Monthly Archives: February 2008

Minding Manners

Mood: Oh Dear …

Here’s a good reason for always remembering to mind my manners!!!

February 28, 2008 – 1:05PM, SMH Online

A NSW police office worker has been jailed for at least eight years for pushing a stranger in front of a train after being admonished for coughing without covering her mouth.

In sentencing Suzanne Kiloh to a maximum of 12 years today, Judge Greg Hosking said the offence had had a "catastrophic effect" on the 59-year-old victim.

"The way the grievous bodily harm was inflicted was horrific and has a nightmare quality to it," the judge said in Sydney’s District Court.

Kiloh, 36, who worked as a general support officer with the NSW Police at the inner-city Rocks police station, pleaded guilty to maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on Margaret Schestopalov with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

The judge said Kiloh was "significantly intoxicated" on the evening of December 1, 2006, when she was waiting at Circular Quay railway station.

Mrs Schestopalov was also at the station and saw Kiloh coughing and spitting three or four times in her general direction.

Mrs Schestopalov said, "Can you please stop spitting and cover your mouth when you cough. Don’t you own a handkerchief?"

As a train was coming into the station, Kiloh placed both her hands in the middle of Mrs Schestopalov’s back and pushed her off the platform.

The judge commended the driver for managing to stop the train just before its wheels would have run over Mrs Schestapalov, who nonetheless suffered a leg fracture, a broken neck and other injuries, and spent at least six months in hospital.

Formerly happy-go-lucky and living alone independently, she now lived in residential care with 60 other people and had serious mobility problems, the judge said.

Unbelievable!!! And people wonder why I don’t do trains for fun … with crazy nut jobs like Suzanne Kiloh using the rail system, do you blame me for staying away?


So You Think You Can Dance: Top 16 – Revealed

Mood: WTF???

Another taped show, which meant I was able to watch a 75 minute show in 40 minutes with a couple of minutes to spare before All Saints started.

I was surprised to learn which dancers were dancing for their lives on Monday night. If I didn’t know already, I would have picked 2 out of the 3 couples, giving me another week with a 66.6% accuracy rating. In any case, I was surprised by one of the couples chosen, but I’ll get to that later.

The show opened with a terrific group performance – totally loved it! The group danced like they had known each other forever – everyone seemed to be in time with each other and there was a terrific lift in the centre of the stage at the back of the group towards the end of the routine. So totally fantastic! I was quite surprised to learn that Matt Lee was the choreographer – ok, so I might think his hats are silly, but Matt is definitely growing on me.

Natalie Bassingthwaighte was looking more relaxed now. But her hair tonight left a lot to be desired – the straight hair made her look flat and tired. Matt Lee was wearing another silly hat – it’s a cap, so I’ve now worked out that he wears Fedora hats on Sunday nights and caps on Monday nights. I wonder what or who VZ is?! And I loved Bonnie and Jason’s shirts!

The first 3 couples to be called onto the stage were Demi + Jack, Camilla + Sermsah and Kassy + Graeme. In my opinion, there was definitely no way Demi + Jack would be in the Bottom 3, and the voting public agreed – Demi + Jack were safe for another week. After the usual suspense, Kassy + Graeme were announced as the dancers needing to dance for their lives. Camilla + Sermsah looked very relieved, while Kassy + Graeme seemed quite shocked.

The next 3 couples were Stephanie + Marko, Jemma + Rhys and Henry + Vanessa. Surprisingly, the results were safe, safe and safe! All 3 couples were through to next week.

The last 3 couples were Kate + Hilton, Laura + Anthony and Rhiannon + JD. Kate + Hilton were announced immediately as couple #2 in the Bottom 3. They looked like they were expecting those results, and went to prepare straight away. One more couple to be announced, and the remaining 4 dancers all looked nervous. When Natalie announced Rhiannon + JD would dance for their lives, Rhiannon looked like she vomited a little in her mouth.

Out of the 3 couples, I would definitely have picked Kassy + Graeme and Rhiannon + JD, but I would also have picked Stephanie + Marko. Instead, the public picked Kate + Hilton. Pooh. I like Hilton.

So I found out tonight that each dancer has 45 seconds to dance for their lives, and they all looked lacklustre (with the exception of Hilton). Maybe they were all tired – I don’t know – I wasn’t really that impressed.

