Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Zone de Guerre: or, a review of Les Miserables by someone who's never actually seen Les Miserables...

April A-Z:  Zone de Guerre

So, I have a confession to make.  I've never seen Les Miserables.

What's the big deal, I hear you say?  Why not just download it from iTunes when it comes out?  I could, but I still have the issue about not caring enough to want to watch a bunch of people sing and dance their way through the French Revolution.

So instead I've decided to just bluff if anyone asks what I thought of it.  I'm pretty sure I've managed to glean enough titbits of information from the various clips, reviews and Tumblr GIF sets I've seen.

Still, I should probably run it by someone, just to make sure I'm not screwing it up completely.  Take a look and let me know if I got anything too wrong.

Les Miserables is a tale about two guys, Javert and Jean Valjean, who seem to have some sort of long term animosity going on. Something about a loaf of bread? Personally, though, I think they just have the hots for each other. You could cut the sexual tension with a knife when they start glaring menacingly.  
Then you have a really skinny woman named Fantine who gets fired from her job, becomes a prostitute, and for some strange reason has to cut all her hair off. Wow, that's a harsh employment termination policy! At my work they just make you do an exit interview which, sure, is pretty torturous, but it doesn't involve any sort of mutilation.

At this point, Jean Valjean decides to steal a little girl ... or finds one in the forest, something like that. Turns out it's Fantine's kid.  Aw, that's awfully nice of you Mr Valjean, to steal the hooker's kiddie and raise her to be Meryl Streep's daughter in Mama Mia.

Jump forward and now we have grown up stolen little girl, whose name is Cosette I believe, and she falls in love with the guy her friend has the hots for. For shame, Cosette! Don't cut your friend's grass! Bad form!

Cosette, the man stealing little hussy, marries the man she stole, while the poor jilted friend dies of a broken heart. Or maybe it was a stray bullet, because it's right about now that the Revolution starts.  Either way, I'm pretty sure she's singing "On My Own" while it happens, so that'll be nice and angsty for you all.
Then there's more speeches, more pontificating, and more people being mown down in a hail of bullets.  And they say gangster movies are violent!  Even the feisty little raggamuffin gets shot, mid speech.  How rude!   
And then Cosette and the man she stole (the hussy) lived happily ever after!  Of course, as far as I can tell they're the only ones.
The End.

So, how did I do?  I totally nailed it, right?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Youth: or, I reject your reality and replace it with my own...

April A-Z Topic:  Youth

Well, it's official, I'm old.

Wrinkly, ancient, and positively geriatric! I know I'm only thirty mumble, but apparently I'm an old fogey, about two years older than god. Want to know how I know this?

Because they didn't even WANT to see my ID at the casino the other night.

I went out with some friends and in the course of our journey we ended up at the casino (gotta love cheap daiquiris). Everyone got carded. Everyone! Even the freaking 45 year old got carded. But when I pulled out my licence, the guy looked me in the eye, smiled pityingly, and waved me through with a condescending "don't worry about it".

It's official, I'm ancient. Pretty soon guys I find attractive in a young sort of way will start to call me "Ma'am" and hold doors open for me. Not that I have anything against guys who hold doors open, I'm all for that! I just don't want them calling me Ma'am while they do it.

Actually, there are two exceptions to that rule. They can call me Ma'am if they have a Southern American drawl and tip a Stetson hat (real or imaginary) while they say it, or during a carefully negotiated sex game. Otherwise, absolutely not!

Damned club door guy. Why couldn't he just look at my card? Humour me? I don't need this nervous breakdown, I've already had my quota for this year!

Well, next time I'm going to make him look at it! I'll force him to! How dare he interrupt my illusions of youth.

If he doesn't, I'll beat him up with my zimmer frame!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for Xerophyte: or, the popularity contest between me and a cactus that I have no hope in hell of winning...

April A-Z Topic:  Xerophyte

Okay, this is becoming a little disconcerting. I've had at least fifteen visitors to my desk today, and not one of them came to talk about work. Nor did they come to pass the time with wee little Kellie here.

 No, they came to see Pedro, my xerophyte (or cactus, to the less pretentious).

I bought Pedro seven years ago from Ikea, thinking that I'd finally found the one plant I wouldn't be able to kill with my notorious bad gardening skills.  Honestly, I make plants cower in fear with the power of my black thumb.

He was an unassuming little thing back then, barely six inches tall.  Now days he's grown so much that he actually peers over the top of my cubicle and pricks unsuspecting loiterers.  What can I say, he's territorial.

But over the years he's somehow become more well known around the office than I am.  People come up to my desk to peer at him, stroke his prickles, ask with concern if I've watered him lately, and to coo at him like he's a freaking baby.  I've even had people make little paper sombrero's for him to wear.

