|trivial tales from someone who's always in it|
Monday, January 31, 2005
Guest Blogger: Buffy the CatA very big, shiny metal thing arrived today. It’s in the kitchen, sitting in the place where the not-so-big white thing used to be. My food lives in the shiny thing now, which is the only reason I've bothered to mention it.
You wouldn’t believe the fuss she made when it came, though. Totally unnecessary, in my opinion. No-one likes a slobberer. Unless they’re into dogs.
Then he came home from work and set her off again. The pair of them dribbled and enthused and generally made even bigger idiots of themselves than usual. They kept saying they couldn’t believe it was finally here, and wasn’t it big, and look at all that room. And then something a bit bad happened but I’ll let her tell you about that another time.
So anyway, yesterday they broke the bed. While I was trying to bloody sleep on it. Perverts. They have absolutely no sense of decorum, those two. Or even shame, if all the choked, snorting sounds they made to express their amusement were anything to go by. It’s sickening. I was so disgusted I had to run outside and pick a fight with that ginger thing from two doors down.
At least on this occasion the problem could be partially fixed. Not like that other time, when they totally trashed the couch. If I was to keep score, here’s how it would look:
Supposedly Beautiful and Natural Expression of Love Between a Couple of Consenting Adult Humans : Two
Soft Furnishings : Nil
They’re a constant source of mortification, particularly her. At least he knows how to keep his mouth shut but she witters on interminably. And she’s so damned clueless. Look at some of these ridiculous variations on my name that she keeps dreaming up: Fluffy Buffy. Scruffy Buffy. My Wee Buffalo Soldier. Buff-O-Rama.
I’ve saved the worst for last, though: “Buffolata”. This one tickled her so much she made up a fucking song about it. Not a good one, either. On the rare occasions when I consent to sitting on her lap (only so she’ll brush me) she croons this thing over and over again:
Made from oogie old potatas (sic)
And some rotten old tomatas (sic)
And some icky chippolatas
Topped with lots of gremolata
For dessert, we’ll have cassata
How embarrassment for everyone concerned, that’s all I can say. And don’t ask me what “oogie” means. I assume it’s just something else to do with rancid foodstuffs, but I can’t be sure. Who really knows what goes on in that fuckstick’s head?
Other than that, not much else to report. Lots of frogs around after all the recent rain. Great fun, they are, and far too stupid to take any notice of that bell I’m forced to wear around my neck. Frogs squeak when you pin them down with your claws, did you know that? (Last week I overheard him telling her that they pee all over you when they’re trapped. That’s just stupid bleeding-heart propaganda, take it from me.) She goes absolutely ballistic whenever she sees me with one, of course. Grabs me in mid-swipe and throws me inside. Anything to take all the joy out of my life. Then she calls him and he’s supposed to chuck old Kermit over the fence to “safety”. Yeah, right. He misjudged his throw the other night -- stood in front of the fence and hurled Kermie straight into it. Dickhead. How I did laugh!
The mind-control technique's almost perfected now. She woke up at 3:20 this morning. It took an hour and a half of concentrated mental zapping before she realised she was supposed to let me inside and feed me, but we got there in the end.
Sunday, January 30, 2005
The Lengths We'll Go To For New Domestic Appliances
Six weeks ago, the Dreamboat persuaded, wheedled and cajoled Your Correspondent into accompanying him to a Temple of Mammon posing as a homeware store. The objective: to buy a new fridge.
Friday, January 28, 2005
Literary Breakthroughs ...... because this post is devoted to the written word. No shit.
Literary Breakthrough 1
There’s a writing group here in Townsville – a proper writing group where members critique each other’s work and socialise and pay annual subscriptions and everything! Yay!
The group meets every Wednesday night. I am so there next week. I am so not depressed any more. I am so going to write something to take along. Soon.
I’ve flipped into euphoric mode at this news because writing, I’ve decided, is how I’m going to fill my days until I can score some decent work. Serious writing, that is. Writing I might actually make some money from.
Current projects (short stories):
“Praying for Americans” – something strange is happening to an old woman in the Scottish Highlands and she needs to keep her B&B guests around a little longer …
“How Blood-Nut Worried the Sun” – a little boy embarks on a huge vendetta
“A Deck-Chair in the Desert” – when desperate fathers go whacko …
The idea is to complete one story a week. I've started all three but can't decide which one to concentrate on first.
That, by the way, was a hint. It means "I'm open to suggestions".
Also in the pipeline:
“Away From It All” -- a humourous play about camping in the Outback. I’ve never written a play before, but what the hell.
An (untitled) historical screenplay set in Cossack, WA. I’ve never attempted a screenplay before either, but so what. Even Charlie Kaufman had to start somewhere.
So that’s the plan. Knowing my luck, just when I’m all fired up and jiggling at the keyboard so energetically that my boobs fall off, I’ll be offered a bloody job. We shall see.
Literary Breakthrough 2
Your Correspondent has a new publishing credit to her name. Sydney blogger Kapooka Baby!, not content with contributing to three separate blogs, also produces print ‘zines. One of them, “jv =”, is themed and some of Your Correspondent’s handiwork appears in the latest: “jv = bent”. I received my copy yesterday, along with the previous edition, “jv = lost”.
