Sunday, 16 June 2013

Bits and Pieces 3

One of the most embarrassing things in life is when you become the thing you used to hate. That’s why it absolutely pains me to admit that I’ve been driving a 4WD.

Yes folks, I am now one of those road-hogging, petrol-guzzling, environment-destroying, talk-on-the-mobile-while-driving, complete and utter tossers who drives a 4WD in the city.

For some reason I can’t remember, my friend and I have swapped cars for a while, so I didn’t really decide that I needed an off-road vehicle and went out and purchased one.

I’ve been driving this baby for a few weeks now and the closest I’ve come to going off road is when I buggered up a reverse park and ended up on the nature strip.

Let’s be honest, the only bush-bashing I ever do involves the ex US President, and the closest I have ever got to driving through creeks or bursting through sand-dunes is when I’ve occasionally forgotten to slow down for a speed hump.

Did you know you can even buy spray-on dirt now so that you can 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 V6 or a V8. I could probably run my car on a couple of cans of VB.

Sure there is the possibility that at some stage I might go off road in it but, using that logic, I might as well drive a tank in the off chance that as some stage I might have to go to war. It would also be kind of like my remaining single on the off chance that I might at some stage meet Alan Rickman or Gary Oldman.

Hey, have you noticed that all the car adverts have great shots of creeks, desert donuts and parking spots perilously close to the edge of a cliff. This is despite the fact that the nearest most people who drive a 4WD will ever get to a cliff is if that’s the name of the pensioner they hit at the crossing when they are driving while talking on their mobile phone.

And with petrol prices rising so fast, soon it’s going to be cheaper to put champagne in your tank, and save the unleaded to drink on special occasions. I filled up the other day and my car doubled in value.

If petrol prices go any higher, I think I’ll finally get to take my car off road because I am going to have to use it to invade Iraq myself to get some cheap oil.

I love getting to travel overseas for work, but the toughest thing about going to the US in particular is going through customs. Although the travel is long enough that you can have a few drinks on the way.
(In my defence it's not because I think binge drinking is clever, it's just the only way I can get through the latest Russell Crowe movie.)

No, the reason I think it's tought is all the paperwork. I hate filling in forms, it makes me feel totally dyslexic. (Which by the way seems a really hard word for dyslexics to spell.)

One question on the custom's forms which is a bit  difficult- "Have you ever been arrested for a crime involving moral turpitude?" Well, um, seeing I have no idea what the moral turpitude is, I'm not sure I can tell you.  

I've never seen Ice T on Law and Order: SVU say "Yo, this bro is goin' down for moral turpitude. I'm gonna bust a cap in his ass!"

It's at this point that the questions really become ridiculous. "Are you seeking entry to engage in criminal or immoral activities?" Isn't it great that with all the extra security we have at airports we are still relying on the honour system.

As if the master criminal mind is going to be filling in this form and write: "Well yes I was, I was going to steal some money and kill some people, and maybe even fit in some moral turpitude if someone can tell me what the hell it is. I know I shouldn't be admitting this, but my Mum told me to never tell a lie."

"By the way, if you are interested I have attached a detailed copy of all my plans, included a list of my accomplices, and also some evidence I found about who really killed JFK. Plus, while we are at it, when I was in Grade 6 I borrowed a copy of The Magic Faraway Tree from the library and never returned it." Friggin' forms!!

I’ve finally worked out why the world is so screwed up. All the politicians running it are brain-dead, corrupt morons who wouldn’t know their policies from their private parts, and all the people who really know how it should be run are too busy driving cabs. Well, that’s according to the taxi driver I had on my way home from the airport the other day. I had a cab driver who had no idea where he was going. Now I’m not saying they should know exactly where everything is (even God loses Guam occasionally), but I’m pretty sure that the most direct route to Chelsea in Melbourne is not via the Sydney Opera House. Here’s an idea, cabbie, how about you ask that bloke you’ve been on the phone to all trip if he knows the most direct way.

By the way, don’t you love it when they ask you "can you direct me". Well, actually, no. I’m not your navigator. This is not The Amazing Race. Would it make it easier if I drove also?

