Bub Crawl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My heart sinks whenever I get one of these invitations in the mail. Sinks. I don’t know what that says about me, but I think I’d rather get stoned to death with tictacs than have to go to one more. The worst thing about admitting that you’re not into baby showers, though, is that it looks like you’re unmoved by the miracle of birth and people start to suspect that you do this kind of thing in your spare time:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He loved it.

I don’t have any beef with babies, and I’m always up for celebrating with friends, but something disturbing and potentially lethal happens when the two are combined; a bit like trying to mix Hydrogen peroxide and Sulfuric acid.

My first gripe is with the opening ceremony, which is something you endure, much like you endure canker sores or tinea. Everybody sits in a circle while soon-to-be mum unwraps her stash, leaving a pause in between EVERY single gift so that EVERYBODY can comment on EVERYTHING: from pyjamas to rattles to bum rash cream – you name it and someone’s going to find it adorable because it’s vaguely baby-related. The whole thing drags on for so long you wonder who’ll be driving her to the hospital when her water breaks. And there’s the person – there’s always one – that goes overboard and makes your present look crap. I usually buy something normal, like an outfit of some kind, but I always seem to be sitting next to the person that’s bought a cot, or a diamond in the shape of a dummy, and you know that the pink onesie you bought is just going to be used to shine it.

The second issue is more of an OHS concern, involving potential RSI to the muscles around your mouth responsible for smiling. For some reason, other people genuinely seem to love going to these things, which means that  you’re forced  to walk around all day looking like a demented circus clown just to keep up. If you’ve ever been in a bridal party, you’ll know the adverse effects of a day of forced smiling. It’s all fun and games at first, but by the  reception you feel like giving the bird to the next person that asks you to say cheese. Never have photos taken at baby showers: you might be able to get away with that expression in real life, but the camera, which never lies, will capture your boredom for posterity.

The worst part of a baby shower, though, even worse than the present opening – no mean feat – is the games. Here are two corkers:

I’m always on edge when the first of these games comes up because it is fraught with danger. “Guess the width” involves people guessing the measurement of the pregnant woman’s belly and, as you can imagine, things have the potential to get very weird, very quickly. My personal theory, backed up by decades of hard research, is that pregnant or not, no woman wants someone to guess that their belly is double its actual size. I imagine that many a godmothership has been revoked as a result of this game. That’s why I always go way under: my standard is 30cm. “What? Not 30? Get out of town –show me that tape.” I go too far the other way, though, and they smell a rat, which is why I am currently godmother to zero children.

The other killer is the nappy game. I don’t know whether this is a staple or I’ve just been incredibly unfortunate, but for those lucky uninitiated souls, it involves identifying poo-hued sauces off a nappy. This happens. The problem here, as with games of any kind, is that you look like a spoil sport if you don’t join in, so I like to say that I feel a stomach ache coming on or pretend that with my uncanny sixth sense I have realised that I will be allergic to all of the foods on offer. If someone challenges me on this, I just pat them on the back and say ‘oh you,’ then walk away to eat food off something that wasn’t purpose-built to absorb a kilo of crap.

*If you are having a baby shower soon, this blog doesn’t apply to you. Your baby shower will be awesome.

4 things that shouldn’t exist that do.

Directory Assistance

This “service” is a bit like the kid that sticks his fingers in his ear and starts singing the theme tune to Thomas the Tank Engine as soon as you try to talk. The other day I asked for the number for “Dominos,” and it said “Sorry did you say Auto One?” and I said “No, if I wanted Auto One, I would have said bloody Auto One,” to which it replied, “sorry I didn’t catch that” and we started all over again.

I’m pretty sure these companies just hire guys that can do good R2D2 impersonations and give them the brief “whatever you do, do not give them the right number.” I say this because no machine could come up with some of the truly inspired alternatives they provide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liquorland, not Disneyland!!

If you ask for the number for Pizza Hut, for example, they will say, “did you ask for the clinic for childhood obesity?” Similarly, the guy that wants to find the location of their local Langtrees will be given the number of a psychologist that specialises in sex addiction. It’s funny, except for when I’m trying to find my nearest Langtrees.

Medical Receptionists

It’s a bit harsh to say that medical receptionists should be vaporised, but I don’t mean all of them, I just mean the EVIL ones, who, I’m pretty sure, start the day sitting in a circle and reciting some kind of anti-Hippocratic oath which goes along the lines of: “we’ll strive to veto bulk bill fees, no matter how poor our patients be, we must eschew all sympathy, and in their sickness take much glee.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry, we just can’t squeeze you in.

