Memory Monday

Memory Monday – Baby Overkill

Yes, life was certainly simple when I was 3 months old! Here I am in my classic baby bouncenette – a simple metal frame with a mesh cover and straps to kind of hold me in. You’ll note that it’s even in pink. Either a grown-up type person would apply gently pressure to make it rock, or my own kicking and arm-waving would get the thing to move a bit (and presumably provide a means to exhaust me so that I would sleep).

Fast forward to 2012 and here I am fitting out the “essentials” for the imminent arrival of Bump. A bouncenette would probably be a good idea, but take a look at this:

This is the Fischer-Price Rainforest Deluxe Baby Bouncer which is currently selling on Amazon for £64.78 and is quite typical of today’s baby bouncers. It features “a toy bar with a see-through waterfall created by lights and clear spinning helixes and 3 colourful animals. After a day of rainforest adventure, turn on the calming vibrations and your little one is ready to relax! Suitable from birth. Soothing vibrations. Music. Detachable toy bar. Includes 2 toys. Support strap. Non-slip feet.”

So basically, you stick your child in this contraption, turn on the shiny lights and music and set the thing vibrating and walk away. Meanwhile your child is bombarded with sounds and images and probably kept awake.

Does it seem like overkill to you? It certainly does to me! Don’t get me wrong – the construction looks good, the toy bar is probably a good idea and the colours are gorgeous but music and “soothing vibrations”? That sounds like something I’d expect to see in an Ann Summers catalog, not a baby catalog!

And this isn’t the only thing – we now have nurseries with bumpers all over the cots (which are actually NOT good and can contribute to SIDS) and all manner of things. Muslin cloths… I think I’ll leave that one for another post.

Even if money were no object, most of the things on sale are quite frankly ridiculous. It will certainly be interesting to see if I change my mind in the next 6 months and what I deem to be actually important.

Memory Monday

Memory Monday – When TV Went to Bed at Night

As we enter the home stretch of the time known as Waiting for Bump, I’m saving up little projects that can be done at night for the anticipated boring hours of feeding and sleeplessness. There’s a few TV shows and movies included to watch for when my brain doesn’t want to really get involved (Next Top Model anyone?). People have started offering me the tidbits of helpful advice too, which to be honest I really don’t mind.

Last week one person mentioned that the big thing for her was the amount of crap on TV at 2am. Apparently she watched more 24 hour news than was good for anyone. That got me thinking about how lucky we are to have 24 hour news at all. I remember as a kid that if you happened to get up too early on a weekend all you would find was the image above accompanied by classical music. For those too young to remember, it’s a television test pattern. TV stations would actually close down at night and play something like this instead. I’m fairly sure that there was some random channel that did this almost forever – but that may have been SBS waiting for soft porn time so that they could show those weird foreign films.

In a way I miss those days. TV seemed to have some kind of comforting orderliness to it. There was cartoons before school, breakfast shows at around the time you were leaving for school, bad American soaps in the middle of the day following by game shows at about the time we’d come home from school. Next would be some kind of bad Aussie soap and then the news followed by current affairs shows, a feature show and then a movie and then the late news and the whole thing would close down for the night. You knew exactly what time of day to watch the kind of show you wanted to see. Now we seem to just have an endless number of channels devoted to utter drivel or looping repeats – even the repeats don’t play full seasons, they seem to just keep repeating the same 12 episodes.

I kind of get the feeling that back when TV went to bed at night there was a little more care taken with showing quality, more effort placed into winning viewers. What do you think? Has TV gone downhill since the days of the test patterns where you live?

Memory Monday

Memory Monday – Moomba

The second Monday in March was always Moomba when I was growing up. It was also Labour Day, the celebration of the 8 hour working day but really it was the Moomba Parade which was the true highlight. The parade has been going since 1955 and consists of colourful floats and displays from various groups. It generally culminated with the Moomba Dragon – a gorgeous Chinese Dragon manned by 150 boys and girls which thinking back was a wonderful example of the diversity of cultures represented. Also featured on the day was the Bird Man Rally – lots of silly people attempting to fly in their home-made costumes and landing in the Yarra.

