Sunday, August 23, 2009

I'll never forget the first time I saw Pulp Fiction. Wow, that film just knocked me around and upside-down; it was such a different way to tell a story. I loved that the audience had to think, had to be somewhat intellectually active, if only to connect the dots and put things together. It didn't follow the usual formula of spoon feeding the viewer with the story in a linear fashion.

At that moment I knew that Quentin Tarantino was not your usual film maker. Reservoir Dogs had given us a hint but Pulp Fiction was his masterpiece.

Since then he has dithered around, never really producing anything which has impressed me at all. With Inglorious Basterds I had some slightly higher hopes.

Let me start by saying that anyone who is lactose intolerant should stay away from IB because it is, at times, so cheesey you may have a terrible reaction.

I wanted to really love it but I didn't. It has potential and Quentin has an amazing imagination but it just doesn't sizzle. There are simply too many lame bits, bits that fall short, bits that are plain stupid.

Like The Producers this is a Nazi slapstick comedy of sorts. But it's a very black comedy and I thought it didn't find the right way to straddle the two ideas; the funny and the horrific. While I laughed at times and was horrified at times I left feeling very unsatisfied.

The close ups of Brad Pitt did send me on a trip down memory lane to a time when I first glimpsed him in Thelma and Louise and thought "that guy is gorgeous, who is he?" and then in Kalifornia when I knew he was going to be somebody. To be honest I felt a little sorry for him, he seemed uncomfortable, not sure of who he was supposed to be.

Anyway, I'll be interested to hear what others thought of Inglorious Basterds. Maybe my expectations were too high.
I think I may have made a terrible mistake.

Yesterday morning during a frenzied shopping sprint through my local Coles I bought the 6 in 1 Morning Fresh Power Tabs for the dishwasher (2 packets for $10). Imagine my horror when I got home and realised the Power Tabs I had been using were actually TEN in ONE. Oh. My. God. I bought the ones with FOUR less actions (no wonder they were on special).

So this morning I got out the old and new boxes to check exactly what four actions I would have to do without.

Apparently the 10 in 1 product includes these 10 very important dishwashing actions:

1) Dissolving wrapper (Huh? That's not an "action", it doesn't help in the washing of the dishes surely, simply a packaging description.)

2) Breaks down starch

3) Attacks proteins

4) Targets food thickeners

5) Cuts through grease

6) Leaves dishes sparkling

7) Protects glassware

8) Active oxygen

9) Fragrance

10) Stain penetrating action

Now correct me if I'm wrong but don't actions 2-8 plus 10 actually just translate to: cleans dishes?

The inferior 6 in 1 product is described as follows:

1) Enzyme action to break down food

2) Removes stains

3) Dissolvable wrapper (there's that friggin' wrapper again)

4) Cuts through grease

5) Leaves dishes sparkling

6) Fresh fragrance

Following on with this sort of marketing logic you could have a "2,000 in 1 action" tab:

1) Removes tomato sauce stains

2) Removes bbq sauce stains

3) Removes gravy stains

4) Removes chicken stains

5) Removes beef stains

.... you get the idea. Are these people nuts? Why is this marketing so cynical? Surely people aren't that stupid. Why can't products be what they are? Surely a tablet you put in your dishwasher to clean dishes should do just that, without the bullshit. It's not that they are lying, it's just that they are dazzling us with nonsense.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

They were talking about raising teenagers on ABC702 just now. One lady rang up and said "when you have little children you often say they are so gorgeous you wish you could eat them up and when they grow into teenagers you wish that you had".

Regularly I have moments, like yesterday morning when Marianna had the mother [pun intended] of all tantrums because I wouldn't let her carry the box of jelly beans I had just bought her, when I understand why some animal species eat their young.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Do you ever wish those damned scientists would just stop doing research and give us all a break?

Right now I'm listening to the midday news and they are saying that scientists have "discovered" that eating cured meats (ham, salami, etc) is linked to higher rates of bowel cancer in adults. They are urging all of us to restrict our cured meat intake to 70g a week (apparently that's two ham sandwiches) and to stop our children eating the stuff altogether.

Oh for fuck's sake. What are we allowed to eat? Everything is bad for us, absolutely everything. Everything is going to make us fat and/or give us cancer and/or diabetes and/or some other disease they haven't discovered yet.

Considering that eating is such a dangerous occupation and breathing the polluted air is bad for us, as is driving, flying, crossing the road and pretty much just living, how come we are all living longer than ever and each year our life expectancy is increasing, despite all the doom and gloom bullshit?

I do know the truth though. The only thing that is really bad for my [mental] health is listening to the news. It might not literally kill me but it does make me loose the will to live.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Last week I found a website which sells t-shirts, mugs, stickers, etc.

I wanted to buy the t-shirts which state:




But they were expensive and I'm too old and chunky to wear band-style t's these days.

So I thought about getting the stickers instead but realised some feral hippy type would probably vandalise my poor car for daring to voice dissent. They don't take kindly when you point out the emperor is sans clothing.

