Sunday, October 31, 2004

Pretty in Pink

I spent Saturday night with Daz, J, and Courtney at the Flinders Medical Centre Foundation's annual breast cancer fundraiser, the Pink Ribbon Ball.

I started the night as an usher, greeting guests on arrival, and advising them where they were seated. That was the fun part, because I got to see some of the flashiest and trashiest fashions around. Actually, in some cases, I am using the word "fashion" quite loosely. And it always makes me laugh how older ladies think they can get away with newer fashions. But there were a few ladies there who looked elegant, and dressed their age. Phew.

And finally I've broken the no-cosmopolitan drought, having consumed 2 at the Hyatt afterwards (plus the margarita, which was not my fault - that was all Daz and J). Needless to say, I found it very difficult to stand up until about 3.30pm on Sunday, my head was absolutely splitting and I felt like I was going to throw up. But I kept it all in, and managed to drag myself to the supermarket to get a cold Coke and some decent headache pills from the blessed pharmacist (who I stopped short of embracing in gratitude).

And so here I am today, feeling quite nervous for tonight's Award Ceremony for the Environment Youth Art Prize. The paparazzi have been invited, so I may yet make the Adelaide social pages. I thought I would have to set myself on fire in order to make it there, but perhaps not...

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Quiet on the set...

There are a three things in life that really annoy me:
  1. People (except doctors) who leave their mobile phones on at the movies or a show;
  2. People who answer their mobile phones at the abovementioned functions, and then keep talking; and
  3. People who sniff incessantly when it becomes clear they have forgotten a tissue or hanky.

So imagine the fragile state I found my nerves in today at the launch of the Clipsal 500, commencing in Adelaide in March 2005 when I found myself in the midst of people who did all 3 of these taboo actions. Now given the size and girth of the people committing these social atrocities today, it goes without saying that I suffered in silence.

And quite often, I find there is always someone as socially conscious (though perhaps not as discrete....or chicken) as myself, who will "AHEM" loudly at the ringing of a mobile phone, leading to a "turn the phone off, ya jackass" when it turns out the person starts chatting. So I tend to leave mobile phone abusers alone. But it's the absence of a good Kleenex or clean hanky that really kills me.

So I ask you, is it polite at times like that to whip around and donate an unused Kleenex to the offending (nay, offensive) individual? Or are they likely to punch my lights out?

Wiggy dreamin'

Last night's dream took the proverbial cake for weirdness.
You might remember I expressed significant reluctance for attending my 10-year high school reunion. So I was somewhat liberated when I tendered my "thanks but no thanks" letter in the post the other day. My subconscious has clearly not let go, however, because last night I had a horrible dream that I actually turned up at the function. I was filled with apprehension when I walked through the doors, not sure who I would meet, and whether I would remember a single person after all. But imagine my shock and horror when I discovered that all my old school chums had joined some sort of gymnastic or ballet academy. As a result they were all stick-thin and fabulous, and (perhaps the worst of all), they were all best buddies!! I was completely on the outer and the fact that I turned up alone made it even worse. The girls remembered me but they were more concerned with catching up with each other and talking about the next gymnastic/ballet performance. Weird, huh?
On the upside, I woke up.
I arrived at work this morning to discover that Kate's sister Alix has entered blogland, and I've linked her site here. If you've got the travel bug, but not the finances to get you over there, visit Al's site and marvel at her travels around Scandinavia, given her recent fabulous promotion to that corner of the galaxy. Congrats on getting started Al, I look forward to reading about all your adventures!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Oh la la

Friends will know that Katie has left Aussie shores for fab Paris, and has scored a fantastic 3-year contract and will no doubt shake things up a bit.

The fact that her office (and her residence to boot) is in spitting distance from the Champs-Elysees (my shopping mecca) is just a bonus that I can't bring myself to think about without shaking.

So I introduce you to Kate's travel blog, guaranteed to make even the most avid armchair-traveller consider making a bee line for the nearest Flight Centre!!