The irony is, (are you paying attention, Alanis,) that if anywhere needed people that had a scrap of compassion it would be at a place like a doctor’s surgery. Unfortunately it continues to attract Bundyesque types, which makes me think that some part of the screening process involves making sure these woman tick yes to statements like “I hate humans” or “If I could, I would eradicate world peace”  before they get the job. I don’t like to make sweeping statements, but this particular profession is chock full of rotten apples.

Sizzlers

If you’ve ever been on school camp, you will know the familiar thud of carbs smacking your steel tray and a woman who has never washed her hands yelling “NEXT!” while you scurry off wondering how you’re going to feed it to the dog without getting caught.

Sizzlers is a kind of sophisticated take on this scenario. Clearly the health department has not visited in decades, has forgotten they exist, or have some kind of agreement with the owners whereby they turn a blind eye in exchange for getting, not only a free meal, but one where they can eat all they want!!! (They still haven’t quite got the concept of Sizzlers.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New expanded menu

I don’t think I’ve ever been there and not seen flies loitering around what looks like a partially cooked chicken on a bed of very distressed potatoe or Maggi noodles and Chum posing as spaghetti bolognaise. But because no boundaries have been set, (and this is why Sizzler’s needs to be eliminated – because it plays Jedi mind tricks on you,) you want, nay, must have, your money’s worth.

It’s a sad fact of life that at the heart of every person that doesn’t want to get food poisoning is another part of them whispering “but it’s freeeeee,” and, sadly, that one usually wins out; which is exactly why they should never make aspestosis or tinea free.

Nancy Gantz Pantz

For years, larger ladies have found comfort in the fact that while Weight Watchers may not work, they can always fall back on an elasticated 10kg drop, courtesy of Nancy Gantz. What they don’t know, (at least until they own a pair of her products,) is that Nancy grew up torturing  kittens before deciding to move on to humans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also great for double chins.

I hope these products never fall into the hands of our enemies, because waterboarding would be a walk in the park compared to a day out in one of these bad boys. “Pliers or Gantz Pantz” they’ll say, laughing maniacally, and before you have a chance to answer they’ve pulled out her patent tummy tuckers, snapped the elastic, and, much like Pavlov’s dogs, the sound alone will make you crap your pants.

There’s so many more, but you’ve got to start somewhere. Without going into details, here are several other blights on humanity’s landscape:

How I Met Your Mother

Lady? Gaga

Bollywood films

Garden gnomes

Any movie J-Lo has ever made

Hashtags

Red Bull ads

It’s not extensive, but I’m a very important person, and I’ve got very important other things to attend to, so that’ll have to do for now.

Adios.

* Oh, and that kid in Year 4 that stole my pack of chips

It’s not me, it’s you.

Image

Getting out of a bad conversation is a bit like breaking up with someone with whom you’ve had a very brief, very dysfunctional, relationship. “The magic’s gone,” you want to say, “I just don’t think I can do this anymore.” Unfortunately it’s not that simple, because the person you dumped sees you with someone else literally minutes later, which is an offensively short turnaround period, even for a known lothario.

I’ve never bailed on someone just because they’re boring. Enduring killer yawn-fests is a specialty of mine, and I can do some of the most convincing “interested” faces you’ll see this side of Broadway. The reason these conversations are bearable, though, is that the other party is at least throwing the ball back; and I pay that, regardless of how I feel about your new twelve-sided Rubix cube.

Then there’s the other breed – the ones you can’t squeeze anything out of, regardless of how much bait you dangle. These people have the potential to take a beautiful little number like, “I heard you’re running for parliament, that’s great – what kind of changes are you thinking of making when you come into power?” and answer it in under ten seconds. It’s a skill to convey your message with this degree of brevity, but the downside is that you’re only a few words away from sounding like “me Tarzan, you Jane.”

This situation is still not bail-warranting. I enjoy the challenge these people present, and their social graces are such that I doubt they notice the proverbial elephant that is our pathetic attempt at conversation. In fact, even if there was literally an elephant in the room, you probably wouldn’t get much more out of them than “Look – there elephant. Me confused.”

There are really only two situations where I feel like an exit is justified. The first is when there is nothing left for either party to talk about. And I do mean nothing. We both know it, and we’re both frantically shuffling through all known files on the other person trying to find something, anything, to talk about. My desperation was once so great, that I was overjoyed to remember that a member of their family was seriously ill: (enquiries of this nature will buy you at least another five minutes.)

My trademark excuses in this situation are “I’ve gotta go to the loo,” “can I get you a drink?” and, if I’m really stuck, “Is that the time.” None of these are particularly convincing, but I find that the other person is so relieved they’ve found an out, they’d buy it even if you said that your nan had just called from onboard the HMS Cutlass where she was being held for ransom by pirates.

