Friday, 30 May 2014

Sydney Vivid Festival

I do love a cracker and a light show and a water fall and being in Sydney and a girlie natter and a birthday and eating food I haven't cooked myself and a beer and sitting on the ferry making a last minute decision to head off to the Opera House Vivid Display. What a wonderful time Carol and I are having!

We headed into town last night and walked to Martin Place so we could start there with our Vivid 'look see'. Carol is a whizz with a camera and I am shit so my pics are rubbish and so I will bore with only a few of the least bad ones..

The city was heaving with jolly people all enjoying the moment. It was lively and colourful and crowded and good natured and bloody wonderful and the lights were magical and completely entrancing. Carol went looking for an interesting vantage point and I immersed myself in the colour and the movement.

We meandered down to Darling Harbour and sat at a prime table and ate steaks and watched a light show over the water through water spouts and then caught the ferry towards home. We sat under my silly blanket coat because it got a bit chilly in the breeze and then ran off as fast as my shitful broken knees would take me to the Rocks where we watched loop after loop of lights on the Opera House and the rather odd loop of strangeness on the façade of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Whoever thought up this idea was just bloody brilliant!! We figured that there might have been a drop off in the numbers close to midnight but we were WRONG.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Plane travel

There's something more than a little odd about sitting in a very confined space with a bunch of strangers with some young bloke's leg pressed ever so gently against yours.

The trip down today was shared with celebrated out Blues fans who were very bleary eyed and more than a little pongy, and the usual holiday makers and business men and women and a bloke who was completely engrossed in his, 'How to Rear Chooks' manual... no he didn't look that boring so appearances can definitely be deceiving.

This is not the sort of group of folk who you'd casually invite to a pot luck dinner. There'd be no conversation and mostly people would just do that weird lean thing so that there is no contact at all between them and their neighbour, except of course for the young bloke and the too fat old gal's legs.

So in a little more than an hour I moved from the dozey old Goldie to fast wonderful urban Sydney.

I do love Sydney. I love the pace of the place and the smells and rudeness of the people and the different accents and colour and old meets new and the icons and the strangeness. There is nothing that I don't like about Sydney. I reckon I could live here except that it's too far from Belly and Zig and I would have to teach myself all the new roads and where to go to get food I like to eat.

So Carol and I are off one our Vivid adventure. Yippee!!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Economic Rationalism Vs Virgin Australia Bullshit

I am heading to Sydney tomorrow. I booked weeks ago with Virgin Australia, paid a bit extra to get the exit row seat cos I am a shit claustrophobic passenger, and checked in on line this morning.

It's been a pretty busy day what with getting my roots done and seeing the girls for lunch so I was more than a little miffed to find a text message from Virgin saying that my flight was off and they had kindly re-arranged for me to go a whole lot later.

I rang to find out WHY.

It's not a difficult question really.

I spoke to Michelle.

She told me that the problem was staffing and waffled about not having a full crew and passenger safety is a priority, and when I pushed harder she said it was an engineering problem.

And then the wheels feel off the excuse wagon.

What I managed to copy verbatim was that the plane was  cancelled due to Operational Requirements. It seems that the plane and the staff were needed in Canberra due to possible fog tomorrow morning.

I am not sure what is going on in the nation's capital tomorrow which requires such an urgent exodus but I  bet they are all pretty shitty they don't have God on their side cos if they did they could have sent the fog to sunny Queensland and then I wouldn't be shitty about the delay cos I'd be sitting at the airport staring out into the fog and not seeing my plane, so I could see the reason for my delay.

The fucking excuses just kept coming thick and fast. And no one it seems was the least bit interested in telling the bloody truth.

What Michelle wanted me to believe was that because God was in the employ of Virgin and had deemed it very likely there would be fog in Canberra, they would have to line up planes for all the Canberra people so they could leave whenever the fog lifted. Michelle said she felt this was quite a viable explanation.

Michelle came and went and I was lulled to screaming point by shitful bad jazz and Michelle found it impossible to confirm or deny that MANAGEMENT  had taken a decision that prioritised Canberra folk over us beach bums. I bet there is some conditions of employment that require Michelle to complete her calls herself, because it was only after 50 minutes that she offered to put me through to her supervisor. I was gleeful.

Tequila came on the phone and it must be said that she was far easier to understand so we cracked on much more quickly. I asked her how many people had been booked onto my original flight, and she hummed and haaed around for a while and then said she wasn't able to tell me that info, but that she could tell me that they had all been reallocated onto the next flight. Well finally a bit of truth! 2 flights but only 1 plane load of people.

Economic rationalism!! An excuse that had it been given an hour and 10 minutes earlier I would have been a happier, if not happy girl. What's wrong with telling the truth?

'We are not a charity!' 'There was no profit in that flight so we cancelled it!'

Just stop with all the bullshit and the insults to the cognitive capacity of even rather simple minded people.

Just tell us the truth!!

Monday, 26 May 2014

I thought my life would be complete with a Mix Master.

