Thursday 24 March 2016

I'm too scared to go to the Easter Show

Laugh it up clowns
I used to love the Easter Show when I was little. The best part was when the special newspaper supplement came out showcasing all the different showbags you could buy. My sisters and I would spend hours looking at that thing discussing the pros and cons of different bags and what would get us the most stuff with the number of bags we were allowed to get (Bertie Beetle hands down always a winner). I also enjoyed seeing the animals, fruit displays, food and general vibe of it all - but mostly it was about the bags.

The last time I went to the show though was probably 20 years ago as a teenager. And it wasn't that fun. I went with one of my sisters and after fighting our way there on the train with the hoards of people, we stupidly tried to get money out at the venue but the ATMs were all bust and we had something like $20 between us to buy food and bags - which even back then was a complete joke. Disaster.

And now, even though I have two small ones myself, I haven't been since. I just can't face it! The crowds, the expense, the hassle, and with two children to lug around - it's not appealing at all. I hear others talk about it, and even those who say the kids love it admit it's a mission. In recent years I've sometimes entertained the notion by bringing it up with my husband, but if you thought I wasn't keen, well in no way, shape or form is he up for the challenge. The closest I've come is getting a friend to buy me some showbags.

It's such a shame though. I wish it was easier to go because I'm sure I would go back and let my boys soak up the Easter fun. But sorry, I think I'll just stick to the good old Easter Bunny visit instead. Luckily the children don't know what they're missing out on, yet...

Do you go to the Easter Show?

Photo credit: The Thud

Wednesday 23 March 2016

The writing's on the wall: you suck, Sam Smith!

I need to talk about Sam Smith and Writing's on the Wall - his theme song for the latest James Bond film (Spectre). Quite frankly, it sucks.

I thought it sucked when I first heard it on the radio. I thought it stank when I watched the movie the other weekend. And I thought it positively reeked when I watched him on TV singing it live on a talk show and then again at the Oscars - I cannot believe he won a gold statue for it (and tried to claim he was the first openly gay man to win an Academy Award, but that's another story).

Sure it's not the first undeserving Oscar to be awarded, but has the world gone mad? In the words of Mugatu from Zoolander:

I've tried to work out why I hate the song so much, and I think the main culprit is Sam Smith himself. His falsetto is TERRIBLE - and even more horrific live when he can't hide behind fancy record production wizardry. Men singing waaaayy too high is really not my thing. There are exceptions of course - The Bee Gees, Jeff Buckley, Prince, Thom Yorke, Frankie Valli and Matt Belamy to name a few - but generally I find dudes singing like chicks annoying (hello Justin Timberlake and Chris Martin). Why can't they sing an octave lower?

Anyway back to Sam Smith. His song, if you really listen to it, is not actually that bad from a songwriting point of view. If it had been arranged and produced differently, and sung by someone else (I really think a female voice would have worked better - let's say Lady Gaga for now to keep things even on the commercial pop front), then I think the song could have worked. It would have been way more powerful and perhaps done justice to the Bond franchise.

But alas, we're stuck with Sam warbling and whispering his way to a golden statue. Crazy times.

Of course, he's not the first to have produced a 007 shocker hit - Madonna ranking the highest on my shit list with her tune Die Another Day. But surely by now you would look at the mistakes others have made and be sure to up the anti?

For the record, my top Bond theme song is Live and Let Die by Paul McCartney and Wings. Ok, I know it's a predictable choice, but it's an awesome song in it's own right yet also perfectly compliments the movie which is what a good theme tune should do. Other ones that nailed it are Goldfinger (Shirley Bassey), We have all the time in the World (Louis Armstrong), A view to a kill (Duran Duran), Nobody does it better (Carly Simon), and another personal favourite: You know my name (Chris Cornell) which I think is the best Bond theme for well over 20 years. It's a cracker of a song that perfectly embodied Daniel Craig's 007 and introduced a new generation to the series.

Alright, Adele's Skyfall wasn't too bad I guess either (do NOT get me started on Hello), but it certainly didn't deserve an Oscar either. At least she sang in the right octave though.