Here's a llama

For a bit of silliness this morning, I have Miss Brooks from work to thank...(I hope this link works).

Put the sound up and settle back, all comfy-like...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

You lose

I almost forgot to share the awful news...I was heinously outbid for several vintage items on ebay this week.
Readers of this column might remember I had wanted to bid on some "outrageous to glamorous" couture for the Environment Youth Art Prize award ceremony that we're having on Monday 1 November. On a browse through the ebay archive, I had found a terrifyingly bad (yet strangely appealing) purple velvet dress which I was going to buy for a whole $8.00 but was pipped at the post yesterday by some sad and callous creature with a taste for velvet dresses.
But I could deal with that. It's when I was also outbid for an emerald green Lisa Ho outfit ($25) AND the vintage embroidered blue skirt ($20) that my blood really started to boil. Why are there people out there who like what I like? Why can't people have their own taste and let me just win a bid once in a while?!
So I'm going to take goldie's advice and head to Harbour Town Adelaide, where the clothes are inexpensive, and where the fights for bargains are a little more fair.

Throw another one on the barbie

The ultra employable Hellraiser emailed me this morning, attaching an interesting article for my consideration. I like cooking, and I like experimenting with my cooking. But I don't know whether I'm really ready for the Peruvian national dish of...wait for it....guinea pigs.

Particularly not since Joshua's pets, Chad (the stud) and Bonnie (his long-suffering and exhausted missus), had several litters of guinea piglets in recent months. I mean, I've held those piglets, and didn't want to put any of them on skewers once.

Okay perhaps I'm being silly. Maybe when I'm in Peru, I will be presented with a bowl of guinea pig stew, or stir fried guinea pig, and it will taste like chicken. After all, everything else does, right? "The Age" article suggests that they taste like rabbit, so a bit more gamey than the taste sensation I might be expecting.

But I think it's hard to expect Western audiences to embrace this new food movement eagerly. I mean, eating guinea pig when you're in Peru is one thing, but when your'e dining out in London it's not really what you'd expect, is it? Still, if I enjoy a shiskebab of guinea pig while I'm sunning it up in Cuzco next year, by the time I get to London it will be such old news, I'll be ready to move on to the next food fad.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Murphy is the patron saint of all things

Yesterday was one of those days when the only antidote was to either drink heavily, or go home early and pull the covers over my head. Fortunately in the interests of liver health I chose the latter option.

Nothing has really worked for me since Saturday night. Let me preface this with the fact that I am a drama queen, and I know that. When I drop something on the floor, I blame it on the Parkinson's disease (that I don't have), rather than the simple clumsiness (that I do have).

But my tendency to overreact does not explain the string of balls-ups that peppered my weekend and oozed into yesterday. I'd hesistate to call it a "comedy of errors", but that would imply that some of it was funny. And it was not.

I've decided to get a new passport so I went on Saturday to have my pictures taken at K-Mart, where I learned that the obliging 15 year old behind the counter would take and re-take digital pictures until I was 100% happy with the result. But every single picture he took made me look like I'd been arrested at 3am for a range of unsavoury offences. They were positively horrible. So then I did the typical female "thing" (I'm so ugly, my hair is beyond help bla bla) and felt generally awful for a few hours. But I flipped out and then recovered sufficiently to realise that if I took some time doing my hair, slapped some mascara on, maybe I could have them done again. So I trotted off yesterday to the Polaroid place and had more taken. Hair was better, mascara was on, earrings were fab, but I still looked awful.

The poor girl at the photography place tried to tell me that "no one looks nice in passport pics because you can't smile" but I look positively ropable. And the only thing that calms me down is that the picture looks like I've been on a plane for 24 hours - so at least when the immigration people check my passport at the various airports, at least I'll look like my picture!

Friday, October 22, 2004

You think too much!

