Saturday, 22 July 2017

HARASSMENT - Are you the harasser or the harassed?

What's going on is not always clear.

When I was a girl, we lived about 8 or so houses from a train level crossing. The old brown cattle rattle trains connecting Wynnum to Brisvegas rumbled along, not as often as we'd all have liked, but often enough, and their arrival in both directions, coming and going, was announced by the less than melodic ding ding ding of the boom gates closing. It was LOUD.

However there was no point whinging about it cos the oldies had chosen to buy that house, so it was a matter of 'suck it up princess and get used to it' cos CHOICES had been made. And the noise was predictable and regular and eventually I heard the clang of the train arriving at 6am - no alarm clock needed and that was about all.

And when I first moved to London, I chose to live in a wee 2 up 2 down, house right under the flight path into Heathrow Airport. Now I haven't googled it but I believe that it is the busiest airport in the world, with planes landing and taking off every minute. And when I say 'right under the flight path', I mean I could have completed a survey on the tyre wear on the landing gear, on every plane. It was LOUD.

I turned the tellie up louder and got on with things, cos I had chosen to live there.

And anyway, you can get used to routine regular predictable noise.

I enjoy the vibrancy and the constant hum of urban life. I am city girl, but the sudden piercing of sirens always shocks me to wakefulness. I reckon it's impossible to get used to sudden noise at night.

All this is an intro to my having been accused this week of Harassment. Firstly by the body guard with a gun dressed as a police officer, and secondly by some stranger hiding behind his computer screen, or maybe his smart phone, I don't know his circumstances and don't care to know. What I do know is that he has some connection to TMR or the road workers or the police and has been provided my details by TMR or the police. Yeh that doesn't sound legal or right to me either, ho hum, oh well.

Harassment is against the law, so I suppose I should close up the house and pull down the blinds and ignore the gate bell or the phone for fear it's the folk in blue coming to throw me into the back of the paddy wagon. I wonder if they have finally sorted a little step so next time I can alight in a more lady like fashion?

24 hours a day, all week, terrible noise has seen very little sleep going on in this place, or indeed anywhere in the local neighbourhood. People are weepy tired.

I went out at 3 am on Thursday night or is that Friday morning, oh who knows? and there was a bloke dragging a thick hose across the pedestrian walk way right in front of me, so I stopped cos he didn't and when it seemed safe enough to walk on I did and said to him that it wasn't all that health and safety. I think he grunted. And while I walked because sleep was impossible, even though that's precisely exactly what I wanted to be doing, I came across a bloke in charge of 2 big bits of mechanical equipment tossing out more than 80 decibels, yeh I measured it. They were standing idle except for the noise. I asked if it was possible for him to turn them off while not in use please. 'NO'

And so I walked and walked and walked.

Apparently this constitutes HARASSMENT these days.

So suggesting that a neighbour turns the noise down at 3am is HARASSMENT? Not the noise you understand, that's OK, it's your request that it be turned off, that's the harassment.

It's a world gone mad.

I have had kids throw furniture at me, and swear at me and parents call me at home, and I have been punched by frustrated teenage boys and called all manner of names. I guess all that is HARASSMENT too.

Bugger,  what I should have done during my 30 years in the classroom was claim HARASSMENT and then I could have had a copper park up in my room with their lights strobing away even if it might cause Johnny to suffer an epileptic seizure. Cos surely a middle aged woman of very dubious fitness, faced daily, with 200 hormone riddled, sometimes feral kids, surely she needs protection. Surely she needs a body guard with a gun. Surely her need of protection is greater than a gaggle of road workers, who blessedly have masses of metal machines between them and a group of tired middle aged folk in their PJs.

If I had to put money on the greatest threat, my cash would be on the kids every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

The body guard comes at a cost of 150 bucks an hour, about 1500 bucks a shift. Just saying.

