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83 entries from June 2008

June 30, 2008

Can Women Handle Casual Sex?

I thought it an interesting article to write about after reading the research. Can I personally say that I've always been positive after a one night stand? No, but I have had an easier time of it during certain times of the month.

Read Can "Women Handle Casual Sex" here.

Amy Vision @ Glastonbury

Another stellar performance from Amy Winehouse....? The chanteuse of the new millennium? Forget rehab...more like anger management.

Life for Sale II: The Aftermath

The most recent update on the whacky Ebay life for sale moment is disappointing - to the vendor. A technical glitch was discovered, that allowed an unregistered bidder to bid two million dollars, for the bid to be outed as being bogus. Imagine the disappointment.
Ian Usher had to settle for AUD$100,000 less than his target price. The winning bidder agreed to AUD$$399,300 for the entire kit: house, friends, cars, job et al. The sale has been confirmed on his official site. Would it have been easier (and more profitable) to go via the usual route: real estate agents and car classifieds? Do people sell their lives on Ebay or the Internet for fame?
If you could sell your life, how would you package it to appeal to the world? It's been something that has offered me a few fun filled moments.
Firstly, I don't own the apartment I live in, so that's out, but I can sell my burb as a multicultural or exotic oven filled with gastronomic pleasures (and surprises). So I'd market it by, 'rent my apartment, cheapest rent in Sydney for a decent living space,' which is true. Second, I don't own a car (I don't know how to drive), which can be a positive, but I do live a stone's throw away from two major transport routes that provide quick journeys to the city, less than ten kilometers away. And I did have a job, but I wouldn't give my job to my worst enemy. I wouldn't subject Charles Manson to my job.

Conclusion: My life would be a dismal product.

Assholes R Us

You have to hand it to retired tennis player Justin Gimelstob. He was a light year away from ranking in the top 10, retired last year, and at the ripe old age of 31, was voted in as a player's representative. Gimelstob is a really successful tennis player...his entire pro career earned him a little over two million dollars, and while some may think that fantastic, it's rather pitiful. But what earns him asshole of the week status is this little bastard of a quote about Anna Kournikova:

"She is a bitch. Hate's a very strong word. I despise her to the maximum level just below hate... I wouldn't mind having my younger brother, who's a kind of a stud, nail her and then reap the benefits."

When alpha men become nasty, they always link their aggro to sex. It's about 'nailing' the alleged 'bitch,' like their cocks are Excalibur or something. Who knew? Go figure. I'm wondering if Justin has a better handle on his dick than his tennis racquet.

In 1999, Anna Kournikova earned $11 million in endorsements alone and she still brings in millions.

Eat that Justin.

I Am Woman....and?

"You know, this shrinky dinky stuff is doing my head in. He does not get me and probably thinks that I ought to have concrete goals -like other women, or the gals at the hellhole. I'm a freak," I said. I'm not the type to sit there discussing or defining emotions so they fit into social binomial theory, this or that crap.
"Well, you had to go to him," housemate replied, bemused by it all.
"Remember the time he asked me how I felt, whether or not I felt anxiety when work cropped up each time I received email updates from the fluoro hellhole?"
He nodded.
"It's not anxiety. It's anger. Is anger so evil that it has to be substituted with anxiety?''
"What is it that makes you angry – apart from the job."
"Now you're sounding like my shrink," I replied, "it's simple. I don't do cloistered gray office environments rather well. I'm afraid I'm corporately challenged and before you look at me like an alien, this is what it is. I know I ought to play the game, get with the program, but the idea of buckling down and going through the motions makes me mad."

I can definitely vouch for the reduction of anger in my current life and I'm not going to hand all the credit to the Z drugs. I've been away from the cage of corporate control headquarters for six months. I reached the point where I thought I was living a Maxwell Smart kind of life, fart arsing about and hanging on the skin of my teeth. It couldn't be any worse. What could be worse, professionally, than reaching the point of knowing that all you'll be doing is pushing paper for the remainder of your adult life if you don't speak up and put things straight?

Continue reading "I Am Woman....and?" »

June 29, 2008

Philanthropic Shopping

Housemate's birthday is literally around the corner, and it saw me browse the Ralph Lauren site for aRalphlaurenpinkpony potential present, but it also put me face to face with one of my favorite wish-list items, the Pink Polo cashmere sweater (and the Alligator bag that almost made me choke on my cigarette smoke), which is out of my range right now but the quick online browse inspired me.

