Sunday, January 30, 2005

Pucker Up, Buttercup!

originally uploaded by tink007.
I am sure that Gustav Klimt never anticipated that his work would appear on blogs, but there you go. The advances of modern technology make it possible. And this work, "The Kiss" is not meant to imply any tonsil hockey action on the part of this blogger; rather, it is meant to convey the classy artistic appreciation that I possess. Ahem.

Holy Blogbreak, Batman!

Now I know how true addicts feel. As I sit here at Andrea's, satisfying my blogging fetish, I feel like a smoker who is finally able to inhale the warm, sweet nicotine and feel it flow through the system so starved for it.

Oh blogland, how I have missed you. And now that I'm here - what to tell you? I have just enjoyed my first full week of holidays and I use the term "enjoyed" literally. I have sat in my pyjamas, drinking percolated coffee and reading book upon book. How fabulously decadent to immerse myself in Mr John Grisham, and Ms Whats-her-name who wrote probably the crappest book I've ever read. Still, you win some, you lose some. And if I had felt so strongly about it, I suppose I could have hoisted myself off the couch and consigned it to the dusty bottom of the bookshelf. Nah, too much energy would have been required for that.

My subconscious has been reeling all week with dreams of work. But I guess after 7 years in one workplace, that is to be expected. But dreaming that I'm tidying up my desk and no one was recognising me was a bit of an oddity. Perhaps the trickiest dream message of all to decipher was the bit where I opened my mouth to speak in protest for being ignored and no sound came out. So yes friends, that dream was definitely a nightmare. Speechless Gab - an impossible dream.

And as I stare the 2nd week of holidays in the face, I can look forward to another 7 days of reading books. This time, "Angels and Demons" by Mr Brown. No relation to my travel companion, I assume. No doubt Andrea would have owned up to such literary and familiar connections before now....

So this posting can at least attest to the fact that I am still alive, albeit living a relatively boring existence at home. And I've got another 3 weeks of this?! Crikey.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Way Things Are

Today is my last day at work, and it all feels a bit surreal. I've only ever left one job, and that was the video store - there was no pomp and ceremony surrounding that departure. Just the end of a shift, a bottle of champagne thrust in my hand (bless 'em), and I was out of there.
But leaving the agency has an altogether different feel. I was presented with a lovely gift at yesterday afternoon's drinks - beautiful jewellery and a voucher for Oxfam, both of which demonstrated such generosity on the part of work chums. And tonight's drinks at the revamped Richmond Hotel will be bring together friends new and old, to reminisce on good times and give me a chance to finally accept that I've actually finished working here.
Perhaps that's what I am yet to fully appreciate - this is it. In a few weeks time, I will be on the
other side of the world, experiencing things I've been dreaming about for years. It sounds cliche, but it really did feel like just yesterday I was submitting my leave form to kick-start the holiday planning, and now it's right here. We've got through the Christmas and New Year hurdles that had seemed so remote at the time. Sigh, weird how time really does fly.
This will most likely be my last regular post for a while. I'm spending the next 4 weeks at home, but our domestic internet connection is just not reliable. I hope that when things improve, I will be able to come back on here, and blog on about the 'interesting' things I will be doing in the 4 week hiatus between my work life ending, and my new life beginning.
Take care until we next meet here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening

Like any romantic, I love the sound of rain on the roof, pitter-pattering while I'm warm as toast inside, preferably drinking a glass of decent red (or is that a decent glass of red?). But last night's tempest took the cake for the freakiest weather I've heard in ages.
We had thunder, we had lightning, we had wind. And I had one scared dog, all 40+ kilograms of him shaking like a leaf, and lying in an agitated state across the foot of my bed, making my feet go numb. There was nothing romantic or soothing about that light and sound display, let me tell you.
Of course any big clap of thunder and flash of lightning cut our power, and this happened about 7 or 8 times - at 2am, which was most distracting. Clearly such an interruption to our power supply lead to the inevitable 7.30am scramble to slide out of bed into the shower and out the door in one fluid movement before 8am. And yes, I got it done. Okay, it was 8.05am when I left, but that's close enough.
Given the broken sleep and slap-dash start to my morning, I haven't yet been brave enough to check whether I'm wearing odd shoes, or my singlet inside out. I'm not convinced I care enough about that right now anyway.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

