What was your favourite toy when you were a child? Do you still have it? Thanks to my mum I still have many of my old toys. She put them away when I grew old enough to stop caring about them and gave them back to me when I got even older and started caring again. It is so nice to be able to share these things with my own children. They got to teethe on George the green giraffe I did as a child and push Neddy around on his wheels as they learned to walk.
It is also funny to see the difference between the toys now and the types of toys we had back then. Popular toys these days are mainly merchandising. Kids get to act out all of their favourite scenes from movies with the toys from it or they can watch TV shows with their hero recreated in plastic held tightly on their lap.
When we were little there wasn’t anywhere near the same level of merchandising as there is now. I don’t remember having any toys from movies, in fact I remember very few kids movies back then. Twenty five years ago movies were pretty much an adult thing with token efforts at times for children. Nowadays kid friendly movies are a big slice of the movie-making pie each year. You can see that by the way there are one or two movies released at the end of every school term just in time to get the holiday spending money thrown their way. And what a huge amount of money gets spent. Look at the size of Pixar studios, a company that only makes movies for kids. They have released 11 feature films in 25 years and have made $6.3billion dollars. This is even more amazing when you realize that their target audience has zero earnings and no disposable income.
I wonder if my kids will even remember their movie toys when they grow up. They have had different favourites at different ages and they transfer their affections to a new one very quickly. The funny thing is that their true favourites are not movie toys at all. For many years number 2 son has a bear dressed as a doctor that always makes him feel better when he is sick and number 1 son has a fluffy monster with a twisty tail that has a special place in his heart. These are the toys that I will be putting away for them, not Buzz Lightyear or Spiderman.
Maybe they love these other toys so much because they don’t come with a story. They arrived without a name and without a history and because of that everything they do is their own story. A movie toy can only ever be that character. Yes, they do make up new stories for them and act them out but they know full well that they are playing with a superhero or a space ranger and it is hard to break away from that character. The stories they tell with their other toys are always much more interesting and unexpected.
Number 2 son had a sleepover at school last year and they were instructed to bring a toy to join the party. I noticed the vast majority of the teddies tucked into the sleeping bags were well-loved and battered teddies without a famous name. Of course many of the sleeping bags were Spiderman or Barbie. I think that, in general, kids have a fleeting love for the latest movie/TV hero but the one they rely on when they need to feel secure is the old tried and true teddy. Nice to see that some traditions are never really replaced. Teddy bears have been around for over 100 years and we have all had one. No matter what the next movie hero might be I think kids will always have teddy bears and grown-ups will always remember their old bears with affection. How many of you still wish that old teddy of yours was stuffed safely in a drawer instead of lost forever?
It wasn’t that many years ago that anyone who had a mobile phone was thought of as a total wanker. It took a while before they were generally accepted in Australia and they used to be gigantic and barely mobile (check out the one Danny Glover uses in the first Lethal Weapon movie). Now everyone has one. Listening to the radio reports of the earthquake in Christchurch and hearing time after time how people are using their phones to call for help from under the rubble makes me realize how much we rely on them. Every time there are situations such as this we hear of these kinds of things happening including people calling after their boat sinks or when they are lost in the bush. A mobile phone has become an essential bit of kit. Imagine where we would be if they suddenly stopped working! I say this because unforseen circumstances caused me to be without mine for 12 hours. 12 hours. This is my excuse for posting so late today as I felt that getting my phone back and regaining my sanity would be a better way for you to get something coherent out of me.
Don’t get me wrong, when we go away we will be without phones, flushing toilets and proper showers for a week and enjoy every minute of it. We took the kids on a road trip to Ayres Rock for 5 weeks last year and had no telly and only intermittent phone all that time and each time we came back into phone range we had trouble remembering where they were packed in order to check if we had missed anything important in the world. The thing that made it hard this time was that I was expected to just go about my normal life and remember everything by myself. I wasn’t on holiday and in normal life everyone relies on me to make sure things get done. Everyone thinks I am quite organised person but my little black friend beeps constantly to remind me of everything. Without it my life was over. The kids even had to wake me up this morning as the phone is also my alarm! I spent all day sure I had forgotten something important and not being able to check what that thing was.
It is ridiculous how much I rely on my little black auxiliary brain to tell me the things I need to know and constantly reminding me not to be late. If I was an important person I would have a downtrodden assistant scurrying around my feet reminding me of the things an important person has to do. As I am a normal person I was the one scurrying around getting my assistant back and vowing to never be without it again.
Now, excuse me. I have to go and walk to the shops. That important thing I couldn’t remember earlier was paying the rego on my car…grrrrr….
Listening to the news from the east of all the political unrest and fighting makes me even gladder we live in Australia. We are so lucky to live in a country that allows us to have an opinion on everything. We don’t have to do what we are told and watch what we say.
Listen to us all whine and moan each time there is an election and we have to put aside some time on a weekend to go down to the local school and get our names marked off a roll. There are so many people in the world who truly appreciate this privilege and have to risk their lives to have their say and we act like the world is over even though our biggest risk while doing so is from the fundraising sausage sizzle at the gate.
