Thursday, April 24, 2008

Up Up and Away

From: Fallon
To: God
Re: Filming of latest ad for Sony Bravia launch of HD in heaven

Dear God,

We seem to have lost our talent your recommended for this ad. The filming started well, but we lost communication after he headed skywards from Spain, attached to helium filled party balloons. If he has turned up on your side of the void, could you please send him back.


The Creative Team

Monday, April 21, 2008

this one's about the family

I have had my parents staying for the last few days, so I have had an entertaining old time. The bottle store has also done a roaring trade and that the quality of wine in my house has sky rocketed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m such a cheapskate that I’m offering my guests cooking wine, but let’s just say the wine my father buys is of a far superior quality than I buy. And I don’t have a problem with it AT ALL, I encourage it.

Even though technically I’m an adult, I love love love that my mother arrives with small parcels of frozen soup she has made for me. She officially is the best mother in the world. And no, you can’t have her.

My father has just got a blackberry. My mother calls it his raspberry.

My aunt and uncle were visiting and my father was proudly showing them his new toy.

‘So it’s your computer and your telephone?’ Asks my aunt.

‘Yep, everything.’ Says my father.

‘Which means,’ I pipe up, ‘When he drops it down the dunny, he really will be monumentally screwed.’

‘Does it come with extra small fingers so you can use it?’ Muses my uncle.

‘The company has wanted me to get one for years, and I have refused, but finally I gave in and got one.’ (Arms dealers need blackberries, don’t you know?)

‘Oh bollocks Pop, you resisting new technology is about as likely to happen as the Queen deciding she’s going to behead her corgis and swap them for a bison herd.’ But I only thought that as I figured I had pretty much fulfilled my smartarse-remark quota for the weekend.

It was also my niece’s birthday in the weekend. She turned four. She was telling me that she had requested a wombat cake. ‘Are you going to have a chocolate wombat cake?’ I asked her on the phone, ‘NOOOOO!’ she squeal-laughed ‘I’m going to have a GWREY wombat cake!’

Silly me.

Her grandfather is particularly delighted with her most recent choice of career, ‘I’m going to be an airplane driver. A girl one.’

However I have pointed out that I think she may go off that as soon as she realises that airplane drivers aren’t issued with regulation fairy dresses.

Her six-year-old sister has also had a change of heart over her career. After years of me saying, ‘Go tell your father you want to be a pole dancer when you grow up.’ ‘Go ask your father if he knows of a stripper school he can send you to,’ she has picked me for the idiot that I am and has decided she is going to embark on a different career path.

She tells me she wants to be either a mermaid, a fairy or a dolphin.

‘You can’t be dolphin!’ Cries her little sister, ‘Because only sea cwreatures can be dolphins!’

One of the things that warmed the cockles of my heart during the weekend was the look on my father’s face every time his raspberry sprung into life and he saw that he had a text from his ten-year-old granddaughter. He would chuckle away, the seventy-one-year-old deciphering the text language of the ten-year-old.

At one point he proudly boasted to me, ‘I’ve had twenty-three texts from Tenyearold so far this weekend.’

Ah technology, you got to love it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rugby World Cup

The report into what went wrong with New Zealand's campaign at the Rugby World Cup is due out today.

Um, we lost?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Warning:recipe post

I have said before that my brother-in-law reckons that most blokes can cook two dishes really well. And I have also said before ‘Make that most blokes and me.’ And now I would like to say that I can now take myself out of that last statement.

Because now I can make three.

Yes I know, pass me the Michelin star and all that, but I really am quite excited about this. Because I just learnt a new dish and it was totally by accident, a collision of leftovers, if you will.

Possibly I need to go back to the beginning and explain myself. See, I used to think that I cooked, but it wasn’t until I broke up with my boyfriend a couple of years ago that it became brutally obvious that I didn’t cook at all - I just sat on the bench, drank wine and yapped. The sad reality was that if cooking repertoires were wardrobes, I had two dresses.

But my wardrobe is expanding!

Last night I was tired and hungry. It had been another long day sitting on the floor of the vet clinic while the adults carried out the real work. When I got home I was desperate to discover that, by some miracle, a gourmet delight had magically appeared in my fridge.

Unfortunately, I came face to face with some old chopped up roasted potatoes. I had done them with oil and a teensy bit of soya, so once upon a time they had been crunchy and brown. And not last night but the night before I had stuffed a giant mushroom and had leftover mushroom stuffing which consisted of fried breadcrumbs (brown bread), toasted sesame seeds, spring onion, sweet chili sauce and crumbled feta. So I threw the breadcrumb mixture onto the old roasted potatoes, grated some parmesan cheese on top and gave that a spin in the microwave, till everything was warm and melting. I pulled that out and added some chopped up cherry tomatoes, then I mixed up some oil, vinegar, threw in some chopped coriander and poured it over the top.

