/Harbour Bridge that I can't really remember them.

So this is where I’ll be spending my weekend, trying to pretend that outside those luxurious hotel walls I’m not surrounded by vast amounts of porno, guns and 7-Elevens.

Life Long

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Today I had a follow up appointment with the Doctor about my stupid illness. I was hoping this was the point where she would tell me that I could stop popping pills like an 80 year old, but instead, it went something like this:

Her: Good news! You can stop taking all those pills!
Me: Great! I was hoping you would say that!
Her:'ll have to start taking this other medication.
Me: *sigh* Ok. So how long do I need to take this one for?
Her: Well, there's a chance that it could be permanent.
Me: Permanent? As in...
Her: You might need to take it for the rest of your life.

What the hell!!? You can't just spring that on someone as though it's no big deal! I mean, how many things are you expected to commit to for an entire lifetime? Think about it - in the course of your life so far, how often has a genuinely permanent decision come along?

Things I have committed to for the rest of my life:
1. Being married to KJ. I know that nowadays marriage isn't always a permanent thing, but for me it was a decision about the rest of my life and that's the way I treated it.

That's it. One. That is the one and only lifetime commitment I have ever made. Other commitments may have been long term, but never life long!

Needless to say, having that sprung on you on a Tuesday morning is not a great way to start the week. In two months I'll be heading back to see her again and I'll hopefully know then whether my second life long commitment will be about something as crap as medication.


Monday, July 19, 2010

I am so incredibly tired this week. I’ve had a huge amount of trouble dragging myself out of bed for work each day and I think I’ve worked out why. My body wants to hibernate because it is so damn cold at the moment. I’ve gone into good, old-fashioned, animal instinct hibernation mode. I should be curled up in bed sleeping until the sun decides that it would like to share some warmth with us again instead of lavishing it so freely on the other side of the world.

What this hibernation mode means for me is that my brain isn’t really working at full capacity at the moment. I’ve managed to drag my poor sleepy body out of bed and make it work, but there’s no dragging my brain out of its semi-coma and making it switch back on. I’ve tried plying it with caffeine and alcohol, tried kick-starting it by giving it complicated puzzles to work out or difficult scrabble moves to make, but alas – it’s gone to bed for the winter. I fear that I am doomed to another month and a half of dim-wittedness before my poor brain gives a big yawn, stretches its arms and says ‘Good Morning’ again.

Until then I am merely mush on legs.

Man vs Food

Sunday, July 18, 2010

After a month of non-stop writing, I feel a bit guilty for not having written anything since Monday. But it’s been one of those weeks where my brain just hasn’t wanted to work in a way that is capable of stringing whole sentences together that are worth reading. I think I need a holiday.

Last night I was introduced to the wondrous TV show that is ‘Man vs. Food’. Basically a guy travels around the USA finding the massivest meals he can, and taking on restaurant challenges to eat them. I watched him attempt to eat a 7 ½ pound hamburger in under an hour. Having just eaten dinner myself, it seemed even more sickening, because with a full stomach I couldn’t even contemplate the idea of someone attempting to eat a burger that big. The fact that we had a Greek food banquet for dinner and probably ate a couple of pounds of food ourselves seemed insignificant compared to this burger.

What really got me about the show was the part of the episode that introduced me to a dish I had never heard of before, and something that convinced me that the higher the population gets in a country, the more willing the people become to eat anything they can dream up, no matter how bizarre or sickeningly fatty.

That dish was ‘Chicken Fried Steak’.
Someone takes a piece of steak, coats it in flour and deep fries the sucker until it’s crispy. Then it gets slathered with gravy and voila - your deep fried dinner is complete.

I can’t believe someone came up with a dish like that. Who in the world decided that steak was something that could do with deep frying? Of course, I would definitely eat it – how could I not when my love of unhealthy food is so great? It’s still pretty gross though.

The fact that the guy on this TV show is able to find so many enormous meals is amazing. I don’t think food like that exists here in Australia. Sure, we have restaurants that advertise that they serve extra-large meal sizes, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so fantastically huge as some of the things he eats. The only thing I can ever recall coming across that was big enough to rate as a dish on that show was served at 'The Great Australian Ice-Creamery'. It was called ‘the kitchen sink’ and was basically a 9 litre ice cream sundae. It had every flavour and every topping, and they served it in a mini sink-shaped dish.
Now that is a challenge that I definitely couldn’t do – I struggle to eat a regular serve of ice-cream, so 9 litres would never, ever happen.

I may have to rethink my idea of a trip to the US, because there's a very good chance that with junk food available to me in sizes like that, my trip could end with a heart attack rather than a flight home.

I think I’ll just have to watch the rest of the Man vs Food series so I can enjoy my love of junk food vicariously while it clogs someone else’s arteries instead of my own.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Before I met KJ, I was in a relationship with a guy named Matt. We were together for a little under four years.

