Sunday, 31 December 2006

Red Faces

I never wanted to be boiled alive.

When it came to deaths, I didn't think of it as a pleasant way to go.

That's why I've never envied lobsters (among some other reasons, such as them not having the most amiable expressions I've come across, and their pincers being a bit cumbersome looking).

When the old psychological (or often comedy) test gets wheeled out "Which animal would you like to be if you couldn't be a human?" I've given a variety of answers, but never "lobster". Snake, hippopotamus, giraffe, platypus, kangaroo, aardvark, moose, pterodactyl, butterfly, turtle, komodo dragon - but never lobster.

Unfortunately, recently I discovered the lack of joy inherent in being a lobster.

Yes, foolishly, I went a-wandering recently without full protection from the sun's rays (I knew there was something to global warming!) and came home looking like I'd been swimming in red paint, instead of frolicking innocently and briefly in a park.

'Tis a strange things the sun's rays can be at once so beautiful and yet so insidious. I did not even think of the possibility I had become fried like pork crackling. In fact, when my friend mntioned I looked a little red (an understatement if there ever was any, I later found) my immediate reaction was to wonder if I'd eaten anything that day that I might have had an allergic reaction to.

"I wonder if I've become allergic to chocolate?"

Well, I suppose at least that tragedy at least has been averted, because I'm not sure if life would have been worth living for a chocoholic such as myself.

Instead, I've become some sort of freak fairground attraction, with people stopping to say to me "Darn, what happened to you?" Or, "Looks like you got caught out in the sun! HAHAHAHA!"

It's interesting that people feel at liberty to comment on your abnormal ugly skin in this manner. If I were abnormally obese, I imagine some sort of social protocol would prevent people from walking up to me and giggling, or saying, "Wow, you look fat!" or saying, "Hey, Looks like you got stuck into the chocolates, turkey and pudding at Christmas - HAHAHAHA!"

At any rate, now I empathise with lobsters.

While this strengthens my resolve never to wish to be a lobster again, I will look upon them with more kindness from now on.

Children, this is a moral lesson for you. Bring the sunscreen. And dancing rays of sunlight are often cruel. The most beautiful creatures in the world are those you cannot trust.
You shall have no problem trusting me. Especially now, with this sunburnt skin.

Saturday, 23 December 2006

The Story Of An Organic Turkey

This Christmas I will be eating an organic turkey. This is a new experience for me. I usually have the regular turkey, the plain turkey. I wonder whether it will be an emotionally uplifting experience.

We didn't buy an organic turkey for altruistic reasons, mainly there weren't any other turkeys left that didn't weigh the size of a small vehicle and since we had to transport the turkey home in a small vehicle, this did make them a tad inconvenient.

So we went for Mr Organic Turkey.

He's sitting in the freezer ready to be trussed up. Hello. Every so often, I go and have a peek.

"Hello, Mr Organic Turkey. How do you feel in there?"

"It's OK, I guess. I'm getting used to the cold, even in summer. I wish global warming would have hurried up."

"I'm afraid you mightn't see that, you see, we're planning on eating you in a couple of days. But we'll be sticking you in a warm oven before we do."

"How considerate of you."

"Being organic hasn't stopped you being sarcastic, has it?"

"I had to go for years without antibiotics to deal with anything, lady. Do you know how that feels? I've got a right to feel just a little peeved right now."

"Hmmm ... I thought organic food was supposed to be better and happier and more natural. I thought you'd be one pleasant pheasant, you know?"

"When you know you're going to end up tied up on a plate and you don't get a little something to calm your nerves, what do you think? I'm not that kinky! When you see those other turkeys who get the growth hormones looking plump and proud and you're the runty looking one, how would that make you feel ...? Do you know what I go through? Can you feel?"

"Oh dear."

"Do you know what it feels like to be passed over by more than 90% of consumers because you're a bit too expensive and runty and a bit funny looking where the beautiful airbrush-looking, straight out of Vogue Turkey types get plucked off the shelves before you can say "Jingle Bells"? Do you know what it feels like to hear shoppers ask for a 'normal, not organic' turkey? Do you know what that feels like? Do you? It makes you feel like a pariah! An outcast!" *wild strangled cries*

"Uh .... mmmm. There there. If it's anything to you, you look beautiful to me. Good enough to eat. Really."

"Thanks." *still sobs* "I guess it's just a phase. Self-esteem. Image problem. You know."

"Don't worry, you'll be over it soon!" *thinks: damn!*

"Being organic isn't so bad," said my turkey through his tears. "It's just like everyone else, we need to feel loved and appreciated too."

Jolly Good Things About Christmas

I am feeling a little bit inadequate, and no, it's got nothing to do with any involvement in games of Strip Scrabble or for that matter, Nude Twister. Though that was a pretty good guess.

