Friday, August 31, 2012

No fury like a bridesmaid scorned.

I am so angry right now.

The past few months have been merry hell. HELL. It's Siobhan's fault. Most things at the moment are Siobhan's fault. This wedding, I swear, it's taking over. It has become A Thing. It has arms and legs and three heads and belches tiny pieces of confetti and hatred.

Do you know how to craft an origami crane that's exactly three-point-five centimetres high?
I do, now.
Do you know the price of one hundred and thirty nine hand-crafted champagne glasses?
I do, now.
Do you know where to find swan feathers that have been dyed with nontoxic organic vegetable matter?
I do, now.
Do you know why bridesmaids drink excessively and fantasise about drowning the bride-to-be in a bath full of lemon chiffon cake?
I do, now.

There has also been an embargo on blogging, talking, Whateverbooking, tweeting, or any other form of non-Siobhan-sanctioned venting. The Doctor tries to squeeze into the spare room paper bin whenever he hears her ring tone. Anise is so traumatised that she's started shedding eyelashes. Even my parents twitch when you mention the S word.

No more. The silence is over.

Get ready; it's going to be ugly.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Worst stalker ever

We are no closer to discovering the identity of Siobhan's betrothed.

Last night, after work, I went to the Expensive Bloviated Hyphenated-Name Legal Associates offices and watched Siobhan's window from the park across the road. Espionage is not my strong suit; I was bored within two minutes and began watching other windows instead
. (One guy was jacked into his laptop, grooving away in his chair to music only he could hear. At one point, he apparently forgot where he was and decided to execute an enthusiastic chair twirl. Result: he got garroted by the ear phone cord, his laptop shot off the desk and crashed, his co-workers leapt a foot in the air, and the whole floor got evacuated due to a "bomb threat". It was excellent.)

Threat or no, Siobhan stayed within. (Pity there wasn't really a bomb; I'm fairly sure she could defuse one just by looking at it.) After half an hour of watching evacuated employees complain and smoke in the loading zone out the front, I pulled a book out of my bag so it would look like I was actually doing something productive instead of, well, stalking someone.  Unfortunately it was a really good book. I looked up much, much later to find Siobhan's office dark and her carpark empty. Fucking hell.

On an
equally incompetent note, we are no closer to finding a dress for the "wedding". (I'm calling it that until we have concrete proof of a groom. I even use the air quotes finger thing. Anise has forgiven me.) I'm considering weaving one myself out of plastic bags and the The Doctor's furballs; believe me, it would look better than some of the things Siobhan has shoe-horned me into so far.

Second attempt at investigation coming up... Can someone recommend a really boring book to use as a prop?  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Missing: One Dude

Is it weird when you're in a bridal party and haven't met the groom?

Actually, no-one's met the groom. Including the bride's sisters.   Or her parents.  Or any of her friends.

(Wait, wait; I'm wrong. Siobhan doesn't have friends.)

It does explain, though, why there wasn't an engagement party. When Anise asked Siobhan about it, Siobhan just kind of waved her hand and muttered something about being busy.  We didn't think much of it at the time - it's not like Siobhan is a regular person, experiencing joy and happiness and other human emotions - and Anise and I went out and had our own engagement party anyway, which mostly consisted of vodka martinis and saying, "Who would marry Siobhan?" in between them, but somewhere between the hours of 2 and 3 am we both began to wonder... What if there is no groom? 

Could Siobhan be deluded enough to organise a wedding without having anyone to marry?  Could she be organising some kind of mail-order groom from Uzbekistan?  ("This is my new husband, Stavros."  "Bezhak." 
"Sorry, Bezhak.  Stavros is my pet name for him." And then she would do a tightly hysterical laugh from behind clenched teeth.) 

So I thought I'd ask a few questions.  In hindsight, it probably wasn't brilliant to start investigations during yet another dress fitting. 

"So, Siobhan," I said, as I was being laced into some godawful thing with ruffles on it.  "What's your other half doing today?"

"Who?" she said, inspecting a giant tiara with distaste.
"Your partner.  Better half.  Other dude.  Whatsisface."

"Richard."  She put the tiara down, rubbing her fingers together. 
"Richard, right."
"I think that should be tighter," she said to the dress fitter, who yanked the laces in a bit more.
"What's he doing today?"

"Why?"  Po-po-po-po-poker face! Poker face!
"I was just wondering," I said.
"Tighter, please," she prodded the fitter.

"Has he got a suit yet?" I said, though I was starting to wheeze a bit due to the boning biting into my ribs.
She marched to the front of the shop, turned, and squinted at me. 
"I'd love to ask him how you met. Was it romantic?"
"Tighter, I said!" she barked.

"What's his middle name?"
Siobhan took matters into her own hands. Unfortunately for me, I mean that literally.  She strode back, shouldered the fitter aside and grabbed the laces of my bodice. "We met..." (YANK!) "...on a business trip..." (YANK!) "He lives interstate..." (YANK!) "and. Is. Very. BUSY."  Then she put her knee in my back and gave a final heave.  The last thing I heard was something snapping.

When I woke up, Anise had re-emerged from her dressing room. (She'd gotten stuck in a hoop skirt and couldn't get out of the cubicle.) 
She was mainlining peanut M&Ms and patting my head.

"What happened?" I said. Anise ate another handful and spoke through a cheekful of chocolate.  "Siobhan wants you to go on a diet."

Further investigation is warranted. I shall report back.

(Unless, of course, Siobhan has me killed. If this is the case, I leave all of my possessions to Anise, except for The Doctor, who can go to my parents' house and live out his dreams of growing to the size of a small port keg under my mother's enthusiastic 'Are You Breathing? Here, Have A Snack' feeding program. Wish me luck.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Ides of December

I bought a calendar. Sounds like nothing, right? You don't understand: I have never bought a calendar prior to the end of the year before. Normally, I go, "Hmmm... $26? I know! I'll wait until January or February when they're on sale and buy one cheap." Every year I have done that. And every year I have ended up with a crap calendar. Cats on Toilets. Factories of Interest. The Wheat Industry of Iowa. And let's not forget last year's effort, Sexy Oily Librarians. "Three of your favourite things, now in the one place!" Great tag line, though clearly untrue; I do not think their target demographic involved people who read. Regardless, my calendars have been so crap that I've had to hide them in cupboard. Which generally defeats the point of having a calendar because then I neither write stuff on them nor remember to look at them. Yeah.

