Monday, January 17, 2011

Mosquito hunter

One of my great joys this summer has been watching Jason kill the mosquitos in our bedroom.

Generally we have just got into bed when we notice several mozzies zipping around the ceiling. Jason stands up on the bed with a tissue box- his weapon of choice- and tracks the mosquitoes. Then- BAM- he slams the tissue box against the ceiling, often killing two or three mosquitos in a single hit. He is perfectly engrossed in the process and oblivious to how hilarious he looks standing naked on the bed with the tissue box. He prowls all four corners of the bed till there are no more live mosquitos to be seen.

Come autumn we will need to clean the ceiling.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Touch up teens

Tonight my friend Felicity- a high school psychologist- told me that at her school, students can opt to have their school photos touched up prior to printing. Apparently in last year's photos, nobody in the entire school had a pimple! Unbelievable!! She also said that her students routinely photoshop their Facebook pictures prior to posting them.

I have vague memories of obscene hand gestures being airbrushed out of the 'whole-school' photo when I was in year 10. But not optional airbrushing to remove pimples.

Over the past two decades photoshopping has become standard practice for fashion shoots and other commercial projects. In fashion photography the viewer expects a flawless image and is generally well aware of its artifice. (Although Susan Sontag would probably point to the artifice of all photography, even in the pre-digital, pre-photoshop era.) I suppose that fifteen year olds now expect photos of themselves to be similarly flawless. And why not?? A digital image is just waiting to be improved.

If a kid disliked their entire face, could they photoshop a celebrity face onto their shoulders? "Oh yeah, year 9, that was my Taylor Swift phase."

A pimply photo could become the mark of the high school rebel.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Horrible hunstmen

Spending the week down at Inverloch, Jason's parents beach house. Pretty lucky, I know, but *every* time we come down here there is at least one awful great huntsman that crawls out of the woodwork to get me. I hate hunstmen so much. Their fat fleshy bodies and scurrying legs.

This time I (fool!) thought I’d be safe because Jason’s parents had already spent two weeks down here, and Jason’s mum had even vacuumed under all the sofa cushions. But yesterday when Jason was moving the old telly yesterday to make way for the new digital one, a big fat huntsman crawled right out of one of its vents. Brrughough. This is in fact the second huntsman to crawl out of that TV, the first one two years ago when we were watching ‘Ghostbusters II’. Other spider incidents:

- One was on the ceiling of our bedroom
- one crawled out from between the sofa cushions
- one was inside the wardrobe
- one crawled out from the airconditioner.

The last one ran across the kitchen ceiling whilst our friends were cooking dinner. Everyone became very excited as they hunted it down: someone banged on the bongo drum and everyone did high pitched chanting “wowaw-waw-wow-wow” like a cartoon tribal sacrifice ceremony. Luckily I was in the shower.

Jason and I have developed a routine for scouring the place for spiders at the start of each trip. We enter the house, each armed with a can of bug-killer. After initial reconnaissance , we methodically turn up each chair and couch, inspecting each cushion and the underside of each chair. We are both very nervous and trigger happy- once we both got spooked by a small movement and sprayed each other in the face with bugspray.

When we inevitably find the spider, I leave the house to let Jason kill it. I used to stay to witness the killings but I would become hysterical, shouting things like “We’re all going to die!!” and “I hate this place!” This made Jason too nervous, so now I sit in the car until he gives me the all clear.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Novelty Pool Toys - a near death experience.

We went to Tom Groggin, a lovely bush campsite on the Murray near Thredbo, for a week over the New Year's break. One of our major planned activities for the week was floating down the river and the other two couples came quite well prepared with rubber dinghies and proper lilos, respectively. Jason had bought for us two novelty pool toys. The first was a round inflatable armchair that leaves the rider sitting high above the water, toes just dangling in the water, with no means of steering. The other was a colourful reclining lilo complete with backrest and drink holder. This is my excuse for leading Jason, Nico and I on an unplanned trip down the rapids completely unencumbered by *any* floatation aid.

We jumped in the river as far upstream as we were willing to walk on a sticky day. The river was high after weeks of rain. Tara had lilo-ed down that section of the river before and told us, "I nearly died!"and we laughed.

After a few hundred metres Nico signalled us off the water as he'd seen some fast rapids ahead. I was the last in line, floating on the ridiculous arm chair, and I left my jump too late. I landed in fast, deep water and was completely unable to stop. Jason tried to grab me, but I ricocheted off him. Nico managed to grab me and we were a wavering human chain for a few seconds before Jason, who I had unseated moments earlier, smashed into us breaking the chain.

And then we were off!! Three of us tumbling down the rapids. Falling standing up.

After the deep rapids the river narrowed to a series of rockpools bounded by high rock walls. It became even deeper here, and at one point I sunk under the water, leaving just my hat bobbing down the river. Even now this seems strange to me, as I am strong swimmer and I didn't feel overly panicked. I heard Nico say to Jason, "She's gone under!!". Then I managed to turn my body around so that my feet could take the impact on the rock walls. We bounced down the rock pools, at each one Jason managed to grab on to a rock for a millisecond and he would declare: "It's okay!! We're okay now!!". And then whooosh! We were off again down the river.

At the fourth rock pool there was a well-placed log fallen across the river, at reaching distance from the water. We grabbed it and clung to it, hugging it and panting, three drowned rats in a row.

Ten minutes later we were off down the river again.