Did you know 2015 is International Year of Soils?

I did not know that 2015 is The Year of Soils! Wow.

Produce to the People Tasmania

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Grumpy Side-Eye and Shiny Things

Three things you should know first;

1. I am an Academy Award Show fanatic. (For example, in the lead to up this year I read a Vanity Fair recap of the 1995 Oscars – WITH PHOTOS PEOPLE!!! ) Its here – http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2015/02/1995-oscars-recap

2. I have an unhealthy level of knowledge of Hollywood and it’s victims, sorry, participants.

3. I am willing and able to endure hours and hours of over-choreographed televised ‘Everybody on Their Best Behaviour for the Benefit of Your Career’ thingys.

Right-o, onwards.

The Oscars is the ultimate feast for the Hollywood addicted and I am overdosing.

It is all just

so excellently ridiculous,

so painfully uncomfortable,

so unfriendly with a painted smile,

so name-droppy,

so trying-hard to be famous and relevant,

so beautiful,

so trying to look good,

so should have aged gracefully,

so shiny,

so dressed by someone else,

so fumbled-my-lines but it’s cute,

so nearly nude,

so nearly tactful,

SO SO SHINY,

so fumbling,

so serious,

so not serious,

so taking myself seriously,

so messed that joke up,

so wrong

and somehow, scarily, so goddamn right.

All I can think about when I sit down every year is whether or not we will have the extended joy of watching two people who hate each other sitting in adjoining seats. What ensues is the unbridled joy of seeing them wonder ‘WHOSE EFFING AGENT FUCKED THIS UP YOURS OR MINE???’. I saw a bit of it this year but was disappointed. The pinnacle was ScarJo seemingly giving the camera some grumpy side-eye as it unexpectedly tracked it’s way past her position (I think she was still trying to work out how to wash off the Travolta). It’s the look that Beyonce has on her face every time she is sat next to Mrs Kartrashian-West at a fashion show, kinda the; there are cameras, one must smile, but if I show this bitch I like her for even one second then I’m fucked’ look. If you know what I mean.

Anyway, I thought this year was way, way down on the cringies (NPH I forgive you) and way, way UPPPPP on the music performances. I mean, Lady Gaga’s performance was goddamn ridiculous. That lady can sing the shit outta anything and has politely reminded us so. She was obviously also really truly humbled by the experience and was so busy hugging it out with Andrews that she very nearly forgot to introduce her. The hug did seem spontaneous and possibly created some continuity issues there with the ‘you get off now you walk on’ stuff. They should have just let them stand there and hug it out until next year and then they could have ceremoniously prised them apart as a key section of the opening number….Did I just tangent again? Sorry.

All the shiny things!!! Wow……..There were more than usual this year including a special focus on the ‘My dress is boring as shit but CHECK OUT THIS NECKLACE’, which I like. Blanchett is copping it for not trying but I thought it all looked excellent. Back to ScarJo who also dominated the category ‘Larger Than My Head Neck Pieces’. This is not a ScarJo fan piece I promise. What she wore was simply divine, the green of her dress was inspired and the thing adorning her decolletage was, well, epic. And it sort of made it look like her head was detachable but I kinda get the vibe that she is really a robot anyway so it wasn’t too distracting for me. However, her introduction of whatever it was had me wondering if someone overdid it on the Nyquil and Vodka in the limo….

So for all the shinyness and grumpy side-eye (fingers crossed for actual seat squabbles next year!) I am calling the 2015 Oscars a good one. Oh and this morning I saw the vine going around of Michael Keating stuffing his best actor speech into his pocket right after he lost and it really is quite sad. Don’t let it get you down!! Ahhh Hollywood!!  https://celebrity.yahoo.com/news/michael-keaton-puts-away-oscars-acceptance-speech-saddest-152000591-us-weekly.html

Two Nights at the Emergency Room OR WTF is Going On With our Hospital

It’s winter in Hobart and that means the usual round of coughs and sniffles. Said germs have done a number on our family this year. When hubby got sick first I knew we were all in for it because he NEVER GETS SICK. Anyway he got it first, then Master 5 got it, then my mum who was staying with us, then me and then, dammit, the ten month old baby. I’m constantly grateful that our local hospital is a less than 10 minute drive away. It’s just nice to know, especially with infants, that you can get them to where they need to go. And you expect that when you get there, that they are going to be able and willing to give you the help you need. Australia, for the time being, can say that it has a public health system (as stretched and inadeqate as it can be, on the whole it lurches along). Our family wished to use this system and we had a very unusual experience.

