Password

18 Jan

Help, I’m drowning in a pool of 6-7 letters, case sensitive, recommended to include at least one number passwords.  Anytime it seems I want to do anything online I now have to sign up and of course if I sign up I’m gonna need a password.  Another bloody password.  I consider myself somewhat intelligent but I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel with my passwords already!  For work alone I have four different passwords and one is changed every two months! Come on, I don’t have that many dead pets or old street names, I am getting to the end of things that I will remember as passwords.

And why is the responsibility put on me, the banks I dare to put my feeble amount of money in, regularly send me brochures telling me about security measures with my account and ways to make my password more secure.  You know what banks, get lost, you want my money and then give me little if no return on it oh and charge me for daring to access it I say to you banks, the security problem is yours.  Hire some teenage hackers, give them what they want and let them make it so my password can be easy.  Clearly I’m no techno head but I have password overload and I’m reaching the end of my tether.

I’m saying all this so that the next humiliating episode might be slightly understood.  I thought I had found the perfect solution, when I bought home my beautiful new laptop  it asked me for a password.  At first I had nothing I just stared at the screen, time passed and I just decided that I would put my old faithful one in.  A little red message appears, ugghhhh, not enough letters.  Fine I’ll just add 1 on the end, again another message, this one gives me a coloured bar with weak at the end of it.  So my password is weak, great my old faithful password  is apparently weak and not likely to survive in the cold world of cyberspace.

I stared at the screen again, this would be the last time I would be told my password was weak.  I would come up with a word 7-8 letters in length and it would include a number.  It obviously had to be something that I could easily remember so while I was sitting there I remembered a Seinfeld joke about carparks and how instead of being labeled B1 they should be your mother’s a whore or something that you wouldn’t forget.  Bingo I knew what my password would be.

My password worked like a charm, it was not weak, it fulfilled all the requirements and most of all it was memorable.  I’ll tell you what else was memorable the day my laptop made weird noises and then froze just when I need it most.  In a panic I phoned a friend and she directed me to a strange geeky looking store in the local neighbourhood.  I ran down panicked cradling the laptop like I was taking one of my children to the hospital.  Breathless and wide-eyed I explained the situation to the prepubescent behind the counter.  He looked at me with a mixture of disdain and disinterest and took my laptop to his bench behind the counter.  He plugged things in and then sat down, the noises started again but without much effort he seemed to horse whisper through the keyboard and all the weird noises stopped.

My relief was cut short by these words.

“I’m going to need your password to access your computer.”

I pretended to not know what that thing was but all I was really doing was trying to buy time.

“Don’t worry about that, just close it.”  I said.

His look of contempt turned to complete disgust.

“To fix the problem I need your password to access your computer.”

I froze; questions and scenarios were whirring through my mind. I was snapped out of my self-induced dilemma by geek boys questions.

“Do you want me to fix this?” he said

“Of course” I stammered

“Then I’m going to need your password.” He said password slowly, not even hiding his frustration with me.

“I’ll just type it in and then you can do your thing.” I said suddenly enthused that I had found the way to makes this problem go away.

“I have it plugged in here and nobody comes behind the counter.  If you want me to fix it you have to tell me your password and then just change it later.”  He wasn’t even looking at me anymore, my human presence and lack of compliance was obviously not something he was used to in his cyber world and he was losing interest rapidly.

Moments passed in silence, I stared at him, shuffled my feet and realized this young socially awkward guy had all the power and I had to suck it up.

“Alright, it’s 2 ( pause) b i g b o o b s”

“What?” he said

Now this made me mad, my beautiful easy to remember password was now out there, it was soiled and could not be used again and all because of him.  I looked at him with anger growing and that’s when I saw his red glowing cheeks.  I took a moment to click but then I realized he had heard what I had said, it had just taken time to register in his head.  His crimson cheeks gave away his embarrassment.   Of course he was embarrassed, he probably had never seen these boobs I talked of, at least in real life and now here was a female in his presence saying the word boobs, well spelling it out, whatever the word boobs had been said.

