Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas wrap

We have just returned from a fabulous Christmas break in the southern climes, where we ate and were merry many days on end. Those days having now come to an end we find ourselves at home and hungover with uncomfortably tight pants; all signs of a Christmas well spent.

Since it has been a couple of weeks since my last post I do hope you'll indulge me this little Christmas wrap.

The season started brilliantly with the discovery of some irreverent Christmas artworks a few streets away from where I live:

Such tasteful composition, don't you think?

And I'm sure da Vinci would be pleased with the subtle enhancements to his half-smiling Florenzian:

I'm not sure who was originally responsible for the waif to the bottom left of Ms Lisa but I like the cut of her tights.

At a friend's work Christmas party I met the Santa Most Likely To Die From Eyeliner Exposure, which was a particular thrill:

Finally, a match for my drawing skills: this Santa couldn't draw his way out of a dot-to-dot. Happy days!

Some things have deeply mystified me this Christmas season, like this:

What in God's name is a 'glamour camper'? And who goes 'glamour camping'? And who pays $140 so their son/daughter can play pretend 'glamour camping' (whatever the hell it is)? This is everything that's wrong with Christmas.

Equally as mystifying as the glamour camper but $140 less expensive was the sight of this car, motoring along in an adjacent lane on the way out of town:

I like to think it's a tribute to a feminist rock-climber, on the horizontal for transportation only.

Less surprising was the damp end my annual attempt at filing came to:

But the best part of my Christmas break was that everyone was too busy rolling about to stay still for photos. Blurry shots are the best, don't you think?

Monday, December 14, 2009

The gentle art of selling crap

I'm not very good at bargaining. In fact I really suck at it.

Here's me bargaining for a jacket a few years ago:

Me: "Yeah hi, how much is that jacket?"

Market Stall Shopkeep: "That one? $140."

[Me to friend: "Shit shit, that's heaps. Should I try to get him down?"]

Me to Market Stall Shopkeep: "Will you take $135?"

Market Stall Shopkeep: "Sure, ok."

[Me to friend: "Yes!"]

It's probably fair to say no government would want me working on their hostage negotiation team.

But while it's a little disappointing to realise the extent of my lack of bargaining skills, this knowledge has allowed me recently to take control of the buyer-seller relationship, to turn the tide on exchange, to grab capitalism by its hairy balls.

That's right, my new life goal is to become an eBay Super Seller. Selling, I see now, is the side you want to be on.

So I've created a naff eBay user ID, written some extra naff copy (including the lines: "With all the features a computer-desk-needer needs" and "Go on, take it home; you know you want to"), and what ho! I've made a sale. Here's how my auction went:

6d 23h 17m: $0.99 listing price, no bids

1d 10h 42m: $0.99 listing price, no bids

7 h 23m: $1.25, 1 bid

33s: $1.50, 2 bids

8s: $2.25, 3 bids

0s: $5.50, 4 bids and sold.

Extraordinary. What a ride. So minus the listing costs ($2.13) I'm $3.37 ahead AND someone is going to come and take my junk away. You couldn't pay for this kind of satisfaction.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ruddock again in 2010? Bwahaha!

From the SMH on Tuesday:

Tony Abbott has returned Kevin Andrews, Bronwyn Bishop and Philip Ruddock to the coalition frontbench, unveiling a marked shift to the right in his first shadow ministry.

The three controversial Howard government-era ministers have been given key portfolios in Mr Abbott's new-look team.

As the face of welfare for the coalition, Mr Andrews will take on families, housing and human services and Ms Bishop, who was involved in the famous kerosene baths scandal as former ageing minister, will be responsible for seniors.

I had resolved yesterday to spend the vast majority of my leisure time in 2010 reading political commentary and watching The 7:30 Report, it being an election year and all.

Then I read about Abbott's awesome new frontbench and figured my time would be better spent unpacking my hammock and throwing Cheesels at the tv instead, just for yucks.

What will you be doing now we don't need to worry about the election?

Monday, December 7, 2009

[insert test pattern]

We apologise for this break in transmission.

It has been brought to our attention that Ms Kettle's household clutter has reached dangerous levels. In order to ensure the ongoing safety and well being of her nearest and dearest she has been instructed to get rid of some of her crap, or at least put some of it away (for God's sake).

It has been reported that as little as a 10% reduction in her clutter will increase the lifespan of her fellow inhabitants by five to eight years.

Please forward any suggestions regarding the treatment of surplus books and novelty moustaches to the comments section below.

Thank you for your co-operation.

The Crap Police

PS, we understand that any instructing, implied or otherwise, mentioned in this post is entirely the product of Ms Kettle's internal Doris Day (the surly Doris). Mr Kettle and Little Kettle couldn't be reached for comment (presumed buried under magnetic travel games and spherical jigsaw puzzles).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This is not a review

A few years ago I wrote a review of a novel for a journal. It was one of the worst writing experiences of my life. I suck at writing reviews. My reviews have two lengths: haiku or thesis, and I can't, no matter how hard I try, write anything in between. This made the 921 words of this particular review the most agonising 921 words I've ever written.

My haiku-length reviews are borne out of a theory of mind issue I seem to have: somehow (in my mind) if I'm thinking about a book I figure everyone else is too? In which case, what is there to say? We've all read it, had the same thoughts and come up with the same conclusions (surely, eh?). All that's left to do with these reviews is list where and when I bought my copy of the book, and perhaps whether I had my umbrella with me that day or not (I most often do).

My thesis-length reviews are margin-to-margin verbiage. I don't know why the sentences go on and on like they do sometimes, but I do know that I once used the phrase 'literal and symbolic violence' which still makes me want to crawl under my kitchen bench and stay there.

All this is by way of telling you that I went to see Lone Scherfig's An Education at the movies yesterday, which I quite enjoyed but which I can't, as a dysfunctional review non-writer, tell you anything useful about.

This being the case, here's a list of some random movie related things I thought about over the course of the day:

1. The very best movies in the whole wide world are set in schools and focus on characters whose favourite subjects are English and Latin (and better yet, contain lines from ditsy, well-meaning friends like: "Forget about Latin; soon no-one will be speaking it, not even the Latins.");

2. Going to the movies in the mid afternoon messes with the whole daylight/real people alignment I have going on in my head. This makes for confusing and slightly embarrassing dinner table conversation when you blurt out to your family: "Hey guess who I saw today! Peter Sarsgaard! No wait, he was the guy in the movie. Was he? No yeah, it was him. Bum, I felt like I'd seen him at work today. How weird. Anyway, whatever, he's sort of hot. So... um... pass the salad?"

3. After going to the movies in the mid afternoon, and after the ensuing confusing and slightly embarrassing dinner table conversation when you get real life and movie land mixed up, it's good to go to the fridge and find a bottle of Little Creatures pale ale just waiting for you, all frosty and friendly.

Trust me, this ridiculous list is better than if I'd written a review. For shame.