1500 bucks a night straight out of the public purse presumably because some worker has felt afraid for their life. I reckon they need to face a group of 30 year 9 boys, wanting to play footy, but instead are forced to read a bit of Shakespeare,  to get a handle on what real fear might be like, or maybe just a one on one with a kid coming down from a weekend of  drug cocktails and disappointment. Yeh good luck with that.

Perhaps the workers recognise that the noise they are making is extreme and perhaps they are wondering how long it would take for THEM to explode through lack of sleep and inability to function at work or just ordinary living.

Perhaps the workers reckon after more than a year they would crack and so they are afraid cos they figure if they are capable of seeking vigilantly justice, so too might this dangerous posse of middle aged, sleep deprived, PJ wearing, empty handed locals.

Harassment is bandied around a lot today, what one person considers harassment another might just disregard, it's all in the eye of the beholder.

The definition is benign at best - 'Unwelcome behaviour that offends, humiliates or intimidates'

So then anything that pisses you off is harassment!

The provider of that trolley with the wonky wheel at Woolies - Harasser!

The dog who sloppy-shat in a big pile that I stood in  - Harasser!

The year 9 boy who has not discovered the joy of deodorant - Harasser!

The body guard with a gun, following me too closely and threatening me, HARASSER!

I feel harassed by the noise and the disregard. I feel offending by the workers giving me The Bird and stalking me on line, threatening me with burst pipes and oozing sewerage.

Local people here have been afraid to have a voice. They privately admit to being totally intimidated by the workers, and feel exposed and afraid. There is enough bad shit going down and they fear further retaliation if they make their presence felt,and they see only humiliation coming from ignored complaints or requests for truthful information, delivered by those us who are less afraid.

So instead of hoping that a body guard with a gun will sufficiently intimidate local people into silence, or calling police on speed dial to throw unarmed, (not even a handbag!) middle aged women into the back of a paddy wagon in a bid to make them compliant, it is surely time that this government had a good hard look at exactly how it is spending our tax dollars, and questions WHO is being HARASSED and by whom.

Except that's not gonna happen - TMR  Ex Minister Mark Bailey - anyone?

Nah I can't see a time when there is ever gonna be an open transparent look at the way TMR is chewing up our cash.

Neither the neighbourhood street of my youth, or my airport hangout in London were strewn with local people waving their arms around and complaining about the noise, because they CHOSE to be there. Unlike the hapless, powerless locals here, who chose a bit of peace and quiet in the suburbs They are now bleary eyed and their teeth are bile stained from frustration because no-one in authority will step up and enforce Government approved EPA noise levels.

And don't even get us started on the ugliness of the monstrosity of a 56 metre wide expanse of bitumen and concrete, that's wide enough for 19 lanes of traffic! There will need to be water stations either side for pedestrians come the summer.

But that's a whole other story.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Masterchef - are you fucking kidding?

Last night's left overs ready for Nuking tonight.

My sad little Veg collection

Hello, My Name is Sue and I am a food finder and shover into my gobber. I do Love Food! All sorts of food. Fast food, slow food, out of a packet food, food cooked by others and sometimes food cooked by me.

I like salty and sweet and crunchy and sour and but admit that I am not too fond of slimy - is that even a foodie description? Well how the fuck would I know, I am not on Masterchef.

What I am not fond of at all, well ok what gives me the screaming irrits is all this masturbation about food.

Did you see Masterchef last night?

'Pearl on the Ocean Bed"

Fuck me, is that the new Disney movie?

Nah it was a whole lot of shit that I just didn't want to eat, tipped 'artistically' onto a plate. Philistine that I am, I didn't reckon it even looked good. When did tweezers become kitchen equipment George? Tweezers are for pulling out splinters or doing your eyebrows or harvesting those pesky menopausal whiskers. Tweezers are NOT for dishing out tucker.

And so I googled it and bugger me if it's not a 'real meal' - far far from a ready meal which you just shove into the nuker, but Pearl on the Ocean Bed is real.

There's some fancy schmancy place in Melbourne which serves it, but to go there, according to the Trip Advisor reviews, you have to pay for the whole lot in advance, including tip, yeh you have to PAY when you ring up for a reservation.

