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Wednesday
Jan012014

Save Money, Don't Marry 

A recent study found over 97% of people think it’s the man’s job to propose. Is that 50 shades of WTF right there or what?

Only 2.8 percent of women said they’d “kind of” want to propose, but not a single man indicated he’d prefer that arrangement. Notably, not a single male or female, “definitely” wanted the woman to propose.

97%? How is that going to work with all the gays and lesbians who’ll be tying the knot any day now when the world catches up with the fact marriage is a mistake everyone should have the right to make? How does that fit with feminism, equality and encouraging women to choose their life and live it their way?


Thursday
Dec262013

Road Trip Hume Highway 

I love town slogans. On a trip to Bland to visit the Bland Museum a few years back (don't ask), the ones I remember were: Albury - A Proud Seat Belt Wearing Community; Gympie - Free Regulated Parking; and Narrandera - Home Of The World's Largest Playable Guitar. It's no wonder they call this place the lucky country.

I love travel. Just thinking about my suitcase makes my heart race. Airports make me incredibly frisky. Don't pretend like I'm the only person who requests a cavity search at Tullamarine. After dropping off a friend. For a domestic flight. To Mildura. Stuff it. I pay my taxes.

Mile-high club? I'm just happy if I'm on tip-toes, my head's thrown back, my knees are trembling and a bloke called Glen from Diggers Rest is flicking his rubber gloves.

''Ask me what flight I just arrived on. And where I'll be disembarking. Do I have anything to declare? Actually I do. You smell like Brut 33 and dim sims. Ask me if I packed my bag myself. And where I'm travelling to. Yes! Yes! I'm almost there. Don't stop …''

The smell of my passport makes me vibrate with excitement. When I die I want to be reincarnated as Catriona Rowntree.

Just without the ersatz warmth, fake bubbliness and that ''my life is a dream come true!'' look I want to slap right off her smug, self-satisfied face.

I love travel, but I'm not that keen on holidays. My favourite holiday is work. Which any parent will understand.

Last week's drag up the Hume found me trawling for a place to break up the 800 kilometres. Sussing out the possibilities it dawned on me the term ''gateway'' is code for ''it's a hole''. Basically we're shit, but we're close to a place that isn't.

I thought about stopping in Holbrook! Premier Driver Reviver Town! Halfway on the Hume! (We have a submarine! Please stay! Or take us with you. Come back. Please! We'll do anything.) Or Tarcutta: Home Of The Nation's Only Truck Driver Memorial. The evening we drown through there was 'stew' on in the 'bistro' for 'tea'. Grouse! 

We ended up staying in Gundagai. Why? Because it's not every day you give your kids an unforgettable forgetfulness experience. ''That's the dog on the tuckerbox, boys; don't worry if you miss it, you won't remember it anyway.''

Which was preceded by the once-in-a-lifetime experience of eating the worst toasted sandwich on earth served by the saddest people in the universe. We ended the night with dinner (dinner as in tea) at the Gundagai restaurant (restaurant as in roadhouse), the only place in the world where fish and chips is under the heading ''light meals''. It was very Wolf Creek.

The motel had an exterior festooned with wagon wheels and an interior with a nautical theme. With ''ironing board'', ''ashtray'' and ''kettle'' listed under luxury features, and toast arriving in small white waxed bags, its slogan should be ''Australia's favourite crime scene''.

We're holidaying in a place called Manyana, which is Spanish for tomorrow. Which is of no use because I don't even know what today is. So basically we're time travelling.

''Wait until you go back to school and tell your mates you holidayed in THE FUTURE. An ice-cream from the shop? Tomorrow. What do you mean we're already in tomorrow. Someone's been overdosing on mummy's smart-arse pills.''

Just in case you were wondering, in Manyana (aka THE FUTURE) there are chenille bedspreads, washing machines that attempt to walk out the door when they agitate, grillers that burn your eyebrows off when you light them, board games with missing pieces, no decent cutting knives but 10 shit ones, and wood panelling peeling off the kitchen cabinets.

It's like a student house, just without a bong. But near a beach.

Wish you were here.


Wednesday
Dec252013

My best advice on happiness.

met Waleed when my hot water service blew up. There’s never a good time for your hot water service to explode, but this particular time in my life could not have been worse. I was broke, sick, heartbroken and not getting much work.

The life of a hot water service is about ten years so it’s not one of those things people put money aside to cover. People generally end up having to raid their savings, borrow from buddies or max out their plastic. However you look at it, it’s not ideal. It’s a pain in the bum.

