Monday, August 31, 2009

The humble (?) potato chip...

After a big Friday night at home, drinking heavily, chain smoking, some drunk dialling and our own private wake to celebrate the life of one Dean Turner - founding member and bassist from Magic Dirt... my head was feeling more a little fragile.

So Micko and I went to the supermarket on Satdee arvo to buy some shitty food to accompany our quiet, DVD watching, night in. We picked up stuff to make me some pizzas - mmmm smoked salmon, capers, dill and bocconcini on one - prosciutto, basil, olives on the other - and for Micko essential burger making ingredients including a bag of frozen potato chips.

What came as a surprise to Micko, was that the choice of chip was becoming increasingly difficult - and not due to the beer fog. There are seriously around 20 different cuts of chip available. Here is a list of the products just McCain's has on the market currently:

Superfries - available in:
Extra Long
Mums Cut
Crinkle Cut
Slab Cut
Chunky Cut
Straight Cut
Beer Batter - available in:
Deeper Crinkle Cut
Fish Shop
Thin and Crispy
Thick and Chunky
Wedges - available in:
Crunchy Potato Fries
Hot Bandito
Crunchy Pototo Wedges
Healthy Choice - available in:
Straight Cut
Country Style Wedges
Chunky Cut

And that doesn't include 'Potato Snacks' or 'Roast Potato' options.

Am I right in thinking perhaps this is a little overkill for one humble potato?

But the thing that got me the most is their new range of 'Purely Potato'... Advertised as "In cubes, slices or chunks, it’s nothing but natural potato, washed, peeled and frozen fresh."

Kind of begs the question... Why not wash, peel and chop your own fucking potatoes?

Are we really so pathetically lazy these days that we can't even do that for ourselves? Before you start on 'haven't you ever used frozen veg?'... Of course I have! And why do I do it (on occassion)? Because it's a mix of vegies that I'd have to buy seperately, and more importantly, I'd probably not use it all - then the remaining would sit in the fridge until I needed it again - and likely end up in the green bin a week or so later.  Waste not, want not... right?

But a potato? Please! It's just one vegie that can sit in the cupboard for ages before going rank... There is no excuse for another plastic bag going into landfill because you're too lazy to peel and cut a friggin potato.

Ahhhh McCain... You've done it again!

Disclaimer: Buying Frozen Chips does not make you a lazy bastard - they just plain taste better than if you cut them yourself.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Lil - A fighting fury

(The above photo was taken during the summer of 77/78 - Me, Nan and my cousin on the beach at 'Red Rocks' - Phillip Island - I'm the one in the, as Nanna calls it, spoilt brat hat)

I had posted this blog previously, but had to take it down because of family reasons... I'm now re-posting it, while my Nanna lies in a hospital bed - since this was posted a month ago, she's had a minor heart attack and has diabetes. They are desperately trying to bring down her blood sugar level so she can go home... Her future is up in the air. Anyway... Here is the story:

*** Two of the most important and inspirational women in my life are, and have always been, my two lovely Nanna's. Nanna Nimmo - strong, stubborn and absolutely adorable (and she will get her own blog entry very soon). And Nanna Fin - warm, cuddly and outspoken. These two women have shaped me immensely and I love them both with all my heart. When we decided to move north again, my main concern was leaving them behind. They aren't spring chickens anymore, both are in their 80s, but they've kept battling along (at times against all odds)... until now. 

This year, my birthday was turning out to be a bit of a non event - the first in my almost 32 years on the planet. As you know Micko decided to lift my spirits with a puppy. We found him online on a dog rescue site and fell in love instantly. Left to fend for himself in the depths of winter and was rescued just in the nick of time. They doubt he would have made it through another night on his own.

I was so excited I had to ring Mum straight away to let her know. So, I'm on a massive high, thinking that although this birthday will be very quiet, it's also going to be totally awesome... Mum doesn't answer her phone but calls me back shortly after. She sounds a little down and flat and after I've told her my great news, she tells me the one thing I've been hoping to hell never to hear. Nanna Fin has liver cancer!

To give you a bit of background on this fabulous woman... She had a good, but at times, hard life. She was born during the depression and has endless tales of tough times. She married my Granddad, Jack, raised 5 children (4 girls and 1 boy) and lived in a simple house my Granddad built with his own two hands.

Around 1986-7 we were at their holiday house in Philip Island when we discovered the family home had been struck by lightning and burnt to the ground. Luckily, they were with us! They were supposed to be minding my cousins that weekend. They returned to their home to discover it was nothing but cinders and ash and along with the house went everything they owned. Unfortunately, they were under insured - both retired living on the pension. The house at Philip Island was sold and they lived in a caravan in the carport while the house was rebuilt, sucking up what little they had in their retirement fund.

