Digital ravings of an analog girl

         Shoes and the meaning of life.

February 11, 2010

Big ups to Woosh!

Woosh customer support now answers their phone with ‘Hello Ritsa, what can I help you with today?

I finally caved last week and got a broadband connection at home.  After extensive research (which is quite difficult with a dial-up connection) I chose the folks at Woosh.  Woosh seemed quite happy to have won a new customer.  I bet they’re sorry now…

The lovely Maria* from their sales centre welcomed me to the programme, and assured me that I would be able to install the ADSL router and set up my connection myself.  ‘Errr no, Maria.’ I protested.  ‘My online moniker is technebish for good reason’. (N.B. Nebish is a Yiddish word referring to a person who is awkward, ineffectual, a bit of a dope). ‘No worries,’ said the lovely Maria, ‘if you run into problems, just call customer support and they’ll talk you through it in 10 minutes.’  Famous last words…

After laying out all the contents of the router box, I proceeded to read the instructions all the way through.  They may as well have been in Swahili for all I comprehended.  I tried in vain to match up the dozens of cables and widgets with the ‘items in this box’ diagram.  I still had 4 bits left over that I could not classify.  Oh dear…

Anyway, it took 4 rather long and painful calls to the Woosh customer support line, to get me online… during which I was heard to utter such gems as ‘so is the ethernet cable the one with the squidgy end or the angled end?’ and ‘is that the hole with the drawing of  cactus above it?’  Total phone time was about 80 minutes, of which 65 minutes was me asking idiotic questions.  Through it all, the 3 customer support operators I spoke to were patient, polite, …well… saints really.  Snaps for you Woosh customer support.

At the end of the process, I still have 3 cables and 2 dangly bits left over.   However, I can now carry my laptop around the house and get online from any room.  I could be typing this while sitting on the toilet (I’m not, but I might be next time).

*Maria’s name has been changed to protect her from the murderous wrath of her colleagues in customer support.

December 7, 2009

The poodle perm

Filed under: Pure stupidity @ 2:18 pm
Tags: , , ,

“Get a perm!” whispered the little Hispanic voice in my head.

I was suprised.  I thought your alter ego was supposed to be your polar opposite.  I imagined mine would be a pasty, skinny, uptight, English, insurance adjuster who would advise me to “Get a mutual fund!”*

A perm is something I would totally get!  In fact, I had done… in 1987.  Back then, I had the fluffiest, wildest collection of kinks, spirals and zig-zags on my head.  …And I was cool, beyond belief.  So when Mexi-Ritsa suggested I “Get a perm”, I listened. 

I started off by getting a ‘Get A Perm’ t-shirt.  Yes, it’s the wrong way round, but life is uncertain, you should eat dessert first.  (You know you want one of those t-shirts!  You can get one here.) 

Then the fateful day arrived.  It was last Friday, and I sandwiched getting a perm in between a morning of contract work, and my first date with the Ministry of Economic Development (I am dating the Government, you see).

Once the rollers were unfurled, my hair fell into cute wet red-blonde spirals.  It was like looking straight back at 1987 (+ 22 years and 22 kilos).  As I was short of time, I rushed out of the salon, my hair still wet, and headed to my date.  My date went well, and coffee extended to joining the crew for Friday night drinks.  They were a really friendly happy bunch who spent a good deal of time laughing and joking.  I was in my element. 

It was only when I headed to my car, that I caught sight of my reflection in a shop window.  I say my reflection – actually, I didn’t realise it was me – I thought it was Ronald McDonald… in drag.

Yes, my perm had bleached my hair to a bright orange, and the soft wet ringlets had dried into a frizzy white-girl afro.  It was not good. Not good at all.

Now I have a dilemma… I would like a contract with the MED, but I’m not sure I want to work at a place that would offer Ronald McDonald (in drag) work.  Sigh…

P.S. I have since dyed my hair back to dark brown… And, no, MED never called me back.

