Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The Letter

I was sitting in a coffee shop the other day and was just about to put pen to paper, when the pimply teenage waiter arrived at my table and asked the question. Not the question I was expecting, mind you. I was expecting something along the lines of "Can I get you a coffee?"

But instead, he asked "What are you writing?"

It really was quite a simple question and confident I knew the answer without thinking music or phoning a friend, I responded simply – "A letter."

He stared at me blankly. Clearly I hadn’t provided all the necessary information.

"You know. A letter! Words on paper. When I was a kid, this is how we used to communicate. OH. MY. GOD. Did I just use the expression "When I was a kid"? What next? Was I going to start banging on about how things were better in my day, and then complain about this noise they call music? "Sorry, mate, you know letters, right? Envelopes? Stamps? Any of this ringing a bell?"

"Oh yeah," he replied. "I know stamps. Look at all the ones I got at the club last night, the DJ was awesome!"

"You might call that music," I said, trying desperately to catch the inevitable words before they tumbled out of my mouth, "I call it noise."


"But I don’t mean those stamps," I said, moving on before I started suggesting all the world’s problems could be solved by a good dose of national service. "I mean the ones with the Queen’s picture on them, and you lick her back!"

"Why would you want to lick her back?" He asked.

"Do you know, it’s a little-known fact," I said warming to the topic, "that every time you lick the back of a stamp with the Queen’s picture on it, the real Queen feels it."

He paused for a moment as if actually considering it, and then said "Nah … don’t be stupid. And anyway, I know what a letter is. I just wanted to know why you were writing one."

Why? The thought had never occurred to me. He seemed to sense I needed mor information and continued – "I mean, why would you write a letter when you could just send an email?"

"Well you can’t avoid paying your bills by telling someone the cheque is in the email, can you?" I joked.

He didn’t laugh and the thought suddenly struck me, why was I writing a letter? I mean, no one writes letters any more. Even the kid we sponsor in some hick country has an email address and a Facebook page. What was so special about a letter?

"Why?" I said half wondering what the next thing to come out of mouth would be, "let me count the reasons why. For starters, a love email will never be as romantic as a love letter, will it?"

He thought about this for a moment, nodded and said "What if you put some emoticons at the end? A smiley face or I could show you how to do a love heart with an arrow and a 3."

I felt like I was losing him.

"Well what about this then – if you get stuck on a desert island, it’s going to be hard to stick an email in a bottle."

"Unless you’re on Fiji" he countered "I went there with the boys at Christmas and they had a business centre with a printer and everything."

"OK then" I thought desperately, hoping I had another point, "what about spam? I have so many offers in my email for cheap Viagra, I could get the Tower of Pisa to stand up straight."

"There’s a tower somewhere made out of pizza?" he asked with amazement, and then just as suddenly seemed to pull himself back together. "Ok, I get why it’s better than email, but why then don’t you just use your phone?"

"OK mate" I said "letters are so much better than a phone. A letter won’t wake you up on a Sunday morning when you have a hangover, a letter won’t disturb you by going off in a movie, you can still understand a letter if you read it in bright sunlight, and it’s really hard to send a drunken smart arse letter to your mates in the middle of the night.

He laughed and I knew I had him I just knew we had found the same wavelength finally, so I motioned him closer and said "Do you want to know the real reason I am writing a letter?"

He nodded.

"The truth is I’m writing it to keep a tradition alive. You see, my most prized possession in the world is a letter written to me by my mum just before she died."

"Wow" he said "do you still have it?"

Of course and I read it often.

"Cool story, love," he said. "I’ll let you get back to it, but before I do, can I ask you something?"

"Sure" I said, suddenly sentimental.

"Can I get you a coffee?"

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Telstra ... I love you!!!

I'm angry, and at the top of my 'why' list at the moment is the appalling level of service offered by Telstra (our biggest telco, for you non Aussies).

Seriously folks, I knew  I had to do something about my phone when a friend called me from the Serengeti recently and the line dropped out at MY end.

According to the adverts, Telstra is meant to have 98% coverage in this country.  If this is true, the other 2% must be between my lounge room and the kitchen.  So recently, I finally bit the bullet, climbed into the cupboard under the sink where the reception is pretty clear, and gave Telstra a call.  An hour and a half later, I was still on hold.

An hour and a half! Don't these organisations realise that most people have better things to do with their time than be kept on hold?  I mean, I don't, but I'm sure people with real jobs do.

And while we're on the topic, let's talk about the 'hold' music.  The music they play is ridiculous. I could understand if it was 'Ring Ring' or better still 'Hanging On The Telephone' but all you hear, over and over again, is that bloody 'I Am Australian' song. After about the 18th time hearing 'We are one, but we are many' you can't help but have some very, very un-Australian thoughts.

Even worse is when the interrupt the endless repeats of  'I am Australian' to remind you about their 'fantastic products and services'.  Really?  Are any of these products and services related to actually answered the telephone?  Because that WOULD be fantastic.

If you're going to keep me hanging on for so long, keep me up to date with Brad and Angelina or the Kardashians. Even Rob Patt  and Kirsten Stewart (are they on again or off again? I have trouble keeping up.)  Hey, since we have plenty of time, explain what's been happening on Big Brother.

Isn't there something wrong with our society when the only time you get to speak to a representative from your phone company , is when they call you in the middle of dinner from India?  "Yes actually I would like to talk to you about my long distance service provider, thanks for asking.  And I have a couple of other issues too.  Hang on, I'll go get my list'.

Of course, the non-stop fun doesn't stop when you finally get through.  First you get the option menu, which for some reason, never seems to contain the option you need.  Then there's the computerised speech recognition software, that sounds like it was programmed by the Swedish Chef from he Muppets.

Actually while we're on the topic of computerised voices, what the hell is it with Telstra and their misleadingly named Directory Assistance Service?

First they changed the number from the very simple 013, to something that even Rainman has to write on the back of his hand.  The only way to be connected these days it seams, is to enter pi to 20 decimal places.

But that's not even the worst of the 'new service'.  No, I'm talking about the new and improved (cough, cough) computerised voice recognition.  My God, voice recognition is as misleading a name as Australia's Funniest Home Videos TV program.

Just who is the mental giant who took a perfectly good system - where you spoke to a real, live person, who would tell you the number you wanted - and replace it with a computer.  At the very least, is it to much to ask for a  system that actually works better, rather than one which replaces people's jobs with a machine, that makes a simple phone call more difficult than conversing with a drunk and dyslexic Alf from Home and Away.