Not too long after, my Granddad had a stroke. Physically he was fairly unscathed, but the stroke had affected his memory. He took up smoking again, even though he had quit years ago, only due to the fact he didn't remember stopping. Slowly his mind disintergrated and he became increasingly frustrated. At times, he would wake up in the morning and not even know who Nanna was. I can only imagine how scared he must have felt, not to mention Nanna! Due to his increasing short term memory loss, he didn't realise he was getting sick. He must have felt pain, but convinced himself it hadn't been around for long. Eventually the doctors discovered his body riddled with cancer. I remember going to visit him in hospital... He was agitated, had no idea what was going on and would often go missing. They had to tape a sign to his back that read, "I'm Jack Fin, return me to ward blah blah'. It was crushing! He died in the mid 90s in his own bed, surrounded by his children and Nanna. He was lucid when he passed and said goodbye to each of them.

Nanna got on with life... She is an avid Richmond supporter and each weekend you'll find her in front of the telly, blueberry wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other (she buys a pack every now and then so she can have one while she watches the Tiges). If we win (not often enough) she will get a stream of phone calls from me, my cousins and her friends singing Tigerland. She absolutely loves it! She is a total social butterfly... goes to club every week, heads out on their excursions and is always up for a chat and a cuppa.

She's often getting herself into trouble... opening her mouth before she's thought about what is about to spill out. It's not that she's purposely trying to offend you, it's more than she's missing the tact gene. Most of the time, its just because she couldn't think of the right way to say something For example: She when my brother got engaged, she said to my brother fiance - 'Oh, the ring... it's so tiny'. What she meant, was that it was it was dainty and delicate - not tiny. She actually thought the ring was stunning and suited my now Sis in Law down to a tee. She'd meant no offence whatsoever and would be horrified if she thought it had hurt their feelings. I find her lack of tact one of her most endearing qualities, the one that makes her such a character.

Nanna has had breast cancer not once, not twice but 3 times! She often jokes, 'how can you get breast cancer, when you don't have any breasts'. It seems that nothing could keep her down for long.. she always bounces back, better than before. And it's always seemed she was invincible! This time round, it's not breast cancer... it's in her liver. Not good! She is off tomorrow for a bunch of tests and I have everything I can possibly cross, crossed. I don't know what I'd do if I lost her... I really don't want to think about it. I know she's not going to be around forever, but I just can't imagine life without her in it. I'd never considered that she wouldn't be around to meet my children and I'm still hoping like hell she will.

I'm trying to be positive and send her good vibes and not get too far ahead of myself. You know what they say, you can't keep a good woman down... besides we don't know what the test results are. I don't want to be sad... she's still alive and kicking. So I sit here and type and shed a tear or two... and then I hear Nan in my mind and she's saying, in typical Nan style: 'Don't cry Karls, I'm not dead yet!' ***

Yesterday, Mum left work early and drove into Melbourne to go see Nan, as she'd taken a turn for the worst. The good news is last night she was feeling much more chipper and was enjoying a good laugh with her daughters. Today, I'm happy to say the outlook is a little brighter and with any hope she will be coming home next week. I've sent her a big bunch of Richmond Tiger's themed balloons... hoping to extend that beautiful smile on her face.

I know when the balloons arrive, Nan will be stoked. She'll have a good laugh and make some joke about our poor form. I imagine it will be a crack about being alive for another premiership... lets make it next year - and lets hope to god (or whatever is out there) she's still around!

The attached card, in true yellow and black style, reads 'They breed 'em tough in Tigerland.  Lily - a fighting fury'.  And that... she is!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Flying Melbs trip - Friday night!

In my previous blog, I mentioned that I'd taken a flying trip down to Mansfield for my best mates engagement partay. Seeing all my old best mates again was fucking awesome! I still love those bitches as much as I did 15 years ago... crazy whores! Whilst on my flying tour of Vic, I did have some interesting little scenarios that have cropped up... So, I'm going to break it down for ya fellas - starting with Friday night!

Drove up to Byron to stay with Chuck and Krabes - we had an early flight out Saturday morn and Byron is a shitload closer to Cooly than Nambucca - that's for sure!  I arrived after their oldest little angel had gone to bed. We had a few wines, some dinner, some good convo and then I hit the sack. I was sleeping in the top bunk with the angel below me.

Didn't sleep a wink that night! Falling asleep was proving problematic! As I'd been sucking down the white (in true Karls style) I started to suffer from hayfever (in true Karls style). I didn't want to get up (or down) of the bunk because I didn't want to disturb the little sleeping angel.

About 5am, I think I may have dozed off momentarily, I woke to hear the angel whimpering. All went quiet, then another whimper, then all quiet and so on. Soon, I realised, that every time I moved, the whimper would sound off. I guess, he was freaking out thinking there was some bloody monster on the top bunk - he'd not seen me come in and had no idea I was up there. Poor little bastard! When Krabes came in, the first thing he did was show her his best scared face and pointed a couple of times to the top bunk. That kind of shit can scar you for life!  Sorry little Montasaraus!  

