Archive | September, 2011

I’m never getting an I-Phone (and other famous last words)

21 Sep

I’m not going to get an I-Phone. Nor anything resembling an internet-enabled mobile phone. There I’ve said it. I’m putting it out there on the world wide web in the hope that it will force me to stick to my guns. It may be significant to no-one but myself. But yes, it is significant to me. It represents the first major mainstream tech gadget that I refuse to be a part of. I’ve got a digital camera, a lap-top, a TV, DVD player, a digital radio, an I-Pod, and a very basic mobile phone (no video, no internet). But I’m stepping off the tech-gadget-train for the first time. It feels like everyone has one, except me (and my husband). Now, the old ‘but everyone else has got one’ might be the excuse of choice for the average 15 year old, but believe me, peer pressure still exists beyond the age of 30.
I’m making this ‘no I-Phone’ declaration now, because lately I’m finding the pull of the I-Phone harder and harder to resist. I blame Amanda Keller. Yes, the funny lady from WS-FM and the TV show ‘Talkin’ bout my generation’. Have you seen her on that Woolworths ad? Her husband eats the last tim-tam, and she whips out her I-Phone, scans it over the packet and ‘hey presto’ Tim-Tams get added to a shopping list stored on her phone. What an app! Brilliant! Ingenious! I am a chronic shopping list-writer. I cannot shop without one. Every Monday, I sit down and write it out long-hand. It’s tedious. I always forget something essential – like toilet paper. Imagine the time saved if I had that I-phone app. I actually looked up the price of an I-Phone the other day. That’s how I know my interest is increasing. It’s a bad sign. A very bad sign. People who own them love them. So great for the kids, they say, so entertaining for them. It seems true. I’ve seen 2 year olds who can operate an I-Phone better than I can. They finger-flick with ease. My fingers have no flick in them. Neither do the fingers of my 2 year old daughter. Will she be teased at pre-school because she has no finger-flick – because her Mum is some anti-technology weirdo?!!! So, if there are some good reasons in favour of the I-Phone, why am I so against it? One reason. I am a bit of a net-aholic. Give me a spare 10 seconds at home, and I’ll be on-line before you can say ‘W-W-W-dot’. Fortunately, my net use is restricted by some major factors. 1) children 2) I have to physically sit down at my lap-top to use it. Imagine if I could use the net anytime, anywhere. It would be like getting a problem gambler to take up residence in a casino. New gadgets are so hard to resist. Let’s face it, we all luv’em. They hold the elusive promise of improving our lives, of making us look/feel/sound/smell better. Just this week I have lashed out on a new kitchen appliance called a thermomix. It costs roughly what an I-Phone would cost over a standard 2 year plan. It’s a pretty big purchase. The selling point is that it can mix, chop, beat, whip, heat, knead, make the bed, wash the dishes etc etc. The way I rationalise it is this – cooking is something I have to do. There’s no avoiding it when you are a stay at home mum. So, anything that makes cooking quicker/easier/more enjoyable is a good purchase. On the other hand, surfing the net is not something I have to do – it’s something I like to do, sure – but no one will go hungry if I don’t check my email, or post a facebook update. In fact, my family is more likely to go hungry if I did have an I-phone. It might be hard to separate me from it. So, here it is. I’m not getting one. These might be famous last words. I might be like those (few) people in the 1950s who scoffed at the first televisions and said ‘Television? What rubbish! That gadget will never take off. Give me a crystal set any day.’ The I-Phone may just turn out to be the television of the future – something that everyone just ‘has’, without question. Who knows? Check back with me in a year. I reckon if I can withstand the allure for the next 12 months then I might just make it.


Fashion Fish Tales

19 Sep

A fish tail has to be the most impractical form of dress ever, right? Why would anyone want to strap their knees together, and then have an annoying piece of fabric trailing behind them that no doubt a gazillion people are going to step on? I’ll give you one reason. Because, when done well, it looks bloody awesome. Now the only time a ‘real world’ woman is going to wear one is to her own wedding. Luckily, we get a chance to look and lust every time there’s a Hollywood awards ceremony. You always see one or two. And, by the looks of today’s Emmy Awards (like the Oscars, except for TV shows) it looks like the red carpet is going to be awash with them over the next 12 months. It seems to be a big trend. Check out these pics and you’ll see why. Even Kelly Osborne looks absolutely beautiful, elegant, and classic – three words that, until recently, would never have been mentioned in the same breath as the name ‘Kelly Osborne’. But that’s the transformative power of the fish tail – like a beautiful mermaid has come to life – and headed straight for the closest red carpet.

