25 June 2009

About Australian Political Scandals

One might be tempted to describe his death as ‘untimely’…unless, that is, one has an over-active imagination that favors conspiracy theories.

Although Australian political scandals are not especially scandalous, they are remarkably entertaining. The persons involved clamber over each other to gain access to the nation’s top journalists so that they may hurl colorful epithets, each demanding the resignation of the others. Parliamentary sessions devolve into flurry of posturing and squawking that more resembles a flock of sea gulls bickering over a bag of soggy chips than any form of actual governance. The coverage of these scandals usually drag on ad nauseum for weeks until someone actually does resign, or until some other more exciting news story bumps the scandal out of the limelight.

I won’t bore you with the details of the current scandal (dubbed ‘OzCar’ by the media, or alternatively “Ute Gate” by traditionalists who clearly believe any proper political scandal must pay homage to the grand-daddy of all political scandals), because, well, they are boring – no stained dresses or pain killer addictions or duck islands. At the center of the maelstrom is a very sorry looking accountant with the incredibly unfortunate, but amazingly appropriate moniker Godwin Grech.

Whatever the details of who gave whom a new truck in exchange for favorable consideration, or who fabricated an email, or who leaked it to the media, one thing is clear: poor Godwin Grech is going to take the fall.

Unless, of course, some other totally outrageous and enthralling news story should happen to crop up and dominate every spare second of media coverage to the exclusion of all accusations and allegations…something big, like oh say, three weeks of hyped-up coverage of candle light vigils, sobbing fans in sparkly gloves tossing long stem white roses onto the steps of the Capitol Records Building, and endless career retrospectives curiously devoid of the mention of plastic surgery, child molestation, and Priscilla Presley.

Now, I am not saying that Mr. Grech actually engineered a cardiac arrest from 7,000 miles away as a mere diversion, but the coincidence of timing is as auspicious as it is suspicious. If I were the Prime Minister, I would call for an inquiry immediately.

20 June 2009

Blogger's Guilt

...not to be confused with Blogger's Remorse - which can be effectively treated with a quick click of the delete button.

I am actively fighting off a bad case of Blogger's Guilt. I know I cause disappointment when I do not post with a reasonable degree of frequency. However, feeling guilt over something I am NOT doing seems a waste of time. Guilt should be reserved for colossally naughty deeds and not squandered on mere inaction. And even then, I don't really endorse guilt as an emotion worth indulging. I am so grateful that I never really took to my Catholic roots - save for my love of gruesome Christian art work and badly animated Jesus Gifs...and my new found adoration of Kung Fu Jesus Clips on You Tube.

I am sorely tempted to offer excuses and apologies for having not posted lately - but I cringe when I read posts like that on other blogs. Although I write primarily because I enjoy it, blogging is a labor of love, a gift I choose to share - and until I am under contract with paychecks and deadlines, I shouldn't feel the need to rationalize or explain that my attentions have been fully employed in other pursuits that have left no time or energy for witty commentary or that and three weeks of shitty rainy weather and painfully short daylight hours have sapped any energy reserves that have not been spent working, commuting, bathing, and keeping myself fed.

I've taken to writing notes to remind myself of topics which require my blogging attention, but they are becoming increasingly cryptic as the spark of inspiration fades over time, that and many of them are written in a drunken scrawl for example: "noise sharing? compare/contrast with carbon trading and what about lab rats for cows?"

If anyone can offer up some insight as to what I had in mind there, I promise to write it up...as soon as I get around to it.

07 June 2009

Cinema du Tissue

I don’t go to the movies very often, so when I do it is kind of a big deal. I like to get dressed up and put on some make-up, which is really stupid because I pretty much cry it all off long before the opening credits are finished. I don’t know what it is about being in a darkened theater with reclining seats and enormous sound quality that activates my parasympathetic nervous system, but I routinely weep like a widow through entire movies (which was absolutely exhausting during the three hours and seventeen minutes of Titanic).

It matters not in the least which movie I am watching: romance, comedy, action/adventure – if porno films were screened in Dolby Digital Surround Sound, I have no doubt that every cum shot would send me into spasms of lacrimation. Of course, if there is some sort of emotional draw card associated with the production, then I am likely to be a complete snot-covered mess by the time I leave the theater…which was exactly the case when we saw the new Start Trek movie this weekend.

It was a shock to my delicate system to look back on 41 years of intimacy with a collection of fictional characters, to all-at-once feel the emotional impact that a television show has had on my life. Mind you, I am not one of those insane trekkies (although at one point I was a member of the fan club and I did once attend a convention, however I did NOT dress in character – but if I had, I would have liked to have been that green lady that dances in the end credits) who knows how to speak Klingonese and can recite the technical specifications of the matter/anti-matter reactor…but I am a fan. The episodes of the original series are tangibly interwoven throughout the epochs of my own life, so much so that watching the prequel genuinely felt like catching up with old friends (except that I was drinking a bottle of Pinot Grigio while they were battling Romulans).

The power of any form of media is that it can make you feel things that are not really happening to you – like plunging into an icy ocean or destroying the Death Star. Still, I was somewhat taken aback to realize that I experience very real affection and attachment towards fictitious people. It makes me question the strength of my ability to detach reality from fantasy and wonder how easily I could become one of those sad people who send love letters to Paramount Pictures addressed to “My Beloved Dr Spock”.

So why do I cry in movie theaters? Is it for the same reasons I cry in churches? I don't cry (nearly as much) when I watch movies at home - although I do frequently cry on the bus for no apparent reason...and sometimes in the middle of yoga class...but rarely at times when it might prove useful, like getting pulled over by the police...

06 June 2009

Ticket of Leave

On Friday, we received notification from the Department of Immigration that our application for permanent residency has been approved. We now hold the Australian equivalent of a green-card.

FAQ: Does this mean you are going to stay in Australia permanently?

A: What am I, psychic?

Considering my vision of my future never featured living in Australia in the first place, I am hardly in a position to make predictions about destiny.

The primary advantage of holding permanent residency - versus the employer-sponsored work visa on which we have been living - is freedom. For the last two and a half years, we have lived with the looming worry that if Kevin should lose his job, we would have a mere 28 days to scramble ourselves off of this remote island continent. Not such a worry, really, but there is some security in knowing our deportation would now require a discretionary hearing.

What IS a worry is that Kevin is now at liberty to go to work for another employer - crazy coincidence that a head-hunter called him on Friday morning with his dream job: running the business systems for a large winery in Adelaide. However, he has assured me that he is quite happy in his current situation and has no intentions of telling his boss to get stuffed...yet. More importantly, my own right to work is no longer tied to Kevin's visa. As he pointed out, I am now free to divorce him and still keep my job...was he giving me a hint?

Best of all, moving onto PR visa gives us access to the thrilling world of socialized medicine. And, in 18 months, we will be eligible to become dole bludgers! We also now have the right to buy property, and Kevin has already presented me with a list of small vineyards in Southern Australia. Then he turned to me and said:

"Now that I have PR, all I want to do is go home."

Some days I shake my head so much I swear it is going to snap clean off my neck.