Wednesday, December 31, 2008

quicko: the paper cutter

The Australians aren't known for being dramatic, but they are. Take the paper cutter. The Australians take this humble little contraption of academic wonder and what do they call it? A paper snipper? A loose leaf jambler? A ruled scissor? Oh, no. They search high and low through the depths of history, finally settling on the proletariat of French revolution. For really, what noble paper cutter deep down is not truly a guillotine?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

australia, the movie

So I went to see Australia in Australia. (I like irony like that. I also sat at the base of the Notre Dame and read a few paragraphs of The Hunchback of Notre Dame because it seemed cool. No one else happened to comment that it was, but I appreciated my effort.)

Considering how Australia did in America, you probably haven't seen it, so I'll go ahead and fill you in on a few details. It's about Australia. And it's a bit more accurate than Finding Nemo.

Australia sees itself as an epic film and thus highlights two epic events -- the Japanese bombing of Darwin in WWII and the stolen generations of Aboriginal children forced from their parents. Now, both of these topics are genuinely huge and important and each could quite fairly be given a couple documentaries, as well as the Hollywood treatment. Squishing both into one, along with, golly gee, a plot, was packing it in and didn't quite manage to do either topic justice.

That being said, though, for an attempt to stuff all that in one place, they hung on and gave it a good, solid go*, if not quite the definitive movie. Any other movie, though, will have to exercise something of a greater creativity of title.

To be fair, if this movie is the only communication that many people will receive about Australia's history, culture and geography, you can see why they'd include such salient (yet oft-overlooked) details. You can argue that Australia's too political, or that the topics aren't the most salient points of the plot, or that they aren't the most salient points of Australian history, but they are important and it makes sense to draw attention to them.

Before the movie actually starts, there's a warning for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders that there may be images of people who have passed away; the movie also talks about the Aboriginal taboo against saying a deceased person's name. While Australians may already be aware of these concepts, I wasn't too well versed in them and found their mention fascinating.

The plot, like the history, is relatively predictable (rugged bloke; sophisticated lady; 1-D bad guy, hmmm), though ending is up for grabs until we actually get to it three hours later. I’m not really one to complain about length in movies, though. Perhaps it’s my Calvin years rubbing off, but I like feeling like I’ve got my money’s worth. But yes, there was one line at the end that was terribly cheesy. The Wizard of Oz is wonderful in its own rite, and, despite the (witty?) linguistic tie to Australia and a couple catchy tunes, I think it's far better to leave it there.

Having heard rave reviews of the Australian scenery in the film, I found it actually not as impressive as I'd thought it'd be. Of course Australia has amazing scenery, but I was expecting a tour brochure brought to life, and got more of a reality check. Dust prevailed steadily throughout, with a few glimpses of vast expanses and even fewer of with green, or really many colors save dust.

Also, based on Australia, you’d really think cattle were the national beast, with horses as its heroes. Kangaroos do make an appearance (and a rather hasty exit), but it’s entirely devoid of cuddly koalas (and it calls itself Australian!).

What relation does Australia bear to Australia today? Well, there are those accents, in varying degrees. And I did hear a good number of vocabulary words (sheila, good on ya, etc.). And it is clearly part of the history that has formed the country into what it is today. As an outsider myself, though, I don't think I can actually go much farther. I like both, though I have to say I like the country a whole lot more.

As for the acting, the adorable little Aboriginal child whose name I’d look up if this were a real review really took the prize. He of course looked the part, but also did a tremendous job acting, as well as endearing roughly all of the audience. Many Australians aren’t too crazy about Nicole Kidman, though she seemed to fit the supercilious bill fairly well in the beginning. I wouldn’t write her off entirely, but would advocate finding a different female lead for the more creatively titled film.

Oh, and did I mention Hugh Jackman? Alas, it turns out that all Australian men are not quite carbon copies.

*Go here is used, in the Australian sense, as a noun. Wasn't that clever?