Anyway. The point is I have purchased a calendar in fit of rare organisation so I can mark off the days until Siobhan's wedding. Yes, I'm already counting down. To the day after it, so the whole goddamned debacle will be over. It has been a mere six weeks since it was announced - and the Blessed Event itself isn't even until, like, November, I think - but already I've been shoehorned into more potential bridesmaid dresses than the cast of Priscilla: Queen of The Desert. In addition, Siobhan has suggested (i.e. told me) that I need to grow my hair longer and invest in a straightener. And take up Pilates. And get a better job. (I'm working on the last one. And only the last one. More on that later)

But it's OK. Because I've found her the perfect engagement present. This. Up yours, Siobhan!

Monday, October 31, 2011

I'm still not dead

...though this job is making me wish I were.

I also wish I had a better explanation for my silence lately, but, really what was I going to write about?  My typical day?  Well, why not?  This is what happened today.  Hold on to your frickin' hat.

7.00          Alarm goes off.  Hit Snooze.
7.07          Alarm goes off.  Hit Snooze again.
7.14          Alarm goes off.  Pray for death.
7.15-8      Death not forthcoming. Drag self around house, prolonging the inevitable.

8.01         Mad scramble for keys, bag, bus pass, gun, book.
8.15-8.50 Daydream about bus crashing on way to work.
8.55         Attempt to sneak past security guard, who has taken to calling me 'Red'.
9-12        Avoid Baz.  Stretch out transcribing board minutes by pretending the recorder isn't working.  Ransack stationery cupboard looking for paperclips/batteries/anything that can keep me in there for more than five minutes.  Return to desk under sufferance.  Watch clock surreptitiously.  Snack.    
12-12.30  Sprint to botanic gardens.  Hide under shrubbery.  Inhale lunch.  Devour another chapter of scandalous celebrity biography.
12.35      Drag self back to office. Along the way, ask passers-by if they have work going.
12.45-5   Avoid Baz.  Avoid Roger.  Ignore memos from Di regarding the ban on instant soup in the office kitchen.  ("SOMEBODY is still making Cup O Noodle, DESPITE strict instructions."  Blah bliddy blah.)  Make tiny sculptures out of erasers and push-pins.  Snack.  Practice typing for next/better/less suicide-tempting job.  Nod for solid ten minutes while smelly bike courier bangs on about his weekend.  Resist Googling murder techniques in case internet access is monitored.  (What do I mean 'in case'?  Ho ho!)  Snack.

5.01       Undignified sprint for elevator.
5.03       Return to desk to retrieve bag.
5.05       Second undignified sprint for elevator.
5.30       Unlock front door.  Move The Doctor aside with one foot while shedding clothes.

5.32       First wine of six.

And there you have it.  Fun, huh? 

And I've got even better news: Siobhan's getting married.  (Anise is still in shock.  As is most of the free world.) 

Guess who's going to be a bridesmaid? 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hello, vodka, my old friend.

I will say up front that I do not have a drinking problem - my mother's likely to see the title of this and start the pearl-clutching immediately. Calm down, Ma. 

However. Never have I wanted to have a drinking problem more than while working at this job. A haze of gin would make Roger's constant snorting easier to take. I would pretend I was working at a zoo next to the hippopotamus enclosure. "Ah," I'd say to myself, waving my glass, "They must have just thrown a pile of cabbages in. Enjoy your cruciferous snackage, hippo friends!" Tequila shooters would take the edge off Di's sneers. She's still narked because I've got the copier sussed now.  This would be pathetic if it wasn't so irritating. With a two-belter of whisky, I'd be able to not recoil at Baz's lethal coffee breath whenever he leeeeeeeeans over to point out something on my screen. (I've taken to wearing tops that go all the way up to my chin. I look like I'm auditioning for Mad Men, and not in a good way.)

There are three other people in the office but I can't remember their names because they never speak and they all dress in brown.  I told my dad this and he said something about Kraftwerk.  (Who?  Will Google later, after the cocktail hour.)

In addition, someone keeps tampering with my email settings. I come in, and they're all wonked about. Plus all the stuff in my drawers keeps being moved around.

A thought occurs: are they searching my stuff? ?    ??

Hell, no. Not again.

Will investigate and report back later. After I've had a drink, of course.

(Calm down, Ma.)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

How many years do you get for assault, again?

Absence does not make the heart grow fonder. I have been back in the fresh hell that is admin work for only two weeks and already have developed that, "Oh, sweet baby Jesus, kill me now" feeling when the alarm goes off. On the walk to work, I have to stop myself from charging down a side street and running until the heels of my shoes disintegrate into powder and I'm found three weeks later living in an alleyway next to a string of restaurant dumpsters.

It's not just the work, though that's bad enough -- I have paper cuts upon paper cuts and have developed an expensive eye drop addiction because everything's written in tiny print. (Apparently 6 point font saves ink. How, I'm not sure. I would have thought it meant you can print more. But if I started arguing the point on everything that seems nonsensical at New Job, I'd never go home.) Anyway, it's not just the work; it's the workers as well.

There's Roger, who smells like sour milk and snorts whenever he hits the Escape key. (Which is a lot. Roger, what do you do all day?) 

There's Di, who wears so much eyeshadow that her lids crackle when she blinks. Di also refuses to show me how the reverse photocopier function works. Because I'm going to use it for evil, or something.

And then there's Baz. Oh, Baz. In the first two days, Baz came out with the following pearls of wisdom:

"My, you're a sparky one!"
"Is it true what they say about redheads?" (To which I did not reply, "We've got good aim?" and kick him squarely in the 'nads. Applaud my restraint, readers.)
"Chris Brown keeps getting a bad rap. What's done is done; leave the guy alone." (Yes, how wrong of us to keep bringing up the fact that he, oh, I don't know, BEAT UP HIS GIRLFRIEND.)
"Actually, I think Maroon 5 is a pretty sweet band."