It is possible to shop with a conscience, and although shopping is considered an empty headed exercise or superficial venture, there are many philanthropic initiatives that shoppers can contribute towards.

Read about them here.

From Kiss-Chasy to Narky Adult: Boys will be boys?

It is not as though one greets the day with a clear agenda to say snippy things to a stranger. I don't pre-plan it, but – like any human – I've been known to unleash a tirade when ordinary strangers annoy me and seven times out of ten it'll be a bloke.. I noted it after I went to the newsagent to buy the Sunday paper.
The dude didn't even excuse himself. He almost knocked me over, snatched the newspaper I was handling, to rip the front page. I didn't see him coming. There I stood, bent over the pile, and whoosh…the yobbo bumped me.
"How rude are you…moron?" I muttered.
He gave me a hairy – irate – eyeball, and I wanted to elbow his beer gut. He didn't apologize for his rush, and immediately grabbed the copy beneath. Would I have reacted the same way with a female? I wasn't sure but I was certain about my run-ins with blokes.  When I pondered it some more, I noted that I've had fewer run-ins with females over the years.

Continue reading "From Kiss-Chasy to Narky Adult: Boys will be boys?" »

June 28, 2008

Is Romance Dead?

It will be the typical argument whenever the subject of arranged marriages arises in any group event. Many people don’t get the arranged marriage that can be traditional in certain cultures, and some make the error of equating it to online dating. Two different things. Both may be pre-arranged, but they are like oil and water.

Some Gen Y’s that I briefly encountered a few nights ago, while out, were obviously too young to appreciate the arranged marriages within their parents’ or grandparents’ generation. How did the subject come up? Internet dating.

There are many services out there that charge huge fees, that promise to come close to finding your soulmate for you - we’re talking thousands, and then there is the freebie stuff, the online dating or adult dating (for the fuckbuddy stage: there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you don’t delude yourself and think it has potential to transform into a solid relationship).

“How is it different?” someone asked - a bratty male, “online dating, arranged marriages, same shit.”
“It’s not the same,” I said.

When our ancestors migrated here, many didn’t arrive as ready made couples. Men usually migrated first, and women followed, women who were chosen in advance via a photograph. There was no ‘cyber’ and there was no phone sex. They didn’t date. Women arrived here knowing they’d be married and the men knew where their obligations lay. There was none of the “I’ll call you,” bullshit. The post-war boom was also about procreation and survival. In the Fifties and late Sixties, during migration booms, men usually worked and women tended to the household after they had children. Grandparents sometimes remained in the mother country, and the young newlyweds fended for themselves.

“Men couldn’t run out of their obligation back then. They had to agree to certain terms,” and if they didn’t, and they jerked their potential bride around, there’d be hell to pay. “Internet dating today,” I began, “is like a fucking bazaar. You don’t like one person, you move to the next. You pick up, dump, shag, and if you’re still single, there’s always someone else to try, and if you’re married, you can have a free turn as well. There are no obligations. Hence the difference.”

My mother, too ‘old’ to be considered for an arranged marriage before her arrival to Australia, didn’t experience an arranged marriage, but other members of my family did. On her marriage (to my father) certificate, her marital status is defined by one word - "spinster." And I'm not kidding. It made me laugh when I received a copy of my parent's marriage certificate a few years back.

My father’s first wife was arranged. He had to marry her. They didn’t go through typical mating rituals: first, second and third dates. There was no such thing in remote villages. Try before you buy? Forget it. Men usually lost their virginity via prostitutes and women were expected to remain virgins until marriage. That’s it.  When my father became a widower, he swiftly married his paramour (to divorce her less than a year later - under family pressure), or shall I say mistress. My mother was his third wife, and not via arranged marriage.

“It’s similar though,” another said, a female who gave Internet dating a whirl, and returns for the occasional top up between ‘relationships.’ According to her, the people didn’t know each other. “That’s similar,” she feebly said.

Continue reading "Is Romance Dead?" »

Suburban Truth Serum: City Vs Burb

There is nothing wrong with suburbia. It is fair to say that inner Sydney can't be classified as being sleepy, semi-rustic or neat (by way of white picket fences, manicured lawns and other stereotypical suburban trappings that appear in American films), but it may as well be a parallel universe.