A while back, I was lamenting like some spoilt school girl, that I had never in my life owned a Mix Master. Oh I had had a Bar Mix - is that how you spell it? but I didn't get custody of it in the divorce. So for all my years I have mixed stuff by hand and had an excellent excuse NOT to make desserts and stuff that requires lots of elbow grease in the kitchen.

Steve being an excellent fella with a sweet tooth and perhaps a hankering for cheesecake, did some research and we stumbled upon a good looking machine at a price that didn't make us cry too loudly.

It is very pretty.

It is still allowed to sit on the counter but I rather think it's days here are numbered  cos I do like an empty counter top.

I made meringue the first day.

I made meringue the second day.

I have admired the machine since then and have read some recipes and wrote a shopping list of odd ingredients and have stocked the pantry with said stuff.

Today I discovered why bread is expensive and bakeries are filthy.

I had some leftover freezer lucky dip that I thought I would turn into something flash so decided to make Gosleme. The recipe seemed simple enough. I had all the ingredients.

When I was up to my whatsit in bread dough and olive oil and flour and bakers paper and filling and there was shit falling all over the floor and I had used every knife and spoon in the kitchen and had worked out that the yoghurt maker I had bought years ago and used twice, did not make a very effective rolling pin even if you filled it with water and managed to dodge the lid end, I knew I was beaten. I am not a fucking baker!! 4 - 6 dollars for a loaf of bread seems expensive except when I think that it took me more than an hour to clean up all the mess I made and I didn't have even a slice to brag about.

That old expression, 'Beware what you wish for' springs to mind.

Wonder what's for dinner now.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Freezer Lucky Dips.

I am not a domestic goddess. I don't want to be one nor do I think I have it in me to pretend to be one even for a little while. So all things domestic get done randomly and on a whim at the big house.

A while back I got it into my head that it was time to empty out the freezer, and no I don't mean that it was time to chuck stuff out, but that it was time to graze through all the unidentified and unidentifiable stuff in it before spending cash to fill it up again. My girlfriend Carol, names and dates all of her freezer entries so she never gets to play the joyful game of icy cold lucky dip.

There is something a bit exciting and just a little scary about pulling out some frozen lump and deciding that it will make a good dinner, even if you are not really sure what  it is.

So we are down to the last couple of bits and todays lump turned out to be a chunk of pork. As you run the very real risk of meals being anything but interesting in such instances, I decided to tart it up with some recipe style cooking.

Nigela I am NOT, so I googled some recipes and wrote down a long list of ingredients but no instructions or any idea of amounts. I didn't want to bore myself stupid by following a recipe after all.

I got the stuff and it is all in the oven slow cooking now and I hope that it tastes as good as it smells. I still have time to bugger it up but so far so good.

There's a couple of bits of steak which will be Steve's job during the week and a sheet or 2  of pastry, so I might be forced to make a pie out of the left overs from tonight's dinner.... In that case I really hope it's ok!

With any luck at all the urge to dust will hit sometime in the next month or so, or maybe not.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Grown up old age planning and stuff.

There comes a time in every girl's life when she has to be a grown up and do grown up things. Today was my day. For years I have been filing away big packs of stuff from my superannuation people. They have dutifully sent stuff for more than 30 years and I have routinely ignored it. We have rocked along together very nicely.

But a while ago I got the usual big pack and then a little letter pointing out that decisions needed to be made before I turn my next birthday and so I needed to grow up and deal with it.

I had called them and got some details and stuff but really it is just sooo easy to stop listening when you are on the phone, so a face to face meet was needed, this would help keep me in check and perhaps make me listen until the handshake.

Steve came too, which was good cos we chatted about stuff on the way to Brisveagas so I didn't sound like a complete moron when we got to sit down with Daniel.

Daniel from Q Super is a marvel. I reckon he's about 11, well maybe he's a grown up but he looks boyish to me. He was soo pleasant and seemed to know his onions. He explained stuff to me in terms that a Drama Teacher could grasp and when I started drifting off he managed to pull me back in without any rousing. He answered all of Steve's questions and he showed me graphs and statistics and projections and stuff and I changed my mind about a gizzilion times and settled on a plan that we were all very happy with. I filled in forms and signed on some dotted lines and felt like I was in control of funding hair-dos and shoes into my dotage. Yippee I am a fully fledged grown up!!

And it should be said that the service offered by Daniel and Q Super was bloody fantastic!! It was prompt and clear and helpful and FREE of charge,  a far cry from what Steve faced in Blighty when he recently tried to organise his stuff.

I have one more bit of paper to sort out, but then I reckon I am done until I fancy getting some old gal shoes!

Adulthood doesn't look too bad at all.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Thinking Styles and Gardens.

There's been quite the tempest blowing in the big house this week. The courtyard needs a re-do cos the sleepers have been having nightmares and some have wandered just too far and need to be replaced. We have discovered that a bit of the garden that I have planted out 3 different times with 3 different things all of which have died a pretty quick death, is more than likely contaminated maybe with just too much builder's piss and no amount of rain seems to have leached out those toxins. So some solutions are called for.

