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63 entries from September 2008

September 22, 2008

4 Second Sex

I've never been one to believe sex scenes in conventional films. They usually depict a few seconds of a sexual blitzkrieg, that is choreographed and edited after how many takes, and the final product is perfect, with explosive orgasms. Guy Ritchie, film director (umm...Mr Madonna) is doing his best to promote one of his new films and is using the sex as a promo. A four second sex scene in his film RocknRolla was the subject of conversation in a recent interview.

I don't know Guy, but you can't convince me that a 4 second quickie is the way to go. Guy's justification of a 4 second sex scene:

"was kept to a mere four seconds, because quickies – in real life and on screen - are the “best type of sex”.

All I can say is, 'poor Madonna.' Despite all the career success and fortune, sometimes you can't have it all.

I've never found quickies satisfying. It's easy to say 'put yourself in a sexy frame of mind, just in case,' but as per usual (or as in life), quickies unfold at the most unpredictable time. One person is usually not ready for the sex but they tend to go along with it, being left less than satisfied or 'content' but short of reaching nirvana. It's the reason why I can't stand film sex scenes. They can set a person up for failure. I remember being a teenager, trying to get my hands on films that had decent sex scenes; short of porn, which was impossible for me to get at the age of 18 to 20 (I got my hands on that shortly after, and didn't find that educational either), films were the second best thing, but real-life sex is absolutely nothing like the filmed version, as most sexually experienced people know, and the rapid journey - arousal to orgasm - is practically impossible to emulate in real life. Sometimes I think that a portion of the orgasmic issues that women feel they have relates to 'quick sex'. It just doesn't give women time. The stages of female sexual arousal are completely different to male sexual arousal and while film sex scenes are fancy, they favor men.

Humans have evolved to such a degree - in terms of their desires and fantasies- that fast sex or 'reproductive sex' isn't a prerequisite anymore, but it seems that a portion of people haven't evolved that far in order to prefer 'quick sex' or sex that concludes before a woman has ascended toward orgasm. It's not like quickie sex requires a lot of mental work. It doesn't.

Do quickies work for you? I don't mean the occasional quickie, but quick sex on a regular basis.

Zoo Weekly = Dumb Weekly

This little article in SMH had me laughing this morning.
It also gave me more evidence. It's true. Zoo Weekly readers are a bit short in the brain stakes if they put a footballer in top position, and put a terrorist in second position; the terrorist in question bombed a nightclub in Bali killing many of their fellow citizens.





Life with Kids (or teenagers): from Coke to Aliens

I found out that my son slapped a boy in class. He confessed, leaving a twelve month period between the incident and revealing it. How the conversation began? With kids you never know what will become a topic of conversation, but the catalyst has to be Coca Cola.

You see, we have a new ad on Australian screens that lists the history of the drink. When it was aired last night, I laughed at the narrator (that begins by naming John Pemberton), particularly when he said that Coca Cola was made from "Natural ingredients," and said, "yeah, like cocaine." Coca Cola contained cocaine until 1903 or 1904. Today, it uses a cocaine free leaf extract. Anyway...the conversation moved along when my son mentioned cocaine being found in Egypt (dating back to ancient times) via mummy residues; other "new world" substances, such as tobacco, have been found. He then remembered one of his history classes, when he casually mentioned the possibility of the Incas traveling to Egypt or visa versa in class for the boy next to him to call him a retard.
"It offended me, so I asked him why he called me that mum," he said, "but he didn't answer,telling me that I was an idiot because aliens constructed ancient Egypt, then I heard that, so I slapped him."
What he said next, cracked me up.
"It's one thing to be called a retard, but I can't handle stupid explanations. Aliens," he said, shaking his head. Me? I was surprised by his belated admission. Slapping someone.
"Where did you slap him?"
"I didn't slap him, it was more like a tap on the nose."
O-kay.
"Then I told him that he watched Star Wars too much."
"What did he say?"
"He told me to eff off. I should have asked him if he was a scientologist," said my son.
It's nice to know that teenagers are still as charming today as they were during my adolescence.