Unlike many of the blogs and websites around, I haven't given much of a nod to Christmas in my posting.

I was told as a young 'un if I didn't have anything nice to say, not to say anything at all, which accounted for that rather awkward silence of about four years, mistakenly attributed by my parents to my inadvertent swallowing of a chicken bone, which they didn't really bother about attempting to fish out.

There are some pretty neat things about Christmas.

More fun even than how much fun it is to be a Christmas grinch and go on about cheesy carols and annoying long queues and expensive presents when people are starving in Ethiopia.

In fact, that is a dumb thing to say. There aren't many people who, if they weren't buying a Playstation for their kid, would donate the money to a starving Ethiopian. They would buy the Playstation for themselves. At least Christmas is that great time where Playstations go to children who can't afford them instead of adults who ought to be working and not having any fun.

Also, Christmas carols can lots of fun too. I happen to love Christmas carols, it's just such a pity that when I threaten to sing I can clear a suburb, so I have resigned myself to listening and a bit of toe-tapping and inane smiling. There is a lot of love going around at Christmas, unfortunately carols have decided not to share that love with me.

Christmas food is always a winner too. Each year we slave over the stove and cook a traditional huge hot family roast and a turkey so big I think it might be declared another planet. And then there is the huge pudding and steaming hot custard. Then someone remembers that Christmas in Australia is in summer.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, 21 December 2006

A Nice Game Of Scrabble

Last post I advocated a lovely - no, 'Nice', game of Scrabble.

However, as I was reminded, Scrabble isn't always so nice. Once played sedately by polite families who wanted to build their 9-year-old's spelling and vocabulary skills, it blossomed into a sport which you'd be unwise to play without mouthguards and shinpads.

When I first played Scrabble, Mum would mumble "oooh, a P and a T and an E hmmm let's see, what can we do here ..., can I help you with your letters dear?"

Since then it's metamorphosised into a war-game. I settled down to a game where my opponents screamed "Block off tactics! Cover the left hand corner of the board. Lure her into using the P, then move towards the triple, and cut her off towards the top! Move into the Double and the Z area - if we can't use it, she can't either! Ah-har!"

Not only has Scrabble turned into a life and death tactics game, but it's become ... naughty. OK, sexual. You don't need to play 'Stone Face' (see below) to get a raunchy game going, a 'Nice' game of Scrabble can become a raunchy game of Scrabble, and for all those eagerly awaiting details, yes, you can still use your old 'nice' set.

In fact, it seems almost every game is going the sexy route (pardon the pun).

Ways To Spice Up Your Scrabble Life

1. Strip Scrabble

Each round, the person who made the lowest scoring word takes a bit of clothing off. Or gets it taken off. Either way, you've got someone naked sitting there pretty quickly, because let's face it, everyone knows there is:

a) Always someone who is a loser at Scrabble, and usually finds it difficult finding the two-pointer words. And that this person is usually an old, ugly, wrinkly or deformed person when you're playing Strip Scrabble.

b) Always some exhibitionist who will put out (a lot), oh yes, and also put out a lot of two-pointer words, just for an excuse to show off their body. They also tend to be the old, ugly, wrinkly or deformed people. And they're usually the most likely to be completely deluded about their looks.

2. Sex Dictionary Scrabble

Only words having to do with sex and dating can be formed on the board. Let the words intersect and intertwine. Length of word does count, a lot, but so does size and how you use it. And definitely how it fits in nicely and snugly with the spaces left by the other words.

See how many times you can get ORGASM on the triple word, and whether many players start their play with DINNER, a DRINK, a CUDDLE and some STROKING or do they just lay out the HUMPING from the word go?

How many people will put out SEX before they've even gone for their first DATE?

And how many guys actually do manage to find CLITORIS?

Oh my. Oh God. I love Scrabble. The versatility. The contortions. The tension. Anything is possible.

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Party Games

Times are a-changing. I was just thinking about Christmas day and some fun party games that could be played, when a discussion on Sam And The City turned to party games with the date and sex theme.

Now what ever happened to good old-fashioned 'Spin the Bottle'? Spin an old green glass bottle and get an innocent peck - or maybe a not-so-innocent-not-so-peckish-smooch, depending on your luck. Or 'Truth Or Dare'.

But then on Sam's blog popped up a game called 'Stone Face' - and actually, I'm loathe to use the term 'popped up' and 'Stone Face' in the same sentence. Now I'm no prude, or maybe I am (up for challenge) but I was just a little more than squeamish when explained the 'Rules of The Game'.