Kassy shook her booty, but that was about it – she didn’t do much more than shook her booty for 45 seconds. Graeme was about the most focused I’d see him in the competition. Kate’s routine was quite beautiful – I thought it was better than last week’s effort which seemed manic compared to this week. Hilton was gorgeous – I felt him almost begging to stay in the competition through his routine. Rhiannon’s routine was pretty laid back compared to Kassy and Kate. JD’s routine was also very laid back and not inspiring.

The judges went away to deliberate their decision and Guy Sebastian performed with the Blues Brothers Band. The Fast Forward button reigned supreme over this period.

Jason again did the talking. He mentioned that the 3 girls up for elimination were 3 of the best dancers in the competition. Rhiannon was announced safe, leaving Kate and Kassy. I was rooting for Kassy to stay, and then Jason said the decision to eliminate was based on the solo performance only – uh oh – bye bye Kassy. Kassy took the news well and didn’t blubber – she graciously thanked everyone and managed to keep those two fat tears from rolling down her face. While Kassy was saying her thanks, the camera panned to Jason and Bonnie. Jason looked like he was going to be sick and Bonnie looked like she was about to burst into tears. Not good. Not good at all.

Next came the boys. Jason immediately said that the boys’ elimination decision was not unanimous – in fact, neither of the decisions were unanimous. Jason stated that the decision for the boys was based on the journey so far and what potentially lay ahead for the remaining dancers. Graeme was announced safe, which left Hilton and JD. Please, please, please, say JD is going home.

Jason’s voice quavered as he announced Hilton was going home. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I felt a little bit sick and very sad to see Hilton go. Not happy Jan.

With Kate safe for another week, she moves on to her third dancing partner since making the Top 20 – this time paired with Graeme. I’m betting she will be in the Bottom 3 again, and Graeme needs to start packing because Kate appears to be the kiss of death.

So You Think You Can Dance: Top 18 – Performance

Mood: Go Dancers Go!

I finally got around to watching the Top 18 perform (after taping the show on Sunday night). And, again, I was blown away.

This week I had the distinct advantage of being able to fast forward through bits of the show that I see as "filler". I’m impatient and would prefer to see the dancing straight away – the rehearsals and the trials and tribulations of the dancers don’t always interest me. I therefore was able to watch this 2 hour show in just under 80 minutes.

General observations to start with:

* Natalie Bassingthwaighte looked really good – great hair, good make up, fabulous outfit.
* Matt Lee, another Fedora hat. The hat is growing on me.
* Bonnie Lythgoe’s make up – oh dear – she looked scary.
* Jason Coleman – dude, put that collar down!

With Courtney and Khaly eliminated last Monday, Kate and Hilton were paired up to take on another week of SYTYCD.

Kate + Hilton: Foxtrot. I thought the routine looked very smooth. Kate looked like she was born to dance the Foxtrot – she looked so right at home with this routine. Hilton looked a little bit out of place but I thought he still did a good job. Matt said the routine looked "elegant, sexy, sleek", so for once, we agree!

Camilla + Sermsah: Hip Hop. Neither of the dancers were familiar with this genre and you could see that right from the start of the routine. They seemed nervous at first, but did manage to settle into the routine for a little while. However, just after half way through, Sermsah seemed to lose his way a little bit and never quite recovered. Camilla at that point got a bit rattled, but still tried her best to stay with the routine to the end.

Kassy + Graeme: Contemporary Lyrical. I was, in a word, underwhelmed by this routine. The lifts were gorgeous and they are still a very striking couple, but overall, the routine felt heavy. I can’t quite describe it – it felt like they were clomping through the routine. Matt and Bonnie both said the routine felt light and airy and delightful, but I can’t agree wholeheartedly. Jason too thought the dancers were landing quite heavily – see, I too can be a dance judge! Incidentally, this was the second week Kassy + Graeme were dancing in their pyjamas – is this the start of a trend?

Stephanie + Marko: Swap (aka Swing Hip Hop). I thought Stephanie + Marko dance better this week to a less jarring scenario. However, you could tell right away that whilst Marko looked like he was having a lot of fun, Stephanie looked completely out of her depth. Stephanie was struggling through most of the routine and looked almost scared at various points. The energy level also felt like it faded big time towards the end of the routine.

Laura + Anthony: Disco. Jeepers! What a very very tall couple!!! The performance put a smile on my face throughout, although I’m not entirely sure whether it was the music or the actual routine. I was a bit scared for Laura – it looked like Anthony was in danger of dropping her at one point, and with her so high in the air, it was going to be an almighty big thud. Still, I thought it was quite cute.

