Saturday, March 31, 2007

clouds





Fluffy bet me to this one. But great to see other Melbournites were looking to the skies this week.

Spectacular.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

nightmare on Chapel Street

Other than not being able to sit in the corner demurely and look pretty, the other feminine gene I seem to be missing is the joy of shopping. Sure I can spend hours in Books For Cooks, Artisan and some stationery stores but when it comes to apparel it is rarely a pleasure. The quest is on once more – trans-seasonal clothes, a new jumper, trousers, shoes. Should be easy living in this shopping metropolis?

Lets just say I have a ‘non standard’ body. I am not a beanpole for whom even a hesian sack would make me look like a goddess. Some bits are not in proportion to the others (narrow shoulders, generous breasts), no arse, short stature. I’ve given up on the idea of every finding a dress that accommodates such anomalies. Then we add in colour (the tyranny of ‘what’s in” this season rarely corresponds with anyone’s actual complexion), material (everything is synthetic) and the feline factor (cat hair just loves certain fabrics and anything black has to be removed the minute I walk into the house).

Then there is sizing. On any given day I can comfortably fit items in my wardrobe that range over 3 sizes, from flattering to depressing. Trying on an item means finding the same piece in the same colour, in at least 2 different sizes to drag into the fitting rooms.

After a few weeks at the coalface of Melbourne fashion here are some pet peeves about clothes shopping.

shop assistants: A good one is a marvel and drawcard to return to the shop over and over again. But the ones that get up nose are those who are – snooty (don’t acknowledge you are there, let alone offer assistance), lazy (stay chatting to their friend on the phone or are entrenched on a seat even when you are clearly gathering garments to try on), liars.

Before I take an assistant’s word on anything I tend to watch her (and yes its always a her) relate to another customer first. If a client is wearing something that looks obviously hideous on her, yet she gushes about how great it looks, I know to ignore every word she says.

change rooms: No mirror! This is to drag you back out into the shop to humiliate you, for other clients to snigger and for the assistant to try to make the sale. Too small. Not enough hooks. The pick of the week are 2 places that sold clothes (amongst other things) with no change room and you were to take your kit off out the back in the corridor piled with stock as members of staff wandered in and out.

sizes: I have a size 6 1/2 foot and no matter how much I’d like it to change, a 6 is too small and a 7 is too large – regardless of how much an assistant lies to the contrary. I’m at the point that I almost cry entering yet another wonderful shoe shop that fails to stock a single half sized item. Am considering having surgery to slice a centimetre off the top of my big toes so I can fit Campers.

Clothes that have been designed for an anorexic model then grudgingly upsized to comply with that of the average sized woman will look crap on them, unless the pattern has been altered to take into account their curves. I used to think a designer was arrogant if they didn’t make their clothes in anything larger than a 10. Now I get it.

underwear: Thumbs up to lingerie makers who realise the average bust size is on the rise (all that hormone filled chicken?) so now there is actually choice in a DD bra. I used to have to schlep across town to a specialist store to get one treasured, black, French beautiful bra – now they are abundant. On the downside – it’s getting impossible to find pretty, 100% cotton knickers. Haven’t they heard of thrush?

I dream of being saved by Trinny and Susannah. I’d swallow the humiliation if they could just find me some stylish, flattering clothes and shoes that fit!

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Friday, March 23, 2007

more bird flu phooey

Things have been quiet on the bird flu front for a while. By now, if we’d bought the rhetoric created by governments and the drug company, most of us who didn’t have access to the elixir of good health aka Tamiflu – would be dead as the fatal virus did it's grim reaper act across the world.

I’ve ranted here about it being both a beat up (bird flu) and a false panacea (the wonder drug) but now there is a new twist to the saga. Our government along with most of the others in the first world has stockpiled the drug, so in case of an epidemic only key leaders and frontline health and security personnel would have access to it. Now it appears that Tamiflu has a much higher rate of noxious side effects than Roche wanted to admit to, what’s more – it could send our leaders mad. A case of mad cow goes airborne!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

where can I get a copy?

