• The show that sucked me back into reality TV

    What’s a gal to do when tucked up in bed sick in the middle of summer?

    Start watching TV – reality TV, even – again.

    Normally I can’t stand reality shows, which is one of the reasons I’ve never watched The Block (despite my thing for houses). But I have been a little curious about Our First Home, as it’s something new…

    The basic premise is this: Three families (one set of parents, one kid + partner) compete against each other. They have to buy a house in Auckland – bankrolled by the parents, obviously – live in it, renovate it, and sell it. Profits will go to the kids to use toward their own first home. The family that makes the most out of it, percentage wise, gets another $100k – a nice sum to go towards that down payment.

    If they do well, they could come out sitting pretty, although in this case their profit might be taxed. (It’s all about the intention you have while buying, and this is a pretty clear cut example of intent to flip a property for profit, one being televised nationwide! NZ has no capital gains tax, however.)

    To be perfectly honest, a part of me hates the privileged premise of this show. How many families can afford to take 10 weeks out of their lives to do something like this? And do we really need more people fueling the market by flicking on houses solely for profit? (All 3 families have a dad in the construction industry, to boot.)

    But hey, at least this is an honest reality show – most first time buyers in Auckland need help from their parents. And they’re out there competing with everyone else for the same houses.

    I was pleasantly surprised when one family, looking around a house that they really liked and was due to go to auction that afternoon, bowed out. After being filmed on the phone to the bank, they decided it was too much of a financial stretch. Shockingly sensible.

    We see another family missing out by miles at an auction (a budget in the $500,000s gets you nowhere around here). We see mould and damp. Kitchens and bathrooms, untouched since the 50s or whatever. Features that don’t have council consent.

    So far they’ve all managed to buy a house – a small one in a leafy setting, a big one on a busy road, a do-up in every sense of the word in a reasonably central area – and now the rest of the work begins. Guess what I’m doing tonight?

  • Why I’d never make it on The Amazing Race

    These holidays I’m republishing some of my older posts for readers who might not have seen them first time around. Enjoy!

    I would love to go on The Amazing Race. It’s not the ideal way to see the world, but you’d get to see some of it for sure, and not just the tourist spots! And you can’t deny it would be the experience of a lifetime.   127_amazing_race_468

    I don’t know who I’d be paired with, though. I couldn’t do it with T. I know it, and he even says he couldn’t go with me. We’d probably kill each other. I’d have a breakdown on the second day and get lost in Panama City, never to be seen again. I’m a stressball at the best of times – imagine how much exponentially worse I would be on something like The Amazing Race.

    And I don’t kid myself that I would make it through more than a couple of rounds at most… I suck at map reading, getting directions and finding my way round strange places. The lack of sleep, and disruption and being in loud, unfamiliar, often dirty places where they drive on the wrong side of the road would get to me. And no doubt I’d probably be edited to portray a neurotic, angry, emotional ditz.

    I can definitely think of a couple of friends who I think I could do it with for shits and giggles, but again we’d probably be eliminated almost right away. I’m sure we’d have a blast along the way though.

    So, could you go on the Amazing Race with your other half?
    Who would you go with?
    And what kind of character would they paint you as?

  • Tom and Lynette, you’re breaking my heart

    Confession: I watch Desperate Housewives.

    Confession two: I am ridiculously sad that Tom and Lynette have split up.

    They’ve always been my favourite couple. She, the Type-A superwoman; he, the easy-going complement. T and I always agreed he was the best husband on the street.

    To me, there’s one big lesson to be learned from their demise.

    Imbalance can be deathly to a relationship.

    If you are a driven person, it will be very hard to take the back seat to your partner’s career.

    Lynette was a career woman to the core – as evidenced by her inability to defer to Tom even after encouraging him to pursue a big career move that saw his star really rise.

    She supported, pushed him even, into accepting a high-powered job. He wasn’t keen, but eventually embraced his new position. And Lynette found that difficult to accept – being relegated to spa sessions with the other wives on an executive retreat, refusing to treat Tom like an actual client when he hired her to redecorate his office, and so on. She wanted it both ways – she wanted him to succeed, but not to play the role of supporting spouse – and refused to accept that the dynamic was irrevocably altered.