Seriously, have you tried this craputer?  You request something simple like "Qantas" and the technology translates it into "Purple Monkey Dishwasher Service".  Errr no, I didn't ask for that, but by now I'm feeling like I'm on acid.  Recently I asked for the number of Singapore Airlines, and it replied "Do you mean Frankston Homosexual Midget Waxing Service". Ummmm, no I didn't, but on second thoughts, put me through!

While it's novel to experience what it might be like to talk to Ozzy Osborne, I have become so frustrated with this lack of service, this morning I tried to be clever and head it off at the pass. As soon as the message kicked it, I screamed 'Operator', but the bloody computer simply replied "I'm sorry, I did not understand your request. Please hold for an operator."

I rest my case, your honour.

Forget the citizenship test, when new immigrants arrive in our country, just give them a pre-paid mobile phone and if they can negotiate the security questions at Telstra, they're in, and deservedly so.

I digress ...

After being on hold for so long, I finally got through, and after giving my address, birth date, family tree, star sign, mother's maiden name, best friend's nickname, Snoop Dogg's real name, shoe size, but size, five favourite films, secret ingredient in my nan's lasagne and DNA sample, I finally got through to the department I was looking for.

This is when I began to think I'd licked a Chinaman, or whatever it is you do with Chinamen,  (Kicked, right KICKED!) because the lovely lady at Telstra - and I swear on the complete box set of Home and Away - said to me : "We can't help you with that, we don't really deal with phones anymore".

Okey and/or dokey, let's go through that one, one more time, so even the speech recognition software can understand it : We ... don't ... really ... deal ... with ... phones ... anymore!

Ummmm but aren't you Telstra? Isn't that what the 'Tel' bit in your name stands for? Or are you just 'Stra' now?

I was so stunned I even contemplated ringing Consumer Affairs, but with the day I was having, I was worried I'd spend 3 hours on hold only to be told that they no longer dealt with consumer complaints.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Modern Doodads

Recently, while I was recuperating in bed, I started thinking about childhood and I realised something quite profound: the moment you go from being young and cool to being an old sheila/codger is not related to age.  It's when you start using the expression "in my day".

This is especially true when you combine "in my day" with any of the following - "people had manners", "Children knew the real value of money", "Men wore trousers around their waists and not their knees", and "Music was actually music, and not this noise".

I'm really loathe to admit that I've been dishing up "in my day" way too frequently of late, so I guess it's only a matter of time when I too will be wearing my trousers around my nipples.

A good example of "in my day" - people used to write letters.  These days, kids seem to think 'letters' is the bit of the Big Mac that's left over once the two all beef patties, special sauce, cheese, pickles, onions and sesame seed bun have been eaten.  Lettuce .... LETTUCE!!

You know that nobody writes letters anymore, when even your World Vision sponsored child sends you emails or tells you to access their Facebook page.

Don't get me wrong, I like email, but it's nowhere near as good as an old-fashioned letter.  A love email will never be as romantic as a love letter, no matter how many smiley faced emoticons you attach to the end.

And let's not forget, it is far less likely your regular mailbox will be filled with deals for cheap viagra.

Don't even get me started on the fact that when I was a kid, if you wanted to take a photo, send an emal, listen to music and make a phone call, you actually needed a cameras, a computer, a stereo and a telephone. These days you can do it all on your mobile.

It would never have happened in my day.

Having said all of that, in a relatively short space of time, I have metamorphosed from a complete Luddite to someone who is a sucker for any new doodad (it's a technical term) on the market.  My favourite gadget, by far, has to be my iPod. I love it, yet I have to confess the feeling wasn't always mutual.

I got my first iPod back in the early days, when they were made of wood and you had to pedal a bike to make them play more than 2 songs in a row.  The main problem way back in YOT (Ye Olde Times) was that even though the technology enabled you to listen to thousands of songs in a row, the battery had a shorter life than most new Australian comedies on the 7 Network.

Still it was certainly an improvement on the discman, which if you tried to take  it with you when jogging, , it made your Best of Susan Boyle sound like it was remixed by Eminem. By the way, owning an iPod is kind of like being married to Rod Stewart - you know in a couple of weeks a new model is going to come along.

OK, seriously folks, I'm all for technological advancement, but  for me, the justifying principle is that the new doodad must enhance your life in some way and perhaps even improve you as a person.  for example, I reckon I'm a much friendlier sheila since I got my new Samsung phone.  But before I explain why - a little background  .....

Despite my best efforts - and I do try - I'm hopeless with names.  For some reason, my brain has an uncanny capacity for retaining useless trivia, but anything important like names, birthdays, tax file numbers, car registrations or my PIN gets erased like an Etch-a-Sketch.  I've lived in the same place nearly all m lfe, and I still don't know my home phone number.  Although, given I live alone, I don't know why Id ever need to call my home - unless I was going to ask the dog to tape EastEnders.

But I digress.

I find it amazing, and completely frustrating, that I can still clearly remember that Mrs Mangel caught the bouquet at Charlene and Scott's wedding on Neighbours, but often I'll be halfway through a conversation with someone I know, and have to say "Excuse me, I'm so sorry, but what's your name again?"  Only to have them stare at me, shake their heads, sigh and say ... "It's Peter, but to be honest, normally you just call me dad!"

I was ready to give up and resign myself to a life of constantly being embarrassed in social situations until a little bit of technology changed my life forever.

(I finally have come to the point of my story, thanks for your patience).

It all happened when I was invited to a wedding and had to confront what is basically my worst nightmare - a room full of people who were 'friends' of a friend.  You know, the sort of people you've met once or twice, so you should know their names, but you'd actually struggle to identify them in a line-up.

Then I had a sudden realisation.  On my new Samsung, I can access the internet.  I quickly ducked outside, and quickly looked up the bride's Facebook page where there were photos of most people at the party with their names underneath each photo.  And not just their names!  I strolled back into the party full of confidence and conversation starters.

"So, Paul, good to see you.  Are you still into ....... Kylie Minogue?  And Sally, its good to see you too.  I was so sad to see that you and Paul had gone from being 'in a relationship' to 'it's complicated'.

Ha ha no problem!!!!!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Beep Beep

It was, I think, just after my 12th birthday. My mother thought I was old enough to be trusted to go to school and back on the bus - alone!