The second pike-worthy situation involves a group of people I refer to as “drifters,” because their nomadic lifestyle means that they camp in a place for only so long as they continue to find the living conditions suitable, and because their eyes kind of roam around the room while you’re talking, landing on anything that’s more interesting.

I think I would rather the drifter just said to me, “I’ve got to go – this is killing me,” because at least they wouldn’t be making a mockery out of both of us: the person who hangs around, on the other hand, has essentially left only a shell behind while the rest of him is teleported somewhere else, somewhere better.

The way to identify a genuine drifter from someone with a lazy eye is to say something like “It’s hard being a nun in the 21st century,” or “I can’t believe I got scoliosis and rabies at the same time.” If they say “uh huh,” or “me too,” you can either stick around and have a bit more fun with them or quietly bail while their attention is elsewhere, so at least when they turn around they’re standing by themselves, dumped, in the middle of the dancefloor.

I’d like to think that I fall into none of the above categories, but, then again, most of the population probably feels the same. The only one I’m positive I’m innocent of is being a drifter: that kind of imagined superiority requires a degree of arrogance I’m incapable of.

Mind you, I was pretty into myself when that guy told me his life wouldn’t be worth living if it weren’t for this blog.*

*This never happened.

10% relevance, 90% Colin Firth. Enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hasKmDr1yrA

Yes. Kind of. No. Who?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If auto predict is anything to go by, 95% of the population is gay and the remaining 5% is in denial. Write “is” and then a letter from the alphabet (see above) and bar pretty much the letter X – weird, because Xena, Warrior Princess has always rung bells for me – everyone from A to Z seems to be one margarita away from coming out.

You could be entertained for days sitting in front of the computer typing the beginnings of sentences and waiting to see what Google throws back at you. It’s like pulling back the curtain on society. And then wanting to close that same curtain because you were expecting ocean views and all you got was an empty parking lot with several abandoned trollies.

As amusing as “can I drink my own urine if I get lost in the desert” is – (before or after the water runs out?) the real funny money is on questions that transcend the yes/no confines. Questions like: “will I go to hell for getting a tattoo?” (Yes, says Yahoo’s resident deity, “The Despoiler.”)

This was news to me, and I was eager to see what else The Despoiler knew about the after-life, so I thought I’d send him the following query:

Dear Despoiler,

When I was a young boy, a band of thugs kidnapped me and inked me up against my will. What’s more, they did that early 90s barbed wire around my upper arm which has made me the target of hate crimes. Am I going to hell too? Haven’t I suffered enough? (Also, I killed some people. I’m not sure if this will have any bearing on your decision.)

Unfortunately The Despoiler’s account has been suspended – (thanks for nothing, Yahoo) – so I didn’t get to find out my eternal fate: what I did get, was closure on several more niggling existential questions from retired philosophers “natureluvva99” and “soul2soul_21.” I was feeling enlightened and ready to go deeper.

So was autopredict. The next search yielded “am I a psycho?” which got me really excited because I’ve always wanted to know whether blaming Haydn Dempsey for wetting his pants in year two when it was actually me was just typical schoolyard behaviour or indication of something more sinister.

I got no definitive answer, and neither would have any budding Bundys, because this link led to the band Tech N9ne’s song of the same name, where some guys tie two victims up in an abandoned house and torture them, it would seem, simply by making them listen to their song.

The problem with the internet, though, is that genuinely great artists can be exposed to senseless personal attacks. Imagine, if you will, Thomas Edison in the age of cyberbullying, getting snarky little messages like “Good one thom-ass” or “Give it up bulb man#epic fail.” We’d all be sitting here in the dark rubbing sticks together and telling “how many men does it take to light a candle” jokes.

Which is why I don’t take the denigration of musical visionaries, such as Des’ree, lightly. I was baffled when I noticed that a large body of people have failed to appreciate her raw genius. Even more so when I saw that her song, “Life,” (arguably, one of the greatest songs of the 90s), consistently dominates internet polls as containing “the worst lyrics of all time.” Yeah, good luck making that stick:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5Ej_WQhKSI

Just in case you didn’t catch the first few verses, it reads:

I’m afraid of the dark

Especially when I’m in a park

And there’s no one else around, ooh, I get the shivers

I don’t want to see a ghost

It’s the sight that I fear most

Rather have a piece of toast, watch the evening news.