Well I'll be fucked!

Going for dinner has reached the lofty heights of theatre, where of course you have to pay for your tickets when booking. NO need to include a tip though, I guess if you fancy it you can just chuck flowers at the actors during the standing ovation at the end.

I mean what happens about Statutory Rights? What happens if the food is so gross that you puke up on the linen table clothes? There would be table clothes wouldn't there? Tough shit I guess, cos you came for the SENSORY EXPERIENCE, so stop your whinging huh? Yeh there is no refund at the theatre either. Oh well.

Now I admit that I only did the google while I was watching that NINJA show, bloody marvellous if you can record it and fast forward through all the crap and just get to watch these amazing athletes have a go at stuff that no amount of mechanical aide would help me pull off. Anyway my google search was sparse. But I couldn't find the price of this food. I suppose they tell you when you ring up for a reservation and they tick off the Mastercard numbers and you resign yourself to missing the mortgage payment this month.

I love going out for dinner. Sometimes it's for the food, and sometimes it's for the company, But I never want to look down at a plate of food and wonder what the fuck it is. I don't mind if there is a bit of garnish that I can't recognise or there is an ingredient in the sauce which is hard to identify, by I do not want to sit down to a meal that looks like it was made by and for a group of travelling Clingons.

Yeh I know, I am not a Masterchef. Stevie say he's glad about that.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Accordion cramming - How much do you do?

This looks pretty hectic to me, but in any case, I am just trying to use some photos of bits of paintings I have around the house, to brighten up my page. 

Not even 20 years ago interstate travel was an adventure. There was the planning and the looking in the NEWSPAPER - the what? to find some accommodation or preferably there might have  been some friend or distant relative who knew someone who's best friend's aunty had a couch going begging, and so, Yippee! The plane fares were astronomical and the packing took days.

It wasn't the sort of thing one did on a whim, although once, only once, when the husband was going to Melbourne for work, which he did a lot, I downed tools from my supply teaching gig and packed up the wee girl and all of our shit and in a minute's notice I loaded us onto the plane and met him in Melbourne town. That was avant garde and brave and exciting and I recall that week with great fondness, even today, more than 30 years later, Yeh I also remember her taking a big shit in one of the parks and using a leaf to wipe her bum, and jumping out of a tram at its terminus at somewhere which I suppose was less than salubrious cos the driver and the conductor went into coniptions yelling for us to come back to the tram, and in the end they held up their departure for long enough for me to have a bit of a look around. They didn't want to leave us out there, where ever THERE was. And I remember her crying from blocked ear tubes and throwing up from the turbulence on the way back, but ho hum, we'd been on an adventure. We had no idea what was there and no internet to give us a LONELY PLANET schedule for the week. I just popped her into her umbrella stroller and grabbed a bag and a tram ticket and we looked and laughed our way all around Melbourne in the bloody cold of winter. I have loved Melbourne ever since.

But enough of all this reminiscence. What I have been thinking about today is the way we take travel for granted today.

There is a Leukaemia Foundation meeting in Melbourne in September and I am interested in going.

It's only for a day.

And it's all so easy now isn't it. Fares are cheap and accomm is expensive but easy to find.

It's just not something I would have given thought to 20 or 30 years ago.

We really do try to cram a lot into our lives don't we?

Friday, 14 July 2017

Today's been a good'un

So I cracked an eyelid open this morning and waited, waited for the shitting headache and the topsy turvy walls of the last week. Sure I had been up a couple of times to pee - what's that all about Alfie? Just when you get to a point in your life when you need the sleep and are NOT doing the 'Mummy I threw up in my bed,' dance, you are awake with a fully laden bladder and the loo route on auto pilot, probably more than once but hopefully less than half a dozen times a night. Bugger. But I digress. Yeh I had been up a couple of times and was pleased to see that I made it to the loo without head butting any walls, but I was still apprehensive about being fully awake just in case the virtigo and the headaches were just sliding around on the floor waiting to attack.

