Friday, June 30, 2006

Thought you may be missing my Big Brother comments... so here are some more...

Well, the unthinkable happened... no, Jamie didn't put on trousers that secure around his waist... no, Jamie didn't put on a shirt... ROB WAS EVICTED. Despite my SAVE ROB votes, despite my EVICT JAMIE votes (yes, I know I've gone too far, way way too far) dear Rob was shown the BB door last Sunday night.

Rob was pretty much the only one I was enjoying watching last week. He speaks his mind when it comes to the fine-fest stupidity in the house (they are down to $280,000 in prize money!!!!!), he likes a bit of cleanliness (a concept most of the other dropkicks in the house find totally alien; obviously that's mumsy's job) and he has the best hair and he's a Super Bitch.

So now he's gone and .... [this is where my first draft ended last Saturday night]

Shock, horror... I stop to get petrol on Sunday morning and casually pick up the Sunday paper. What the...? John and Ash's dumb young faces are plastered all over the front of my husband's employer's publication with the words "Sexual Assault" in the same general vicinity. For those who've been under a rock the aforementioned J and A were apparently involved in a "turkey slapping" incident with Camilla. They were subsequently asked into the Diary Room by BB, never to return.

Obviously yours truly HAS been living under a rock because I had never heard the term "turkey slapping" before and after finding out what it entails I never want to hear it again. Some things are better left to the younger generations.

Since then a fully formed, but hopefully short lived, moral panic has ensued with everyone from the prime minister down calling for Big Brother to be banned. For f's sake what is going on here? Since when do we call for things to be banned in this country? I'll be the first to say that BB is a bloody awful, mind-bogglingly stupid television program, but I enjoy it (as do many other people, judging by the ratings... and all of us dumb people can't be wrong!). Sure the "incident" examplifies how BB's criteria for being a housemate is that their shoe size must be bigger than their IQ. But banning television programs is just not on. I mean that's what remote controls are for.

If anything this whole storm in a tea cup should be telling the producers of Big Brother that it might not be such a fantastic idea to almost exclusively populate the house with immature young buffoons. Sure they might be sexy (??) in purely blatant physical ways but very few of them is attractive in a human way. I think the producers are way too preoccupied with the idea that it's 12 year old girls who vote and thus the housemates must be somehow appealing to them but I really think they underestimate the older audience and also the capacity of the younger audience to appreciate and enjoy watching more intelligent, mature, well-rounded characters (e.g. the popularity of David this year and previous winners and runners up - not a moronic buffoon amongst them, OK... there's Reggie...).

Like sands through the hourglass... so are the days of Big Brother.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I've realised (doh!) I've spending way too much brain power on Big Brother and other trivia and have totally forgotten about my children... well, not really... but it's definitely time for another...



Will has being going along his merry way the last two months. His 7th birthday party at the beginning of May was huge. I love a kid's birthday party and even though they are always a big logistical exercise I do try to go to some effort because they were such a memorable part of my own childhood and I want the same sorts of memories for my children. Anyway, Will's party was held at one of our local clubs (you know the sort which makes a huge profit enticing little old ladies to put their entire pensions through the pokie machines and then they blather on about how much good they do for the community by providing free meals for pensioners - yeah, well they can't afford to buy their own food 'cos it's all in your bleeding poker machines). This club has a great children's facility (get them in early) where they have birthday parties - first half frantic play in the play centre, then an hour or so in the disco (is there anything funnier than 5 - 8 year old kids gyrating around to that godawful crappola which passes for music these days?).

Apart from the party Will has been busy with school and being a really great big brother. On the whole his good big brother behaviour is on the increase and his bad big brother behaviour is on the decrease. He is really very gentle and loving with Marianna most of the time. He often tells us how much he loves her, which is so sweet.

