31 May 2011

And I Know Y'All Do


To more serious matters, I'm sure you've all seen the horrifying images from Indonesian slaughterhouses of the abuse inflicted on Australian cattle sent there...can you please take a second to go to Ban Live Exports to voice your concerns and help end this practice? Of course, it is slightly sad that we all get so worked up over the fate of cattle leaving Australia for Indonesia on boats, and not the fate of humans treated like cattle on boats leaving Indonesia for Australia. But hey, it's something.

29 May 2011

Because An ASW Can Never Have Too Many Blogs

So here I am with another blog. After signing off on The Xander and Nico Pod last year, I thought I was done with prose blogging. What else was there to say? I'd lost my muse John Howard - that rage was always good for a post or two - was caught in a career crisis, and there's only so many times a lady can complain about shopping centre layouts without coming off as a little peculiar.

Times change.

It could be that I have a new muse - I am beginning to dislike Julia Gillard with a small drop of the venom I once had for Howard - or that my change of job direction and volunteer work on a political campaign has given me a new perspective on things. Maybe it's impending motherhood, or just that I can't bear having attention diverted from me for so long. Whatever the cause, the urge to write has return and I'm going to run with it.

I considered reviving the Pod, but things have moved on. Changing the name to the Xander and Nico and DH and Pinky and the Fish Pod would just be ridiculous and result in a URL so long people would get bored and wander off before they finished typing it. Also for the last few years I've been rather concerned that if anyone ever read the thing, Apple might get wind of it and force me to change the name. No, it's time to start afresh. Xander is now eight - that's years - and acquiring a sort of elder states-cat demeanour. I'm finally working in community service, which is one of the most difficult and rewarding things I've ever done in my life. DH is looking after people, because that's what he does. And we have a quite small yet noisy person coming to live with us late this winter, who for the time being shall be referred to as "Pinky".

So that's the whys of this thing. I'm still figuring out that whats, as in what the hell is this blog about. I've never been good with sticking with a theme and as with the Pod, I figure this will be a grab bag of my complaints and prejudices - and for the next few months at least, without even the amusement of drunken posts. Nonetheless, if you've ventured here, welcome and I hope you'll stick around.

28 May 2011

What's Up With That - Federal Opposition Edition

The latest Liberal party scandal is quite a shock. People expected Tony Abbott to behave honourably and tell the truth? Shocking.

The gist of the latest to-do is that Malcolm Turnbull was criticised in an internal Liberal Party email for failing to attend several parliamentary votes. Abbott has come under scrutiny for this because he himself also was absent from the votes, and more crucially, that whilst at first denying that he had seen this email before it was leaked to the press, Abbott now admits he did in fact read the thing at the time it was sent. This comes just days after Opposition Treasury spokesperson Joe Hockey - the "nice" Liberal - criticised Abbott for his lack of support in the aftermath of the Opposition's right of reply to the budget.

So, the Liberal party is being riven by internal disagreement and Tony Abbott is revealed as being not quite as truthful a character as one would hope from an alternative Prime Minister. What else is new? The weird thing this time is that none of this has made any difference to the polls. If an election were to be held today, the Coalition would win in a landslide, and I would make yet another vow to move my family overseas which I had no practical intentions of following through on. If Labor party tensions were this evident, every media commentator in the country would be sagely remarking it proves that they are not fit to run the country. The federal opposition gets a stunning free ride from the mainstream media in this country. I'm not a fan of Labor right now either, but the lack of balance in reporting is galling. Even so, normally such division and deceit in a political party would turn voters off; but they honestly don't seem to care in this case. So Tony Abbott is a divisive liar? Better that than a carbon tax. Which proves that Liberal voters are not to be trusted, ever.

25 May 2011

Not Like The Others

According to what passes for popular culture these days, pregnant women are supposed to be beatific. Tranquil. Smiling enigmatically with glowing hair and skin and the cutest ever baby bump. Why the hell don't I feel like that? No, it's not a case of feeling dowdy - I have purple hair and dark green fingernails right now (and considering I haven't had a slice of ham or a sip of alcohol for over six months I'm perfectly content with my decision to dye my hair, thank you); it's that I'm, well, so damn angry.

Just today, I've had a full and frank exchange of views with both the phone and pay TV companies (five tech visits in six weeks and we still don't have service); made several threatening references to the UN, and ended with the words "screw Flanders" over and over again. In the past few months we've moved, opened new bank accounts and had a computer crash, and this has meant lots and lots of dealing with call centres to get things sorted. Call centres...I'm sure just reading that phrase has set your blood to boil. I don't blame, and try not to take my aggression out on, the poor $21 an hour saps who take your calls. It's the management consultants who've set the tone for the modern call centre script whom I despise. First of all, according to the received call centre wisdom, they ask if they can call you by name - which in my case is invariably pronounced wrong. Why do they need to repeat my name back to me? It doesn't give me ownership of the call, it's just condescending and unnecessary. Then there's repeating back to you everything you say - I'm paying by the second for this, you know - whilst you, the caller, have to repeat your story every single time you call up trying to rectify their mistakes. Worst of all though, is their insistence on, no matter what, finishing the call with "anything else I can help you with today" - not what you want to hear when you've just said "well, this has been no help at all. Goodbye". Even if I wasn't trying to preserve a tiny shred of dignity by hanging up on them, it's like asking "fries with that" - do they think that during the course of the conversation I have suffered some brain injury that has rendered me incapable of remembering issues I called about subsequent to that with which we have already dealt?

And I can't have a cigarette and I can't have a vodka and I do worry about the effects of all this anger on my unborn child. DH doesn't understand. Nothing bothers him. If someone told him he was a complete idiot, DH would respond with "you may have a point there". If DH was a superhero, he'd be Reasonable Man; his superpower would be to make all parties see things from both sides of view. So I don't get a lot of sympathy. I want to be one of these pregnant women glowing with the joy of expectant motherhood and the joy of bringing life into the world, but I can't. Because I fear that world will infuriate my child as much as it infuriates their mother.