How To Cope With An Internet Outage With Millennials

bruno-gomiero-94171-unsplashMy sympathies lie with the businesses that were affected by Telstra’s latest outage last week. My own family has been at their mercy for the past two weeks, effectively in lockdown.

Any parent will tell you that there is no greater pain than watching a child suffer, and that is exactly what we have been forced to endure during the outage. While for the old man and myself – hardcore Generation Xers who were brought up on The Famous Five, Cats Cradle, conkers, and – dare I mention – books, it has proven to be more of an irritation than a personal loss, our two young adults have experienced immeasurable grief.

While Kurt’s body has completely lost the ability to function – withdrawal seeing him pace the house like a caged animal to metamorphose into a frightening hybrid of Gollum and the Hulk – NC has refused to come home or return my calls.

And yet, perhaps more terrifying than the sight of two young adults in a perpetual state of despair is the grey pallor and twitching of the parent that is responsible for fixing the problem.

Suffice it to say, the old man has been forced to use his home blood pressure monitor more than usual over this past two weeks. So, when a friend caught him chained to the fencing of the golf club, refusing to go home, and promised him that “cable is three times faster than anything else, mate,” desperation forced his hand and he made an uncharacteristically impulsive decision.

He ordered cable.

In hindsight, I will admit that our expectations were stupidly unrealistic, not helped by the events of the night before during which Kurt managed to use up five precious gigabytes of data within the space of an hour – apparently, that is a lot in data-speak, particularly in a house that prioritizes data over food. So it was with bated breath that we watched cable guy do his ten-minute reconnaissance of our joint and set to work, first in the lounge, and then up a pole on the other side of the street – which foolishly, I interpreted as a positive sign.

And when, finally, he placed the magic card in the old man’s hand with our new passcode – which, it is no exaggeration to say, was the equivalent of Charlie’s golden ticket, (so much so, the old man has since tattoed had the number tattooed his chest) – I can only compare the euphoria to seeing Buble perform his complete collection of Christmas songs live…and naked.

Obviously, being ever the practical one of the family, he held cable guy captive a little longer as he tested and ran through every nuance of the new technology with him, and cable guy was generous enough to humor him, even when he asked some (frankly) very stupid, Generation X type questions.

But I will admit that the sound of my husband’s whoop of joy upon his discovery that the new speed of our new internet thingy, (insert appropriate technological jargon here), far exceeded our expectations was a beautiful thing, comparable I would say to his reaction to the births of our children – although he didn’t do a celebratory lap around the block naked either of those times.

In fact, we remained high on life even when cable guy left our home to save some other poor family in similarly dire straits.

Until, the call from upstairs the wild, that no father wants to hear.

‘DAAAAAAAAAD! The Internet doesn’t work on my phone!’

We are back in lockdown. An immediate state of emergency has been called in which we have hourly meetings to discuss possible emergency action such as new routers, a different bedroom… perhaps even a new house?

I am confident that we will work through this difficult time, folks, but in the meantime, we would be grateful for your prayers.

*Reaches for wine.*


7 Jobs That Only Get Done When The Internet Is Down

The old man decided to upgrade our router system the other day, and inevitably the job took longer than planned because of one, or several of the following reasons:

English: merrow, merrow sewing machine company...
English: merrow, merrow sewing machine company, this image is available for public use (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  1. Even though he thinks he is Steve Jobs and we should have shares in Apple, he is technologically inept
  2. He cannot be described as ‘handy’ or a ‘man who can’
  3. He refuses to let anyone help him, in particular women or anyone from Generation Y
  4. There was probably some major part missing that was required for a successful installation
  5. There was OBVIOUSLY some fault at our Service Provider’s end, even though the rest of Sydney had Wifi.

My world without Internet came to a grinding halt.

For two hours I felt lost. I couldn’t partake of any of the daily functions that give me pleasure, such as Facebook, Pinning, Tweeting, or in absolute desperation, work. I couldn’t research stuff to do in the future – that I will obviously never do; I couldn’t trawl the net for clothes, that I will never buy or images of food that I will never cook.

Which left me no real excuse NOT to do all those things I would have/should have been doing before the Internet came along. Those boring, housey chores, that now only get done on a needs basis.