The name Moomba is interesting – I grew up thinking that it translated to “let’s get together and have fun”. However, in 1981, linguist Barry Blake mentioned the origins in his book “Australian Aboriginal Languages”:

…undoubtedly the most unfortunate choice of a proper name from Aboriginal sources was made in Melbourne when the city fathers chose to name the city’s annual festival ‘Moomba’. The name is supposed to mean ‘Let’s get together and have fun’, though one wonders how anyone could be naive enough to believe that all this can be expressed in two syllables. In fact ‘moom’ (mum) means ‘buttocks’ or ‘anus’ in various Victorian languages and ‘-ba’ is a suffix that can mean ‘at’, ‘in’ or ‘on’. Presumably someone has tried to render the phrase ‘up your bum’ in the vernacular.

image found online, photographer unknown, showing float going past what is now Federation Square in 1973

Memory Monday

Memory Monday – Audrey the Skipping Vinegar Girl

Audrey the Skipping Girl sign was erected for Skipping Girl Vinegar in 1936. Her design was created by Jim Minogue in 1915, who won a competition to create a symbol for vinegar manufacturers Nycander & Co. Pty Ltd. When the factory was demolished in 1968 the sign was removed, but following a public outcry, a replica was created in 1970 and placed on the roof of the Crusader Plate factory in Abbotsford.

The sign, which is one of the most loved and recognised icons of Melbourne, was switched off in 2001, after it’s owners decided to pull the plug on funding and maintenance.

Following generous donations from nostalgic Melbournians, the Heriage Council of Victoria, the Melbourne Heritage Restoration Fund and an electricity company, the sign was restored to her former grandure and returned to light up the Melbourne skyline in 2009.

Nowadays Audrey is powered at least in part by solar energy, which hopefully means she’ll be skipping away for many more years to come. You can read more about her on AGL’s dedicated website.

I used to pass her daily on my way to work just a few doors away, so when shortly after arriving in Dublin I found that a Josh “Shag” Agle print was for sale on eBay which featured this icon, I just had to have it!

Geek, Memory Monday

Memory Monday – My First Mobile Phone

I was going to buy myself a shiny new iPhone 4S last year. When they came out I had only just moved to the UK (wasn’t even aware that I was pregnant at that stage) and on a pay-as-you-go type of thing with O2. Apparently this means that with O2’s infinite wisdom, I am not a good enough customer (despite 6 years of being on O2 in Ireland) to be able to get a new phone. I have to wait until they’ve exhausted the market that is their contract base and allowed the riff-raff in. This was estimated to take 4-6 weeks. I’m still waiting. In fact, I’ve given up entirely and decided that I’m going to skip this round of iPhones all together.

But this has me thinking about mobile phones in general, so in a fit of nostalgia I had a search around to see if I could find any details of my very first mobile. It was about 1994 and they had only just come out. I bought mine at Myer, through their catalogue and paid outright for it. It was the NEC P100 shown here and it was the most amazingly tiny thing you could imagine. A friend of my father’s just a couple of years before had walked in with his portable car-phone, complete with separate battery pack, compared to that, this was incredible.

The specs were state of the art –

– LCD Screen including a 2 line back-lit Information Display
– Phone directory memory storing up to 24 numbers
– Signal strength indicator
– Battery level indicator
– Any key answer
– Last Number Re-dial
– DTMF dialling tones
– Adjustable ringing volume
– Noise-cancelling microphone
– Included NiCad battery gives 22 hours standby or 120 minutes talk time
– Complete with battery Desktop Charger

Can you imagine that, 22 hours of standby – we didn’t know ourselves! There was no such thing as SMS on this, well if there was I didn’t know any other person with a mobile so it would have been useless.

Do you remember your first phone?