Sunday 27 October 2013

First of the Month Fiction - November

Seriously, I blink and another month has gone.

For anyone new, write a story that is 100 exactly or less than 30. Post in comments, then link your blog in link, so we can see your other works. Examples here.

Without further ado, mine is a seasonal 100 words offering.

They had planned this job for months. They knew exactly what to do. Get in, get out and most importantly, get what they came for. They had considered the risks, given her fierce, noisy dogs. They knew the strange lonely old woman was home. It would be difficult, but their greed outweighed their fear. Nervously they pulled on their masks and crept up the drive stealthily. One sidled up to the window and looked in, but there was no sign of her. The other approached the door tentatively. Suddenly the door swung open unexpectedly. "Trick or treat!" the children screamed.

Linking up with With Some Grace for FYBF

Wednesday 23 October 2013

For your consideration.

Taking a quick break from the normal frivolity, I just want to quickly discuss the options for donating to the Bush Fire Appeals. It is terrible, the extent of these fires. It is awful for the people involved - can you even imagine it?

If you are considering donating money to the Bush Fire Appeal, can you seek out a corporation that is matching dollar for dollar? Your donation still goes to the Salvation Army, but with the added bonus of Corporate Australia kicking in a little too.

Woolworths is accepting donations at the check out, and matching dollar for dollar.
Westfield is accepting donations at the Concierges, and matching dollar for dollar.
Coles is also matching dollar for dollar.

The Red Cross & St Vincent de Paul are also releasing funds to the bushfire victims.

If you have goods you wish to donate, seek out the best way to get them there.

Anyone with details of products on sale, with percentages going to Bushfire Appeals, or of other ways to help, please add in to the comments below.

Finally, as I raised a week before all this catastrophe started, in Stumped, can we consider demanding adequate funding for our Fire & Emergency Services.

As borrowed from the Telegraph:

Linking up With Some Grace for FYBF

Monday 21 October 2013

What I learnt from Rush

I went and saw Rush last night - I love Niki Lauda, so when I saw the ads and the poster, I was a little worried he'd be vilified for the sake of a good story, like Prost was in the Senna documentary (so not how it happened, peeps!) but the film is a really sweet little film with the Ron Howard touch, so if anything, it went into kindness overdrive on both parts.

I don't think you have to like Formula 1 to like it, but in my row, there were four people that did, and we laughed before jokes were made, because we knew what was coming (in a couple of cases). It was nice to be sitting in the row with infectious goodwill towards the subjects.

Without further ado, here's what I learned:

1.That Thor guy is very good looking, but I still liked Niki more, which means even when someone is fictionally pretending to be someone I like, I don't notice the looks of others. Which I think means something good about me, but it could mean I'm losing my eye sight.

2. Tyrells made a 6 wheel car. I need to investigate what on earth were they thinking??

3. The film should have been called Drive. Both men wanted to drive above all, both earned drives with F1 teams and Niki Lauda had an amazing amount of drive, from when he set his mind to becoming a professional race car driver to the incidents of '76. Astounding - the original poster boy for Nike's Just Do It.  I'll investigate why they went with Rush and get back to you (guessing that movie with Ryan Gosling was too recent to replicate the name).

4. Those floppy hats in the '70's should never have gone out of fashion. We'd all look so much cuter sporting them. I might get myself one...

5. I have no idea what made the film MA15+. The pot smoking?

6. I went to Monaco Grand Prix, and was watching practice inside the restaurant at Rascasse. Every time a driver walked into the pits, all the Americans would race over and take their photo but I'd just watch. Then Niki Lauda walked past, and I jumped up on my chair and leapt over the table (alcohol may have aided this agility) to get his photo (even though he hadn't raced for 10 years). This American came over and said 'We've all been wondering about you, you seemed so cool about it all. But it's Niki Lauda. All the girls love Niki Lauda". In the film when the reporter asks THAT question, that voice ran through my head "All the girls love Niki Lauda". Proving, that no matter how hideous the thing you're dealing with at the moment, time will put it in perspective. What he thought would horrify people made no difference at all. Hard to do, but it's something I'm going to try to remember, as life throws ugly issues my way.

7. "What's important is how it feels to me, and it feels like he adores me". A reminder that there is no reality, only perception, so keep that in mind when you see your partner tonight, and make them feel that you adore them...

8. Basically, don't see an fierce foe as a curse, it can be used to great advantage "A wise man will learn more from his enemies than a fool does from his friends"

9. I love in sports movies, that even when you know what the outcome is, you sit there, on the edge of your seat, hoping that the outcome is different. It happened twice for me in this film!