Such as:

  1. Cleaning the Microwave – which I have thought about for a good month but hoped that someone else (such as the old man, who is more commonly referred to these days as House Bitch now he is a house husband), would be grossed out enough by the porridge splatters to do it for me. Obviously he can’t fathom how to put back the glass plate either.
  2. Clearing the Fridge of all those leftovers that we never eat, in spite of our supposed conscience about world poverty. These include half-used jars of sauces that have developed green fur on the top and manky old pieces of cut up veg and fruit that were used last Christmas.
  3. Sewing on those buttons, patching up those seams…
  4. Getting to the bottom of the ironing pile where the tablecloths, napkins and shirts you never wear, live forever.
  5. Polishing shoes rather than buying a new pair, or giving them a quick once-over with the dish cloth.
  6. Cleaning those stains on the carpet that have annoyed me for the past year every time I walk past them.
  7. Not ignoring the little flashing light on the dishwasher that reminds me to add some dishwasher rinse aid, even though it seems to make fuck all difference to the results.

Sewing is my biggest ‘I would prefer to be an ugly, fat girl in the Bachelor house’ task out of all of the above and I will avoid it whenever possible. I will throw clothes away rather than spend two minutes mending them. It’s not even that I can’t sew – I am THAT old – it was part of the school curriculum in my day, when we slowly advanced from blanket stitch to designing and making some hideously embroidered cushion that both parents actually fought over NOT to be gifted for Christmas, over the space of four years.


What heinous domestic task will you lower yourself to do when the Internet goes down?

Judging The Choices Of Others Publicly: Where’s The Line?

Social media has manipulated us to the point where we now believe it’s acceptable to scrutinise, criticise and judge others publicly. Before the advent of the Internet, we only had up-to-date information about what our immediate circle of friends, family and colleagues were doing, whereas these days we can view the rest of the world with a single click of our mouse.


pt: Aviso de Troll en: Troll Warning
pt: Aviso de Troll en: Troll Warning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


And it’s given some people a dangerous power that they obviously find hard to control.


Now I am the biggest advocate of dry humor, (and not such a fan of the over-political correctness that is trying to erase it), yet as Giuliana Rancic admitted this week in her public apology to the actress Zendaya, there has to be a ‘line.’


For those of you who are unfamiliar with Giuliana Rancic, she is one of the presenters of the American television series, Fashion Police, which provides a humorously acerbic look at celebrity fashion. This week Giuliana was singled out for what were deemed to be derogatory, racist comments that she made about Zendaya’s dreadlocks at a recent awards show, which stereotyped black people as drug users.


I was watching the program at the time and I admit that I missed how those comments would be perceived too, because the appeal of the format of Fashion Police (and it’s not for the easily offended) is that it is a sharp-shooting, fast-talking, often ad-libbed show which, (in spite of covering what some might see as very shallow subject matter), is a mental workout. Giuliana’s biting quips were off the cuff, and much like Benedict Cumberbatch’s recent comments about ‘colour’, I feel certain, were not meant to offend.


‘Humor’ is subjective, after all.


But she was castigated for her mistake, and rightly so, because her words caused offence.


And because we are growing tired of the fact that just because social media has given us this platform where we can be righteously opinionated, it has become acceptable behaviour to take a pop at anyone, without consideration for their feelings or the impact it will have on their family or mental well-being.


Social media appears to have extinguished empathy.


We witness this brazen attitude daily in the comments published by ‘trolls’ on networks such as Twitter, whether it is in #tweetsaboutwomen (@miafreedman: shut up Mia Freedman or else I’ll shut you up with my fist) or malicious comments about Madonna’s recent fall at the Brits, where little consideration was given to the fact that the woman might have actually hurt herself.


That reaction to Madonna’s fall made me really think about how we judge the choices of others.


Because we are all guilty of judging others – only most of us don’t do it quite as publicly.


We all look at photos on Facebook and think bad thoughts sometimes, such as:


She’s put on a bit of weight…




Can they really afford private education?…




Should she be wearing that at her age?….


We all do it.


And that’s fine, it’s human nature to analyse and compare as long as those inner voices are kept private.


What’s not acceptable is when those malicious thoughts are aired in a public forum, are often misinformed and then posted without consideration for the suffering that they might exacerbate.


That’s called ‘bullying’.