I will probably order myself a mug. At least the people I work with all know exactly how naked the poor old emperor really is.
In other weekend news:

* The Swans lost by 5 points to Geelong. It was frustrating and a little sad but reassuring, they didn't get flogged. (The bright side is they are definitely out of finals contention now so we have a free run through September, first time in years.)

* Today was a gorgeous, sunny, 28 degrees, perfect. We had a bbq breakfast on the waterfront with our friends G, T, A and R. It was wonderful. A beautiful taste of spring.

* Marianna and I are getting the hang of her Saturday morning 8 am swimming lesson followed by her 9 am ballet lesson. It's an early start but then we have the rest of the day free. She copes well, to her credit.

* I went for a MediPedi yesterday afternoon. It promises "baby feet" and it came pretty close. I have booked in for 6 treatments. It's pretty amazing how wonderfully soft they got my rough old footsies without using any sort of blade, just some special chemical. Hopefully the result will be long lasting.
Never a dull moment.

Marianna and I were in Myer today, doing a little browsing while Will was at a birthday party watching Coraline. Nothing exciting, just a little pottering around in the kitchen section, searching for an oil container of some sort, something to house my macadamia nut oil which came in an almost unuseable container.

So one minute Marianna is next to me, the next minute she is gone. I really mean gone. Scary gone. Where the fuck has she gone, gone. Running around calling her name, getting terrified, gone. Calling security, panicking, gone. I'm not generally a worst case scenario type of girl but I was so bloody scared. Do you know where she was? Sitting quietly behind a dryer in the whitegoods section. That's where one of the saleswomen found her, just sitting quietly.

I'm not sure what happened really. I think she was hiding from me and then got scared herself. Tonight she told me she was very scared but she can't fully explain why.

It was one of those tiny moments in life when I could glimpse how someone's life can go from 0-100 km/hour shithouse in 5 short seconds.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I've been meaning to post about this for a while. The 4 Ingredients girls. Before I knock them I do want to say there is probably room for their sort of cooking. I can't loftily assume that everyone possesses a certain level of kitchen know-how and confidence; some people just don't feel comfortable in the kitchen. The problem is, if they have a tv show and a publishing deal, so should the home economists who write the recipes for Campbells or MasterFoods which appear on the back of the sachets and tins.

I saw them do a recipe the other day for Eggs Benedict. The 4 ingredients were: eggs, English Muffins, ham and Hollandaise Sauce. Hmmmm. What's wrong with this picture?

You can't just say "Hollandaise Sauce" as an ingredient. It's like saying I can make minestrone with one ingredient: a can of minestrone soup (open can, place in microwave safe bowl, heat, eat). This is not a recipe.

A lot of their recipes are like this. Sure there is room for simple but I think they are having a larf!
I know I've written previously about people being able to have relationships with any (consenting) animal, vegetable or mineral but I would like to discuss consent and who the animal, vegetable or mineral is in this particular story.

Woman getting married to fairground ride

Amy Wolfe, a US church organist who claims to have objectum sexuality, a condition that makes sufferers attracted to inanimate objects, plans to marry a magic carpet fairground ride.

This follows a "courtship" of 3,000 rides over ten years with the 80ft gondola ride called 1001 Nachts.

Miss Wolfe, 33, from Pennsylvania, will change her surname to Weber after the manufacturer of the ride she travels 160 miles to visit 10 times per year, according to reports “I love him as much as women love their husbands and know we’ll be together forever,” she said. [Well, unless "he" decides to run off with the merry-go-round or the ferris wheel, you know how fickle these magic carpet rides are.]

Miss Wolfe first fell for the ride when she was 13: “I was instantly attracted to him sexually and mentally." [Who wouldn't be!]

“I wasn’t freaked out, as it just felt so natural, but I didn’t tell anyone about it because I knew it wasn’t ‘normal’ to have feelings for a fairground ride.”

Ten years later, she decided to go back to Knoebels Amusement Park to declare her love. She now sleeps with a picture of the ride on her ceiling and carries its spare nuts and bolts around to feel closer to it. [I can't see anything at all wrong with this paragraph.]

She claims to believe they share a fulfilling physical and spiritual relationship and does not get jealous when other people ride it. [Look, who am I to judge. Going by many of the men I've encountered this magic carpet ride is probably capable of more emotional depth and certainly would be able to last longer in the horizontal folk dancing department. Good luck to them, I say.]

Although she faces discrimination from employers, most of her family and friends have been supportive. “I’m not hurting anyone and I can’t help it," she said. "It’s a part of who I am.”

So there you go. Maybe not the cabbage I have theoretically referred to in previous posts but an inanimate object nevertheless. The world is a strange and wonderful place, full of strange and wonderful people. I wish them every happiness.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

This morning's news featured the touching story of the two American journalists freed from North Korea by hero of the day Bill Clinton.

The footage I saw included a press conference Laura Ling did upon arrival back in the US. She talked about her surprise at being taken to a mystery location by her captors, walking into a room and finding "... President [sic] Bill Clinton" there. I don't know about you, but I seriously thought the next thing she would say would be "... and he said "I'm here to get you out, but how about a quick BJ first?" ". Seriously, I would not have been surprised.