10. The biggest thing I learnt from Rush was that I miss Murray Walker. For those that have no idea what that means, he was a commentator  synonymous with F1. He was passionate and opinionated, he got things wrong but everyone loved him. His voice features in the film in the media, and I just started grinning like a loon as soon as I heard it. It's just not been the same since.

PS I also saw Lauda at the Opera House, kindly posing for photos with Japanese tourists. I stood at a safe distance and blushingly grinned like a school girl. Funny how fame and adoration can reduce a grown woman to an imbecile. I didn't watch F1 when he raced, but his legend is that of folklore and any F1 fan can tell at least 3 Lauda stories...

Linking up with Essentially jess for IBOT

This still makes me smile! (Maybe I'm just an imbecile that became a grown woman?)

Message to Ron Howard - if you are reading (like I'm sure you are), how do we avid fans get our hands on a copy of Arrested Development (new season) when we aren't allowed Netflicks? Please, please release a DVD for us downtrodden downunder!!

Thursday 17 October 2013

Message to married people

Okay, it's not really to married people, it's to married famous people. Stop tweeting near naked photos of yourselves to each other. Twitter is not a private message. We don't want to see it. Maybe some people do, but 50% at least just think it's weird. And desperate. And kinda tragic.

I'm not laying into Miley, because that's a whole different kettle of fish. If you want to show your husband your sexy bra/butt during the day, use email, or phone txt. To think News of the World reporters went to jail for this, that now seems to be freely and deliberately offered to the Universe.

I have a young girl. Super little at this stage. I am terrified of what she'll be posting and tweeting to the world at large. Call me old fashioned, but some things are best kept between a husband and wife.

Now Mariah & Kim (because I'm sure you read this), have a little think, if your MUM was tweeting your dad in the way that you do, how would you feel? Because that's what it's like for us. I don't see sexy, I just want to hurl. If my friend tweeted her husband that pic, I'd still be creeped out. No reflection on her sexiness. It's just cringeworthy.

Linking up short and sweet with Things I know. Because I know I will vomit if I have to look at another married person being all sexy for their husband.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Jump Around (part 2)

So awhile back I got myself (and those kids of mine, who come along for the ride) a groupon to Flipout (as discussed here). In a fortuitous turn of events, I saw Turbo that morning so actually had an earworm of Jump Around in my head - like I was in a movie with my own soundtrack.

We turned up and I couldn't stop smiling when I saw this:

It screams fun!

I had, of course, been terrified by a number of you raising pelvic floor issues, but fortunately all those manic paranoid kegels on the hour long drive to Penrith must have done the trick! Otherwise that would be a blog in itself!
First I just jumped around (that's a highly unflattering shot of my huge butt).


Then I started getting confident, and tried to run up the walls and then when I could do that, I tried to bounce off the wall, as my 12 year old companions were doing with ease.

That was harder than it looked for this un-co old duck, and I got my feet tangled and went sprawling on the floor - but the good thing with trampolines, you only bruise your ego.

What I learnt, was that trampolining is GREAT fun - but it also requires a fitness level that I just don't have. I could not believe how quickly I ran out of breath. The young things even wanted breaks!

We all had fun - one of the kids I took is having her birthday party there (as she loved it so much) and I would definitely do it again. So if you get the chance, go!

You do need to be warned, however, there is an ugly side to this trampolining business, should you take a break. Think your footwear with a little more care than I did.
 Back to the list:

Torshlusspanik List:

1. Shooting (check)
2. Fencing (check)
3. Play croquet at Croquet Club
4. Laser skeet
5. Off road buggy driving
6. Play Assassins Creed
7. Jetpacking (check)
8. The Color Run (check)
9. Invent something
10. Cooking Masterclass (check)
11. Master a Masterclass (check)
12. Perform a rap song (check - this month I have now set the challenge of performing a rap song in French - onwards & upwards!)
13. Trampoline adventure (check)
14. BMX Riding (check)

Linking up with some Grace for FYBF.

Monday 14 October 2013

How do your kids broaden their horizons?

When I was a kid, 100 years ago, no one had DVD players and certainly didn't have a collection of favourite shows to bring with them. My parents went to dinner parties and I was expected to disappear under the table or into another room that may or may not have a TV.

