Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Webinar - the neologism I love to hate

Yes I KNOW English is a dynamic and evolving language, but there are some words that I truly hope will not withstand the rigours of natural selection. My current pet hate is webinar.

Webinar? Holy crap, who thought that sounded catchy and worthy of a place in the dictionary? It even looks stupid, and the sound of it makes my ears bleed. It’s an ugly word and it’s stuck in my head. It refuses to go away; a nasty persistent little ear-worm that makes me want to scream. It’s more persistent than the “Wimmaway” bit of The Lion Sleeps Tonight, which was previously the most annoying ear-worm I’ve ever had.

For anybody who’s been living in a hole underground for the past few years, a webinar is a web-based seminar. Saying three syllables is so much more oxygen-efficient than five, which is obviously why the word was invented. If you say webinar ten times in a row you will have saved yourself 20 syllables. For that you can have a free supercalafragilisticexpialidocius and still be one syllable ahead. Big fat monosyllabic deal.

You save yourself 10 keystrokes every time you type webinar instead of web-based seminar – so perhaps for anybody who is likely to type the term a hundred times a day it may increase their productivity, as well as the length of time they have before they develop RSI. They know who they are - those idiots who keep sending me emails inviting me to bloody webinars. Hey, you people – guess what? I just delete them! To me, the word webinar is like a Call to Delete.

Why do I hate webinar so much? I love inventing words, after all. You’d think I would applaud neologisms. Here’s a secret – I only like them when they’re a bit creative. I think webinar sounds cheap and nasty, slick and lazy. It drums up images of sombre-suited, brylcreemed men with five o’clock shadows and a cheesy, unoriginal pick-up line. It’s the “do you come here often?” of neologisms. Yuk.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Let the Adventures Begin...

So yesterday I went to the bike shed and sat on the Bomber. Extremely becoming in shorts and a t-shirt, lily-white legs and my bike boots. I needed to see how they felt (the boots, not my lily-white legs). They felt so good that I watered the garden in them afterwards, but I digress.

In the shed, I moved the Bomber back and forth. I tried holding up the stationary motorcycle with the left leg and then the right. Both were fine.

So last night, feeling brave, I phoned the Ancient Submariner.

"I reckon I'll be ok to have a little ride tomorrow," I said. "Will you come with me?"

Long story cut short - getting the Bomber out of the shed and down the Driveway From Hell this morning was really scary, but by the time I got to the end of my street I already felt more confident.

And then the feeling just grew!

After riding just a smidge under 300kms today, in gorgeous autumn weather, I think I can say I'M BACK! My foot was fine, my bum was sore, my soul was nourished. What a beautiful day! The autumn leaves that had fallen on the road just danced in the wake of the Ancient Submariner's wheels - it was so pretty! As for the beautiful autumnal scents... they didn't quite overwhelm the aroma of roadkill - crikey, so many dead roos.

And then this arv, Boomerang Boy moved back in, a week early! It's been an eventful day!

Boomerang Boy is my 25 year-old son. He is called Boomerang Boy because he just keeps coming back.

Having a "child" move home is always a bit fraught. You can't possibly fall back into the mother-child routine (shudder) after they've been living independently - and geez, why the heck would you want to anyway? I think it'll be great having BB here as a housemate, instead of getting a boarder who's a total stranger, and I'm sure we'll have some adventures. As long as we don't end up trying to kill each other.

Here's a funny thing: when BB was much younger he started playing rugby. I knew nothing about rugby and it scared me half to death (those necks, those spines, those impacts - those potential medical disasters - eeek!) But I faithfully went to BB's games because - well, because I guess I was trying to be a good parent??? Anyway... I still don't understand rugby. But I think it was probably good that I sat through those games, freezing my arse off and feeling like a complete numpty. I'm sure BB and I are closer as a result.

Actually, I'm not sure at all. But I'm glad I went anyway. Watching rugby wth BB and tryihng to make sense of it all, I fell in love with John Eales, the God of Rugby, and did a lot of drooling over late-night World Rugby Cup matches for a couple of years.