Last week was a huge week for our little man. Thursday night he spoke to 550 stockbrokers at the annual Stockbrokers Foundation Dinner. The Stockbrokers Foundation have been long term financial supporters of the STaR Association (which did amazing work with Will when he was in day care). STaR was invited to speak at the dinner this year and my friend M (who is the president) asked if Will would go along and speak as a child who has been helped by the Association. She wrote Will a brief speech and he practised a few times. I was a nervous wreck all week wondering how he would go. I knew he would either be fine or he would go really shy and clam up. I needn't had worried. Will is a natural star and obviously destined for a career on the stage. He went up there without a single qualm, sat on his stool, read out his speech and hi-fived the cheering stockbrokers on his way back down. Not only was he a star but he helped raise around $50,000 from the assembled stockbrokers and was very happy to go home with a giant remote control car which was his present on the night.

To follow up from this huge night he then had the opportunity to play Auskick with his team (the Pennant Hills Demons) at Telstra Stadium at half time during the Sydney Swans vs Collingwood Pansies game. Again I worried about how he'd cope. After all, going out in front of 60,000 AFL supporters onto a giant field could be a little intimidating. Again my fears were groundless. He had a fantastic time. Ran out with his team, "played" a reasonable game of Auskick and then waved to the crowd and gave the Swans' players thumbs up on his way off the field. Apart from the "slight" negative of the Swans loosing it was a great night and I'm sure one which Will will always remember.


Our little princess is growing up fast. Tomorrow she will be 13 months old. She is now walking with a tiny bit of confidence. She can do more than 10 steps and can change direction but she is still not completely balanced and is grappling with tricky areas like standing up from a sitting start and getting distracted by something fun half way through a stroll (resulting in an undignified drop).

She now has four teeth, two top, two bottom - exactly on schedule. I swear this child has been reading the baby development book. She is also a total eating machine. Nothing is safe from those four, sharp chompers. She is even attempting WHOLE apples. In fact baby food is now totally history and she will only eat pretty much what we're eating and preferrably in a form she can feed herself. Her spoon to mouth technique is a work in progress but any type of finger food is a hit. It's the fact that she will actually try and enjoy every type of food which we find so amazing and wonderful. J and I enjoy good food and have a "thing" about people who eat good food while feeding their children an endless diet of sausages and chicken nuggets. Therefore our children have always been encouraged everything we eat - sushi, all types of seafood, anything and everything interesting and delicious. So far Marianna is proving to be a real champ and we couldn't be more proud (she even likes to gnaw on a chicken or chop bone like her mother, aaahhhh!).

The talking tap is just about to be turned on. Just in the last few days she is confidentally yelling out for "daaaadddd" and "Wheeeeeellllll" [Will]. She has been saying "mum" for a little while now. She is also pointing at everything she wants - whether it's something to eat or something she wants to play with. That pointing finger is getting a real work out right now.

Her naming day/1st birthday part at the end of May was a huge event. I'm sure it was a fun day but quite honestly I barely left the kitchen all afternoon (and I'm ever thankful that our renovations included an open plan kitchen which at least left me able to chat with the passing guests as I slaved over a hot stove).

Well, now that the children's updates are complete... back to Big Brother.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Thursday night is meant to be Date Night. For the last little while Will and Marianna have been off to their Dodo's house (W) and Baba's house (M) on a Thursday night for a variety of practical and grandparent-need inspired reasons. So we have planned this to be our date night. However, due to a never ending list of stupid reasons we have yet to have a date on a Thursday night. Last night, for the first time, we managed to pull it off and it was lovely.

Movie Review: The Break Up (spoilers included, you have been warned)

I was expecting a chick flick romantic comedy but hoping for something a little better (being a fan of Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau's earlier work Swingers and Made; oh, and if you want to see VV in one of his first films, where he's at his kooky best you must see Clay Pigeons - a true indy classic). But, as usual, I digress. This is no lightweight comedy and a film I certainly wouldn't want to be seeing on a first, second or eighteenth date. After almost fourteen years in a relationship though I felt happy to see it with the man I love. It must also be said that this is definitely not a movie to be seen within twelve months of a break up unless you are the break-up-er and/or you are already blissfully happy in another relationship.