Today he rang my work, because his family business occasionally does some stuff for us. Almost four years we were together and when I answered the phone, he introduced himself by saying "It's Matt from *Company name*".

It made me so sad that four years of relationship can result in such an distant exchange. Four years you can share your heart and your mind and your body with someone, and then further down the track you speak to each other as if you're barely even acquaintances. It's just so.....impersonal.

Friday Night Failure

Sunday, July 11, 2010

On Friday night, KJ and I headed into the city for some farewell drinks for his sister, who is heading overseas to travel for a year or so.

I spent a bit of time after work washing and straightening my hair in preparation for the evening, because I figured this was the perfect time to test out the effectiveness of my new shampoo and the alluring quality it promised to give my hair.

It might have been the beers I had while getting ready, but to me my hair seemed extra-pleasantly shiny, so I headed off without any doubt in my mind that in a bar full of people, someone would be drawn to my my alluringly shiny locks.

When we got into the city, we wandered up and down the street trying to find the bar, and eventually found a door that we thought might be the right one, so we headed in. We walked up a couple of flights of stairs into a massive throng of people. It was shoulder to shoulder and we shuffled our way through the room, trying to find the right group. After a little while, I started to notice that people were looking at me, and so obviously I thought to myself "wow! This shampoo really did work!!"
Then I noticed that something didn't seem quite right about the way they were looking at me. It was more of a confused look than an allured look. In fact, they weren't looking allured at all.

It was then that I noticed a big sign on the wall announcing that Friday nights are 'Asian Night'. I looked again and yep, sure enough we were the only non-Asians in the entire bar. Strange looks explained.

Clearly, we were not in the right place. We headed out of there and into the bar next door, which thankfully was the right one.

Sadly, it was one of those pretentious arts student bars, where the beer is all imported and you get thrown out for even suggesting that you might want to drink something as bogan as good old Aussie Carlton Drought. They had no beer on tap, i assume because the place was on the second level directly above the first bar we had wandered into. In a place like that, your choice of beer says everything about you, so rather than risk handicapping my hair by drinking something that might put people off, I went with wine. Wine also seemed much more feminine, and I wanted to give my hair a real fighting chance, so I thought it was best to appear as girly as possible.

An hour and a half I stood next to that stinking bar with my supposedly alluring hair and not a single one of those goateed, too small shirt wearing, book bag toting guys did so much as smile in my hair's direction! Damn you Schwarzkopf, you have a lot to answer for! And to make matters worse, despite paying as much for my wine as I did when I went out for dinner a couple of weeks ago, it was cheap, crap wine and I woke up the next day with a massive headache.

My hair still looked pretty good though.

Big Boys Don't Cry....Do They?

Thursday, July 08, 2010

I had a little whinge the other day about having to console some friends who have recently broken up (for what seems like the 500th time).

What I didn’t mention is that one of them is a friend as well as a co-worker. He sits at the desk next to me and at the moment, I’m kind of his temporary supervisor. By supervisor, I mean that my job is basically to give him a hard time about doing his work properly. This involves pushing him pretty hard for most of the day and drumming into him how important it is that he does things properly.

This has been made really awkward now, because during work hours I’m supposed to be the serious supervisor, but it’s really hard when at completely random moments, he will begin dabbing at the corners of his eyes with a tissue and getting all emotional.

I’ve never really had any problems separating my work from my personal life. I’ve always been good at it - I have to be, because I work with KJ, so if I couldn’t we would probably be divorced already. It gets a bit hard in this situation though, because you can’t just ignore someone being upset. But it’s difficult to be the concerned and caring friend trying to let him know that you’re there for him, then in the next breath demand to know why he forgot to do some critical part of his job. I might be great at separating work from personal stuff, but I'm hopeless when it comes to combining the two in any way.

Also, for some reason I just find it so much more gut-wrenching when it’s a guy doing the crying. It’s stupid to pretend like guys never cry, but I guess that as a female I’m aware how often women cry, but have no idea when it comes to men. After speaking to his ex last night, I was completely unsurprised that she cried for our entire half hour phone call - in fact I expected her to. And yet a few tears from him has me at a loss for what to say or do.

So, awkward times at the moment.

The Bottom Job

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

I was watching a movie the other day, and in one scene a man bragged that his new girlfriend had just been promoted to Assistant Head of Paediatrics.

Immediately and without missing a beat, KJ said "Does that mean that her business card says 'Ass Head of Paediatrics'?"

Now I'm determined to find an assistant head of department so that I can check their business card to see if he's right.


Monday, July 05, 2010

I’ll warn you now that this is an insanely dull post, but I needed to vent, because I have had the most emotionally draining weekend ever.