These zines are beautifully put together, with lots of great art-work and excellent writing (natch!). The next edition (“jv = rad”) is in production now. If you’re interested in contributing, getting your hands on a copy or finding out more, head over to $3PASH and drop Kapooka Baby! a line.
Literary Breakthrough 3
Your Correspondent might shy away from commenting on politics and contentious issues but not everyone in her family is so squeamish. Check this out. My damn-good-writer of a little brother is the author.
Literary Breakthrough 4
Results are out for the 2005 Australian Blog Awards. Thanks to anyone who voted for hot water. Congrats to the winners and special kudos to Vlado, who organised the whole thing once again and probably has no hair left. I know I would've torn all mine out if I'd been on the receiving end of the huffiness and other stupid antics that've come from some blogging prima donnas in the last month.
I mean, honestly. The guy has this nice idea of putting together some awards to publicise Australian blogs. He organises everything himself, calls for nominations, posts them up, invites people to vote and then gets comments like this:
Some Person: Why the hell wasn't [some blog] nominated for [some category]?
If I'd been Vlado, the temptation to reply with, "Um ... because no-one, like, nominated them? You tool." would've been overwhelming.
Then there were the people who sulked because they didn't win, criticised the voting procedures and announced they wouldn't stand for nomination next year. As if. Arrogant sods.
To top it all off, there were accusations from some of the right-wing blogging brigade that the nominations and votes were somehow rigged in favour of the lefties. For god's sake.
Mind you, these are the sort of people who bandy around terms like "the blogosphere", thinking they actually mean something. They probably nominated themselves for awards in the first place.
So, Vlado, my hat is off to you. You're a paragon of restraint. Maybe you should let the more vociferous critics organise next year's awards and then see how they fare. It would serve them right.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Equilibrium ... Sort OfWith regard to recent events, I've come to a resolution I can live with: it's time to settle.
If I persist in grieving over things I can't change, I'll end up in serious trouble. If I don't see the opportunities in my current situation and make the most of them, I'll probably regret it later. If I don't get my shit together now, I won't be in a position to deal with anything else that might crop up.
How brave of me! How impressive! How inspiring! What a wise and grown-up attitude I've adopted! I might not have Australian citizenship yet, but what a staunch little battler I am!
All well and good, but that still doesn't change the unpalatable fact that I don't seem to be able to get on with people in this town.
Townsville residents are very friendly. It's one of the first things the Dreamboat and I noticed about the place. The waiter at our favourite restaurant, the proprietor of the cafe where we had lunch a couple of weeks ago, the taxi drivers ... all willing to strike up conversations, all very nice. To the Dreamboat, that is.
Before you conclude that I'm just being a bit over-sensitive at the moment, I'd like to say that people always do warm to the Dreamboat. He's that sort of person. However, they usually include me in, simply because I'm the more outgoing one. Then they get bored with my drivel and start appreciating the Dreamboat for the total legend that he is.
Not here, though. I don't even get a look-in.
There's also the argument that we're a 'couple' and these guys direct their conversation to the Dreamboat because they don't want to give the wrong impression. But we've lived in far 'blokier' places than this and it's never been a problem before. And that certainly doesn't account for the business with my hairdresser.
Your Correspondent has had a hell of a lot of hairdressers in her time. Some were better at hair-shit than others, but I never failed to hit it off with each of them right from the start. Age, gender, sexual orientation were never a problem. We'd invariably become good mates, they'd give me great pointers about places/people/events in whatever town we'd moved to, and I'd always feel sad when I had to bid them farewell.
Ms Townsville Hairdresser, though, is a different story.
I've been to her twice and I cannot make this woman laugh. I can't get her to warm up. I can't even get her to talk. None of the usual 'building a rapport' shit works. In today's appointment, I remembered what she'd told me last time about how she was going to spend Christmas and asked her about it. She gave a perfunctory response and lapsed into silence. I asked her about something else and got a single-sentence response. I tried again. Same thing. After a couple more attempts, I gave up.
At the time she was supposed to be cutting my hair, some bloke wandered in off the street. He wanted his hair coloured. She called one of her lackeys over, whispered to her and then sent her over to where I was waiting. This taciturn lass informed me she was going to dry my hair first and Ms Townsville Hairdresser would cut it afterwards. She didn't ask; she told.
Yes, it's a busy salon -- but so were the places in Sydney and Melbourne I used to frequent. Yes, Ms TH is a superb hairdresser -- but so were most of the others I've encountered over the years. Yes, I made another appointment -- but unless things are different next time, it'll be the last. Yes, I'm a wuss and should've complained at the point -- but I didn't.
Does anyone know any decent hairdressers in Townsville who won't make me feel like cutting my wrists after each appointment? For that matter, does anyone know why the hell I don't seem to be able to make a connection with anyone in this damned place?
