Friday, March 25, 2011

3D, or not 3D. That is the Question!

I’m so ashamed.

We’re SO Bogan. We had THE most Bogan day yesterday. But it was inevitable, given our pattern of reoffending.

Yep. Brad the Tradie just bought a new TV. Another one.

Not to replace a broken one. Nope. ‘New Telly’ (it doesn’t have a name yet but we're thinking of calling it Sammy), was bought yesterday because BtT had to have a bigger television. To watch sport on. Which brings our Telly Tally (thanks to Smurfette for asking… I hadn’t previously indulged myself in a head-count) to… four. For three people. And what’s even WORSE, is that we looked at each other on the way home from the Telly store (ginormous telly box secured into the back of the ute) and realised that this is the fourth consecutive year that we’ve bought a new telly. And we got rid of three when we left the East Coast (no HD or 3D, or LED… HUGE iss-you). See? SO ashamed.

It all started yesterday morning when I asked BtT to pick up a towel rail from Bunnings.

Seemed an easy enough request given that he has a couple of rest days and we’re preparing the house for an invasion of yanks (VGF’s from Oregon, so not truly the annoying ‘from Texas’-type yanks, but American all the same). We’ve travelled to America several times and know that they like towel rails. And the bathroom in our new house is a little short in towel-hanging devices (I don’t know why, it just IS). So, BtT + Going to Bunnings = Towel Rail. Or, in simple mathematical terms, BtT+GtB=TR. Not a lot can go wrong with that. Perhaps the odd ‘we don’t need those screws but he bought them anyway’ hardware item.

Then comes the phone call.

BtT: Darl! Wanna come for a drive?
Blossy: Uhhh, OK. Where to?
BtT: TV store.
Blossy: Why?
BtT: I’ve just been and I’ve narrowed it down and you need to come and help me decide which telly.
Blossy: A telly? Did you get the towel rail?

He did, as it turns out, get the towel rail, and checked on fold-up beds, and dismissed the bar stools at Fantastic (the package deal kings!) as not of the right colour, AND he’s been working REALLY hard for actual real money (as to opposed to me, who… hasn’t…), so what could I say? Except, “Great! New telly!” And grab the car keys and prepare myself for the sight of BtT in a recliner watching the cricket wearing 3D glasses.

What is it with this Bogan obsession with huge tellies? It's the new Bogan drug of choice.

For something that's only 60 years old or whatever, it's certainly made an impact on the human race. Well, not as much as penicillin or anything really important, but you know, things are different with a telly. And i also wonder whether I could be one of those parents that gets out board games after dinner. You know, do the unthinkable... live without telly.

Not that I’m letting mine (all four of them) go anytime soon. I was raised by a telly.

My Baby Boomer parents put one in my bedroom when I was six. A little black and white one. I thought they were FAN-tastic parents, but I’m fairly sure I got a telly for Christmas to stop my whining about wanting to change the channel (yes, we had TWO channels) to the ABC every five minutes to check whether Kimba the White Lion had started. Anyway, that telly began my ‘cave’, my own space where I could put MY STUFF. Near MY TV. I realised that Christmas that I suddenly had power. I could choose whether to join my family, or I could be in my cave. Yes, excellent Bogan parenting. Get annoying kids a whole lot of their own stuff, set up a room and leave them to it. I remember when the SBS channel (or ‘the wog channel’ as my dad called it) came and I stayed up late one night in my cave so I could watch naked foreign people rolling around on grassy knolls. Now THAT’S sex education at its Bogan finest. My cave was SO popular for sleep-overs I had a waitlist. And that's the power of a tiny black and white box in 1978.

So no wonder as a society we're happy to spend our family tax assistance payments on a new plasma (or LED in our case).

 In the Bogan world, Foxtel is a more common monthly expense than private health insurance. When choosing our house floor plan, nearly every single building company had renamed the Lounge Room a 'Home Theatre'. In Brad the Tradie's home theatre the lounge suite has recliners, inbuilt stubby holders and a snack bucket console. We don't entertain in the theatre like you would in a lounge room, unless the guest has come over to watch the footy and have bourbon and a bag of chips.

What happened to The Good Room?

You know, the room in the house where the lounge suite was floral, where cups of tea were had, there was a spare corner for the Christmas tree and posh families had a piano against a wall. (My parents had an ugly glass cabinet full of unused Noritake china and port glasses... In case the Queen came to dinner). Good rooms do NOT have a 58 inch 3D HD LED wifi-ready television thats worth more than the lounge suite.

Does anyone besides my nanna have a good room anymore?

And does it really matter? If my favourite bogan Brad the Tradie is more comfortable at the end of his work day in his cave watching sport wearing 3D glasses then all power to him. Bugger it. He doesn't drink tea anyway.

Television - The Drug of the Nation, The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy , 1992.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's My Party and I'll Scream if I Want To!

I'm not really a baby person.