Rhiannon + JD: Contemporary Jazz. This was so up Rhiannon’s alley – and she ate it up! Rhiannon looked so together in this routine, however, JD looked very much like a fish out of water. Poor JD did try very hard, but he also looked like he was trying to keep up with Rhiannon from start to finish. Matt said JD’s approach to this routine was too laid back and calm and I have to, again, agree!

Demi + Jack: Samba. OMG. OMG. OMG!!! How hot is Demi??? This routine was hot, hot, HOT!!! Look, to be honest, they did look like they missed a few steps at the beginning of the routine, but they recovered well and went on to dance circles around everyone in the competition. They rocked it!!! They ripped it!!! I’m SOLD!!! My favourite routine of the night – Demi + Jack, you have my vote! Jason said that Demi has transformed from when they first met her to now – I totally agree!

Jemma + Rhys: Jazz. This is my second most favourite couple – there is such good team work with these two. Last week, when they were dancing the Waltz, Jemma really supported Rhys through a dance style that wasn’t his forte. This week, it was Rhys’ turn to support Jemma through a Jazz routine, and he did a solid job. They danced well together and came through as my second favourite routine for the night.

Vanessa + Henry: Animation Hip Hop. When Vanessa + Henry found out what their dance style was, I thought Vanessa’s voice was going to go into supersonic overdrive – you know, so high pitched only dogs can hear it. Instead, it dropped to normal pitch and I actually felt a bit sorry for her as she did look genuinely nervous about a dance style so out of her realm. On the night, Henry was terrific – his moves were sharp and clean and he locked and popped like Animation Hip Hop was his specialty. Vanessa wasn’t bad herself – her centre of balance looked a little off, but that’s probably just me being too critical. And I love Nacho Pop!

So I already know which couples are in the Bottom 3 (thanks to my channel surfing on Sunday night). So I will have a go at who will be eliminated: Kate and JD are my choices.

Afternoon Storm

Mood: A Little Bit Scared

A pretty big bad storm swept over the lower north shore this afternoon. With my trusty little camera, I managed to catch the storm clouds as they rolled in. And something more!!!

As I was already in my pyjama pants, I decided not to find out if there really is a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Next time though!

Book Review: The Friday Night Knitting Club

Mood: Happy as a Bookworm

Lately, I have found myself doing a lot more reading than I have in the past 12 months. I have always enjoyed reading – it’s a great way to relax and it’s food for my mind – well, of the books I read, it’s more a great way to relax.

My most recently completed read is the debut novel by Kate Jacobs called The Friday Night Knitting Club. Here’s the synopsis of the novel from the official website:

As a single mom in her late 30s, Georgia has her hands full juggling the demands of running the Walker & Daughter knitting store with the challenges of raising her spunky teen daughter, Dakota. Georgia’s regular customers gather once a week to work on their latest projects and chat – and occasionally clash – about love, life, and everything else. The members of the Friday Night Knitting Club are as varied as the skeins of yarn in the shop’s bins. There’s Peri, a pre-law student turned handbag designer; Anita, a silver-haired uptown matron; Darwin, a somewhat aloof grad student; K.C., an out-of-work editor looking for inspiration, and Lucie, a petite television producer with a few surprises up her sleeve. But soon their quiet Friday nights are shaken up: James, Georgia’s ex, wants to play a larger role in Dakota’s life – and possibly Georgia’s as well. Cat, a former high school friend, uneasily renews her bond with Georgia. And when the unthinkable happens, all of Georgia’s customers are forced to realize they’ve created not just a knitting club, but a sisterhood.

For the most part, I enjoyed this book – the beginning was great, the end was pretty good, but the middle was a bit frustrating. And it was pretty obvious about a third of the way into the book what the "unthinkable" event was, and the minute my guess was confirmed, I also guessed what the outcome would be (which also turned out to be true).

In any case, it was a lovely read – a really lovely little escape. I enjoyed the picturesque Upper West Side Manhattan, the growth of each of the characters in the novel, and the development of the different relationships. I even felt the warmth of the knitting store called Walker & Daughter. The book also made me want to try my hand at knitting, although that phase should soon pass.

The book was, for want of a better word, cosy. Mainly because knitting always reminds me of my Por Por (Mum’s mother) who was a really good knitter. Pity the talent has managed to skip not one but two generations since!

Before a stroke paralysed her right hand side and took her speech away, Por Por use to knit these fantastic garments for my sisters and me. We had these great cardigans and scarves and mittens that were tailor made for us. I can still remember when, as a child, I would be asked to select my favourite button from Por Por’s big bag of buttons around autumn every year. The button would eventually find a few matching friends and end up on the front of my cardigan, which would be presented to me well before the weather got cold.

