Saturday, February 28, 2004

At the Hard Rock (oops, car wash) cafe

We have friends arriving from interstate today and I have decided to employ outside contractors to wash the car. I am sitting at Citiwash Hand Carwash waiting for my station wagon to have their SuperWash treatment. From the sign, it appears the only thing they don't do in the SuperWash is polish fingernails. And if I'd been here between 6am and 8am, they would have thrown in a free coffee and raisan toast (which, coincidentally, is exactly what I had for breakfast at my favourite cafe!).
The car wash is situated on a major arterial road and it is also under the flight path so there is loads to look at. There is also another Hand Car Wash over the road. It is billed as "Sydney's Best" but I don't know if that's their name or claim. In any case, they don't seem to be as busy as this establishment.
I wonder if I should have told them about the huge spider that slipped into the car last night as we waited at the McDonald's drive-thru. I would like to say that it wasn't me who screamed but, alas, it was. My partner thought something dreadful had happened. Of course, she hadn't seen the spider scurry within cms of my hand and go behind the dash. Each time I get into the car now I expect it to be sitting on the steering wheel, daring me to get in. Hopefully the car wash (they're doing inside too) will encourage it to move on. Probably my greatest fear is not that it will be on the steering well, but that it will remain somewhere warm and cosy in the interior of the car, and that "it" will be a she, and will lay and hatch thousands of offspring in REY the wondercar. Then all of them will be sitting on the steering wheel, and the driver's seat, and all the passenger seats ...

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Reality shows ... unreal!

"The Resort" is on the television at the moment. Peter "needs to be liked". Bec is currently with Aaron. Aaron is a former AFL footballer. Prachi is a doctor turned ... something - I didn't read the super fast enough. Bec says she can be "too trusting". Usually you don't have to read so much on reality television - it's more about voyeurism - and wondering if anyone will ever actually use the paintbrushes they are holding. Too much talking …
There have only been two reality shows that I've allowed myself to get sucked in to. "Big Brother" was one; the other was "Survivor", as won by Richard, the man who seemed to be forever stripping. Richard has made another appearance in "Survivor AllStars" with the familiar blur over his "misters" (apologies Friends)
I'm not quite sure what "The Resort" is about but it's dollars to doughnuts there's a cash prize there somewhere.
Who comes up with the ideas for these shows? What sells a reality show? … and this is about 12 people locked in a house, and we film them 24 hours a day, and it's cheap/inexpensive programming. Can they call it reality television, though, given it doesn't bear much resemblence to real life? We know that the raw footage must be edited to within an inch of itself as the producers try to "tell a story" with only people's real faults, foibles, traits and talents … and twenty-four hours of footage a day to choose from.
And what of documentaries? Are they the original reality shows? And if they are, why can I watch hours of reality television - and go to sleep the second a documentary comes on?
More "The Resort": Erik chaperones promo girls (whatever that means). Amanda walks away from arguments. Another one "cries when working with idiots". Don't we all.
And this would be me walking toward the television to turn it off - or to at least to change the channel. I want to experience a different reality.
I want to think about being a super hero. There used to be an animated cartoon show - I think it was Milton the Monster - and Milton would dress up and be "Super Ghoul" (ain't he cool, looking nice and neat in his polka dot vest, his purple cape and his ballet shoes and his yellow SG on his chest .... ooh, ooh, ooh, Super Ghoul ... etc.) If you could be a super hero, who would you be? What special talents would you bring to the world? Would you use your powers for good - or for evil (knowing you would have to give up the super "hero" title if you went the latter route). I think I would be ... Reality Television Person (ta da). My mission would be to boldly go where no ... Prachi knows she's irritating and arrogant.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Six degrees of separation

Studies are done from time to time to ascertain how far removed we are from each other. In recent years, this has been done through email. But you don't need to wait to be included in a separation study. You can do one now. How many steps are you from the American President? The Australian Prime Minister? The Australian Opposition Leader? I can have a go at the last one (... Kate, Suzie, Vivian, Mark Latham) because I can do 4 degrees of separation - with the others I suspect it would be considerably more!

Kitchen cupboards

Claudine at work asked me today if I had done anything exciting over the weekend. For once I could say yes without any hesitation. After almost a year in the planning, I re-organised the kitchen cupboards. Don't scoff. This is a major achievement. And it's a good job. All the benchtops are clear and all the appliances are away but absolutely accessible. What can I say - it's a masterpiece ... bringing together much of the organisational knowledge I have gleaned over the years. I'd post pictures but I haven't finished the drying up after dinner.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Picture this ...

Angle Grinder Man And just when you thought you had seen it all - here's Angle Grinder Man - who uses his power tool to un-wheel lock cars in the UK. Well, that's what he was doing last year - I've not seen any recent reports on him.
But the key thing about AGM is that I have worked out how to post pics on this site! (The blogger help page works!)

Common knowledge

Are there things that we assume everyone knows? Knowledge that all of us have picked up somewhere along the way. I have realised in the last little while that there are two pieces of this knowledge that had escaped me.
The first is about canaries. When discussing a colleague who had been gassed and robbed while staying at a hotel, the conversation turned to methods of gas detection. Specifically, we talked about canaries and how they had been taken down into mines. The miners knew dangerous gas was about when the canary fell off the perch. We all know that. But what I didn't know was that the canary died. It didn't regain consciousness. There was no happy flapping of wings; no jumping back up on the perch; no chance to save mankind again ... just miners looking for a replacement canary.
The second tidbit of universal knowledge to escape me was about whales. On The Simpsons last night, Grandpa Simpson drove his car into an aquarium and as the water escaped, it left a whale crumpled and gasping on the car bonnet. But why would the whale be gasping (forget for a moment that we're discussing an animated sit-com) ... because whales breathe air. So I mentioned this to a friend at lunch today and she gave me the "everyone knows that" look. And then when she realised I didn't (know), she gave me a short lesson in physics - out of the water, whales are unable to withstand the pressure, and gravity has its way. I guess that's the same as saying their weight crushes their chest (?) and they suffocate even though they have air to breathe. That's why there's such a rush to get them back into the water.
I'm hoping there are also known answers to some of my other questions:
• Why do Crime Scene Investigators do everything by torchlight?
• Why do sandwiches taste differently depending on how they are cut?
• Do you continue to tan after you're dead?