Apart from the fact that farmers don’t generally spray butterflies from vintage cropdusters while someone they don’t know hoons around their property annoying the workers, this song is nigh on perfect. What I like is that everyone can relate to this song, because who doesn’t like a bit of toast rather than seeing a ghost, and how many times have people wanted to go the park, if it weren’t so dark. It’s fifteen years on, but I think it’s time for a sequel, maybe with the title “Death,” which can act as a metaphor for finally putting to bed some of those cruel slurs. Enjoy.

I could write another song

Wouldn’t go for very long

Then some bells would go ding dong

And I’d eat polony.

If you’ve just bought my cd

Why don’t you go climb a tree

with a boy whose name is Lee

I’ll go make a spaceship.

It’s catchy, it’s chic, its topical and the thing is that, like Des’ree, the lyrical integrity has not been compromised by my commitment to rhyme. I call her the prophet of our times, someone else thinks quite the opposite. “Des’ree should die” says one guy in the comment section underneath her Youtube video. I bet you anything it’s The Despoiler: No doubt, he thinks you go to hell for writing dodgy lyrics.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iU5tvwOcnbs\

Or don’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second only to my fear of country music is the thought that I may one day feature in a bus stop ad, my belly a timely warning against the dangers of self-indulgence, and so I try, or at least try to try to go to the gym. Sometimes this means that I make it there, but generally I just remind myself that teenagers rely on people like me to feel good about their own body and go back to bed.

Even making it to the gym, though, doesn’t necessarily mean that any exercise will take place. How many times have I grossly underestimated my capacity for sloth and walked in only to catch a whiff of hard work – I’m like a bloodhound in that department – and been forced to utilise what I like to refer to as the “lazyboy pike.”

The lazyboy pike is reserved for those times when a person realises, immediately after being swiped through, that they would rather be swimming through human excrement, (a la Andy Defresne,) than spend another second in the gym. The lazyboy provides a long-awaited alternative to the simple about-turn and exit, which is just too tacky, even for someone that used to have a mullet.

Good times.

Do not be fooled by people going into the changerooms to get changed, have showers, or nick undies from other people’s lockers; the changeroom has been built for the sole purpose of providing its lazier members a means of leaving the gym with their dignity partially intact.

Naturally, you’ve got a bit of time to kill, so it’s important to have a few time-wasters up your sleeve. I like to remove one extraneous piece of clothing immediately, (socks, scarf, jacket etc,) rifle through my bag every now and then looking for my BPA free water bottle, or play some kind of game on my phone. One time I even had a shower: (our last water bill was horrendous, and I like to know that my membership fees are going somewhere.)

For obvious reasons, the changeroom option can only be utilised so many times. It’s all fun and games until you’re pegged as the pervert who comes to the gym just to partially undress and play ultimate tetris.

The second tactic within the lazyboy arsenal is to move immediately to the gym café. Why not this first? The downside of the café option is that it’s usually located close to the front desk, which poses its own unique set of challenges. I like to either wait for the person that swiped me through to go on break, (this may take some time,) or pretend that a friend/boyfriend/colleague is running late and walk out half an hour later mumbling stuff like ‘unreliable’ or ‘last straw.’ In the meantime, order a fruit juice, or something equally virtuous and let the sweet sound of other people working wash over you: by the process of osmosis you should burn some kj’s.

The next technique is called the  “mid-class pike,” which, as the name suggests, is when you feel like leaving halfway through a class. I’ve never actually pulled it off, so it doesn’t really deserve a title but I like to think that when I nail it there’ll be one at the ready.

Considering you actually made the effort to come to class, you’d expect a little more respect from the person leading, or at the very least a measure of discretion. But assumptions are the mother of all fudgeups as the great Steven Seagal once said (in the way that only Steven Seagal can – with a mixture of quiet dignity, a flash of ponytail and a roundhousekick to the side of the face.)

Only public humiliation awaits you at the hands of a jilted instructor, who has clearly taken your mid-class pike personally, as this next example will illustrate. Halfway through a “body jam” class last year, I decided I wanted out, (mostly because I’d just noticed that half the class was wearing those homi-ped-ish black dancing shoes with the spongy heels that scream ‘watch me – I’m a serious dancer’) and realised that I wanted to go back to being a youth ambassador, freeing kids from low self-esteem one doughnut at a time.

I tried to sneak out, but got trapped just as I’d made it to the door. The instructor said, (breathily, because she’d been exercising:) “No, come back sweetie, you’re doing well.” Twenty coordinated faces looked at me with condescension, and I put my keys back down and rejoined the group at the very back, where no one could see me botch the “grapevine,” which is only slightly more difficult than walking.