I woke up this morning still unsure about whether I enjoyed “Vanity Fair”. I think I am resolved to stick it in the “wait until DVD” category, despite the beautiful costumes and stunning Reese Witherspoon. It was a rather long movie, and didn’t move too quickly but I got home last night and looked at the book, and I was actually impressed someone could condense those million pages into a 2 hour-plus cinematic event. No wonder I abandoned the book after about 10 chapters; it seems quite an undertaking even now.

Reese’s character of Becky Sharp in last night’s movie was determined to rise up in society, because she believed she belonged there. So she approached this social climbing with determination, almost to the exclusion of human relationships. She had her eyes fixed on one goal, and did whatever she could to reach it. And I suppose the ultimate lesson of the movie was that such ruthless determination always costs dearly.

So on the back of that reflection, I am left wondering what it takes to get what you want in life. If you’re content with your situation, have you settled? Should you give up on a life goal, if what it takes to achieve it seems like a lot of hard work? I guess I’m pursuing my travel plans with the same determination that Becky showed in the film. I have that timeline set for myself, and can’t let any unexpected life events get in the way of that.
But then there is Gem’s easygoing nature that makes me wonder whether loosening the reins a bit and easing pressure on myself wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Gem lets life move her along, and doesn’t live her life by deadlines. I envy that free spiritedness, and I would like to think that once I’ve got the travel “thing” out of my system, maybe then I can be carefree to that extent. Okay, can you plan to be carefree? Isn’t that just a beautiful contradiction?! Oh man….

Oh, fair vanity!

Am looking forward to tonight's social adventure. I'm going to see "Vanity Fair" with my friend Groovy Gem, whose new home at the Adelaide Festival Centre is a source of great professional advancement (and free theatre tickets, do you mind).

Last night I actually found a dress to wear to the Environment Youth Art Prize award ceremony on 1 November hurray. I bid a whole $8 for it on ebay, so I am clearly the last of the big spenders. It is made of "shot velvet", which i think is a synonym for crushed velvet (which I normally hate), but who cares? The dress code for this affair is "outrageous to glamorous" so I am going to do something serious with crushed velvet and a feather boa. Silly.

Chris had a haircut. It is spikey. He is eating a milk coffee biscuit. This is how exciting our life is. About as bland as the biscuit, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

"Vintage" does not mean "crap", people!

Trawling through ebay last night, I was searching the vintage clothing pages in the hope of finding an inexpensive yet fabulous dress to wear to my cousin's wedding in February.

But I think some online sellers need to be reminded that just because something was manufactured in the 80s, is covered in sequins, or has the word "glomesh" in the title, does not make it "vintage". Nine times out of ten, though, it will make it "ugly". But I guess "ugly" doesn't sell as well...

And I was equally perplexed at the number of items badged as "very Carrie" or "tres Sex & the City". Give me a break. I've been devoted to the last 6 seasons of the Carrie show, as everyone knows. And I feel quite sure that Carrie would never slip inside some of those foul creations. She's worn some nutty outfits over time but these things were just misleading. I have an isssssue about this, as you can tell.

So I am without a vintage dress for the wedding, but I am not giving up. I will find a sparkly little number that won't cost me the earth, which will help me justify the Carrie-ism I have adopted as my own: "Wearing a $10 dress means I can buy $700 shoes". Makes sense to me.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Old-fashioned romance

So I settled in (finally) to get my fix of Carrie & Co last night, having missed the last episode and fearing I'd be entirely out of it. But it didn't take me long to realise that Carrie & Petrovsky have started to get hot & heavy. I knew that was going to happen (being addicted to as I was throughout the US screening of Season 6.

But when Petrovsky read Carrie poetry last night, and then bought her the Oscar De La Renta number she had been salivating over in the pages of Vogue, I had to cringe. Why was she letting him do that? I don't think I could bear it if my new boyfriend (underline NEW) bought me haute couture just because I said I liked it. Particuarly if I also knew that him reading me poetry made me feel icky. Where are her scruples? Okay I'll slide the soap box back into the cupboard and get over it.

