You can take it with you

So I’m driving back from rowing this morning behind a bus which has an ad for Just Cremations

Just cremations.

“No fuss” is the tag line and I thought THAT might be the best ever funeral ad I’ve ever seen.

I can imagine it appealing to a lot of people… especially tight-arses like me who can’t bear the thought of paying a stupid amount for a party I’m not going to see.

Or a coffin that’s going to be worn once and then destroyed – or maybe buried until it rots.

To me that is a ridiculous WASTE OF MONEY.

Family – please spend the money on something else.  Booze for the wake.  A holiday somewhere warm.  A new fridge.  Whatever, don’t spend money on a coffin.

(actually if you are buying a new fridge – just use the box)

Because coffins are STUPIDLY EXPENSIVE.

The cheapest coffin at Just Cremations is a Peel Basic at $1190 – does that include GST?

That will do for me – unless you can get something cheaper.

The most expensive over $11 grand.  That’s one way to take your money with you.

*boggling eyes*

Here’s a tip.  A cheap coffin does NOT mean you didn’t love the person you are putting in it.

Measure your love in other ways – not a frigging wooden (or chipboard) box.

(a small aqua box with a white ribbon – while I’m still alive – is a nice way for instance)

In my research for this post today I did come across another kind of funeral which sounds interesting – a natural burial.

Not that I want to be buried mind you, that film The Vanishing cured me of that.

I like the idea of a biodegradable burial though I wonder what they do if you have fake boobs (not that I have) – do you remove them?

Otherwise or that will be left is a bunch of bones and two silicone fillets…

I digress.

The point is – just get me the cheapest funeral on the menu.


In other news… and in an effort to stave off the impending funeral… my exercise this week has been “fair”.

  • Sunday – social row
  • Monday – ergs with the lovely Evelyn
  • Tuesday – training
  • Wednesday – day off
  • Thursday – more ergs with Evelyn
  • Friday – training
  • Saturday – social row

Next week I head to Karratha and Broome.  I hope they have a rowing machine at the Karratha International!

Putting things in perspective

These shorts spell no sex for the rest of your life

So this weekend, my son is getting ready for his second year of college and University.

That’s not my son.

That’s his friend.

They went shopping yesterday to buy some clothes for my son who lets just say is “sartorially challenged”.

My son likes looking good, but has no idea and because of that (I think) opts out of worrying about it.

He’s resigned to not being trendy, or even being slightly well dressed.

And yet, I know he likes looking good.

He came back with new shorts, new boardies, new shoes.

And then went through his clothes and items were allowed to be packed only if they passed inspection.

The shorts pictured were rejected.

This morning I listened to part 1 and part 2 of Harper High School on This American Life.

At this school all the kids are part of gangs.  They don’t get a choice.  The gang they are in is dictated by where they live.

To not be in a gang means never to leave the house.  Never to have friends.

Last year 29 current and recent students of this school were shot.

Not at the school – that might have made the news – in the neighbourhood.  One on the porch while talking to a friend.  The friend’s brother on the pavement also got shot.  He was in a wheelchair, paralysed in an earlier shooting.

And look at the people who work at this school –  all so young – you listen to their stories and they care so much.

I can’t stop thinking about them.

I feel like I live in a parallel universe from Harper High School.  (and they are by no means an isolated case)

The  fears I have for my children – will they make friends, will they study, will they get jobs, will they wear the right shorts – all seem small.

I am, we are, so lucky.

And I want to do something to help, but part of me is angry.

Angry that the most wealthy country in the world can’t sort this out!

How can they let this even exist?

How can they spend money on the military “saving other countries” and not spend it on saving their own society?

Why is it that 15 year olds can sit around discussing where they get handguns from and how much they cost?

It shocks me to the core of my white middle class existence half a world away.

I know we have tough schools in Australia.

Schools where “going into Lockdown” is a relatively frequent occurance.  Where principals stand outside the gates in a high vis vest ready to protect their students as best they can.

At least they don’t have to face guns.

Lecture over.  Class dismissed.  Getting off my soap box now.

I am not loving apple at the moment. Apples still okay.