She didn't know I was already way beyond buses.  I had even driven her car around the block with my brother David (older brother, I might add), when both our parents were out.  

Actually, I remember it really well. I turned the ignition key and put it into gear and my first thoughts were "I'm going to die" followed by "She's going to kill me" followed by "Heeeeeyyy, I'm driving. Cool".  When I drove back into the driveway and got out of the car, I thought "I've gone from child in danger to dangerous child".

When my dad finally got around to teaching me to drive at about 17, he was really impressed by my 'natural talent'.

Ah ..... cars!  I have figured that one of the most embarrassing things in life is when you become the person you used to hate.  That's why it absolutely pains me to admit that for the past couple of days I have been driving a 4WD.  

Yes folks, I am now one of those road-hogging, petrol-guzzling, environment-destroying, talk-on-the-mobile-while-driving, compete and utter tossers who drives a 4WD in the city.  I have been driving this baby for a couple of days now and the closest I've come to going off-road was when I buggered up a reverse park and ended up on the nature strip.

Friends who know me will also know that my little red car is broken, or sick, and is in hospital.

By the way, did you know that you can now buy spray-on dirt to give your 4WD that off-road look even if you've never been anywhere near the back country.

Let's be honest, I live in the city, what do I need a 4WD for?  So I can get to the next set of traffic lights faster?  Most mornings, I don't even get my speedo above 50.  I don't need a 4WD - I barely need a 4th gear. I don't need a V6, I could probably run my 'little red car' on a couple of cans of VB (that's beer for you Brit type people, who I know, read this).

Come to think about it, if petrol prices get any higher, I think I'll finally get to take this baby off road, because I may have to use it to invade Iraq myself to get some cheap oil. Honestly I filled my car before it broke and I'm sure the car doubled in value.

So transportation seems to be the topic of conversation around our street lately.  

It was like this a while ago and my partner at the time, and I went out and had a quick look at cars.

I really don't know about you guys overseas, but here, our devotion to the car borders on worship.  Despite what you hear, it's not really a matter of economics, it's an image issue.  In Australia, you are what you drive  Go and have a look at your car, and there you are.

So I thought a new vehicle (image) was in order.

The red Mercedes with leather everything really felt like me.  The bank didn't really think it felt like me to them.  Nor did the black BMW convertible.

I remember my next door neighbour suggesting, I put all my money into drugs, stay home and take all the trips I wanted.

Ok so what's wrong with my 'little red car'? Let me tell you ....

Firstly the automobile driver side window has now decided, while it is happy to open, it won't close unless I push the button while pulling up the glass with my other hand (and then pulling out my fingers at the last minute to ensure i don't sever my fingers in the process).  And I do have to get the window up as high as possible, because my car has already been broken into.

Anyway, apart from the guillotine window, the car had been fine for some time, but lately things have been falling apart.

As I said, my car was broken into at the airport, then I got a flat tyre, only to discover when I went to grab the jack, that the thieves had stolen than too.  I mean, seriously folks, who steals a jack?   I've heard of car-jacking, but car jack-jacking? Or maybe their getaway vehicle had a flat and they needed to improvise.

Is there a lucrative black jack market?

As if that weren't enough, a couple of weeks ago I got into the car and I turned the key and it didn't work at all. I turned the key again. Nup, still nothing. Turns out the battery had died.  Luckily roadside assistance was quickly on the spot and replaced it with a new one.

Only problem was, when I started the damn car, the stereo wouldn't work.

Obviously my car has some sort of security override, that means when the battery dies, the stereo locks. Now instead of belting out some non-stop blocks of rock, it was flashing "Enter Code" in a way that implied if I didn't enter said code, my car would self destruct in 30 seconds.

But what code was I meant to enter?

I tried the PIN for my bank card, my phone number, the numbers from The Da Vinci Code, Pi to 100 places, 58008 (which is boobs upside down) and last week's lotto numbers, but none of them seemed to work.  Finally, I tried my last resort, I yelled at the stereo while mashing all the buttons at the same time. Surprisingly, that didn't help either.  Go figure!

It was at this moment when the lovely man from roadside assistance (who I hadn't noticed was still there and I suddenly felt very embarrassed about the shouting and mashing) suggested I check the owner's manual for the code.

Brilliant idea!

At least something was going right.  Only one problem. Only a tiny one of course. Turns out when they robbed my car, they also took - wait for it - the owner's manual.

Think I'll buy a Jeep!!!  (ask an Aussie to explain the joke, guys). Car won't start again, so I had to admit it to hospital.

Hang on, I just thought of my friend, Damian (not his real name for reasons which will become obvious).  He is - how can I put this nicely? - frugal.  Like ex Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, Damian would consider himself to be an 'economic conservative'.  Most people would use another term.  Derived from the Latin - maximus tightius arseus.

Yes Damian is tight and proud of it.  You know the old joke about someone opening their wallet and moths flying out?  Well, that sums up Damo; except if he had moths living in his wallet, he'd charge them rent.

Why I mentioned him here .... take a drive with Damian and you'll learn that when he puts petrol in his car, he makes sure he shakes the hose until he gets to $50.02, because he knows that they'll round down the amount and he'll drive away with 2 cents worth of free fuel!!!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie eh, eh, eh?????

News of my credentials as a true-blue, kiwi-mocking Aussie must have travelled the globe, because when I landed in London last year, I found myself on the news.  Now before you start making assumptions, no I didn't try to take in a boogie-board full of Schapelle's secret stash.

No, I was on the news defending our Great Land.

Why me, you ask?  Well you all know of my credentials, but aside from those, all I can guess is it must have been one of those rare occasions when ex Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, was actually in Australia - visiting from his back-packing tour of Europe or something - so they checked which Aussies were in town, saw Jason Donovan, Sir Les, Peter Andre and Dannii Minogue and figured I was the best of a bad bunch.

But the reason why I was asked to defend our beautiful home, GBS (Girt By Sea) is interesting. As it turned out, the English had taken particular exception to an advertisement put out by the Australian Sports Commission. The story was making front-page news in the tabloid press over there (whose motto, incidentally, seems to be "Small Words, Big Type, Bigger Boobs").   And suddenly I was an expert. Yes, it turns out that all it takes to be an expert is convenience by being at the right place at the right time..

