August 27, 2015

Groundhog Day With The Trashie Bachie

Oh no, there I am, doing it again! It's bad form.

What if the neighbours found out? What if the Job Network found out? WHAT IF? ...treasurer, Joe Hockey found out?

I wasn't going to do it. Maybe it's a side-effect of the upping of my medication, recommended by my trusty general practitioner deal with an unexpected random, sibling conniption.

As a consequence, I'm starting to feel - in ex Australian Prime Minister John Howard's famous words - a little too "relaxed and comfortable" sitting on the couch - midday - watching the re-run of last night's ep of Bachelor Australia.

And today, weirdly, I'm drawn like a Kardashian to a paparazzo, watching just what the bachie and his possy of ladies will do next!

And so it goes, tossing all thoughts of cold-calling and job applications aside day later - here I am, like Groundhog Day full blown reality TV viewing mode. In short, glued to the trashie bachie, in my tracky dackies.

And all this, despite personally finding bachie's choice of indoor sky-diving, to be a CLEARLY inappropriate first "date" destination. I mean, what if was "that time of the month" for her? What indeed was he thinking?

That said, in this second episode, I'm now seeing bachelor Sam Woods, go from trashie to debonair ...and down-right flashy!

But first we see him gate-crashing the mansion breakfast room, to make "man-cakes" for his assorted damsels. I could do with some of those man-cakes myself, right here.  Right now. Pass the maple syrup.

His strategy, being to measure how his concubine of entrapped chickadees, scores: without make-up, a professional blow-dry, after-five attire enhancements ...and so forth.

However, despite his preference, for a "make-up free" gal - it remains questionable as to who (between bachie and babes) uses the most hair-product. Bet he wins on that score.

So we see the "my kitchen rules" version of the bachie, blown away at the breakfast bar, by Heather's onesie. Aren't they all? 

And while the other chicksters, eat their man-cake au naturel, last arriving on deck is Emily. Alas, she appears for her "man-cake", looking like she'd been "prepared earlier" by a just-in-time, pre-dawn stylist. And boy did she get Julie Bishop deathstares from all those make-up-free ladies!! ....including from trashie bachie himself. 

Of course, winning the lottery for the day's date with trashie bachie, is blonde events manager, Sarah.

And we see them sailing across a sunny sparkling bay, looking like an ad for teeth-whitening toothpaste.

Now it's here, that my image of bachie switches from trashie to flashy. When shades of Jay Gatsby emerge, as we see Sarah, sitting having drinkies, at bachie's very impressive seaside "man-shed".

And what a shed it is! ...showing all the Jamie Durie-esque accoutrements - of something one would see in an Australian Vogue publication. But is it really his "shed"? Or, did some locations agent on the production team, insert that "shed" purely for product placement purposes ...?

Moving forward, or back (lost the plot at this stage.) I've almost omitted mentioning, the two unexpected "intruders" to the mansion. The first being multi-skilled, golf loving Lana, and Rachel, who seems the complete, perfect package for the flashy bachie.

Apparently Rachel is a food blogger. But I see no evidence of her having eaten any, in the last six months. But maybe she's just good at hiding the flab, or hiding the food?

From their quick Q&A, I learn that he's a dog man - while she's a cat lady. Would that make the relationship

Now wait a minute. Just like flashy bachie, I too live alone - by choice - with a dog. Hey bachie, I think I might be your perfect match...? Or perhaps my dog and your dog could be the perfect match? Well it's a start.

However, flashy bachie wants kiddies. And being a dame of a certain age, acquiring kiddies could only be achieved by sourcing them via eBay ...which no doubt would be beyond a welfare recipient's price-point.

But, to be honest bachie, I only want you for your man-cakes and your flashy shed.


What trashie bachie did last night!

Image: via flickr

August 26, 2015

TV Today . . .

It's been a tiring week of familial duties. And with an additional, unexpected (quite random) sibling conniption to traverse, tuned in today - for the first time - to watch a repeat of last night's episode of The Bachelor Australia. 

And despite describing Bachie Sam Wood as beige ...the entire set-up certainly took my mind off the underwhelming week I've had. 

But I say, if you're going to watch trash - to take one's mind off REAL sh*tty reality - it may as well be the best, lowest level of trash. And finding those cooking shows too stressful (enough to put one off boiling an egg for life), and home reno dramas as boring as listening to paint dry, I think I'm now quite possibly glued to Mr. Bachelor, and finding out who gets the golden goose, that lays the prerequisite golden egg.

And who cares if he's beige ....all I could think of, was there any chance of getting one of those beige bachelors, delivered to my door - carefully bubble-wrapped via StarTrack Express?? ...this afternoon please Mr. Postman? With free return delivery if he doesn't meet my expectations? But who'd want to be that fussy anyway?