I wish Baz were a co-worker I could simply ignore, but New Job wouldn't let me have this peace of mind. No, Baz is my new boss.

I have a feeling that things are going to get much, much worse.

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's time.

I feel my regular drop-ins at my parents' place have ceased to be a novelty.  Perhaps I'm imagining things but in the past few weeks, I've noticed:

* Mum has stopped looking up when I enter the room.
* Job vacancy pages keep finding their way into my handbag.
* The chocolate is getting harder to find. (The last lot turned up at the bottom of the laundry hamper, stuffed into a newspaper and tucked into a patchwork pillow case.)
* Dad told me to check my LinkedIn account. Which I didn't realise I had. Because he opened it on my behalf without telling me.
* I keep being asked whether I've considered joining a gym.
* Or a book club.
* Or the circus.

To be fair, it's been at least six months since the Empire collapsed and took most of my life with it. Money isn't an issue, yet, but there have been parental mutterings about "life skills." I have life skills. I can open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew. I can predict people's taste in music purely by their shoes. I can recite The Highwayman from memory. I have managed to sustain a reasonably well-functioning relationship with my boyfriend despite being forced to go camping. (See previous picture entry for evidence.) I've taught my cat to play dead. I...


I'll get a job.

I'd write *sigh* here but I don't think it sums up my lack of enthusiasm well enough.  Can you say it out loud while summoning every ounce of ennui you have?  And groan a bit?  Thanks very much.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Nature is not your friend.

I understand that this is kind of an odd thing to say, considering my last job, but it's true. If you're in advertising, 'nature' is green fields and trees and streams and butterflies and doe-a-deer-a-female-deer and usually there's some tie-in with a brand of liquor. However. If you are an actual person living in the actual world, nature barely tolerates your presence and will not hesitate to crush you. Consider the evidence so far: floods and earthquakes (thank you, 2011); bushfires; lightning; the shark. I've spent the last few weeks trying to look on the bright side, but there is no other conclusion: Nature hates you.

Exhibit A: A good start. (At this point, I was beginning to reconsider my anti-Nature stance. Wine always helps.)

Exhibit B: Nature, being all nature-y. For a moment, I thought it was a positive sign that a butterfly landed on my glass. In hindsight, I realise it was trying to warn me. "Run!" it said, with a flap of its tiny antennae. "Run!!"
"More wine!" I said in response, because I am an idiot.

Exhibit C: Nature's revenge.
Yes, clearly admiring a butterfly was the cue for its ugly cousin, the bee, to puncture my hand. And thus the rest of my glorious trip was spent with my hand in an esky of ice.

Lesson learned: camping is for chumps.

Monday, February 28, 2011


I am typing this from a tiny cafe next to the longest, flattest, driest stretch of highway I have ever had the misfortune to be on. I'm so desperate for coffee I just sucked the grounds out of a filter. You guessed it: I'm on another Challenge. It involves a tent, food you have to eat out of a can, no internet access*, and my possibly-soon-to-be-ex boyfriend. We ran out of CDs over a week ago. My hair has decided to try and fuse itself into a single solid red dreadlock. I have sunburn in places that I didn't think could get sunburnt. And I only took three books with me and have resorted to reading maps with feverish intent. Said boyfriend thinks it means I'm taking an interest. It actually means I'm looking for escape routes.

From my rudimentary calculations, we're 34 30' S/144 50' E. If you are in the area, look for a dishevelled redhead with coffee grounds on her face.


* My recent blog silence has not been by choice; trust me.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I'm not dead.

Sorry, sorry, sorry. So sorry. Girl Abandons Blog (Disappoints Fourteen People).

The Xmas sales were not quite my undoing, though I did discover after I got back to my parents' house several hours later (and missing one shoe, but let's not dwell on the past) that I had failed part of the challenge, which was to actually buy something. Nobody told me that bit.

"You went to a sale," said my dad, looking nonplussed. "A sale! At which people purchase items!"

"Which are on sale," added my mother, helpfully.
"I thought the point of the challenge was actually to survive said sale," said I, ungrateful daughter, still picking glass out of the bottom of my remaining shoe.
"Yes, but..." said Mum.
"I survived 80% off selected Stella McCartney. I had to extract myself from an escalator when they announced a three-for-one Jimmy Choo mark-down. At one point, I found myself in a corridor of shrieking teenagers with nothing but a Robert Pattinson calendar with which to shield myself."

"Who's Jimmy?" said Dad.
"But..." Mum spread her hands and waved them a bit, like she was trying to air out her fingers. "Shopping!"
"Hate!" I said, easing out a splinter near the heel. "And don't give each other that look."
"We're not," said Mum, thereby confirming that they were.

I tossed the shoe in the bin. "I won this challenge. I went to the sale. I came home in one piece. That was the point."
"But what did you do if you weren't buying ...things?"
"Prayed, mostly. Hit people with my elbows." I headed for their fridge. "There was also a lot of breathing in and squeezing past, if I remember correctly."
"I don't get it." She looked genuinely upset, as if my failure to purchase was a genetic anomaly.

"I don't like crowds. Do you have any ice-cream?"
"Only lemon sorbet. Your father's avoiding dairy, for some reason."

"Milk cough," said Dad.
"It doesn't exist! I keep telling you that!" said Mum, finding a new target for her ire.
I took the carton and fished a spoon out of the dishwasher. "Going for a walk. Taking the dog. Borrowing your thongs."

So Brian and I took a leisurely stroll, leaving my parents to debate the validity of milk cough. For the record, Brian agrees with me. Surviving was the point. Isn't it always?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Challenge 4: The Sale

Have I mentioned before that I hate shopping? (And ker-bam! Half of my female readers leave.)

