Merry Christmas To My Readers

oilgift
Merry Christmas To You!
I sincerely hope that your friends and family did not rush out to purchase you some of this motor oil, which apparently Supercheap Auto thinks is such a great present they have been advertising it to me several times a day for the past week. If you find this under your tree, I am deeply sorry!

Every time I have seen it while The Other Half is home, I have asked him if he wants this for Christmas and the answer has always been NO.

Given a choice between socks and jocks, and motor oil, Imma always gonna pick the socks and jocks! Unfortunately I could not find the ad on Youtube for you. I did find a couple – one I dislike, one I deeply love.

I find this ad annoying but I also enjoy the extreme hilariousness of Johnny Depp burying all his elderly gay windchime jewelery.

I could watch this ad over and over forever. I do not know why. Maybe I just like sparkly gold things. :)

Christmas

Christmas Sucks.

I’m not a big fan of Christmas. I think if you ask anyone who worked in a retail store for a number of years during Christmas they’d say something quite similar. Many people think Christmas is a great time for retailers but most retailers despise it. With a passion.

And my Christmas is made even more fun by the lack of enthusiasm in general by my Mother, my Father and The Other Half. All of whom are working in retail, and who get two days off from the extended Christmas shopping hours chaos before diving back into the extended shopping hours chaos that is after Christmas sales which leaves them all cranky – and makes me cranky by extension. They’re lucky to get two days off – most people in retail get Christmas Day only.

If we’d been in Adelaide, we’d have gone to my Uncle’s place for Christmas. He truly gets into the spirit of the day. I believe my Uncle may be one of the first metrosexuals of his generation. That is saying something because he is over 60. He was once a hairdresser, and then he was a chef. He is the most amazing cook but you never get boring and expected from my Uncle.

Food –

Christmas Lunch has been many things during the years I have been going to his place for Christmas – curries, Nasi Goreng, fiery casseroles, generally scary food which makes you fear for your bowels. You rarely see any kind of roast. If there is seafood it will be unusually presented – never your prawn cocktail with thousand island dressing, you’d get a prawn and mango salad with an amazing unpronounceable dressing that tasted like nothing you ever imagined possible.

Decoration –

There would always be a tree, the table would be beautifully set in a style to shame Martha Whatshername, Christmas Crackers on the table, the works. Sometimes there would be a surprise visit from Santa (my Uncle in a santa suit) for the young kids. There would always be a present for everyone and spare presents because they never knew who might come to Christmas Day as a surprise.

Atmosphere –

Carols by the old time greats like Dean Martin and Bing Crosby – and as the day goes on some of the more scary Christmas CD’s in my Uncle’s collection would find their way to the CD player. If I felt like I would like to break that Mariah Carey one in half, it was a sign to look for more alcohol. That was ok because I never drove there and there was always a designated driver to drive us home. Lots of people, many of whom I barely knew and only ever saw on Christmas Day. Happiness overall because nobody argues in our family these days.

As The Years Went By –

When my parents moved we got into the habit of travelling to see them at Christmas. So much so that now I don’t feel like it is Christmas because we haven’t packed up the car, put the cats in to boarding, and traveled 1600kms across the country. Christmas would be celebrated more because we had driven so far, and my nephews were usually there.

Now –

I feel homesick for some sign of Christmas.  I miss the extended family gatherings. It is a time of year I could happily skip entirely. And there’s my whinge. Now I’ll build the bridge, because it is mostly over.

Christmas, family

An Unexpected Christmas Detour..

Last Sunday we went shopping with my parents. This is quite a rare event in many ways because usually we go with my Mum, but this time my Dad decided he would like to go along. Unknown to us at the time, he had quite a plan for us. We live about an hour’s drive from the major shopping centres so an expedition like this is usually quite a long day out.

Dad had been driving back from Sydney earlier that week and he had spotted a sign at Albion Park – Christmas Warehouse, 50% off. He wanted to buy new Christmas decorations for his shop, because the old owner had taken his decorations with him when he left, and he wasn’t happy with the decorations which had been purchased to replace them.

When it comes to Christmas decorations, my Dad had high expectations. There are people who make Christmas decorations for commercial shops for a living, ya’all. And those decorations don’t come cheap. At the previous store my Dad owned, he had paid $1,000 for two decorations that hung from the ceiling. They were pine garlands with Christmas lights wound through them and a wreath in the middle and they looked stunning. Unfortunately they were still at the old store.