They're a little poopy. And they lack independence. And cry a lot. But they seem to like me. As do children (which I've pretty much had enough as well).  So, what's the chance, after resigning from a career in children raising, oops, I mean 'teaching' for a quiet life near the beach, that we'd land in a street full of children next to a baby family. You know the ones, the parents are barely out of childhood themselves and they've got a baby. And this baby family don't have any parents or siblings in the suburb.

Sigh. The writing was on the wall after the baby limped in one day with a runny nose and a perma-grizzle, stayed for a few hours and left in better shape than it started. After that, BtT (an experienced baby person) and I seemed to 'just happen' to end up with the baby quite a lot and have hence taught it to talk, walk, eat solids, wear shoes, survive the Western Australian emergency health care system, and stop screaming for short periods of time (the last one was mandatory training and required a few phone calls to my psych friend Organica for expert baby tips). Where the tissues live on our buffet there is now a large box of latex gloves as well, although we still do put the dirty nappies in her parents' bin. Might teach it not to poop next (as a matter of priority).

We've taken to calling our little patch of Bogan paradise 'Hysteria Lane'.

There's bloody scooters and minibikes and raffle ticket selling all over the place, with the joyful sound of children screaming and putting bandaids on between the hours of 3:30 and 7pm on weekdays (and more on weekends!!!). Apparently it does take a village to raise a child. And that village is in our front yard. They all have lovely Bogan names like Summer, Taylah and my all-time fave Josh-you-arhhhhhhhh. We dont live in a ghetto, but the problem here in Western Australia is that the mines have made everyone rich enough to buy a nice house. They're called CUBS, 'Cashed Up Bogans'.

So it came as no surprise that I scored a leading role in planning baby Summer's first birthday party.

Fortunately I managed to pull off making a hundred cupcakes and convince the parents to hold the party at the local park instead of in our street. With all those V8 Bogan cars the road surface would've looked like a BP oil spill.

Whilst daddy is Italian (and a miner of course), the baby's mother is from pure Bogan stock. The Bunbury Bogans. For those not in the know, Bunbury is a country Bogan Mecca about a hundred k's south of Beachvillea. Where K-mart ugg boots count as dressing up. Where the teenage girl 'guffin' phenomenon is rife (that’s a front muffin…the fast-food inspired jellybelly bit that hangs over the front of the Boganette leggings or Supre size-too-small skirt), dentists are few and far between (but there are scores of tattoo artists) and adolescents are more fertile than frogs.

So what do YOU think happens when fifty Bunbury Bogans and fifty Italian-Ozzie wogs (mayyyyte!!!) turn up at a baby's party at the same time?

Brad the Tradie, the BHG and I decided to undertake formal observations at the party this past Saturday (given that there wasn't a lot else for us to do. Whatever happened to party games?). There are definite similarities between the groups. Both sides brought gifts, the Bogans' dropped by Big Dub on the way and wrote on the bag instead of a card. The wogs put cash in an envelope. Both sides like a sausage sambo and a cupcake. Both enjoyed eating food from 'the other side' .... "Oi! Luv! There's a cheese plate...what's that one you like? Cammybert?"

Then there's the things that just don't translate, like fart jokes. Like the Bogans bringing cases of Toohey's New on their shoulder (to a first birthday party in a local park at 10am on a Saturday? really?) and wearing board shorts and denim skirts. Or the wogs lamenting the lack of fresh espresso and dressing their children in Pleather for the party (that's fake leather, and yes, it comes in black, red, pink and a lovely shade of puke).

In the end everyone got along great guns by just sticking to their own group, no police or security was required (although there were a few tears after the Toohey's New ran out and they had to crack open the home brew bourbon) and the party kicked on at the park...and yes, then back in Hysteria Lane. Right throughout the night. Baby Summer chucked it in after screaming her guts out being passed from Bogan to Wog all day, and went to bed leaving her mum to open all the plastic bags of gifts and count the cash whilst daddy topped up the bourbons out the back. Our poor dog Tasha the Wonderguts is feeling the pinch a little too with all the leftovers (she lay on her side for much of Sunday).

God forbid this couple have a wedding if this is what a first birthday party is like. Maybe we could just cordon off Hysteria Lane for the celebrations, much like the WillyKate hoohah. Although Summer's parents have mentioned that the latest Cashed Up Bogan wedding dream is to get married on a beach in Bahhhh-li or Poo-ket.

One can only hope.

It's My Party and I'll Cry if I want To, Lesley Gore, 1963.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I am Woman

Happy International Women’s Day.

I just checked Facebook and everyone’s wishing each other a happy I.W. Day. The front page of the paper is devoted to celebrating successful women. All blokes have gone into hiding. But I really don’t think we (the females) have gone far enough in our demands for today. Did Julia legislate a day off? Why the hell not? And furthermore… who’s cooking dinner?

I note with interest an article on the telly about women's body shapes being renamed from pieces of fruit to artists.