Our leaders spend their time before an election telling us how good they are to us and doing all they can to convince the disbelieving masses with promises of money and better services. Yeah, I know, they are ‘non-core’ promises and therefore not real but at least they try to woo us with niceties and not threaten us with death if we try to have an opinion. Did you hear Gaddafi broadcasting to his people that anyone who stood against him would be hunted from door to door and destroyed? Can you ever imagine something like that happening here? We don’t have to risk our live to vote in an election where the outcome is already in favour of the person with the biggest weapons.
I could start a blog just listing all the things I hate about any current politician in Australia, making up whatever I like, and post a daily rant yet have no fear of the knock on the door or members of my family disappearing. I could make a sign and walk down the street shouting slogans and nothing would happen. In Libya there are people in the streets willing to risk their lives, standing unarmed against the military to change a system they hate and we moan because we are legally required to turn up to a voting place although we don’t even have to express an opinion.
No, I don’t like politicians and have no interest in politics but I have found the biggest moaners about having to vote are the ones who don’t really understand how lucky we are to have the opportunity to do it and don’t even think about the rest of the world. We all believe our leaders indulge in cronyism and do what they can to ensure their own comfort but here if you ever want to change anything all you have to do is actually get off your arse and have a shout about it. You won’t get shot, you won’t get tortured and you won’t disappear.
We may not like any of our elected members and we can whinge all we like but we should turn up to vote and take it seriously. Not because we like our politicians but because we should have our small say. I don’t care if you vote for the Pink Cars for Everyone party, just tell people what you think and appreciate that you have been given the opportunity. If we get to the point that voting is not compulsory, how far away will we be from it not being compulsory to ask who we want in charge at all?
I found this word a little strange. It can mean either depression or low spirits and can also mean a whim, fad, or a fancy. Or a species of left eyed flatfish. Or another word for migraine. Hmmmm.
Usually if a word has multiple meanings they are kind of similar. In this case, if someone says ‘I have a megrim’ you would just have to nod knowingly and wait for the next sentence to work out if they had a headache, felt sad, been shopping and bought a something unexpected or caught an ugly fish. Maybe it is really just another word for confused….
Today we heard the terrible news of the earthquake in Christchurch in New Zealand. Awful stuff. I had been listening to the news on the radio and later turned on the telly to get an update. I didn’t have to look far to find some news as every channel was running whatever they could get. That is something I hate about the coverage of a natural disaster. It is everywhere on every channel and you can’t get away from it. I know that it is important to get out information and that in this day and age people expect to know everything RIGHT NOW! The problem with this is that you never get to turn off. I think that this kind of thing began in Australia with Stuart Diver and his rescue from a landslide at Thredbo in 1997. We all watched with bated breath as he was slowly extricated from a collapsed ski lodge. We didn’t know that this sort of coverage would become a tool used during every disaster from then on.
The Black Saturday fires and aftermath here in Victoria in 2009 was on TV for weeks as was the flooding in Queensland recently. The problem with this is that the more you are told of how terrible it is the more it gets in your head. I choose to turn it off but it doesn’t take much viewing for kids to be affected. During the fires in 2009 we evacuated as it was a little too close for comfort. I kept the TV off as the kids were already worried enough as they were aware of how close it was and every time they saw a TV they were told to be even more worried. We have been through a time of fires in this area years ago, before rolling coverage and mobile phones. Then the attitude was less of panic and more of ‘how can we sort this out?’ Now any perilous situation is constantly reinforced with the tragedies and worst case scenarios of the day updated hourly.
I really noticed how TV coverage affected the kids during the QLD floods when we were caught in a huge downpour one night on the way home from a friends house. There were swathes of water across the roads and branches down everywhere. I was driving throught the water slowly (as my Ford can stall at the sight of a wet tissue and I didn’t want us to have to walk home) and the kids were freaking out. Normally they would have been shrieking with laughter at floods and mud as they do when we are out in the bush in the 4WD but this time they were truly afraid. You can blame the images of cars being swept away and smashed into trees seen on TV in previous days. A few weeks later we were driving in even worse conditions and they were delighted. It was just because the TV had told them to be afraid that they had such a reaction at the time.
If these things were only aired on one channel it would be easier to avoid but every channel runs constantly, vying for the most graphic footage. When the vision of an injured and unconcious (I hope) child being pulled from under fallen blocks was aired without warning today I wasn’t the only one upset by it. The desk announcer was clearly affected too. How many small kids were at home and seeing this unexpected and distressing sight? Tonight I will be keeping the TV off and keeping the little lives in my house free of the fear of an earthquake that they can do nothing about and just be thankful that it is not our town on the TV. This time.
This is a word I fully intend to use when someone comments on the overgrown state of our large backyard as it means covered by or having an abundance of trees and bushes. Although, too many more of those tree flattening storms we have had of late and it will be less applicable….
Maybe I need to start a new type of gardening magazine and call it BOSKY. It’s the magazine for those of us with disordered gardens who dream of a designer one but are happy to acknowledge that we are too lazy to actually do anything about it. It can have lots of shiny pictures of nicely trimmed gardens belonging to other people and then be filled with tips on things like how to prune roses with a chainsaw(done at our house), best large area weed killer etc.
From now on it doesn’t matter what my garden looks like, I don’t need to do any gardening this weekend as it is intentionally bosky. Deal with it.