There was a season when the late movie every Saturday night was a Vincent Price flick. I loved these movies, even though I was terrified at the same time. They were bad, and I never got to see the end, because I fell asleep or my parents went home. I can't even tell you what happened in them, but many years later, as a 12 year old, I discovered Vincent Price did audio cassettes (I'm old, remember) of Edgar Allen Poe. I'd never heard of Poe but I liked Vincent Price's voice in the movies, so I borrowed them from the library. I used to listen to them on my Walkman at night and scare myself silly. To this day I adore Poe. As a 12 year old, I was a poor reader and not a very mature reader. I didn't know Poe was a literary genius. I loved him all the same. Tell tale heart, The Black Cat, The Fall of the House of Usher, the lot. I was spellbound, and would listen repeatedly, never growing tired of the words.

Long story to explain that being forced to explore new things can lead to better things, and broader interests.

These days, if kids are tagging along and going to be bored, we bring a DVD they like, we bring a DS or something to entertain them. I do too. How are they ever going to extend their horizons if they're always accommodated with their own interests?

We can take them to museums, or recommend books or music, but there's something really special when you discover it for yourself. I went to Paris as a very na├»ve and uneducated 20-something, and went to the Orangerie to see the works of Monet and Picasso. I returned home and told my mum "There was this other painter, I'd never heard of, but he's brilliant. I loved all his works". She looked at me, smiling, and said "Andre Derain is really famous. Really, really famous." An eon later, he's still my favourite, and I'm sure it's because I felt I discovered him for myself, not because I'd been told by other people to think he was good.

So how do kids these days explore new things if everything is either catered for them, or on demand? Or am I doing that old lady thing where I over sentimentalize the past?

Interested in thoughts on this. Is it a problem? Are we creating cookie cutter kids?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Thursday 10 October 2013


I try not to be too political, but this one has got me stumped. I drove past the fire station the other day and saw a poster that read:
I was confused, as I'd not heard anything about this. I hit google, and there are some articles from when it started back in March and nothing more except a few tweets.

We don't have the funding for Firemen/stations, so they are just randomly shut for a day. Leichhardt was shut on both Friday and Tuesday of this week past. I am wondering how the government knows what days there will be no emergencies? Which are the Inner West fire free days?

I suspect there is a reason why the US shut down is not making HUGE news here. We've already started it. Quietly.

I ask, where is the information on this plan? More importantly, where is the outrage? When the teachers, police, nurses and firemen went on strike last year, was this one of the issues they were protesting over? The list of reasons was long, yet the only thing the media promoted was the inconvenience to parents with the teachers being on strike.

I, for one, need to question that we have decided that public safety isn't one of our top priorities? Perhaps our politicians could make less public appearances (at sporting events and community events - and weddings) and that funding could go to infrastructure that is needed by the people of this city.

It is FIRE & RESCUE, it is EMERGENCY services. These words seem to me, to imply it is a very important yet unpredictable event that requires the service to respond quickly.

Perhaps it is time for the voting public to take an interest in the allocation of government funding. Most of all, let's not sit in judgement of the mess the USA Congress is causing, as evidently, we are fast falling into the same boat.

Were you aware of these rolling closures? Are you horrified? Or am I blowing it out of proportion?

Linking up With Some Grace for FYBF.

Sunday 6 October 2013

Riddle me this (2)

1. Why do things burn up as they come into the atmosphere, but some things don't? (Like spaceship metal-yes, I saw Gravity - pretty but let's just say not a lot of action).

2. How can the Republicans really believe Food Stamps are a bad thing? Really?

3. Can you imagine if the Government workers all stopped here?

4. Why is a sports field called an oval, even if it's a rectangle?

5. Why can't kids wait A MINUTE when you tell them you'll do it for them in a second? (My son cut his finger because I didn't come rushing over  to cut some cheese for him.)

6. How has it taken me 3 weeks to read a story that's 125 pages long? (Really enjoying Wild Sargasso Sea but just don't seem to be able to sit down and read it)

7. Why is it stupid people talk at the movies? Not only are they annoying you by talking, but what they actually say is idiotic.

8. How did my house get so messy over the school holidays? (I actually know the answer to that, just having me a little pity party)

9. I saw the ad for Green Arrow, and it looks FAB! Why are the worst comics (Thor, Green Arrow) the best Marvel movies?

10. How did Tom Clancy write all those books by 66? I was amazed he wasn't older.

Who has answers? Or do you have other questions?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.