On Friday my Nanna had her post surgery appointment with her surgeon. They told her that she needs to have low dose chemotherapy as a follow up treatment to make sure the cancer doesn’t return.
That was the final straw for her– she just totally lost it. All she heard was ‘chemotherapy’. She blocked out all the ‘low dose’ parts; about how different it is to regular chemotherapy; how you don’t lose your hair and most people don’t even get nauseous. She just kept telling us over and over how she didn’t want to lose her hair, and how she wasn’t going to have the treatment; that she was 81 and she wasn’t going to live forever anyway.

I spent all of Saturday with her trying to cheer her up and trying to stop her from talking herself out of having the treatment. By the end of the day she was a lot better, but it was exhausting – she’s very pessimistic at the best of times, so you can imagine that something like this had her at her peak.

I’m worried for her. Not because she needs the chemotherapy – honestly, if you met her you wouldn’t worry either. She’s one of the toughest 81 year olds you’ll ever come across. And she’s bounced back from her surgery quicker than a lot of people half her age do. I worry because she’s confused about the facts of her illness, and she might just end up getting very sick from the cancer because of something as stupid as thinking she might lose her hair because she won’t listen to the people telling her otherwise.

After a stressful Saturday, Sunday saw a couple of very close friends of mine who have been together for five years breaking up (again). They’ve split up about 5 or 6 times during the course of their relationship because they’ve known from the start it wouldn’t work out long-term. She wants to get married and have kids; he is vehemently opposed to both – to the point where he tried to get a vasectomy at age 23. They told him of course that they wouldn’t do it until he was older because a lot of people change their minds about these things. She found out about him trying and was furious – yet somehow that wasn’t enough of a warning for her that it was time to end things.

They moved in together about a year ago and that was the beginning of the end. You can’t live with someone and continue to ignore the fact that you want very different things. So Sunday was spent consoling one of them. It seems harsh, but I’m a little out of patience with their break ups. Every time they split up, I spend days comforting one or the other, only for them to get back together almost immediately.
Now when it happens, I feel as though I have nothing left to say to them. I feel as though I just want to yell at them to just get on with their lives and that they’re both better off apart.

At least this time it will probably stick, because they will be putting physical distance between themselves when she moves out.

So that was my weekend – cancer and break-ups. Not the relaxing weekend I had been hoping for.


Friday, July 02, 2010

Now that I’m under no obligation to post about anything in particular, I have a decent sort of list of things to talk about. Most important on that list is my new shampoo. (It’s clearly a very intellectual list.)

I was washing my hair the other night, and since I was using a new shampoo, I had a quick squiz at the bottle to see what amazing things it promised to do for my hair.

Like every woman, my bathroom is full of beauty products – shampoo and conditioners, deep conditioning treatments; toners and face wash; face masks and pore strips; moisturisers and eye creams – you name a part of my body and I’m sure that I have some product that promises to work miracles on it, making it firmer or tighter, more radiant and healthy or some such nonsense. They all promise to make a difference to how I feel about my looks. But never in my entire 28 years of using these products have I come across one that has promised that it will actually make my hair more appealing to other people – until now.

My local supermarket was out of my regular shampoo, so I bought Schwarzkopf Extra Care ‘Straight & Glossy’. This amazing product promises to tame rebellious, frizzy hair; repair and straighten hair structure for up to 48 hours; and the big one - ‘provide alluring shine’.

There it is - dot point number two
(Excuse my dodgy phone-photography)

That’s right – it promises that it will give my hair some kind of mystical shining property that will actually make it more attractive and tempting to other people. At least, that’s my read on what ‘alluring’ means. And a quick browse around the web seems to confirm that I’m right – about the word meaning, that is, not about the mystical powers of my shampoo.

Google Dictionary says:
- Someone or something that is alluring is very attractive.

Princeton University Wordnet says:
Alluring - highly attractive and able to arouse hope or desire

and Wiktionary says:
- The power to attract, entice; the quality causing attraction.

So essentially, this shampoo is promising me that if I use it, it will make my hair so shiny that suddenly men (and possibly women) everywhere will begin to look at me in a new way. My once dull hair will shimmer with wondrous shininess and people will find themselves suddenly drawn to me in a way that leaves them full of hope and desire.

Obviously, this leaves me with a few questions.

First off, do men really find shiny hair that appealing? Could the shine level of my hair really impede my ability to find a mate?

Secondly, is it possible that any product can actually make you more attractive to the opposite sex?In the end, you still look exactly the same, only slightly firmer, less wrinkly or with shinier hair.

And last of all - what am I doing wrong here? Because since washing my hair on Wednesday, I haven’t had a single person tell me how alluring I suddenly look or try to chat me up while surreptitiously attempting to stroke my hair. Maybe I need to flip my hair around more or something, like I’m in a hair care commercial.

Yes, that must be it.

Phone Etiquette

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Just a little something that I want to put out there for anyone who should happen to google the words "Phone Etiquette".
When dialling a wrong phone number, the correct procedure is not to wait until the person says 'Hello' then say 'Oh FUCK!' and slam the phone down in their ear.

That is all.