Maybe I've just met the first hairdresser in my life that I'm destined not to get along with. Or maybe, despite my protestations to the contrary, I really am paranoid at the moment. Or perhaps Ms TH is just a bitch -- albeit a very skilled one. I don't fucking know.
What I do know, though, is tomorrow I'm ringing the local library to find out if there's a writing group here. If there isn't, I'm going to start one. Surely there's someone I can get along with in North Queensland? And from here on in, there'll be no more talk of depression. I'll save it for my 'serious', 'literary' writing ... where it belongs.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
You've Gotta Accentuate the Positive ...... preferably in bad rhyme.
1. THE SPARKLY GYM
The gym is NOT a dismal place
It’s NOT demoralising
It’s a magic fairy grotto
Where folk go to shrink their thighs in
The staff are NOT disinterested
The members are NOT snooty
They’re just sad, fat fuckers like yourself
Intent on weight-loss duties
You LOVE to sweat and strain for hours
At your friendly local gym
Coz in ten years, if you work hard
You’ll be old ... but you’ll be slim
2. THE MIRACLE OF UNEMPLOYMENT
It’s great fun to be unemployed
And on your own all day
You don’t have to wear your undies
And you won’t spend all your pay
You can trawl the internet for hours
Guilt-free and without cowering
No bosses to breathe down your neck
It’s really quite empowering
You can do the things you want to
At a time and place that suits
You can stop to smell the roses
While some pixies play wee flutes
3. THE JOY OF HAVING NO FRIENDS
Hurray for friendlessness, I say!
Hurray again! Three cheers!
You never have to lend a thing
Or share a single beer!
You don’t get stupid phone calls
In the middle of the night
To sort out their relationships
After a massive fight!
No need to like their rabid pets
Or love their scabby kids
Or pretend their cooking’s edible
When in truth you get the shits!
You won't have to be supportive
When they tell you they've turned queer
Hurray for friendlessness, I say!
Hurray again! Three cheers!
4. WHY GOD SMILED AT THE LITTLE WOODLAND CREATURES AND THEN CREATED TOAST
Toast’s the perfect comfort food
I eat it all day long
Those useful carbohydrates
Keep me well and keep me strong
I really need the energy
I get from eating toast
So I’m fit and ready for my next
Monday, January 24, 2005
In Which the Dreamboat Drags Your Correspondent by Her Chemically-Enhanced Tresses Out of the Pit of DespairFirstly, thanks to everyone who left comments or sent emails following Friday's post. I really appreciate your thoughts and good wishes. You are hereby dubbed the official hot water Melancholia Busters.
So yeah, I feel a bit better. Things reached a bit of a crisis-point here in the Summer Palace on Friday night, when Your Correspondent could be heard expressing such lively sentiments as "it's too fucking hard" and "I can't deal with this business of constantly trying to build a whole new life from scratch"* and "I'd rather sit in this room and rot".
So Friday night will probably go down in history as The Evening of Extended Histrionics.
Saturday morning was devoted to crying. Crying, crying, crying. And weeping. Lots of weepiness occurring all over the place. So it’s only fitting that Saturday morning should henceforth be known as The Malcontent's Morning of Much Moisture.
Then, with all of that out of the way, it was time for the Dreamboat's plan to kick in. He had one, you see. It involved the cunning use of reverse psychology.
He began by being extra attentive. I’m talking serious mush: lingering, impassioned looks, informing me every half-hour that he loves me, etc. He knows there’s only so much of that stuff I can take.
Next, we cooked an extremely fancy meal together. To keep our strength up, and all. Although it’s possible he might’ve just been sick of the shit we’ve been eating lately as a result of Your Correspondent’s lack of interest, and this step was out of necessity rather than any major part of the plan.
Then he plied me with alcohol because depressed people should never drink. Or take drugs. Except for those expensive prescription ones that obliging pharmaceutical companies make for people like me, god bless 'em.
Step Four involved watching cheery movies with uplifting messages, like Igby Goes Down and One Hour Photo. After the latter, I have to admit I was starting to feel downright perky.
The pièce de resistance was a book the Dreamboat bought me a couple of weeks back: Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernières, one of my favourite authors. It's a laugh a minute, starting with the quote on the second page by Spyros Kyriazopoulos:
THE CATBy Sunday night, I was able to talk to the Dreamboat's parents on the phone without bursting into tears, so the plan must've had some positive effect. Or else I was too exhausted after being bombarded by everyone else's unremitting gloom to summon the energy.
So, am I still depressed? Yeah, of course, but it's a little easier to deal with. Today I actually managed to leave the house twice. I did some housework. I cooked dinner. I'm learning to Accentuate the Positive ... on which subject there'll be more tomorrow.
* It's the fifth time in less than five years, after all.
Friday, January 21, 2005
Very Long MS Found in a TunnelAlthough I generally prefer to turn my back on them and then amuse myself by doing that thing with my jaw that makes me look like a Murray cod, I'm afraid it's finally time to Face Facts.
Your Correspondent is depressed.
There. I've said it.
I'm not talking about being a bit down, or slightly blue, or a tad disconsolate, or fractionally melancholic. Nah, this is the whole my-brain-chemistry-is-fucked-with-a-capital-D enchilada.