It is a film which is very funny in parts but the writing was very very close to reality (as I know it) and the tissues came out on more than one occasion. The story itself is simple, guy meets girl, guy and girl fall in love, fast forward a few years into the relationship, guy and girl are comfortable yet unhappy, he takes her for granted, he wants to be left alone, she has enough, break up ensues.

What made it so good for me was how well the dialogue reflected reality in terms of male/female miscommunication. There were a number of stand out scenes: the preparation for the dinner party at the beginning, the conversation about the pool table at the dinner party; the non-verbal communication when Brooke comes home to the aftermath of Gary's party; the scene in the bedroom at the end. This scene needs special mention because it really hit me as I watched how close to the bone it must have felt for Jennifer to play such a from-the-gut break up scene with what has been happening in recent years in her own private life. It must be impossible to emotionally seperate during the filming of such a scene and I had a whole lot of empathy for the girl at that moment.

Double spoiler alert!!!

The final scene was perfection. If they had got back together I would have lost all faith in the film. The scene where they meet in the street after being apart for some time was really beautiful. The overly bright, slightly forced smile on her face; the almost desperate, searching look on his face; the realisation that despite the friendly words they wouldn't see each other again. So bittersweet, so perfect. As Jeff Buckley would say "Oh, that was sooooooo real".

A final word must be saved for Judy Davis as Brooke's boss Marilyn Dean. What has happened to you Judy? Are you being eaten up by some horrific parasite which is shrivelling you up and causing you to look like a true head on a stick? Sure the look fitted the characted well and she was great as the acid queen Marilyn but my heart broke for the Judy Davis I remembered as Sybylla in My Brilliant Career all those years ago.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Stadium Arcadium ... #1

To be fair I've only listened to one quarter of the double cd, once, so this is initial reaction only...

1) I love the musicality of this album. The melodies and production values are just beautiful. Musically these guys are at the top of their form and its a pleasure to listen to.

2) Anthony's voice is better than ever. Really. Those singing lessons are definitely paying off.

3) I already love Hump de Bump. It's pure, gorgeous funk and a real time warp back to the 70s and very much at the root of Chili Peppers' music. No party mix would be complete without it.

4) Dani Californication is growing on me, obviously as it is the released single and I've already heard it many times. It's a shout-along-with anthem which works well on the radio. Not too sure what it's about...

5) ... which brings me to the main problem. See, it's the poetry which is problematic for me. Anthony's lyric writing is leaning more and more towards the abstract poetry side of things and it scares me. Listening to this album today I had a very worrying feeling of being back at uni and sitting in a poetry class and dreading the possibility of the lecturer turning towards me and saying "So what do you think Keidis is trying to say there?". My brain just does not work that way. While I love beautiful language and a well tuned sentence, poetry scares the bejesus out of me because quite honestly I haven't the foggiest clue about what they're trying to say. Generally I want to listen to a song and hear a story or get a feeling but when I'm struggling to put my finger on what the hell the gist of the song is I can't really relax and enjoy the song as a package.

Anthony's earlier lyrics, while always tending towards the poetic, have always told a story... at least a story I could easily follow..

I like pleasure spiked with pain
Music is my aeroplane
"Aeroplane" from One Hot Minute

I could have lied
I'm such a fool
My eyes could never never never keep their cool
Showed her and I told her how she struck me
But I'm fucked up now
"I could have lied" from Blood Sugar Sex Magik

I used to shout across the room to you
And you'd come dancin' like a fool
Shuffle step you funky mother
Come to me all warm as covers
Rest with me my lovely brother
For you see there is no other
Memory so sad and sweet
I'll see you soon
Save me a seat
"My lovely man" from Blood Sugar Sex Magik

If you see me getting mighty
If you see me getting high
Knock me down
I'm not bigger than life
"Knock me down" from Mother's Milk

...well, that's just an idea of what I'm talking about. Here's a sample of where we're at now...