September 21, 2008

Sunday Insight

This week almost brought the house stockmarket down. What a week. It didn't worry me much. I don't have personal superannuation (pension plan), only work superannuation (and corporations, such as Telstra, or the division I worked in, are so tight - they require a proposal to pay for Christmas parties). I don't have a mortgage, and I'm not rich enough to have investments (for the value to take a tumble). Sometimes, living in the now (ie not ferreting funds for rainy days on a personal level) can have benefitis, but saving for a rainy day is beneficial for governments, and it can indicate which government is (ironically enough) managed better despite the negative media spin.

For example, we have all read about the US deficit or the 400 billion shlong of debt. However, that doesn't explain how the government is able to bail out financial institutions does it? Well, I call it 'rainy day money'. There is always a reported deficit (name a western country that is in the black?), but that doesn't mean that there aren't any other funds or emergency funds. The US government bails out insurance and banking institutions so they don't collapse, for the market to avoid disaster (because if it all collapsed now, it would be worse than the Great Depression and the 1987 Crash combined) - to minimize loss, which is an intelligent way to go about things. Compare the Australian government. Banks in Australia had billions wiped from their share value. Did the 'smart' (note: sarcasm) federal treasurer of the moment consider bailing out some banks with surplus or the 'rainy day slush fund?' Absolutely not. That, in my view, is a measure of the ineptitude of the current Australian federal government. I'm still pissed off with the fact that the Aussie dollar has decreased, which is a pain the butt on currency conversion. In other parts of the world, there was the huge Sotheby's art sale of 'art' (note: sarcasm) by David Hirst, that coincided with the stockmarket disasters. Auctions aren't definite sales; to me, they're like telethons. Money is quoted, but it hasn't changed hands, so for all we know the poor sods that made arty bids had millions wiped from the value of their investments. Wouldn't that be an amusing example of schadenfruede?

September 20, 2008

Customer Service Nightmares: There is an After

"Wake up, wake up...phone!"
I muttered a few expletives, hoped to hell it wasn't relative related (no one dying), because I wasn't in the mood; would you be in the mood if the weather forecaster says 31 degrees Celsius in spring? Jokes aside, I still remembered yesterday's missed delivery.
I grabbed my cell phone. Yes, the butt-crack did call me back, and he picked the wrong person to try the usual customer service trick - using bullshit to diffuse a situation. Why I am the wrong person? Because I've worked as a customer service supervisor and the reason why I can't tolerate this industry is because I had the misfortune of working with people who didn't give a shit about the service bit. Yes, it's an industry that has more white lies or outright lies than Law, but here's the thing that many don't understand (middle managers, etc): good service isn't limited to providing a product, it also includes empathy and not pissing off a client (unnecessarily) with 'chicken-shit' behavior such as avoidance. In other words, if you fuck up, accept it and move forward, and don't try to blame the customer. Butt-crack tried to blame me - I didn't sign the form properly, the signature didn't come through.
"Is that why I can see my signature on my copy?" I asked in my best stainless steel (mincer) voice.
"Yes...but...but-but..." it was the Maharishi 'but-but'. Yeah, whatever, call me whatever name for saying that, but many people think it each time they speak to someone via Bangalore. I think some of them take complete advantage of their eastern accents; it adds more complications, and they go with the flow - if they explain things fast enough, with their accents, then they'll hopefully breeze through. No chance. It doesn't work with me. I can understand most accents.
"But-but nothing," I began, "I sign a contract, abide by your conditions and you don't deliver. That is not great customer service. It's bad ("bery-bery bad customer servish") customer service." And he understood me. Don't let their brief pauses fool you. They do understand. The problem many Anglos have is that many of them think that comprehension declines in proportion to accent. I saw this first hand as a child; my mother read and wrote English, but she had the typical 'New-Australian Greek accent' and many Anglos spoke to her like she had an IQ of 1. Some of these 'accented'  customer service reps, whether they're in India or China or imported, take advantage of this to get out of admitting their failure - they act like they don't understand what you're saying which, in my view, fuels the stereotype.
I told him that he couldn't hide the fact that he didn't call back to inform me about the form. All of a sudden, he had an insight and returns to me about the form? He was lost for words. Then the landline rang, housemate picked it up and he started his sign language. It was another rep, from the company head office. So I amped up my voice so she could hear what was going on. I ended the call, after telling the guy (who said he'd look into it with his manager) with, ''You do that," no goodbye, no thank you, nothing, and picked up the other handset, relaying the entire story to this female, who 'couldn't apologize enough." It seems that he didn't relay her message three days ago. But that still didn't cut the deal. Why confirm a delivery to begin with, to use the form as an excuse? But because she actually apologized for the disaster, I am willing to return to the store this weekend and resign the portion/copy of the form (it had four copies) so the signature goes through.