So anyway - since I started riding, and going to Phillip Island to watch motoGP, I've learned that BB is a fan of motoGP! From where I'm standing it seems like some kind of weird role reversal - BB is taking an interest in something I'm passionate about... I guess that means we'll be sitting up together late at night watching the races on telly - him cheering for Rossi, me cheering for Casey Stoner. Could be a giggle!

This has to be one of the weirdest mother-son bonding experiences, but I think it'll be an adventure. Of course, if BB decides he wants to learn to ride, I could be in strife - who the heck will look after the cats on my annual Phillip Island pilgrimage?

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Bikerbetty's (almost) back!

I'm so excited I can hardly type!

Yesterday's x-rays were good. Today I did cast off the moonboot and walk, and yea verily it did hurt a bit. Poo. The foot hath forgotten how to walk.

What was painful at 4pm, though, was no longer painful at 9pm. Watering the garden worked miracles. As did a minor mouse-project next door.

God it's nice to have good neighbours! Poor Maree has been terrorised by a mouse recently, and I've been offering to remove any meeces - but she has consistently declined (probably due to my crippled state. I bet she was worried that I couldn't outrun a mouse and I might drop dead from fright... LOL)

Tonight, though, back on two legs and only needing marginal support from a crutch, I went mouse-hunting at Maree's (she would do the same for me if the situation were reversed, with spiders instead of mice).


We could see where the mouse had been (how much POO can a single mouse produce in the course of an evening's frolics in a bag of dessicated coconut, for goodness' sake?) but there was no mouse. We re-laid baits in more "mouse-friendly" locations and I made Maree promise to call me if mousie should show his face again. I even offered the services of Oscar bin Laden, who sat at her front door yowling mournfully. Was he begging me to come home and give him some attention, or was he yowling death-threats at Maree's meeces? Who knows! He even did a cursory stalk through the house, with much sniffing and waving of the tail, (who knows what cats think?) before shepherding me home. That cat is SUCH a control-freak.

Actually, Oscar bin Laden despatched a mouse the night before last. He left the corpse by my bed (a love token, bless his little black heart!) Perhaps it was Maree's mouse, who knows?

Oh - but I am distracted by talk of vermin...

MY FOOT IS ALLEGEDLY BETTER! I've an appointment with a physio next Tuesday after work. I hope to learn how to make my foot do what it has been doing for the last 49 years without any trouble - and I hope to learn it quickly! I have a motorcycle that has been sitting patiently (and sadly, I'm sure) in the shed. We need to RIDE!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Jesus in a cushion?

I'm sure to be in trouble for this one.... an AAP item I read today:

Thousands flocked to a Roman Catholic church on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion on Saturday after believers said they saw the "face of Christ" in the pleats of a church cushion.

Church officials limited access to the Jesus-Misericordieux church in eastern Saint-Andre's Cambuston district to a few minutes per visitor as traffic in the area ground to a halt.

Believers and curious onlookers pulled out cameras to take pictures of the cushion attached to the priest's chair.

Now... I'm sorry, I have some problems with this. I can remember a time (probably back in the 70's) when the younger generation (that was me back then) used to sew patches over the holes in our jeans. These days they just wear the holes with pride. But anyway... I can remember someone in the US made the news for having a patch of the US flag sewn onto the arse of their jeans. It was a sign of disrespect to the flag and the nation, said detractors.

But somehow, the face of Jesus where a priest puts his bum is seen as a "miracle", and not absolute blasphemy? I'm not the least bit religious these days, but even I was sort of shocked (amidst chuckles and chortles and poorly-suppressed giggles).

I know priests get a lot of bad press these days for behaving badly - and yet nobody has picked this up and run with it? And will I go to hell because I can't help seeing something very Monty Pythonesque in all of this? (MP's Life of Brian and the MP Contractual Obligation album song which began with the words Sit on my face and tell me that you love me are going round and round in my head at the moment, and I'm almost hysterical!)

To be fair, I don't know whether the cushion was one to be sat upon, leaned against or knelt upon - but still... is that any way to treat Jesus?

Armed and Ready!

Bring on the spiders! I'm ready for them!

Look at this brilliant gadget I found at the Australian Geographic shop. A mere $24.95 is a tiny price to pay for such peace of mind.

The Spider Catcher is about 60cm long. The cone-shaped “spider” end is made of a circle of thick plastic bristles. The bristles are actuated by a sort of trigger device at the “people” end.