It's true; I do. If pressed to describe why, I'd say it's a cross between the mathematical odds of finding something you a) like, b) can afford, and c) look good in, and the fact that you have to deal with Other People in the form of traffic, parking, aisle-blocking, indirect wandering, noisy conversations, buskers, and on and on and on it goes. Have you ever watched C.S.I. and marvelled at the fact that, had someone not turned their head at exactly the right moment to see the bullet hole on the corner of the car fender as it disappeared into the baker's neighbour's secret underground car-park that they had previously thought was merely a shed used by local children for vegetable-growing experiments except for that time that little Sarah disappeared in there for eight days before being re-discovered by a passing Jesuit priest and only then because he was taking his sick mother's Pomeranian for a walk and it heard the dog whistle that little Sarah found under one of the ammunition benches but whose function has never really been explained, the crime would not have been solved? Well, that's the way I feel about shopping*.

So my challenge is to survive today's Boxing Day sales. As I type this, I am aware that this could be my final blog post. My arms may be torn off and used as battering tools by women in the GHD hair straightener section. It's possible I will wander between several dozen tweens and a Justin Bieber CD rack. Most likely, I will merely be crushed into a freezer in an unfortunate whitegoods-related incident.

For those about to shop, I salute you. It's been an honour.

* i.e. The odds of it working out successfully are both minuscule and not without unnecessarily convoluted circumstances.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Challenge 3: The Dinner

My parents think I don't cope well with solitude. When I pointed out the fact that I live by myself, they said it didn't count. Because of The Doctor. Apparently even though he, oh, I don't know, CAN'T TALK because he's A CAT doesn't count. "He's still family," said Mum, who was knitting him a little cat-shaped vest for next winter, having ignored my advice that a) his fat stores keep him warm enough and b) horizontal stripes are not his friend. (I'm praying knitting is not on my challenge horizon. At least the needles may come in handy as a weapon.) Anyway, my father in particular believes that it's an adult skill -- sorry: Adult Skill -- to be able to go to a restaurant and have a solo meal. "And Anise's doesn't count, either " he barked.

So last night I went to Hellas Kitchen to have Greek.

"Table for...?" The waiter was looking down the street, as if my posse was about to roll up for koupepia and fish.

With that single word, I could see the panic in his eyes. But I ignored it. Like I ignored the people at the next table eyeing me like I was some kind of social retard, forced to dine alone after an unfortunate Exorcist-like episode. And like I ignored the pitying stares of the women having a girls' night a few tables away. At one point they raised their glasses to me; I still don't know quite how they meant it. "Suck on that!", I'm thinking.

On the plus side, Paris the waiter seemed to be having a personal challenge of his own; he clearly thought I'd been stood up, and tried to make it up to me. He took great care to point out the specials of the day, recommended what turned out to be a superb bottle of Riesling, and kept solicitously asking if there was anything else he could get me. Despite his (rather attractive) attentions, I got so bored I ended up dissecting my handbag and purging all of the expired gift cards and old video store memberships for something to do. I also found a tiny notebook and started making my own challenge revenge list, shortly to be inflicted upon other people.

By the end of the bottle (and after creating a list that includes my father having to sit through a Kate Hudson movie marathon -- enough to break any man's spirit), I was feeling considerably more chipper. And then came the best part: Paris comped me dinner.

Consider this challenge dusted.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Challenge 2: The Kilometre

OK, I'm upright. I'm still staggering a bit, and I sit like someone whose knees have forgotten how to bend, but I'm upright, and for a moment on Saturday that wasn't looking likely.

Why do people go running? Do they have a deep-seated self-hatred? Do they enjoy the sensation of their quadriceps detaching from their femur? And, while I'm asking rhetorical questions, have you ever seen a runner who looks happy? They don't. Because they know IT SUCKS.

I had been promised an endorphin rush. The only rush I got was when I tried to stand up (and then, later, a smaller rush when I inhaled two almond Magnums). I spent Sunday crawling on the floor. The Doctor thought I was usurping his territory. Then he tried to go for a ride on my back. (Side note: he's going on a diet.)

My mother said it would be useful to "experience the journey" of running. Well, here's my journey, Mum:

10 metres - Hey, this is OK.
20 metres - Hey, this might not be OK.

50 metres - What's happening? What's happening to my legs?
100 metres - Oh, my God. Oh, my God. You've got to be kidding me.
250 metres - What do you MEAN I've only done a quarter of this?
500 metres - Lungs. Lungs. Death. Air.
600 metres - [Intense swearing, deleted for the delicate.]
750 metres - Brain... shutting off... blood flow... diverted. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying. Dying.
1000 metres - *sobbing, sudden urge for chips*

So there's my journey, Ma. I look forward to your thoughts as to exactly how it will be useful.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ow x infinity

Typing quickly before hands seize. (Rest of body stiff; only matter of time before brain freezes.)

Challenge Two = running. 1 kilometre. Longest K ever. Cursed life, legs, relatives, people watching, street lights, anything in view. No vomit, though - hurray.

Off to lie in tub. May add water. Found box of bath salts. May eat, see if can kill self to avoid more running.

More later.

p.s. Will murder relevant parties when full movement returns.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Challenge 1: Make It Edible

I do not understand how being able to cook will help me find a job. ("Do you know much about qualitative analysis, Ms White?" "Ummm... hey, let me show you this souffle I whipped up earlier!" "Brilliant. Welcome aboard.")

Anise says that successful cooking means being able to multitask, remain calm under pressure, think on your feet, and stay focused. I said that, technically, successful cooking means you can actually eat the end product. Anise said I was missing the point.

Me: "You know cleavage is more of an advantage in a job interview than knowing how to make a risotto, right?"
Anise: "When you can actually make a risotto, we'll have this conversation again."

So she showed me the easiest recipe she knew: penne alla vodka. And then she poured out exactly the amount of alcohol the recipe needed (arrrrgh! Jesus. No-one told me I had to do this sober.), and then took the bottle into the lounge room.

Challenge Report: Things I Have Learnt About Cooking

* Read the whole recipe before starting to cook, or, more specifically, before you turn the gas on.
* Onion, once burnt, stays burnt. And tastes burnt.
* Use a sieve or something when draining pasta.
* Stirring is useful. Vaguely shaking the pan is not.

* Cream and butter make most things better.
* Except burnt onion.

Was it edible? Well, Anise ate it. Granted, she really needed some starch because she'd worked her way through about half the bottle just listening to me use her knife and saucepan. (Don't tell her I dropped the knife about nine times, pointy bit down.)