Steve typically headed to his drawing board and drew the space to scale and replaced what was there with a concrete facsimile and left room for a big plant. I spent time in the garden thinking. We came together and spoke and neither listened cos that's not what we like to do.

It was a classic Kinesthetic Vs Visual battle.

I marched around the space and spoke and waved my arms around and Steve left his careful drawing out to be admired and agreed to as it clearly spoke for itself.

Things hit fever pitch, which was always gonna be the case, stomping was done and neighbours annoyed and finally I reckon we have agreed a plan which is very much a combination of us both. (My arbour idea has been forgotten by Steve at least, and I am leaving it for a battle for another day - it's gonna be beautiful!)

As things calmed down I pointed out the obvious, and that is that we think differently, very often we will arrive at the same destination but we will have travelled in completely different directions by different modes of transport.

This should shock no-one considering the coupling of an engineer and a drama queen / teacher.

There has been forever discussions about learning styles and some of the theories are very complex. My poor old brain likes the VAC idea, cos it pares it down to just 3 . Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic. Lookers, listeners and doers.

It makes for a sometimes volatile, but always interesting household, and solutions are often far more practical and indeed possible than say when 2 doers come together. That would have been Belly and me. We worked out how I was gonna fix the roof and I climbed up onto it with all the stuff but had never considered how to get back down. It's a surprise that I am not still up there clinging to the guttering by gayly painted nails.

Anyway if you want peace and quiet live with someone who uses their brain as you do, but if you like a bit of spice and enjoy an argument / discussion try solving a problem with someone who is anything but like you.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Hockey's Budget - Ok by me.

It is absolutely no secret that I am a financial idiot. I am a just middle class girl with an overused credit card, who has nearly always bought what I want when I want and worried about paying for it later. Yes, it's true, Steve has reigned me in somewhat in the last 10 years. I have worked - sometimes hard and sometimes not, and spent every penny I earned. My super, thankfully compulsory, is my rainy day account.

I am also not a stupid woman. I easily see that there are things that I just can't have cos there is not enough money. I can't head off at a moment's notice to somewhere exotic and not just cos of Dog. Money needs to be sourced and plans need to be made. I certainly do not expect some stranger to come along and hand me some cash so I can please myself.

Back in my single days when I my mortgage was running at 19% interest, I worked 2 or 3 jobs just to make the repayments. When things eased off and house prices started to climb, I was able to borrow a little pin money from time to time and add it onto the mortgage, but I always had a big chunk of equity in my house. Yeh I sometimes fudged the truth and the money for painting or extensions or repairs was used for holidays or new shoes, but that was my choice. Belly and I went on holidays rather than put in a new kitchen, which was no hardship for me cos I don't like to cook anyway. The mortgage was the first bill paid and when the rest of the money was spent we ate eggs and watched poor tellie until the next time I was paid. It was all quite hand to mouth but it seemed to work.

Nothing for nothing. Money was borrowed and only to a point of affordability. I was thrilled when I became mortgage free. Yippee! My money was all mine to spend as I wished and boy did I!!

Anyway the point here is that the Aussie Budget is getting a bad rap at the moment and whilst there are bits of it that don't seem fully resolved I can't see why it's so terrible.

Running the country must surely be done on principals similar to running your household. It's dangerous to spend more than you earn unless you are going to borrow from shysters at obscene rates cos you plan to do a runner and change you name, which is possible if you are some crook, living in a caravan, but more difficult if you are a fully fledged westernised nation.

Money is FINITE.

When I was married and we went from 2 wages to 1 and increased the number of people spending it by 50% we would pay all our bills and put the rest of our cash into a cigar box. No I am not making this up!! When the money was gone it was gone!!

Australia just cannot afford to keep paying out and paying out and paying out. Treasurer Joe Hockey says that the government spends more on Welfare than on education or health or defence. Something just has to give.

The welfare mentality needs to be replaced.

People should not expect something for nothing.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Is there really a Police Boys' Club that we should all fear?

How paranoid is too paranoid?

Yesterday in the middle of girlie bubbles there was a bit of a barking ruckus with a neighbours' 4 little dogs and Dibley. There was no biting and no harm was done. The neighbour continued across the park and had a little picnic of her own and we would have continued our gossip fest too, had it not been for some random bloke who arrived and started yelling about what a dangerous dog we had. Yeh that's him in the pic above.

This bloke seemed a bit nutty. He arrived when all the barking was done and dusted and Steve had called Dib back. He chatted to the neighbour and then got out his phone made some calls and then started taking photos and yelling at us.

He got in his car and I walked over to get a pic of the rego number for Justin Case. Well he got out of the car and marched towards me. I kept taking photos and then Steve came over. This young guy a full head taller than Steve, got right up in his face taking photos and asking if Steve was threatening him. It had clearly all gotten quite out of control and by now it sort resembled some poor American B grade movie. As the random weirdo stepped down and hopped back into his car he yelled out, 'You don't know who you are dealing with!' This luckily I have on video.