 P.P.S. If you’re from overseas, or are one of those Kiwi freaks who don’t own a television, you won’t understand my ‘get a perm’ reference.  All will be explained here.  

* I don’t actually know what a mutual fund is, therefore I have no idea whether I want one.

October 27, 2009

The gentlewoman and the Government…

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 5:08 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I’m now in my last short week of gainful employment.  I feel like I should be more panicked about my impending destitution, but I just can’t get upset or excited about it.  Unlike most successful career women (yes, I consider myself to be one), I’m not defined by my job.  Truthfully, I’m really looking forward to some unemployment.

But alas, this can not be a long term status.  Creditors and panicked family members are demanding to know what I’m going to do next.  So, I have a couple of options:

  1. Get me another job, or some overpaid contract work, that will return maximum income for moderate effort.
  2. Find me a filthy rich, sugar-daddy who will keep me as his mistress, in exchange for appearing at his side in a low-cut dress at special occasions and the odd sexual favour (I mean occassional sexual favour, but if he likes odd ones, I guess I could do that too).

Man wearing money sign.

My search for a candidate for option 2 has been quite fruitless so far.  There have been a few gentlemen proposed by well meaning friends and colleagues, but I think they fail to understand the extent and importance of the ‘filthy rich’ requirement.  Although I would make a excellent mistress, I am not for the faint-walleted.

So, it looks like option 1 will have to be the goer.  For this reason, I find myself dating the Government.  Yes, the Government.

The Government is a somewhat timid lover.  Always open to meeting up; always pays for the date; always enthusiastic; very interested in me and what I think; says and does all the right things… but oh so slowly! 

Every move the Government makes, has to be checked and counter-checked by the Powers That Be.  I’d really like to date the Powers That Be, but the Government is also jealous and possessive, and won’t introduce me.

There have already been several dates with the Government, and so far, …nothin’!  Only loving gazes, compliments, and more dates.  When will we get to hand holding, necking, …closing the deal!  Maybe the Government is just a tease…

Yep, I’m getting a fair idea of what being in a relationship with the Government will be like…

October 2, 2009

Of epiphanies and metamorphosis…

Bridget Riley's Metamorphosis
Bridget Riley’s Metamorphosis

A couple of weeks ago, I had an epiphany. 

I have a fantastic job, that pays well, with a great company, a team I like, fancy offices, substantial freedom to pursue what I think is relevant, budget to spend and the power to get what I want due to the company’s high profile. 

My epiphany was that I don’t enjoy my job.

I don’t know why I didn’t realise this before.  I have felt an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with my work for some time now, but I kept going, thinking it was just a phase.  So the realisation that I don’t like my fantastic job hit me like a bolt of lightening.  I was suprised… I’m a bit thick sometimes. 

So what did I do? 

I quit.  Yup.  Immediately.  In fact I barely made it through our Monday morning WIP before blurting it out to my boss and then my team.  Everyone was suprised, because … well… see paragraph 1.

So there’s been some introspection on my part lately (that’s why I’ve been quiet).  Why don’t I like my fantastic job?  Why this compulsion to be done with it quickly?  Why did I feel so fantastic as soon as I made the decision to leave?  Why am I enjoying my job so much now that the end is in sight?

I guess part of the answer is my long standing love affair with change.  I love changing jobs, moving house, moving countries, changing lovers (well… who doesn’t like a new lover, right?) 

The itch to change something, anything, usually starts with a change in my appearance.  My hairstyle changes more often that the guard at Buckingham Palace. If I change my hair colour or style, it usually means curtains for my job… or my boyfriend… or both.

I don’t have the answers.  I’m afraid all my forays into introspection lead to more questions.  I should just give introspection a miss, and accept that new stuff, and starting again makes me happy. 

And chocolate.  Chocolate makes me happy too.

September 10, 2009

Make this woman laugh why dontcha!

Filed under: Pure stupidity @ 3:14 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Laughning woman

It was via a tweet from @anne0208 that I ended up at a website promoting the book ‘Make Women Laugh’.  The author, one Martin Merrill proclaims:

“Finally Revealed! Closely Guarded Secrets
Of Attracting Beautiful Women By Making
Them Laugh… 100% Guaranteed!”

