Monday, October 26, 2015


As has been previously mentioned, technology and I have had a complicated relationship.

It appears, to paraphrase on old chestnut, that I like my technology like I like my men.  Affordable, prone to defects and never doing exactly what I want it to do RIGHT NOW. *


Well, you know what I mean.

Lets not pretend I have never had a stereo system in a car remain - or even begin - functional as a system designed to furnish me with any listening pleasure whatsoever.  

Excuses from that field of technology range have varied:
  • stolen;
  • needs a code you will never know, mua-ha-ha-ha;
  • has the turn down volume function working just fine, but requires a date divisible by both eight and six on a full moon Sunday to ever contemplate the up direction of sound;
  • finally threw enough money at a local business and their know-how to install something with lights and sound and how freaking fabulous is that only(operational by a remote!!) to have the car written off and nobody thinking to remove the darned stereo; and finally
  • will only land on six stations and the CD-player is stuffed - but that is okay, the air-con is also stuffed and so the windows need to be down and you can't hear a darned thing anyway.

And I am okay with that.



And we know about the washing machine woes and the fridge woes and indeed, the bathroom woes *** 

But tonight - well, tonight may have just tipped the entertainment options on the audio-visual devices available in the household.

On the surface, we are sitting pretty.  A telly and DVD-player in the lounge.  A telly and DVD-pvr recorder **** in the bedroom.

Four remote controls.  At one point, we had EXACTLY THE SAME remote in both rooms but doing different jobs.

We have heard rumours of solutions to the universal problem of allocation of muscle memory to ever changing gadget layouts, but we fatefully know that change created by the continuous need for upgrades of technology and options moves too fast for so-called "solutions".

We know people who remember the Beta lesson, and we dare not fasten our faith too firmly.

Indeed, at one stage we even owned a universal remote control - a novelty one, it is true, but it disappeared one post holiday clean up many years ago and we know that it was not meant to be.

Anyhow - do you know how some remotes have just stupid layouts where you know the designer was using the qwerty approach and placing the most common control combinations in the most awkward of layouts?  And then there is the whole should volume or channel controls be the left toggle or the right?  

And then there is the expletive-deleted ones that have that ONE button - that ONE button, where, when you push it, things happen.

That expletive-deleted-er that moves in a time-zone that is not akin to the one we travel in.  It can react before you even think about pushing it - and it can seem to not respond and fob you off until the THIRD time you push it, when it casually flicks out a response and then another and leaves you in that circle of hell of wondering if the THIRD signal had gone through?

No?  Come on, I can't believe I am the ONLY person in this universe that has one that has its EPG where its sub-titles should be, its sub-titles in an obsure right combination that seems to be playing battleship with your thumb, and its SOURCE  button where the EXIT ***** button should be - and that SOURCE button is truly an expletive-deleted minefield to chance upon.

And tonight?  Tonight, the expletive-deleted button chanced upon a whole-new avenue to annoy because I actually was choosing to put in a DVD to watch, something I have not done of late.  And boy, was that device expletive-deleted-off with me for not paying it enough attention.

The television was set to bouncing logo and cool jazz, but I stupidly had made other plans for this evening.  We're tired.  Its Sunday.  Maybe something short but worthy to view to finish off the weekend.  The documentary that I have just finished had ended on a pretty dismal note, and so something a little lighter.  I actually had stuff from the library that promised such an outcome.   I was so confident that this was a possibility that I had not even considered any other avenue of excitement.

Cue the ominous music.

I picked up the remote, chose the above-mentioned  button, and nothing happened.

Or rather, something happened that was one-half of what was expected to happen to happen - to happen...

Anyhow, the display on the device not connected to the remote - from now on called "the tele" - I was pressing changed, which generally meant that the signal being received from the device conneted to the remote  - from now on called "Hector" - had changed - but intriguingly, NOT the combination of blue digital display on Hector. ******

But, do not forget that this is the button that also has an issue with the regularity of time and has no regard - so I waited.  Nothing changed.

Then I pressed it again.  

It all happened at once.  There is a brief-yet-discernible flicker on "the tele" of Hector's logo and a noise - a noise! - from Hector - before "the tele" flicked back to cool jazz and Hector blinked out the old digital display.

Now imagine that happening SEVEN times - because I could not BELIEVE that Hector would do that to me.  

It must have been what buttons I pressed.  I pressed again.  Half-nothing / flick to lulling you into belief something may happen / expeletive-deleted you, no score!

I tried other buttons.  Half-nothing / flick to lulling you into belief something may happen / expeletive-deleted you, no score!

I switched it to telemarketing.  Half-nothing / flick to lulling you into belief something may happen / expeletive-deleted you, no score!

I even tried sitting down, from different angles and under the supervision of V.  Yeah.  You know.

So obviously, I decided to blog and plot the demise of Hector and yet again wonder - is it me?  

Is this carp I live with an isolated incident - a desert camp - amidst overwhelming harmony with technology in our life?