It even comes with a fake plastic spider that you can practise on. (A very small practice spider, I must say). I hope this gadget can handle something the size of the spidey-friends who invade my house. Ernestine had a body the size of a baby mouse, after all...

But anyway. I remain optimistic.

The fake spider has already given me seven kinds of heart attack because I keep forgetting where I put it, and every time I catch a glimpse of it I jump. Then I practise catching it.

This is how it works:

Giant spider comes into the house and breaks the Prime Directive (i.e., it gets within reach of Betty the Brave, nemesis of giant spiders).

Betty, armed with her gadget, whoops with delight and gently scoops the wriggling spider into the waiting bristles.

Here's a spider's-eye view:

So - spidey is gently and securely (I hope!) held in its prison of bristles. Like this:

It is then taken (at arm's length) out where it belongs, and liberated in the garden, where it will live a long and happy life (or be snapped up by a hungry bird. Nature's cruel like that.)

Betty runs for her life (note to self: wait till you can actually run again before attempting this!)

Muwahahahahaha! Never again will I cower as the spiders take over my house. Eight-legged Ernestines, Henrys and Maximilians of the world – look out!

Note: No real spiders were harmed during the creation of this post.

The Summer of my Discontent

It's over, hooray! The mornings and evenings have a chill to them; the air is crisper and clearer somehow; the leaves are beginning to turn and there's a scent of autumn on the air. It even rained yesterday!

'Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness' (thanks, Mr Keats!), autumn is a sort of last-ditch burst of splendour before the deathly chill of winter sets in, (get your leccie blankie on the bed by Anzac Day, folks!) It always makes me feel somehow renewed, though. Optimistic. I'm not a fan of summer in Canberra, and the one that's just finished? Well, quite frankly it sucked.

Of course, it wasn't all bad. Sure, I fell off my bike and had to spend the last 8 weeks in sweat-soaked agonies of immobility and dependence. I got stuck in the bath and grew a chicken-leg. The garden I started working on in late October has spent the last 8 weeks becoming a dessicated wasteland, apart from the weeds, which are thriving, waving their green rude-fingers at me as they try to strangle all the good things I planted. The house has deteriorated from “disorganised” to “disaster-area”, and much of me has followed it downhill, piling on blubber and dimples where no dimples should ever be.

On the other hand, though, I learned how to bottle fruit at Casa del Humble.

A terrific little assembly line, we had – BT's happy fruit recruits, working to transform a wheelbarrow full of peaches to gleaming rows of preserved goodness. Around Australia Day we were rewarded with jars of the fruits of our labours and delicious fruit pie, artfully and patriotically decorated with a little pastry coat of arms, tee hee; a work of art that cracked us all up.

I also learned that it is almost possible to live without my daily motorcycle therapy. Mr & Mrs Humble saw to it that I was not totally deprived, though, and I got to haul my growing butt onto the back of BT's GPZ a couple of times. Being on a motorcycle, even on the back of one, is so beautiful! I couldn't wipe the grin off my face.

So. Summer has come to an end and I am almost walking again, albeit very gingerly. I have an x-ray scheduled for Tuesday, and hope to throw away the moonboot after that. I shall get stuck into some walking to build up my scrawny chicken-leg and get rid of the blubber that has oozed onto my frame everywhere else. Best of all, in a couple of weeks I hope to get back on the Bomber, who has missed me as much as I've missed him, and get out and about for a bit of road therapy.

I love autumn!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Enough! No more Secret Squirrel!

I am so impressed. My credit union is so concerned about the security of my account that they've made it almost impossible for me to get to it!

This is technology gone berserk, all in the name of security. I'm sick sick sick of it!

To be environmentally friendly they introduced a paperless account statement – easy to view online - wheeeeeee! And then to be extra security-conscious they replaced their Factor 2 tokens with SMS verification. Boo hiss – what a clunky and stupid system that is.

Here's how it works (or not!) (cue sound - cone of silence descending)

You log in to your account, using your password. To view your statement you click to 'request SMS code'. A little window tells you it has been sent to you, and you are supposed to get a unique single-use code via SMS to your mobile phone immediately, (if you have one, if it's with you, if it's switched on, if you have reception, (which would cut out about 80% of Australia outside big cities!) and if your service provider doesn't suffer from delays.) That's far too many 'ifs' for my liking. You with me so far?

