18 December 2008
Without a shadow of a doubt it has been a very busy week so far. They call it the silly season for a reason and it is truly living up to its name. It's only now as I am writing this blog that I have had time to finally sit down and do nothing (except blog writing that is!).
Last weekend No Worries and I took our gals to breakfast at the infamous 'Golden Arches' restaurant. Now I have to state at the onset that we probably visit the Golden Arches only 4 or 5 times a year as we truly believe in trying to have a well-balanced diet. Mind you, given the last few days my diet should include copious amounts of alcohol, but sadly it doesn't! Naturally the gals had a great time eating hotcakes, hash browns and the like.
The next day (Monday) the gals had a birthday party to go to. It was for one of their friends who was turning 6. The party was being held at a local Golden Arches restaurant. If you haven't attended a childs party at a fast food venue then you should go and experience it. The children generally get hyper prior to the food and drink arriving.
In fact, the screaming and good natured shouting was very loud to my sensitive ears. I kept thinking that going to a Metallica concert would not be as loud as this. I should know having watched them a few years ago in Sydney.
After a while a party hostess takes the children to a party room where they are served food and drinks. For a few valuable minutes a silence descends upon the room and peace is restored. This is, however, short lived as the sugar in the drinks being consumed kicks in and hyper activity and shrieking is restored. At least the parents know that their children will sleep well that night.
The next day I attended my oldest daughters' Christmas concert in the morning. In fact I was one of only a few fathers who attended. It certainly was a good show and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. Later that afternoon I picked up my girls and took them and No Worries to a Christmas party for all children who had attended after school care during the year. It was held at one of those places that has climing apparatus, slides and all other types of things to entertain children.
The late afternoon was stifling (meteorologically speaking) and there were lots of children playing and screaming and having a great time. There were probably more children there than paid up members of the Trainspotting Club of Australia! More thoughts of Metallica were entering my mind while I was at the party.
The next day I woke up and said to myself "self, today should be a quieter day". How wrong was I to be! In the morning I attended my youngest daughters' graduation from pre-school. Her class put on a great show and I was happy and proud to have been present. As I was having my lunch with my daughter one of the mums present came up to me. She advised that there was a party this afternoon for her son. It had been arranged at short notice as this was the only day that a lot of the children could get together.
I asked her where the party would be held and held my breath as she advised that it would be at the local Golden Arches restaurant! My mind was racing. I was now worried that my gals would start looking like a chicken nugget or a burger given our frequent visits to the fabled Arches!
So in the evening we got ready and drove to the restaurant. I was getting feelings of deja vu for the second time this week. It was partly a repeat performance of the earlier birthday party. Lots of screaming, then silence as the food was devoured and then more screaming! There was a girl who was consistently screaming at the top of her voice. I couldn't help thinking that her voice could be used as a weapon of mass destruction. Sadly for me there was no gaffer tape handy.....
As for today it has been less busy. Another graduation party for my youngest daughter and a school mass for my oldest. After I picked up my daughters from their schools I decided to treat them to an ice cream as it had been a hot and very humid day. I drove to the nearest place that sold them. I'll let you guess where I ended up. Suffice to say that the arches of the restaurant logo spell out the letter 'M'.
Will tomorrow be a Golden Arches free day? Well, only time will tell.
NB: As I write this No Worries has just returned back from a girls night out only to inform me that she will be going out in a few minutes to the Golden Arches for a dessert and coffee!
12 December 2008
Last week No Worries and I took out daughters to an Indian celebration at a business centre in Sydney. We were all looking forward to it as it meant that my wife and gals could have an excuse to dress up Desi style. I too decided to get into the spirit of things by dressing up in Indian clothes.
While my wife would be wearing a Salwar Kameez (aka Punjabi Suit), I decided to wear a Kurta Pyjama. To those who don't know, a Kurta Pyjama is a long shirt which has pants (trousers) underneath. My girls would complete the picture by wearing Lenghas (top and skirt). We were all looking forward to the event. The weather too was doing its best Indian impersonations as the mercury was hovering around the 36C mark.
We arrived at the business centre and made our way to the dancing as it was just about to start. The show was in two parts really. The first part was Bollywood style dancing while the second part was Bhangra - the music of the Punjabis. When the Bhangra music started there was a huge cheer from the crowd. To some it can appear that this style of music is very raucous. I refer to it as the heavy metal of Indian music. Some of the dance movements do indeed seem as if the dancers are changing a light bulb or three, or having had too many beers!
After the show we caught up with some friends and had a look around the centre. Unfortunately we had missed the Indian food. This didn't worry me too much as No Worries is an exemplary cook of all things from the sub-continent!