Sir Winston Churchill and Dr Samuel Johnson referred to their depression as "the black dog". I, however, don't. I really like dogs, particularly black ones, and have spent years hankering after a Newfoundland or a Puli for my very own. Although I'd settle for a black-and-white Border Collie as a compromise.
I've considered likening my personal Big D to other animals, ones I don't like very much, like "the beige chicken" or "a five-year-old male baboon called Coco", but they don't really have the same impact. I can't relate depression to the animal kingdom anyway. It's more like having a very dark tunnel attached to your back. The more depressed you are, the further into it you recede and the more muffled and remote everything else becomes. You stand inside, surrounded by black walls, and peer out into a world that seems increasingly irrelevant.
The official diagnosis was made on a Thursday afternoon in late 1992. What a hoot that was. I was married to Hubby #2 at the time. He was travelling constantly with work and the trips always seemed to last longer than planned. I had a very stressful job as well, never working less than ten-hour days and often longer. We had money problems. On top of it all, we were both involved in something that involved preparing and delivering lectures four nights a week. With Hubby #2 away so much, I did many of these myself.
So along came sleeping problems, stomach problems, huge rows, constant crying and raging, and all the time I wondered why everyone else seemed to be able to cope with their lives and I couldn't. Hubby #2 wasn't much help. He was stressed beyond belief as well.
After ten months of this: Crunch Time. I woke up up one morning, pulled the covers back over my head and didn't get out of bed for five days. Well, ok, I went to the dunny and made cups of tea and fed the animals, but that was it. I ate nothing but toast. I called in sick at work, then refused to answer the phone. And I honestly had no idea what the hell was wrong with me.
Hubby #2 came back from one of his interminable trips and found me in bed. I asked him to take me to the doctor. I needed a medical certificate for work. He sat in the waiting room while I went into the surgery and listed all my physical symptoms. The doctor listened. Then she leaned over, touched my hand and said, "Is there anything else?"
That one touch did it. Your Correspondent completely and utterly lost it. Fell apart. I'd never cried like that before in my life -- huge, gut-wrenching sobs that I couldn't stop. I couldn't talk, couldn't breathe properly, couldn't stop shaking. The doctor handed me a box of tissues and started asking questions: did I feel like I couldn't go on? Yes. Did it seem like there was no way out? Yes. Had I contemplated suicide? No.
"You're suffering from severe depression," she said. "I want you on medication and seeing a counsellor within the week. Here's a prescription. And I want you back in here on Monday morning."
She put her arm around me, walked me to the door and opened it. Hubby #2 leapt out of his seat. I was still sobbing so violently I couldn't walk upright. Everyone in the waiting room stared. Hubby #2 kept asking what was wrong but I couldn't stop crying long enough to answer. I paid the bill. He took me home. I told him what the doctor had said. He looked at me.
"No-one else needs to know about this, do they?"
Good old Hubby #2. Being understanding was never one of his strong points.
To cut the proverbial long story short, I didn't take the medication, I didn't see a counsellor and I didn't go back on Monday morning. I knew what had caused the state I was in and I knew what I had to do. I had to change my life. Not all of it; just some. So I did. I cut back my hours at work. I reduced the extra-curricular lectures to two a week. I started writing. And, despite Hubby #2's embarrassment, I told a few people close to me, so they'd know what was going on.
I'm not saying this is the way everyone should deal with depression but it worked for me. For a while, at least. There have been two bouts since, but not quite as severe. Knowing what it is helps enormously. I've learned to recognise the warning signs: sleeping problems, lack of appetite, lethargy, mood swings, being wound up tighter than Kim Beazley's press secretary, gradual withdrawal. Oddly enough, my teeth chatter all the time too. That's when I know something needs to change.
Hot water was born out of my last bad bout of depression. I figured if I was forced to look for ways to make myself laugh every day, I'd be able to prevent the Big D from swamping everything. For the last two and a half years, it's served me well.
But now the tunnel's back and gaping wide open. It's ironic that just when I've been nominated for a "humourous blog" award and been added to a funny blogs clique, I should go all Mary Shelley on your arses, but there it is. Sorry, superheroes, but some things have no respect for good timing.
It's very hard to understand someone else's depressive episodes if you haven't been there yourself. Despite what many people think, depression isn't about self-indulgence (who wants to feel like shit on a constant basis?) or attention-seeking (quite the opposite -- depressed people withdraw). It's not just a matter of "snapping out of it" or "getting your shit together and doing something" when simply hauling your bum out of bed and having a shower takes a herculean effort.
Living with a depressed person can be hellishly frustrating, as the Dreamboat will attest. You don't understand what's brought it on; you don't know what to do or say that will help; you wonder if it's somehow your fault; and you resent the fact that they've shut you out. The best advice I can give anyone in this situation is to not take it personally. Circumstances trigger depression, not people. And circumstances can be changed.
It should go without saying that if you're trying to support someone who's depressed and you're seriously worried about what they might do, get outside help. But if they're like me and have a fair idea about what's going on and what needs to be done, just give Old Saddo some space (not too much) and let him or her work it out for themselves.