Well, I don't get my code. It doesn't arrive, for some reason known only to the telephone and internet gods. A distress email to the help desk gets this automated response: Thank you for your email. Your request will receive attention within 24 hours. 24 hours!

Feeling a bit hot under the collar by this time, I punch in the number for the “if your request is urgent, please call”.

The help desk officer can't help - can't give me the code that has allegedly been SMSed to me unless I can tell her my Personal Phone Banking Identification Number (I have one of those too? Let me see, which of the forty thousand passwords and codes in my head would that one be?)

The hot under the collar feeling is creeping up my neck and into my cheeks. It's like a massive menopausal hot flush (but I think it's probably rising blood pressure). My God, I'm going to have a stroke in a minute because I can't get my bloody account statement because of the stupid stupid STUPID new security system. I'm ready to throw the phone and the computer out the window, and follow them out.

“What on earth possessed you lot to introduce this ridiculous, unreliable, clunky, STUPID system?” I gasp, eyeballs bulging. “What on earth was wrong with the Factor 2 tokens?”

In case you're wondering, Factor 2 token verification (old technology, therefore crap?) involves selecting your previously agreed-upon unique sequence of 3 icons from a set of 9. Tsk tsk, it just had to go, because, according to the help desk person, it wasn't secure enough, and the credit union is serious about the security of customers' accounts, oh yes. Somebody might be looking over your shoulder when you're entering your code. I'm serious – that's what she tells me!

I'm not sure how this differs from the possibility that someone could be watching over your shoulder when you type in your password – or, for God's sake, when you enter your PIN at the ATM!

The blood pressure goes up another couple of notches. There's a vein throbbing in my neck.

Apparently I can opt out of this SMS technology (after all, there are so many 'ifs' – mobile phone reception and the reliability of my service provider being the biggest) – but it will cost me $20 to purchase a “token” (more crap to remember to carry around, and heaven help me if I should lose it!)

That's the point at which I face the choice – laugh or have my head explode. Some things are just too effing ridiculous. I make my point about money-grubbing institutions, lodge a formal complaint about the stupid new security system and log in all over again. This time the SMS code does appear on my mobile phone.

20 minutes, it's taken – 20 minutes and a near-stroke, to finally be able to view my account statement. A process which used to be as simple as opening an envelope. Stop the world, I want to get off.

*sigh* I'm suffering from security fatigue. I have to remember so many bloody passwords and Personal Identification Numbers to stop bad people stealing my identity or my money or accessing my personal information or my email or ... I'm over it! I give up. Microchip me, somebody, and free up that massive section of my brain that has had to be set aside for remembering all the passwords and PINs. I'm sure I can find a better use for it.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Lock Up Your Husbands? I don't think so...

Before the rant, here are some facts.

I am a woman. I am single. I am a motorcyclist.

OK, now that's out of the way – if I were looking for a husband, I wouldn't be looking to steal someone else's. That would be messy.

The bottomest of all bottom lines is that I love riding my motorbike. I am in love with my bike, if that's possible. It's true, pure, unconditional love. The thing that gives me the most joy in my life is planning a trip, loading up the bike and just going! Sometimes I might be going on a solo trip with a cheap pub/motel room booked at the other end. I'll often take the laptop and cosy up with it after the ride, for a bit of very satisfying creative time. Sometimes I'll meet up with other riders. Most times I won't, though. Riding is inspiration time and thinking time for me, and that's often best done alone.

What I don't think about when I'm riding is seducing other women's husbands.

Sheesh – I have a pretty good life! Within some pretty tight financial constraints, I do my own thing – what I want, where I want. Why would I want complications in my life?

This is one of the very few downsides I have discovered in motorcycling. If you're a single female motorcyclist, some wives get twitchy if you go on rides with the husbands they have given “leave passes” to...

From my side of things, I can understand why they might feel nervous. They have no interest in riding, and they suspect the motives of women who do, and who ride with their blokes. They think you're looking for a bloke of your own, and you might want theirs.