I was now the one with the power.

“2 bigboobs, it’s 2 bigboobs.”  I was flush with bravado, there was no spelling out this time, no this time I said it loud and even dramatically embellished the way I said boobs the second time.  Booooooobs, ha ha, it was a small victory but a victory nonetheless.

His cheeks were burning red and I stood there reveling in my victory, he busied himself in my computer and that’s when I heard the noises behind me.  While I had been staging my own stand off with the computer guy I hadn’t noticed that other people had entered the store.  I could feel the redness fill my cheeks, I took a quick glance around, one, two, three men oh and great two children all staring at me mouths open.  Awkward, mortifying, these words couldn’t even begin to describe it, I shuffled over to the side, careful to avoid all eye contact.  I   suddenly became very interested in the range of adaptors they had on the wall.

After what seemed like hours but must have only been a couple of minutes two children and two of the men left.  I could still hear someone shuffling around the store so I knew there was still someone left.  The computer guy was still engrossed in my computer, for all I knew he was sitting there downloading every computer virus he could possibly download.  I just stayed engrossed in the adaptor range, surely at some point he would leave and geek boy and I could have our incredibly awkward exchange and get on with our lives.

Finally after much silent pleading in my head the last shopper came up to the counter.  I had moved on to the fascinating range of USB’s, it was becoming harder and harder to look interested so I was hoping this whole thing would be over and done with soon.

“Hi mate I just wanted to check you’re OK?  said the shopper

“Fine.” mumbled geek boy

“Are you sure?” this time the shopper looked directly at me.

My cheeks started to flush brightly, again, I avoided his gaze but I knew he was trying to figure out why a woman was yelling at the computer guy so confidently about her boobs only a few minutes ago and now was hiding in the corner not looking at anyone.

I decided to bite the bullet, I figured I would get out of here before anyone else or possibly security came into the store.  I took a big breath took a few steps to the counter and told the computer guy I would take my computer.  I placed a hundred dollars down on the counter, it was far more than I probably had to pay and I knew it wouldn’t buy his silence but it would buy my escape out of there.

Computer guy put my laptop on the counter, I scooped it and held it tight against my chest.   Not knowing what the protocol was in such a situation I mumbled a thank you and hot footed it out the door.

As you can imagine my passwords now are less memorable but also less likely to find me yelling out about my boobs to a young man in a shop!

Christmas Drinks

25 Dec

Around this time of year you realize there are plenty of traditions, some that are steeped in tradition, some only really done in the country you live in or some you’ll only do with your family.

It was one of these family ones that got me thinking about how a tradition or a thing that you do becomes acceptable. We have a chicken and champagne brunch and I don’t really know why. Some relative with a taste for the bubbly and a desire to get in early and get the best bit of the Christmas chicken must have got it started somewhere along the line and we’ve just continued it.

While I was knocking back a glass of bubbly early on this morning I mentioned to my hubby that it was odd that champagne is acceptable at pretty much breakfast time but if I reached into the fridge and poured myself a glass of white wine I guarantee it would raise a few eyebrows. Why is it acceptable because it’s got bubbles? I’m not sure what time of the day is acceptable to start drinking but it seems you can get the party started early if it’s got bubbles. It’s going to be a whole different type of party however if you go bubbleless!

I wondered if I would get many takers if I told friends to drop by for a vodka shots and hot dog brunch. That certainly doesn’t sound as nice and it really doesn’t sound like it would end nicely either. Maybe champers and chicken is acceptable because of its use of alliteration. I had to think long and hard but here are some alternatives

*Beer and Bacon

*Pinot and Pastries

*Chardonnay and Canapés

*Spirit of choice and Sandwiches

I’m not sure I’m going to adopt any of these but I do think its unfair that champagne and chicken seemed to have a stranglehold on what is considered an acceptable alcoholic start to the day!

Whatever your tradition is hope you have fun doing it!

Expectations

8 Dec

 

I would never profess to offer advice on parenting as I am constantly surprised that my children haven’t officially asked anyone else to parent them.  I think that they appreciate that my husband and I try so they figure they should stick around, maybe they think if nothing else they will have great stories of their parent’s failings to share in years to come.