Conjecture about the condition of Whitney Houston’s daughter has been another recent horrific example of such trolling.


This level of vitriol can only emanate from envy or fear. What other reason can there be for the public decimation of a person you know nothing about, really? Yes, famous people have chosen to work in the public eye and should be accountable for their performance in the workplace, just as we all are. But their private life should remain private, because without really knowing what goes on behind their closed doors, what right do we have to judge their choices?


There has to be a line.


I’m Confused By That Photo Of Kim Kardashian’s Arse

Embed from Getty Images

It’s lucky for you that I’m such an emotionally volatile person, (because Kurt has such a talent for keeping me in a semi-turbulent state that veers between anger and despair most of the day), otherwise, how else would you gain such inspiring insights into the often-crass world we live in?

This week I’m confused by that photo of Kim Kardashian‘s arse.

Kim Kardashian at the Seventh Annual Hollywood...
Kim Kardashian at the Seventh Annual Hollywood Life Magazine Awards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But I’m also torn about writing this post because I hate slamming women on the Internet, when there’s more than enough unnecessary vitriol floating around cyberspace without my penny’s worth.

Nevertheless, I’m still confused by the photo of Kim Kardashian’s arse.

And I’m equally confused by the photo of Keira Knightly’s breasts. You see, I’ve never understood why successful women feel the need to flaunt/sell their naked bodies to the world.

Kim Kardashian found fame via a sex tape and a reality tv show, so with a wealth of beauty and fashion contracts to promote, that image of her naked butt obviously did what it was intended to do – kept the public (those that aren’t already sick of seeing her on the cover of every magazine) aware of her VERY important presence in the universe and made her even more money. Obviously the Wests have fallen on hard times recently.

Those matching outfits for North can be super-expensive!

My question is, why these women need to do this? They don’t need the money and they can certainly gain attention in other ways. ‘New marriages’ have worked well for Kim in the past.

NC disagrees with me and says that women should be able to do what they want without being judged, because feminism is about being able to make choices.


Keira attends the premiere of Atonement
Keira attends the premiere of Atonement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They’ve justified the shots, of course. ‘Money’ is never mentioned, but ‘awareness’ issues are used and abused. Truth be told, I wasn’t fully AWARE of just how HUGE Kim’s arse was before that photo.

Apparently Keira was protesting against previous airbrushed shots of her boobs and wanted to demonstrate to her public what real breasts look like – those unaided by cosmetic sculpturing, Photoshop or any other sort of ‘lift lie’. She was trying to disprove society’s paradigm that women’s breasts need to be at least a C cup to be perfect. The problem is, Keira is a young, beautiful and successful woman, who has basically released just another topless photo to the Internet – to titillate and be salivated over.

I’m not so sure that the type of person who clicks on the ‘Keira’s sexy photo’ headline as it flashes onto their screen appreciates her stance on Photoshop. Furthermore, she has added fuel to the fire of women being represented in the media as nothing more than bodies. Her standpoint seems sadly lost on most of the lightweight online magazines I’ve seen.

The naked female body is beautiful, (and I don’t believe I’m a prude), but have Keira and Kim thought about what message their photos are sending out to young girls who are struggling through puberty; girls who worry about their bodies and are trying to fit into a world dictated by the seedy rules of social media – where sending a sexy snapchat or photo has become the new way to communicate with each other?

You can argue that it’s their choice. And I agree – if women choose to sell their bodies or photos for money, that’s their right. But Keira and Kim have a responsibility, too – as public role models. Neither of them needed to make that choice for financial reasons.

I AM AWARE that real breasts don’t sit naturally at right angles to the female body – as are most adult women and mature men. So how does a black and white, ‘contrived to look arty’, photo of Keira’s breasts help prevent the process of airbrushing exactly? Wouldn’t an intelligent article about ‘body issues’ and the ‘misrepresentation of women by the media’ have made more of an impact?

(Perhaps Keira could take a leaf out of Emma Watson’s book when it comes to addressing women’s issues).

But unfortunately an article like that wouldn’t receive the same level of interest or ‘views’ – the Internet is where people seek immediate gratification, and mere ‘suggestion’ is not enough.

They want boobs and butts.

That huge, oily arse, flashes up on my screen every time I click on a social media site at the moment, and it makes me very uncomfortable. I’m confused by the message Kim’s arse is trying to send me.