Fair enough. I've been cheated on myself and I didn't like it. It made it hard to trust other women, and I already find it hard to trust blokes. They're fantastic as mates and riding buddies, though. At a bike rally I think it's brilliant that I can sit around the campfire with a bottle of red, and be as silly as the next person but not feel the least bit compromised by the fact that I'm female.

From this particular female however, here is the message that I would like broadcast – Betty is not after your husband. Betty is far more into bikes than blokes.

Motorcycling is a male-dominated pursuit, unfortunately, and given my age, most of the blokes I ride with are middle-aged married men.

Let me tell you about a woman I have never met, but who I absolutely love. Her name's Michelle, and she's married to my mate Clem.

Clem rides from Brissy to Phillip Island twice a year, once for Superbikes and once for motoGP. He's done it for years. For the last 2 years, Clem and his mate Leon (another married man) have let me tag along for the ride to PI for motoGP. Last year they stopped over at my place on the way, and on the two-day ride from here to PI, we stopped over at Clem's brother's place in Victoria. I feel safe travelling with Clem. I feel safe staying at PI with Clem (in separate cabins, coz Clem's snoring can be heard through walls – but I would feel perfectly safe in the same room as Clem. We're bike mates, full-stop.) And I love Michelle because she is not fazed by any of this (and quite rightly so.) She is so totally secure in her marriage to Clem that even though she has never met me, she knows damned well it's not a problem if Clem and I travel together. For that I am eternally grateful.

Michelle – thank you. I hope to meet you one day – I think you're pretty damned special because you don't automatically assume that I am some kind of desperate single female predator (sorry, but just the thought of that makes me giggle! - and no offence Clem, but if I was going to set my cap at a married man I'd probably go for Brad Pitt...yeah, as if I'd stand a chance next to gorgeous Angelina! ha ha ha)

Sexual politics suck. Not wishing to harp on it – but as a rape victim, it's really good to be able to feel comfortable in groups of blokes, and in biker company, the gender divide often seems to disappear. 'We're all just riders' seems to be the message, and for me, that's pretty bloody special.

The Government should Fix it!

The dreaded GFC, when it’s not making me scared, is cause for a bit of amusement.

The banks want the government to bail them out. Now, given that banks have been the villains of the piece, I find that amusing. GREED GREED GREED, GRAB GRAB GRAB, OH WHOOPS, HELP HELP HELP!

So they want to be bailed out, but they’re not too keen to pass on interest rate cuts to borrowers – seems to me they haven’t changed a bit. Unchastened by the economic downturn, it looks as if they’re just finding new sneaky ways to line their own pockets.

And all those car manufacturers… The government should bail them out too. And every other organisation that’s in trouble because a few fat cats got nervous and pulled the plug on their investments and the media jumped on it and started screaming doom and gloom and - well, here we are...

Every time the government throws money at these people, the stock market, rather than raising itself on a wobbly elbow and mopping its fevered brow with relief, falls even further.

Seems like the rich are desperate to recoup or minimise their losses, courtesy of the government, and then jumping ship anyway. Not that I know anything about economics. But that's what it looks like from here.

The other day I heard a news story that made me giggle. The government is getting pretty slack. (Maybe it’s exhausted after chucking bazillions of bucks around in an attempt to stimulate the economy?) The latest thing I read was that apparently the government isn’t doing enough to protect people from shark attacks. See, people will insist on going out into shark-infested waters...

Sheesh, government. Shame on you….. what the heck are you doing?

OK, I have this ingrown toenail that I think the government should be doing more to fix. And my guttering leaks – why aren’t they doing anything about that? I think I’ll start writing letters.

Speaking of letters - a letter from my superannuation fund the other day was not particularly amusing – my benefit has shrunk (grown negatively?) quite dramatically in the last quarter.

I’m sure it’s just part of a big fat economic cycle, and one of these days, a few organisations with balls will shakily try out “confidence” and the media will hold them up as shining examples and the confidence will snowball in the same way that “unconfidence” has been snowballing, fuelled by the media for months now.