Anyway, I’ve gone off on a tangent again – sorry. We were talking about tourism in Australia. We worked out why our tourism is in a bit of slump – people have seen that damn Qantas ad and think that everywhere they go, there’ll be a bunch of annoying brats singing "I Still Call Australia Home". Apparently tourism Aust has been given $360 million to bring in the tourists. I think we should spend it on beer and sausages and have the world’s biggest barbeque. Maurie the cabbie thought we should just keep the money, forget the ads, and just pretend we have weapons of mass destruction. It worked for Saddam Hussein. Some people call him a madman, but he got results. He had 100,000 US tourists (soldiers) there within a week. "Yeah, sure we have bombs. They’re hidden in the arse of the big Merino and in the Dog's tuckerbag at Gundagai". (Spelling's bad, I'm sure.)

The truth is, most Americans still think we spend the work day wrestling crocodiles and saving our babies from dingoes, only to go home, throw a shrimp on the Barbie, and drink a bucket of Fosters. (If truth be known, any Aussie worth his salt would rather drink water than Fosters). Even when ordering a coffee, they expect us all to sound like Steve Irvine (the crocodile hunter). "Crikey! I’m here at Starbucks, the home of the most dangerous coffee in the entire world, with a caramel macchiato. What a little beauty! Now it’s hot, so danger! Let’s see what happens if I sneak over and poke it with a biscotti."

But while we may criticise the Yanks for stereotyping us, we have to shoulder some of the blame ourselves. Every time there is a visiting dignitary in town, we’re always the first to roll out the clichés. Like the last time George W. Bush visited Oz, we gave him a Dryzabone coat. Yep, that typical Aussie bit of clothing that we all wear. I wear mine when I’m riding my kangaroo to work. I believe the time before, we gave him an Akubra hat, stockman’s boots and a stock whip. He looked like a stripper from Manpower.

Now if you think about it, I’m pretty sure most people could identify the point in their lives where they stopped being eligible to be prime minister. In fact, if you really looked back, I bet you could pinpoint the exact moment when you took something or did something – or someone – that would be later used against you if you ever sought higher office. "You know, Becks, it’s lovely to be here in this spa with you and all your Manchester United team mates, but you know, if these pictures get out, I can never be Prime Minister."

Well ..... a couple of us were banned from going to the soccer to watch the local boys playing because we have this silly way of heckling them. Soooooo, we got into the ground yesterday and stole the net at both goals.  Match was called off and I think they're still looking foir the nets. That will teach them. Banning us!!! HA!!!!


I had dinner with a good friend on Saturday night. He's a radio jock!! I'm not going to mention his name because if I do and he hears about it, it won't be pretty.

I must tell you he and his on-air partner did a phone interview with the lovely Nicole Kidman a couple of years ago, and he jokingly asked her to comment on the rumours about her love-life.  She  laughed and said the problem was that every time she was seen with a man, the media assumed they were having hot, steamy sex. 

So my friend said "Well next time you’re in the country, why don’t you have a drink with me? It would be awesome for my reputation." That was probably the day she learnt a lesson – it’s all well and good to have fun, but don’t do it on tape – because she replied "OK, I’ll be in Oz at Christmas, let’s go for a drink then!" My friend said that they must have played that audio about 1000 times a week, to the point where even the guy who programs MASH thought they were repeating it a bit too much. 

Anyway, Christmas came and the promised drink never eventuated, so in the New Year, when my friend spotted a picture of Nicole in the newspaper visiting sick children at a Melbourne hospital, he thought he’d have some fun. 

On air the next day, he pounded the desk and said into the microphone "How dare you, Nicole Kidman. How dare you be seen with sick children when you’re meant to be having a drink with me". 

He said the phone lines lit up like a Christmas tree,  and his off-sider handed him the phone and told him it was Nicole Kidman on the line,  ‘Yeah, sure’. 

It was indeed Nicole who apparently was such a good sport. In the end, they agreed to meet at the local Return Servicemen’s Club and to his absolute surprise she actually went. Without any publicists or bodyguards. As he says, just one down-to-earth, smart, friendly and surprisingly funny Aussie chick having a few 1970-price beers. He said that he had to pay for all drinks, because, well … obviously they didn’t have change for a billion dollar bill at the local. HE SAYS that she told him that he was cute!!!!!!!!!!! 

Ha! I said "Dude, be realistic. I’ve known you for years, I like you a lot, but even I would have to get very drunk to find you cute!"