So Random Boy sped off, only to reappear a while later trying to mooch around behind bushes, presumably in the hope of gaining footage of Dib being naughty. One has to wonder about how little Random had to do on a Sunday afternoon that he found all this entertaining.

He disappeared and sometime later Bob from Animal Management arrived and bugger me if Random doesn't pop up AGAIN to be interviewed. He talked nonstop and gesticulated madly. Bob took notes and then trooped over to us. Random left in ANOTHER car, so that made 2 cars and 3 visits to the park about a bit of barking he didn't even witness.

So Bob was questioning me and I gave him information that he was not entitled to like my name and address and Dog's rego number. Why we cave into anyone in a uniform is a question for another day. While we were being interviewed a Police car pulled up opposite and sat and watched for a while, did some paper work and left without talking to us.

So now the paranoia is setting in. I have called the police a few times in my life and sometimes they come and sometimes they don't. I never have an expectation that they will arrive in a hurry, even if I am calling to report possible break-ins or drug use in the park. I figure that the police are probably busy investigating dangerous stuff and keeping me safe. I sure don't expect that they spend too much time trawling the local park investigating a barking dog, on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Random Boy must almost certainly be a local fella. Nik is pretty sure she has noticed his second car parked not too far from her place. So my worry is that if, as it appears likely that Random is a copper and he has sufficient clout to get Bob the Animal Management officer, and a police car to attend in pretty short order, what else is he capable of.

Here comes the B-Grade movie connection.

I reckon generally speaking I live a pretty law abiding life. I am an older woman who doesn't carry a weapon of any sort, unless you count the tube of deodorant I take to the pool - ah yes murder by Aluminium poisoning, I have heard of that! But I wonder just how much harassment is possible if some crazy Random Boy copper takes it on himself to do his dirtiest.

Of course it is possible I have got all this arse backwards and Random is a gangster not a copper, but we all agreed that if that was the case, he'd have decked Steve and it would have been all over bar the shouting.

I am awaiting the next instalment in the saga and am very much hoping that it doesn't include some shitty report about Dog lodged permanently at the Council.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Moet and Dogs and Chippies....Yeh Ladies day sunday is back!

It's been a while and even though the weather looks a bit pissy, we are gonna brave the rain and have a little fizz while the dogs play. I don't know when we discovered that the fish and chip shop over in the village makes chips that go very well with the bubbles but go they do, and if we get to open enough bottles then we won't care that the tables are less than spotless.

While I was at the bottleo this morning, I noticed what I am sure I have noticed before, Australian wine is just sooo much more expensive than imported stuff. I just really don't understand this. A bottle of Pino Grig from Italy - I think a good one, ( Yeh back off all the wine buffs who reckon my taste is all in my bum - I know I don't know anything except what I like) was about 20% cheaper than anything from Oz. But if you are in any London supermarket, the Aussie plonk is cheapest.

Now I have never bragged to be any sort of financial guru, but if you have to pay to put something on a plane and deliver it to somewhere thousands of kilometres away then I would expect that it would be more expensive. But it seems that the Aussie winemakers have struck some sort of deal where Europeans buy cheaply and we at home here foot the bill. I don't know how that is reasonable but there might be something to the theory, that Australians are mugs who are happy to pay over the odds.

None of this explains why I bought Moet today.... I just like it. It is not at all burnie, and I like it. Sadly that is the very best I can do in terms of wine tasting and description. My dear old Dad would indeed be horrified!

Now must get the cheese out of the fridge and stoke up the ice bucket. Yummo!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Rugby League sell out to the bloody gambling companies.

When I was just a girl a winter weekend was often spent sitting on the hill at Kougari Oval at Wynnum watching my local team The Wynnum Manly Seagulls play against all comers. This was the birth place of legendary Wally Lewis. I did love it! The red and green colours waving in the westerly winds and a great deal of yelling and cheering and more than the odd bit of ref bashing, well banter it was called then, but times have changed.

There were little kids running around generally being a bloody nuisance and if I was lucky enough to have a boyfriend, there was the chance of a bit of a snog behind the Chook Pen, at half time. Locals fell out of the club house after far too many beers and the players were treated like heroes after the game especially if they had pulled a win. They certainly didn't have any trouble pulling the birds. This too was legendary.

As a child bride, I married a local fella and so our passion for the local side was shared. When I was pregnant I had a special maternity dress in red and green that I wore to the games and I think this might have been the year that the Seagulls won the pennant but I am not so sure that I would bet the house on it.

When Bell was a young girl, if cash permitted, we'd head off in our woollies and scream ourselves hoarse (horse) for our Broncos who originated from mostly Seagulls players, when Brisbane first put up a team into the national comp. My sister and I were well known for yelling obscenities at any player who had managed to take too many liberties with female fans during the week. We'd yell, 'Benny's a Rapist!' or similar and I can tell you that definitely shut up the yobbo blokes around us.

It was a wonderful season. It was a wonderful game.

It still is a great game if all the bullshit gambling crap doesn't give you the utter irrits.

I can't bear to watch it on the tellie any more because I spend too much time yelling obscenities at the wankers encouraging folk to phone or internet gamble and it's not even just a bet for a win. Ah no, now it has to be so complicated that you need a master's degree to sort it and sadly the folk betting are mostly a qualification short.