Monday, December 29, 2008

quicko: to nick from another's blog

So was I just catching up on a friend's blog and found four (four!) Australian words in one post ...

--to nick off: to leave one place and go to another, as in "nicking off to Tassie." Different from "to nick" as "to steal, (often but not always) in a non-serious way."

--toblerone: chocolatey wonder! Not quite Max Brenner, but in the same league. As far as I know, toblerone just comes in bar form -- a triangular prism, to be precise. As another friend explained, growing up they didn't so much say "triangular prism" as "the toblerone shape." And they say American geometry's bad! Not only that, they pronounce it oddly. Not "tob-ler-one" as you'd imagine, but something more along the lines of "toe-bler-own." Jiminy crickets!

--to rock up: to arrive. Often late or at an unspecific or unimportant time, as in "I wonder what time she'll decide to rock up," or "they ought to rock up by five."

--to reckon: to think/have an opinion you're passing off as perhaps not quite fact, but something that's also not particularly up for debate. I know I've gone off on it before, but it's just such an everyday word in Australia, yet never ceases to appa...amaze my Midwestern ears.

There you have it. Four Australisms in one post. Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself:

Far From Home: Hark The Herald Angels Sing#c7391324768583975452

Sunday, December 28, 2008

quicko: red rooves

No, it's not a hotel -- it's all the rooves. They really are red!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

quicko: exchanging the rate

I'd like to exchange the rate this year.

As an American, I suppose I should be happy about $1US = $.65AUS, but as I am earning money in Australian dollars, I am not. Particularly as it was $1US = $.85AUS when I came over, which was approximately where I expected it to stay. Evidently it had other ideas.

I've saved my receipt and the bag I traveled over in; can I please get my .85 back?

Friday, December 26, 2008

happy christmas

Happy Christmas!

Who says "happy Christmas"? Happy New Year, yes, happy birthday, of course, but happy Christmas? The Australians say it. I got a "merry" from time to time, but by and large I was a whole lot happier than usual. In a manner of speaking.

The whole ethos of Christmas is somewhat off down under. Primarily this is due to there being sun instead of snow, which changes things ever so slightly. There's minor little details of dressing from head to toe in I-don't-care-what-as-long-as-it's-warm versus gosh-where's-the-sunscreen? or oh-look-at-the-pretty-snow-I-feel-like-ice-skating-or-sledding-or-skiing versus the man-let's-hit-the-beach mentality.

Even if it's not actually snowing in America (take this year's Cincinnati for example), people are at least suitably chilled to dash from their cars into Target (not chilled enough to avoid Graeter's of course, but that's an entirely different matter) and able to encounter holly wreaths and Jingle Bells without feeling their world is entirely out of place. (Australians are clearly much more psychologically adapted.)

Then there's the lyrics of roughly three-quarters of Christmas carols. Dashing through the Sand just doesn't have the right ring to it, nor does Frosty the Sandsculpture. Its whole premise rather disappears, in fact. And even the songs that don't directly reference snow tend to allude to it, or somehow evoke images of cold, wintery nights (why else are chestnuts roasting on an open fire? You simply can't tell me they're sides for the burning sausages on the bar-b-que.).

But despite having completely the opposite seasons, Australians have clung like mad to their British roots and hung on to pretty much everything else, including Christmas cards, gingerbread houses, trees, lights, decorations and ridiculously rampant commercialism. I suspect they even kept fruitcake.

Christmas cards are fairly obvious, but initially I had to ask (and I thought it was a fair question, I really did) if gingerbread houses were made in the winter (say, July) or at Christmas. They're Christmas wares, though. Not that I actually saw one, but, yes, theoretically, Christmas.

The poor evergreens are the new kids on the block in Sydney. They just stand there, in every public place, the most overdressed, out-of-place characters imaginable. They stare glumly at the camera-toting public as they shrivel up with severe cases of palm envy and shiver for snow.