The stadium arcadium
A mirror to the moon
I'm forming I'm warming
State of the art
Until the clouds come crashing
"Stadium Arcadium" from Stadium Arcadium

So what do you think Keidis is trying to say there?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Too funny! After last night's Big Brother episode which saw Danielle evicted, Jamie was shown discussing this event with his co-nominee for the Nobel Prize for Intellectual Endeavour, Katie. He lamented that he was surprised at Danielle's departure because he thought that people on the "outside" would be more interested in watching the fun, hip, young people [I'm paraphrasing here, but pretty closely]. He was genuinely surprised that neither Rob nor Camilla (representing the old, unhip crowd) were evicted.

What the...? I've got news for you Einstein. Not all BB viewers are 12 year old girls. Some BB viewers are 38 year old women who should know better... and we aren't all that interested in watching anorexic 19 year old morons talking about nothing in particular (the question arises: why watch BB? Good question!). Jamie, maaate, if you represent young and hip, give me old and boring any day. Take a good, hard look at yourself... sorry, you do that on a way too regular basis already. Maybe stop taking looks at yourself in every available mirror and realise that being buffed is no key for success in life (unless The Hoff is your inspiration).

As a cherry on the Jamie and Katie cake they have both been nominated tonight... how sweet it is. Put that in your clay pipe and smoke it, oh, hip, young masters of the universe. Inspired by the success of my two votes to save Rob last week ($1.10 well spent) I think some votes may need to be sent by way of Jamie this week. I can't believe I'm contemplating doing this (but last week I briefly considered taping Family Fued, so my mental health is a serious and compelling issue, I must admit).

At least the kiddos are excited!

Well, it's THE BIG NIGHT! Whatever. I'm sure I'll be on the bandwagon tomorrow should we beat Japan, but really I couldn't care less right now.

Surprisingly even Jay is staying up to watch this thing tonight. Normally soccer is quite far down on his list of favourite games involving balls.

I just can't get excited about a sport where a "good" game results in a 0-0 draw. Why bother?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sunday morning happiness...

Will and Marianna cuddled up on the kids' sofa (in the middle of the wreck which will be our playroom) watching The Wiggles and clapping and bopping along.
Getting old and sentimental #1

What is it about seeing Joy Division singing "Love Will Tear Us Apart Again" on a very old, grainy film clip on the TV that has the power to send me spinning backwards into an emotional vortex?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

My darling sister J leaves tomorrow afternoon for her second European Vacation (sans Chevy Chase). The last one was a few years ago and it was THE BIG ONE. This is just a mini one (three and a bit weeks) but still exciting. She is starting with a few days in Germany (don't mention the war) to see a France vs Switzerland game at the World Cup, then Italy and France and a blink-and-you'll-miss-it stopover in Tokyo. Oh, to be young, single and free again. The grass is always greener, isn't it?! I will miss her terribly but I am super excited for her. Bon Voyage, beautiful girl.

On a totally different topic... Shannon Noll. Admission time. I didn't like him during the first Australian Idol. In fact I may have sent a vote or two Guy Sebastian's way. Now I see the error of my ways. At the time I dismissed Shannon Noll as a Jimmy Barnes wannabe, all yelling bravado and no musical talent. But recently I've decided I was wrong, so wrong. Sure Guy Sebastian can sing but it's what he chooses to sing that's the problem. There's enough R'n'B in the world, buddy. There's way, way too much, in fact. Enough already. Shannon Noll is actually a song writer in the classic Aussie sense, in the Ian Moss sense, (almost) in the Paul Kelly sense. In the storytelling tradition which makes you feel something. While I can't see myself buying his CDs I do appreciate his songs when they come on the radio. Good work, Shannon!

It's been a busy morning and a busy week. Last weekend we decided to change the house around "a bit". As usual these projects end up bigger than Ben Hur. So far we have moved the queen size bed into Will's room from the "spare" (aka JUNK) room and have dismantled his car bed (going to a good home). We have also moved ourselves out of the big bedroom at the back of the house into the almost as big bedroom at the front of the house. It is actually a much cosier room and we love it. Now we are in the process of turning our old bedroom, which is very large, into the kids' playroom/entertainment room.