Naturally, couldn't wait to see the next instalment, same day, several hours later. (Yes I know. I need to get a life. Need to get a job, then I'll get a life and so forth). 

But back to the trashie Bachie. 

On this morning's repeat episode, we see a blonde damsel refused a rose, and thus exiting the mansion. Leaving just one, or was it two remaining blondettes? ....among all those brunettes!

Subsequently, on this evening's fresh episode, we see Bec win the lucky dip and go on the special mystery date, with Bachie Sam. There's dramatic footage of spunkster Sam, riding in a helicopter, making a smooth landing. And no we don't see Bronwyn Bishop disembark.

Instead, with salon quaffed hair blowing in the wind, we see Bec boarding the helicopter. And they head off to their mystery date location ....being indoor sky-diving. WTF!?  And it makes me suddenly grateful that I'm "without a life" sitting on my boring couch.

Meantime, back at the mansion, the possy of brunettes (plus required blondes) on heat, are having a vicious, backstabbing typical girlie chat, over Bec's odds of winning the golden goose.

That said, apparently according to New Weekly, there's already a golden egg on the way!

However, after the indoor sky-diving, I'm exhausted. And quite suddently, over Bachie already.

So I go off to the kitchen to see how the casserole's going ....much more exciting than Bec and Bachie's stilted conversation, as they sit in a garden pavilion discussing Bec's "barriers". Awkward.

In fact, their post sky-diving Q&A, was less riveting than some of the job interviews I've attended.

So my TV romance with the trashie Bachie saga is done with. 

As for all those hard-done by Bachie rejects, I suggest hanging-out at their local fish and chip shop, or supermarket vegetables section, may present better options for nabbing a Bachie facsimile.


What the trashie but flashy bachie does next!

August 12, 2015

Barbara's up to her Daiquiris in DIY! Domestic Tales of a Benefit Scrounger from the Chateau De Rustique ...Featuring Barbara Ganoush!

Old man winter as they call him, blew a cold breeze up Barbara's skirt, how rude! Keeping warm, and safe, in our Chateau de Rustique is almost an impossible miracle. 

Barbs, never one for letting things get on top of her, has some domestic austerity tips and juicy gossip from the Coalition Tea Lady -  Joe Hockey likes to drink 'Lapband Souchong', oh that's wicked! I hear you say, yes!, yes! it is. So as we rattle the china, in part because we're snickering at that last little snippet, and in part because we're shivering from the cold, we huddle together to listen to what tips Barbs has to keep the cold breeze out of the boudoir and removing uninvited organic guests.

Did you know that bubble wrap acts as an insulator for keeping the cold air off of the window? no?, well neither did I. Plus, the bubbles give you a nice frosted glass effect and can offer some privacy without obscuring the light entirely. Also, it's dead easy to remove by just peeling it off. Who would have thought that Barb's has gone all greeny on us and we're now living off the grid!. Ok, well we're not quite living off the grid just yet. Gets you thinking though doesn't it?


So while all those groovy folk are renovating their homes and talking about double glazed windows, Barbs has got us talking about double glazed bubble wrap. All you need to do is cut it to the size of the window pane. 

To apply it to window, you spray water on the plastic with the bubble side up, and the inside window pane. Then you place the plastic bubbles against the glass and smooth out the wrinkles. It's supposed to block out at least 50% of the chilled air circulating off the window. Bigger bubbles is better, but on the day we bought ours, Bunnings (are you listening? maybe Carmen can do some kind of advertising deal) only had the small bubbles. There doesn't seem to be a problem with it staying on the window pane, and I've only had to spray a quick touch up on a couple of corners.

You can read all about bubble wrap insulation here ...

People do like open plan living, or combined lounge dining rooms. In our 'original condition' shanty, both doors to this area have been removed, which makes for drafty living quarters. So Barbs, ever the make-over queen for the Casa del rustique, suggested we do some rummaging at our local Vinnies stores for some thick curtains.

Wouldn't you know it, we found some bright blue, green and white flower designed curtains which were rubber backed and that's good for insulation apparently.

Another quick trip to Bunnings (...Again, are we listening!?) to buy some dowel rods and brass hooks to hang them, and we had those curtains draped in no time. Quite the Shabby chic! Plus! with K-Mart selling polar fleece blankets for $5 bucks we grabbed a couple of teal coloured ones to match the curtains and used those as throws over our cheap and cheerful black faux leather sofa/futon.

Did I tell you how we got the sofa?, no?, oh ok. Well, flattie was coming back from buying groceries and alerted Barbs to the fact that there was a bunch of furniture and other used goods sitting on the pavement around the neighbourhood - hope no-one got evicted (awkward! I know).