From the genius wit at Pandemonian.

something to look forward to



This one's doing the rounds, sorry to the creator of this little gem - I don't know who you are.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

beware of trojans

I must admit to not watching The 7.30 Report (on the ABC) all that often. Towards the end of the day there is only so much political exposure I can tolerate. But last night the TV remained on after the news and soon enough our PM’s face came onto the screen.

Is it just me or are others picking up a new spin? He seemed humble and agreeable, despite the fact the conversation was about real things not just cricket – he smiled. The overall message seemed to be “Trust me, I’m a nice guy and I really do listen to you. I have personally spanked that naughty cabinet minister myself”. Is he trying to out-Rudd Rudd?

Personally, it makes my blood run cold.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

troops out of Iraq!

It’s now 4 years since our country supported the unlawful invasion of Iraq and consequently escalated “the war on terror”.

My sentiments remain unchanged as each year I go and watch the dwindling numbers share one voice on the situation. This rant from 2005 sums it up. It’s too disheartening to actually repeat it again over 700 days later.

Yesterday’s march was peaceful, therefore of little interest to the media. There were the usual suspects – from the dreadlocked to the sensibly shod Christians. But what did stand out was not just the fellow protestors, onlookers and spooks taking happy snaps of the crowd – but police in uniform filming the proceedings.

So we just took pictures of them. Call me puerile but it made me feel a bit better.

Couldn’t make it? Then go to the next one. In the meantime, just look at the pretty pictures.





Was it my imagination or did that nice young chappie with the camcorder seem to be following us?




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sunday morning musings

This little rant got triggered by reading an article about the hidden brilliance of messy people.

Last year, when the Not Boyfriend had the misfortune of burying his uncle, he loudly lamented the ineptitude of the people responsible for putting him in the ground. The franchised firm of undertakers, sold on their femininity and rather large hats, had not pleased him. Up until the actual interment things had seemed to go ok. But at the final hurdle they’d mucked something up and once the bill was paid they took no responsibility for a further insult that the aggrieved had been put through.

From my viewpoint outside of the family, bar one hiccough, I thought it had gone really well. You see, a decade or so earlier when my family had been put in a similar position to deal with the death of my brother, we were directed to the Fawlty Towers of the funeral world.

The first time around you are an innocent. “Six Feet Under” wasn’t even an embryo and we we’re not only in a foreign city but had no cohesive plan for such an event. The hospital put us in touch with a mid-priced North Shore establishment, a family business rather than part of an impersonal empire, which supposedly had a good reputation.

There were two things that hit me when I walked into the foyer – how much it shared the ‘70’s decorating palate of my parents’ home and the incredibly tacky hearse shaped clock. A harried late middle-aged woman came to attend us, her husband the actual funeral director out on business although we had called to arrange an appointment. She looked like she was in the middle of cleaning the oven and probably was. We were ushered into an office that fortunately was low on tack but high on mess. The “Clutter Clearing” phenomena had not yet hit but these guys would have made a fine first customer. The desk, probably non-descript wood veneer was covered in piles of paper, some of which overflowed to the floor. I didn’t feel entirely confident that we were in the right place, after all at that time my image of undertakers was centred around hushed tones, dark clothing and some degree of luxury. This place obviously wasn’t a stretch limo kind of establishment.

Finally when we got down to brass tacks (of which the coffin lacked, nails definitely but not brass) we were offered a bare bones kind of service. There was to be no viewing of the body and they told us without handles on the coffin there would be no coffin bearers. The service was to be shoe horned into 25 minutes and These Were The Rules. Stunned as we were from watching a family member die in front of us that morning, we weren’t in a position to question anything.

The day after the funeral I found a great book. It demystifed the business of death and I learnt the ‘rules’ were in fact minimal. For example, we could have asked for a double booking at the crematorium chapel if we wished to take our time. Simple things, though stuff we felt unable to ask for at the time. But at least we had negotiated a few changes before the cremation and had managed to be instructed on how to carry the coffin, so my brother was born to the service by 6 strong men who loved him.