Christina Hendricks

Kelly Osborne

Emanuelle Chiqui

Cobie Smulders

Guest Post: The top five things you didn’t know about women’s tennis

14 Sep
As a husband to a wife who writes a blog I feel I have a certain sense of responsibility to sit back and enjoy the ride (often at my own expense).

Today is the first day of HOPEFULLY a few cameo appearances I can make on the “mum plus more” blog as I am clearly the “more” in the “mum plus more”.

My aim? To increase the circulation of male readers to this site….no not really. Just for kicks ultimately.
Because I don’t read books this could be a little tedious but I DO watch television and more specifically sport. So that’s what you get on debut.
Having revelled in the excitement of Sam Stosur and her thrilling win against the “oh so petulant” Serena … it was the elephant in the room (not Serena but the tennis)
I read on ESPN today that young is OUT and EXPERIENCE is IN when it comes to grand slams

In the 1990s, teenagers won 15 Grand Slams in the women’s tournaments.
In the 2000s, that number dropped to three.
In 2001, the average age of a Grand Slam finalist was just under 21
In 2010, it was up to 27. This year, through three Slams, it’s 26.5.

Which means at 27 years of age Sam Stosur was right on time!!
Armed with that information I have decided to do what all good commercial networks do when they lack for imaginative programming and that is to have a top 5 facts you probably didn’t know about my favourite female tennis players (none of this is actually based on ability) and you wont see Anna Kournikova in this list….as we are talking about tennis players.
5. Pam Shriver.
Gee she was tall – not the tallest ever – but she was big. In fact she always reminded me of Tom Hanks in Big for some reason – and not just because she was big, I think it was the hair. Maybe that’s just me thinking that.
She was born on the 4th of July (seems ironic) and she was one of the big names in Tennis when I was a kid. She is now a commentator and works for ESPN. She played against the BIGGEST names in the game and was frustratingly good and bad all at once. In saying that she won as many as she lost in grand slams. The real reason I put her in the top 5 was because she married George Lazenby. How cool is it that she married James Bond!!! (not sure if they are still together though)

4. Gabriella Sabatini
Argentina was famous for a few things back in the 80’s. Diego Maradona and his hand of god, the Falklands war and of course Gabriella Sabatini or GABSAB as I came to know her (probably sounds like an argentine brand of wine).
Of course she had more glamorous nicknames like “Divine Argentine” and “Pearl of the Pampas” but that always had the makings of a slippery puff pastry.
She had it all – but she was always just top 4 fringe in my mind. I guess she was up against some mega talents like Steffi Graf and Lindsay Davenport
GABSAB was famous for her SABATWEENIE shot which was a forehand blast between her legs. Roger Federer has now made it his thing but GAB SAB was one of the pioneers.
She ultimately won the US open as her best result beating Steffi Graf in the final
She is now a successful business woman who has a line of perfumes, donates money to argentine tennis development and ironically plays some exhibition tournaments for the Steffi Graf foundation.
If you cant beat them. Join them.
3. Liz Smylie (nee Sayers)
Poor old Liz. She was probably more remembered for her Extra chewing gum than for her tennis. But she was a dogged competitor and a real trier. And to salute her we have to remember that
“ecssshtra, itsshhh great tashte, really lassshhhttsss”
You do have to wonder about the creative genius behind the advertising agency that latched on to a sports person with a speech impediment to promote their product but…amazingly it worked!!
well it worked better than Lisa Curry promoting P & O cruises or Justin Langer selling Johnnie Walker scotch.
I know, I know, the best she ever did was the 4th round at Wimbledon but she was a winner at Wimbledon in the doubles. That’s pretty good for an aussie!