But the sky was blue and the sun was shining and things, including walls and floors were all where they were meant to be, so all was very good with the world.

It's remarkable to me that this NORMAL shit that I take for granted was such a relief this morning.

No I didn't LEAP out of bed, but I did sit up and was cautiously chipper about the day. Fucking YIPPEE!

Poor old Dog has got a sore back leg again, so she needs a bit of a rest, but she's not much fond of that idea. Regardless of pain she just wants to run like a maniac after her ball, literally until she can run no more. But today she was forced to wander around the off leash dog area in the Botanical Gardens and the 3 of us enjoyed the outing. Yep I got some steps in and was thrilled to be able to enjoy the great outdoors under the pale winter blue sky. Ahh.

And I told Stevie that I'd make a roast chicken for dinner and that's still on my list, although I must admit that I am flagging a little now.

I know why people buy whole raw chickens, it's because they are so cheap, but in reality, it'd be far more energy - mine, efficient to just buy a ready cooked one. Are there still places like Big Rooter? Not here in the small country village of the Goldie I don't think, but maybe in the city?

Anyway I am getting ready to stuff it with a lemon and garlic and slather it with butter and shove it in the oven for 90 minutes - yeh she's a pretty big bird, and I'll make some cheater roast veg and call dinner done.

And then I am gonna slide into my chair and probably snooze away until bed time, cos whilst I feel better, I reckon the week from hell might just have taken it out of me a wee bit.

Seems ridiculous to me that now I consider today to be a good one. 5 Years ago I might have said, 'Oh fuck that was boring, let's do something fabulous tomorrow huh?' Times sure have changed.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Pissed as a Maggot.

Ain't that a quaint ol' Aussie expression. So pissed that you are flailing around on the ground, often slithering from one spot to another just like a maggot. I guess that's cos we Aussies are a literal lot. I mean, some of the other slang expressions for having one too many alcoholic beverages are a bit less graphically clear. I mean bollocky drunk - what does that mean? Testicles flobbling about? Isn't that the usual way they hang, at least when tethered?

Banjaxed, blathered, blotto, fleemered, hammered, jeremied, legless,  off me trolley, palintoshed, squiffy, stocious, yeh there are as many descriptions as places I have been trollied and tempted to chunder after one too many.

In my younger days going for a tipple sometimes turned into slurping from the fire hose and drinking til I fell over.

But actually I might have been mostly lucky cos I don't recall too many times where I actually fell over. Oh sure I remember clearly throwing cash at the cabbie and really legging it into the house so I could drive the big white bus until there was just no more juice to power it and I have slept the night curled up around the porcelain. And I remember dancing inelegantly on tables and beer kegs and occasionally being asked to vacate a club or drinking establishment.  Oh well.

But now I am not a big drinker, and given that this week I have been waking during the night and fumbling my way to the loo by bouncing off walls and tripping over shit like shoes and dirty wash that I failed to put away, it is probably just as well.

Feeling that pissed in the middle of the night after an evening of such sedate suburban debauchery as hoovering up a roast dinner and suffering square arse from too many hours in front of the tellie, was a little disconcerting I can tell you, so I slid back under the covers and hoped that all would be righted by the morning.

But bugger me if the whole world wasn't still askew in the AM. The floor was all a kimbo and the walls were anything but vertical. I stumbled out of bed and the room whizzes hit me just like in days of old after one too many voddies. My head was aching and my stomach was heaving. What a pisser!
A bloody huge hangover and no booze silly fun - bugger!

This lasted until after lunchtime. The world flipflopped for a couple of hours and then wooliness took over.

Then the next night it was more of the same, and the morning was same, and again the cloud lifted by lunchtime.

And again this morning.

I am getting better at focusing and swallowing down the nausea.

Research since tells me that this sort of vertigo is a problem for quite a number of CML folk.

It's just another happy little side effect, although it might not even be a side effect, it might be a part of the fucking disease.