Such is my Saturday. To come:

2nd coffee

Smoke

Doctor's appointment

Chemist

Supermarket

Afternoon: writing

DVD Store (I'm sick and frigging tired of watching crap on free-to-air)

Dinner

Customer Service Nightmares & Arrogant Twats

I don’t know if the person reminded me of one of the cockhead at the office, but I spent the large part of the evening livid. Livid gave way to cranky, and then I tried to alleviate the simmering anger by playing my Nintendo DS; then I lost so many games because I couldn’t concentrate. I thought of picking up a novel to read, but couldn’t be bothered. The last thing I need, I thought, was to read about another neurotic character and it’s extremely difficult to read anything erotic when you feel like you can poke needles in a manager’s eyes.

Yes, Friday was supposed to be treadmill day. I stayed at home all day. It was a nice day. A lovely sunny day that could have been spent outside for a bit. I could have enjoyed a slice of carrot cake at the local café, but I had to wait for a confirmed delivery that didn’t arrive.

Examining my mood didn’t really do much in the beginning. I switched off the Nintendo, sighed and asked myself why I was so angry. I’d left two messages chasing up the delivery, not to receive any feedback. No call, no message, nada, nil. If there is one thing that pisses me off it’s shit customer service. The other thing, a wee bit separate from this issue, that pisses me off is outsourced customer service. The manager I was dealing with wasn’t overseas, he works from a Sydney office, but by Christ, the run-around was outsource material. These fuckers are so arrogant, they’re unbelievable. I’ve worked with some ‘imports’ and I know how they are. They ‘know more’, they’re ‘more qualified or smarter’ because they’ve earned some overseas university degree, ‘they’re doing you a favor by being there,’ and they complain. They complain about the country they adopt as they’re own, and then I slip into the xenophobic zone that I used to experience for being born here. I feel like telling them to bugger off.

Last night, I felt completely ripped off. I placed a deposit. I organized direct debiting for the product, not to get one single phone call or update on the delivery. The thing that really bothered me was the fact that these companies expect customers to abide by contracts. You sign up to arrange payments, and you have to read the conditions and abide by those conditions but what if the company doesn’t even display common courtesy? Shittier than ever, I watch the news, the financial ‘catastrophe’ is covered, along with theories behind the catastrophe. Financial bigwigs go on and on, but only one person made sense. How can countries (like Australia or the US) really have any hope when most of their corporations have outsourced labor and service staff to countries like China and India and manufacturing has decreased? He posed this question, and sure enough there are other issues involved, such as greedy corporate pricks that want to give away loans like jelly beans. But what pisses me off completely is that - because I’ve dealt with these imported customer service people on a professional level as well as a personal level - the service they offer is shit. It’s as though they think that they are ‘safe’ due to their distance. After all, what are you going to do about a customer service asshole if they’re in India? When I had to obtain a refund code from Microsoft, I had to call the customer service center - in India. Forty-five minutes later, after being given the third degree three times (maybe they model their Q & A on Guatanamo Bay interrogation tactics, sans German Shepherd?), I received the code for a faulty product. It almost drove me to the brink, and that’s what these companies want to do. You buy a crappy product, like a X-Box, and they will try to wear you down until you give up, hang up the phone and abandon your rights as a customer; hang the fuck on, you put in the work hours to buy their product, who the fuck do they think they are? It’s a really shitty way to do business. There are good and bad points about globalization, but it’s difficult to find the middle line. Sometimes I feel better if these workers stay where they are, but no, they end up arriving here, offering their ‘great customer’ service skills, that aren’t anything great to begin with.