All this gambling shit has just really taken the edge off it for me.

I rarely pine for the old days, but there is just no contest between the Wynnum Oval and a TV screen plastered with all sorts of shitful odds.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Gym for Geriatrics

Yep, We did it!! We joined up today!! And had our Intro session with the lovely, fit Johnny for whom I am pretty sure, we could have been the oddest couple he has ever had to devise a programme for. My knees are buggered, so I can't bend both of 'em well enough to fit into some of the machines and I am too wide for others, and Steve won't do anything that requires lying on the floor amid other people's piss and sweat, and if I actually manage to lever myself onto the floor, there is even less chance of me ever getting back up again without the aid of a crane or a pulley system attached to one of the machines. Johnny was pleased that generally speaking Steve and I are the same height so only one adjustment to the machines was necessary, except for the weights, cos of course I am a girlie and Steve is a big tough bloke.

Steve managed to negotiate a 3 month contract instead of the usual year long nightmare, so that if we don't go as often as we should or could or might, then we don't have to feel too guilty for too long.

I am planning to go to the pool for a class tomorrow morning at some silly o'clock and then maybe if I am still vertical have a little turn on some of the playground equipment with Steve when he gets there a bit later. They have a free breakfast offer going between 7 and 10.30am, but I expect that it will be mostly straw and fat free milk. I asked if eggs Benedict was on the menu and was greeted with a chortle.

So Steve is resplendent we called in to get new shoes and shorts. And he very much looks the part! While he was getting changed and going through his selection, I was lucky enough to have time for a real close inspection of those shorts for men with the attached underpants. What a fucking awful idea!! Really I felt more than a little ill at the very thought that I had just spent time sticking my hand into the never never where strangers' bollocks had been trussed and the idea of foreign skid marks left me weak at the knees and not in a good way. Who the bloody hell ever came up with this. Maybe it's just to save bachelors from additional washing. If Steve knew what it was all about he wasn't sharing cos my face just made it very clear that those undie type shorts were NOT coming to the big house. Oooooh YUK!! Really some mystery needs to be maintained, cos now when I see a bloke at the gym I will be wondering about the effective laundering of those awful items.

If you have any clues about how to maintain a gym work ethic please let us know. I would like to think that we can manage at least 3 months but reckon both Steve and I are pretty quick to come up with plausible excuses, so help may well be needed.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Movie Review : 'Grand Budapest Hotel'

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) Poster

Almost 10 years ago, Steve and I headed to Eastern Europe for a summer adventure. We travelled by plane and train and boat and bus and walked for miles, off the beaten track to places 'Less travelled by'. We lost a train, stayed in shitholes and palaces, ate food we didn't recognise and went completely actor dullally on a bridge in Croatia just so we could get a seat on a bus. It was a marvellous time!

We pushed the boat out and stayed at the Gellert Hotel while we were in Budapest, both on the way out and on the way home. The façade was beguiling and the common areas beautiful. Our room on our way out,  was definitely oldy - worldy so for our time on the way home we upped the anti and booked the only suite. Very lardie-da, except that when we moved in we fell about laughing cos whilst there was indeed plenty of room and rooms, there was no furniture, except a bed and a bit of a broken chair! The Russians or the local mafia must have been in and stolen all the useful stuff and there was just an idea of what the place must have once been like, and I reckon that was enough to leave a very pleasant memory and if I am ever lucky enough to go back to Hungary, I would like to stay here again!

The title of this movie, 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' was all I needed as an enticement for me to stump up the ticket price and I certainly was not disappointed. I was the ONLY person in the theatre and my laughter and gasps sort of echoed around. I knew nothing about the movie and I was not even sure it was gonna be in English. Whoever pulled the project together, must really be SOMEONE cos they managed to attract some very big Hollywood names, who just did a great job at telling an interesting yarn in an oldy - worldy way.

It was beautifully shot and so reminded me of my time there, even though the movie was set and shot in winter. The beautiful austerity was captured and the sadness and corruption behind the flash facades explored.

I don't know why I was the only person there. Maybe they haven't done a good job of promoting it, which is a very great shame, because it is sooo worth a couple of hours.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Kids, Teachers, Flash State Schools, and Usless f....n fathers.

It was Mother's Day at Bell's last night. Both Belly and Zig had pushed their boats out to get the old gal - ME, some lovely bits and bobs. It doesn't matter what it is, though anytime you get some nice smellies for the bath is a good time, Mum / Ma is always gonna love it! And love it all, I surely did.

Then we went off to The Junction Hotel which used to be an old man scratch the scrotum and spit sort of a dive but is now all hip and trendy and they have $10 steaks on Monday nights. Steve and I wondered how they made even a penny out of the meals and maybe it's true that they just hope everyone has a bucket full of beer cos that's where the profits lie on a Monday.

