26 November 2008

Going For A Thong

"Firstly, I am not a male model (or b grade talent show contestant) and secondly I certainly wouldn't wear a g-string (unless it is for charity)....Within seconds she was standing right opposite me and then in a moment later promptly stood on my injured foot. "aaarghhh" I screamed. "There you go" said the wife "I bet you are not in as much pain now"

Now that the weather is well and truly getting warmer us Sydneysiders are shedding our clothes. Now, I don't mean that everyone is going naked, but we are all obviously wearing apparel to match the weather and the impending approach of good ol' Summer. So shorts, t-shirts and, for the girls, summer dresses are de rigeur. Likewise boots and shoes have been exchanged for sandals.

Mind you, given the past few days, where the mercury has been plummeting, you could be excused for thinking it's still winter here. On Sunday, I received a phone call from my sister in England. She said "guess what, it's snowing!". Within a second or three I responded with "it's snowing here too!" Which it was in the Blue Mountains (about 100kms west of Sydney) and also in other parts of Southern Australia. There was a pause from her while she mulled over this comment before we carried on our conversation.

Anyway, as it is getting warmer I have started to wear thongs. Now for some of you that know me there are probably visions going around in your head of me wearing a sexy g-string. Well, those visions are incorrect for two reasons. Firstly, I am not a male model (or b grade talent show contestant) and secondly I certainly wouldn't wear a g-string (unless it is for charity).

What I am referring to is the footwear type of thong which is also known as flip flops in the UK, or jandals in New Zealand. I wear them because I really do not like wearing socks and keeping my feet covered up. The only thing is that I always seem to damage my feet and toes when I am wearing them.

I admit that at times I may be clumsy but my two poor little toes really take a bashing. For some reason I always seem to hit them against sturdy objects. In the past few days I have banged them against the legs of the bed, dinner table and the driveway outside. Each time it happens I think "oh no I've broken them this time" Fortunately, touch wood, they have remained intact. In fact, given the number of bashings that have taken, I am amazed that they haven't filed for divorce from my feet!

Two incidences really stand out regarding my thong clumsiness. A couple of years ago I hurt the toes of my left foot when, for some inadvertent reason, I decided to hit them against a wall. Truth is I wasn't looking where I was going! Naturally, I was in a lot of pain. I envisaged bruising to appear on my toes and foot. The wife came to my rescue in an instant. She looked concerned as I was doubled over in pain. "No Worries" said my wife. "I can take the pain away".

Within seconds she was standing right opposite me and then in a moment later promptly stood on my injured foot. "aaarghhh" I screamed. "There you go" said the wife "I bet you are not in as much pain now". At that stage I had trouble breathing properly. When I had recovered somewhat I asked her why she had decided to tread on my injured foot. She explained that she had seen this manoeuvre on television and thought that it would help me!

The second incident happened only a few days ago. I was helping my wife carry in some stuff from the car when a book, that I was balancing precariously on top of some bags, fell and the spine of it hit my big toe. "Sheeeeeett" I shouted. It was shear pain that I had just experienced. My wife looked at me and said in a nonchalant tone "I think you should read that book". I looked down at my squashed toe and then at the book. It was called "Think and Grow Rich". Naturally that book is now on my reading list.

So you can see that I have a habit of damaging myself during the warmer months. Roll on winter, I say, only 7 months to go...

21 November 2008

Breakfast with Santa

"Where was Santa? Maybe his reindeer had been wheel clamped due to illegal parking...Mind you, if I was facing 200 hungry children I would raise the white flag in an instant!"

Recently No Worries (aka the wife) and I purchased tickets for our two daughters to have a breakfast with an ageing fat man who has a fetish for reindeers and sports a long white beard. The man in question was, of course, Santa!

We were told to turn up at the local shopping centre at 8.30 and then shortly after Santa would arrive and lead the children to the area where they would have breakfast and be entertained. It sounded like our gals would certainly enjoy this event.

The night before No Worries and I donned the flak jackets, got out the whiteboard and synchronised our watches. We would need to adopt a military style operation to ensure that our daughters got up on time, had a brief snack and then get dressed in their 'Christmas dresses' and reach the shopping centre on time. Also, I needed to ensure that No Worries was ready as she is a notorious late comer.