I will share this little nugget as it highlighted to me how being a quickwit is tested to it’s limits in this pc world.

Each of my children have gone to different kinders due to us moving and kinders closing etc.  Every kinder, like schools, have their own different personality, they can be warm and cuddly, kind of like a visit to grandmas. Others can be relaxed and forward thinking with all the new mod cons or old school with definite rules and regulations.  So for my third kinder I walked in wondering which kind of kinder this would be.

This kinder was new and shiny; it was light filled and designed for little people.  As soon I entered it I knew my little ragamuffin would love it, mostly because of the enormous outdoor play area, he could roll, run, jump and hurl himself in many different directions.  So the physical environment, tick, now it was time to meet his teacher.  Don’t get me wrong I’m not a polly precious, unless they’re locking my kid in a cupboard for the day I’m pretty happy with whatever style they tend to teach.  I’d heard on the mum grapevine that she was lovely so we rocked up ready to roll for our orientation day.

We had been allocated four 3 hour sessions, far from ideal in my mind but there are a lot of breeders in my suburb so I had to take what I was given.  Number 3 was definitely more than ready for kinder and I was more than ready for him to go.  The young kinder teacher with kind eyes greeted us and made an effort to bend down and look her new student directly in the eye.  His eyes had already spotted the funfilled playground, he mumbled something to her and ran off to the playground as fast as his feet would take him.  He had no hesitation in abandoning me and leaving me to talk to our new teacher.

We sat on very small chairs and my ever expanding bott bott  splodged over the side of the chair.  I made a mental note to myself to try and fit a gym session in at least one of the free 3 hours I have four times a week!  I dutifully answer all the questions that I’m sure I’ve already answered in some paperwork I was required to fill in with his enrolment but hey I’m his mum so this is my job.  Just when I think we are done and my will to live is sapping away she hits me with the zinger.

“What are your expectations of the kinder experience?”

Expectations?

What?

Now this is where quickwit instantly kicks in

“I expect to drop him off and not see him for 3 whole hours”

“I expect you to tell me if he is a psycho/socio/ nuttio path in case in amongst all the other things I’m doing for him I have missed this”

“I expect to do minimum kinder duty but talk and rave on about it so much that he will think I am doing much more and he will think I have put maximum effort in.”

and finally

“I expect to not have to sell chocolates, raffle tickets, photo packages, tea towels, cups, mugs, name stickers, pies and whatever else is the new fundraiser, I just want you to take this fifty bucks and shred all my fundraising notices”

I was just about to let rip when I looked into her energetic, young, enthusiastic, compassionate eyes and I knew that I couldn’t say any of these things so I say what she wants to hear.  I will leave the truth to be told by the woman I saw in the hallway who was struggling to keep her brood of 5 in check.  If there is anyone who has lost all sense of social niceties it must be her!!!

Stupid Sticker Families

22 Nov

High horse, high horse, I’d like to share something from up here on my high horse. There is a new menace on the road and it is driving me to distraction and nearly driving me into the back of people’s cars.

It’s not a new phenomenon just one that is becoming more common – the personalized car stickers. You know the ones I’m talking about, everyone in the family and I do mean everyone, has their own stickers plastered all over the rear window. For the most part I’ve never met most of you sticker families but it now seems I need to know each member of your family including the cat, the dog and the fish. Oh, also just in case I’m a complete moron they have included a “My Family” sticker on the top. Who the hell else would it be?

Gone are the days when a baby on board sign was enough. Remember other classics like Mum’s taxi and My other car is a Porsche they’re rarely seen nowadays but at least they attempted some form of humour!

No, these stickers plastered on the rear window, are like some weird tribal tattoo. It’s always displayed on the rear window so it can’t be there for their viewing pleasure. It’s purpose must be some kind of declaration of their breeding capacity. If you get stuck behind a minivan or people mover with these stickers you’ll realize these people can breed, I mean look at their stickers they can take up the whole rear window!

