Archive for May, 2009

Imagine my excitement when I heard that Twitter is being overrun by robots.

“At last!” I thought to myself, “The robot uprising has begun!”

I was imagining something kind of like “The Terminator” and that Flight of The Conchords song set in “the distant future, the year 2000.” But my friend Mr C set me straight.

Apparently these robots don’t want to kill anyone. At least not yet. Instead, they spend their days trawling through the twitterverse for keywords. And these keywords are specified by companies (and motivated individuals) wanting to hook up with people who might need their services.

For example, the robot might be programmed to automatically follow anyone who mentions “auto insurance” or “personal injury” or to search for phrases such as “I wish someone could tell me how to make Big Money Fast!!” and “Don’t tell anyone but I really do suffer from embarrassing erectile dysfunction problems”. 

So, all you have to do is innocently mention something like “lactating asian babes” on Twitter and you instantly get “auto-followed” by the Breastfeeding Association of East Anglia, The Chowking Chinese Food Chain AND @HotLesboticChicks69.

And yes, for the record, you can mention lactating asian babes innocently. I do it all the time, actually. 

Sometimes, however, the link between what you’ve just tweeted and who suddenly starts auto-following you isn’t that clear. 

Why, just the other day I found myself tweeting a lot about dead cats and seconds later a very buxom lass started following me, trying entice me to some “Adult Dating Site”. I couldn’t for the life of me work out why she’d appeared, unless, of course, she worked as a part-time pet mortician to supplement her adult “dating”. 

“Now, hang on a moment, NDM” I can here some people say. “Let’s go back a little there. Why, exactly, were you talking about ‘dead cats’ on twitter?”

Sheesh, you people have to know everything. Can’t a girl retain some sense of mystery?

But if you really must know… (*sigh*)

You see, I’d signed up with a Twitter-based service called “Mr Tweet” to try and maximise my twitter exposure. You know, as part of my strategic plan to become an Internet Phenomenon like Susan Boyle, Perez Hilton and “The Keyboard Cat”.

Anyway, Mr Tweet analysed my twitter activity and concluded that there were dead cats that were more “engaging”. Okay, so that was my (wrong) interpretation of his report. But let’s just pretend, for the purposes of this post, that Mr Tweet’s exact words to me were: “NDM, frankly there are dead cats on twitter that are funnier than you”.

Understandably, I complained bitterly about this on twitter. I also complained about the fact Mr Tweet had recommended I follow Ashton Kutcher (Mr Demi Moore) above all others on Twitter.

What the…? Is Mr Tweet Ashton Kutcher’s bitch? My next tweet said something along the lines of:

Follow Ashton Kutcher? I say to Mr Tweet: “Over my dead cat’s body!”

And it was at this point that my well-endowed pet mortician friend started following me. Shortly after that I noticed my number of followers had dropped and I tweeted:

Someone stopped following me after those “dead cat” tweets. Don’t know who but must have hurt their felines… Yes, I am drunk.

And for the record: I wasn’t exactly drunk. Okay, so maybe I was just a little. But listen, I’m not the enemy here. 

However I do appear to be the only person concerned that some evil genius out there has invented a robot to look out for the term “dead cat” so he (or she) can entice them into his pornographic adult XXX dating lair. And I strongly urge everyone with a twitter account to randomly include the tag #deadcat in their next tweet so that we might smoke him out of his hole once and for all.

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It all started with The Pixie saying something innocent like “The Duck One‘s coming shopping!”. And, because I was running late enough as it was and didn’t have time to have That Battle with her, I pretended I didn’t hear her and that might have been that. But eight hours later, just as I was making dinner, The Pixie suddenly said, all innocence: “Where’s Duckwy?”.

A frantic search of the car and the usual spots where the Duck One likes to hang out (expertly wedged down the back of the couch, left to relax and unwind by itself under the trampoline, draped elegantly across the toilet floor) turned up nothing. 

I pleaded with The Pixie to remember where she last saw “Duckwy”.

“Eeee-eeeee-eee” she said, squeaking like a mouse in an entirely unhelpful manner. 

I then asked Mr Justice whose steel-trap memory can always be relied on, particularly in drawn-out court proceedings – which were sure to follow should the Duck One not be found.