In hindsight, I should have popped a Polarmine and I'd have slept like a baby (well... I shouldn't say 'like a baby' because each time I've done that I've been corrected vehemently by those with child).  A good nights sleep would have made all the difference... but that's the power of hindsight, I guess!  Besides, I'm hardcore!  And it was nothing a few red bull and champagne coudm't sort out... as you'll soon discover!

The proof is in the pistachio!

I... can't... stop... eating... pistachios!

I love, love, love the little bastards... If I open a pack, you can be sure it will be empty shortly after. My left thumbnail has permanent scratches on it, and I think I'm building up some calouses! Why can't you come pre-kernelled? Why are you so much work, for so little return?

And on that note... I'd like to know why they are so bloody expensive, especially when you've gotta do all the work?  

In fact, whilst writing this I've probably stopped, gotten up, walked over the kitchen bench, grabbed a handful of them, cracked and eaten them one by one on around 3 occassions.

Just goes to further prove my karlosophy that all good things come from a little hard work... and a certain element of risk (or in this case - possible injury). See... the proof is in the pistachio.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Eco Warrior Karls

Yeah... I know! All has been quiet on the blogging front! Had Micko's mum down to stay last week/weekend and was in Melbs before that so when I've not been working like a crazy bitch trying to catch up, I've been down the beach walking the Bill.

The past week or so have been nothing short of glorious! Yesterday reached 31, Monday 34 and today is a fine 25... could winter get any milder? Kind of begs the question, is global warming responsible for this unseasonable weather? I'm not too sure... but I like it!

On the global warming front... I've always been an avid recycler and pick up trash when I come across it on the beach, I've also confronted the dirty ciggie butt dropping bastards on more than one occassion. But of late, I've made a few 'eco friendly' choices.

Firstly, prior to my super quick flying visit to Vic a couple of weeks ago for my best mates engagement, I was desperate to find something new to wear. After much searching I picked up a stunning dress in Bellingen. It's white and black with a silouhette print of a japenese scene. When in it, I literally feel like a walking work of art. The bonus is it's also environmentally friendly - the company 'Bird Textiles' are an eco company in Byron and were Australia's first climate neutral business. So, not only do I feel fucking fabulous in this hand designed and printed work of art, I'm also reducing my carbon footprint - niiiiice!

Secondly... Micko's mum came down to visit from Thursday to Monday of last/this week. That morning, I went downstairs to Micko's toilet to have a piss before heading into my studio to start work for the day. There was a strange hissing sound, but also familiar - like when the cistern is filling up with water. It, of course, wasn't - I was still on it and hadn't flushed yet. I assumed (and you know what they say - assuming makes and ass out of you and me) that it was something upstairs. Putting it to the back of my mind, I got stuck into work. That night, Micko and I went downstairs to let Bill out for a whizzer and I heard the noise again. We checked upstairs and down and no tap was on, nor a toilet flushed. Micko went under the house and discovered it was the hot water system pouring water out from the bottom. Fuuuuuuck! Suddenly, it occured to me that when I arrived home on Tuesday arvo, the house smelt kind of wet... like musty and wet. It had not occured that underneath was flooding out... just that the place had been locked up and I'd forgotten it smelt like a mouldy oyster. So back to the... Fuuuuuck! Not the fucking hot water system... especially when we have guests! Plus, I don't do cold showers!

First thing the next morning, I get on the phone to the plumber. What follows is quite miraculous! The plumber shows up at 10 - when he said he would!!! He crawls under the house, takes one look at the hot water system and says exactly what I knew he would.... 'Yep! It's shat itself'. Nice! After a quick chat, I ask him what my options are... he says 'Well, you could get another electric, but it's a prick of place to put it (under the house) so you'd need to get it re-plumbed 'cause I'm fucked if I'm getting that thing out and another in. Just too much of a prick of a spot. Plus, you're looking at around the $13-$1500 mark. The other option is look into Solar. With the Govt rebates, might work out better for ya'. He turns of the hot water system switch at the switch board and is on his way.

After a quick google search, I find a local solar specialist and give them a buzz. The fella explains that he'd have to come out to suss out what our options are and that he can organise a breakdown unit for us in the interim. This is when the second miracle of the day occurs... He says 'I can be there in an hour'... and guess what? He bloody well is!

We go through the options and decide on a roof system, rather than split. After the Govt rebates it doesn't work out much more than if we'd gone electric - but of course there will be ongoing savings on the power bills (which, fuck me, just went up over 20%). Not to mention, the environmental benefits. He then rings his plumber to organise the breakdown unit to be installed. That's when the third miracle occured! He said he'd be here by 3... and he fucking well was! We had hot water by 4. Awesome service all round - a true rarity!

Now we'll just have to wait and see if it continues with the installation... We'll see! If things don't pan out as expected, you'll be the first to know!