You’d think that this would be the extent of my humiliation, but at the end I was called up to the front and given a backpack and water bottle for sticking around, and “trying.” It was like getting a merit certificate at school assembly, which everyone knows is for people that aren’t good enough to get an actual reward. The class clapped and one person patted me on the back and said “good on you” while I was packing up.

Prevention is better than cure, so I’ll tell you how to try and avoid either of the pikes. By all means, drive to the gym and see how you feel, but know this: the proximity of your car to the front door is an excellent indicator of your chance for success. Nothing says this isn’t happening like you circling the parking lot for twenty minutes so you don’t have to walk too far to get to the treadmill.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that people with too many Facebook friends are in need of a life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are exceptions. Obama, for instance, or Henry Winkler from Happy Days. Other than that, though, I just assume that people with 3000 friends and upwards do nothing else but sit at home all day trying to find friends of friends of people they sat next to on the bus once.

Then again, they may just have a very lax screening process. See, I was once a free spirit, accepting people willy nilly, loving life and laughter. No one was less judicious than me, no one more charitable. And then a dark cloud appeared, hovering over my usually sunny countenance, eventually blocking out all light. That dark cloud’s name was *Barry.

The moment I laid eyes on Barry I knew he was trouble. He had no information other than several questionable ‘interests,’ and an expression similar to those stuffed toys that have fallen in the far corner of the skill-tester machine. The ones that are like, ‘for the love of all that is good and holy, pick me – I’ve been here since the seventies.’ Still, he seemed like a fairly nice guy.

This is exactly what neighbours say to police when they find out that the guy living next door has ten bodies in his basement. Barry did not end up killing me, small mercies, but he gave it his best shot. He was. mental. Right now, in an institution somewhere, this conversation is happening:

Doctor: Have you seen Barry?

Nurse: Barry who?

Doctor: You know. Barry. Looks like one of those stuffed animals in the far corner of a skill tester machine.

Nurse/Barry: A bit like this? Pulls off mask, shoots doctor in leg and runs off, laughing.

His first mistake was writing five vaguely menacing “hey yous” in a row, followed by a string of wingdings and then, hours later, some odd emoticons. I truly believe that in the near future fourth year psych students will be required to take a class called ‘emoticology’ or something to that effect, which will examine the correlation between emoticon use and mental disorder.

It’ll be a kind of 21st century Rorschach test. As part of a patient’s treatment, the therapist will work through a book of emoticons ranging from the most innocuous – the classic smiley, for example – right up to that one where the smiley face is intoxicated, wearing a crown, smoking weed and still managing to wink, from behind his sunglasses. If a person reacts positively towards any on the further end of the spectrum they will be immediately taken away for further examination.

In the end, after receiving constant “wot u up 2 now’s” at 3am (always the same, Barry) and a few “you look nicey’s?” which were less offensive for the grammar than his indecision, I knew it was time to issue him a final warning.

I’d like to think that my message spoke both of my benevolence and my no-nonsense stance. It went something along the lines of “Barry, your behaviour is erratic and disturbing and you are this close (insert google image of man dangling perilously on the edge of a cliff) to being deported,” and then poked him a few times to drive it home.

Barry – alas – fell off the cliff, and the brief pleasure was all his, but his reign of terror did have some impact: every prospective ‘friend’ now undergoes a temporary probation period wherein I assess frequency of posts, turnover of profile pics and quality of status updates in general. I’ve done some shockers in my time, but if someone says “just bought a zucchini – roflmao,” I don’t like their chances.

Rain on your wedding day is just bad luck, Alanis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m crosstitching again.

After a hiatus of 14 years, I’ve flung the craft closet doors wide open and said “come one, come all, and watch me stitch like nobody’s business.” The vehicle that makes this emancipation possible? Irony: that clear unequivocal message that says how cool is it that I’m this pathetic!!!

Finally, no more sewing in the dark like a dirty secret or covert Spotlight ops where I shuffle in, ask for DMC threads in the most opaque bag they’ve got and then sprint out with the same bag over my head. Quite the opposite. Now I saunter in, commandeer one of the loudspeakers at the checkout and say “yo homies, what you got in the way of threads – I’m about to get my stitch on” and then cross my arms like a gang-sta.

A small caveat: one must be doing ironic crosstitch, and in order to do ironic crosstitch, one requires a suitably ironic crosstitch pattern. You start crosstitching rainbows and you’re out; unless it’s a clearly ironic rainbow with a pot of, say, mini rainbows at the end, or it’s got ‘crosstitch for marriage equality’ up top.