Somedays you’ll find yourself stuck behind a car with one of these sticker displays on the long commute to work. I guarantee you by the time you arrive you will feel like you know the family. Sure you won’t know what they’re names but you’ll know Dad obviously has nothing else to do but BBQ, Mum is a busy business woman, older son is obsessed with his computer, middle girl child is a ballerina and young boy child is a soccer player. I thought one of the big no-no’s of parenting is projecting your ideals onto your children. Well these people have projected big time, they have typecast their kids in some role and then plastered it all over their rear window for all the world to see!

Has anyone considered the easily distracted, inquisitive minds like mine who after staring at these stickers start making up back stories for these families. Is Dad obsessed with the BBQ because he has been disempowered by his high powered wife? Is this oldest son escaping into his computer to seek out the attention he is missing out from his absent mother and disenchanted father? Has little miss middle child resorted to being a perfect prima ballerina in the hope that by being perfect herself she will be able to put this fractured family back together again? I can only imagine that younger soccer playing son is trying to bring back some happiness into his father’s world by trying to live out his long lost soccer dream!

Am I reading too much into it? Of course, but I can’t help it, traffic is only getting worse and these stickers become mesmerizing when you’re directly behind them. I have put way too much thought into whether the sticker that shows one of the kids as an angel is literal or figurative. Tears well when I think that this beautiful sticker family may have lost one of their children and I have to stop myself from pulling up next to them, getting real life mums attention and signing to her my condolences.

Whenever I realize I have spent way too much time thinking about all the members of the sticker family on the car in front I start to become cynical, ok more cynical and I imagine starting up a rival sticker company. I’ll show these happy overachieving in your face stickers. I will offer some more modern alternatives. Overweight Mothers and Fathers, boozing Mums flaked out on the couch, Gambler Dads sitting in front of the pokie machine, pregnant teenager daughter, graffiti artist son. You name it we can customize the stickers to show what your family is really like. Is your mother someone who just likes to yell a lot? We will have the perfect sticker to represent her, her head is huge her mouth wide open and she is so angry she looks like her head is about to start spinning! My rival sticker company will offer a real life alternative, it won’t be pretty but it will be real!!

Until I get that up and running I will just have to be zen about it and look the other way. Of course that would mean I’ll probably crash the car! Maybe I need to get a life or maybe I just need to stop fighting the inevitable and go buy my own sticker family to fill up the rear window on my people mover!

Sing loud and proud

28 Oct

I’ve been working on characters for a tv show I’m writing. To help flesh out the characters I like to write little scenarios for them. It can be useful because sometimes they can be used within an episode and other times it leads you on a journey with your character that gives you more and more insight into who they are.

So there I was writing a little story about two of my characters, the story was flowing easily and I was really enjoying what was coming out onto the page. The cherry was when I had finished and reread it, I actually laughed, which when you’re writing comedy is a good sign. That or a sign of madness, either way I was laughing.

Feeling very pleased with myself I reread the piece again, as I was reading through the smile started to fade. It had happened, the moment all writers fear, I realized I had just plagiarized. Not probably what your thinking in terms of the conventional plagiarism. I hadn’t copied anyone else’s work, no, I had just written about yet another embarrassing moment in my life as if it was just happening to my character.

Had I buried the embarrassing moment so deep that I had to manifest it through a written character, apparently so. While it’s quite common for writers to borrow from their own lives and people in it, keep a look out friends and family, it’s another thing to laugh out loud at what you think is your characters stupidity to then only realize it is yours. This truly must be a new low.

But I will rise above my own diminishing ego and share another “what the hell is wrong with her” story.

Luckily this happened back when I could blame my youth for my stupidity. I was driving in a car with a guy I had been seeing for a couple of months. When you are starting a relationship there a few milestones that define it. Times that you lay your soul bare. There is the obvious, when you first kiss, first night together, first I love you. All significant but just as crucial, mostly because it’s spontaneous, is when you sing in front of your beloved. Think about it, unless you’re one of the few on this planet who sings like an angel you’re really testing the bounds of this new romance.