Just as Zig was delivered his banana paddle pop for dessert, his father rang and this was the downturn of the evening. Zig had to grab the phone and run off shouting, 'Don't speak Dad Don't speak Dad', cos apparently Dad gets the shits up if there is too much noise for Zig to hear him.

Zig's happiness had evaporated by the time he came back to the table. Seems that even though his old man had promised to attend his performance day he was ringing to give 3 lies as excuses why he could now NOT go.

Zig was worried that he might be only the second ever kid NOT to have someone watch him! Of course he was disappointed that his father wasn't going to make it. I pointed out that at least one of the excuses was a lie, I just couldn't help myself, and I told him that it was Ok sometimes to be cross with his dad.

So this is the go. There is a 'Performance Segment' every now and then and there is a complex schedule and each kid takes a turn at being Chairperson, and reciting a poem and singing a song and playing host to a 'What's in the box' bit of fun. So each week family member/s of the 4 leads front up and take a back seat to watch. The performance runs for just a few minutes and starts at 12.50pm. That's 4 visits from family per kid this term!!

So this is why it's a flash place!! It seems that the majority of families are lucky enough to have a stay at home parent. Now I am being very PC about this cos I am pretty sure that the vast majority of these stop at homes are female, but there might be just one or 2 blokes who are also always available to pop into school for a few random minutes, to put added pressure on the kids.

There is plenty of notice and the term's schedule was available weeks ago. Zig and I looked at it last week and cos Bell would be at work, I said I would be happy to go along. We had a bit of a preview of his poem and I coaxed from the sidelines - a drama teacher never dies, and then there was the bloody call from his father. Zig ran off to his room, which is the 'Phone Call Rule'. He popped out a little later and grabbed the schedule and disappeared again.

He came out beaming. His Dad was gonna be able to make every performance!! Well that certainly should be possible especially as he quit his job so he doesn't need to pay any child support, but I found it unlikely.

The adjectives rolling in my mind to describe this arsewipe are not fit for public consumption. But how bloody dare he? How can he care so little about the affect his lies and deceit have on his kid? What sort of a nasty piece of shit is happy to be a constant source of misery to a little boy just so he can get his jollies screwing adults over? The bitterness and bile that run through his veins I can only imagine.

We solved the audience dilemma and soothed his tears while sitting on a step outside the men's loo at a quirky little pub.

I soo hope Zig remembers the kindness and reliability and love, and that he finds the strength to become other than what his sperm donor demonstrates.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Big Car Smash LAst Night.

Serious crash Bundall Rd, Bundall. Pic courtesy of Crime Watch Now Gold Coast

As I was closing up last night I noticed a big melee on the main road. There were police and people everywhere. There had clearly been a big prang. I watched for a while and went off to bed.

This morning in the park it was the topic of local gossip. There had indeed been a big smash and all the debris had just been swept into the gutter and left in a big old pile, awaiting collection by some unknown and unlikely soul.

After coffee, Steve and I wandered out to have a look at the aftermath, and there was plenty to look at. It was a real crime scene with police markings all over the road. There were yellow arrows drawn all over the road and we guessed that these might have been pointers for broken bits to be photographed, but we could definitely be wrong in this. So we stood and tried to work it out. This intersection has often been the scene of big smashes. Only a couple of weeks ago some older bloke wrote himself off on his motor bike simply by going too fast.

Well last night an 18 year old girl was running from police and was going too fast, she lost control and mounted the median island ( no easy feat in itself ) and ran head on into a car going the other way. A couple of elderly folk are in hospital as a result. The young girl is in critical condition and it looks pretty grim for her.

The media circus was just beginning as we were walking back because the police had apparently just released the story. The reporters and camera man accosted Steve for comment. He may be on the news tonight. I declined because I looked a bit of a fright and I didn't know what their angle was.

The thrust of the reports is yet to be made clear. It beggars belief that there are so many fatal and near fatal accidents at this intersection. It seems so safe to me. Last night I suppose it can be argued that had the police not chased the girl there would have been no accident. Steve reckons that the sort of speed that must have been involved would be the result of aggression but I reckon that fear could push someone to the same end.

Anyway however it unfolded, the families involved must be reeling. The older couple who are the innocent victims must be wondering about their appalling luck in being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the family of the young girl must be exhausted from trying to work out how and why all this has happened.

It would be all too easy to lay the blame firmly at the feet of the police who were in pursuit. I sincerely hope this does not happen. We don't know what caused the initial chase but I have faith that the police were and are interested in maintaining peaceful safety.

I certainly hope that nothing comes to light to disturb my utopian beliefs.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

'Offspring' returns. Yippee!

Steve's Saturday golf means I can please myself with all manner of girlie shit on the tellie, if I have had the foresight to record something worthy. And as luck would have it, on a quick flick around last night I saw that the final episodes of last season's 'Offspring' were being replayed, so with a flickity flick flick, it was sitting there for me today. Don't ya just love technology?

2 Hours, well less cos I fast forwarded through the ads, of emotional rollercoaster. I laughed and cried like a baby. Yes I had seen it all before, but I had no trouble watching as if for the first time. I reckon it is so well put together!