In order to safeguard the inherent irony of my work I have been stitching things like tetris ghosts and neon pink dinosaurs, which is super-edgy, because palaeontologists claim that those ones were the first to go. Apparently they punched like girls.

Just as rampant as irony is the ubiquitous woodland creature; so much so that I suspect the next generation will refer to this era as the ‘post-ironic-woodland’ age. From deer to sparrows to foxes – you name it, and it’s been whittled into a badge, hammered into a necklace or printed on a fluoro leotard for extra cool points. The situation is so dire that a trip to Northern America in the near future might be prudent: I have a feeling they’ll soon go the way of the dodo.

In fact, all you’ll be able to do, in twenty years time, when your kids ask you what an owl actually looked like is point to your badge/figurine/necklace/earrings/placard/diary/tattoo and say, “alas, little Johnny, he was all but polished off in 2014, made a resurgence in 2015, came back into fashion in 2016 and died shortly thereafter.”

You know who got the short end of the stick in all this, though, and that is the Southern Red-Backed Vole –a native American woodland mouse which has failed to retain any lasting popularity. Not surprisingly, he is on PETA’s little known “way too unendangered” list. You can’t even get a bookmark of him, and no one is more disappointed than me. He could have been very kitsch and very ironic and you could donate all profits from his sales to saving the rest of his friends.

I’m such a hypocrite, though – if anyone has contributed to the dearth of these animals, it’s me. I just did a mental check in my head, and I have – at the very least – a ceramic owl, a deer crosstitch made by yours truly (see above), a cut-out of a deer lacquered on wood, a swiss clock surrounded by forrest creatures, a sparrow necklace, a vague moosey looking animal on a tshirt,  and a small patch of mould near the ceiling which is very woodlandish.

Still I like to think that the sheer enormity of my collection is an ironic undermining of the phenomenon and a subtle critique of the vices of global capitalism. That, Alanis, is irony.

I go for the conversation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are you doing this weekend?

Having a quiet one

I’m not. I’m going out.

Where are you going?

To a hen’s night – I’m making vodka jelly shots and my friend’s hired a stripper.

I’m assuming this kind of banter constitutes the fourth year of hairdresser training, because I can’t seem to escape it, regardless of which salon I go to. Thursday Friday Saturday and Sunday is “what are you doing this weekend” and Monday and Tuesday is “what did you do on the weekend” (note tense change). I like to go on Wednesday, because it’s too late to ask what you did and too early to ask what you’re doing.

The tragedy is that neither of us really wants to talk. I know this for a fact because I’ve been told by a real live hairdresser that it’s an annoying part of the job. This may or may not be true, but whenever I get a cut I can’t help thinking that the whole thing is like a side serve of French fries that neither of us ordered. You can never be completely sure, though, so I always answer their questions promptly and politely: the last thing you want to do is annoy someone with scissors near your jugular.

The worst thing, though, worse than the enforced conversation, is being reprimanded for not looking after your hair properly. The whole thing’s very odd, because there’s no other place I can think of where you pay money to get told off. I’m always apologising: sorry for not getting a trim regularly, sorry about the split ends, sorry about the flyaways, sorry about my head in general, etc etc.

It never seems to placate them, though, because they play with your hair for a while looking like they wished they’d worn gloves, sigh, and then drop the whole lot back around your face like a cut price frame. If it’s a hairdresser you don’t know, it will be “who did this to you?!!” like the perpetrator should be punished to the full extent of the law. Just once I want to say, “I’m pretty sure it was you – I thought it was rubbish at the time too. Remind me to find another hairdresser.”

This is reason enough for me to avoid the hairdressers, but I think the real source of my enduring aversion is due to an incident I like to call “the day Megan went in expecting a normal haircut and came out with a mullet.”

Almost a decade ago – it feels like yesterday – I made the terrible mistake, of volunteering to be a hair model at a training session. Under normal circumstances being a hair model is pretty sweet because you have a say in what you want done. The training session, as I now know, is a different story. Much like dissecting a toad, the students learn a lot, but the frog’s in terrible condition at the end.

There were a whole heap of other girls there, and each of us were given a different look. Mine was “modern,” which sounds harmless enough until you’re sitting there two hours later with a red mullet, wishing that your look had been titled “severely antiquated.”

There’s also something really weird about having your hair cut in front of a group of people because you have no mirror, no idea what’s going on, and you have to wear that ridiculous cape – the one that looks like you’ve just located Darth Vader’s dressup box – in front of more than one person.

I was compliant, though, and had a strange, completely unfounded, sense that it may all turn out alright because all I heard was coos of delight from the hairdressers and snippets of words like “edgy” “stunning” “cutting edge” so that by the time I saw my hair raining down in sad little clumps (no doubt desperately trying to cling to the side of my head) I was confident that what had just transpired was nothing short of a miracle.

