Monday, July 31, 2006

The nutters love nothing more than a good US flag burning.

Well, that should fix everything.

Good work, nutbags. What time do you have to be back at the assylum for your yellow pills?
Mel, Mel, Mel! How the mighty have fallen.

You are SOOOOO wiped!
Jamie! Camilla! Who would have thunk it?!

All I can say at this point is... GO CAMILLA!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

She's so cute...

Marianna is going through a super cute stage. She really thinks she's a BIG girl and no evidence to the contrary will convince her otherwise (i.e. she's short, she can't talk [properly], she drinks milk from a baby bottle, she wears nappies, etc).

On Friday, when I had to do a mad shop at Coles in preparation for feeding family for Jason's two birthday lunches (and then had to rush to another "thing" before having to rush home to wait for a barage of tradespersons who were to attend our house that afternoon), Marianna decided that sitting in the baby compartment in the shopping trolley was for babies NOT big girls like herself. She wanted to walk, on her own, without any assistance the whole way around!! Half way around the aisles she found a giant bottle of dishwashing detergent which was almost as big as her which she just had to carry around the rest of the way, both hands gripping around the girth of the bottle and hiking it up every once in a while as it attempted to slip out of her grasp. She had a look which was a perfect mixture of joy and concentration on her gorgeous little face. Her tongue stuck out just a little and every time I would glance back at her and she would catch my eye a smile of pure self-satisfaction would uncurl. It almost made the stress of taking over an hour to do a "quick" shop bearable.

Also, as can be seen in the photo above, she has decided that sitting on the dog's bed, which is near the french doors in the kitchen, is a very enjoyable thing and does so at every opportunity.

Despite my constant whinging about the children there are moments (sometimes numerous moments) when they are both content and even happy in each other's company. These glorious moments are pure bliss and provide me with windows of insight when I remember why I wanted to have children in the first place and why I really do love them so very much. Here is proof:

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Last night as I was watching the BB Surprise Eviction, during which that non-entity Chris (he of the "I hate fat chicks with confidence" comment) got his much overdue marching orders, I contemplated the sad/happy/whatever reality that by this next week Big Brother would be over for another year. The way I feel right now I know I couldn't care less if I ever watched Big Brother again (well, you know, after the next week's finale, of course!) but I know in just a few short months I'll be saying things like "I wonder when the new Big Brother will start?" and "I wonder what sort of buffoons they'll have on Big Brother next year.". This is the nature of my stupidity and obsession.

Currently there is the problem that I don't want any of the last four to win.

There's Max who seems like a nice enough Italian mama's boy but he's only been there for two weeks and it seems hardly fair that he gets the "big bucks" after such a short stint of BB torture.

Then there's Camilla who is probably too much like yours truly to be likeable. Sure I admire aspects of her "shove my opinion down your throat whether you like it or not" personality, sure I admire her ability to argue someone down to the point of collapsing in a foetal position in the corner and crying for their mummy. What's not to admire? But she has recently taken to fawning in a disgusting and unappealing manner to David, who did start off as her friend but has drifted between "best friends" constantly througout the last three months and managed to alienate everyone, including the two-faced Camilla. If they say "I love you... no, I REALLY love you" to each other one more time I will have to be sick.

Which brings us to David. He's gay. Tick. He's amazingly, eye-wateringly good looking. Tick. His blue eyes almost, just almost, take away from the fact that he genuinely says things like "Grouse", "Beaut" and "Bloody Oath" without an ounce of irony. But he is just way too earnest, patronising and good with a capital "G". I am sure I would either be his best friend or hate him to the point of murder should we ever live in the same house. If a gun was held to my head I'd probably prefer him to win but really, I don't know...

... like, you know... there's always Jamie. I nearly had a brain explosion when I realised that Jamie was in the final four. I mean how does that happen? The man with the pants which defy the laws of physics, the world's ugliest, most annoying and totally unnecessary headband, no shirt and the overwhelming urge to admire and tune himself in every mirror and shiny surface he passes has survived to the final week. If he wins I will definitely, with full certainty know that there is no justice in the world (because the wars, starving children, unpunished criminals and AIDS epidemics just haven't convinced me so far).