The rules, one person explained go along the lines of all the game players of the same gender (say the males) sitting around a table, with their lower torso covered by a sheet. The player(s) of the opposite gender would go under the table and choose one person to ... errh, um, how do I prudishly explain this, well I guess I go for the dive and say it out plainly - orally pleasure - and that person would attempt to keep a 'stone face', that is, not show by grimace or smile or cringe or other that they were the Chosen One. Then the others would try to guess who was Chosen.


A long way from 'Spin The Bottle' days. What would my mother think of that?

Of course, proponents of the game go on about freedom of choice, but like all party games, everyone's subject to the peer pressure, and the teasing and being felt left out and boring. "You're so boring, you don't crawl under tables and smooch anonymous genitalia! That is sooooo uninteresting!" is the battlecry of today's youth!

Now let's do an historical comparison of peer pressure, adventure and party games:

I'm remembering that gem of a book, the foundation stone of my childhood, 'Little Women'. There's a lovely chapter where some of the more daring and adventurous characters participate in a game called 'Truth' - they each take turns in having to answer (truthfully) questions put by the others. "Which lady here do you think the prettiest?" is a probing question, as is "Didn't you cheat at croquet?"

Amidst the laughter of the revelations, Jo says "Well, I think Truth is a very silly play. Let's have a sensible game of Authors to refresh our minds."

Then there's that wild game of "Daring" that's all the rage in 'Anne Of Green Gables' when she breaks her ankle walking the ridge pole of a roof after she gives in to daring from her classmate.

"Let them dare away," scoffs Marilla, when Anne asks her what she would have done in the face of peer pressure.

Wonder what Marilla would be thinking if it wasn't a ridge pole facing her little girl, but some dangly bits under the table ...

And how Jo would have refreshed her mind ...

Merciful goodness! Let's have a nice game of Scrabble to refresh our minds ...

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Land Of The Nods

There's some campaign that's been going on for a long time about not sleeping while driving. I think it has the words in it REVIVE. SURVIVE. There are some more words in it, but I was nodding off when the campaign was announced so I didn't quite catch them. I think it might have been, TAKE FIVE.

This campaign actually makes some kind of sense, which is unusual for government funded campaigns. But why stop at the wheel?

As I was ranting below, I went to the hairdresser yesterday, and that's not a place you want to fall asleep. Especially when you could be paying $45 to look like you'd been electrocuted.

What's more, hairdresser equipment is scary stuff. I was sitting in the salon yesterday with a pair of razor sharp scissors pointed to the back of my head, and I felt my head nodding.

Bounce, bounce, bounce.

Now, I never believed if asked, "Maria, would you pay $45 to bounce your head on a pointy metal stick?" that the answer would have been a resounding "YES", but here I was, going for it.

Now the only safe place to nap is on train stations - when it's twenty minutes til the train's coming, you can have a nice hour or so's nap, and wake up, knowing it'll still be twenty minutes til the same train's due ...

Saturday, 16 December 2006

Dead Ends

I'm a little edgy right now, because I'm about to get my hair cut.

"Just trim off those dead ends." I feel like a living part of me's being removed - well, hair grows, doesn't it?

Haircuts are no common occurrence for me. Some think my hair is long for aesthetic reasons, it's actually because I'm lazy and cheap.

Sitting in a hair-stylist-dresser-studio whatever place they call the shearer's shop nowadays, annoys me no end, first it's bothering to traipse in, then it's shelling out $45 for something I haven't noticed has changed much, and then there's the inane chatter. Which is why I decided to wise up and choose a Chinese immigrant with a poor grasp of English as my regular hair-trimmer, so I wouldn't have to listen to his prattlings, or at least I wouldn't have to understand them.

That did mean a few language barriers, like pointing out I did want a wash and trim, but no "blow job".

When I told my sob story to two old ladies, they snapped indignantly "Why don't you get a $5 haircut like we do?" The prospect of finding a barber so cheap excited me, until I found out they got their haircut at the RSL, and promptly blew $150 on the poker machines when they finished doing their hair.

Then there were the attempts at home, which had only the positive side effect of making my passport photo look beautiful. I was dead certain I could at least get my fringe done properly myself - I just wanted to snip off enough so I could see, I told myself. When I'd hacked off the forest in front of my eyelids, I was sorry I could see.

Anyway, I'm off to blow $45 on a blow, trim and wash, not necessarily in that order. And I'm praying.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Meticulous Meatball Making

Many find my meticulous meatball making moronic. (These are also people who generally can’t stand alliteration.)

However, there’s not really much more fun than making your own meatballs. For many reasons:

Making your own mince: This involves getting messy. Enough said.