A Princess For Tea

It's weird that sometimes your subconscious can be so peaceful that the dreams you have not only make sense, they are actually good.
Last night I dreamed that I had dinner in Amsterdam with Crown Princess Mary and my friend Kate's dad. I don't know exactly what brought the 3 of us together for a meal, but there we were. The waitress was being bitchy to our table, and she hadn't recognised the Crown Princess at all, which was amusing. I was begging Mary (as I was allowed to call her) to let me tell the waitress who she was, but she laughed it away saying she was embarrassed. She was telling me how much she loved my new beaded purse, that Kate's dad had bought over from Australia for my birthday. Then all of us converged on the register to pay for our meal, and the paparazzi arrived. They were not allowed in the restaurant, so they had to press their noses & cameras up to the window and started clicking away. Mary was really humble about it all, but I was trying to scramble for lipstick and look my best, while at the same time give the impression that this sort of thing happened to me all the time.
The circumstances of the dream made no sense whatsoever, given that I don't make a habit of mixing with royalty - they're a bit thin on the ground Down Under. But who knows who I'll meet on the European journey!
In fact, there is a bet here at work that I'll come back in 12 months married, or at least engaged. I am still finding that prospect amusing, particularly as I know for a fact that Crown Prince Frederik is taken. Maybe I will befriend his wife over a quiet dinner in Amsterdam and be introduced around the Royal Court. Gotta work out how to ditch Kate's dad though hehe.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Hands off my knickers!

In this age of unrest about terrorism, globalisation, wars, etc a story that I heard yesterday shouldn't really have surprised me, but it did. Security guards at some airports and train stations are now uber vigilantes when it comes to checking passenger luggage for bombs and other incendiary devices, and they are snipping off the padlocks travellers are advised to secure to their suitcases.
So I can't really protect myself from these unauthorised searches, I know that. But when I am a little concerned about the risk that my suitcases may be searched at the airport, while I have to stand there and account for their contents - dirty undies and all.
I know it is rather commonplace for customs officers to rifle through a passenger's belongings infront of people, but I've never been that hapless passenger before. I don't want just any uniformed guard going through my smalls! Let's have coffee first, and chat about life, before you reach in and cast aspersions on my underwear preferences. Or at least introduce me to your mother. If not - hands off, buddy!
Do you think the customs people make judgements about your underwear? Should I spend a small fortune on new, sexy underwear in the event that I get searched? Or should I perhaps put on every pair of underwear I own before I board the plane, so that if I am searched, no underwear is found in my suitcase and I am saved the embarrassment of having them waved around the airport. Hmm, that's an interesting idea. Too weird though, even for me.

Sunday, January 16, 2005


I don't care how small a country Belgium is, how neutrally it fits within the UN confines, or how delicious its chocolates are. Belgian beer is flat-out deadly.
Stella Artois is such a genteel name for a beer. It's almost aristocratic, suggesting refinement whose modern air recommends its consumption by a cosmopolitan gal like myself. But no. In copious amounts she has all the charm of paint stripper, and a kick like a rabid mule.
So to take a leaf from my mother's book of tricks (years ago of course), if you were with me on Friday night this message goes out to you: If I did it - I'm sorry; If I said it - I'm sorry; If I even contemplated doing it - I'm sorry. Stella made me do it.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

When an Aussie's word is not enough

When I was in Europe in 2001 I went on a Contiki tour through Italy. It was such great fun, and made even more so by the fact that my flatmate was a sane, fabulous Canadian. The first time I met Meghan, I was in our shared hotel room in Rome, and she had woken me up - so I was wearing my pyjamas and no doubt my bedhair looked rather *electric*.
I had arrived in Rome the night before our tour, and went straight to bed. The curtains in the hotel room were so thick that I had no concept of what time I'd slept till. So when the knock at my door happened, I thought it was the cleaning lady, and figured I could safely say "buongiorno and bugger off" while still in my PJs. I still don't know who got the biggest fright when I opened the door to find bright & breezy Meghan standing there.
And despite this rather dishevelled beginning to our relationship, M and I have remained friends, sending books & coffee and good wishes across the seas via email and snail mail. So when she hooked up with an Aussie fella in her home town of Vancouver, I was well impressed. I don't believe for a second that there is anything wrong with Canadian boys; rather, I have the 2004 Vancouver Canucks calendar and boy, there is NOTHING visibly wrong with them. But there is something about the Aussie male that appeals to my friend Meghan, and I'm okay with that.
So she's been with her boy for a while now, and was making the big plans to come to Oz with him but do you think the Immigration bullies are prepared to let her in the door on a permanent basis? Hell no. And why not? She's too old it would seem. 29 years old, and the Feds are telling her she's not welcome. This country needs speech pathologists (particularly in the eastern states - pool, school - what the hell is with their accents?). So how can the fat Federal Government bore tell her that she's 5 points shy of a residency visa?! No fair, people.
Megs, the country doesn't know what its missing. Maybe you need to write another application - this time, a personal letter to this Immigration twit and tell him that in addition to being a smart and sophisticated health care professional, you're also nearly 6ft tall, blonde, blue-eyed, and funny as hell. You won't be lying and, given what I know of public servants, even the sweaty Canberra ones would have to be intrigued enough by those credentials to stamp the form. It's worth a shot.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Monarchy Needs You!

