Monday, May 31, 2004

Sometimes I look at large groups of school children on the train, and I cringe. They are so unaware of anyone outside their little world. They yell and scream and laugh and leave their bags on the seats and have their walkmans on too loud and hang out of the door when you want to get on or off. They are downright annoying.

And then other times I listen to their stories about who kissed who, or what happened on the Bachelor, or the agonising over what to wear to so and so's party and I admire the simplicity of their worries. At times it is all I can do to keep from laughing out loud.

Sometimes you want to butt in to their conversation and tell them that although it may seem like the end of the world that Adrian kissed Erin when you were so sure it was you that he liked, it is really only a drop in the ocean, and the likelyhood is they will really get their heart broken one day.

And then other times their chatterings make you smile and you remember how the agonising conversations on the train were such a great part of growing up.

Overheard conversation this week:
Girl 1: I told him that he shouldn't get this train anymore, because it is really hard to see him all the time.
Girl 2: So what did he say?
Girl 1: He said he'd do what he liked.
Girl 2: So do you think he will be here? (as we pull into a station)
Girl 1: I'm not talking to him if he is. Oh my god, he is. And he is getting on this carriage.
Girl 2: Just pretend you havent seen him.
Girl 1: (Fixes hair, looks up, smiles) Hi Matt!
Matt: (Grunts, sort of nods, mostly ignores her and ambles down to the other end of the carriage.)
Girl 1: Do you think he still likes me?
Girl 2: Ummm

Ah - to be a teenager again.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

I was recently reading an article in the Age about in car DVD players, and how they are the new "threat" to vehicle safety. Drivers apparently will cause all sorts of accidents because of the distraction of seeing the kids in the car next to theirs watching Shrek. A spokesperson from the RACV makes the very sexist and perhaps brunette-ist comment that a driver may be just as distracted by the "blonde woman driving the car next to theirs", but you get the point, I'm not sure what makes a DVD player any more of a distraction than anything else.

This kind of links in with all the debate over the child bath seats, and the drownings. Only in that it is the same debate over how much we need to be protected from the blatently obvious. Of course parental supervision would have prevented the drownings, and I pity the poor parents have to live with that knowledge for the rest of their lives. But if the products were not fully safe then the manufacturers have a case to answer too. (Beth argues this very well)

However, as responsible adults, we can be warned about the dangers of things, and then there has to come a point when we take responsibilty for our actions. All this reminds me of that Winnebago story, where in the US a driver successfully sued Winnebago after putting the van on 'cruise control', and then leaving the controls to make himself a coffee. Cause they didn't warn him that the van doesn't drive itself when it is on cruise control.

Lets hope Australian law can escape this sort of frivolity (and the article I have linked to gives more examples too). Lets hope that Australians can take responsibilty for their own stupidity. Lets be glad that the driver behind me didn't run up my behind at the the lights the other day when I got distracted by the kids in the car next door watching Shrek on their DVD player. Ahem.


Monday, May 17, 2004




So whilst I may have made the distance on my mega walk on the weekend, I now am paying the price as I hobble around and I can't walk up a step without the word "Ow" escaping from my lips.

We were amazingly lucky on Saturday with the weather, which can only be described as perfect. We walked the 19 or so km's that day in about 6hrs, and the last 500m or so up to the lighthouse nearly bloody well killed me. It is a steep concrete path, probably at an angle of about 30 degrees, it was only the thought of a shower and a cup of tea at the top that got me up it.

The cottage we stayed in was gorgeous, recently refurbished by means of flying all materials and fittings in by helicopter. On Saturday night I wanted to be flown out by helicopter. The views were spectcular, and we got a tour of the lighthouse (which was another 62 stairs to climb and every one hurt!)by the Parks Victoria bloke who lives out there with his wife. What a life. And what a view.

Sunday morning we were treated to torrential rain and wind gusts that made the prospect of walking the long way - 22.5kms - home even worse. But we were stupid enough to take that path and seven hours, five leeches and much chocolate later we straggled up the path to the car. I have discovered that the tortise doesn't always win the race.

I think I'd describe it as a once in a lifetime experience, because I'm not sure I will have the energy to do it ever again!


Thursday, May 13, 2004

Budget time. Or perhaps that should be bribe time? The way the media report the budget policies always amuses me - particularly our own Melbourne tabloid. There are always the winners and losers, with photos of the "winners" smiling, hugging their children close. And then the poor "losers", scowling and alone. I hate the budget, regardless of political party, it always leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth because in making discretionary spending decisions, there are always losers. Speaking as an Economist, it is difficult to make the average person on the street see the benefit in spending on something like infrastructure or education, so instead we have vote winning policies that speak directly to the hip pockets of voters, like tax cuts. Never mind that with reduced infrastructure spending there are less jobs etc etc. This is the problem with politics ruling economics, and Mr Costello gunning for the top job. If only he could get rid of that little guy.

I have issues with things like the $3000 baby payment, not because I dont think that parents deserve every cent they get, but because I am not sure that the $3000 times thousands of people taking up the bonus is best spent in that way. Do you think that some people would be swayed by that money to have more children? Children that cost a hell of a lot more than $3000? I guess they are the ones who's vote may be bought by such a policy.