WARNING: The following is a rant. You may wish to stop at the pretty picture.

Sometimes I HATE the world and it's mostly when I look at my phone

So you’re thinking (or maybe you’re not), how can the person who saw the beauty in a morning sunlight on the river hate the world.

I’m blaming Apple.


How annoying is it to have to log in to your Apple ID every time you want to download a FREE app for your phone?

I can tell you.

VERY annoying.

Especially as Apple seems to mysteriously forget my password every time.

A password that has to have ridiculously complicated things.

Which are IMPOSSIBLE to easily type with the STUPID keypad that iphones have.

So I won’t forget my latest password because it is EXACTLY what I say every time I have to enter it.

Expletives are involved.


Get me some Game of Thrones to watch STRAIGHT AWAY!

Ahhhhh that’s better.

Affect versus effect

As seen on the inside of a lift door at a City of Perth carpark

I’m not going to hold myself up as a grammar guru or a spelling bee queen – no.

It would be too easy to find an example of where I’ve made a mistake.

For instance the other day I was updating my facebook on my new phone and the autotext chose the wrong stationary/ery and I didn’t pick it up.

So… mea culpa.

But then, I’m not a signwriter, a copywriter, where my mistakes are writ large.

(I am a journalist though so I should bloody know better)

Anyhoo, the other day I was in town and I saw this sign.

I was outraged!

“If your behaviour is EFFECTING your family”

Surely a signwriter  would know that “affect” is the verb and “effect” is the noun and therefore in the tradition of other “ing” words – wouldn’t you use the verb.

Jump – Jumping

Run – Running

Shout – Shouting

Affect – Affecting

So indignant, I decided to write this post and to support my argument I thought I’d look up some online resources.

I started with Grammar Girl – a great little podcast by the way – she has a simple tip on remembering which is the noun and which is the verb but didn’t get into adding the “ing”.

Then I discovered that there was a whole website just on the confusion between affect and effect.

And then I got really confused.

And now I think I was wrong.

(I know… hard to believe)

This is what the affect vs effect website says:

So, nearly every time you use the –ing form of one of these words as the main verb, unless the meaning is “accomplishing or producing an effect,” the choice to make is affecting.

An example of when to use effecting is this sentence:

The manager’s new plan was effecting a remarkable change in morale.

But… it still looks wrong to me.

What do you think?

UPDATE:  It is wrong.

I wrote to the Standing Committee of Spoken English and got this reply:  The wording in the statement you’ve quoted is definitely wrong. Any style guide would discuss this matter.   It’s a very common mistake.  I practically expect to see the wrong one.  Sadly, a lot of journos get it wrong.

From RH on Facebook:   “I’ve got the answer in simple terms.  When writing a sentence if you can replace the word with “bringing about” you would use “Effecting”. If you can replace it using the word “influencing” you would use ” Affecting”.  Therefore the sign is definitely incorrect.”

And from my dad…”The managers new plan was effecting a remarkable change in morale.  I was also affected by the plan in that the staff were all smiling at me again!”

So the rant stands!

And I would feel very put out if a sign company allowed it to be printed although I’m sure they would take no responsibility.

Could Christmas decorations in Perth be more lame?

Sigh. So lame.

I’m sorry but isn’t this the boom state?

Could we not do something a little more classier?

I know that everyone has those old tinsel trees ready to throw on the verge and therefore the City of Perth is doing us a favour by recycling them but please people!

Surely we can do better that these, discovered at the corner of William and Hay this afternoon.

It’s not like they are traditional – no sentimental value here to warm the cockles of my jaded heart.

They are just crap and ugly.

(in fact Worst of Perth, you must be close to doing a Christmas special no?)

How I long for the fairy lights of New York and London.

Yes yes it is dark there just after lunch and we need something down in Sandgroperland that will stand out in the bright sunshine.

Surely it can’t be that hard.

Boughs of holly or some other dark green foliage… maybe something native?  Or those leafy red flowers that are around at Christmas time… poinsettias.

They look Christmassy and you could always add fairy lights for night-time.

I know it must be hard but year after year I am embarrassed.

To call them more appropriate for a country town suggests they have some rural charm.

