A broken fence and some brethalisers…

So who’da thought it about sunny Sunshine?

There I was on Saturday night, weeding the front yard, watering the newly planted flora and all when I hear this “whhoooo whoooop whoo whoop”. No, not an owl on acid, but a hotted up car with craaazy wheels doing a zip zip zip up the hill, and within seconds, a cop car with its siren a-blazing. “Sheesh,” I thought, “there goes the neighbourhood”. And I yelled out to the puppies to run inside quickly because I really wouldn’t like to live with the irony that the dogs never got injured when we lived on a busy road only to get run over on the quietest street in our ‘burb. Anyway, so then there’s this bang. The kind of band when steel (or fibreglass) hits something solid. J’Red comes running out of the house next door going “what was that? Was there a smash?” And I duly told him of the whhoooo whoooop whoo whoop and the cop car and yelling at the dogs to get inside, while still yelling at the dogs to get inside and watering the newly planted flora.

So, being the ever-vigilant copper that he is, J’Red gets into his car and races off in search of mystery and histrionics. I go back to watering, because the plants couldn’t care less about the mayhem and I wants my flowers to live!

But then, holy crap, I see a guy running off a few meters away from our driveway, followed by JJ holding a pair of serving tongs. He’s yelling out at the guy, “that’s him!” I say, “no, that’s a cop, he’s got a CB!” JJ says, “no it’s not, that’s him!” I say, “no, it’s a cop, he’s got a CB!” And then JJ goes running after the guy, wielding his tongs (they were really longs ones), yells at T’Red to call J’Red, and runs off around the corner. Meanwhile the street’s a-buzz with activity. Naturally, I tell everyone to “go inside! Go inside!”.

And I go back to watering the flora.

A few minutes later, JJ returns, tongs raised, and says, “that was the guy the cops were chasing in the car.” And I say, “no it wasn’t, it was a cop, he had a CB.” And JJ says, ‘oh yeah, check out the side fence.” And I head down the driveway and see this:

It seems I may have been wrong about the guy being a cop. But he did have a CB.

And the breathalisers? Well I found a few in the driveway after the real cops left.

And he shoots…

Last weekend, Jazzy Jeff and I took the neighbour’s kids to an auction. That’s right, an auction. So you might be thinking, Betty and JJ are off their nut if they think that taking a six and eight year old to an auction is going to pique their ADDD-riddled attention. Well think again. We’re not the greatest ever childless couple for no reason. Seriously, the barren celebs might think they’re doing it for the kids simply by buying them out of their poverty and giving them, oh, whatever they want and all, but JJ and I are to the suburbs what Nicole Kidman was to motherhood (pre-Sunday Rose). So, to live up to our Number 1 slot, we took them to a

PINBALL and ARCADE GAME AUCTION

In Campbellfield, butwhatever, right? I mean, there were around a hundred pinball machines and arcade games for sale. And you could play any of them FREE. It’s like when I worked at Timezone on Bourke Street and had the master key and after work I’d go upstairs and play the Dr Who or Adaams Family pinball And no, no amount of Law of Attraction wishing and hoping could bring the price of an Adams Family pinball within a sniff of my budget ($500 – it sold for around 4 grand, whatever) but JJ did get this:

Cool, innit!

sewing with the ladies and other subversive acts…

The idea for next year is to get seriously active. No, not by running around the fields of Matthews Hill, but by making all manner or stuff that has no useful purpose. We started a very adhoc stitch and bitch this year and the plan is to keep up the momentum. Maybe get involved with the Melbourne Craft Cartel? There’s such a huge indie craft community on the web but is there anything local? Is it time to start something? Or maybe I’ll just keep it cruisy, send out some invites and see what comes of it.

So here’s the plan for the coming year – starting now:

  • Watch less TV √
  • Finish recycling Mr Lincoln flower wrap – I have all the parts and I’ve sketched it up
  • Make pouf √
  • Make prototype felt kits before Christmas – ideas and sketches done
  • Organise one Stitch’n’bitch before Christmas – on its way – I’m calling it the  Crafty Cnuts
  • See the shrink one more time before the end of the year
  • Work out why I’m feeling so shitty
  • Figure out what my soul’s gift is – um, yepp, I’m listening to some self help podcasts
  • Make Christmas ornaments – on track
  • Decide if I want to be a WW leader
  • Make a “chandelier” light for the study
  • Write my goals

Back from the States with a few insights and such…

LA Insight #1
Take a boy and a girl and dump them in the middle of what is often referred to as “boy town” and what do you get? A boy and a girl suffering from sleeping-tablet induced jet lag and in desperate need of some non-airline food. So off we went up a huge freaking hill the size of Mount Hotham (seriously – have I mentioned how I hate to climb?) and in the distance, past Johnny Depp’s Viper Room and past the Chateau Marmont, where Jim Belushi died met a rather undignified end, and there it was. The promised land. No, not Taco Bell, but Pinchas Taqueria – the best damned taco stand this side of of Tijuana.