Oink, oink, oink, I hate to crow but bite me, it was good.

I think I am so excited about this dish because if someone asked me over for second hand warm potato and breadcrumb salad, I would be mumbling my thanks and saying that I had a fresh batch of lettuce soup waiting for me at home.

Having said all that, I wonder if it was so good because I was famished and knackered? I wonder if it’s the culinary equivalent to 2 a.m fish and chips after a night on the tiles?

I don't really care, it's my new frock, and all my friends are going to get to see it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Flashest cooktop in the world ever

Sometimes I really wish I was a digital native (i.e grew up when toilet training and learning about computers happened about the same time). Needless to say I haven't worked out how to post a proper link yet.

However if you want to see what you will very possibly soon be cooking on in the future (if you so choose), check this out.

I can categorically state that it is really cool, and if I had one I think I would just spend hours making the upie downie bits go up and down. Maybe I'd even race them.

Friday, April 11, 2008

the pug is a person

Earlier this week I was saved by Ena Sharples.

I was heading to the vets to spend another day (the vet theme will stop soon, promise) and I was reading the notes I had been given about what we were going to be seeing that day.

Unfortunately I was two lines in when I read, ‘This is usually a problem which happens to older dogs, because their sphincter doesn’t work as well as it used to.’

‘Ooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh no!’ I hung my head, shaking it and sighed, ‘We’re in deep trouble.’

‘What’s wrong?’ Asked the woman I was travelling with.

‘I can’t do this.’


‘It says sphincter!’


‘I can’t keep a straight face when anyone says sphincter!’

This woman looked at me like I was about twelve, ‘What on earth do you mean?’

‘I DON’T KNOW!’ I miserably tried to explain myself, ‘But if anyone attempts to use the word sphincter seriously, I will get the giggles.’

‘How come?’

‘I don’t know, but the word sphincter just makes me laugh.’

It was like when God was inventing me he ticked the boxes: short, handwriting that looks like drunken spider walking across the page, a love of hot weather and cold beer, bad back, inability to tell left from right, left handed, a yearning for wings and the total inability to take the word sphincter seriously.

And believe me I have tried to. But it just doesn’t work.

‘Oh look, you’ll be fine,’ said the woman I was driving there with.

‘Yeah, but if she says sphincter, I am fully screwed.’

We got there and things were going pretty well. A corgi was having its teeth cleaned. It had been sent to sleep since the vet needed to use weapons of mass destruction in order to carry out the job. When she got in to the back of the mouth, she discovered a wiggly tooth that was going to need extraction. She reached over and picked up a tool that looked it was a prop from the film Misery and I started nervously looking around the room for Kathie Bates.

I thought it would be best if I didn’t rely on my legs to keep me upright for the rest of the procedure so gently slid down the wall. Unfortunately, once I got to the ground I came face to face with the clear plastic bag that was slowly filling up with everything that was being sucked out of the corgi’s mouth.

You would have been really pleased you weren’t be me at that stage.

Then it was the old dog’s turn.

I could feel it coming. I really could. The s word. And I was desperate to disguise my inevitable reaction to it. I’m sorry, but I just didn’t want to have answer the ‘Why-are-you-laughing-Kate?’ question.

Despite all appearances to the contrary, I do try my best to appear professional, and I didn’t think confessing ‘Cause you just said sphincter!’ was going to do me any favours, with anyone. And I knew there was a smirk coming which was going to be chased up with an inappropriate smile which would inevitably turn into the dreaded giggles.

The old dog with the s problem was a pug and I was thinking she looked like an austere matriarch from the Eastern Block who should be smoking a pipe and drinking whiskey.

My saviour came when one of team I was there with said, ‘Hey, it’s Ena Sharples,’ and the room promptly erupted in laughter.

Hallelujah sister. I got to camouflage my giggles with an Ena Sharples comparison. Ena saved my bacon. You have no idea how eternally grateful I will remain to the grand old dame of Cornation Street for looking like that pug and preventing me from making a complete idiot of myself.

Monday, April 07, 2008

I've moved!

And welcome to my new home!

I've still got to get around to getting the pictures up and working out how all the new appliances work and for a while I'll still be living between two houses (here and but will be spending most of my time knocking the new place into shape.

The reason I had a website was cause Sunshine, my brother, was thinking I would be needing fancy schmancy cyber setup to flog my book. However, since it's still being considered by a publishing house in Australia I am thinking that I won't be needing any uber flash techology anytime soon. Besides, I needed a change of scenery.

The unfortunate thing is that I am as cyber-literate and technology-capable as a piece of wood (hell, I still want to throw a party each time I make the toaster work), so it could take a while. Please bear with me.

Can pussycats sue?

This week I have a developed a whole new respect for vets.