As for Fawlty Towers Funerals, I don’t know if messy means brilliant. Would I have preferred the women in nice white suits with homely, mess-free rooms and bowls of potpourri – most likely.

Author disclosure: Though a very clean kind of person, she is a clutter queen from birth and in fact, is quite possibly brilliant.

Exhibit A (below): The author at her desk

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Monday, March 12, 2007

what fuels your muse?

A little cross-posting. Over at Food Nazi I ask - what foods do you eat when you work?

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

please explain?

The last few days I have had an extraordinary amount of hits for an image I once had on flickr. At some point last year I culled most of the pics, not aware than once removed they’d be lost from my blog.

The hits are for April 2004 and as google images keeps saying the image is no longer available, then its not Shane Warne with pants at half mast they are after.

From memory this brings the missing photos down to images of:

A baby in a test tube

A gay couple on top of a wedding cake

Something around the theme of milk as poison

Daily flutes wonderful image of Tony Abbot as Pope

A micropenis (a really eenie weenie one)

My cat’s wounded tail (almost $340 worth of surgery)

Dave Callan’s publicity photo for “I Spied” (stand up comedy about his life as a spook with ASIO)

A map of Japan

Some graffiti and stencilling in the neighbourhood – one featuring an anarchist symbol in a flower and the other to do with possibility/impossibility


From the Middle East to Africa, across Europe, into the USA the hits have come desperately seeking the elusive something through google images.

Most odd, anything going on in the world to do with an above theme that I don’t know about?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

My dinner with Elliott

If you are more interested in food than scuttlebut jump straight to the review.

It was a very nice restaurant made exclusive, not by the price but due to the fact that you have to book, no matter how many vacant spots you come across if you ever wander into the place on the off chance of a meal.

A friend and I were catching up. We’d planned the night out for months and finally after a pre-dinner drink at a little bar, we pushed back the heavy, anonymous door off a skanky laneway and descended into the minimalist confines of fine Japanese dining.

The food, little morsels of flavour, was delicious. The wine a bargain, a Leeuwn estate art series riesling going for a song. We sipped, chatted, laughed and occasionally observed our fellow diners who sat at the wooden wrap around bar. At one point we noted 4 seats away we’d been joined by a rather notorious business identity and his impeccably groomed younger partner. As he chugged back very good red wine, I commented quietly how I looked forward to being able to eat here if I ever became bankrupt.

The night continued with more conversation and little dishes. Then a booming ocker voice pulled us out of our discussion with a demand “What are you two celebrating?” Us? Yes us. “Women always talk at the same time, never listen and you move your arms around too”, he proclaimed. It appeared he was not acquainted with the concept of multitasking and as for the not listening part, rather a case of the pot calling the kettle black it transpired. The demands continued, "Why aren’t you at home cooking for your ‘husbands’?" I laughed trying to imagine the Not Boyfriend cast in the defenceless spouse role, wasting away waiting for me to come home and feed him. We politely tried to bat off his intrusions. But between gulps of more red, he continued. “What do you do?” (he had obtained that we were not in fact house wives and actually had some kind of careers).

I don’t like talking about work to strangers at a party, let alone booming across a restaurant. I tried to side step but insisted. When I quietly coughed up, the next command was to “tell me in 30 seconds what a …does”. I’d had enough by now and sweetly said “No, tell me in 30 seconds what its like to be bankrupt*”.

By now my friend was laughing so much she had to dip her head below the counter to pretend to rebuckle her shoe.

He laughed and told us he’d had a good day, made some money. (Good news for your creditors I thought).

He eventually stumbled outside to have a smoke. We headed back to our private conversation, giggling a little from the encounter.

But it didn’t end there, over the course of the next hour we were interrupted with more banter ranging through the gamit of how John Howard was the best prime minister ever (well he once was president of the Liberal party), how aboriginals are bludgers and “we should have shot the lot of them” (though conceding later that a few of them made fine football players), that the prime minister of New Zealand is a dyke (“Oh so a lesbian is incapable of running a country? I lobbed back). On it went. Despite pegging me for a ‘left wing socialist’ he seemed to enjoy the exchange.