Now if you haven't seen the advert I'm talking about, it was a viral email starring a boasting Brit that was meant to arouse anger and passion in Aussies.  If you can't be bothered looking it up on YouTube, it stars an actor with a less convincing British accent than yours truly, taunting Australia about our Olympic Gold Medal count.  Why the ad agency couldn't find an actual geezer for the ad, I don't know. Surely they could have just popped down to Bondi beach and asked every 2nd person there.

Anyway, I found myself on TV in the UK. Camera in my face, lights burning my eyes and being asked "Would it work?"

"Well, maybe." (Oh yeah, They were really getting their money's worth with my outrageous opinions). Maybe - I feared I was going to get splinters if I sat on the fence any longer.

I reckon most Australians would confess that in certain areas we've always seen ourselves as superior to the Brits - weather and dentistry are a couple that spring immediately to mind.  But sporting prowess is the one that trumps them all.  Sometimes I really suspect we'd be happy to come second last in the medal count in the Olympics, as long as Great Britain came in last. (Well, actually, 3rd last because there is always New Zealand too!)

In most countries, the Olympic motto is Citius, Attius, Fontius. But in Australia it is Citius, Attius, Fontius Beatius, Pommius, Bastardius.

As much as they Olympics should be about celebrating the spirit of taking part and striving for excellence, it genuinely did a) surprise us and b) burns us up that the bloody Brits beat us.

Remember when it happened? It basically knocked all the other news off the front page.  Suddenly no-one cared about terrorism.  Forget 'beat the bombs', it was all about 'being beaten by the Poms'.

And beaten we were. Every mathematician in the country was pulled off important research to prove that we won more medals 'per capita' than Great Britain.  Then we decided that although the British total was higher than ours, some of these medals were won by the Welsh and the Scots so they don't count.

Hell, if they could all compete as Great Britain, we should be allowed to combine with other countries too ... maybe the United States of Australia or Chinalia.  We just couldn't admit that the British had beaten us fair and square.

'So where does this rivalry come from?' I was asked.

Well, my theory is that we resent the British because they think we're convicts, and they resent us because someone stole a loaf of bread in cold, wet, plague riddled London and they were sent to Summer Bay. The other reason we like to play this game is simply that sporting rivalries are mostly harmless and fun. That's what's worth remembering. It's the bloody Olympics.  It's not a matter of life or death.

OK, let's talk briefly about something that REALLY matters - the Ashes!  Supporting the Australian Cricket team used to be rewarding. Used to be - thank you England!!!!  Now it's getting harder and harder to support the team who can't even spell the word 'VICTORY' at the moment.

Enough of that.  And if we're going to talk sport, a long overdue reform is making the Melbourne Cup - the horse race that truly does stop a nation - a public holiday for the whole country.  No-one can argue that there isn't something really special about the Melbourne Cup.  If nothing else, it's the only time usually rational people set their alarms early on a day off, then spend hours fighting traffic just to sit in a car park getting pissed.  It's like going to the movies but, instead of going inside the cinema, spending the entire time sculling coke and snorting lines of Wizz Fizz (a sweet for you non-Aussies) at the candy bar.

The current situation in places outside Melbourne is that people get to stop work for the duration of the race.  So if the whole day isn't declared a public holiday, like it is in Melbourne, at the very least they should have the decency to make the race longer. Forget 5 minutes, get the horses to run a marathon.  That way, the rest of Australia would get a couple of hours off. Hey make it like an F1 race Bathurst or even better, like The Amazing Race.

Ohhhhhh - sport!!!!!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Inflicting Pain!!!

When I was young, I could pretty much eat whatever I wanted, but since turning 30, I seem to be putting on kilos in my sleep.  And I know it's only going to get worse.

I was having visions of myself, lying on the couch at home eating Pringles while watching The Biggest Loser, and then being lifted out of my house by a crane, live on Jerry Springer.  I even had a recurring nightmare in which "A Current Affair" was doing one of those hard hitting reports into dodgy diets and when they cut to the slo-mo stock footage of all the big beach bums bursting out of their bikinis, I recognised my own bum!

OK, the first thing I did was join a gym. 

Now before I continue, I've got to say, I've never been a gym junkie which is a weird term now that I think about it.  It conjures images of people standing outside the Fitness First gym saying "hey fatty .... have you got 50 cents. I need a quick walk on the treadmill?" In fact the only time I've attempted a gym workout, I woke up the next day so sore that even my eyelashes hurt.  Plus it always seemed stupid to pick up heavy things, when if there's something heavy at my house that needs picking up, I pay someone else to do it.

So it was with some trepidation, that I went to my first assessment session.  Walking through the door of the amazing brand new gym. I was pulled aside and introduced to the chiseled Adonis who was going to show me around.  It didn't help my nerves that he looked m up and down and said "Hello, my name is Attila".

Attila? Attila?? Attila???

To cut a long story short, as it was, Attila turned out to be an awesome bloke.  He was a former triathlete who tried to design a gym that wasn't just exercise equipment, but it included heaps of fun stuff like rock climbing and boxing and there was even a DJ, although I did wonder if it was a good gig. "Hey dude, where are you playing on the weekend? Playing at the Big Day Out?"  "Nah, love. I'm on the Wheels of Steel down at the gym."   Well, I guess in both places there are plenty of sweaty people drinking bottled water.

But i digress.

There were two of us newbies - the other being another chiseled Adonis who really didn't look like he needed any exercise.  I filled in my forms. Just doing the paperwork made  me break out into a mild sweat, and then it was time to do some real exercise (and there was I thinking that's what the paperwork was)!

It seemed that the first item on the agenda was - wait for it - pulling a car using a rope. Huh? At least I think that was one of the exercises. Either that or Attila needed a jumpstart and he was taking the piss.  I was ready to collapse in fright when I realised he had this planned for my newbie male friend.  Phew!!!

From there we moved onto push-ups.  Attila had to see how many we could do it a minute.  A minute??????  Ok, I admit, I didn't make the entire minute without stopping.  Neither did my newbie friend, Jason.  Should this be an indication of his performance in the bedroom. 

Then there were sit-ups, bench presses, holding the medicine ball above my head while stepping through tyres ((I'm sure this one is going to come in handy next time I need to hold something heavy above my head, while I step through tyres).

Next I got to swing on the monkey bars. (I'm not sure  if this was one of the exercises or just recess).  After that came a great one where Attila made me sprint up a flight of stairs but take the escalator back down.  (The perfect time to sneak in a quick smoke, I thought).