Barbs, never one to miss an opportunity to scavenge something, but drawing the line at road kill, wanted to know if there was anything we could use. Within two shakes of a Babba Ganoush, we were up the road checkin it out, and so was half the neighbourhood.

Keen not to let this gem get away, Barbs had us pick it up and move it further up the road. I sat guard shooing away any potential claim jumpers while Barbs ran back home to get the trolly. Thank god we only had to transport it a couple of blocks to get it home, but it was well worth it, because up until then, we'd been sitting on plastic out-door chairs.

In amongst the loot! we also grabbed a nice old wooden desk with a lovely rustic finish; just needed the screws tightened on a couple of legs, a computer chair that needed a good vacuum (someone must have owned a long haired cat or dog) and a wooden framed mirror that I placed on top of my chest of draws.

The sofa was in pretty good nick, only a couple of fabric tears in spots, and we covered that up with some black cloth tape. It's not the most comfortable of couches, but it's way better than the plastic chairs.  I now have a makeshift dressing table, something to put my computer on (essential for looking for work and logging in to mygov website.) And our bums are on something a bit softer and warmer.

So as the nation’s in a feeding frenzy and all manner of talk fests over Bronnie Bishop's expensive entitlement rorts, I'm in a feeding frenzy over the huge slugs crawling up the inside walls in the dead of night, (how do they get in, the freeloaders?).

And, just how do I get the mould off of my wooden bed base, chest of draws, bookshelf, my clothes, shoes, electronics and a whole bunch of other stuff using my meagre plate of increased Consumer Priced Index (CPI) beans. A quick search on google had a lot of information and expensive solutions.  Barbs, however, settled on the advice of a professor from a Queensland university who had been studying mould for over twenty years (sounds exciting! doesn't it), and he had some pretty inexpensive and sage advice. Vinegar! a great mould killer! ....and you can put it in the washing cycle. 

Most commercial products for getting rid of mould in the bathroom contain bleach.  But, according to the doc, bleach just turns the mould white and doesn't really kill it. And, bacterial wipes are good for wiping down soft furnishings, leather products, laptop bags, electronic cables, shoes etc.  You get the picture?


Barbs, denying that she is a bit of Greenie, was quickly barking orders at us that would have made a correctional officer swoon and Commando get... a bit... well - 'Polly pissy pants'. We are now in fully loaded boot camp for the seriously unemployed. Does this qualify for 'work for the dole', I wonder?

 "I'll need three buckets" said Barbs.  They consisted of; one with 8 parts vinegar to 2 parts water, another with 4 parts vinegar to 2 parts water and one bucket with water only and a microfibre cloth (the doc said to use one). The 80% solution kills the mould, the other two buckets are for washing the cloth so that you don't respread the mould spores back onto the furniture. The active ingredient in the anti bacterial wipes is the same as a bottle of disinfectant, but the wipes are handy to use, cheap as chips and smell nice to boot!

After taking my clothes out of the chest of draws I needed to move it to the backyard to get started with the scrubbing, and I thought the sunlight might also help speed up the process. The backyard is higher than the house (I know, who would do that?) So we needed to traverse the two steps up to the lawn. Barbs is a girl with all the tools in the toolbox and she's as smart as a whip. Maybe she should apply for the position of speaker of the house, I hear that jobs on offer.

The trolley did all the heavy lifting for us but in all honesty it was a hard slog scrubbing the whole chest of drawers and other pieces of furniture and it took several days to complete the project.

"So what do you do all day long with all that spare time?" Said someone to me once, and then never was seen again. "Who me", I said, "Oh you know sit around eating cheezels all day long and watching TV". When I finished all that heavy lifting, washing and scrubbing including some of the walls, I told Barbs I never wanted to do that again. She called me a "whinger" and a "leaner" and said that "life wasn't meant to be easy". Maybe Barbs can go into business for herself. From Shabby Shack to Love Shack with the Domestic Hack. 

Mould happens when there is too much moisture in the air. There is only so much circulating air and pots of DamPrid around the house that we can do to try to combat the problem. A dehumidifyer is too costly a product to purchase and run for benefit scroungers. Looking at the edges of the carpet of our hacienda, it appears to be damp, which is also where the slugs make their entry and escape. In all likelihood, we have a rising damp problem. Our landlord has already indicated that if we don't like things the way they are, we can always move out. But Barbs has got an innovative way to combat that rising damp and you'll have to wait for the next instalment to read all about that.

Stay tuned for more Babaliscious cleaning and make overs for the employably challenged with the delightful Barbara Ganoush.  As seen on The Block 
...well maybe one day??