I’m in charge of the laundry at our house. I like it, it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I understand the concept of sorting the colours and setting the dials. These are choices I can understand. I still haven’t figured out the remote controls on the TV or the DVD recorder, and as for Foxtel – forget it, but washing machines and dryers I can handle with some sort of skill. I love it when you take the clothes out of the dryer and there’s lots of static and you can hang the socks everywhere because they’ll stick there. (A neighbour caught me doing that once and gave me THAT look – you can’t always explain everything you do to everybody, you know!!)

Anyway, the washing machine died last week. I think I overloaded it with towels. I called a repair man to come in and fix it, knowing too well that if you call these guys you have to stay home and wait for 36 hours straight and have your bank manager standing by with a bank cheque, or else they won’t set foot on your property.  Anyway, it's now Monday and he's still a no-show.

I wanted to change my hairstyle and I was looking for a new hairdresser in the telephone book because mine has gone interstate. Christ, check out these names.  We have His and Hairs, Hair Majesty, Lunatic Fringe, Right Hair Right Now, Head Master, Curl Up and Dye, Avon Curling, The Perminator, The Best Little Hair House in Texas, Perms of Endearment, Good Head and my favourite – The Bald and the Beautiful!!!! I wonder if any of them can actuallyt cut hair. My usual hairdresser can get me in and out in 60 minutes, but when I rang to book at the new place they said "Make sure you allow three hours". Three hours?????? I don’t even want to do anything I enjoy for three hours. I’m sorry but I think you should be able to get your hair done in less time than it took Frodo and Sam to ditch the ring. I’ve seen cricket test matches that have gone on for less time than that. If I’m going to be there for three hours, I don’t just want a cup of coffee, I want a meal and a movie.

I got a really bad haircut last time I changed hairdressers. I’m sure you know the sort – it looks less like you got a professional to do it, and more like you lost a bet. Seriously, it looked like I was attacked by an epileptic Edwards Scissorhands. The main issue with my hair, if it hasn’t been cut for a while, it becomes very thick. If my hair had a personality, it would be David Beckham! Anyway, I’m a bit funny with new hairdressers. I love the guy that used to do my hair and for some reason, if I go to anyone else, it sort of feels like I’m having an affair.

That was most of the weekend covered.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Weekend Capers ...

What did I get up to on the weekend ... hmmm - let's think

Transportation seemed to be the topic of conversation yesterday. We went out and had a quick look at cars. 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 Merc sports 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.  One of my friends suggested I put all of my money into drugs, stay home and take all the trips I wanted - but that's not me. I don't think you can bring back groceries from those trips. I could be wrong, however!

Saturday we had a staff party in a hangar at Melbourne airport. I wasn’t going to go, but I decided "hey, what the heck, give this a go". Boring. OK if I’m honest I tried to make up for the raise I didn’t get by drinking the equivalent amount in free champagne – I may have even drunk my way into the next tax bracket! Qantas decided to have a party because it would be a good opportunity for staff to get together, learn from and inspire each other – What they realy meant was -  screw, bitch about and steal from each other!

Also on Saturday I went skydiving. I didn't tell anyone, because ... well, just because.  Although I should point out, I didn’t jump by myself. I did a tandem jump. You see, when it comes to throwing yourself out of a plane, it’s the opposite to sex. You start doing it with someone else and, when you get good enough, they let you do it by yourself. Why did I do it? Well, I think the biggest rush you can ever get in the world is AD – Almost Dying. First I had to fill out so many forms that I thought the jump should be a three way – me, my instructor and my solicitor. My favourite part was the "Skydiving Is Dangerous" bit at the bottom, in small print. Well, duh, thanks for that. To be fair, the people at Skydive Melbourne were very conscious of safety, right up to the massive "No Smoking" sign on the hangar wall. Because when you’re about to jump out of a plane, you don’t want to be exposed to something that may be hazardous to your health, like passive smoking.

My tandem master’s name was Nathan. He was a great guy, but I quickly asked him if he had plans for that night. Not that I was actually interested in his social life, I just wanted to make sure he had something worth living for. Before I knew it, we were being loaded into the plane (or as the instructors call it – The Point Of No Refund). There were about 10 of us crammed in and strapped to the floor. We were so close together at one stage that when we hit an air pocket, I think Nathan and I accidentally joined the mile high club. Anyway, the jump was absolutely incredible. If you get the chance, try it. Now, who’s for a bungee jump?