The morning came and, to my great surprise, everything run very smoothly. The girls woke up and were very quick in getting ready for the breakfast. Even more amazing was that No Worries also got ready on time! This surprised me the most as I could not recall when she had recently made an event on time. I suppose miracles do happen after all!

We reached the registration area at 8.30 for the breakfast and our gals got their wrist band that indicated their food order and that they had arrived. We asked the staff when Santa would arrive and was advised that he would be there at 9.30. This seemed like a bizarre situation as there would be 200 children who, by then, would be restless and hungry as most would have skipped breakfast at home for this event.

Strangely, the registration area was in the food court. Maybe the organisers were telling us all something! For most parents the wait was too long and their hyperactive children needed food. Fortunately for them, McDonalds and KFC were within feet of the registration area. The temptation was too much for most parents.

Meanwhile our gals were made of sterner stuff. They were keen to have their breakfast with Santa!

Looking down from the food court I could see the area where the breakfast would be taking place. All the chairs and tables were laid out and there were tray loads of food already waiting for the hungry children. This struck me as strange as it would be at least another 30 minutes before Santa arrived. Wouldn't the food be too cold by the time the children reached their seat?

I checked my synchronised watch. Already 9.30 had been and gone. Where was Santa? Maybe his reindeer had been wheel clamped due to illegal parking (It is NSW afterall). Or maybe he was doing some.....Christmas shopping!

Fifteen minutes later the fat man arrived followed by a brass band. Then all the children started following Santa (past all the shops) to the eating area. Santa must have been hungry as he was setting a cracking pace. I assumed he wanted to get pack to the North Pole post haste.

Within a couple of minutes our gals couldn't even see Santa - he was that fast! I decided to take a short cut and meet No Worries at the destination. Naturally, I was not the only person to think that as there were a large number of parents and their children already there. After a while No Worries and our youngest daughter turned up. By now it was chaos as the organisers had well and truly lost control.

Mind you, if I was facing 200 hungry children I would raise the white flag in an instant! Fortunately our gals found a seat next to one of their friends. By now it was 10am and still no food had been served. Both No Worries and I were getting hungry - and we had eaten breakfast.

Finally, the children were served food (albeit decidedly cold). The wristbands indicated the child's food order. However, these young hungry children were devouring whatever they could lay their hands on. Fortunately, our girls got their correct order and were impeccably behaved the whole time.

At this stage the entertainment started. There were elves dancing and singing, an ageing ventriloquist (who was quite good with his Jake the Peg impersonation) and Mrs Christmas (who didn't realise her mic was not working correctly - hence she was ignored).

Within the hour it was all over. I enquired whether there would be any photo opportunities with Santa. I was advised that there wouldn't be any chance of photos with the bearded wonder. It dawned on me then that maybe Santa wanted to put some horse racing bets on. After all, I assume he needed to pay the elves in the workshop back at the North Pole!

At the end our daughters received a present and really enjoyed the morning. They had a smile the width of their faces! After all the waiting and chaos the end result was very satisfying especially for the children.

14 November 2008

Word Search Fun and Games

"why would you want to know what a suitcase weighs in Milton Keynes? The answer is probably the same as in Leamington Spa or Wagga Wagga!...I can assure you that our thoughts are wide and varied. In brief it would revolve around beer, birds and footy!"

The other day while having a cup of chai (Indian spiced tea to the uninitiated) I decided to look at some of the statistics surrounding my blog. I do this periodically as it's always good to see where people are viewing my blog from, and also how they came upon my epic tomes of everyday life.

One statistic that really caught my eye, well both of them really, was the 'keyword analysis' stats. This is the wording used by an Internet user to stumble across my blog. Some of the word searches were quite interesting in their own right. So here are a selection of searches undertaken by readers of my blog:

Weighing my suitcase in Milton Keynes - When I saw this I didn't know what to make of it! I know that Milton Keynes is a man made city which is sterile and lacking in identity (in my humble opinion), but why would you want to know what a suitcase weighs in Milton Keynes? The answer is probably the same as in Leamington Spa or Wagga Wagga!

