Monday, May 26, 2008

I'd like to see the contract that the acts appearing on the Eurovision Song Contest have to sign. As I flicked through the channels last night while watching the Big Brother Eviction show I was truly amazed at the consistancy amongst the contestants. First of all each and every song is cheesy shit at its best (worst?). Really, unbelievably corny crappy songs without any discernable rhythm or tune. Then there are the voices of the singers. Each more mediocre than the last. I kept thinking that not one of these vocalists would make it past the first round of Australian Idol (and imagining what non-sensical gibberish Mark Holden would use in his comments). Finally the staging and costumes are simply gold. Each of the female singers looked either like a reject bridesmaid from an 80s wedding or a poor waif who had accidentally wondered into Madonna's wardrobe during a blackout and been assaulted by Mad's plastic surgeon while getting dressed. Oh, the horror.

My personal favourite was the Russian singer who not only had to battle through his shithouse song but do so while one of Russia's allegedly best ice skaters (a man who looked remarkably like a carricature of Christopher Dean stuck in a horrible 80s time warp) skated around him. Unbeleivably this act won. Not that anyone else was any better.

OK, we all know those Europeans are whacky but is someone taking the piss?


I have a dilemma. Paul Weller is coming to do a show at the Enmore Theatre in August. When I got the Ticketek email I went "WOW!". Have to see him, love him, blah blah blah.

Then I stopped for a moment and thought about actually loving the idea of Paul Weller from 20+ years ago. A Style Council/The Jam incarnation of Paul Weller that I knew and loved from my mid-teens. I haven't bought any of his solo albums during the past 20 years. Certainly we have both moved on with our lives. What would I be expecting from his concert?

Since his relationship with The Jam is strained at best there certainly wouldn't be a rousing sing-a-long of That's Entertainment or A Town Called Malice. And since The Style Council's very particular 80s stylings surely wouldn't be where he is musically today I couldn't rely on hearing Big Boss Groove or Speak Like A Child or (my all time favourite) It Just Came To Pieces In My Hands. So I'd be left staring at his (still undoubtedly beautiful) face and not knowing any of the music.

Where does all that leave me? Feeling sad and nostalgic and yearning for a tiny moment in my life when life was easy and the future was filled with glorious possibilities. A time when I stood on a milk crate at the front of the stage at the Hordern Pavillion and touched Paul Weller's sweaty t-shirt as he belted out some of The Style Council's wonderful songs. A time that can never be replaced or returned to.

Goodbye Paul. Goodbye youth. Hello whatever is around the next corner.
... Maybe I could just buy one of his new albums and see if I like it. Now there's an idea...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Holiday. There's two hours of my life I will never get back.

One needs to ask the question: how does a steaming pile of dreck like this get made into a feature length movie staring "big name" Hollywood stars. Did anyone read the script? Did a human even write the script or was it just spat out of a great big cliche machine at the Acme Script Factory in downtown Hollywood?

It's getting exciting now.

After only FOUR MORE SLEEPS we will be jetting off for our Fijian holiday.

We'll be having breakfast somewhere like this...

Dinner somewhere like this...

Enjoying this view...

Reading our books and sipping our Pina Coladas by this pool...

Please don't hate me... much!
I keep forgetting to mention how much I love the Big Brother: Big Mouth show with Tony Squires and Rebecca Wilson which screens on Monday nights. It's funny and smart and I think they are trying to talk to people like me (i.e. old folks who watch the show and who should really know better but just want to have a giggle about it). Anyway, I really enjoy it which is why I make an effort to stay up until 9:30 PM (that's right, it's not a mis-print) to watch it. Which means I don't get to bed until after 10:30 pm, sometimes almost 11 - can you believe it??!!

This year it's the best thing about Big Brother. The housemates shit me, as usual. There's hardly anyone in there upon whom I would spit should they be on fire. I don't think Kyle and Jackie O are doing anything great as the eviction hosts on Sunday nights. In fact they are just their insipid best. Kyle is so not controversial, especially face to face, when he always backs down and back-peddles in a major way. He's about as shocking as a cup of tea and a nice biscuit.