When I wiped away the last of the tears I was left wondering about the family dynamic of both Nina and me.

To summarise, this is Nina's lot:
  • an interfering but quirky loveable mother.
  • a father who isn't her father who is divorced from her mother but still loves her all the while he is off on a grey nomads journey with his baby son and his mother who was heavily involved with another bloke but broke it off to go a wandering.
  • a latterly discovered biological father who is more than a little odd but pleasant enough who had a renewed affair with her mother, but that too died a strange death.
  • a flaky sister and a soon to be ex brother-in-law.
  • an organic hippy type of brother and his girlfriend and baby
  • and of course there are other various hangers on who all add spice to the action.
She is surrounded by all this madness and mayhem but is beautifully loved despite or in spite of her own bit of peculiarity. And how lucky is that!!

My lot is smaller and far less harmonious and definitely less humorous:
  • Dead dad gone too soon, no angel but a lot of fun.
  • Bitter twisted estranged mother.
  • Dead felon brother who I hadn't seen since he had smashed his way into my house and stole stuff and threatened to kill my sister 20 years ago.
  • A sister who has become part of her husband's 'Look at me, Look at me, Look at me,' cult and therefore finds Steve and I too fat to tolerate.
  • Beautiful daughter and grandie boy.
  • Steve who has accepted this lot as he has found 'em, which for most of 'em is not at all.
I don't know anyone who has a 'normal' family, in fact I don't reckon I could describe what that would be, but I am pretty sure it wouldn't be Nina's.

And maybe that is why this show is such a hit. It certainly encourages us to think that familial harmony is possible and that if all else ends in a heap, you can always rely on 'blood'.

I am pretty sure that my Bell doesn't watch what she would consider such dross, but if she did I hope she would say that she is as loved as Nina, even if her family numbers don't quite add up.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Jack Sprat household but it seems to work.

Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean
And so betwixt the two of them
They licked the platter clean

So Steve's back and the jet lag was an almost non-event this time round and as the weather has finally decided it is time to give us mere mortals a bit of respite, our minds have turned to the garden.

When we did the courtyard a few years back, we decided on a design that demanded extensive use of railway sleepers for division and steps and textural diversity. They looked wonderful for about a minute and then all of a sudden they started to twist and turn and leap out of the ground, like a bucket full of over sized maggots.

Steve in his pursuit of excellence and perfection was very less than happy. He began a one man assault on Bunnings from whence the defective items sprang. They took it all very seriously because he used words like fraud and not fit for purpose and misleading and even included various sections of 'How to' tellie shows which showed landscapers using these bloody sleepers just as we had done. Clearly there was no mention of the twisty twisties.

So Steve didn't win and Bunnings is selling this shit still. He wants rid of 'em all and that is quite a lot!! So he is working out how to replace 'em and with what and I am dreaming of some passion fruit covered arbour as a welcome hall to our door. There is of course a bit of an overlap in that both require an engineer's bent but mine is aesthetic and his is structurally necessary.

This is a classic right brain V left brain dilemma.

I wonder what 2 lefties or 2 righties ever talk about.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Making an Omlette

I am not an interested cook. I reckon if you can buy it or eat out or have someone else cook for you then a NIKE is necessary,  Just Do It.

I have never made a successful omelette and it's nearly my oldest birthday. I reckon the chances of me starting now are very very slim. I cannot recall ever even attempting one, though it is possible that somewhere in my dark past I had a go and it was such an unmitigated failure that I have wiped the memory away, like chalk from a board during afternoon detention, yeh, THAT I remember!

So this morning we were all up at silly O'clock because Stevie's monster truck was due a service, and don't they just go on and on about that! So he actually bounded out of bed and I said I would meet him there cos there was no point in me sitting there waiting for him to go through the usual shit. I shovelled Dog into my car, we picked Steve up, run Dog and were sitting down for breakfast at Avril's all before.....wait for it.....8.15!!! It was a shocker to everyone, us included.

As we were driving back from the truck shop, I suggested breakfast out and as the idea became more concrete, I decided on an omelette. I have been known to make eggs of all sorts, poached, fried, scrambled, quiche, frittata, benedict and boiled, because I like an egg. But I don't do omelettes! Avril's Chau makes fabulous omelettes and unlike some chefs, he doesn't mind putting in cheese even though it makes a bloody awful mess of the frying pan. So a ham and cheese omelette for me and eggs with the lot for Steve and a side of bacon for Dog. We were a happy little lot!!

There is something so satisfying sitting out in wonderful Autumn weather, having someone else cook breakfast. Yummo!

And yes Autumn has finally struggled along. Days are shorter and cool enough for a sleeve and evenings are dark and cool enough for a coverlet on the couch while Dog keeps my feet toasty. The sky is just barely loosing some of its vivid blue and I reckon people in general are of a much happier demeanour. This is my favourite time of the year.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

New to me Old Technology has its Foibles.

A few years ago Stevie gave me a Sony E-Reader. I didn't know what to do with it and the 'How To' book was a bloody nightmare to me, so it collected dust until Carol, my friend who knows all things technical, came to stay for a couple of days and she spent hours - yes HOURS setting it up for me. I reckon there were a number of times when even she nearly gave it away. She owns a Kindle and she kept saying how much easier it was.