What's your favourite Bond track?

Here's the chronological list for you with clips to boot:



Tuesday 8 March 2016

8 things I've learned since becoming a SCHOOL mum

I ain't afraid of no school!
Around two and a half years ago when my youngest was not long walking, I wrote a post about the surprising things I learned since becoming a mum that no one had ever told me about (check it out here). My eldest has now just started school, and once again I've found my eyes have been opened.

I'm only a month or so in, but here are a few things I've already learned since becoming a SCHOOL mum...

1. School shoes are f#*$ing expensive
I didn't think they should be super cheap (at least not ones from a proper kids' shoe store), but $124.95?? Somebody somewhere is laughing their head off while they count their bags of cash. Plus the magic shoes are already scuffed and looking ratty - which to be fair was to be expected I guess. Next time I'm going Target or Aldi shoes - how different can they really be? They're all black and look the same. Kindergarten kids are certainly not comparing brands with their friends, they don't even know what day of the week it is!  

2. School bells aren't what they're used to be
Forget the boring old bell. Our local school cranks out music to signify the start of the day - and awesome tunes at that! For the first few weeks it was the theme from Ghostbusters (!!) and now it's We are the champions by Queen (both sans lyrics). I think some people were confused though as now they've starting ringing a bell after the music, but seriously how cool is it? Most awesome school ever? Ah yes! I can't wait to hear what the next track is. 
3. Everyone knows you
I knew we would get to know lots of new parents from the school but already it's insane. We live just down the street and now I literally can't walk more than a few metres without seeing another mum,  dad or teacher who knows me. Gone are the days of ducking up to shops in trackies!

4. There is so much to worry about
I'm really trying not to get carried away with this, but it's pretty hard not to worry about how your little one is doing at school - especially when you chat to other parents and realise their child seems more advanced or you have the teacher telling you they're refusing to do tasks in the class and being difficult, so you know they might fall behind. And then there's the worry about whether they're playing with anyone or being bullied. It's nice to be concerned and involved with your child at school, but we need to take away the microscope and let the teachers do their thing I reckon. It's Kindergarten for crying out loud! So I've decided to let this one go a bit until I have serious things to worry about. I only started worrying I think after speaking to other parents.
5. School rules are really strict
You can't play on the play equipment before school, or be in the wrong area of the school grounds. You can't play if you forget your hat. You can't even volunteer to read in your child's class or help out at the tuckshop if you don't have a Working with Children check. The list goes on...I could be wrong, but I don't remember school policies being so strict in my day - especially for primary school. 

6. Food restrictions ahoy
Following on from above - everyone knows you can't let one solitary nut into a school or daycare nowadays, but did you know you can't even bring cupcakes in for your child's class when it's their birthday? That is, unless they happen to be egg-free (and who makes egg-free cupcakes?). Apparently eggs are off limits now. And so is sharing food. And I thought working out what to put in their lunchbox and what they will actually eat for their early morning fruit/vegie break snack was hard enough!

7. School is high tech
Tablets and computers at school were to be expected, as was email for communicating to parents; but there's also a smartphone app where they release newsletters and alerts, plus other stuff like online log-ins for maths homework. In Kindergarten! Even ordering at the canteen has to be done online prior. Well I guess it is the digital age...

8. Weekdays are now soooo short
I had been warned a bit about this, but didn't envisage it to be so true. After drop-off once I've done some house chores, or gone to an appointment, there is barely time to do a bit of work before it's time to go for pick-up. Luckily I can work from home but so many others can't. If it wasn't for before and after school care, there is no way that working parents could function properly. And then of course once you get home, there's homework, dinner and more chores to be done. By the time everyone's in bed you're exhausted, and then before you know it it's morning mayhem once again.

Oh well, only another 19 years to go! (with another one on the way, I just worked out I won't be done with school until 2035). Imagine what craziness will go on between now and then?

What things have you discovered since becoming a school parent?
Image credit: CaN Trust