So my Dad had this idea in his head which he did not choose to share with us. The idea was that we could make our own versions of these things. When we got to Albion Park, we found ourselves parked in the carpark of the Christmas warehouse as a surprise. Thinking it was just to have a look – and secretly thinking that my Dad had secretly been wanting to put Christmas lights all over his house for a good couple of years now and that he wanted to buy a bunch of lights – we went inside.

What you need to know about me is that I LOVE sparkly things, I love Christmas lights, I love tinsel, I love decorations. Walking into this warehouse was wonderful for me. Most of the warehouse was very dark to enable the lights to show off. I went all deer in the headlights wow look at all the lights and sparkly things. It is like disconnecting a circuit in my brain so the only thing I can think is wow.. pretty!

The four of us went our separate ways, me to look at the pretty lights up close, my Dad to look at the pine garlands, The Other Half to look at the moving reindeers, and my Mum to look at the Christmas trees. By the time The Other Half found me I had a set of Christmas lights in my hands, the ones I had been wanting since I had seen them in Kmart *last* year. These were actually cheaper than I had seen them anywhere else.

When we managed to find each other again, my Dad chose to inform us of our looming date with decorations. My Mum did what she always does, which is look for the negative. “It’s a fire risk to have lights in those pine garland things”. Dad got annoyed and went outside for a cigarette while The Other Half explained to Mum that the lights they were looking at were LED’s and they did not create any heat, so there was no fire risk. She went out to speak to Dad and give her permission for the decorating to go ahead while we bought my Christmas lights.

We went out to put my lights in the car, and then Dad explained his vision which I completely got – the other two did not quite understand it. Then we went back in and the shopping was ON, ya’all. Four 2.7 metre long pine garlands. Two pine wreaths. 80 large Christmas baubles. 30 small Christmas baubles. 5 sets of LED lights. We lined up in the now very long queue with arms full.

After about 10 minutes, we noticed that the line did not seem to be moving anymore. The Other Half went to investigate. It seemed their computers and their EFTpos was down and all of a sudden the store was going cash only. We pooled our money and tried to work out how much cash we needed. When we added up the LED lights alone we didn’t have enough cash on us to pay for them, let alone all the other stuff. So we waited, while the staff ran around like headless chooks and the manager was on the phone to their help desk.

The queue was growing by the minute. Nobody was telling the customers what was going on. Another 20 minutes went by. I said “Let’s get them to scan all the stuff, we can find out how much cash we need, and then bring it back on our way home.”

So we spoke to one of the staff members and the first thing he said in response to our question was “I don’t have anywhere to store what you have. You can put it all down over there but I can’t guarantee it will be there when you get back”. When he said this, he was standing in front of a large curtained off area that ran the entire length of the warehouse where he could easily have put all the stuff we wanted. We pointed this out. “Oh, I can’t put stuff back there.” Why not, we asked? “I just can’t.”

Ok, on to the next solution. The Other Half and I would stay there with the stuff, while my parents went to get the cash. This was much more acceptable to the staff member and he agreed to scan our stuff. It added up to $390. The staff member “parked” the sale and gave us the docket. We took our stuff over to the other side of the warehouse away from the queue. This was a big mistake for several reasons but at the time we didn’t know it.

We put our stuff neatly down out of everyone’s way, and began waiting for my parents to come back. I said to the other half “If I had to get stuck somewhere I’m glad it was here, it’s so pretty”. By now, the queue was enormous and people in the front of the queue had begun to give up, taking their items back. That meant people at the back of the queue thought the line was moving.

One of the staff members decided to put signs up on the tills “Cash Only” – of course this did not help those at the end of the queue who could not see the signs. The majority of the people in the queue had no idea what was going on, and they did not know they couldn’t pay with plastic. By this time we had been in the store for almost 50 minutes and many of the people in the queue had been waiting at least 30 minutes.

The same staff member then decided to put a sign on the door “Eftpos is down, cash only”. She stuck the sign at the top with sticky tape. The moment she walked away, the wind blew the sign up so that nobody could read it.

My parents returned, and we got back in the queue, this time at the end because if we’d pushed in we would have been beaten to a pulp. We should have stayed where we were in the queue! One of the staff members decided to tell the *end* of the queue that it was cash only. She neglected to tell the *front* of the queue. When she got to us we told her we had a sale parked in the system and all we needed to do was hand the cash over. Instead of taking us to the counter so we could pay, she looked blankly at us and then walked away. I could have throttled her.