Finally it was time to jump into the boxing ring so Attila could see how many punches we could throw in a minute.  To be honest, by this stage, my arms were trembling so much, I struggled to put the gloves on in a minute, but luckily my manager was Don King and he had paid off the judges, so I won by a nose.

At last, I was done. Sweaty, sore, stretched an broken, I resolved then and there to come back. But not for at least 12 months when my body had stopped hurting.

The only other time I'd been in that much pain, was when I went on a skiing holiday with some friends.  Growing up in sunny Melbourne, my family didn't do much skiing, so when a couple of friends suggested we go to the snow for a week, I leapt at the opportunity.  Little did I know it would be the last time I would be capable of jumping or even walking, for the next month.

You see, I didn't realise that some people see skiing as a wonderful way to spend a couple of weeks, I didn't.

While my friends had a really good time, I spent o much time face down in ice and when I wasn't face down, I was bum up. I think they made a mistake by attaching the skis to the bottom of my boots. They should have jst strapped them on to my bottom, seeing as that was the part of my body that made the most contact with the snow.

I also ended with my ankles behind my ears so often, it looked less like I was skiing and more like I was auditioning positions for a new Kama Sutra.  I spent so much time doing the splits, even Miley Cyrus would have thought I looked a little trashy.

Foolishly, I thought the trip might be an opportunity for romance, but the only body my legs wrapped themselves around was my own (plus at the end of a day on the slopes, my body was so bruised and broken, that the only person I wanted touching me was a licensed medical professional or possibly, a coroner).

All jokes aside, I returned from that trip convinced that skiing was invented by the same person who came up with Candy Crush, colonoscopies, and the Crazy Frog ringtone.  It's entertainment for masochists while their dungeons are being cleaned during Spring. 

By the way, my skis contained secret magnets at the end.  Try as I may to keep them straight, they would go in the complete opposite direction. Elton John has more chance of going straight than I did.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

School Days

If I were Prime Minister for a day, the first thing I'd do - after passing a law that says Brad Pitt has to marry me - is to give teachers and nurses a pay rise.

It doesn't say much for our society, when a stripper who performs as a 'sexy schoolteacher' or 'naughty nurse' gets paid more than the people who actually do these jobs for real.

Of course if there are any kiddies reading this, I should point out that this does not mean the next time Miss Jones bends over to pick up the chalk in biology, you should try to slip your lunch money into her garter belt.

All jokes aside, I truly do believe that teaching and nursing are the most noble and important jobs in the world, an it really pisses me off that sometimes  we treat teachers as though the only qualification you need to teach grade 2 is to have passed grade 3.

Look, we all agree that nurses are great, but I'm not saying that all teachers are great.  There are certainly a few who found their way into it, not through a love of nurturing the next generation but through a love of having 6 weeks off at Christmas.

i had one teacher who was so bored, he used to stand up the front of the class and sniff the whiteboard markers all day long. (I have no real proof, but that's what I think).  On the upside, he did always give me great marks, and once said that I was one of the smartest clowns he had ever taught. Errrr .... hang on .....

I know this will come as a bit of a shock to most of you, but I was a bit of a brat at school.  Almost every report card I received contained the comment "Katelyn will do well in life, as long as she stops trying to be funny all of the time".

My major problem at school was boredom.  In most humanities, arts and language classes, I had more As than a Queenslander making a speech, but in Maths and Science, I scored so many Cs, my report card sounded like a Spanish couple on their wedding night. (Come on, think about it).

In year10 maths, I remember being so uninterested, that a couple of us would sit up the back of the room, tear up our text books, throw them up into the ceiling fan and when they scattered down, we would sing Christmas carols. 

In science, my friends and I spent most classes seeing how many things we could turn into bongs.

Don't even mention economics. we spent every lesson trying to hide the entire class from the teacher. (Errr ... sorry Butch).

And even back then, I would constantly get into trouble for things I said.  In one class (and this is not a joke) the teacher was so frustrated by my questions, she snapped "Well Miss Taylor, if you think you can do a better job, why don't you come up here and teach the class?" What a mistake!

I did.  I immediately sent her to the principal's office, cancelled all homework and asked everyone if they wanted to go on an excursion to the pub. Boy, was I a great teacher.

Oh, and I almost got expelled on my last day of school.  At my school there was a tradition among year 12s, to parody the daily school bulletin.  Unfortunately our version proved a bit too much for the teachers we targeted and they demanded we get kicked out. 

Imagine that?  Making fun of those in power.  Phew, lucky we grew out of that!!!!

But while a good teacher can inspire you, a bad one can scar you for life.  When I told one teacher, let's call her 'Mrs Brown' that I wanted to fly when I was a little older, she told me that it was never going to happen.  

That day, I went home in tears.

I'm not going to make any jokes about nurses. I owe those angels my life.  Just pay them whatever they want!!!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Costume Hire

This is an old post - read the second one below if you want a new one - written a few months ago.  I actually like it, so I thought I'd repeat it.

My complaining started the minute we received the invitation in the mail. Fancy Dress Party: Come dressed as the thing that scares you most! “But I’m not scared of the usual stuff like spiders, snakes, vampires and ghosts” I complained, “and the costume shop never has something for existential angst!”

“Stop being a wanker,” my friend replied, “just make a list of things you are scared of and then choose one of those.” So I did, and you know what, it turns out I am scared of heaps of stuff.

For example I’m scared that when people around me are speaking in a foreign language that they are talking about me being fat. 

I’m terrified that I will die before the final episode of Lost and I will never understand what was going on with that bloody island; I’m even more terrified I will see the final episode of Lost and I will still not understand what was going on with that bloody island; 

Babies… you know, just in general; 

I’m anxious that the fun I had in my twenties will destroy my brain and I will become one of those old sheilas who just repeats her same stupid jokes all the time; 

I’m scared that I am too happy most of the time to think of anything genuinely deep to say; 

I’m virtually terror-stricken that one day soon a comedian will make a joke and the Australian Family Association will complain they really shouldn’t be joking about things crossing roads, I mean won’t somebody please think of the chickens? 

I’m scared of having an ugly baby, but I don’t know it’s ugly and all my friends pretend but then one day I am walking down the street and someone says: “Why do you have that monkey in a pram?”; 

I’m fearful that I will be shunned at dinner parties in Fitzroy and Newtown if I tell my friends that even though I loved The Wire, I think SVU is a far-superior crime series; (Oh and while we are on a roll I didn’t get the end of Twilight either); 

I’m scared that one day I will push a cotton bud too far into my ear. 