Today we went and ordered a new lounge suite (a three-seater, a two-seater and a funky large pouffe). We've also ordered a 106cm LG flat screen plasma TV (why do such things make men so very, very happy?) and bought a home theatre package to turn our tiny living room into our very own realistic cinema experience. Our old 86cm TV will go into the kids' room, along with the old sofa and arm chairs, the Sony Playstation, the old stereo and all the kids' toys, books, games, etc. Our aim is to turn the lounge room into a sophisticated adults' retreat (humour me!) and the back room into a kids' paradise - plenty of room for all the fun stuff the kids need all in one space (and - V. IMPORTANTLY - out of our way).

So basically we end up without a spare/junk room so we are culling all the crap which accumulates when such a room is available for junk breeding purposes. Trip to the tip tomorrow. It also means visitors will not have a dedicated room but when they do stay they can have Will's room and he can camp out in our room or in Marianna's room. It seemed pointless to have a whole room going to waste just for the odd occasion when we have visitors staying over. It's bizarre that the three of us are struggling to find "enough space" in a largish four bedroom house when my parents and I managed quite well in what was basically one medium sized room with a shared kitchen and bathroom when I was little back in the motherland. Everything in life is relative!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

You know how I said I hate Ticketek? Well, I REALLY HATE Ticketek. In fact so much so that I have added an item to my list of things to spend money on when I win $27 million on Lotto. Item 37) Buy Ticketek and fire every single sorry excuse for a human being who works there. I won't go on (much) suffice to say T and their piss poor website and phone system have not only wasted most of my day on two occasions now but they have also deprived me of a chance of seeing Mr Sex-on-Legs (aka Robbie Williams) at his forthcoming Sydney concerts. The last concert he did in Sydney was just amazing and I was very excited at the chance of seeing him live again. Well, it's not to be unless a third show is announced.

Oh, and I also hate E-Bay ticket scalpers. There were over 300 seperate RW ticket bundles for sale on E-Bay within half an half of the tickets going on sale officially. I mean I know it's a free world, yada yada... but come on! We're already getting ripped off by performers/promoters when we get whacked for $150 for a ticket. Now this second layer of greedy bastards is snapping up tickets and trying to flog them back to the real fans for even more distorted prices. These people suck big time and I hope the fleas of a thousand camels infest their armpits.

Onto more highbrow matters. Big Brother. Why oh why oh why can't we have housemates like they have in the UK. We have a houseful of variations on a theme. The theme: young, thin, dumb, vain, personality of a wet sponge. For "variety" we get gay. That's it! In the UK they have... Are you sitting down? A guy with Tourette's, a pre-op trannie, a 40-year-old porn star with Britain's largest breast implants (take that on Krystal), a clinically depressed guy who declared he'd be the first person to commit suicide on national television (after having him on 24 hour suicide watch - that's funny on BB - they finally kicked him off for being too much of a risk - can you imagine their public liability insurance premiums??!!). That's just to name a few. Can you compare that cast of freaks (and I mean that in the best possible way) with our cast of Mr and Ms Bland. I don't think I'm in the minority when I say we want more freaks on BB. Spice it up a bit, Kris Noble. What are we paying you for?!

Speaking of freaks... Jamie. I can't take no more. The headband... the pants... the vacant expression. Be warned, buddy. When we're in Perth at Christmas time I'm going to hunt down your sorry arse and make you put on pants that GO TO THE WAIST... with a belt... and make you put on a shirt... I've seen enough of your weirdly buffed chest to last me a lifetime.