I’m not sure even the most impoverished town would want them.

Of course… I could be wrong.

And goodness knows we could spend the money elsewhere.

In a way, I’d rather they didn’t have any decorations at all.

Bah humbug!

Just call me Scrooge.

It’s only November after all.

Lame lame lame

Tripping the light not-so fantastic


I love the Council House lightshow and when showing visitors around I will always point it out – if I’m near the city.

The other day for instance I drove my eastern states colleague back to his hotel and driving past Kings Park I thought a little detour was in order.

He made the usual appreciative noises about the view – which is pretty spectacular – and I, pointed out Council House.

“See that building down there lit up in pink”, I said, “Well the City spent millions on this great lightshow and I really love it. Any minute now it will change colour. ”

“It’s soooo beautiful!” I enthused.

And we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

But the building remained stubbornly pink.

And I shamefacedly drove down the hill and dropped him off.

Two nights later I was driving back from bridge – State Open Teams – we’re coming last – and I noticed that the building was STILL pink!

What the hell?

Was it broken?

So I rang up the City of Perth (as you do) and asked them.

Turns out if you’re a not-for-profit or charity you can book the light show.

This week, apparently, the light show has been commandeered by the Pink Ribbon Day crowd.

You know, for breast cancer.

And get this… it’s free!

Well… unless you want a complicated show that is when it costs you the time it takes to program in the lights… maybe $50 the fellow told me.

And it can be quite complicated – words scrolling across the building for example.

I was blown away.

But, I’m afraid, still a little bit pissed off that the “proper” light show wasn’t on when I wanted to show off to my colleague.

But that’s just me.


Breast cancer research is a good cause – I just kind of wish they’d paid the $50 and put on a show.

Council House lit up in pink for Pink Ribbon Day...


Apologies for fuzzy cam but it’s only an instamatic camera – what can you do?

And that green spiky thing is the belltower.

I wonder if you can hire that too?

Why don’t they use spellcheck?


Is it that hard to apply spellcheck to signs BEFORE printing them?

Bad enough reading a real estate ad on the back of a local paper and noticing the word SEPERATELY spelled incorrectly – yes it should be sepArately – but perhaps the offence was less because the font was really small.

It seems far worse a crime when it is writ large upon your business.

I blame the sign writers – yes sure they get a brief from the businesses that use them but it should be a basic duty of care to not let your clients look like numpty heads!

It offends my eye.

I hope none of the children in the school opposite fail their spelling tests because of it.





That wasn’t so hard… was it?

(mind you, I’m tempted to get my car washed to get a free vaccum – sounds quite exotic)

New habits are hard to make


About a month ago Property at work changed the swipe point to gain access to the building.

It used to be right next to the door, now you have to stop about 3 metres before the door and swipe your ID card.

But old habits are hard to break.

Every day this week I have walked up to the door only to have to double back to swipe in.


Even today – after taking this photo – for the sole purpose of THIS post, I walked to the door to swipe in.

Double Arghh!

I know we are talking four years of habit versus four weeks but when will it become second nature?

And do you have any tips to make it sooner rather than later?

Stupid sign

Random sign

I first saw this sign at North Cottesloe.

I thought then it was a stupid sign.

What are they trying to warn against?


Shallow water?

Why not just say that?? 

To just say “water” seems a bit obvious.

Hello… it is the Indian Ocean…

Having two stupid signs… does that make the Town of Cottesloe twice as stupid?

A literal rant

Is it just me or am I the only one who is noticing how often the word ‘literally’ is used?

this photo literally has nothing to do with the post

“I was literally going to the shops…”

“That is literally the best movie I’ve ever seen!”

It is the new ‘like’.

I, like, hate it.

But you know what?

I hate it even more when the word is pronounced lit-er-al-ly.

For me, literally should be pronounced the same way as you’d pronounce actually and virtually.

People – it’s act-shul-ly, virt-chew-ly and lit-tra-ly.

Now I know my friends in the United States say all four syllables… well good on them.

For me, all four syllables is like fingernails down a blackboard.

Literally and for that matter, virtually and actually.


Control your use!