Or you could make them play team sports. But that's another story.
Update: Holy shit, I didn't realise when I was writing this post just how ambiguous it is (that's the problem with drafting something at 3:30am). So, to clarify: the "changes" I mentioned don't concern the blog. hot water is not on hiatus. Your Correspondent will continue to update. She just might not be particularly humourous for a while, that's all.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Antipodean Bloke Culture -- Who Cares?So I survived last night's concert despite drinking five million beers and being reprimanded by a forty-something taxi driver on the way home.
This same guy had driven us to the concert, so he knew where we'd been. He asked us about Missy Higgins. Other concert-goers he'd picked up had raved about her performance. We raved about it too. But when Your Correspondent mentioned that the Dreamboat found her encore so powerful he had tears in his eyes, our driver took quite definite exception.
This, apparently, was in direct contravention of some blokey code which states that it's alright for a bloke's eyes to brim but it's not alright to tell other blokes about it. He expounded on the subject at length and then summarised with:
"Blokes don't like to hear about other blokes crying. It makes them uncomfortable."
Blokes feeling uncomfortable? We can't have that! They might lose some precious "thinking-about-sex/sport/food" time! Quelle horreur!
Five million beers notwithstanding, I would never have opened my mouth if I thought it would cause the Dreamboat any discomfort. It didn't. Besides, we were supposed to be talking about an artist's performance and the effect it had on someone, not requesting info on a stranger's outmoded gender stereotypes.
So thanks for the lecture, Mr Taxi Driver, but, well ... fuck off. Or try introducing me to Blokes 101 on a day when I've had more than three hours sleep and feel like giving a shit.
P.S. Sadly, no-one at the concert did any Robot Dancing. I'm considering advertising lessons.
P.P.S. "Dance floor" tickets are definitely the best.
Monday, January 17, 2005
Sleep, Damn You, or be Taken Over by AliensThe Dreamboat is pulling out the big guns in his quest to help Your Correspondent beat her pesky insomnia.
Today he announced he'd bought tickets to The Waifs and Missy Higgins concert tomorrow night.
DB: They're for the dance-floor.
Niki: (unaware that it was even possible to buy "dance-floor" tickets) Huh?
DB: Well, it was either that or the second-to-back row.
Niki: So we can't sit down all night, is that what you're saying?
DB: Yeah. We'll just have to spend the whole thing dancing.
Dancing for the first time in a new town is always unsettling. What if they all do "The Robot"* here? Or spontaneously start line-dancing, like patrons of the Eyre Hotel in Whyalla used to? Even worse, what if they engage in a weird synthesis of the two, causing them to look a bit spastic? And supposing Your Correspondent laughs ... will they all turn around to face me at the same time in a manner reminiscent of the Borg? And then realise I'm over 35 and not very cool and decide there's nothing for it but to beat me up? Would my bleeding and battered remains then be assimilated into their robotic, line-dancing vortex of spasticity for ever?
At least the insomnia thing would no longer be an issue. The latest minipoll wouldn't, either.
* I'm referring to the authentic crappy 80s Robot ... but for something a tad more sophisticated, see this (Windows Media Player required).
Saturday, January 15, 2005
Wedlock: First Quarterly ReviewToday was our three-month wedding anniversary and I'm pleased to announce that the Dreamboat is shaping up quite nicely in his challenging role as Hubby Number Three. Initially there were a couple of causes for concern -- abruptly shaving off the matrimonial beard and then giving up smoking without even once throwing a tantrum -- but the outlook remains favourable for his continued "keeper" status.
The secret of his success? Communication, pure and simple. Here’s a recent example:
Niki: How do you want to spend the weekend?
A man of few words he may be, but he knows how to make every single one of them count.
Despite much time-consuming research, I couldn’t discover the appropriate gift for a three-month anniversary. This was a bit disappointing. You’d think some bright spark would’ve had the idea of breaking years into fractions, given the average length of marriages these days.
So I had to fall back on my own meagre resources to come up with something to honour the occasion. After serious deliberation, I decided on breakfast in bed. For me, of course. I mean, it’s only been three months. No need to get all bloody stupid about it.
In a world still reeling with shock and grief over the Brad/Jen split (see here for reactions from prominent world figures), the Dreamboat and Your Correspondent represent a shining beacon of hope. We are pop culture’s new golden couple. Over the next couple of weeks you can fully expect us to be on the front page of every crappy tabloid and magazine in the world. But unlike Tom and Nicole, J-Lo and Ben, and now Brad and Jen, we won’t disappoint you. We’ll be together for, like, years and years and years until we die. Word.
Friday, January 14, 2005
Gettin' BusyIt's been all go in the Townsville Imperial Palace of late. Your Correspondent, not content to merely sleep at odd hours, mop floors like the Demon Charwoman from the Infernal Regions and chat brightly with herself as all unemployed radio broadcasters do, has been getting busy. Here's a small sampling of this week's activities:
Tuesday -- Developing Mind Power
Spend half an hour trying to make Mister Scrubby fall into the sink through force of will alone.