The good news: stuff was cooked. Stuff was eaten. Challenge One = dusted. Take that, Mum and Dad!

The bad news: on to Challenge Two. I think it involves fitness. I'm going to die.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

So is it Ruby III now?

So far, Ruby II has not had a good start. I survived a full week of getting up early before succumbing to a Rage marathon, and then I remembered that you can't watch Rage marathons sober (especially not ones offering a Nick Cave retrospective), and the next thing I knew it was 3 p.m. the next day and I was using two empty shiraz bottles for a pillow. (Note to self: don't do that again. For a while, anyway.) Through the haze, there were four unread texts bleeping on my phone - two from Anise, one from Mum, one from Dad, all from BASTARD PEOPLE, AS IT TURNS OUT. Apparently I failed Stage One of The Improvening. And now I had to suffer the consequences.

Suffer the what? What consequences? Why didn't anyone tell me about these?

"We thought it best you didn't know," said Mum.
"Am I in a reality TV show? Do you take my blood at night time?" I said.
"We were hoping we wouldn't need to do this, sweetheart, but you only lasted a week on Stage One," said Mum. "We needed a back-up plan."
"Why are you doing this to me?"
Dad rubbed his face and said, "We'd like to help you become employable again, Rabbit."
Great. I'm some kind of lab rat for my parents' freakish control issues.

So what are the consequences? Oh, you guys will love this. I've got Challenges.

Challenges! Chall-freaking-enges!

"How many of these things are there?"
"We think it's best you don't know," said Mum. Again.
"What, like, five? Or twelve, like Hercules?"
She wouldn't look at me.
"More? More than twelve? How many?"
"Is that the time? Charles, we've got to scoot or your physio will never talk to you again."

I still don't know. But I do know the first one: Cook An Edible Dinner From Scratch. Conditions: no packets, no sauces, no take-away, no help. And no hope, let's not forget that one.

I have, however, found a small outlet for revenge: Anise may be making me cook but I'm going to make her watch me do it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Just add yeast

You're probably thinking that I'm posting this at 7 am because I've been out all night. Surprise -- I'm actually up. After being asleep. Like a normal person, apparently.

Don't get too excited; it's part of an experiment. Anise -- aided and abetted by my parents* -- has begun a pet project called Ruby II: The Improvening. (Originally it was called The Bettening, but then she said it sounded like she was going to set me up to fail at a bunch of stuff. Personally, I haven't decided which name is going to be more appropriate. And I think The Improvening makes me sound like some kind of bread.)

One part of Ruby II: The Breadening involves me going to bed before midnight and getting up before midday, as I have been told that my sleeping arrangements of the past ten weeks are unhealthy. The same kind of unhealthy as eating pretzels for dinner or having a three-course breakfast where all three courses are ice cream. So here I am. Up. In the morning.

How this is supposed to improve my character, I don't know.

Anise says I'll feel much better about myself soon, and I'll end up being more productive and blah bliddy blah. This would be useful if I had, oh, I don't know, A JOB. But as I'm post-Empire (and still in recovery), all that getting up early has done so far is mean I have even more hours to reflect on all the things that shouldn't have happened to me over the past few months.

I shouldn't worry so much. I'll try to be more positive. Besides, I think Being Positive is also on The Improvening List that Anise is wielding. (She won't let me see the rest of it, but I got a glimpse. It's long. We're talking looooong. Plus I'm fairly sure I saw the word 'jog' on it. Kill me now.)

* I have not yet decided what the punishment will be for my parents' involvement in this. I am open to suggestions.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blending is not always a good idea

Anise had a date.

Unfortunately, it was a bad date.

Well, no, that's a bit harsh. It was good at first. It was good through the pre-dinner drink. It was good through the entree*. And then the good ended when Anise realised that her date had a crush on her sister. Her sister. Her blood-sucking soul-leaching humour-killing thermal-wearing sister.

At one point, Bad Date excused himself (possibly to check his Siobhan web cam; who knows) and Anise sent me a frazzled text which was, unusually for her, 90% swear words. (The other words were mainly "AAAAAAARGH!!") I suggested doing the old 'going to the bathroom and never returning' trick but Anise has better manners than I do and ended up sitting awkwardly through a main** and a coffee before she could make a run for it.

The best part? When she politely refused a second outing, Bad Date asked her to put in a good word with Siobhan. Then -- and this is probably the point where I would have started stabbing him with a corkscrew -- he divided up the bill and pointed out that she had drunk more wine than he had so she should pay for two-thirds of the bottle. Mmm. Form an orderly queue, ladies!

Anise had post-date cocktails here. (I invented a new one called Misery Loves Company. It involves chocolate.) We sat on the balcony and listened to the teenagers upstairs work their way through a playlist of horrors. (Honestly, whoever's released that song with the 'Everybody's Talkin' sample should be shot.) By the end of the night, Anise was consoled by the inescapable fact that if someone thinks Siobhan is their dream woman, there's clearly something very, very, very, very wrong with them.

* Anise would like me to add at this point that lemongrass, while tasty, does not work as a puree, thank you, fancy restaurant.

** Neither does chicken.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What was in my glass?

You'd think by now that if a club is called The Abattoir, I'd realise that going was a bad idea. Apparently not. A line-up that felt like some kind of bizarre test*? Check. Men wearing sunglasses indoors, at night? Check. Cocktails so expensive that they made my purse cry tiny leather tears? Check. I said to Anise they should call it The Tool Chest. I think she agreed; I couldn't really hear her over the re-re-re-re-mix. (Note to self: Temper Trap + Duran Duran mash-up = ears bleeding. "Our love was lost.... WILD BOYS!")