The problem I have with all of this bail-out stuff is that, stripped of an obscene amount of wealth, there is an expectation by a lot of the wealthiest (and greediest) institutions and industries on the planet that ‘the government’ is going to charge in like the White Knight and Make Things Better. Small business wants government help as well. So do ordinary middle-class people. As for ‘the poor’ – and I've been one of them for years, except now I'm one of the 'working poor' - they miss out most of the time anyway, and governments don’t usually bother bailing them out, even in good times – so the writing’s well and truly on the wall for them/us.

I would be a bit nervous about expecting the government to fix everything. I would be worried that by expecting – even begging - the government to do this for everybody we are inviting even more of a nanny-state upon ourselves, where the government looks after our every need and protects us from sharks, criminals, speeding motorcycles, dangerous playground equipment - and ultimately ourselves.

No, you cannot have a holiday this year – it only encourages reckless behaviour and excessive drinking.

No, you may not go out after dark – don’t you know that’s when most crimes are committed? Stay home and stay safe.

No, you can’t swim in our oceans – don’t you know there are sharks out there?

Be careful what you wish for.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Betty's Adventures in Diet Land II

How's your maths? I braved the scales this evening. Since the notorious willy-willy incident I've gained 1.5kgs (that's about 4 pounds). I'm impressed. I thought it would be more. It feels like more. Those dimples say it's more - but it's not!

Clearly there's some weird cosmic maths happening here. The net gain is 1.5kgs, right? Let's see how it all adds up....

I reckon hopping around on the crutches removed maybe half a kilo of blubber from my arms, shoulders, pecs & lats.

It also added maybe a kilo of muscle.

Net gain: +.5kg

My left calf muscle is like a grapefruit. A gain, perhaps, of 100gms?

My right calf muscle has shrunk to the size of an undernourished walnut – a loss of maybe 300gms?

Net loss of 200gms
Running total: +.3kg

Of course, this is all total supposition, based on the way things LOOK. Having said that, though - assuming my wild suppositions are anything like accurate (remember, I failed HSC vegie maths!) that:

If you take into account the muscle gain/loss from the injury itself, the rest of my inactivity, not to mention my red wine and potato chip diet, has caused me to gain 1.2kgs of blubber in the last 6 weeks.

You know what? I can live with that! When I am mobile again, just hauling my motorbike around (instead of my fat arse!) and walking around a lot and eating decent food... The blubber will disappear! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee !

Betty's Adventures in Diet Land

Not a lot of people know this, but I’ve had a lifelong struggle with my weight. I was a little chubby as a kid, and as a young teen I was a porky little short-arse with humungous boobs and thunder thighs. By the age of 17 I had tried just about every diet known to man, from starvation to semi-sensible.

I think I’ve been on one diet or another for about 35 years, and ranged from 48-72kgs during my adult life. Ugh! I showed my passport to an official in Portugal a few years ago and he was ready to call the guards because he couldn’t believe the nice slim lady in front of him (who had only one chin) was the same person as the fat blob in the passport pic (who had about 10). In the end I had to puff out my cheeks and parody my fat self before he would let me through.

Just when you think you’ve got it all under control, though, the universe pulls the rug out from under you. My recent diet of potato chips, rice and red wine has been lots of fun, it’s true, but I’ve had no exercise to speak of, unless it’s bending the elbow to shovel in another mouthful of chips. I’ve been too lazy to hop around the kitchen throwing meals together, so convenience food has become my friend.

I haven’t been game to hop on the scales, but I just know the news will be all bad. For a start, I’ve traded upper body blubber for hard, lean muscle (which weighs more than fat, right?) – but I have also watched as my belly, bum and thighs have grown dimples. DIMPLES! My bad leg has wasted away to a scrawny little chook leg, but I’ve more than made up for it by growing a thunder thigh on the other leg.