Can’t see it taking off though myself. How many people are going to say "Corrrrr, she's an alright piece of Rembrandt" or "It’s TUNA. I'm trying to lose the Reubens. I am WOMAN. Hear me DIET!)" or “Embrace your Donatello shape my child…ohmmmmm….” And why these old, Romantic Teenage-Mutant-Ninja artists? I want to be a Dali, you know, kinda dripping towards the ground and slightly burnished. I can’t even remember half the artists the body shapes are named after. It’s just easier to be a pear, banana or apple really.

But it raises a point for me. Where the hell are the men's shapes?

We don't get articles on what to name men's bodies after. I’ve taken a vote amongst my Reuben-esque bits and we think perhaps we’ll call men after vegetables. Like, ‘cucumber’ for tall, thin men, ‘tomato’ for squat red men (you know the ones…they look like Santa all year round) and ‘broccoli’ for the blokes with a big green head. And where's International Men's Day??? On second thought, let's not. Could you imagine? A men’s day would go for a week, involve a motor sport of some kind and I'd just have to heat up the sausage rolls and pick up afterwards anyway.

I celebrated today by…. ummm, going about my business, which is kind of the women's way don't you think?

 Let’s have a day to celebrate women and then make them overachieve all day like usual. We can do whatever men can do and vice versa, although I felt kind of queasy at the Post Office working out the ratio of male managers (1) to female servers (7) and wondered how far we'd actually come when the twenty-something next door offered me a Vodka & Cranberry for lunch to celebrate the auspiciousness of today... "because we CAN."

I was raised to believe that I could do anything. Except underachieve.

In the era of being bombarded by 'women can be mechanics or fighter pilots if they want' the message resounded loud and clear. Go hard or go home. On the other hand, boys of my era gave up a bit in the face of so many pro-girl messages. My brother (from the same gene pool and intelligence) was told he was ‘good with his hands’ whilst I was pushed into as many maths and sciences as humanly possible in an attempt to show girls they were equal to or better than those inferior boys over there. We were all about girl power and by golly did we achieve. By the time I finished high school in the late 80’s, my group of overachieving friends and I practically thought boys were only good for putting the bins out and that women would one day rule the world.

Not that any of our group ended up being the first female Prime Minister.

On international women's day the news was ablaze with Jool-ya in a classroom in the USA letting them all know how we're mooooov-ing forrrrrr-ward (cue hand movements) making us Aussie chicks proud by batting her eyelashes at Barry O and giggling about vegemite. Way to go for the women's movement there Jools. And for goodness sake luv, being a smart, progressive, modern woman doesn’t mean you have to dress like a K-Mart catalogue.

So now, due to the hard work in the mid to late twentieth century, the next gen of gals can benefit from being raised by women who lived through the ultra-capable superwoman era, the Hell Yes generation and Generation X-tra work. I see girls now who know they can do anything... so much so that some of them choose to do nothing. Girls who are so confident in their body that they just let it all hang out. Anywhere, anytime. I call them 'Generation Y-should-I' or 'Generation Y-the-hell-can't-I'?

And they've got a good point. The gals of today live in a world that changes constantly. They'll have a handful of careers, some of which haven't been invented yet and keep being told that the world will end anyway. Why shouldn't they just wanna have fun?

There’s a Gen Y-the-hell-can't-I on the teaching team at the tax course I'm doing on Tuesdays.

Kelly, the trainee assistant, rocks in kind of on time with her phone buzzing away, holding two takeaway coffees ("one for now, one for in a minute") and her job is to mark our homework according to the manual. Today, on International Women’s Day, Ms Kelly wore a skintight black skirt and a sheer (see-through actually) top with ruffles kind of covering a fluorescent pink bra. Her dreadlocks flowing, she called to us to "give in ya homework" which she looked fairly unthrilled about marking, then checked her email, facebook, texts and goodness knows what else, whilst the actual teacher smiled apologetically and told us how exciting Superannuation income streams could be. Since when can you wear sheer tops to work that fully show off a fluorescent pink bra? I'm not just talking the bra straps here. THE WHOLE THING. Apparently Gen Y-the-hell-not rules the roost in that office partnership.

Kelly left me thinking today about what each generation of women leaves the one to follow.

If my mother's generation's message to me was being able to have any career we wanted, is my generation teaching Kelly's that individuality means they can wear whatever the hell they want? Or is the shock of this new office wear just me being 'old'? Maybe I'm all for individuality in theory, but then cherish conformity in certain places. "Yes, be an individual dear... wear flourescent undies... just not to work... or to the shops...or a funeral...or anywhere really where people can see them...." Yes, the Boomers and Gen X are the rule enforcers and Gen Y aim to break them.

Perhaps the fact that Kelly is able to break the rules and make me question her officewear today is cause for celebration of today in the first place. Happy International Women’s Day. I’m off to make dinner. And get the washing in…

Oh yes I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman (and I can wear a pink bra to work if i want to....)

I am Woman, Helen Reddy, 1971. (wearing a turtleneck and brown flares with no showing of underwear whatsoever)