“Uh, I remember she had it in her shopping basket at Coles, but after that…” And then he shrugged his shoulders. 

My blood ran cold. And not necessarily because I had any kind of personal relationship with the Duck One, but because my husband was not going to be home at all that evening and I’d have to deal with any fall-out on my own.

I leapt into “Mission: Rescue” mode. “Right!” I hollered at the kids. “It’s almost eighteen hundred hours. We’ve got a man left behind enemy lines. We have to go to back to Coles to leave no stone unturned and no aisle unchecked until we bring that soldier home.” And then I mobilized the troops by herding them into the Love Bus, shouting: “Go! Go! Go! Go!”. 

Okay, so it wasn’t quite like that. I think I probably said something more like: “If we can get to Coles and back as quickly as possible, you can eat dinner in front of The Simpsons”. 

Or even: “There’s a lollipop in it for anyone who goes like the clappers.”

Whatever. The main point is that we all got to Coles in record time and ran straight to the information counter.

“I think we left my daughter’s comforter here this morning,” I said, somewhat breathlessly, the panic in my voice barely disguised. “It’s, uh, a manky piece of grey cloth with ducks on it.”

The lady behind the counter happened to be the same checkout chick we’d been served by that morning.

“Oh, yes. I picked it up and put it… uh… here,” she said, looking over at a shelf where the Duck One was obviously no longer. All I could think of was grabbing a phone and arguing my way past Prime Minister Rudd’s switchboard to call in air strikes on Coles. I felt like screaming at the entire supermarket “You’ll pay for this! YOU’LL ALL PAY!!!!” when I spotted a bin below the shelf she was looking at.

“Ah, I think it might be there,” I said somewhat sheepishly. I knew that some manager had come along, looked at Duck One and, rather than see it as the precious thing my daughter sees it as, had only seen as a potential carrier of e-coli, swine flu and/or cooties.

The lady scrummaged through the bin and lo! The Duck One was found. She put it in a plastic bag and handed it to my little girl, whose little face beamed with happiness.

“Whoever would have put such a precious thing in the bin?” the lady tutted, even though we both knew she’d probably go and scrub her hands long and hard after having handled it.

“Yayyyy!” said The Pixie. “Let’s go home and give Duckwy a bath!”. 

And as we walked back to the car, I watched her squeaking happily as she swung that bag around and I thought “There’s the most precious thing. That little girl there.” And then I thought “The Duck One is grounded for the term of the grey-manky-cloth life, so help me.”

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What do you do when a heterosexual man shatters one of your illusions? You inadvertently make him look at some hardcore man-on-man porn, that’s what.  

Recently I was on the phone to my friend MM, who was in the middle of playing pirates with his son Master D. Turns out Master D had just done a Pirate Pee, washed his Pirate Hands in the Pirate Basin and dried them on a Pirate Towel. I understood all too well that sometimes the only way you can make small boys do what they’re told is by pretending to be a Pirate or Autobot – and when they’re much older, a Naughty Nurse. 

“Ooooo, arrrrrrrrrr,” MM said. 

“Did you know that you can choose ‘Pirate’ as your official language on Facebook?” I asked him, and then added: “Arrrrrrrrr!”

“Actually,” MM replied, dropping the Pirate Speak altogether. “Did you know that no actual pirates spoke like that before Robert Newton’s stellar performance as Long John Silver in the 50s?”

“No,” I said, suddenly uncertain about everything. “You mean they make stuff up in Hollywood?”

This was too much. Next thing I knew, he’d be telling me that Scots didn’t wear kilts and blue clown faces during the days of William Wallace or that Lucius Aurelius Commodus Antoninus didn’t actually go on to be reincarnated as Johnny Cash. 

“Oh well,” I said, rallying. “Did you happen to see the Tony Danza tattoo I passed on from @TheFatJew on twitter?” 

“No,” he replied. “But I’ve got the computer on right here and… Oh… God!… No! No! God, no!”

“Gee, I didn’t think that it was that bad,” I said. The Tony Danza depicted in the tattoo was drunk and middle-aged but not worthy of quite that much carry-on. 