Cities tend to be busier. Sydney has been compared to many things. Gordon Ramsay thinks Sydney glamorous and maybe it is. Then again he compared Melbourne with New York – something that I don't understand, but he also wants to open up a restaurant there to satisfy his yen to steamroll Jamie Oliver's restaurant. You can't compare Melbourne with New York for one basic reason: Melbourne's central business district is sleeping before midnight, and no, Crown Casino is not a city. I can forgive Ramsay for his constant stream of F-words, but I can't forgive bullshit. Gordon, just tell the world that you want to open a restaurant in Melbourne because you want to blow 15 out of the water. Sydney is more 'NY' than Melbourne. Melbourne is better by day, but it tends to be quiet by night; many of the happening clubs aren't in the city center. Sydney's gastronomic pulse in Darling Harbour, Cockle Bay and Circular Quay far outweighs its riverside counterpart in Melbourne. So I accuse Gordon of the same thing he accuses his hapless TV wannabe chefs: He's taking the piss.

Sydney can be a callous town. Few will say 'excuse me' and the friendliest people tend to be tourists. Diehard ockers may complain about Asian tourism, but if we didn't have Asian tourism we would cease to remember what politeness actually means. Melbourne, on the other, is always friendly. It's friendly 24/7. It may as well have a sign: Welcome to Melbourne: 100% Friendly Population. Sydneysiders return to normal after work, or during their holidays, to then return to the usual conveyor belt, something that is common in every busy city. And by busy, I mean shambolic and dressed to excess. Mind you, I can't class Sydney as a glam city. Which is why I don't know where overseas celebrities (like Gordon) get the 'glam' comparison. We aren't renowned for our dress sense here. On any given day, you're bound to see track pants in the city. And if it isn't the track pant, it's the shabby suit or the goose pimply legs in winter (pantyhose is a foreign word that the natives don't get): it's something that a Blahnik cannot cure. The purple mottled chilled legs are a common sight in winter. Even housemate can't get over it.

"People don't dress like this in Europe," he says.
"Don't start," I say, rolling my eyes, for I know what will follow: the fashion diatribe.
"They don't know how to dress. Look at them!" Then he'll point out a hapless woman wearing hipsters with abdominal overhang. "It's winter for God's sake." He prefers Newtown. It's more entertaining.
It's a sin to be daggy in the city, but suburban gauche is something else. For example, Sydney's CBD doesn't contain the individuality that you will find in Newtown, which happens to be a five minute drive away: Goth, punk, preppie, grunge: you name it, it's there 24/7.
Sure, we'd like to make out like we're a fashion capital in Sydney, with Sydney Fashion Week and whatnot, but it's a lie and the lie comes to light after you get out of the city and visit its nearby 'burbs.

I've always liked my burb. Often boasting that it received a fab review in the New York Times – something that few Sydney suburbs have under their belt. In short, cities run on bullshit and suburbs maintain the balance.

People of the Lie

Cities are dominated by corporations, which means that they are subtly covered with a blanket of bullshit and it's only after you're away from that region that you feel like you have experienced an existential truth serum.

Conversations can arise from just about anything in the suburbs. In the city, few initiate conversations. Baristas exist to churn out coffee, and people queue. Some people elbow others out of the way, or feign ignorance when confronted by another person yelling at them for 'pushing in'.

My average day began with refilling my Z pills on a pleasant sunny day. The pharmacy assistant smiles at me as she receives my script and as I hand her my discount card, she politely tells me that it's all right. They have my details. That's what I call efficiency. It’s the warm kind of familiarity, not the kind that simmers to toxic Chernobyl level in the office. She hands me my meds when they're complete. I sign and pay, and that is it. There is no "Can I help you with anything else?" (Can I sell you more crap) McDonald-esque spiel. My guard is so low; it's lower than my undies. I don't have to think ahead. I don't have to anticipate double-speak or double Dutch..

It wasn't until I entered the café for my usual take out coffee that I realized that my time away from the city office grind acted like a truth serum. When you live in a multi-cultural suburb, chances are you will encounter someone from your culture. I have a 95% chance of encountering that as a Greek-Australian, and because I'm aware of the cultural idiosyncrasies, I'm not bothered. The nice Greek woman behind the counter makes my coffee, but notices my box of meds.

"Is someone in the family sick?"
"Oh no, they're for me."