So... Eco dress and now Solar Hot Water (being installed in a couple of weeks), I'm thinking about changing my name... You can call me Karls the Eco Warrior.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Living the dream...

I awoke this morning to discover the was sun shining and the weather fine. Another day that I'm thankful to be alive, fit and well, living in paradise. As I mentioned before, we've been having some unseasonally gorgeous weather and for the first time in my life, I'm sporting a little colour! The 'incidental' tan - as I like to call it. I'm not one for baking, just as I'm not one for premature aging, so generally I don't seek to tan and as a result I'm always a lovely shade of white.

Each day I take Bill down the beach for an hour or so and he fucking loves it! Chasing after the ball, sniffing other dogs arses, taking a dip and digging like the boys from 'The Great Escape'... it's like a dream come true for the little tyke. And it's not too bad from my perspective either! I get to walk along the beach, soak in the sun, the surf and ponder the universe and life. It is really my way of getting things in perspective. You simply can't be in a bad mood, while surrounded by such beauty... can you?
Well... apparently you can!
Today, I took Billy down the beach around midday. It was high tide and usually I like to walk down there on low, but it was so beautiful I couldn't resist - besides I couldn't ignore Billy's 'I'm bored shitless, lets go to the beach' eyes another moment!

At high tide, the beach is usually empty. It's the only dog beach around, so it's always filled with people and dogs at low tide, but because of the lack of beach space at high, they tend to stay away every other day. Today was no different.

Billy and I walked for around 20 minutes or so and didn't come across a single sole. Once we got around the headland, I stopped and started looking for shells along the shore line. Bill usually potters around sniffing the rocks and digging holes. I zoned out for a minute or so and then turned around to see where Bill was. He was running towards an older lady sitting on the beach, sun hat on, book in hand, scowl on face. Obviously, she was not a 'dog' person. Billy is pretty good... he doesn't annoy people... most of the time. She was flailing her arms about in disgust, and Bill thought it was a game! Rule No. 1 - ignore a dog if you don't want it to jump all over you. He would have gone up to suss her out, and walked back immediately if she didn't start carrying on like a fucking pork chop.

I yelled out 'Oh my god! I'm so sorry... Here Billy!'... To which she replied... __________________________________ Dead silence... Absolutely nothing! Just scowled at me, much like an angry, unsocialised dog. Her stare followed me down the beach as if I'd done something unforgiveable - like flicking a lit ciggie butt in her eye (next time, Gadget, next time). 'I'm really sorry', I said, 'I didn't see you there... I would have paid closer attention to him if I'd noticed you there, sorry!'. Once again, she just shot me daggers from underneath her fugly straw hat but not a word passed her tightly pursed lips.

What does such an arsehole of a person look like... Let me paint a picture for you... Empty beach, fat old cow sitting on a beach towel near the dunes, Red floral bathers (probably with the built in skirt), white sarong, straw hat with matching ribbon trim to her bathers, reading some fucking Catherine Cookson novel (I can only assume it was Cookson - possibly Virgina Andrews though). Fucking bitch - literally! He's only a puppy... and he's on the only dog beach in the area. Not too mention, there are a million signs everywhere stating that fact. She could have chosen any one of the surrounding beaches to lie her lazy arse on, but she chose the 'dog' beach so suffer in her red floral print swimmer jocks.

It put me in a fowl mood... for all of 30 seconds. Then I continued to walk with my beautiful puppy, feeling the sun beaming down on my skin, hearing the surf pounding on the shore and now pondering how miserable that old bitches life must be. It drew a smile to my lips. Another day in paradise!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Home Sweet Home - Part One - The Search

Home, sweet home...

It all started on a sunny Saturday afternoon, while sitting in the beer garden at my old local 'The Bruns' with Micko and a couple of our best mates (Chuck and Krabes). They had recently had their first angelic child and the topic of discussion was of a very adult nature - property. As we sat, the boys happily drinking their schooners of gold, and myself and my girlfriend sipping on a West Coast Cooler (much to the horror of the bar man), the conversation turned to living on the North Coast and the problems it presents... namely property is ridiculously priced and well out of our league. It got us all a bit down... Surely it's not like this everywhere? We might be desensitised, to a certain extent, to astronomical house prices because of our geographical location.

We consider our options and nut it out over a massive plate of Nachos. We speak of future plans... Perhaps buying a property on the coast in Vic and building 2 houses on it. Krabes will have plenty of room for the angelic child to run around and for her horses to play (or perhaps the other way around)... I could put more focus on building up my business and the boys would buy a Mexican restaurant that served the world’s best frozen margaritas. The property would have ocean glimpes and would be somewhere between Johanna and Peterborough on the Great Ocean Road. It all seemed like a grand plan! We quickly scoffed down the now cold plate of nachos, took the last swig of our drinks and headed back to Micko and my sardine can of a flat.