Wednesday -- Going to the Shop and Coming Back Again
Lose house keys and remote control for garage door somewhere inside the fiery chariot. Eventually find them and trip gaily into house to continue business of leading a fulfilling life. Forget to turn off lights inside fiery chariot. Drain battery.
Thursday -- Fostering Human Contact
Do nothing about battery in the hope the Dreamboat will arrange something. Warmly greet young guy who subsequently turns up. Inform him that while I am incredibly wise in the ways of many things and was, for a time, nicknamed The Oracle (only after strenuous insistence to friends), I know bugger-all about cars. Converse wittily while he hooks up super-charger. Start fiery chariot and leave it running for five minutes. Thank guy profusely.
Niki: How long should I let it run for?
Battery Guy: Well, turn it off now and re-start it. If it starts, it's ok.
Ten minutes after his departure, prepare to drive to shop. Discover battery is flat again. Ring Battery Guy's office and beg them to send him back. Listen to stern lecture about benefits of leaving engine running for at least thirty minues. Greet Battery Guy once more. Graciously accept his apology for not realising the true depth of my ignorance on all matters vehicular. Keep motor idling for the next hour and ten minutes, just to be on the safe side. Take great pride in this initiative.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Supermarket Follies #6,932The Dreamboat and I are standing at the supermarket check-out. The sweet young thing behind the register chats to us while she puts through our groceries. All goes well until it's time for the fresh produce:
SYT: Are these leeks?
SYT: I can't get them to show up on the register. (pause while she hits buttons with increasing force) Um ... does 'leek' have a 'y' in it?
DB: No, but it does have an 'e'. Two of them, actually.
SYT: Oh, look at that! They've come up now.
Next time I'm there, I am so giving her the Limes Test.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
I'm Afraid That I'm Not Sure Of ...... Channel Seven's GOTTALOVEIT promos.
For the non-Oz contingent, these feature individuals of both genders fondling, batting their eyelashes at, and generally acting all besotted with a child-size TV that's mysteriously sprouted arms and legs ... to the tune of the truly hideous I Think I Love You (lyrics here and listen here ... you masochist) by the Partridge Family (yes, they have an official fansite and it's deeply disturbing, so don't say you weren't warned).
It has to be said that Channel Seven isn't exactly renowned for its highbrow content (a kid-size TV ... come on), but that's no excuse for inflicting the 1970s on us again. Because that's what these idents appear to be: either a piss-take, or an affectionate tribute to the cheesiest decade in human history.
The song's a dead giveaway, for a start. It appalled the world with its unadulterated putridity back in 1970 and then lay in wait for a generation, biding its time. Now, suddenly, it hath returned, just like that awful spider you thought you'd finally washed down the plug-hole after the eighth attempt.
Then there are the "smitten" female characters: one in a swimsuit and braids for all those boys back in 1979 who got tennis elbow over Bo Derek in 10, and the other in the sort of gauzy dress that was de rigeuer for 70s prom queens and perfect mums in washing powder ads.
Thanks to another monstrous 70s family, we also have the shy, awkward, bouquet-clutching Peter Brady lookalike. He seems to get the most screen time, presumably to win the hearts of the Gen Y set. That hairstyle of his is probably a novelty for them.
As for the bloke with the receding hairline cavorting in the waves (From Here to Eternity it ain't) and seducing his telly on the floor in front of the fire (naaasty) ... well, enough said.
Is there anything at all, you might ask, that Your Correspondent, as a little cube of bread immersed in Seven's triple-cheese fondue, actually likes about these promos? Well, yeah. The humping bunnies are pretty good.
So why is Seven going all '70s on us? I know it runs that piece of dreck starring Demi Moore's himbo but it's only one show ... surely not enough reason to birth an entire campaign?
Then there was that interview David Cassidy gave wee Rove McManus on Channel Ten a couple of years back. I'm not a great fan of Rove's, but after ten minutes of watching old Davey come on all flirtatious and schmoozy, I almost felt sorry for him. Perhaps it paid off, though. Maybe Davey, enchanted by Rove's compact allure, offered Ten the rights to I Think I Love You at discount rates. And then Ten snickered behind its hand and offered them to Seven in turn.
I suppose that, as usual, it comes down to ratings. Seven's wooing the 35+ demographic with these promos, trying to induce a warm glow of nostalgia. For those of us who weren't all that fussed with the '70s in the first place, they're far more likely to induce vomiting.
For an interesting theory on the reason behind the GOTTALOVEIT campaign, see here. And just in case you thought I was the only one who's less than enamoured with what Seven's serving, have a gander at this.
Sunday, January 09, 2005
Mister Scrubby: Kitchen MetrosexualSentimentality is a curse and, much as I hate to admit it, Your Correspondent is definitely afflicted. Old cards, letters, ticket stubs, pregnancy test kits … if they meant something to me once, I have a lot of trouble throwing them away.*
Which quite naturally leads us on to the subject of my dish scrubber.