The lights and decorations are perhaps not quite as prevalent in Australia as in America, but I have a hunch that has more to do with culture, if we can can call it that, than any sort of seasonally provoked necessity.

And Santa! He of course makes an appearance in Australia as well (though I doubt many American children ever realized he actually must stop in Australia long before he hits America), but reindeer don't do so well in the heat, so he pulls out the reserves (does he keep them at the South Pole?) of boomers -- large, white kangaroos. He wears a little less, but still delivers coal to the naughty and presents to the nice.

Since Christmas is celebrated in summer, most Australians don't feel like having the feast-to-be-topped-by-nothing-save-Thanksgiving. Instead, there's lots of seafood and fruit, which all sounds very good, particularly considering it's bathing suit season. Imagine! I think that's why they're not quite as big on Christmas cookies as Americans are -- they've got to be back in bikinis before there's time for New Year resolutions!

And so it comes that finally both Australians and Americans wade their way through miles (kilometres) of wrapping paper and ribbon, cards and carols and treats and trees and finally end up left with the one teensy detail of how Christmas all started, that little bit about the Nativity and the first noel (whatever a noel is; I'm assuming it has something to do with a manger scene ...). And the traditions differ slightly, but lots is still the same. We all sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing and O Come, All Ye Faithful and Silent Night (sans the candles down under), and we all spend time with our families, and we all go to church, and we all stop to remember that it's not about any of the traditions or seasons, but about the gift of life that God gave the whole world in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ. And we all celebrate the birth of the Baby, knowing that He grew to be the One who died on the cross, and rose again, all because of His love for every single one of us. And we marvel at His sacrifice, and the miracle of His resurrection, and the magnitude of His love.

Joy to the world -- and a very merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

quicko: possum magic

Since I'm back in the land of Reasonably Priced Books, I took advantage of the situation and got myself a little amazon present: Mem Fox's Possum Magic. It's a children's book that I'd seen in the land of Unreasonably Priced Books and it's absolutely adorable. It has a cute story, beautiful illustrations and all sorts of cultural food references. I definitely recommend it, particularly if you can find it for 1 cent (plus $3.99 shipping) like I did!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

quicko: (pro)nouns

It's taken me nearly a year, but I've finally figured it out: Australians use the pronouns "yours" and "mine" as nouns. Not always, but in one particular context: places of residence. As in, "if you're in town, you can stay over at mine." It'd always take me a second to process and figure out "your what?" because, of course, mine sounds like a possessive pronoun that needs a noun to follow it. But that's just it: it's being used as the object in the at- prepositional phrase, and thus as a noun in its own rite.

I slept so much easier last night.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

quicko: EFTPOS

Perhaps I should have studied economics a bit harder, but I was really taken aback the first time I encountered POS in a professional setting. I'm pretty sure the entire acronym is "electric funds transfer point of sale" (does that require hyphenation? a comma? no wonder they acronym it.), and they use it absolutely everywhere. People even say "EFTPOS." Surely there's something better -- "use your card!" perhaps?

Monday, December 22, 2008

quicko: dates

Don't get too excited, I'm just going for the calendar kind here. As in, when it is December, you write "12/day/year," aren't I right? The Australians get it all muddled up, though, and write "day/12/year," which is extremely confusing when you've just figured say, October 1 was your arrival day in Sydney, and suddenly you realize you meant to be landing in Australia in January and you panic madly until finally it dawns on you that actually the day we're talking about is in January, it just happens to be the 10th.