Our beloved Hellraiser commenced a brave new chapter in her life yesterday and tendered her resignation. Bravo to you, darl, for the exciting decision and willingness to get out there and take the next challenge by the proverbial stones! I wish you all the very best for this new stage of life - and I know that your courageous dismount will see you landing on your feet, and being given a perfect 10.0 even from the tough Romanian judges :)

3 months and 2 days till I finish in this place myself - commencing countdown. 13 weeks of work left to go. COME ON YOU GOOD THING!!

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Unrequited Love

Okay I did something slightly batty on Saturday night. I called my uni friend and asked her how long it had been since she bawled her eyes out at the movies. After a highly drunken night on Friday, and the subsequent punishment on Saturday morning, all I felt like doing was sitting in a dark room shovelling popcorn in my face.
And so it was that we found ourselves at the 9.10pm session of "The Notebook", two girls, a big bucket of popcorn, and a fistful of Kleenex.
Now I usually have a problem with books that I've read (and loved) being made into movies. But the film version of "The Notebook" just pulled out all the stops and did everything it could to be an ultimate tear-jerker. Superb casting (Ryan Golding plus beard, where have you been all my life?!) made the romantic characters a great joy to watch for a few hours. But when the film-makers changed the books ending, as viewers scrambled for the last crusty tissue at the bottom of the handbag, I was disappointed. For where the book ended hopefully, simply, and beautifully, the movie just did the abrupt bawl-fest ending and my poor Uni friend was left blubbering like a baby.
Still, I had promised her a tear-jerker, and in that way I delivered. She has promised to get me back though, so that's something to worry about.

It takes a bit for me to cry in movies. I did cry in the ABC's episode of "Australian Story" on Saturday, but I think that's because the walloping hangover made my eyelids hurt. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

It IS a big, weird world after all

Did you know that Madras and Chennai are the same place, or that Bombay and Mumbai are the same place? I am going to ace the next quiz night with THOSE new pieces of intelligence. I am basking in the glow of my own smartness right now, so let's leave the geography there.

In between attacks of the irrites here at work over the last few days, I have been browsing GREAT web journals maintained by other Aussies both here and abroad, and thinking about what they write and how they manage to sound so cool. Will I ever sound like anything other than a whinger, when my life really isn't that bad at all? So the "New Week Resolution" (can't wait for 31 December) is to write about thought-provoking things and engender in everyone the confidence that I am, in fact, cool.

But in the event that this resolution is never actually realised, let me give you some guidance as to why I might not (or might never) be cool. I have received an invitation to my 10 year school reunion. I don't think it's hit me just how long 10 years is. But yes dear friends, it has been 10 years since I donned the uniform and therapeutic footwear AND THE BERET (move on, nothing to see here) to patrol the Catholic school corridors and hand out pink detention cards like they were going out of fashion. And isn't it ironic, as Alannis would say, that it takes 10 years to forget your geeky school experience, and just when you thought you'd drunk enough beer to wipe out those brain cells that were holding on to evil school memories, the invitation arrives and WHAMMO, you're back there again.

I have nothing against the girls who are organising our reunion. They were always very pleasant and perfectly polite. Which is why they are organising the reunion. They clearly don't have the cultural intelligence to consider how much torture high school was for the vast majority of their school 'chums'. But faced with the remonstrations of at least one of my parents, I have to wonder whether 10 years is actually enough time to move on from those bad experiences. After all, I'm not the same person I was 10 years ago - so can I really assume that the girls are the same people they were? Do I really want to go there to find out?!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Me vs TV

Late yesterday afternoon I received an email telling me I'd been accepted for the Peru trip in March 2005. This gives me the chance to confirm all my travel details and start counting down properly.