    All of that made worse by the fact that they both work(ed) in the same field, and that Lynette brought the entire situation on herself. Sometimes the things you think you want don’t make you happy, after all.

    Worst of all, it seemed she’d lost her own financial stability – surely having Tom stop by the house to drop off a cheque would have to qualify as a serious lifetime low.

    I’m not saying that who makes the most holds all the cards. But I am aware that if you’re in a partnership where one party ultimately calls the shots, and the other suddenly becomes a power player professionally, that’s probably going to seep over into the personal realm.

    I’m thankful that T does not work in the same industry as I do – partly because 2 x journalist incomes will never equal pots of money – but mainly because I think the competitiveness factor would kill us dead. And that’s all on my part. I can’t help myself. I would not be able to separate the personal and professional – to stop comparing our work, to make sure I measured up or better, to stop any envy eating away at our relationship.

    I’d like to think if we ended up in the same scenario, that it wouldn’t break us. Him making most of the money would not represent a seismic power shift, because I’d still be the household money manager, keeping things humming along, perhaps working with a bigger budget. And if, like Lynette, adjusting to the new order proved tougher than it might seem, I’d hope that I would be able to rationally view how I was dealing with the situation and actually communicate with T to figure out how I could cope better.

    I’m still rooting for these two.

    Who’s your favourite DH couple? To what extent do you think money plays a role in relationship dynamics?

  • What I’m watching

    Three shows I’m loving:

    Avatar: The Legend of Aang. I’ve watched a fair few cartoons in my time. To give you an idea, I grew up in the age of Pokemon, Dragonball Z and the like. But none of them holds a candle to Avatar, which BF has got me hooked on! I tuned in late, sometime in the last season, but now I want to go back and watch all the episodes from the start. It’s a pretty generic plot – boy out to save the world – but the characters make it. There’s so much humour, they have cool element manipulation powers and come on, there’s a flying bison!

    The Big Bang Theory. Words can’t express how much I heart Sheldon and Leonard. (I mean, I wouldn’t want to date either, but I’d totally befriend them.) This show has the BEST writers and the BEST lines, hands down.

    Top Chef. I love seeing all the insane dishes they come up with and scoffing at how douchey some of the contestants are. BF has a real talent for coming out with new combinations and sensing what textures and flavours marry well; I have none of that. Hopefully watching more Top Chef will help 😀 But if not, his culinary skills are good enough for us both.

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  • Money down the drain

    Like Carrie‘s partner Lloyd, my boyfriend has a love affair with shiny, expensive flat screen TVs. I’m of the opinion that as long as it picks up more than two channels and doesn’t crackle excessively, I’ll have it! Luckily, we do have a flatscreen (keeps him happy) and we got it for free (keeps me happy). 42-inch-lg-42pc1d-plasma-tv

    How, you might ask? Comes with having a handyman around – and a sneaky one, at that. Someone he knew had the TV sitting around, with the display not working. He had a quick look, determined that a fuse (?) was to blame, and offered to take it off their hands for $15. Which they never ended up asking for.

    A bit underhanded? I don’t think so. If it had been a friend, yes, but this wasn’t a friend by any means. I’d chalk it down to business, pure and simple.

    Of course, that’s never the end of it. I refused to get pay TV at the old place. One, because it’s a waste of money IMO. I would have been paying for him to have it, essentially, and I wouldn’t have got any benefit from it. And two, I wasn’t going to be signing up for a 12 month contract! (Incidentally, the heinous flatmate eventually got Sky in his room, and they all congregated in there every Sunday to watch wrestling, and on the odd Monday for pay-per-views.)

    Now we have cable at our new place  and I never watch it). Now that he has a job T pays his share out of his own money, but now they want to get MySky (a little bit like Tivo I think). I’m like, seriously? What a friggin waste of money! It’s installation PLUS a monthly fee, and for what? Recording two thinigs at once? Pausing programmes?