We stayed about four hours longer than we should have (e.g. four hours and two minutes). You know how sometimes you think that as you survived the wait, the entrance fee, the initial drink price shock, and several clumsy come-ons, you may as well get your money's worth by watching other people dance? Yeah. For our entertainment, there were three types of people on the floor:

1. I've Seen All Of Snoop Dogg's Clips: Watch Me Audition!
2. Man Doing Own Thing (To Own Tempo)
3. When In Doubt, Wave Your Arms and Scream At Your Friends

It was the first time Anise and I had been out in a while, after all the stuff that's happened. Perhaps we were determined to Enjoy Ourselves, regardless of how shit the drinks were. (Did we dance? Of course. Did we point a lot and wear slightly pained expressions? Of course. Standards must be maintained.) Anyway, I was stressing it'd be awkward, and it kind of was, initially. After the fifth glass of Faint-Maker, or whatever that drink was called, we did that thing. That thing where you suddenly decide it's a really great time to have completely honest conversations with people because they really have to know right now exactly what you think of them and then you tell them how much you love them and then you both cry and then you look up to see dudes in hipster t-shirts looking at you like you're a zoo exhibition.

Hysterical Woman (feminus irrationalus).
Usually found in: social situations regarding alcohol.
General description: skilled in the art of camouflage. Many are unaware that they are in the presence of such a creature until certain conditions (weddings, Ikea furniture, family Christmas dinners, one overdue report too many) prompt them to reveal their true nature.
Identifiers: non-waterproof mascara, glazed eyes, crumpled tissues, possibly clutching disembodied head of victim or adjustable spanner.

Anyway, I think things are on the mend. Except for my cracker of a hangover, which twelve hours of sleep hasn't made a friggin' dent in. Off to bed. Again.

* And I should know.

Things I Have Learnt In The Past Ten Hours

If someone offers you a cocktail called The Face-Melter, don't take it.

Bed now. With Panadol.

Type later, if can feel hands.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Doctor status: fat

Did I tell you how my parents over-feed my cat? If they have him for a couple of days, he usually comes back with a new chin. This time, he was with them for a few weeks, and, as a result, now resembles a small beer keg. It's amazing I can see his legs at all. I think he also gets in-between-meal snacks if Mum and Dad are feeling anxious or upset. And they were, so... hence my now-enormous cat. Anyone got any diet tips? I tried putting his food on high surfaces so he had to do some exercise to reach it, but then he fell off the top of the stereo and I felt bad. And then I gave him extra food. Ruby: the enabler.

I'm back, by the way. This is no longer Dad. (Thank you, father, for alarming my guests with your presence.) Where was I? For those of you who saw something about the Empire in the paper, no further explanation will be necessary. For those of you who did not, let's just say work became all-consuming for a while. But it's over now.

Well, it's not entirely over. I don't know how to explain it. I'm trying to put the pieces together but some things still don't want to fit. Anise said I look different. I checked in the mirror: not really. The difference to me is all internal. But I think I'm getting better. I feel better.

I feel better.

I do.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Guest jack-booting

Charles here (Ruby's dad).

Firstly, two notes to my daughter:

1. If you don't want your parents to find your blog, don't use your real name to set it up.
2. Also don't set your password to 'password'. (Don't worry, I've changed it now.)

Secondly, to the rest of you: apologies for temporarily co-opting this page. Ruby can't come to the compter right now. (Ruby also doesn't seem to be able to come to the phone, or to her senses for that matter.) She's been away on some work-related camp whatsit. From what I saw at the Expo, she's possibly learning how to whistle to trees or stick beads onto coloured pieces of paper.

So I'm throwing my search out to those of you reading this page: has anyone heard anything about the Jaasmyn Empire? I'm particularly looking for information regarding dubious practices, dodgy taxes, brain-washing, employee coercion, etc., though at this point I'll probably take whatever I can get. Hated a candle box? Got a paper cut from a pamphlet? Let me know.

By the way, I'd just like to clear up two scurrilous mentions of me in earlier posts by my erratic offspring:

* I did send a girl a photo of my arse once (which may or may not have had a message written on it), but it was completely justified.

* When women wear puffy-sleeved tops, they look like they're either compensating for having scrawny arms or trying to recreate their slave-hood status from the Victorian era. You don't look wistful or interesting, you look deranged. I stand by this opinion, regardless of how often my wife tells me puffy tops are "in". I'm assuming they'll be "out" again shortly.

More lecturing to come, Ruby predicts. We'll see.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tea for one

Sorry for the silence; I'm working longer hours than I thought I would be. The Doctor and I are kind of having a stand-off as a result. He's taken to lying across the hallway in the dark so I trip over him when I get home. Then I feed him extra food because I feel bad about stepping on him. Then, after he's stuffed himself, he ignores me for the rest of the evening. He'll give out eventually; the need to have his ears scratched usually outweighs his sulks by about the 48-hour mark.

It's not that the extra work isn't rewarding. I'm seeing parts of the Empire I never knew existed. Yesterday I got to sit in on a new class for people who are afraid of round shapes. A surprising number of people seem to be affected. It would totally suck if they worked in a kindergarten.

The Empire's also been giving me new teas to test at home so I can give them in-house feedback. My kitchen bench is covered in growing numbers of packets. Every time Mum sees them, she makes a little "Huh!" noise and rubs her ear. (She may have some kind of rash; I'll ask her about it later.) Anyway, I tried a new tea last night - Sienna Siesta - but I don't think I can tell the Empire anything useful because I lost consciousness half-way through the first cup. Perhaps I wasn't concentrating hard enough; I'll try again tonight.

On the down side, there's someone I'm trying to avoid at work. I don't like having to do it, but I don't have a choice; every time she sees me, she starts asking questions. And I'm not supposed to answer questions to lower-level staff. (Did I tell you about the staff levels? There are five. I'm Three. She's One. You can see the predicament.) Actually, I think she's kind of jealous of how quickly I've progressed. The head of the Empire (I'll call her 'J') and I were in the Intra-Conscious Reading Room the other day -- well, J was behind a screen and I was behind my supervisor who was behind four Level Fives but you know what I mean -- and she said that jealousy was one of the most corrosive emotions the human mind could create, and we should always take care to avoid it. I'm sure J has spent her whole life ignoring people who thought she was too beautiful. She does seem to be very good at tuning negativity out.