There isn't much more I can add in this post, except to wonder why the gods of Sunday TV are asking me to make the judgement call between Network 10 and Channel 9. After all, the CSI gang and my new favourite Cold Case will be taking up permanent (?) residence in Channel 9's Sunday line-up; while Channel 10 is still devoting itself to Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Now I ask you, how am I possibly supposed to decide when faced with such a dilemma. But just say I do decide, in this DVD age, do I even remember how to program my VCR?!

It's me versus the TV...

Monday, October 11, 2004


I ended up scoring a free Personal Data Assistant (PDA) a few months ago, from a generous benefactor (aka Dad), who assured me that the little device would marvellously streamline my hectic life. The damn thing hasn't worked since about a fortnight after I got it, leading me to believe either a) the device is crap; or b) I have no life to program into it. I think I know which is the more likely....I'll take what's behind curtain B, Larry!

Actually that's not really true. I am going out for a rich Indian dinner this Thursday - yummm rogan josh bring it on! And then on Friday it's a friend's birthday so I'm going to the Hyatt to drink cocktails and see a band. One of my previous posts commented on the long time between cosmos, so I think I have a stellar opportunity to remedy that this Friday. Can't wait. They are $15 but they are pretty darn good.

Oh that reminds me, I missed the most recent exploits of Carrie Bradshaw & Co last night, instead subjecting myself to the final episode of "The 4400". That is 3 hours of my life I won't get back. I hate it when the second night is worse than the first night - and why is it that I just know it's going to be average TV and yet I still watch it? There is something perverted about that. But I can't wait until Season 6 of "Sex" is available on DVD so that I can reprise my role on the couch, wine in hand, living vicariously through the girls in the designer duds. Those will be the days...

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Fly me to the moon...

Friday was one of the best days I've had in some time. I went to the travel agent, buoyed by the notion that in just over 3 months I will finish work and be ready to zoom zoom fly outta here. I have only had a few mini panic attacks about it too, which is pretty good. Last night's panic was the most recent, and stemmed from a fear that Spanish terrorists would hijack my plane as I flew into Madrid. I need to read up on Spanish militancy and brush up on the appropriate hostage negotiation vocabulary just in case.

Okay so I say all of that only half in jest. There is a bit of me, deep down inside (past the usual layers of crap) that wonders just what this overseas jaunt will bring. Here is a fleeting overview of the itinerary so far. Hold on to your hats - the first few months are a whirlwind...(dates aren't confirmed yet so just roll with me here)

February 14 - leave behind the cuckoo lovers in Adelaide and jet out to LA, and do a Contiki tour of California for just over 10 days
Feburary 28 - LA to Lima, Peru with a transfer to Cuzco to commence 4 weeks' with Peru Challenge
April 12 - Lima to Madrid, spend a few days in sunny Spain, conversing with the locals in my brilliant Spanish skills garnered in Peru naturally (no terrorists need apply here)
April 15 - jet into Charles de Gaulle in Paris and stay with best friend for just over a week
April 22 - land in Istanbul to commence 14 day Turkey tour, which includes beautiful ANZAC Day dawn service (which I, ironically, won't drag my a$$ out of bed for here - go figure)
May 2 - go back to Paris and stay with Kate for 3 weekends, going out and meeting French men awww yay
??? - somehow finding gainful employment in Scotland? London? Can't quite decide....suggestions welcome
late January 06 - Singapore for 2 weeks
February 06 - return to Adelaide via Perth

Now that's a pretty loose idea of an itinerary, but the ideas are there. Now I need to do sums and see whether I can afford such extravagance. I spent the better part of yesterday diving behind the couch searching for spare change. Nuthin'.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Worms are no laughing matter

Okay heard some interesting news today about intestinal worms. Apparently they live in Peru.

I was so pleased to hear from Meghan this morning (GO CANUCKS!), but was alarmed to read that her Aussie man's travelling buddy has picked up some hitch-hiker worms in her intestines. Now that is not a pleasant image, and I'm sure they're not a joy to have either.