Of course it's also confusing when all of a sudden you hit a 24 and go "what! there's no 24th month!" but that's slightly easier to sort out than figuring it out the other way round.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

quicko: 5 cents' worth

The Australian penny is MIA. They lost it a few years ago, and it hasn't resurfaced since. In light of the missing currency, the Australians, being a wee bit on the lackadaisical side, decided it'd be easiest to just soldier on without, and the poor little penny has never been seen again.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

quicko: elevators

The Australians (and Europeans, come to think of it) seem to have got the idea that, if you don't start counting years until "1," you ought to apply the same rules to floors of buildings. Not only that, they're also convinced that "0" is a weird number to name a floor, so, to cover, they'll call it "G" instead and assume no one will notice the difference. Thank goodness some of us are observant.

Friday, December 19, 2008

techno bit ...

For anyone looking to comment, but having trouble because you're not a googler ... you CAN!! Instead of checking the obvious first option that is for googlers, scroll down just a bit and it will allow you to leave a comment with your name or anonymously. Try it and let me know how it works!!

quicko: time zones

Sydney is in the eastern Australian time zone, which means that it's currently 16 hours off US EST (Eastern Standard Time). When both countries have experienced their next time change, they will be 14 hours off, though for the month in between the dates the US and Australia switch, they will be 15 hours off.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

quicko: obesity

America gets a pretty bad rap as far as obesity goes, much of which is deserved. Australia deserves one, too.

I'm not going on personal experience here so much as national statistics, but the figures really are quite signficant -- despite the swimming and surfing and rugby, around half of Australians are overweight. The Biggest Loser has an Australian edition and was quite a popular show. It's a serious problem (though, come to think of it, I'm not sure I've seen a public health announcement about it on TV yet, so perhaps not ...), not that Max Brenner does much to help.

I know it goes against the stereotypes of sporty Sydneysiders doing all sorts of extreme sports -- but that's just it, they really are just stereotypes. Sure, lots of people do exerise, but not the majority. And the beautiful bathers at Bondi -- well, mostly they're not Australian.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

quicko: sydney stereotypes

Like most places, Sydney has stereotypes for various sectors. The biggies are below, in approximate order of snobbiness. Take with liberal grains of salt ...

The Eastern Suburbs -- south from Bondi, including Randwick, Coogee and the edge of Paddington, among others. La dee da, houses overlooking the water, kids going to private schools, old-ish money.

The Lower North Shore -- just north of the Harbour Bridge, such as Kirribilli, Milson's Point, Neutral Bay, Cremorne, Balmoral and Mosman. Pretty posh, too, plenty of cash, not too many kids.

The Upper North Shore -- north of the Lower North Shore. A bit more inland, good places to raise families.

The Northern Beaches -- from about Manly on up, including North Balgowlah, Dee Why, Long Reef, Narrabeen, Collaroy, Mona Vale, Newport and more. Beachy areas, good for families, a bit more relaxed than the North Shore.

The Inner West -- the chic suburbs, like Newton, Balmain, Glebe and Leichhardt. The residents might not be the wealthiest, but they're cool, artsy places.

The Western Suburbs -- more working class areas. People aren't necessarily commuting in to the city, but going about daily life where they are.

The Shire -- way south, even past Cronulla, which is about an hour out on the train. Still, though, people commute in to the city for work. The stereotypes are the strongest and worst here, but surely there must be some redeeming factor for people called hobbits??

In a category alone is the city -- Darlinghurst, King's Cross, Redfern and Woolloomooloo, among others. They range from sleaze to sophistication and really vary depending where you are. King's Cross is the red light area -- lots of backpackers, but also lots of drugs and bizarre behavior.

There's also some areas south of the Eastern suburbs, but they don't really seem to have a name. For example, Maroubra is a gorgeous beach, but most famous for the 'Bra boys -- a local gang that has claimed the area as their turf, and has quite the reputation for being kings of the sea, surf and sand. They tend toward the violent, and are evidently best left to their own devices.

quicko: movie ratings

G: general
PG: parental guidance
MA: mature audience
MA+15: have to be 15
R: restricted to 17+

Sunday, December 14, 2008

quicko: tinsel

There's been a bit of a mix-up down under. Not only have they got their seasons swapped, but also in the confusion they somehow managed to jumble up the meaning of garlands and tinsel. Just how they managed this is a bit of a mystery, but be warned: garlands are now tinsel and tinsel is (unknown).

quicko: kris kringle

Secret Santas, Yankee swap, here it's Kris Kringle. (I always thought he was European, but apparently not ...) It's a fairly standard gift exchange the night of a Christmas party -- everyone has drawn a name, buys for a set amount and arrives with a wrapped present to go under the tree (or on the table). At some point in the festivities, Kris (I presume?) stops the hooplah and delivers all the gifts, to much applause and general merriment.