Those hairdressers must have sniffed too much bleach back at the salon, because Scissorhands had butchered my hair into the most ridiculous coiffeur I, or any of my fellow models, had seen the likes of. As soon as I walked back towards my peers I saw a mixture of relief – it wasn’t them – and the kind of pity reserved for leper colonies.

An hour later I was – inexplicably – wearing a catsuit and walking round in a kind of dressage routine with the rest of the girls while we were appraised by the hairdressers. I don’t know what horse I represented except perhaps poor Ginger out of Black Beauty. Unlike Ginger, I would not have the luxury of going to the knackery.

I’m usually quite resilient: it’ll grow out is my motto – no use crying over split ends, but this do was beyond redemption. Save a bowlcut or full GI Jane, this was the lowest you could stoop. It was not the redeemable, nay cool, mullet that took off a few years later, where the hair gradually tapers into a graceful rat’s tail: this was Grade A Billy Ray Cyrus, a suspicion confirmed by my mother whose first words to me when I stepped through the door were “you’re a ranger with a mullet.”

I love that woman more than life itself.

Isn’t it just the worst when you buy a soiled oven.

 

This blog is a kind of panegyric to crappy ads – ones that make the kind of claims a less generous person might call lies. There’s so many to choose from, but here are a few of my all-time favourites:

Oil of Olay can STOP AGING. You can’t make this up.

Most skincare companies fall into the pants on fire category, but the gold medal has to go to “Oil of Olay” (nee Oil of Ulan) which aims to conjure up an ancient civilization of mystics just outside what was formerly West Bengal. I must give them credit here, because I can’t hear the title without envisaging a cobra rising slowly out of a reed basket or the feeling that the fountain of youth lies somewhere near the Olay town hall.

Unfortunately they’ve chosen Rebecca Gibney as their spokesperson which pretty much ends any oriental authenticity. Whenever she comes on the telly and says “do you know you can stop aging?” I say two no’s out loud. The first is because I didn’t know that you could stop aging and the second is the realisation that you can’t. By extension, they are claiming to stop time which is a pretty bold statement considering Stephen Hawking hasn’t heard anything about it. (My condolences to the people that thought they’d found a creamy time machine – your twenty years of hard work was just that.)

On a more generic level, skincare companies are notorious for throwing around names of dubious sounding minerals/proteins/microscopic stuff with titles such as phytoneuroketics, which is really impressive until you realise that it sounds like a degenerative disease and may, in fact, not exist. Although these were more popular in the 80’s, (before cynicism was invented), you can still catch the occasional ad featuring dermatologists  operating out of what looks like NASA’s ex home base, wearing very serious expressions and equally serious uniforms peering through  microscopes trying to locate those damn phytoneuroketic molecules.

Mascara Companies can make lashes 300% longer and healthier.

Rimmel recently got a rap on the knuckles for lying about “false lash effect” mascara which was, quite literally, a bogus lash effect because the model was wearing false eyelashes. Let’s humour them though: if there really is 300% maximisation, they might as well call the mascara drag queen or lady boy, because that’s the kind of look you’d end up with. (On the plus side you’d be exerting calories blinking.)

The second half of this claim is mildly feasible but equally ludicrous. The mascara in question may – and I highly doubt it – truly condition your lashes, but you’ve got to ask yourself the hard question: When is the last time you heard someone say “have you seen her eyelashes – she’s really let herself go.” For me, as long as they stay attached to my face I couldn’t care less about the state of their liver.

Supermarkets are nothing more than a small family business.

These guys are the worst. They don’t claim, they just infer, which is far more insidious. If you’ve missed this ad’s relentless plugging, count yourself lucky and get a bucket at the ready:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEhFZzAGU7g

I sincerely hope that no one is conned by this whimsical sepia-hued 60s clip with happy (albeit unhinged) farmers, fresh cauliflowers and excited Woolworths employees. I certainly never hark back to a happier time when I enter Woolies: the employees look about as excited as POW’s and the only thing retro about the place is the apples that have been in cold storage for the last ten years. (Also, as far as I know, people don’t bootscoot on their driveways for no reason. Even in the country.)