I’m worried I should have kept more receipts; 

I’m scared that I’ll never be mature enough not to giggle when they mention former IOC President Dick Pound’s name on the TV; 

I’m scared our government will never have the balls to let gay people marry and I will have to be ashamed of that all my life; 

I’m scared that someone will be staying at my house and open a cupboard in my house and find something embarrassing like a bong or a DVD box-set of Home and Away; 

I’m terrified I will become one of those boring middle-aged people who gets angry at young people for doing the exact same things I did when I was young; 

I’m scared that I’m right and there is no God, and existence is meaningless, and I really should have just gone to the beach; 

I even more scared the crazy guy in the mall with the cardboard sign is right and there is a God and he is going to be really mad at what I did as a teenager; 

I’m afraid that I should have done something productive in my life like settle down and have a baby; 

I’m scared shitless that if I did settle down and have a baby I would immediately regret it and wish I had spent the money on buying DVD box-sets which I would enjoy a lot more and would never tell me they hated me and that I had ruined their life; 

I’m terrified of falling over and knocking out some of my front teeth, I’m even more terrified this will result in people thinking I am British; 

I’m scared that pain in my hip that I have now had for a couple of years, and assumed would go away at some stage, is now just how my hip feels; 

I am scared the person I am in my head isn’t the way that other people see me; 

I’m afraid I don’t tell the people I love that I love them enough, and I am terrified I tell strangers in the mosh-pit at the Big Day Out that I love them way too much; 

I’m scared that I will die young and never get to see Hawthorn win another premiership; 

I’m scared that I will live to 100 and get a telegram from King William that says: “I’m sorry you never got to see Hawthorn win another premiership”; 

I’m afraid the one thing I will regret just before I die is that I didn’t eat enough cake; 

I’m scared that I should have spent more time in my life worrying about things like world poverty and less worrying about whether I taped Masterchef Australia; 

But, you know, where do you get a costume that says that?

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Tit for Tatt

A girl I know has a tattoo of a dolphin on her bum, which I thought was really cool, until one day she put on a pair of fish-net stockings and suddenly she looked like a Japanese whaler.

Not that I have anything against tattoos. I admire anyone who is willing to put themselves through that much pain in the name of art. Sure Van Gogh cut off his ear, but that's nothing compared to the agony of getting a half-naked man riding a unicorn inked on your inner thigh.

Recently, I've been thinking about suffering for the art myself, (thinking, I said) but I have a couple of reservations.

Firstly, I'm a wimp. I'm terrified of needles. I'm the sort of girl who tends to freak out if a nanna knits too close to me on the bus.

The closest I have ever come to having body art is writing "Buy bread and milk" on my hand in pen and, even then, I could hear my mum's words ringing in my head that I'd die of ink poisoning.

Secondly, I'm worried that, while a tattoo might look great now, when I'm older and wider, that little dolphin on my butt might resemble something Greenpeace would roll back into the ocean.

The biggest issue is I'm not sure what style of tattoo would suit me. I think I can rule out a "tough dudette" tattoo. You know the ones that who look so tough even the tattoos have tattoos.

These walking canvasses are mostly spotted hanging out at biker bars, operating the rides at local shows, or breaking your knees if you don't make the payments on your new couch - replete with beards that look like they have come straight off a ZZ Top video clip and teeth that look like they were designed by the druids who built Stonehenge.

These guys have so much body art, you think if you stare at them for long enough, you'll see a 3D pirate ship. You're not sure whether you are meant to be scared, or trying to find Wally.

Some of the really tough ones even have "love" and "hate" tattooed on their knuckles, although you get the impression for some of them "left" and "right" would be more useful.

There is only one establishment where you can get this style of tatt done, and I'm not sure I'm willing to steal a car or kill a guy in a bar fight just to get a cool tattoo. Plus, I'm the sort of girl who would get it done, then lose a finger in an accident and have to spend the rest of my life explaining to people why I have "love" and "hat" on my hands.

So if the tough-girl tatt is in tatters, the next choice is to get something symbolic, like Chinese or Japanese symbols that sum up something important in your life. But, in my case, I'm not sure there is a Japanese symbol for chocolate.

Of course I could go the popular option of getting a partner's name tattooed on me, but this is risky. Remember Johnny Depp had to change his "Winona Forever" to Wino Forever when that relationship broke up. (Perhaps this is the reason J.Lo's bum is so big. She has to keep it that way to fit all the names of her previous husbands there.)

Even worse, Rod Stewart's daughter Kimberley had her boyfriend's name tattooed on her groin, and then he promptly dumped her.

Surely if you are going to get a tattoo on your groin, the safer option would be to get your own name tattooed, then at least if you have a lot of one-night stands, your partner would know what name to call out in the height of passion.

My ex's name is Mark. Although I hoped we'd be together forever, I had the fear that if I had his name tattooed, when we did break up, the first time I'd got intimate with a new partner, it would be hard to explain a "Mark Forever" tattoo. "Oh, no, it's not another guy, I'm just a big fan of the Cricket and Mark Taylor was  my favourite player".

David Beckham went the safer option and had his children's names tattooed on him. Perhaps if he also got Posh tattooed across his fingers, he might remember who his wife is next time he sends a text message.

Above all else, I think the main reason I haven't got a tattoo yet is I have such appalling fashion sense. You're looking at someone who once thought wearing a hyper-colour shirt with tight acid wash jeans was the height of pret a porter.

I'm scared skinless I'd get adorned with something I thought was incredibly groovy, but before the ink dried would be so out of fashion I'd need a visit from the producers of Embarassing Bodies Australia.

So if I do take the plunge, you can guarantee I will have thought it through.
I don't want to be the old girl taking my nighty off in the nursing home to show my grandkids my tatts, just to hear them say, "So Grandma... what does Bootylicious mean? And who's Bon Jovi?

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Advertising Sunnies

Someone told me once that there's a company solely dedicated to putting advertisements on car airbags. Yes, you read it right, car airbags.  That's kind of a niche market, don't you think?

Seriously, folks. Is the moment after an accident a time when you're likely to think about shopping?In that moment, will you be saying to yourself  "Hmm, I've just been in a serious crash, but for some strange reason, I have a craving for a Big Mac. Oh, hang on, I know why - those giant golden arches, that are now embedded in my forehead.