I was one of the lucky ones -- not only did I correctly guess what was inside my package (a book! And, yes, I do have a witness ... who, for the record, also thought it was a book), but Kris actually seems to have known a bit about my taste in books and got me one I'm excited about! Now, if only I had a long airplane flight to read it on ...

Friday, December 12, 2008

quicko: organise

Not just with an "s." This actually goes a bit deeper. It's used a whole lot more in a way that we understand, but don't naturally produce nearly as frequently. It's "organise" in the sense of "figure out and get under control," followed by a noun. For example, "who's going to organise food for the picnic?" Or, "we didn't have time to organise proper costumes for the party." Incidentally, "fancy dress" refers to costumes as well as?/but not? black tie.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

quicko: the bugs are back in town

It's official (not, obviously, in a CTC sort of way).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

quicko: the dish

Maybe you knew already knew this, but despite practically being Neil Armstrong's next door neighbor, I just recently learned something: the Australians broadcasted the moon landing. They even made a movie about it.

The movie is aptly called The Dish and evidently more or less follows the true story of a small town's efforts to get live video feed around the world.

I wouldn't recommend watching this movie when you're sleepy, but if you're feeling educational on a rainy Saturday afternoon, I'm sure there're worse things you could do with your time. It might even give a chuckle or two -- if you can make out what they're saying.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

quicko: pash rash

Vocab lesson: to pash = to kiss.

Thus, pashing mixed with stubble, etc. leads to what other than cleverly rhymed redness? Pash rash.

Monday, December 8, 2008

quicko: in your blood

It's kind of common knowledge here, especially among ex-pats, that Australia just has a way of getting in your blood. I suppose it's a combination of the weather, the scenery and a drop of something special in the water, but Australia has a knack for drawing people in. You come thinking you'll stay four months and end up for eighteen.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

quicko: on not drowning in australia

"Always keep a fat man between you and New Zealand."

quicko: the accent

I have an official declaration to make: since moving here, I have actually grown to like the Australian accent more than the English (yes, I realize there are myriad options there). Lest confusion arise, I'm not talking about the exaggerated Australian accent you often hear in movies or on TV, but the regular, standard accent people in Sydney actually speak with.

Or else I just mean I prefer Hugh Jackman to Hugh Grant.

Friday, December 5, 2008

quicko: a feed

As in, "After the Australians have been drinking for a few hours, they reckon they might be keen on a feed from a fish and chips shop."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

show me

I'm sure you know the feeling. Every now and then a mood just strikes and you realize you can never again be completely satisfied with life until you've gone to see a musical set in London.

It happened to me a few months ago, but, oddly enough, the mood was actually beginning to wear off in the time it took me to locate a theatre in Sydney.

I knew that My Fair Lady was playing somewhere because I'd seen signs on the backs of taxis, but no one seemed to know precisely where it was. When I finally broke down and consulted my trusty Streetwise map, I was amazed to learn the Theatre Royal was not only listed, but also three blocks away from my daily grind.

Finding the theatre thus proved to be significantly easier than expected, though tackling the ticket price was another story. Turns out they run $75 a pop, no matter how much your nose bleeds. Desperate times calls for desperate measures, though, so I shelled it out and settled in to relive London.