So thank goodness for Coles. Where else can one be reassured that the price is “down down down and staying down.” In some cases, as I discovered yesterday, Coles milk is, and always will be, down by 17 cents, which means that if I buy the stuff exclusively for the next six months I might have enough to buy a bottle of good milk at the end. An alternative “real” commercial would be brilliant, and they might gain props for their honesty, if nothing else. It goes something like this: Slow pan of country property to close up on farmer driving a “for sale” sign into the ground outside his house, a shot of a 15 year old spending her paycheck on a pack of tictacs and a final shot of (Coles brand) chickens being injected with hormones while someone says,  “our poultry helps you go up up up a cup size.”

Mormons love biscuits and d&m’s.

This one isn’t necessarily incorrect, it’s just mental. I saw this years ago at 3am (during my insomnia phase.) First I laughed for five minutes straight, and then I slept like a baby; perhaps because I realised that some people have a lot more to deal with than sleep deprivation. One dad, one precocious kid, some bribery and a motherload of choc chip cookies. Buckle up for the weirdest (and frostiest) ad. Ever.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMfmZrtBBcA

My guess is that she was in her room sulking because she:

A. Didn’t get any biscuits

B. Is trapped in a cult

C. Has to share a room with that freaky ass younger sister

As a side note, founder Joseph Smith was a stone cold fox. Google image that gear – you won’t regret it.

There’s no business like show business

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winning the lead role in our grade two production of Rockin’ Robin changed my life. I’d tasted the sweet nectar of acting success and I’ve been thirsty ever since.

Dehydrated, it would seem, because thirteen years later twenty year old me was impersonating a vegetable at a local Tafe course; a cert one in acting that promised great things and provided the names of people who had gone on to star in Woolworths commercials.

Our first task was to get up and channel said inner vege. I had nothing by the time it was my go so I just got up and kind of spun around for a while and then stopped and said that I was a tomato that had been blended into Dolmio sauce. There were a few confused claps and I bowed and simulated mopping up the spillage on the way back to my seat.

Difficult as it is to imagine, my name wasn’t plastered on billboards six months later, despite some truly gripping performances; possibly because a movie with a vegetable as lead character isn’t very marketable. I retract that – Brando made a career out of it. Andonyafahgetit – It’s like a streetcar named desire ran him over http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4Z4c6-_iek&feature=related

As far as I know, Meryl Streep didn’t get her big break sitting around in her undies reading a paper that sells free pot plants and used baby clothes, but then, there really is no American equivalent to the Quokka, and in this oft-derided publication I saw my ticket out of Maida Vale wedged, unassumingly, in the section titled “Miscellaneous” with “actors wanted for local tv series” underneath.

A quick clarification: I do not click yes on those flashing ‘you are the tenth million visitor’ signs. I knew it was probably a channel 31 gig with me playing an extra, (or a very experienced tomato), but either way it would allow my raw talent exposure to a wider audience and hopefully the attention of a big-name producer/director who liked to watch the world’s crappiest channel in the middle of the day.

Because it’s always lonely at the top, I recruited a few friends. Both lacked my illustrious background in the field, but could do a very convincing impersonation of a fridge if they stood still enough. It would be beneath me to drag one of my fearless companions into this tale of shame and degradation, but riddle me this: a member of my family, a gender y anomaly. Name starts with m, then i i k, is he my brother? I’ll never say.

Deluded and hopeful, we set off for the Canningvale studio. I could tell it was a studio because they’d installed a set out front that precisely captured the Canningvale spirit; dead grass, a rusty gate and two burnt out cars in the front yard. I’d arrived.

The authenticity continued on into the house, with a (pre-dramatic weight loss) Peter Jackson type welcoming us in and plonking himself down on to a casting couch/potato chip graveyard. If you’d tipped it over you could probably have got about another 200g pack, which, judging by his impressive girth, would not have lasted long, but I reassured myself that this was how Howard Hughes had lived out his final days and prepared myself for my debut performance.

I was playing a real live human being!!! One that lived on a faraway galaxy, but a human, nonetheless, and my task was to shoot down enemy spaceships, with a small additional caveat – it had to be with my mind. Yes. I buckled up my seatbelt on the USS Enterprise, furrowed my brow and let fly some pshht pshht noises which, in hindsight, sounded more like a dog urinating on a fire hydrant than intergalactic warfare.

The force wasn’t with me or my companions, and we were sent home with a “don’t call us we’ll call you” look which, as I’ve learnt from many job interviews, is just don’t call us. Ever.

With no job, no prospects and a severely battered ego, I enrolled in uni to pursue a far more feasible career, and voila me 2012, rolling in the dosh, critically acclaimed with books flying off the shelf like a poltergeist’s birthday party.

I should have been an accountant.

The Channel 31 production was never aired. Somewhere out there is a “director” starting every second sentence with you will not BELIEVE what I got these people to do. Touché my friend, touché.