LA Insight #2
The three guys sitting next to us in the fancy kebabery on Santa Monica Blvd are probably in the movies (they are), as is the cute French dude in the cafe (he was writing a play). Everyone in Hollywood is a movie star and they have the tan, white teeth and great body to go with their aspirations. Driving through Beverly Hills is like being dropped into an episode of All that aside, I now know that Seinfeld was NOT filmed in New York and that Dr Phil and his wife are NOT getting a divorce.

I feel like I’m on a TV show, seriously.

I’ll Have fries With That

I’ve been reading Naomi Klein’s No Logo and, frankly, all that talk about multinationals, workers below the poverty line and abuse of corporate power gave me a hankering for a lukewarm piece of fish slapped with thick white pickly sauce huddled between two sugary buns.

That’s right, this pescatarian went to Maccas for a filet-of-fish or, as Jazzy Jeff scoffs, a “fillay” of fish. Those pesky Americans know all the fancy foreign words.

Oh, and I had some fries with that.

Anyway, this pescatarian hasn’t stepped foot inside a Maccas or a Hungry Jacks or any of the fancier fast food restaurantslike Nandos for nigh on two decades. True, there was a time when my feisty metabolism allowed a McFeast here and there, not to mention some fries with that, when I hopped off the bus from Bundoora on my way home from uni, in my 2nd heyday. But that was only during that short lapse – from 1991 to 1995. Up until the hot dog with bacon incident, I’d been a card carrying member of the vegetarian cult since anorexsix– that’s 1986 – the year that my friend Annette and I decided to see who could out starve and out spew each other on our way towards the tightest dresses ever seen at the end of year formal. We both lost 20 kilos in 3 months, which could explain fairly average HSC grades.

But back to the hot dog with bacon. I was at the Chevron with Frank and the others and I might have been a smattering on the wrong side of sober when I announced: “I wanna hoddog wif baco-”

It lasted a while, this carnivorous descent, up until I arrived at mecca – that would be the biggest prawn I ever did see, sitting at a street stall in Malaysia – not literally. But I went cold turkey after that.

Not literally.

Luckily I lapsed again just before the China trip because I was faced with this mother.

It was pretty much downhill from there. Once you’ve eaten a live crustacean, raw, you don’t have such a hard time with rainbow trout or even McDonald’s hake. But I do stop at anything with feet, or hands. Although, given that my fillay didn’t taste anything like my mum’s blue grenadier, I have doubts about its actual ingredients, much like commercial dog food and Macca’s fudge sundaes, so I might have to give it a miss in future. And I may skip the fries as well.

Am I a downer? When culture jamming gets annoying…

[Do] advertisers have any legitimate right to invade every nook and cranny of our mental and physical environment? (Naomi Klein, No Logo)

Here’s a word of warning: I’m not as articulate as Naomi Klein. But I know that I’ve got an opinion. In fact, I’m very opinionated, just ask anyone I’ve ever known, just ask poor JJ. Seriously. And I get it from my dad, who has an opinion about EVERYTHING, including things he knows nothing about. Anyway, I’ll try not to do that too much because there’s a lot I know nothing about.

But this is different.

In my heart and mind (if not in action), I’m a culture jammer. I’m a Gen-Xer, after all, and it’s our duty to mistrust and, therefore, busting ads since the early 90s branded us as the “disaffected generation”, the “unemployed generation”, the “depressed generation” (yes, we were depressed long before emo kids discovered black eyeliner), the “politically apathetic generation”, the ”don’t give a crap” generation.

Well I flipping care. I hate ads. I would rather channel surf for 10 minutes than face another ad. There’s the assumption that people are so stupid that we don’t know what we want to buy so we have to be told by an ad. It’s like cold callers who try to convince you that you need a new [insert consumable here]. Let’s face it, if I want it or need it, I’ll find it and get it. No amount of convincing me is going to get me to buy it so stop calling me during America’s Next Top Model.

But that’s not what this post is about.

I get really incensed whenever I see this billboard.

And, trust me, it’s everywhere – it’s on each side of every freeway and every main road in Melbourne, including the main street that welcomes you to my suburb. My suburb! The one where people are too busy working 16 hour shifts in soup shops or dealing with four kids under ten, or dealing ice, to be wanting any kind of sex, let alone the longer lasting variety (unless they’re smoking ice).

But that’s not the point of this post either. I’m just tired of seeing every piece of air space or wall as an ad. When did I give permission for this assault on my line of vision? Who decided that it was OK to rent this space? Just like owning the first however many centimeters of the land below my house, I want to take back possession of my immediate air space. It’s mine. I want it back.

But that’s not the point of this post either. As I said earlier, in my heart (if not my hip pocket) I’m actually anti-corporate and these things make me laugh:

 

 

 

 

 

So what I want to know is the following:

  • If I grow my own organic veggies but my friends buy theirs at Coles, one apple per bag, should I highlight the error of their ways?
  • If my friend gives her 3 year-old a glass of Ribena (which has about as much sugar as Coke), is it okay for me to cry out in shock as the kid lifts the glass to her lips?
  • If I don’t trust the media because it’s all owned by a select few individuals who are deep inside the pockets of all of our politicians, is it better to read the Age, Herald-Sun, Naomi Klein’s website, Adbusters, MS Magazine, Colours Magazine or watch the ABC news?

