Monday, July 31, 2006
My head is a miniature Phlegm Factory. This current head cold has been running at full steam (or should that be 'snot') for over four weeks now and I'm SICK of it!
At around this time last year I wittered on about the news of 'our'(i.e. South Australian born) Andy Thomas floating about in the shuttle doing some sort of mechanical work; which reminded me of that old chestnut 'We can send Man to the moon, but can't cure the common cold.' Handy Andy's participating in a huge NASA program that supposedly costs more than the entire African continent's overseas debt to tootle back over to the moon and around the earth a few times. Why, I have no idea. What on earth are they going to see, feel or discover that hasn't already been done during so many visits before? It's hardly going to be a future competitor against places like the Bahamas as a fun holiday spot is it? I want Andy and his boffins to put their not inconsiderable energies, time and wallets towards eliminating the common bloody cold!
In the past five years or so, I've seen strong, fit and healthy people deteriorate into stooped and exhausted shells who can barely be understood behind the head full of mucus they're having to lug around from place to place. This snotty and coughy state is no longer able to shaken off with a hot honey and lemon drink and a day off, but carries on for weeks and weeks and weeks.
The suffering person has, by this stage, completely given up on common social courtesies and will simply trumpet their nose into a tissue with a noise not unlike that of a distressed elephant lost from its herd in a vain effort to rid themselves of a mugful of mucus. I'm sure I'm not the only person who has seen these poor bastards blow holes in their tissues due to the volume of phlegm that's been flung out of their facial flutes.And the coughing....!
On a far too regular basis, poor old Love Chunks has been in real danger of nearly hawking up a lung every night. He sometimes resembles the 'Anti Cancer' Man on the new cigarette packets as he strains to cough from a puffy red and sweaty face. And there'sno rest for him - or us, his loving family - when the lights go out either. Once his sweats and shakes have subsided, his throat iss revving up for its turn in the spotlight. Or should I say soundscape. With his snot-filled noggin, stuffed-up chest, regular puffs from his inhaler and wheezy struggles to breathe, that fleshy little punching bag at the back of his throat is in fine fettle. (What is a 'fettle' anyway?).
The resultant snores sound like an outboard motor that had been stuck in a swamp. No amount of loving jabs in his back with my elbow would stop the noise - even when he rolls on to his side - so he is kicked out of the marital bed and exiled into the spare room. (Only out of concern for his own welfare, you understand). With eighty year old double brick walls and two solid-wooden doors between us, his snores are then muffled to the mere level of a leaf blower at my bedside table.
It's so easy when you're not the one with the cold to think "Ah, it's just a cold, stop being a wimp," but when it's you with the cold, all you want to do is shove two test-tubes into your nostrils to let them drip freely and save you the bother of wearing away your face with continued tissue wipes. So Andy, lovey puss, sweetie darling honey boo - would you please consider parking that shuttle indefinitely and instead find a way to eliminate this dreadful affliction. You'll get more gratitude and news coverage than if you farted in the capsule.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
As some of you may know, I have now finally moved from the Orrible Orifice(http://blurbfromtheburbs.blogspot.com/2006/06/my-orrible-orifice-i-hate-my-office.html) into a very swanky, brand-spanking new office on the other side of the university campus.
Being brand new, we are currently into that heavenly state of no-one yet knowing that we exist. This gives us ample opportunity to invent our own way of doing things before the cardigans dwelling in the bowels of bureaucracy insist on forms, policies and permission signatures for things we've already gone and done.
It also means that we're still letting in slightly grotty men all day. Any bloke wearing steel caps and holding a clipboard is pretty likely to be allowed to wander through our academic haven at will, especially if he's going to clear out the moving boxes or finally fix the stupid heating system. There's one chap, however, I'd like to have up here (apart from Love Chunks of course), but he doesn't exist.
The Static Carpet Cling Man. Our brand new carpet, apart from reeking of glue the Ramones could only dream of, is a very fertile static cling environment. My black trousers are particularly affected; so much so that by mid-morning I've collected every loose grey fibre, white cotton threads, assorted stryofoam crumbs and dust bunnies around the bottom hems. From a distance they look like something Elvis would have been proud to wear in his Las Vegas period, but not if he was required to shake anyone's hand.