This whole popularity competition is disturbing me a bit. How did my cactus get so popular? Is he bribing them with cookies? Maybe he's blackmailing them, yeah that must be it! God only knows what this lot get up to behind closed doors, and he's in a perfect position to tape it all and then use it against them.

He's a sneaky one, that Pedro.

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Women's Liberation: or no sex please, we're women...

April A-Z Topic:  Women's Liberation

I am, I like to think, a feminist.  Or at least I believe in equality of all kinds, and that includes sex and gender equality. Whatever your sex, race, age, religion, or taste in daytime television, I like to think everyone has an equal right to be forced to stand in line at the Motor Vehichle Register and to having to sit next to the weirdo on the bus on the way to work.

I'm eternally grateful to all the women in the past who fought for the rights I enjoy today.  Because they were willing to chain themselves to things and burn their bras, I get to enjoy the right to vote, own property, not get fired if I get pregnant, etc.  All of this is a good thing in my books, because even though I don't like voting, I do like knowing I have the option.

But sometimes I hear some extreme feminist opinions, and I have to admit I get a wee bit scared. 

For example, a friend of mine was telling me the other day about a feminist writer she read once who thought that all heterosexual sex was rape and we've all just been conditioned into liking it. Fancy that ladies, I thought I was having a roll in the hay but in reality I was being violated. Well, if liking sex with the menfolk is wrong, then I just don't want to be right.

This writer then went on to explain that the only way we could become sexually free was to separate ourselves from men and explore our sexuality away from their control. She doesn't specify whether she means with another lady friend or a friend of the battery operated variety, so I say whatever floats your boat.

My friend tells me that this woman's writing is well researched, impeccably written and surprisingly coherent for the topic. Still, seeing as she moved overseas to live with her husband, quite definitely a MAN, I'm thinking this feminist didn't have that much of an impact on her after all.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Vegemite: or, the Australian national identity is black, sticky, and kind of smells like yeast...

April A-Z Topic:  Vegemite

Okay, in this one I'm going to talk about something very serious, an issue which is close to the hearts of all Australians. We live it, breathe it, pass it on to our children, and marvel at the fact that people from other countries just can't get it.

 I'm talking about Vegemite Zen, people.

Yes, Vegemite, that nasty looking black spread that we Aussies are so fond of spreading on our toast. You see, for many years we've believed that the rest of the world were insane. How could they not love Vegemite? It was unthinkable, unfathomable and unforgivable.

But I was watching a TV show the other day (ah, good old TV, is there anything you can't teach us), and it suddenly all became clear.  I don't know why I didn't think of it before, it's so obvious. Vegemite isn't just a tradition, or a taste preference.

 It's a state of being.

We train our children to eat Vegemite. Every mother has an amusing "The first time my child ate Vegemite" story to tell. It's gooey, black, and really not that nice tasting, but it's part of our national psyche. We eat it because we can't comprehend not eating it. Nothing else fills the void.

 Peanut butter? Bah! Jam? Forsooth! There is no substitute for Vegemite. This is Vegemite Zen.

So, the next time you see an Australian and they offer you some Vegemite, please be careful about how you reply. The usual response we get goes something like "Eww, I don't want any of that stuff. It's disgusting." Please remember, this is a national state of being your insulting. To insult Vegemite is to insult all Australians everywhere. Promote world unity, just try the Vegemite.

Who knows, you might even become enlightened and find yourself liking it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Unclean: or, life as a leper...

April A-Z Topic:  Unclean

The other morning I had a leprosy scare.

I'm not really a morning person so I'd stumbled to the bathroom with both eyes firmly closed, but once I got there and was standing in front of the mirror, that's when I noticed it.

A horrible red pattern had appeared on my chest.  Was I coming down with some rare form of small pox? Had I somehow contracted a case of flesh eating virus? After several seconds of intense examination and a quick visit to WebMD, I made my diagnosis.

I obviously had leprosy.

There was only one solution. I'd have to live the life of a recluse. Seeing no one, going nowhere, living on a diet of pizza and thai takeaway. My family would deliver care packages of Diet Coke and rental videos and leave them at the front gate for me to get once the'd gone. I'd be shunned by society. People would point at me in the streat shouting "UNCLEAN"!!!

When my friend arrived to pick me up for brunch I shouted out the window for her not to come any closer unless she wanted to share my fate. Of course she asked me what was wrong this time (okay, so maybe I have a reputation of overreacting) and I showed her my chest (the affected part, not the rude part, you pervs). She laughed and told me that unless material creases were contagious, she'd risk it.