Today's earlier post expressed some incredulity about the fact that my PR qualifications do not currently meet any oustanding need in the UK.

And then I come across THIS pearler of an article. Wouldn't have happened if I was in charge, that's for darn-tootin' sure.

Apology accepted, now let's move on.

Madam, you're not qualified

I stared in disbelief at the email on my computer screen. The Scottish recruitment agency told me that while my qualifications are certainly impressive, they don't believe I am qualified for any of the jobs currently on their books. What the?!
Okay I've never had an over-inflated sense of my own abilities, but surely even I could have something to contribute to a Scottish PR firm. But it would appear not to be the case at this current time. Nothing annoys me more than those "thanks but no thanks" template emails. Grrr.
But I am not going to be dissauded. I will go and see these temp people when I arrive in Europe, and take a tray of cupcakes if that's what it takes to impress. Clearly Uni qualifications and job experience isn't cutting it. Start praying for them now, people, cause they don't have a clue what's coming. Bwahahaha!!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Tickets, please!

So the big trip is getting closer now and I can almost reach out my fingers, wiggle them a little, and grasp my last day at work. And while I still have work-related tasks to finish before my exit, I can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

The next holiday-related project for me and AB is to finalise a way around France and Italy (and other places?) in the six-week hiatus we have between arriving in France, and getting to Turkey for ANZAC Day at Gallipoli. What to do - where to go?

A train journey around France and Italy seems to be the 'given' at this stage, but we need to consult a map (see yesterday's posting for how successful that might be) and then plan a route to maximise our viewing pleasure, and keep us out of the poorhouse so early in the trip.

One thing I will never forget is to validate my ticket, particularly in France. I've heard stories about the French people being less than accommodating to tourists, and this is largely accurate at train stations. The ticket validating machines at train stations are actually positioned around the station, before you get onto the platform. They are orange letterbox-shaped plastic machines with a slot at the front where you slide your ticket in, and it gets hole-punched. That's it - so easy, even kids can operate them. But they're not labelled, for that would just be too easy. If you don't instinctively know what these bright orange boxes are for, you can be thrown in the Bastille. Well not really, but an unvalidated ticket can get you a pretty decent talking-to by the onboard conductor, ably demonstrating that not all the Nazis cleared out of France after WW2.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Never Eat Soggy Weetbix

I remember when I was in Year 9 and we were learning about navigation. I have a terrible sense of direction, but fortunately it's accompanied by an unfailing ability to seem perfectly in control.
In an effort to dispel the mysteries of a compass, my geography teacher took it upon himself to bestow upon my class a mnemonic (a rhyme or poem you use to help you remember things).
To the strains of "Never Eat Soggy Weetbix", Mr R took us clockwise around the compass (North, East, South, West). Has it helped? Perhaps. Do I still get lost? All the time.
Courtesy of a much more helpful friend and colleague, I yesterday received a series of pocket-sized City maps (Paris, London, Dublin) to help keep me on track during the upcoming holiday. No one can read a Metro map quite like yours truly, but the street maps make me nervous. I hope that by remembering to Never Eat Soggy Weetbix, I can keep myself oriented.
I suppose looking up from the map once in a while will help - if nothing else, it will keep me from tumbling into the Seine.
...and now for something even more nerdy, I've thought about 2 more mnemonics I learned at high school:
  • Roy G Biv: The order of the colours of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet); and
  • My Very Elegant Missus Just Sat Under Nine Potatoes: This mnemonic makes no sense of course, but it reminds me about the order of the planets in our solar system (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto).
I also have one for the elements in the periodic table, but I think if I told you that one, I'd have to kill myself for being the most pathetic person I know - so I'll spare us all.

Deep, dark, and mysterious - that's me!

Take the What High School
Stereotype Are You?

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Marriage is the Pitts

So the honeymoon is over for Brad and Jen, huh? I've never been a Brad Pitta kinda gal, but even I would be flattered if he wanted to have kids with me. But to choose making movies over sharing his genes? Like the majority of the female global community, I'm stumped.