Personally, I find the whole thing a bit hard to swallow.  I mean, what products would feature on airbags? Insurance, head ache tablets, tow truck services, new cars, maybe just a better optician than the one you've been using.

If I've learnt one thing about advertising, from my ex, it's that the more far-fetched something is, the more likely it is that someone's thinking about doing it, if they could.  I think ad gurus would tattoo the inside of our eyelids with logos, so that every time we blink, we'd receive a subliminal message.

Assuming the airbag ads are legit, what's next?  Are we going to see promos on the inside of coffins, so the deceased don't miss out on sale pitches? 'Dead tired? Try a Red Bull'.

I know that, for some people, ads are just gaps in a show that allow you to put the kettle on or duck to the loo, but I've always been fascinated by the power of the persuaders.  One of the main motivators they use to sell us crap we don't need, is fear.  And before you say "Well, we live in a free market, Katie, and if you don't like it, why don't you and your latte sipping friends, get a boat back to Russia, or wherever you came from."  All I'm asking is do we really need to make people feel bad in order to sell them stuff?

There are ads for health insurance, car insurance, house insurance, dog-house insurance and don't forget the insurance against getting a paper cut from filling in the insurance forms. Turn on the TV for half an hour and you'll quickly be convinced someone is going to steal your car, burn down your house and go for a joy ride on your dog.  It's no wonder we watch so many crime shows. We just want to see someone worse off than we are.

But the ads that really make my blood boil are the ones  - usually for cleaning products - that constantly drum home the message  "If you don't buy this, you're a bad parent".

I'm the first to admit that there are plenty of ways someone can be a bad parent (hey, let's not open the whole kids-on-a-leash can of worms again) but buying the wrong type of Toilet Duck doesn't rank high on my list.

I really can't imagine someone saying "My old man was a real bastard. He drank too much, had affairs, and clipped us around the ears regularly, but at least he bought the lemon-scented Spray N Wipe".

There's one particular fear based ad that really gives me a case of the ....... well, the very thing the product is used to clean up.  I think you'll know the ad.  Aussies will, at least.  It's the one where a woman has friends over to visit, but suddenly realises she hasn't cleaned the toilet.

The clear implication seems to be that if she hasn't used a certain cleaning product, her friends will see her dirty bathroom, judge her, reject her friendship and possibly make her walk through the main street of town, with a big "I'm dirty" sign hanging around her neck.

While everyone likes a clean toilet, isn't this a tad extreme?  I mean, if my friends are going to dump me because my bathroom isn't clean enough to dazzle them, then good - it's better I find out how fair-weather they are before they find out the really disturbing stuff about me. (Steady!!!!!!)

While we're being honest, I have to confess that I've never understood the supposed compliment, "She has a toilet so clean, you could eat off it".


When I told my friends recently that I was going to Los Angeles, they said "Well, at least the weather will be nice".  But the first thing I realised when I landed, they don't actually have weather in LA.  You can't call it 'weather' when it's the same temperature every single day.

There are casinos with more varied weather patterns than the City of Angels.  The only clouds I saw while I was there came from people puffing medicinal marijuana.  

'Medicinal marijuana'!!!!! Don't you just love that.  Imagine stoners asking for a prescription.  When the doctors ask what their symptoms are - "Ummmm I don't seem to be enjoying play station half as much as I used to, and there are not many colours in the world".

On my first morning in La La Land, the sun was shining, so I started looking for where I'd left my sunglasses. Suddenly I realised exactly where I'd left them - Australia.  It was time to go shopping.

Stumbling upon a shop called Hollywood Eyes, I was greeted by a guy wearing so much fake tan, I didn't know if he was going to try to sell me sunnies, or give me a tour of his friend, Willie's, chocolate factory.

Without waiting for me to speak, he squealed, "I think these ones would look smashing on you, darling" and handed me a pair of glasses even Elton John would consider a little over the top.

But I thought seeing I was there, I might as well humour him and try them on.  And I confess, he was right. They did look OK.

Well, at least until I checkout out the price tag!

Eleven hundred dollars, plus tax.  And that's not even taking into account the exchange rate.

Call me tight, but as a general rule I don't think you should pay more for your sunglasses than your computer.
This was way too much, especially for something I was going to leave in a cafe or sit on and break.

Seeing the look of indecision on my face, and sensing he was losing a sale worth at least six sessions on the sunbed, Slick Larry decided to play his trump card.  "You know Angelina Jolie came in last week and bought the exact same pair."


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Up, up and away .....

Move over Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar it seems the battle for the Australian airways is about to be joined by a new carrier specialising in parties, pizza nights, karaoke and dance offs. Or in other words, pretty much your average flight with Lady Gaga. 

But while many travellers have been excited by this news, I'm not so sure. Don't get me wrong, with the amount of planes I catch that have been delayed I think the airlines could learn a thing or two from the pizza delivery industry. For starters, if it's more than 30 minutes late, it should be free.

But despite this, I'm not really sure I like the idea of a plane that doubles as a "Nightclub of the Sky". I know the life-jackets have glowing lights and a whistle on them, but I didn't think that was in case a rave breaks out. And I really don't want to get to stand at the door with a steward who says ... "Nah, not in those shoes darl."

But I think the thing that would freak me out more than anything about a dance party airline would have to the Captain's announcement: "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. I'm flying, and I hope you are too. If you want to see me taxi down the runway let me hear you say Ho! Today we'll be cruising at a height of 30,000 feet, unless of course you've taken one of those lovely purple pills (complimentary in first class, although you will have to pay for them in economy) in which case you'll be cruising at a height of 50,000 feet. Sorry about the delay to our take-off today. I was slightly distracted by a man on ground waving yellow paddles at me. I'm not quite sure what he was trying to tell me, but man he was going off.

Earlier as we taxied along the white take-off line, air traffic control informed me that today's flight time is estimated to be approximately thirteen hours. Since then I've taxied along a white line of my own, and I reckon I can get us there in about thirty minutes. If you care to look out the window right now you'll notice the people on the ground are so small they appear like ants. Oh my god, they are ants, in fact I'm covered in ants, get them off me! (Whew, I probably should lay off those purple pills). At this time could I also remind you to please switch off your mobile phones as we have Shane Warne, and  
David Beckham all sitting up in first class and it may lead to them interfering with their equipment.