Saturday 5 October 2013

My Favourite Places

'There are so many fabulous far away places to see - such as Mexico, Sweden, Hawaii, Japan and Capri'. Some of you, my age, may recognise that as a lyric from Dr Doolitle, the Rex Harrison version. And indeed the world is full of wonderful and wondrous destinations - but as the song points out, what makes a place special to one person, holds no appeal to another. It's funny when you get people to list their favourite places, there will always be someone who didn't like it, didn't have fun or just has a difference of opinion...

I'm linking up this old post for #MakroTex as the photos are of places where I have spent many wonderful moments, and I just need to turn up and am flooded with feelings of wellbeing and warm emotions.

Mine starts close to home.

Cottage Point - every summer we spend days here, swimming and bbq-ing, entertaining groups of friends, and just enjoying the outdoor space on the harbour, in the heart of the bushland. Not 45 mins from home!

Currawong Beach Cottages - once a year, we try to hire out the homestead and spend a weekend a world away from everything - golfing, swimming, playing volleyball and eating (& drinking). There's never been a bad moment spent here. Just a boat ride from Palm Beach, it feels like an island oasis, hidden from the city, and all that business. The kids have a freedom they don't have at home, and space, so much outdoor space to roam. (Also talked about this piece of paradise here)

Singapore - for a non shopper, it's funny this city/country makes the list, but I have a ball, no matter what I do - there is quirky, there is art, there is great, great food, stunning fiery sunsets and outdoor activities, for those that can stand the heat. Best of all, there are always surprises. I seem to discover some new activity or little enclave every time.

Paris - by far, the best city in the world. I adore everything about it. The architecture, the beauty, the food (if you work at selecting the right restaurants) and the parks. You can just meander the streets and make discoveries with every step. There is a romance that no other city can replicate. (But I've spoken of that love here)

Linking with #AwwMondays - a lifetime ago

Sydney - Our harbour city is my favourite place of all, as it's my home. We explore it regularly, we make the most of our harbour, and seek out new places and experience. Our family and friends are here, and so much opportunity available, for art, festivals, music and whatever takes your fancy.

So there's the summary. Where are your favourite places?
Pieni Lintu - MakroTex challenge

Tuesday 1 October 2013

An Open Letter to the Nation

I was watching Newsroom (not great but it has a couple of important ideas). The gist is, the news needs to go back to being ACTUAL news. Not voyeurism, not gossip, not entertainment. Actual important news. And the reason? So the viewers can be informed and educated, and make informed votes. Informed voters actually voting for real policies, not popular sound-bite media spin that means nothing. One of the characters, when demanding a change, says "I'm too old to be governed by the fear of dumb people."

Think back to the last election - all parties. What were the REAL policies? What was the media saying? Was there any connection? Or was our news just advertising?

In Fahrenheit 451 the genius Bradbury says “If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him, give him one. Better yet, give him none." He goes on to say, give them competitions, so they can feel like they're moving forward when they're actually going nowhere. That was written a long time ago but it's an apt description of our media today.

The news can do it, this fluff and human interest, because that's what the people want. I get news emailed to me - of the 4 lead stories today, one is an AFL drafting and one is about what Miranda Kerr wore. I find it hard to believe, in the great nation of ours, these are what I should be thinking about (and I love AFL, so it's not because it doesn't interest me). I have spent the last few months with what's happening on Big Brother or Masterchef being considered 'News Stories'. Why we have allowed this to happen is beyond me. However, as we let it slide, we are the ones responsible to demand a change.

We, the people of Australia, need to demand a change. We need to know the actual news - the 2 sides to every story, so we can make informed decisions. Maybe there are three sides to a story - lets see them all. We may not agree with each other, but we will be voting on the real issues. Not half baked catch phrases. We will understand the full impact of our choices.

Last election, we were voting on bullet points. They weren't backed up by facts or statistics. There were no sound numbers given to explain why we were choosing these policies. They were just words. Emotive, clever words, but words all the same. If you went seeking the facts and figures, the budget to achieve these policies, the how would they achieve these policies, it was very hard to find any sort of information on it. It certainly wasn't being broadcast to Joe Public in the nightly news. I'm referring to the policies of all parties, not just taking a swipe at the winning coalition. "Nothing is more important to a democracy than a well-informed electorate." We have four years to demand better information. We have four years to start to understand the impact all these promises will make. Give us the real facts. Give us both sides, in detail. Let us decide what we want.

To quote V, "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people".

Sadly not much has changed since I wrote this. We dance around the sideshow but know little of the real news. Shame on us.