Wednesday, June 29, 2011

TV Romance - I only WISH it was dead!


*Disclaimer - this post written from the depths of despair, so may contain multiple grammatical errors, overuse of capitalisation and the occasional rude word*

So I was just walking from the supermarket to the bottle shop, laden with bags, as you do.  Whilst passing the newsagency I saw the following magazine cover in the window:

and after muttering under my breath something along the lines of "OMGNOWAIDUDE", I found that I was becoming irrationally angry at the concept of Meredith and Derek splitting up.  Again.

Let me first set the record straight.  I gave up Grey's Anatomy some time around season 3 or 4, because the on-again, off-again romances made me want to stick knitting needles in my eyes during each episode, so it's entirely possible that I've missed something.  I suspect not much, however.

Why did it piss me off, you ask?  Well, it's like the whole Ross-Rachel thing.  All.  Over.  Again.  In stereo surround sound.  I barely survived The Whole Ross-Rachel Thing back in the 90's, or however long ago that was, and here TV goes doing it again.

In a nutshell - if two intelligent, gorgeous, and loving (albeit emotionally scarred to a degree that makes me giggle sometimes) fictional characters can't find love, what possible chance do the rest of us have, for eff's sake?

Don't these TV writers know that the only reason we put up with their on-again, off-again, nail-biting, season-finale-relationship-cliffhangy  melodrama is to discover that in the end that true love will win?  We don't want to see a couple struggle for years to overcome their personal issues, work crises, family dramas, sexy ex-partners and fashion accidents only to FAIL!  We are only too familiar with this end result - we want to see Happily Ever After.  No Matter What.

I do know why they do it, I do.  They want people to keep coming back again and again and again and again to see the same stories slightly re-jigged, with newer and more exciting obstacles for our hero and heroine to overcome.  Let's face it, if Ross and Rachel fell in love, had 2.5 babies and moved to the 'burbs in season 2 of Friends, no one would watch.

But I want it to end well.  At least sometimes.  Well, once.  I honestly can't remember the details of the ending  of Friends, but a quick google search gives me the idea that they ended up together.  In the last episode.  And how do we know that lasted?  Who knows what sitcom characters get up to after the series ends?  I suspect they got married (again) and took a honeymoon to Sydney and on the way home the plane crashed on a mysterious island where they...  Ok.  I'm getting silly now.

So Grey's Anatomy writer people?  I don't like this turn of events at all.  Google also reliably informs me that Patrick Dempsey (minor swoon break) has said season 8 will be his last.  Sort it out, writers - if they don't end up in Happily Ever After Land I'm going to be seriously pissed off.  Let's have a happy ending this time.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Guest post - should dad be allowed to "opt out"?

This is a guest post by Lisa, who I was pretty sure would discuss this topic a lot more sensibly and, erm, less emotionally than I would.  I was also involved in the online discussion she mentions, and was heartbroken by many of the views expressed by other women and mothers.


I’m a member of a parenting website that is mostly frequented by mums –stay at home mums, working mums, single mums, younger mums, not so younger mums. You get the point.

Recently a topic was raised to discuss whether men should have a set period of time to ‘opt out’ of paying child support for an unwanted pregnancy. The window of time proposed was the same for the mother to terminate the pregnancy. The mums on this parenting website are a clever lot but they can’t take credit for coming up with this proposal. An attorney in South Carolina coined the term “male abortion” and suggested this opt out proposal would give men equality in reproduction, in the same way that woman can opt out of parenthood by simply having an abortion.

As a topic on a mum’s forum it seemed like a non-starter. No mother would agree to take away a child’s right to financial security, just to save an unwilling father some cash, right? No mother would suggest that abortion is a simple option, right?


Debate was heated and probably half of the mums - and a few dads - agreed with a proposal. Some women argued that men can be duped into parenthood by conniving women. Others said the $1 billion dollars in child support owed by deadbeat parents was proof the current system allowed parents to effectively opt out - without signing away their rights to have contact with the child. In the opt out scenario, if a father opted out, his child loses their rights to contact the father at any point in the future.

The problems with this opt out proposal are so numerous and so obvious it’s not a reasonable enough idea to be convincingly half-arsed. Is there such a thing as quarter-arsed? Perhaps one eigth-arsed?

First, abortion is not an option for every woman. Some women have are passionately pro-life. For them, there is no opting out of an unwanted pregnancy so why should her male sexual partner have that right?

Second, abortion is not without risk or consequence. A man electing to walk away from the consequences of an ejaculation, is not comparable to a surgical termination of pregnancy. Suggesting these two acts are the same completely trivializes the very real physical risks to a woman who terminates a pregnancy, not to mention the possible emotional consequences.

