Monday, February 28, 2011

People who blog are usually talking about one of three things; the events of their day to day lives, things they like, or things they don’t like.

I think I’m sort of somewhere in the middle of the three. I try not to write too much about things I don’t like, because it seems pointless and annoying to fill up the virtual world with whinging about crap traffic or something the PM said or how annoying it is that there are an uneven number of steps leading from my driveway to my front door.

So I try to write mostly about my day to day life and about things I like. The problem for me at the moment is that my day to day life is really very dull. I’m busy every day for 8 to 10 hours with work, then I go home, do mundane things like tidy the house or cook dinner, and then I sleep. The highlight of my day is the odd game of online scrabble, or a quick email with a friend. Maybe mixing it up a bit by reading a few chapters of my book before I fall asleep.

These are not things worth writing about.

So now I must endeavour to find something in these mundane happenings to write about so that my brain won’t turn to slop. I’ve set myself the task of coming up with something by Friday at the very latest. I have a quiet work week ahead (finally), so I’ll schedule in a bit of brainstorming, and I’ll be back soon with something more interesting to talk about than the new tree that my neighbour planted last week or how I read two chapters instead of three in my book last night. I hope.

Suggestions welcome.

REAL love

Monday, February 14, 2011

Up until recently, Valentine's Day wasn't really a big deal in Australia. It was just that holiday that people overseas celebrated, mostly in Hollywood movies, and specifically in romantic comedies.

Sadly, just like we have with everything else, we've given in to the commercialism and Valentine's Day has found me watching desperate looking businessmen hurriedly clamoring over over-priced roses in the supermarket on their way home.

I don't really buy into the whole drama of Valentine's Day - I couldn't care less if I spent the day alone or with a loved one. But given that it's Valentine's Day, I feel that I have to share some kind of story that is vaguely related to love, so here goes!

I've gotten into a sort of routine - or tradition is probably a better term - when I get a haircut. I usually have my appointment on a Thursday evening at around 6pm. This means I go straight from work to the hairdressers without having dinner. Luckily, the hairdresser is right next door to a Noodle Box. I never go to the Noodle Box any other time - they're way overpriced and I'm usually too impatient to wait that long for noodles. But after I get out of my hair appointment, I'm feeling good and relaxed, so I wander next door and pick myself up a seafood laksa for dinner. This has become somewhat of a tradition.

My favorite part of this routine is not the food - it's the little Chinese man who cooks the food for me.

He speaks barely a word of english, and what he does speak is very hard to understand, but for some reason, he LOVES me. He always greets me in what I can only describe as an excited way when I enter the shop, even if he's busy tucked away behind the counter frying noodles. If he's standing anywhere near the register when I walk in, he'll attempt to take my order, even though he clearly has no idea what he's doing. He gives me free prawn crackers and asks me just how specifically spicy I want the food. I sit down to wait for my order, and when it's done, he brings the paper bag around the front of the counter and hands it to me personally, all the while with a big smile on his face.He ushers me over to the plastic utensils and asks me if I want anything, then waves me off as I leave with the huge smile still all over his face.

I like to think that it's just me that get's this treatment - maybe because I'm an oddly regular customer - Seafood Laksa, spicy, every 8 weeks at around 8:30pm. Or maybe it's the fantastic confidence that I exude when I walk out of the hairdressers with perfectly smooth and shiny locks.

Either way, he makes me day. And if you ask me, that's the kind of love that Valentine's Day should be about. Because if you can only show your partner that you love them once a year, then you've got bigger things to worry about than forgetting to buy flowers and having to stop at the supermarket on your way home.

A Funeral

Friday, February 11, 2011

Yesterday, I took the day off work to attend Uncle Colin's funeral. The fact that the 240 seat room was standing room only by the time we got there was testament to what a great guy he really was.

The thing that astounds me about funerals is that nowadays, people seldom wear black to them. As far as I'm concerned, wearing black to a funeral is symbolic and respectful. It's a way of showing that you're in mourning, and that you respect the person who has passed away enough to physically show that their death has had an effect on you.