Just for something a little more serious ... I was thinking about my grandfather, Sam, yesterday. It was the anniversary of his death. He lived in a ‘charming’ cottage up at Black Spur in the Victorian High Country. (If you’ve ever seen the movie "Man from Snowy River’, it was filmed at the Spur). Anyway, he called me one day and asked me to go up the mountain to visit him. I was ‘so busy’ that I couldn’t give him a couple of bloody hours! I never saw him alive, again.

He found out, a couple of years ago, he had terminal cancer. He was a doctor so he knew about dying, but he didn’t want to make us and his friends suffer through that with him. So he kept his secret, and died.

Everybody said how brave he was to bear his suffering in silence and not tell anybody, and so on and so forth.  Bloody bollocks! Privately, I feel angry that he didn’t need me, and trust my strength, and it hurt that he didn’t say goodbye.

You would have liked Sam. Everybody did. He was obsessed with star watching and also the United Kingdom. He’s probably there now. If you see him, take him to the pub, let him show you the stars and you can tell him what a great grand daughter he had.

Oh, and tell him I’d love for him to come home for one more Christmas.

Internet Games

I have a confession to make. From the time I first sat down at my computer to write this to when I actually typed these words, I’ve checked my e-mail three times. Now admittedly, part of this problem is because I’m a natural procrastinator. In fact, if I were a superhero I think I’d be Procrastinator Girl. "What’s that? Someone’s in trouble? OK, I’ll be there as soon as I make myself a cup of tea, read the papers, sharpen pencils, have another cuppa, feed the dog, organize my CDs into alphabetical order, check my e-mail, type my name into Google and finally, have one more cup of tea. But mostly, I’m just addicted to turning on the computer and seeing "You have a new message".

The funny thing is, in my head, I’m not really sure what the appeal of e-mail is. After all, we have had a much superior invention around for decades. It’s called "the phone".

If e-mail had been around for 50 years, and we had just come up with the phone, then everyone would be like "Hey Kate, you’ve got to come and check out this new invention – it’s amazing. It’s just like e-mail, but you can actually talk to the person." Having said that, nowadays it seems that they’re inventing more and more phones you can type messages on, so what the hell do I know? I’m pretty sure if you give the latest mobile to 1000 monkeys they’d eventually SMS you the complete works of Shakespeare.

There are a couple of things that bother me with the World Wide Web. And not only that it’s abbreviation, www, has more syllables than just saying ‘world wide web’ (yes, I know, I should get out more). My first problem is the prevalence of adult content. Now I’m not Prudey McPrude, but it’s made it virtually impossible to look up anything without being redirected to a porn site. The other day Keith was trying to build a shelf for the kitchen, to hold some cups, so he innocently (?) typed the keywords "wood", "screws" and "jugs" into Google. Suddenly he was directed to sites that were less hardware and more hardcore.

Another thing that annoys me is spam. I really don’t need any penis enlarging pills or generic impotence treating drugs. Don’t you just love the e-mails with subject headers like "A message from a friend you haven’t heard from in a while". Then you open it up and discover it’s not from a friend you haven’t heard from in a while, because if you had a friend who could do that, they would be hearing from you all the time.

Which reminds me, I should check my in-box.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Me and My Dentist

You probably can't tell from my incredibly gorgeous(?) photos, but I have really wonky teeth.

Not only do my pegs go off in so many different directions it looks like my dentist is one of the Druids who built Stonehenge, but my front fangs are so big I live in constant fear that if I smile too much I'll be stabbed to death by Buffy.

Put it this way, even the Karma Sutra has less angles than what's in my mouth, my molars are mutated to the point even British people make fun of me, and one of my incisors is so crooked it has just been appointed to a vacancy on the Victorian Supreme Court.

My cuspids and bicuspids- not to mention homocuspids, tanscuspids and cuspids that are just experimenting- are so terrifying I once smiled at a crocodile and it started crying. (I'm pretty sure they were only crocodile tears, but you see my point.)

That's why I was distraught this week when I realised it was time for my six-monthly dental check-up, because whether it's going through customs at the airport, or going to the dentist, I live in constant fear of having my cavities checked.

 Seriously, is there any worse place on earth than sitting in a dentist's reception listening to the sound of drilling from next door?

Most of the time I don't think there is even anyone in there, I think the dentists just have a CD with all the noises on it to freak people out. "Hey, hang on, this drilling has been re-mixed by Fat Boy Slim." (Not to mention that horrible sucking noise, which sounds like either Paris Hilton has popped in, or they are making cappacino.)