Even Friday Night Live, which I still love and look forward to for my major Friday night veg out, has lost something now that the "prize" is so shithouse. Gee, pizza in the "Strategy Room" - woo-bloody-hoo! What strategy? What "prize"? Come on Big Brother, it's too piss weak even for Piss Weak World.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My life has become a minefield. The explosions can come at any time, any place and often when I least expect them. I am living in fear of Marianna (who will turn 3 on Monday). Just so I don't forget when this phase passes (I am nothing if not an optimist!) I want to list the reasons for her recent tantrums.

1) This morning she had a major meltdown because Will announced that his toothbrush was new (actually 2 days old). Marianna proceeded to scream for a full 20 minutes that she too wanted a new toothbrush (her's is 2 weeks old).

2) Yesterday she had a major meltdown when we got to day care because I wouldn't let her take in the iPod Shuffle (her birthday present) which she had been listening to during the drive.

3) Many mornings she has major meltdowns because she doesn't want to get dressed (has gone to the garage naked on numerous occasions), doesn't want to brush her teeth and/or doesn't want to brush her hair.

This tantrum business is exhausting and really soul destroying for me as a parent. I just want to logic my way through it but (obviously) I can't and it is driving me totally nuts. It is the intensity and ferocity of these tantrums which is so bewildering and frightening for me. I honestly feel like I'm walking on eggshells every morning, waiting anxiously to see what little request or action will set her off. Then when we seem to have gotten through the morning peacefully something unexpected happens just as we're heading out the door (see previous entry regarding Teddy) or when we arrive at day care (see iPod drama above). Will had a few minor running around at the supermarket tantrums when he was ultra tired but nothing even close to this so I am so unprepared for what is happening right now.
Is it just me or is Napoleon Pedris just plain old creepy in an unspecified sort of way? I don't know what it is but he just makes my skin crawl. I really have an anti thing with these super camp allegedly "straight" guys. What goes on do you think?

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Lord* giveth and the Lord* taketh away.

The Lord* took away Underbelly and Dexter and the Lord gave Big Love. Thank you Lord*.

Have you watched the first series of Big Love? If not, why not! Right now I'm enjoying the beginning of Season Two and it was worth the wait.

IMHO this is the best tv you'll ever see. [Well, you know, after all the other best tv you'll ever see ... I have a fairly long list. And I do watch Big Brother, so undoubtedly my opinion must be taken with a few large pinches of salt.]

Nevertheless, this show is fantastic. First of all there is the uber cast with the three leading ladies blowing my socks off each time I watch an episode. I just can't get enough of Jeanne Tripplehorn or Chloe Sevigny (can it really be 13 years since Kids?) and the cute-as Ginnifer Goodwin. Then of course there's the supporting cast featuring Harry Dean Stanton as evil personified Roman Grant.

I am continuously startled and mesmerised by this show. It is so multi-layered that I find myself thinking about the issues long after the episode is over. While it can come across very vaguely soap opera-ish it is far from it. Yes, it is a family drama but it is like no family you'll ever come across. And amongst the moral dilemmas that arise amidst a family with one husband and three wives and seven children there is also suspense and intrigue which keeps my heart racing. Who knew Mormons were so exciting?

To think that SBS has been keeping this little secret and how close I came to missing it.

* The term Lord used for effect only. I haven't been born again or anything. Relax.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

THE Birthday Party...

[no words (I'm saving those for the therapist), pictures will have to suffice]

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Now we're talking.

This would certainly put a whole new perspective on the fun we're having with our Wii Fit.

And of course there's the Carmen Electra = Dave Navarro reference which is always a little extra bonus for moi!

Do you think they'll have it on the market in time for Chrissie?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oh, Anthony. This is so sweet. What a gorgeous photo.
I want to make a conscious effort to record the cute, funny and down-right kid-like things the munchkins say and do. I feel I spend a lot of my time being cranky with them and I want to remember the great moments.

For example, this morning. Marianna was having a good morning until it was time to head out the door. She decided she wanted to take Teddy to day care, which was fine with me. However as we were about to walk out the door she threw him on the floor and said "you carry him". Of course I said "NO" because not only will I not pander to her silly little whims but I also had my arms full with a Tupperware container full of muffins I made for the office, my lunch, my handbag, keys and garage remote.