By now the gals were getting restless as the heat was taking its toll. I suggested taking them to a computer store down the road as I needed to purchase some software.
So we set off in the car to the store. As it was early December I had trouble finding a parking spot but eventually found one on the roof. We got out of the car and made our way to the store. Straight away I got some funny looks from shoppers. No, it was not because Santa or Brad Pitt was standing behind me either. It took a while before I realised that it was because of what I was wearing.
We entered the store and headed for the software section. It was obvious that we were getting more stares. I assumed that my olive style skin was giving a false impression, after all I was born in England. In fact, I have been called South American, Italian, Greek, Spanish and even Lebanese in the past! All of a sudden I felt a bit like an outcast. It's amazing how what you are wearing can influence people's opinions.
The store assistant was of Indian background and was not even concerned about my appearance. I did explain matter of factly that I had come from an Indian Festival. He didn't seem to care too much about that. Just then my phone rang. It was No Worries. I could hear my phone but couldn't work out which pocket it was in. The Kurta Pyjama has a number of pockets and I just couldn't work out where my phone was! To a passing stranger it might have appeared as if I had ants in my pants or I was doing a mystical Indian dance!
My daughters wanted to know if I was okay. I calmly answered that I was fine but couldn't find my phone! At this stage it was my actions that was bringing unwanted stares and not my clothes. Finally, I found the phone, making a mental note where I had kept it, and rang No Worries. She was just checking that we were fine. I told her that we were as we sheepishly made our way out of the car park.
A while later we left the business centre and called in on a friend and her husband on our way home. Coincidentally, our friend is of Indian background. We had a cup of chai and some Indian savouries before heading on our way. We got home a while later and tried to keep cool from the Indian style weather. It certainly had been an Indian type of day!
02 December 2008
The silly season is now upon us. Christmas is just a few weeks away and people are frantically shopping for gifts for their loved ones. I wonder how many pairs of socks and toasters will be given this Christmas?? Fortunately, I am well and truly catered for in this regard (note to family and friends!!).
Here in Sydney things are hotting up. Or I should say becoming more humid! The season of body odour (aka Summer) has hit this part of Australia. If you don't believe me then catch a train or bus and you will soon have a whiff of un-deodorised armpits heading for your direction.
Still, as I mentioned earlier, it is the silly season and also the time for miracles of one nature or another. Indeed, one happened only recently. For the first time in 17 years Guns N Roses have released an album of original material - most definitely a miracle of the highest order.
Axl Rose and his merry band of musicians finally released "The Chinese Democracy" for all and sunder to hear. All hail Saint Axl for this gift to the masses. Now before anyone says it's only been 15 years since a studio album, and not 17 years - you are correct. However, the 'Spaghetti Incident' released in 1993 was an album of cover versions. The last 'true' album was the sort of double 'Use Your Illusion 1 & 2' which spawned the classic 'November Rain' in 1991.
I had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of my copy of ' Chinese Democracy' having pre-ordered it a month or so ago. Part of me was still thinking "oh well, that's money down the drain. There is no way the album will ever be released". Every day I rushed to the letter box to see if it had arrived. Sadly, all I received was bills, bills and adverts for pizzas and kebabs!
I checked my emails and found out that the CD was on back order and had been delayed. I translated that to mean that Axl Rose had decided to re-record all the songs again for the 99th time. Then yesterday I went to the letter box to find that the CD had arrived. I was ecstatic - hallelujah! At last some new Gunners music. I soon played the CD and can assure you all that it is very good. Not as angry as the old songs of days past but still pretty awesome.
Listening to the CD got me thinking about what was happening in the world in 1991. After all, seventeen years is a very long time between drinks (unless you are a Buddhist Monk). So I picked up the magnifying glass, did some research and came up with the following facts:
- Boris Yeltsin was elected president of Russia.
- The first Gulf War ends.
- 'Another day in Paradise' by Phil Collins was the record of the year.
- Steffi Graf won the ladies title at Wimbledon.
- 'Silence of the Lambs' was the big movie of the year.
- Australia beat England 12-6 to win the Rugby World Cup.
- Azerbaijan gained independence.
- The Maastricht Treaty established the European Union.
- Leeds United won the English football Division 1championship. (nb: 17 years later they are knocked out of the FA Cup by Histon Town - a non-league part time club in round 2).
- The great Paul Keating becomes Prime Minister of Australia.
Digital television was still a long way off in 1991, as was DVDs. If you wanted to watch a movie at home then VHS was your format.
Given the above lets hope that it's not another 17 years before the next Guns N Roses album! Otherwise any tour they do to promote it will be at nursing homes rather than stadiums!