So stay tuned, for next week you will read my final 2006 Big Brother comments and, you have been warned, there will be no more until next year! You will just need to entertain yourselves with my Oz Idol comments in the meantime. Aren't you eternally grateful for reality television?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Just so my sister and husband aren't the only ones to suffer my tirades on the subject just a few words on the Middle East situation.

I may sound heartless but I am sick of the endless images of Lebanese children in hospitals on our news day after day. Yes my heart goes out to them, like to anyone suffering in the world, but let's get a grasp on reality here. It may be very primary school to say this but "who started it anyway?".

I am fed up with Israel being blamed for what is going on. Yes, I'll claim a bias... my family is Jewish and we lived in Israel in the early 70s after we fled the former USSR. I was routinely taken to the bomb shelter as a 5 year old as bombs were dropped on Israel. But bias be damned, the media presentation of the Israeli-Lebanese conflict right now IS biased, verging on anti-Semitic.

It is Israel who has suffered through decades of terrorism, of having their people blown up on buses, in cafes, in the street. Israel does not initiate these conflicts but I fully support their right to defend themselves and, in this case, go a step further and try to put an end to an orgaisation which pretends to be a legitimate political force but is nothing more than a group of fantatical terrorists. Even without Israel's bombs Lebanon is screwed unless they can rid themselves of Hezbollah. If they are too weak to do it internally Israel is forced to do it externally because these people have a sworn philosophy of wiping Israel off the face of the earth.

Of course it is terribly sad to see the dead and wounded on both sides. No-one can deny that. But when will enough be enough? There are no forces on earth which can stop the bitterness and hatred in the middle east. The UN yet again shows itself to be the pathetic toothless tiger which it is. A resolution calling for Hezbollah to be banned can not be passed (I guess they must have run out of Iced Vovos at that meeting). Who could be surprised? I have heard that Malaysia's ex deputy Prime Minister is being heralded as the future replacement for Kofi Anan. A Muslim nutbag heading the UN? Gee, why not? Is Idi Amin not available? Possibly he's dead. How about Saddam Hussein? Surely once his farce of a trial is over he'll be looking for a new career opportunity.

Like everyone else I hope for an end to the suffering soon but not until Hezbollah has been stopped or at least taught a very big lesson. We must keep blaming terrorists and not let the mind fog of political correctness make us believe that all are equal in this conflict. I am confident in who the real victims are.
I have started reading "Secret Mothers' Business" by Joanne Fedler. It's truly fantastic and a much needed normaliser for a guilt-ridden mother like myslef. Despite a totally unnecessary political reference (which adds nothing to the story but does piss off those like myself who may not be on the middle-class leftie bandwagon so "in" right now) it is a greatly appreciated sanity saver.

Here is a passage I could/should have written myself:

"Motherhood, like the image of a beach at sunset on the glossy pages of a travel brochure, was such a perfect place of infantile cuteness and compliance. And then I got there, and the water was too cold, there were bluebottles swirling in the depths, and the sand insisted on getting in everywhere. When motherhood took on the contours of a real relationship with another person whose thoughts, wishes and personalities confronted my own, it all started to unravel. I watched in powerless horror as the person I had been began to erode.

[Particularly peritnent to us adoptive parents] My audition for the part had been impressive. I was confident I had it in the bag. But as the ensuing daily performances came and went, the role of 'The Perfect Mother' slipped from my grasp."

While I'm only a third of the way through the book I truly recommend it to the mothers who, like myself, don't ever feel good enough, happy enough and all alone in the category of "Worst Mother of the Year".
Quick update:

* School is back this week. Yippee! I'm getting a lot better at the school holiday thing but it's still somewhat of a relief once the routine is re-established. I'm such an anally retentive control freak (no, really) that routine is seriously my best friend. These holidays went well with a day trip to Disney on Ice (which both children and friends enjoyed hugely); a couple of days out with our visiting Adelaide friends K, D and C (oh the guilty joy of fish and chips at Watsons Bay on an unnaturally warm and sunny Sydney winter's [working] day); Jay took Will to Luna Park for a father and son bonding day and they had a ball (Will seems to be better at rides when I'm not around, possibly I silently transmit my fear of all things which move in a unpredictable and possibly dangerous manner).