I have a tendency to sleep with a pillow under my arm. Sometimes during the night the pillow will move until it's under my chest. Obviously what had happened is the pillow case had gotten crinkled and had left an impression on my chest.

 Still, it could have been leprosy.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Time Travel: or, back to the future, first class...

April A-Z Topic:  Time Travel

I've decided it's time to do something terribly grown up and responsible.  It's time to invest in my future.


That's right, boys and girls, I've decided to invest in the Time Travel Fund! You've never heard of the Time Travel Fund? Well, go to this site and have a squiz.

All for the price of ten measly American dollars, I can have the satisfaction and peace of mind of knowing that only seconds before my death, time travel experts from at least five hundred years in the future will pull me out of my time frame and replace me with an inanimate clone who will do my dying for me. What convenience!

I'd always assumed, like most of you I'm sure, that my first time travel experience would involve a mad scientist, stolen plutonium and a car with funny doors. Well, I suppose you can't expect anything else from the generation brought up on Back To The Future movies.

 But it now seems I have the option to travel with all the style and comfort that five hundred years of evolution can provide.  Hopefully I'll find myself living in a Utopia of unparalleled peace and prosperity.

Of course, knowing my luck I'm more likely to end up in a H.G. Wellsish nightmare with Morlocks chasing me around, trying to make sausage out of me, or maybe in a world full of talking apes where humans are kept in cages as pets.

 But hey, life's a gamble.

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for The Simpsons: or, the cartoon that defines our generation...

April A-Z Topic:  The Simpsons

I was watching that episode of The Simpsons the other day, the one where Krusty the Clown shoots Luke Perry out of a cannon, and it suddenly occurred to me ... I'm never going to get over this Simpsons addiction.

I blame my brother.

That's nothing new, I blame him for a lot of things, but unlike the fact that the mould in my bathtub won't go away and the gross national debt, this really is his fault.

So, my brother had many bad habits back when we shared an apartment after high school. He never picked up his dirty clothes. He'd rather have started a penicillin company than wash the dishes, and the vacuum cleaner is something to stop the Christmas tree from falling over in the cupboard as far as he was concerned. But the habit that had the greatest and most far reaching influence was his Simpsons fetish.

He watched them continually. Of course that wasn't difficult, even back then they were on approximately 47 times a day. Then he got the bright idea of taping the episodes so he could replay them during the rare times when there was no episode being broadcast. Is it any wonder I can quote Simpsons episodes non stop for hours on end?

I used to beg him, plead with him to stop playing those damned tapes. But no, he was too caught up in his addiction. He needed help! We thought about having an intervention, but quite frankly I doubt we would have been able to get his attention away from the TV long enough to voice our concerns.

Still, all these years later and I'm at a point where there's no going back. I can still quote practically every episode. I know the most inane facts about the characters.

I think maybe I'm the one who needs help now.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Rocky Road: or, shame and self loathing have never tasted so delicious...

April A-Z Topic:  Rocky Road

I'm sitting at my computer at this moment, and beside me is an empty container of Baskin and Robbins rocky road ice cream. How the heck did I manage to eat an entire container of that stuff? It didn't seem like that much. Ugh, I think I feel sick.

It all started so innocently, I was only going down the road to get some bread. I had absolutely no intention of stopping at the ice cream shop, it wasn't even in the complex I was going to.

I was coerced, that must be it! Somehow society has preconditioned me, or brainwashed me to want junky, no good for me food instead of the healthy alternatives. I've been trained to buy things like McDonalds and Pizza Hut and fish and chips, rather than buying ... um, well ...

See, that's my point!

Why is it that I find myself craving junk food, but I don't get a sudden hankering for a dish of steamed vegetables? I have on occasion offered to sell my soul to the person who would bring me a bottle of diet coke, but I don't think I've ever offered anyone anything for getting me a glass of milk.

But seriously, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if I was to discover that most of the popular fast foods also contained some sort of addictive substance. If I was of a suspicious nature, I might think that there was a conspiracy theory in there somewhere.

 After all, wouldn't it make sense to make sure that the entire population of a planet was addicted to something only you can provide before you went through with your world domination plans?

I've got my eye on you Ronald McDonald!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Quandary: or, great medical disasters involving my underwear...

April A-Z Topic:  Quandary

Well, I had a bit of an embarrassing situation at the doctor's the other day.

I won't go into the finer details of the appointment.  Suffice to say I laid back and thought of England, he did his voo-doo witchcraft, and I was quickly sent on my way with a clean bill of health.  Phew, what a relief!

Well, it was until I realised that something was not quite right.

