Friday, April 30, 2010

quicko: to do one's head in

"It does my head in!"
"That completely does my head in!"
"He so does my head in!"

If you've uttered something along these lines more than twice in the last month, there's a good chance you might be an Australian. Congratulations!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

quicko: do the math

I was told today that this is actually an American-ism -- that any time we use phrases about "doing the math" on something, it pegs us as Yanks.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

quicko: zebra crossings

It sounds funny I know, but it really is so, I'm my own grandp-- er, I mean, it sounds funny, I know, but it really is so, they call these lines on the road "zebra crossings." Not that I've ever so much as glimpsed a zebra outside Taronga Zoo, but evidently they're perpetually on the loose in Australia. Who knew!

In any event, cars are legally required to stop for any pedestrians (and, presumably, zebras) in these crossings. It's great for Americans, but can prove near-fatal for Australians who arrive in America to find that car stopping in such circumstances is really just plain optional.

Ah well, don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

paul and rachel's wedding

This month I have been to the best two weddings of my life -- and am currently trying to figure out if my own will ever be able to live up to either!

Paul and Rach's was amazingly touching, hysterical, tear-jerking and beautiful -- simultaneously. From the congregational singing of the processional ("How Great is our God" and "How Great Thou Art") to the recessional (Beyonce's "Single Ladies") it was absolutely amazing.

We started off the afternoon with a picnic in the park (Which park, you ask? Why, Bradfield Park; you know, the one under the Sydney Harbour Bridge that looks over to the Opera House. Ah, yes, you say. That one.) and had a lovely time milling about, reconnecting with old friends and munching pine nuts and craisons.

An hour or so before the ceremony they cut the cake, while Paul pointed out it would be the perfect photo op (if only I hadn't had four layers of people in front of me). I have no idea what actually happened to the cake after the pictures; presumably someone ate it.

There were really hundreds of us (400? ish) and we trekked to the church en mass when the picnic was done. Having heard there was something of a guest list, we mostly filed obediently into our place in the hall or courtyard.

However, shortly before the service was to start, an announcement was made that there was room for 10 or 15 to stand in the back of the church. I seized the opportunity and came along -- only to be told that actually there was enough room at the very front if I wanted to sit there. And so, instead of perching on a table in the hall, I got to sit in the alcoves of the church, much like being on stage for a Shakespearean performance, except so incredibly much more meaningful. Being able to be part of a church stuffed to the brim with Christians singing of our great God and His love for us was an experience that locking eyes with Iago simply can't hope to compare to.

After the processional, we got to hear heartfelt speeches from each mother, followed by hilarious anecdotes from friends. ("Rach, we're so glad you're marrying Paul -- we were getting so tired of having to alternate going to the blokey and girly movies. And besides, now he can cry on your shoulder and hold your hand at the scary parts!")

That segued somehow seamlessly (go figure) into "Amazing Grace" and "His Glory Appears," which in turn segued into the Bible reading (the first chapter of James). The sermon talked a lot about words (very apt for all the English teachers in the crowd) and the Word, and led then into the vows, which were conducted by the Rev. Dr. Peter Jensen, the Archbishop (we won't mention any alternative pronunciations here) of Sydney.

Aside from nearly forgetting the parental presentation of the bride and groom, the vows went beautifully. Though I didn't actually hear the phrase "you may now kiss the bride," the groom still managed to remember.

Prayers followed immediately, and then the signing of the register. After that, Paul and Rach each offered many thanks and then spoke of their love for each other. (Paul, as he said, being rather unable to be up front at a church and not get a word in edgewise. It was the first time, though, in my recollection, that his most memorable word was "hot" -- as he told his bride she was!)

Finally, two hours later, we sang "Lord of Lords" and "Mighty to Save" with even more abandon than we'd sung the processional, which really was saying something. After the recessional, we waited to greet the newly married couple and all shared lots of hugs and tears and Kleenex (or napkins) before the entire congregation stood on the steps and sidewalk of the church and, after one last photo op, cheered and clapped and waved goodbye as he helped her into the car and they drove off into the Kirribilli evening.

It was simply gorgeous and altogether untoppable -- yet I'm still holding out hope I might find mine even better!

Monday, April 26, 2010

quicko: a beautiful day in the neighborhood

Curl Curl yesterday afternoon.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

quicko: proper

This is pretty British as well, but you hear it a lot here, too: using "proper" to mean "genuine/full-fledged/real/high quality" as opposed to "appropriate." It's kind of the opposite to "dinky/knock-off/poor imitation/weak."

For example, you can get a proper cup of tea in Australia, but not in America.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

update: in the southern hemisphere

A couple more I've just heard:

--the biggest Subway (fast food place) in the Southern Hemisphere
--the largest waterslide in the Southern Hemisphere, which was immediately followed by "Well, one of the largest. Just put down 'largest.'"

Friday, April 23, 2010

quicko: transient sydney

I'm not sure how Sydney compares to other cities on this, but it strikes me as very transient in terms of the length of time people live in one flat before moving to another one. My friends and friends' friends are constantly moving -- not to other cities, but to other suburbs. Finding a flatmate or finding a place are routine exercises people are quite adept at undertaking and capable of doing quickly and efficiently.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

quicko: barrack

To root (i.e., cheer) for your team.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

quicko: john who?