And this is what I was doing, it was totally spontaneous and as it turned out incredibly humiliating. Enya, a singer very popular at the time, came on the radio, without thinking I reached over cranked up the volume and starting singing along to the chorus. Realising I had just sung out loud in front of him. I turned, locked eyes and encouraged by his smile started singing along again with the chorus. That’s when the laughing started.

Horrified, I abruptly stopped singing and concentrated on the road ahead. My mind was spinning, who was this person sitting next to me? Sure we still had lots to find out about each other, but I wasn’t prepared for this. The blatant cruelty, I had just bared my soul, well my singing voice and he had started laughing. God, he was still laughing. Sure he was trying to stifle his growing laughter but he was still laughing. Surely my singing wasn’t that bad and even if it was it didn’t deserve this treatment. My feeling of horror suddenly turned to anger.

I wasn’t going to let him get away with this. We obviously wouldn’t work out as a couple but I wasn’t going to let him forget why we broke up. I turned the focus on to what I thought was the important topic of the Enya song. I would show him how different we were as people. He had revealed himself to be cruel and unkind so now with the help of Enya I would show him how kind and compassionate I was.

I turned to him full of self-righteousness and declared that I was a big fan of Enya not only for her obvious talent but also for her social messages. He stopped sniggering and raised an eyebrow. This was my moment to show him what a compassionate and community minded person I was. With chin held high and a growing sense of self-importance I told him that I fully supported her message to save the whales and was proud to sing her message. He looked at me and then the laughing started again. I didn’t know where to look this man not only felt it ok to laugh at my singing but apparently he didn’t even want to save the whales!

In between heaving laughs he was trying to say something like sorry but I was having none of that. Every time he tried to say something I told him emphatically how proud I was that someone had brought the plight of the whales to the public’s attention. I went on and on about if only more people would write songs that meant something, how important whales were to us and then I just started making up facts and figures about whales.

By this point I was so angry at his endless laughing that I started singing loudly the lyrics of the chorus to the Enya song we had just heard.
“Save the whales, save the whale, save the whales.’”
There were tears of laughter streaming down his face now but he somehow found a moment to compose himself look me in the eye and tell me that the song is actually called “Sail Away” and has nothing to do with whales, in fact he was pretty sure she doesn’t reference whales at all.

I was dumbfounded, I had been singing along for weeks and reveling in what I thought was some deep and meaningful message. I didn’t admit defeat until we got home and I looked at my CD cover. As it turned out Enya didn’t want to save the whales she just wanted to get on a boat and get the hell out of there, something I could fully appreciate at that moment!

Teachers Strike

5 Oct

In the last year the teachers in my hometown have been striking. They’re trying to get the pay and entitlements they were promised by the government during the election campaign. Hats off for believing that an election promise would be fulfilled and a bigger hats off in general for being teachers. My bone I pick with them isn’t that they’re striking, of course they should be paid more, an hour helping in any classroom will show anyone that teachers aren’t being paid enough!

No, my grievance is this, the strike is not affecting the politicians at all. I guarantee you that the offspring of our elected ones would, for the most part, be in private schools and the teachers in those schools don’t strike. So for those us of ploughing through the public sector we are left scrambling finding ways to cover the school free day.

Can I suggest to the teachers a few alternatives to make your point have a little more punch. You need to be in the politicians face but without it ending with a restraining order! How about this;

*Give every student in every year a project that requires them to contact their local parliamentary member. Phone calls, constant emails, facebook, tweets, drops in to their local offices with repetitive, inane questions, this should take up some of their precious time. Of course all in the disguise of our students learning more about the wonders of our parliamentary system. The key is let it be constant!

*Organise constant tours of parliament, nothing screams interrupted workplace more than a constant parade of bored schoolchildren. Be sure to tell the students just before they get off the bus to go on their tour, that you, the teacher, had booked an excursion to the local amusement park but because the people inside the building took all the money  you had to come on a tour of here instead. Bingo! The place will be full of whiny, cheesed off children. To take it to the next level tell the tour guide the children have lots of questions to ask and would like to meet as many of the politicians as they can!   Then all you need to do is sit back and let nature take it’s course!