It wasn't until I was driving home that it occurred to me the control pants I'd put on that morning didn't seem quite so tight. For those of you who don't know, control pants are those awful elastic things that you wear under your normal clothes to smooth you out so you don't show any underpant lines.  Normally they're fairly tight so you can't help but notice them, but right then I couldn't feel them at all.

And that's when I realised ... the reason they didn't feel so tight was because I wasn't wearing them any more!

When I'd gotten dressed, I must have knocked them off the hook and onto the floor, and it didn't even occurred to me I hadn't put them on again! Oh my god, how would I ever face him again?

I contemplated calling the surgery and asking if anyone had found any spare articles of clothing, but decided that wouldn't be such a good idea. Perhaps the passive-aggressive approach would be better! I'd just pretend it never happened.  Denial is a wonderful thing.

Or perhaps the time has come to find a new doctor.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Portraits: or, Anne Geddes should have an upper age limit...

April A-Z Topic:  Portraits

Family portraits are always a bit dicey.  Tacky backdrops, questionable fashion choices, twee poses and big hair are all things most of us just have to accept are going to feature prominently in our family albums.   

But this family ... wow guys, this just taking creepy to a whole new level.

Apparently a Florida family who adopted a thirteen year old boy decided to get some portraits of the kid done.  Okay, fair enough.  A new member joins the family I suppose that calls for a couple of snaps.

But it was their choice of themes that made me wince with second hand embarrassment.

Rather than using the traditional three quarter angle, glance off into the distance pose that most parent opt for with kids that age, they decided to give this boy the baby photos he never had ... and yes, this does get as weird as you think.

Pictures of him swaddled in a blanket, pictures of him sleeping on his crossed arms, hell, there's even pictures of his sock covered feet!

Now, I like a creepy baby portrait as much as the next person.  Hell, the creepier the better!  You want to dress your sweet little diddums like a pumpkin?  Knock yourself out!  He's got to have something to complain to his therapist about, right?

But traditional baby portraits of a thirteen year old?  There's just something so cringe worthy about it.

The article says that the kid was the one who wanted the pictures, but I find that a bit hard to believe.  And even if he did, surely the parents should have known better than to release those pictures to the public, even if they were doing it to promote adoption of older children.  The internet is forever, people!  Those photos are going to follow him around for the rest of his life!

That kid is NOT going to thank you for it in a few years time, and I really don't blame him one bit.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for Obituaries: just like job applications, everyone exaggerates on them...

April A-Z Topic:  Obituaries

I'm not dead at the moment, and I don't plan on dying time in the near future, but I though it's best to be prepared. 

After all, who else would I trust to write my obituary but me! When the time comes, I'm hoping the following will suffice.

The world was rocked today by news of the death of Ms Kellie Maliborski at the age of 102.   
First brought into the public eye by the phenomenal success of her string of bestseller sci-fi erotic mystery novels, Ms Maliborski went on to carve a place for herself in the zeitgeist with her charming series of "Things My Cat Threw Up" sculptures and her self help seminars entitled "Love Yourself: because it's damned sure no one else ever will". 
Ms Maliborski is survived by a husband, seventeen children, thirty eight grandchildren, ninety three great grandchildren, three toy boys, half the Tarragindi water polo team and a howler monkey named Chuckie.   
This publication's sympathies go out to the bereaved.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for New-Age Healing: or, for god sake go see a proper doctor...

April A-Z Topic:  New-Age Healing

I've never been very patient when it came to the alternative healing set.

Sure, some of it seems to have merit, and there's heaps of evidence to suggest that herbs and what not assists in natural healing, but I'm afraid I have to draw the line at blaming our illnesses on deeply routed psychological problems.

 Because, you know, all those sufferers of the black plague in the middle ages, they were just ignoring their deep seated fear of serfdom.

A friend of mine who came down with food poisoning once was told by a faith healer that it was, and I quote, "reflective of (her) inability to accept the external influences in (her) life and (her) subconscious need to expel them".

Huh, and here I thought it was because some idiot left the seafood marinara mix out of the fridge for too long.

I even once went to a psychic who told me my hay fever and asthma was caused by a past life experience! Apparently at the tender age of six somewhere in 14th century England I managed to pull a bale of hay down on myself and suffocate. Of course, considering how small a six year old is and the weight of a bale of hay, it's much more likely I was immediately squashed, but I didn't tell her that.

It just seems so unsympathetic, so uncaring, and completely irresponsible to blame people's bad health on things they've done. It's a kick in the teeth, and the last thing you need is a kick in the teeth when you're already feeling a bit woozy. People like that aren't helping sick people, they're just putting the blame back on them. You're feeling ill? Well, it must be your own damned fault.