    Honestly, I’m the only one in the house who has a fulltime schedule; everyone else spends most of the week sitting at home on their asses. And they all like the same things, so tend to watch the same shows – ones about cars, cops, and wrestling. They have no need for something like MySky. But they’re all super keen to fritter away their cash on crap like that just because there’s a “discounted” installation, or because  T’s sister (a stay at home mum) gushes on about how much they use MySky now and how great it is. Yet she was perfectly happy before MySky came along. It’s one of those things companies convince you that you need and rip you off for. – things you “never knew you needed”.

    I guess if they do end up getting MySky, and it’s only a few extra dollars a week/month, I’ll bite my tongue. But I’ll still resent it…

  • Watching the Bachelor = like watching a train wreck

    23792_jason-mesnick2I find it really hard to understand how the girls on the Bachelor can fall so fast in a matter of weeks….and I find it hard to believe that real relationships can be forged in front of a TV camera. I know I personally could not be myself if I was being filmed, let alone be comfortable alone with a guy, out on dates and stuff. It’s almost painful to see the rejected girl/s going home in the limo, trying not to cry and ruin their makeup, saying things like “I really thought he was the one. I’m ready to settle down. My heart is broken. I just think I’m better off alone.”

    Other things I HATE about the show:

    That dude coming out every time just before the final rose is presented, just to remind everyone that it’s the last rose of the night and someone will be going home.

    That dude having man-to-man talks with the Bachelor before the ceremony and asking inane questions about his state of mind and how his dates have gone.

    The girls standing there clutching their roses with beatific smiles, waiting for him to walk out the rejected girl/s and return to them.

    Group dates!!!! Enough said.

    I also thought it was REALLY weird that he went out and met all of their families when there were still FOUR girls left in the running – I thought they usually did that for the last two? That would make more sense. The point of meeting the family is when you’re getting serious, and if you have that many girls to choose from, how serious can you be?

    It got me thinking, though, about just how much of a role families play in romantic relationships. One of the girls’ parents didn’t want to meet the Bachelor – they weren’t comfortable with the “publicness” of it all. (You know what? I don’t think I would be either, personally. I felt bad for the chick, but I totally sympathise with her family. Some people are very private, and if they don’t want to meet their prospective son-in-law and have it broadcast on TV, fair enough!) It seemed like a really big deal for both of them, to not be able to introduce him to the family. He asked her friends all about her parents, and thought it was really strange that they’d never met them and dind’t know anything about them (hey, my friends and parents are totally separate! Does anyone else think it’s more unusual to have your friends and parents be close? Or is it just me?)

    BF’s never met my parents, officially. Once when we ran into my mum out and about, I introduced him by name. He’s never met my dad. I’m happy to keep it that way as long as…ever? I’m not really close to them – haven’t been since I was tiny. It’s not a big deal for either of us that he hasn’t met them yet, though I know it’ll have to happen some day.

    They say you can tell a lot from someone just from meeting their family, because parents are such a huge influence on their children. I think that’s true for BF, who still lives close to his family and sees them often (sometimes even a few times a week). For me, I don’t know if that applies as much. Personality wise, I guess I resemble both parents, but in terms of my outlook and views and culture, we’re vastly different.

    I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I don’t identify that closely with my family, although they are still important to me, we’re not exactly the Brady Bunch. So it doesn’t matter to me that they don’t know BF yet despite us having been together for years, and vice versa. And I don’t think he needs to know them, in order to understand me. OTOH, it was important to BF that his family liked me, especially his mum (and thankfully she did). What do you think?

  • Caught the first ten minutes of a new TV show on Saturday morning before going out. It’s called Unanimous, and basically sticks a bunch of strangers together in an underground bunker. No windows, no daylight, no way out. They have to unanimously decide which one of them will get the $1.5 million – who deserves it most? The longer they take to decide, the more money is deducted from that amount, meaning the jackpot gets smaller and smaller as they dally about making the decision But obviously, that’s the kinda prize everyone wants for themselves.

    Anyone seen House of Seven? Kinda reminded me of that, but without the murders. In that movie, seven people are locked in a house that it’s impossible to escape from, and only when six of them have killed each other, the last one standing gets to leave with a million dollars.