So today I’m amusing myself by remembering some of the dumb things I’ve done in the past to lose weight. Join me for the journey…

Starvation: Didn’t work. All I did was sleep.
“Limmits” biscuits (remember them?): They were so yummy that I ate a week’s worth in a day.
Salad, salad and more salad: I hate salad.
Acupuncture: made me wee a lot and impressed me so much I left the needle in place for weeks, and got an infection.
Israeli Army Diet: By Day 5 I was so weak I fell into my wardrobe one morning and couldn’t get out.
Food combining: antisocial rocket science. Forget it.
Atkins Diet: Ewwwwww, constipation is not your friend. Another antisocial diet! And the one time I “cheated” and had a tiny tiny 30 gram (1 ounce) sliver of cheesecake I gained 3kgs (that’s 6 ½ pounds!) overnight. How does THAT work?
Liver cleansing diet: Too much hard work. No red wine allowed.
South Beach Diet: Ditto.
Special diet shakes & diet plan: Sorry, when “6 almonds OR 2 brazil nuts” constitutes a “snack” I start to think that being a few kilos overweight isn’t so bad. I was hungry all the time. Hunger dooms a diet to failure.
Laxatives: A crappy idea *groan*.
Cabbage Soup diet: don't try this one with laxatives - it's antisocial enough!
Bulimia: beats anorexia, coz you get the food twice, (ugh, did I really say that?) but all that throwing up made my eyes water and my throat hurt.

I also contemplated weight loss tea, weight loss berries, weight loss meals, weight loss secrets (for only $59.95!), weight loss body wraps, weight loss mantras, weight loss miracles – you name it, I tried it (or at least thought about trying it!) I really have tried just about everything – everything except sensible balanced eating combined with exercise.

Guess what I’m going to try next?

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Adventures in my microcosm

Remember that old cartoon show about the medical crew and their spaceship that were shrunk to microscopic size every episode, to travel through a patient's body, mending things? (Or did I dream that? It sounds too weird, but I think it was called Fantastic Voyage or something).

Well, I feel a bit like that – as if my world has shrunk – or at least, as if I've shrunk within it. My bike used to take me all over the place. No destination was too far for me and the Bomber, but now just about all of my adventures take place within my suburban block in one of Canberra's less salubrious suburbs. Little things have become huge. Sure, I go to work and back every day, courtesy of some lovely people from my workplace, and there's the occasional outing with the Ancient Submariner, who is probably the kindest, most thoughtful man I have ever met. Most of my adventures these days, though, are those little domestic events that are too trivial to think about in the normal scheme of things.

Last weekend it was changing the sheets and hanging out the washing – like, WOW! Has my world shrunk so much that I actually find that “an adventure”? I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I'll probably do both. Right now I'm flatter than the Bomber's battery; flatter than Posh Spice without a push-up bra; flatter than a cat who's wandered onto a main road in peak hour. You get the idea.

Speaking of the Bomber's flat battery... Suzuki must've had a Ducati designer on board when they created the SV650. Fair dinkum. On my other bikes it was a simple matter of turning the key to remove the seat, and voila! There was the battery. Not so on the SV - to get to the battery you have to remove a couple of fairing panels and then unbolt the seat.

So I put on my Can-Do hat and hobbled out to the bike shed. I'm still on the crutches, but have started putting a little weight on the broken foot. It makes life so much easier, which is just as well, because hooking up the battery charger ended up needing about 14 trips back and forth from the shed to the spare room where the tool cupboard lives, to find socket wrenches and hex keys. And the hammer. And the WD-40. That bike has been screwed together so tightly that even my newfound uber-muscles couldn't undo the bolts that hold the seat on. Just as well I had the hammer though – it came in handy to squash the fat juicy redback spider that had taken up residence next to the Bomber.

The Ancient Submariner arrived just as I got the final bolt out and lifted the seat. It was a million degrees in the shed and I was about to drown in a pool of my own perspiration, surrounded by hex keys and squashed spiders. My quad muscles were screaming from crouching at an unnatural angle in my moonboot to get at the bolts, and my wrists ached from fighting with the bolts – yeah, I was looking hot. To AS's credit he didn't run away screaming. In fact, he finished the delicate operation of hooking the charger up to the battery and bolting the seat and one of the fairing panels back on. When the battery has recharged I can handle the last of the fairing panels. I can handle anything!

So – the Bomber's battery is more or less easily fixed. Recharging my own battery is less simple, but I have a looong list of domestic adventures awaiting me today - vacuuming, scrubbing the shower, and my favourite - hobbling out into the garden and getting a bit of nature therapy. Armed with my little spray bottle of poison, those weeds that have taken advantage of my current incapacitation don't stand a chance. Don't mess with Betty!