* Both the kids are fantastic:

* Marianna is turning into a right little madam. She is very stubborn and bright and very much her own little person. At almost 14 months she is walking very confidently now, in fact trying to multitask like a typical woman by walking and eating or drinking or generally holding onto some toy or rubbish she has picked up from the floor. She loves music and bops along to any and every kind (from Hi-5 and The Wiggles on TV to Robbie Williams and Red Hot Chili Peppers on CD and radio, she even loves music in ads and has a few favourites for which she'll stop and turn to give it her full attention). She is also trying to sing along and her favourite right now is my rendition of Old McDonald which brings out a beautiful chorus of "ei ei".

* Will is turning into a real little man now. We still have our "moments" of stress (some last longer, much much longer, than others) when he insists on smothering Marianna with kindness, he literally follows her around so closely she trips over him, crying [hers] and screaming [mine] ensues. I guess the big brother/little sister adjustment period is taking longer than I first thought/hoped. On the positive side his language is maturing and he is saying a lot more about thoughts and feelings. He is into compliments right now ("Mum I love your skirt", "Dad I love your shoes"...).

* My dear sister J is back from her European Vacation. She had a blast and is missing the lovely European summer while we freeze our patooties off here in Sydney. Not only did she have a great time but she managed to squeeze in a bit of shopping resulting in a beautiful Dolce & Gabbana handbag for moi (yes, dear reader I am the proud owner of a genuine Italian designer handbag, as opposed to the Australian designer handbags I generally covet). She also bought some clothes for the children (fabulous!) including a tiger print D&G bodysuit for Marianna (too cute!). Jay got a pin for his collection from the World Cup (which made him a happy little camper - I know which pressie I'd prefer!).

* We have dipped our toe very briefly into the investment property pool but the water is too cold and we are withdrawing to the safety of the warm sand. Though it seemed like a good idea at the time our accountant has presented some hard financial facts which have made it all seem just a little too stressful and problematic. Maybe in a few years time?!

* Big Brother is almost finished for another year. Where does the time go?! I'm really over it (as I usually am by this stage of proceedings). I hate them all and don't care who wins (there's only $215,000 left at this point anyway). In just over a week they will all disappear back into the mediocrity from which they emerged after a few flickering moments as C grade celebrities and then I'll need some new reality TV program to replace the void...

* ... luckily Australian Idol is just round the corner and then there's always Australian Princess to look forward to. Us junkies need to keep getting our fix.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The United Nations... it sounds so good... all the countries of the world coming together as one to work for the benefit of all humanity. Surely something a bunch of teenagers attending an alternative school would come up with given the assignment "How would you bring about world peace and harmony".

The reality? A bunch of useless beaurocrats sitting around in never ending meetings day after day after day achieving nothing at great expense. Let's just name one resolution which has actually achieved something... well, there's... and, um, there's... there's got to be some bloody thing. Anyone? No, didn't think so.

All I can say is North Korea must be shaking in their boots right now because the UN Security Council had an emergency meeting last night to discuss possible sanctions. Gee, there must be panic in the streets. We all know how damned effective those UN sanctions are. They really get things changed at a political level, especially in those [communist] dictatorships where the people's suffering means so very much to the ruling elite. I say "don't panic people", it will take months, possibly years, for any potential sanctions to be voted in. Do you know how many meetings, complete with a full range of beverages and iced vo-vos, must be convened before an actual, fully-fledged resolution comes into place? Dozens, possibly hundreds.

It's a sad and disturbing state of affairs and I certainly don't know any of the answers... but I continue to be happy to point out some of the problem areas.
Look, I love Susan Sarandon as an actress. "Rocky Horror Picture Show"... perfect as Janet in the ultimate cult classic which is so close to my heart. "Bull Durham"... so memorable as Annie. "Dead Man Walking", "Thelma and Louise", "The Witches of Eastwick"... all personal favourites... amazing roles in amazing films.

But come on now! What the...? Hunger strike!!! Really people, have a good hard look at yourselves. Hollywood stars NOT eating! Who is going to take that seriously??!! Maybe Susan and dear deluded Sean should go on an EATING STRIKE. Now that would shake Hollywood to its foundations. I can see the headlines now "Stars eat a full meal... with carbs!" READ ALL ABOUT IT!