Ping-zap-pop! "Oops, sorry about that Bernie," I said earlier this morning as I watched his eyebrows melt. For some reason I seem to get a fair old electrofield going just walking across the floor.
"Queen B you're a great boss you really are, but it's best if I just leave the papers here on your desk rather than risk actually touching you - that moonstone and silver necklace might be too good a conducter of electricity."
It also affects me when I'm on my own. Ping-zap-pop! 'Stupid bloody brushed aluminium "Oh I'm So Trendy I Wish I was Stainless Steel" poxy stinking door handle!'
Ping-zap-pop! 'Well how am I meant to fill up the kettle if I can't touch the damn taps?'
Ping-zap-pop! 'That's it - I'm off to the Whore Amore shop down the road at lunchtime for some sturdy rubber trousers!'
Not surprisingly, I didn't go there in the end. Wearing kitchen gloves whilst typing and stretching two extra-large condoms over my shoes has worked a treat instead and is obviously much cheaper. Gives the visitors a bit of a thrill as well.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Boys tend to be rather clumsy and clueless from about thirteen to seventeen years of age.
It is a time of cruel contradiction: puberty starts and so does an interest in (mostly) girls yet they themselves are physically and emotionally at their most unattractive.
Their butt-ugly faces are spotty which only serves to highlight their big noses, they have chin hairs that can only seen against bright sunlight and overly-pointy Adam's apples that work overtime to produce embarassing yelps and squeaks in the middle of sentences.
My friend Di, a battle-weary mother of two grown up sons once rearranged her pearls and said bluntly, "At fifteen they're tripping over their feet and using their hands to grab every bit of food they can see. Their willies grow far larger than their brain power or common sense can ever hope to catch up with." Yes, she adores her sons and would do anything for them, but even she can see that they were about as graceful as a sackful of plucked emus and about as pretty.
Teenage boys, like teenage girls, tend to congregate in packs, albeit ganglier and uglier ones. There's lots of self conscious, hooting laughter, pushing, shoving and slouching. Armpit farts, spitballs out of bic pens and ear lobe flicking are their most natural habits when socialising together. They somehow manage to effectively communicate with each other, yet I've never seen a boy this age sit up straight or raise his eyes further than crotch-level when he's speaking, mumbling or grunting a response.
Posh Spice has a lot in common with these fellas, believe it or not. Both breeds have skinny little pencil necks with huge soccer ball heads and concave (real) chests. Both tend to have legs the width of pipe cleaners and the fashion sense of retarded blind men. It is obvious that neither listens to the wise fashion advice of their mothers, nor pays attention to what other more sensible people around them are wearing.
Shamefully, at the ages of 12, 13 and 14, I had yearned for men such as these. Young, idiotic males who could barely open their lunch boxes, let alone pick up the vibe that MillyMoo, two rows behind them, was desperately in love with their intelligent, sporty, funny, hunky side. Plus their ability to expertly throw chunks of chalk down Daniel Panizzi's unenviable bum cleavage during geography. 'Oh if only Anthony would notice me, he's the only guy in the class taller than my shoulder....'
The luxury of reminiscing about these painful crushes over two decades later has shown that I should be grateful that they were clueless. My husband tells me that, at that age, a girl would have to strip naked and write 'Take me, Stud' on her breasts in liquid paper for a bloke to get the general idea that she might be interested in snogging him behind the bike sheds after cricket practice. A shy prude like me would have died: my - admittedly unsuccessful - method of courtship was to ignore the object of my affection entirely.
Despite this, I now see these Pubescent Doofuses on the bus, in the university cafe and outside 'Game Zone' and want to reassure them. I want to clunk their shaggy heads together (to get their attention: otherwise they think I'm someone's mother about to embarrass them or lecture them) and say: "Look love, you're butt ugly now, but wait until you're eighteen. The girls (or boys) will be falling over you. In the meantime, eat well, don't pick your zits and PULL YOUR DAMN PANTS UP!"
Has there been a more ridiculous male fashion than to have your jeans so low that your frontal pubes are blowin' freely in the wind, and the bum pockets reside just above the knee? All this does is make the wearer look completely arseless, and not in a good way.