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire

More television. Would it be harder to be a contestant or the significant other of a contestant waiting as they try to decide which of four sometimes equally plausible options is correct. And how nerve-wracking would it be trying to get the fastest finger question right and in the fastest time? Would you be overtaken by nerves? How sweaty would your palms be? And how disappointed would you be if you got it wrong? Or right? Do some people feel like bailing out when they are chosen? How difficult would it be to remember your own name under the glare of the lights and the focus of the cameras let alone trying to dredge up an obscure fact to answer the question.

Thoughts on Television

Some of the familiar television series will be finishing this year - Sex and the City; Friends; and probably some local Australian shows as well! Do Australian shows survive as long as off-shore imports? How many in recent history have lasted as many seasons as Survivor or Buffy or the aforementioned shows - leaving out current affairs or non-drama content. Gone are the halcyon days of Prisoner, although Neighbours and Home & Away are still gracing our small screens. But are daily soaps in the same league as weekly sit-coms or dramas? Will they continue on regardless, not dependent on a stable stable of characters. Are the writing and/or production values inferior?

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Mondo Thingo

A new program started last night on the ABC (one of our free-to-air national broadcasters) - Mondo Thingo. It seems to be a grab-bag of various items of varying degrees of interest - for example nicotini (tobacco flavoured vodka) and a "cheat lesson" on everything you wanted to know about Sofia Coppola (Director of "Lost in Translation" - her second feature film).
One of the more intriguing reports was about doggie dancing aka freestyle canine obedience. Owners dance with their dogs (more line dancing than up close and personal cheek to cheek). If you're interested in trying it with your dog, be prepared to put in some time and effort. It apparently takes 42 days - which incidentally is about twice as long as it takes humans to learn new tricks! And just in case you think you can blame your canine colleague for not remembering the steps, as they said on the segment: the dog never does anything wrong - it's always you. Wonder if it would work as a form of exercise for Em, our diabetic cat. Mondo Thingo has a website.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Gas leak

A suspected gas leak in Sydney's underground rail network caused commuter chaos last week. The City Circle rail stations were closed early that afternoon as emergency services personnel sought to pinpoint the source of the leak.
The network was opened just after evening peak hour but the cause of the leak remains unknown.
I was impressed with the patience of the public and the professionalism of the public transport staff.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

What's in a name?

I had a thought before, perhaps a good one, but I lost it. I find that fairly frustrating. Sometimes they come back, more often, they don't. I did remember this one though. It was about ordering a coffee and when they ask for your name - what name do you give? Do you say a name that you're fairly sure none of the other 17 people in the queue have? When asked today I wanted to say Nemo, or Elmo, or perhaps Fabio (okay so I recently saw "Finding Nemo").

And if you’ve ever been to Just Cuts and had to wait and come back 30 minutes after putting your name down and you know your name is still way down on the list … have you ever thought of claiming the next name they call? Yes, I’m Ivan or Christine or Jackie. Especially if you’re the only one there and it’s a shame to let Ivan or Christine or Jackie’s appointment go to waste.

Time flies

Funny how it takes next to no time to get very busy. And is it really a week since my last post here? Once upon a time I thought time seemed to be speeding up as I grew older. There is no "seems to'' about it. It's almost February already; in a blink of an eye, a whole month has all but disappeared! But that's because it has been busy.

Chinese New Year

We missed this year's festivities for Chinese New Year. We did seen a lion dance last weekend but that was from a distance and I don't think it really counted. It's the Year of the Monkey. I'm not sure of its significance in Chinese astrology but I'm hoping it means we're in for a bit more "fun" than in recent previous years.
We've been lucky enough to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong twice. Now there's a city which knows how to decorate! Skyscrapers and other buildings are literally festooned with neon for the New Year. It is a triumph in exterior illumination! A word of caution if you ever find yourself there for Chinese New Year. It is traditionally time for visiting and if you are venturing back into the territory through a Customs check point, take a couple of books to read because you'll have a long wait. It will be one of the longest, most patient and orderly queues you would ever have been in!

Dream times

I am having a recurring nightmare ... or it could just be a dream ... or it could be a message from my unconscious. It would be good if I could remember the details. There might be a clue there. All I know at the moment is there are two scenarios - each with the same dilemma. One is at work, the other is at home. At work it concerns a three-level clearance - or something like that. I have to "do" something but I can't remember what it is. At home, it is about the alarm and, again, I do not know what I am supposed to do. In both cases, my lack of action has an immediate ripple effect - and it is not good. The dream has worken me up 3 times now, each time I've had it - and I've been so confused by it that I have actually gotten out of bed to "check". The not-knowing what I'm supposedly checking is increasingly frustrating. I suppose I could just ask my unconscious (or is it sub-conscious, I always get them confused) to shed some light on the issues. Sounds like a good idea for the night after next - I'm still a bit tired for last night!