After cracking open a few beers and sucking down a couple of durries, we head to my 'office' and jump on the computer... the destination? of course! We do a few searches around the areas we are keen and realise all hope is not lost in the quest to becoming a home owner. The blown out North Coast prices aren't exactly reflective of the rest of Aus - just parts of it. We chat for awhile and Krabes and I realise why we moved away from Victoria in the first place - the extreme weather! We look at other places that are a little warmer. Micko's grandparents lived in Nambucca Heads for years, his mother grew up there and he'd head there for every school holiday... Chuck used to holiday as kid in Valla Beach (the next town north). Property was affordable, it was still a warmer climate and more importantly, coastal.

Time went by and Micko and I spoke of moving to Vic. Micko had just finished working on the bypass and the job prospects in Byron were limited. We thought, what the hell, let’s give it a crack! It was close to my family and friends and work was plentiful. My folks had a second house in Barwon Heads. It was the house my parent bought when my Dad first started working in Geelong. I’d spent many a weekend there and for me, it felt like home. I discussed the option of moving in with my folks (not actually in with them – fuck I couldn’t possibly do that again)... They had tenants in there at the time and their lease wasn’t up until 6 months after we’d planned on moving. We looked into renting a holiday house over the quiet period and finally, after much fucking around (those who have tried to rent a house while living interstate will know it’s a total pain in the arse) and found the perfect place in Ocean Grove.

In June we packed up our rad pad in Bruns into a Europcar truck and headed on the long journey to a new beginning – and one we expected would end with a house on the Victorian coast. We spent 6 great months in the Ocean Grove pad... it had 180 degree views of the ocean – sensational! The first Victorian winter was cold, very cold! I had a hard time adjusting to, not only the cold, but being away from my mates up north. It was around this time we first considered a move back up north, but we really hadn’t given Vic a good go yet.

We blinked and the first 6 months were over and we were moving – yet again – this time into Mum and Dad’s old place. Felt like I was coming home! That place had so many memories tied up in it... great parties, weekends away, holidays and now Micko and my home. The backyard was the bomb! So many arvo’s and nights were spent sitting in the backyard, cold beer in hand, taking in the greenery (quite a novelty for Vic

Often, during my stint in Vic, I felt very isolated. I was only an hour and a half from Melbourne, but felt like I might as well have been on the other side of the planet. Some people just weren’t willing to ever take the trip down, although, would ask incessantly when I’d be in town next. These, I know, will be the same people who will want to see me each and every time I’m in Melbourne but will not once, ever, visit me here. I’m not quite sure what it is about people... sometimes perhaps they are too comfortable in their own space and never want to venture out. Originally, it bothered me, but these days I’m not fazed. I know they care about me and I will see them again, even if it is on their turf.

After just a few more months, we were considering our options again. We looked at property in Vic but the places we would have liked to settle were a little out of our reach... So we opened our options and once again Nambucca popped it friendly head. In Feb, we came across a place online that we both immediately fell in love with. Micko flew up to check it out shortly after and he confirmed what we were both thinking... Time to commit!

Then... the fun stuff began!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fashion Faux Pas?

Being a 70s child, I spent much of my teenagedom and early 20's living it up in the 90s. This, fortunately or unfortunately, meant being fashionable was quite simple and often questionable. In those days, high fashion fell into a few basic categories and for the most part (besides ravers) it took very little effort.

Here are the categories, as I remember them:

Grunge/Alternative: "Two tokes and pass it on... Don't be greedy"

Ripped jeans, brown cardigans and Chuck Taylors or Docs... Sometimes cords... and a touch of velvet every now and then.

90s Raver: '125 beats per minutes... all the way man! This DJ is totally kicking it! And the laser light show is incredible... hey! Check out my glow sticks, it's like I've got neon light as an extension of my body"

Skirts over pants... fluffy leg warmers, UV strips down wide leg denim... crazy, crazy hair.

Homie: "Hey have you seen Boyz in da hood, man? Crazy shit! hey, hang on man. That dud is looking at me! Yeah... Come on! Come on! I'm carrying a knife man... don't fuck with me"

Wannabe Yanks wearing basketball shirts, Cross Colors with arse crack showing and some form of Nike or Adidas footwear. In the outta 'burbs of Melbs? Hmmmmm

These days... so much has changed and that is the topic I'm choosing to discuss today. What causes and why do we have major shifts in fashion (particularly women's these days)? I'm sure its more complicated than a few world famous designers coming up with a trend... After all, most fashion out there is nothing like what you'll see parading on the cat walk. There is something more to it than that... I'm sure of it!

Looking back I now think that we (Gen X'ers) dressed down to become equals. Our parents (or rather mothers and grandmothers) had fought, and fought hard for us to have anything we wanted in life... Further education, high paying jobs (alongside men), shared chores and parenting - if indeed we choose to go down that path. We were given great gifts by these wonderful women! To have the world as our oyster, for the freedom of choice and finally, for the respect from men we deserved.