She went ballistic, screaming and sobbing as if she was being murdered. I was running late so I simply dragged her out the door towards the lift. She lay screaming on the ground while we waited for the lift. [Poor Will wanted to help carry Teddy but she wouldn't let him. It's her way or no way.] The lift came and I had to drag her inside. Then drag her out again when we got to the basement.

I left her screaming in the little lift lobby while I opened the garage and the car and got Will inside and put all my stuff in the car. Then I came back for her and carried her screaming and hysterical to the car and tried to strap her in her seat. Have you ever tried strapping an octopus on speed into a baby seat?

She continued to scream and yell "I want my Teddy" at the top of her lungs for about 15 minutes into our trip (that's stamina for you). Finally she calmed down and the rest of the car trip was peaceful and uneventful.

Upon arriving at day care I unstrapped her and as I was holding her to put her on the ground she smiled sweetly at me and said "I'm happy with you mum". Then she happily walked into the centre and the day went on.

Parenting is the hardest and the best job in the world.
So now the government is talking about introducing anti-gambling classes for primary school children.

Is there no end to this Nanny State bullshit we are living through right now?

I want to rant and rave but I'm just dumbfounded by the stupidity of it all.

Here's a novel idea. How about schools teach children to read and write and some basic math concepts and bit of history and geography and just try to instil a general love of learning and leave all the politically correct mumbo jumbo bullshit alone?

Crazy, I know.
I have never been a fan of computer games - you know, PlayStation, etc. I just don't get it. Haven't got the hand-eye coordination or the patience for it. Our beautiful Will (who is now NINE, can you believe it!) is hugely into all types of gaming devices. He has a GameBoy (old hat now), PlayStation Portable (PSP) and a PlayStation 3 (which is an amazing peice of technology completely wasted on me). All this technology, and the wonderous games which come with it, are all care of Dodo (my dad and Will's doting grandad) who is undoubtedly reliving his own childhood through all this gadgetry.

[My dad is a big fan of technology. I was the only kid I knew, or have ever known, who had a vertical Sony record player. That's right, it was a sort of solid upside-down U-shaped device into which the LPs slid into vertically and rotated around as they played. I think it was a horrible flop for Sony as it could not deal with any imperfection in the record and almost every record I owned was impossible to listen to. But my friends were at least temporarily impressed.]

Anyway, for Will's 9th birthday a week and a half ago my dad bought Will a Wii console and a truck load of accessories (tennis raquets, laser swords, golf clubs, the crazy list goes on). To me this seemed like a better gaming alternative because it at least keeps the kids active as they quite literally play tennis or ten-pin bowling in the middle of the living room.

At the time I didn't realise that this little gaming console had a special surprise for me (and Big Jay). Last week they realised a new accessory for the Wii - Wii Fit - and let me tell you this is a fantastic bit of technology much more suited for adults than kids. It's kind of like a personal trainer you can keep tucked away in the living room and bring out when the kids are asleep. First of all it does a fitness assessment - weight, height, BMI, centre of balance and tells you how much weight you should loose to get into a healthy range (luckily only 3.3 kg for me - that's manageable). Then you choose your male or female personal trainer and away you go.

The options include Yoga, Muscle Workout and Balance Games. You get a FitBank which accumulates time spent exercising and gives you bonus new games and activities when you reach certain goals. We have both tried Yoga and the Balance Games so far and they are fantastic, really fun, reasonably easy-ish and very encouraging of your efforts. The main thing is we can't wait to get back on it and improve.

I'm not saying it's going to turn you into a super athlete but it does do lots of good things for your core stability, balance and muscle toning. So together with my now regular workouts in our downstairs gym I am starting to feel quite a bit fitter. Best of all we have so much fun with it. If you want a laugh come over and watch me try the Soccer Header game (so much harder than it looks) or the Downhill Skiing or better still the Tightrope Walking.

So if the kids are begging for a Wii game for their birthday or Christmas I can recommend it, but we warned your poor kids might not actually get a look in as you hog it for your "exercise".

Friday, May 09, 2008

Teacher sacked for posing nude

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate prudes?

What is wrong with people, with our society? Why is sex considered so deviant? Why do we think children are to be protected from the mere mention of the word until "magically" they are able to cope with the concept upon reaching adulthood (and when is that exactly?)? Are we living in Victorian times and someone forgot to tell me?

