26 June 2008

Breaking News - Biscuits devoured by a Man!

"Mostly the news relates to doom and gloom events like earthquakes, terrorism and Celine Dion updates!...or even "scientists prove that winter is colder than summer"

The other day I was working merrily away in the Mothership when I was attacked. No, it wasn't by a co-worker but it was an attack of the hunger pangs. So I quickly left my desk and headed to the kitchen. Actually the kitchen is called a 'breakout' room. This in itself is a strange term as the only way to 'breakout' is to smash the window and free fall 10 floors! Most people naturally use the same way they came in.

Anyway, I digress. So I entered the 'breakout' room and made my way to the cookie jar. I grabbed two biscuits with cream in the middle, as they are some of my favourites. Whilst there I noticed that the plasma television was on. Again, this is not unusual as a number of staff like to keep up to date with the latest business news and all the important goings on with 'Oprah' and 'Dr Phil'.

This time it was a news channel and at the bottom of the screen was a 'breaking news' story. Now when these appear on the screen it is normally for some important news event. Mostly the news relates to doom and gloom events like earthquakes, terrorism and Celine Dion updates! This time, however, the breaking story was about a Godparent of an old Queensland Rugby League legend who had passed away.

Now while it is sad that this gentleman had died, it struck me as strange that this should be considered a 'breaking news' story. Especially when they didn't even name the person concerned! Actually, there was no mention of it on any of the prominent Australian websites (all 3 of them!).

So it got me to thinking as to whether the television stations are over using the 'breaking news' concept. It does appear that this is the case. The question is how irrelevant are the 'breaking news' stories going to be?

The way things are heading we will soon be receiving 'breaking news' stories such as "Angelina buys unborn twins pink toothbrushes" or "Barack Obama admits to reading the newspaper while sitting on the toilet" or even "scientists prove that winter is colder than summer".

The point that I think I am making (very badly) is that our craving for inconsequential news items is increasing dramatically. Or is it a case of the television stations 'dumbing down' the news for the viewers? Whatever it is I think we are on the path of no return (straight to a Kylie Minogue concert - noooooo).

So the next time you see a 'breaking news' story just assess it to see if it really is as important as the television station wants you to believe it is.

As for the biscuits, well they were eaten very quickly and felt no pain at all!

14 June 2008

The Rolls Royce of toothbrushes!

"My first reaction was 'cool!' My second reaction was 'but I've already got one' My third reaction was 'I need a swig of beer'"

A few weeks ago my wife and I went to a parish dinner that had been co-arranged by my eldest daughter's school. Regular readers might recall a recent blog http://dw-perspectives.blogspot.com/2008/05/getting-lost-with-no-worries.html about our journey of getting to the location of the dinner.

As well as having a great night, there were a few fund raising events going on during the dinner. One of them was for patrons to hand over $10 and then pick an envelope. The envelope contained the name of the prize that you had won.

So naturally I handed over the money and my wife chose the envelope (which wasn't hard seeing as there was only one left). Inside it said that we had 'won' an electric toothbrush. My first reaction was 'cool!' My second reaction was 'but I've already got one' My third reaction was 'I need a swig of beer'. My wife decided to pick up the prize while I finished off my cool refreshing ale.

When she came back we looked at the toothbrush packaging. Yes it was an electric toothbrush - no doubt about that. The only thing was that it was the 'Rolls Royce' of all electric toothbrushes, the 'creme de la creme'. By now I was quite excited (as you can see it doesn't take much to get me excited). In fact, I couldn't wait to get home to try this elite piece of craftsmanship on my not-so-young pearly gnashers!

When we got home I had a good look at the toothbrush. It certainly was sleek and impressive. For the record it was the Oral B Triumph Professional Care 9500 toothbrush. A quick Google search showed that my outlay of $10 had reaped an item costing between $140 - $170! It was much better value than buying Celine Dion's greatest hits!! Even though it was now past midnight I wanted to learn all about the features of the toothbrush. This is most definitely a guy thing. We always want to know everything about every gadget.

Some of the features include a display screen that tells you when the toothbrush needs recharging. It also lets you know how long you have been cleaning your teeth for. It can be personalised by changing the language and timer settings. Also, it has 4 brushing modes! These are clean, soft, massage and polish. I've yet to try the polish mode at this stage but will soon.

What really amazed me was that the brush head had a 'smart chip' that communicates with the base of the toothbrush and automatically switches to the correct brush mode. After reading that I was in a daze. Was it the alcohol, tiredness or the fact that this was a top notch piece of technology. Whatever it was, I soon fell asleep.