But I’m not sue that’s the point of this post either. So what is the point?

1. Do my friends think I’m annoying and preachy?

And, more importantly:

2. Does my bum look big in these jeans?

The End of This Story in Pictures

 

what’s next?

The end of this story in pictures

 

what’s next?

Bogans and Winnie Blues and snakes… Oh my

JJ and I are about to buy a new house. I can’t bring myself to say where. However, I must admit that it’s the kind of suburb that I used to scorn (still do actually), and scoff at its inhabitants (and when I see 30 year old mum dressed in the same Bratz outfit as teen daughter, I still scoff). I’m judgemental, but with reason, I think.

So this new house needs work. This is good because I have never lived in a perfect house. This is also good because I fear that a perfect house would need to be Enjo’d more than once a fortnight. I’m not only judgemental, I’m also a little lazy when it comes to cleaning. The pooches seem to have approved of the new house. Nennah and the kid have also approved.

And JJ is delighted to have a Games Room. That’s capital G, capital R. It really is a bona fide GR. And despite not having made an offer on the house yet (I’m playing cool as an icy pole, saying things such as: “Oh yeah, it’s okay, I s’pose. I mean, we will have to get rid of the asbestos in the shed.” That sort of thing), JJ has already planned the takeover with plans for a pool table and a doctor Who pinball machine all laid out.

Despite the asbestos.

Oh, and the snakes. Look, I’m not saying that this suburb is in the sticks. In fact, it’s 15km from the GPO (the old one) and has a delightful park beneath these great looking, graffitied silos (no longer in use and I think they were for flour or something). But therein lies the problem. Along the (dried up) creek of said delightful park, there are a series of signs with cute little illustrations on them. Something like this:

Umm… Yes… In spring, the odd tiger snake or two, after a few months of burning off all that summery goodness, they’re ready for a juicy treat. But they’re not only at the park That’s right. One of our new neighbours has informed us that they also like to slither down the street from the park. I’m sure that Yoyo and Peaches will be delighted. My aunt’s got Jack Russells who actually do protect her country home from snakes (although she tends to lose at least one dog a year – luckily the leftover pups have no problem procreating with their mother, father, sister, brother, grandpop, aunt… you get the idea). Anyway, I wish one would slither over to our place right now and wriggle up our clogged shower pipe. You’d think that my hair was made of Steelo or something. Seriously, jeff shoved draino down there 4 times and we got one of those snakes from Bunnings and everything, but nothing worked! Nothing.

The Melbourne Aquarium doesn’t have arrows, and other such conundrums

I got lost in Hong Kong recently. I had a map but I’m not very good at reading maps. Hence, this not uncommon scene whenever Jazzy Jeff and I go travelling:

 Jeff studies map and gets us places...
So the problem with Hong Kong was that it wasn’t a shopping centre and the streets, well, I don’t read Cantonese, even in English. Oh, and I didn’t really care. I figured I’d get where I needed to go, eventually.

I don’t like to ask for directions. It makes me very very anxious. It could be that when we were in Egypt in 1997, the tourist police always gave us the wrong directions unless we offered some Baksheesh. Or it could be that my mother brought me up to be very wary of people, nay, to simply not trust ANYONE except for her and my dad. However, as the years have passed, I’ve grown less and less trusting of everyone, especially mum and dad (but that is another story that I will no doubt share some time). I just HATE asking locals for directions. It’s a very un-ladylike condition – it’s what women do. But in our case, it’s Jazzy Jeff who will stop ANY hunched-over, wizened old timer who is more likely to be able to do handstands than speak our lingo. And then I get frustrated. Then he gets frustrated at me for getting frustrated and for becoming frustrating. And sometimes it ends with me walking away. When the time comes for me to look at a map, we have to stop. Completely stop, and not assume a direction. Like if we’re in the driveway, if JJ reverses while I’m checking the Melway it drives me crazy.

So, alone, and lost, in Honkers I took the left road, the right road, the high and low roads without passing one single landmark. But I found the coolest carry bag and JJ called me out of the blue so everything was ok. Did I get out my map? Nup. Did I make it back to the hotel? Yep. In time? Nup, but nobody seemed to mind.

I got lost walking to Nazareth once and just hoped to see some palm leaves along the rocky road, which I didn’t. But the town looked like an oasis in the distance. It didn’t look so oasis-like from up close. But I felt like Jesus must have as the group I was with (Jazzy Jeff was back at the Kibbutz sleeping) were greeted warmly by a milkbar-owning Arab family who treated us to lemon wafers with our bottles of Fanta and 7-Up. The moral of that story? Jesus wore leather sandals and long gowns for a reason – walking through Israel’s potholed terrain dressed in a rather short dress and thongs is something worth reconsidering if by chance I end up in that situation.

I like arrows. There aren’t enough of them. Arrows help you decide which way to go so you’re guaranteed to see everything. Which brings me back to my point about the Melbourne Aquarium. There are no arrows. But there is a map, so I’m double screwed.