A few days before Christmas I decided to replace it. This wasn’t an easy decision. That dish scrubber had faithfully served the Dreamboat and me ever since we’d started living together. For four and a half years it had been discreetly and efficiently removing all evidence of Your Correspondent’s many culinary disasters. We didn’t consider it a kitchen utensil so much as an old family retainer. It was our little scrubber buddy.
Ah, but Christmas was coming, with its roasting pans and gunk-encrusted pots, and even I had to admit our scrubber was looking a bit worse for wear. Its once-sturdy bristles had clumped together, imprisoning bits of rotting scrambled egg and spinach in the process, and the entire bristle edifice had developed a definite list to starboard. It was time to face facts: we needed an upgrade.
Our local supermarket doesn’t boast a huge variety of brushware, I discovered. (People in our part of town must own dishwashers** or servants, or eat out a lot.) Your Correspondent trotted sadly past the inferior specimens on display and despaired of ever finding a suitable replacement. But then I spotted some scrubbers that were somehow … different.
“What do you think?” I asked the Dreamboat.
He nodded solemnly. (Actually he didn’t. He barely glanced at them and then murmured, “Whatever you want, babe.” But that doesn’t have the proper dramatic resonance.)
Thus fortified by the Dreamboat’s endorsement, I made my decision. And that, my superheroes, is how Mister Scrubby came to be part of our household. Here he is, pictured in a lush, tropical setting:
It was the feet that did it. At the time, I thought a dish scrubber with feet was quirky and amusing in a cheesy sort of way. But now, after a couple of weeks, I have serious misgivings. Now I think Mister Scrubby is a bit creepy. There’s something deeply disturbing about a dish scrubber that resembles an armless, anorexic punk rocker with duck feet.***
He’s also very high-maintenance: his bristles may look perky and ready for action, but in reality they’re too soft. There’ll be no rotting foodstuffs caught in them, of that you can be sure. I suspect Mister Scrubby wouldn’t countenance it.
You might see more of our new dish scrubber in the near future. Your Correspondent is nothing if not fair, and will do her best to facilitate the bonding process at every opportunity. There may yet be favourable stories to tell … especially when Mister Scrubby gets to grips with removing sugar crystals from the bottom of coffee mugs. After that, it’s only a small step to pulling families of six out from burning buildings. And then going back for the dog. Naturally.
* Although there are exceptions … such as the Holly Hobbie stationery a close friend gave me when I was twelve. I had no problem speedily turfing out that shit.
** We too have a dishwasher, but it only works if we sand-blast the dishes and then dip them in sulphuric acid beforehand.
*** No woman would’ve designed this monstrosity, hence his masculine designation.
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Return of the She-DevilWhen, like the Dreamboat, you're living with a pre-menstrual insomniac, you learn quickly.
You have to.
Your survival depends upon it.
That radiant, pliable creature you married only two and a half months ago has disappeared. The fairies in charge of hormones and sleep-deprivation have stolen her away and left a changeling in her place: a twitchy, argumentative gorgon with a demented gleam in her eyes.
Lesson Number One: The usual friendly approaches don't work.
DB: (looks at his wife in a loving and inoffensive manner)
DB: Just looking at you, you gorgeous thing.
Niki: I'm not gorgeous. I'm fat and ugly and I've aged ten years and I've got all these bloody lines on my face and I look like shit and it's so bloody hot and sticky -- I wish to hell it would rain, for god's sake -- and I. Can't. Fucking. Sleep. (glances at TV) And what's that idiot on about?
DB: (thinks 'Okaaay' and backs away very slowly)
Lesson Number Two: Even when all seems quiet and affable, Demented Gorgon Woman lurks just under the surface, ready to emerge at the least provocation. Particularly if you open your mouth. And especially if you try to crack a joke. About anything.
Lesson Number Three: The more common remedies for sleeplessness (exercise, alcohol, "silly season" television programmes, orgasms, etc) don't seem to work in this case. But you know better than to throw caution to the winds and suggest Horlicks, don't you? Gorgon Woman's unsuspecting mother did and her ears are still bleeding.
Lesson Number Four: If and when unconsciousness does occur, it's best to let sleeping Gorgons lie.
Lesson Number Five: There are far worse things than going back to work on Monday.
Welcome ...... to all the visitors from Diary Quotes. Nice to have you drop by.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Well, Dip Me in Toffee and Call Me a Fucking Confection ...... voting for the 2005 Australian Blog Awards is now on. hot water's been put forward and, in an admirable show of pride masquerading as a principle, I didn't even nominate myself (some did, would you believe).
Profuse thanks to those who did nominate me, especially "Lizz" (did I sleep with you once, or something?), who put up this site for no less than four categories, one of which was subsequently disallowed. I guess after living in Queensland for a grand total of nearly four months, the "West Australia" nomination was pushing it a bit. Shame on you, Lizz. One night's ecstasy, the likes of which you'll never know again, does not justify a fourth nomination. Apparently.
So I'm up for "Best Overall Australian Blog", "Best Humourous Australian Blog" and "Best Queensland Blog".
By all means, vote for me if you feel so inclined. Or vote for someone else ... maybe one of those people who self-nominated, since it obviously means so very much to them.