But I am resolved to stay on course, and travel to Peru and live in Cuzco and climb Macchu Pichu (at least from the bus carpark). I think I will forgo some of the pleasures of life like make-up or (gulp) expensive perfume, and instead load my suitcase up with an elaborate array of over-the-counter pharmeceuticals designed to fend off nasty, wriggly pests. They will NOT inhabit my person. I will not eat anything from dodgy street vendors with big smiles and large vats full of unidentified muck. No matter how yummy it smells. I will not eat guinea pig either, national dish or not. Okay perhaps I might revise that last one - after all, when in Peru....

Happy as a piggy...

I don't know what it is, but I've been in a really good mood all week. And it's not that everything's going my way, but I am finding myself more resilient than usual.

I think it's contentment. Foreign feeling for me, but nevertheless there you go.

Stressful occurrence in traffic this morning - nearly got run off the road by a bitchy double-bus along Main North Road and the stupid driver had no idea. A wrinkly gran on the bus seemed slightly alarmed when she saw my expression and Mum's attempt to swerve into the gutter to avoid a disaster. Or perhaps she could lip-read and discerned the stream of obscenities I hurled at Evil Kanevil of our public transportation system.

<> I have a date with my travel agent tomorrow...THAT'S why I'm so happy right now. I can almost smell the REAL Italian coffee, and hear the Vespas whooshing by. And I can't wait to visit Paris again, after Mags returned to work the other day raving about la belle ville and the equally gorgeous men. Bring it on.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Ola magaritas

I have come to a fairly interesting decision about my upcoming trip, and that is the inclusion of Peru as a destination.

I have been fascinated by ancient cultures for as long as I can remember, and the Egyptians, Romans, and Incans particularly have always been a real curiosity. So when I saw a spot on "The Great Outdoors" on TV about a fortnight ago, it was the clincher.

Called "The Serpent Challenge" (let's hope for a spiritual, not reptilian, reason), Perus Challenge is a great 4-week introduction to beautiful Cuzco. And let's face it, if you've seen "The Emperor's New Groove", you'll understand the appeal of that place. So the four weeks is a volunteering opportunity to work with the young kids of Cuzco, helping them build a school and basically the surrounding community too. I have asked to help the kids read and write English, because I'm not much of a gardener or artist or musician (some of the other vocations). The website also asks you to bring things for the kids with you - the sorts of supplies they'll need to be most effective in the activities you'll be doing with them. But the real coup for me is the chance to learn Spanish during the days, when I'm not with the kids. The price of the tour includes four weeks of Spanish lessons AND trips up to Macchu Pichu and other Incan sites - what fun!

Now I have done some readings and I'm well aware of the delightful array of innoculations I have to endure in the lead-up to this adventure, but I can do it. I can be brave and let them use my arm for target practice, right? I am not sure what japanese encephalitis does to you, but I'd rather not find out....

Friday, October 01, 2004

Make mine a Reisling...or is it "i" before "e"?

As I sit here listening to the dulcet tones of the Finn brothers (Nick and Tim, in case you're wondering), I reflect on "the week that was".

I actually achieved a lot this week, having personally catalogued 63 entries in our Environment Youth Art Prize. I was so pleased that we managed to get so many entries, and they are all so interesting and different. It's great that we can at least have a decent competition, in terms of near equal representation between the age categories, and people have explored different environmental themes. It's been great that not everyone focussed on marine issues (which is where things were headed for a while). And I think about it now, and we only had 6 entries this time last week. How did it get to 63?! And I catalogued them all. No wonder I'm tired.

There's not much else to say for this week, it really has just been about 'head down, bum up' stuff - working solidly on boring stuff that just needs to get done. I had some lovely lunches to break up the boring days though. And I finished the week successfully, with a delicious happy hour with an equally delicious drinking partner. Now THAT's the way to do things :)