Gordon Ramsey view on alcohol - Well I am not sure he has one on things of an alcoholic nature. What I do know is that he has a view on swearing, french chefs and vegetarian food! Now where did I put my effing tofu burger and glass of chardonnay?

Chocolate crackles expiry date - This search must have originated from a bored accountant or auditor during a tea break. Why else would you want to know an expiry date for choccy crackles?? In my experience the gals and No Worries devour them within 30 minutes of being made. Naturally I only have the odd one or twenty! If you want a recipe for them then please email me...

Thoughts of Englishmen - A very interesting search indeed. How long is a piece of string? As an Englishman living in the colonies I can assure you that our thoughts are wide and varied. In brief it would revolve around beer, birds and footy! Aren't us English the stereo typical culture vultures after all!

APEC drizabone lapel - This search left me dumbfounded. Just to backtrack a little, last year Sydney hosted the APEC forum where world leaders like Dubya and Putin came out to Australia to discuss financial and economic matters. As a present the then PM of Australia 'little' Johnny Howard presented all leaders with a drizabone (rain coat) - which are popular in the outback or with flashers in the inner city suburbs. Now why someone would want to know about the lapel of a raincoat is beyond me. Surely someone with too much time on their hands (or raincoat).

Why are tolberones triangle - An interesting question indeed. Short answer is - I don't know! Sounds like a university student this time, who has been studying late at night and on the spur of a moment eats a tolberone and then decides to Google it. How searching for tolberones gave someone my blog as a search result is amazing anyway. Still another 'hit' to the blog is always welcome!

Wife stockings bed assistant - Absolutely no idea how this search gave my blog as a result. I suggest to you, the reader, that this person was very lonely on a Friday night while thinking of his wife. Either that or he just wanted to find the nearest adult shop for his wife!

Well there you go. Just a snippet of a few of the word searches used to find my blog. I think from now on I will review my blog stats more regularly as some of the searches I've come across are quite funny in their own right.


05 November 2008

And The Race Is On!

"I don't have any set format. I normally go by the name and / or a gut feeling that I have at the time. Sometimes the gut feeling can be due to a dodgy curry!...As most males will tell you that is simply not the case. It's a bit like a guy telling his wife that all women's shoes are the same"

The first Tuesday in November is a very special day in Australia. No, it's not a birthday of a famous celebrity or anything similar, but is the day that Australia downs tools to watch a horse race. Yes that's correct, folks - the global financial crisis is put on the back burner while Australian's bet vast sums of money on the outcome of a horse race!

To be truthful, I contributed to the vast sums waged by outlaying $32. Yes, I am the last of the big spenders. As for the race itself some punters study the form guide intensely. Others will look at the horse and it's colours and then decide to bet on that one. As for me, well, I don't have any set format. I normally go by the name and / or a gut feeling that I have at the time. Sometimes the gut feeling can be due to a dodgy curry!

So I studied the form guide on the night before and selected 4 horses. Part of my reasoning is that if there are 24 horses in the race and I back 4 of them then I have a 1 in 6 chance of winning or, for the accountants out there, 16.67%.

As I was making my way to (the ever shrinking) Mothership on the morning of the race I put my bets on. As I handed over my betting slips the cashier gave me some bad news.

"Number 16 has been scratched, what number do you want now?" said the unenthusiastic and extremely bored cashier.

I was now nonplussed. I had no other horse that I liked the look of. Quickly my mind came up with a replacement number.

"Erm, I'll take number 12 then please" I mumbled in reply.

The cashier screwed up her nose and said "okay then" in a tone that indicated that I had chosen a horse with three legs! This did not fill me with a lot of confidence. Anyway, I had three other horses to fall back on.

The morning in the Mothership seemed to fly by and it was soon time to make our way to watch the race. The company had put on some food and drinks and the race was being broadcast on two huge screens. I had also entered a sweep and had picked the favourite. Maybe I would be in the money after all?

The race started and it soon became apparent that the favourite was not going to win. Oh well, I thought, at least the food is nice. At this stage a co-worker (aka Jia) asked me if I wanted another drink. Naturally my reply was in the affirmative. I asked for another Corona beer.

Within seconds Jia was back with my drink. "What's this?" I asked astounded. Jia was taken aback and replied "it's a beer".