Midlife Mayhem – Am I A Hypochondriac Or Just Getting Old?

The subject matter of good dinner party chitchat has found a disturbing niche, now that we’ve hit our forties. Although ‘life was supposed to begin’ at this stage of our lives, we seem to be stuck at the ‘recognition of our own mortality’ roadblock far earlier than we anticipated. Whereas in my twenties we used to wax lyrical about alcohol consumption, sexual prowess and the female orgasm (apparently they were mutually compatible then), and in our thirties we circum-navigated career goals, marriage and babies, discussions these days seem to have stagnated around our health, or lack of it. I blame all those self-righteous health magazines and the Internet for our health obsession, but maybe it is just another symptom of the ‘midlife crisis’.

The ‘midlife’ alarm seems to resonate somewhere between your late thirties and mid forties, and serves as a reminder that you’ve reached the ‘half time’ point in your life and there’s not much time left to score some real goals. For some, those goals might be a new philosophy of life (Madonna and Kabbalah?) and for others they might involve a sea change. But at this stage in the game of life, sometimes your fitness doesn’t necessarily live up to your promise. It is a worrying indictment of our age group that in our circle of friends, more people take Statins these days, than drink alcohol.

Take my own health. Over the past six weeks, I have experienced debilitating lower back pain (I’m guessing it’s NOT a sports injury), the cold virus, severe toothache and the monthly peri-menopausal utopia caused by my female reproductive zone being forced into retirement. The old man’s sympathy has extended to ‘you’re getting old’ when I’ve sought comfort, whereas I suspect that I could be the first human, still walking, to suffer from cancer of every major organ. All other ailments aside, I am obviously suffering from mild hypochondriasis.

There’s no doubt in my mind that I have been assigned the ‘time-waster’ label by my GP, although, contrary to popular opinion, this hypochondriac is rarely spotted at the surgery. Consulting a doctor is a double-edged sword – if I go, she might tell me there’s nothing wrong with me (when I know that there is) and if I don’t go, and there is something wrong with me, I’m going to die anyway. A visit will have been precipitated by the ‘doom and gloom’ of self-diagnosis on the Internet, and the standard appointment time invariably stretches to double time as my telephone book of unrelated symptoms are analyzed. All roads lead to cancer when you pump a symptom into Google. 

There was a time, before cancer began ravaging acquaintances and freaking the rest of us out, and when it was fun to smoke, drink heavily and consume vats of any ‘type’ of fat, that conversation at the dinner table covered world politics, the career vs children conundrum or religion. But these days, world news has lost its x factor in comparison to the anguish caused by faulty bodily functions. ‘Man talk’ now encompasses ‘piles’, ‘wind’, and ‘bloating’, while ‘girl talk’ dissects issues of ‘bone density’, ‘vitamin supplements’, and ‘muscle mass’. Can someone explain to me how, scientifically, you can still put on weight when both your muscle mass and your bone density are decreasing? You might want to note that we’re saving ‘death’, ‘erectile dysfunction’ and ‘loss of sexual libido’ for our fifties and sixties.

So if I’m not really ill, why do I spend more on health than retail therapy and possess the energy levels of a dying battery? My svelte, septuagenarian next-door neighbour is still surfing, so maybe my physical well-being is being compromised by a poor mental outlook to aging, and my dwindling estrogen is not the culprit after all?

In one of his more lucid moments (Friday night; 2/3 of a bottle of Penfolds, Bin 28), the old man compared retirement to Buddhism. Apparently, once you retire you stop worrying about premature death because your philosophy of life changes and you finally appreciate that it is a positive state of mind that brings happiness, not wealth. Retirement, (and the reason our neighbor is a living advertisement for Viagra), provides the luxury of free time, time to focus on happiness and make yourself that ‘better’ person you always dreamed of being, physically and mentally, rather than focusing on what is missing, when you are a small cog in the large wheel of the rat race.

Hypochondriasis is ‘health anxiety’ in disguise and it’s pretty common for us midlifers. It is a bonafide illness and we can seek help for it; middle age is not, unfortunately.

Dinner Party from courtesy of Alastair R

The 7 Gals of Menopause (back) from courtesy of HA! Designs – Artbyheather