No-one really knows.

But what I do know is that the thrill of being this kinda out of control is wildly exaggerated. I don't fancy drinking myself into this sort of stupor ever again, even if it would mean that I'd at least for a short time be courageous enough to scamper upon to a sturdy table and kick up me heels.

Nah I'd prefer to be able to make my way to the loo without having to dodge imaginary obstacles.  

Monday, 10 July 2017

Design by Committee

More than enough concrete barriers on half the road. Committee approved work on Friday night - not planned or advised. 

It might not shock you to know that I do not play well with others. At school, group work nearly always gave me the shits, cos I just didn't like relying on someone else to do a bit of the work, and if I am gonna go for full disclosure, what I really didn't like was that when kids did their bit, they didn't do it the way I wanted it done, or the way I would have done it, or the way I told 'em to do it. If it was a project that I was interested in, I could be a little pushy, or maybe a little bit more than a little, yeh perhaps even Genghis Khan type pushy.

And I just don't know anyone who happily rolls over and allows adjustments to plans that they hold dear.

Painters collaborating beggar my belief. It's not common, but occasionally I'll see a painting accredited to 2 artists, and I just cant's see how that would work. 'You do that corner, I'll start over here and we'll meet in the middle'? or maybe 'I'll do the sky and you do the trees and perhaps we can get a sign writer in to do the letters on the street signs'? Cos even if they mix up the paints together and agree the colours and the context, what happens about individual style and technique and personal preference?

And architects, they can't do their best work in collaboration can they? A single vision is surely gonna make a more cohesive design. I am not saying that they can't ask colleagues about roofing materials and such like, but if someone does the west wing and someone else does the north wing, I reckon the whole thing will look a little like a platypus. You know, a bit of this and a bit of that, and it might be interesting but all up pretty ugly.

But I guess committees are a necessary evil today when most big projects are public purse funded. I mean who would put their hand up to be solely responsible for the design and outcome of a public project costing millions? That'd be one very brave, very thick skinned soul, yep TEFLON come to mind.

So instead, a committee is formed:
A Designer
An Engineer
A Feasibility Study person
An Accountant
A Statistician
A Herd of Health and Safety Gurus
A Union Rep
A Big Boys' Toys truck driver
A person with a shovel
A Gun toting body guard dressed as a police officer.
A Community Liason Officer
A Bullshit Spinner
And maybe a person who likes a flower.

And you gather all these folk in a better than average sized hall and give 'em a few big sheets of butchers' paper and a fat felt pen and say 'Go to it,  design me a road'. You break out the first of the cash from the public purse and you feed and water 'em all while they fiddle with the felt pens and fight over the small print.

They finally come up with a half arsed design - and I'm taking a liberty using the term design, which accommodates the needs of one legged, blind, bisexual platypuses first and foremost and then somewhere down the list, perhaps cars, and lastly, very lastly, no who am I kidding, no attention to the aesthetic is ever agreed, or even considered. Yep an ugly as a hat full of arseholes design is agreed, but the finer details are gonna be worked out as they go along, cos there are no more croissants and it's happy hour at the local so here's cheers huh?

Mistakes are routinely made and no wonder really when tape measures seem to be Noah's equipment and theodolites are passe because they are not nearly as accurate as say pacing out a number of heel to toe boot lengths and marking spots with a bit of spray paint. Yep that'll be good enough. And if, as it happens you have to dig up a hole 2 dozen times or a huge chunk of concrete is built in the wrong place, it doesn't matter cos someone else is paying for it, and in any case the whole project has been excellent for the economy cos scores upon scores of folk have been employed and are no longer scunging off the dole, instead the public money they are grabbing is paid to 'em because they are standing around leaning on a shovel and generally slowing progress down.

But I digress. The overall aesthetic is what I am wondering about.