I have spent rather a lot of time at a vet surgery - and believe you me, it’s most certainly not because I want to become a vet. In fact, after this week I can safely say that if I had to chose between being a vet or being the cleaner at a nuclear power plant, I know exactly which career I’d be picking, and it wouldn’t be the one starting with a v.

Take the kitten leg amputation for example. So there was Flopsie, a wee stray whose front paw was paralysed. She was an absolute nutjob, full of character charging around the vet surgery with her paw turning at right angles to her leg about eight centimetres from the end of it, which she just pushed along the floor. I suggested they should have kept the leg on and just put her to use as a broom. However the whole leg needed to come off as she may have got it trapped or hurt, it being paralysed and all yada, yada ,pass the scalpel. And apparently pussycats are completely fine with three legs.

After the operation I got a text from the one of the women I am working with, ‘Was it really gory?’

‘No, not really’, I replied, ‘But then I did spend the entire operation sitting on the floor.’


I had a vague feeling that my legs were going to decide they’d rather be somewhere else when they started putting the breathing tube down the kitten’s mouth. I don’t know about you, but a cat with its mouth tied open, eyes mostly shut and a tube being forced down its throat, just seemed kind of wrong. My legs conveyed this to me and I gently slid down the wall into a pool of myself. I didn’t feel quite so bad when the woman who was standing beside me did exactly the same thing.

I have to say there is also something quite final when you see a bandaged leg, with a wee furry black paw sticking out the end, fall down, thud! into the rubbish bin, just metres from your head.

‘Do you think she is going to wake up with a vague feeling something’s missing?’ I asked from the floor.

Cause let’s consider it from Flopsie’s view. One minute you’re having a high old time chasing cat nip mice around the vet clinic with gay abandon, entertaining the monkeys that are cooing over you, the next you’re waking up to discover that some fucker has hacked off one of your standie-up bits without even asking.

Not to mention a life lived in perpetual fear of people wanting to use you as a tripod and balance cameras on your head.

And then there was the cat abscess. I remain to be so deeply traumatised about this story that I don’t think I can even carry on with it. Just think of what is inside an abscess, now imagine it is the size of a golf ball and understand that it all has to come out. The procedure happened about 11.30 a.m, needless to say I still hadn’t been able to look at any food by 3.30.

Eeeeewwww, feeling queasy thinking about it.

And yes, I did another gentle wall slide for that, as well.

As for the vet. When you say vet, I immediately think of James Herriot, All Creatures Great and Small, green wellies and ruddy complexions. Hell no, not our vet. Drop dead gorgeous, with a diamond the size of my head on her finger. But the thing that impresses me is that this woman (as well as everybody else who does what she does) can actually carry these procedures out without having to gak into the nearest pot plant. Make statues out of these people, I say.

Anyway, it was one of those weeks when (and I admit I have been doing this rather regularly, lately) I wondered how on earth I ended up in my own life. It was made even more clear by two members of my family, the day of the cat abscess. I got an email from my cousin, ‘All well here – bombs, touch wood, seem to have settled down - long may that last.’

And then a text from my sister who (for work) was spending the week in Singapore, ‘Am at Singapore Fashion Week runway show. Just been drinking Tattinger in VIP area and am now sitting front row, beside local TV celeb.’

I proudly told them about my cat abscess lancing and promptly went and threw up in the nearest pot plant. Now, just currently, trying to figure out how I can work that in to my next invoice.
I was on a flight last week when the air hostess said, ‘At Air New Zealand we are passionate about the environment.’

‘No you’re not!’ I snorted. ‘If you were passionate about the environment you’d be Walk New Zealand.’

Just currently they have ninety-three planes in their fleet, with twenty-four on order and, if you lined them all up and said ‘Go!’ the first nine hundred and seventy-two people who managed to scramble on board would get a seat. Everyone else would have to stand or squeeze into the overhead lockers.

FACT: Air travel screws the environment.

GENERALISATION: As a species we love to fly. Almost as much as birds.

PREDICTION: Boeing reckons the size of its fleet will double by 2026.

ANOTHER PREDICTION: In 2003 200 million people used UK airports, by 2030 they reckon this figure will double.

ANOTHER GENERALISATION BASED ON THOSE PREDICTIONS: Unless they invent a userfriendly method of travel the environment is fully screwed. But I don’t need to tell you that, Al Gore has done it already.

What I want to know is, in our world of perpetual change – if your brand new top-of-the-range, latest model computer that comes with the hot and cold folding gateposts and the ability to hack into NASA can become ‘so last century’ within nano seconds of popping its box into the recycling bin – then how come those brain boxes out there who are continually inventing new stuff haven’t managed to come up with a plane that sends love throughout the environment instead of causing mass destruction?

Just quietly I find it hard enough to work out how they know about all the damage that is being caused in the first place – I mean, how do they know when they can’t SEE it?

Reason # 4567,678,856,434,543 why I would have never split the atom. Unless it could have been done with a hammer.