More Styling Tips From Barbara Ganoush


Image: via flickr

August 9, 2015

An Inconspicuous Sage: How Vernon Howard Can Help You Find Who You Are NOT

Author: Claire Bell

This article is the second in a series of posts, published on, that aim to bring you the most unusual and effective teachings from a variety of spiritual traditions to help you live and work from essence (your true self) rather than from personality (your ego).

Vernon Howard (1918-1992) was an extraordinarily gifted spiritual thinker who wrote books and gave classes from 1965 until his death in 1992. Barely anyone’s heard of him, which is odd because his insights into the chaotic human condition are as profound as any of today’s metaphysical maestros such as Eckhart Tolle or Byron Katie.

Perhaps it’s the language – he speaks of “God” and “Satan” – but if you dig deeper you’ll notice he uses these words symbolically. God, he says, is our true nature and Satan he equates with negativity of any kind.

In any case, you will be drawn to him. Or not.

There is a way out of suffering

Vernon Howard tells us there is a way out of confusion and suffering and that anyone can find it, but people must stop looking for their “true self” first. This is because it’s too easy to slip back into fantasy and memory and miss it completely. Rather, it’s more important to find who we are not before we attempt to find who we are. This, he thought, was a much more interesting approach anyway.

As such, he devised practical exercises for his students to help them recognise their false, socially-constructed selves and to snap them out of compulsive thinking.

Each lesson a gem

Each lesson is a gem. They have wonderful titles like, “You can’t think your way out”, “Let the world win”, “Jolt yourself”, “Walk consciously”, “Abandon thought”, “Defy Dracula”, and “Drop phoney self-images.”

They may look easy but don’t be fooled – they require vigilance. 
Take this teaching for example:

The Door:

“The next time you enter your home or leave your home, know you’re passing through the doorway.”

Try this one today and you’ll be surprised how often you forget yourself the minute you resolve not to.

A prescription to end all mental drama

Vernon Howard recommends we do three of his exercises a day.

I’ve put them on little cards and each morning I gather them together, give them a good shuffle, close my eyes and draw three from the deck. These are my daily lessons and after only a week, I’ve noticed changes. Each task is like a mild “shock” to the system and I’m more focused and alert in just about everything I do now.

I’m especially fond of the “Don’t be timid” lesson as a daily way to notice and honor people more.

All you need to do is be aware you are passing someone on the street. You don’t have to say or do anything, just know you’re passing them. It’s amazing how much more connected you feel to strangers — and how much more alive the world becomes — when you quietly heed humans on the periphery of your life.

An exercise in invisibility

This teaching is my favourite and it’s for all of you who have had enough of our culture’s obsession with wealth, fame, youth, celebrity, house prices and reality TV.

It’s  called “Become Inconspicuous” and here it is:

See how you attract attention to yourself. Deliberately make yourself inconspicuous to others. “From now on I am going to knowingly let people ignore me by attracting no attention to myself in order for me to understand how desperate I am to have others notice me.”

Next time you’re in a group you are to become invisible so that nobody pays any attention to you – no talking, no gestures. You are going to rid yourself of the false self always seeking attention.

Vernon Howard’s website is chock-full of articles, lessons and interviews. Check it out.


About the author: 
Claire Bell and Midlifexpress

Image: 55Laney69

August 7, 2015

Keeping Up With The Alamuddin-Clooneys

To make we unemployables feel, a little better, here's a wake-up call to remind us that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side.

Here in Australia of course, the flying batsh*t has truly hit the fan big-time, with Australian politicians going into media frenzy justifying their "entitlements" ...for their "consistent hard work" of course (for which they actually get paid quite adequately - going forward beyond retirement).

Like a Mcdonalds drive-through meal up-size, the situation clearly indicates that our pollies are no different to anyone else I guess - in that they're clearly easily tempted to up-scale their "entitlement portions" - and live large, by double-dipping into the Australian taxpayers coffers ...without a care in the world.

Of course, had Bronwyn Bishop, in the first instance, gone overland via Uber taxi to her weddings, parties (anything) - instead of taking the odd Helicopter/Charter flight - we the constituents (and particulary "so-called unentitled welfare recipients"), may never have known about the pollies Pandora's box of generous self entitlements. And their overt hypocrisy. 

It all adds new layers of meaning to Treasurer Joe Hockey's "lifter/leaner" rhetoric.

And the media may never have gone into overdrive. Subsequently, we must thank them, for highlighting, that quite possibly - our country is currently being run - by a greedy bunch of 21st Century Southern Hemisphere, post French Revolution Marie Antoinettes (from all shades of the political colour spectrum).

I've never been one for attending group protests. Hate crowds. Scared of having my toes stepped on. And can't stand someone shoving me from behind. Would rather be at home watching re-runs of Scott and Bailey. However, in this instance, I wouldn't mind being part of a sizeable portion of one of those dial-a-protest-groups, storming the Canberra Bastille, to demand a bigger slice of the cake that the pollies are sitting back enjoying at the taxpayer's expense.