Within the first ten minutes I knew I didn't like Henry Higgins' actor. I don't even know his name. Thankfully I hadn't gone in with high expectations for him (he looked ugly on the taxis), but I'd hoped he'd redeem himself in other ways. Turns out, he also couldn't sing, dance or act, which puts a slight damper on a musical. To be fair, I suppose he could act, it was just there was a bit too much method in his madness, if you catch my drift. I'm all for jumping on sofas in real life (apologies here ...), but I just don't see the English gentleman Professor Henry Higgins being a couch-jumper.

Eliza's actress thus had very little to work with by way of a helpful partner-on-stage, but she soldiered on and did reasonably well through the first act, except for her accent (naturally of minor concern in a play obsessed with linguistics). Unfortunately, after intermission she seemed to decide her task was insurmountable and gave up entirely.

Pickering plodded on precisely as a Pickering should, leaving Alfie P. Doolittle to be the little bit of luck of the entire show. Besides the pub owner, he was the only one to really nail his accent, his character and, presumably, Eliza's step mother.

From a technical standpoint the show went off beautifully. The set was of the caliber one would expect, and lighting, sound and props all landed on their feet throughout. There was even a turntable, which made me a bit sentimental until I thought of the blocking notes it would require. It was amazingly well blocked -- the Ascot scene in particular -- and I am sure there is a stage manager running around somewhere with no hair on account of it.

Now I really have to say a bit more about the Ascot scene: the costumes, which were satisfactory throughout the play, but phenomenal for Ascot. The entire cast was in shades of silver, white, black and peach. Maybe that doesn't sound impressive, but it was exceedingly handsome. Dashing, actually. The hats were hats to be reckoned with and were rather closer in size to large umbrellas than your standard sombrero. They were carried off with much style, class and feather-span.

'aving 'ated 'enry 'iggins the 'ole way through, I found him completely irredeemable at the end. Unfortunately, I seem to have blinked and missed precisely what the end was. She of course ("of course" beause the script says so) came back, after having promised he'd never see her again, and he of course (script again) asked for his slippers. The end. There were no slippers handed over (she stayed at his desk; he stayed on the couch and moved his hand from waiting for the slippers back to normalcy), no fight, certainly no kiss ... it was all rather abrupt, and suddenly the turntable was spinning and the extras were taking their bows. I don't even know which way the ending was supposed to have gone.

Now I know the script is rather hard for a Higgins, but I do think it's possible to create a likeable one. Casting, say, Graham Abbey, would be a good start. This Higgins did absolutely nothing to make me like him, though. Eliza had spunk; Pickering was a gentleman; Higgins merely threw his lanky body around as if he were a teenage actor trying to steal the show at an audition.

In the end, the show worked in that I've got my fill of cockney accents, dancing street urchins and hearing "Tottenham Court Road" (which, as a sidenote, I am convinced has the snazziest mosaics of any London Underground station), but, despite Alfie and Ascot, just lacked splash. It was nice and good and all, providing you could get past the bad actor and the Australian-trying-to-be-British accents. Which I couldn't, seeing as I'd paid $75 and had a bloody nose.

quicko: tipping

As a former waitress, I'm still a bit shocked, but Australians really don't tip much at all. A little bit here and there, maybe, but certainly not 10%, let alone 15%-20%. As far as I know, the no-tipping applies pretty much everywhere -- waitstaff, taxi drivers, hair dressers -- but, on the flip side, they do actually pay these people to begin with. So it works out. Sort of.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

banner bonanza

So there's these gorgeous banners all over Sydney city that tend to make me go a bit shutter-happy. They're great decoration and I'm all for them, but I've got to thinking about them lately and have now raised a whole series of very important questions hitherto unconsidered in modern academia.

First, do they use new ones each year or do they recycle the old ones? Also, when do they get put up and taken down? Second, how much do they cost? Third, what do they do with the old ones? Fourth, what exactly are they made of? Fifth, what exactly is the animal on the blue poster? Finally, has anyone ever stolen or otherwise pranked one (or more)?