  • Deadbeat dad

    I’m sitting here looking at jobs for BF with that new TV show Missing Pieces on…that’s the one where they track down long lost relatives. Today they’ve found someone’s dad in Australia. With 17 years of child support owing, he’s not coming back to NZ anytime soon. But now they’ve interviewed him, shown his face on national TV….. what now? Will the IRD come after him? Can they made the producers divulge his whereabouts? Do they care enough, and can they touch him over there? I’m sure 17 years’ backlog is a crippling amount…

  • Television reflections

    I’ve missed my blog. I really have. But until I get a new laptop, hopefully within a couple of weeks, posts shall be sporadic, unfortunately. Things are pretty busy; I’ve got my first writing assignment and don’t want to botch it up. It’s pretty scary, ringing up people you see on TV or read in mags and actually speaking to them. It’s gone pretty well so far…only one person refused to speak to me, pity really, if I was the type to have celeb crushes i would totally be into him. I’ve learned even if you don’t have a specific question, no matter how vague the brief is, FORMULATE one! It was pretty embarrassing to be caught out. I mean, it doesn’t matter too much, you just need something to kick it off with, a starting point, a catalyst. But I’m learning early and I feel really lucky to be building up my contact list this way.

    Anywayyyyyy, back to television! I really don’t get the kids off My Super Sweet Sixteen. Don’t get me wrong, I hate, loathe, despise that show with every fibre of my being. As per all of C4’s reality shows. Unfortunately sometimes I’m too bloody lazy to walk to the set to change channels when the bed swallows our remote. I especially don’t understand the girls who feel this need to make a huge showy entrance, and decide they’re going to perform some really elaborate dance and impress all of their friends. They spend all their time worrying sick about it, whether they’ll mess up, etc – that’s no way to ejoy your birthday! It’s frickin ridiculous. As is changing into five different outfits throughout the night. You are not a presenter at the Oscars. And even then, that’s barely an excuse is it?

    And Trading Spouses is back. Watching it really reinforced just how there really is no such thing as a normal family. We all have our own quirks and ways of doing things. And in the privacy of our home well who’s there to judge? Like me – I’m such a homebody, over my long weekend I spent time doing thigns around the house, going on runs, sorting out old photos and organising old papers. I threw out a ton of old tax refund records, read through all the letters BF wrote from the army, and chucked out some hideous photos dating back to 2000. And i loved it! My home really is my haven.

    We were offered to housesit. but I’m not super keen. I just thin it would feel weird. Not my bed, not my house…I wouldn’t feel comfortable. Obviously if it was a mansion with spa hot tub and fully stocked kitchen, I’d be jumping at the chance…but it’s nowhere special, so the only thing would be getting away to a slight change of scenery.

  • corporate whores

    Me and the boy were discussing starting up a business one day (well, him , I personally have no interest in running one myself ever). Except what sort of business? I told him to start with thinking about what interests him. To which he responded:wrestling and Naruto.

    Bloody Sky TV. Sky has brainwashed him. Sunday afternoon wrestling and regular Naruto marathons are now the central points of his week. Sad sad sad.

    * * *

    I’ve been wanting to change our home phone and net over to Vodafone for awhile, but kept putting it off. Last week i heard telecom were pulling out of Fly Buys, the main reason I’ve stuck with them past the initial 12 month contract, so I got my ass into gear and went into the Vodafone shop. (Incidentally, speaking to an actual staff member at the big Queen St store is almost impossible. After two tries I ended up going to the tiny one by JB HIfi). I found out how to go about switching and told them I’m be back tomorrow.

    Then I got a letter from Telecom this afternoon offering me 6gigs for the price of 3 for 12 months. Although it would cost me $5 more than with Vodafone, and mobile calls would be 1c more, I’d get one gig more than Vodafone would give me and I wouldn’t have to go through the hassle of changing providers.

    So I’ll ring Telecom tomorrow and organise the new plan – but if it’s too much of a mission, well, Vodafone here I come for good.