Is this just the way that it is these days, so suck it up princess, get used to it because the rest of the world sure has?

Is this just a run of bad luck?

Or is Hector actually the new wave of terrorism...  ********

* Don't get me wrong.  I also like my men like I like a good novel.  Intriguing, surprising and enriching the fabric of life.**

** And I like my technology like I like political debates that focus on the fiscal future with no regard to social, environmental, sustainable and conscionable outcomes.  Yeah, lets not go there...

*** although that is more logistical than technological - hoping to slip that one in with nobody noticing 

**** glorified lamp, emitter of signal outages and bouncing screen-saver screen. 

***** my first tilt at this word, I mis-typed as "EXIST" - still works, but changes the meaning!

****** funnily enough, the reason for SEVERAL stereo systems and one car system's demise was indeed due to lack of digital display dots... *******

******* okay, maybe not that funnily enough.

******** although, the threat of no DVD you will have to blog again is pretty lame, I think.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pluvial Parables

* There is the sound of rain on the roof.  Decent rain.  It is very welcome, for the nearby town is looking very brown and it is said that farmers are complaining.

My next door neighbour and I were conversing today.  We rarely get the chance to chat, for I am in and out with busy-ness - and we do have a big wooden fence with just enough gap for recognition.

The weather was mentioned.  When you are a gardener, when you live in this neck of the woods - and in a few of the industries in which I am currently employed ** - weather and all the nuances of the topic are considered part of  a rich cultural exchange.

"When I was a boy" he said.  He said it in the twisted rope of his version of English, learned as a young migrant in outback towns, wrapped around his native Italian - although it isn't Italian, it is the name of a region that I can never quite grasp as it has never made the leap from the native tongue to my plummy Au-strai-li-an ear. ***

"When I was a boy."  From the stories that he tells, this boyhood was on the sides of Italian hills in a tiny village with poverty as its main career path.  There were many of them.  They were the original boat people.  They were invited.

"When I was a boy" he said "there was a big drought.  Everyone was complaining."

There is richness in telling a story with crocheted stitches of sounds and syllables rolled and sung.

"Everyone went to the church, to the priest, the man who is in the business of organizing miracles and asked for his intervention for it to rain."

On the Sunday, everyone was gathered in the church and the priest said "Okay.  I have decided I will make it rain on Monday."

A farmer at the back right of the church stood up.  "Sorry Father.  But you can't make it rain on Monday, I have hay to harvest on Monday."

The priest thought for a minute and then said "All right then, how about Thursday?" but a few of them had problems with Thursday too.  It was a busy time of the year.

"Saturday?" But that was market day, and market day is never a good day for rain.

The priest considered.  "Okay, I tell you what then.  I have decided to just let it happen the old-fashioned way."

The next door neighbour smiled.  "There are a few lessons in that."  he said.  "Farmers are always complaining, you can't make everybody happy and never trust a priest".

* The things you learn on a surf.  

** Part of the "busy-ness" is three part-time jobs - and I honestly enjoy them all.  Its like a job cocktail, with private sector, government sector and community sector giving me the sweet, the sour and the satisfaction of umami with a side-serve of healthy human interaction.

*** There have been many comments about our "accent" over the years.  When I was at boarding-school, people could not place us by our accents - but our accent is the accent of our mother, our most constant influence, and the accent of her mother, brought up by spinster aunts in a prim, scholarly household, and their accents and the accent of their mother, ingrained in history as the grandmother who came into a marriage with ten thousand pounds and was left with pride as opposed to the grandmother who came into a marriage with a thousand pounds and could count on exactly that when widowed - or was it the other way around?

So - is it raining your way?

Friday, October 23, 2015


Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, a young(er) mother lived in a share house with her daughter and two other ladies.

One was a beautiful Asian princess and one was a glorious Australian poet - but this story is not about them...

Once upon a time I sat on the back deck after the child's book time and song time and story time and sleep time to muse - but this story is not about her either...

Once upon a time, overlooking the glistening lights of  the 'Gabba and hearing crowds go home from yet another Lions victory *, I sent a query out to the universe.

The universe responded.  Yay universe.

Of late, Mrs Woog has come to bemoan the world of the online date, jaded as it is by charletan pollution and unsolicited daguerrotypes of appendages - and it brought to mind a little story from the beginning of the courtship of V and I.

Very early on in our long-distance communication, our conversations jumped from the computer screen to telephone screen.  We had interacted vocally, but at an exhorbitant fee **

I have told you that this was a long time ago - a long, long time ago, in fact.  So long ago, that when you texted, you had to not just type each letter individually  but r-e-a-l-l-y type each letter.  And not just no-predictor-text level of slowness, but a truly challenging task ***.

For example, to type in the world "understandably", you had to press "88663(wait a second for the phone to recognise that as "d")33777(pause)7777826632(pause)22555333" - and if you wanted to type "distraction", it was "3444777787772(pause)222844666(pause)66" - and as texts were CHARGED and limited in numbers of characters, you learned to abbreviate and spelling errors existed.