“Didn’t you see the other photos in that guy’s album?” he spluttered. 

“No, I didn’t. I view Twitter through this neat application called TweetDeck and it only shows.. look… never mind,” I said. I knew I had lost him at the word “neat”. In any case, he appeared to still be dry-retching. 

“Sheesh, it must be pretty bad.” I said. “What is it?”

“Can’t… Speak… arghghhhhhghhh….” I think at this point the phone might have gone dead. Either that or I asked to speak with his good lady wife KC instead because, quite frankly, MM was not much fun to speak to now that I’d destroyed his mind. 

The next day, I emailed him asking him to describe in his own words what he had seen for the purposes of this blog. 

“Blerg!” he wrote back. “Post-pornmatic stress!” (I knew then he must still be traumatised. He’s never one to use exclamation marks. Ever.)

He then went on to describe something that was “like that half-glimpsed moment in The Shining with added obesity and minus the dog costume”. The rest is not fit to publish. Not even on this blog, my friends. Not even on this blog. 

I thought I should, perhaps, apologise to MM for damaging him like that and then going on to practically profiteer from it by writing about it in my blog. However… Avast ye, me hearties! The lily-livered son o’ a biscuit lovin’ drivelswibber be deservin’ of such a drubbin’. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. 

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The other day, I found myself literally trapped at a DFO – which, for the uninitiated, stands for “Direct Factory Outlet” and not, as acronymfinder.com suggested, the “Dairy Farmers of Ontario”. 

Having fought the Boxing Day Sales-type bitch fight over parking, I had finally managed to find a spot in a far corner of the DFO Parking Suburb. But only once I’d pulled into it did I realise I was between two 4WDs that surely must have moonlighted as Monster Trucks when they weren’t ferrying young J’Aime and Tarquin to school during daylight hours. And since I was driving KT’s Mitsubishi station wagon, which seats you closer to the ground than any F1 racing car, I had no chance of seeing my way out until the Monster Trucks moved. 

So I went shopping, which is what I had come for, after all. I found myself walking around and around in circles in that crazy cavernous place, chock full ‘o’ bargains, hungry hungry shoppers and spruikers galore, competing against each other and the piped music. (For the record: I don’t ever go into a shop where someone’s heckling the crowd with a microphone).

After a while, all that walking around began to create one of those “whirlpools” I used to make with my friends in above-ground pools in the 70s. Eventually the pull of the whirlpool got so strong that I got swept away into a frenzy of consumerism. I started getting that overwhelming feeling of “I need linen pillow cases!” “I have to buy pastel-coloured ramekins” and “Must. Have. Onion. Keeper. In the shape of an onion!!!!”.

At one point, I even got the “My life is incomplete without a watermelon-coloured bra with black lace trimming” feeling (we all get it from time to time).  I was perusing the intimate apparel when I came face to face with one of the teachers from Mr Justice’s school. We both laughed small embarrassed laughs  – me mostly because just moments beforehand I’d been looking in shocked awe at Size 8 G-strings and had also farted (one didn’t cause the other, I hasten to add). Luckily this embarrassing encounter broke my shopping reverie and, clutching my bags, I hastily headed straight for the nearest exit before I got dragged in again. 

And so it should be told that I had come to the DFO merely to buy shoes. After two long hours, I finally emerged into natural daylight bearing shoes, trousers, sparkly pink socks and a milk pan. Which wasn’t too bad, considering the pull of that whirlpool.

However, I could see – all the way from across the carpark – that one of the Monster Trucks was still parked next to me, so I had to stop a while at “Villa and Hut” to have one of the Chai Lattes that they were “famed for” (What they neglected to say was that those Lattes were “famed for being milky cinnamon sock water”). And before you go hanging shit on me drinking chai lattes, let me just say, in my defence, that I had just bought a pair of Birkenstock Clogs. If you’re really going to do these things, you have to do them properly. 

When, after another half an hour had passed, I could see that the remaining Monster Truck had gone, I was able to drive home and show my husband my new purchases. He laughed when he saw the Birkenstocks and said he’d have to leave his City Job as a show of support for my new Lifestyle Choice. And I got all huffy and said he’d have to keep that City Job so I could bloody-well afford Birkenstocks, even those allegedly “on sale” at the DFO. 