It wasn't long before the toothbrush had pride of place in our bathroom (next to my daughters' Nemo cups). Yes, it does really clean my teeth better than my old toothbrush.

So if you are ever at a parish dinner remember to participate in the fund raising events. After all you never know what you might win.

13 June 2008

2000 and still counting!

"I still haven't had a hit from Kazakhstan yet. Maybe Borat is too busy to read my blog"

Last week my blog achieved a major milestone. I received my 2,000th hit since I started blog writing just on 11 months ago! I have to be truly honest and say that I never thought that I would get so many hits! THANK YOU to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog and special thanks to all my regular readers! Remember, you can subscribe to my blog if you wish.

I keep a close eye on my blog stats every week. As at the beginning of June I had received hits from 58 different countries. It has been interesting to note that recent hits have come from some really exotic locations. No, I am not including Hartlepool or Parramatta in that description!

Recent 'new countries' to experience the wonders of my blog are Barbados, Brunei, Jordan, Portugal, Bahrain, Thailand and Armenia to name but a few. I still haven't had a hit from Kazakhstan yet. Maybe Borat is too busy to read my blog. At present, only 55% of all my hits come from Australia. So approximately every other reader, statistically speaking, is from overseas.

Popular cities that I have received hits from (aside from Aussie cities) include London, Dubai, New York, Ankara, Houston and even Lodz in Poland. Unusual named cities of note include Cocunut Creek in USA, Greenbelt in USA, Virginia Water in England, Kitchener in Canada and Maracay in Venezuela.

Well I think that is enough of the stats for now.

I will try and keep to my goal of writing at least one blog a week and do my utmost to make them interesting. I have toyed with the idea of writing serious blogs but feel that it would go against my original goals that I had for the blog.

Finally, please feel free to leave comments and contact me. I really do love to hear what you all have to say. Again a big THANK YOU to all. Keep coming back for more great blogs (fingers crossed).


03 June 2008

Being a Committee Member

"It was obvious from discussions that the disco night would have to planned with military precision...The only thing that wasn't covered was the synchronisation of all committee members wristwatches"

Last week I attended a special meeting. No, it was not an AA meeting, a Celine Dion fan club meeting or anything similar. It was a school events committee meeting. In fact, it was the first time I had attended as the previous meetings were held during work hours. Backtracking slightly, my wife had put our names down to be on the committee when our eldest daughter started 'big school'.

For this meeting there were 6 members who attended. There was my wife, myself and four ladies whose names all started with the letter 'J'. The host (aka J1) offered all and sundry a beverage. I declined thinking that the meeting wouldn't go too long and the fact that we lived really close by. It also became apparent to me at this stage that I was the only male on the committee!

Anyway, the meeting started and the main topic of conversation related to the upcoming school disco. There were a number of volunteer roles that needed filling. These roles included setting up, cleaning up, toilet escort, general supervision and safety patrols (without rottweilers hehehe). Given that the age of the children would range from 5 years up to 11 years old I didn't think that we would need 'bouncers' on the door. However, previous experience had taught the committee members that this would be required.

It was obvious from discussions that the disco night would have to planned with military precision to ensure a successful night. Naturally red cordial would not be on the menu but silly dance songs would! I wondered if we would have to set up metal detectors at the entrance to the school hall, and ask for identity papers for all children. Seeing a 5 year old break down in front of me as they had left their Dora the Explorer identity card at home would be hard to take. However, I think my mind was running away with things.

After thirty minutes or so it occurred to me that this event was going to be better planned than the Allied invasion of Europe in 1944! Churchill would have given it the thumbs up and lit a King Edward cigar in appreciation! The only thing that wasn't covered was the synchronisation of all committee members wristwatches.

The other startling fact of the night was the way the female members interacted with each other. Naturally being the only male there I found it nigh on impossible to get a word in edge ways. I did think of raising my hand to ask a question. However, I thought that if I did this then J1 would tell me where the bathroom was! So I stared in awe at the verbal skills on show from J1, J2, J3 & J4. Even my wife (aka 'No Worries') had trouble partaking in the discussions.

It was evident that all the 'J' ladies complemented each other with their verbal skills. It was almost as if they were using mental telepathy to do so. They were very much in sync with each other. Despite this, I did manage to make at least two important contributions across the 90 minute meeting. At all other times I was a mere spectator to the 'J' verbal fest that was going on.

We left the meeting and drove home. On the brief journey to our house I couldn't get over what I had just experienced. It certainly showed me at first hand one of the main differences between the two sexes.