Then the lack of communication chickens really came home to roost for the staff. One of the people who had been in the front of the queue finally got to the checkout and tried to pay with a card. The guy said “It’s cash only”. She said “I’ve been waiting in that queue for over half an hour, and NOW you tell me it is cash only? Forget it.” She began to walk off and the staff member tried to ask her to put the things back. She gave him a look that would have killed him on the spot, if looks could kill, and walked away leaving the items right where they were. In fact she looked like she was considering picking the items up and throwing them AT him.

The staff decided enough was enough and chose to close the doors half way. They put the girl who had stuck up the sign in the doorway to let people out and keep new people from coming in. However she soon moved out of the doorway and was letting just as many people in, not explaining to them what was going on.

We finally got to the checkout and paid for our items. I asked the guy to give me the plastic bags so we could put them in ourselves, to save everyone time. We loaded up our stuff and got the heck out of there. It had taken us an hour and 20 minutes from when we lined up in the queue. Much of our precious shopping time was now gone. We ended up shopping like crazy people until it was time to go home, hitting two of the major shopping centres – and then JB Hifi!

By the time we got home we were all exhausted but we had already agreed to put these decorations together. It took us two hours. The first and worst job was the pine garlands – you know when you unpack your fake tree and you have to pull all the branches out to make it look real? We had to pull the branches out on the almost 12 metres of pine garland.

We wanted these to last for years, so we decided to stick the baubles to the garlands with wire. We had found the perfect stuff in the gardening section. I was cutting sections of wire while Mum was feeding them through the baubles and then attaching the wire to the baubles by twisting it. We divided the baubles evenly so each garland would have the same amount. While this was going on, the men were threading the LED lights through the garland. That part on its own looked fantastic. Click the pics for a larger view.
Christmas Decorations
The end result turned out to be quite stunning even if I do say so myself. The only thing I would change is to make the wreath bigger but that was the largest ones they had there. It was worth all the time and effort we put in. And there’s still one extra set of LED lights left that we didn’t use, which I am sure Dad will choose to install on his own house somewhere.
Christmas Decorations

Christmas, shopping

Soooo bored..

I’ve loaded the dishwasher twice – and unloaded it.

I baked a cake.

I’ve made a start on two new paintings.

The other half and I have played pool.

There is NOTHING on TV, at all. Even pay tv. How is this possible? This is how desperate the situation is – I just watched a biography on Alan Alda. As much as I adore the man, I believe I’ve seen it at least twice before.

Lunch has been eaten. Dinner has been eaten. I’ve had dessert. Twice, once for lunch, once for dinner. I didn’t have breakfast but that’s because I don’t like breakfast. If I could have known how bored I would be later, I may have considered having it just for the entertainment of poaching eggs.

I’ve been trying to write some scripting for the lads but every cell I own is crying out – we is bored, get us out of here! It’s hard to come up with options of things to say to them when your cells are mourning the death of interesting.

I unpacked my cats calender for 2007. It has a cat on the first page that looks like my older cat. I am tempted to flick through and see what all the other pages have, but that would spoil the daily surprise.

I have no unread books. I have a few unseen dvd’s but no desire to see them. I watched The Green Mile last night – a fantastic movie but I’d seen it before. The ending had new meaning – how long does everyone walk their own green mile? I feel like today has been a year long all by itself. And I’ve only been up 12 hours.

By the time I went to bed last night I had sent 3 emails to Sephy – this is the kind of plotting we’re doing behind the scenes. We’re running a shitload of fake check baits, all at once. Almost 150 lads. I bought me a new skype in number specifically for these baits so the lads can get in touch and speak to me – this makes them more happy to send fake checks.

But the scammers are all on holiday – all the internet cafes are shut for at least 2 days. I’ve received 3 scammer emails since yesterday compared to the usual zillion million. Two of them were lads just saying Merry Christmas. Perhaps in a drunken emailing spree, who knows?

Not even Mcdonalds is open. The petrol station in town has run out of pies. That’s because the police turned up and bought all of them earlier, probably for those spending Christmas Day in the slammer. I know this not because I was at the petrol station. That’s how small this town is. I feel completely deprived of shopping. Is this the reason why so many people flock to the shops after they have been shut for one day? I have everything here that I need, but because I can’t go shopping I feel like I need to go shopping. That’s never happened to me before.

So they have a few marathons, but they picked all the boring shows to run this weekend, and next weekend I am spoilt for choice, including a COPS marathon. I love COPS. I think there should be a channel dedicated just to COPS. Yesterday I saw “Naked” cops, a special version they made just for naked people. However they blurred out the nakedness. I think that’s a little odd.