I am so fucking sick of everyone - teachers, sports stars, musicians, actors - being rolemodels for "our children". What about parents taking some responsibility for how they want their children brought up and with the morality and "values" (god how I hate that meaningless word!) they want to instil? All people want to do is complain about the behaviour of others and blame it for the deterioration of these mysterious values we seem to hold so close yet are unable to define and/or enforce on our own.

No wonder so many people grow up with strange and often fucked up (excuse the pun) ideas about sex and their own sexuality.

Strange days indeed.
Now that both Dexter and Underbelly are finished we are on a tv diet of sorts. Of course I have my new season of Big Brother to keep me drooling (like a recently recovered lobotomy patient) in front of teev but I'm talking about quality television. Television written by people who have IQ points in the three digits.

Dexter and Underbelly have held us transfixed and their absence leaves a large hole in our weekly schedule. It is so rare to have two great programs to enjoy at the same time.

The thing with these two programs is their moral ambiguity and how they position us as the viewer. By the end of Season Two I loved Dexter Morgan like he was my own brother. Despite him being a serial killer the idea that he would confess and be incarcirated was too horrendous to contemplate. The beauty of the writing and the characterisation is that the audience so steadily positions itself on his side, we forgive all. Even at the very end, when we know he must kill an innocent police officer in order to carry on, we can forgive him, even encourage him. It is with beautiful slight of hand that the writers get him off the hook at the very last moment. We want him to live happily ever after (and return to us in Season Three) despite his minor character flaws (after all he only kills bad people).

It is a similar scenario with Underbelly. While there is no doubt these are very bad people the writing and the presentation attempts to show them as flawed humans rather than pure monsters. We see them with their wives and children, having bbqs and going to their son's football matches. My hat goes off to everyone involved with this fantastic series - putting this convoluted true story into a very watchable, very engrossing television show is good television production at its best.
Who the hell is Andre Rieu and why doesn't he fuck off with his ginormous orchestra? If I flick past Ovation one more time and see yet another Andre Rieu special concert I may blow a gasket (and believe me I don't have that many gaskets left).

Monday, May 05, 2008

Speaking of Mick Malloy and Russell Gilbert we spied them in the crowd at the Swans' game on Sunday afternoon. Pics follow (Big Jay trying out the zoom on our new camera).

Before I get into the pain let's talk about the pleasure. Lunch at Bite Me, the new-ish gourmet burger place on Oxford Street. I've been hanging out to eat there and our first home game at the SCG was the perfect opportunity. It was worth the wait. My Wagyu burger topped with a Portabello mushroom was devine, as were the gorgeous chips served hot and crisp in a minature frying basket. Even the chocolate milkshake, served the old-fashioned way, was very good. They even do mini everything and the kids loved their mini burger and mini hot dog.

So, yes, to the pain. The Swans gave it a valiant shot but after a pathetic second quarter there was no joy to be had as the Bulldogs remained undefeated at our expense. I'm not surprised. This is the stage of the season where the Swannies play erratically, lulling the opposition into a false sense of security. Then, when it counts, we manage to get our act together and finish in the eight (though the four would be nice for a change this year, boys).

Anyway, here are a few pictorial memories of a day we could generally forget.

Russell Gilbert (sporting some very fetching headwear) and Mick Malloy.

The girls.

Waiting for Siggy.

A nice shot of Adam Goodes' bum.
I would argue that George is the best character on Seinfeld. I mean there is so much to that man, he has the most nurosis (sp?) and the best lines. Sure Jerry is the "star" but where would it be without George?

Jason Alexander is sort of the x-rated version of his alter-ego George. His short, cute, chubby cheeked persona hides a foul mouthed comedian who had us absolutely pissing our pants on Saturday night. Not only is he very very funny but a great and totally surprising singer. The show stopper of the evening was his medly of Broadway classics. Completely unexpected and completely wonderful.

However, this cake had a number of cherries. There was Mick Malloy (not as funny as you may think), Russell Gilbert (bloody funny), Kitty Flannagan (really bloody funny) and The Umbilical Brothers (absolutely fucking fantastic!).

One of the best nights of comedy we've ever seen.

PS Isn't it funny how funny sex is? I mean sex is funny, no doubt about it, but without it there would be no stand up comedy. Strange but true.