Yet only a handful of the 250 plus mourners were wearing black!

On seeing that, I made KJ promise that should I die before him, he wouldn't let anyone into my funeral if they weren't dressed in black. I'm considering writing into my will that everyone must wear black to my funeral, and maybe put in a clause demanding that a bouncer be hired to throw anyone dressed colourfully out on their arse.

Colin's wake was held at the local lawn bowls club. I love bowls clubs, and while it probably wasn't an appropriate sentiment for a wake, I couldn't help but enjoy the super cheap beer and the fantastic old-fashioned food that was made by the wives of the club members.

I guess, as these things go, it was quite nice. The service was a relatively upbeat celebration of his life, and the wake was a friendly and enjoyable gathering of good people over good food. It was a very nice way to say goodbye to a great man.

Uncle Colin

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Yesterday, while I was home cleaning up the mess after a torrential downpour that left my street with a fast flowing river running through it, my Uncle Colin passed away.

It wasn't unexpected - he had been a very sick man for some time now. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year and given just a matter of months to live. I was lucky enough to be able to spend Christmas with him one last time before he passed away, and even in sickness he was the same friendly, chatty character who laughed a lot and loved his family openly.

Uncle Colin wasn't really even my Uncle - he was my Dad's Uncle, but he was more involved in our lives than my real Uncles ever have been. He and his wife have been there for all of our major life events - births, deaths, marriages - whatever happened, they were part of the family during it all. We spent Christmases and holidays together, and his familiar throaty laugh will always be prominent in my memories of those events.

Right now the news is too fresh for me to really feel anything about it, but already I know that I'll miss him and that it won't be the same at all those family events without him smiling and laughing along with the rest of us.

Four Reasons to Disregard the Advice in my Last Post

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Reason one: Once good and liquored up, you may have a drunken phone conversation with your mother-in-law in which you agree to get up obscenely early and drive her into the City. You may not remember the next day whether you sounded drunk or not, but will suspect that you did.

Reason two: On waking up obscenely early, you may find that it has rained so heavily overnight that there is a river running down your street and your garage is flooded, requiring you to schlep around in the mud (with a hangover) trying to redirect the water flow so that it doesn't get into the main part of the house.

Reason three: Did I mention the part about it being obscenely early?

Reason four: When you wake up at stupid o'clock you may have a raging hangover and find that you're alone and there is no one there to make you coffee, bring you Aspirin, or take care of Reasons One to Three for you.

Four Simple Steps for Dealing with Hot Weather

Friday, February 04, 2011

Step one: Come home from work and turn on every air conditioner in the house.

Step two: Attempt to prepare dinner only to find there's nothing in the fruit and veg section of your refrigerator because you filled it full of beer.

Step three: Give up trying to find something for dinner and consume several beers as a meal substitute.

Step four: Pass out from beer consumption and sleep through what would otherwise be a hot and restless night.

Hot Weather Problem - Solved!

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!!

It's 29 degrees, 90% humidity and the aircon in my office has packed it in.
It's a stupid little office with no ventilation, so it's about 40 degrees in here and so damn humid that my arms keep sticking to the desk as I try to type. I'm debating locking the door, closing the curtains and stripping off to my underwear so that I can work in some kind of comfort. That seems a little weird though, so for now I'll contain myself and just sweat through it.

Really though, I can't complain, because unless you've been off scaling cliffs in the Arctic, you would have heard on the news that the top half of Australia was first flooded, and then hit by the biggest Cyclone in the country's history. Cyclone Yasi was a category 5 cyclone - That's 5 out of 5, so it was a good one.

Here's a picture of Cyclone Yasi superimposed over the top of the USA that gives you an idea of the size of the thing:

So really, a bit of heat and humidity is really nothing for me to stress about I guess!

If you feel so inclined, you can donate to the Disaster Relief Appeal here, or via the Salvation Army here. I will be.