Archive for November, 2008


When I Grow Up . . . .

30 November 2008

School careers counselling left a lot to be desired when I was at school. 

When I grow up I want to be a . . . . . shop assistant/nurse/teacher/secretary and not much else on offer.  There are jobs out there that just never got a look in.  I often think for instance that I would have been good working in film continuity, as I have that sort of eye for detail.   The only “out of the box” ambition I ever nursed was when I announced to my parents that I wanted to be a “call girl”.  Apparently i thought that was the name of the person who worked backstage in the theatre knocking on dressing room doors to summon actors to the stage.  I don’t think they corrected me – it would have been too difficult to explain.

My friend, Jejune, writes word puzzles for a living which sounds a fascinating job to me, and just up my street.  She’s currently working on a commission to write “Word Searches for Dummies”, which means she’s compiling puzzles from dawn till dusk at the moment.   

She’s written a really interesting blog explaining how she actually puts a puzzle together.  I found it intriguing.  Go and have a look

She’s also carried her job into her hobby by knitting this terrific Crossword Bag too.  And it’s multi-national – one side is a British/Australian crossword layout and the other is the American design. One clever lady!  

“When I grow up, I want to be a crossword compiler and knitter”.  I don’t know what advice the careers counsellor would have offered but I wish I’d thought of that!


Perhaps You Should Rephrase That . . . Part 2

26 November 2008

Judith commented on this post last week by quoting a job she’d seen advertised for the Royal College of Surgeons.  They were looking for an administrator who could “operate at Board level”.

Today she’s found another one.  A charity called Get Hooked on Fishing (!! – don’t ask) would like to find a Chief Executive who will  “increase their income streams”.  (Honestly – I checked the ad. myself)

Then Petunia commented on the ridiculous ads. I see on trains and buses in Sydney.  She rightly questioned what all these advertising executives were being paid for when so many grammatically incorrect or just downright stupid advertisements actually make it to the screen or into print.  I’ve worked for advertising agencies (still do) and know that they don’t just come up with an idea and the next day it’s out there for all to read.  Ideas go round the agency, round the client, back to the agency, back to the client etc.  And garbage still manages to get out there. 

When I was in England recently, Judith pointed out to me a TV advertisement (advertising what, I can’t remember) with a penguin leaning up against an igloo.  We tested this one on my 13 year old great-niece. 

“Why do Auntie Sally and I think this ad. is stupid?”

With hardly a pause for breath, the answer from Alice was:

“Well, penguins can’t fly”

Even if they could, I think they’d have to undergo some pretty heavy training before they’d set out on a flight from the Antarctic to the Arctic. 


I’m Not Very Fond Of . . . Part 12

25 November 2008

You must all by now know how I feel about quirky, funny or downright ridiculous signs and public announcements. 

Sydney’s buses and trains are always a good source of amusement for me as they just don’t seem to be able to help themselves.  My all-time favourite, as I’ve mentioned before, is the sign forbidding us to drink on the bus, with its picture of a Martini glass.  It must have been before my time here that cocktail drinking was a serious problem for commuters.

The latest has been written for the mathematically-challenged among us, I think.

“The 14-day pass.  Just like the 7-day pass but lasts twice as long”.

Tells us all we need to know, I suppose.


Tempus Fugit

24 November 2008

Yep, time certainly flies by as I get older.

It hardly seems possible that a year ago today David and I were crammed into a community hall not far from here with a couple of hundred others and the world’s press.  The walls of the room were lined with television screens and in the back drop of the TV studio, we could see ourselves partying,  The eyes of Australia were focused on Bennelong and in particular on that community hall.  We sang ourselves hoarse, we stamped our feet, booed and cheered.  And this after most of us had been up since before 5 that morning and spent the day standing at polling stations.  But, boy, was it worth it!  We’d got rid of John Howard and I think we all felt pretty pleased with the small contribution we’d made.

Last Friday night, Maxine McKew hosted a party for the volunteers and supporters and it was great to meet up with everyone again. 