And by the time the coffee is done, and my biscuit is packaged, I've given her a summary: anti-anxiety meds due to a crap job in X corporation. She nods sympathetically, and I stand there asking myself what I've just done. As I walk out, I go over all the possible lies I could have told her, lies that would have been easy in the city. I could have told her that they were anti-biotics. That I'd had a cold. Why didn't I do that? I could have said that my son has the flu or I have a freaking ingrown toe nail, but I didn't. I was honest and I must say, I felt more normal or centered.

You see, the city and its silent rules are focused on bending morals – depending on where you work, but the high chance of working in an uber corporation mean that you will end up lying despite everything you have been raised to believe in. White lies included. A lie is a lie:

"We've had a computer malfunction. Unfortunately I can't bring you account up on the screen but I can call you back as soon as it is up and running," translates to, 'what the fuck, that idiot in accounts didn't credit the account like they were supposed to – dickheads!'

"I do apologize for the delay but I am waiting for another department to update one minor technical issue so I can investigate further," may as well be, 'I'm still waiting for the idiot in the other department to get their finger out, they haven't responded to my calls or emails over the last fortnight, and I've just found out they went on holiday as of yesterday – lazy bastard.'
The fact that the person on the other end of the line believes your lies makes it all the more disturbing. What have you become? This is not how you envisioned your life, but it's there like a suppurating zit on your forehead.

Then there's in-office bullshit.

Your manager turns up to work looking like a ten-dollar hooker, with a boob tube top that is completely out of order on a weekday. It's not casual day, for chrissake, and how dare she inflict that on everyone?
Everyone – even if they're internally cringing – says the new top is 'fabulous', so she struts around the office. Before you know it, you're in a predicament. You have successfully avoided commenting on her flimsy boob tube, or off the shoulder number, until her minion casually brushes against your desk.

"Don't you like her top? Isn't it great?" asks a co-worker who happens to be the numero uno sycophant.
"Oh yeah, really nice," you reply. Another lie, because you know that if you point out the flaws - absence of supportive bra, back fat and the sheer fact the top was purchased at Supre – you'll never ever get a promotion (the minion will repeat everything you've said), much less a favorable review (not that you have a chance of getting it, but you just never know – call it silly city optimism).

Fat Free Coffee Queue

Buying a coffee is a serious business for me. I'm a coffee queen. I'm not kidding when I say that I've sampled most coffee blends in Sydney. I can rate twenty coffee shops from the top of my head, and Starbucks isn't my favorite – but surprisingly enough, it's not the worst. The worst coffee can be bought at any one of the Michel's Patisserie shops situated in the Town Hall and Pitt Street arcades. They will either burn the milk, reuse coffee grounds or halve the coffee grounds to save on coffee – which produces a watery beverage that can't be considered coffee.

Our coffee isn't brewed here. We don't have our coffee served from a pot. Each coffee is (supposedly: because some stingy cafés can, and are known to reuse coffee grounds) made individually. You cannot even give filtered coffee away in Sydney. We don't like it. We prefer espresso style: water passed through coffee grounds at high pressure. Outside Italy, Australia and New Zealand are 100% espresso markets. The US is dominated by filtered coffee. In Australia there are roughly 800 people to one espresso machine, in the US the ratio is different: 20,000 people to one espresso machine. So there are queues in Sydney. People do need to wait for their coffee in Sydney. It's not a simple matter of walking in, having coffee served from a pot and exiting the shop within five minutes. You line up and you wait and if you don't wait, tough titties: there's always someone in need of a caffeine injection. Once you locate a coffee hot spot (great coffee), you have to time your visits so you don't spend ages waiting for your morning hit.
The other thing that is a rare sight is the full cream milk latte or cappuccino.

Skim milk is in – even though it tastes like crap. I'm one of the rarities. I'd like to think that I am one of the few ordering a regular coffee without having a coronary it (no pun intended). Actually, I don't think. I know I am one of the few based on being the only one to order a regular latte among twenty skim milk fanatics on any given day. The thing that pisses me off is the assumption that I prefer skim latte or cappuccino, or that I ought to order skim 'because it's healthier, better, and whatever else,' even though it tastes like crap.

"Skim or regular?" is the common question from a barista's mouth.
"Regular…d'oh." Did I specifically request a skim latte (skim cap or skim flat white)? No. So what gives? And no, don't base your judgment on the size of my ass and what I should, and shouldn't be doing by way of a Stairmaster and whatnot.