Third, even unwanted kids have rights. International conventions and domestic laws give all children (even the annoying ones) the right to financial protection from their parents. Even if their parent doesn’t live with the child, has remarried, has more kids or is simply a self centred asshat, that child’s rights still exist. The parent’s wishes to safeguard their cash do not over ride a child’s need to financial security.

Fourth, this scenario puts 100% responsibility for fertility in the hands of women. Theoretically men could take no responsibility for contraception while having confidence that should anything happen, they have an equal lack of responsibility for the consequences. And that’s equality?

Fifth, this proposal would essentially provide financial remuneration for dads to abandon their kids. The money is a sweetener to stop men from attempting to have any relationship with an unplanned child. Surely a dad has more value in a child’s life than his wallet? And what happens if he decides he wants contact at a later date – does he need a bank loan to pay the years of child support, like a ransom – before that can take place?

The proposal is so ludicrous that it’s hard to find the upside.

But as ludicrous as this proposal seems it was recently tested in a US court. Naturally it failed because it’s not only morally repellant, but unworkable as public policy. However, in the court of public opinion, it could be a different story. If half of the women on a mum’s forum would support this proposal, presumably even more men would agree.

For once, I’m actually very glad that our judicial system is so ‘out of touch’ with public opinion.

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Child Restraint Laws

Are you sure your children are properly restrained in the car?

This is a guest post by the delightful Danni from Rock-a-Bye Baby Equipment Hire in Sydney.  Rock-a-Bye Baby hire out a full range of premium and elite brand baby products, and Danni ensures she is always up to date on the latest safety tips and legislation regarding all of the products she supplies!

(Disclaimer:  this isn't a paid promotional type of post; Danni is a friend and when I thought about doing a post on child car restraints I knew who to ask!)

New National Child Restraint Laws

New laws have been passed that make it mandatory for children under seven to be restrained in an appropriate child restraint. These laws are designed to increase the safety of your children and reduce the number of children injured or killed in car accidents.

Summary of the new legislation:
Babies younger than six months of age must be restrained in a rearward facing restraint.

Children from six months to four years of age must be restrained in a rearward facing or forward facing restraint that has an inbuilt 5 point safety harness. Children under four years of age must not travel in the front row of a vehicle with two or more rows.

Children from four to seven years of age must be seated in a forward facing restraint or booster seat.

Children from four to seven years of age can only sit in the front row of a vehicle with two or more rows when all other seats are occupied by children of a lesser age in an approved child restraint.

What if my child is small, or large, for their age?
If your child is too small for a restraint specified for their age, they should be kept in their current of restraint for as long as necessary. If your child is too large for a restraint specified for their age, they may move to the next level of restraint. Basically if your child is under seven and fits in a restraint, they should be in one, providing they suit the weight requirement as specified by the car seat manufacturer. New car seats suiting children up to 36kg will be available on the market shortly.

Why was the legislation implemented?
The current evidence shows that most parents in Australia move their child out of child restraints and into adult seat belts from around five years of age. Research indicates that this is too early and increases the potential for serious injury and death.

Car accidents are associated with a large number of child fatalities in Australia. Between 1999 and 2003, 587 children aged 0-14 years died as a result of transport accidents. This accounts for 40% of all fatalities in this age group due to external causes.

According to Dr Jeff Potter, the National Transport Commission’s Senior Manager–Safety, new age-based minimum standards would improve public understanding and reduce injuries. “While many parents and carers strive to do the right thing, the research shows children are moving to bigger seats too early. The new laws will provide better guidance informed by the latest available technology, research and world’s best practice,” Dr Potter said.

Why do the new rules refer to the age of the child, rather than their weight, size or height?
Regulations using the age of the user will result in the smallest percentage of infants being inappropriately restrained and guidelines are easier for parents and carers to understand and follow if given in terms of age, rather than height and weight.

 Can I use a child restraint that was purchased overseas?
No you cannot. Child restraints purchased overseas are illegal and do not comply with the Australian Standard.

All infant restraints that meet the Australian Standard will clearly display this label.

If your restraint does not have the label affixed, even if it has fallen off due to age, the restraint should be considered unsafe and it is not recommended that you use it.

All Australian vehicles have a uniquely developed tether strap anchorage system, which only Australian Standard approved child restraints are compatible with. In addition, the Australian Standard for child restraints is one of the most stringent child restraint standards in the world. Unlike the European Standard, the Australian standard requires all restraints to be tested in both side and rear impact tests.

Can I hire a baby capsule, child restraint or booster seat?
Yes. Child restraints can be hired from private companies, hospitals and local councils.