When you think about it – if they are busy inventing hybrid electric cars and cars that run on concoctions of peanut butter and old cooking oil – why can’t they come up with the same solution for planes? I read that Boeing has partnered up with a Brazilian biofuels firm but someone discovered that they would have to plant an area the size of Florida with soy beans to provide a fifteen percent blend of jet fuel for the whole U.S aircraft fleet. Call me crazy, but I don't think that's what you would call progress.

I know they’re investigating all manner of other things like letting the planes spend less time in the hair, using shorter and steeper approaches (plane rides will double as roller coasters – great if you’re nine, not so crash hot if you’re seventy-nine) – but from what I understand this is the equivalent of putting band aid on an amputation.

So I’ve come up with a solution. And it’s not grounding the world. Hell no, I am eternally grateful to the brains behind the Boeing. I have admitted before that I am a carbon earthquake when it comes to the amount of time I spend in the air. My life would be so much simpler if I had wings (however I imagine my health insurance premium would sky rocket. Would be rubbish at landing.)

I’m suggesting that they stick the brightest people in the world in a room and tell them that they have forty-eight hours to save air travel. Hell, if it worked on the film Apollo 13, I’m sure it can happen in real life.

Why hasn’t anyone thought of that before ? My solution is hardly rocket science.
Anyway, back to my flight on Air New Zealand. Remember how they said that they were passionate about the environment?

It was because they wanted everyone to recycle their newspapers.Don't know about you, but I just found it kind of ironic.
I find genes such fascinating things. Or, I should say, what happens when you mix up two sets of genes. It constantly surprises me how, when you mix up two sets of genes that you always get such different results. Time after time after time. If it was me inventing the world I reckon I would have said, ‘The first three will be all different, but after that they will just start repeating.’

I was with my friend the mother-of-four-boys last week and we were discussing this as her freshest boy was drooling on my shoulder. She thinks her number one is a nerd, number two will go to any lengths to be cool, number three is just an out-there giggling nutjob (I arrived around there last night to find number three chasing the peanut butter around the kitchen, as you do) and number four has a startling resemblance to number one. ‘It’s kind of like breeding dogs, really,’ she commented.

I love watching the people my nieces and nephew are growing in to. Fortunately my sister and brother both married musical types because there was no way their children were going to inherit a large sense of rhythm from either them. (One of my mother’s school reports says, ‘The Fruitcake cannot sing. It is not that she does not sing, it is simply that she cannot sing.’ And at my nephew’s christening I was sitting beside my father in the church. We stood up for the first hymn – and just to get this straight, so appalling is my voice that I don’t even pretend to sing – and beside me my father started to tunelessly butcher the hymn. I looked down at where he had the hymn book open and saw that IT WAS ON THE WRONG PAGE.)

However one thing my parents are polar opposites on is technology. Growing up, I think the most common thing I ever heard said about my father was that that he loved gadgets. I was talking about this to my sister and she pointed out that Dad had a fax, email, laptop and mobile phone before any of his children. He even had Sky installed before it was physically possible to get it in the area.

This is the man who (before he became an arms dealer) was one of the first people in the country to have a pregnancy tester for sheep. During the eighties he featured twice on technology television shows with his latest farming wizardry.

My mother, on the other hand, is still delighted that they’ve invented this new thing called the abacus. We got an email from our father some years’ ago, ‘Your mother is having a bad week, she has a new mobile phone and a new car. She isn’t coping very well.’

My sister has inherited my father’s love of gadgets. But she has kept this trait reasonably well hidden, it wasn’t until she was teaching me how to use my digital camera that I worked this out. ‘How do you know all this shit?’ I was baffled. She might as well have been talking Polish to me. Her husband rolled his eyes and asked, ‘Have you met your father?’

My brother is quite good on gadgets as well. Or being able to work out how things work. However it appears this character trait seems to have eluded me. When I got my hard drive DVD recorder I used to have to bribe people to come around for dinner just so they could teach me how to use it. I like looking at it, and I like the idea of being able to make it do what it’s built for, but I find reading the instruction manual about as fun as doing my GST return.

Despite this, I remain convinced I must have some sort of gadget ability in me somewhere and I have been trying to channel it this week. I bought a new landline phone and oh my, it’s sexy. It doesn’t have buttons, it’s black, sleek and has a blue back light.

And the world was really working on my side the day I bought it, as they had advertised it wrongly and I got it for nearly half of its retail price.

Sadly, this state-of-the-art piece of technology does have a down side - it comes with a manual that makes War and Peace look like a piece of light reading. It does things that I don’t really think a phone needs to do and chances are, unless I invite one of my family to stay, it will only ever get to do twenty percent of the tasks that it’s designed to do.


Brainy phone, delinquent owner.

If my phone was a dog, it would possibly end up at the pound.