So that's the current state of affairs in relaxed and comfortable Australia .....Comfortable for the pollies, that is.

Meantime, back in the old country, the Alamuddin-Clooneys, are having their own issues to deal with as they live large at their Lake Como digs. But of course it's THEIR MONEY. However sadly. the paparazzi have taken to the place, like moths to a burning lamp, and driving newly weds, Alamuddin-Clooneys -  absolutely crazy!


Alas, the Daily Mail Australia reports that Clooney is about to say arrivederci to his beloved Lake Como villa... by selling for 10 TIMES the $10m he paid for it.

However, "Wouldn't It Be Loverly!" (ala Audrey Hepburn),  if the Clooneys, put selling on hold, and rented out the place to JobActive Incorporated. Sound mad don't I? But it ain't necessarily so. (Although perhaps that's what comes of being an unemployee for too long?)

Here's the thing. Why not have JobActive, and Treasurer Joe Hockey put their money where their mouth is to speak - by renting the Como premises from the Alamuddin-Clooneys....on behalf of the Australian government. 

From such a unique location, Australia's Unemployment Industry, could run a pilot program - being a top-notch "job-ready system", whereby selected JobActive clientele from downunder, could jet over to George's Como digs, and do some work for the dole/experience there. It could be like a rehab clinic that rehabilitates leaners into lifters!!

Specially selected Work For The Dolees (perhaps chosen by lucky dip!), would get the opportunity to skill-up, via an Italian style bootcamp - learning a new lingua, and knuckling down to some hard yakka - applying themselves to any of the domestic duties as required in such a culturally rich location.

Of course, it could be coordinated via former South Australian Premier Mike Rann - now Australia's ambassador to Italy, where his offices are set in a villa, perched in the hills above Rome's Piazza del Popolo.

However, while I think of it - on the topic of Rann's Italian digs, and taxpayer dollar spending - I don't want to be a bore about it - but remaining under the Aussie media radar, have been the renovations at Ambassador Mike Rann's Roman villa, which DFAT confirms have started at $2.7 million.

ABC News reports  that the work itself cost almost $1.7 million, while more than $1 million went towards alternative accommodation for Mr Rann and his wife Sasha Carruozzo.

Former ambassador Amanda Vanstone said the property was also renovated around the time she left in 2010. She said, "All I can say, is that a lot of money was spent before I left to get it ready for the incoming ambassador."

Ms Vanstone said the building was in a "great location" but did not know what further work had been done. "If it's structural work then of course it can be very, very expensive. If it's decoration then I would be surprised."

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon said it was not right that the Government paid for the work at the same time as slashing aid to some of the world's poorest countries.

"This is a particularly gross amount of spending when you put it in that perspective," he said.

"Given the massive cuts to foreign aid, you really need to wonder whether this spend on residence for diplomats around the world can be justified particularly on upgrades and renovations.


Is Clooney about to say arrivederci to Como villa? (Daily Mail Aust)

Ambassador Mike Rann's Roman villa renovated at $2.7 mill. DFAT confirms (ABC) 


End of entitlement culture must start with MPs (The Australian)

Clooney image: CzsTova

August 4, 2015

Come Fly With Me?

During my lengthy stay at JobActive Central, this week, I had plenty of time to google and I came across this timely article, Leaving on a trashed plane, don't know if I'll be back again. And oh how it made me yearn for the days of my 20s, 30s, even 40s, when travelling was a somewhat tidier experience. In fact I was the quintessential frequent flyer. But that was then. Pre-mortgage, pre-root canal therapy ...and the rest.

And back then, during times of high, secure employment (and the trappings of youth, perky boobs, and a shiny complexion), travelling the world was my oyster. I remember calling from Boston (where I was home and hosed at my sister's place), and telephoning my boss in Melbourne, to casually say - that I'd be held up in the USA for an extra week ....And would that be a problem? Not at all, he said. I'd had a friend filling in for my role back home (who was glad to be out of there once I returned). So it was "all good". 

Can't imagine that happening now, in these somewhat gladiatorial times. Particularly, post-mortgage, post use-by date. All due, maybe? to my professional unemployee status a "lady of a certain age". 

Of course back then - despite the odd skirmish - terrorism was not top of mind. But I do recall getting a just-in-case pack of 5 valium, from my GP, should some bizarre emergency happen midflight. And I wasn't going to leave my GP's office, or Tullamarine airport, until I had that valium.  

These days, different story. Fastrack to now, and I have a just-in-case supply of valium to cope with LTRJABS (Long-Term Repetitious Job Application Burnout Syndrome).