Their hands, too, seem to be huge, way out of proportion to even their noses, heads, willies and feet. My theory is that God designed it so that they had the best gathering tools for food. Having two brothers, I can vouch for this - Mum had barely put the groceries away and they had already smelled it, scooped it, eaten it. She got so desperate that she ended up storing the TimTams in the vegetable crisper, but even that didn't work: they ate their way through the meat tray, dairy case, plastic trays and cabbage in order to find the rewarding chocolate biscuit base.
Their massive mitts had amazing dexterity in terms of delicately buttering and spreading a dozen SAO biscuits without them so much as shedding a grain of salt, let alone cracking; plus they could make up a cup of Milo Mud (half milk, half milo) without spilling a drop on the counter. They could both reach the magical top 999 score on my palm-sized Donkey Kong II game, yet seemed to be physically incapable of being able to aim their jocks within a 50m radius of the dirty-clothes hamper or ascertain that the 5ml in the bottom of the orange juice carton might not be worth putting back in the fridge.
And the farting....! The pride they took in farting......! And, even in 2006, this still seems to be in the top ten favourite pastimes of pubescent boys. The introduction of beanbags as legitimate pieces of furniture was hell for me. No sooner was I settled in, ready to watch 'The A Team' than Dave would cheekily saunter pass, puff out a ripe one directly in my face and then spring off faster than the roadrunner. It would take me lots of angry writhing and swearing, "I'll get you, you little turkey/creep/pain/geek!" before I stagger out of the brown velvet prison and stop him from laughing.
All is not doom and gloom for this teenage testosterone tribe however. Somehow, their bodies stretch up and they cease hunching up their shoulders self-consciously, their skin clears and their faces reassemble themselves into something worth gazing at. It's a mysterious process but nonetheless an amazing one. If they'd only outgrow the farting.... but that's a completely different story.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
2006 Melbourne International Film Festival - goody goody gumdrops!
The above event is only a few days away, and while I was eating my lunch the other day in the uni cafe, I flicked through a copy of the event program. After nearly choking from inhaling a cucumber slice and trickling tandoori sauce out of my nose, I decided it would be better for my fellow diners if I left the area and had a good cackle elsewhere.
I'm an apologetic dag, so if there's some pretentious piece of art, literature or film out there that looks, sounds and is crap, I'll be able to spot it, mock it and sock it. Here's a few pearlers found in the program today, no fibbing:
Taxidermia (Hungary/Austria/France) - The story starts with Vendel, a hair-lipped Hungarian orderly working in an isolated outpost who deals with loneliness and the constant browbeating from his superior by indulging in voyeurism.
Bless him, a man's got to have a hobby. And to think, he's single, yes single!
Avida (France) - When a deaf-mute dog handler's employer falls victim to his own paranoia, the dog handler is drawn into a scheme to kidnap an obese millionaire's canine.
Whoah, time to drag out the sleeping bag and be first in the queue for these tickets! Seriously, this 'work' sounds like a piece of dog handler's doo-doo if you ask me.
The Descent (UK) - A team of adrenaline-seeking women are trapped deep within an other-worldly cave where they face not only their own fears but a colony of flesh-eating sub-humans.
As you do.
C.R.A.Z.Y. (Canada) - Zac's mother believes that, like baby Jesus, he possesses the gift of healing - or so says the Tupperware lady anyway.
Wow, that sounds so kooky and hilarious, doesn't it, with about as much wit as Adam Sandler dropping a banana peel in a laminate factory.
McDull, the Alumni (Hong Kong) - The story of an under-achieving cartoon pig attending Flower of the Spring Field Kindergarten.
I'm not sure if this is aimed at drug-dependent adults or TV-deprived children. Or David Hasselhoff. Lord knows I don't want to be in a cinema with any of them.
Rampo Noir (Japan) - Details the relationship between a sexually sadistic woman and her husband, a deformed and limbless war veteran.
It's about time Mum and I had a lunch and movie date together - I'll get us a couple of tickets for this thigh-slapper.
And Lucky Last -
Last Supper (Austria) - Abendmhal is a beautiful, photochemical/materialist mediation on transubstantiation and corporeal transmogrification.