I am a hermit crab

There, I said it.
In the few weeks since Christmas, I have been getting to know the four walls of my bedroom pretty well. Not since I was 13 and received the entire back catalogue of Virginia Andrews books have I spent so much time in bed reading. At the time, I remember I devoured the family saga that culminated with "The Flowers in the Attic" and then spiralled out of control into the biggest load of crap anyone's ever read. But that summer was a special case. Since then, I've received one or two books for Christmas, which have kept me bed-ridden for perhaps a week at most. So here I am nearly a month after Christmas and I've done so much bed-bound reading that I'm going to have to re-introduce myself to society some time very soon, before I forget all the social dos and donts.
Take this weekend just gone, for instance. I finished 2 books - not thin ones, either. I completed "The Crimson Petal and the White" (ye olde softe porne from Ole London Towne) and "A Year in the Merde" (debunking much of the misty myth of Paris and revealing it to be a pretty tough town).
Well what else was I going to do? Watch the Tsunami Benefit concert? The networks brought together the biggest morons on all three TV stations, then put them on the same show screened on all three major networks! ARGH it was like Godzilla - no escape. Music was good though, AND they raised $20 million for their troubles. Kudos to the morons, for sure.
So I retreated into the world of literature, and explored London and Paris. It meant that I didn't have to tart myself up for a night in the reality of Adelaide but this little hermit crab quite enjoyed the peace and quiet, to be honest.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Can you believe everything you read?

I've said before that this blog is meant to be an online travel diary but, since I am still in Ozland, I have spent the last few months blogging on about this and that. Those of you I haven't bored to tears will know that I've devoted a bit of blogtime to dissecting high-brow literature and providing in-depth analysis of current affairs in this big, weird world. And today's post is no exception.
Last night I was talking to Katie on the phone all the way from chilly Paris, and it reminded me about an article I read in the current issue of Australian Vogue (this is the 'highbrow literature' bit, in case you're wondering).
The article is written by a Frenchwoman who attests, right up front in the title of her piece, that French Women Don't Get Fat. It's in black and white, size 400 font (or something) and puts it right out there. Okay, so I was intrigued and read on. Apparently les francaises have disovered the art of eating for pleasure. Rather that gorging on platefuls of gourmet fare, they value high quality, fresh ingredients. They also know what to savour, and how to stop eating once they're full.
Aye, there's the rub.
If I am confronted by an intact pack of Swiss chocolate (its completeness is what would make it a rare delicacy in my house), surely I am obligated to gobble up as much of it as I can in one sitting lest it find a home in the stomach of one of my housemates? Isn't that Darwinism at its most beautiful? Or maybe stuffing one's face is simply the Australian way. Certainly that's what the article suggested to me.
And, forgive me for saying so, but the author of the article did come off just a wee bit smug in all her thinness and chic-ness. She saves it till the last paragraph to posit, in smaller text than the title of course, that this sensible eating style does not make the French superior to other cultures (citing 'American' as an example, though I accept that ascribing a culture to America may have been an editorial oversight). Rather, she suggests that France's gastronomic history is to blame - a sort of "we can't help that we're thin, please don't hate us" sob story. Bah.
Never eat carelessly, she warns in closing. My conclusion would have been 2, 4, 6, 8 - Dig in, don't wait, but that's the Aussie in me I guess.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The kindness of strangers

The aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Asia has caught many of the world leaders by surprise. I don't mean they're shocked at the magnitude of the number of killed or injured, or the clean-up effort required. That has dazzled us all. I am referring to the outpouring of generosity being experienced the world over. One newsreader last night described it as "Australians emptying their pockets" to donate $100 million for the relief effort. It is an unparalelled sum in the history of charitable fundraising in this country.
And though I'm not being handed fistfuls of cash, I am experiencing the kindness of strangers almost every day so far this week. I've had offers of free accommodation for my travels in Hong Kong, the UK and France; offers of job assistance when I'm away; and gifts of travel goods to make my life on the road a little more comfortable.
Several months ago, I read a book called The Kindness of Strangers in which world travellers wrote short stories about strangers that had intervened in their travels at crucial times of distress, and virtually rescued them. The book features a foreword by the Dalai Lama, that sought to summarise the moral of the story; namely, that not everyone is a bastard (this is not a direct quote).
The events of this past week convince me that the Dalai Lama might have been onto something after all.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I'm sooo laid back (yawn)

Well it's been proven - I am a laid back kinda gal - no stresses here, people.

Test what kinda person you are, by taking the John, Paul, George & Ringo test. Sit back and be dazzled as the online quizmaster probes deep into your psyche and touches your soul. Such evocative questions as "what do you wear to bed?" and "what is your favourite animal?" will tell the world what kind of person you really, truly are. Or something.


!!!!!!!!!!!!!which BEATLES song are you?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
brought to you by Quizilla

Butler. Gerard Butler.

originally uploaded by tink007.