Right. Off to have a second go at Sienna Siesta. Fingers crossed I get better results this time.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

So much vanilla, so little time

My parents are trying to set me up. OK - the current romantic situation is looking kind of dire (and confusing) but I do not need to have potential suitors paraded in front of me like I'm shopping for the right size. Particularly when they're Josh. Oh, Joooooosh. Let me tell you about Josh. Josh has no personality. Josh makes cardboard seem lively. Josh is often mistaken for his own wax figure. If you set Josh on fire, I can guarantee you would hear very little from him in protest; he would simply go about fire-extinguishing himself, and then resume beaming at you silently like a snowman that refuses to melt. For Christ's sake, Ma and Pa, if you're going to humiliate your daughter socially, at least do it with someone with whom she can have a lively argument at some point.

I forgot to mention that the Doctor has returned, in disgrace. I promised him I wouldn't mention what he smelt like when we were reunited. But even Josh would have slightly wrinkled his nose in response.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Angels, demons, and other handicrafts.

'Skank' is a word I don't like very much. It always holds a hint of envy. Look at her with her crappy hair extensions and her cheap shoes and her skirt hiked up to there and her dimple-less thighs and creamy skin can you imagine how much she spends on facials I bet she earns it at her local pole-dancing emporium and would you believe they keep drooling because she's just so obvious my god would you look at it. Boys who use the term usually can't get The Sex. Girls who use it splinter the sisterhood. (The sisterhood still exists, right?) So I refuse to use the word 'skank'. But I will say this: Bessie is a scrag.

On a happier note, I think the weekend's Expo managed to convince my parents that the Empire isn't as weird as they thought. Who could fail to look normal next to:

  • the people who believe that if you sit under a pyramid, it changes your DNA;
  • the guys claiming that we're all part of an inter-galactic experiment and are actually human-alien hybrids;
  • the institution selling a Vitamin C supplement that can apparently cure schizophrenia;
  • the woman who says rocks feel pain and don't like being trodden on; or
  • the pamphlet I got which swears that you only get cancer if you're a cranky-pants?
Next to these guys, the Empire's aromatherapy stuff looks like common sense. And don't get me started on the unicorn craft. (Though I did buy my dad a tea-towel just because it spelt it 'unicron'.)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Missing: one cat.

This is probably not going to get me anywhere but has anyone seen an orange/white/mottled cat, very fluffy, huge tail, answers to 'the Doctor'? He's wearing a collar...I think. No. Yes. Yes, he is, but I can't remember the colour because it's usually covered by rolls of fur. Favourite food: herring, though yoghurt and Vegemite also rate. He also tends to look permanently surprised/outraged. So if you're a fishmonger and there's a matching cat outside, complaining loudly, please please please let me know.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Is it good to be told you have an "affinity with wax"?

I've had my new job for just over a week, and I still don't really know what it is. I was going to tell you about the departments I've seen ("visited" is probably the wrong word; I stumbled into one and broke some things in another) but I've been going through the confidentiality section of the employees' handbook (so huge it's a wrist injury waiting to happen) and it looks like I can barely even tell you where I work, let alone spill inside information. Crap. I'll have to be super-vague. I'll just call it the Empire.

The Empire deals in new age-y stuff. They sell candles and oils, hold classes for people who suffer things (don't ask; I'm still not sure), and the most beautiful woman I have ever, ever seen runs it. Seriously. She has no pores. I bet she bathes in... what's the most luxurious thing you can bathe in? Truffles. She bathes in a mix of truffles, caviar, lobster, wagyu beef, and angels' tears. Then she's rinsed with a fire hose to get the stink off.

Anyway. The Empire staff are really nice, albeit kind of spacey. Well, almost everyone; the assistant to the Most Beautiful Woman Ever is a freak. Hopefully I'll never have to work with her. Another girl started on the same day as me (we did the aptitude tests together and, boy, do I wish I could post about those because they'd make your hair curl, but hello confidentiality clause) but she doesn't seem to be doing very well. At least I don't think so. It's kind of hard to tell. On the plus side, the Empire seems to think I have a talent for their ...whatchamacallit. On the down side, I've got a sneaking suspicion that I've just been lucky and any moment now they'll realise that employing me was a mistake.

Having a talent would be pretty good, though. I don't think I have any. (None that I'll admit to in public, anyway.) Can't cook. Can't sing. Can't play an instrument, because I don't think the recorder counts. Can't knit. Can't perform complicated mathematical equations. It's a litany of failure. However, I can read people fairly well. It may come in handy.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cupid's fatal flaws

Less cranky now. Bad dates tend to do that to me. Particularly bad dates that looked as if they were going to be good dates and then... stuff happened. I'm not going to dwell on it. However, it's made me wonder - what isn't a good enough reason to break up with someone?

Bernard is my ideal partner, except for his:

* collection of Two and a Half Men DVDs.
* slight tendency to spit on the footpath.
* f
requent use of the word "panties".
* Nazi sympathies.

But what do you do if it's not so obvious? Last year I turned down a dinner with a guy who had a really high-pitched giggle. I couldn't help it; every time he laughed, I imagined his testicles to be the size of Tic-Tacs.

Anise, from the corner chair, would like me to add that she once ended a relationship because the guy refused to try Malaysian food. I shall quote directly: "It denoted a degree of pointless inflexibility, which would probably end up extending to other areas in his life." I assume she's referring to The Sex. Yes, says Anise. "Duh," she adds.

However. If your paramour (who is a sweetie in every other way and super cute and has really nice hands and a sense of humour that makes you snort-laugh) basically implies that you're working for scammers and are possibly too dim to realise it, what then? My current method of coping is avoiding his calls. Call me a coward. I don't mind.

OK, I do mind. But it's either this or One of Those Conversations. And I'm really bad at Those Conversations.


I will not blog when I'm cross. I should not blog when I'm cross. I will really, really, really try not to blog when I'm cross. However, I'm cross right now and I can't calm down and I'm hoping typing will help somehow because TV, cat-squeezing, and three glasses of wine that I really shouldn't have had have not.

TV, in particular, is useless. SBS is showing yet another documentary on Hitler. Do they have ANY OTHER DOCUMENTARIES? Because every time I switch over it's either Hitler or Obscure Sex Movie. Hitler! Sex! Hitler! Sex! Tour de France! Hitler! CHRIST ALMIGHTY, DO YOU PEOPLE HAVE ANYTHING ELSE IN THE ARCHIVES?