We have major issues in Australia. We have a Prime Minister who thinks that our State schools dont teach the right values, and yet seems quite content to do nothing to rectify the scarcity of resources for schools. To increase teachers pay, fix these supposed value problems and make the public sector as "attractive" as the private one. I'll give you an example of a friend of mine who has recently switched careers and has become a Primary School teacher. She taught her first couple of years at a State Primary school. She had 26 kids in her prep class. This year, she has switched and is now teaching at a Private Primary school. She gets paid about $5000 more, and has 12 kids in her class. 12. It's ridiculous. How do you keep the good teachers in the state system under those sort of circumstances? I know that education is a state govt issue too, but sheesh someone has to fix all this!

And dont get me started on HECS and full fee paying students and how we are fast tracking to an American style university education system, and how it is going to very quickly get to the stage where low income earners will never be able to send their kids to uni, that is given they can get into uni from our underfunded and overworked state high school system.

Am now climbing down from my high horse..

The funny thing that I can be quite a political person, and have been known to bore my friends with rants about something or other of a political nature. This side of me is almost never represented here. Lucky for you guys. Next post I promise will be back to my usual rants on what to cook for dinner, reality television and learning foreign langauges.


Wednesday, May 12, 2004

PS (except this is at the top of the entry - so I guess that makes it a pre-script rather than a post script)
I have changed comment suppliers - so have therefore lost all of your witty past comments. You'll just have to make up for it with new witty comments!
Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there, I hope you all had a lovely day on the weekend. My sister and I took my Mum out for Breakfast, which was a hell of a lot easier than actually cooking anything ourselves. It was pretty funny with all the Mums at the cafe we were at opening up their presents at their tables, and having to blatently lie about how great the presents were.

There was a Mum at the table next to us that did an excellent job gushing over her new slippers - which were particularly hideous purple fluffy things with claws, like monster's feet. The girl giving the slippers was obviously very impressed with the greatness of her gift, she kept saying, "I knew you'd like them!".

Mr R has been sent off to Japan with instructions to get me something cool funky and very Japanese, thanks for your suggestions. I spoke to him last night and he tells me that Japanese stores rarely stock mp3 players anymore - so behind am I with the advent of technology. I think asking for an mp3 was almost as bad as asking for a record player. I have decided that I need a technology savy robot to weigh up all the new things on the market and then decide if I would like or need the latest inventions. Now that would be a good invention.

This weekend I am off to Wilson's Prom to do the walk to the lighthouse (about 18km each way) with my family and some friends that are also coming to Sth America with us. Mr R is conveniently out of the country which is a problem as I usually rely on him to push me the last couple km's on long walks. And this was his bloody idea. We are staying overnight in a cottage next to the lighthouse, which should be pretty cool, and means I only have to carry food, water and my sleeping bag. Although it would have been fun to stay in the actual lighthouse in a little round room! I am somewhat worried about the weather (as a long time Prom camper, I know it is notoriuosly unreliable down there) and I am very worried about being able to walk back on Sunday. Keep your eyes peeled to the news for stories on dramatic helicopter rescues. This trip was planned as preparation for the Inca trail, which isnt as far but is at high altitude, so if I dont make this I will be thankful for the train that also goes to Machu Picchu.

Also, my apologies to anyone who is way more Internet savvy than me, and has had trouble viewing this in Mozilla (and I thought that was Godzilla's girlfriend). So there are actual alternatives to Explorer! Suzette and Ben have discovered I was using illegal apostrophes - so I am hoping not be arrested. Thanks for the tip guys!


Friday, May 07, 2004

Mr R is heading off to Japan on the weekend for a business trip. So while I might miss him, it will be for a max of about 10 seconds, because I love having the house to myself. Love it. Love it. Love it.

I can have cheese on toast for dinner, and play my CDs really loudly and, um, leave my towels on the floor. Oh wait, I do that anyway. At least I wont have to watch the footy (I only like watching my team – good win on the weekend boys!), but I might get cold at night, the nights have been rather chilly of late. Maybe I will miss him sometimes.

Now I have to decide what I want him to bring me back form Japan as my present for the fact that he gets to go away and I don’t. I initially wanted one of those beautiful kimonos, because I though that would look stunning hanging on a wall (or on me), but he tells me the hand made ones are about $2000, so maybe that isn’t such a good idea. I am now pushing for an Ipod, but I’d settle for an mp3 player for the convenience of their size. Would keep me company on the train. What other good things do they have in Japan? His past trips have yielded me some fabulous origami paper, and I now list origami as a hobby. Mind you, the instruction book I have is in Japanese, so things don’t always turn out as they should. Especially when my Niece thought that my crane was a bear.

The other exciting thing happening around me is that my little Sis has returned from her two-year stay in New Zealand, and will be moving in to one of our spare rooms. I wonder if we will regress to the days of our youth, where we spent much of the day arguing. Over the very important issues such as who washes the dishes and who dries the dishes. And if she could borrow my new jeans. And who gets to choose what we watch on TV. And if I looked at her.

Sis: Muuuum. Sarah’s looking at me! Make her stop!

Mum: Sarah, stop looking at your sister.

Me: I’m not looking at her, I am looking out the window! Tell her to not be such a pain!

Sis: I am not a pain, and you are looking at me. Stop it!

You get the idea. Lucky Mr R, who may now be known as the adjudicator.


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