Honestly, I think all of those idiots who say things like that should have the following tattoo written on their foreheads in big bold letters.

"If pain persists, please seek medical attention!"

Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for Money: or why winning the lottery isn't a solid financial plan...

April A-Z Topic:  Money

I didn't win the lotto this weekend so I guess I won't be retiring to that little cottage at Montville to become an eccentric/recluse with a dozen cats and the best cult television series library in the state after all. 

 It's a darned shame, I was really looking forward to picking out names for those cats.

Oh don't mind me, I do this every time I buy a ticket in a lotto draw. I work myself up to a frenzy, deciding just how I'm going to spend the money should I win, until I eventually begin to believe that there's no way I can't win.

This time it was going to be a quick jaunt around the world, just for six months or so, then back home to find the house of my dreams somewhere in a lovely, hilly, remote part of the hinterlands. Somewhere where I could write whenever the muse takes me, rather than when I can find the time. It was going to be so nice.

But, alas, I didn't win. I'm sure there's someone else out there who's very happy right about now, but it isn't me, worse luck. I was even going to write my letter of resignation this morning if I'd won. I had it all worked out 

Dear Boss,  
I quit.  See you round the funny farm,  
love Me 

Catchy, hey? Shame I won't be able to use it, at least not today ... but there's always next time, right?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Lying: because the truth is both overrated and boring...

April A-Z Topic:  Lying

I've decided that from now on whenever someone asks me how my weekend was, I'm going to lie.

Oh, come on, don't look at me like that! It's not like they're really interested in my weekend. If they're going to ask me questions they really don't care about the answers to, then I should at least be allowed to have a little bit of fun with them.

You could even look at it from the perspective of performing a social service. I really couldn't care less about how so-and-so went to the flea market on Saturday afternoon, but if they told me they'd spent that time hunting down international terrorists and picking them off one by one, sniper style, then I'd be all ears.

And probably a little bit terrified.

Think about it, every Monday morning when you got into work, there'd be a crowd of adoring fans huddled round you desk, waiting to hear about your weekend adventures. I could get used to the glory. Sitting in my swivel chair, enthralling them all with tales of my daring and bravery.

I could tell them how during my aerial ballet sky diving class the ropes broke on my parachute, so with only a feather, a piece of chewing gum, and a length of string, I fashioned a makeshift hang glider and glided to safety.

Sure it's a bit far fetched, but what would you prefer me to do?  Tell them the truth, that I'd sat on the couch watching reruns of The Simpsons and eating popcorn straight from the microwave paper bag because I was too lazy to get a bowl out of the cupboard?

I think you can see why lying is clearly the better option here.

Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Knuckleheads: or, Applebee's really need to reconsider their marketing strategy...

April A-Z Topic:  Knuckleheads

Poor Applebee's have been having a bit of a run of bad luck lately.  And by bad luck, I of course mean knuckleheaded stupidity.

Only a couple of months after the online shitstorm that was Applebee's social network scandal, they're once again left looking like the douche bags of the hospitality industry.  Seriously guys, didn't you learn anything from last time?

Apparently not, given that they thought the appropriate response to finding out that one of their employee's was gay bashed in their parking lot was to fire him because of the "bad publicity".  A waiter was gay bashed by the husband of one of his workmates in front of the restaurant he worked in and they told him to get the hell out of Dodge.

Classy, Applebee's.

The employee was later given his job back when the CEO interceded on his behalf, but it seriously never should have gotten to that point!  What kind of a person fires someone who's just been the victim of a hate crime because it will make their restaurant look bad?  

Management, apparently.  

Now I don't work in the hospitality industry, so may be I shouldn't judge, but I'm going to to out on a limb and say that Applebee's might want to take a squiz at their current policies and stop letting their management team make them look like stupid, closed minded bigots

Hey, it's just a thought.

You'd think that companies would have worked it out by now, no amount of damage control is going to help once Facebook has gotten wind of it.  If you do something stupid, it's going end up all over the social networking sites.  Seriously, stuff like this spreads faster than the clap

And before you ask, yes, I did get all my STD information from old episodes of MASH ... don't judge me!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Job: or, how to play corporate charades...

April A-Z Topic:  Jobs

One of these days my workmates are going to ask me to do something for them in plain English, and I'm going to pass out from the shock of it.

 Now don't get me wrong, I love my workmates!  They're all wonderful and talented librarians.  But that's just it, they're librarians, so sometimes financial things go right over their heads.

Take the other morning, for example, when a workmate came up to my desk and asked that question I've come to dread.