Monday we took baby Henry to the GP, he’d been snotty, coughing and had fevers most of the weekend and he just wasn’t improving, if anything he was getting worse. We’d managed it ourselves but a proper diagnosis was necessary. The GP diagnosed him as having Bronchiolitis, that made sense, our older boy had had a similar illness in his first year. She also gave us a referral to the Emergency Room, she wished for a Dr at the hospital to check him out because she was concerned his laboured breathing may have fatigued him and he might need oxygen.

When we got to the hospital I knew right away that we were going to be in for a long wait. The ER was about 9/10ths full and a constant stream of people were arriving. There was a cross section of everything/everyone; an eight year old who had smacked his head on the dining table while chasing his brother. The old man in builders dayglo who, when he wasn’t calling everyone Effing C’*nts, was loudly denying that he was, in fact, dead drunk. The bogan family of ten who I suspect lived in a van who were all there because the baby was ill. The very old semi-conscious man in his wheelchair with  nobody to help him. The mother with a broken arm whose son-in-law had brought her in and was obviously resenting that fact. I’ll save you the rest for another blog.

I grew up in an age of waiting in the car for undetermined periods of time with ZERO forms of entertainment (mum didn’t even leave me the keys so I could listen to the radio, that could have had something to do with me attempting to drive at eight years old – another story). As a result I have become a master of  People Watching and am thoroughly entertained by it. After about three hours of waiting  Henry and I were starting to settle in, he was making goo goo eyes at all the females he could spot and was generally okay, his breathing and temp were up and down but I knew we’d see someone soon…..

Next thing I know ‘Semi-Conscious Ancient Man in Wheelchair’ was being wheeled back out into emergency, the nurses suddenly seemed more frantic and I heard a few orderlies snapping at each other. I started to sense that something was amiss – why was a patient being brought BACK INTO the waiting room, he’d gone in about an hour prior and now he was back, it is not supposed to go that way.

Suddenly a very loud booming voice called out “EXCUSE ME EMERGENCY ROOM” nobody payed her any attention so she yelled it out again “ATTENTION PLEASE EMERGENCY ROOM” the place fell silent. We all looked around to see a very domineering, slightly larger woman who was flustered. She continued yelling “I AM SORRY TO TELL YOU THAT THE HOSPITAL IS FULL. WE HAVE NO BEDS. I HAVE CONTACTED THE CEO OF THE HOSPITAL BUT THEY ARE UNABLE TO HELP AT THIS TIME. THE WAIT WILL BE EXTRAORDINARILY LONG SO UNLESS YOU ARE BASICALLY DYING DESPERATE FOR TREATMENT PLEASE LEAVE“.

Well I wasn’t expecting that.  But hell yeah, if I have a chance to get outta here, I’ll take it. Usually once you get on the Emergency Room train you cannot leave until you have been seen, no matter how long it takes. Henry’s temp had leveled, it was high but wasn’t jumping all over the place. His cough seemed okay. He’d stopped whinging. I joined the queue to ask Triage if we could go. We live close by so she was happy for us to leave so long as somebody was watching him constantly to make sure he was breathing (!!!). Sure, we said, no problem. And away we went.

We did as they asked and monitored him through the night. He seemed okay but at around 6.30 pm Tuesday his breathing became more difficult, his temperature sky-rocketed and he broke out in huge red blotches all over his body. FUCKWE HAVE TO GO BACK. And back we went. I’m not sure if we walked into the Twilight zone but the ER was bare except for one other family and us. We saw a pediatrician about 2 1/2 hours later. She thought that Henry had contracted a virus that had infected his sinus which was dripping a bunch of crap into his lungs. Lovely. The rash was heat related so no worries there. All we could do was nurse him through it until he got better.