Who is responsible for ensuring a child is restrained in an approved restraint?
The driver of the motor vehicle is responsible for ensuring all children are restrained in appropriate, standards approved restraints. Penalties will apply for failing to ensure all children are appropriately restrained.

For more information:

Australian Transport Safety Bureau website  ph: 1800 020 616  

State by State

Territory and Municipal Services ph: 13 22 81 (ACT and NSW residents only) or (02) 6207 5111 or (02) 6207 0494 TTY

Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) ph: 13 17 82 or 13 22 13 to find your nearest RTA Authorised Fitting Station
NRMA  ph: 1300 655 443 or (02) 8741 6000

Queensland Transport ph: 13 23 80
RACQ  website ph: 13 19 05 or (07) 3248 2074 TTY

South Australia
Transport SA  ph: 13 10 84
RAA  ph: (08) 8202 4600 or (08) 8202 4750 TTY

RACT  ph: 13 27 22

Vic Roads ph: 1300 360 745
RACV ph: 13 72 28

Western Australia
Office of Road Safety ph:  13 81 38
WALGA RoadWise program ph:  1300 780 713

Article supplied by Sydney-based Rock A Bye Baby Equipment Hire. (02) 9589 4942,  0406 984 452  

Thanks, Danni!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

I can haz Facebook

Now seems the perfect time to cheat on Twitter and start a social media threesome to add some spark to my life, so I'm now on Facebook, too.

You can like me by clicking the link on the left.  Or you can ignore this post and do nothing.  In which case I shall sink into a lonely pit of despair and gloom.

You choose.



Beloved Boots

My feet are borked.  This is a simple, yet unpleasant fact.  Botched surgery when I was 20ish to repair a case of Morton's neuroma and hammertoes, followed by 20 years in the hospitality and events industry has led me down the path of Comfortable Footwear For Life.

Summer sucks - there simply aren't many hot-weather-appropriate Comfortable Shoes, but in winter my feet squirm in delight at the thought of being snugly encased in boots with thick, fluffy socks.

My Old Faithfuls, seen below, are a joy to wear, and I love them dearly.

Recently, though, I've had a hankering to return to my previous Old Faithfuls - a pair of Doc Martens I bought in London in 1988, which were reluctantly retired to the Doc Marten Fields Of Joy In The Sky about 5 years ago, and hadn't been replaced.

Until last week.

When I found these:

They are black and shiny, with a gorgeous embossed floral design.  The leather is slightly softer than the standard Docs, and are already beginning to stretch and relax into my own personal borked foot shape.  The simple act of putting them on and lacing them up makes me feel like a rebellious student stomping about the streets of London again.

I love my stomping boots.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Come on, it's funny!

Found myself giggling out loud at Transperth's twitterstream today about their on-again-off-again service, so thought I'd share.

Transperth Transperth

UPDATE: Armadale Line - service disruption (Effective immediately, Wednesday 15 June 2011 at 1.05pm): ...

1 hour ago

Transperth Transperth

Trains have resumed between Armadale & Cannington on the Armadale Line. Delays are expected while services return to timetabled running.

1 hour ago

Transperth Transperth

UPDATE: Armadale Line - service disruption (Effective immediately, Wednesday 15 June 2011 at 12.45pm): ...

1 hour ago

Transperth Transperth

UPDATE:Train replacement bus services are currently not operating. An update will be provided shortly.

1 hour ago

Transperth Transperth

Train replacement bus services will pick up passengers at train replacement stops near stations.

2 hours ago

Transperth Transperth

Armadale Line trains are currently disrupted due to a Western Power power outage.Trains are not operating between Cannington and Armadale

2 hours ago

Transperth Transperth

Interested in seeing the results from Canstar Blue’s Most Satisfied Customers - City Trains survey? If so, visit

5 hours ago
(For the record, the survey they mentioned above listed Perth as the nation's most satisfied customers.  I'm thinking perhaps not so much today...)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rant du jour - Perth public transportation!

I think the idea of public transportation rocks.  No, really, I do.  No traffic jams, doing one's bit for the environment, and not having to deal with the utter numpties on the Perth roads - it's all full of win!

Or is it?

I live within 5 minute's drive of a train station and work in the CBD.  There is another train station within about a 7 minute drive from my house.  Note I used the words "drive from my house".  I want use the train.  I desperately want to use the train.  I can't even drive into the city in time to start work even if I COULD afford around $20 a day for parking plus petrol, because before-school care opens at 7am and not a minute sooner.

So train it is.

Let's see how this works.  I've managed to rejig my work schedule to start at 9:15 2 days a week to save paying out for before school care, so I drop the kids at school at around 8:20 and head to the station. 