I then started to answer these, with the help of a friend who really is from Sydney and thus is completely qualified to give accurate assessments on such pressing life matters.

Initially she thought that certain annual banners might get recycled, but that the special ones would be made new each time. Then we thought about the exposure to the mighty Australian elements, though, and decided that perhaps new ones were used each time around, as they do always look quite fresh. Tattered banners just wouldn't do, now, would they? When exactly they change from one design to another, as they do with definite regularity, is still a matter of some concern. Presumably someone, or rather, a lot of someones, come along and yank them down, fasten in new ones and send them on up. But have you ever seen these someones? Neither have I, and I am not entirely sure they exist. Every city has its deep, dark secrets, and I think it is possible this is one of Sydney's. London might have Jack the Ripper, but Sydney has Jack the Mysterious Banner Ripper. Never heard of him either, have you? See. He's even more mysterious.

Regarding the cost, we came up with the figure of precisely $100 a poster. Noting that each pole always has 2 banners and that these poles line many, many long streets, we came up with the figure of precisely Very Large for the grand total city expenditure.

The question of what happens to the old banners remains, unfortunately, a mystery. We're inclined to think the city probably just pitches them, but I am happy to report that we've come up with several possible uses. First and most humanely, they could be sewed together and the homeless or heater-less could use them as blankets. Second, they could become doormats for loyal Sydneysiders. Third, they could be sewed together for the Guiness Book record of largest bunch of banners sewed together, and then go on display at the Royal Easter Show. Finally, if nothing else, surely they could be balled up and sold in tourist shops like everything else.

Now, we think that these banners are probably made of cloth and not plastic. It's just a guess, but we also don't think they're ceramic.

The dilemma of the animal on the blue banner is of yet another one of life's little unsolved mysteries. Originally, I thought it was a cute upside down cat, which is why I took a whole slew of pictures of it. However, I later looked at the photos and realized the tail was entirely too long and thin for a cat's and, thinking how this was the Chinese year of the rat and everyone'd made a fuss over that back whenever it was and there had been posters with amazingly cute rats on them, concluded therefore that it must be a rat. My friend, not wanting to introduce an animal not rhyming with HAT to the discussion, opted for a bat, which was also a good plan, as it was the only animal that really fit with the upside down plan, unless of course you count a cat with a long, thin tail stuck in a tree (I do). It does not, however, account for the huge googly eyes. Thus, she hit upon the idea of marsupials at large, by which she did not, alas, mean wombats. I believe possum was what she was going for, actually, and it's the best guess we've come up with, though doesn't rhyme with HAT, so its validity is, naturally, open to question.

Which brings us to our most important question: have any banners ever been stolen or otherwise pranked? Alas, we know of no such revelries. But, might I add, I have a wonderful, fabulous, fantastic, super-amazing prank idea. Think George Street. Think night. Think every single banner. Think turning them over and re-hoisting them. Upside down. But you didn't hear that from me.

Monday, December 1, 2008

quicko: seasonally challenged

Guess what today was!

(This is the part where you take a guess. A mental guess is okay, though the real troopers out there will use this nicely provided opportunity to scribble down their hunches in order to prove just how right they were. Okay. Set? Good.)

The first day of summer!! Not only do you have to flip flop the seasons down here, you also (this is truly tricky) have to then move the day back by 21. Throw in time change and it’s enough to make your cerebral globe spin.

I’ll clarify: December 1 is the first day of summer. March 1 is the first day of fall (except they like to call it autumn). June 1 is the first day of winter. September 1 is the first day of spring.

Yeah, we’ll leave time change for a different day.

quicko: christmas carols or not

I had a terrible discovery here: it was the first Sunday after Thanksgiving, and I went to church, all set for O Come, All Ye Faithful and Go Tell It on the Mountain, only to learn that Australians don't sing Christmas carols until Christmas!!