So, while these women paved the way, we took it to another level. We dressed as men... our uniform consisted of jeans, tee's and minimal (if any) make up - even clubbing. Why were we so low maintenance? Mainly to be seen as equally intelligent and capable as our male counterparts. We were no longer to be viewed as sex objects - only as equals. I also believe, it worked... It was the final nail in the coffin of a chauvinistic world.

We were more revolutionary than we give ourselves credit for. Often, we consider the big changes to the way we live and view life and freedom took place throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s - these decades gave us teenagers, free love, drugs, war protests, womens rights, racial assimilation and so much more (including great music). But for us poor Gen X'ers... we've never been given anything but teenage angst to take credit for.

Over the past few years, I've noticed, a real shift in women. A step back, in the fashion sense, to the dark ages when women were merely seen and never heard... when women were perfectly manicured at all times purely for the benefit of men... and were considered second class citizens in all aspects. Are the recent spate of highly manicured, primped and perfect, short skirt wearing youth simply undoing all the hard work that women for generations before them fought for? Or is it that they can now have it all (looks, intelligence and sexuality) and still be viewed as an equal?

From what I've seen, it's more likely the latter... they've had the freedom to be pretty and be smart. I'm thinking that they do it for their own pleasure (and for the benefit of other women) rather than purely for mens attention. Am I being niave here?

Besides perhaps if I'd had the freedom (and the body) to dress like that, I may very well have donned a 'gina' dress, high heels, a face full of make up, some hair extensions, a french manicure and hairdresser fresh ringlets... Actually, who am I kidding! It sounds like to much work, for too little return, for this old Gen X'er!

Monday, August 10, 2009


I was born a Richmond supporter... I just never got a choice. In my family, you either are a Tiger, or you don't really belong. All my Grandparents were mad Tigers, as were Mum and Dad - needless to say, myself and my brothers have followed in their footsteps. When my mother met my Granddad Bob, his first question was 'who do you barrack for?', to which she replied meekly 'Richmond'. Bob's response? 'Welcome to the family!' Let's also say, my aunty - who replied 'Collingwood' to the question, was in no uncertain terms told to get out! On the other side... Nanna Lil', well she grew up in Richmond and was often changing the score board as a kid. Memories of staying at her place include dancing around in the kitchen, playing air trumpet to Nan's 45 of Tigerland blaring - which often still occurs.

Yesterday... I was excited! Tiges on the TV tomorrow playing Sydney and with our recent (but perhaps not totally deserved) string of wins (and draw) I was sure we were in with more than just a chance. Perhaps things were finally looking up in Tigerland.

Today, after our dismal performance against Sydney, I updated my facebook status declaring my disappointment. To which someone replied: "You need to go for another team". What the? For a true Tiger that is never, ever an option!

More often than not, I can tell if a person is a Richmond supporter shortly after I've met them. Not a word of a lie, I speak the truth, and it's always without any discussion of footy. I've never met a Richmond supporter I didn't like. Similar to picking which star sign someone is due to characteristics they display - a fellow tiger always stands out.

So, what is it? And I'll say right now... it's not the arrogant bastards who are missing teeth! Get it right... they are always Collingwood types (the type that tell you to go for another team). And sometimes they can fall under the Carlton banner.

We Tigers are a special breed... Generally, hard workers who like a good time. We are loyal and down to earth. We know that things we want in our life take hard work and we're willing to go the yards to get them. When we lose, we stay on to the end of the game before walking out - unlike other supporters who will walk out as soon as they realise it's not going to be a win. And we are there week after week, decked out in our scarves and beanies in the freezing cold (and on rare occassions rain), hoping that this will be the week our hard work pays off. But if it doesn't, we'll curse and say we're hopeless, head out for a few beers, dicuss the changes that need to take place and do it all again next week. Are we merely gluttens for punishment? Or, are we Tiger tough?

Every now and then, like say 6 years over the past 15, we finish just outside the 8. With a sense of pride we start talk of next year... next year, is our year! We are full of hope, promise and the dream of a truly great season ahead. More often than not, we finish much further down the ladder. And yet again, regardless, we will talk of our potential and re-building and start all over again.

See, it's this mentality that makes or breaks a true tiger. And we are very similar in life - never giving up... Working away, no matter how hopeless the cause seems, until we do get what we want. After all, we all know that one day, we will finally have our day in the sun. One day, we will take home another premiership. And it's those rare days that we get to sing 'Tigerland' at the tops of our lungs, that makes it all worthwhile. We know all hope is not lost after all!

So, next time you walk out of a game early... You think 'fuck it, it's too cold and we'll probably just lose anyway'... Or, you can see yourself giving up all hope (and I'm not just talking in the footy sense)...