And speaking of air travel, added to this, of course we now have Bronwyn Bishop and her helicopter flight fetish - dominating front-page news and other media. It's almost brought me out in a rash. 

Admittedly, I did go into shock when I discovered she'd resigned over it. But she's got the right hair, grooming and poise, for being an air-hostess - so perhaps there's a chance for a career sideways change. But actually, I really do see her resignation as a no-brainer, as who would want that job as Speaker anyway? ...except perhaps some media savvy school principal. 

Here I'm thinking along the lines of ex-Camberwell High School Principal, Elida Brereton ...Well known for her outstanding, authentic performance on ABC's Summer Heights High. Having done a stint at that school, during her time there (and the filming of that gritty show), I can see her fitting right in to that speaker's chair. 

Now SHE wouldn't take any hanky panky from anyone over at Federal Parliament. And should she be headhunted for the role ....Christopher Pyne and Tony Burke, you just better watch out!  

And from Elida Brereton's no-nonsense ways, I can imagine she'd be content to go economy class all the way. AND ....she'd make those poorly behaved parliamentarians, pick-up after themselves ...Yes every scrap of paper left lying around in those Marveered halls. The houses of Australia's Federal Parliament would become permanently spotless. 

However dear reader, while on the topic, perhaps there's an unemployee out there who could fit the bill for the newly vacant speaker role. And please, I welcome your suggestions in the comments space below. If any one has a link to the official Job Description please post it to

That said, Bronwyn's resignation, and the opening up of the Pandora's box of entitlements enjoyed by our Australian pollies (on all sides), has firmly highlighted their unrealistic want to "Fly too High" - in more ways than one - at the Australian taxpayer's expense.   

And aren't we minions, all enjoying, along with being disgusted at that revelation.

It gives all and sundry - in their ivory towers -  a sharp reality bite, of those on ground level (such as the unemployed), who can struggle to even purchase a Myki card, and keep it re-charged. Or, if they've got a car, filling the tank with petrol, can be a dilemma. And if the car breaks down? Can't bear to think about that. And is it food this week, or toilet roll? 

And despite winter's freezing temperatures, do we go all out, risk turning on the gas heating, and ultimately face a huge gas bill (which cashed-up pollies would have NO IDEA about.) But do they do anything about the rising cost of utilities? No. But they just LOVE hanging on to their entitlements ...and debating or justifying whether they're entitled to them - ad nauseum.

Moreover, Bronwyn's, and clearly most of the other pollies - entitled "flights of fantasy" add new meaning to that recent, equally headline making statement of Treasurer Joe Hockey ...

What was it that chauffer-driven Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey said? Oh yes, it was something along the lines of declaring that, poorer people wouldn't be affected by the fuel excise tax because,  "Poor people don't have cars or travel very far..."


What parallel universe is he living in? I think we all know.

And how much does he get paid for his job? Not to mention the perks, the secure and substantial superannuation/retirement scheme he gets post parliament? Plus the frequent flyer gold card entitlement (and so forth) gifted to him (& his polly mates, of both sides), going forward ....compliments once again of the Australian taxpayer.

And of course there's that rather substantial residential bolthole Joe's got being paid off lucratively and creatively, via the Parliamentary Priveleged "Frequent Flyers To Canberra Club" scheme.

Says it all really.


Poor people don't have cars or travel very far(

Malcolm Turnbull says proper use of MPs parliamentary entitlements comes down to common sense (SMH)

Joe Hockey unrepentant about fuel excise car cost (The Australian)

Leaving on a trashed plane, don't know if I'll be back again (Sue Bell,

Image: X-Ray Delta One

July 25, 2015

Hello, Is It Me You're Looking For? [Mutual Obligations ep. 22]

OK. So today's the day. Alas, I return home to my intuitive, excited dog - post jobactive appointment, numero uno. Unscathed. But feeling quite in need of a non-surgical lobotomy. 

What do the career-ologists and time management pros say? 

Preparation. Preparation. Preparation. 

And their rule #1? Make self look presentable ..."As if you are going to an actual job interview", and not - en route to the gym,  ....or the letterbox in your manky pyjamas.

So prior to the appointment, I throw on a jobactive-appropriate outfit. Check self out in mirror. See a vision of a stressed-out hag, dressed up as flathead. (But at least I had "bed hair" which is all the rage right now).

So off comes outfit #1, and on goes my go-to-anywhere patterned shift dress. BIG improvement. And I add a finishing touch with my trusty black coat. I grab power-handbag (proudly purchased from Salvos for $8.)  Forgo fuschia pink lipstick now that Barbie's out of the scene.  In fact, due to time limit, I'm make-up free all the way (yes I know, I'm more on-trend than the trendoids).  Fill bag with notepad for doodling, and assorted biros. And of course throw in the printed off resume - which they (jobactivists) said was all I needed to take there. 