Furthmore, I am starting a SAVE ROB campaign. While BB is a big part of my brainless TV schedule I have never been a voter (though I must admit to throwing a few votes to big Trevor a couple of years ago). But I am going to have to do a couple of Save Rob votes this week. He is the only housemate with some flavour, some character, some... well, something that's not just BLAND. He's bossy, sure, but who wouldn't be with those bozoheads. These bufoons have got so many fines in their 46 days in the house there is only $425,000 left out of $1,000,000 - how stupid can you possibly be? I mean it's not brain surgery people. At this rate the "winner" will owe BB money. They are lazy and stupid, so if Rob feels the need to be bossy more power to him. I'd be bossing these people around 24/7. The sad thing is Rob will probably get kicked off and one of the aneroxic morons with their sum total of 3 brain cells will win. Where's the justice?

Friday, June 02, 2006

Something to bitch about...

* I hate Ticketek. Their only purpose in existing is to sell overpriced tickets to poor suckers like me and do you think they can manage this simple task? Shit NO! If more than two unlucky people log onto their shithouse website at any one time the whole thing melts down. My sister and I both spent ONE and A HALF HOURS!!! today trying to get some Robbie Williams tickets at the pre-sale. By time I actually got onto a screen which didn't say "try again" there were only single seats available in the Gold Reserved section. I mean really! How many tickets did they release - 10?! So now I have to go through all this shit again next week when the "proper" ticket sale starts on Monday. I am quite certain he'll announce a second show and the sane part of me thinks I should hold off for that one but the looney, manic part of me thinks "don't risk it, crappy tickets at this concert are better than no tickets at the potentially non-existant second concert". What's a half mad RW fan to do??!!

* Now that much loathed demonical Michael has left Big Brother my roving eye has fallen upon Jamie as the next in line for my wrath. While he is not annoying in the same was as Michael was he has a few characteristics which are really ticking me off:
a) The headband. Just stop it. NOW.
b) The pants. What? Why? If you haven't seen him then picture the baggiest pants ever made worn at way below hip level, let's say below buttock level - how they actually hang onto his body defies the imagination. All I know is that we see his underpants constantly and I wish we didn't have to.
c) That deer in the headlights look he favours. It's really not flattering, mate. I know how much you hate those unintelligence people so it's only fair to warn you that you look just like one of THEM.

* With a rare dip into the political pool I must say "YIPEE" for the cancellation of the sale of the Snowy River Hydro Electrical Scheme. It was a friggin' dumb-arse idea to start with (thank you NSW Labor government, you have a million of them) but I'm very happy that some sanity has prevailed and that an amazing and proud national symbol will remain in public hands. It'll be interesting to watch the political circus which will follow during the next few weeks and I can only hope it will play some role in the demise of Morris Iemma and his cronnies at the next state election.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Some thoughts on this cloudy Thursday...

* Shiloh! Really? Why would anyone name their child after Neil Diamond's imaginery friend? Surely there's a fruit that could have been more suitable.

* Storm in a tea cup here in Sydney about a day care centre teaching young children about homosexuality. Jesus, f'ing Christ! What is wrong with people? The story is such crap. The centre was probably just reading the kids some of those books like "Jenny has two mommies" or "Jack has two daddies" and the media is reporting it like they were showing them man on man porn or a lesbian live sex show. It blows my mind that in this day and age we can't be reasonable about homosexuality and face the bleeding obvious fact that not everyone (i.e. hardly ANYONE) lives in a mummy + daddy + 2.7 kiddies home with a white pickett fence and a dog and a cat (well, we are such a family, but hey! we're freaks, not the norm at all and we don't really fit the perfect image 'cos our kids didn't come via the usual channels). Just come on people! This is silly and embaressing, get with the program and let's have a broad acceptance of all sorts of people, no matter what they like to do with their bits during sexual acts.

* I am having a very bad diet week. Fell off the wagon totally on the weekend with Marianna's party. Tried very hard to get back on that damn wagon as of Monday. Have had limited success and today has been very depressing. We can fly men to the moon but we can't invent great tasting hot chips and gravy which are really healthy and don't go straight to you buttock area. Science and technology is heading way into the wrong direction if you ask me!