Wow! I thought.  100% guaranteed!  Excellent!  I myself had listed ‘being funny’ as tip #2 in 10 sure-fire tips for getting laid (one of the most read posts on this blog, but strangely, no comments…).  So I proceeded to read through the page, waiting to be amazed and amused.

I have to say, this is one of the least amusing promo pages I’ve ever visited.  It’s ironic that Martin Merrill is promoting a product that claims to work solely via the use of humour, using the most dour, trite testimonials ever. (Martin, the words ‘ironic’ and ‘humour’ are hyperlinked to their definitions for your benefit.)  

Making women laugh is a science.

Yup, the website claims making women laugh is a step-by-step, scientific process, that guarrantees the said woman will then date/sleep fall in love with you.  Clearly, none of the steps were applied here.

There are numerous named testimonials from satisfied readers promoted here – even one from a (alleged) stand up comedian!  Still, not able to raise even a titter between them.

If that doesn’t raise alarm bells for would-be purchasers, then surely the ‘Limited time offer’ of ordering this book for a mere US$47, you’ll get another 6 books, worth US$201.75 absolutely free! (of course, Mr Merrill’s adding is a bit off as he quotes the figure as ‘over $204.7’).

Reminds me of the dude at the Porsche dealership who ran a buy one, get one free campaign.  Now, that was funny! (even though it didn’t really happen).

August 28, 2009

Old MacDonald Had A Farm…


On Wednesday I attended a couple of sessions at a Rural Marketing conference – not because I’m interested in marketing to rural folk, but because those sessions were about online marketing (at least that’s what it said in the brochure).

The sessions in question were to be given by a guy from the Met Service, who I think do a great job with some of their online products.  I was looking forward to an informative and interesting presentation…

Alas, it was not to be…  The conference organisers had spent most of the 2-day conference trying to break down the stereotype of the hay-chewing, gumboot-wearing, slightly dim farmer.  The dude from the Met Service had clearly not taken this on. 

He treated us to pearls of wisdom like :

  • Advertise on the Met Service Rural site, because that gets the most traffic…
  • …although actually, most farmers don’t know how to use the internet, so you should really spend your money in print or TV (this from a guy who was giving an online marketing talk!)
  • …but if you insist on doing online marketing, just take your print ad and bang it up online… on the Met Service Rural site – because it gets the most traffic…
  • Put a cow or other farm animal in your online marketing because that’s what will get the farmer’s attention… (at this stage I was looking down and thought I had mis-heard, so I looked up… and sure enough there it was on his powerpoint slide: ‘Picture of cow or other farm animal’
  • Keep it simple (presumably because the farmer is a bit thick and can’t read long words…)
  • …oh and advertise on the Met Service Rural website because it gets the most traffic…

Met Service dude then proceeded to show us an example of a successful banner they had put on their site (for just five grand!).  It was flouro yellow and flashed the lucky draw message so fast, I’m shocked no-one in the audience had an epileptic fit!

I was comped to this conference, but I assume that at least some of the people there had paid $1495 + GST to attend and listen to this condescending drivel.  Lucky for Met Service guy, the room was packed with marketers instead of farmers.  If there had been any farmers there I’m pretty sure they would have taken him out into the carpark and kicked his head in…

Poor show Brightstar!  Surely you have some responsibility for the calibre of the speakers at your conferences…

August 25, 2009

Night 4 – The Jolly Roger…


Thanks to my friend Paul, for suggesting that what I need to aid peaceful sleep is a jolly good rogering.

Of course, this is a course of action I have tried occassionally, and I have found it partially successful.  The caveats are (there’s always a ‘but’ right?): that the rogering does actually have to be jolly good – I mean for me – it doesn’t really make any difference to my sleep patterns if my rogering partner has a good time or not; and the rogerer (that’s not me, I’m the rogeree in this case) must put in  the alloted 10 minutes of cuddle time afterwards and then steal silently out of the room.