Who was the poonce who wrote this description? I want to bang their head between two bin lids - that's after I surgically remove it from their arse with a pair of BBQ tongs.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Sydney, of course!
Love Chunks and I decided it was long past time for us to explore our country's capital city (we don't count Canberra) as genuine tourists.
We could easily excuse our open-hearted dagginess by telling our family and friends that "Oh, now that Sapphire's seven, she needs to see Sydney." And so did us oldies. LC and I had only ever been there for a couple of days on work trips and never together. As far as I knew, the place could have been full of rugby playing men with necks fatter than their heads and lost tourists still looking for the Olympic stadium, designed entirely by that taste-challenged artist Ken Done. By the way, his name is pronounced with a long 'Oh' as is stone. Not as in run - although it amuses a mind as simple as mine to think that he might have been teased at school with, "Ken's done a poo in his pants!"
But I digress slightly. We did all the sights - the bridge, the opera house, the AMP tower, Taronga zoo, ferry to Manly, Chinatown, Paddy's markets, aquarium, maritime museum, the rocks, the monorail, Hyde Park barracks and walked many, many kilometres. We were amazed at Sapphire's stamina which only flagged if an icecream/hot chocolate/opportunity to buy souvenirs wasn't dangled in front of her.
Other slightly less tourist-oriented sights included a pub punch-up on our way back from the ferry (no, Russell was home in Woolloomoolloo with his new baby); a woman being hauled by the shoulder through a crowded food-hall for shoplifting and Craig Reucassel from 'The Chaser' trying to harpoon Japanese tourists whilst wearing a dingy around his waist.
What was the highlight? Two, really. The first was catching up with my old mate, Deep Kick Girl (check out her blog: http://deepkickgirldownunder.blogspot.com/) and her fantastic family. She threw us into their people mover and showed us Bondi beach, lunch at Doyles, a sticky beak into the posh side of the harbour that shelters Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman, dream homes in the docks and frequent playground stops for passengers seven years and under. We also had some Yum Cha in Paddington on our last day there where we tasted the new delights of a fresh mango and cream spring roll before dodging swan shit in Centennial park. (I mean the birds, not the footy players, although you never know.....)
The second highlight was perhaps a more spiritual one. The Lindt cafe. The only Lindt cafe in the world, and it happened to be in Sydney; a stone's throw away from that Boofhead David Kosh's studio at channel seven. It took us nearly 4km of walking to find it (we first headed towards their Australian offices), but I was determined - nay, driven - towards my own personal chocolate experience.
On the surface it may have seemed like an overpriced coffee shop selling tiny cakes at monthly mortgage payment prices but to me, it was a tiny, warm room full of beautifully wrapped chocolate balls of bliss. Naturally it was imperative that I sample all the balls not available in other stores - raspberry, cookies'n'cream, orange, mocha and peanut butter. Oh and have a slice of the Lindt mud cake of course.
My disappointment? Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I had heard so much about them and noticed how people would buy a box of 24 at the airport to take home to the uninitiated in Adelaide. We had a KK store around the corner from our hotel and I was at that counter quicker than you could say, 'This holiday is going to be about eating sensibly.'
"Two please - a choc whatnot and a glazed", I said, trying not to let my drool drip on the napkins. Blueegh - they were like eating a stale, fried bun with watery icing sugar spilt all over them. Give me a six pack of lurid pink-iced ones from Coles any day. Kacky Kreme was more like it.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
My one and only dietary rule
.... is this: One good food eaten immediately before or after a bad food will completely eradicate the bad.
Oh don't pretend that you don't understand my logic; we all do it: inhale a king-sized KitKat chunky and follow it with an orange. Ta Da, you've eaten nothing! The vitamins, minerals and overall goodness of the fruit has effectively cancelled out the evil fats, sugars and carbs of the chocolate.
If those poor, award-wage, fifteen year old whopper wallahs at Hungry Fats and Maccas got a cent for every person who ordered a diet coke with their Whopper/Double Quarter Pounder/Large Fries/Triple Fudge/Finger Lickin'/Deep Dish/ Fully- Fried Meal Deal deluxes, they'd be kicking James Packer out for not being wealthy enough.