Anyway, she got it sorted and I learnt how to buy books and off I went. It was sooo good and Steve was so jealous that I had to get him an E-reader for Christmas. Yeh I got him a Kindle and he set it up in about a minute.

Lee Childs has churned out about a million Jack Reacher books and we have been reading them cos they are designed for people to read quickly and then forget. I read '61 Hours' and it was OK, if more than a little predictable after reading a few of 'em. What I had not expected was, that for a tenner, you'd buy a book that was not complete!! It finishes with, 'To be Fucking Continued', Well truthfully less of the fucking and more of the how shitful is that !!

Now because I had an E-reader, I just went on line and bought the next one so I could find out in what strange unbelievable manner Reacher escaped this time.

I reckon that is just too fucking greedy for words to put 1 book into 2 editions so instead of a tenner it cost 20 dollars especially when the second book was a load of shit. It was over written and extremely unlikely even given the Jack Reacher take on things.

All I can imagine is that having signed some sort of a deal with Tom Cruise for the Reacher Rights, Lee has decided to really spin out what he can get from Hollywood and at the same time take the piss from the general public. As an aside, I find the very idea that Cruise makes a believable Reacher absurd, for a starter, he's just too bloody small.

SO now I am gonna take the piss myself. I'm gonna spend time in book stores and email myself a list of good'ens on my smart phone and then buy only ones that I reckon I have actually seen.

It's just too easy to throw good money after bad whilst lying back in the bath. Damn that Wi-Fi connection.

Friday, 2 May 2014

So You Think You Can Dance Final - Sexy Sluts versus The Warriors

I have not been watching this at all, not because I don't like watching dancing, but because it just hasn't ever turned up at a time when I fancied it. Like everyone I suppose I have seen bits and pieces in the ads and reckon that there was not an obviously shit dancer in the line up. Certainly compared to anything these fat old seized up legs could manage they were bloody terrific.

So today as a pleasant accompaniment to the drag of ironing I watched the replay of the final. Yeh, I knew who won so there was no huge suspense but music filled the lounge room and I could watch bits and pieces.

I did see the duets of the top 2 girls and the top 2 boys. The women were decked out in trench coats wrapped around sexy frocks and they contorted themselves over balustrades and other various poles before they ripped off the coats and  gyrated beautifully. The boys were dressed as samurai warriors and were armed with swords. They duelled it out and their acrobatics and dance were strong and vibrant.

So the best girls were presented as sluts and the boys were presented as warriors.

Could I be the only person to have thought this? I have not seen any such comments on social media or online news.

Years ago when I was teaching English, looking for all sorts of bias was an important part of the curriculum. So kids were exposed to texts like "Dick and Dora" that were my buddies when I was learning to read, and modern kids were encouraged to see the sex stereotypes. Of course this was often greeted with great laughter and incredulity. Generally the kids had no trouble seeing the old fashioned men and women and boys and girls, and they could identify great differences between their households and those of Dick and Dora. Of course they were being directed to do so.

I can only live in hope that for at least some of the kids I have taught, identifying this sort of bullshit sex roles might have become second nature. And maybe these kids have grown into discerning adults who like me didn't watch and didn't spend money voting and encouraging the crap.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Privatising Australia Post

Well really a private company could do no worse than the current shitful, service offered by Australia Post. They have outsourced the delivery of items to contractors and this has been the case for some long time now. As luck would have it, our fella is a lazy, good for bugger all, jobs worth, who after an imaginary altercation with Steve or someone else here at the house more than FIVE YEARS ago, now still refuses to deliver stuff at all. He just throws a delivery advice notice in the post box and runs along. I presume he gets paid regardless, so what does he care. I imagine he finishes very early and races home and puts he stinky feet up and spends his ill-gotten gains on online betting or porn. He certainly is not buying 'how to deliver stuff with attention to customer care' books.

So when I get the delivery card, which is more often than you might think cos I have a happy little habit of buying stuff unseen on line, I need to troop up to the local post office to collect it. The guy there, either knows me or is the most gormless cock or indeed both of these things. I give him the card, he asks for photographic ID, I ask why the delivery was not made and he gives some excuse which I negate. We have exactly the same dance every time. It could be 3 or 4 days in a row, if I think I have struck gold somewhere in the ether. I ask if he thinks that I have had good value for my postage dollar, he mumbles like a moron and I tell him I can't wait until Australia Post is privatised because efficiency could not possibly be worse, and he looks at me like I am speaking Chinese.

I guess what I wonder is who would reckon in this day of emails and internet everything, that buying Australia Post would be a worthwhile investment. But I really really hope that a sale is not only possible but imminent. I will happily be a parade of one, flag waving and gleefully chanting as they close the local shop and all those useless arseholes leave the building one last time, to head off to spend their undeserved redundancy packages and sign onto the dole.

That's the sad truth I guess, one way or another I will still be paying the blighters.