Of course, it's even worse once you get into the room and realise the drill the dentist is holding is so big you are not sure whether he is about to clean your teeth, or start constructing an in-ground swimming pool. Forget the dental nurse, it looks like he should have a council worker next to him with a Stop/Slow sign.

And while we're at it, why is it that dentists feel the need to wait until your mouth is completely full with machinery and cotton wool before they strike up a conversation? It's hard to keep your cool when you sound like a cross between Sylvester Stallone and Ozzy Osbourne.

Then they ask you to spit, but by this time your mouth is so swollen all you can do is drool and slur. I'm starting to think the Swedish Chef from the Muppets wasn't Swedish at all, he had just had some major dental work.

Although I must admit the one thing I do enjoy about going to the dentist is the gas. I love that Nitrous Oxide. I wish I could just get a tank of it, strap it to my back and go to a rave. I know a lot of people only get the gas for major operations - I get it for everything, from getting my teeth cleaned to paying the bill. (Which let's face it, with the price dentists charge, is still the most painful part of the process.) In fact, I use so much gas my dentist once told me when I visited he was tempted to just fill the room with gas, and he would wear the mask.
On the upside, my fear of dentists has meant I have always taken very good care of my teeth, especially for someone who grew up in the country, where generations of systematic in-breeding had meant if you had more teeth than fingers you were pretty happy.
Pretty much the only part of my dental regime I am not very good at is flossing. Each time I visit the dentist he gives me the big speech about the importance of flossing, and each time I do it for about a week after my visit, and then for the next six months the closest I get to a floss is if I get a Snakes Alive snake caught in my teeth. Sadly this also means that like the kid who hasn't studied for his exams, when my next dentist appointment comes around I try to cram six months work into about two days, so not only do I go to the dentist with dirty teeth, but also with rope burn on my gums.

I guess at the end of the day visiting the dentist comes down to trust, and I'm sorry but I find it hard to trust someone who won't even show their face on television. Why? What do they have to hide? Are they in the Dental Relocation Program? And more importantly than all this, if dentists truly aren't allowed to show their face on TV, how soon can we get Eddie McGuire a dentistry degree?

Desperate and Dateless

Being recently desperate and dateless, I found my eyes lingering over the romantic profiles in the email pals, and as far as I can tell, the most common requirement among males is to find someone with a ‘good sense of humour’.

Now, while this may sound good, I’m not sure this is actually true. I mean, if that’s what men really wanted, they’d be tearing down their posters of Paris Hilton and drooling over Whoopie Goldberg.

And it should also be pointed out that when men say they’re looking for someone to make them laugh, it normally doesn’t mean they want someone who is funny looking.

Another massive cliché of personal ads is, “I enjoy long walks on the beach,” which usually means, “while I’m taking photos of the topless women on my mobile phone.”

My brief study of the profiles has already taught me a few lessons, such as when someone claims, “I’ve never done this before,” it normally means, “I have done this before, but I don’t want you to think I’m a desperate loser.” When someone says they ‘enjoy the simple things in life’. This generally means “I’m poor.” And when someone says they’re ‘petite’, they’re short. When someone say’s they’re ‘curvy’, they’re – well – fat, and when someone says they ‘enjoy working with their hands’, it means they didn’t get very far at school. Although I have to confess that petite, curvy and enjoys working with their hands sounds a lot more enticing than short, fat and dumb.

If you study the personals closely, you’ll also notice a few warning signs. For example, when someone feels the need to point out that they’re ‘normal’, that’s code for, “I’m not normal. I have 72 dogs and there’s a real chance I’ll end up making a coat from your skin.” Oh, and when someone says they’re looking for a soul-mate, that’s code for “I’m really full-on and if you dump me, I’ll probably stalk you.” Let’s be honest here, folks. If you’re looking for a soul-mate on these sites, you’re probably aiming a little too high. Maybe lower your expectations to a mate who enjoys soul music!

“Easy-going” is a little more difficult to work out. Does that mean they won’t mind if you leave your coffee cup in the sink and put your feet on the couch? Or does it mean they wear the same undies for 7 days in a row?

When people describe themselves as ‘adventurous’, what exactly does that mean? Does it imply that when they read the Karma Sutra, they stapled a few extra pages to the back.

That was the end of my research, and I'm looking elsewhere for a date.