Sunday, February 21, 2010

This just in: parking fines still suck

It has been brought to my attention recently by a silly local council-type that doing certain things in car parks is considered dangerous and that doing these certain dangerous things (and getting caught - bugger) warrants immediate recompense by way of handing over $84 to another silly local council-type.

While it's theoretically possible that the first silly local council-type (the one who left the sunny yellow fine notice under my windscreen wiper) was a. primarily concerned for my welfare, and b. a thoroughly reasonable person, it's highly unlikely, so it is that I call on you to join me, dear comrades, in overthrowing the local council parking dictatorship!

Sure the revenue raised from parking fines goes towards maintaining essential services, planting trees, saving baby fur seals et cetera, but couldn't I contribute in some other way than paying $84 for parking the wrong way around in a car spot?

Yes, that was my hideous crime. I did this:

When I should have done this:

Once more in case you missed it (unlikely, I know, given the intense danger inherent in the situation); this:

Instead of:

Mercy, I'm lucky to be alive. Imagine if Obama got it wrong just once and parked front-to-kerb instead of rear-to-kerb; heavens! The whole world would collapse.

So now I have to steal enough plants from local council gardens beds then sell them at the local council markets on Saturday in order to pay my $84 local council parking fine.

Ah-ha! So the system does work after all.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Irony! Irony! Get you irony here!

Remember when Alanis Morissette released her song 'Ironic' back in 1995? And how it sparked a debate about irony and what makes something ironic?

There was rather a large carry-on at the time about how all the situations Morissette describes in her song are more just dirty rotten bad luck than ironic, and for the reductiveness and stupidity of the debate I blame Reality Bites entirely ("Can you define irony?" squeaked a nymph-sized Winona Ryder; "It's when the actual meaning is the complete opposite from the literal meaning," threw back the silly, bum-fluffed Ethan Hawke.)

Yes yes blah blah, one of the definitions of 'irony' is where the actual meaning is the opposite of the stated meaning, but irony can also mean an incongruity between what is expected and what actually occurs, thus it is (by this definition) ironic that you should find a black fly in your chardonnay (you didn't expect it to be there, did you?), and that you find yourself (or, more accurately, someone else finds you) dead the next day after winning the lottery.*

(*Please note, I'm assuming here that your death was unexpected to you, unless of course you had planned to commit suicide, or you were scheduled to be a sacrifice to some deity or other. In these cases it's not so much ironic that you won the lottery then died as rather bad timing. Or you have the wrong friends.)

Point is, the debate about irony surrounding the Morissette song, however imprecise and illogical it may sometimes have been, has kept the concept of irony front of mind so that when stories like this appear we all know what it reeks of:

Anti-Immigration Ex-Politician Pauline Hanson Set to Emigrate to the UK.

What's that, Pauline? There's something black floating in your frosty, hard-earned beer? Oh that's a fly, I put it there earlier. No it's not ironic; you must have expected it, surely?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Is it just me, or do you think I'm crazy too?

Last week I spent some time with a 75-year old woman. We had only met that morning and had the whole day together so we started in the way that all new acquaintances start, with general pleasantries and the odd bit of social mapping ("So how do you know...?", "Oh I see!").

We had a quiet but productive morning, passing the occasional comment about the tennis (our appreciation of Roger Federer's fine legs, for example) and telling the odd joke about Descartes and politicians.

It was all going fine until we were about to break for lunch; at that point it all went hideously wrong.

I looked across the table at her and said, "Would you mind passing me that ... um ... thingummy. The little ... with the ... oh bum, you know, with the [insert hand gesture] ... Oh man, what's it called? The the the ... you know, to hold the ... with the ... MY GOD! To hold the freakin' paper together?"

She stared at me (as though I'd been babbling incoherently), and said, droll-as, "You mean ... paperclip?" Then she laughed so hard she snorted and had to put her foot up on a chair.

After she'd finished laughing her arse off, said "oh dear" a few times and coughed once or twice (for effect), she said, "I'm glad to know you have senior moments too," then she leaned forward confidentially and whispered, "You might want to see someone about that, before it's too late," and roared with laughter again.

So after this disastrous brain malfunction I'm pretty sure I'm experiencing the early stages of early onset senility.

But it's ok, I'm onto it: I've diagnosed myself via a range of trust-worthy forum-based medical websites, I've bought a jumbo-sized container of fish oil capsules, and I've made sure my Power of Attorney includes the words "reduced capacity" (it does). So all I have to do now is get started on this pile of Sudoku, crosswords and mind-bending challenging logic puzzles (as any good current affairs show would recommend).

Think you might be going senile too? Come stave it off with me; here, sit. We can share my puzzle book. Let's do that one, the one about the shopping. I'll read it out (have you got a pencil?): "Susan, Stephen and Stephanie helped their mother to carry the shopping home. Each child had seven pieces of fruit in his or her bag..."

I'm feeling better already.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

'Ello 'ello, you're a very lovely TV station and I'd like to buy you a drink

Over the last few months there has been a rash of new digital TV stations on air. There's digital-this and Go!-that and more kids' stations than you can poke a Justine Clarke at.

With all these new stations there's the predictable mix of crap from yesteryear (like the Flintstones; die, Barny, die) and more present-day bafflers like that extraordinarily bouncy version of basketball from the States that involves very tall men and trampolines.

Anyway, while most of the new stations are fairly unimpressive from 6am to midnight there is one that's gold all day: Teachers' TV. Oh my lordy it's like porn for nerds.

The first time I watched it there were shows about bullying, about leadership in the classroom, about how to survive (and thrive!) as a substitute teacher. Sure it took me a few minutes to figure out what 'permanent exclusion' meant when the Strategies for Inclusion show started, but I knew exactly what was going on in the show about Sue, the maths teacher from Birmingham, who had a bit of teacherly coaching from some mentor guy and then taught the best lesson of her life. Wow! What a ride.

The first time I tuned in I watched for three hours straight; I was enlivened, I was inspired, I wanted to enrol in a Dip Ed straight away.

Then I happened to flick over to Teachers' TV again about a week later and what ho! The same shows were running, the bullying, the classroom leadership, the substitute teaching. Sure I was glad I knew what 'permanent exclusion' meant this time, but I couldn't believe Sue was back there peddling her insecurities then soaring again to teach the best lesson of her life!

Teachers' TV: back on the streets as soon as you enrol in that Dip Ed.