Moulding little round spherical balls: This is pure relaxation. You’ve got some clay (mince) in your hand, now create. You order some meatballs in a restaurant, and it comes ready made for you – now here’s your chance to become involved in the Creation Process. I’m a perfectionist about mine – the whole “every sphere has to be exactly the same size, shape and weight” business, but when you’re the chef, you have control. Squish the meat to your will. Feel the mince ooze through your fingertips. Make them any size you will. Moulding meat has a soothing effect. For some reason it’s like moulding a brain, in fact, meatballs remind me of miniature little brains, except a bit the wrong shape and the wrong ingredients. Still, it’s animal stuff being made into a being again. Now that’s getting back to basics.

Lining the little balls up on a baking tray: They stand still in a regiment. They’re an army, and you’re in control. This is better than those little plastic soldiers Mum used to buy you as a kid, and after you’ve cooked them in the oven, you can gobble them up. Sheer power.

Ah, meatballs. How I sing your praises.

Saturday, 9 December 2006

Find Me A Waitress ...

‘Waitstaff’. One of those words that ought to be stripped and whipped and shamed from public usage.

Whatever happened to ‘Waiters’ and ‘Waitresses’? No one nowadays seems to want their genitalia acknowledged in their job, except for nurses, who are quick to tell you whether they’re a “nurse” or a “male nurse” (I vote for ‘nurser’ and ‘nursess’). Has gender become a dirty word recently? Out yourself and be proud, I say.

A friend said to me recently, “When someone tells me they’re going to be ‘Chair’, I feel like saying, ‘Can I sit on you?’”. I empathise. Except I don’t have an overwhelming desire to sit on people as he does, for which reason he shall remain anonymous.

Every time I hear the word ‘Waitstaff’, I expect this.

Person: … waitstaff …
Staff Member: I’m waiting, what next?

Person: … waitstaff …
Staff Member: Ninety-two kilos, but I’m planning on losing some.

You can’t even tell an ancient but somewhat classic fly-in-my-soup joke, as calling out “Waitstaff, waitstaff, there’s a fly …” seems far too idiotic for words … which may be the reason why the word was introduced in the first place.

Orange Juice Snobbery

‘Tis a sad world indeed. Each time I go out (on the rare occasions I do) I am subjected to an excruciatingly lengthy wine list, with, as an after thought, and sometimes not even then, a toss-away, a throw-away line “soft-drinks and juices available”. I tell you, as a non-wine-drinker, I stand up for my drink of choice. I matter.

Why should only alcohol imbibers have the fun of being able to turn up their noses in insufferable arrogance to the world and be shown bottles before they deign to order a drink at a restaurant? Why should only wine drinkers be able to be able to have a little wine be poured for them into a fluted glass and swirl it about in their mouths and talk about it having "good structure" or actually demand to taste 50 wines, make themselves quite tiddly, but refuse to order any of them and actually not pay for a bottle (a trick if I ever knew one)? Do you think I don’t know which juice to order with the pumpkin risotto and which to order with the grilled fish and what goes better with a roast lamb (depending on if it’s rare or well done)?

Blindfolded, a good Juice expert can tell a Dewlands from a Berri from a Just Juice and would be revolted if any of that Home Brand nonsense was served up at their table. They can tell instantly whether you’ve actually added water to dilute it and make the juice go further – or whether that’s just a melted ice cube.

An Orange Juice Snob can tell a Freshly Squeezed from one with even a few Artificial Colours and Flavourings simply by a sniff. And what percentage Artificial Sweetener. The difference between 5% and 6% and 7% can all be detected within a nanosecond. And which valley the orange orchard comes from – no two orange orchards taste alike. It pains me when a delicious entrĂ©e is killed off by the wrong orange juice, really it does.

I have been to restaurants and seen a person order the fish and is about to partake of their orange juice. I know it will not bring out the flavour of their fish, and my Orange Juice Snobbery comes to the fore. I find it my Civic Duty to rush over to their table – sometimes knocking over waitstaff (a disgusting word, but we'll get to that later), but it’s all in a good cause – to shriek “STOP, Oh don’t DO this terrible thing to yourself!” and instruct them on the basics of orange juice drinking, and order for them the correct juice. Some tell me I should leave well enough alone, and if people order what they enjoy, I should let them enjoy their own choice.

But I am inflexible. I know, as an Orange Juice Snob, I would not enjoy the meal, and therefore, it is unthinkable that others could enjoy the meal too. Invasion of space and bumps and bruises that ensue or not, I know I have brought one more small light to the dark world of ignorance, and that pleases me. I’ll keep on informing people of what ought to be their choices, based on my superior knowledge.

Wherever I go, I am armed with my Go Green bag filled with Orange Juice samples and pamphlets of Orange Juice Suggestions – a good way to impart my knowledge on others, and a good excuse to take swigs almost anywhere and anytime in the guise of educating others. I write all off as a tax deduction, of course. It’s now a full time job.

Orange Juice Snobbery Rules!