So we’ve had “Kevin 07” for a year.  And has it been worth it?  He doesn’t set the world on fire with his oratory style that’s for sure.  I think we were all pretty sick of “Australian Working Families” and now he’s declaring war on everything – “War on Alcopops”, “War on Unemployment”, “War on Internet Porn” etc etc.  But his popularity rating is still at over 60%.  People see him for what he is and they trust him.

He signed Kyoto, he said “Sorry”,  he fulfilled his promise this week to legislate for equality for gays and lesbians  –  though not as far as legalising marriage yet. 

He’s been criticised for going overseas so much but frankly if the Government can’t function properly without Kevin sitting at his desk in Canberra, he’s picked the wrong people.  He’s hopefully mending fences after Howard brought this country into such disrepute.

Today the Zimbabwean Government is being criticised for refusing a visa to Kofi Annan but I remember just before I came to live here that Mary Robinson, then head of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, was refused a visa to come to Australia.  A first world, democratic country refused a visa to the head of an international organisation of which we’re a member because she may have criticised it for its appalling record on the treatment of refugees.   We now hear that a number of those asylum seekers who were sent home apparently had good reason to fear for their lives – they were killed as soon as they got back.

John Howard famously said that the day America elected Barack Obama would be the day Al-Queda would be dancing for joy in the streets.

Kevin has a lot of fences to mend.



Knit One, Stir One

22 November 2008

Yesterday, Gordon Wood was found guilty of the murder in 1995 of his girlfriend, Caroline Byrne, by throwing her off The Gap.  I won’t go into the details of the case but you can read all about it here.

It sounds as if Gordon’s mother was obviously not that impressed with her son’s choice of girlfriend, according to the report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

“Mrs Wood described Caroline Byrne as a ‘nice person’ who had ‘no charisma’ and who was ‘without any natural homemaking skills’.  Caroline couldn’t even knit”

Well, well.  I never met David’s mother so I’ve no idea whether I’d have impressed her with my knitting skills.  In general I’ve got on quite well with the mothers of boyfriends over the years (with one notable exception which I won’t go into here!).  Maybe they overlooked my domestic deficiencies because I could knit.

Mrs Wood also said that Caroline “didn’t bring a pot or a pan to the relationship”.   I remember when I was packing up in England to move out to Australia to be with David, he asked me whether I’d be bringing my saucepans with me, as they’re very good quality and better than the ones he had.  I’m not particularly good at actually USING them but who cares?  I do the knitting; David does the cooking.

Sounds fair to me.



Gun Slings?

20 November 2008

I really didn’t think it could get much more weird than the recent Guardian newspaper’s pattern for a banana holder (which I wrote about here).  I should have known better!

A few days ago, I read a plea from a woman who has just bought a new rifle but didn’t like the case it came in and was wondering where she could find a suitable knitting pattern for a replacement (!!).

She soon had lots of replies and they weren’t of the “You want to knit WHAT?” variety.  They were full of handy tips and advice from fellow gun-toting knitters.  Like one who said it wasn’t a great idea because the oil from the gun damages the wool.  Or another who said she’d made one but had felted it to make it sturdier. And another who suggested  that she just knitted a cover for the case that came with the gun. 

I really do sometimes wonder if I’m living in a parallel universe.


Let’s Party!

20 November 2008

Today sees the launch of a new political party in Australia:  the Australian S-x Party (sorry, I can’t type the word as it will send Google into overdrive).   

This new party aims to campaign against the proposed Australian censorship of the Internet, for decent s-x education in our schools and for the legalisation of same-sex marriages (oops!  Now I’ve said it).

Religious fundamentalists seem to be obsessed with sex and this permeates all aspects of our life because their views have always carried more weight in Government than those of the laid-back atheists.  (Although while our parliamentarians have been busy legislating against various practices for the rest of us, some of their extra-curricular activities wouldn’t bear much scrutiny.)   

I blame the Garden of Eden.  And see no reason for our laws to be based on the story of a man, a woman, lust, disobedience, an apple and a snake,

Is it just a fluke that the acronym of this new party is ASP?

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