But then wouldn't you know it?......just as I was about to head out the door, phone rings.

Of course, if it was a telemarketer offering those damn energy-saving light-bulbs - or some other stupid thing - I would default to my Italian persona and say, "Ciao Enzo? Come stai? Dove sai? Quello che ora in Italia ...e che stai indossando!?"  At which point, the telemarketer would hang up IMMEDIATELY. It works for me! (so all those "gap year" Italian language courses in the old country weren't a waste of time and money after all!) Apologies dear reader. I digress.

The telephone caller announces a HUGELY-VERY important family matter to attend to. So with the two older, very employed "sensibly cashed-up siblings" gone bush to attend a wedding (where the reception's to be held in a heritage-listed mental asylum, of all places mind you! Possibly quite appropriate though) - baby bear - being me (the unemployable, working poor of the family), has to deal with a unique urgent situation on the parental homefront ...involving a construction guy in a hard hat, and some uniquely placed water pipes. 

Hard-hat guy asks me the $5,000 question. Do I want them (the pipes) to stay or go? All I can think is, what would I know about such pipes?! I know bugger all about pipes. 

However, after a quick call to a recently outsourced surrogate Godfather (aka real estate supremo and my NBF ...who knows his pipes), and a quickly and carefully composed extortion toned email - sent from me, to hard-hat guy (as so advised by outsourced surrogate Godfather), it's all sorted. Competently I might add.

Wish I could put THAT on my CV! And at last I can breathe again. And I return to initial program ...being get thee to my jobactive appointment on time.

So baby bear of the family DID GOOD. I then ring, jobactive Central, to profusely apologize that I am running a little late, due to an unforeseen "domestic"? water pipe (not quite Cuban Missile) crisis, scenario.

Naturally got recorded answering machine. So Ieft message telling the jobactive activists, that I'd be a little late ....maybe twenty minutes? And I wonder, should I wait for them to call me back? Possibly arrange another interview time? Then think better go there, otherwise they may cut off my Centrelink inheritance.

When I get there, very harassed looking reception lady says to wait in the big room off to the side. The big room has three computers at one end. At which there are three youngster unemployees seated (wearing gym gear I might add, the sloths! But VERY snazzy sports shoes. That said, such fluro footwear never suited me anyway.) 

They madly tap away at who knows what? There's a TV & DVD player at the other end. And most of the room, of course was taken up by a large board-room sized table. 

There sat two others like me - midlife "unemployables in waiting" of Asian extraction. 

Of course, I'm not of Asian extraction - but quite possibly my exotic dog is. 

However, as the minutes tick by - just like the song - I surmise, "I could be turning Japanese. I think I'm turning Japanese. I really think so!"

I greet them cordially, like they are old friends. We all give each other the secret nod, like I expect they do in the mafia.

What I like about the room, is that I get a clear, birds-eye view of my car parked opposite, in a one hour zone. So I can keep an eye on any pre-menstrual parking-ticket inspectors.

There are two different forms on the table. Seeing no one is offering to play online mahjong or Chinese Checkers with me, I take the initiative - grab the forms - and set-to completing them. The first is titled: Personal Skills & Experience Checklist.  The second is titled: Criminal Convictions Form. WTF?!

I ask a WASPY looking guy seated near the doorway, if we need to fill out the Criminal Convictions form. He said he didn't, but I replied, that maybe we should, as it might fast-track us into a better, or any job? ....or even getting noticed by the job(in)active staff?

So time passes. And I overhear the very harassed, evidently distracted staff (all ladies, running around, like roosters with their heads cut off, as my mother would say), say to each other, "Carmen's here."   Again I hear, "Carmen's here." 

And I think (ala Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver), ARE YOU TALKIN' TO ME?! 

So I stand up, cruise past the reception area, quoting Lionel Richie (of course without the orchestral backing), and say,  "Hello, is it me you're looking for ....?"  But no cigar. Waste of time and energy. 

And so despite my poise, pleasantries, and polished presentation, they continue to ignore me. So I return back to the big "naughty room".

At this point my two fellow unemployees of Asian extraction, the WASP guy who didn't fill out the Criminal History form, and the three free-range unemployables (previously tapping away at the computers), have all but disappeared. And I'm home alone there.

I bee-line out to the permanently harassed reception lady, explain I have to check-out of jobactive HQ temporarily, to re-park my car (and like the Terminator), say, "I WILL return!" And I leave my resume (and other paper work, completed Skills Checklist & Criminal Convictions form) with her to remind her (or prove) that I am/was there.