That was a few weeks ago and (fingers crossed) we are all mostly better now. Henry still has snot that looks nuclear but his spark is back! I am still quite puzzled by the whole experience really and am not quite sure what to make of it. I’m pretty sure though that when a (presumably) Head Nurse is begging you to leave the hospital then something is amiss. More on this soon.

Where Is My Society??

The country I want to live in is a place where I feel free to express my opinions and share in other peoples ideas. I truly believe that a humane, progressive, adventurous, worldly and successful society is TRULY possible. Surely all it takes is a large dose of respect, a pinch of understanding and some empathy thrown in for good measure. I had previously assumed that within each and every so called “good” person you could find these things.

Turns out that you can purport to be such a “good” person and not need these traits at all!! I am thinking politicians and those ‘upstanding’ members of our community whose opinion bears a lot of weight (for some reason). OR you can have these traits but be willing and/or able to BURY them. Looking AT YOU Peter Garrett. Isn’t this the definition of being two faced? Isn’t that how the System wins?? Anyway, I digress.

Where Is My Society??? 

Where is the fair and just society that was promised me if I grew up well, developed empathy and became a good citizen? Why did you teach me to have empathy and be responsible when you struggle, NO FAIL, to do the same. Why THE FUCK can’t you just do what you say? Persecuting innocent people is a major NO NO. Well it is in my book. Maybe it is just me but if the general populace gets a hold of the idea that there is no justice, only convenient, economically driven, ignorant, racist but unfortunately popular opinions and ideas and THAT is what our society is based on then isn’t that a FREEWAY to revolution? Or do people truly not give a fuck anymore?

Just sayin’.

BEST TEACHER I EVER HAD By David Owen

This is one of my favourite stories about the importance of asking questions and how valuable it is to know as much as you can, assume nothing!! I had a teacher like this for a short time and she changed everything for me.

Extracted from Reader’s Digest (Asian Edition), April 1991, pp. 47-48.

Mr. Whitson taught sixth-grade science. On the first day of class, he gave us a lecture about a creature called the cattywampus, an ill-adapted nocturnal animal that was wiped out during the Ice Age. He passed around a skull as he talked. We all took notes and later had a quiz.

When he returned my paper, I was shocked. There was a big red X through each of my answers. I had failed. There had to be some mistake! I had written down exactly what Mr. Whitson said. Then I realized that everyone in the class had failed. What had happened?

Very simple, Mr. Whitson explained. He had made up all the stuff about the cattywampus. There had never been any such animal. The information in our notes was, therefore, incorrect. Did we expect credit for incorrect answers?

Needless to say, we were outraged. What kind of test was this? And what kind of teacher?

We should have figured it out, Mr. Whitson said. After all, at the every moment he was passing around the cattywampus skull (in truth, a cat’s), hadn’t he been telling us that no trace of the animal remained? He had described its amazing night vision, the color of its fur and any number of other facts he couldn’t have known. He had given the animal a ridiculous name, and we still hadn’t been suspicious. The zeroes on our papers would be recorded in his grade book, he said. And they were.

Mr. Whitson said he hoped we would learn something from this experience. Teachers and textbooks are not infallable. In fact, no one is. He told us not to let our minds go to sleep, and to speak up if we ever thought he or the textbook was wrong.

Every class was an adventure with Mr. Whitson. I can still remember some science periods almost from beginning to end. On day he told us that his Volkswagon was a living organism. It took us two full days to put together a refutation he would accept. He didn’t let us off the hook until we had proved not only that we knew what an organism was but also that we had the fortitude to stand up for the truth.

We carried our brand-new skepticism into all our classes. This caused problems for the other teachers, who weren’t used to being challenged. Our history teacher would be lecturing about something, and then there would be clearings of the throat and someone would say ‘cattywampus.’

If I’m ever asked to propose a solution to the problems in our schools, it will be Mr. Whitson. I haven’t made any great scientific discoveries, but Mr. Whitson’s class gave me and my classmates something just as important: the courage to look people in the eye and tell them they are wrong. He also showed us that you can fun doing it.

Not everyone sees the value in this. I once told an elementary school teacher about Mr. Whitson. The teacher was appalled. “He shouldn’t have tricked you like that,” he said. I looked that teacher right in the eye and told him that he was wrong.