This is sad, folks, brace yourselves. Ready? Australians do not know who John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt is. Much less that his name is my name, too.

quicko: productivity

Tonight I learned in my business class that the state of New South Wales has the lowest productivity in Australia. The highest? The ACT (Australian Capital Territory).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

quicko: school holidays

This is very interesting to me: each Australian state sets school holidays. So, all the public school students in, say, New South Wales have the exact same summer vacation, Easter holidays, winter break, etc. The students in, say, Victoria or Queensland will have similar ones, but be slightly staggered.

quicko: that's gold

I'm actually very unclear as to if this is an Australianism or a relatively recent global cultural development, but regardless it's a very common response in Australia today. Similar to "that's great!" but with a bit of a cooler, preppier edge "that's gold" is a the in jargon for 20-and-early-30-somethings. It can mean something is witty, clever, terribly intriguing or, occasionally, that the speaker hasn't got any other suitable comeback. That's gold.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

quicko: pronunciation

A couple humdingers down under:


Not quite sure what they do to them, but the syllables are divided different, the vowels are revamped and the end result is something that no self-respecting North American would ever dream of saying.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

update: in the southern hemisphere

You thought I was joking when I said Australians are always going on about how they have the biggest, best whatever ... in the southern hemisphere. Oh, no. I just heard a very proud mention on the news here of a room that is the biggest indoor "column-free space" in the southern hemisphere. Column-free space!! What will they think of next?!

quicko: cost of transportation

Kim would just like to point out that she spent less on one 3-hour bus trip from one end of Oahu to the other and back again than she does on the cost of one single trip from Neutral Bay to the city. Even if you adjust for exchange rates and inflation and interest and whatever other economic whim you'd like to indulge. $2.25US vs. $3.30AU. God bless the U.S.A.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

quicko: accents

After two years of introducing myself as being "from America" to native Hoosiers (you can't imagine how many times I managed to do this), I finally have developed an ear for American accents. And guess what! I heard them all over in Hawaii! I was so excited I had to stop myself multiple times from rushing up to someone to find out which state they were from as I'd remember only just in time that most people in Hawaii were American and wouldn't consider me such a novelty. So I contented myself with only rushing up to people sporting Cincinnati gear -- which happened twice (!!) in one small control room of the USS Missouri. We had a regular little flying pig rendezvous!

the final round of photos from the trip!

still more photos from the trip!

more photos from the trip!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

photos from the trip!

Having been inundated with requests for Hawaii photos (my mom is not on facebook and is getting antsy), here's a few highlights. They have nothing to do with the blog, but hey. I'm guessing you'll like them more than half the things that are relevant, so knock yourselves out. More to come if they upload fast enough.

quicko: the great australian adjective

NOT what you'd think it might be. I'm actually going with "nice." Now, Australians will immediately begin thinking, "Nice? Really?" I urge them, however, to think again, and with particular regards to their descriptions of food. How many times have they said, "Mmm, that's nice." More than the average American. I would have them then think further and consider how many more times they've said, "Mmm, they do a nice ________." And if they still don't believe, I suggest they listen to their friends who haven't been reading this blog. They'll be niced out by the end of the meal.

(The photo, incidentally, is from the wedding reception. They did a very nice cheesecake.)

Monday, April 12, 2010

update: money money cheesecake

I just wanted to give an idea of what size cheesecake ought to be to cost $9 AU. I think you'll find this picture was not taken in Oz.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

quicko: australian actors

I never would have thought it possible to have an H name and still be hot before I considered Australian actors. To kick off the list,

--Hugh Jackman
--Hamish Blake (is he an actor? never mind.)
--Heath Ledger (he is dead? never mind.)

The ladies, of course, are most notably

--Nicole Kidman
--Cate Blanchett

And others who are famous enough that I've heard of them (goodness knows this list wouldn't be long even if it were for Americans!)

--Eric Bana
--Jesse Spencer

And honorable mention

--Russell Crowe (actually Kiwi, but grew up in Oz)
--Naomi Watts (actually English, but grew up in Oz)
--Mel Gibson (his mother was Australian)

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Lest I be unable to wish you otherwise! (See, I didn't forget!)

Friday, April 9, 2010

quicko: logies

Australian television awards. The name was evidently the middle name of a relatively obscure Scotsman who invented (or made significant contributions to the invention of) television. Usually held in Melbourne, and the highest award is the Golden Logie. Sounds almost as intriguing as my Arty (Golden Artichoke), hey?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

quicko: ARIAs

Australia's musical awards. Been going since 1987, held in Sydney, etc. I scoured the website and couldn't find what in the world it stands for. Presumably Australia something or other.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

quicko: the order of australia

Australia's highest honor -- bestowed as an "order of chivalry" for "achievement and merit in service to Australia or humanity." (according to wikipedia)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

quicko: australian brands

A sampling:

--Fosters beer
--Speedos (the "budgie smuggler")
--Bonds (the "everyday" underwear)
--Rip Curl
--Milo (!!)
--Toohey's beer

Not that there's any theme, though.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

quicko: sleeps

The Australian way of counting days: i.e., "only two more sleeps until Melissa gets married!"

Saturday, April 3, 2010

quicko: the minister for respect

Did you know that the Australian state of Victoria has a Minister for Respect? There, now you have a fun piece of trivia for the day. Feel better?

Friday, April 2, 2010

quicko: the big, bad secret

April Fool's!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

quicko: the big, bad beer ban

The big news here is that, from January 2011, the drinking age in all of Australia will be raised from 18 to 19 in an effort to decrease teen binge drinking and early onsets of alcoholism. People are pretty up in arms -- it's so unAustralian!