Back to the book. There are rumours that the novel is being made into a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts as Georgia. I am not able to find out much more about the movie, other than the movie is currently in production and the announced release date in the US is 6 June 2008. As much as I like Julia Roberts, I’m not sure about her as Georgia – I would have preferred to see someone like Maria Bello as the knitting shop owner. Guess I’ll have to wait for the movie to see if Julia Roberts does the character justice.

If you were looking for a nice little escape from the humdrums of life, I would highly recommend The Friday Night Knitting Club. Try it in your pyjamas with a steaming hot cup of tea and a packet of Tim Tams.

So You Think You Can Dance: 24-25/02/2008

Mood: Impatient

I have not yet had time to watch SYTYCD’s Top 18 Performance and the subsequent elimination – I taped the show on Sunday and Monday nights and chose to watch other programs instead. I just wish I was home right now so I could tuck into some dance moves!!!

I’m quite excited to see what happened this week, as I did manage to catch brief glimpses of the show on both nights. Here’s what I saw that is making me fidget like I have ants in my pants:

* Sunday night – Demi & Jack pulling "Samba" out of the hat – should be interesting to see how they go with a dance routine that neither are familiar with.

* Monday night – Hilton & JD waiting to be told who was going home, and Jason Coleman saying that neither of the decisions (to send a boy and a girl home) were unanimous and there were heated discussions before the final decisions were made.

NOOOOOO!!! Why is Hilton in the Bottom 3 again???

And no spoilers, please!!! I’ve thus far managed to avoid all the blogs that I’ve bookmarked for SYTYCD, and I hope to avoid any further news stories until I get a chance to watch the episodes.

Bring on 5pm – I’m going to race home and get that video tape cranking!

A Really Bad Case of PMT in the Office

Mood: Perplexed

There appears to be an awful lot of people around me suffering from the same bad case of PMT, and I want to know how to deal with it.

Now, I must admit that I am a bit sensitive at the moment too – I’ve been a bit sad for a couple of weeks and have been known to burst into tears at the drop of a hat. Heck, last week I cried through 30 minutes of Home & Away, and the tears kept flowing for another 90 minutes during So You Think You Can Dance, after which I took myself off to bed because every show on TV was making me cry. My eyes were practically swollen shut by this point, and there was still a lot of puffiness around my eyelids the next morning. Not a good look.

In any case, the last few working days have yielded a higher level of hormones than usual. Some of the sufferers were the usual suspects, while others who were exhibiting the crippling symptoms of PMT belonged to the "highly unlikely" group.

It all started on Friday. I was still really upset by some emails that I’d received on Thursday, but I was determined to put on a brave face on Friday and get on with it, whatever "it" was. There was a flurry of activity associated with the making of a short film by some of my colleagues for presentation this week at the bi-monthly state branch company meeting. I was originally asked to help with the production, but declined due to client commitments. I was later volunteered to appear in the short film, to which I reluctantly agreed.

It wasn’t suppose to be anything big, but it soon turned that way at the hands of C who was nominated as the director, who moaned and groaned and complained bitterly for days about the "added responsibilities that have now been thrust upon her". Such a victim. When we were both first asked to help, I told her in no uncertain terms that if she didn’t think she had the time to spare, she should not agree to help, and that I was definitely not helping because I didn’t have the time to do a good job. Of course, in the end, she agreed to help, thus adding to her usual daily moans and groans about anything and everything.

I have previously blogged about C (the overbearing mother featured in this entry), so I was expecting things to go pear-shaped after I heard about her role in the production. And pear-shaped they went.

So the premise of the video was to show everyone "A Day In The Life Of The Company" from various different viewpoints, and those who were asked to be on camera were given in advance a set of questions to answer. Fairly basic stuff like what’s your job title, and what do you like most about your job, and recall a funny anecdote from your time with the company, etc. By Friday morning, I was prepared and ready to go.

There were a bit of reason and logic behind choosing me to appear in the video – I was representing my division and I was outgoing and friendly and loved the attention. And my reason for agreeing to be filmed was simple – I wanted a chance to tell / remind everyone at work that I was now a Project Pleb and not an Office Pleb, which some of my own team members have problems remembering.