Then picture a true Tiger, sitting in the pissing down rain, freezing their tits off (even though they are decked out in their duffle coat, scarf and beanie), knowing that a win is certainly not on the cards today.... Still somewhat content - they'll be heading home drenched, cold but warm with the inner glow of knowing our day is coming.

Oh and for those unfamiliar with the magic that is our theme song... Here is a little sample:

Oh we're from Tigerland... A fighting fury... We're from Tigerland... In any weather you will see us with a grin... Risking head and shin.... If we're behind, then nevermind, we'll fight and fight and win... For we're from Tigerland... We never weaken till the final sirens gone... Like the Tiger of old... We're strong and we're bold... For we're from Tiger (YELLOW AND BLACK)... We're from Tigerland! (cue air trumpet instrumental)

Sometimes I think Tigerland is written about the supporters, more so than the team...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Smell the roses...

A mate of mine forwarded on an email to me this morning... The content made me sit up, stop and think - life is short and sweet. It poses a few questions... How often do you stop to smell the roses? Recognise beauty in all that surrounds you? Watch a sunrise or sunset? Are thankful for all the good things in your life? Do you make the most of every minute you have on this earth? Are you fullfilled?

So here is the email:

"The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later: The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again..

10 minutes: A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes: The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour: He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognise talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.... How many other things are we missing? "

So while you ponder, let me answer the questions I asked earlier...

The answer... I think, is not nearly enough! So, at some point today take some time to appreciate the beauty you usually skip over and the people you take for granted before it's too late. After all, you're a long time dead!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Landlord from Hell in Paradise!

In a previous blog, I may have mentioned that Micko, a good friend and I, had one fucked up landlord... Well, here is the story!
Micko, a friend and I were desperately seeking a house in Suffolk Park. My friend had just arrived with all her worldly belongings from Vic and was couching it at a mates short term. We were on the hunt for the perfect pad for our family of three. We stumbled across a privately rented 3 bedroom, 2 storey townhome across the road from the beach. Placed at the rear of 3 townhomes, all owned by the one woman, it was lovely and clean and the perfect place to base ourselves. I can vaguely remember, as we were checking out the rad lounge area, Micko mentioned he knew some chicks that lived there previously. He'd been around for a few sessions over the years and they'd said the landlord was an evil bitch. We put that in the back of our minds... the rent was fair ($385 a week in Byron is practically a steal) and moved in an soon as we could.
Early days in the Alcorn St pad where awesome. My housemate, Micko and I had similar standings on food and utilities - a shared approach (what we'd refer to as 'what you lose on the swing, you gain on the roundabout'). The house had 3 bedrooms upstairs, Micko and I shared an ensuite and our housemate had the full bathroom. Downstairs was the kitchen and living space plus there was a garage with internal access that we converted to our drinking/smoking/drug den. The beach was directly across the road and a few of our best mates lived in the next door block of units. Life was good and the evil landlord (we'll call her Moizey) was rarely seen or heard.
Eventually, unfortunately, she did rock up on the scene. She had been staying in Brissie with her kids while she underwent some medical treatment. She knocked on the door, made her presence known and told us she was planning on selling the front townhouse (the one which she lived in). Phew! We thought... she's going to piss of back to Brisvegas and take her neg vibe along with her for the ride. And she did, at least until the holiday season, when she rented her unit out to holiday makers - noisy bastards with no regard for permanent tenants (but hey, you get used to that lack of respect living in Byron!)
As the holiday makers turned up, Moizey moved herself into the spare garage... right next to ours. She did it, she said, because she was very poor and desperately needed the money to live (a reoccurring theme throughout our time at Alcorn St). She was ALWAYS crying poor, but strangely sitting on around a mill and half worth of property. Of course, that was her investment for the future, but the string of trucks that would rock up week after week and unload white goods, plasma TV's, coffee machines, new furniture, and the list goes on... had us questioning her poor status bigtime!