With car re-parked, I return to jobactive Central, and wander around the room, checking out the contents of the half-empty bookcase. And I can't help noticing a BIG glass jar in one corner. It's like those enormous ones you see in homewares stores filled with fake white coral, or plastic lemons. In fact, the only other place I've spotted them, is in a medical museum collection, filled with post-mortem marsupials. 
On it is written: Daily Reflection Jar.

How lovely.

Like an ADHD, inquisitive year 9 student, I can't stop myself from taking a closer look. Feeling the harassed reception lady is totally disinterested in my presence, I slowly and very quietly open the glass lid (sideways doublechecking that permanently harassed reception lady isn't watching me). 

Inside are - not post-mortem marsupials of course - but strips of paper with quotations. No surprises there. So I pull one out. It states, "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." - Mark Twain. And I shove it in my handbag. The strip of paper that is, not the huge glass jar. 

Although I do see a place for that 
humongous vessel on my sideboard at home. They're quite on trend and rather pricey. But it wouldn't fit in my handbag. Must take bigger bag next time.

And I instantly ponder, what does it mean? Does Mark Twain MEAN that I'm there at jobactive Central, to have that very question answered? Or should I have double-dipped? ...and got a second opinion/strip of paper? But I fear harassed reception lady might catch me. So I destroy any evidence of foul-play, grab a few leaflets to read, and sit down the sensible woman of a certain age that I am.

Alone, I'm now feeling home and hosed, in the "waiting room" I'm settled in there for the night.

In my bag, I have a borrowed DVD of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, that I'm late in returning. And to catch a few extra glimpses of sweetie pie Bill Nighy, consider popping it into the TV/DVD player to give it a quick re-run. No time like the present. However, a jobactive leaflet on the NEIS program diverts my attention.


With securing a job, currently as difficult as traversing Franz Josef Glacier (in stilettos), I've lately considered that running some kind of little business/start-up could be a shrewd manoeuvre. But what business? So I'm glad I've got the additional time to devour such a resourceful document.

Not meeting jobactive NEIS program criterion, are businesses involving: sex industry work, weaponry distribution, non compliant tattooing, mobile psychic and tarot reading, evangelical pursuits, clairvoyance, hypnotic surgery, aura washing (what's that?), numerology, gambling, greyhound management, illegal drug services.

So there goes those ideas!

And despite heading toward my second hour's wait, I'm feeling ok about things, having sorted out my former family associated matter. However, even though I continue to make my presence felt, by wandering around the agency - using their photocopier, talking loudly on my phone etc., they (the staff) continue to ignore me. Maybe they think I'm the "mystery shopper" sent from ASIO?" In which case I should have been taken care of first.

I also think that maybe they're keeping me waiting as punishment for being late - even though I had a good excuse - and being sent to the BIG side room was equivalent to being told to sit on the naughty step by that no-nonsense, English TV Supernanny.  

I continue waiting. FINALLY, I  tell harassed reception lady that I just HAVE TO LEAVE (as it's nearing my bed-time. Sorry this last bit's not true). Only then did someone come and profusely apologize that they'd forgotten I was there. I therefore ask if she could PLEASE!! just FAST TRACK my registration (like a quick pap smear, just get it over with!), as I had things to do (overdue DVD to return, people to see, and a lonely dog at home all ALONE that needed patting). 

And you know what, my "case manager" was REALLY REALLY nice to me! Not at all like Gestapo Barbie.  But unfortunately - on another level - not as delectable as monsieur.

And of course she was nowhere near anything like my former case "master", being the strapping, fresh-faced, unblemished, speciman .....Mr Darcy. 

Moreover, she had no chocolate to offer from her bottom drawer reward me for being such a GOOD GIRL!! for waiting all that time. BUT, she actually had a sense of humour!!

And so did I? ....have a sense of humour  S-U-R-P-R-I-S-I-N-G-L-Y??!!

Alas, the overtly forgetful, "madam case manager" fast-tracked it all. Said that I only needed to go there once a month and that I'm a "Stream B person."

Now what does that mean on the Myers-Briggs Scale? Is it B for bad. B for brilliant? B for b*tch? Bilingual??  Or ....bag lady? Or all of the above?

And in return, which "Stream" would I apply, to madam case manager ...and her associated industry? Why of course Stream B ...That is, B for Batsh*t. Pardon mon French!! ...But I'd had a bad week.

Apologies for the drivel dear reader. Can you even bear to hear more of this? 

Please so advise.  


Wedding update: Regarding that "destination wedding" reception held in a heritage listed mental asylum attended by my sensible, self-funded sisters, (somewhere Back of Bourke, for all I know) - middle sibling has informed me that the actual wedding ceremony took place in the asylum's morgue. And no, I am NOT making this up. It's reported however, that the bride did look lovely, food was great, and all went spiffingly.



Image: via flickr