But wait.  There's a problem.  Firstly, there's no free parking left.  It's full by around 6:55am.  No worries, I don't mind paying $3 a day to park.  But wait.  There's another problem.  There's no PAID parking left either.  None - I mean NONE within a 20 minute walk of the station.  In despair, I head to the next train station only to find the same story.

OK.  Absolute worst-case scenario, I'm going to have to drive to work.  So I do.  But wait.  There's a problem.  There's no parking anywhere near work.  None - I mean NONE!  All full.

Hmmmmm.  This is indeed tricky, and I'm already 30 minutes late now.  Whatever shall I do? 

I can hear the responses from you already - WHY, O Sparkly Tiara, WHY do you drive to the station?  Just take a bus - nice and simple.  Well, no, actually, it isn't.  The closest a bus goes to the kids' school would involve a 15 minute walk in addition to a 15 minute bus ride.  Twice.  Once from home to school and then again from school to train station.  That adds an hour to the already hour-long commute.  That seems rather absurd.  It would also mean that on the return trip I'd arrive at after-school care an hour after they shut.  I think they'd get heartily sick of that in a hurry.

Ride a bicycle, I hear you suggest quietly?  Hmmm.  No.  Not only do I loathe and detest bicycles, but I am also one of those unfortunate types who tends to "glow" profusely from exercise, and I do not wish to inflict BO upon my students all day.  Showering at work is not an option.  We're lucky if there's soap in the dispensers in the ladies' room, never mind showers.  Plus my 6 year old daughter is still very shaky on the bike and I'm not risking her anywhere near Perth's atrocious drivers.

One day a few weeks ago, in sheer desperation, I parked One Parking Spot Away from the designated "all day parking" at the station.  There was nowhere else to park.  It had all filled up by around 7am.  I saw a car next to me with a plaintive note in the windscreen begging not to get a ticket because there simply were no options.

Yep - we both got tickets.  I'm not paying.  Feck 'em.  I'd rather go to court and calmly rant at the Magistrate about the impossibility of it all.  Yeah, I'll probably still be told to pay, but at least I'll get my soapbox moment, damn it!

So what's the answer?  Simple - we need low-cost multi-storey car parks at major train hubs.  People will use trains if they are a viable option.  They really, really will (although decent coffee and free wifi wouldn't go astray as a sweetener).  The freeways are utterly jammed from around 5:30 until 9:00, then again from 3:30 - 6:30 and Perth residents are understandably Fed Right Up. 

Angry motorists on the freeway are not good.  Accidents and road-rage incidents are common.  Sense, apparently isn't.

So, Government of Western Australia - DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Things that make you go SQUEEEEEEEE!

As I haven't done a SQUEEEEEEEEE post in a while I thought I'd do one today.

This first one is the birthday cake my children made for me on my last birthday. I just came across the photo again today, and thought it was a Must Share. Why is it that cakes baked and decorated for you by your kids taste so much better?

Then we have my daughter, Miss Z, who defiantly refused to go to bed one night last week, so went to floor instead as a protest. Bless her - she's getting a bit heavy to lift up and put back in bed!

Then this morning a lovely photographer friend of mine who runs Taylor Made Moments shared a photo she took of her kitteh which I also thought was very worth sharing.

And last, but by no means least, here's a nostalgic (to me) photo of where I grew up.  Yeah, I know, right?  The reason I'm no longer there is....?


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another New Blog!

And this one is by me!

Inspired by a need to teach my kids (and myself) some olde worlde low-tech lifeskills, I've started another blog and FB page just for that purpose. The idea is to share the challenge, share the knowledge and share a few giggles along the way, so if you're into the idea of self-sufficiency, sustainability and doing it the non-electronic way for a change, then please do drop by.

If you'd like to contribute a how-to post, share an experience or post in any other way, just comment with you email address and I'll add you as an author.

The Low Tech Life blog can be found JUST AROUND HERE and the FB page is located SOMEWHERE IN THE VICINITY OF THIS.

I do hope you'll join us, 'cos it'll be dreadfully dull and boring if it's just me there.


Just want to introduce you to a friend...

... and her new blog. A blog about her life in rural France, renovating a Very Old French Farmhouse with her hubby Tony the Tractor Guy, and living a life I'd love to live. In fact, we have a deal that if my lotto win comes through I'm on the next plane over there with the kids to hang out in France all summer and help them with veggies, tractor antics and red wine quaffing, so please join me in wishing for those lucky numbers to come up!

Her blog is Diary of a Pretend Farmer and I hope you enjoy reading. I'm thinking there could be some pretty spiffy recipes coming up at some point, too...


PS - she's also inspired me to crank up my own blog after far-too-long of a break, and for this I thank her.