Since the lotto win came rolling in yesterday, all $22.45 of it, I've got a bit of the betting bug.

So I'm putting it out there people. Gerard Butler will be the new 007.

If he doesn't look entirely familiar to you right now, this Glaswegian's beautiful face has most recently been half-obscured by a Phantom mask. If Ian Fleming didn't write a musical number into any of his Bond works, someone should get onto it, for this is one talented fella.

Oh and I'm casting myself as Moneypenny. You've got to get in early on these things.

My confidence in betting this guy comes from the fact that I've given some thought to other 'stars' rumoured to be frontrunners for the role:

Jude Law - too pretty
Jonny Lee Miller - too 'period drama'
Colin Firth - too Darcy
Hugh Grant - too scary to contemplate
Colin Farrell - too pottymouthed
Robbie Williams - too tattooed
Eric Bana - too Chopper Reed
Hugh Jackman - money is still good on him, so don't scratch just yet

You heard it here first, folks - Gerry Butler. Swoon.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Survey says: Men are boring?

A very interesting article was brought to my attention today, from the ABC's news website (love it). This tasty treat was relegated to the "offbeat" section of that website, and I'll leave you to decide whether that was appropriate; however, it is very blog-worthy, given it demonstrates the big, weird world that single, smart women do live in.
In posting previous drafts to this blog entry, I've been musing about what this survey concludes.
  • The survey is suggesting that men are marrying women less intelligent than themselves, but are instead looking for women with obviously something (or two significant things) in their favour instead?
  • Smarter women (notwithstanding chest size) are concluding that remaining bachelors are not sufficiently interesting to compel them to strut down the aisle.

Cynics unite!! I guess the survey would be concerning if I cared about getting hitched - and, thankfully, I just don't. And perhaps it's a good thing too because the article closes with the thoughtful summation:

"In many ways he (the smart man) wants a woman who is an old-fashioned wife and looks after the home, a copy of his mum in a way."

Say it with me, peeps: EWWWW.

Oh and another thing. An alarming fact about this survey is that it was conducted by leading Scottish universities. Should I be heading to Scotland if the smart lasses living there have already concluded that their kilt-wearing male counterparts are dullards? Ach, help.

Winners are grinners

Last night's wintery weather brought with it a mild Adelaide day - only 22 degrees Celcius expected in this (supposedly) mid-summery corner of the world. Not that I can tell, as I'm imprisoned on the sixth floor of my stuffy, quasi air-conditioned building.
On the upside, the $31 million lottery draw gave some Aussies a very Happy New Year and, as I trudged to work in my woolly vest (and pants too, you perverts), I longed to be one of them. I was fantasising how nice it would be to be told by the Lotteries person, in scanning my lotto ticket, that I didn't need to go to work today, given my new-found riches.

Then by the time I reached the newsagency, reality had set in, and I'd decided to settle for being told that I'd won enough to buy a decent cup of coffee.
Well imagine my surprise and satisfaction to be handed $22.45 for my troubles. That is lunch AND a cup of coffee. Not enough to retire on, of course, but better than what I walked in with.
Winners are grinners, and the rest can please themselves.

The countdown begins

originally uploaded by tink007.
I have to head back to work tomorrow, after several days of lazing around at home, reading a big book and drinking countless cups of coffee.

It has been an entirely relaxing start to the New Year, but it all ends tomorrow when I have to be back in the Office.

But the countdown to my last day at work can begin in earnest.

14 more work days - here I come!

At last...some principles!

I think it’s fair to say that, for most people, the first day of a New Year brings with it the inevitable soul search for an appropriate resolution.

I am no exception to this general rule; however, my resolve has not proven to be worth much in the long run. By the second week in January, I tend to have fallen off whatever moral high horse I’d clambered onto at the stroke of midnight the week before.

The New Year’s Resolution is the definitive ice-breaker at parties like the one I went to last night. Everyone you meet wants to know what you’re planning to give up doing, or what you’re prepared to go without in the interests of a seemingly fresh start to the year. And perhaps that’s what I find so irritating about the resolutions – they seem to be all about sacrifice. People resolve to start dieting, or to quit smoking – but why not a resolution to keep doing something? I think that even I can stick to a resolution that demands I continue with certain behaviours. In light of this “resolution revelation”, in 2005 I hereby resolve to:

· keep blogging on;
· keep in touch with loved ones even when life gets super busy; and
· keep smiling in the face of adversity.

Clearly this last "resolution" will be the most difficult.

To you and your family, wherever in the world you all may be, have a lovely New Year – and may the coming 365 days bring you fun and smiles, and all the 1980s music marathons than you can handle.