Hessian sack

One of the phrases that I picked up shortly after moving to Australia to study medicine was “She’s so cute she’s look good in a Hessian sack” (which one of my female friends used to describe one of her younger and at that stage thinner friends).

This summer I find myself constantly reminded of that saying, not because all the girls are cute (although I suppose you see a few good looking ones around), but rather because the current fashions seem hell bent on testing the notion by producing garments that are only a small technicality away from being actual honest to god real life hessian skirts and tops. They are seriously ugly and completely unflattering to every person I’ve seen them on and yet like hamsters to a cliff edge young girls are all over the place in them because they’re “the new thing”.

Now whatever my views are on moronic consumer sheep behavior I think the main point which has been shown is that the adage is clearly false, as I don’t believe that I have seen anyone (no matter how cute they may be) who has actually managed to look anything other than foolish in those particular variants of hessian sacks.

Huge pet hate

Having come back from 6 weeks in New Zealand, and being re-acclimatised to their enlightened approach to eftpos I find myself repeatedly wanting to physically punch retailers in the mouth when I got to pay for something with eftpos and they turn around and say “Oh, sorry, $10 minimum on eftpos”. Seriously. Are they institutionally retarded? Are they under some illusion that they are stuck in 1987? I even get it in large shopping centres where surely all their eftpos transactions are not going through a phone line but via the centre’s broadband internet connection (and thus removes any concern about the cost of the call to dial into the eftpos system).

And then they turn around and say “How about just adding <insert some $2-3 item I didn’t want (otherwise I would have bought it to the counter with me) > to make $10”.

Increasingly I look at them as though they have a giant moron stick poking out of theirforeheads, tell them to get stuffed, and walk out without buying anything. They either want my custom or they don’t and I’m sure they can afford to factor in the 20cents worth of call to eftpos if they realise that a $7 purchase is still a $7 purchase, and if they treat me well I’ll most probably come back in the future (because like most males I’m a terrible creature of habit, and will in future go straight back to places I know and which have treated me well (and conversely never again frequent places that treat me with rudeness or disdain)), and spend (often a lot) more there next time.

The whole thing is absurd, insulting and counter-productive, and all around puts my blood pressure and my hackles up, when I know it’s not necessary, because other countries do fine without it.

Have patience my son

Even for me, who is usually pretty good at taking the long view (reference how long it took me to get into med), this has been quite an effort.

Last year I decided that I wanted a digital SLR.

I wanted a Canon.

I liked the 30D, which had been out for a year or so but there were a few features that it didn’t have that I wanted (Dust reduction being the prime one). They’ll release a successor with that feature soon I thought to myself. Won’t they? Surely??

Almost 15 months of “maybe they’ll release it soon” later they’ve finally released the 40D, which has all the extra features I wanted, plus several that I wasn’t looking for, but which were cool anyway.

Now all I have to do is figure when is going to be the best time to buy one (duty free in NZ maybe?).

Stubbornness wins again!

Surely that’s a little early

A few weeks back (ie mid september) Simone and I were out shopping in what is a fairly major department store, and were frankly bewildered to walk through one section of the store and see shop assistants scurrying about unpacking boxes of christmas decorations, merchandise and associated paraphenalia.

Christmas isn’t for 3 months!!! Surely people don’t need that much time to get their stuff together?

It just reinforces my cynicism (there I go using that word again) about the commercial nature of yet another holiday. And it seems to be getting earlier and more pervasive each year.

Stupid shopping

Yesterday I went shopping for clothes.

I have some jeans that, now that I think about it, are probably the better part of 4 years old, and are starting to look it too (as does much of my casual wardrobe).

Now I usually dislike clothes shopping anyway (there are so few clothes shops that cater to my tastes, and designers seem to asume that if you are as broad in the shoulders as I am, then your arms are a foot longer than mine are), and as I discussed with one of my friends a few weeks ago, when I go shopping I have the other problem of not really wanting to look for anything new, but merely wanting to find a replacement for the item which has just worn out. If it’s worn out it’s usually because I like it and have used it a lot.
So going shopping yesterday was dumb. Not only do they not have a replacement for my old jeans, but the current trend in jeans seems to be to sell you new jeans (at new jeans prices) that look like old jeans, with designer holes and scratches and wrinkles in the fabric.

To me this seems a bit stupid. If I wanted old and fashionably beat up jeans… well I’ve got them already. They’re what I’m trying to replace. If I buy new jeans I want them to look nice…. and, heaven forbid… new.

The concept of winter

I found it interesting the other day driving through brisbane and seeing several billboards advertising winter fashion collections for various places.

Whoever the advertising companies were that did those campaigns, their staff obviously never venture outside (or are never allowed outside, or are all gimps, or something), because the billboards sported pictures of beautiful women wrapped up in heavy coats and fake furs, all happily frolicking in snow under wintery gray skies.

Now I don’t recall when we last had genuinely winterish gray skies for more than an hour here, let alone when the last time it snowed in Brisbane (if it ever has…), and as for wrapping up in jackets and furs, well, it’s fine if you’re trying to loose weight in one of those bizarre “You can sweat yourself thin!!!” infomercial schemes, but otherwise generally a little superfluous.

Just another example of consumerism gone mad, when the concept of what winter should be takes precident over what winter actually is.

An end to stationary

As I was shopping for filing cabinet folders today I realised that graduating has (temporarily at least) negated another of my bizarrely favorite activities: shopping for stationary.

These days whenever a drug or equipment rep wants to sell us something to us they give us pens, notepads, rulers, calculators, more pens.. well you get the idea, so shopping for stationary becomes a little unnecessary. On the one hand this is good, because I should be spending my pay on paying off my credit card anyway, and besides, I don’t really have the free time any more to be randomly perusing stationary stores, but I did always find it a strangely satisfying looking at the dizzying array of colours and shapes that the pen isle offered up.

But money can buy you happiness

Now everyone knows the old saying that money cannot buy you happiness, but at the moment at least I disagree with that.

With my first pay I went out and bought a fedora hat, which I have wanted for quite some time, and the first season of Deep Space 9 on DVD, which I have been happily watching.
Frankly it’s just nice to be in the situation for the first time in many years of being able to say “I want that” and just getting it, rather than having to wait, save or find justification for buying yourself treats.

The cat and the hat

Today has been an excellent day. Having been paid for the first time earlier this week, and having cleared all my immediately important bills, I decided to do some shopping.

First I found a bottle shop which sells Monteith’s Summer ale, which is a spectacularly good New Zealand beer, and so I bought a dozen (which true to Simone’s predictions at the time of purchase is almost certainly not going to be enough).

Then on into the city where I bought a fedora style hat, on the principle that I have long wanted one, and I should buy something lasting and memorable with my first pay packet. I’m eagerly looking forward to having an opportunity to wear it somewhere, and when I get a good photo of me in it I’ll post it on the site.

Then, after weeks of discussion and anticipation we took a trip out to the RSPCA and found a new family member, namely Jack, a 9 week old male tabby cat with enormous paws. Much more will no doubt be said about Jack on this blog as he become part of the family.

Orange Cheese

Being the fervent cheese-ivore that I am, I’m finding it quite strange in South Africa, because they don’t seem to make much cheese domestically, and certainly not much good cheese (I’ve already purchased a few small blocks which I’ve eaten one or two slices from and then gone “Bluck!!!” and thrown the remainder in the rubbish). In addition to the quality, much of their cheese is this quite vibrant orange color, and being used to creamy-yellow cheese it is quite odd seeing these deeply orange cheeses.