I plopped myself on the sofa and gazed at the television, watching nothing but space. My older cat probably felt the tension and frustration that today’s Zoloft failed to eradicate. He climbed up, rubbed his face against mine and lay next to me. He wanted attention, so I stroked his fur, and it may be true about pets lowering blood pressure and stress. Maybe I snapped out of my dark mood. After all, what could I really do about the idiot manager at 10PM? The only thing I could do was locate the company web site, and I did. I wrote a polite complaint, finishing it off with, “I’d appreciate it if someone contacted me as soon as possible as I’m not happy with your level of service.” Content, I pressed ‘send’ and thought, ‘if this doesn’t work, there’s always the Department of Fair Trading.”

Then, I had a cup of tea and a smoke. Sure, the smoke will probably (probability?) kill me, but it's less agonizing than feeling like I've been duped or taken advantage of.

September 19, 2008

The Secret Diary of a Frustrated Television Viewer II

Housemate perched himself in front of the television for his dose of 'Secret Diary of a Call Girl,' and 38160_1 although I had other stuff to do – like play Mario Kart – on my DS, I laughed about the obvious discrepancies that had me roll my eyes.

"As if," I'd say, followed by more, "Sure…that's logical."
"I'm trying to watch this," housemate said.
"Watch what? A fantasy world?"

I mean, really…like I am going to believe that a high earning pro is going to keep piles of money rolled up in a bundle (held in place by a one cent elastic band)? It's a male thing isn't it? The television show is a laugh; there she is, all style but the fashionista lacks a nice wallet or purse for her cash. Then there was the scene where she is called by her agent in the early hours of the morning and she agrees to seeing a stranger (client) in her home, for the client to be a weirdo; how many times can you say 'd'oh'. So they sell the TV character as a sassy, intelligent woman. I don't know what is intelligent about inviting a stranger into your house in the middle of the night. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe that passes for 'assertiveness' these days, along with the revelation (to your male friend) of you being a prostitute, offering to pick up the table bill, flash your roll of cash. The only thing the producers forgot? Inserting the song, "Independent Women" by Destiny's Child for extra cheesiness. But the roll of cash doesn't fit. If the character is organized about their lingerie and Brazilian bikini wax, then logic follows that they'd be more organized with their cash, not keep it rolled up in their handbag with an elastic band. That's where it all falls apart for me in the believable stakes. Why are producers and television writers silly?

Oh, they had a threesome too? Oh yeah, and would you believe that the threesome in the US series Californication was steamier? Many would think, 'as if a US television show would have a threesome, let alone show a boob,' but Californication did. In this week's Secret Diary of a Call Girl, it was the customary 'ooh…ahhh…yeah, yeah yeah,' to and fro of doggy style sex but you couldn't see anything.

To me, this is a show for men (hence the 10.30pm time slot top rating). It's a really strange show that doesn't really add up. You have Billie Piper's character go on about how much she likes sex and how satisfied she is working as a call girl, but she doesn't really look happy at all. It's difficult to say if the producers/writers want to portray the usual 'stricken' prostitute on television, because they're not really portraying a character that is fully comfortable with her profession.

Today's Blog Read: Psychotic Fiesta

I'm quite erratic with regular updates or blog segments. I start a segment, go off on a tangent, remember the segment, and think...ahhh...okay. But today, doing the web surf, Friday and all (waiting for the frigging treadmill to be delivered) and psyching myself up for a visit to my GP for a prescription update (to be asked why I didn't visit el Shrinko, "because I'm over it?"), I read Psychotic Fiesta by Bobby and it's a compulsive read. I'm not going to say anything more. You have to read it.

Psychotic Fiesta

A Job Like Any Other???

This post will probably have some sex workers up in arms. I don't really mind their profession; what they do is their business (preferably private), but it's quite strange to reconcile the fact that many of them expect their jobs to be viewed on the same level as other jobs when they're not like other jobs. To say, 'it's a job like any other job' simply doesn't ring true no matter how many sex work activists say it is.