Workmate: So, Kellie, do you think you could get me a copy of that report? 
Kellie: (looking confused) Um … sure … which report is that exactly? 
Workmate: You know, the one we were looking at the other day. 
Kellie: (thinking of the thirty odd reports they looked at) Oh, of course. So you want the forecast report? 
Workmate: No, the one we were looking at before, remember? 
Kellie: The expenditure one? 
Workmate: (getting frustrated) No, the other one! 
Kellie: (guessing wildly) The budget one? The salary one? The one about the mole I had removed last week? 

Finally, quite a long time later and after an impromptu game of charades, I worked out what she was asking for. Relief! I knew which report she wanted. I could get it for her, then spend the rest of the day hiding under my desk incase she made me go through this again. Then, the corker.

Workmate: Oh, and could I get a copy of the other one too?  
Kellie: Which other one?  
Workmate: The other one we were just talking about.

I give up.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Individual: or, there's no such thing as too much Hawaiian print...

April A-Z Topic:  Individual

I'm what you'd call an observer of the human species. I love to just watch them, they're absolutely fascinating. The way they act, the things they do, it can keep me amused for hours.  Every now and then, though, you come across a sample of Homo sapien that just blows you out of the water, and the other night I found a new favorite.

 I was having dinner with some friends at a local club (braving the roast beef special) when I saw him from across the room. My heart stood still, my hopes rose and a giggle welled up in my throat.

This man was definitely having a Hawaiian life! He wore a very bright blue Hawaiian shirt with white hibiscuses all over it and an even brighter red Hawaiian pair of shorts with yellow frangipanis.

I instantly went into raptures of delight.

This fellow was embracing his inner hula dancer and I adored him instantly!  I immediately placed him on a pedestal in my mind. The perfect example of a guy dancing to his own tune.

Of course my friends completely failed to understand what he was doing. They laughed at his clothes, ridiculed his sense of fashion. Poor dears, they don't know any better. It's not really their fault.  But I know what he was doing. He was being a figurehead for all of us slightly eccentric folk out there. A neon bright example to us all.

Bless you, Mr Hawaiian Print, you made my day!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for Help Desks: and why they aren't really much help...

April A-Z Topic:  Helpdesks

The other day I tried to find out about a problem entry on my telephone bill. I know, it was a mad, impetuous thing to do. I really don't know what came over me. 

Well, silly or not, I called the telephone company. I wasn't quite sure whether my query came under the heading of accounts, services or administration, so I decided to wait and talk to an operator. My first mistake.

I got a lovely guy who had no idea what I was talking about, only had a basic grasp on the English language, and I think may not have even realised he was working for a telephone company. But his lack of knowledge was more than made up for by his cheerfulness. He kindly put me through to someone else.

The next person wasn't anywhere near as chipper. I told him my problem, and was immediately growled at because he wasn't "in charge of that sort of thing". Rather than offer to put me through to someone else, he decided it'd be more beneficial to both of us if he sat there and grumbled for ten minutes. Finally I convinced him to pass me on to someone else.

The next one was, I can say in complete honesty, the most stupid woman alive. I told her my problem, she made a lot of umming and ahhing noises that seemed reassuring at the time, but which I worked out within ten minutes were in fact her trying to figure out how to turn on the computer.

Finally she told me the computer system was not available and I'd have to call back later. As I hung up the phone and sobbed into my hands.

I swear I'm this close to going Amish.  They don't use telephones, right?

Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for God: or, praise the lord and pass the remote...

April A-Z Topic:  God

I couldn't sleep the other night. I tossed and turned in my comfy bed, counted the little flowers on the underside of my patchwork quilt, and then finally just caved and admitted I probably wasn't going to fall back to sleep.

 So, another night of late night television it was!

I flicked through the channels and finally stopped when a voice exclaimed loudly about the saving power of Jesus Christ and how if I don't convert immediately, I'll spend forever being roasted on a pitchfork by a cheery little guy with horns in a red suit. Why not, I thought, I can always do with a laugh, so I kept watching.

Kellie: Ah, yeh, I don't see why not... 
Kellie: Well, life of evil is a bit strong... 
Kellie: Actually, I don't believe in Jesus... 
Kellie: I guess that means eternal damnation for me then, doesn't it... 
Kellie: Interesting, cause I don't believe in him either... 
Kellie:  Wow ... tough crowd ...

This went on for a while, he argued and I counter argued, but nothing got resolved. I didn't convert to Christianity, he didn't admit that Paganism has it's good points too.

But I guess that's the problem with arguing with a television set ... it's very hard to get them to follow proper debating etiquette.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for Fandoms: I'm a fangirl, ask me how...

April A-Z Topic:  Fandom
When I tell people I'm a fangirl one of two things always happens.  Either the person I'm talking to nods knowingly and we share a look of geeky solidarity, or they kind of raise their eyebrows and wonder when I'm going to challenge them to a lightsaber fight.