I fully respect (well, not really... but that's another story) celebrities of all denominations supporting their cause (whether I agree with it or not) but this is so silly. The caloric intake, which would be minimal on a good day, of movie stars does not effect the political goings on of this planet. If only it was so simple. Work with me here:

"Nicole Ritchie's eating disorder
restores peace in the middle east!"

"Lara Flynn Boyle single handedly
brings peace to the Sudan!"

"Calista Flockhart's hunger strike
means no further need for the United Nations.
World peace is here!"

Which brings me to my next point...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Movie Review: "Wolf Creek"

I must premise this review by saying that after we watched "Wolf Creek" last night I told my husband to slap me repeatedly on the head, Benny Hill-style and tell me to wake up to myself should I ever request that we watch a horror movie again. Let's face, I'm way too old for this shit and I just can't go on re-living my teenage horror movie glory days (when my friends and I would watch "Evil Dead" and similar titles over and over again in the darkened rumpus room and scare ourselves stupid).

Overall, "Wolf Creek" is a fine example of its genre, i.e. it's friggin' scary. All the elements are there and they are beautifully choreographed into a top class horror film. It's just my fragile, bordering on middle-age constitution which just can't take it any more.

The story is simple. Two Pommie backpacker girls and one Sydney backpacker boy leave Broome, Western Australia (which we'll be visiting for New Year, as an aside) to drive across the top end to Darwin and Cairns via Wolf Creek, a famous meteor crater site. All is going swimmingly, with a little love side story unfolding, when their car won't start after their Wolf Creek sojourn. Enter Outback Jack, i.e. creepy Michael, and you just know it's all down hill from here on in.

Everything I had heard really hadn't prepared me for how plain YUCKY (visually and psychologically) the bad bits were. It seems the older I get the less I want to be confronted with this kind of stuff. Call it denial but I just had an overwhelming urge to watch "Notting Hill" for the 700th time during most of the horrific second half of "Wolf Creek".

Then there's John Jarrett. He plays Michael (or Crocodile Dundee from HELL) and he is freakishly FREAKY! I mean this is the guy who does the handyman hints on "Better Homes and Gardens", he shouldn't be out in the desert mutiliating people! It's just too wrong and broken and I still can't get my head around it. I'll never be able to look at the poor fellow in the same way again.

If you're a fan of the horror film, then this is one of best I've seen. If you're not, then stay the hell away and watch a nice Hugh Grant film instead.

PS Things I've learnt from watching "Wolf Creek":

1) Don't drive across the Australian outback in a crappy, second hand car.

2) Don't stop to look at dodgy, middle-of-nowhere (literally) crater sites. Who cares!

3) If a crazy-looking, full on ocker dude pulls up to "help" you, beat him repeatedly with the nearest blunt object or run away, fast.

4) If you're running away from the aforementioned crazy-looking dude (who you now know not to be some harmless backwoods knight in shining armour) don't stop to watch other people's videos.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Movie Review: "Shaun of the Dead"

Bloody funny. One of the best movies I've seen in ages. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea. But if you like zombie love stories you really can't go wrong.

Only the Brits can do a zombie film this well. It is just hilarious start to finish.

You must see this movie!
It's a weird feeling to be listening to music created by someone who went to school with your baby sister.

One of the CDs on constant rotation in the car at the moment is Ben Lee's "Awake is the new sleep". I just love this gorgeous little melodic CD. It is just pure clean pop/folk with the optimistic/uplifting lilt I often crave. There are no abstract lyrics to decipher here, just lovely little love songs full of unrequited longing and hope and lust and fun.

I defy anyone not to love "We are all in this together". Not only is the sentiment just perfect but the song is beautiful on so many levels, especially as a soul-lifting sing-a-long as I drive the kids around.

woke up this morning
i suddenly realized
we're all in this together
i started smiling
cos you were smiling
and we're all in this together
i'm made of atoms
you're made of atoms
and were all in this together
and long division
just doesn't matter
cos were all in this together

So this funny little Woody Allen-like human, Ben Lee, went to school at Moriah College in Sydney's eastern suburbs with my sister, and now I listen to his funny little almost broken voice singing songs which simply make me feel joy and I wonder at the mysteries of life and the universe.