And then, for the rest of the afternoon, I found myself stopping to admire my new smurf feet and wonder how from such a Celebration of Consumerism could come such Chiropodiatric Comfort. At long last, I had the type of shoes that complemented my unshaven legs, that were very unlikely to press hard down upon the accelerator of a Monster Truck in city traffic or even ever tread the concrete floors of that DFO again. Unless of course, it’s the Dairy Farmers of Ontario and they’re into, you know, organic milk. 

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The other day, I crashed one of KC’s regular catch-ups with local parents and their kids over in a trendy part of town.  ‘Round my hood, a discarded tyre in a large patch of mud is generally considered to be the height of playground architecture, whereas Over There, they have huge tracts of land dedicated to the protection of native plants, with elaborate wooden structures (wood not metal, which might affect your “chi”) that teach your children about binary numbers while they play. Or not, if your child attends a Steiner school. 

Anyway, we met up with KC and some of her friends at a place known as “The Billabong”. I should add that, if you speak McGeeze (a local dialect favoured by Tiddles McGee), you would call this place the “Bingo-bong”. Which would be a very interesting combination, if you think about it. 

KC did the polite thing and introduced me to a lovely couple, one of them holding a baby. Then two little blonde elfin sisters skipped up the path, holding hands and I got introduced to them as well. They had names that were alarmingly similar like Saskia and, er, Saskie.

I must have looked a little confused, because the dad said “Just call ’em both ‘Sas’.”

Okay, I thought to myself, that must get a little bit confusing at home but, thank you, them practically sharing a name makes my life easier and that’s all that matters.

And then, I heard the woman remark to KC that they were only 3 months apart in age. And I thought man, that’s a pretty close age-gap… actually an impossible one…. And then I remembered once reading about twins born 2 months apart because one was born prematurely and the other one held on past their due-date, so maybe that’s what’s going on here. But then I looked at the girls and saw that, other than their blonde hair, they didn’t look that similar. In fact, the more I looked at them, the more I realised they couldn’t possibly be related.  Ah, I thought, maybe they are actually step-sisters, both products of previous relationships, which makes the baby the mum is holding the love-child of the new relationship. Okay, I’m hip to that, I concluded. 

And while I was thinking all this, I tuned into the conversation between the couple, which involved the woman asking the man questions about his work like she didn’t know what the hell he did for a living and I began to think, maybe they’re not, you know, an item

And then, after some discrete questioning of KC along the lines of “Who are all these people?”, it turns out that the man and the woman are just friends and the two little blonde girls are just friends. And I was finally able to match each child (plus a dog tied to a nearby fence) to the appropriate responsible adult and lo! It was like I’d been staring long and hard at one of those Magic Eye pictures, practically turning myself cross-eyed, and at last I’d been able to see the 3D unicorn.

Although, why don’t I just ask more questions up front rather than put myself through all that is anybody’s guess.

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Dr Sherman, our family doctor, is known simply as “The Shermanator” in our household. And quite possibly because he is at the very opposite end of the spectrum from, say, Arnold Schwarzenegger on a motorbike yielding a large automatic weapon.  Oh, we do love an ironic nickname ’round these parts. 

Anyway, the other day I’d just finished an appointment with The Shermenator when he offered the kids a jellybean from a large jar he keeps on his desk. The Pixie, quite predictably, chose a pink jellybean and Tiddles chose a yellow one. 

Seeing the large number of black jelly beans at the bottom of the jar, I asked “Does anyone ever choose the black ones?”

“Oh yes. Let’s just say They Walk Among Us,” The Shermanator replied, as he opened the door to his office to show us out. “Except, when they’re four or five years old, it’s hard to pick Them.” 

“I’d guess so since They’re not wearing black lipstick or have too many interesting piercings. At least not before third grade,” I joked as we all stepped out into the waiting room. And we both laughed and then quickly looked around just in case One Of Them was watching us. 

As I drove home, I found myself wondering if an early predilection for black jelly beans would result in you either drinking blood for a living and/or becoming an investment banker.