I don’t know anyone like that.  My past experience (not statistically significant, but enough for anecdotal evidence) suggests that the rogerer is snoring away long before the allotted 10 minutes is up.

This keeps me awake.

August 21, 2009

Night 1 – Nightmare on Calm Street…

Yesterday, my mate @Mangetout suggested I try listening to a podcast to try and get some sleep.  It’s something I haven’t tried yet – so I downloaded what I thought would be the most sleep inducing podcast – Jack Boyer does the Best Accounting Practices greatests hits (not treally what it’s called, but I’d suggest they change the name to that.) 


My short preview (pre-listen) suggested that Jack’s melodiously monotonous tone and the frankly… well… un-fascinating subject matter might just do the trick.  I downloaded the whole lot onto my iPod and prepared to slumber.

By about minute 36, I was bored, but sadly still alert, and in possession of a great deal of information about automated banking reconciliation and activity based costing.

I listened to the whole lot twice through, and sometime after 2am, I nodded off.  Success! I hear you cheer! Ummm…. Well not exactly.  You see, I’m not sure how long I slept for, but I did sleep long and deep enough to have horrifying double-entry-book-keeping dreams, and wake up in a cold sweat at 5am believeing I was a chartered accountant.  The Horror!  The Horror!

I had previously thought quantity of sleep was my problem, but this incident has shown me that quality is also a factor.

However, I’m not quite ready to give up on the podcast idea, so tonight I plan to listen to something I find interesting and pleasant and see how that goes for me. 

Keep your suggestions coming.  Remember, I’ll try anything…

August 20, 2009

…Of sleeplessness and surrender…

Firstly, let me apologise to those of you who have come here expecting light-hearted wit or an expose of some embarrassing exploit.  I ain’t got nothin’ for you tonight.  Tonight, I am tired. 
All my favourite paintings depict sleeping

All my favourite paintings depict sleeping

It’s because I haven’t slept much lately. This is not unusual.  I have suffered with chronic insomnia periodically since my childhood and almost constantly for the last 12 years.  It wears you out.

I can not convey to you in words the depths of my obsession with sleep.  If I could get a decent run of sleep, I’d dream about sleeping.  If Johnny Depp knelt before me, and offered me eternal love, or a solid 8 hours of kip every night for a week, I’d be off for my first unbroken snooze right now.  If he threw in a big fat diamond and a large house in the South of France, made of dark chocolate, I’d hesitate… then head off for my first snooze.

Sleeplessness has become a feature of my everyday life.  Mostly I manage it – just spend the allotted time in bed pretending to sleep (fake it till you make it).  Pretending to sleep is almost as good as real sleeping actually.  I find this true of many things in life.

But sometimes, as for this past week, I have a particularly bad run where even faking it seems impossible.  That’s when I start doing stuff like cleaning my house in the middle of the night (complete waste of time, I always have to re-clean the next day, and I can never find the stuff I’ve ‘tidied away’), writing odes to my belly button, or insomnia-dialling my ex (it’s just like drunk-dialling, but unfortunately you remember it the next day).  I have made sure that I do not have his phone number electronically programmed anywhere, so I have to dial by hand.  Most of the time, this results in me waking some poor unsuspecting resident of Southern California at 5am.  Much preferable to actually speaking to the ex…

It’s ironic that I call my ex when I’m sleep deprived, as it was in this state that he convinced me it would be a good idea to get married.  He had spent months trying to talk me into it, but I was very staunch.  A pairing between him and me, was unthinkable; stupid; a disaster waiting to happen. 

So it was while I was in an unthinking, stupid state that I agreed to allow the disaster to happen.  In essence, I surrendered.  Not something I do often.  I am stubborn, and a control freak.  And thus far, surrender has not worked out that well for me.