I know that I'm not the only Foolish Foodie Hypocrite in this world - that diet coke tap isn't on constant drip for my purposes only you know. Last week I was joining my workmates at our uni cafe for morning tea, and Helen ever-so-helpfully pointed out to the others my pick-me-up of choice: a skinny latte accompanied by two melting moments. Yes, those pesky three grams of milk fat were to be avoided like a department store bra fitting if I was to fully appreciate my 50% butter biscuits.
Another method of using this food combining, self-delusional dietary system to your advantage - especially when time is of the essence and your cravings are not to be ignored - is to incorporate both the good and the bad in the same food item.
The berry flan is one such notable item. It is ridiculously easy to order a hefty slice of this delightful dessert, saying something out loud to your friend like, "Ooooh, fresh berries, my favourite! I'll definitely have this one!". Never mind that said fruits are only a stingy layer covering up a brick-thick wedge of creme-laden, full-fat cheesecake which again rests on top of the butter'n'biscuit base. That's just what we all need - the calorific content of the biscuits to be doubled by crushing them up and resticking them together with butter.
But hey, you had at least three mouthfuls of berries, didn't you?
Another personal favourite is the Sunday roast. It all looks and sounds so good in theory: delicately roasted meats (with the fats dripped off onto the rack underneath) and an array of delicately steamed and oven-cooked vegetables. All of which is immediately cancelled out by the salty, oily and delicious gravy that is poured over your plate until no colour is visible except brown. Made entirely from the fats swimming in the bottom of the roasting dish of course. However, you need to remind yourself - you did eat three brussels sprouts and half a parsnip, didn't you?
As I write this, I am using this theory in relation to beverages, alcoholic ones in particular. My gin and (of course) diet tonic is strictly medicinal because the fresh lemon juice in it is helping my current bout of the sniffles. I'm not the only one in our household who likes to cling precariously to this threadbare theory. My darling Love Chunks has frequently argued that the 'a glass of red wine per day' is good for the heart; plus it's chock-full of grape juice. What more could a hard workin' family man ask for. (Apart from a Jennifer Aniston and Angeline Jolie menage-a-trois inside his million dollar marlin fishing yacht of course, but that's another story I'm not about to examine any further.....).
Naturally, as I endure another episode of 'Dancing on Ice', a two-hour tack-fest featuring the cream of channel nine's loosely labelled 'celebrities' live on TV tonight with seven year old Sapphire, I will again be applying my theory to well-intentioned martyrdom - ie, the fat content of the four rows of Cadbury Caramello I will undoubtedly inhale will be nullified by the sheer good will and unselfish parental act of seeing Dermot Brereton in tight orange pants and hair that a transsexual pornstar would envy.
In closing, I address the final, most important issue - does my daring dietary theory actually work? I'd like to think so, at least in my very own MillyMoo Land. In hard, cold reality however, I still seem to have an arse big enough for midgets to shelter under during rainstorms.
Friday, July 07, 2006
I hate answering telephones. This is a bit of a worry really, seeing as it encompasses a major part of my day job.
Maybe that's why, when the phone rings at home, I do my utmost answering it. It doesn't matter that it's likely to be someone I know, love, like and have been dying to hear from, I hate the bloody phone. That grey, plastic, chirruping machine that insists on interrupting my free time at inopportune moments, requiring me to respond to its summons like a drone.
The overseas marketing call has now reached plague proportions here in Australia and has done a great deal of damage to the already tenuous willingness to answer the phone. You can tell straightaway - a fuzzy sound, several seconds pause, and a strong Indian accent saying, "Helloooo, is that Mrs...?" The only time I ever get called "Mrs" is in the doctor's waiting room or by a telemarketing maggot.
The old cliche of a woman on the phone to her mates for hours and hours seems very outdated to me. My friends are more likely to see the phone as another chore on their never-ever-completed list of things to do around the house - none of us see an hour long chat after 8pm as something fun. A few of us - myself included - have admitted that we sometimes purposely call when we know that the person is not likely to be at home. This enables us to leave a brief but useful message on the phone without the lingering chitchat we'd all desperately like to avoid.