Personally speaking, my own early experiences with licorice-flavoured sweets was not a happy one. At kindergarten, we had a ‘Races Day’ in which I managed to come second-to-last in every single race. Obviously my kindergarten had an “Everyone wins a prize” policy because I ended up “winning” something (in a race where obviously the aim was to come second last) and my prize was a licorice-flavoured sweet – let’s just say, in the interests of continuity in this post, that it was a black jelly bean. Anyway, the jelly bean tasted bisgusting (as The Pixie would say) and I remember thinking what a lame-arse prize it was and how I didn’t want to win any more races if that was the kind of reward you got.

I went on to enjoy a life entirely devoid of any participation in sports whatsoever.  And the minute I hit 15, I ditched my deckshoes and pastel clothing, started wearing black a lot and wrote poetry about how depressed I was. Which was no great surprise since all I did was sit around listening to “The Cure”, “The Violent Femmes” and “Bananarama”.

However, there was something… something… which stopped me from taking it to the next level. I never dyed my hair black. Or carved my boyfriend’s initials in my arm. Or even wore any footwear that could potentially take someone’s eye out. For example. And I certainly never ever contemplated a career in selling off-the-plan real estate. 

Perhaps it was because I didn’t like the taste of black jelly beans? Is it that which separates the Living from the Undead? I’ve never read “Dracula” but I suspect this is an angle that Bram Stoker neglected to explore. That and how future film versions of his classic novel might unleash greater horrors on the world than vampires – such as Keanu Reeve’s English accent. Shudder.

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Some mornings I feel like I’m working in Air Traffic Control. I’m trying to dress an ants-pants McGee, while simultaneously instructing Mr Justice on where he might find his missing library book and trying to present a convincing argument for going to kindergarten to The Pixie. 

But my ability to multi-task can only stretch so far, especially when sharp knives are involved.  

The other day The Fabulous Miss Jones and I were chatting on the phone to each other while simultaneously cooking dinner and wrangling children and it to got that point in proceedings where I really needed both hands free.

“I have to go! This onion won’t chop itself!” I announced briskly and then paused to add: “Hmmm, I really must get one of those Madonna-type headsets one of these days…”

“But only if you get one of those pointy bras,” Miss Jones pointed out. 

“Oooooo!” I said, my imagination sparked. “If it was made of metal, then I could magnetise the ends of all my cooking utensils and measuring spoons and hang them off me. Then they’d be always there, within easy reach.”

“Or you could just wear a toolbelt,” Miss Jones suggested. 

“Boring!” I said. “Where’s your sense of fun? The bra concept is far more interesting. And practical! I could even hang a string from nipple point to nipple point to hang my teatowels!”

“I meant, you could just wear the toolbelt and only the toolbelt.” Miss Jones repeated. 

As I chopped onion after our phone call had ended, I thought to myself how, really, I liked that Fabulous Miss Jones’ style. But I had a few concerns that the tool-belt-only approach might contravene a whole host of Health Department regulations. Not to mention the fact that me cooking in the nude could prove to be completely unappetising to anyone who saw it. And, quite honestly, I have enough trouble getting the kids to eat what I cook them as it is.

Still, that bra idea… I just couldn’t let it go. It swirled around and around in my head. This must be how the humble paperclip must have started off, from a simple conversation between friends about paper management. Or liquid paper, which was invented by a monkey’s mother. I mean, a Monkee’s mother. See, the people who invented The Monkees were right to spell it with the double E. It could have led to all sorts of confusion, otherwise. But I digress…

But that little detour of the mind did raise a fair point. What should I call it? Some initial ideas:

  • The Tool Rack
  • The Bra-sserie
  • The Bra Bar (which is a bit of a ballet in-joke – ballet in-jokes are always so accessible)
  • The Bossom Buddy (Thanks, KT)
  • The Tit-Master 2000
  • The Boom-titty-boom-titty-shakka-lakka-mama-jugs Utensil Holder

I don’t know about anybody else, but I suspect I’ve really hit “pay dirt”. If, that is, “pay dirt” means what I’ve always suspected it means: I’ll be paid in dirt. Great hulking mounds of the stuff. 

And no, I never intended this to be a Serious Post.

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