Old Bill strikes me as a guy who would not miss an opportunity to use a situation to his advantage and a quick BJ is never unwelcome. Look at the guy, he's just flown in and out of one of the main Axis of Evil countries, risking life and limb, and yet the leer is right there. You can't tell me he wouldn't have dropped his trousers right there and then, in that little room deep in the bowels of the North Korean stronghold, should the guards had stepped out for a moment.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

I love Southern Fried Momma - she writes the funniest shit... and this blog entry about her parenting style and the idea of homeschooling really made me laugh/shudder/nod in empathy.

I mean who would think that homeschooling is a good idea? Seriously people, there are trained, [reasonably] well paid professionals to do this dangerous job, why would you contemplate doing it yourself. Personally I think DIY is for suckers (or at the very least enthusiastic amateurs); whether you're talking about painting the spare room (looks easy, but isn't) or clearing the blocked toilet (looks dirty, is dirty, but it's better than waiting for the slackarse husband to get around to it), it's all ugly and should be left to the specialists. Working with children is doubly more so. They are unpredictable, they can and will hurt you, their whinging voices can cause mature adults to lose the will to live. Why would you try this at home?

So if it means sitting through unbelievably dull Fete meetings (like I did last night) in order to fundraise to support the public school our children attend I'm all for it. I'll go to meetings, sell raffle tickets, bake cakes, set up and dismantle fete stalls, anything but sit down with my child and try to teach them anything. I've tried and failed and I am very reluctant to do it again.

Three cheers for the teachers of this world; the people who willingly put their lives and sanity on the line each day to teach our children so that we don't have to!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Another of life's little mysteries.

Most mornings as I drive along Victoria Road towards Gladesville to drop off Marianna at day care I see an odd sight. A little old lady, a tiny little thing about the same height and weight as Will, dressed in a billowy long little old skirt, cardigan and sneakers, is pushing a pushbike along the street. Her head is only slightly higher than the handlebars. She looks frail enough to be blown over by a strong gust of wind. Yet there she is, pushing this bike up Victoria Road, the morning peak hour traffic roaring past.

Who is she? Why is she pushing this bike? Where is she going?

Each time I see her these questions pop up and I want to stop my car and jump out to ask her. Of course Victoria Road in peak hour is not an ideal location for a quick chit chat so I keep driving.

Monday, August 03, 2009

I never thought I'd find myself defending Kyle Sandilands but here I am.

I think the media witch hunt which has gone on this last week is beyond pathetic and beyond stupid. No one can deny Kyle is a moron (or at least a very smart operator disguised as a moron). But is he really the main person responsible for this bit of drama? Why is he being set up as the fall guy here? To the best of my knowledge he is not trawling the streets with a gun rounding up people to appear on his show. The participants come on willingly, in this case (I believe) for the incentive of winning concert tickets, at other times simply for the incentive of airing their troubles in public (a la Jerry Springer contestants).

My main question is: why is no-one placing the blame where it needs to be placed, i.e. with the mother of the 14 year old girl at the centre of this storm in a tea cup? Is the mother not the person who brought her child to the studio, knowing that she would be attached to a lie detector machine? I'm not sure whether the mother knew that the girl had been raped or not. That's not the point (mostly). The point is that the mother actively subjected her daughter to this situation in the first place.

I can not imagine thinking that the best way to deal with my teenage child's awful behaviour would be to strap them to a lie detector in a radio studio and have them questioned by a shock jock and his bimbette sidekick.

Furthermore, Kyle does not work in a void. He is part of a team, sure the public face of that team, but a team nevertheless. There would be producers and assorted others responsible for putting the show together. People who would have discussed the format and direction of the show and who would have spoken with the mother and daughter prior to the show going to air.

The fact that it is Kyle who is being hung, drawn and quartered here is really misleading and unfair. If he's going to be sacked from Australian Idol, let's sack him for a sensible reason: he's a shithouse judge. His musical knowledge is about the same as that of the average house fly. His comments are about as useful as a MENSA membership form to Paris Hilton. If he's going to be sacked from his radio program let it be because he's a crap interviewer and his fawning and celebrity arse-licking is enough to make even the strongest stomach queasy. If he's going to be shafted from the upcoming Celebrity MasterChef let it be because no-one in their right mind would want to watch a food program featuring Kyle's sneering mug (even I, who would happily tuck into Chris' half pig's head presented during the recent MC series, would balk at replicating any recipe Kyle presented).

Let's call a spade a spade here and string up the person really responsible for this media storm: the mother. Above all else, it was her job to have her daughter's best interests at heart; her job to protect her daughter and not put her in this situation.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

This morning while getting dressed Marianna said "mummy, I'm never getting married".

"Why not?" I asked.

"Becuase I don't want to kiss boys" she said.

1) She has a point.

2) I am having a contract drawn up to reflect these words which I can whip out to show her when she is 16 (and wants nothing more but to kiss boys) and point out to her that she signed and initialed here, here and here.

3) This may have been brought on by her catching Big Jay and I having a brief smooch this morning. I know! Enough to gross anyone out.
One point.

So disappointingly close. So tantalsingly close. So "hope for the future" close.

Not much else to say.