Sapphire, at age seven, is still quite happy to answer the phone and is more than willing to stop what she's doing to run towards the chirruping. Bless her sweet, still-mostly-innocent and helpful little heart. I guess it's only a matter of a few years between the childish exuberance of now to when all of the phone calls will be for her anyway.
The hours between 5:00pm and 8:30pm are when we are at our most frenetic. This is when the after school - bathtime - dog feeding - meal cooking, eating, cleaning up, dishwasher packing - lunch next day making - tidying up - sorting through the mail - putting out the rubbish - watering the plants - jobs are completed - all done in order to spend the rest of our waking hours relatively inert and quiet. Therefore, after the 8:30pm deadline that is Sapphire's bedtime, my desire to be in any way sociable is completely non-existent. I would much rather be on the lounge, watching a DVD or hoping that 'Spicks and Specks' is on; that Love Chunks has filled my glass with a zesty cab sav and we have a plate full of snapped chocolate squares between us. Bliss, sheer bliss and completely deserved.
Of course, that is when the f***ing phone decides to make itself heard. And it is then, that Love Chunks and I end up having a kind of verbal tousle over who has to get up and answer it:
"While you're up...."
"Nah, it's never for me, it'll be your brother...."
"I'm in the middle of something here, can you get that?"
"I answered it last time!"
Thankfully, we both win and lose on relatively equal occasions, but it's still gives me a tiny thrill when it is LC who sighs dramatically, reluctantly puts down his glass and slouches out to the kitchen.
When I've lost the Who Answers the Phone battle, the irony is that, when it's been quickly established that the call is indeed for me and is from someone I like, I am mostly happy to have a chat. But not for an hour. Instead, my conversations tend to run for five to ten minutes, with a "And I'll email you the details, OK? See you on Sunday!" because I'm exhausted.
Baby boomers have written and commented on us Gen X-ers not participating enough in weeknight sports, committees and social groups. Well spotted old-timers, but there's a reason for that - we don't want to. We've worked hard all day, done a few more hours of parental and housework duties and don't want to go out to play volleyball, take the minutes for the school grounds committee annual general meeting or sit in a noisy pub drinking stupidly over-priced drinks and feeling about as fashionable as halitosis.
No - that's why we have comfy couches, surround-sound DVDs, flatscreens, wine, chocolate, warm cuddly dogs and heating systems! We'll work harder and earn more in order to donate dollars to various causes, but be buggered if we're going to give up our precious 8-11pm windows of relaxation time on Tuesday nights to wrap up 600 lucky dip items in newspaper at the school gym in order to raise an extra $20.
If that sounds harsh, well so be it. It's the truth. Besides, it's a different story on the weekends - that's when are are at school sporting events, taxi-ing kids to birthday parties, hosting play dates, having dinner parties, going for walks/bike rides/picnics and shopping. That's why, when Monday rolls around, we need a break from it all by staying inside and ignoring the phone.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Here I am, all tarted up in my Glenn Close/Fatal Attraction get-up for the 1988 Lincoln College 'hop' - that year themed as 'The Movies.'
I saw my ex-boyfriend of three years hook up with girl he married a few years later, whilst I fended off some guy who was dressed as the priest from the Exorcist and picked me a bunch of flowers from the sour sobs he found in the park.
Finally, at decade's close, 1989, the ANZ bank somehow (rather hopefully) decided to employ me as a graduate trainee - obviously thinking that Major English texts and Roman Art & Archaeology majors would come in handy when drawing up home loans.
Huge t-shirts tucked into high-waisted long shorts paired with sockless sneakers were all the rage then, but it wasn't fun pulling off the shoes at the end of an active day. Still, this get up impressed a co-worker (even though he took me to see Rodney Rude at the Norwood Footy Club on our first night out!); an accounting student and another geology guy (you should never meet blokes via one of your female friends).
Dad found me Rodney - born 1971, and considered a good buy at $500 cash eighteen years later. I guess he was - Dad could rest easy knowing that the 'Rod was unable to crank up any faster than 80km an hour, and I had the comfort of knowing that my 'flying turd' would never be lost in the crowd at the supermarket carpark.