I guess there are two types of people in the world, huh?

The funny thing is, though, these people who look at me askance are more often than not fans themselves ... they just don't realise it.  We all love things, overwhelmingly and unabashedly.  It's just in our nature.  And like it or not, we seem to focus our love on TV, movies, music and books.  The love of the artistic, I guess.

Don't believe me?  Absolutely positive that you're not one of the nerdy brethren and nothing I can say will convince you otherwise?  Well, why don't you take a bit of a look at the video below which I found here and see if you still feel that way by the end of it.  

The password, if it asks for one, is "fandom!" (removing the "").

I challenge any of you to not find something in there that makes your heart flip a little and a sense of nostalgia sweep over you.  God knows, I was tearing up by the end.

Just accept it, kids ... you don't choose the fandom life, the fandom life chooses you.

Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for Elf: or, Santa was the best boss I ever had...

April A-Z Topic:  Elf

Whenever I ask someone what their first job was I usually get answers like working in a fast food place, babysitting, or checkout chick in a supermarket.  Then, when I tell them my first job, I get to watch as their faces screw up in complete and total jealousy.

It's awesome!

You see, for my very first proper paying job I was Santa's photographer.

When I was 17 and fresh out of high school I wandered into the camera shop in the local shopping centre hoping to score some holiday work.

It must have been my lucky day, because as it turned out their Santa was arriving the next day and no one had thought to hire a elf to take the pictures.  I assured her I was perfectly capable of pointing and shooting, and could even handle a zoom lens when pressed and got the job immediately. 

So, for about six weeks leading up to Christmas, I worked as Santa's Elf Photographer.  I got to wear an elf hat, take pictures of adorable kids, and work with the best damned mall Santa I've ever met.  I'm still not entirely sure that he wasn't Santa.  I'll always remember that as my first, and favourite job. 

But if any of you think I'm rubbing it in, you can rest easy in the knowledge that my next job as a nursing assistant in a nursing home brought me right back down to earth.  There's nothing quite like giving an elderly man with wandering hands a sponge bath to put things into perspective.  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Dolly Magazine: or, arguing with yourself is kind of demoralising...

April A-Z Topic:  Dolly Magazine

A scene from inside my mind:
Kellie's Brain:  I really don't know what's gotten into you lately. 
Kellie:  I have no idea what you're talking about. 
Kellie's Brain:  All this rubbish you've been feeding me!  Honestly, did you expect me to accept Dolly magazine without a murmur? 
Kellie:  What's wrong with Dolly?  I happen to like Dolly! 
Kellie's Brain:  Give me a break, your birth year doesn't even show up in the conversion charts any more!  I think that's a definite sign that you're not the target audience. 
Kellie:  So what?  I refuse to be stereotyped by society.  Come on, you normally agree with me on these  things. 
Kellie's Brain:  Sure, things like when you decided to read Mary Poppins, or watch old episodes of Horrible Histories.  They're both valuable, worthwhile pursuits, even if they are meant for kids.  But Dolly ... I can't support that. 
Kellie:  Well, that article about how to wax your eyebrows was pretty educational. 
Kellie's Brain:  Educational!  I wouldn't call it that.  You used to feed me stuff I could really sink my grey matter into.  We used to read about art, and philosophy, and literature.  Heck, we read Herodotus and Livy!  We're better than this! 
Kellie:  We still discuss philosophy. 
Kellie's Brain:  Sitting in a coffee shop and deciding what whe'd do if we won the lotto is NOT discussing philosophy!  And what about the television you've been showing me lately?  We could have watched that fascinating archaeological show on the SBS, but no, you had to watch the soppy American comedy. 
Kellie: But it was a good episode! 
Kellie's Brain: I don't care! I wanted to learn about our ancestors, but you wanted to watch a bunch of thirty somethings pretending to be teenagers and singing in a high school choir.  I swear, one of these days I'm going to pack up my neural pathways and find someone else to enlighten. 
Kellie:  Shut up or I'll stab you with a q-tip. 
Kellie's Brain:  Yeah ... quoting Homer Simpson isn't really helping you win this argument.

My brain and I have always had a complicated relationship.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for Creationism: or, how to make a quick ten grand...

April A-Z Topic:  Creationism

I'm an evolutionist.  I've not made any secret of that fact.  But I'm perfectly willing, regardless of my beliefs, to admit that it's a bloody hard topic to debate.  The evidence is so obvious that it practically jumps up and smacks you in the face, but as much as I wish that was all that was required to make a theory a fact, I know it's not.

And that's kind of what this guy is banking on.