The other thing gaining popularity in Sydney is soy milk. Soy everything: latte, cappuccino…Jesus wept! And before you could say tea…there is the chai latte, which translates to 'overrated tea with brass knobs, which tastes like crap'. But it's trendy you see, and people will brainwash themselves to say it tastes nice. Ultimately people lie to everyone, including themselves. It's like being the only person among a health cult, similar to being Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes -without the apes, but health nutters who breath in pollution and think that they'll be saved by skim milk and 99% fat free yoghurt during their lunch hour. Hello. It's worse than passing the Scientology building on Pitt Street and being greeted by a personality tester.

People in Sydney (and I can imagine most cities) think that they will live longer if they drink ten skim (or Soy) cappuccinos. They don't factor in the MSG Asian lunch hours they have, or the fast food they eat daily. They don't factor in workplace stress (that builds up after a series of 'white lies' - see above) or the fact that they binge on fund raising chocolates that invade every office, and now that we have Krispy Kreme, God help us. But add soy or skim milk in their coffee, and everything is as right as rain. It cancels out all the other shit they eat and the pollution they inhale 365 days of the year. People even jog during their lunch hours, so they can raise their heart rate, and inhale pollution at a faster - deeper - rate. Today's healthy lifestyle.

~~

I can’t say I care an inch about city residential developments. Even if I were loaded, I wouldn’t live smack bang in the center of Sydney. Even now, if I have to make the fifteen minute journey in, I'm in and out faster than a premature ejaculatory spurt - okay, I'm stretching it. But you get my point.

June 27, 2008

The Joy of Parenthood & TGIF

Today is Friday, and I'm planning on taking the remainder of the day off - completely. Thursday proved to be arduous. I had plenty of things on my plate, the first being picking up the much awaited Wii game for my son. It was released a day after his birthday - yesterday, and it's all I've been hearing about for the past six months. When kids start saving for something, they just tick off each day and talk about the goal once a day, and by the time the day arrives...

It was game, new schoolbag and birthday cake - in that order. I also stopped by the pet shop to get an eyeful of the new kitties, tempted to add another new member to the house of chaos, but decided against it. We've been talking about it for some time, but the cute little Tabby did catch my eye. However, I didn't yield. If I did, I'd feel the splinter of guilt later. There are so many animals dumped at the RSPCA, and that is the place I said I'd go to. So I returned home for the quick clean up, before the living room filled with teenagers vying for the LCD TV and Wii.

Needless to way, I remained in the computer room. The cat didn't even keep me company - he scampered the moment he heard 'strange voices' and hid under the bed. It is the second wave of parenthood. The first wave is a free for all: kids and parents mingle. The kids, usually babies or toddlers, don't mind the oldies being there. Frankly, the parents prefer it because they probably haven't spoken to an adult for months after a baby is born. This stage can continue throughout elementary school. The kiddies aren't embarrassed to have the parents around - until they enter high school. My son is a little different. He sometimes asks me why I hibernate when his friends are around, and I look at him like he's had a knock on the head:

"Are you feeling all right? Teenagers don't want parents around - think of your friends," I say.

Then there is the third stage: adulthood. Your kids are no longer embarrassed, in fact they'd love to have you around if they're a little short and need a few dollars. Funny that. Which is why I'm all for nurturing my son's appreciation for money - so I don't have him nagging my behind when I reach the hot-flush stage. If my present day PMT is anything to go by, the hot-flush pre-menopausal stage isn't going to be a freaking picnic. Just the other day, he asked me about bankers and I wasn't sure what he meant.

"You don't want to be a bank teller," I said, "they make jack...commercial banker...stockbroker...think big."

Thursday concluded with cake crumbs, masses of chocolate mud cake - that are currently migrating to my butt - party pies, snacks, Lindt balls, and I'm just having an internal panic attack thinking about it (but I"ll be okay come morning - it goes in one way, and out the other way - literally).

Nevertheless, the week has been productive. I'm taking a minor break, but so far (on the mag), you will find an interesting piece on the photography of John Santerineross, erotic fiction titled Renaissance Man, there is the G-Shot collagen injection and a fab essay about male sexual performance titled Two Minute Drill.

And there'll be new content next week. Other new developments on the online mag will be by way of blogs within the magazine that will serve as columns. More about that later. Right now....it's bed time.

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