When we went up the street earlier the people next door to my parents had people visiting. I looked at the plates and said “Good, no interstate riff raff” then I realised – this time last year *WE* were interstate riff raff.. ;) Things have really changed in a year and I suddenly feel like this is going to hit me like a ton of bricks over New Year.

Santa brought me money and Lindt chocolates and Danish butter cookies. See what I mean about not celebrating this year? ;) I did not unwrap one single present. I did not *wrap* a single present. The reason for that is we didn’t have any wrapping paper and no shops to get any at. We did give two presents to my parents, and the other half decided to turn the boxes inside out being as we couldn’t wrap them. And yes, we briefly considered other options, such as taping together many sheets of a4 paper, wrapping them in junk mail catalogs or newspaper, and plastic bags. We got the parents a shredder and a wicked bin with automatic lid – a must for all germophobes like me.

Well, instead of boring you all with how bored I am, I’ll go annoy the cats, or something.. ;) or flick channels endlessly in a search for something.. anything..

Christmas, General Chit-chat

Normally..

At Christmas, we used to drive from Adelaide to visit my parents in Tamworth, a good drive taking two days at least and it was over 1,600kms.

So this year it feels really not like Christmas at all, because we’re not going anywhere and my parents live a 2 minute walk down the street. And probably because we don’t have a tree, and we don’t have any presents for each other (though we did buy things for the parents), and we’re basically ignoring the whole thing this year except for food.

It makes me start to think about what Christmas really does mean. You all know I’m not religious, so this holiday should not even be appearing on my radar at all, realistically. What’s it all about? Retailers making money, I think. Which is not a bad thing in some ways, but to me it basically means absolutely nothing. This time next week the Hot Cross Buns will be on the shelves. And there, another celebration which should not appear on my radar.

So if it means something to you, Merry Christmas. If you’re like me, and you’re all blah humbug, Merry Blah Humbug, let’s all get sloshed, hey? ;)

But I did win $100 on the pokies today.. now that is something to celebrate. And over the past week, the other half has won a couple of hundred, and my *Dad* has won over 2k on the pokies – that’s $2,000.

What’s the secret to betting on the pokies, I hear you ask?

1. Have a set amount you’re willing to lose. $5, $10, $20, whatever you feel comfortable with. Dad likes to go with $50 but he’s loopy. These days I like $10.
2. Walk around until a machine speaks to you, don’t just play any old machine.
3. Always bet high. None of this one credit per line junk. I like 5 credits per line.
4. If you lose your amount, walk out. Don’t put more in.
5. If a machine is screaming at you once you’ve lost your dough, don’t play it!
6. Don’t be afraid to play a $1 machine just as long as you know it won’t last as long and once you do your dough, you’re done.

Today a $1 machine screamed at me, and I bet one .50 cent credit per line, so I was betting $2,50 per bet. On the second hit of the button, the machine went loopy and gave me $100 credit! YAY!

So when that happens, cash out, and if you want to put your $10 back in, feel free, keep the $90, and don’t put that in a machine whatever you do.

About Snoskred, Christmas, pokie machines

Blah Humbug

Nobody around me is in the Christmas Spirit, at all. Those guys work in retail. By the time Christmas gets here they are exhausted, and they have to work a 13 hour day when they go back to work for the sales.

My Mother is the worst. No christmas tree. No lights. No presents. It’ll just be like any ordinary day, except we will be eating prawns and lobster.

Speaking of which, it is very strange that I actually get fed less seafood at their house now living near the coast than I did when they lived in Tamworth, a 3 hour drive from the sea.

Yesterday we went to the Meat Raffle, and my Mother won twice with the same *number* – out of over 9,000 numbers. How freaky is that? We got us a nice chicken pack and a ham, so roast chicken for dinner today. YAY! Then my ticket won a pack so we got a roast beef and a beef steaks and sausages pack. I cooked the other half sausages, eggs and bacon for dinner.

It’s been raining here for the last 2 days. This is a good thing. When you live in the country you never say anything bad about rain. In fact you enjoy it, you go out and get wet. Yesterday there were people playing golf in a major downpour while we were at the sports club. That’s called nuts, in my opinion. Lucky there was no thunder around.

I was just checking through my emails and a scammer lad sent me this –

I JUST RECIEVE YOUR MAIL RIGHT AWAY YOU KNOW GO TO HAIL WITH SO CALL FBI NEVER YOUM MAIL ME AGAIN

Well I don’t know about going to Hail.. :) But I like hail too, almost as much as rain, as long as the car is in the garage..

Annoyed Snoskred, Aussie Culture, Christmas, scambaiting