Me neither…I hadn’t everheardinofhereither until I saw her on the TV ONCE. The problem with actually seeing her is that it has to be in round one because that seems to be about as far as she gets. She is still playing (in fact she is the perfect age to win a grand slam at 27) but she has one draw back to her game. She is the tallest woman EVER to play tennis professionally. AT 6 ft 3 it would be impossible to lob over her head but damn easy to do a drop shot on her. See if you can pick her in this line up.

1. Anna Smashnova – she may not be number 1 in anyone else’s world but she is in mine. What a great surname. Not to mention she was one of the SHORTEST players in the game – if not THE shortest.
she retired in 2007 after reaching a career high of 15 in the world. I guess being so short she was a baseline specialist best at home on the clay surfaces but her best results were really just the 3rd round at the Australian open and at Wimbledon and a career best 4th round at the French open on the clay. BUT at 5 ft 3 it was her lack of height that puts her at number 1 on this list.  

Dads – Don’t Pull Your Punches!

8 Sep
Phew! I’m glad Father’s Day is over for another year. In our household, it caps off three months of present-giving to my husband. Birthday in July, wedding anniversary in August and Father’s Day in September. That’s a lot of gifts to come up with. Not that my husband demands them. Not at all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I always ask him what he would like and he always replies ‘nothing’. Now, I come from a long line of enthusiastic present-givers. It goes against my grain to not give a gift for a significant occasion. In contrast, my husband comes from a line of non-enthusiastic present receivers. He’s definitely learned how to receive gifts graciously but let’s just say gifts don’t really float his boat. His attitude is – if I want something, I’ll buy it myself. That attitude doesn’t really leave a lot of room for me to give him anything. And let’s face it, there aren’t many great options for men’s gifts. It kind of boils down to clothes, music and books. Clothes are out since my husband discovered Country Road on-line. He knows his size and knows what he likes – no pockets in shirts, no pleats in pants, no crazy prints, no outlandish colours – this makes on-line shopping an absolute doddle.

A couple of clicks and he’s done. No need to ever grace a shop with his presence ever again. Music is also a bit out of the gift giving-picture. We’ve thrown away our CD player and replaced it with an I-Pod dock. Unfortunately, our PC doesn’t like Apple software, so I can’t even give him a lousy I-Tunes voucher – unless I was aiming to give him the most useless gift in the world. That brings us to books. My husband is a great reader. But not of books. Internet – yes. Form Guide – yes. Books – no. This is a great shame. For me. Books are such an easy gift to give. I have no doubt that many dads this Father’s Day would have ripped open a beautifully wrapped present to find a book inside. And I suspect many would have received an autobiography. This is a massive generalisation but I feel like autobiographies are an appropriate ‘dad’ gift. Fiction and fathers are not always a good match. But dads and memoirs? Yes. I think book marketers know this, and always seem to promote the hell out of them around Father’s Day. So, I had a quick scan of what was out there this year. I always thought an autobiography was something you wrote towards the end of your life – and something that should only be written by someone with a really strong story to tell, either because they are a) super-important or b) did something super-impressive. Seems that’s no longer the case. Every b-grade celebrity has a book to flog – from the yellow wiggle, Greg Page, to AFL’s bad boy, Barry Hall, and country songstress Kasey Chambers. Are these works of great literature? I’m sorry to say – not so much. Check out this extract from Barry’s book ‘Pulling No Punches’. He (or more factually, his ghost-writer) writes about his drinking habits, and tendancy to get into trouble.  Sometimes dickheads just wanted to have a crack at me. …. I’d go out for a night with my mates, and would be copping shit from imbeciles in the car park before we’d even gone inside. Let’s just say that when Barry hangs up the boots, I don’t think he’ll be having a second career as a writer. This isn’t a Barry Hall-bashing exercise (lord knows, you’d be a brave soul to bash Barry – he would probably bash you back). I know there are fans out there who will probably devour this book. All 256 pages of it. That’s right – 256 pages. And he’s only 35. I’m also tipping that a fair few Dads probably opened up their Father’s Day presents this year to find Barry’s big mug staring back at him. It’s exactly the kind of book that a child or wife would buy when they have no idea what to buy – and their husband/father has been no help at all. So here’s a tip for those fathers – next year, ask for something specific –  be like Barry’s book title – don’t pull your punches. Speak up. Say what you want to receive. Or you might just open up to find the yellow wiggle staring right back at you.