But tonight I’m desperate, and I’m willing to surrender to any experimental treatment to help me sleep.  Go ahead, I’ll try anything I haven’t already tried (caveat – I’ve tried a LOT of stuff).  Give it your best shot – I’ll report the results.

Oh and Johnny, in case you’re reading, I’m particularly open to any suggestions you have…

July 29, 2009

The secret handshake for the mile high club

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 7:37 pm
Is this man getting a bit of afternoon delight?

Is this man getting a bit of afternoon delight?

A couple of weeks ago, right after I had strained my muscles and my dignity trying pole dancing, I met my friend John* for dinner.  John was visiting from Perth, and I had not seen him for a good 10 years, so we had a lot of catching up to do.

Over a wine or seven we traversed each other’s lives.  Then, just as the big purple pole dancing bruise began to flourish on my right thigh, John leaned forward and whispered “Do you know about the foot nudge thing on planes?”  The conversation went something like this:

John: Do you know about the foot nudge thing on planes?

Me: Err… no.  What’s that?

J: You know, when the person next to you nudges your foot.

M: Nope. What thing?

J: Well, when someone nudges your foot on a plane, if you nudge back, it’s all on.

Me: (Trying to appear urbane and well travelled) What’s all on?

J: You know, you’re on for some groping under the blankets…

M: Oh shut up! You are not!

J: No really!  Happens all the time!

 Anyway, more incredulous exclamations ensued (blah, blah).  The upshot of it is that this has happenned to John several times.  In a row. Lately.

So, how does it work?

Well, a woman, usually aged 35 – 55 finds herself sitting next to John (or presumably any well-dressed handsome man of mid-to-late 40s) on a long-haul flight.  They exchange introductory pleasantries that make it clear there will not be constant chatter during the several hours of the flight.

Sometime after the meal is served, the two parties involved settle in with their respective blankets and try to nod off.  Once the man’s eyes are closed, he will feel a light nudge from the woman’s foot – light enough that it could have been an accident.  Up until this point, it all seems fairly familiar to me.  Here’s where it gets weird… and dirty…

Instead of moving his foot away from the accidental nudge, the man leaves it where it is and maybe even nudges back.  Then one or all of the following ensues. 

  • Woman’s foot begins to rub up and down man’s foot and ankle. 
  • Man reciprocates.
  • Woman casually turns on her side so that her breast rubs against man’s arm.
  • Woman’s hand steals under the man’s blanket and strokes his thigh/cups his balls/plays with the family jewels.
  • Man reciprocates. May also fondle breasts, pinch thighs, whatever…

The ettiquette of this encounter…

As with any social interactions, there is ettiquette.  So, here are the rules according to John:

  • Fly economy.  All you lucky sods that fly business or first class won’t get to experience this.  It’s just too hard to reach across the divide.  I’m sure you’ll be inconsolable…
  • Under no circumstances should you open your eyes, move or make any noise during the encounter.  It is imperative that you pretend this is not happenning.
  • Afterwards, pretend it didn’t happen.
  • Don’t be put off if your mile-high handshake partner is with their spouse.  John tells me that he once did this with a woman who’s husband was sitting on her other side. The chance that his wandering hand may have encountered the husband’s hand on the woman’s thigh only added to the dirtyness and excitement.
  • This encounter does not have to lead to what is usually the natural conclusion of this act.  In fact, according to John, it usually doesn’t.  However, I can’t imagine trying to get off a plane doubled over with blue balls.  I wonder if that would set off the heat sensors that detect swine flu?  John?

 I am both amused and miffed about this. 

Firstly I’m amused as I think this is the kind of thing that the readers of Penthouse write in letters to the editor (or in reality, the editor writes in letters to the editor).  Has this really been going on all this time?

Secondly, I’m miffed, because I once flew from Hong Kong to Brisbane sitting next to the cutest German chef who could not keep his feet to his side of the barrier.  I kept moving my feet out of the way (he had really big feet, so I figured he needed the room).  Damn!

Anyone else heard of this?

*John is a handy generic name to disguise my friend’s identity.  Shame it’s also his real name…

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