*Recall all those kids that have been pretty much on permanent suspension and request work experience in the politicians office. When the member of parliament rings to find out why the kid you recommended for work experience has turned his/her office into a meth lab you can just say that due to staff shortages you will have to get back to them!!

That’s right we have to take it back to school yard tactics, little by little wear the politicians down, bruise their ego, question their credibility and try their patience until you get what you want.

By all means lets get you teachers more money but lets just make it a little more interesting!

My Obese Dog

28 Sep

I have a confession to make; I am ashamed of being seen with my dog, my beautiful sixteen-year-old beagle. It wasn’t always this way. I picked him up from the breeder when he was eight weeks old and I couldn’t have been a prouder mother.

There is a reason beagle puppies are used in a lot of ads, the big soft floppy ears the big dopey eyes are all adorable and even when he was devouring socks, shoes and furniture I found him irresistible. I would always have pictures ready and this is before they were easily accessible on my phone. I had to go to the effort of getting photos printed and of selecting the best ones to have ready to display. I would bore people stupid with stories of his destructive shenanigans.  When people would share stories of the children’s achievements I would pipe in with Charlie’s latest exploits and wonder why would they look at me bewildered.

So how did I go from being proud mother readily sharing photos to walking him in the dark of night to avoid the stares of passersby? Let me point out that he still has those big beautiful floppy ears, kind eyes, and a beautiful nature. It’s just that now he also has an enormous gut, puffy neck and rotund stumpy little legs. He is fat, actually probably obese, who am I kidding he is obese. What I put down to middle age spread has actually literally ballooned into morbid obesity. He doesn’t have any health issues other than his waistline so I have been lucky enough to avoid the vet.

I say lucky because the last time I went he had started to bulk up and I don’t mean for winter. He was starting to carry a few extra kilos and I casually asked if he was overweight. Thinking she would laugh and tell me I was being paranoid I was startled when she replied, “Well he’s not thin.”  I started mumbling something about him always being big boned, her condemning stare and silence put a stop to my mumbling and to that vet.

I know it is ridiculous to blame anyone but myself, I’m well aware Charlie can’t cook his own dinners or help himself to items in the fridge but he will eat anything and I mean anything. His bulk hasn’t slowed him up either; if even a morsel of food hits the floor he has devoured it before you can shout the first two syllables of his name. I caught him once licking the bottom of a shoe I had left at the back door, I had stepped in chewing gum and he was determined to get every last piece out of every ridge in the sole of my shoe. His appetite knows no bounds and I am his enabler.

It’s the eyes, they are so big and round and always pleading with you for just a little bit of whatever it is you or anyone else around you are eating. I used to marvel at what he would eat, it literally is everything. I have read articles about certain foods that are dangerous, sometimes even life threatening to dogs, well we have proved them all wrong, no side effects here, well none apart from the weight issue thingy.

Having been his mother for sixteen years I knew exactly what he thought when I tried him on diet dog food a year or so ago. Remember this is the dog that will happily lick chewing gum off the bottom of my shoe.  He eagerly ran over to his food bowl, I tried not to give the game away, I smiled as I presented his food and talked about how great his meal looked. It only took him a second to smell it, his tail instantly stopped wagging and he looked up at me. He knew and I knew that no matter how much he hated it he would still eat it but the look he gave me was enough. I decided his final years wouldn’t be ones of tasteless, unenjoyable food.

Seeing Charlie is happy to dine on food stuck to the bottom of my shoe I have to accept that his standards of what he thinks are acceptable are pretty low! So that would mean that all these issues are mine and mine alone. I’m not proud to be his enabler, when I give it thought I guess it would be nice to walk the streets in daylight hours and show pictures of him that haven’t been photoshopped. But if was able to do that I wouldn’t have this beautiful beagle with pudgy little legs, a bulbous belly and a thick neck!