He appeared a little taken aback as my friend and I prepared to leave that I paid my share of dinner in cash. His eyes leapt across the room “Cash!” he exclaimed, so I pulled out a wad to show him what it looked like. “I bet that tax man never sees that” (Well actually, I am very ethical when it comes to such things, but should I take business advice from the man who was once at the pinnacle of capitalism in this country I wondered?) “No, let The Bank (my friend’s employer) pay for it”. Ah, we were meant to rort big companies, that’s how you do it ( that explains why bank fees are so high). I took this uncalled for advice from the big man to ponder on later.

At the end of the night, his silent companion quietly slipped out the Amex card and took him home.

* actually though he didn't correct me at the time, I should have termed that question in the past tense as that week his creditors accepted a mere 2.5 cents in every one of the 7.6 million dollars he owed.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

why they call it 'razor wire'

Ouch!



"Prison Break" meets "Funniest Home Videos"



Note: razor wire remains imbedded in flesh


photos filched from AFP via via The Age

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

football - the home of good nutrition

It’s been an interesting year so far, nutritionally speaking.

First there were those meals at the Golden Arches that got the healthy heart tick. Now there is a plan to ban pies from AFL matches, or if nothing else have huge labels pointing out their fat content.

Prominent nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton wants signs at football canteens telling patrons the exact fat content of the chips, hamburgers and pies they are consuming, while another, Shane Bilsborough, wants the pie banned.source


I don’t eat pies, nor do I choose to go ‘Scottish’ for that matter, but should we really praise fast food proprietors or ban them?

Will we get to the point where the classic cellophane wrapped pie now comes enshrouded with pictures of clogged arteries, gangrenous diabetic amputated appendages or not so cute obese kiddies – the food version of the cigarette pack campaign? ABC Newsradio mentioned one venue talking about phasing out the iconic pie at AFL matches and replacing them with wholemeal pizzas. This is one of the weirdest things I have ever heard because unfortunately less refined flour is not a fat repellent and typical of some foods (brown, chewy, less appealing) parading as wholesome - being far from innocent when it comes to hidden fats and salt.

Or perhaps the leading pie manufacturers need to have a word to the Heart Foundation and turn this on its ear. Make a slightly lower fat pie, package it as a “meal” with an old apple and a bottle of water and voila it is now 'tick' worthy (just add your own chips).

The McDonalds “healthy tick” meals inclusion brings the point home that all organizations have their price. While the Foundation’s site buries its teeny mention that the tick is a paid promotion, after banging on about it in such a way that the average punter would think it a reward not a priveleges program. The implication for the fee being that it is just to cover the costs of running the program. This seems rather curious when one company alone is prepared to fork out at least $330,000 a year for the privileged tick. The Foundations Healthy Tick Program sounds in need a serious audit if every recipient of the lauded logo coughs up that much to be anointed.

So the take home message appears to be:
The odd pie at the footy a couple of times a year = very bad.
Driving through the golden arches, regardless of what combo you choose = very good.

Just a pity none of the money is being spent independently to help teach people to think for themselves.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

morality tales

There’s been a storm in a teacup about just how much power Mr Al “Inconvenient Truth” Gore uses to run his palatial home. The main issue flying around as a result of this is the moral high ground of presumed hypocrisy but for me it is who gives “independent think tanks” the right to “look up” peoples utility bills?

How would you feel if someone started to snoop through your dirty laundry, comment on how full your appliances are before you turn them on, whether you turn all your electrical devises off at the wall when you are not using them, checked how often you flush good drinking water down your toilet? Or perhaps dug a bit deeper to find an an anarchist who is a share owner? A pacifist who abuses their partner? A christian who coverts their neighbours wife (or donkey for that matter)?

If you start a moral audit on people’s lives you had better make sure your own nose is clean, your emissions are low and each cent ethically earned and spent.

What would an audit of your beliefs and actions look like?

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