What made me think about this? The rising popularity of 'hooker' television, the type that glamorizes the industry, and it did make me mentally explore a high school situation. It's a hypoethical situation, but imagine if a girl entered a career guidance counselor's office and said, "I want to be an escort/hooker/prostitute.' Imagine that? But is it possible in the future? Television tends to glamorize sex. There are no wet spots, fanny farts, butt farts and the sweat is carefully applied. There is seldom any male arse hair. There are no lop-sided penises, droopy boobs or occasional stretch marks. Thus, if a girl – after a constant diet of 'hooker TV' (like Secret Diary of a Call Girl) and the array of perfect-sex sex worker diaries/blogs – arrived at the real deal, what would she experience? Would she be shocked, horrified or disillusioned?

At UNSW, I had the misfortune of picking a general education topic in my third year.  It was called "Social Aspects of Deviance," and to tell you the truth, I hated this class after the first class I attended. Everything was so politically correct. Everyone knows that legalizing prostitution does little to persuade the average person. Call it the Madonna/Whore Syndrome, whatever takes your fancy, but people prefer to live life within clear lines; they have their work, they have their play. They have definitions. There is nice and there is naughty, and so on. You can legalize prostitution but you won't alter the inner definitions of the individual. Prostitutes may say (until they're blue in the face), "my job is like any other," but really, who believes that? I'm not going to pretend and say that I believe it, because I don't, because it's not like any other job or a conventional job. For starters, ordinary jobs don't require a person to show their short and curlies, or their waxed genitals. And that's just the start.

In some countries, there is a 'bring your children to work day,' or something along those lines. Now, don't tell me that you can do this in the sex industry. You can't. Hence, it isn't like any other job. It's not like you can explain the 'punters' or 'johns.'

"Why are you wearing that mummy?"
"Because he likes the texture of PVC, darling."
"But why are you carrying a whip?"
"He likes the occasional smack every now and then."
The child frowns in confusion.
"Is he naughty?"
"He likes to pretend being naughty."
"But what if I pretend to be naughty? Will you whip me with that?" asks the horrified child.
"No darling, this is a pretend whip. It doesn't really hurt. It's only for grown ups, now come along so you can see what mummy does for work." The door opens to an average room in a suburban brothel (if you think everything resembles a glam TV show, then you really need a reality check – most punters can't afford five star brothels).
"OMG…he's not wearing any pants. Ew…yucky!"
"Now, now…let's not be rude to the nice man."

It wouldn't really work would it? Average job like any other? Who are we trying to kid? Ourselves? But that's not to say that it's a morally 'wrong' choice. If a person can handle it, then sure, whatever works to bring home the bacon, but don't push the envelope up my ass and call it a 'job like any other.' Prostitution is about as ordinary as working in a S.W.A.T. team. Imagine bringing your kid to work during a hostage siege?

"That's a big gun!"
"Careful. Don't touch it! It's dangerous!"
"Is it like the movies? Are you gonna break the door and charge through like the Feebies?"
"Feebies?"
"FBI," child rolls their eyes.
"No…"
"Are you gonna kill the bad guy, are you?"
"That all depends…"
"On what?"
"If he tries to kill us."
Kid starts crying..."I'm scared. You're going to die...We're going to die...I want my mummy!"
"Stop your grizzling! I can't concentrate!"
S.W.A.T. team parent thinks, 'whose idea was this stupid take your kid to work day?"

~~

To come: my weekly roundup of my frustrated diary of a television viewer. Yes, housemate did it again. Stole the television to perve at Billie Piper, and I don't mind Billie Piper. Which woman carries a roll of cash?...but...that's for later.

When People Give Away Privacy Rights Without Realizing

Privacy. What does it really mean today? Not much. I can't say I'd feel sorry for people who whine about losing privacy but enjoy hacking into accounts, or media organizations that publish private correspondence to gain traffic.

There are many people that complain about governments interfering with privacy, but it's funny how people that defend the content on sites like Gawker don't really consider non-government interference. Incidentally, I read about Palin's email leak in a newspaper that didn't feature any email screenshots but when I read about the publication of some emails, I didn't believe it, so I had a look at the site that was named (Gawker) and had a look for myself, finding it quite incredible or unbelievable. I couldn't be bothered reading the content or the faux article/blog post.

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