The road widening is just fucking ugly, and the vast expanse of concrete and bitumen will create enough heat nine months of the year, that there should have been some sort of air heat transfer grabbing energy thing installed, or at least maybe some public saunas could have been installed on every corner. At the very least there will need to be health warning signs suggesting that old folk only cross at night to avoid exposure to heat and sun. I am guessing the Elf and Safety folk are already onto this. There's gonna be more than 8 lanes of traffic, and long bus lanes in both directions and there's already a 2 metre wide concrete walk path or maybe it's a bike track who knows, I guess it depends if a biker was more vocal on the committee than a person pushing a stroller or a wheel chair. And all of this in the suburbs of a smallish city of less than half a million people.

Yep this committee of people have not yet finished spending our money, but it's clear to me that there is no cash left to make a silk purse out of this pig's ear.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Are you FUNNY?

This is my feet at the Grandie boy's TaeKwondo grading. He told me, 'No pictures on the blog please Ma'. Adolescence has begun.

Way way back in 2001, when I took off for what was gonna be a little year long junket to the UK, I had a bit of a bucket list sort of mapped out in my head. There were places I wanted to go and stuff I wanted to see and lots of stuff I wanted to do.

I must have been more sure of myself back then, yeh I lament the loss of that girl, cos on my list was to have a go at some stand up comedy.

It never happened, not because there was no opportunity, it didn't happen cos I chickened out and I reckon I chickened out cos, well cos I just can't tell a joke, never have been able to, I get the punch line all buggered up and if the gag is really funny, then I am already pissing myself laughing and the tag line is swallowed by giggles and nose snorting. People might end up laughing, but at me not the material, and not in a good way, oh dear.

Perhaps because of this I like comedians who tell funny stories, I like the clever segues and the backward links and ties. Kitty Flanagan does a stand up routine which leaves me rolling about. Her combo of physical and story telling appeals to me.

So I reckon fairly certainly I can say I am never gonna do any stand up. Bugger and Whew in equal measure.

My Grandie is similarly lacking in confidence to try stuff that could lead to a dose of adolescent ridicule, and in a bid to encourage him without just saying shit like, 'Don't be a girl.' ( Why is that not considered high praise I wonder? or 'Harden up with some cement' or whatever that shit expression is, I tell him a little yarn of my early womanhood. He does love it, or at least he says he does, when I tell him  a story.

I told him that when I was about 29 or so - yeh he does a little eye roll cos, well that's fucking ancient to a kid huh? I wanted to have a go at THEATRE SPORTS - a series of improvised story telling games, but I lacked courage, like the Lion in the old Wizard. Was it the Lion? Bugger see I am no longer either as fleet of foot or brain as the Lion. Oh well.

Anyway I told him I used to go to the workshops and sit in a corner. I remember being appallingly shy and intimidated. I told him I watched until I got a handle on the games and I watched until I realised that the only way I was gonna learn how to do this, was to have a go, and that yes when I started I was shit and there were many shit moments even long after I had become more comfortable with it, and then I told him that on my first big night on stage in front of paying guests, I was the JUDGE, dispensing scores - not a far cry from marking school performances really. I got all dressed up for the occasion, in flash 80's style and I entered the space waving like a queen, and as soon as I sat down in my place, the fucking zipper on my blue taffeta, tight as a fishes arse hole dress, the fucking zipper burst open and the only thing keeping my dignity remotely intact was a tiny hook and eye at the top. Faaaaarrrrk.

I told him I didn't move at interval when there was typically loads of frivolity, and when the gig was done, I waited til the theatre was all but empty and then slunk off looking for my jeans. Oh Well.

But the point of my story was that even though I buggered up plenty of times after that, that's the time I remember and apart from my embarrassment, it wasn't all that bad, and I am very glad that I grew a pair and played on. And then his mum and I told him of lots of fun times playing the fool over the next few years.

He did his grading for Tae Kwondo a couple of weeks ago and to his consternation I admit to a couple of woops woops, so if he ever does decide to to something on a big stage he's just gonna have to suck it up and wave to Ma being a dick. No rehearsal needed for that.