I thought of pledging something if I won ... like giving up smoking or promising to get more cutting-edge where politics and current events are concerned, but I decided against it. After all, I managed to get through a whole year of blogging without mentioning either the Australian or American electoral results, commenting on Trev's win of Big Brother, or even discussing Cathy's exit from The Bill. I figure if I was about to start now it would be too much for all of us and we'd spontaneously combust, taking our precious hardware with us.
So more of the usual from Your Correspondent, regardless of blogging awards and who wins. But don't let that stop you registering your vote if you ... you know ... like, have to.
So I've Given the Old Girl a Bit of a Face-LiftOr 'old boy' or 'old inanimate bit of code', if you're an afficionado of political correctness.
Obviously, if it's your first time here, you'll be none the wiser. But everyone else might be breathing a sigh of relief.
From what I've been able to check, this should look ok in Netscape 7.2 and Firefox ... which is a major triumph, considering I know bugger-all about coding. However, I still get little exclamation marks at the bottom of IE and I don't know what the fuck the damn thing's on about, so if you understand its inane babblings, kindly explain.
Other than that ... enjoy. Or something.
Monday, January 03, 2005
It's not that I have a problem with resolutions per se. Getting all resolute and shit is a good thing and, presumably, one of those abilities that sets human beings apart from plankton and muppets. I just don't see why New Year is the best time to do it.
As far as I'm concerned, New Year is for celebrating. If people were lucky enough to survive the previous year (after all, millions didn't), why should they start off the next one by beating themselves up? There are plenty of other days in the year to publicly inform people you're uncomfortable with being fat and lazy ("I will lose weight") or a loser ("I will get a better job") or basically just a wanker ("I will be a nicer person"). Why not make the proclamation some time in August instead? Nothing very interesting ever happens then.
According to this site, we have the early Babylonians to thank for the tradition of making New Year's resolutions. And their most popular resolution? Are you ready for it?
"... to return borrowed farm equipment."Yep, they were a practical bunch, those early Babylonians. No self-flagellation for them.
If people must make New Year's resolutions, why not work out all the stuff they like about themselves and resolve not to change that? They might still have honking great hangovers the next morning but at least they'd be in a good mood. And that might make fixing up the other shit a little bit easier.
Sunday, January 02, 2005
We stand by one of the billabongs for five minutes while the Dreamboat takes photos of assorted aquatic, avian wildlife. This says a lot about the sort of person he is.
Your Correspondent, by contrast, is busily looking up at the trees filled with fruit bats and wondering how long it would take her to suffocate if they all decided to shit on her at the same time.
This says a lot about the sort of person she is.
A father with two young boys stands nearby. A huge magpie goose eyes up the younger of the kids (approximately four years old) to ascertain if he's carrying any food. He isn't. The goose reacts to this discovery by puffing up to its full height in front of him, spreading its wings and flapping them furiously.
The kid stares. The goose gets bored and wanders off to solicit victuals from other, more well-heeled Sanctuary patrons. The kid looks at me.
"Hey, check out the turtles," I suggest as a distraction.
The kid gives me an accusatory glare and points to the offending goose.
"That one there, it almost flied on me," he says.
"Yeah, I saw," I offer weakly.
I don't have kids and never will have, but sometimes the stuff they say damn near makes me wish things were different.
Saturday, January 01, 2005
I hope 2005 is full of the right sort of surprises for you. Good, fun surprises; not the sort you get when you and your loved one stay up all night drinking and your loved one puts a tripod on the outside table and stands on a chair taking photos of the first sunrise of the year and says, "What do you think of this shot?" and you stand on another chair to have a look in the viewfinder and then you inexplicably fall off your chair and spend an hour with an ice pack alternately applied to the heel of your hand and your ankle.
Nope, they're not the surprises I mean. They're bad.
Nominated for stuff in the 2004, 2005 and 2006 Australian Blog Awards.
This means I should be taken very, very seriously. You hear me? Very.
meditate on this, Noddy
Hurley: Maybe the dog can find water. I mean, dogs can find pot and bombs, so I'm sure they can find water.
Created by JJ Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber and Damon Lindelof
Niki (Your Correspondent): a shy, retiring, sweet sort of soul who wouldn't say boo to a goose. Born in NZ of Irish parents, jumped across the ditch to Oz in 1998. Hates cabbage and has always craved a life of complete obscurity. So far, this wish has been granted. Dammit.
Karratha, Western Australia ... again.
from the cheap seats
"This person is not a team player."
High school Biology teacher
"... an idiot."
The Dowager Empress
"... powerfully irritating."
A former spouse
"... dangerously mischievous."
current attention grabbers
Curling up with:
The View From the Valley of Hell
Drowning out the world with:
Your Favourite Driving Songs
Staring fixedly at:
Directed by Jonathan King
Trying hard to:
Reassure The Cat about The Dog
other recommended blogs
Bad News Hughes
John Howard: P.M.
S.A.F.E. (Saving Animals From Euthanasia)
Bert Is Evil
Ask Sister Rossetta
the good old days
webrings and cliques
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