It is now time for our in-flight safety demonstration. If you need any assistance at all during the flight, please push the little button on your arm-rest, and a small glowing man will appear above your head. For those of you who have taken the purple pills, this should amuse you for hours. 

Please note that your emergency exits are located here, and here. And if you get lucky in the toilets during the flight, your ankles will be located here and here. (Remember what we say, if the 747's a rockin' don't come a knockin') Speaking of the toilets, please note restrooms on this plane have not been fitted with smoke detectors, but they have been fitted with smoke machines to give them that authentic night-club feel. If cabin lights go out, a series of lights will lead you directly to the emergency exit. If these lights go out please follow the swirling disco lights which will lead you around, and around and around. 

In a moment we will show you a short movie entitled "Deep Vein Thrombosis" which is not a sequel to "Debbie Does Dallas". After this our in-flight entertainment will consist mostly of Bazza and Dazza getting drunk and singing a karaoke version of "I still call Australia home" which let's face it will still be a lot more entertaining than any of the crap Ben Affleck movies we used to show you. In case of unexpected turbulance, a bong will fall from the roof. This won't help, but it should at least chill you out. Please breathe deeply yourself before passing it on to any backpackers next to you. In the unlikely case a crash landing is needed, please consult the card in the seat pocket in front of you for the emergency brace position. It also shows the Macerena, YMCA, Bus-stop, Time-Warp, Lambada and Mambo No 5, 6 and 7 for the dance contest later. 

We are about to serve our in flight meal service. For those of you who have taken the purple pills, I should point out the meals are meant to be minature, the drinks are meant to be minature, and the cutlery is meant to be minature. You have not, I repeat, you have not turned into a giant. 

We are now about to commence our descent, so could all tray tables be returned to their upright position. Also, for anyone who joined the Mile-High Club during the flight, could all flight attendants please be returned to their upright position. Please note your baggage will be available from a carousel on the ground floor at the completion of the flight. The rest of your baggage will be emotional, that should arrive about Tuesday. 

Once again, thank-you for flying with Nightclub Of The Skies, remember others may be cheaper and faster, but we fly the highest."

Monday, 29 July 2013

More Bits and Pieces

I turned 30 this year, which – touch wood – should mean I'm well under halfway through my life. So here’s my question – why does it feel as if the extended warranty on my body ran out a couple of years ago and since then everything has started to fall apart?

If you think it’s hard to find spare parts for a second hand European car, try sourcing them for a broken down body.

I first started noticing it when something as simple as moving came with it’s own soundtrack.  Five years ago, when I got out of bed in the morning, it was done silently.  These days it’s accompanied by a groan akin to a Hungarian weightlifter completing the clean and jerk, crossed with the type of phone call that’s charged at $4.95 per minute.

OK. I was out with my radio jock friend recently and he seemed a little too happy, so I asked him what the problem was. Seems his brother is getting married and he was asked if he’d be best man.  He loves him and all of that, and is privileged to be part of his brother’s special day, but secretly, I think he’s so pleased because he get’s a title – Best Man!!

I really don’t think he’s ever been referred to as ‘best’ of anything  To be honest, as the sort of bloke who calls ‘Hire a Hubby’ when something goes wrong at his house, he’s just pleased to be called a ‘man’.

It has to be said, though, that the title of ‘best man’ at a wedding is a little overstated.  For starters, your presence there is a certainly less important than, say, the groom, which immediately relegates you to ‘second best man’.

Of course, the priest is usually male, and if you believe in that sort of thing, he has a direct line to God, so that knocks you down the order again.  Then more often than not, there’s a father of the bride, which means you’re now not even on the podium, coming in as ‘fourth best man’.

I seriously can’t begin to imagine how it works at a gay wedding where there are two of everything.

This is how the conversation went – He said he was excited but also nervous about his duties.  He only has one brother so even if he’s the fourth best man, he still wants to make sure he does a good job.

He said he can handle the speech bit, but he’s not got any idea of the rest.  Does he book a stripper?  (For the buck’s party, of course as – he says – even he knows that it would be in bad taste at the church)
Needing help, we took out the iPad, looked online and after spending a few minutes on sites that seemed to skip the ceremony and concentrate on the wedding night, we found that he needed a “Dummy’s Guide To Being Best Man”.

I told him he would have to dance with the bridesmaids.  Not a problem there, he said.  As long as they know the steps to the Macarena, the Time Warp and YMCA.  He is also happy to organise the tossing of the garter.  However he’s not sure if he can find enough single men, because, let’s face it, at our age ………… so would it be wrong to invite those whose relationships are a bit rocky?

Oh, don’t worry.  It’ll be OK on the night.  After all, you’re the fourth best man!!

Part of friend's column in the paper recently (which needed to be repeated) –   He's talking about Australia Making the World Cup:-

"It is sometimes said, and said quite insistently, that football is actually better than sex. At first glance. this seems a strange and highly debatable statement.  The two activities are so utterly different.  One involves sensuality, passion, emotion, commitment, selflessness, the speechless admiration of sheer heart-stopping beauty, rushes of breathtaking, ecstatic excitement, followed by shattering toe-curling, orgasmic pleasure.  
The other is sex.  Certain women  who are not football fans - I am reliably informed that there are one or two such creatures left in this world - sometimes fail to understand the subtleties of this connection.  They simply do not relate emotionally to the blissful anticipation of the game, the sacred ritual of preparation, the joyful build-up to the main event, the veritable foreplay that is the brisk booing and tribal barracking of the opposing team and it's supporters, the plateau phase of the contest itself, as it thrusts first this way, then that, the feverish mounting excitement building up to ..... YES HE SCORES!!!"                                                      

I was listening to the radio recently, and they were interviewing Steve Waugh and it really made me laugh.  They were actually talking about ‘sledging’ on the field.  They said to him “So, Steve, if you were batting in a game of backyard cricket and your mum was bowling, and you got a little nick through to the keeper, and nobody heard it …. Would you walk?”    There was a bit of silence and then Steve said “You never walk, fellas.  Makes up for that time she gave me LBW last Christmas when it was clearly going down legside”.  Apparently one of the world cricketers accused the Aussies of being the best sledgers in the world   Although, I guess, I can understand why sledging by the Aussies puts batsmen off, after all when most cricketers tell you they groped your wife in a spa filled with jelly, you know it’s just mental warfare, but if Shane Warne says it, you might want to call home to check.