CLICK TO READ MORE 

Monday
Dec232013

Christmas? Show me the sedatives and a dark room. 

A time for kids? Rubbish. They're all just spoilt brats who want more crap.

CHRISTMAS? Kill me now. Season to be jolly? Not this little black duck. Wish I was Jewish. Or in jail. Or dead. I s'pose it could be worse. Come to think of it, no it couldn't.

But seriously, you know what I want for Christmas? To be a kid or a bloke. Having children and a vagina basically means being a slave and an emotional potty for the last two weeks of December. If the silly season had a motto, it should be: Christmas: It's the Reason Alcohol was Invented. Or Christmas: Turning Back Feminism 150 Years.

Don't get me wrong, I love sitting around a table with family and slagging off relatives as soon as they leave. And I do enjoy giving people gifts. What I don't like is the obligation of it all. Call me Aunty Funbuster but I just don't find anything more depressing than dragging myself around the shops to buy crap for people who already have everything and are still miserable.

Surrounded by other people dragging themselves around the shops to buy crap for people who already have everything and are still miserable. But I do like to make people happy. Which is why I'll be pulling a migraine this year and spending Christmas heavily sedated in a darkened room so my family can spend the entire day slagging me off.

'Tis the season to strap on the fake smile and hang out with relations who say "we should see each other more often" despite the fact that they don't get the hint they've been saying the same thing for 30 years and it is still not happening. In the social potpourri of passive/aggressive aunts, overbearing uncles, hypochondriac grandfathers and the bitter and twisted cousins who have recently divorced that bitch/that bastard, people in relationships are always guaranteed that one magical moment on Christmas Day. That moment you realise that your family gives your partner the shits even more than you do.

As far as the, "it's for the kiddies" mantra. Stuff 'em. Kids? Bunch of spoilt brats. They've got rooms bursting with toys that they never play with, parents who don't beat them and all they do is whinge. They need a bloody good war if you ask me. Which you didn't, but that's never stopped me before.

If we receive one more card with a picture of people's kids' faces in the baubles hanging on the Christmas tree, I will be forced to set myself alight in protest. Don't try me, because I am more mental than Mark Latham and I will do it.

I must admit we have sent out a few Christmas cards in the past. Once we frocked up as Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus and had our photo taken with Santa at Northland. In another we dressed our 10-month-old half-Italian son up as a concreter, complete with hanky tied at each corner on his head, a blue tradie's singlet, a moustache and bling. Inside was the greeting "Behold! The Son Of Wog!"

But spare me the nauseating circulars. The sight of a typed A4 page dropping out of a card fills me with fear. Someone had the brilliant suggestion that all these smug, loving-yourselves-stupid letters should be uploaded for our deconstructing pleasure at www.mykidsarebetterthanyours.blogspot.com.

"Harry got an A for his grade five violin exam, which is not surprising considering he's a musical prodigy in the same league as Mozart. He's been placed in the selected entry stream of the exclusive school he has been awarded a full scholarship to. He's now the world chess champion despite spending last year travelling the world representing Australia in marathon running and debating. It's hard to believe that he's turning six next year!"

"Amelia has taken the recent independent assessment that she is highly gifted characteristically in her stride. She's recently finished writing, producing, directing and starring in her third feature film for the year. She is also the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the president of MENSA, and she recently won the Nobel prize for literature with her stunning post-colonial deconstruction of the image of indigenous women from a Jungian perspective. She has been named one in the Top Ten Most Influential Three-Year-Olds in the world and she's now out of night nappies!"

Pardon me while I spew. I don't care. None of us do. And we all laugh at you. You haven't seen us all year because we hate you. I want to send back an email: "My kids? One's stupid, one's ugly, one's violent and they all have worms."

Three days to go. But it's not all gloom and doom, I just try to look on the bright side. Maybe I'll be struck down with a brain-eating virus and end up in a coma. Here's hoping.

Dev's Pop Up Shop for all your Last Minute Christmas gifts. Give the gift of Dev! 

Thursday
Dec192013

Guitar Lessons. I pay because it shames me into practicing...

I totally sucked at my guitar lesson last night. Don’t try to sugar coat it. I was appalling. I was an embarrassment to my family, my country and myself.

How a 45 year old who has studied music at tertiary level could make a beautiful mellow hollow bodied semi-acoustic Ibanez sound like an 8 year old thrashing away at their first plastic ukulele is a cross between a mystery and an abomination.