See? Don't blog when you're cross.

And I've just realised I've been using 'blog' as a verb. Kill me now.

I will try again tomorrow. My mood will be better. Off to have a soothing cup of tea, nicked from New Job.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Weirdest week ever.

The guy I met is cuter than I remember, thank God. We had dinner last night; I was terrified I wouldn't recognise him as the last time I saw him was filtered through about a litre of vodka martini at Ani's birthday party. As opposed to beer goggles, which make you think that everyone else is more attractive than they actually are, vodka goggles make you think that you are more attractive than you actually are. I'm not sure which is worse. ("What do you mean, you won't let me into your tiny, exclusive club? Can't you see how astoundingly good-looking I am?" "Ma'am, you're wearing a garbage bag." "Shut up! You suck!")

Anyway, rather than relive how I ruined an intimate part of the evening by being momentarily overcome by Bad Previous Relationship Memories (great timing, as usual), I'll move to a related topic: What's the worst way you can dump someone? By SMS is pretty bad, though I think it's so common now that it's become part of life. E.g.:

Five years ago
"He dumped me in a text message."
"What? He what? In a text? On your phone, right? How dare he? How could he? What kind of evil person does this? Let's burn his house down!"


"He dumped me in a text message."
"What a bastard. You're better off without him. Hey, have you met my friend Sergio?"

Anise was once dumped by a guy who left a note for her at the cafe. With Jonathan, of all people. You can imagine how that went down. (At least it wasn't with Bessie; she may never have received the message. Awkward phone calls would have resulted.) I don't think anyone has dumped Siobhan; they're usually lifeless husks after a few hours in her company. No one would have the strength to thumb the keypad. Dad said once that he sent a girl a photo of his bare arse with a message scribbled across the cheeks, but that's just Dad. He probably actually did it in person. And me? Well, once I tried to cushion the blow for a guy by listing all of his great qualities. Boy, did that backfire; when I finally got to the point and dumped him, he was completely shocked because I'd spent about half an hour puffing him up. Nice work, Ruby.

And then there was that other nameless person who dumped me at my own birthday party without actually being there but let's not visit that unhappy moment. The scars haven't healed; I still cringe at the sight of birthday cake candles.

In better news, I have a new job! It may or may not have something to do with the class I went to. Keep it under your hat for now, though; I'm not sure how it's going to work out because it seems really, really, really weird.

More later, I promise.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Irony is mocking me.

I should probably explain that a bit better by summing up recent events. In seventy-two hours, I've managed to:
  • quit my job;
  • have my fortune (sorry, "fortune") told at Ani's birthday party;
  • meet someone, although I can barely remember what he looks like;
  • attend my first meditation class;
  • get kicked out of my first meditation class; and
  • be diagnosed with a disorder I've never heard of.

This afternoon I'm supposed to be going to a class for people with said disorder. Apparently we're sensitive to noise, which is interesting as someone who spent most of her uni degree drowning out the world via her iPod. I'm still debating whether or not to turn up.

Re: the job thing, I was hoping to break the news to my parents gently -- preferably by ringing them in several months' time to tell them I had a different work number -- but by the time I saw them on Saturday, they already knew about it. (Thank you, Siobhan. Remind me to poison your coffee.)

To cheer myself up about the money that's not in my bank account, I'm making a list of all the reasons why I'm happy not to be working for K#nobbe (take that, Google search!) & Sons any more, which will either by posted later or ceremoniously burnt.

Off to class. (Or not.) Wish me luck.

p.s. Siobhan is even scarier when dressed like a clown.
p.p.s. Fortune tellers are a crock.
p.p.p.s. Possibly so is meditation.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sorry about that. I spent several days in a haze of green. Doctor Sweetpants was of no help. (That's my cat, by the way.) Seriously, every time I hear one of those feel-good "pets know when you're ill!" stories, I feel like sending a letter bomb. Other people's pets summon a neighbour/ambulance, snuggle beside them, or even just look sympathetic, for Christ's sake. My devoted cat sat on my head. On. My. Head.

[It would probably be worth noting at this point that anyone hoping to see an entry written under the guise of said pet will be disappointed. People who write to others while pretending to be their cat/dog/wombat ("Dear Grandma - today I caught my first mouse! I ated the whole thing, and then threw up. Mummy was ever so cross, but that's OK, because I pooped in her shoes to give her something else to worry about. Kisses!") are WEIRD. Besides, if the Doctor could type, we all know what he'd write:

Feed me. Feed me. Feed me. Feed me. Have you fed me yet? Yes? How about a bit more? Are you sure? What if I lie on my back and wave at you? Come on! You know it takes me a good minute or so to roll over. Feed me. FEED ME, YOU EVIL WOMAN.]

I wonder if I can squeeze in another sick day. What are they going to do, fire me?

Monday, April 19, 2010


Hung over. It hurts to type. Going back to bed.

[Note to self: absinthe cocktails = bad idea, even for a birthday.]

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The secret blog of Ruby White

I am banking on the fact that my parents will never find this website. Dad would insist on guest blogging. Things I Will Be Lecturing You On In The Near Future, by Charles White, covering such scintillating topics as:

  • Why Tea Is A Drink, Not A Meal;

  • Why Do Women Insist On Wearing Those Puffy Sleeved Tops At The Moment (You All Look Ridiculous); and

  • Why Engineering Students Should Not Be Left Unsupervised At Any Time.

Fascinating. I can hear the reader numbers dropping from here. Anise, in fact, is the only person who knows about this blog, and she has promised to keep it a secret from her staff (especially Jonathan), as well as her scary sister Siobhan, upon pain of death*. Anise also doesn't have a computer, so there goes her chance to post sarcastic comments. "I prefer my sarcasm to be made in person," she is now saying from the corner chair. Touché. So there we have it: as long as nobody we know finds this page, we'll be good to go.

Must run and buy Ani a birthday cocktail, although her actual birthday isn't for a week or so. Rumour has it that the abandoned butcher's shop next to the florist on Hurt Street turns into a club after sun-down on Sundays. Will let you know how we get on.

*Read: being made to watch You've Got Mail again.