For those of you who can't be bothered clicking on the article, a Californian creationist has ponied up ten grand for the person who can beat him in a debate about whether evolution is a scientific fact.  You have to prove, in a minitrial, that the literal interpretation of the creation story isn't true and that evolution is.

So there you go!  All you velvet tongued evolutionists out there, here's your chance to pocket a cool ten thou if you can just convince him that evolution is a scientific fact.  Of course, you have to be willing to put up an equal amount, and if you can't make your case then he walks away with the pot.

It'd be a tough one, no doubt.  Sure, science can show examples of natural evolution through archaeological records, but if you insist, like most creationists do, on seeing it recreated in a lab to consider it scientific fact, well of course it's going to be impossible.  Evolution occurs over such a long time, no one is ever going to be able to recreate it in a lab to the satisfaction of a sceptic.

I get the funny feeling this guy's going to make a fortune by the time people stop challenging him.

The whole thing reminds me of when I was little and my dad used to do the same thing to me whenever I told him I believed in ghosts.  He'd say that the responsibility was on me to prove to him that they were real, not on him to prove to me that they weren't.  And he was right, too.

... but it was still so annoying!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B Is For Bugs: or, why is there a conga line going behind my fridge...

April A-Z Topic:  Bugs

Last night I came home to find that the ants in my kitchen have developed beyond a simple tribal civilisation into something more complex.

 As soon as they start constructing nuclear weapons, I'm going to make first contact.

I suppose I should explain what the ants are doing there.  It's not that I don't clean my kitchen (shut up, everyone who's ever been to my place), but there is quite the prospering ant colony under my back deck, and they love nothing more than to climb up the side of the house, make their way in the kitchen window, and then frolic around like it's a bloody Disney movie or something.

I've tried all sorts of potions and poisons to get rid of them but none of it seems to work, so I've just learned to put up with it.  They don't really come too far in the house, and I only douse them with boiling water when it's absolutely necessary.

It's a tentative truce, but it's worked for us so far.

But when I finally dragged my weary self through my front door last night I noticed a change. Instead of sticking to their traditional routes, they were going all the way around the wall and behind the fridge.  What the hell?  They'd never done that before!

Once I'd moved the fridge, it was easy to see the problem.  A rather large piece of chicken had been flung behind it, no doubt from Gypsy the Feline Dictator's dinner the previous evening.

Kellie:  Damn it, Gypsy! If you don't stop tossing your food around like psychotic maniac, I'm transferring you over to a dry food diet!   
Gypsy the Feline Dictator:  I don't know why you're so upset, I'm the one who only got to eat half of my chicken thigh last night. 
Kellie:  And whose fault is that?  Seriously, don't test me!  I'll take the chicken away, just see if I don't! 
Gypsy the Feline Dictator:  Really ... by the way, that's a nice new leather couch you bought us.  It'd be a shame if someone ... scratched it.   
Kellie:  ... 
Gypsy the Feline Dictator: ... 
Kellie:  So ... how about I get you some chicken, huh? 
Gypsy the Feline Dictator:  Yes, that's what I thought you said.

Being held to ransom by my cat ... I'm not sure whether I'm ashamed or proud.

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Is For Artistic License: and why mine should be revoked...

 April A-Z Topic:  Artistic License
Dear Kellie, 
This letter is to inform you that your artistic license is, from this moment forward, officially revoked. Due to the reckless use of actual events and the gratuitous exploitation of friends and family members, we felt that this action was necessary. 
Henceforth, you are requested to write only obituaries, self help volumes and romance novels, none of which contain anything that even faintly resembles the truth. 
Yours Sincerely
Barnabus Blunderbuss
You know, if I actually had an artistic license (I failed the written) I'm pretty sure they would revoke it. Lately, for some reason that I certainly can't grasp, I've taken to using real life events and people in my writing.

Funny little tales, exaggerated character traits, and quirky conversations that I've witnessed or been a part of are rearing their ugly heads in these posts. This can only end badly.

The truth of the matter is, my muse keeps yelling in my ear, "Oi, you there, why are you ignoring all this perfectly good material?",  and it's right. It is good material, funny, insightful, touching, and guaranteed to get everyone I've ever met furious with me.

For example, I wrote something the other day about a very amusing incident at a dinner party I attended once.  It involved a frank discussion about sex, a wager, and a bowl of chilli, and it's brilliant, truly brilliant. Unfortunately, I can never post it because at least two of my closest friends would take out contracts on my life if they found out. Do you see my problem?

Sheesh, I'm a writer, I should be able to come up with these things without having to ransack my nearest and dearest's personal lives.

But honestly, the chilli story really was a corker.