This was correct but it was a LIGHT beer. I pointed this out to Jia who informed me that all the beers looked the same.

As most males will tell you that is simply not the case. It's a bit like a guy telling his wife that all women's shoes are the same. Obviously, if this was said he could expect a tirade of abuse and a lecture on why women's shoes are all different.

I decided to drink the light beer as the race was still on. Anyway it is alcohol after all, I suppose.

The race finished and I realised that I hadn't won. For the record the winning horse was called 'Viewed' and it won by a short nose. Actually I wonder if horses have different sized noses like us humans?

I made my way back to my desk and pulled out my betting slips. It was then I noticed that horse 12 (Bauer) was the one that just failed to win the race (obviously it's nose was too small). I had the second placed horse! I won the princely sum of $13.80!

After work I made my way back to the outlet where I had placed my bets. I was looking forward to telling the cashier that number 12 came second! However, when I got there the outlet had shut for the day.

My bragging would have to wait for another time.

02 November 2008

A News Story

"Or would it be about something obscure like paper clip collecting or toilet roll designing? I thought I had better find this out post haste....In fact, it was a family friend who had seen the interview and couldn't stop laughing!"

There I was at work when the phone rang. Nothing unusual there. It was Friday after all and a few of my friends normally ring up to see what I am up to at the weekend (in my case normally nothing too exciting). This time, however, it was from someone I didn't know. The caller had gotten my phone number from a mutual friend and had rang me. The phone conversation went like this:

"Hi, I hope you don't mind me ringing you, but I was wondering if you would like to be interviewed for a television programme?" asked the female caller.

"Erm no, that will be fine" said I.

Then I started thinking about what the subject matter would be. Would it be about the latest Coldplay album? Or would it be about something obscure like paper clip collecting or toilet roll designing? I thought I had better find this out post haste.

"What will the subject matter be?" I quickly enquired.

"Oh nothing too complicated. It will be just about the financial crisis and it's potential impact on people like yourself. You will get a call next week about it" replied the caller.

"Oh, ok" I muttered.

Then before I knew it. The caller had gone back to the world of all things media related.

True enough, I received a call nearly a week later from a journalist at the ABC (Australia's national broadcaster). They were heading to the Mothership for an interview. After a few minutes of conversation it was decided to film the segment in a local coffee shop instead.

I met them downstairs and the camera man and sound technician set up their equipment. The journalist then started asking me a few questions about the financial crisis and its potential impact on myself and others. Within a minute it was all over. Then the camera man thought it would be a good idea if I simulated buying a coffee. We approached the barista who was very excited about this. So excited that he kept repeating "cool, I am going to be on television!".

For the next 15 minutes or so, the camera man took shots of myself and the barista sharing small talk while miraculously handing me a coffee that he had already prepared. Once this had been completed the camera man thought about getting me to take the coffee to a table and then to start reading a financial newspaper.

Now this sounds easy but in reality it wasn't. To simulate walking to a table holding a coffee and sitting down to read a financial paper takes a bit of thinking. Fortunately for me we only had to do two takes.

The ABC film crew then thanked me and told me to watch that evening's news.

After work I rushed home in anticipation of my stellar performance. Questions were running through my head. Would they keep all of the interview? Would they only use part of it? Or would they do a 'cut and paste' job to twist my words? As the time for the news to start approached, I was getting nervous.

The news programme started and a snippet of my interview was played at the beginning as a taster of things to come. In fact, I was on right after the Prime Minister!

About 10 minutes into the news my interview was played for all to see. They had used only 2 of my responses but had used all of the part of me buying a coffee and reading the paper. By now the barista would have been over the moon having been on television.

After the segment had finished my phone started to ring. Would it be the ABC wanting me to host a current affairs show? Would it be the international press wanting a further story? Or would it be the event organiser of the paper clip collectors society? In fact, it was a family friend who had seen the interview and couldn't stop laughing!

Later on that night I went to the local supermarket to buy some milk. I wondered if anyone would notice me, or even want to say g'day. Alas, no one gave me a second look. I drove home pondering the fact that my 15 seconds of fame had passed quicker than a bullet train. Oh well, I thought, at least it was fun while it lasted!