Anyhoo, back to Friday and I was involved in a workshop all morning and wasn’t available to be filmed until mid to late afternoon. Which seemed to be fine with the crew member I’d been dealing with. She even gave me a timeslot (4.10pm) to work towards and I had rearranged my day to make sure I was available. So you can imagine my surprise when R (a site-based team mate) strolled through the door at 3.30pm and asked me if I too was involved in the film shoot.

A few minutes later, I deduced that R had been asked to be part of the filming earlier on Friday by C. So I made a joking comment along the lines of "well, if you’re here, you might as well represent the division and leave me off the hook" and we both laughed. Over the low partition separating C and me flew the following snark: "Gloria, you’re not in it – I’ve replaced you – you’re dumped from the shoot."

I beg your pardon???

Both R and I were stunned by the snarkiness for a moment, and stupefied, I asked what C what she meant by her comment. Again, she flipped over the partition: "You didn’t want to be in it anyway, so I replaced you." When I pushed again for a detailed explanation, she said "I told you, you’ve been replaced, you’re not in the video any more."

I sought confirmation from R as to when he was contacted – he confirmed C called him on Friday morning. I looked at C again and realised I was getting nowhere, and by this time, my blood was boiling from the way she spoke to me, so I very loudly announced that I now refuse to be part of this mess. I then called the crew member I’d been dealing with and told her (loudly, so C could hear every word) that I was not turning up to my designated timeslot, and when she asked me why, I simply told her what I’d been told – that C had replaced me. C was heard muttering "Oh, for Christ’s sake" as she slunk away.

Oh, piss off, C. Such unprofessional behaviour – and so typical of her. I didn’t care about being replaced; all I’m saying is that the least C could have done was inform me earlier in the day that she had replaced me, not 30 minutes before I was due in front of the camera.

I still haven’t spoken with her about this incident – nor do I want to – I know for a fact that she feels she was in the right and won’t apologise for her misbehaviour. So be it, C, you’ve now lost an ally in me.

Today, the most unlikely person to snap at me, did. So horrible and unexpected was the incident that I didn’t know what to say, only to burst into tears 10 minutes later when I had more time to process what happened and let the shock set in.

P is a new team member – new since October last year. He and I have always got along quite well – we have (or should I say, had) an easygoing relationship and often laugh and joke amongst ourselves to make the working day more enjoyable. Added to this, we are both working on the same project at work, so we are talking constantly.

P is due to run a workshop tomorrow, and he was told late last week that he would be hosting an observer (T from our Melbourne office) during the workshop. P, T and I all work on the same project. P and T have some personality clashes – on a number of occasions, P has said in no uncertain terms that he can’t stand T. P is also annoyed with T for what he sees as T "wasting project time" in attending his workshop – P feels that T would have be more productive completing other tasks more relevant to her part of the project. In any case, T forced an invitation to attend the workshop and P had no choice but to let her attend.

I must admit T is hard work – she is an old-school corporate executive who is used to having a lackey (or a team of lackeys) running around doing things for her, and since joining my company, she has had to deal with everything on her own. More times than not, she turns to the wrong person to ask for help, or tries to delegate tasks to people (which often seem inappropriate given the person’s capability, capacity or role within the project). I’ve offered to help her more than once, and she has yet to utilise me, which is really her loss.

Today, she contacted me three times – yes, count them, three times to get the details for tomorrow’s workshop. The first two times, I was still coming to the office. The 3rd time was via an email noting that she had tried to contact me twice before. As the workshop host, it was P’s responsibility to send out the details to all the attendees (including any late additions such as T), so instead of treading on anyone’s toes, I chose to pass on the messages to P.

You would think I’d just told P to "suck on this". OMG. Can anyone spell Snappy Tom?

P flew off the handle at me. He asked why T was contacting me for the details, and then told me that he would be sending the details shortly. I told him I was merely passing on the message and he just turned his back on me. I tried to make a joke of it and told him to go walk it off, and that was when P really snapped at me. Any other day, he would have laughed it off and joked back with me, but not today. "What are you talking about? I’m over it – so why are you still talking? Why are you still talking to me? Why are you still talking to me about this?"

I was going to help him with his workshop tomorrow, but given the way he spoke to me this morning, I’ve avoided any form of contact all day and have made sure that I am unavailable to assist tomorrow morning. I honestly don’t care that it looks bad on my part – he can kiss my ass.

Because of these 2 incidents, I have kept my head low at work and only speak when spoken to. I think I might continue doing that for a bit longer.

Jeepers, I do hope the case of PMT subsides soon. I don’t think I can handle any more people snapping at me.