So, as I was saying... Moizey moved herself into the garage over the holiday season. She'd bathe across the road in the public toilets (no hot water) and sit in her garage with the door shut. Oh, don't feel sorry for her sweltering in the garage through the heat of a north coast summer. She had that garage kitted out with air-con, a plasma, TV, fridge, washer, and all the necessary mod cons. - which I suspect where tied up on our electricity account!
Every now and then, she'd mosey on through our backyard, look in the windows and seeing us there and casually walk past. This used to piss me off to no end! I'd get so angry that I'd want to walk out there and rip her head of, but Micko and the housemate would calm me down not wanting me to go completely loco at her. She had no right to step foot on our property without the necessary notice and I wanted to let her know if she stepped over the line one more time I'd be in touch with the tribunal. She was just such an intrusive sticky beak - a lot like the old Neighbours character Mrs Mangel. I don't doubt that if she didn't spot us in the lounge, she'd be reaching for her spare key and helping herself to a hot shower or a nice, comfortable shit in a proper, clean dunny.
So Moizey's visits became a frequent intrusion in our day to day life... 'Make sure you lock the gates as soon as you get the car in'. 'Don't park there'. 'Here are the water rates'. Any excuse to knock on our door for a sticky beak and to bark another order at us. Until, one day, she knocks on the door and informs us she is selling our place and the sooner we move out the better. We didn't have to give any notice, just tell her whenever we decided to leave. She wanted to move in and leave the comfort of her garage at the first opportunity so it was of no consequence to her what date we left. She then had another reason to hound us... 'how is the house hunting going', 'when do you think you'll be out'.
Finding a place to live in Byron is never an easy task and as Micko and I were going our own way we needed to find something we could afford with just the two of us. Moizey's hounding slowed down - mainly due to there being little interest from the buyers market. We all found new accommodation and were to move out in less than a week. Moizey was given the good news. However, she didn't think it was good news! It no longer suited her for us to move out immediately. She had planned to spend the next few weeks in Brisbane with her family – not our problem in the least.
She went apeshit! 'You haven't given me 28 days notice... You'll have to continue paying rent up until the end of the month'. Bullshit! Like hell we will! We cut sick on the old bitch! Finally, I got to release all my hatred at this evil bitch in one foul swoop! 'You said you didn't need ANY notice! You have intruded on our lives at every opportunity you've had! You walk through our backyard, stick your fucking ugly face on our windows and peer in at any chance you get. You want to fuck with us...we'll take up our case with the tribunal'.
We got our way... Moved out the day before BDO on the Goldie and it was a fucking stinker! Sweat seeped out of every pore as we toiled away packing, moving and cleaning the house. Late that night we finished up, all very relieved to have that woman out of our lives for good. Off to BDO for a blinder... It ended up a non event – we were so rooted from all the work, we left early and feel asleep next to our mode of transport (the Nimbin Rainbow Grasshopper).
The relief was short lived... Moizey got her final revenge. The next morning with a phone call our world came crashing down. She said the place was not cleaned to her standards (which I found unbelievable - it was spotless - we had even washed all the walls down). I had to go back and re-do the bathroom - which I'm positive she dirtied before I got there. While there, she lectured me on the jobs I'd not done... Her main gripe was that we'd not cleaned the sliding door tracks (on the floor) with a toothbrush! Finally, and not nearly early enough for my likings, she jumped on her broomstick and was once and for all out of our lives completely! Never to be seen or heard of again... Oh except once! We saw her going off her tree at a woman in the car park at the supermarket. Somethings never change (or should I say - some people).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

In the name of balance - pet loves

For the sake of balance I thought I should get out there my 10 pet loves... 

1. Closet hippy - not much is better than staring out at the ocean and mountains, walking through a rainforest or sitting on the ground. I can feel myself 'earth' when I do any of these things (and that is very important to a person who never knew how to stay still).   Indigenous Australians are 100% right... Australia, and our land, is a very special and powerful place. 

2. A good sense of humour, a great joke or story... and even better, laughing hysterically to the point when tears are streaming down your face and you need to have a few minutes rest to catch your breath.

3.  A good hug from a friend you haven't seen for a while.

4.  Entertaining friends at my place... putting on a good feed and drinks galore, good conversation, reminiscing and listening to great music!

5.  Catching up with friends that you might not have seen in years, but when you do, it feels like you just saw them yesterday.  Oh, and making new friends.  Especially those that you feel instantly comfortable with.  I totally believe you are a reflection of the company you keep - obviously the company I keep is fucking awesome!

6.  Family... the most important people in my life!  Mum, Dad, bro's, cousins, aunties & uncles and grandparents.  The people who make my life so fantastic - and it totally is!  Christmas day is always the best day of the year.  I love eating and drinking far too much with the people I love most.

7.  Working hard... and reaping the benefits of a job well done.  I love what I do and would continue to do it even if I won lotto and was set up for life!   I'm very lucky, but I have created my own luck.  Once you know what you want in life, it's as easy as taking the necessary steps to get it.  I look at my business and how well it's going and know that it's only because of my hard work, dedication and persistence.

8.  Summer days in the sunshine at a music festival, in the back yard, at a mates place or the deck of the Suffo, sinking a few schooies with awesome folk.  

9.  My wonderful husband, Micko, who has enriched my life greatly.  Although I know I could live without him, my life is better with him around.  Finally I found the healthy relationship I was searching for.  A mutual respect, an understanding of our differences and encouragement to be the best people we can be.  He has taught me so many things... Patience, unconditional love and balance.

10.  Billy... The newest addition to my happy life.  Billy represents all the things that make living so worthwhile.  Loyalty, contentment, cuddles, love and loads of energy.

Oh and last but definitely not least, every single person in my life, right now.  You guys complete the picture!  Each of you bring something special to the table!  You rock the casbah!

Till next time we meet... my friends!


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