So, given it is the middle of Winter and given that there are no floor coverings where I was living (but moving from, to Paradise) and given that V was in warmer climes , our discussions turned to footwear and their relative merits.

Now, I am not renowned for my shoe-surety...  but it turned out to be V's toe in the door, his great step forward, emerging from the pond of hopeful suitors to contemplation of worth.

He lyrically described to me his slippers (there was one point in time when I could have quoted exactly the phrasing used) and its merits.  There was possibly an entendre or two thrown into the 160 character mix.  And then he told me The Pet Name.  He refered to his "lipon".

I nearly choked on my wine.   Who was this wierdo?
Then, he asked if I wanted to see a photo of "it".

I panicked and raced downstairs to where my poet-companion resided.  What the actual?

His fate was to be decided by his next missive.

A photo of a great big hairy (tartan) slipper! **** *****

It turned out, he had meant to type "slip-on" - and just like that, the courtship was back on track...

And the rest, as they say, is history.

* yes, once upon a time the Lions won many games - even in a row.

** Doesn't that date a story - telephone calls used to be expensive and not part of a BUNDLE, children

***yet still legal to undertake while operating a motor vehicle, folks - the veritable dark ages

*** Unfortunately photographic proof is impossible as the phone has long since passed this mortal coil and it was so long ago, children, that CLOUDS did not exist - and

**** We have never since seen such a perfect pair of backless tartan hairy slipper suitable for a size 12 bloke.

So - what was your most memorable courtship gift - and was it solicited...

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Public Service Announcement: Something happened...

If ever you want to feel good about yourself, take a brief glance into the Spam folder of the average backwater blog of a recalcitrant writer.

See - there IS good in the world if you look hard enough.

And if you want to feel REALLY good about yourself, please feel free to feel superior to me right now...

(Unless you are my mum.  If you're my mum - thanks - you did an awesome job having me as a daughter, and I really want you to just rest on your laurels and feel you did pretty well so probably would be best if you clicked away now and, you know, not find out that it is possible that I may be an inferior product.  Okay mum?  Love you.  x) 

(Oh, and Mum - click Dad away too)

See, a funny thing happened on the way to the blog.

Well, when I say funny, I mean funny in a pah-culiar sort of way, not funny in a rofling sort of way.*

It is Wednesday night here, and Wednesday nights tend to meander along a path towards slumber ** that has slight variation on my Monday and Tuesday versions of that time-period.

Tonight, however - tonight had an added element that could not be strictly ascribed to Wednesday.

As a result, I am sitting here holding an ice-pack that V has thoughtfully given to me.

oops - wrong photo uploaded there!  And no, this isn't the cause of the ice-pack.  Also, fair to say, what went down tonight would have happened had my thigh been either slack or taut.  It wasn't a Wednesday thing and it wasn't a thigh thing...

and I am neither confirming nor denying that some of the above challenges may have been inadvertently involved in the "Wednesday nights tend to meander along a path towards".  I will neither confirm nor deny any butts about what happened.  I can say with assurance that the above challenge was not directly involved in the ice-pack requirement.

Please be assured you that NO PLANKS WERE BROKEN (or attempted) in the journey that became my Wednesday night lament.  Its not about me going crazy, okay?

 V is concerned that it doesn't look good for him - but I truly think that on occasion his left arm is his good side...  ***
I am afraid that it is I, and I alone completely responsible for this busted lip...
and I may have both egg on face and egg on forehead, folks.  How superior are you feeling?

Twas I who stood up from a short recline on the bed, sans glasses, turned and walked directly into an open cupboard door.

Yes!  I know!! I truly did walk into a door.  A door that I myself had opened only one half-hour earlier and failed to close properly!!

What a complete fail, eh?  Yes, that voice inside my head that very rarely gets any heed paid is smirking smugly like nobodies business now!

"What do I tell you?  Shut the doors properly.  Close the lids tightly.  Always allow an extra half-hour.  Tidy as you go along."

Blah. blah-blah. blah-blah blah blah.


Yep, that is about how it went down folks!!

Now, do you feel better now?

* ever since learning certain initialisms were considered passe by those who are hip and young in this era, I have taken it upon myself to be a thoroughly modern fogey, deliberately choosing such just to get up their left nostrils.  Consider it a Public Service.  You're welcome.

Huge shout-out to the amazing Flight of the Conchords - fourth most popular guitar-based, digi-bongo, acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo from New Zealand.

(not safe for work - or parents.  Well, my parents)

Bonus points to those who noticed that behind V, I had carefully placed another booby trap should the first cupboard door failed to find its target.

**** and double-bonus points if you noticed that I really backhanded V by linking that song.  Sorry honey.  What I really meant was

(very much not safe for my Mum, my Dad or your Boss)

So.  How's your Wednesday.  And improve mine - how were you superior today?